The Minnesota Twins entered Wednesday night's game against the Boston Red Sox with a 6½-game lead over Cleveland in the American League Central. Those two sides have six remaining head-to-head matchups, but barring a complete collapse (in those games or otherwise) the Twins seem likely to win their first division title since the 2010 season.
Unfortunately, Wednesday did provide the Twins some reason for trepidation about their chances of a deep postseason run -- and not just in the form of them checking out the New York Yankees' or Houston Astros' Baseball-Reference pages. Rather, the Twins got another clunker of a start from Jose Berrios, who yielded six runs on eight hits in five innings. Berrios gave up two home runs, both to Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts.
Berrios's rough outing fits a recent trend of his. Coming into Wednesday, he had started five games since Aug. 1, and had permitted 39 hits and 27 runs (23 of them earned) in 27 innings. Opponents had hit .333/.395/.556 against him in those contests -- that after hitting .233/.282/.369 against him in his first 22 starts on the year. That's quite the shift.
If there is a bright side to Berrios' night -- besides the web gem above -- it's that his fastball averaged around 93 mph, per Statcast -- an improvement over August, when he averaged 92.6 mph. Nonetheless, he has been struggling to locate to his glove side, and has been leaving too many pitches out over the plate, as Parker Hageman tweeted:
jose berrios still cutting himself off mechanically and struggling with locating the gloveside consistently.— Parker Hageman (@ParkerHageman) September 5, 2019
june start vs BOS berrios stayed up in the zone with his fastball (35 were 94+ mph). this outing too much middle-middle (9 FBs 94+). pic.twitter.com/A3zqu2dxim
Berrios has a few weeks left to get things straightened out before the postseason begins. The Twins sure hope he can make the most of that time. If not, their odds of knocking off the Yankees or the Astros are going to become even less favorable.