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  • Game Score: Twins 6, Tigers 5


    Jamie Cameron

    In what was perhaps his last start for the Twins, Michael Pineda pitched one of his best games of the season on Monday, leading the Twins to a 6-5 win against the Tigers.

    Image courtesy of Image Courtesy of Jesse Johnson - USA Today Sports

    Box Score

    Starting Pitcher: Pineda 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
    Homeruns: Rooker (3), Donaldson (16)
    Top 3 WPA: Thielbar .485, Kepler .265, Rooker .198
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    806315250_chart(17).png.e6c95fb04df5c08dada618066b7cc191.png

    With a bevy of scouts in attendance on Monday, Michael Pineda delivered. He proved he can be a solid stretch contributor for a contending team. 

    Pineda’s recent spate of injuries has obscured the inalienable truth, that, behind Nelson Cruz, he has been the best free-agent signing of Falvey era in Minnesota, and one of the Twins better free-agent starting pitching acquisitions ever. Pineda struck out the first four batters he faced, working his fastball up to 92 mph, throwing strikes with consistency, and mastering his slider and changeup to great effect.

    Pineda’s outing was reminiscent of Pineda at his best for Minnesota; quick, efficient, and pounding the strike zone. Through the fifth inning, Pineda gave up three hits, just two singles after a leadoff double by Akil Baddoo. Taking the rubber for Detroit was one of their top prospects Matt Manning, who worked consistently with his mid 90s fastball and showed flashes of his tremendous hammer of a curveball.

    Offense was hard to come by in the first half of the game. The Twins took the lead in the second inning. Mitch Garver barely missed a home run to right field, doubling home Josh Donaldson from first. Garver’s return to something like his 2019 form has been one of the least talked about positive stories for the Twins in a miserable 2021.

    Garver came home to score the Twins’ second run in the bottom of the fourth, after getting on base by punching a double to left field. Miguel Sano ripped a single down the third-base line to score Garver, whose lack of sleep after the birth of his first child clearly isn’t impacting his approach at the plate.

    Pineda’s lone egregious mistake came in the sixth inning, leaving a 91 mph fastball over the heart of the plate to Miguel Cabrera, who clubbed it into the flower beds in right field. Still, Pineda showed enough to convince watching scouts and teams he can contribute meaningfully down the stretch to contending teams in need of solid innings. He’ll likely be gone by Friday afternoon.

    Brent Rooker restored the Twins lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, obliterating a hanging Matt Manning curveball 460 feet into the third deck in left field. Rooker has earned 200 MLB at-bats with his consistency in St. Paul, and the early returns are promising. 

    Manning was pulled after he walked Jorge Polanco, being replaced by Jose Cisnero. Josh Donaldson greeted Cisnero with a two-run blast to left-center field increasing the Twins lead to 5-2

    Eric Haase pulled a run back for Detroit in the seventh inning, with a solo shot off Tyler Duffey, but The Doof quickly recovered to retire the side. Hansel Robles relieved Duffey in the eighth inning. He retired the side despite a walk to preserve the Twins lead at 5-3 heading to the bottom of the eighth. After an uneventful bottom of the eighth in which the Twins threatened but failed to score, Taylor Rogers entered to close the game for the Twins in the ninth.

    Rogers outing began harmlessly, before he lost control of what appeared to be a breaking pitch to Jeimer Candelario which spun and looped puzzlingly away from the Detroit hitter, ending up nowhere near the strike zone. Rogers appeared to be in discomfort after the pitch, clutching and examining a finger on his pitching hand. Twins fans will hope Rogers merely cracked a nail or was suffering from  a blister, anything more serious is a major cloud over one of the most appealing relief pitching options for Friday’s trade deadline. The Twins broadcast booth later reported that Rogers left the game with a left middle finger sprain. Next steps for Rogers and a timetable are to be determined.

    Alexander Colomé relieved Rogers and did what he does, surrendering a single to Candelario before Robbie Grossman clubbed a two-ruin home run to right field to tie the game at 5-5. Gregory Soto walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, but Willians Astudillo struck out swinging to send the game to extra innings.

    Caleb Thielbar took the top of the tenth for the Twins. He made short work of the Tigers, retiring the side in order to give the Twins a golden opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the tenth. Kenta Maeda started on second base in the bottom of the tenth (the fourth pinch running appearance of his career). Soto managed a much cleaner tenth until Max Kepler dumped a single into right center field to score Maeda from second base and make the Twins 6-5 winners.

