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Twins 3, Mariners 2: A Buxton Bomb and Solid Pitching the Recipe that Leads to a Victory.


Twins Daily Contributor

The Minnesota Twins came into Seattle and was able to take advantage of a matchup that favored their bats against Mariners starter Chris Flexen. A Buxton bomb and solid pitching brought the Twins another victory. 

 

Box Score
SP: Chris Archer: 4 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (67 pitches, 39 strikes (58.2%))
Home Runs: Byron Buxton (18)
Top 3 WPA: Emilio Pagan (.175), Jhoan Duran (.129) Byron Buxton (.111)

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

image.png.e3189877a5781afa9ed90cb2b1c659ff.png

Pregame: Reinforcements are Coming
As the Twins flip from the East coast to the West coast, it was learned that some much-needed starting pitching help is on its way. Both Joe Ryan and Sonny Gray are expected to make their return to the Twins rotation during this Seattle series. Ryan has been recovering for Covid while Gray was recovering from an injury to his pectoral muscle. 

Buxton Stays Hot
After winning player of the week honors, Byron Buxton came into Monday night’s game looking at a Seattle starter he has had success when facing. Buxton was 5-for-5 against right-hander Chris Flexen and in the first at-bat, promptly made that 6-for-6. All the while, Buxton added his second home run against Flexen. 

 

The home run put two runs on the board to start the game as an equally good-performing Luis Arraez was on base. Arraez finished the night 2-for-4 with a run and a walk. Buxton finished the game 2-for-5 with the home run and two RBIs.  

Miscues Haunt Twins in Third Inning
With one out and Dylan Moore up to bat, catcher’s interference was called on Gary Sanchez after a review on what should have been ball one. That gave the Mariners a free runner on first base. Eventually, that free runner would come around to score on a grounder to Gio Urshela that he couldn’t quite get out of his glove. A double-play was possible, although hard to turn. 

Then there was almost more disaster as there was a miscommunication between Jose Miranda and Chris Archer on who would cover first base on a ground ball fielded by Miranda. On that play, the Twins still got one out, and the double play would have been difficult to turn. Thankfully, while it was another miscue, it turned out to be a harmless one. 

Archer and Bullpen limit Mariners to Two Runs. 

Chris Archer continues to do exactly what the Twins ask him to do. As we have seen time and time again, it is not flashy and it does not get style points, but it leaves the Twins in a position to win. Monday night was Archer’s tenth start, where he allowed two runs or fewer. 

While the short starts have proven to be very effective, that does leave the Twins bullpen to get through the game's final five innings. Caleb Thielbar and Griffin Jax were the first two, and each had quick innings. Jax continues to show why he should be considered one of the best bullpen arms the Twins currently have, as he even battled back from being down 3-0 to strike out Abraham Toro

It was not until the seventh when the Twins started to run into a bit of trouble. Jharel Cotton coughed up a home run to Taylor Trammell, which cut the Twins lead down to 3-2 after Max Kepler drove in a much-needed insurance run earlier in the inning. Cotton would get two outs but, after issuing a walk, would give way to Joe Smith, who on one pitch retired Ty France to get the Twins out of the inning.  

 

Jhoan Duran was called on to get the eighth inning and came up big for the Twins. The righty pumped his patented 100+ mph fastball across the plate and got two Mariners to strike out. The Twins then called on Emilio Pagan to complete the bridge from starter Archer to the end of the game. Pagan did just that, with the exclamation point being a strike out of Jesse Winker to win the game. 

What’s Next? 
The Twins will continue their series against the Mariners Tuesday. Joe Ryan is reportedly set to return to start for the Twins. Ryan will look to build on a solid season in which he has pitched 43 1/3 innings and owns a 2.28 ERA. The Mariners are scheduled to send right-handed pitcher Logan Gilbert to the mound. Gilbert has had a solid season going into Tuesday with a 2.41 ERA. 

