Who says 5PM is an odd time to have a baseball game? Rare is the opportunity for us work-a-day folks to skip out early from the typewriter factory to get to our comfy couches and backless barstools and watch a Very Important Elimination Game. And if you choose to take in the game at your local watering hole, you'll make it in time for happy hour. Two dollar well margaritas for everyone!
The Twins and Tigers will play game number one-hundred and sixty-three to decide the winner of the American League Central; the winner hops on an airplane to Laguardia for some ethnic cuisine and to play the Yankees, while the loser whines about not even getting paid overtime for some lousy 5PM game in some dumpy stadium.
Your pitching matchup this evening features young Rick Porcello and less young Scott Baker. Besides the significant monetary difference in their signing bonuses, Porcello and Baker produce quite different results from their pitches. With a sinking fastball and 54% of balls in play coming on the ground, Porcello is one of the top 5 groundball pitchers in the league; Baker at 34% is in the bottom five.
Combine Porcello's affinity for wormballs with the Tigers top-notch infield defense and you've got an equation for success. Baker, however, led his team with 27 tater tots allowed as 10% of his fly balls allowed left the park. A couple ill-placed breaking balls in the strike zone and the Twins will find themselves behind early in their own house.
And yet another reason to tune in today: that dumpy stadium may be hosting its final baseball game today if the Tigers prevail. It might be your chance to say good bye to the Metrodome, which will be imploded immediately following the Twins' elimination from the postseason to make room for the world's largest Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Come back to Walkoff Walk at 5PM EDT and you can help us liveglog the proceedings, airing on TBS and featuring the dulcet tones of Chip Caray, the dullard tones of Ron Darling, and the never-dull jackets of sideline reporter Craig Sager. Yikes, I'd rather not drill a hole in his hotel wall to film the sartorial mess within.