TEX 4, MIN 1: Quiet Bats Can’t Back Up Great Pitching
Image courtesy of FanGraphsBox Score
Smeltzer: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 64.6% strikes (42 of 59 pitches)
Rest of Staff: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 12 K
Home Runs: None
Multi-Hit Games: Garver (2-5), Sanó (2-3, R)
Top 3 WPA: May .288, Harper .170, Smeltzer .117
Bottom 3 WPA: Mejia -.462, Kepler -.194, Gonzalez -.169
After scoring a total of 23 runs in the first two games of this series, the Twins really struggled to put runs on the board Sunday, before a crowd of 35,495. They were unable to score more than one run against a Ranger pitching staff which didn’t have a single pitcher with more than three innings of work in the game. Texas out-hit Minnesota 10-8 and the Twins went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
The Openers and Smeltzer
Gibson pitched only one inning and didn't have the smoothest of starts. He had a long, 26-pitch inning (only 14 strikes), struggling with his command. He pitched to the top five Rangers batters, as Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Gallo reached safely, but he managed to strand both. José Leclerc, the Rangers opener, also allowed to men to reach, but he managed to close the inning with 15 pitches. He came back to pitch the second, but didn’t last long.
Smeltzer took advantage of Gibson’s outing and cruised past the bottom half of the Texas lineup in the second with only twelve pitches. He went on to have an uneventful game, pitching into the sixth. He never pitched himself into any jams, as the Rangers never had more than one man on at any point of his outing. They did tie the game in the fourth, with Joey Gallo leading off the inning with a double and then being scored by former Twin Danny Santana a couple of batters later.
Sanó, Buxton Definitely Back on Track
Not too long ago we were all discussing what was wrong with Miguel Sanó, as he was slumping really hard. He then he decided he was through with that and decided to catch on fire. He came into this game slashing .348/.423/.739 (1.162) in the past seven games and he did not slow down. After smacking a single in the second inning he scored the first run of the game, crossing the plate on a Byron Buxtton triple
Similar to Miggy, Buxton went through a rough funk since coming back from the IL. In the first five games back he went 1-for-16. But he started to regain confidence in the first game of this Texas series and came into the game hitting 3-for-9 with three runs batted in. He started this game reaching safely twice, once with the RBI-triple in the second and one on a fielder’s choice in the fourth. On that play, he nearly scored Sanó again after Miggy had walked to reach for the second time, but he (Sano) was thrown out at home.
The Twins bullpen continued its impressive recent stretch, in spite of the loss. Adalberto Mejía gave up the winning home run to Odor in the 11th, but Minnesota relievers still hold a 3.08 ERA since June 14, which ranks third best in the majors. That is, of course, considering that technically all innings pitched after Gibson’s departure will count as bullpen stats.
The Twins get to the All-Star break with a 56-33 record. That’s the most wins the Twins have gotten before the All-Star break since 1969. They now hold a five-and-a- half game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central, but the Indians won their sixth in a row today, as they swept the Reds, reaching the 50-win mark.
Postgame With Baldelli
Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.