Twins Game Recap (9/6): Offense Dominated as Twins Fall in Extras
Image courtesy of FanGraphsBox Score
Pineda: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 K, 66.3% strikes (71 of 107 pitches)
Bullpen: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 3 K
Home Runs: None
Multi-Hit Games: Kepler (2-for-5), Polanco (2-for-, RBI)
Top 3 WPA: Pineda .244, Littell .144, May .098
Bottom 3 WPA: Graterol -.447, Sanó -.155, Romo -.129
Pineda is lights-out again
We’re barely one week into September. It’s too early to jump to any conclusions, but I don’t see why we can’t be excited by some good signs. Take the rotation, for instance. Twins starters were among the ten least productive units in all baseball during August. Now, they’re starting (OK, maybe timidly) to get back on track. Tonight’s outing from Michael Pineda was another indication of this.
To provide some context, the Twins rotation was among the bottom ten worst in the league in ERA (5.48), WPA (-1.40), WHIP (1.59) and AVG (.294) last month. Coming into tonight’s game, those numbers had improved to 4.70 ERA, 0.09 WPA, 1.17 WHIP and .227 AVG. All of those numbers are going to look even better after Pineda kept the Indians’ offense on a leash, going six innings and allowing only one run on four hits, while striking out ten Cleveland batters. The only run came off a Francisco Lindor solo homer in the third.
That’s definitely not a fluke for Big Mike. After a rocky start of the season in April, he’s been the Twins best starter since the start of May, posting a team-best 3.46 ERA since then. And that was true even before tonight’s game, as he had a 1.31 WPA (also a team-best) on that same period, more than twice as much as the second starter on that list (Jake Odorizzi, 0.65). Pineda has been great fuel for Minnesota’s playoff push, in the midst of chaos caused by the José Berríos struggles, the Kyle Gibson injuries and the lack of consistency from Odorizzi and Martín Pérez.
Bullpen does its part in regulation
This is how amazing the Twins bullpen has turned out to be in the past weeks:
After their performance against the Red Sox in the three-game series in Boston, they earned even more credit, as they took care of business all by themselves in the series opener and shut down the world champions in the following two games.
Tonight, they had to work under pressure, as the offense couldn’t provide them with enough run support. Sergio Romo gave up a leadoff triple in the eighth to Oscar Mercado and went on to retire all the remaining batters he faced. However, one of them, Yasiel Puig, managed to score Mercado on a sacrifice fly, which tied the game. Trevor May and Zack Littell both had scoreless innings, with Littell picking off the runner at first to help end the ninth.
Quiet night from the offense leads to extras
For the third consecutive game, Twins bats were held back. They couldn’t score more than a couple of runs to back up Pineda and the bullpen. C.J. Cron and Jorge Polanco each batted in a run. They weren’t able to respond after the Indians tied it in the ninth, but they threatened. LaMonte Wade Jr. drew a walk, to bring his OBP to .385, in spite of still not having a hit in the majors.
Graterol can’t handle first big challenge
After Cody Stashak and Lewis Thorpe alternated to pitch through the tenth inning, rookie Brusdar Graterol was handed a two-out, one man on situation in the eleventh. He faced four batters, but couldn’t retire any of them. A couple of singles from Roberto Pérez and Lindor gave the Indians a two-run lead. With Trevor Hildenberger pitching, Mercado hit a two-run single to put this one away, doubling their lead.
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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