MIN 8, TEX 4: Colon Pitches a Complete Game (Yes, Really)
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsWin Expectancy (via Fangraphs)
How great is baseball? We have giants like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. We have little guys like Jose Altuve and Mookie Betts. And we have extraterrestrial pitchers like Bartolo Colon.
Colon’s previous current season high in innings was 7.0, and the longest he had gone in his three starts with the Twins was 6.1 innings. He had also thrown over 100 pitches just once this season, way back on April 21. Tonight he threw 106, 78 of them for strikes.
Colon got off on the wrong foot, giving up two runs in the first inning. But Brian Dozier popped an opposite field leadoff homer and Robbie Grossman added a three-run shot in the bottom of the first to give Big Sexy new life.
From innings 2-8, Colon held the Rangers to one run and gave up just five hits. Carlos Gomez cracked a solo homer with two outs in the ninth inning, but all that really did was add more drama. Just when you thought there was no way Bartolo was going to make it, he coaxed a ground ball that Joe Mauer made a great play on for the final out.
It’s always difficult to gauge something like momentum, and it seems to be fleeting. But we know this: The Twins have had a pretty rough go of things. Not only have they been losing a lot of games, but the clubhouse was not pleased about the front office shipping away a couple pieces around the trade deadline. Basically, this was not a happy bunch.
Now, as evidence from all the post-game celebrations and interviews, this team is having fun. Maybe that only lasts a day, who knows, but the Twins need this. Hell, we all needed this.
On top of providing relief from the losing and general downward trend, Colon’s complete game also allowed an already rested bullpen (thanks to a complete game from Ervin Santana just two days ago) to take another night off. Some of the guys out there had really been dragging of late and it was pretty clear some were wearing down from overuse.
Not to be lost in all the Bartolomania is the fact that the offense had a great night, too. Dozier hit two homers, Eddie Rosario had a big two-out single that scored two runs and every Twins starter reached base safely.
Miguel Sano was forced out of this one after he was hit on the wrist by a pitch. He was clearly in pain (duh), but x-rays came back negative. Miguel was also active in the postgame festivities (as you’ll see below), so that’s a good sign that he’ll likely be dealing with “just” some soreness and swelling.
After the game it was announced Zack Granite was optioned back to Rochester to make room for Kyle Gibson, tomorrow’s starter.
Postgame With Colon
Postgame With Dozier
Twins W-L Record
Overall: 52-54 (.491)
Last 10: 3-7 (.300)
Last 20: 7-13 (.350)
Last 40: 18-22 (.450)
Last 80: 38-42 (.475)
Here’s a look at the starting lineups from the past seven games:
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Saturday: Twins (Kyle Gibson) vs. Texas (Cole Hamels), 6:10 pm CT
Hamels is coming off a strong July in which he posted a 3.66 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 4.57 K:BB ratio over six starts. Joe Mauer is 0 for 12 with no walks and three strikeouts against Hamels.
Gibson was excellent in his three starts down in Triple A. He had a 2.08 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 23 strikeouts over 17.1 innings pitched. A lot people point to the first pitch being a big key for Kyle, which is certainly true, but he also needs to do a better job getting the first batter of each inning out. Batters who leadoff an inning are hitting .315/.394/.598 (.992 OPS) off Gibson this season.
Sunday: Twins (Jose Berrios) vs. Texas (Nick Martinez)
Next Series: Twins host the Brewers in a two-game series before heading to Milwaukee for two games.
- Cory Engelhardt, Tibs, Sconnie and 1 other like this