Twins Notebook 8/4: Joe Musgrove's Fastball of Fun; Rich Hill Placed on Injured List
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Oh no, Joe
Joe Musgrove was part of the package that sent Gerrit Cole to Houston before the 2018 season. Cole has since posted a dazzling 2.69 ERA in over 424 innings of Cy Young ball. Musgrove, though, has mostly sputtered. He has an ERA+ of 96 (4% below league average) since joining the Pirates.
It starts and ends with his fastball. For the Twins, that’s good news. Musgrove’s four-seamer, averaging 92.7 MPH in 2019, was hit hard. Opponents produced a .389 wOBA and slugged .536 against it. It isn’t that Musgrove doesn’t have good stuff (his slider and changeup are actually quite good), it's that he can’t sequence it effectively by throwing gofer ball heaters.
The Twins, as we know, destroy fastballs. The Twins scored an average of 0.93 runs per 100 fastballs thrown in 2019. That led all of baseball. As was the case with Reynaldo López of the White Sox two weekends ago, humming less-than-stellar rippers at the Twins will result in crooked numbers on the scoreboard.
Expect to see a lefty-heavy lineup from Baldelli against the right-hander. Musgrove allowed a .270/.314/.489 slash to left-handed batters in 2019. Against righties, that line dipped to .239/.291/.388.
La Makina locked and loaded?
José Berríos was on his way to a bounce-back outing on Friday against Cleveland. Unfortunately, the stage wasn’t his; it was Shane Bieber’s. Berríos’ start was ruined by an 0-2 mistake to Francisco Lindor, a center-cut heater canned into the right field seats. Berríos’ five-inning, six-strikeout appearance was completely forgotten; the Twins got Biebered and lost 2-0.
Tuesday presents a prime opportunity for Berríos to pick up his first quality start and win of 2019. Although Rocco has taken a conservative approach with his starter’s leashes, the team’s hopeful ace threw 96 pitches in Friday’s start.
Josh Bell and Bryan Reynolds presents an underrated challenge for Berríos, but Pittsburgh’s lineup is hardly a problem. This has the feel of a Miami-like start from last August, when Berríos went seven innings, allowed zero runs, and struck out 11 Marlins.
Looking ahead, news, notes
Rich Hill has been placed on the 10-day IL with shoulder soreness. Hill impressed in his first start with the Twins, curving five innings of scoreless ball. There has been no subsequent roster move yet.
The Twins are hoping to get Josh Donaldson (calf) back on their three-city road trip starting Wednesday against these same Pirates at PNC Park. They’ll face Pittsburgh twice on the road before heading to Kansas City for a three game set this weekend.
Jake Odorizzi may make his 2020 debut against the Royals after throwing an abbreviated session Monday.
Caleb Thielbar’s contract has been selected and he will join the Twins. The left-hander last pitched in the majors in 2015, for, you guessed it, the Twins.
AROUND THE AL CENTRAL
CIN 3, CLE 2
CWS 6, MIL 4
CHC 2, KC 0
DET at STL Postponed
1. MIN 7-2 (+23 run differential)
2. CHW 6-4 (+7)
3. DET 5-5 (-11)
4. CLE 5-6 (E)
5. KCR 3-8 (-16)
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