HOU 7, MIN 1: Foregone Conclusion
Image courtesy of © Troy Taormina-USA TODAY SportsBox Score
Stewart: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 57.1% strikes (60 of 105 pitches)
Home Runs: Polanco (5)
Multi-Hit Games: None
WPA of +0.1: None
WPA of -0.1: Stewart -.267
(chart via FanGraphs)
The Astros are really good. They can make even good pitchers look pretty bad. But when you leave as many pitches over the meat of the plate as Stewart did tonight, well, you’re just making it way too easy for them. Here’s the location on all of Houston’s hits off Stewart:
Again, facing the Astros is a very tough assignment, but Stewart also had a difficult time throwing strikes. He walked three batters, threw a pair of wild pitches and his strike percentage was just 57.1. While falling behind got him into some other trouble, it is ironic that both the homers Stewart surrendered (a solo shot to Carlos Correa and a two-run homer to Michael Brantley) were on the first pitch of an at bat.
On the positive side, at least Stewart managed to pitch sixth innings and the Twins won’t need to rely on him again in the foreseeable future. Stewart was optioned back to Rochester at the end of this game. No offense intended, there still seems to be some untapped potential in Stewart, but he wasn’t even pitching very well down in the minors. It would be nice to see him get on a roll down in Triple A prior to his next opportunity with the Twins.
Speaking of guys who hadn’t exactly been lighting it up in Triple A, Fernando Romero came in to pitch the final two innings of this game. He pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning, but gave up a two-run homer to Josh Reddick in the eighth. Romero struck out a pair of batters and threw four pitches in excess of 98 mph, so there certainly seems to be something there.
Again, considering the Twins pinned Stewart against Verlander, it shouldn’t really be any surprise they lost this game. I’m not saying they should have moved anyone else up to start this game, it just is what it is. Verlander was his usual excellent self, holding the Twins to one run on four hits over eight innings while striking out eight.
Rocco Baldelli decided to give a couple of his regulars the day off against a tough right-hander, though Verlander has never had big platoon splits. Both Byron Buxton and Jonathan Schoop came into tonight with a six-game hitting streak, yet both were on the bench even with an offday on the schedule tomorrow. Willians Astudillo made his first MLB start in the outfield, filling in out in right field while Max Kepler swung over to center.
I thought it was interesting that was the call as opposed to putting Willians at third base and having Marwin Gonzalez play right. Now that Jake Cave has been sent down, the Twins are really going to need to lean on their versatility. Marwin has played all but four innings at third base this season and has yet to appear in the outfield.
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Next Three Games
Fri vs. BAL, 7:10 pm CT (Perez-Cobb)
Sat vs. BAL, 1:10 pm CT (Berrios-Straily)
Sun vs. BAL, 1:10 pm CT (Gibson-Bundy)
HOU 10, MIN 4: Springer and Bregman and Altuve... Oh My!
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