Discover more from Minnesota Sports, with Jon Marthaler
Minnesota Update: The Lynx are in the playoffs, but still trying to be in the playoffs
The Lynx battle for seeding, the Mets are the Mets, and Gopher volleyball and the Saints are winners.
We start with the Minnesota Lynx, who are in the playoffs - but in the WNBA this year, there’s in the playoffs, and then there’s in the playoffs.
The good news is that Washington lost on Friday night, meaning that Minnesota won’t have to play either Las Vegas or New York in the first round of the playoffs. The bad news is that Minnesota lost to a pretty bad Chicago team on Friday night, too, 92-87, meaning that Atlanta is now in the driver’s seat for the #5 seed.
Playing Connecticut, the number three seed, is not like playing New York or Las Vegas - but it’s not easy either. Minnesota was 1-3 against the Sun this year, keeping it close twice and losing by 21 once, and somehow beating them once without Napheesa Collier.
Against Chicago, the Lynx got 28 from Collier, 24 from Diamond Miller, and 16 from Kayla McBride - who signed a multi-year contract earlier in the day. Unfortunately, they got one point from their entire bench, and not much rest either - Collier played 38 minutes, Miller 35.
Minnesota’s got one more regular-season game this year, Sunday afternoon against Indiana, and they’ll need a win and an Atlanta loss to get back into the #5 seed and a series against Dallas.
The Twins scored the winning run against the New York Mets in the bottom of the seventh inning on Friday. With nobody out, pinch runner Andrew Stevenson took off for third on a steal attempt. He made it easily, thanks to the fact that pitcher Sean Reid-Foley flung the pitch to the backstop - so wild, in fact, that Stevenson took a twenty-foot turn around third base.
Unfortunately, catcher Francisco Alvarez finally located the wild pitch, and had Stevenson caught off third base - but his errant throw went past third and into left field.
Stevenson, by now disoriented and dizzy, got up and attempted to stumble home, and would have been out easily, except that left fielder Tim Locastro, attempting to throw Stevenson out, managed to again to miss Alvarez with the throw, allowing Stevenson to score.
And that tells you everything you need to know about the 2023 New York Mets.
Carlos Correa hit a 1000 mph homer, Royce Lewis hit two RBI doubles, and Dallas Keuchel bamboozled the Mets hitters for five innings, but let’s be honest with ourselves: if the Twins hadn’t found a way to beat the Mets, the Mets would simply have beaten themselves.
Gopher volleyball bounced back with a win on Friday - and with a comeback, as well. Minnesota won the first set against #6 Oregon at the Pac-12 / Big 10 challenge, then dropped the next two - but rallied to win the fourth set 25-20, and the fifth 16-14.
Mckenna Wucherer set a career high with 21 kills for the Gophers, and Taylor Landfair added 18. Middle blockers Phoebe Awoleye and Calissa Minatee combined for 10 blocks, and senior Lydia Grote chipped in 14 kills and hit .481 for the match, scoring on more than half her attempts and committing only one error.
Minnesota’s now 2-2 in matches against top 15 teams, and is almost done with their gauntlet of a non-conference schedule; they take on #5 Stanford tomorrow, then they get a break. By which I mean they get a game against High Point and then play Creighton, which is only #16 in the country. And then it’s into the Big Ten schedule, and there are only five other Big Ten teams currently ranked in the top 25, so that should be no big deal.
You have to hand it to the St. Paul Saints - they’re not going quietly in the International League race. They won again on Friday, 7-6 against Louisville, scoring seven runs in the first three innings and then holding on for dear life the rest of the way.
Tony Wolters hit a three-run homer for St. Paul, and Brooks Lee and DaShawn Keirsey Jr. both hit RBI triples, which is some feat. Old friend Randy Dobnak got lit up - six runs on six hits and four walks, in five innings - but kept the ball in the ballpark, and did just enough to earn the win despite a game score of 33. Cole Sands got the save, pitching a couple of hitless innings to seal it.
Durham and Lehigh Valley both won as well, so the Saints remain two games back in their chase for the second-half title. With 14 games to go in the year, it won’t be easy - but after winning the first four games of the series against Louisville, it doesn’t seem impossible either.
TWINS vs New York Mets, 1:10pm
GOPHER FOOTBALL vs Eastern Michigan, 6:10pm
LOONS vs New England, 7:30pm
GOPHER VOLLEYBALL at Stanford, 9pm
SAINTS at Louisville, 6:15 pm
VIKINGS vs Tampa Bay, Sunday
LYNX at Indiana, Sunday