When Vin Scully began his broadcasting career, Connie Mack was managing the Philadelphia A's. How's that for for tying the game's history together?
The Blue Jays road trip continues with four games at Target Field in Minneapolis.
The Blue Jays like Target Field. They really like Target Field. They've gone 25-14 there since it opened in 2010. The Jays have been a better team (.498) than the Twins (.474) over that span, but they haven't been that much better. As it happens (and as an upcoming piece on Ballparks will confirm) the Twins have a remarkable ability to derive very little benefit from the Home Field Advantage.
But they do have a pretty good team this season. They don't exactly have a comfortable lead atop the AL Central, but lead it they do. They were active at the deadline, adding exactly what they needed in starting pitcher Tyler Mahle and relievers Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer. A couple of former Jays, Aaron Sanchez and Joe Smith, were Designated for Assignment. The Twins can score runs - only the Yankees and Blue Jays score more often - but the rotation was down to four and the bullpen had been extremely shallow, with only Jhoan Duran pitching particularly well. Southpaw Devin Smeltzer came up in May and went 2-0, 1.50 in his first four starts - since then, he's gone 2-2, 5.58 and been optioned back to St.Paul. And the Jays will miss, again, their young ace Joe Ryan (8-4, 3.67) whom the Twins stole from Tampa Bay at last year's deadline in the Nelson Cruz deal.
Two regulars are out of the lineup and, remarkably, neither one is named Byron Buxton. This is Buxton's eighth season, and he's played more than 92 games exactly once. That was way back in 2017 when he was still far from becoming the hitter that he is today. Buxton and the little LH first baseman, Luis Arraez, are the leading lights of the team's attack. The lineup is missing C Ryan Jeffers and RF Max Kepler at the moment, and they haven't really found satisfactory fill-ins so far.