Twins in ‘win now’ mode, address starting rotation
Twins starting rotation (⬆️ UP)
As part of a three-team trade, Minnesota will send young flamethrower Brusdar Graterol to Boston and will receive veteran Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Kenta Maeda. Trading away such an intriguing prospect is always tough to swallow — especially one that could reach triple digits on the radar gun. But the Twins’ window for a championship is open this year, and they improved their 2020 roster with this transaction. Minnesota needed starting pitching help. The team had publicly stated that it didn’t view the 21-year-old Graterol as a starter this summer. So, it brought in Maeda, who will be the team’s No. 3 starter behind Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi as Rich Hill gets healthy and Michael Pineda continues to serve a suspension.
Kevin Fiala, Wild forward (⬆️ UP)
Head coach Bruce Boudreau challenged his team to step up after an ugly 6-1 loss to Boston on Saturday night. Fiala answered the call against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. The 23-year-old lit the lamp twice in the second period – one even-strength goal and another on a power play — for a 2-0 lead. It marked Fiala’s eighth career game with multiple goals and his third with Minnesota (second in 2019-20).
Alex Stalock, Wild goaltender (⬆️ UP)
Stalock was tough Tuesday night. Real tough. The South St. Paul native stopped 27 shots against the Blackhawks en route to a 3-2 overtime victory. He also stayed in the game after taking a Jonathan Toews knee to the head in the third period. Another note: Stalock reached a new career high by making his 24th start of the season Tuesday. His previous career best was 23 starts in 2017-18, his second campaign with the Wild.
Timberwolves point guards (⬇️ DOWN)
It’s hard to have the Wolves’ point guards trending down when there’s barely anyone left in town to defend themselves. But seriously, who is going to play point guard? Minnesota shipped Jeff Teague back to Atlanta last week and now will send Shabazz Napier as part of a monster four-team transaction that is yet to be official. When that deal is settled, Jordan McLaughlin will be the only point guard on the roster. Will the Wolves turn to Jarrett Culver to become a main ball handler? Or does president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas have a few tricks up his sleeve before Thursday’s trade deadline? Either way, Wednesday night’s game against Atlanta will be interesting to watch.
Matt Dumba, Wild defenseman (⬆️ UP)
If you score a game-winner in overtime, you deserve to be trending up. That’s exactly what Dumba did Tuesday night. The defenseman approached the net and slid one past Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford for a much-needed 3-2 win for the Wild and a big extra point in the standings. Not exactly known for its speed on the ice, playing three-on-three hockey has never been Minnesota’s strength. The Wild lost their first four overtime games of the season before snapping the skid with a 3-2 win in the extra period over Winnipeg on Jan. 4. And now, Minnesota has won its last two.
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