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  1. Twins Game Recap (7/18): Rosario Ignites Late-Inning Comeback

    Box Score
    Gibson: 7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 68.9% strikes (73 of 106 pitches)
    Bullpen: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

    Home Runs: Rosario (21), Garver (16), Cron (18)
    Multi-Hit Games: None

    WPA of +0.1: Rogers .160, Sano .210, Rosario .465
    WPA of -0.1: Garver -.108

    Rosario Redeems and Garver, Cron Solidify

    A night after Eddie Rosario dropped what would have been an inning-ending fly ball to keep the game within reach, he blasts the first pitch he sees tonight to give the Twins a 4-3 lead. Rosario was most likely not in the lineup tonight as punishment for yesterday’s mishap, but made his presence felt tonight.

    That was just the second pinch-hit home run for the Twins this season, and of course Rosario was the culprit of the first one as well. In 12 at-bats as a pinch-hitter, Rosario has three hits for three home runs.

    Mitch Garver and C.J. gave the final punches in tonight’s game by each hitting a solo shot in the eighth for huge insurance runs to give them a three-run lead going into the ninth. The Athletic’s bullpen gave up three hits in tonight’s game, but they were the three biggest hits for the Twins.

    Pitcher’s Rematch

    Just over two weeks ago, Kyle Gibson and Mike Fiers faced up against each other, but unlike tonight, neither pitcher picked up a decision in that 12-inning contest. Tonight Gibson got rewarded for his solid outing, and the Twins picked up just their second win against Fiers in 13 games against him.

    Gibson had another great outing against the Athletics, but this time was actually able to pick up the win. He pitched his deepest into a game and picked up his most strikeouts since June 25th. It was very impressive to see Gibson work around a few errors, not give up any walks, and pick up the win. He struck out three batters with his two-seam, and two batters with each of his changeup and slider.

    Rogers' Save

    Taylor Rogers started warming up immediately following Rosario’s go-ahead home run for a six-out save. Rogers has been the Twins’ best reliever, and continued his great season tonight. He gave up two singles in the eighth, but that was nothing to worry about as he retired the next five batters to complete the save and end the Twins’ longest losing streak of the season.

    Sloppy Play

    The Twins sloppy play has been pretty apparent since the All-Star break, and it continued tonight. Coming into tonight’s game they had six errors in five games and added two more in the first two innings. A couple of base-running errors also ended Twins’ threat in two different innings.

    The base-running errors were the ones that hurt the most tonight. The first one came with a man on third base and one out. Max Kepler ripped a line drive to first base, which Olson made a nice grab on, and doubled up Cave who was halfway to home plate.

    The next one came after a leadoff walk and single, when Arraez thought Cave had been hit by a pitch and was making his way to third only to realize the ball was still in play and proceeded to get thrown out on his way back to second.
    Though the errors didn’t lead to anything tonight, it still is something that you want to clean up because they usually come back to hurt. Arraez and Sano were responsible for the fielding errors tonight with Arraez picking up a two-base error in the first after misfiring a throw to first, and Sano misfielding a hard hit ball that landed 10 feet in front of him.

    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.

    • Yesterday, 04:21 AM
    • by AJ Condon
  2. Twins Game Recap (7/17): Mets Blow Out Twins, Complete Another Target Field Sweep

    Box Score
    Pérez: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 72.2% strikes (60 of 83 pitches)
    Bullpen: 3.0 IP, 12 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

    Home Runs: Cruz (18), Garver (15)
    Multi-Hit Games: Garver (2-for-3, HR)

    Top 3 WPA: Garver .144, Pérez .140, Cruz .070
    Bottom 3 WPA: May -.461, Magill -.139, Arraez -.105

    The Twins still have never beaten the Mets at Target Field. The only other time they have visited the Twins since the ballpark debut was in 2013, when the Mets also got the sweep. The last time Minnesota has won a home game against the Mets dates back to Jun. 2004.

    Of the 14 runs scored by New York in the afternoon, only half of them were earned. The Twins defense was a mess all over the place. The one error that sparkled the Mets late came off the hands of Eddie Rosario in the eighth inning. He dropped a routine fly ball that would have ended the inning with no runs scored. Instead, two runs scored on that play and the Mets went on to score four other times. Jake Cave also made a diving mistake with Ehire Adrianza pitching in the ninth.

    For the first time in the season, the Twins lost three consecutive games. They now own a 58-36 record, four and a half games ahead of the Indians. If Cleveland beats Detroit later today, that advantage will drop to four games, which would be their smallest lead since May 14th.

    Offense shows signs of improvement early
    The Twins offense was so good and dominant in the first portion of the season that a recent drop to no lower than tenth best in several metrics was enough to cause some overreaction among fans. For the first time this year, Twins bats started to be target of criticism by a few of them. That is especially true when the subject is runners in scoring position.

    Despite still being one of the best teams in the majors with RISP, the Twins productivity has fallen considerably in that area in the past month and a half. Whereas they have the sixth highest OPS with RISP overall in the season (.824), they came into this game with the ninth worst in the majors (.734) since the start of June. In last night’s game, the Twins struggled again, going 1-for-9 with RISP, with a total of ten men left on base.

    Things started to change a little bit when Max Kepler doubled off Jason Vargas in the second and was scored by Miguel Sanó on a single to left a couple of batters later. The Mets responded right away, with a one-out, solo home run by Amed Rosario in the top of the third, but the tied score didn’t last long. Nelson Cruz put the Twins back on top with his 18th homer of the year, a hanging one to the corner of the left field. He continued to make Vargas pay, hitting his sixth home run against him, the most he has against any MLB pitcher.

    Pérez sharp in long-awaited start
    With the All-Star break, Pérez didn’t pitch for eleven days, but that wasn’t a problem at all. Very economical and with a very sharp command, Pérez cruised through the first three innings, doing so with only 30 pitches, 25 of which were strikes. He also punched out four batters and gave up the one home run to Rosario.

    He started to slip a little bit in the fourth, as he loaded the bases with no outs, including a hit-by-pitch against Robinson Canó. Pete Alonso reached to lead off the inning on a throwing error by Miguel Sanó. He scored when Todd Frazier grounded into a double play later on, so the run was unearned. Pérez sort of pitched himself into another jam in the fifth, eventually allowing two runners to reach, but he got out of it. Pérez concluded his seventh quality start of the year, the first since Jun. 27th.

    Be careful, the Sauce is scorching
    Mitch Garver continues hot. Already leading all MLB catchers in SLG (.653), OPS (1,037) and wRC+ (168) before this game, the “GarvSauce” went deep for the 15th time in the bottom of the fifth inning to break the tie once again. He becomes the sixth Twin to reach that many home runs this season, putting Minnesota very near the MLB record for most players with at least 15 home runs in a season (nine).

    He also doubled in the eighth and scored afterwards. Garver continues to have one of the best seasons by a Twins catcher in club history. He’s now got higher SLG and ISO than 2009 Joe Mauer and is on pace to surpass his 23 home runs of that season, the most by any Twins catcher in history.

    Mets erupt against bullpen, sloppy defense
    Pérez was pulled after the sixth inning, even with a low pitch count. Trevor May took over and just like that, the Mets offense erupted. He gave up a couple of hits to start the inning and then, on a 0-2 count, he pitched an 81mph curve that was crushed for a three-run homer, giving New York the lead back.

    Things, then seemed under control in the eighth, as Matt Magill struck out two batters after giving up a leadoff walk. On a routine fly to left, Eddie Rosario made a rare mistake, dropping the ball after catching it, allowing two runs to score. Then Magill gave up three hits in a row, including an Alonso two-run bomb to the second deck, to make it 11-3. Adrianza took over the mound to finish the game and gave up three more runs in the last inning.

    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.

    • Jul 17 2019 08:51 PM
    • by Thieres Rabelo
  3. Twins Being Forced into Good Decisions

    You can probably assume that any team as good as the Twins have been is doing little in the form of bringing in warm bodies. Years past have seen the Twins forced to make roster moves defined by monotony, and promotions have come far more often from necessity than born of merit. Gearing up for the stretch run it seems Derek Falvey has this squad in a place to flip the script.

    C.J. Cron and Eddie Rosario have both missed time prior to the All-Star break. As they return to the big-league lineup only Luis Arraez falls into the category of minor league position player. That’s not indicative of talent at all, but reflective of his option status and the ability to be sent down without recourse. It’s in scenarios like that however, that Twins players have positioned management to having to make difficult decisions.

    Arraez currently owns a nine-game hitting streak, has posted a .955 OPS through 108 plate appearances, and has developed a newfound level of versatility. He’s playing better than starting second basemen Jonathan Schoop, and the door left open by a starter owning just a .763 OPS (.667 with RISP) is going to make a manager think twice.

    Similarly, the bullpen was a group that came into the season with serious question marks. To date they’ve been the fifth best unit in baseball and have stepped up by getting contributing performances from names like Morin, Harper, Duffey and Littell. Here, decisions loom large. Because of the results posted by contributing members there’s going to be some tough conversations. The first shoe to drop was a Mike Morin DFA this afternoon. Despite good surface numbers the secondary stuff had him toward the bottom of the pecking order and a decision was made.

    The reality for the Twins is that these difficult decisions come from a place where the organization certainly wants to be. You rarely see a full 25-man roster experience a clean bill of health at the same time. For Minnesota that point could be coming soon and having a level of uncertainty regarding who loses his spot is quite the impressive reality.

    On top of health there’s almost no denying that this club is going to make some big-league acquisitions. Whether in the rotation, bullpen or both, there’s going to be at least one arm brought in. Adding to the strong performances already at the disposal of Baldelli and Wes Johnson, the group will be bolstered by a high-level reinforcement. This too will take away the job of a player currently performing above average for a club trending towards 100 victories.

    What the Twins will need to convey as this roster transformation takes place is a positive message. No player is going to be in favor of losing his spot but understanding the greater goal and realizing that a new contribution could simply be around the corner is a must. Recent seasons have shown us Minnesota going to the next-man-up option because the initial choice flopped. This time around next-man- up is going to be a player who’s already shown his chops and be expected to come in competitively from the outset.

    Good teams are often built from a place of depth. No organization wins a World Series or makes a postseason run relying on just the 25 players starting on the Opening Day roster. The Minnesota Twins are a good team and the front office has developed the depth to make such a run a distinct possibility.

    • Jul 16 2019 06:32 PM
    • by Ted Schwerzler
  4. Gleeman & The Geek, Ep 434: Now It's A Fight


    Want more Twins talk? Subscribe to our midweek "Off The Record" episodes via Patreon.com/Gleeman.

    • Jul 08 2019 05:38 AM
    • by John Bonnes
  5. MIN 6, TB 4: Cruz Bails Out Another Bunting Blunder

    Box Score
    Odorizzi: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 60.4% strikes (55 of 91 pitches)
    Bullpen: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

    Home Runs: None
    Multi-Hit Games: Cruz (3-for-4, 2B), Arraez (2-for-3, BB), Rosario (2-for-2)

    WPA of +0.1: Cruz .491, Arraez .151, Rosario .141, Rogers .115
    WPA of -0.1: May -.129, Schoop -.145, Polanco -.236
    (chart via FanGraphs)

    Nelson Cruz provides a solid presence in the lineup, veteran leadership and will even apparently bail out his manager after making a poor decision. What a guy.

    The Twins were provided an excellent scoring chance in the seventh inning, and nearly returned the gift. A double-play ball was botched, resulting in the Twins getting runners at first and second with no outs.

    Jonthan Schoop was coming to the plate. The Twins were still trailing by a run. It was still only the seventh inning. Still, Schoop was up there trying to bunt. He missed twice, looking absolutely horrible in the process, and ended up striking out.

