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Twins 9, Rays 3: Winder Dominates in First Start, Twins Take Series from Rays


Twins Daily Contributor

Josh Winder went to the mound Sunday afternoon for his first Major League start, and his teammates gave him an early favor by scoring five runs in the first inning. The Twins went on to a 9-3 win, and a series win on the road in Tampa. 

 

Box Score
SP: Josh Winder 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (83 pitches, 54 strikes (65 strike %))
Home Runs: Byron Buxton (7)
Top 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco (.131), Kyle Garlick (.106), Josh Winder (.102) 

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

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The Twins bats were ready to continue their hot streak from Saturday against the Rays on Sunday and wasted no time doing so. The top of the first brought about a lot of excitement for the Twins as Byron Buxton reached base on a throwing error from Rays shortstop Taylor Walls which advanced him to second. In the next at-bat Carlos Correa hit a single to have two runners on for Kyle Garlick.

Garlick was able to drive in the Twins' first run of the game with an RBI single to right which scored Buxton. This had two runners aboard for Jorge Polanco who drove both Correa and Garlick in on a bases-clearing double to make it a 3-0 Twins lead. Gio Urshela was the Twins first out of the inning, but Max Kepler came up next to make it a 4-0 game on another double. 

The scoring didn’t stop there for the Twins in the top of the first. Gary Sanchez followed Kepler’s RBI double with an RBI single of his own to make it 5-0. Left fielder Gilberto Celestino ended the inning with a double play hit to Walls but the Twins still gave Winder an extensive lead for his first MLB start. 

The Twins offense certainly stood out during Sunday’s game but Winder was the star of the game making his first MLB start. Winder had made three bullpen appearances for the Twins before Sunday only looking rough in his MLB debut against the Dodgers on April 12. The six inning workload that Winder pitched on Sunday was not set to be a challenge either. Winder had a relief appearance of 5 1/3 innings on April 16 after Sonny Gray was removed from his start due to injury. 

Winder’s start against the Rays was his best pitching appearance of 2022 to date. Six shutout innings, only three base runners on two hits and a walk and seven strikeouts proved why the Twins were smart to put him on the Opening Day roster. 

After the first inning that almost had the Twins bat around, the scoring didn’t stop there for them. Buxton was the next to add on a run for the Twins as he hit his seventh home run of the season to deep left field in the top of the fourth. The Twins bats wouldn’t do anything again until the top of the seventh where they scored an additional two runs thanks to another Polanco bases-clearing double. 

Trevor Larnach, who came into the game for Garlick who had to leave due to a hamstring injury, made sure the Twins weren’t done scoring in the top of the eighth. Larnach drove in Celestino on an RBI single to make it a 9-1 game for the Twins. 

The Twins bullpen was not able to keep the shoutout going for Winder after he left the game. Tyler Duffey came into the game in the bottom of the seventh and gave up an RBI double to Walls to make it a 8-1 game.

Following Duffey’s one-run inning, Twins Daily 13th-ranked prospect Cole Sands came into the game to make his Major League debut in the bottom of the eighth. After recording the first out, Sands struggled surrendering three straight hits and two earned runs. Sands recovered though as he recorded his first two big-league strikeouts to get out of the eighth inning. 

Even with his struggles in the eighth, Rocco Baldelli sent his newly arrived reliever in for the ninth to close the game out for the Twins. Sands cooled off completely in the ninth throwing a one, two, three ninth inning to give the Twins the win and series victory on the road against Tampa.

What’s Next? 

The Twins will start the second series of this road trip against Baltimore tomorrow night at 6:05 p.m. CT. Chris Paddack will be making his fourth start for the Twins against the Orioles 6’8 righty Tyler Wells

Postgame Interview 

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

  WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT
             
Coulombe 20 0 35 0 0 55
Jax 0 46 0 0 0 46
Stashak 0 18 0 14 0 32
Sands 0 0 0 0 30 30
Duffey 0 8 0 0 17 25
Duran 0 0 0 20 0 20
Smith 10 0 0 9 0 19
Thielbar 0 0 0 15 0 15
Pagán 0 0 0 0 0 0

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Outstanding performance by Winder today.  I've been very high on Winder as a future stalwart in this rotation as I saw him dominate in 2 starts last season while pitching for Wichita.  With Ober's recent IL stint, its pretty obvious Winder earned another start with his gem today.  Will be interesting to see what move will be made when Sonny Gray comes off IL soon.  For those not aware, Gray had an excellent rehab start today for Fort Myers: 3 shutout IP while allowing only 1 hit with 5 K's and zero walks.  Threw 43 pitches/ 28 for strikes.  Likely will see Gray move up to make 1 more rehab start at SP later this week.  Nice to finally see Polanco's bat come alive (2- 2-run RBI doubles) as well as Buxton crush his 7th HR.  

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This team looks good. Probably better over the last week and a half since some point in 2019.

