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In a night where both Joe Ryan and Max Kepler shined, Alex Colome almost ruined it all, but he came up with a big strikeout when he needed it and the Minnesota Twins hung on to beat the Chicago Cubs by a score of 5-4.

Box Score
Starting Pitcher: Ryan 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 11 K
Homeruns: Kepler 2 (19)
Top 3 WPA: Kepler (0.326), Alcala (0.091), Ryan (0.088)

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

232619978_ScreenShot2021-09-22at9_58_41PM.png.8f5f08b1ef4cca6683a19ba66486eb4c.png

Joe Ryan Strikes Out Career High 11 Hitters
In his first start since being struck by a comebacker last week, Joe Ryan showed that he is just fine as he struck out a career-high 11 Cubs in just five innings of work in tonight’s ballgame. While Joe Ryan has looked impressive in each of his first three starts, his strikeout potential was not on full display, as the most he struck out in any of those starts was just five.

Joe Ryan got the night started strong, when he struck out the top of the Cubs order on just 13 pitches in the first. A leadoff walk, followed by a double from Cubs left fielder Ian Happ set up the Cubs lone scoring opportunity off Ryan in the second, which they capitalized on with a one out single from Nico Horner later in the inning.

After the second, Joe Ryan was in control, as he allowed just one more base runner the rest of his outing. In fact, only two more Cubs hitters would even put the ball in play against Ryan in his final three innings of work, as he ended the night by striking out eight of the final nine batters that he faced.

Max Kepler Schools the Professor
With both Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco getting the night off (at-least from the starting lineup), Max Kepler picked up the slack, as he tee off on Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (AKA “The Professor), and provided all the offense the Twins would need in this game.

In the top of the first, after two quick outs, Josh Donaldson got a little two out rally started when he laced a ground ball single up the middle. Max Kepler capitalized on that opportunity when he drilled a 2-0 fastball into the basket in right to give the Twins the early 2-0 lead.

With the game tied at two runs a piece in the fourth, Max Kepler worked a full-count with one out before giving the Twins back the lead when he blasted his second home run of the night off of Kyle Hendricks.

With two outs, and the Twins still leading 3-2, Max Kepler got his third opportunity vs Kyle Hendricks, and gave it his best attempt to Trevor Bauer him, but his bid for a third straight home run came up just short, as it hit off the wall in center for a two-out double. Miguel Sano would follow that up with a single that drove in Kepler from second to give the Twins the two-run lead.

Twins Bullpen Shines… For the Most Part
After Joe Ryan’s impressive five innings of work, the task of closing out the victory was left in the hands of the Twins bullpen. Juan Minaya was the first pitcher called out of the Twins pen to work the sixth. After giving up a leadoff single, Minaya was able to work out of it by getting Frank Schwindel to ground out, before striking out both Patrick Wisdom and Ian Happ to end the inning.

It was Tyler Duffey’s turn to work the seventh, and he picked up right where the other two Twins pitchers before him left off, as Duffey struck out each of the first two batters that he faced before getting Nico Hoerner to fly out to center to set the Cubs down 1-2-3 four the fourth time of the night.

We got more of the same from Jorge Alcala in the bottom of the eighth, as he worked yet another 1-2-3 inning, as he got Trayce Thompson and David Bote out on strikes before Rafael Ortega laced a line drive down the right-field line that was chased down by Max Kepler to end the inning.

We got another dose of the Alex Colome experience in the ninth. With the Twins lead now at three, Colome needed every bit of that lead to secure the Twins win. After already surrendering two runs in the inning, the Cubs had the trying and winning runs both in scoring position and two outs, but unlike many nights before, Colome got the clutch out when he needed it, as he struck out Trayce Thompson to end the ballgame.

Bullpen Usage Report

  FRI SAT SUN TUE WED TOT
Barraclough 0 32 0 35 0 67
Vincent 0 0 40 0 0 40
Thielbar 0 0 22 16 0 38
Minaya 0 0 36 0 13 49
Moran 0 34 0 0 0 34
Farrell 0 0 34 0 0 34
Duffey 16 0 0 11 12 39
Alcalá 13 0 0 10 10 33
Colomé 14 0 0 7 24 45
Garza Jr. 0 17 0 0 0 17
Coulombe 0 0 0 17 0 17

 

What's Next?

