Orioles 11, Twins 5: Granite’s Great Catch Highlights Final Game of First Half
Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY SportsWin Expectancy & Top 5 Plays Per WPA (via Fangraphs)
Gibson gave up seven runs over just four innings. The Orioles got nine hits off him, drew two walks and struck out only once. We’ll get to more on him, but first you gotta see this catch Zack Granite made in his first Major League start:
I think Gibson said it perfectly: Wow. The Twins Twitter account provided the grab in GIF form, so you can watch it on a loop:
Gibby had an 8.20 ERA when he was sent to Rochester earlier this season. Upon his recall, he’s pitched much better, but still just barely good enough to hang on to a rotation spot. In his nine starts between returning from Rochester and today, Gibson had a 4.59 ERA and opponents were hitting .290/.362/.500 (.862 OPS) off him. It seems likely the Twins would rather not have to count on him every fifth day, but even with the addition of Bartolo Colon there aren’t tons of other options.
Max Kepler had a double, a triple and drove in a run. He’ll coast into the break with a .266 average and .788 OPS. Not too shabby. Robbie Grossman also had a pair of hits and Kennys Vargas hit a double. Those were the only five hits the Twins got on the afternoon.
The team managed to put up a four-spot in the second inning thanks in large part to Ubaldo Jimenez struggling to find the strike zone. He hit a batter and walked three more, including issuing a free pass to Brian Dozier with the bases loaded. Grossman singled, Kepler hit his double and all the sudden the Twins went from down 5-0 to trailing by just a run.
It felt like another game in which the Twins were going to rally back against Baltimore, but a big four-run fifth inning from the Orioles put things back out of reach.
Tyler Duffey surrendered two runs out of the bullpen. After getting off to a great start, Duffey has really struggled heading into the break. Over his last nine appearances, the Duff Man has given up 12 earned runs over 10.1 innings (10.45 ERA).
Ryan Pressly threw two perfect innings with a couple of strikeouts. Trevor Hildenberger gave up the first two runs of his big league career and Phil Hughes pitched a perfect inning and picked up a couple of K's.
The Twins are off for the next four days for the All-Star break (hence the lack of the bullpen usage info today). I don't think there's any way to put a negative spin on the first half, as any Twins fan would've happily taken this before the season started, but it's worth noting that the team's run differential dropped to -60 after today's loss. With the July 31 trade deadline looming, it will be fascinating to see how Derek Falvey and Thad Levine approach their first deadline with the Twins.
I’ve only been doing these recaps for a little over a month, but the positive response has been overwhelming. Thanks to Seth for letting me take a crack at these, and for filling in a few times. And, of course, thanks to all of you for reading and commenting.
The funnest part about doing these has been knowing that when I finish my article, that’s just the beginning of the conversation. As always, if you have any reflections from this game -- or even the entire first half of the season -- please share them in the comments.
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