    Unlike when this happened last time with Jorge Polanco, I cannot imagine Schoop was doing this on his own. This is a guy who came into tonight with 13 homers and a .480 slugging percentage.

    Luis Arraez followed with a single to load the bases. The next batter, Polanco, popped out, meaning Cruz was the team’s final hope of capitalizing on Tampa Bay’s big error. Cruz ripped a bases-clearing go-ahead double to center field.

    Rocco Baldelli should have gone straight into his office and just submitted All-Star votes for Cruz from that moment to the final out.

    Odorizzi Struggles With Command
    Over his last three starts now, Odorizzi has given up 11 earned runs on 19 hits and five walks. All that damage was done in 15 1/3 innings, giving Odorizzi a 6.46 ERA and 1.57 WHIP over this recent downturn.

    What’s going on? Well, tonight Odorizzi struggled with his command. His strike rate was just a shade over 60% and seemed to constantly be pitching from behind in the count. On the plus side, he did still strike out seven batters and got 12 swinging strikes on his 91 pitches.

    Odorizzi left with the game tied 3-3, but the Rays completed their comeback with a Willy Adames go-ahead solo homer in the seventh, their third homer of the evening.

    Rosie Exits Early
    In the bottom of the third inning, Eddie Rosario pulled up while running the bases. It was later reported that he suffered an ankle injury and was day-to-day.

    With both Byron Buxton and Marwin Gonzalez on the IL and Max Kepler nursing a sore elbow, courtesy of a 95 mph fastball, the Twins already had a very unconventional outfield to start this game.

    In the fourth inning, the defensive alignment was Luis Arraez in left field, Jake Cave in center and Willians Astudillo in right. Arraez has a grand total of two starts in the outfield while down on the farm the past two seasons.

    Kepler would later enter this game in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement.

    Postgame With Baldelli

    Bullpen Usage
    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:

    • Jun 27 2019 04:09 AM
    • by Tom Froemming
  6. MLB All-Star Election Day: What You Need to Know

    Voting Changes
    Major League Baseball altered their voting process for the 2019 All-Star Game. Two phases of voting are being held, “The Primary” and “The Starters Election.” Fans remain in charge of selecting the All-Star starters, but this new process allows for more fan involvement in an Election Day (that’s today). All the pitchers and reserve position players will continue to be chosen through Player Ballots and selections from the Commissioner’s Office.

    The Primary Round concluded last Friday to narrow the ballot to the top three vote-getters at each position (including nine outfielders). “The Starters Election” will take the top vote getters from “The Primary” and open an all-out voting war. Starting at 11 am CST today (June 26), fans will have 28-hours to vote for the starters. There is only ONE vote per platform - http://www.twinsbaseball.com/vote and Google.


    Possible Twins Starters
    First Base
    CJ Cron finished in the top-3 in a tightly contested vote at first base. According to FanGraphs WAR, he doesn’t rank in the top-5 among AL first baseman. New York’s Luke Voit was leading all first basemen, so it could be another case of a Twins player losing to a Yankee. When it comes to the top candidate, Carlos Santana has put together some strong numbers and the game is being played in his home stadium. It would make sense for him to represent his club at the event. Cron has been swinging a very hot bat over the last week and this could help him in the voting.
    Who Should Win? Santana
    Who Will Win? Voit

    Shortstop might be Minnesota’s best chance to land a starter at the All-Star Game. Jorge Polanco lead all American League shortstops in the Primary Vote, and he is having an MVP caliber first half. He leads the AL in batting average, and he’s been one of the best hitters in a potent Twins line-up. Francisco Lindor is one of the ambassadors for the All-Star Game, but he couldn’t sneak onto the ballot. Polanco is going to have some tough competition from Houston’s Carlos Correa and New York’s Gleyber Torres. Correa is on the injured list so that might take him out of the running. Fans might be more attracted to Torres and his 18 home runs than Polanco and his overall numbers.
    Who Should Win? Polanco
    Who Will Win? Polanco

    Minnesota fell just 138 votes short of placing two outfielders into the top-9 for the Starters Election. An argument could be made for all three outfielders to be on the ballot. Among AL outfielders, Max Kepler only trails Mike Trout in FanGraphs WAR. Eddie Rosario has some more popular numbers on the ballot with his high home run total and high OPS. This still probably won’t be enough to get him into the top-3. Last year’s AL MVP Mookie Betts and George Springer, the 2017 World Series MVP, will also do well in the Final Vote. New York’s Aaron Judge just came back from injury, but his superstar status in the biggest MLB market could help his final vote total.
    Who Should Win? Trout, Betts, Kepler (even though he’s not on the ballot)
    Who Will Win? Trout, Betts, Springer

    Designated Hitter
    Nelson Cruz might also have a shot at winnings a starters spot since there is not clear-cut favorite for the DH role. It be elected Cruz is going to have to beat out Boston’s J.D. Martinez and Texas’ Hunter Pence. Recently, Pence was placed on the DL with a groin strain, so it might come down to Martinez versus Cruz. Martinez has his lowest OPS since 2015 with Detroit. Ironically, that was the only time he was named to the All-Star Game. Cruz is a six-time All-Star and he has been elected in five of the last six seasons. As a Twins fan, it’s hard not to consider the impact Cruz has had on the Twins line-up. He and Martinez have almost identical OPS totals so it will be interesting to see who the fans eventually select.
    Who Should Win? Cruz
    Who Will Win? Martinez

    Minnesota has been having a great first half. Make sure to get out and vote for the Twins players above to be All-Star starters.


    • Jun 25 2019 06:29 AM
    • by Cody Christie
  7. KC 6, MIN 1: Bad Inning Spoils Awesome Uniforms

    Box Score
    Starter: 5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 69.6% strikes (64 of 92 pitches)
    Bullpen: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

    Home Runs: Eddie Rosario (20)
    Multi-Hit Games: Luis Arraez (4-for-4, 2B), Max Kepler (2-for-5, 2B), Jorge Polanco (2-for-5)

    WPA of +0.1: None
    WPA of -0.1: Pineda -.231
    (chart via FanGraphs)

    Crooked Number Cooks Pineda
    Michael Pineda has pitched well over his last seven starts, dating back to May 11. Over that time he has gone 2-0 3.67 ERA 0.91 WHIP. Of those previous seven starts, five were quality starts. Overall, very solid production from the back end of your rotation.

    Pineda did not necessarily pitch badly but he had one bad inning that hurt him. That rough inning came in the third, in which he gave up five earned runs, including one three-run home run to Hunter Dozier.

    Prior to giving up the home run, Pineda surrendered three singles to the Royals Nos. 9, 1 and 2 hitters and then a double to Alex Gordon. After allowing the home run, Big Mike settled in and threw two more scoreless innings, keeping the team in the game.

    Stay Hot, Luis Arraez
    This kid continues to flat-out hit. His bat-to-ball skills and knowledge of the strike zone are fun to watch. Luis added four more hits today and improved his season slash line to .436/.521/.590, relatively small sample size but impressive nonetheless.

    Rosario Goes Deep but Offense Falls Short
    Eddie Rosario registered his 20th bomba of the season when he launched a solo home run to right field in the fourth inning.

    Minnesota did not have many scoring chances throughout the game but they wasted a good once in the seventh innings when Rosario was unable to deliver with the bases loaded and two outs.

    Postgame With Baldelli

    Bullpen Usage
    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:

    • Jun 23 2019 08:57 PM
    • by Andrew Gebo
  8. MIN 8, KC 7: Losing Streak Snapped Again

    Box Score
    Perez: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 60.8% strikes (48 of 79 pitches)
    Bullpen: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
    Home Runs: Cron (16), Sano (8)
    Multi-Hit Games: Rosario (3-for-5), Kepler (2-for-5), Polanco (2-for-5), Schoop (2-for-4)

    WPA of +0.1: Rogers .451, Rosario .321, Kepler .205, Schoop .101
    WPA of -0.1: Perez -.411
    (chart via FanGraphs)

    Not Exactly How You Draw It Up
    Minnesota was trailing 3-1 when the fifth inning began. Their lone run came courtesy of a solo home run from C.J. Cron to lead off the second inning.

    Jonathan Schoop lead off the fifth inning and must have been listening to the FSN broadcast saying “just get on base”, because he did just that when he reached first on a slow roller to shortstop for an infield single. After two quick outs from Polanco and Kepler it looked like Minnesota was going to waste another leadoff base runner. Nelson Cruz and Eddie Rosario had other ideas, however.

    Cruz drew a walk and set the table for Eddie Rosario with runners on first and second and two outs. Rosie responded by ripping a line drive single to right field, scoring Schoop. Eddie then stole second base and a poor throw from the Kansas City catcher allowed Cruz to scamper home from third and tie the game at 3-3.

    Martin Perez (Almost) Settles In
    The first inning of the game was a weird one for Martin Perez and the Minnesota Twins. In the top half of the inning, Minnesota repeatedly squared up the ball but didn’t have anything to show for it.

    The bottom half of the inning was equally frustrating. Martin Perez issued two walks, Jorge Polanco committed an error and a couple of weakly hit singles allowed Kansas City to score three runs.

    After the first inning, Marin Perez settled in and pitched very well. He retired eight consecutive batters before Terrence Gore reached on a bunt single in the fourth inning. Perez quickly rebounded and induced a weak fly ball from Billy Hamilton to end the inning.

    The bottom half of the fifth inning was a rough one for Perez. After issuing a lead off walk and hitting the next batter it looked like he was on the verge of wiggling out of the jam. He recorded his first two strikeouts of the night and he needed to retire Cheslor Cuthbert to end the inning. Unfortunately he threw a cutter that didn’t cut and Cuthbert made him pay, launching a three-run blast to left field and giving Kansas City a 6-3 lead.

    Better Late Than Never
    The powerful and potent Minnesota offense we have enjoyed for much of the season appeared to have been missing in their last few games. In the later innings of tonight’s game, the bats woke up — thank you, Jobu.

    Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco led off the seventh inning with soft line drives to center field. A wild pitch advanced both runners, bringing Nelson Cruz up with runners on second and third and nobody out. Cruz quickly found himself in an 0-2 hole but battled back to a full count and laced a hard-hit ground ball down the first base line, scoring both runners and cutting the Kansas City lead to only one run.

    The eighth inning was also another strong offensive inning for Minnesota. Sano got the inning started with a home run (see next paragraph), but the Twins did not stop there.

    Mitch Garver was used as a pinch-hitter for Jake Cave to face the left-handed pitcher, Jake Diekman. Mitch drew a walk and Astudillo was brought in to pinch-run, which is as funny as it sounds. Schoop reached with a single and Max Kepler followed up with a single of his own, scoring Astudillo and giving Minnesota the lead.

    After two botched contact plays the inning looked to be in jeopardy with two outs. That was until Eddie Rosario came through with the clutch RBI single and extended the lead to 8-6.

    Miguel Sano Continues to Struggle (Sorta)
    Miguel Sano has always been strikeout prone, that’s nothing new. When he first arrived back in the big leagues this year he was striking out but still hitting the ball with authority. Lately it’s been a whole lot of striking out and nothing else - 14 strikeouts in 23 at-bats

    Tonight’s game was no different for Sano. He picked up another hat-trick by striking out in his first three at-bats. One of which came in a key run-scoring opportunity in the second inning.

    All of that would change for Sano in the eighth inning. After falling behind, he was able to work the count full and hit an absolute rocket to right center. A solo home run to tie the game at 6-6.

    He would strike out again, for the fourth time, in his final at-bat. Overall, Sano was 1-5 with four Ks and a home run.

