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  • Game Recap: Twins 4, Rangers 2


    Matthew Lenz

    The Twins sweep the Texas Rangers, their first sweep since May 24th - 26th against Baltimore, winning 4-2 on Sunday and improving to 30-41 on the season. Read about Maeda regaining his 2019 form, Buxton still bombing, and more in today’s recap.

    Image courtesy of © Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    Box Score

    Kenta Maeda: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (64% strike percentage)

    Homeruns: Buxton (11)

    Top 3 WPA: Kepler (.143), Buxton (.127), Duffey (.123)

    Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)

    504139119_chart(1).png.e3a6877eee6f3c73f82a755c240934ad.png

    Maeda Regaining 2019 Form, Bullpen Locks Down the Win

    Maeda battled through command issues early on to provide the Twins with five-and-a-third innings of three hit, zero run baseball on just 66 pitches while facing 19 batters. This was following his first start since returning from the Injured List where he went four innings giving up one run and striking out seven. Although today’s start was a step in the right direction, after getting his 16th out of the game he was set to face Aldonis García and Joey Gallo who I had thought might not get the opportunity to face them a third time…

    That lead to back-to-back homeruns and the end of the day for Maeda.

    Tyler Duffey relieved Maeda and continued his stellar June needing just 21 pitches to record the next five outs allowing just a walk as his lone flaw. Jorge Alcala came in to pitch the 8th inning against the middle of the Rangers line up and was able to shut them down allowing one hit and getting a big strikeout of Joey Gallo with the tying run on base. Hansel Robles came on in the 9th to earn his sixth save of the season in eight chances.

    Newly Healthy Twins Lead the Offense

    Luis Arraez and Byron Buxton got the Twins out to a 2-0 lead before Rangers righty, Dane Dunning, could even record an out.

    Trevor Larnach and Nelson Cruz would follow up the 426 foot bomb with singles of their own before Alex Kirilloff would roll into a double play and Jorge Polanco would end the inning. Despite coming out on top, not taking advantage of base runners would be a theme of the day as they had 13 hits and left 21on-base going 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

    In the third, the Twins took advantage of a Gallo error as a Max Kepler single, turned double, drove in Trevor Larnach and Polanco to give the Twins a 4-0 lead.

    Arraez, Larnach, and Andrelton Simmons had three hits apiece, five of which were singles, upping their averages to .286, .267 and .249, respectively. Larnach continues to add to his Rookie of the Year resume, which our own Nash Walker laid out on Saturday

    Polanco And Cruz added to the hit parade with a hit apiece, but just as the Twins get multiple starters back Cruz was pulled in lieu of Sanó after striking out in the top of third.

    Hopefully it’ll be just a minor absence for Cruz as he is in the midst of a hot streak.

    The Twins will come back home with a four-game winning streak, their longest of the season, and will host the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland for a six-game homestand starting tomorrow.

     

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    That was fun.  I know that Texas is a bad team, but does this give us hope and therefore we don't sell, or do we just accept that we can beat a bad team and try to rebuild on the fly?

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    White Sox have cooled to 11-9 (.550) in their last 20 games.  If the Twins can figure out a way to get better than four runs out of 14 hits and bring around more baserunners the Central Division might not be such a bad place to be.  The last two games the chips fell their way, but if they want any kind of a chance they're going to have to grab it.

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    Yes it was Texas and yes still 12 back, but with 91 games to play the real issue is can the Twins somehow manage 90+ wins? 60-31 gets them to 90. Is that even remotely realistic? Would 90 be enough?

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    1 hour ago, VivaBomboRivera! said:

    White Sox have cooled to 11-9 (.550) in their last 20 games.  If the Twins can figure out a way to get better than four runs out of 14 hits and bring around more baserunners the Central Division might not be such a bad place to be.  The last two games the chips fell their way, but if they want any kind of a chance they're going to have to grab it.

    Sure, the Twins will probably play a little better with the roster getting healthier, and I don't think they're going to lose 100+ games, but they're not competing for the division. Good teams like the White Sox will slump at points in the season, and mediocre teams like the Twins will beat up on bad ones like the Rangers sometimes. 

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    2 hours ago, GNess said:

    Yes it was Texas and yes still 12 back, but with 91 games to play the real issue is can the Twins somehow manage 90+ wins? 60-31 gets them to 90. Is that even remotely realistic? Would 90 be enough?

