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Twins 4, Red Sox 2: Urshela, Bullpen Come Up Clutch to Extend Win Streak to Four


Twins Daily Contributor

The Minnesota Twins were able to extend their winning streak to four games Monday night. Dylan Bundy and the bullpen were able to hold the Red Sox bats at bay and Gio Urshela got the go-ahead, bases-clearing double to secure the victory. 

 

Box Score
SP: Dylan Bundy: 4 2/3 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (86 pitches, 62 strikes (72.1%))
Home Runs: N/A
Top 3 WPA: Gio Urshela (.464), Caleb Thielbar (.113), Nick Gordon (.103)  

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

image.png.6cbbe7b5bd770b507eb0a690a921bfc9.png

The Minnesota Twins enter into Monday night’s game on the heels of a three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants. That sweep had the hometown nine two games back of Cleveland for the AL Central lead. The Twins need to keep things going against a Boston Red Sox team whose record does not look great, but there are plenty of dangerous names up and down their roster. 

Prior to Monday's game there was a notable bullpen move. Devin Smeltzer was optioned back to St. Paul while fellow lefty Jovani Moran was brought back to the Twins. 

Before we get to the game, could you take a moment to let us know more about how you like to engage with minor league coverage at Twins Daily?

Red Sox break through first, Bundy limits damage
As the game ventured into the third inning, the Red Sox began to hit the ball hard. Tommy Pham reached on a line drive single. Alex Verdugo followed up with another hard-hit ball but for a double this time. The double was enough to score Pham. With the score 1-0, Xander Bogaerts would follow up with a single to make it runners on first and third with one out. The inning looked headed straight towards a crooked number, Bundy somehow limited the damage and got out of the inning without allowing any more runs. 

The fourth inning felt much the same as the third. The Red Sox were going down the lineup and collecting hard hits and hard contact. With one out it was a soft bloop double by Reese McGuire that scored Trevor Story. Once again, it felt like an inning was going sideways for the Twins. Insert Bundy. With a ground out and strike out the Twins starter was able to close out the inning with only one run scored. 

Cave produces again
Red Sox starter Brayan Bello has had very good minor league numbers this season. His ERA has been ugly in the majors at 7.36. At the same time, with a 3.03 FIP it seems there is something better underneath what has happened on the scoreboard for Bello this season in the majors. The right-hander also simply has some nasty stuff.  For three innings, Bello looked purely like the 3.03 FIP version of himself. 

Finally, in the fourth inning, the Twins were able to get their bats going and loaded the bases with no outs. One of this weekend’s heroes, Jake Cave was able to drive in the Twins' first run on a sac fly to center field which brought Jose Miranda home. Unfortunately, that was the only run the Twins could score in that RISP situation. Brings to the forefront again one of the biggest frustration with the Twins' offense this season. 

Gio with the go-ahead
The Twins were able to chase Bello in the fifth after he walk both Luis Arraez and Carlos Correa. After a weird Max Kepler swinging bunt that barely rolled to the front of home plate advanced the runners to second and third, Miranda collected a walk of his own. Kyle Garlick pinch hit for Nick Gordon but wasn’t able to come through after striking out. 

Then Gio Urshela stepped up to the plate with a fresh John Schreiber brought in to face him. With the count full, Urshela went down and got a low and away slider and was able to poke it down the right field line to clear the bases and put the Twins up 4-2. 

Bullpen Cruises
Monday night was a night where we once again saw the beauty of deadline bullpen addition at work. Caleb Thielbar first came in to help Bundy get out of a jam. Just as Thielbar has done many times again, he did just that getting the final out of fifth and handled the sixth inning as well. 

Jhoan Duran then came in to take on the heart of the Red Sox lineup. He did so with his patented high-velocity heat. Duran wouldn't have been able to take on that spot if it wasn't for the deadline additions, as he would have been needed to potentially close.

Griffin Jax got the eighth and made quick work of it giving up only a single to Story. It was then Jorge Lopez's turn and shut the door with authority getting two ground outs and a strike out to secure the victory for the Twins. 

What’s Next?

The Twins will face off against another young Boston arm in Kutter Crawford. The right hander sports a 5.30 ERA this season over 73.0 innings. The Twins will counter with Chris Archer. Archer will look to bounce back after a rough start against Houston where he surrendered five earned runs. 

Postgame Interview 

 

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

  THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT
             
Megill 23 0 35 0 0 58
Pagán 0 28 0 22 0 50
Duran 20 0 13 0 14 47
Thielbar 0 0 22 0 15 37
Jax 6 0 8 0 17 31
Fulmer 0 12 0 15 0 27
López 18 0 0 0 9 27
Moran 0 0 0 0 0 0

 


 


 

 

 


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Encouraged to see Rocco let Bundy pitch to Bogaerts, Devers and Martinez a third time.  The bullpen was needed immediately thereafter, but Dylan has earned that chance.  Hopefully, more of this to come.