The Twins return home on Thursday to begin a four-game weekend series with the Toronto Blue Jays. First pitch of Thursday night's game with be at 6:40 pm CDT, with the Twins throwing Michale Pineda against left-hander Steven Matz.

Post Game Interviews

 

 

 


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The Joe Ryan lovefest is getting really hilarious. At this rate I'm half-expecting him to be inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame on Saturday alongside Morneau. Listening to Bremer, he's the second coming of Roger Clemens; it's hard to keep his schoolgirl-crush giddiness a secret when he's announcing a game Ryan pitches.

Keep in mind he's pitched four starts against two teams, CLE and CHC, which are both bottom-5 offenses in their leagues, in the midst of a meaningless September schedule. Garbage time versus garbage offenses - Cubs looked very uninterested in playing baseball tonight, for instance. Ryan might end up being decent (my initial takeaway is that his stuff maxes out as a third or fourth starter, which isn't without value) but my god give it a little time for the scouting report to go around and let's see how he fares against a halfway decent opponent before he's anointed Johan junior. 

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Heck of a box score for Kepler and Ryan tonight! Nick Gordon continues to creep back up the OPS chart towards playable as well. His improved slash line probably adds some pressure to the front office in regard to his 40 man spot. It'll be interesting to see what they'll do. At the end of August, I would have said Gordon had almost no shot at being added.

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35 minutes ago, Yawn Gardenhose said:

The Joe Ryan lovefest is getting really hilarious. At this rate I'm half-expecting him to be inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame on Saturday alongside Morneau. Listening to Bremer, he's the second coming of Roger Clemens; it's hard to keep his schoolgirl-crush giddiness a secret when he's announcing a game Ryan pitches.

Keep in mind he's pitched four starts against two teams, CLE and CHC, which are both bottom-5 offenses in their leagues, in the midst of a meaningless September schedule. Garbage time versus garbage offenses - Cubs looked very uninterested in playing baseball tonight, for instance. Ryan might end up being decent (my initial takeaway is that his stuff maxes out as a third or fourth starter, which isn't without value) but my god give it a little time for the scouting report to go around and let's see how he fares against a halfway decent opponent before he's anointed Johan junior. 

I don't disagree with you, but think that people like this because it feels good to perceive potential greatness in a prospect who is on a hot streak.

There is reason to hope that Ryan could become a #1 or #2 pitcher.  I have hope for this kid and that hope makes me happy.  This has been a depressing season and Ryan is helping some of us feel less disgusted.  You are clearly correct from a factual perspective, but please consider that the hype may be giving him some extra confidence and he may even match the hype over time.

It might also help to turn off the sound on your TV -- kind of like being at the game in person because there are no announcers.  Then you don't have to listen to any hype, and if you see Ryan have a bad night then you can (if you wish) turn the sound on to hear the announcers make excuses and/or eat crow,  I have watched entire games without the sound, because the announcers can be annoying,

 

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5 hours ago, Yawn Gardenhose said:

The Joe Ryan lovefest is getting really hilarious. At this rate I'm half-expecting him to be inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame on Saturday alongside Morneau. Listening to Bremer, he's the second coming of Roger Clemens; it's hard to keep his schoolgirl-crush giddiness a secret when he's announcing a game Ryan pitches.

Keep in mind he's pitched four starts against two teams, CLE and CHC, which are both bottom-5 offenses in their leagues, in the midst of a meaningless September schedule. Garbage time versus garbage offenses - Cubs looked very uninterested in playing baseball tonight, for instance. Ryan might end up being decent (my initial takeaway is that his stuff maxes out as a third or fourth starter, which isn't without value) but my god give it a little time for the scouting report to go around and let's see how he fares against a halfway decent opponent before he's anointed Johan junior. 