    Taylor Rogers Slams The Door
    Ryne Harper was brought in to pitch the eighth but was quickly pulled after giving up a home run and a single without recording an out. Taylor Rogers was called upon to record a six-out save. Rogers wasted no time, retiring the next three batters in order and ending the Kansas City rally in the eighth inning.

    The ninth inning was another stellar one for Rogers. An error by Austidillo in right field put a runner on with only one out but Rogers caught a line drive off the bat of Nicky Lopez and quickly doubled off Merrifield to end the game and earn the save.

    Postgame With Baldelli

    Bullpen Usage
    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:

    • Jun 22 2019 07:19 AM
    • by Andrew Gebo
  9. Building the Best Player in Baseball from Baseball's Best Lineup

    Despite playing on the West Coast I find myself staying up many late nights to watch the tandem of Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Encompassing both the best and most exciting players in the game, the duo is must-watch television. Seeing Trout barreling towards yet another MVP award this year, I wondered if pulling his numbers out of the Twins lineup is at all possible. His current stats are lofty to say the least, so we may have to stretch some, but I think it’s doable.

    .299 Batting Average- Mitch Garver (.301)
    Trout’s .299 average comes in a 71-game sample size. Garver has split time with Jason Castro, and missed 16 games, but when he’s been in the lineup he’s produced. It was Ohtani who sent him to the IL with an ankle sprain, and in the 11 games since his return, he’s compiled just a .250 average. Still north of .300 on the season though, Mitch is having as good of an offensive season as any backstop not named Willson Contreras.

    .462 On-Base Percentage- Joe Mauer 2009 (.444)
    Admittedly this is cheating. The goal here was to construct a cumulative player from the current Minnesota roster. However, the nearly 50% clip that Trout is reaching base is truly absurd. Joe Mauer won and MVP in 2009 leading the league in AVG, OBP, and SLG yet his on-base numbers are still nearly 20 points shy of Trout. The Angels outfielder has struck out plenty throughout his career, and both 2014/15 were high water marks. Right now, though he leads the league in walks and is 10 above his strikeouts in that category. The best lineup in baseball doesn’t have a guy like this.
    .651 Slugging Percentage- Mitch Garver (.642)
    Back to the land of small sample sizes in looking for a challenger here. Garver has blasted 11 homers in just 123 at bats, and he’s added another eight extra-base hits. His 25.6% HR/FB rate is a career high, and so to is the 46.6% hard hit rate. Since returning from the injury the production has slowed a bit, but Garver’s bat has always played for power and he’s posted the best number there thus far for the Twins. Finishing in the .600’s would be remarkable, but a teammate such as Max Kepler or Nelson Cruz could tag in for him.

    59 Runs Scored- Max Kepler (50)
    Batting leadoff quite often for the Twins has its benefits this season. Kepler is also able to drive himself in with the longball, but his .359 OBP presents plenty of opportunity for the guys behind him. Leading the league in run differential, and leading the majors in runs scored, it’s been the German who’s crossed the plate most for Rocco Baldelli’s club.

    17 Doubles- Jorge Polanco (21)
    It was Byron Buxton who ran out to the major league lead early in the 2019 campaign. However, his doubles were largely a reflection of stretched singles or balls that weren’t carrying over the wall. The Twins centerfielder is always going to be able to leg out extra bases, but as the weather has warmed, distances have grown on the gap shots and they’ve left the park. Polanco is a gap to gap hitter, and while there’s plenty of power in his bat as well, the extra-base pop inside the outfield fence seems reflective of Trout’s efforts.

    22 Home Runs- Eddie Rosario (19)
    Across his nine-year career Trout has swatted more than 40 dingers just once. Already at 22 through 71 games, that changes in 2019. Although Rosario is an incredibly streaky hitter for the Twins, I think there’s an outside chance he reaches that mark for the first time in Minnesota since Brian Dozier did it. Rosario isn’t ever going to be a patient hitter, but he’s certainly a potent one. All the added thump around him helps to give him more hittable offerings and he’s certainly crushing them at a good clip.

    56 Runs Batted In- Eddie Rosario (53)
    Just ahead of teammate Max Kepler (50), Rosario benefits from hitting more towards the middle of the lineup. You can expect that he’ll hit plenty of long balls, and both Kepler and Polanco should provide plenty of baserunners to drive in the rest of the way. We’ve come to see RBI more as an outcome of opportunity rather than individual performance at this point but expecting Eddie to capitalize on what’s in front of him is a good bet.

    Essentially what we’ve come up with here is a torrid start by Mitch Garver, career years for Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco, and a high level of performance from Eddie Rosario all combine to equal something close to what Mike Trout is by himself. Given how well the Minnesota Twins have played this season, and what the lineup looks like, it’s truly unfathomable to equate how valuable one single player is. Mike Trout is the type of guy we’ll go decades without seeing again. In watching the level of greatness Twins Territory has this season, it’s mind-boggling to note that one player can account for that same level of production on his own.

    The Minnesota Twins are going to continue the crash course towards the postseason. They’ll lay waste to plenty of foes over the course of their next 90+ games. Big numbers should be expected when the dust settles and fall baseball will be plenty of fun. If the Los Angeles Angels don’t join them though, at least Baldelli’s club can attempt a combination effort to put Trout on the big stage.

    • Jun 20 2019 01:32 PM
    • by Ted Schwerzler
  10. MIN 4, BOS 3: Twins Win in 17th Inning, Get First Walk-Off

    Box Score
    Pineda: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 73.8% strikes (59 of 80 pitches)
    Bullpen: 11 IP, 12 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 12 K

    Home Runs: Max Kepler (18)
    Multi-Hit Games: Cron (2-5), Kepler (3-5 HR), Rosario (4-8, 3 2B), Schoop (2-7)

    WPA of +0.1: Kepler .847, Littell .288, Magill .288, Duffey .288, Rosario .263, Pineda .235, Rogers .144, Parker .144
    WPA of -0.1: Harper -.129, Schoop -.161, Cave -.165, Cron -.228, Garver -.240, Morin -.289, Polanco -.294, Sano -.433

    (chart via FanGraphs)

    Clutch Kepler
    After not being in the starting lineup, Kepler pitch-hit for Gonzalez in the sixth inning. He drew a walk in his first plate appearance, then came up clutch in the eighth with a two-out single to tie the game at 2-2. In the 13th inning, with the game on the line, Kepler led off the inning with a solo shot, again to tie the game.

    Who better to get the first walk-off hit for the Twins than the guy who tied the game twice earlier. With one out in the 17th inning, and bases loaded, Kepler delivered for the Twins to keep the streak going without losing three games in a row.

    Bullpens Dominate
    Both bullpens did an excellent job following the starters’ strong starts. David Price gave the Sox five innings and Michael Pineda gave the Twins six innings, and each allowed just one run. The bullpens came into work after that were very good through 12 innings. Ultimately, one of them was going to blow this game though.

    The Twins’ bullpen was the first one to surrender a run, and it came off a leadoff home run in the seventh. Trevor May, Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, and Blake Parker were able to keep the game going into the 12th with six shutout innings giving up only four hits with seven strikeouts.

    The Sox bullpen had a little more work to do, but had the same results. They gave up the tying run in the eighth inning with a pair of walks and a two-out hit. They combined for seven innings giving up only five hits and striking out 11, but gave up four walks.

    Both bullpens surrendered a run in the 13th inning which kept the game going. Both runs came from a lead-off home run. For the Sox it was Mookie Betts, and for the Twins, it was Kepler.

    After the 14th inning, it was back to the stalemate. In the bottom of the 15th, Velazquez gave up a lead-off double, but C.J. Cron hit a hard line drive straight to first that ended in a double play when Eddie Rosario was caught drifting too far from second base. In the top of the 17th, Littell got out of a big jam with zero outs and a runner on third.

    Familiar Foe
    Pineda has faced the Red Sox 12 other times in his career and had a great outing tonight. In 12 games against the Sox, he is 5-5 and has a career 4.23 ERA and 1.2 WHIP in 66 innings. Pineda was with the Yankees for 11 of those starts and with Seattle for the other.

    Coming off probably his best start of the season, Pineda followed up Berrios’ gem last night with a solid outing of his own, and arguably his best outing of the season. He faced 22 batters and got 15 first-pitch strikes. He faced the minimum number of batters in the first three innings thanks to a double play in the first. He had two double plays turned behind him tonight.

    Unfortunately, the offenses failed to give these starters much aid and neither was able to pick up the win.

    Here’s a great article on how Pineda has been a huge upgrade as the Twins’ fifth starter.

    Postgame With Baldelli

    Bullpen Usage
    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:

    • Jun 19 2019 02:08 PM
    • by AJ Condon
  11. BOS 2, MIN 0: Offense Squanders Berrios’ Gem

    Box Score
    Starter: 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K, 76.1% strikes (83 of 109 pitches)
    Bullpen: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
    Home Runs: None
    Multi-Hit Games: Cron (2-4, 2B)

    WPA of +0.1: Berrios .328
    WPA of -0.1: Castro -.158, Gonzalez -.176, Rosario -.222, Cruz -.304
    (chart via FanGraphs)

    Starting Pitchers Duel
    Jose Berrios started the game by giving up three singles and a Red Sox run. After that run scored, Berrios sat down 19 men in a row. Berrios was dealing all night, but was on the short-end of tonight’s decision.

    Red Sox starter Rick Porcello was also on the top of his game, and did not allow a run through seven innings. He also struck out five in a row from the second out in the second through the last out of the third. Porcello surrendered the first walk of the game with two outs in the seventh inning.

    It’s not often in today’s game that you see two starters go seven-plus innings, but tonight’s game was very much a throwback in how it was played. Porcello and Berrios were both working ahead, trusting their defenses, and getting strikeouts. Jack Morris and Dick Bremer were beside themselves with glee with how tonight’s game went.

    An Ineffective Offense
    The Twins have one of the best lineups in the MLB, but tonight they were unable to come up when it mattered most. C.J. Cron was able to get to second base with one out in the seventh, but fly outs from Marwin Gonzalez and Jason Castro ended the threat.

    In the eighth, the Twins got a leadoff single from Jonathon Schoop, which was followed by a Max Kepler walk. With two men on and no outs, Jorge Polanco laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. Schoop ran himself into an out on a nubber by Nelson Cruz, but Kepler compounded the mistake by running back to second when he could have had third base. Of course Kepler’s mistake didn’t make a bit of difference because Eddie Rosario chopped out to first base to end the inning.

    Streaking Sox
    The Boston Red Sox entered tonight’s game having won five straight games, and seven straight road games. Since the Red Sox last loss, they have outscored their opponents 39-19. Even with the hot streak, Boston entered tonight’s game 5.5 games behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees. It would have been nice to upset the streak, but Boston is very much a playoff contender.

    Postgame With Baldelli

    Bullpen Usage
    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:

    • Jun 18 2019 04:03 AM
    • by Kirby O'Connor
  12. MIN 12, DET 2: No Motown Blues for the Minnesota Twins

    Box Score
    Odorizzi: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 70.7% strikes (70 of 99 pitches)
    Bullpen: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

    Home Runs: Cruz (11), Sano (6), Buxton (8), Rosario (19)
    Multi-Hit Games: Cruz (3-for-6, HR), Rosario (3-for-6, HR), Cron (2-for-5, 2B), Sano (2-for-5, HR), Adrianza (2-for-3, 2B, BB), Buxton (2-for-5, HR)

    WPA of +0.1: Cruz .125, Garver .111
    WPA of -0.1: None
    (chart via FanGraphs)

    Scoring Comes Early
    Early run support was one of the FSN broadcast keys to victory and Minnesota did exactly that. Jorge Polanco and Mitch Garver jumped on Detroit pitcher Ryan Carpenter before most fans had time to find their seats. A single from Polanco and a double from Garver scored the Twins first run on only the fourth pitch of the game. The first inning scoring did not stop there.

