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Twins 4, Tigers 1: Debutants Do Their Part, Twins Take the Series Win


Thiéres Rabelo
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Minnesota’s pitchers combined for a fantastic afternoon on the mound, and the offense came through when needed, despite some early struggles, helping the Twins to secure a series victory against the Tigers at Target Field.

Box Score
Starting Pitcher: Joe Ryan, 5 IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 9K (78 pitches, 63 strikes, 80.8%)
Home Runs: none
Top 3 WPA: Sandy León (.200), Joe Ryan (.155), Michael Fulmer (.079)
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
chart.png.9fe38957451ee8bf04c93c535f8d51b3.png

Four new ballplayers joined the Twins at Tuesday’s trade deadline, three pitchers (Tyler Mahle, Jorge López, and Michael Fulmer) and a catcher (Sandy León). With Minnesota’s pitching going through an incredibly rough patch for weeks now, it was natural for the pitcher trades to be celebrated the most. But it was the lone bat acquired in those deals to make some noise first.

After going down in order in the first inning, the offense set the wheels in motion in the second. TD’s hitter of the month of July, José Miranda kicked things off with a leadoff single shortly before Nick Gordon drew a one-out walk. Lefty Tyler Alexander managed to retire Jake Cave for the second out, but he couldn’t dodge the León bullet. Batting eighth in his very first at-bat as a Twin, León drove in both runners with a double to the left-field corner.

Unfortunately for the Twins, the offense couldn’t do much outside that second inning. Alexander pitched three perfect innings around it, keeping the Twins bats on a leash. Fortunately for the Twins, though, Joe Ryan had a tremendous start to this game – perhaps another impact brought to the table by León. Ryan tossed four scoreless innings to open this game, allowing only two hits while striking out seven.

During the fifth, he had some issues, causing him to hit two batters and allowing Riley Greene to push the leadoff runner across, scoring Detroit’s first run. Ryan limited the damage to the one run by striking out the next two batters for a total of nine through five. Also, TD’s Nick Nelson found this gem:

Came the sixth inning, and Rocco Baldelli decided it was time to have another new Twin make his debut for Minnesota. Fulmer needed only 13 pitches, nine of which were strikes, to toss a scoreless frame with a punch out. He also caught former teammate Harold Castro trying to steal second to end the inning. In the home sixth, Byron Buxton led things off with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and was pushed across by a Carlos Correa single, making it 3-1 Minnesota.

While Caleb Thielbar and Jhoan Duran did a fine job keeping the lead intact through the seventh and eighth innings, the bats had a hard time adding on. Cave and León got back-to-back hits in the seventh (León’s first multi-hit game of the season), but both runners ended up being stranded. But they managed to get one more insurance run for Jorge Lopez to have an easier time trying to get his first save as a Twin in the ninth.

Buxton led off the eighth with a single, shortly before Jorge Polanco got his first hit of the afternoon, a one-out single. Miranda drew a walk to load the bases with one out, and the Twins had the chance to break the game open. Gio Urshela hit a sac-fly to center to score Buxton from third, but that was all Minnesota got, as Gordon struck out next to end the inning. López stepped up for his first save opportunity with Minnesota and he breezed through the ninth, retiring the side on seven pitches, concluding a perfect debut for the new fellows.

Postgame interview

What’s Next?
The Twins continue their homestand on Thursday when they start a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Target Field. The first pitch of game one is scheduled for tomorrow at 6:40 pm CDT, with Sonny Gray (3.41 ERA) taking the mound for Minnesota and Alek Manoah (2.43 ERA) starting for Toronto.

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

  SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT
             
Pagán 20 20 0 16 0 56
Jax 11 0 20 24 0 55
Duran 11 0 10 0 19 40
Megill 7 23 0 8 0 38
Fulmer 0 0 23 0 13 36
Duffey 28 0 0 7 0 35
Moran 0 16 0 10 0 26
Thielbar 0 7 0 0 11 18
López 0 0 0 0 7 7
 

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How refreshing it was to watch such a clean backend of the game.  I hope to see much more of that down the stretch.

 

It's also great to see immediate returns on 3 of the new acquisitions.  Hopefully we'll get to see good returns on the fourth in short order.

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9 minutes ago, puckstopper1 said:

Based on the headline of the article I was wondering how a bunch of young women of aristocratic/upper-class background helped the Twins win today....  🤣🤣

And how embarrassing that they all seem to  have worn the same dress. :)

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Seems to me good relief efforts are contagious; I'm expecting everyone to step it up now that there's some momentum. 

If, IF the Twins get any of Maeda, Alcala, Winder or Ober back, is it a sure thing that Moran and/or Megill are next in line to lose their job? Or might it be Pagan and/or Duffey?

Edit: I forgot Mahle hasn't been added yet, so that decision is forth coming. Interestingly, none of those four pitched today. Had one of them gotten overworked, that may have given us a hint.

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Love to see our defensive switch hitting Leon get 2 hits & 2 RBIs. Maybe he's breaking out hitting? That's what we need and needed today.

 Our BP really feel right with these 2 new RPs. We are ready to challenge our competition, whoever they might be. Still like to see our top of the order wake up.