*loud yawn*

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Even if Ryan's starts have been against the Cubs and Indians, what's wrong with enjoying his success?  Yes, the hype has been in overdrive, but it's most likely because there's been little else to cheer about this season.  Something else I like about his early success - it quiets the whiners who complained that the Twins didn't get any quality talent for Nelson Cruz. 

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This is exactly the pitching model the Twins should pursue in 2022 and probably 2023. Namely, a five - six inning start of less than four runs by a controllable, league minimum or there abouts starter followed by a shut down pen (Colome not withstanding). It’s a good strategy for a mid market team in the modern game. 
 

We probably have at least four starters on the roster or on the system that fit that description. Who knows, one or two could even develop into a solid 6-7 inning #2 or #3 (ideally Ober and Ryan become that). We might even already have 3-4 relievers that could be part of that pen. The pen is the key. 
 

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I agree Ryan has been great.  But I also agree let's hold judgement for the time being.  It's only been 4 starts albeit 4 very good ones.  I want to see him pitch next year, under a full season of pitching.  I want to see him pitch against good teams and also see how he does when scouting reports from teams catch up to him and how he makes adjustments.  I'm guessing he will succeed in those adjustments.  He looks to be the real deal.

As for the broadcasters:. Dick Bremer has got to be one of the worst and most obnoxious announcers ever.

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2 minutes ago, Whitey333 said:

As for the broadcasters:. Dick Bremer has got to be one of the worst and most obnoxious announcers ever.

Not even close. Hawk Harrelson wins that trophy by a mile, of the ones I've heard. Dick is actually above average, from the ones I've heard. I'm out of area so I listen to a lot of the other teams' broadcasters. But, I get being 'weary' of the ones you have to listen to all. the. time., but he is not the worst or most obnoxious. Listening to the Cubs announcers is no picnic either. Ugh.

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8 hours ago, Yawn Gardenhose said:

The Joe Ryan lovefest is getting really hilarious. At this rate I'm half-expecting him to be inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame on Saturday alongside Morneau. Listening to Bremer, he's the second coming of Roger Clemens; it's hard to keep his schoolgirl-crush giddiness a secret when he's announcing a game Ryan pitches.

Keep in mind he's pitched four starts against two teams, CLE and CHC, which are both bottom-5 offenses in their leagues, in the midst of a meaningless September schedule. Garbage time versus garbage offenses - Cubs looked very uninterested in playing baseball tonight, for instance. Ryan might end up being decent (my initial takeaway is that his stuff maxes out as a third or fourth starter, which isn't without value) but my god give it a little time for the scouting report to go around and let's see how he fares against a halfway decent opponent before he's anointed Johan junior. 

Who's giving Ryan that much credit this soon? I've seen nothing overwhelming from people saying he's the next coming of Johan. Most are pretty tempered about where they think he will end up as a starting pitching contributor. And, he's just getting his feet wet and will have much to prove next season and beyond. But, for right now, he's doing well as a rookie, even starting against bad teams. So what? I don't think the hopefulness is anyone anointing him as anything. We're just happy for the wins and happy for the potential we see. I don't think he will be Johan, not even close. But I think he could be a strong contributor in years to come and that's what I want to see.

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If you think the Joe Ryan love-fest is bad, you definitely haven't been here long enough to read some of the headlines about Griffin Jax. Now that's misplaced optimism, in my opinion.

I don't think Ryan is over-hyped here. He's been nothing but solid, and in a terrible season I for one am thrilled to see what he's done.

If the Twins don't have Alex Colome on the roster I think they finish a respectable 82-82, warts and all. Colome has single-handedly turned this team into a 90+ loss league-wide embarrassment. If he goes on to make the All-Star team with someone else next year, so be it. Just get this guy as far from Minnesota as possible in 2022.

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1 hour ago, Whitey333 said:

I agree Ryan has been great.  But I also agree let's hold judgement for the time being.  It's only been 4 starts albeit 4 very good ones.  I want to see him pitch next year, under a full season of pitching.  I want to see him pitch against good teams and also see how he does when scouting reports from teams catch up to him and how he makes adjustments.  I'm guessing he will succeed in those adjustments.  He looks to be the real deal.

