Monday, September 16, 2019

Grinding the magic number down

The Twins' doubleheader sweep Saturday didn't clinch anything mathematically, but it effectively took Cleveland out of contention in the division.

With the magic number in single digits, Rocco Baldelli experimented a bit with the pitching on Sunday. And while the Twins lost, it was a productive loss in that sense.

* Jose Berrios, initally slated to start Sunday, was pushed back to Monday. I assume there are two rationales behind that -- first, to give him a little more rest, and second, to set up the playoff rotation. I would think the Twins would like to have Berrios and Jake Odorizzi lined up in either order to start the first two games of their division series.

* Kyle Gibson, whose durability as a starter has been sapped by his intestinal problems, worked out of the bullpen. It didn't go perfectly -- Gibby gave up the homer that put Cleveland ahead for good -- but it wasn't all his fault. The Twins played a remarkably sloppy game in the field Sunday. I expect to see more of Gibson in relief.

* For all Dick Bremer's chatter about Fernando Romero finding a consistent release point, he was wild and ineffective. Which set up the jam that Gibson didn't escape.

Had the Twins really needed that game, probably none of that happens. As it is, the magic number to clinch the division is nine, and the Twins don't an above-.500 team the rest of the season.

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