Bullpen was in shutdown mode -- Duran took care of the 2-3-4 in the 7th impressively.  Lopez had another great finish.  Urshela, Arraez and Miranda each reached base three times, and Gordon reached in both his plate appearances.

Of course, past performance is not a guarantee of future results -- especially with these Twins.  Much to savor tonight, and time to be Orioles fans for the next three days.

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Lots to say!

1] Moral victories don't mean much, but the Twins didn't roll over and die in Houston. They are a good team that I would love to watch healthy, but they haven't given up.

2] LOVED watching Rocco in the dugout talking to Gordon after he sent Garlick up to PH. Anyone else notice that? The message was clear, it was the right move at the right time despite a negative result. But Rocco was instilling belief in Gordon at that moment. I thought it was awesome.

3] The pen was outstanding. What more can be said? Too bad Bundy couldn't have gotten one more out.

4] Urshela!! He was a fan favorite in NY, and he's a fan favorite with the Twins. The guy is just a good ballplayer! There is nothing great about anything he does, if we're being honest. He's a good fielder who makes some great plays, but he's average to above average overall. He's an OK hitter with decent power but not great in any way. Just look at the numbers. They don't lie. He's not great in any  measure. But he sure is a good "ballplayer" to have on your team. I have a hard time giving him $8-9M in arbitration to keep him. But if the Twins could settle on a number that makes sense, I'd  really like to have him back in 2023. Could discuss using him as a temp backup SS, or expand his limited experience but ability to play 1B/2B, but I'd just really like to see him back if the numbers work out.

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1 hour ago, DocBauer said:

2] LOVED watching Rocco in the dugout talking to Gordon after he sent Garlick up to PH. Anyone else notice that? The message was clear, it was the right move at the right time despite a negative result. But Rocco was instilling belief in Gordon at that moment. I thought it was awesome.

 

Saw this as well. I was hoping it was words of encouragement because Gordon didn't look very happy with being pinch hit for.

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Twins face another no-namer tonight with a 5.30 ERA? Great, that means they'll score 2 runs, maybe 3. This team hasn't looked good - much less dominant - for months now. 

Twins need to keep making hay while they can, really no room to even lose a game against the Red Sox here. Dylan Bundy has lowered his ERA by half a run in August. He's certainly earned himself a contract next year in the majors. Good for him. 

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I love the streak, but who are these pitchers we are facing?  I am amazed.  I love the win, but I am confused by the Red Sox staff, but then they are last in their division.  We faced rookie Bello, someone named Junis (SF),    Tonight we get another, who's he, in Kutter Crawford, time to keep winning. Next we kick the White Sox while they are down and then we get to watch Aaron Judge. 

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Finally got one of those much needed big time hits with the bases loaded and that was the difference maker.  If this team could just come up with those a little more often they would still be leading the division.  At any rate a solid game all the way around for these guys and hoping they keep the win streak going because the Yankee's are coming and I expect this team to lose those games.

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Urshela comes up clutch....

 course you have to realize ursela was not a homegrown player , he was a Indian and yankee before the trade to Twins , he was not coached by falvys top professionals so his approach at the plate is different  ..

I rest my case on our top professionals hired by our top professional FO to develop our young  players for situational hitting , covering the plate with a 2 strike count with runners in scoring position , garlick let a close pitch go by for strike 3 standing  , and players not rrunning out everything  ... kepler is a mess , he stood at home on a fair ball in front of the plate , just stood there and didn't run  , UNACCEPTABLE  and should be benched for not playing hard ....

We got a good win because of Urshela  and he has been consistent , I like Urshela  of all the positional players we got in trades ...

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7 hours ago, mnfireman said:

Saw this as well. I was hoping it was words of encouragement because Gordon didn't look very happy with being pinch hit for.

A few weeks ago, Gordon was hitting in the .270s vs LHP and also had some impressive RISP stats. These have tailed off somewhat since then, to the point where Garlick is 30 points above him in vs LHP slash line.

So it was the right call, but can't blame Gordon for wanting the opportunity. Gordon is certainly farther inside the circle of trust than many Twins hitters right now, recent accomplishments notwithstanding.

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59 minutes ago, Blyleven2011 said:

kepler is a mess , he stood at home on a fair ball in front of the plate , just stood there and didn't run  , UNACCEPTABLE  and should be benched for not playing hard ....

