Conventional wisdom holds that the Twins want no part of the Yankees, because the Yankees have owned them in the post season in recent years. But it’s a different story altogether, I think, if the Twins get home field advantage in the playoffs. Which they could outright if they make up a couple of games and end up with the best record on the AL East. Or they could over the Yankees at least if the Yankees remain in second place and end up with the wild card.
Under such circumstances, you’d have to like the Twins no? Their home record is 48-23. The Yankees on the road are 38-32. History is fun and everything, but I have to think the distinct advantage the Twins have over their opponents at Target Field outweighs the Yankees’ past dominance of the Twins in the playoffs, don’t you?
Just looking ahead: the Twins have this week’s series against the White Sox, but then they close against the A’s, Indians, Royals, Tigers and Blue Jays, with most of those games at home. The Yankees still have 12 games with the Rays and Red Sox. The Rays have it a bit easier, with the six games against the Yankees and then some cupcakes.
Maybe I’m just drinking too much Twins Kool-Aid this week, but I like the Twins’ chances to take home field advantage. And I like them in a series against the Yankees as well. Indeed, it’s what they should be hoping for at this point.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.
Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.
The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.
Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.
Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.
Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.