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  • Game Score: Twins 3, Cleveland 0


    Jamie Cameron

    The Twins eked out a 3-0 win over Cleveland on Tuesday. John Gant continued his steady improvement in a starting pitching role, the bullpen was outstanding, and Brent Rooker homered for Minnesota.

    Image courtesy of Ken Blaze, USA Today Sports

    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Gant 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 K
    Homeruns: Rooker (11)
    Top 3 WPA: Gant .300, Simmons .135, Thielbar .098

    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
    chart.png.0da185828f335e4afa735b5c62f7bcbc.png

    The Twins looked to build on their Labor Day win over Cleveland on Tuesday. They sent John Gant to the mound to face Aaron Civale, who returned from the IL to provide a boost to a beleaguered Cleveland rotation. Here’s how the Twins lined up for the game.

    Gant, fighting for 2022 rotation consideration, got off to a solid start. He threw two clean innings, working particularly effectively with his changeup and generating extra ride on his fastball, before running into trouble in the third inning. After getting a double play, Gant surrendered two singles and a walk to load the bases. Franmil Reyes missed a grand slam by five feet to keep the game tied, flying out to deep center field.

    Meanwhile through three innings, Civale showed no signs of rust. Other than giving up singles to Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sano, he looked highly effective. Civale worked consistently up in the strike zone, throwing a wide variety of breaking balls keeping Twins hitters off balance, and off the bases.

    Gant returned for a more efficient and effective fourth inning. Despite walking three through four innings, Gant generated nine swings and misses and four strikeouts in as many innings. Is Gant working himself into consideration for a job with the Twins in 2022?

    The deadlock was finally broken in the sixth inning. After Max Kepler drew a walk to lead off the inning, Andrelton Simmons singled up the middle to drive home Kepler, give the Twins a one to nothing lead, and force Civale from the game. A walk to Luis Arraez put runners on first and second with two out, but Byron Buxton flew out to shallow center field to end the inning one to nothing in favor of the Twins.

    After walking the leadoff hitter in the fifth inning, Gant returned to strike out the side. He completed five inning, struck out seven batters, and generated twelve swings and misses. Despite walking four Cleveland hitters, Gant has improved noticeably in each of his starts with the Twins. Gant will be an interesting sub-plot to monitor in the remaining four weeks of the season.

    Jorge Alcala relieved Gant in the sixth inning. He got Franmil Reyes swinging on a beautiful sinking fastball at 97mph. He followed up with back to back ground-outs, preserving the Twins one run lead heading to the seventh inning.

    In the seventh inning, Brent Rooker crushed a home run to right center field to increase the lead to two. Juan Minaya pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh, striking out two, to preserve the Twins lead.

    An infield single and an Oscar Mercado double high off the left-field wall created a threat for Cleveland in the eighth inning. With runners on second and third and two out, Yu Chang struck out swinging to take the game to the ninth inning.

    Luis Arraez tripled home Andrelton Simmons to extend the lead to three to nothing in the ninth. Alexander Colome entered to close the game for the Twins. Owen Miller grounded out, before Amed Rosario singled on a fly ball to center field. A Miles Straw flyout and a Bobby Bradley strikeout brought the Twins their third consecutive win.

    Bullpen Usage Chart

      THU FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT
    Colomé 0 0 11 23 9 17 60
    Thielbar 0 0 0 28 0 25 53
    Minaya 0 0 21 0 0 21 42
    Alcalá 0 0 0 15 0 19 34
    Garza Jr. 0 8 23 0 0 0 31
    Duffey 0 0 0 10 8 0 18
    Coulombe 0 0 0 0 0 0 0


    Next Up
    On Wednesday, the Twins continue their series with Cleveland. Joe Ryan will take on Triston McKenzie. First pitch is at 5:10 CST.

    Postgame Interviews

     

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    I have dogged the FO for darn near everything lately, but the Thielbar signing really seems like it needs to be appreciated. If this team were on the cusp of another division title, he'd be one of the crucial and maybe unsung heroes.

    AND ... it seems like they totally won the Happ/Gant trade. A little lemonade out of the lemons of 2021. Build on the bright spots. See, I can be positive!

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    I like what Gant has been doing the last couple of games but if he can't get those walks under control he is still destined for the pen.  Was awesome to see him strike out the side but this is Cleveland not the best offensive club out there.  I hope he can take the next steps and be a starting pitcher but he still has a ways to go IMO.

