Starting Pitcher: Ober 5.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
Homeruns: Polanco (21)
Top 3 WPA: Ober (0.284), Minaya (0.188), Polanco (0.154)
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
Bailey Ober’s Excellent Start
After a shaky first month or so of his MLB career, Bailey Ober has settled in nicely since the start of July, as he has posted a respectable 4.23 ERA with solid strikeout and walk numbers in his last six starts coming into today. Those number’s got even better after Ober put up what may have been his best start of the season.
Ober had a strong first inning, as he got Cesar Hernandez to strikeout to leadoff the ball game. Then, after an Andrew Vaughn strikeout, he struck out Jose Abreu to end the first. In the second, Eloy Jimenez got a leadoff single to begin the inning, before Brian Goodwin flew out to center field for the first out of the inning. Ober then made a great play on a weak comebacker off the bat of Adam Engel that set up the 1-4-3 double play to end the inning.
After two smooth innings to start the game, Bailey Ober found himself in a big spot facing Andrew Vaughn with runners on the corners and two outs. Ober was up for the challenge, however, and got Vaughn to swing and miss on three straight 94 MPH fastballs to get out of the jam.
After another strong inning in the fourth, where he gave up just a lone single, Ober found himself in another dicey spot in the fifth. After a leadoff single, followed by one out walk, the White Sox were threatening with the top of their order due up. Pitching coach Wes Johnson came out to settle down his young right-hander. Like many times before it, whatever Johnson said must have worked, as Ober came back with two more strikeouts to get out of the jam once again.
Jorge Polanco Goes Deep Again
One of the few bright spots for Twins fans this season has been the play of Jorge Polanco, who has returned to his early 2019 form over the past three plus months of this season. Entering play today, Polanco had an OPS of .885 since the start of May.
Polanco has taken that to a whole new level so far in August, as he already had five home runs in just nine games entering play today. That hot streak continued again today, as Polanco went deep to the opposite field in the bottom of the sixth to give the Twins the 1-0 lead.
He almost followed that up with another home run in the bottom of the eighth, that would have given the Twins a potentially huge insurance run. However, the ball hit right off of the top of the wall in right, and Polanco had to settle for a two out triple. Luis Arraez made a strong bid to drive him in, but his line drive held up just enough to be caught by White Sox center fielder Adam Engel.
Twins Bats Were Cold
Outside of the Jorge Polanco home run and triple, it was a rough day for Twins hitters at the plate. The other eight hitters in the Twins lineup went just 2-for-23 with 12 strikeouts and four walks.
Luis Arraez got one of those two hits, drilled a leadoff double to the left-center field gap to leadoff the second. However, the Twins failed to cash in on the early opportunity.
The other hit came from Trevor Larnach who got a two-out threat started with a single in the fifth. Andrelton Simmons followed that with a walk, before a wild pickoff attempt from White Sox pitcher Garrett Crochet allowed both Larnach and Simmons to advance. Unfortunately, that opportunity would not be taken advantage of as Max Kepler struck out to end the inning.
The Bullpen Shuts the Door
After Bailey Ober’s strong start, it was the bullpen’s job to seal the deal for the Twins win and that is exactly what they did today. Caleb Thielbar, Juan Minaya and Alex Colome all deserve some credit, as they each pitched exceptionally well. Collectively, they combined to go 3 and ⅔ innings, allowing zero runs on zero hits while striking out four and walking two.
Bullpen Usage Chart
After back-to-back series wins against American League division leaders, the Twins will have an off day on Thursday before welcoming another American League division leader in the Tampa Bay Rays to town on Friday. Michael Pineda is scheduled to get the start for the Twins, while the Rays starter is still TBD.