MIN 7, PIT 3: José Berríos Overcomes Command, Drone
Image courtesy of © Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY SportsBox Score
Berrios: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
Home Runs: None
Top 3 WPA: Berríos .176, Cruz .128, Kepler .068
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):
The Minnesota Twins took down the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-3 Tuesday afternoon to secure the two game sweep and advance to 9-2 overall on the young season; the team’s hot start is tied with the 2001 squad for the best record to begin a season. The teams will now travel to Pittsburgh to play another two.
Berrios Better, But Command Issues Continue
Jose Berrios made the start today for the Twins and went six innings, striking out six and allowing only a single run; his ERA now stands at 4.80. However, the Twins’ ace continues to struggle with command, particularly - as pointed out by fellow Twins Daily writer Matt Trueblood - with fastballs and sinkers on the third base side of the plate.
Berrios’ fastball velocity hovered around 94 mph all afternoon and accounted for approximately 60% of his total pitches thrown, however, only 38 were either called strikes, swung on and missed, fouled off, or put in play, meaning 22 were balls. The key to Berrios regaining his All-Star form is regaining the command of his fastball as well as generating more whiffs - he produced a 28% whiff rate today - so this will continue to be something to monitor in his starts moving forward.
Right when Berrios seemed to be getting into his groove, the game was delayed for nine minutes in the top of the fifthing inning...because someone thought it would be a good idea to fly a drone over the field during the middle of a game?
In a year where supposedly nothing could surprise us anymore, this definitely did.
Cruz, Gonzalez Stay Hot
Twins’ slugger Nelson Cruz continued his hot streak Tuesday afternoon going 3-for-4 with a league-leading 15th RBI to increase his batting average to .395 and OPS to 1.109. Quite a bit of virtual ink was spilled in the build up to the start of the 2020 season wondering if Luis Arraez could be the first player since Ted Williams in 1941 to hit .400 for an entire season. Maybe we should start wondering if the Twin to do it may actually be the ageless Cruz?
While Marwin Gonzalez had only one-third the amount of hits as Cruz in today’s contest, he produced twice as many hard hit balls. Gonzalez went 1-for-4, but all four at bats produced balls with an exit velocity above 95 mph and an xBA above .340 (coming into the game his average exit velocity and xBA was 88.9 and .235, respectively). Gonzalez hot start at the plate as well as his defensive versatility has been an utter boon for the Twins so far this season.
Thielbar Makes His Return
Relief pitcher Caleb Thielbar returned to an MLB mound this afternoon for the first time since 2015, a season that he also spent with the Twins; he played for the St. Paul Saints in 2016 and 2017 before pitching in the Detroit and Atlanta minor league systems in 2018 and 2019. Thielbar went 2 1/3 innings in relief, giving up two runs and striking out three.
- The Twins did not hit a single home run against the Pirates; the only other game this season in which this has happened was the 2-0 loss to Cleveland and Shane Bieber.
- Today’s official game time was 3 hours and 40 minutes, which beat out the 14-2 win over the White Sox for the longest game of the season by two minutes.
The Twins start early, Berrios finds his way, a drone delays the game and the team gets an easy win. Listen to the live virtual audience drive the discussion with Nick Nelson, Nash Walker and Andrew Thares.
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