Friday, September 27, 2019

The hangover lineup

The Twins hung around the Comerica Park visitors clubhouse late Wednesday night to see if the White Sox would beat the Indians; when that happened, they held their champagne celebration.

Then they had a noon game to play Thursday. Which meant a "hangover lineup." These generally feature subs and callups and would be deemed unacceptable for a spring training exhibition.

And this one was ... spectacular. Ian Miller, 0-for-5 in his major league career, led off. Jake Cave hit cleanup. LaMonte Wade Jr. played first base, and he hadn't played the position since he was a sophomore in college.

He had to borrow a first baseman's mitt from Max Kepler, who has played the position as a pro. (I hadn't realized it until Thursday, but the Twins had played strictly right-handed throwers at first base until then: CJ Cron, Willians Astudillo, Miguel Sano, Marwin Gonzalez, Ehire Adrianza.)

And they won, of course. Jonathan Schoop, who was the designated hitter, hit team homer 300 (which is just a ridiculous figure). Astudillo got four hits, including a bomba of his own. Miller got his first major league hit and major league RBI on the same swing. Devin Smeltzer staggered through five innings for the win, and four relievers -- Ryan Harper and three young power arms -- worked one inning each.

The Tigers are, of course, a ridiculously bad major league team -- they might be a bad Triple A team, frankly, So that helps. But it seems to me, without doing any sort of serious study on the question, that hangover lineups -- teams playing immediately after celebrating a title -- win more often than not. 

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