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Thursday first 5 innings play (ytd 17-19)

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  • Thursday first 5 innings play (ytd 17-19)

    Minnesota/Detroit over 5.5 -120:
    The suddenly struggling Twins (78-74) continue to hold on for dear life in the AL when it comes to the second wildcard spot. After getting swept in New York Minnesota has dropped 5 of their last 6 and remains a game and a half ahead of Anaheim with just 10 games left. Tonight begins a 4 game series with Detroit (62-90), a squad that has been playing spoiler out the string for pride for quite sometime. The Tigers have been a thorn in the Twins’ side this season thus far winning 7 of 12 with 7 more appearances against each other. Yesterday at the Stadium Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Did Gregorius all homered and combined for 8 RBI in the Yankees 11-3 victory. Gregorius belted his 25th of the season surpassing Derek Jeter as the most HR by a Yankees shortstop in a single season putting the game well out of reach. Judge crushed his 45th and topped 100 RBI, while Sanchez launched his 32nd going back to back in the third inning in a season marred by injuries and on the field controversy. Chasen Shreve relieved a shaky Luis Severino and pitched 3 innings of no-hit shutout ball for his 3rd win of the season. The Yankees belted out 15 hits in all including 3 for 4 days by Gred Bird and Jacoby Ellsbury who both also scored 2 runs. Bartolo Colon lasted just 3 1/3 and allowed 6 runs on 7 hits falling to 6-14 on the year. Meanwhile Detroit also got swept yesterday as the Athletics edged the Tigers 3-2 at Comerica behind 7 shutout innings of 7 hit ball by Daniel Mengden improving to 2-1 this season. Liam Hendriks earned his first save in 4 opportunities pitching a scoreless 9th. Marcus Semien went 2 for 5 with a double, HR and all 3 RBI for Oakland while Bruce Maxwell went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored. Austin Romine provided Detroit’s only offense with a 2 run single and despite a solid pitching performance from Anibal Sanchez who went 6 strong and surrendered just a run on 3 hits with 3 walks and 8 strikeouts, it wasn’t enough.

    Detroit sends Jordan Zimmerman (8-12 6.18) who has lost 4 of his last 5 decisions and is battling a neck injury. Sidelined for nearly 3 weeks now, the 31 year old 9 year righty was tagged for 5 earned on 12 hits against Cleveland in a 5-2 loss to the Indians. Zimmerman faces a Twins lineup hitting just .258 this season but averaging just under 5 runs per contest and 7th in the AL with 194 HR. Brian Dozier (.259 31 85) has been a huge reason why the Twins are still in the thick of the wildcard race hitting safely in 5 of his last 6 games (.313) and second on the club with 15 steals caught 7 times (68%). Miguel Sano (0267 28 77) remains shelved with a shin injury and there is no timetable for his return. Eddie Rosario (.290 26 72) has had a solid second half and is one of the club’s more consistent hitters. It’s no surprise Joe Mauer (.307 7 66) is tops on the team in hitting and has a club high 34 doubles. Max Kepler (.241 18 64) has just one long ball against lefties this season and is mired in a 2 for 22 (.091) slump over the last week. Consistency at the plate is one of the lingering issues for Minnesota as they’ve managed more than 3 runs in just one of their last 6 contests.

    The Twins counter with Adalberto Mejia (4-6 4.62), who like Zimmerman has been used relatively sparingly as of late and winless since July 3rd. His last outing against Toronto was ineffective as he yielded 3 runs on 5 hits in 3 innings pitched taking the loss in a 7-2 decision. Mejia has made just 2 starts since August 8th after spending time on the DL with a biceps injury, He faces a Tigers lineup hitting .261 overall averaging about 4.7 runs per contest and has pop in their lineup like the Twins with 180 HR collectively. Nicholas Castellanos (.271 24 94) has been far and away the team’s most solid and consistent bat in the lineup extending his surge to a current a 17 game hitting streak (.419) while tops on the club in power and production. Ian Kinsler (.239 20 47) has shown reliable power in his tenure this season but has not been consistent at the plate despite a recent 4 game hitting streak (.353). It has been a nightmarish campaign for Miguel Cabrera (.249 16 60) who has been slowed by injuries all season and is one of the main reasons why Detroit will not qualify for the postseason in 2017. Victor Martinez (.255 10 47) underwent successful heart surgery and hopes to return to form which in 2014 nominated him for most improved player. Mikie Mahtook (.277 12 38) has been one of the few bright spots in limited duty hitting safely in 6 of his last 7 games (.304). Of course recent trades of Justin Upton and Justin Verlander have cut production on both the offense and pitching fronts but also cut more than $100M in payroll in a season of non-contention.

    We get a somewhat pricey line this evening in a ballpark which despite originally designed to be a pitcher’s ballpark has clearly favored the hitters over the last few seasons. It’s a grand circus similar to the park station transit but the ball carries really well to left and left center despite a long ways away at 420. The corners are a bit challenging but reachable and given two pitchers who haven’t had much to feel good about as of late, runs are to be expected especially if the Twins plan to snap their funk while holding onto postseason hopes that could be determined by the final days. Time is running short for us to reach our goal of break even after a noticeably tough start especially with the shift to the pigskin, but hopefully we will break the ice tonight in the unseasonably hot and humid air in Michigan this evening. Best of luck however you play!