    With Garver standing on second and nobody out, Nelson Cruz stepped into the box and quickly found himself in an 0-2 hole. He battled back to even the count at 2-2 before blasting a high fastball over the left field wall, giving Minnesota a 3-0 lead and marking the fourth consecutive game in which Nelson Cruz has homered.

    The fourth inning would also prove to be advantageous for Minnesota. Miguel Sano led off the inning with a solo blast to right center. Adrianza followed with a single, then advanced to third when Buxton singled through a wide-open shifted infield. The table was set for Polanco, with runners on the corners and nobody out. Polanco lifted a sacrifice fly, scoring Adrianza. Mitch Garver walked, moving Buxton into scoring position. Now it was time for Eddie Rosario to join the fun and get his first knock of the series and he did exactly that, singling to center field and scoring Buxton.

    The RBI single from Rosario was the end of the line for the Detroit starter. Our old pal Austin Adams was next in line to be abused by the red hot Minnesota offense. With two runners in scoring position and two outs, C.J. Cron doubled off the wall in right field, scoring both runners and giving the Twins a five-run fourth inning. By the time the fourth inning was over, every starter in the Twins lineup had recorded a hit.

    The early offensive output should come as no surprise. Minnesota has entered the fifth inning with a lead 42 times and have trailed going into the fifth only 16 times. Another way of saying that is they have entered the fifth inning with a lead in 65% of their games. Minnesota has also crushed left-handed pitching to the tune of .300/.366/.506 and an .872 OPS, which makes them the best in the league when facing left-handed pitching.

    Let The Good Times Roll
    The Minnesota offense did not cool off after their early onslaught of runs. They added another run in the fifth, thanks to an RBI single from Nelson Cruz. In the sixth inning, Adrianza reached base for the third time, after being hit by a pitch. He would also cross home plate for the third time, following the two-run home run from Buxton - his eighth of the year. Eddie Rosario launched his 19th of the season with a solo blast in the seventh inning.

    The home runs from Buxton and Rosario were the 124th and 125th of the season for Minnesota, tying the franchise record for home runs before the All-Star break.

    Bold prediction: The 2019 Minnesota Twins will set a new franchise record for team home runs before the All-Star break. You can quote me on that.

    Signed, Sealed, Delivered
    Not even Stevie Wonder could stop Jake Odorizzi and the Minnesota Twins. The 12 runs scored by the offense would certainly be more than enough run support for the American League ERA leader, Jake Odorizzi.

    Jake turned in another quality start and bolstered his case for being the AL starter in the All-Star Game as well as the front-runner for the AL Cy Young. His final line was: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. He lowered his season ERA to 1.91.

    Postgame With Baldelli

    Bullpen Usage
    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
    Next Game
    Tue vs. SEA, 7:10 pm CT (Perez-Leake)

    Last Game
    DET 9, MIN 3: Third Out Eludes Gibson, Eades Debuts

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    • Jun 09 2019 08:04 PM
    • by Andrew Gebo
  13. Miguel Sano: A Fading Superstar

    Age Questions
    Back in 2012, one of the first pieces I wrote for Twins Daily examined the questions surrounding Miguel Sano’s age. MLB completed an investigation into his age, but the results were inconclusive. Sano had to drop his asking price and the Twins were happy to sign the young shortstop for $3.15 million. His family lived in a small dirt floored home in the Dominican, so the influx in money had to be a shock to the system.

    In that original article, I wrote…
    “For players from the Dominican, there is plenty of pressure to find some way to lie about their age to escape the poverty they are subject to in their home country. According to Sports Illustrated on average, a 16-year old player brings in about $65,000 with their signing bonus. Add two years to their age and an 18-year old signs for an average of $20,000. That is a big difference in a country where the per capita income is only $8,900. A player who shows any sign of promise is going to try and ‘adjust’ their age to put their family in a better place for the future.”

    The age issue hasn’t been brought up in recent years and that’s probably a good thing for Twins Territory. His age certainly didn’t take away from his high expectations entering the minor leagues.

    High Expectations
    Baseball America had Sano ranked in their top-100 prospects for five consecutive seasons (2010-2014). He ranked as the number nine prospect in 2014 and peaked as the number six overall prospect in 2014. MLB.com had him as the 4th best prospect in 2014 while Baseball Prospectus had him just outside the top-10 (11th). Most of the baseball world expected him to turn into one of baseball’s best players.

    Sano made his Stateside debut in 2011 and he had a breakout year in Elizabethton. In 66 games, he collected 45 extra-base hits and had a .988 OPS. Out of Appalachian League players (minimum of 45 game), only Eddie Rosario had a higher OPS than Sano. He would head into the off-season as the team’s highest-ranked prospect.

    Over the next four seasons, Sano continued to pound minor league pitching. He combined for an .893 OPS in 2012, a .992 OPS in 2013, and a .918 OPS in 2015. The only thing that was able to slow him down was Tommy John surgery and that cost him the entire 2014 season.

    He made his big-league debut in 2015 and there was still potential for him to be a superstar.
    Big League Career
    During a strong rookie campaign, Sano burst onto the scene with 36 extra-base hits and a .916 OPS in 80 games. He finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting behind Houston’s Carlos Correa and Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor.

    In 2016, Sano ran into a little bit of a sophomore slump. He still his 25 home runs and 22 doubles, but his OPS dropped to .781 and he struck out 178 times in 116 games. He was elected to his first All-Star Game in 2017 following a tremendous first half (21 HR and a .906 OPS). He cooled off a little in the second half as he only managed 10 extra-base hits and a .742 OPS in 32 games.

    MLB had to investigate Sano multiple times in 2018 but this time it wasn’t about his age. He was accused of sexual assault by a Twins photographer. The Office of the Commission of Baseball concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence to warrant a suspension. Sano was also driving a car when it ran over a police officer in the Dominican Republic. In traffic court, the police found no intent on his part to hurt the officer.

    Some of these incidents might have impacted his performance last year. In 71 games, he hit .199/.281/.398 with 27 extra-base hits. Minnesota even sent him down to High-A to try to reset his career.

    Shifting Expectations
    Sano is certainly putting up strong numbers this season with a 1.009 OPS in his first 14 games. However, I don’t know if he should be seen in the same light as he was when he was signed as a 16-year old. At that time, he looked like he could be the cornerstone of a franchise, a player to be built around.

    Now, the perspective has changed. He seems like he could be a good player, but I don’t think he is a player the Twins will build around. Sano had the potential to be a superstar and he could still surprise in the years ahead. That being said, it’s more likely his superstar potential is slowly fading away.

    Do you think Sano can still be considered a superstar? Would you build future Twins rosters around him? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

    • Jun 06 2019 04:52 AM
    • by Cody Christie
  14. CLE 5, MIN 2: Twins Can’t Figure Out Bieber, Lindor Lifts Cleveland

    Box Score
    Smeltzer: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 59.8% strikes (49 of 82 pitches)
    Home Runs: Gonzalez (7), Rosario (18)
    Multi-Hit Games: Gonzalez (2-for-4, 2B, HR)
    WPA of +0.1: None
    WPA of -0.1: Kepler -.102, Smeltzer -.183
    (chart via FanGraphs)

    The Twins had only one other true scoring threat, when they put Miguel Sano at third and Johnathon Schoop at second with two outs in the second inning. Minnesota didn’t move anybody past second base outside of their two solo shots. The Tribe’s bullpen would come in and shut the door, Oliver Perez struck out the side in the eighth, and Brad Hand shut the door for the save in the ninth. The Twins did not record a hit after Eddie Rosario’s home run in the sixth inning.

    Margo and Rosie Continue Their Tears, Rest of Team Goes Silent
    One of the bright spots in a bleak night in Cleveland is the continued surges of Marwin Gonzalez and Eddie Rosario. Gonzalez would add a home run and double to his season total, following his strong series in Tampa Bay where he had another game where he had a double and home run. Gonzalez has six home runs and seven doubles this year. Unfortunately, Gonzalez ended his night with a game ending double-play ball.

    Eddie Rosario only had one hit, but it was his 18th home run this year. The Twins couldn’t muster anything else out of their offense, with another particularly bad performance turned in by right fielder Max Kepler. Kepler went 0-for-4 to extend his at-bat streak without a hit to 17. Outside of Gonzalez and Rosario, the Twins only had two other hits, the double by Jonathan Schoop, and a single by Jorge Polanco. Byron Buxton should have had an infield single in the eighth, but a bobble by Cleveland shortstop Fransisco Lindor made it an error.

    Smetlzer Can’t Figure Out Lindor, Gets Chased by Back-to-Back Homers
    Rookie Devin Smeltzer had his “welcome to the big leagues” game as a starter today when he gave up two home runs to Indians’ shortstop Fransisco Lindor. Lindor hit a solo shot in the third on an 0-2 count, a pitch that Smeltzer was trying to locate above the zone, but left it belt-high and middle-in.

    The second home run that Lindor hit was another pitch middle-in, but this time was a changeup left just under the belt. Lindor finished the game with those two home runs, a walk, and three RBIs. Smeltzer was chased from the game in the seventh inning when he gave up home runs on back-to-back pitches to Cleveland’s Roberto Perez and Jake Bauers. Twins relievers were solid tonight, and not overtaxed as Ryne Harper collected two outs and Tyler Duffey pitched a spotless eighth.

    The Twins certainly didn’t play up to their potential tonight, but they also got rocked 14-3 to start their last series in Tampa Bay. The bats going cold is concerning, but it’s happened before. Smeltzer didn’t look as untouchable as he did in his last start, but it’s only his second career start and he was only making it as Michael Pineda spends time on the injured list. It never feels good to lose to a division rival, but this series is not make-or-break for the Twins. Look for a good bounce-back tomorrow from Minnesota tomorrow. After all, they are 15-3 following losses.

    Bullpen Usage
    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
    Next Game
    Wed at CLE, 6:10 pm CT (Perez-Carrasco)

    Last Game
    MIN 9, TB 7: Odorizzi Shines In Tampa Return

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    • Jun 04 2019 09:00 PM
    • by Kirby O'Connor
  15. MIN 5, TB 3: Twins Rally, Top Rays Late

    Box Score
    Berrios: 6.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 64.6% strikes (64 of 99 pitches)
    Home Runs: None
    Multi-Hit Games: Polanco (2-for-4, 2 2B, BB), Astudillo (2-for-4, HBP), Gonzalez (2-for-4), Schoop (2-for-2, BB, HBP)
    WPA of +0.1: Rosario .263, Astudillo .219, Rogers .212, Schoop .184, Polanco .126
    WPA of -0.1: Sano -.132, Buxton -.166, Kepler -.187
    (chart via FanGraphs)

    Coming Out Swinging
    After a beat down on Thursday night, the Twins were aggressive in the first inning. Max Kepler, hitting lead off, swung at the first pitch of the game and nearly hit the ceiling in the Trop. Jorge Polanco’s at-bat did not last much longer. He swung at the second pitch and laced a one-out double. Astudillo then drove him home with a single early in the count. The Twins possibly could have scored another run had Astudillo not hesitated rounding third when C.J. Cron hit one off the wall in right center.

    Berrios responded with a quick shut-down bottom of the first inning. It took him less than 10 pitches to retire the side in order — not surprising for a pitcher who’s strike percentage is fourth best in the league.

    Rays Respond
    After a stellar first inning, Berrios struggled with his command at times in the second and third inning. In the second inning, he issued his first walk of the game and that runner crossed the plate on a Kevin Kiermaier home run, which gave the Rays a 2-1 lead.

