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Twins 9, Royals 2: Another Late Inning Rally and Twins Win!


Twins Daily Contributor

Joe Ryan made the Friday night start for the Twins. Ryan struggled in his previous start, allowing a season-high five walks. Whether he was squeezed or just had a rough game, the rookie pitcher showed resilience and bounced back in this appearance. He and the offense left a fun mark on the night.

Box Score
SP: Joe Ryan 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (79 pitches, 51 strikes (64.5%))
Home Runs:  0
Top 3 WPA: Luis Arraez (.203), Joe Ryan (.139), Max Kepler (.110)

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

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Minimal Pitchers, Maximum Impact
It’s true the pitching staff has been a little beat up, mainly due to a shortened spring training, but one pitcher has been a constant since the season started. Tonight, the Twins won the game only using four pitchers.

With all the crazy moves that the pitchers have been experiencing with injuries, Ryan has been a bright spot in the pitching rotation. Ryan has made each of his scheduled starts and continued to work.

Right now, Joe Ryan is among five pitchers who have a low Opponent Batting Average so far this season. With 35 innings pitched, he has a .179 Opp BA with Michael Kopech having .137 at number one. The hitters do have a hard time against the rookie. Ryan has given up only 24 hits and 10 runs in his 37 2/3 innings this season, keeping the scoring of the other team at a minimum. His numbers continue to impress. 

During a mound visit at the bottom of the sixth inning, Wes Johnson appeared to give Ryan an atta-boy, pep talk to get him through the remaining part of the inning. Ryan could not close out the inning giving two of the night's walks to load the bases, but he did leave the game with only one run and the Twins ahead and subsequently lowering his ERA. 

With bases loaded and two outs, Caleb Thielbar came on to get out of the sixth inning with no damage with a pop-fly caught by Gilberto Celestino

Thielbar managed damage control in the sixth with the bases loaded but gave up a solo home run on a knuckleball on his sixth pitch of the game in the bottom of the seventh. Thielbar had two outs before walking Benintendi, causing Rocco Baldelli to bring in Joe Smith.  

Smith worked his magic to keep the hitters at bay during the seventh and eighth inning. The Twins kept Smith out longer than normal, putting him in a small bind at the bottom of the eighth inning. He ended the inning with a breaking ball and another scoreless inning for the sidewinder.

A Little Help from Our Friends
The Twins offense has been hard at work attempting to win games with more than a run or two cushion.  After some well-placed insurance runs from Jose Miranda Thursday night, game two is stacked with another round of powerhouses to continue what started last night. 

Two of the surprises in the line-up have been unexpected, but truly appreciated and officially have been accepted as a Minnesota Twin by the fan base. Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela both came from the Yankees before the season started and have officially earned a place in our hearts and on the field. Both players played a huge part in tonight’s win against the Royals.

Sanchez amassed a lot of negativities from the Yankees community while there and initially from Twins fans as well when the trade happened. Sanchez was known for passed balls while catching and an inconsistent hitter at the plate. 

Since coming to the Twins, Sanchez has been a little slow getting settled, but in his past four games, Sanchez has been responsible for five of the RBI which also included two home runs and three doubles. His batting average may be showing .229, but what doesn’t show is his ability to come through lately in a clutch situation. 

Urshela has struggled at the plate. Whether out of comfort, change, or just a slump, the third baseman has had a hard time finding his stride at the plate. What Urshela lacked at the plate until recently, he has certainly made up for at defense lately making some insane plays to get players out, including one from the seat of his pants. 

Urshela’s confidence has certainly increased while making clutch plays at third base has seemed to transfer to his confidence at the plate. As of May 20, versus Kansas City, Urshela has been hitting .238 with five hits, two home runs, and five RBI. Urshela seems comfortable in the five or six spots in the line-up, as opposed to the early part of the line-up. Thanks to a sac bunt tonight from Celestino, Urshela who took a walk at his second plate appearance, made an advance to third base and was the first player to score tonight on a sacrifice from Buxton. Certainly, things are looking up for him on this squad. 

Certainly, the acquisitions from the Yankees have been fantastic, but the lineup as a whole has been wicked over the past six games.  Tonight, Byron Buxton started out by draining ten pitches out of Brad Keller, the starting pitcher for Kansas City, but remained hitless tonight, but he was walked in the ninth contributing to the night of fun and runs he and his teammates had. 

