It may not mean much, but the Minnesota Twins and the Kansas City Royals don’t want to miss a chance to play game number 161. Saturday’s game between the two clubs has been moved to a 1:15 p.m. (local time) because of predicted thunderstorms in the evening. The first pitch originally was scheduled for 6:15 p.m.
Friday’s game was shortened to 6 1/2 innings by heavy rains. The Twins scored two runs in each of the first three innings to take the 6-2 victory. Jose Berrios was stellar for the Twins, allowing two runs on six hits in six innings, striking out nine. The Twins extended their major league record for home runs in a season to 303 with blasts by Miguel Sano and Ryan LaMarre.
The Twins are preparing for the postseason, while the Royals are hoping to send Ned Yost, their all-time winningest manager, off into retirement on a high note.
The Twins will go with rookie Cody Stashak (0-1, 3.13 ERA) as an opener for one or two innings. Right-hander Glenn Sparkman (4-11, 6.11 ERA) will get the nod for the Royals.
The Twins are resting many of their regulars in the series because they’re already locked into the third position in the American League. They’ll most likely face the New York Yankees Friday in the first game of the American League Division Series, and probably in the Bronx.
That’s not a good thing, historically, for the Twins. They’ve faced the Yankees in the postseason five different times, but they’ve never advanced. Rocco Baldelli isn’t thinking ahead that far, at least not publicly.
“There are multiple things, several things that are still to be decided. And it’s things we’re going to need to think over,” the Twins manager said. “Playoff rosters look different depending on who you’re playing. We’ll wait probably until the last second to make those calls.”
Kansas City is clearly in rebuilding mode. Yost will be managing his penultimate game for the Royals, but after 10 years at the helm, he’ll still be looking at who can help the Royals in the years to come.
“It doesn’t matter where (the mistakes) come,” Yost said. “They come. Nobody is going to be perfect, but you look at the elite pitchers in this league and they’re elite for a reason, because they’ve got great stuff, but they can command. That’s going to be something they’re going to have to focus on going forward.”
Sparkman is vying to be part of the future. He didn’t factor into the decision in his last start, Saturday’s 12-5 Royals victory at Target Field. He allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits over four-plus innings, with two walks and four strikeouts. He allowed only one run until the fifth, when he started the inning with a triple, double, walk and single before exiting for Tim Hill.
Sparkman won his last start against these Twins at Kauffman Stadium, allowing just one run over seven innings in a 4-2 triumph on June 20. He’s 1-1 with a 6.53 ERA over four starts vs. Minnesota this year and 1-3 with a 6.51 ERA in eight career appearances (four starts) against the Twins.
Stashak has faced the Royals three times, including two appearances last week, without giving up a run in 3 2/3 innings. He has allowed three hits and struck out six.
–Field Level Media