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Game Score: Blue Jays 6, Twins 2

Bailey Ober had a successful first trip through the Blue Jays lineup on Saturday. The second time around didn’t go as well. Josh Donaldson provided some power, but it wasn’t enough as the Blue Jays gained a game on the Yankees in the AL Wild Card chase.

Box Score 
SP: Bailey Ober: 4.0 IP,4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (74 pitches, 48 strikes (64.9%))
Home Runs: Josh Donaldson (24)
Bottom 3 WPA: Bailey Ober (-0.143), Ryan Jeffers (-0.143), Joe Ryan (-0.097)

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

Second Time Not the Charm for Ober

Bailey Ober has had a terrific showing in his rookie season, and on Saturday things looked to be going quite well. Ober got outs on the first eight batters he faced before issuing a four-pitch walk to nine-hitter Reese McGuire. He recovered to strike out leadoff man, George Springer for the final out of the third inning. 

However, things went south in a hurry in the fourth inning. Ober thought things were going to start out well. He thought he got Marcus Semien looking at a called third strike. Unfortunately, it was called a ball. The next pitch, Semien crushed his 40th home run of the season. 

Ober then walked Vlad Guerrero, Jr. before Bo Bichette lined a single to center field. That brought All Star Teoscar Hernandez to the plate. He hit a high fly ball to left field that landed just beyond the fence for a three run homer.   

Ober gave up one more hit, but he was able to complete the fourth inning. 

Donaldson at Home in Toronto

For the second straight day, Josh Donaldson got an ovation before his first at-bat at Rogers Centre in Toronto. For the second straight day, Donaldson hit a home run against the team he spent almost four seasons playing for.

In his time in Toronto, he played in two All Star games, won two Silver Slugger awards and was named the 2015 AL MVP. 

Unfortunately, the Twins had just four hits in the game. 

Ups and Downs for Jovani Moran

The value of getting your feet wet in the big leagues is different for every player. Generally, it is to help get rid of some of the nerves that can appear early in a player's career. That's especially important for a guy like Jovani Moran. We know how good he can be. Just look at those strikeout numbers and read accounts of hitters trying to hit his changeup when it is on. However, we can also acknowledge that he can sometimes get wild and issue walks. While we will be able to see the splits over his big-league career, it would likely be more anecdotal for me to guess that in the minor leagues, it seemed like he often struggled most with his control in big situations. On Saturday, we got to see both. 

Moran came in with a runner on in the sixth inning and completed the inning by coaxing a big double-play ball. Unfortunately, in the seventh inning, Moran could not find the plate and walked the bases loaded. At one point, Wes Johnson came out to talk to him. From that point forward, he threw almost exclusively changeups, and with more success. He did get a Marcus Semien strikeout. But after the third walk, he was replaced by Kyle Barraclough who allowed two inherited runners to score. 

The point, at least for me, is that it will be nice for Moran to go through the ups and downs and have some of these good and bad experiences down the stretch. Clearly, his stuff can play in the big leagues. He just needs to find a way to relax on the mound. If he can, he can be very impactful. If he can't, he can't be use in big situations. 

I'll bet that he'll be impactful. 

What’s Next? 

The Twins will finish their series in Toronto and face #OldFriend Jose Berrios. The Twins have yet to announce their Sunday starter, but this will be updated as soon as it is announced. 

Postgame Interview 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

Moran 0 34 0 0 34 68
Barraclough 0 0 0 0 32 32
Coulombe 27 0 0 0 0 27
Colomé 11 0 0 14 0 25
Vincent 0 21 0 0 0 21
Alcalá 8 0 0 13 0 21
Garza Jr. 0 0 0 0 17 17
Duffey 0 0 0 16 0 16
Minaya 13 0 0 0 0 13
Farrell 0 0 0 0 0 0
Thielbar 0 0 0 0 0 0

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Looks like the Twins will get to face off against Berrios tomorrow. It should be interesting to see if he's nervous or in the mood to show the Twins how badly they messed up. Toronto looks to have made some pretty good decisions going in big for the playoff run this year. They've got a +175 run differential right now which is good for 2nd best in the AL behind Houston so I'm glad to see them pushing for the playoffs. It's a bummer, but the chances the Athletics or Mariners can bump the Red Sox and Yankees entirely out of the playoffs looks slim since neither of them have head to head matchups in the AL East remaining.

The Blue Jays play the Yankees 3 games and the Red Sox and Yankees have one 3 game series in Boston left against each other.

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The Twins are in a great situation for pitchers like Moran. They can let them see how their stuff work, come out and give some advice. The pitcher sees that maybe the coaches and team knows what is going on. Then the pitcher can continue to work and learn. I'm sure it has been a great learning experience for Griffin Jax. Charlie Barnes, too, as well as Bailey Ober.


Trevor Larnach also got the experience, as did Gilberto Celestino. The Twins have had to rely on Ryan Jeffers learning and performing on the job. It is what the players do in the off-season now, and how they come to spring training and go from there.


I would also like to see Drew Strotman get his chance on the mound against major league competition. 


That is what the month of September should be all about for future Twins. Miranda, can he come out and play, too? Move Cabbage and Balazovic up to pitch with the Saints if need be. Advance some guys from Cedar Rapids to Wichita. Then Ft. Myers to Cedar Rapids. Yes, minor league w/l totals or playoffs are important, but also experience for potential major league players in the long run.


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