Postgame Interview 

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

Cotton 13 0 26 0 18 57
Pagán 0 15 21 0 18 54
Smith 26 24 0 0 1 51
Duran 15 0 16 0 13 44
Moran 36 0 0 0 0 36
Duffey 0 0 0 33 0 33
Thielbar 0 0 19 0 8 27
Thornburg 0 0 0 26 0 26
Jax 0 14 0 0 12 26
Megill 0 0 16 0 0 16
 

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Verified Member

It is hard to know how to feel about this game.  The win is nice, and the stats look good for us, but................Seattle threw 5 pithers (out of 6) totaling 8 innings with ERA's ranging from 4.30 to 6.57 and a batting order that had 6 out of 9 batting between ,172 and ,234.  We were up 2-zip before an out had been recorded on either side and we barely won 3-2.  Again, it is good to get the win, but I sure was nervous the entire 27 outs.  It took 7 pitchers to put down a weak lineup (save for 2 guys) and we got a total of 3 runs against some pretty so so pitchers.  Once again, it was nice to get the win.  I just hope they don't all get that nerve wracking.  

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3 hours ago, Mark G said:

It is hard to know how to feel about this game.  The win is nice, and the stats look good for us, but................Seattle threw 5 pithers (out of 6) totaling 8 innings with ERA's ranging from 4.30 to 6.57 and a batting order that had 6 out of 9 batting between ,172 and ,234.  We were up 2-zip before an out had been recorded on either side and we barely won 3-2.  Again, it is good to get the win, but I sure was nervous the entire 27 outs.  It took 7 pitchers to put down a weak lineup (save for 2 guys) and we got a total of 3 runs against some pretty so so pitchers.  Once again, it was nice to get the win.  I just hope they don't all get that nerve wracking.  

Yeah, agree that it's bothersome to see the Twins struggle so badly against subpar pitching. In their defense, they did manage 9 hits on the night - most coming from the top of the order. The bottom 3rd of the order (Larnach, Urshela, Celestino) was a horrific 1-for-11 with 7 strikeouts.

The Twins have several unimpressive wins this year, which is much better than having a bunch of impressive losses. Sometimes you just put the W in your pocket and don't think too much about how it got there.

 

 

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51 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

According to the BP chart Moran/Duffey/Thornburg and Megill are the BP arms available tonight.  I hope the starter goes seven, but I doubt that Rocco would allow that on the first game back for Ryan.  

I think you could get an inning each out of the pitchers who worked last night.  Megill might have to be the bridge from Ryan to the end of game bullpen.  Duffey should not be used unless we are trailing big early

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Thats the way it is supposed to work, Arraez leads off with a hit and Buxton cranks one.

Didn't see the game, but have learned to enjoy watching Archer pitch.  The way he bounces around the mound reminds me of a high school kid having the time of his life.  Love it.  Expect they are are going to be very careful with his innings so he can pitch 5 or 6 come the playoffs.

Seems like Jax is really settling into a nice role late in games.  Hopefully, Winder can return next week to be that long relief guy to back Archer up and save the rest of the pen.

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18 minutes ago, roger said:

Thats the way it is supposed to work, Arraez leads off with a hit and Buxton cranks one.

Didn't see the game, but have learned to enjoy watching Archer pitch.  The way he bounces around the mound reminds me of a high school kid having the time of his life.  Love it.  Expect they are are going to be very careful with his innings so he can pitch 5 or 6 come the playoffs.

Seems like Jax is really settling into a nice role late in games.  Hopefully, Winder can return next week to be that long relief guy to back Archer up and save the rest of the pen.

Archer has some great energy, but I have to wonder if he is wasting some on the mound. In boxing you can plainly see when one fighter is bouncing around and the other calmer, the calm fighter has the clear stamina edge as the fight progresses. Other things being relatively equal, of course. 

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Always happy to start a series out with a win. I wonder if the solution on Archer is to pair him with Winder and let them do piggyback starts, trying to get 4 innings out of each of them? (once Winder is back as well) Emptying the bullpen like this is going to be a bit harder once they have to reduce down to 13 pitchers. The schedule is unrelenting; except for the all-star break we're looking at only 2-3 days off a month for the team. But I thought Archer pitched pretty well; he's still finding his command and how to pitch without as good a stuff as he had early in his career, but the slider definitely still plays. As a 5th starter, he's a nice option. 