    Berrios issued another walk in the third inning and once again that runner came across the plate. With runners on first and third, the Rays called for a double steal and ended up stealing a run from the Twins. The run may not have scored had Astudillo held onto the ball, however. A strong throw home from Schoop may have been good enough to beat the runner but Astudillo tried to tag the runner before catching the ball and the runner scored easily.

    Two-Out Rallies are Awesome
    Schoop drew a walk to lead off the fifth inning. He advanced to second on what should have been a double play if not for the Rays having shifted defensive positioning. He ended up standing on second with two away in the inning. Down by two, this was a scoring opportunity the Twins needed to capitalize on and that looked to be in jeopardy with two gone.

    That was until Jorge Polanco stepped up and did what he’s done all year - hit the darn ball. He ripped a one-run double, making the score 3-2. Then it was La Toruga’s opportunity to pick himself up after dropping the ball that allowed the Rays to score their third run. He did not disappoint, singling to left and driving in his second run of the game. Back-to-back two out knocks tied the game at 3-3.

    They did it again in the ninth. They got the bases loaded with two outs essentially for free. Rays pitcher, Diego Castillo, hit Schoop, Polanco was issued an intentional walk following a sacrifice bunt from Buxton. Astudillo fell behind 0-2 but was drilled by a slider and awarded first base, loading them up for Eddie Rosario.

    The Rays went to their bullpen — again — and brought in lefty Adam Kolarek to face to the left-handed hitting Rosario. The move would prove ineffective as Rosario went opposite field and hit a two-run single past the third base bag and gave the Twins a 5-3 lead.

    Quality Start for Berrios
    After battling command issues in the second and third innings Berrios was able to settle in nicely and give the Twins another quality start. His final line was 6 2/3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 K. That is what aces do, they give you a chance to win against other really good teams.

    Rogers Dominates
    Taylor Rogers took over for Berrios with two-out in the sixth inning and the game still tied. His night finished with 2 1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 K, 0 ER.

    Postgame With Baldelli

    Bullpen Usage
    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
    Next Game
    Sat at TB, 12:10 pm CT (Gibson-TBD)

    Last Game
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    • Jun 01 2019 04:45 AM
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  16. Multiple Twins Building All-Star Resumes

    Voting Changes
    Major League Baseball altered their voting process for the 2019 All-Star Game. Two phases of voting will be held, “The Primary” and “The Starters Election.” Fans remain in charge of selecting the All-Star starters, but this new process allows for more fan involvement in an Election Day. All the pitchers and reserve position players will continue to be chosen through Player Ballots and selections from the Commissioner’s Office.

    “The Primary” round of voting opened earlier this week. For 25 days, fans can vote from a ballot of players submitted by the individual clubs. This round concludes on June 21 at 3 pm CST. The Primary round will determine the top-three vote-getters at every position (including nine outfielders). “The Starters Election” will take the top vote getters from “The Primary” and open an all-out voting war. Starting at 11 am CST on June 26, fans will have 28-hours to vote for the starters.

    Sorting Through the Candidates
    Jorge Polanco’s 2019 performance has inserted him in the early MVP discussion. He’s currently tied with Mike Trout for the most WAR among position players. He’s on nearly every American League offensive leaderboard as he ranks in the top-5 in batting average, OBP, hits, total bases, triples, runs created, and extra-base hits. Polanco looks like a smart baseball bet to be one of the club’s representatives.

    Eddie Rosario is another top candidate and he’s clearly a team leader on and off the field. His 17 home runs and 47 RBIs rank him at the top of AL. Besides that, he’s also in the top-10 for slugging %, runs scored, and total bases. The AL outfield is a little tough to crack with players like Mike Trout, George Springer, and Mookie Betts. To beat out these well-known stars, Rosario is going to have to continue to produce.

    The team’s other two outfielders, Max Kepler and Byron Buxton, also rank well in the AL. Kepler is coming off AL Player of the Week honors, but he isn’t as well known outside of Twins Territory. Buxton’s name has been in baseball circles since he was a top amateur and he leads the AL in doubles. Both players will run into the same problem as Rosario; casual fans are going to vote for more well-known players.

    CJ Cron’s 13 home runs are tied for the most among AL first baseman. Defensively, he’s also elevated himself into the Gold Glove conversation. At one point, Mitch Garver looked like the club’s best hitter. However, an ankle injury has him on the DL and he doesn’t appear on the ballot. Jason Castro’s season has also been strong, but Garver looked like Babe Ruth at one point.

    Even though fans don’t vote for pitchers, Minnesota has some strong candidates. Jake Odorizzi already won AL Player of the Week. He has the league’s best ERA and a microscopic 0.99 WHIP. Jose Berrios, Minnesota’s lone 2018 All-Star, has the AL’s best BB/9 average while ranking highly in other areas. Martin Perez’s journey from cast-off reliever to top starter has been one of the team’s best stories. Minnesota’s bullpen is also full of worthy candidates like Blake Parker, Taylor Rogers, and Ryne Harper.

    Could Minnesota wind up with four or more All-Star selections for the first time since 1988? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

    • May 30 2019 10:30 AM
    • by Cody Christie
  17. MIN 5, MIL 3: Smeltzer Shines in Emotional MLB Debut

    Box Score

    Devin Smeltzer: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 76.8% strikes (53 of 69 pitches)

    Home Runs: Eddie Rosario (17)
    Multi-Hit Games: Jorge Polanco 2-for-4

    WPA of +0.1: Devin Smeltzer (.365), Willians Astudillo (.159),
    WPA of -0.1: Jonathan Schoop (-.110),

    (chart via FanGraphs)

    The Devin Smeltzer Show

    Hey, when a guy makes his MLB debut, it is always going to be a story. But as we know, with Smeltzer, there’s always a bigger story. The fact that he made his major league debut as a 23-year-old when he was diagnosed with cancer as a nine year old is remarkable. The fact that he has been cancer-free for several years is remarkable. His willingness to give back and support others who are dealing with what he has dealt with is, yes, remarkable.

    Catch Cancer Looking
    Katie’s Krusaders

    And his major league debut was, in fact, remarkable. Six shutout innings with just 69 pitches, and 53 of them were strikes. He struck out seven batters. And as easy as he made things look in the first, fourth, fifth and sixth innings, he really had to do some work to get through the second and third inning. The second began with a leadoff triple, but he was stranded at third. In the next inning, a leadoff double was stranded.

    It was an emotional night for Smeltzer's family, friends and long-time supporters…

    And for Jack Morris…

    And for Devin Smeltzer too…

    Buxton vs The Wall (Part)

    Advantage, the Wall. Yasmani Grandal led off the second inning with a blast to the wall in left center field. Byron Buxton raced toward the bullpens, leapt, and just missed the ball. And then, he slammed into the wall. His glove flew one direction. His body was five feet in the air, parallel to the ground. And he landed hard.

    Fortunately, the initial diagnosis was “right knee bruise.” It could have been much worse.

    Zach Davies Is No Romantic

    Despite such a nice MLB debut, Smeltzer got a No Decision because Brewers starter Zach Davies was also very good. Like Smeltzer, Davies doesn’t throw hard. He topped out maybe at 90, sat at 88 most of the time. But he was equal to the task, as he has been for much of the season for the Brewers. He used an impressive two-seam fastball most of the night and hit his spots throughout the night. Like Smeltzer, Davies threw six shutout innings.

    Another Big Inning

    The Twins have found a way to have a big offensive innings at least once in most games the last several weeks. On Tuesday night, that inning came in the bottom of the seventh inning. Lefty Alex Claudio came in. He’s been very tough on left-handed batters. So, of course, Jason Castro blooped a single to left. Willians Astudillo then grounded to second, but Keston Hiura threw toward second and hit the back of Castro’s helmet. The ball ricocheted into center field which allowed Castro to go to third base and Astudillo to hustle into second. Max Kepler, who has been crushing lefties of late, provided a big line drive double off the wall in right field to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.

    A couple of batters later, CJ Cron doubled in a run, and then Eddie Rosario stepped to the plate with two runners on and uncoiled for his 17th homer of the season to give the Twins a 5-0 lead.

    A Possible Storyline for Discussion

    I think we can all agree that Rocco Baldelli has done a nice job of not overusing his relievers. However, on Monday night, Taylor Rogers struggled and gave up an eighth-inning, go-ahead, two-run homer to Orlando Arcia. On Tuesday, Blake Parker came in for the eighth inning and gave up a two-run homer that cut the lead to 5-2. Taylor Rogers, pitching for the third straight game, started the ninth inning by giving up a solo home run. He got the next two outs before Ryne Harper came on and got the final out.

    As I said, I think that we all agree that the long-term benefits of rest for key bullpen arms is important. But in the short-term, might that mean some rust? Might that potential cause some short-term heartburn? Or, do we just give credit to a strong Brewers lineup in this case and realize that even the better guys aren’t going to be perfect every time?

    Bullpen Usage

    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
    Posted Image

    Next Three Games

    Wednesday - Day Off
    Thursday - 6:10 @ Tampa Bay- Martin Perez (7-1, 2.95 ERA) vs TBD
    Friday - 6:10 @ Tampa Bay - Jose Berrios (7-2, 3.20 ERA) vs TBD
    Saturday - 12:10 @ Tampa Bay - Kyle Gibson (5-2, 4.08 ERA) vs TBD

    Last Game

    MIN 5, MIL 4: Hader Closes the Door on the Twins Win Streak

    • May 29 2019 04:24 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  18. Week in Review: No Letting Up

    Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 5/20 through Sun, 5/26


    Record Last Week: 6-0 (Overall: 36-16)

    Run Differential Last Week: +37 (Overall: +111)

    Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (10.0 GA)

    Willians Watch: 3-for-15 last week (Season AVG: .264)

    After sweeping both the Angels and White Sox, the Twins are now, absurdly, 20 games above .500 with a 10-game lead in the AL Central. There really doesn't seem to be anything that can slow this team down. Injuries to top sluggers Mitch Garver and Nelson Cruz have had no ill effect on the offense's output. A controversial cancellation in Anaheim on Wednesday night didn't throw the Twins off; instead they came out and bashed the Halos 16-7 on Thursday. And when it seemed like maybe the repercussions of that lost travel day were being felt, as the Twins fell behind 4-1 early on Friday night thanks to some uncharacteristic defensive miscues, they came back to score 10 runs unanswered.

    There was one notable roster move last week: Austin Adams was designated for assignment, with Zack Littell called up to replace him in the bullpen. More on that in the (very sparse) Lowlights section.


    Once again, it was a pick-your-poison week for the unstoppable Twins offense, which has now added a locked-in Miguel Sano to this mix. For six weeks, as this lineup piled up accolades, we all mused about how ridiculous it would be to infuse Sano at any semblance of his former prowess. We're finding out. His arrival has only accelerated the outrageous production of a lineup that just became the second ever to hit 100 home runs through its first 50 games.

    The Twins launched 17 long balls in six games last week, and four of 'em came from Sano. His two dingers on Thursday were among Minnesota's eight total in a laugher against the Angels, but the most important from Miggy was his first – a two-run, tie-breaking blast in the eighth inning of Monday night's game that lifted Minnesota to a 3-1 victory.

    That game epitomized what makes this team so incredibly dangerous and slump-proof. Even on a night where the bats are generally quiet, there are so many guys who can come through with a big game-changing hit. This helps explain why we're still waiting for the first three-game losing streak.

