Baldelli, Twins aren’t intimidated by history with Yankees

Rocco Baldelli, Twins manager (↑ UP)

The first rookie manager in Twins history to win 100 games, Baldelli is just the seventh first-year skipper ever to reach triple digits. He’s also just the fifth rookie manager to turn a sub-.500 team into a .600 team the following season. His next challenge: The Twins’ first appearance in the ALDS since 2010 and the New York Yankees, Minnesota’s principle playoff nemesis throughout 2000s. He’s not intimidated.

 

Jason Castro, Twins catcher (↑ UP)

Regardless of how the Twins’ series with the Yankees turns out, they’ll always be the “Bomba Squad” after recapturing the home runs record. Castro hit No. 307 on Sunday, the final day of the regular season, during a loss to the Kansas City Royals, Minnesota’s third home run of the day. The Yankees, who hit just one dinger in their regular-season finale, finished with 306.

 

Randy Dobnak, Twins pitcher (↑ UP)

Dobnak, a 24-year-old rookie who started the year in Fort Myers, had something of an interesting week. He went six innings last Wednesday, allowing just one hit and one run — unearned — in his best outing as a major leaguer, helping the Twins clinch the AL Central. From there he partied in the clubhouse with the team after a Cleveland Indians loss made it official, hopped a plane and got married in Maryland. Oh, and he’s in line to start at some point during the ALDS.

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Kirk Cousins, Vikings quarterback (↓ DOWN)

The Chicago Bears have steamrolled better quarterbacks than Cousins recently, but his performance Sunday wasn’t exactly encouraging either. He threw for 233 yards on 36 attempts, completing 75% of his passes, but averaged just 6.47 yards per attempt, a season low, fumbled twice and piled up yards in the fourth quarter with the Bears comfortably in front. He’s at just 735 passing yards through four games this season. For context, 15 quarterbacks have at least 1,000 yards already, while Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff threw for 517 yards in Week 4 alone.

 

Mike Zimmer, Vikings coach (↓ DOWN)

Zimmer committed one of the more perplexing coaching gaffes in recent memory during that loss to the Bears. The Vikings called an inexplicable time out with the play clock winding down and the Bears preparing to punt on fourth down just before the two-minute warning in the first half. Chicago’s offense returned to the field after the stoppage and converted, setting up a successful 25-yard field goal. It was a rough week all around for Zimmer, whose run-heavy offense stalled out in Chicago. Dalvin Cook managed just 35 yards on 14 carries.