    Bullpen Usage Chart

      WED THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT
    Colomé 22 0 11 0 10 16 59
    Coulombe 0 32 0 0 18 0 50
    Duffey 38 0 0 0 0 11 49
    Thielbar 16 0 0 16 0 13 45
    Alcala 0 0 0 10 24 0 34
    Rogers 0 0 18 0 0 5 23
    Minaya 0 0 20 0 0 0 20
    Robles 0 0 0 0 0 13 13

    Postgame Interviews

     

    Next Up

    The Twins send Kenta Maeda to the mound on Tuesday to face Tyler Alexander. First pitch is at 7:10 CT.

     

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    22 minutes ago, Jamie Cameron said:

    Pineda’s recent spate of injuries has obscured the inalienable truth, that, behind Nelson Cruz, he has been the best free-agent signing of Falvey era in Minnesota, and one of the Twins better free-agent starting pitching acquisitions ever. 

    I think statements like this are called “opinions” and not “inalienable truths” :)

    Pineda pitched well again tonight. Duffey seemed his usual shaky self. Colomé, as LaBombo put it in the game thread, is costing himself money on his next contract every time he pitches. I don’t know if there’s a coach on the Twins with the temperament to tell him  that in no uncertain terms, but maybe there ought to be.

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    Colome certainly demonstrated to the scouts in the stands that he is still worthless. 

    Nice to see Rooker succeeding.  He had a great year in St Paul and waited a long time to be called back up.  

    Garver is looking amazing which means we have three potential MLB catchers on the staff (sorry WIllians - not you) and that is some trade material. 

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    A lot of journalists are talking about all the Twins player's "final games" yet there are no indications anywhere that the Twins are trying to move anybody except Berrios, Buxton, and Taylor -- i.e., the three people they should try to keep.

    There isn't much time left, as well.  If the Twins are really gonna sell off half the team this week, they'd better start getting out of bed before noon.

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    Was this Pineda's last start for the Twins?  At least this year?  If so, will the return be as good as Cruz?  Better?  Not as good?

    Great seeing Rooker continue to hit much as he was in St. Paul.  I think the truth is that he is going to be a slow starter every year.  But after 30 or 60 days, he carries a big bat.  May be ideal man to have as DH in 2022 and beyond.  Could also give you a few innings/games in a corner outfield spot in an emergency.

    Has anyone else noticed that Kepler has been involved in scoring plays a lot of late?

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    2 hours ago, Dodecahedron said:

    A lot of journalists are talking about all the Twins player's "final games" yet there are no indications anywhere that the Twins are trying to move anybody except Berrios, Buxton, and Taylor -- i.e., the three people they should try to keep.

    There isn't much time left, as well.  If the Twins are really gonna sell off half the team this week, they'd better start getting out of bed before noon.

    Just because there’s no rumors we are seeing doesn’t mean action isn’t happening behind the scenes. I think Robles/Simmons/Pineda will be moving, though I wouldn’t be shocked if it all happens on Friday because teams like to wait until the edge of the deadline to make moves.

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    I'm assuming that Nelson Cruz's couple of out-of-nowhere stolen bases this year are why his disciple Sano has been attempting them lately.

    Meanwhile, I feel like I wrote Rooker off really prematurely. He's not Cruz but he looks solid so far.

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    5 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

    Nice to see Rooker succeeding.  He had a great year in St Paul and waited a long time to be called back up. 

    In his four games since coming back up, he has assembled a .961 OPS. Not bad.

    Built upon a batting average on balls in play of only .125. Imagine his results when his luck starts to even out! :)
     

    (Ah, the joys of small sample size, coupled with an all-or-nothing approach.)

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    11 hours ago, MMMordabito said:

    Let's say hypothetically that Maeda gets the win tonight. I wonder how many times a pitcher (or any player for that matter) has scored a walk-off run and followed it up with a pitching win the next game. 

    If it's been done before it could well have been Jim Kaat who did it. He was not infrequently used as a pinch runner when he was a Twin. From Baseball Reference:

    He made 898 pitching appearances during his career, spending his last five seasons principally as a reliever, but appeared in over 1,000 games - 1,004 to be exact - thanks to 24 games as a pinch-hitter and 85 as a pinch-runner. 

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