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Twins 4, Guardians 11: Gray Injured, Henriquez Debuts in Ugly Loss

Nate Palmer

The Minnesota Twins continued to be a magnet of bad news Monday afternoon. Starter Sonny Gray left early after re-injuring his hamstring and the Guardians dominated the Twins by scoring eleven runs. 

Image courtesy of Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports


Box Score
SP: Sonny Gray: 2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (44 pitches, 26 strikes (59.1%)
Home Runs: Nick Gordon (9)
Bottom 3 WPA: Sonny Gray (-.281), Mark Contreras (-.243), Ronny Henriquez (-.121)

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)


Guardians grab lead early
The Guardians wasted no time in putting runs on the board Monday afternoon. Quickly Amed Rosario and Jose Ramirez found themselves in scoring position. It didn’t matter where they were on the base paths as Josh Naylor got a hold of a Sonny Gray curveball and launched it into the right field seats giving the Guardians an early 3-0 lead. 

Gray exits after second
Not only were the Twins behind early 3-0, but there were other signs that Gray's outing was going poorly. The radar gun showed that his average fastball speed was down about two miles per hour. We later learned what was ailing Gray was a return of the hamstring tightness that recently plagued him. 

Henriquez debuts
With Gray out, Ronny Henriquez came into pitch, making his major league debut. Early on, his stuff was on display. The movement that the 22-year-old pitcher creates is impressive. Henriquez even flashed his glove as he was welcomed to the big leagues by a screaming Ramirez liner right back at him. The gloves behind him could have been a bit more sound as they helped create a bases-loaded situation that Henriquez was able to escape without allowing any runs to score. 

Henriquez is currently ranked as Twins Daily’s #16 prospect in the Twins system after coming over to the Twins in the Mitch Garver trade with the Texas Rangers. Since the trade, there has been an eye on Henriquez as a possible bullpen arm for the Twins in 2022. Finally, here in September, he is getting his chance. 

The debut was promising through three innings as Henriquez was able to hold Cleveland scoreless. In his fourth inning of work, the opposing bats were able to get to him. Including the exclamation point of an Amed Rosario three-run home run. 

Twins find some runs in the fourth 
Carlos Correa led off the fourth inning with an opposite-field single. Jose Miranda followed up with a similar opposite field hit for a double, setting the Twins up with runners on second and third with no outs. In a game full of infield hits, it was two hits that stayed in the infield that would bring both Correa and Miranda in to score. Those two runs cut the Twins deficit down to two with a 4-2 tally on the scoreboard. 

Opportunity missed in the sixth
With the Twins down 4-3, they had the perfect opportunity to take the lead. With the bases loaded and one out, the Twins chased Guardians starter Cal Quantrill from the game. Nick Sandlin took his place, and Mark Contreras came in as a pinch hitter for Caleb Hamilton to try and drive in some runs for the Twins. Instead, Contreras lined out to first baseman Naylor, and Matt Wallner was doubled off to end the inning and the scoring threat. 

In the end, Cleveland would score two more runs after Rosario hit his three-run home run, bringing the final score to 11-4. In a week following the "official" end to the Twins playoff chances, there wasn't much to be excited about. Nick Gordon hit his ninth home run, and the first three innings of Henriquez's debut were good to see. Beyond that, any Twins fans watching got another look at why the Guardians are poised to win the division, and the Twins are not. 

What’s Next?
The Minnesota Twins will make their way to Kansas City to open up a three-game series against the Royals. Dylan Bundy will take the mound for the Twins, while the Royals will send veteran Zach Greinke to the mound. 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

Henriquez 0 0 0 0 0 73 73
López 0 0 0 32 0 34 66
Moran 40 0 0 15 5 0 60
Jax 0 18 22 13 0 0 53
Duran 0 19 16 0 17 0 52
Sanchez 0 0 0 49 0 0 49
Fulmer 0 21 11 17 0 0 49
Pagán 0 0 0 31 0 15 46
Thielbar 0 12 15 0 0 0 27





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Thank you Twins for giving us some good baseball. IMO we had the players & could have won it but nevertheless thank you. Gordon has proved himself again by pruducing runs when we needed them. Now we can bring up some young players, let them play and see what they can do. Go Twins

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At least it's over now. The season is done and the Twins are all but statistically eliminated. With 15 games to play and the magic number 9, the Twins would basically need to win out and for Cleveland to go worse than 8-7. That is not happening.

Even if Cleveland went 8-7 (or worse), the losses must not come against the White Sox who are 3 games up on the Twins as well.

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Ugly game!!!! Safe to say season is done. Credit for twins staying in division race this late but off season they need to reevaluate who’s stays goes. It’s difficult to win with most outfits starting lineup/pitching injured. Hopefully 2023 we can make the improvements needed this off season and win division/end playoffs losing streak 

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I noticed you gave henriquez a dressing down for his  poor performance in his 4 th inning of relief.  That is understandable.  However no mention at all of our great closer Lopez who gave up 4 runs and couldn't even complete an inning of work.  He's been awful since we got him.  Anyway just a typical loss for a team just going through the motions the past few weeks.

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Can we talk about how bad Jorge Lopez has been? Since coming over he has literally been the same guy Baltimore gave up on as a starter, except now he's imploding from the pen. From an opposing fan perspective the hissy fits on the mound have to be hilarious, from a Twins fan perspective they're also hilarious, but in a sad kind of way. Are we still happy/comfortable with him being locked into a pen spot next year? Yeesh....

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38 minutes ago, RJA said:

For me, Lopez continuing to struggle was the big news out of this game. He looks like the “old” Lopez ever since the Twins acquired him. Never bet on a reliever who has a half year of success. I hope I am wrong and he comes back strong next year. 

I hope we do not see him next year.  He has had 1/2 year of success in his career  - don't look for more. 

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Can't fault the Twins for trying to add players at the trade deadline. The mistake is The Plan. The recently completed five game series was a lesson in baseball fundamentals at its core. To the end Cleveland was able to focus despite the raw shenanigans of the Twins reliever. The White Sox would have had words or cleared their bench in a couple of instances, but Cleveland just hits line drives and goes about the business of playing baseball. Two teams in direct contrast to each other in nearly every facet of the game. The future can deliver change though.

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This team has all but emptied their lockers and got the golf dates set.They will all be gone by second weekend in October. We can only hope for wholesale changes for this organization. If we stick with this plan look for a really long season next year. I can only hope that Correa opts out and we use the money saved to bring in some pitching. 

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Speaking of the Pagan virus...

I'd like to ask every Twins Daily fan to go out and get vaccinated, whatever the current nasty virus is called. Much as we are frustrated by the Electric Pagan Sacrifice, we cannot honestly blame him for the pandemic. 

Can we?

Whatever. Go get the jab; don't wind up on the slab.

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7 hours ago, baul0010 said:

We'll look real good the next 3 games.... Finally a team we can handle.

I’d take, at this point, KC winning the series, myself. And 5-10 games under .500 on the season. Inspiration is just not there. 

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