4 things Twins fans should watch for in the second half

The season resumes Friday in Cleveland.
Author:
Publish date:
48221481316_83ab31b6ac_k

With the All-Star Game over and done with, the second half of the baseball season is set to resume this weekend.

The Twins will open a three-game series on Friday against the Cleveland Indians who are all of the sudden breathing down the Twins' neck.

There will be plenty to watch this month with the trade deadline around the corner too. Here are four things Twins fans should watch for in the second half of the season.

Will they make a trade?

It seems inevitable that the Twins will be buyers by the July 31 MLB trade deadline. The Twins have been linked to starters like Madison Bumgarner and Marcus Stroman. 

Although Bumgarner's ERA of 4.03 is a career high, his strikeout rate (9.3K/9) is the best it's been since 2015 and he's issued just 24 walks in 19 starts this season. However, he'll also be a free agent after the season, so he's a rental. 

Stroman on the other hand is under team control through 2021 and is having a bounce back season. In 18 starts, Stroman is 5-9 with a 3.18 ERA, with 81 strikeouts and 32 walks in 104 innings.

The Twins' front office has made it known they're more interested in acquiring players with team control remaining instead of reaching for rentals.

And even though either pitcher would make the starting rotation better, the Twins have to address the bullpen if they want to be taken seriously in the postseason.

Ken Giles, Will Smith, Daniel Hudson, Shane Greene, Francisco Liriano and Sergio Romo are all targets who could bolster the Twins' bullpen.

With Giles and Stroman being teammates in Toronto, maybe the Twins could swing a trade where they acquire both players at the same time. The same could be said for Bumgarner and Smith in San Francisco, or Green and left-handed ace Matthew Boyd in Detroit. 

Will the Indians catch up?

You have to tip your cap to Cleveland. After suffering a barrage of injuries to their starting rotation, they still managed to play .500 ball through the first two months of the season.

Sine June 1, they've been on a tear going 22-9 and cutting the division lead from double-digits to 5.5 games. 

Minnesota and Cleveland will square off 13 times in the second half, including a three-game series this weekend in Cleveland.

Things will be plenty easy for the Indians this month, with a boatload of games against bottom feeders Toronto, Detroit and Kansas City.

Meanwhile, the Twins will see some tough opponents, like the Yankees and Athletics. Luckily, both those series will be at Target Field, but it wouldn't be surprising to see Cleveland gain more ground on Minnesota this month.

Will injuries catch up?

No team in baseball needed the All-Star break more than the Twins. 

C.J. Cron, Eddie Rosario, Willians Astudillo and Jake Odorizzi are all on the injured list. Plus Max Kepler is day-to-day with a knee injury that's been bothering him since May.

Although Luis Arraez has been a surprising addition .(393 batting average in 84 at-bats) to the lineup, the Twins' offense needs its core players back in the everyday fold. 

It's clear that if Minnesota's going to make a run in the postseason, their offense will be their bread and butter and multiple injuries will hold them back.

Can Jose Berrios win Cy Young?

Jose Berrios is coming into his own in hist fourth big-league season. In 18 starts, the right hander is 8-5 with a 3.00 ERA, with 104 strikeouts and 23 walks in 117 innings.

If he keeps this pace, here's how Berrios would finish the year.

  • 15-9 3.00 ERA 
  • 213 innings 
  • 189 strikeouts 
  • 42 walks
  • 1.11 WHIP

He'll have some competition from the likes of Justin Verlander, Charlie Morton and even Mike Minor. Cy Young Award or not, it's clear Jose Berrios is developing into the ace we all thought he could be.

Which it makes it even more important for the Twins to acquire a top-line pitcher to give them a solid 1-2-3 punch in the postseason.

Next Up

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2

Minnesota confirms America's 1st case of Brazil P.1 COVID strain

The strain was found in a Twin Cities metro resident who recently traveled to Brazil.

classroom

Gov. Walz announces education plan aimed at eliminating disparities

The plan covers seven categories, including closing the racial education gap and improving opportunities in rural Minnesota

Tax forms

Charges: Otsego cleaning business underreported sales

An Otsego woman is accused of owing more than $20,500 in sales tax, penalties and interest.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 2.58.26 PM

Walz gives vaccine providers 3-day, 7-day deadlines to use doses

Those that don't use their allocation will be given less in the future.

purse

Border officers seize more than $550K in counterfeit designer goods

The shipments of fake goods were seized on Jan. 22.

Landfill plastic bags

4 Twin Cities landfills seek to expand capacity

This comes as the area's waste-to-energy facilities are operating at capacity.

Marcus Carr

3 of 10 finalists for NCAA's top point guard award have MN ties

Not a bad way to represent the State of... Basketball?

Justice, court

Minnesota grants unconditional pardon to grandmother facing deportation

Gov. Tim Walz says it's the first full pardon granted by the state in 35 years.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota changes vaccine appointment process, here's what to know

Walz also announced plans for a mass vaccination event at Xcel Energy Center.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, Jan. 25

The latest figures from MDH have been released.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota health leaders say state's vaccine progress better than figures suggest

Minnesota is lagging behind national vaccination rates, but MDH leaders say this is because it's holding 2nd doses in reserve.

Related

Noah_Syndergaard_throws_live_BPon_-WSMediaDay_(22874487656)

Why the Twins should target Syndergaard or deGrom

Either ace would improve the rotation dramatically.

29544375143_dbcf8b6e6b_k

The Giants could be an ideal trade partner for the Twins

San Francisco is heading in the wrong direction.

collage

Report: Twins scouts watching Bumgarner and Syndergaard

Both pitchers squared off against one another on Thursday.

Marcus_Stroman_2015

Report: If the Twins want Stroman, it will cost top pitching prospect

The Blue Jays have a hefty asking price for their starting pitcher.

Jose Berrios

Berrios struggles again as Red Sox beat up on the Twins

The extra day of rest did not help Berrios.

Trevor Bauer

MLB insider thinks Twins should try and trade for Trevor Bauer

It might cost a lot of prospect talent to get Bauer from Cleveland.

Blake Snell

Why the Twins should consider trading for Blake Snell

Snell is one year removed from a Cy Young season.

47615622191_4a043e00f3_k

Is it time to be all in on the Twins?

The Twins are in the driver's seat after taking a series from the Astros.