Twins Game Recap (9/28): Cruz Homers, Arraez Injured, Twins Top KC 4-3
Image courtesy of FanGraphsBox Score
Stashak (Opener): 2IP, 2H, 1ER, 2K, 79.17% strikes (19 of 24 pitches)
Bullpen: 7IP, 5H, 2ER, 3BB, 11K
Home Runs: Cruz (41)
Multi-Hit Games: Cruz (2-for-4, HR, 2B), Garver (2-for-3, 2 2B, BB), Austudillo (2-for-4), Schoop (2-for-4)
Top 3 WPA: Cruz (.243), Rogers (.209), Austudillo (.166)
In an essentially meaningless game at the tail end of the year, the last thing Minnesota needed was for a key cog in the lineup to be injured, but that is exactly what happened. Rookie sensation Luis Arraez collided with Austudillo while the two converged to catch an infield fly off the bat of Hunter Dozier for the last out of the seventh. Arraez’s right leg appeared to buckle while he was coming down off the mound and he was down for several minutes. A cart was brought out but Arraez was able to walk off with help. Obviously, losing Arraez for the postseason would be a huge detriment to the Twins.
Garver and Austudillo Bring the Bats and Cruz Hits a Huge Bomba
Mitch Garver certainly helped ease any concerns Twins fans may have harbored about his recent hip injury. He drilled two doubles and drew a walk. After both doubles he would come home on two Willians Austudillo RBI singles. The Twins finally got a home run off of the bat of Nelson Cruz in the eighth inning, his 41st of the year. It couldn’t have come at a bigger time as Tyler Duffey had just allowed Kansas City to tie the game at three with Jorge Soler’s second home run on the day, a two-run shot. Cruz put the Twins up 4-3.
The Bullpen Gets the Job Done
Cody Staschak got the opportunity to audition as the opener today and outside of allowing a bomb to Jorge Soler he pitched pretty well. Shashak allowed two hits and struck out two Kansas City batters in two innings of work.
Next up was Kyle Gibson. Gibson managed to escape his one inning without any damage but he labored heavily. It took Gibson over 30 pitches to end the third and he loaded the bases with a single and two walks. Gibson did strike out two batters including the final out of the inning to keep the game tied, but he didn’t exactly bolster his case for inclusion on the postseason roster.
After Gibson, the bullpen shined through the middle innings. Zack Littell, Lewis Thorpe, and Trevor May combined for five strikeouts in three scoreless innings. Tyler Duffey was the next man up and the inning started well, but with two outs Whit Merrifield singled on weak ground ball and Soler followed with his league-leading 47th dinger.
After Cruz gave the lead back to Minnesota, Sergio Romo came in and pitched a clean eighth inning. Taylor Rogers would come in to protect the one-run lead, picking up his 30th save on the year and giving the Twins win number 101.
Going for 102
Tomorrow’s season finale will give Minnesota a chance to tie the franchise record for wins set in 1965. 2019 has been a truly remarkable year for the Twins and losing tomorrow will take nothing away from that, but it would be nice to see this team get Rocco Baldelli a share of the record in his first season as a manager.
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.
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