As for the broadcasters:. Dick Bremer has got to be one of the worst and most obnoxious announcers ever.

As noted elsewhere: he's faced the same team twice already. Sure, both are poor teams with bad offenses but a) you only pitch to the guys in front of you, and b) as noted by LaTroy Hawkins last night, most pitchers hate facing the same team again right away. Both Cleveland and the Cubs should have had good scouting reports on Ryan and these hitters had already seen his stuff, so the fact that he pitched as well if not better the second time around is encouraging. I would have liked to see him get another inning, but maybe they were playing it safe after the injury scare (or maybe they're just not looking to push his pitch counts over 90 this season).

Bremer isn't anywhere close to the worst, and is relatively low on the obnoxiousness scale. Where he (and LaTroy, especially) get into trouble is when they lose track of the game and go into the comedy act. You can always tell when they're reaching for the joke, which makes it inherently less funny. I thought LaTroy was really good last night when he was talking about pitching and Bremer did a good job setting him up for it when talking about Minaya's pitch repertoire and then again with Alcala. That's when that team shines and makes the game more interesting. When they're looking for things to giggle about it doesn't work as well. but Bremer is a very solid pro who generally gets it right (and corrects himself when he makes a mistake)

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1 hour ago, Squirrel said:

Not even close. Hawk Harrelson wins that trophy by a mile, of the ones I've heard. Dick is actually above average, from the ones I've heard. I'm out of area so I listen to a lot of the other teams' broadcasters. But, I get being 'weary' of the ones you have to listen to all. the. time., but he is not the worst or most obnoxious. Listening to the Cubs announcers is no picnic either. Ugh.

Agree with your comments 100%.  Harrelson was and imo remains the MOST BLATANT HOMER of any announcer I've ever heard.  His incessant cheerleading was almost as annoying as his daily bashing of any umpires call that he perceived as hurting the Sox chance of winning.  Not a big Bremer fan as he always ignores poor play/execution by the hometown team.

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33 minutes ago, bighat said:

If you think the Joe Ryan love-fest is bad, you definitely haven't been here long enough to read some of the headlines about Griffin Jax. Now that's misplaced optimism, in my opinion.

I don't think Ryan is over-hyped here. He's been nothing but solid, and in a terrible season I for one am thrilled to see what he's done.

If the Twins don't have Alex Colome on the roster I think they finish a respectable 82-82, warts and all. Colome has single-handedly turned this team into a 90+ loss league-wide embarrassment. If he goes on to make the All-Star team with someone else next year, so be it. Just get this guy as far from Minnesota as possible in 2022.

Thanks for your spot on comments about Colome.  He needs to be GONE soon into the offseason.  Not withstanding the financial cost of bringing him back-----his performance in high leverage situations---has been nothing short of Ron Davis material.  Cut bait and move on.  

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Colome is a tough call because since May he's actually been a pretty good reliver. We need pretty good relievers because the starters are rarely going to go more than 5-6 innings next year unless we bring in a FA that can lead the staff. It's more likely that we'll have a guy like Greinke, then Pineda, than three of the Ober/Ryan/Dobnak/Jax/Barnes/Winder/(fill in more names here) crowd. I agree with the poster who said a mid market team can make it work with 5-6 inning starters with a quality bullpen. Colome could be part of a quality bullpen, but not as a traditional closer. 

The problem is that Baldelli insists on making Colome a traditional style closer. This season has taught us that he is not good at that role at this point in his career. By the way, neither is Taylor Rogers. In order to make this work, we need to either get a free agent "traditional" closer who effectively gets the ball in every save situation, or we need to play matchups and have 3 or 4 guys can pitch in the 8th and 9th inning depending on the opponent and matchups. Baldelli said that shifting/flexibility was what he was going to do, and then he frankly acts like Ron Gardenhire by designating a closer and going to him every time. He exacerbated his mistake by having the wrong guy designated as the closer.  If I would point to one mistake that Baldelli has consistently made this year that makes me question whether he can be an effective major league manager, it's his bullpen management. It has been poor to say the least. He has been inflexible and beholden to the idea that the relievers need to have "set roles" to be effective. This may simply be the problem with having a former player from a different era manage. If we have relievers that have to have a set goal to be effective we need to get different relievers because that is not the way to win modern baseball games.