I'm really excited to see Mahle pitch. That would really get my post season motor racing.

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20 minutes ago, stringer bell said:

The irregulars in the outfield have done pretty well so far. It is going to be a tall order to slug with Toronto. The Twins will need contributions from most of the roster this weekend. 

Will Toronto be missing any non-vaccinated players? Or does that just go one way?

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Ryan rebounds well from a rough outing.  3/4ths of the new Twins make a huge contribution today.  And the Twins bullpen needs only 50 pitches to hold the lead for 4 innings, precisely what the Tiger pen did yesterday..

The reinforcements are welcome.  Now the top of the lineup needs to find another gear.  If that happens, meaningful October baseball is quite possible.

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51 minutes ago, nicksaviking said:

If, IF the Twins get any of Maeda, Alcala, Winder or Ober back, is it a sure thing that Moran and/or Megill are next in line to lose their job? Or might it be Pagan and/or Duffey?

Edit: I forgot Mahle hasn't been added yet, so that decision is forth coming. Interestingly, none of those four pitched today. Had one of them gotten overworked, that may have given us a hint.

Moran is being optioned tonight to activate Mahle.

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51 minutes ago, nicksaviking said:

If, IF the Twins get any of Maeda, Alcala, Winder or Ober back, is it a sure thing that Moran and/or Megill are next in line to lose their job? Or might it be Pagan and/or Duffey?

Edit: I forgot Mahle hasn't been added yet, so that decision is forth coming. Interestingly, none of those four pitched today. Had one of them gotten overworked, that may have given us a hint.

I think there's one more game to go before Mahle starts - Gray pitching tomorrow. So it actually lines up: any of those relievers will be fresh tomorrow, and one of them could give some length and then be replaced on the roster. I don't think Pagan or Duffey is in real danger of losing his spot - like it or not, veteran-ness will play a role. 

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1 minute ago, whosafraidofluigirussolo said:

Is there a reason to activate Mahle a day early if it means losing a reliever who could pitch tomorrow? Does he need to be activated to work out with the team or something?

Yes. Traded players have up to 72 hours to report to their new team, but as soon as they report, you need to add them to the 26-man roster. Mahle was planning to throw a bullpen session for us today, in advance of his Friday start:

 

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58 minutes ago, IowaBeancounter said:

Bullpen is completely changed.  Which reliever with get option (or DFAd), when Mahle is added?

 

It will likely be Moran since he has options remaining.

Saying that, I'd prefer to keep Moran with either Pagan or Duffey to be DFA'ed.  

If that happens, I'm guessing its Duffey that gets the ax as I doubt the front office will be willing to admit their error in trading for Pagan.

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46 minutes ago, stringer bell said:

The irregulars in the outfield have done pretty well so far. It is going to be a tall order to slug with Toronto. The Twins will need contributions from most of the roster this weekend. 

The Jays have issues now, too. Won't be seeing much of Springer, if at all. 

Essentially that's why they picked up Merrifield.

Stripling, who's been pitching well, just went on the IL.

Bichette's just not hitting.

A week or 10 days ago, I was dreading this series. Now, not so much.

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11 minutes ago, Otto von Ballpark said:

Moran is being optioned tonight to activate Mahle.

Looking at the bullpen chart, seems Moran or Megill were the two on the bubble.  Does Megill have options remaining?  If not, that was the deciding factor.  Also may want to get Moran back to St Paul with the mission to reduce the walks.

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11 minutes ago, darwin22 said:

It will likely be Moran since he has options remaining.

Saying that, I'd prefer to keep Moran with either Pagan or Duffey to be DFA'ed.  

If that happens, I'm guessing its Duffey that gets the ax as I doubt the front office will be willing to admit their error in trading for Pagan.

Would be nice to see the front office own a mistake and do what is right.  Learn from your mistakes vs hiding from them and front office should do the same.  Pagan is a nervous option for all fans everytime he jogs onto the field.

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42 minutes ago, roger said:

Looking at the bullpen chart, seems Moran or Megill were the two on the bubble.  Does Megill have options remaining?  If not, that was the deciding factor.  Also may want to get Moran back to St Paul with the mission to reduce the walks.

Megill also has options remaining — 2021 was his first option year.

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If I’m honest, I think Pagan is going to pull a Colome and pitch well going forward despite fan unrest. Those walks were a bit of a career aberration.

But I got a long memory so I’d have been OK if he was released instead of sending Moran down. 
 

Though Duffey might be a biggest question mark anyway.

Also, to continue the rambling, is it too much to ask to sign Jeurys Familia too? His BABIP is over .400 this year. His being terrible seems like flukey SSS stuff.

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3 hours ago, whosafraidofluigirussolo said:

I think there's one more game to go before Mahle starts - Gray pitching tomorrow. So it actually lines up: any of those relievers will be fresh tomorrow, and one of them could give some length and then be replaced on the roster. I don't think Pagan or Duffey is in real danger of losing his spot - like it or not, veteran-ness will play a role. 

Unless your name is Joe Smith.

Why do they get 2 days to at Mahle to the roster? (Edit: Okay, otto answered this already.)

Edited by Shaitan
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