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Game Score: Cubs 3, Twins 0


Joe Ryan was perfect in four of his five innings during his MLB debut on Wednesday night at Target Field. Unfortunately, the third inning happened, and the Twins bats did not show up, and the Cubs swept the short two-game series. 

Box Score
SP: Joe Ryan: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (89 pitches, 60 strikes (67.4%))
Home Runs: None 
Bottom 3 WPA: Willians Astudillo (-0.143), Ryan Jeffers (-0.143), Joe Ryan (-0.097)

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

chart (6).png
 

The Joe Ryan Experience 

Be honest. Before the Twins acquired Joe Ryan (and Drew Strotman) from the Rays for Nelson Cruz, had you heard of him? However, it didn't take long for Twins fans to get excited. First, he made two strong starts for Team USA in the Olympics. Then after winning a silver medal, he returned and struck out 17 batters over nine innings in his two starts with the Saints. That's all it took for Twins fans to get excited about the right-hander with the great flow. That's all the Twins needed to deem him ready for the big leagues. 

On Wednesday night at Target Field, we were able to enjoy the Joe Ryan Experience in the big leagues. He became the 34th pitchers to throw for the Twins this year. He was the fourth pitcher to make his MLB debut this season (comment below who the other three were). 

Things started out very well. Ryan needed just eight pitches to work a 1-2-3 first inning. That included a strikeout of Ian Happ for his first career K. 

His second inning required a few more pitches, but ended with the same results, a perfect inning. In fact, Ryan was perfect in the fourth and fifth innings too. 

Unfortunately, the third inning provided Ryan with some stress. The inning started with a walk. After a strikeout, 2021 Twins spring training participant Andrew Romine doubled Alfonso Rivas to third base. Ryan got a fly out to short center field to record the second out. However, Frank Schwindel hit a home run for the third straight game, his eighth of the season. 

Ryan responded well by getting the final seven batters he faced. All-in-all, it was a good showing for the rookie, a nice debut and something to build on. 

Bullpen Performs Again

The Twins bullpen has been pretty solid of late, and on Wednesday night, Ian Gibaut, Danny Coulombe and Juan Minaya combined to give up just one hit over four scoreless innings, and that runner was erased by a double play ball. 

Over the past six games, the Twins bullpen has a 0.38 ERA, just one earned run allowed over 23 2/3 innings. 

Rooker's a Hit

The Twins had just two hits in the game. Brent Rooker had both of them. He had a 98 mph single, and then he had a game-high exit velocity of 110.3 mph on a seventh-inning single. Unfortunately, the rest of the Twins bats went silent. In this two-game series, Rooker went 3-for-4. 

Also tonight, Rooker was hit by a pitch. It is the seventh time he has been hit by a pitch this season. Only fellow rookie Trevor Larnach has been plunked more (8). This is the first time in Twins history that multiple rookies were hit by at least seven pitches. Of course, Rooker's seven HBP have come in 153 plate appearances this season. Larnach's been hit by eight pitches in 260 pitches. 

We may have to investigate the pitchers who have hit Rooker this year to see how many pitched in the SEC in 2017. 

What's Next? 

The Twins have Thursday off before traveling to Tampa Bay to take on Nelson Cruz,.. and JT Chargois... and Dietrich Enns... and Chris Mazza... and Nick Anderson is getting close to returning as well... and the Rays in a three-game series. 

Friday night, Randy Dobnak will make his first start in months after his finger injury. He'll face Michael Wacha. 

Postgame Interview

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

  SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT
Colomé 13 0 23 0 0 36
Thielbar 23 0 0 26 0 49
Minaya 17 0 0 24 11 52
Alcalá 0 0 25 0 0 25
Gibaut 0 33 0 0 24 57
Garza Jr. 0 11 0 17 0 28
Duffey 0 0 0 16 0 16
Coulombe 0 0 0 0 10 10

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Pretty good debut for the rook. Anyone pitching tonight was destined to lose with our ice cold bats. I’m befuddled why Refsnyder was batting 3rd in the order again. The Cubs have a valid excuse why they’re writing in a AAAA lineup. I’m not sure why we are doing the same… 

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Another inept performance from our hitters tonight in what has become far too common in this train wreck of a season.

Despite that, I actually tuned as I'm sure many others did to watch the MLB debut of Joe Ryan.  I offer the following observations over his 5.0 IP

1. Albeit facing an offense almost as challenged as ours, Ryan looked excellent over his first 2 shutout innings. Didn't allow a hit and needed only 21 pitches.  His 3/4 delivery and lower release point sure looked (at least early) that it will play at this level.

2.  Then came the 3rd inning-------I think walked the first guy then proceeded to struggle with his command going to multiple 3 ball counts on hitters that followed.  Got within 1 batter of getting out of that inning unscathed, but left a fastball middle in to Schwindel who didn't miss it.  

3.  Add on to previous struggles in 3rd inning and I know I'm reaching here, but I place 90% of Ryan's 3rd inning struggles--34 pitches on 1 person------FSN media employee Audra Martin.  