The pitching pipeline is here. We've talked about it for a couple years now, and a lot of people said "I'll believe it when I see it." We've seen a good chunk of it now. Winder, Ober, Duran, Ryan (though only part of our pipeline for a few months).  Still early for Winder but I think he's gaining confidence in his pitches and will be at least a solid starter for years to come. We're only a couple more pitchers making the transition away from having a mostly homegrown rotation and bullpen that is really good.

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1 hour ago, USAFChief said:

Nice series win, and Winder was very impressive.

 

Want to give a shout out to the defense, not just for today, but all year so far. It's been very good, and has been the difference in at least a couple Ws this year. 

vs last year ... yeah ... I'm just loving what's happening out there on the field. As I said in the game thread ... this chick digs a good defense! :) 

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1 hour ago, tony&rodney said:

Celestino looks more comfortable and made a nice catch. Larnach is going to get a ton of at bats with Sano on the IL. Urshela and Arraez figure to play regularly as well

Can't believe it, but I was very "out of it" all week trying to work with a really bad cold bug, what happened to Sano? I completely missed it somehow.

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Winder looked outstanding. His stuff Plays, but his composure and approach really catches my eye.

Really, EVERYONE is starting to hit and contribute, and not just bombas. And even though Polanco has been a little late to the table, a stat today showed he has been hitting .280 with 7/8RBI with RISP despite his slow start. This is the offense I expected, with the exception of Larnach in AK's spot.

Kudos to Rocco, IMO, for having faith/patience and not giving Sands a quick hook. It would be understandable, despite the lead, to do so considering facing a good team on the road and not wanting to take any chances. But once Sands got that first K he really settled down. He flashed the stuff that makes him a top 20 prospect and finished strong.

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59 minutes ago, GKuehl said:

Winder > Ober? When he comes back does Ober slot into the bullpen with Winder retaining a rotation spot? 

Josh Winder may have slightly better stuff than Bailey Ober, but Ober has better command, at least right now. However, with Wes Johnson coaching pitchers, don't be surprised if Ober adds another 2 or 3 mph to his heater over the next year or so. Both these guys can dominate, and both of them will give their team a chance to win. 

Funny how your pitchers tend to dominate when you've got Carlos Correa, Jorge Polanco and Byron Buxton up the middle. Those guys regularly take away hits and runs from opponents. 

Note: We have now seen Trevor Larnach gun down two guys trying to take home on his arm. Can Kirilloff throw like that? 

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15 minutes ago, PDX Twin said:

Somehow this list does not inspire a lot of confidence! Only Milton was a successful starter.

Josh Winder, 2022 Devin Smeltzer, 2019 Andrew Albers, 2013 Anthony Swarzak, 2009 Benj Sampson, 1998 Eric Milton, 1998 Rick Lysander, 1983 Jim Roland, 1963

I think those were different kinds of pitchers though.  Smeltzer and Albers were low velocity control artist pitchers.  I think Swarzak was somewhat the same but I can't remember that far back now.  They all had low K/9's and were more pitchers that gave up poor contact which helped them be somewhat successful.  Especially in SSS.  To your point at least those three ended up not being that great.  Although Smeltzer still has a chance to change his story to some degree.

Winder throws 94-96 and has good enough secondary's to get strike outs.  So I think he will have a different outcome, but it is early.

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1 hour ago, DocBauer said:

what happened to Sano? I completely missed it somehow.

Leg (knee) soreness or something similar. He sat out a few games and then had to be replaced during Saturday's game. If he can heal, rest, recover in the warmth of the Fort Myers sunshine, Sano could return in two weeks a new man.

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Winder looked terrific. Glad to see him get a regular start and show what he could do. The stuff looked excellent, and he was very composed on the mound. This ump had a big zone today, but I still believe that you only get those calls if you're able to stay around the zone. Winder did and took advantage of it, but he also made guys swing and miss. Please stay healthy!

Offense looks like it's getting going, defense is really quality. TB is a good team, and beating them at their place is always good.

Sands was wobbly at the start, but this was a good game to bring him in for: big lead, easy to be patient with him. He's flashed some things, so we'll see. He's got talent, time to see how it plays.

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2 hours ago, GKuehl said:

Winder > Ober? When he comes back does Ober slot into the bullpen with Winder retaining a rotation spot? 

Ober's not going anywhere if healthy. Being a pragmatist, Ober is still young/inexperienced at the ML level. It's still possible he hits a rough patch and needs a re-set at St Paul at some point. (Though I doubt it). As much as I like Winder and believe he's part of the future and is ready now, Ober isn't going anywhere. He's going to be in the rotation for the next several years. He's good.

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5 minutes ago, tony&rodney said:

Leg (knee) soreness or something similar. He sat out a few games and then had to be replaced during Saturday's game. If he can heal, rest, recover in the warmth of the Fort Myers sunshine, Sano could return in two weeks a new man.

Thanks! Can't believe I missed this. Damn cold!

So he gets well in warmth and sunshine, gets a few milb AB, and comes up as the weather turns ready to rake? I like the way you think!

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