ASTROS @ TWINS
May 29-31, 2017
My dad is a veteran, drafted away from his white-collar job to join the Army in the latter years of Vietnam. He didn’t want to join the military – he says the day the letter came in the mail was one of the worst days of his life – and lucked out with one deferment, but his number eventually came up. Being in the Army is an indelible part of his life: my oldest sister was born on base at Fort Bliss.
Dad doesn’t see himself as a veteran so he doesn’t talk about it much, although we have heard some stories. He told us about how he was given advice to blend into the crowd and not stand out (good or bad), but was randomly chosen to be a squad leader within a half-hour of reporting for duty. He also had strep throat and a 103F fever during basic training but didn’t dare tell anyone about it. He heard the phrase “your ass is grass and I’m a lawnmower” for the first time from his drill sergeant.
Fortunately, he was never shipped overseas, got transferred to an electronics unit, and was eventually honorably discharged as the war drew down. Dad was one of the lucky ones, but many haven’t been so lucky. A friend of mine died while serving in the Middle East, and I have other friends in and out of the military who know plenty of others who died while serving this country.
May we never forget those who make the ultimate sacrifice so that we can bitch about baseball from behind our keyboards.
What happened in the last series?
The Astros (35-16) capped off a 6-4 homestand by sweeping the Orioles and stretching their division lead to ten games. Charlie Morton now stands to miss significant time with a lat strain, which should only increase the pressure on Luhnow to trade for some starting pitching.
The Twins (26-20) are baseball’s early worst-to-first story, leading their division less than a year removed from a 103-loss season. They’re a fairly unspectacular bunch: they have a +1 run differential and are pretty average in many pitching and offensive categories. They kind of resemble the early 2015 Astros: great on the road (14-5), not so great at home (12-15).
In the interest of time and an assortment of meat currently on my grill, I’m only going to hit on the Twins pitchers here (NTTAWWT).
Monday, May 29 – 1:10pm CDT
Brad Peacock (2-0, 0.87) vs. Ervin Santana (7-2, 1.80)
Santana has been eating innings with the best of them (no starts of less than six innings), and aside from a couple of meh starts against the BoSox and Rockies he has looked every bit the part of an ace. He has not faced the Astros since 2015, when he went 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA and racked up 21 strikeouts.
Tuesday, May 30 – 7:10pm CDT
Mike Fiers (1-2, 5.21) vs. Jose Berrios (3-0, 1.66)
After a 2016 season in which he clocked an 8+ ERA, Berrios has made three starts, all of them of the quality variety. He went 1-1 with an 8.59 ERA against Houston last season.
Wednesday, May 31 – 12:10pm CDT
Joe Musgrove (4-4, 4.89) vs. Hector Santiago (4-4, 4.31)
Santiago is almost always good for about three runs a start this year. Last year he was 0-1 against the Astros with a 3.86 ERA.