    Of course, most often needing the big hit hasn't been an issue, because the Twins have been routinely pulling off lopsided victories. This was the nature of their other five wins, which came by an average margin of seven runs. Once again everyone was clicking, with these guys leading the way:
    • Eddie Rosario went 12-for-27 with three home runs and 10 RBIs. Since a 15-game slump that saw him bat .316 from April 21st through May 7th, Rosario has surged back with a .394/.405/.606 line in his past 17. That's Eddie for ya. He leads the American League in RBIs at 45, and is one behind an injured George Springer in home runs, at 16.
    • Jorge Polanco went 6-fo-22 with a homer and two doubles. He's second in the AL in batting average (.335) and tied with Mike Trout for the lead in WAR (3.4). If you're handicapping the MVP race at this moment Polanco is likely in the Top 5 along with Rosario. Pitchers are seemingly becoming less inclined to throw him strikes, and Polanco's adjusting beautifully; he drew six walks and reached base at a .429 clip in his six games.
    • Max Kepler went 12-for-21 with three homers, four doubles, and 10 RBIs. He's batting .471 on his current eight-game hitting streak and has raised his season average from .231 to .276.
    • C.J. Cron notched five hits on Thursday, including his eighth home run of May. He's got 13 jacks already; his predecessor Joe Mauer never hit more than 11 as a first baseman.
    In total, the offense posted a .304/.381/.617 line for the week. Not that they need to do much, but the pitchers were also excellent all week. Leading the pack was Jake Odorizzi, whose strong work in tandem with the bullpen on Monday enabled the Twins to squeak out a rare low-scoring win. Odorizzi followed with 5 1/3 shutout innings on Sunday. His week: 10.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 H (all singles), 15 K, 3 BB. His 2.16 ERA leads the AL.

    Michael Pineda rebounded from some early issues on Tuesday to record his third consecutive quality start. Jose Berrios worked around defensive miscues on Friday to get through 6 2/3 frames, with three of his four runs unearned. Kyle Gibson delivered a dominant gem on Saturday, holding the White Sox to one run over seven innings with nine strikeouts and 21 swinging strikes.


    Umm. Uhh.

    One of the few hiccups of the entire week was Adams' relief appearance on Thursday. It wasn't impactful, since he entered with a 14-run lead, but Adams was dreadful, coughing up five runs on three hits and three walks while recording only two outs. To their credit, the Twins were fast to send him out, replacing Adams in the bullpen with Littell, who looked very good in his two scoreless innings on Friday.

    I wrote last week that the bullpen is the one looming weakness in an otherwise sturdy championship formula for Minnesota. I don't think the implosion from Adams will be the last time we see an over-performing reliever who was fished out of Triple-A come hurtling back to Earth. The Twins must prepare for this eventuality and their minor-league cupboard is largely bare, especially with some of the unfortunate developments you'll read below.

    But Littell, from my view, has the chance to be a real impact arm out of the pen. He was averaging more than a strikeout per inning as a starter at Rochester with a solid repertoire that, at first blush, seems to play up in relief. Littell seems like the perfect candidate for Wes Johnson and Jeremy Hefner to work their magic on, and I'm pleased to see the Twins wasting no time in firing up the experiment.


    Rookie call-up Luis Arraez arrived with a bang, going 5-for-14 with a home run in his first full week as a a big-leaguer. He's struck out only once through 23 plate appearances with the Twins, and is batting .389. It's been tough for Rocco Baldelli to keep his name out of the lineup, but for now there just aren't any regular openings for Arraez to fill. Although he's shown some versatility, appearing at second, third and short, he's not going to stick around as a backup drawing sporadic playing time, so I suspect he'll return to the minors once Cruz returns.

    When's that going to happen? Anyone's guess. The Twins were tentatively planning to activate him on Friday but that didn't happen. As Cruz himself notes, wrists can be tricky and there's no need to rush this process, especially with Arraez bringing so much joy in his stead.


    As well as things went for the big-league club last week, the minor-league front wasn't nearly so peachy.

    A mysterious visit to Minneapolis from #3 prospect Brusdar Graterol generated considerable excitement and buzz, as fans pondered a possible call-up (which would arguably be warranted). Instead, it turns out he was here to have his shoulder examined, and on Saturday the Twins announced he's being shut down with an impingement, with more testing to come. Oof. Graterol had a 1.89 ERA in nine starts at Double-A, where he held opponents to a .188 batting average. He was the most promising potential late-season bullpen reinforcement within the system, and while that remains a possibility, shoulder woes are obviously very concerning for a 20-year-old throwing as hard as he does. We'll keep an eye on his status and keep you updated on any developments.

    Another of the team's pitching prospects, Stephen Gonsalves, has also been shut down (again). After an intriguing MLB debut last year, he missed the first six months of this season with an elbow strain before finally taking the mound on last Tuesday in Rochester. He lasted just two innings and issued five walks, throwing 23 of 51 pitches for strikes. Evidently the elbow was still barking, and Gonsalves has now been diagnosed with a "stress reaction in his left elbow-forearm area," although La Velle E. Neal III reports that his UCL is sound.

    The same sadly cannot be said for #10 prospect Akil Baddoo, who's headed for Tommy John surgery and will miss the rest of the season. The outfielder joins Sano and Alex Kirilloff as highly-ranked Twins position player prospects to require reconstructive elbow surgery – just a tremendous run of bad fortune. On the bright side, Baddoo was ahead of schedule as a 20-year-old in High-A, so hopefully he'll be able to return and get right back on track next year.

    It wasn't all bad news for Twins prospects. Nick Gordon returned from a brief IL stint in Rochester, going 6-for-20 in five games, and – more notably – Wander Javier is back! The shortstop was activated at Cedar Rapids over the weekend, and on Saturday made his first official game appearance since 2017, finishing 0-for-4 with an HBP and two strikeouts. It'd be nice to see the organization's #5 prospect get rolling quickly and rejuvenate a lagging top end of Minnesota's talent pipeline.


    The Twins more than took care of business during a 20-game stretch against sub-.500 teams, finishing at 14-6. Now the difficulty level turns up as they welcome Christian Yelich and the Brewers to Target Field for two games, then travel to Tampa for four-games against the Rays. Expect to see Tampa come out with openers and a bunch of weird pitching configurations as they seek to disrupt the groove of this Twins offense.

    MONDAY, 5/27: BREWERS @ TWINS – LHP Gio Gonzalez v. RHP Michael Pineda
    TUESDAY, 5/28: BREWERS @ TWINS – RHP Zach Davies v. LHP Martin Perez
    THURSDAY, 5/30: TWINS @ RAYS – RHP Jose Berrios v. RHP Charlie Morton
    FRIDAY, 5/31: TWINS @ RAYS – RHP Kyle Gibson v. RHP Ryne Stanek
    SATURDAY, 6/1: TWINS @ RAYS – RHP Jake Odorizzi v. TBD
    SUNDAY, 6/2: TWINS @ RAYS – RHP Michael Pineda v. TBD

    Catch Up On Twins Daily Game Recaps

    • May 27 2019 04:34 PM
    • by Nick Nelson
  19. MIN 7, CHW 0: Twins, Fans Flex Their Muscles in Weekend Sweep

    Box Score
    Odorizzi: 5.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 62.4% strikes (58 of 93 pitches)
    Home Runs: Rosario (16), Kepler (12)
    Multi-Hit Games: Kepler (2-for-4, 2B, HR)
    WPA of +0.1: Odorizzi .249, Rosario .190
    WPA of -0.1: None
    (chart via FanGraphs)

    The Twins drew more than 3.2 million people in their first season at Target Field. Attendance increased by more than 800,000 overall, or roughly 10,000 per game, over the prior year. The prospect of being able to spend time watching a good Major League Baseball team outdoors once again really lit a fire under this fanbase.

    We all know what happened after that. I think it’s fair to say Twins Territory is filled with a great number of frontrunners, and that portion of the fans has been pretty dormant. And that’s OK, there are a lot of other great summer activities to compete with baseball. But it’s clear now they've been waiting, sometimes impatiently, ready to embrace the next good Twins team.

    There’s still definitely some cautious optimism in the air, not everyone is quite ready to get completely swept off their feet, but with each victory you can feel it. People are letting their guard down. They’re starting to believe. The team is the talk of the town, fans are showing up and Twins merch is being brought out from the back of closets.

    The Twins got off to a slow start this afternoon. Well, I mean by their standards. They were held off the board for the entire first two innings of this game. They didn’t even have a hit!

    Byron Buxton got things going with a single, then stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error on the play. Max Kepler drove him home on a double, Jorge Polanco walked and Eddie Rosario blasted a three-run home run. That’s more like it, guys.

    Another thing about Minnesota sports fans is once we’re invested, once the expectations are high, we’ll completely overreact to even the tiniest slip.

    This past Friday, Randball’s Stu brilliantly highlighted that panic reflex in a hilarious piece titled Twins Fan Ready to Overreact to 3-Game Losing Streak. I got a good laugh at that article this week, but you’d better believe I’m gonna turn right into his fictional character Karl Paulson the minute they do lose three straight.

    This is so much fun.

    There might not be a better player who represents the shift in the Twins fandom experience from constant anxiety and fear for the worst to pure, unbridled joy than Jake Odorizzi. Even when he’d be pitching well last year, you just knew the wheels were going to fall off. This year, he’s been one of the best pitchers in baseball.

    Odorizzi gave up just one hit and struck out nine batters over 5 1/3 scoreless innings. His ERA dropped to 2.16. The length of his starts will give your friend Jack from St. Paul something to continue griping about, but Odorizzi has been brilliant so far this season.

    But what about the bullpen? DUN DUN DUUUUN! (Sorry, still no dramatic sound effects available for the game recaps, that was the best I could do. Use your imagination.)

    There’s nothing that creates more cause for concern with Twins fans than the bullpen. Naturally, that’s pretty much all anybody wants to talk about these days. Well, so far so good, and Sunday was another good performance from that unit.

    Max Kepler hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning to provide plenty of breathing room. That certainly helped, but four relievers combined to hold the White Sox scoreless over the final 3 2/3 innings. Tyler Duffey struck out six batters over the final two innings.

    Yes, that Tyler Duffey.

    That’s how you know everything is coming up TC these days. Again, this is so much fun.

    Postgame With Rosario

    Bullpen Usage
    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
    Next Game
    Mon vs. MIL, 6:10 pm (Pineda-Gonzalez)

    Last Game
    MIN 8, CHW 1: Gibby Sizzles Over 7 Solid Innings

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    • May 26 2019 03:52 PM
    • by Tom Froemming
  20. MIN 11, CWS 4: Twins Make Home Run History

    Box Score
    Berríos: 6.2 IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 75.5% strikes (74 of 98 pitches)
    Home Runs: Rosario (15), Sanó (5), Kepler (11)
    Multi-Hit Games: Kepler (3-for-4, 2B, HR), Rosario (4-for-5, 2B, HR)
    WPA of +0.1: Rosario .270, Kepler .210, Sanó .160, Buxton .100
    WPA of -0.1: Berríos -.120
    (chart via FanGraphs)

    We don’t know when this Twins offense will slow down, but it’s safe to say that there are no indications that that’s going to happen anytime soon. They lead the league in runs scored, with 300 — a club record — to go with an endless list of offensive stats in which they are the best in baseball. It’s unbelievable.

    Rosario had a four-hit night, including a home run and an RBI single. He leads Minnesota with 15 homers, becoming the sixth Twin in history to hit that many in the first 50 games of the season, the first since Justin Morneau in 2007. Miguel Sanó is sustaining his unexpected good return to the majors. He now has five home runs in seven games.

