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  • Game Recap: Twins 3, Orioles 2


    Andrew Thares

    Spearheaded by a great start from Michael Pineda, and a three-run bomb from Miguel Sano the Twins completed a three game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles and have now won six of their last seven ballgames.

    Image courtesy of © Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

    Box Score
    Pineda: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K
    Home Runs: Sano (9)
    Top 3 WPA: Sano .341, Pineda .205, Thielbar .076
    Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)

    710672219_ScreenShot2021-05-26at3_07_43PM.thumb.png.7e2ffeccd79fda1792521c31d66ec555.png

    Michael Pineda Shines in Return from IL

    It was a brief stint on the IL for Michael Pineda, who had to miss just one start as a result of having a procedure to remove an abscess on the inner part of his thigh. This was welcome news for the Twins as Pineda has unquestionably been their best starting pitcher early on in the 2021 season.

    The Baltimore Orioles jumped out on Pineda early, as Trey Mancini, who is well on his way to earning comeback player of the year honors, blasted his 11th home run of the season in the first. Luckily for the Twins, it was only a solo shot, as Cedric Mullins was thrown out trying to steal second after a leadoff single in the first.

     Anthony Santander followed that Mancini home run with a double, and it looked early like Pineda was in for a rough day. That, however, would be the last hit that Pineda would surrender on the day. The third inning got off to a rough start, as Pineda walked back-to-back batters to start the inning, but he was able to retire the 2-3-4 hitters in the Orioles lineup to get out of the jam. From then on, Pineda was perfect as he retired the final 12 batters that he faced.

    Miguel Sano Continues to Deliver

    It has been a saying for most of his Twins career that as Miguel Sano goes, so to do the Minnesota Twins. That statement has never been truer than it has been in 2021. At the heart of the Twins struggles during the first month and a half of the season was Miguel Sano’s inability to contribute at the plate. However, the past week the Twins have looked like a whole new ball club, and that is thanks almost entirely to Sano being the hottest hitter on the planet during that stretch.

    In Wednesday’s ballgame that was more of the same. After the offense struggled to muster just two hits and zero runs through the first five innings, the Twins got a little rally going in the bottom of the sixth. Max Kepler leadoff the inning with a single, and after a Nelson Cruz walk and a couple of base runner advancing groundouts, the Twins found themselves with second and third and two outs, with Sano up. In a situation that Sano has struggled in all year, he came through with a monster three-run home run that Sano took a little time to appreciate off the bat.

    Twins Bullpen Shuts the Door

    The Twins bullpen blowing late leads has been another theme of late, but today they got the job done, allowing just one run over three innings. Both Tyler Duffey and Caleb Thielbar pitched scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively. That paved the way for Hansel Robles to come on in the 9th and pick up his third save of the season. It wasn’t the cleanest of innings for Robles, who gave up a run on two doubles, but with two outs and the trying run on second, Robles got a broken bat groundout off the bat that previously belonged to Stevie Wilkerson to end the ball game.

     

    Bullpen Usage

      SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT
    Robles 27 24 0 13 20 84
    Rogers 9 14 0 26 0 49
    Duffey 13 15 0 0 15 43
    Thielbar 0 18 0 2 16 36
    Alcala 17 0 14 0 0 31
    Colomé 2 0 8 13 0 23
    Farrell 0 0 16 0 0 16
    Stashak 0 0 0 0 0 0

    What's Next

    The Twins have a day off on Thursday, before they welcome the Kansas City Royals to town for a three game series that is slated to start at 7:10 pm CT on Friday with Randy Dobnak on the mound for the Twins.


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    This was a nail-biter throughout. Neither team hit particularly well, as both teams combined for 9-58 ( .155 avg). Instead today was all about opportunity and timely hitting. And the Twins just happened to get their big hit when it mattered the most. Now I'm not saying either pitcher was dominant, but Pineda's experience showed as compared to Lopez, as he was able to work out of the 3rd inning with back to back walks while facing the run producers of the O's.

    Of course, after the 3rd inning Pineda settled in and was firing on all cylinders. Unfortunately the first 3 innings really ate up his pitch count, so he wasn't able to go a little deeper in the ball game (then again, Rocco really doesn't allow too many starters to go past the 6th). 

    When the 6th inning came around and we had runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 down, I was afraid we were going to squander that opportunity and lose the game. Luckily, Sano (and his streakiness) came through when we needed it the most. He has single-handedly won us 4 games as of late (of course, it was all behind the long ball and pitching keeping it close). If Sano can continue to play this well during the "soft" portion of our schedule, 10-3 or 11-2 is very realistic. Heck, if we can get starting pitching like today, we have a chance to even go 12-1, so long as we can keep our bats alive and going. 

    Now the 9th was a bit of scare. Unfortunately, you never know which Robles you are going to get. There is one thing that is guaranteed when he comes in: The game will slow down. Whether it slows down because of walks, hits or him just taking his time between pitches. Today was obviously due to hits. He showed us that he definitely has closer material in that he allowed runners on, but was able to work out of the jam and get the win. I do commend Rocco and Wes, in that they need to give the player some confidence out there. If they would have pulled him after his 3rd batter, who knows that that could have done to his confidence as well as the game. 