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    Love and enjoy every game the Twins win. But a few comments to toss out there: 

    1] I've been pleasantly surprised by Gant. I saw him as a toss-in when the trade was made. But not only have I been pleasantly surprised thus far, but I've looked at his career numbers a couple of times. They are nothing special, but they aren't bad either. His career K/9 is nothing great, but career ERA, AVG, and WHiP are solid. I get the Twins are looking at him as a POSSIBLE SP, and they kind of have to right now out of necessity. But everything about him just screams to me as him being a quality, dependable middle man. And there's real value in that. I hope that's where he ends up.

    2] Good for Rooker. Just wish he could do that more often, as well as just make better contact. There's still something there to like and work with. It's all up to him at this point.

    3] Anyone else paying attention to Alcala? Despite some good highs and really bad lows, he had a couple pretty good games before his IL stint. Since his return, he's had a few really good performances. I'm taking 2021 as a good building block for his future. 

    4] Please don't make me duck and cover for this, but I'm starting to think the Twins would be smart to pick up Colome's 2nd year. (Initial and obligatory duck). Despite a few bad performances...which happen...the numbers for his last 30 games are pretty stellar:

    2-0/ 2.73 ERA/ 11SV/ 1.21 WHiP.

    I believe his 30G dates back to around June 1st. Since then, he's pretty much been what he was supposed to be despite a few hiccups. I absolutely want the Twins to bring in a quality RH arm for $5-7M to work with Rogers, and another $2-3M version of Robles that can, hopefully, be more consistent. Can't believe im saying this after April and May, but maybe keeping Colome as a veteran performer in a set-up role isn't so crazy if you look at his career and the past 3 months. 

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    1 hour ago, LastOnePicked said:

    I have dogged the FO for darn near everything lately, but the Thielbar signing really seems like it needs to be appreciated. If this team were on the cusp of another division title, he'd be one of the crucial and maybe unsung heroes.

    AND ... it seems like they totally won the Happ/Gant trade. A little lemonade out of the lemons of 2021. Build on the bright spots. See, I can be positive!

    Might be a tad early to declare the Twins the "winner" in the Happ-Gant trade, but it appears to be trending in the right direction after Happ a not so wonderful start, albeit versus the Dodgers tonight. I have to tread carefully around the house on this one as my spouse of 28 years is a lifelong STL fan.  At the time of the trade----she was, to put it mildly---not happy that STL would trade for Happ.  Then to my chagrin Happ pitches like the guy Twins fans at the start of the season hoped for in his first 5 starts.  Now that he's got rocked his last 2 starts, I feel much better.  With so many spots available in our rotation next year, Gant, could make a strong claim for a slot if he can string together several solid starts over the last 4 weeks of the season.  I'd personally prefer him in a bullpen role, but at this point I'd be happy if we can get through April 2022 with being buried in last place.

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    1 hour ago, DocBauer said:

    I'm starting to think the Twins would be smart to pick up Colome's 2nd year.

    I can see another potentially-contending team signing him next year, and that wouldn't seem too foolish based on his recovery. But for the Twins? I think it'd be best to move on for '22.

    No need to run for cover, though. He's shown a lot of fortitude in coming back pretty strong from an historically bad start. 

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    5 minutes ago, LastOnePicked said:

    I can see another potentially-contending team signing him next year, and that wouldn't seem too foolish based on his recovery. But for the Twins? I think it'd be best to move on for '22.

    No need to run for cover, though. He's shown a lot of fortitude in coming back pretty strong from an historically bad start. 

    Totally agree. Sometimes there just isn't a fit and both parties need to move on. And I'm not so sure that isn't the case here as well. 

    But you can also easily imagine Colome going somewhere else for a fresh start and simply performing to his career standards and voices clamoring as to why he didn't do that for a full season for the Twins and why didn't they keep him, etc.

    I am NOT saying the Twins SHOULD keep him. I'm just saying, keeping him as a proven 7th/8th IP option shouldn't be discounted because of 2 terrible months.

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    9 hours ago, IndianaTwin said:

    And another save for Everyday Alex. 

    Indeed.  I was kind of surprised Colome was used 4 days in a row - even though two of them were very efficient outings (11 and 9 pitches respectively).