Why did Martin/FSN  choose to interrupt Ryan's "mojo" by deciding to interview his mom live as Ryan started the inning??

I'm a big believer in KARMA.   I have no issue with the live interview of Ryan's mom, but why not do it in the bottom of the 2nd inning when the Twins were hitting???  Not like viewers of FSN would be distracted by the machine gun fire of our bats.  

How about letting Ryan's mom ENJOY THE MOMENT and watch her son pitch???  Stressful enough for mom watching Joe pitch without having to be interrupted doing a live interview.

4.  Considering the complete horrible performances we've gotten far too many times from SPs this year (Cardinals got the "real" JA Happ tonight), I came away feeling hopeful that Ryan will be a viable, reliable and productive SP in our 2022 rotation.  

 

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Solid first two innings. 17 strikes. 4 balls. Then that interview. Okay, fine......at least wasn't talking to mom when the home run was hit.

 

I liked the analysis, where he was throwing fast balls strictly thru the order, so he could come back and surprise everyone he next time thru, except he started to pitch a bit tricky, which led to a walk and a bunch of 3-ball counts in the third, and a higher pitch count. Trust your stuff (and your mix) and the fielders. Refysnder almost blew it trying to catch the double in the third, but Buxton was in the right place. An thank goodness the base runner fears Buxton's arm, what an awful throw...but the runner balked and stayed at third. Not that it mattered.

 

After showcasing uniforms on all the bases the previous night, the Twins wanted to end this game early to fly sooner to Florida, I guess.

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As utterly horrific as our pitching staff has been all season------20 of 75 losses (27%) by 5+ runs, our supposed strong lineup has also contributed as tonights loss was the 10th game in which the Twins lost when the pitching staff gave up 3 runs or less.  Only 3 of those losses have occurred since Cruz was traded.  I k

I understand injuries have been a major factor to our offensive inconsistencies sidelining Buxton, Kirilloff and Garver--just to name a few for a bunch of games,  but for those that feel our 2022 lineup is "just fine"-----think again.  Not exactly a rosy picture moving forward.

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7 hours ago, h2oface said:

And now, by W-L record, we are even worse than the Cubs. 90 loses here we come.

16 runs in last 7 games. Lucky to win the 3 we did. 2 hits tonight. Pretty damn sad.

Ryan was wonderful except for the 3rd. They just had to do that interview with his mom........

Bats on this team are embarrassing. It's been like this the whole season - on the very rare occasions that the Twins do get good pitching, the hitters are so shocked they can't hit.

I actually think it has to do with hitters feeling pressure in low-scoring games, and a manager that can't keep his team loose and/or confident enough to battle back.

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At a minimum, Joe Ryan looks like he'd make a lights-out reliever with that deceptive delivery. Once he got guys sitting fastball he did a good job mixing in changeups and curves to get swings and misses. He didn't seem to throw his curve for strikes, not sure that'll play against better hitters. Also not sure good hitters won't continue yanking out those fastballs if he continues to throw them 70% of the time (or 90% the first time through the lineup). There were 2-3 balls that almost left the park last night.

He also has that weird fastball/slider thing that he throws in the upper RH corner and off the plate a lot. That's the one fooled guys early but eventually got him in trouble with walks. Not sure if that was a control issue or if it was an attempt to induce chases. If it's the latter I don't think it'll work at this level. Guys were spitting on that pitch.

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What a fantastic first outing for the young man.  I think of the third inning as MLB Baseball 101.  Great learning experience.

He was gone with the Olympic team for what, well over a month?  And only started two games during that time, so his arm should be relatively fresh for the rest of the season.  Hopefully, he will get another five starts to settle in and confirm that he can be counted on in 2022.  

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Ryan looked promising out there. He clearly had some trouble with his command in the third and put himself in some bad counts...and MLB hitters will generally punish a guy for it. But it was good to see him respond well to giving up the monster dinger by getting back to work. It'll be interesting to see how he does as teams get tape on him and hitter try and prepare specifically for his stuff and approach. I think he's going to need to continue to improve his secondary offerings, but there's good movement and deception on his fastball that should let it play up a little. Solid job in his MLB debut.

I know it was frustrating to see so little life from the Twins bats the last two games, and especially last night when the rookie could have really used a lead to pitch with, but overreacting to a couple of games with this lineup is just silly. The Twins are 6th in OPS+ for the year: the lineup is fine. They've probably been a little unlucky (just above league average in runs scored), but the idea that the Twins don't have a good offense is simply wrong. Yes, it's a little frustrating to have so many guys with a low batting average, but BA is down all across baseball and the Twins are still right around average even with guys like Kepler, Rooker, Jeffers, Cave, and Sano flirting with/succumbing to the Mendoza Line. (and Sano has been quite good since the horrific start)

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So about the hitting or lack of. Can we find a different hitting coach?

Also Alzolay came in and we pinch hit for one guy while we had 5 LH batters on the bench. I guess the Turtle and Refsnyder are just too good to hit for? RH batters hit 177 against Alzolay LH hitters 277, good coaching.

