It wasn’t what they needed, but the Twins still have some life after winning two out of four games in Detroit. Thursday’s game turned into a rout in the eighth as Minnesota ended up winning 8-3. That leaves the Twins two games back with three to play.
What’s left may favor the Twins a bit. They have three home games against the Royals this weekend, while the Tigers have a home series against the White Sox. Let’s look at the probable matchups:
Kansas City at Minnesota
Fri: Lenny DiNardo vs. Jeff Manship
Sat: Zack Greinke vs. Nick Blackburn
Sun: Luke Hochevar vs. Brian Duensing
Chicago at Detroit
Fri: Jake Peavy vs. Edwin Jackson
Sat: Freddy Garcia vs. Alfredo Figaro
Sun: John Danks vs. Justin Verlander
Minnesota‘s starters are all tentative at the moment, but that’s how it’s lining up. Manship appears likely to get the nod on Friday because Francisco Liriano threw an inning Wednesday. Blackburn would be starting on short rest after being pushed back from Monday to Tuesday by the rainout.
The Tigers aren’t in such an urgent position, so they won’t go with Verlander on short rest Saturday. Verlander will probably be limited to a couple of innings Sunday if the Tigers have clinched by then. The Tigers will also probably want Rick Porcello to throw a couple of innings then.
The Greinke roadblock is huge, so even if the White Sox step up and claim two out of three games this weekend, the Twins have their work cut out for them to force a one-game playoff.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.