    Berríos had yet another unusually shaky start. Although his final line showed only one earned run allowed and the defense out on the field made some serious mistakes, the Twins ace was not nearly as dominant as he had been earlier in the season. After posting a 2.53 ERA in the first seven starts, Berrios has pitched to a 5.29 ERA in the last three outings. The bullpen held the White Sox scoreless in 2 1/3 innings of work. Making his season debut after being promoted from Triple-A Rochester earlier on Friday, Zack Littell pitched two clean innings, striking out two.

    Nearly 30,000 fans came to Target Field on Friday night, the first Joe Mauer bobblehead night of the year, to watch the Twins, who not only remain the best team in baseball, but also maintain an eight-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central. This was only the first of 19 games against the White Sox in the season.

    Story of the game
    After a quick, nine-pitch top of the first from Berríos, Kepler ledoff the bottom of the inning with a double to the corner of the right field, fair by a foot. He was later brought home by a two-out single from Rosario, making it 1-0 Twins.

    But then, Berríos and Minnesota fielders got into trouble. Eloy Jimenez reached to lead off the second, taking advantage of a throwing error from Polanco to first. The ball went over Cron's head. Tim Anderson doubled after another fielding mistake, this time from Gonzalez, playing in the right field. He couldn't catch the line drive coming his way...it hit the tip of his glove and fell on the ground. Yonder Alonso then singled to left field to beat the Twins shift and score the two runners on.

    With two outs, having trouble stopping the bleeding, Berríos hit Charlie Tilson for the second time in the game. Immediately afterward, Yoan Moncada and José Abreu hit back-to-back singles to score two more runs for Chicago, making it 4-1.

    But Chicago’s lead didn’t last long. The Twins put two men on early in the bottom of the second, with Sanó being walked and Schoop being hit by a pitch. Then, Buxton hit his MLB-leading 19th double and plated Sanó. Kepler followed by hitting a sac fly to center field to score Schoop and move Buxton to third, cutting the visitor's lead to one.

    Minnesota retook the lead in bottom of the third. Rosario and Sanó hit back-to-back solo home runs. Those two homers were the 99th and 100th from Minnesota this year, making them the second team in MLB history to reach the 100 homer mark in the first 50 games of the season, along with the 1999 Seattle Mariners (who hit 102).

    After Berríos allowed two men on, but was then saved by a double play in the top of the fourth, Minnesota went on to score three more runs in the bottom of the inning. Kepler hit a blast to center field for his 11th homer of the year and Gonzalez doubled to score Polanco, who had been walked before him. After a pitching change from Chicago, Rosario got his third hit of the night, to bring in Gonzalez, making it 8-4 Minnesota. All of this after two outs.

    The Twins never slowed down. After a uneventful top of the fifth for Berríos, Sanó (walk) and Schoop (double) got on, only to be brought home by Kepler’s third hit of the night, a two-out single to right that scored both runners, putting Minnesota in double digits. At this moment, Chicago was already using its second pitcher in relief of starter Reynaldo Lopez. Nothing seemed to work against this Twin lineup.

    Berríos kept shaking off his bad second inning, pitching his first 1-2-3 inning of the game in the top of the sixth, totaling only 83 pitches. The offense kept pushing, with Rosario smashing a double off the right field wall and Cron reaching on a hit-by- pitch, but for the first time on the night, they had a scoreless inning.

    Minnesota scored again in the bottom of the seventh. Jason Castro, who was having a quiet night, led off the inning with a double against Brazilian reliever Thyago Vieira. He was brought home when Kepler hit a line drive to right field, scoring the eleventh run of the game for Minnesota. Littell came in and pitched two scoreless innings, in the eighth and ninth, to secure the win. He didn’t give up any hits or walks, while punching out two batters.

    Bullpen Usage
    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:[attachment=12574:Pen524.png]

    Next Game
    Sat vs. CHW, 1:10 pm CT (Gibson-Banuelos)

    Last Game
    MIN 16, LAA 7: Twins Slug 8 More Home Runs, Sweep Angels

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    • May 25 2019 05:10 AM
    • by Thieres Rabelo
  21. MIN 16, LAA 7: Twins Slug 8 More Home Runs, Sweep Angels

    Box Score
    Perez: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 58.0% strikes (51 of 88 pitches)
    Home Runs: Schoop 2 (10), Polanco (9), Cron (13), Sano 2 (4), Kepler (10), Rosario (14)
    Multi-Hit Games: Cron (5-for-6, 2 2B, HR), Kepler (3-for-5, 2B, HR, BB), Rosario (3-for-6, HR), Polanco (2-for-3, 2B, HR, BB), Sano (2-for-4, 2 HR, BB), Schoop (2-for-5, HR)
    WPA of +0.1: Schoop .198
    WPA of -0.1: None
    (chart via FanGraphs)

    Bringing The Rain in Southern California
    Mother Nature may have brought the rain on Wednesday, postponing the game until today. This afternoon, however, the Twins were the bringers of rain. They made sure to shower the outfield bleachers with home run balls, early and often. The Dark Knight, otherwise known as Matt Harvey, likely wanted a mulligan after surrendering four home runs in only 2 2/3 innings.

    New Day, New Lineup, Same Result
    Today’s contest was the 49th game of the year for the Twins and the 37th different lineup that Rocco Baldelli has used. That stat is a product of many factors, such as injuries, positional versatility, and perhaps most significantly, Baldelli’s emphasis on not over-using players. Whatever the reason may be it doesn’t seem to matter, this team hits taters, regardless of who’s in the lineup.

    Making Tater Tot Hotdishes
    The greatest quote of the year still belongs to Max Kepler, when he said, “we’re going to hit a lot of taters”. If anyone has his phone number it might be wise to ask him for lottery numbers because he was spot on with that prediction. After their third inning home run barrage, today marked their league-leading 24th multi-home run game. In the seventh inning Sano and Schoop went back-to-back, each hitting their second of the game. Max Kepler joined the party as well, launching his 10th of the year. Eddie Rosario finally snapped his streak of tater-less games (that is a word, go along with it), blasting his 14th of the year — his first since May 8. Entering the game they had 90 home runs, before it was over, they were at 98. That is certainly more than enough taters needed to make a hot dish.

    Aggressive Eddie
    If you have watched this team long enough then you have likely become accustomed to Eddie Rosario being a very aggressive player. His aggression is part of what makes him such a special and entertaining player. One play early in the game that really stood out was when Rosario scored on a sac fly hit to the shortstop. The ensuing four home runs that same inning made this play a relatively minor detail in the box score, but at the time it was anything but that.

    Martin Perez had just wiggled out of a first inning jam. The score was tied 0-0, with runners on second and third and nobody out. Luis Arraez hit a blooper into shallow left field. Angels shortstop, Zack Cozart, caught the shallow pop-up while drifting back on his heels. Eddie, being Eddie, saw this as an opportunity to steal a run and he did just that. When watching this play I couldn’t help but think of how the injury to Andrelton Simmons affected the outcome. It’s certainly hard to argue that Simmons is anything but the best defensive shortstop in the game. Had he been in the lineup today and playing shortstop it is likely fair to think Eddie would not have tagged up in that situation. Again, this play became an irrelevant footnote, but nonetheless, it is still an interesting baseball play worth mentioning.

    Fun Facts
    Today’s contest featured a handful of interesting tidbits. Hopefully these fun facts can provide you with a few conversation starters at your next cocktail party:

    • Yesterday was only the second rainout in Anaheim in nearly 25 years.
    • This 2019 season is the first time in franchise history the Twins have enjoyed a 6+ game lead in the division before June 1st.
    • So far this season, no other team in the league has hit six or more home runs in one game, the Twins have done it four times.
    • Their eight home runs today ties the franchise record for team home runs in a single game.
    • Twins have 208 extra-base hits, no other team has yet to hit 200.
    • Their 18 road wins is the most of any team in the league.
    • Today was World Turtle Day and Willians Astudillo struck out and walked in the same game (that’s more rare than rain in Southern California).
    Postgame With Baldelli

    Bullpen Usage
    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
    Next Game
    Fri vs. CHW, 7:10 pm CT (Berrios-Lopez)

    Last Game
    MIN 8, LAA 3: Bats Break Loose Late

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    • May 23 2019 07:06 PM
    • by Andrew Gebo
  22. MIN 9, TOR 1: Twins Steamroll Toronto

    Box Score
    Gibson: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 70.5% strikes (62 of 88 pitches)
    Home Runs: Polanco (7), Cron (7), Schoop (6), Rosario (13)
    Multi-Hit Games: Polanco (5-for-5, 2B, HR), Cron (4-for-5, HR), Kepler (2-for-5, BB), Rosario (2-for-4, HR), Schoop (2-for-5, HR)
    WPA of +0.1: Polanco .274, Gibson .131, Cron .117
    WPA of -0.1: None
    (chart via FanGraphs)

    The Twins have now scored in the first inning in three straight games against the Blue Jays to give their starting pitchers an early cushion. They were able to run Thornton out of the game after just two innings when he gave up seven hits and five runs.

    After losing a home series to the Blue Jays earlier in the year, the team came together and combined for a totally opposite result.

    Offense Runs Away
    The bats got going right away in the first and continued into the third as seven different Twins’ batters combined for 11 hits, three home runs, and seven runs. Jorge Polanco and C.J. Cron led with three hits each in the first three innings including two of the Twins first three home runs.

    Polanco has been the most consistent hitter for the Twins this season, and was able to add to his success tonight. He finished with five hits, which is the second time in his career doing this, and got his average up to .344. Polanco exited the game, a triple short of a cycle, after his fifth hit of the game when Ehire Adrianza pinch ran for him.

    Cron was also able to have a night at the plate with a four-hit performance of his own, which was the sixth time of his career, to hopefully get him out of his hitting slump. Eddie Rosario was able to extend his American League lead in home runs with a two-run, sixth inning smack.

    The Twins continued their impressively powerful season as they combined for 18 hits and four home runs tonight. They now have 64 home runs this season, which is the number they were at on June 7th of last season.

    Pitching Dominates
    Twins starting pitchers have been very hot of late, and that didn’t stop this series. Kyle Gibson got the start in tonight’s game and was feeling it. Through the first four innings, he had eight strikeouts and had thrown a first pitch strike to 11 out of his first 12 batters. By the fifth inning, Gibson had already tied his career high in strikeouts with 10.

    Gibson was able to set a new record for himself, which wasn’t a surprise with how he was pitching tonight. He picked up his career high in strikeouts with 11, thanks to nine whiffs on his changeup and slider, as well as his third win of the season to improve to 3-1 with a 4.19 ERA.

    Gibson showed a bit of his former self from the second half of last season tonight, and what Twins fans were looking for. Obviously asking this from Gibson every night is a little out of the question, but it is what is needed if the Twins want to make a deep run in the playoffs. They already have a solid top three pitchers in Berrios, Perez, and Odorizzi, but adding Gibson to this list will help separate the Twins from first and second round exit teams.

    The bullpen came in after the sixth, with a huge cushion, to complete the series sweep and win 9-1. Ryne Harper made easy work in the seventh, Mike Morin came in for the eighth and Blake Parker was given the ninth. Here's the bullpen's combined line: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 R, and 3 Ks.

    The Twins picked up an easy sweep against the Blue Jays to extend their record to 23-12 as well as getting back into the top spot in the MLB standings. They finally go back to division play when they face the Detroit Tigers starting on Friday, after an offday on Thursday.