To me, he really looks disinterested and distracted.

I wonder if something else is going on in his life that makes it hard to be excited about baseball.

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Gotta say, despite missing some routine plays at the hot corner - I like having Gio on this team.  He makes some great plays at 3rd, and has multiple important hits for us when its really needed.  I think we should seriously consider keeping him by offering arbitration for one more year.  Great job of working that count and slapping the ball to keep it in play down the line.

 

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10 minutes ago, PDX Twin said:

To me, he really looks disinterested and distracted.

I wonder if something else is going on in his life that makes it hard to be excited about baseball.

I looked that from a different angle, and maybe my mind was just trying to justify him standing there.  I think by him not hustling down the line and acting as if it were a foul ball - did it perhaps slow the catcher down just a bit and make him second guess if he should actually throw a foul ball to 3rd base?  Kepler seemed confused about if he should run or not to me.

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1 hour ago, Blyleven2011 said:

kepler is a mess , he stood at home on a fair ball in front of the plate , just stood there and didn't run  , UNACCEPTABLE  and should be benched for not playing hard ....

 

I'm sure he thought it was a foul tip that hit the catcher and rolled slowly out in front of home plate. With whatever may be going on with his health or personal life, Kepler is the one Twins whose hustle I do not question.

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4 hours ago, bighat said:

Twins face another no-namer tonight with a 5.30 ERA? Great, that means they'll score 2 runs, maybe 3. This team hasn't looked good - much less dominant - for months now. 

Twins need to keep making hay while they can, really no room to even lose a game against the Red Sox here. Dylan Bundy has lowered his ERA by half a run in August. He's certainly earned himself a contract next year in the majors. Good for him. 

Bundy still gave up 9 hits and was lucky to only let in 2... buyer beware whomever signs him to a deal next year. I would wager a guess at another one year deal with a bigger price tag.

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I love seeing Duran come out of the bullpen in the 7th and mow down the heart of the order for the opposition. He's a huge weapon and I want him pitching, not just being held in reserve. (I'm fine with Lopez coming in earlier than the 9th too; while it's great to have him slam the door like he did last night, I never want either of those guys to be left out just because "it's not the 9th") The bullpen was very good last night.

Still a little frustrating on the offense, but I thought the Garlick PH was a good call, even if it didn't work out. We really need some bats to get healthy, because we are very reliant on a small group of quality offensive players right now (and hoping poor ones like Leon or cave can come through with a clutch swing).

I can see why the Red Sox like Bello: he's got good stuff. Twins did a good job making him work and punched through enough, but he's definite got talent if he can find the strike zone consistently. (Jerry Meals didn't not exactly have a consistent strike zone, IMHO.)

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3 hours ago, Blyleven2011 said:

Urshela comes up clutch....

 course you have to realize ursela was not a homegrown player , he was a Indian and yankee before the trade to Twins , he was not coached by falvys top professionals so his approach at the plate is different  ..

I rest my case on our top professionals hired by our top professional FO to develop our young  players for situational hitting , covering the plate with a 2 strike count with runners in scoring position , garlick let a close pitch go by for strike 3 standing  , and players not rrunning out everything  ... kepler is a mess , he stood at home on a fair ball in front of the plate , just stood there and didn't run  , UNACCEPTABLE  and should be benched for not playing hard ....

We got a good win because of Urshela  and he has been consistent , I like Urshela  of all the positional players we got in trades ...

Kyle Garlick is not a homegrown player either. Weird that you'd give other organizations credit for developing Urshela while putting the blame on the Twins for Garlick who was developed by the Dodgers (clearly terrible at clutch hitting organization there).

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Some comments from Maine where I watched the game on NESN with Red Sox announcers (they used Dennis Eckersley and Kevin Millar as duel analysts).

1.  They had many positive comments about the Twins, singling out Arraez several times, along with Urshela, Kepler, Gordon, and Miranda.

2.  Why has no one mentioned the potentially game saving catch by Kepler?  The announcers sure made a big deal about it.

3.  Eckersley went nuts when Duran was pitching, calling him an unfair advantage for the Twins.  He was being sarcastic because he went on and on about how fun it was to watch him destroy the Sox batters.

4.  I read a comment yesterday in which a frequent contributor made the assertion that no hitter can intentionally hit a pitch where he wants.  I hope he watched this game because there where multiple examples of this very skill.

5.  I DVR'd the game so I could watch after the significant other went to bed.  Even with fast forwarding through commercials, pitching changes, and other lulls in the action, I didn't get done until almost 1:30AM.  Baseball needs to pick up the pace.

And tonight I get to do it again.

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