What the rainout means for the Twins

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I mentioned in the recaps this morning that it’s hard to gauge the impact of the rainout given that the Tigers will throw better starters out there while the Twins have a better bullpen. What I didn’t think about until some readers and the Strib’s Joe Christensen reminded me of it was that two games in one day will have some fallout with respect to Joe Mauer deployment. As in, can the guy catch for eighteen innings in one day and still be expected to carry the offensive load?

While Ron Gardenhire says he hasn’t made up his mind, Christensen and my reader thinks that Mauer will catch Game 1 and be the designated hitter in Game 2. Makes sense to me. Which may not actually be a bad thing in terms of offense maximizaton, because recently Ron Gardenhire has been using Brendan Harris as a DH when Mauer catches, but putting in Jose Morales behind the plate when Mauer DHs.  I don’t know how Morales’s defense measures up — it’s likely inferior to Mauer’s — but Morales > Harris with the stick, and runs may be hard to come by against Porcello and Verlander today.

Right now the weather, while iffy — it’s going to be cold and gusty, but the rain will be of the scattered, as opposed to soaking variety — looks like it will hold.  It’s possible that by the time we go to bed tonight the Tigers will have all but locked up the division. It’s also possible that the Twins will have tied the damn thing. Either way, I’m excited as hell for a truly meaningful twinbill.

Shohei Ohtani no longer facing Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday at Yankee Stadium

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Shohei Ohtani has essentially become the Angels’ designated Sunday starting pitcher, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced Thursday morning that the 23-year-old two-way Japanese star will be skipped in the rotation this weekend at Yankee Stadium for “workload management” purposes.

Ohtani is fine to continue hitting, so there’s no sense of any physical ailment.

This decision will rob us — and the Japanese media — of a showdown between Ohtani and countrymate Masahiro Tanaka. And for that we are rather devastated, but you can understand the Angels’ concerns about overuse.

Ohtani has registered a 3.35 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, and 52/14 K/BB ratio through his first 40 1/3 innings (seven starts) as a major league pitcher and he’s slashing .308/.364/.582 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 26 games as a part-time DH.