Another Night of Fun and Runs
Twins' fans have been loving the small ball the club has been playing the past two nights. No home runs and a few bunts made a contribution to the excitement of the "small ball" feel. With the exception of Ryan Jeffers, Luis Arraez, Jeffers, and Urshela, the bats stayed relatively quiet after the third inning where both teams got on the board until Brad Keller seemed to lose control of the zone in the sixth even more so than the inning prior and walked Arraez. That walk was just the beginning of the insanity that was the remaining part of the game for the club.

With Keller walking Arraez, Polanco grounded out to first, and allowed Arraez to get into scoring position. Kepler followed up quickly with a single scoring Arraez, quickly followed by Sanchez who hit yet another double scoring Kepler, giving the Twins a three-run cushion. 

There was certainly no sense of urgency from the offense tonight, but they were able to move through the night with minimal hits and nothing from the powerhouses, it was quiet until Arraez ran home and slid headfirst superman style on a wild pitch from Speier after he initially walked (again) to start the inning. Arraez who walked twice tonight, also scored twice for the club. 


The Twins loaded up the bases in the top of the ninth with only one out left and once again, Arraez comes through for the club hitting a ball to right field bringing home Urshela but keeping the bases loaded for Correa who broke open the game even further with a solid hit to right field scoring two more runs. 

By the time the ninth inning was over for the Twins, they had another three runs bringing the score to 9-2, a safe cushion as Cody Stashak came out to finish the game for the Twins. 

The Twins have scored 29 runs in three games, with no homeruns and a three-game winning streak! is this real life!?

Do you think the Twins can sweep the Royals? Tune in tomorrow to find out and welcome back Bailey Ober from the IL!
 

What’s Next? 

The Twins finish out their series with the Royals Sunday at 1:10 pm before returning home to an eleven-game homestand including Detroit and another series with Kansas City.

Pitching matchup tomorrow: 

  • Sunday 1:10 pm CST: Bailey Ober (1-1, 2.75 ERA) vs RHP Brady Singer (1-0, 2.84 ERA) 

Postgame Interview 

 

 

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

 

 

- TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT
             
Duran 0 23 0 16 0 39
Thielbar 16 0 0 0 18 34
Stashak 0 13 0 0 18 31
Smith 0 0 0 0 21 21
Cano 0 19 0 0 0 19
Pagán 0 0 0 19 0 19
Jax 0 0 0 18 0 18
Duffey 0 0 0 18 0 18
Megill 0 0 0 0 0 0
 

 


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Excellent summary Sherry on tonight's game Sherry.

As one of very few Twins fans living in the KC area ( I assume), its a very good thing to secure a series win over KC after losing 2 of 3 here last month. Will be tough completing a sweep tomorrow as I'm sure Ober will be on a limited pitch count.  Also, Twins haven't swept a road series in KC--if you can call a 2 wins a sweep--since April 2019.

Saying that, the last 2 games demonstrate how this team can and needs to win games the remainder of the season.  Timely hitting with RISP is the key. True, I know for all teams, but with the continued solid defense, good starting pitching and an effective bullpen we've recently gotten-----winning games without the long ball by bunching basehits will be a crucial factor for this team to play meaningful games after the All Star break.

As many are aware---the next 13 games---------5 vs. KC and 8 vs. DET---------are very important for this team as the schedule gets significantly more difficult in early to mid June with 12 games against TOR, NY, TB and SEA.

 

 

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1 hour ago, tarheeltwinsfan said:

I really do like two sacrifice bunts in one game. In fact, Tim Laudner said in the post game wrap up that  he almost fell out of his chair with the second sacrifice bunt in one game. He loved them. 

I really appreciate that this team is consistently and actively hunting for in-game advantages. They use their weapons. I applaud the shift-busting singles, too.

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Sweet Luis Arraez is becoming the heart of this Twins baseball team. He's scrappy, determined, savors every ball that comes his way. 

Joe Ryan makes it look easy. His unhurried, deliberate delivery makes it look like pitching at the highest level is just an easy game of catch with his buddy Ryan Jeffers. It's as if a guy throwing batting practice suddenly finds himself striking out everybody. A pleasure to watch.

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Radke, J. Santana, Liriano, Pavano, E. Santana, Berrios....is Joe Ryan the next great Twins ace? For all those still sore about the Taylor Rogers trade, please remember that a few months earlier the Twins got Joe Ryan for a 41 year-old Nelson Cruz.

Correa is looking like every bit of the player we hoped he'd be upon signing. If the bases are loaded in the 2022 MLB playoffs, I'm taking Carlos 10 time out of 10 over Royce Lewis, and I think we all would if we are being honest with ourselves. Huge difference maker in many ways on this team.

