Twins Game Recap (8/19): Twins Unable to Mount Comeback, Drop Series Opener 6-4
Image courtesy of FanGraphsBox Score
Gibson: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 66.7% strikes (66 of 99 pitches)
Bullpen: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Home Runs: Polanco (18)
Multi-Hit Games: Arraez (3-for-5, 2B), Rosario (3-for-5), Polanco (2-for-5, 2B, HR), Cruz (2-for-5), Sano (2-for-5), Cave (2-for-4, 2B)
Bottom 3 WPA: Gibson -.223, Cron -.180, Gonzalez -.130
Twins strike early
White Sox starter Ivan Nova was red hot coming into today’s game as he was 4-0 with a 0.49 ERA and two complete games in his last five starts. After giving up only two earned runs in his last 37 innings, the Twins were able to get two runs off of Nova in the first inning. Luis Arraez and Jorge Polanco started the game off with back-to-back doubles and Nelson Cruz knocked in Polanco with a single. Unfortunately, an Eddie Rosario rocket was picked by Yolmer Sanchez and turned into a double play or the Twins might have put additional runs on the board. Nova threw 48 pitches through two innings (16 to Arraez in two ABs).
White Sox strike back
Gibson has traditionally pitched very well against the Sox and it looked like that trend would continue as Gibson cruised through two innings with great command. However, the Sox got to Gibson for four runs in the third.
After three singles, the White Sox had runners on second and third (thanks to an errant throw to home from Eddie Rosario) and first base open. Gibson gave up a three-run blast to Jose Abreu on a first-pitch fastball right down the heart of the plate. With light-hitting Jon Jay on-deck, Gibson probably would have liked to pitch Abreu a little more carefully.
Both starters get on a roll
Nova was able to turn things around after the two-run first, putting up zeros through the fifth. However, in the sixth the Twins were able to knock Nova out of the game after long at-bats by both Marwin Gonzalez (strike out) and Jake Cave. Miguel Sano led off the inning with a single and with one out, Cave hit another single. Sano and Cave were able to advance an extra base due to the Sox being unable to cleanly field the ball and Nova was done for the night. Following Nova’s exit, C.J. Cron hit a ground ball to third and Ryan Goins made a perfect throw to home to get a sliding Miguel Sano. Jason Castro struck out to end the Twins threat.
Gibson was also able to bounce back nicely after his four-run third. He didn’t allow any base runners in the fourth, fifth, or sixth innings, but he did run into trouble in the seventh. With one out and runners on first and third the Sox perfectly executed a suicide-squeeze bunt on an 0-2 count with Sanchez at the plate and Tim Anderson coming home. Ryne Harper came in for Gibson and got the final out of the inning with the Twins trailing 5-2.
Twins unable to mount a comeback
Trailing 5-2 in the seventh, Polanco hit a solo home run to pull the Twins to within two. Rosario would go on to single with two outs, bringing Miguel Sano to the plate as the tying run. Sano struck out on a check swing to end the inning.
Lewis Thorpe came in to pitch the final two innings for the Twins. He got plenty of swings and misses and struck out three, but he did give up an additional run in the eighth.
Arraez got on base with a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth and Cruz hit a two-out single to get Rosario to the plate as the tying run. Rosario singled to bring the Twins within two with Sano coming to the plate but Alex Colome was able to strike out Sano and end the game.
Arraez leads off
The Twins moved Luis Arraez up in the lineup to hit leadoff for the first time in his young MLB career. Having Arraez hit leadoff makes a lot of sense as Arraez gets on base at a team-leading .412 clip. He has also had some of the team’s best at-bats this season and that continued against the Sox. Arraez led off the game with a 10-pitch battle that ended with a double and he singled in his second at-bat. He finished the game with three hits. With Max Kepler getting the day off, it will be interesting to see what the Twins will do with Kepler back in the lineup. Kepler has had a great year hitting leadoff and the Twins might not want to mess with that, but it would be nice to have Arraez on base in front of some of Kepler’s team-leading home runs.
Cruz returns, Littell optioned
The Twins will try to get by with a 12-man bullpen for the time being as reliever Zack Littell was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Nelson Cruz. After hitting oranges during his time on the IL, Cruz had to deal with a squirrel in his first at-bat of the game. The rodent was no match for Cruz as he singled in Polanco for the second Twins run. Cruz finished the game 2-for-5, singling twice and picking up an RBI.
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.
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