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I was impressed with Ryan in his first start.  He battled to get through that 3rd inning where he lost his command. I honestly thought the homer pitch was competitive.  It was high and tight inside just on or off the upper corner of the zone.  I tip my hat to the batter for getting his barrel on it.  All the damage Ryan gave up happened over a span of 6 PAs, and then he finished his outing the way he started it.

He has more development ahead of him, and I wouldn't be surprised if he has one more stint at AAA sometime next season, but good first impression.

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12 hours ago, Vanimal46 said:

Also, Buxton since returning to the lineup…

 

In 1978, a couple of second graders walked into the Boondocks bar on Lamar St. in Cottage Grove to buy some candy bars.  There was a jukebox which proved far too tempting.

Neither of the kids recognized any song on the jukebox, so they just put a quarter in and pushed some buttons.  Nothing happened, so they tried again.  They were not even sure which songs they were choosing, but they kept on trying, a countless number of times.  After a few minutes, they resigned themselves that the machine was broken and were about to leave.

Then "Cold as Ice" began blasting, turned up to 11.  Then it played again.  And again.  The kids were not sure what this song was, so they looked closely at the song titles until they recognized the title of what they were hearing.

The locals in the bar did not seem to mind that there were two kids in the bar blasting this one song over and over.  They were all probably just grateful it wasn't the Bee Gees, who were played constantly everywhere.

After that, whenever those kids passed the Boondocks bar, they always stepped in to punch up Cold as Ice.

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1 hour ago, MMMordabito said:

I was impressed with Ryan in his first start.  He battled to get through that 3rd inning where he lost his command. I honestly thought the homer pitch was competitive.  It was high and tight inside just on or off the upper corner of the zone.  I tip my hat to the batter for getting his barrel on it.  All the damage Ryan gave up happened over a span of 6 PAs, and then he finished his outing the way he started it.

I tentatively agree, but I was a little concerned as he lost his control that he was having to go back to the same pitch over and over until it started getting hammered. That fastball in the upper-right corner was a favorite spot and guys started sitting on that until he changed it up. Hopefully he gets a little less predictable and more confident in mixing up his pitches to prevent that.

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13 hours ago, darwin22 said:

As utterly horrific as our pitching staff has been all season------20 of 75 losses (27%) by 5+ runs, our supposed strong lineup has also contributed as tonights loss was the 10th game in which the Twins lost when the pitching staff gave up 3 runs or less.  Only 3 of those losses have occurred since Cruz was traded.  I k

I understand injuries have been a major factor to our offensive inconsistencies sidelining Buxton, Kirilloff and Garver--just to name a few for a bunch of games,  but for those that feel our 2022 lineup is "just fine"-----think again.  Not exactly a rosy picture moving forward.

Couldn't agree more.  Through last night, in 47.3% of our games our offense has scored 3 runs or less.  Used to be anything over 1/3 was considered troublesome; almost half is need to take a long look in the mirrorsome. The wonder kids in the FO and the dugout need to feel a little heat, and soon, because this is as much their doing as anyone's.  Just my version of analytics for the day,  

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So I was at the game last night, perched with a friend up in section 305 until a crowd of rowdy unmasked 20-somethings induced us to move higher up over in section 306.

The weather was perfect, and it was fun to have a satellite’s eye view of young Mr. Ryan. Showed some flair even from the cheap seats.

I agree with the previous comment that Refsnyder’s presence far below us in right field was puzzling, as was his number three spot in the lineup. Was  Kepler hurt, or being rested?

One upside to the overall lack of offense from either team was the game finishing at 2:28! Made it home early.

But it was most disconcerting to have the stadium “crowd” cheering so hard for the Cubs. Whenever they got a hit or struck out a Twins batter or made a sharp play in the field, there was clapping and roars of approval. Way too few of those opportunities for us outnumbered local fans to offer support in return.

 

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I'm calling that Cruz/Ryan trade a rousing success right now.    Cruz to end out the year did not excite me and we could still conceivably sign him for next year but Ryan gives me more hope for next year than I was expecting from a Cruz trade.    

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22 hours ago, MMMordabito said:

I honestly thought the homer pitch was competitive.

I thought so too. Actually I thought the batter looked fooled, looked like a late swing on an inside pitch, but good bat speed. The last hitter of the inning had a much better swing and contact on a fly ball to the fence, so call it a wash.

I thought Ryan was fine. I don’t know. Looks like he has back-to-back starts lined up against Toronto later in the month, and the young Toronto lineup will get some extended looks at him. Maybe that will tell us something, maybe not. I can see why Tampa Bay traded Ryan—his fastball moves okay but he’s too dependent on it. I can also see how the fastball plays well with that deceptive arm slot. And he works fast, as a couple people pointed out in the game thread. I think he can become pretty good if he develops a secondary breaking pitch. I think the slider was better than the curve which I think is too slow to consistently fool MLB hitters. 

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