The Minnesota Twins have had some awful injury luck in 2020, but the team pushed through for a very good fifth week.
The Minnesota Twins have had to send four players to the injured list as well as move one player onto the 45-Day IL, but that didn’t stop them from going 5-2 during the week and outscoring their opponents 31-25.
The offense still isn’t at it’s best, but key players are making big improvements, rookies are making good impressions, and the pitching is still carrying this team well. We look at all that and more as we break down a really good week of Twins baseball.
Minnesota Twins shake off Injuries and Win: IL news, Debuts, and More
- The Twins added four players to the injured list this week: Mitch Garver (right intercostal strain), Byron Buxton (left shoulder inflammation), Jake Odorizzi (chest contusion), and Zack Littell (elbow inflammation). These are four key contributors from 2019, and while they aren’t expected to be gone long, their absences will hurt.
- The Twins already had two players still on the injured list in Josh Donaldson and Homer Bailey. Bailey had to be moved to the 45-Day IL, so we won’t see him for a while, but Donaldson is said to be improving:
- Getting Donaldson back would be a nice jolt for a lineup that scored 4.43 runs per game this week, a decent number, but one that still needs to be improved. The Twins currently sit at 19-10 and are just 1.5 games up on Cleveland and 2 games ahead of the White Sox.
- It’s important to recognize how good Kenta Maeda was on Tuesday. He threw the most pitches he’s ever thrown and went 8 innings, allowing just one hit (that turned into a run due to a tough inning from the bullpen). He also set the Minnesota Twins’ record for consecutive strikeouts (8) en route to 12 total. It was an incredible outing.
- Maeda has proven to be the ace of this staff after his performance on Tuesday night as part of the best game of the year, but the Minnesota Twins still have two other really good pitchers:
- Randy Dobnak continues his dominance as he moved to 5-1 with a 1.78 ERA over six starts. He has gone 5 innings or more in every start and looks like a really good second option behind Maeda.
- Jose Berrios has finally come out of his shell! Berrios had his best start of the year three days ago, going six innings with just one hit allowed and nine strikeouts. The outing dropped his ERA over a full run and showed the talented pitcher may be back.
- Don’t look now, but Miguel Sano is now on a six-game hitting streak and his raised his average 90 points since August 9th. He’s hit six doubles and a home run in this week alone, and it’s really good to see the Twins slugger waking up after a very slow start to the season.
- Ryan Jeffers had an excellent debut for the Twins on Thursday, and while he has been unspectacular since, it’s still nice to see the catcher of the future on the field and succeeding.
- Last note for the Twins: The bullpen did not been pitch to their best this week, as they gave up 11 runs over the seven games. For a bullpen as good as ours, that’s not acceptable and the Twins need to get that tweaked back to normal.
Around the AL Central: Taking a Look at the Minnesota Twins Rivals
- Cleveland Indians (17-11): The Cleveland Indians faced the Tigers and the Pirates this week, and the cushy schedule helped them go 5-1 this week. With that being said, they face the Twins tomorrow and are still without Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac (they called up top pitching prospect Triston McKenzie), so they aren’t as strong as they appear.
- Chicago White Sox (17-12): The White Sox are red hot, and they continue to promote top prospects (Dane Dunning and Jake Burger) to strengthen their lineup. They continue to hit and their pitching is improving. This team will be the No. 1 threat to the Twins in the AL Central going forward.
- Detroit Tigers (11-15): Well, it was fun while it lasted. The Detroit Tigers went 1-5 this week to to fall 6.5 games back of the Twins. The hitting is bad, and the pitching is bad, but top prospects Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal made their MLB debuts. They combined to allow 7 runs in 6.1 innings, but Mize struck out seven in 4.1 IP and looks very promising.
- Kansas City Royals (11-17): After going 2-4 this week, the Kansas City Royals managed to stay behind the Tigers and in last place in the AL Central. They’ll likely call up a few of their top prospects, which will boost morale, but the Royals are still several years from competing (despite how they played against the Twins).
Around the MLB: Important Minnesota Twins-related news around the league.
- If you haven’t heard about the Fernando Tatis Jr. saga that’s talking about unwritten rules in San Diego, check it out. Unwritten rules are important in baseball, but baseball’s brightest young star should be celebrating rather than apologizing. The San Diego Padres are going to be really good, really soon.
- The Twins currently are tied for the second best record (the Tampa Bay Rays are 19-10) in the American League behind the Oakland Athletics (20-9). The New York Yankees are 16-9, while the Houston Astros lag behind at 15-13. The AL Playoff Picture is beginning to take shape, but if there’s any stumble from the A’s, the Twins are in the driver’s seat.
- Only four NL teams have a winning percentage above .500, as the National League continues to lag behind the AL. If you aren’t on the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers or the Padres, your team is struggling in a major way. Having this NL/AL mix has really hurt the Senior Circuit.
- Former Twins News: RHP Chase De Jong was called back up by the Astros, while RHP Aaron Slegers was called up and earned a save for the Rays. Meanwhile, RHP Mike Morin was placed on the 60-Day IL (UCL injury) and 3B Lewin Diaz was sent back to the training site for the Marlins.