Red Sox 6, Twins 3: Series of Unfortunate Events
Image courtesy of Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY SportsWin Expectancy & Top 5 Plays (via Fangraphs)
The Twins jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to a brain fart by David Price, who failed to cover on a ground ball to the first baseman, and a Jorge Polanco two-run double. Despite the struggles from the bullpen this season, the Twins entered this game with a 29-2 when holding a lead entering the fifth inning, so things were looking good.
Unfortunately, Boston took the lead in an odd fifth inning for Gibson and the Twins. Gibby lost Hanley Ramirez after getting ahead 1-2, issuing a leadoff walk. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit an RBI double that, per Baseball Savant, only had a hit probability of 13 percent. In most parks it’s a lazy flyout, but instead it hit off the ladder on the Green Monster.
Things continued to go south, as Polanco made a fielding error. Anticipating a bunt from the next batter, the Twins had both Eduardo Escobar (who was playing third) and Joe Mauer crashing toward home plate. The batter hit a grounder back to Gibson, but with the wheel play on (Polanco was hustling over to cover third) and Brian Dozier heading over to first in case he had to cover, there was no opportunity for a double play.
The inning continued with another fluky hit from Mookie Betts, a single that had a hit probability of just 12 percent. This one was a chopper back up the middle that barely made it through the shifted infield.
Twins hitters also had a strange inning in the eighth. Joe Kelly managed to record a 1-2-3 inning, but it took him 27 pitches -- 12 to retire Robbie Grossman alone. You don’t often see a team work a reliever that hard and have absolutely nothing to show for it.
Phil Hughes made his first appearance back from the DL. He pitched well, going the final 1.2 innings, giving up just one hit while striking out two batters. We did see a slight uptick in velocity for Hughes. He had been averaging 90 mph on his fastball earlier this season, but he eclipsed 92 mph five times tonight. Nothing crazy, but beats the alternative.
Some exciting news broke as the game was unfolding. Right-handed starting pitcher Felix Jorge will be promoted for Saturday’s doubleheader. The 23-year-old has a 3.26 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 6.4 K/9 for Chattanooga this season.
If you need to feel better after that loss, here’s the Price brain fart I mentioned earlier. Credit to Dozier for coming around to score from second on this play.
Postgame With Molitor
Postgame With Gibson
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Twins (Ervin Santana, 2.80 ERA) at Kansas City (Jason Vargas, 2.29 ERA) 7:10 pm CT
What in the world has gotten into Jason Vargas? After making a combined 12 starts over the previous two seasons, the 34-year-old lefty looks like the favorite to start the All-Star Game. He has a league-best 2.29 ERA and 11 wins.
Santana has pitched well at Kauffman Stadium over his career, holding a career 3.51 ERA and 1.26 WHIP over 29 starts at The K. Eric Hosmer has given Ervin some trouble, hitting .308/.438/.731 (1.168 OPS) with three homers. There will be a day-night doubleheader Saturday, so it’s imperative that Santana pitch deep into this game.
AL Central Standings
Twins 40-37 (-1.5)
Kansas City 38-39 (-3.5)
Detroit 35-43 (-7)
Chicago 33-44 (-8.5)
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