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    8 hours ago, LastOnePicked said:

    I can see another potentially-contending team signing him next year, and that wouldn't seem too foolish based on his recovery. But for the Twins? I think it'd be best to move on for '22.

    No need to run for cover, though. He's shown a lot of fortitude in coming back pretty strong from an historically bad start. 

    Yeah I tend to agree with you.  I had been thinking about this more as he has been pretty good recently but he has such a bad rap due to his historically bad start that anytime he struggles at all the fans are all over him.  It just feels like it would be best to have a fresh start for both the team and especially the player.  He needs a do over and I just don't think he will get that in Minnesota.

    I know his recent results don't agree with me but I find his pitch mix too predictable.  If I am at the plate I wouldn't swing at anything and take my free pass.  He is rarely in the zone now and that appears to be how he needs to pitch to survive.  It is the cutter diving under the zone for a swinging strike or a ball way off the plate that is an easy take.  Last night he did throw a couple of fool me pitches in there so maybe he is working on that but as I said not sure I love the mix in general.

    Given his recent results, the Twins familiarity with him and everything he has gone through only to get better I would not be surprised if the Twins did pick up the option.  Not to lean on him as the closer necessarily but as a middle relief or setup man that they feel they can use multiple days in a row.  Seems like a Twins thing to do but I guess we will find out what happens soon enough.

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    It is nice to see the good competitive games we all love.  Just a question.....by all this recent winning are they moving down in draft pick order?  It doesn't seem like they could move to far either way. 

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    I would be fine giving Gant a chance next year, but no matter what he does the rest of the year I do not say he has a spot for sure.  He has pitched several years, will be 30 next year and has never established himself as a starter.  Some of his numbers may be connected to pitching in new league for first time and once hitters see him again they will adjust.  Maybe the Twins figured something out for him, but I am concerned this is SSS.  Should we give him an invite to camp next year if he wants, sure, but if another team is willing to give a full MLB level contract as a starter I would not stand in his way. 

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    Too many walks for Gant, but otherwise a great performance by everybody on the pitching staff.

    Can Bill Evers just manage the team for the rest of the year?  As far as I can see, the Twins have never lost a game with him in charge.

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    1 minute ago, SirLoin said:

    So I must have missed this somewhere, but what was the impetus for making Gant a starter?  Is it basically just an experiment since the season is shot anyway?

    Twins wanted to win a game , not have a rookie blown out.

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    11 minutes ago, SirLoin said:

    So I must have missed this somewhere, but what was the impetus for making Gant a starter?  Is it basically just an experiment since the season is shot anyway?

    I'm guessing they are looking for starters next year ... He has been a starter, not a good one. I have strong doubts, given his track record..... My fear is they count on him for next year, and he reverts to what he's been.... As for today, nice to win. 

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    22 minutes ago, SirLoin said:

    So I must have missed this somewhere, but what was the impetus for making Gant a starter?  Is it basically just an experiment since the season is shot anyway?

    They need to fill 4 spots next year.  3 if Ryan establishes a spot in the rotation.  If he shows he can be relied upon to start and If they intend to use 2022 to develop pitching prospects, he could bridge the gap until additional prospects are ready.  A reliable starter in his final year of arbitration to bridge the gap until a prospect pushes their way on to the team would be a nice asset. 

    Filling one of those spots for roughly $3M leaves more budget for a front of the rotation SP or a SS.

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    12 hours ago, DocBauer said:

    4] Please don't make me duck and cover for this, but I'm starting to think the Twins would be smart to pick up Colome's 2nd year. (Initial and obligatory duck). Despite a few bad performances...which happen...the numbers for his last 30 games are pretty stellar:

    2-0/ 2.73 ERA/ 11SV/ 1.21 WHiP.

    I believe his 30G dates back to around June 1st. Since then, he's pretty much been what he was supposed to be despite a few hiccups. I absolutely want the Twins to bring in a quality RH arm for $5-7M to work with Rogers, and another $2-3M version of Robles that can, hopefully, be more consistent. Can't believe im saying this after April and May, but maybe keeping Colome as a veteran performer in a set-up role isn't so crazy if you look at his career and the past 3 months. 

    You can probably back up all the way to May 1st and his aggregate numbers aren't terrible. That said, I want nothing to do with him next year. I still see a guy who struggles with command, doesn't strike out enough hitters, and just seems to wilt in any sort of leverage situation. He isn't the historically awful pitcher we saw in April; I also doubt whoever pays him next season gets the 4 even-ish months we've seen. 

