Kenta’s Concerning Command
Kenta Maeda continued to struggle with his command and was visibly upset with himself during parts of his outing tonight. This start extends an alarming trend of Maeda’s whiff rate dropping while his hard-hit rate increases. Here’s a look at the numbers:
|*prior to tonight's game|
Maeda threw 56 of his 87 pitches for strikes (64.4%), struck out three batters and walked two. He issued multiple walks in just two of his 11 starts last season but this makes four of seven starts for 2021. The only runs Maeda gave up were on one swing of the bat, a three-run homer by Yasmani Grandal. It could have been worse.
Maeda was aided by a pair of nice run-saving plays by his outfielders. Left fielder Luis Arraez ended the second inning by nailing a runner at the plate on a beautiful throw.
The very next inning, center fielder Max Kepler robbed José Abreu of a home run on a very smooth snag.
Maybe that would have been off the wall. Maybe. Still, that’s a pair of fine plays by a couple guys in less familiar positions. There were some plays in the field later in the game that were, uh, less good. Feel free to discuss that one among yourselves.
Speaking of negative trends continuing, the Twins got outperformed in terms of both hitting with runners in scoring position and bullpen performance yet again. The Twins went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position, left 10 men on and the bullpen surrendered six runs. Meanwhile, the White Sox went 5-for-11 w/RISP, only left four men on and received four shutout innings from their bullpen.
To be accurate, the bullpen didn’t technically give up the lead since they took over with the score tied. Progress! Jorge Alcala was credited with the loss, however, meaning the bullpen now has a combined 1-12 record.
Simmons’ Not So Sexy Swing
During a pregame interview, Andrelton Simmons spoke to reporters about how a hitter’s approach may change depending upon whether they’re feeling sexy at the plate.
Simmons delivered a base hit in his first at-bat and perhaps was feeling a little too sexy the next time he was up. Dylan Cease induced one of the ugliest “swings” from Simmons you’ll ever see from a batter. It’s hard to describe, just ask Dan Gladden.
Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
Click here to see the bullpen usage over the past five days (link opens a Google Sheet).