Arraez just keeps it going. Opposing pitchers have got to be sick of seeing him come up to the plate. (if he's able to punish mistakes with XBH a little more often that'll be even better, like we've seen recently) He's just a really tough out, and hitting him in front of Buxton, Correa, etc should put a lot of runs on the board.

I'll take the win!

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Always take a win!  I do hope the Twins clean it up soon. They have been making too many fundamental mistakes. 
Taking a step back they have come through a horrible injury patch quite nicely and now we get two good starters back. 
Oh and Miranda needs to focus on third base wherever that may be. 

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1 hour ago, roger said:

Hopefully, Winder can return next week to be that long relief guy to back Archer up and save the rest of the pen.

Winder is a better starting pitcher than Bundy.

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47 minutes ago, DJL44 said:

I think you mean strike one. You can't have catcher's interference unless the batter swings.

The swing was checked and at least the broadcast initially put it up as a ball. Maybe that isn't what the call would have been, but in the moment that is what I saw. 

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1 hour ago, DJL44 said:

Winder is a better starting pitcher than Bundy.

True.  But hopefully, health permitting, they will soon have Gray, Ryan, Ober, Smeltzer and Archer.  With Winder piggy-backing with Archer and Bundy in long relief...or moved on down the road for a AA reliever, ala those two trades last July.  I forget which starter they sent to St. Louis, but after a rough couple months last fall Sisk is having a really nice year.

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I could not stay up for full game, but when I look at boxscore I wonder why Archer would not go out for 5th.  I assume it is because they were going into 3rd time round on line up and for whatever reason he will never get a chance to go a third time round.  Maybe it is the right call every time, I mean we won, and none of the pitchers used threw a ton of pitches. 

I am glad to see both Ryan and Gray are slotted to pitch next two games.  

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11 minutes ago, Trov said:

I could not stay up for full game, but when I look at boxscore I wonder why Archer would not go out for 5th.  I assume it is because they were going into 3rd time round on line up and for whatever reason he will never get a chance to go a third time round.  Maybe it is the right call every time, I mean we won, and none of the pitchers used threw a ton of pitches. 

I am glad to see both Ryan and Gray are slotted to pitch next two games.  

It seems fairly clear at this point that Archer will be allowed to face 18 batters and no more.  As such, I honestly have no idea why they wouldn't use an opener for him, and the allow him to face 21 batters (since batters 19-21 would theoretically be 4-6 or 5-7 instead of 1-3).

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21 minutes ago, Trov said:

I could not stay up for full game, but when I look at boxscore I wonder why Archer would not go out for 5th.  I assume it is because they were going into 3rd time round on line up and for whatever reason he will never get a chance to go a third time round.  Maybe it is the right call every time, I mean we won, and none of the pitchers used threw a ton of pitches. 

I am glad to see both Ryan and Gray are slotted to pitch next two games.  

It is clearly their plan. A plan which seems to be keeping him healthy and effective. I hope at some point he and Winder can piggyback.....as Winder won't be pitching a HUGE amount of innings this year.

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2 hours ago, roger said:

True.  But hopefully, health permitting, they will soon have Gray, Ryan, Ober, Smeltzer and Archer.  With Winder piggy-backing with Archer and Bundy in long relief...or moved on down the road for a AA reliever, ala those two trades last July.  I forget which starter they sent to St. Louis, but after a rough couple months last fall Sisk is having a really nice year.

Seems like a very plausible scenario because it's not hard to see them moving Bundy once the others are healthy.  Plus, piggy-backing two guys that you don't want pitching a bunch of innings is a pretty good solution.

It was JA Happ that they sent to St. Louis and wouldn't it be something if Evan Sisk turned out to be useful BP piece for several years.  That would be quite a trade and a similar outcome from trading Bundy would be just great.

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