So, bottom line, happy to keep Colome on the team if he is an interchangeable part rather than a set traditional closer. I question whether Baldelli can actually make that transition. The Front Office may need to take that option away from him. I hope he is self curious and self reflective and really studies what he did this year that didn't work. If he does, he should conclude that his set role bullpen management was a mistake and commit to greater flexibility. if he does that, Colome may have an effective role on this team.

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1 hour ago, LA VIkes Fan said:

Colome is a tough call because since May he's actually been a pretty good reliver. We need pretty good relievers because the starters are rarely going to go more than 5-6 innings next year unless we bring in a FA that can lead the staff. It's more likely that we'll have a guy like Greinke, then Pineda, than three of the Ober/Ryan/Dobnak/Jax/Barnes/Winder/(fill in more names here) crowd. I agree with the poster who said a mid market team can make it work with 5-6 inning starters with a quality bullpen. Colome could be part of a quality bullpen, but not as a traditional closer. 

The problem is that Baldelli insists on making Colome a traditional style closer. This season has taught us that he is not good at that role at this point in his career. By the way, neither is Taylor Rogers. In order to make this work, we need to either get a free agent "traditional" closer who effectively gets the ball in every save situation, or we need to play matchups and have 3 or 4 guys can pitch in the 8th and 9th inning depending on the opponent and matchups. Baldelli said that shifting/flexibility was what he was going to do, and then he frankly acts like Ron Gardenhire by designating a closer and going to him every time. He exacerbated his mistake by having the wrong guy designated as the closer.  If I would point to one mistake that Baldelli has consistently made this year that makes me question whether he can be an effective major league manager, it's his bullpen management. It has been poor to say the least. He has been inflexible and beholden to the idea that the relievers need to have "set roles" to be effective. This may simply be the problem with having a former player from a different era manage. If we have relievers that have to have a set goal to be effective we need to get different relievers because that is not the way to win modern baseball games.

So, bottom line, happy to keep Colome on the team if he is an interchangeable part rather than a set traditional closer. I question whether Baldelli can actually make that transition. The Front Office may need to take that option away from him. I hope he is self curious and self reflective and really studies what he did this year that didn't work. If he does, he should conclude that his set role bullpen management was a mistake and commit to greater flexibility. if he does that, Colome may have an effective role on this team.

Very well-said. 200% agreement 🤝!

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8 hours ago, Squirrel said:

Who's giving Ryan that much credit this soon? I've seen nothing overwhelming from people saying he's the next coming of Johan. Most are pretty tempered about where they think he will end up as a starting pitching contributor. And, he's just getting his feet wet and will have much to prove next season and beyond. But, for right now, he's doing well as a rookie, even starting against bad teams. So what? I don't think the hopefulness is anyone anointing him as anything. We're just happy for the wins and happy for the potential we see. I don't think he will be Johan, not even close. But I think he could be a strong contributor in years to come and that's what I want to see.

Yes to this, Squirrel. Let's enjoy his success. And Kepler's two home runs. And any other good things that we see happen on the field.  Here's to hoping for more successes from any Twin. 

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3 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

Just think - Ryan pitches one more inning and Colome isn't needed!  Please get rid of this guy.

Don't you think if Ryan goes that extra inning, Minaya is the one who is bypassed, and the late innings are covered exactly the same as it played out?

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14 hours ago, ashbury said:

Don't you think if Ryan goes that extra inning, Minaya is the one who is bypassed, and the late innings are covered exactly the same as it played out?

You are probably right, but I would take the extra inning anyway and I really dislike this continuing use of Colome.  

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