Buxton's average down to .228, ahead of only Jeffers (.211) and Polanco (.223) among Twins regulars. I know batting average doesn't matter to most people any more, but it would be good to see Buxton bust out of his mini-slump sometime soon, and same goes for Polanco.

After winning the first 2 games of the series, Rocco's definitely going to have the B Team in today, despite that I think they have a good chance to sweep. Yesterday's bench was Garlick, Gordon and Jeffers - if all three of those guys play today that's not exactly chopped liver.

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Very nice win. Would love to see the team sweep the Royals, who don't have the same depth the Twins do to handle the injuries they're dealing with. No sympathy, no mercy: take advantage and sweep 'em.

I'm a huge Ryan fan, so it was good to see him get back on track a little. Would have liked for him to have been able to finish the 6th because with that pitch count he could have stepped back out for the 7th, but in a close game and his control a little wobbly it was the right decision to lift him. But he's still having an excellent season and he's exactly what the Twins were hoping he'd be. He's fun to watch: smooth, works fast, and sure seems to frustrate hitters up there.

Really nice to see Sanchez doing well. Amazing what can happen for a player when they get out of a bad situation and find a fresh start. I'll take that OPS+ of 125 from him.

Arraez has been pretty remarkable: a .324 BA in this hitting environment is absurd. 

And let's have a few props for Celestino, who has played very very well since coming back up. Love seeing him have success against MLB pitching after such a rough first taste in 2021. The defense is good, he's hitting...he's the perfect 4th OF for this team, IMHO. Good in CF when Buxton gets a day off, can handle either of the corners nicely, and his RH bat complements guys like Kepler, Larnach (when he's back), Kirilloff (when he's back) nicely.

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9 hours ago, darwin22 said:

Excellent summary Sherry on tonight's game Sherry.

As one of very few Twins fans living in the KC area ( I assume), its a very good thing to secure a series win over KC after losing 2 of 3 here last month. Will be tough completing a sweep tomorrow as I'm sure Ober will be on a limited pitch count.  Also, Twins haven't swept a road series in KC--if you can call a 2 wins a sweep--since April 2019.

Saying that, the last 2 games demonstrate how this team can and needs to win games the remainder of the season.  Timely hitting with RISP is the key. True, I know for all teams, but with the continued solid defense, good starting pitching and an effective bullpen we've recently gotten-----winning games without the long ball by bunching basehits will be a crucial factor for this team to play meaningful games after the All Star break.

As many are aware---the next 13 games---------5 vs. KC and 8 vs. DET---------are very important for this team as the schedule gets significantly more difficult in early to mid June with 12 games against TOR, NY, TB and SEA.

 

 

You would be surprised how many Twins fan live in the KC area, me included. The section I sat in last night behind the visitors dugout was full of Twins fans. 

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1 hour ago, rwilfong86 said:

You would be surprised how many Twins fan live in the KC area, me included. The section I sat in last night behind the visitors dugout was full of Twins fans. 

What part of the metro area do you live in?  I'm on MO side, 20 minutes east of the ballpark in Blue Springs.

Good to know other fans reside in area as in previous years when I attended games it seemed that over 90% of Twins fans were from the metro Minneapolis/SP area.  This was before Target Field came into existence in 2010.  

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1 hour ago, darwin22 said:

What part of the metro area do you live in?  I'm on MO side, 20 minutes east of the ballpark in Blue Springs.

Good to know other fans reside in area as in previous years when I attended games it seemed that over 90% of Twins fans were from the metro Minneapolis/SP area.  This was before Target Field came into existence in 2010.  

I live in Atchison, about an hour north on the Kansas side. 

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12 hours ago, miller761 said:

The Astro series taught us that the real elite teams work the count, take their walks, can bunt and play small ball when needed. Good to see the Twins putting more emphasis on that. It makes a difference in big games and the playoffs.

I couldn’t agree more. What the Astros series should have shown us is that the elite teams do everything necessary to score runs, not relying on just one approach. It’s great to see the Twins start to do the same thing.

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53 minutes ago, puckstopper1 said:

Wait - Pavano was an ace?  I must have missed that one... 🤣

For the Twins in 2010 Carl was 17-11 with a 3.75 ERA and led all of MLB with 7 complete games. It was definitely a short-lived period of dominance but I think he certainly had an historic season for a Twins pitcher.

 

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