Starting Pitcher: Maeda 7 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
Home runs: None
Bottom 3 WPA: Donaldson -.209, Jeffers -.191, Polanco -.148
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
After the Twins and Angels played each other to a 0-0 deadlock through the first 3 innings, the Nelson Cruz-less Twins’ offense burst through for a crooked number in the 4th inning. The 4th inning rally for the Twins was kicked off by a leadoff ground-rule double by Miguel Sanó who was later brought in by an RBI double from newly called-up Willians Astudillo before Gilberto Celestino’s RBI groundout gave the Twins an early 2-0 lead.
The Twins’ lead didn’t last long, though, as the Angels responded quickly in the top of the 5th inning when their bottom of the order spoiled what was a great start for Kenta Maeda. After a leadoff groundout, the Angels got a double, single and home run in three consecutive plate appearances from their 7-8-9 hitters, capped off by a three-run home run from Jack Mayfield.
Aside from the rough 5th inning, Maeda put together a strong outing, tossing 95 pitches in seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, while striking out six batters.
Unfortunately for Maeda, the Minnesota Twins offense couldn’t put together any runs outside of the two runs they tacked on in the 4th inning, getting blanked by the Angels bullpen and in total only tallying six hits and two extra base hits. With Nelson Cruz now off the club, hits and runs are going to be hard to come by for the Twins.
In the end, the Twins ultimately fell 3-2 to the Angels and dropped down to 41-56 on the season. As the trade deadline approaches, it seems like only a matter of time until more players join Nelson Cruz in the “traded” category and the active roster looks a lot different over the last 2 months of the season.
The talk of today’s game revolved completely around the departure of Nelson Cruz which occurred just before the first pitch of Thursday night’s game. One of the more touching parts of the game was how much the move impacted Miguel Sanó who developed a very close relationship with the former Twins DH. In a way to honor Nelson Cruz, Sanó wore Cruz’s pants for today’s game. With his ground-rule double, maybe the pants will be here to stay?
Target Field was packed for Thursday night’s game, in part to see the Japanese phenom, Shohei Ohtani. Unfortunately in attendance to see a ShoTime show, Ohtani had a quiet night, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
Bullpen Usage Chart
The Minnesota Twins will continue their homestand against the Angels on Friday night when J.A. Happ squares off against Alex Cobb.