Twins Game Recap (9/12): Twins Drop Series to Nationals, Cleveland 3.5 Back
Image courtesy of FanGraphsBox Score
Gibson: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER (6 R), 4 BB, 5 K, 6.13% strikes (57 of 93 pitches)
Bullpen: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Home Runs: Cruz (36), Schoop (22)
Multi-Hit Games: Cruz (2-for-5), Schoop (3-for-5)
Top 3 WPA: Schoop (.092), Castro (.071), Cruz (.061)
Bottom 3 WPA: Gibson (-.302), Stewart (-.120), Stashak (-.47)
Gibson Hit Hard in Return to Mound but It Wasn’t All Bad
After missing two starts Gibby returned to the mound with the tough task of facing the Washington Nationals who were going for the series win. The Nationals are a top 10 team in all of baseball when it comes to facing right-handed pitching as well as being one of the best teams in baseball since June 1. Throughout the evening Washington was hovering around .380 in xBA, per Statcast, which means Gibson was getting hit hard which was mostly due to not hitting his spots. For example, Adam Eaton’s home run to lead off the fifth inning was left middle/middle, and this was a recurring issue through the night for Gibson. It also didn’t help that he walked four hitters. That said, there were some positive things to note.
Gibson’s fastball velocity was actually a tick or two above his average in the first inning before settling in at about 94 mph, which is where he normally sits. A good sign considering the symptoms of ulcerative colitis include weight loss and fatigue. What might have been the most impressive thing from his start tonight was the movement of his off-speed pitches which induced a 21 percent swinging strike rate against a team who Fangraphs has ranked as third in all of baseball in contact percentage. In all, it wasn’t a terrible start and may be somewhat expected considering his recent illness coupled with the line-up he was facing but there were still some positive takeaways.
Cruz, Schoop, Garver Hit Well, Rest of Line up Squanders Opportunities
As the Nationals were smoking the ball from the top of the order to the bottom, the Twins struggled to make hard contact against the soft-throwing lefty Patrick Corbin. Through the evening the Twins xBA was in right around .275 give or take 10 points or so before plummeting in the later innings to the low .200’s. Rosario responded to a Rendon homer in the top of the first with a RBI single to right scoring Luis Arraez who had doubled on a ball that had an xBA of .020 (yes, the “2” is in the right spot).
Cruz blasted his 36th home run in the bottom of the third while Mitch Garver was about two feet away from hitting his 31st home run of the season in the bottom of the fifth. Other than Schoop, who hit his 22nd home run in the eighth as well as a 109 mph line drive at an umpire, the rest of the offense was pretty stagnant. This was a little surprising as this was the best lineup the Twins had in the three game series with the Nationals.
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.