Starting Pitcher: Chris Archer, 4.0 IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 3 K (61 pitches, 38 strikes, 62.2%)
Home Runs: none
Bottom 3 WPA: Caleb Thielbar (-.140), Carlos Correa (-.133), Griffin Jax (-.069)
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
No team in baseball has had better productivity from the top of their order this season. Coming into this game, Minnesota’s batters one, two, and three ranked first in the majors in both OPS (.854) and wRC+ (147), according to Fangraphs. They also led the American League in runs scored, with 142. This fact became evident right out of the gate this afternoon.
Very early in this game, the Twins’ A-B-C trio (Luis Arraez, Byron Buxton, and Carlos Correa ) were already threatening the Diamondbacks. Arráez fell behind in the count but managed to smack a double to left that was barely fair shortly before being sent to third by a Buxton single next. With men on the corners and no outs, Correa couldn’t get a base hit of his own, but his double play grounder was enough to bring Arráez home, scoring the game’s first run.
But that hot start was met by a cold stretch. After the single by Buxton in the first, the Twins' offense went 1-for-15, entirely dominated by D-Backs starter Merrill Kelly. Jose Miranda started the sixth inning with a leadoff single, but Kelly went on to retire the next three batters to end the threat.
Chris Archer, on the other hand, didn’t have a brilliant start, but it wasn’t bad at all. The Twins starter, who flew in his father to watch him pitch, tossed four innings and allowed two runs on a couple of solo home runs, both by Christian Walker, one in the second and one in the fourth. This was the first time this month Archer allowed more than one run in a game. Rocco Baldelli decided not to bring him back for the fifth inning, sticking to the club’s conservative approach with him this year. At 61 pitches, today’s start is tied for his second-shortest of the season.
The Twins bullpen gets wrecked
Archer’s start wasn’t long, but it kept the Twins in the game. Unfortunately for Minnesota, their bullpen wasn’t on a good day.
As the offense once again couldn’t figure out Kelly and didn’t take advantage of the leadoff single by Miranda in the sixth, the Arizona offense punished Caleb Thielbar hard. Facing batters two, three, and four to begin the inning, he loaded the bases with only one out. With Thielbar struggling to throw strikes, Buddy Kennedy swung on a 3-0 four-seamer for a grand slam, giving the D-Backs a 7-1 lead. After an excellent month of May and four solid appearances this month, Thielbar allowed more than two runs in a game for the first time since April 26.
Tyler Duffey took over when Thielbar gave up his second walk of the inning, and he got the final out of the sixth, besides tossing a couple of scoreless frames afterward. He now has 5 1/3 innings in his last three appearances, allowing only one run in that span.
Kelly had one more inning of dominance in him, and he tossed a scoreless seventh. He departed the game after that, keeping the Twins offense to a 3-for-23 since the Buxton single in the first inning. Sadly for the Twins, Kelly’s departure from the game didn’t make things any easier. D-Backs reliever Joe Mantiply pitched a scoreless eighth and Noe Ramirez got the first two outs in the ninth. He did give up two walks, prompting Arizona's manager Torey Lovullo to bring Ian Kennedy to get the final out and secure the win.
After a six-game road trip to the West Coast, the Twins head back home for a six-game homestand. They take the day off tomorrow, then host the Guardians for a three-game series starting on Tuesday. Joe Ryan (2.81 ERA) is set to start in game one, while Cleveland’s starter has yet to be determined. The first pitch of the first game is scheduled for 6:40 pm CDT.
Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet