I’m not entirely clear why the San Francisco Giants, fresh off on off day on Monday, got another day off on Thursday to help them travel about 600 miles from the Detroit Tigers stadium to the Minnesota Twins one, but here we are.
I hope they had fun. I hope they used their time wisely. Perhaps they went to the Minnesota state fair. I hear it’s a good one.
Anyway, the Giants are playing the Twins, and you don’t know anyone who is on the Twins. Think about it. You don’t know anyone on this team. You forgot they exist. Not because they’re bad, they’re just ... the Twins. On Monday you’ll again forget they exist.
Until then, enjoy the series.
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Minnesota Twins
Where: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota
When: Friday (5:10 p.m. PT), Saturday (4:15 p.m. PT), and Sunday (11:00 a.m. PT)
National broadcasts: Friday (MLB Network, out of market only) and Saturday (FOX)
Friday: Alex Wood vs. Joe Ryan
Saturday: Alex Cobb vs. Sonny Gray
Sunday: Jakob Junis vs. Aaron Sanchez
Where they stand
Record: 61-62, 3rd in the NL West
Run differential: +13, 8th in the NL
Postseason standing: 2nd team out, 5.5 games back in the Wild Card
Momentum: 1-game losing streak, 5-5 in their last 10 games
Record: 62-61, 3rd in the AL Central
Run differential: +17, 7th in the AL
Postseason standing: 2nd team out, 5 games back in the Wild Card
Momentum: 6-game losing streak, 4-6 in their last 10 games
Three Giants to watch
Jakob Junis: Junis is quietly having a lovely season, with a 3.58 ERA and a 3.75 FIP. Not bad for someone brought on to be depth rather than a weekly rotation piece. He was pitching beautifully last week at Coors Field when a hard-hit ball caught him on his glove hand, leaving him with a small fracture in his palm. But he’s intent on playing the rest of the season, and now we get to see how that turns out.
Bryce Johnson: Is Johnson an X-Factor in this series? No, probably not. But he’s someone I’ve got my eye on, simply for sentimental reasons. Johnson got called up a few weeks ago for his MLB debut. He played, but didn’t get a hit, and was optioned. Given that he turns 27 this year and is having a highly mediocre season in AAA, odds are against him being on the roster for too long. I kind of expected the Giants to DFA him rather than option him, and I think he’s unlikely to stay on the 40-man through the offseason. But I was very sad at the prospect of him getting DFA’d before getting his first hit, since there was a chance it was his only shot at the Majors. Now he’s back, and the thing I most want in this series is for him to collect that first hit.
Joc Pederson and Mike Yastrzemski: The Twins are throwing a trio of righties at the Giants. The Giants really need Joc and Yaz to find their bats. The offense is dragging lately, and some signature swings from these two could go a long way.
Three Twins to watch
Aaron Sanchez: It’s been a tough year for Sanchez, a former Giant. He started the year with the Washington Nationals, got rocked, and was designated for assignment after seven games. The Twins signed him and played him in the Minors for a while, before he made his debut for them at the start of the month. He was designated for assignment after one outing, but outrighted, and returned to the team earlier this week. Now he’ll make his third start for Minny. Despite only pitching in nine games this year, Sanchez has faced the Giants twice, as his first two starts came against San Francisco. The Giants scored seven runs in 9.1 innings against Sanchez, while striking out just five times.
Sonny Gray: Gray has been a player I’ve wanted the Giants to get for a long time, and he’s having another lovely year that puts the struggles of his New York Yankees tenure in the rearview. The righty has a 3.10 ERA and a 3.36 FIP this season, and is in the midst of an absolutely fantastic streak.
Luis Arráez: With Byron Buxton injured, left-handed hitting infielder Arráez becomes the Twins must-watch position player. Arráez does not exactly fit the normal build of a corner infielder: he leads the American League in batting average at .322, and has just seven home runs in 467 plate appearances (which is a big-time power surge for him, as he has only 13 dingers total in 1,433 career plate appearances). A first-time All-Star this year, Arráez has used his exceptional contact — and an ability to walk more than he strikes out — to amass a 139 OPS+ and a 140 wRC+. What a fun player.
33% of you correctly predicted that the Giants and Tigers would split their series. We’ll see how you do this time.
Who wins the series?
This poll is closed
Giants win 2-1
Twins win 2-1