    Postgame With Baldelli

    Bullpen Usage
    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
    Next Three Games
    Thu OFF
    Fri vs. DET, 7:10 pm CT (Odorizzi-Ross)
    Sat vs. DET, 1:10 pm CT (TBD)
    Sat vs. DET, 7:10 pm CT (TBD-Turnbull)

    Last Game
    MIN 3, TOR 0: Berrios Hurls Gem, Twins Get Second Straight Shutout

    • May 09 2019 05:33 AM
    • by AJ Condon
  23. Longest Tenured Minnesota Twins - 2019

    Here you have it, a look at the ten longest-tenured players in the Minnesota Twins organization but first, a few honorable mentions.
    Honorable Mentions

    • June 2013 - RHPs Kohl Stewart and Ryan Eades, LHP Stephen Gonsalves, Catchers Mitch Garver and Brian Navarreto
    • December 2012 - RHP Williams Ramirez
    • December 6, 2012 - RHP Trevor May (trade with Phillies)
    • Sept 2012 - RHP Johan Quezada
    • July 2012 - LHP Lewis Thorpe
    The Top Ten Longest-Tenured Twins

    * all photos by Seth Stohs, Twins Daily

    #9/10 - The Twins signed their first picks from the 2012 draft and then focused their attention on some of the college pitchers that they signed including these two who have spent quite a bit of time in the big leagues. Tyler Duffey and Taylor Rogers both signed on June 17th, 2012.

    Tyler Duffey was the Twins 5th round pick out of Rice University where he was the Owl’s co-closer with JT Chargois. Duffey came up in 2015 as a starter and was the team’s best pitcher down the stretch that year. He hasn’t been able to replicate that success and has since moved to the bullpen. He has shown flashes at times of what can be a solid reliever. He is currently back in Rochester.

    Taylor Rogers, flatly, has become one of the best, most-reliable, most dominant relievers in baseball in the last year. The Twins 12th round pick out of Kentucky in 2012 rose through the ranks as a starting pitcher. In fact, he was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2013. When he came to the big leagues, however, it was as a reliever. It was a bit of a learning curve. He was pretty solid in the first half of 2017 and kind of hit a wall in the 2nd half. In 2018, he took off.

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    #8 - The Twins lost Michael Cuddyer to free agency following the 2011 season. Because of that, they gained a supplemental draft pick after the first round. With the 32nd overall pick, the Twins selected a a right-handed pitcher from Puerto Rico named Jose Berrios. He signed on June 15th. Berrios pitched well in the minor leagues and was named the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2014and 2015. He made his debut in 2016 and posted an 8.02 ERA in 14 starts. He returned in 2017 and went 14-11 with a 3.89 ERA. In 2018, he went 12-11 with a 3.84 ERA. He went to his first All Star game. With his win on Tuesday night, Berrios is now 6-1 with a 2.53 ERA in 2019.

    #7 - The Twins lost a lot of baseball games in 2011 to earn the second overall pick in the 2012 draft. The Astros selected shortstop Carlos Correa and the Twins selected Byron Buxton out of high school in Georgia. On June 13, 2012, he signed with the Twins. He played for the GCL Twins and Elizabethton Twins in 2012. He split the 2013 season between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He became the top prospect in baseball. He debuted with the Twins in 2015. In 2019, he is off to the best start of his career and currently leads MLB in doubles. In 2017, he received MVP votes, won his first Gold Glove and was also awarded the Platinum Glove as the best defensive player in the American League. Still just 25, his future is bright.

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    #6 - In November 2011, the Twins signed a thick-built right-hander from the Dominican Republic, Fernando Romero. He came to the States for the 2013 season. In 45 innings in the GCL, he posted a 1.60 ERA and struck out 47 batters. He was also throwing a fastball in the upper-90s. In mid-May of 2014, he moved up to Cedar Rapids. Unfortunately, after three starts, he was injured and needed Tommy John surgery. He missed the rest of that season and the entire 2015 season. While rehabbing, he also needed knee surgery. He returned in 2016 after two years, and he has dominated since. In 2017, he pitched in Double A. In 2018, he split time between Triple-A Rochester and the big leagues. This spring, he was moved to the bullpen. He’s had his ups and downs in the adjustment, but he is now in the big leagues trying to figure out all out.

    #5 - June, 2010, Eddie Rosario was their fourth-round pick out of Guayana, Puerto Rico. In 2011, he was the Appalachian League MVP when he pounded 21 home runs (one more than Miguel Sano). He continued to rise through the system and played in the Arizona Fall league in 2013. Unfortunately, he had to miss the first 50 games of the 2014 season because of a “drug of abuse” suspension. Early in the 2015 season, he was called up to the Twins and had a strong rookie season. 2016 was more of a challenge, and he was sent down to the minor leagues for a month before returning. 2017 was Rosario’s breakout season. He hit .290 with 33 doubles and 27 home runs. He put up similar numbers in 2018. He hit .288 with 31 doubles and 24 homers, though that is due to missing much of the season’s final month.
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    #4 – On October 9, 2009, the Twins were playing (another) playoff series against the Yankees, but the big news of the day came off the field. The Twins had signed the #1 ranked international free agent, Miguel Sano, to a $3.15 million signing bonus. Since then, he has been one of the top power hitting prospects in baseball. He looked ready to debut with the Twins in 2014. Unfortunately, he needed Tommy John surgery and missed the entire season. He returned to action in 2015. He struggled for the first month of the season but started hitting soon after. He made his MLB debut in July and played so well he was named the Twins MVP and Rookie of the Year. He finished third in AL Rookie of the Year voting. He mostly DHd as a rookie, and in 2016 he was moved out to the outfield (which didn’t go well) and he struggled with the bat too. He moved back to third base in 2017 and played the position adequately. He made his first All-Star Game and that year and finished second to Aaron Judge in the Home Run Derby. He was hurt and missed the final two months of the year. He had a titanium rod placed in his leg. 2018 was a forgettable season for Sano, and he came to spring training this year with a contusion on his leg that has cost him the start of his season. He is currently in AA working his way back and should return to the Twins lineup in the next 10-14 days.

    #3 – Within the final hour of the the final day that teams could sign their 2009 draft picks (August 15), the Twins and pitcher Kyle Gibson reached an agreement. He began his professional career with the Miracle in 2010 and got to AAA that season. He returned to Rochester but by midseason, he wasn’t pitching like himself. He had an elbow problem and months later, he had Tommy John surgery. He missed the entire 2012 season. He returned in 2013 and had a ten-start call up with the Twins. He has been in the Twins starting rotation the last three years. In 2015, he was named the Twins pitcher of the year. 2016 was injury-plagued for Gibson. Midway through the 2017 season, Gibson found himself in Rochester for a couple of stints. However, something clicked and Gibson was strong over his final dozen starts. That carried into 2018 when he had his best, most consistent, productive season yet. He went 10-13 despite a 3.63 ERA over 196 1/3 innings. A bout with E. Coli slowed his 2019 season, but he is getting close to 100% now.
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    #2 – On July 11th, 2009, the Twins signed highly regarded German outfielder Max Kepler. Though Kepler was always blessed with great tools, it wasn’t until 2015 that everything came together for him. He has worked slowly up the system. He repeated Elizabethton and has moved up one level each year since. He was named the Southern League MVP and led the Chattanooga Lookouts to the league title. While his team was celebrating, Kepler learned that he was heading to the big leagues. On the season’s final day, he got his first MLB hit off of Johnny Cueto. He put up very similar numbers in 2016 through 2018. Last year, he hit .224 with 30 doubles and 20 homers. He signed a five-year contract extension for $35 million in the offseason. In 2019, he has been leading off. While his batting average has come down of late, he has increased his power production with seven home runs already.
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    #1 – On July 2, 2009, the Twins signed highly-regarded defensive shortstop Jorge Polanco from the Dominican Republic. He was brought along slowly, spending two seasons in the GCL. He started hitting in 2012 in Elizabethton. He has been a good batting average and on-base hitter since. It’s on defense now where there are question marks. He received a couple of cups of coffee with the Twins in 2014 becoming the youngest player to debut with the Twins since Joe Mauer in 2004. Polanco played in Chattanooga and Rochester in 2015 with a couple more very short stints in the big leagues. He moved up and down between AAA and the big leagues in 2016 until the July trade of Eduardo Nunez when he came up and played shortstop most days the rest of that season. He struggled through the first four months of the 2017 season, but he was arguably the team’s best hitter over the final two months of the year. He missed the first 80 games of the 2018 season on a PED suspension but came back strong in the second half. He signed a five-year, $25 million contract extension. In 2019, he has been one of the best hitters in baseball.

    So there you have it, the players in the Twins organization who have been in the system the longest, consecutively. I’ll guess that at least a couple of the names may not surprise you. I’m certain that you wouldn’t have guessed everyone on this list.

    Feel free to leave your thoughts, or let me know if I forgot anyone.

    • May 08 2019 07:42 PM
    • by Seth Stohs
  24. MIN 6, BAL 1: Sticking to the Formula

    Box Score
    Perez: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 66.7% strikes (64 of 96 pitches)
    Home Runs: Cruz 2 (5), Rosario (11), Cron (4), Kepler (4)
    Multi-Hit Games: Cruz (3-for-4, 2 HR), Kepler (2-for-4, HR)
    WPA of +0.1: Perez .203, Cruz .133
    WPA of -0.1: None
    (chart via FanGraphs)

    Mike Petriello of MLB.com wrote about pitchers who’ve added new weapons to their repertoire this season. He noted that Martin Perez’s new cutter has only yielded one hit so far in 110 offerings, a single.

    Perez really featured that pitch tonight, throwing it nearly half the time. He got eight swinging strikes on that offering, and the nine cutters Baltimore put in play only had an average exit velocity of 78 mph.

    Much was made of Perez’s increased velocity this spring, and his four-seam fastball did top out at 96 mph tonight, but it’s that 87-88 mph cutter that’s really making the difference for Perez. Here’s a full look at the info from Baseball Savant:
    After looking shaky in his early work out of the bullpen, Perez has been much better in his three starts. He’s given up six earned runs over 18 innings (3.00 ERA), has 11 strikeouts and, maybe most encouraging, just three walks.

    Having a lead makes it much easier to pitch, of course. It was good the Twins were launching balls into the seats, because they went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position tonight. Elite firepower can make up for a lot of shortcomings elsewhere.

    Cruz went deep twice, Rosario hit his American League-leading 11th homer, Cron hit his fourth homer of the last 11 games and Max Kepler added an epic blast of his own.

    After Ryne Harper pitched a scoreless seventh, Matt Magill made his 2019 debut after looking really good on his rehab assignment with Rochester. He retired the first batter he faced on a line drive, gave up a double and got a strike out. Magill then walked the next two batters he faced to load the bases.

    Trevor May had to come in and clean up the mess, inducing a groundout to end the threat. Fernando Romero gave up a single and a walk, but struck out a pair of batters in a scoreless ninth inning.

    Postgame With Baldelli

    Bullpen Usage
    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
    Next Three Games
    Sat vs. BAL, 1:10 pm CT (Berrios-Straily)
    Sun vs. BAL, 1:10 pm CT (Gibson-Bundy)
    Mon vs. HOU, 6:40 pm CT (TBD)

    Last Game
    HOU 7, MIN 1: Foregone Conclusion

    • Apr 27 2019 08:22 AM
    • by Tom Froemming
  25. Across the Meadow: Early Season Recap

    0:08 John will never be a homer.
    0:09 Should the Twins have used an opener tonight?
    0:10 The bullpen: Mejia, May, Hildenberger.
    0:22 John loses his mind about officiating.
    0:24 More bullpen
    0:30 Craig Kimbrel
    0:40 Amish farms
    0:42 John interviews DSP
    0:59 Finer Points Series
    1:05 Local bar scene
    1:08 Hitters & trading for a pitcher

    You can listen directly here or download directly from iTunes here. Additionally, you can access all the previous episodes as well.

    Let us know what you think and thanks for listening!

    • Apr 25 2019 07:24 AM
    • by Jeremy Nygaard