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    1 hour ago, SirLoin said:

    So I must have missed this somewhere, but what was the impetus for making Gant a starter?  Is it basically just an experiment since the season is shot anyway?

    He started the season as a starter in St. Louis and he did a decent job.  He was later moved into the bullpen after a couple of bad starts in a row, but his bottom line stats as a starter were still good.

    He has been in the pen in recent years, so I am assuming he was starting only as a necessity.

    I am guessing the Twins brought him in with Plan A being that he would be a starter, given his decent numbers in the role earlier in the year.

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    1 hour ago, SirLoin said:

    So I must have missed this somewhere, but what was the impetus for making Gant a starter?  Is it basically just an experiment since the season is shot anyway?

    No other options is how it started. Why is it still happening? Not sure, but Gant hasn't been horrible so I guess that's okay.

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    14 hours ago, DocBauer said:

    Love and enjoy every game the Twins win. But a few comments to toss out there: 

    1] I've been pleasantly surprised by Gant. I saw him as a toss-in when the trade was made. But not only have I been pleasantly surprised thus far, but I've looked at his career numbers a couple of times. They are nothing special, but they aren't bad either. His career K/9 is nothing great, but career ERA, AVG, and WHiP are solid. I get the Twins are looking at him as a POSSIBLE SP, and they kind of have to right now out of necessity. But everything about him just screams to me as him being a quality, dependable middle man. And there's real value in that. I hope that's where he ends up.

    2] Good for Rooker. Just wish he could do that more often, as well as just make better contact. There's still something there to like and work with. It's all up to him at this point.

    3] Anyone else paying attention to Alcala? Despite some good highs and really bad lows, he had a couple pretty good games before his IL stint. Since his return, he's had a few really good performances. I'm taking 2021 as a good building block for his future. 

    4] Please don't make me duck and cover for this, but I'm starting to think the Twins would be smart to pick up Colome's 2nd year. (Initial and obligatory duck). Despite a few bad performances...which happen...the numbers for his last 30 games are pretty stellar:

    2-0/ 2.73 ERA/ 11SV/ 1.21 WHiP.

    I believe his 30G dates back to around June 1st. Since then, he's pretty much been what he was supposed to be despite a few hiccups. I absolutely want the Twins to bring in a quality RH arm for $5-7M to work with Rogers, and another $2-3M version of Robles that can, hopefully, be more consistent. Can't believe im saying this after April and May, but maybe keeping Colome as a veteran performer in a set-up role isn't so crazy if you look at his career and the past 3 months. 

    I concur.  I have been shy about saying it myself, but Colome has looked pretty good for awhile now, and I am finally starting to trust him in the 9th again.  And Alcala has good stuff, he has just given up too many gopher balls; since that has settled down he has looked good as well.  And I am liking Gant as back end possibility; I wouldn't write his name in ink just yet, but a light pencil seems appropriate until he proves me wrong.    Good observations.  

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    1 hour ago, Rosterman said:

    A shutout! A SHUTOUT! AGAINST THE INDIANS!

    Have you looked at their lineup - this is not the Yankees.  Pitching yes, hitting no.  Glad to win, just do not want to make too much out of it. 

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    4 hours ago, MABB1959 said:

    It doesn't seem like they could move to far either way. 

    I just want them within the top ten so they don't get bumped by the Mets and their compensation pick in '22 for failing to sign their first round selection in '21.

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    6 hours ago, Dman said:

    Yeah I tend to agree with you.  I had been thinking about this more as he has been pretty good recently but he has such a bad rap due to his historically bad start that anytime he struggles at all the fans are all over him.  It just feels like it would be best to have a fresh start for both the team and especially the player.  He needs a do over and I just don't think he will get that in Minnesota...

    Thing is, that's exactly what my friend the White Sox fan said about. "He was pretty effective, but he was maddening to watch. I'm glad he's gone." I think that comes with the territory with him. 

    I, too, am in the camp that says they might well (and maybe even should) bring him back. Even with the start, his ERA+ has actually gotten back to the plus side at 107. I do think that his propensity for walks and soft (bloop) contact makes him particularly ill-suited for the stupid extra-inning rule that has him starting with one of the bases already occupied. 

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