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    I watched a little of the game on lunch break today and had to go back right before Sano came to bat. Ugh! Sure wish I had gone to break just 5 minutes later!

    What I saw of Pineda was what he always is, good if not great. We all know Happ and Shoemaker were signed to 1yr deals with intent. That intent being, obviously, to fill out the staff and bridge the gap until a couple of the prospects were ready. And while they have been a bit inconsistent, they have largely done what was expected. But, no question either or both could be moved at some point if the Twins don't fully right the ship and get back to .500 relatively soon and keep climbing. makes obvious sense.

    What I don't want to see happen is trading Pineda and his expiring deal, regardless of their record and any contention , or not. In fact, I'd really like to keep him around for another couple of years, and I suspect he really likes being a Twin and would like to stay. I'm not sure the $ parameters of a deal, but he shouldn't be overly expensive. 

    I know the jury is still out on Dobnak...practically a rookie still...but Berrios, Maeda, Pineda and Dobber are a njce 4-sum to begin 2022, with the kids coming up and trade and FA possibilities available. If you've got something/someone good it seems to be you try to keep it.

    Way to go Sano! It was only a matter of time until he started making better contact and going on a tear. Now we need Buxton back.

     

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    5 hours ago, D.C Twins said:

    We proved that we can beat probably the worst team in baseball.... it's better than the alternative but not really something to get excited about

    I look at it as if it was a great way to cap off a tough road trip that included victories over 2 good teams going into an off day.

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    I actually like this version of Sano better than the previous versions, which is the reason I've been on his bandwagon this year. Sure he's going whiff on some big occasions, but as long as he is patient at the plate, he is also going to get some huge hits that carry the day--as he did today. (I am guessing here but I think he'll finish the year above the Mendoza line with an OBP above .300, and that's really all I am asking from him.) I do not advocate trading Sano away at the deadline unless the offer is just too fantastic to ignore.

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    9 hours ago, wsnydes said:

    I'm glad they won, but the fact that the only runs were scored on one hit against the O's lackluster pitchers today doesn't give me many warm fuzziest.

    Means is a great pitcher, so I'd definitely take that W proudly. Kremer can be really good, like he was against the Red Socks, and really bad, like he was against the Rays. Aside from the Wild Pitch in the 2nd (I'm not counting the other one, that passed ball was 95% on Severino), he pitched decently in game 2. With Lopez, I agree. He's not supposed to get away with so little action, especially not having to battle so little.

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    I was happy to see Pineda get out of that jam in the 3rd, because he was only in because the home plate umpire was squeezing the plate on him. (I appreciated LaTroy & Dick calling it out; frustrating when they pretend it's not happening). Not a strong game behind the plate from that guy, definitely inconsistent.

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    Probably need to win 9 of this current 13 game stretch to have any hope of getting back to .500 by summer to realistically have a chance of getting back into the hunt.  With these 3 behind them, that is now 6 of 10, much more possible.  Expect KC is going to be a bit tougher than the birds, hopefully, Dobber gets it started tomorrow night.

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    I am not going to get too excited over wins against one of the worst teams in the league.  Yes, we had been losing to everyone, so maybe things are looking up.  Just keep taking it one game at a time until we get back to .500 then I can get excited. 

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    Very nice in every way.  Don't look at the record - it is improving, but do look at the opposition before making too many judgments.  We may have felt like our team was weak until you look at the rotation and the lineup that the Orioles put out.  We move up a notch now with KC.  They are not a good team, but they are much better than Baltimore and should give us a real chance to measure our team improvement.

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    I thought this was a good game to watch.  Reminded me of baseball games from the 80s.  Every at-bat was a chess match and the game result came down to just a couple of plays.

    Maybe everyone who thinks it was so terrible are judging it by 2019 standards.

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    52 minutes ago, Dodecahedron said:

    I thought this was a good game to watch.  Reminded me of baseball games from the 80s.  Every at-bat was a chess match and the game result came down to just a couple of plays.

    Maybe everyone who thinks it was so terrible are judging it by 2019 standards.

    I don't think the game was terrible but there were a lot of plate appearances that just didn't look good from both offenses. Loads of misses on hittable pitches and weak contact on pitches that could have been driven.

    The Twins offense is going to have to hit those pitches when they face the Yankees and Astros or they're going to lose... badly.

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    Just now, Brock Beauchamp said:

    I don't think the game was terrible but there were a lot of plate appearances that just didn't look good from both offenses. Loads of misses on hittable pitches and weak contact on pitches that could have been driven.

    The Twins offense is going to have to hit those pitches when they face the Yankees and Astros or they're going to lose... badly.

    I agree.  And we can't lose sight of the fact that the Orioles are incredibly bad right now.

    I'm happy the Twins have something they can build off of, but they still have to step into it and do it.

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    3 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

    I don't think the game was terrible but there were a lot of plate appearances that just didn't look good from both offenses. Loads of misses on hittable pitches and weak contact on pitches that could have been driven.

    The Twins offense is going to have to hit those pitches when they face the Yankees and Astros or they're going to lose... badly.

    I can't wait for those series. We are going to get throttled. It will be comical, much like the White Sox series. 

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