    Nope, that is not even remotely realistic

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    1 hour ago, Danchat said:

    Sure, the Twins will probably play a little better with the roster getting healthier, and I don't think they're going to lose 100+ games, but they're not competing for the division. Good teams like the White Sox will slump at points in the season, and mediocre teams like the Twins will beat up on bad ones like the Rangers sometimes. 

    Please, just let me wear my rose-tinted glasses a little longer! 

    https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse3.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.LQZxv8j3ywEvbTaYgsY6BQHaCk%26pid%3DApi&f=1

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    4 hours ago, GNess said:

    Yes it was Texas and yes still 12 back, but with 91 games to play the real issue is can the Twins somehow manage 90+ wins? 60-31 gets them to 90. Is that even remotely realistic? Would 90 be enough?

    Borderline.  Even sickeningly cheerful, sunny optimists like yours truly understand that from this point forward the Twins need to play better than they did in 2019 (.623) and hope that Chicago falls apart.  Every loss is like a strike right now.  Ten more games (4 vs ChiSox) to the halfway point.  If the Twins drop more than three and can't get to within spitting distance of .500, they are indeed sunk for the 2021 season. 

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    I will not get too excited for sweeping one of the worst teams in baseball, coming into the year this would have been expected of us.  If we can get on a hot stretch though and be near .500 at the break, then I will see some  hope.  The problem is every time we look like maybe we have something going, we just fall flat on face again.  

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    15 hours ago, Matthew Lenz said:

    Larnach continues to add to his Rookie of the Year resume, which our own Nash Walker laid out on Saturday

    Larnach has done some nice things, but in terms of the Rookie of the Year award, Adolis Garcia is just behind him in wRC+ and wOBA -- and he has a lot more PA and plays CF. Larnach should narrow the PA gap the rest of the way, but on the flip side, there is still plenty of time for someone like Wander Franco to close the PA gap with Larnach too.

    Heck, since this tweet, Baddoo has actually passed Larnach in wRC+ and wOBA (and he's not a slouch in OBP either). To the extent that Baddoo's performance feels unsustainable, his BABIP of .375 is identical to Larnach's so far (although he typically had lower BABIPs than Larnach in the minors).

    On the pitching side, Luis Garcia for HOU has been good although it remains to be seen how many innings he can throw. Apparently, Emmanuel Clase still qualifies as a rookie too.

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    10 hours ago, VivaBomboRivera! said:

    Borderline.  Even sickeningly cheerful, sunny optimists like yours truly understand that from this point forward the Twins need to play better than they did in 2019 (.623) and hope that Chicago falls apart.  Every loss is like a strike right now.  Ten more games (4 vs ChiSox) to the halfway point.  If the Twins drop more than three and can't get to within spitting distance of .500, they are indeed sunk for the 2021 season. 

    I'm a 2021 optimist too, but my take is that while the odds of completing the comeback and going to the postseason are very low, the Twins could still make things interesting.

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    16 hours ago, Monticore said:

    Texas is pitiless. But, a win's a win. Sorry to see *La Tortuga sent down, he's my hero. But, it made sense.

    Hopefully he never returns. 

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    14 hours ago, GNess said:

    Yes it was Texas and yes still 12 back, but with 91 games to play the real issue is can the Twins somehow manage 90+ wins? 60-31 gets them to 90. Is that even remotely realistic? Would 90 be enough?

    Answers to your questions?

    No

    No

    No

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    3 minutes ago, darwin22 said:

    Answers to your questions?

    No

    No

    No

    In both 2019 and 2020, the Twins played at better than a 60-31 pace with Buxton on the field.  

    2019:  62-25  (39-36 without Buxton)
    2020:  26-13  (10-11 without Buxton)

    I agree that 90 wins is not likely, but the Twins could be within earshot of .500 after the dust settles.  How the rest of the season goes depends largely on which assets get traded away.  Plus, Buxton is due for at least one more injury before the year is done.

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    A good win and sweep. This is the way it should have been from the beginning. The first home run off Maeda was a good pitch. Gallo will hit homers at times but he's not a good hitter. A lot like Sano.

    Guys and Girls-- We gotta push heavily for Cruz to be the DH. I know Ohtani is the crowd pleaser but Cruz is a real DH. Vote! Vote! Vote!

     

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