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The annual fan fest is this Sunday

Big Mike vs Miley Cyrus is the match-up in the second game of this series."First Pitch: 7:10p CentralTelevision: FOX Sports North Joe Carter Jersey , fubo.tv (subscription)Radio: WCCO 830 AM, Treasure Island Baseball Network (English); twinsbeisbol.com (espa帽ol)Know Thine Enemy: The Crawfish BoxesI really love retro baseball uniforms. (I would get into retro throwback hockey sweaters as well, but I don’t follow the NHL closely enough to care.) I have quite a few, including a Houston Astros “tequila sunrise” jersey. You know the one: the top third of the jersey was white with “Astros” spelled out in dark navy blue. The bottom third is layered with various and shades of orange and yellow with a red stripe in the middle of the ensemble. A big dark navy blue star is on the bottom right (player’s left) to complete it, making it look like a shooting star. Once I got the idea to start collecting retro baseball uniforms, this one was high on my list and one of the first ones I bought. The Astros should bring it back full-time, but that’s just me. If only the Minnesota Twins would bring back powder blues...Enough of my rambling and onto the game. The Twins won pretty handily yesterday against the Astros and look to win tonight and secure at least a series win against a really good team in the second match of this three-game series. Minnesota has called upon Michael Pineda, a.k.a. “Big Mike”, to start on the mound tonight. He’s notched two wins so far this season in four starts, but he’s looking to bounce back after a not-so-great start against the Toronto Blue Jays: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, BB, K, 2 HR, all on only 75 pitches and being tagged with the L. Wade Miley Cyrus will toe the rubber for the Astros. FUN FACT: He’s with his sixth different team in as many years (Arizona Diamondbacks http://www.indiansfanproshop.com/authentic-b.j.-upton-jersey , Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers). ADDITIONAL FUN FACT: Miley will be the first lefty starter the Twins will see this season so expect the broadcasters to say that at least 15 times tonight. He’s sporting a 3.32 ERA in 21.2 IP right now, allowing 8 ER and only two homers this season with a WHIP of 1.200. His last outing was in a loss against the Oakland Athletics in a close contest: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, BB, K, HR. Those two earned runs were the only two scored by Oakland in their win, and Miley was also given the loss. The “Minnesota Twins are facing a lefty starter for the first time this season” lineups:TWINSASTROSGO tWINs GO! If success is the best revenge, consider Miles Mikolas avenged.After three years in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball, apparently unwanted by all 30 MLB clubs, Mikolas is back in the big leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals and pitching like he belongs.Check that鈥攈e's pitching like a bona fide ace.First, some background: Mikolas broke into The Show in 2012 with the San Diego Padres and posted a 3.62 ERA in 32.1 innings out of the bullpen. By 2014, he'd bounced to the Texas Rangers and posted an unsightly 6.44 ERA in 10 starts.He never eclipsed a middling 6.4 strikeouts per nine innings in a single season at the highest level. He looked Corey Kluber Jersey , threw and quacked like an easily discarded fringe arm.In 2015, Mikolas crossed the Pacific and caught on with the Yomiuri Giants. "I went to Japan because I was going to have a little bit of a leash," Mikolas said in May, per Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "You can work through things."Jeff Roberson/Associated PressWork through them he did. In three campaigns with the Giants, he put up a 31-13 record and 2.18 ERA and got extensive experience as a starter.It was enough to catch the attention of the Cardinals, who inked him to a two-year, $15.5 million contract in December 2017.He was 29 years old and hadn't tested his mettle against major league hitters in years. Cards fans could be forgiven for yawning.Nine months later, Mikolas is an integral piece of a St. Louis team that's fighting for a postseason berth.In 173.2 innings with the Red Birds, Mikolas boasts a 3.06 ERA and 14-4 record. He made the National League All-Star team. Since Independence Day, the Cardinals have won 10 of his 12 starts.His 94.8 mph average four-seam fastball velocity is slightly above his MLB career average of 94.4 mph, per FanGraphs. Yet, he'sthrowing it 27 percent of the time compared to a big league career average of 31 percent and leaning more heavily on his breaking balls."It's a high percent of off-speed stuff for strikes early and that's not easily done by pitchers," Padres manager Andy Green said of Mikolas, a former Friar, per Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune. "A lot of guys have trouble doing that and he's proved so far he's very effective at that this year.""Learning to pitch rather than throw" is something of a cliche, but it's a cliche for a reason."We count on all our starters Ricky Vaughn Jersey , but Miles has been an anchor for us," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said, per MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. "He's been able to separate worlds and still compete. Tough guy."Morry Gash/Associated PressHe's not a strikeout machine with an average of 6.2 per nine. But he's walked an NL-low 1.4 per nine. There is room in the game for command artists. Not every successful pitcher needs to blow hitters away.In many respects, Mikolas' improbable journey mirrors that ofnow-retired right-hander Ryan Vogelsong. After the San Francisco Giants traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2001, Vogelsong suffered injuries and endured inconsistency. He ended up in Japan, rediscovered his groove, ultimately returned to the Giants on a flier contract in 2011 and wound up making an All-Star team and winning two titles with San Francisco.It's unclear if Mikolas will reach similar heights. This much we know: Entering play Wednesday, the Cardinals narrowly held the NL's second wild-card position despite making no significant trade-deadline additions, trading outfielder Tommy Pham and firing manager Mike Matheny.Mikolas isn't the only factor. Infielder Matt Carpenter is putting together an MVP-quality season. Rookie outfielder Harrison Bader and rookie right-hander Jack Flaherty have made significant impacts.Mikolas is the X-factor, though, the delightfully unexpected ingredient.For a guy who was recently pitching in anonymity an ocean away, this must feel pretty damn good. All statistics current entering Thursday and courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.

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