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  • Twins 10, White Sox 2: Royce Lewis Hits a Grand Slam, Water Remains Wet

    Matt Braun

    This was not the same game as Thursday, I swear.

    Image courtesy of Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

    Twins Video

    Box Score
    Bailey Ober: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
    Home Runs: Royce Lewis (14)
    Top 3 WPA: Royce Lewis (.340), Matt Wallner (.139), Bailey Ober (.100)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)


    Across MLB on Friday, players and teams honored the great Roberto Clemente with special “21” patches on the jersey; some donned the number in favor of their typical digits. Two Minnesota Puerto Rican natives—Carlos Correa and Willi Castro —were amongst them.

    You may vaguely know of Clemente’s charity, especially as his unfortunate death came on New Year’s Eve during a plane ride to Nicaragua to deliver supplies to the country following a devastating earthquake. That story alone does not cover Clemente’s special altruism. He diverted funds from the opening of Three Rivers Stadium to Pittsburgh’s Children’s Hospital, he befriend the reverend Martin Luther King Jr., using his unique place as an early black, Latino baseball star to speak out against American discrimination in his time, and he did much, much more than this puny post-game report could never fully cover. He was a great man taken from humanity far too early.


    Bailey Ober started for the Twins. The elongated righty was sent to St. Paul to marinate as his new career-high in innings appeared to wear down his performance; his ERA since the beginning of July was 4.58. Back in the majors, Ober looked to silence a lineup killed many days ago.

    The 1st inning was a typical baseball sparring, with each team simply looking to get their feet wet, but action began in the 2nd. A pair of singles and a walk set up Royce Lewis with the bases-loaded and two men out. White Sox starter Jesse Scholtens—surely aware of Lewis’ prowess with men on every base—pitched him daintily, missing in relative degrees of closeness to signal that it was far from his intention to become a statistic. It didn’t work. Needing to attack 3-1, Scholtens fired a heater directly down the heart of the plate. The ensuing jog around the bases was a mere formality. 

    (Get ready for some stat drops.)

    The grand slam gave Lewis the Twins single-season record for salamis (he’s played 54 games); he’s also two more bases-loaded homers away from tying the MLB record shared by Travis Hafner and Don Mattingly. His four grand slams in 18 games is the shortest span for any player in MLB history

    September aloofness set in a while ago for Chicago—but it reached inexcusable levels on Friday. In one inning, Tim Anderson booted a routine grounder, Elvis Andrus never looked to turn a possible double play despite Correa being the runner heading to second, and Anderson lackadaisically allowed a pop-up to drop, scoring a run in the process. 

    Impressive effort from a man with a batting average, on-base-percentage, and slugging under .300.

    Max Kepler added another run with a single into center the following frame.

    Ober was cruising. He didn’t need the run support—the White Sox could only claim a scattering of singles against him—but his efficiency quickly turned. A soft single begat a two-run shot, and while that was the only damage he allowed, Ober’s now somewhat inflated pitch count made the 5th his final inning of work. 

    That was essentially the game. Between the 5th and the 8th was the kind of mushy, sometimes-threaten-but-never-score baseball that often describes even the finest games. The action didn't end, though, as Minnesota's dormant bats woke up when the White Sox sent Michael Kopech to the mound; he labored through a frame with four earned runs, giving the Twins the same amount of runs they plated on Thursday. 

    Kody Funderburk pitched a scoreless 9th to wrap up the win, lowering Minnesota's magic number to seven. 


    Louie Varland has a 2.16 ERA since joining the bullpen in September; he's struck out 11 and walked just one.

    Royce Lewis walked three times to set a single-game high in his MLB career.

    Bailey Ober lowered his BB/9 to 1.83, the 9th-lowest total amongst MLB starters with at least 120 innings in 2023. 

    Post-Game Interview:



    What’s Next?
    The Twins and White Sox will play the third game of their series on Saturday. Pablo López is set to start opposite Touki Toussaint with first pitch coming at 6:10 PM. 

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet



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    11 hours ago, darwin22 said:

    Only 2 games with 2 important games to follow.

    Saying that, it sure would've been interesting to hear ol Hawk Harrelson's in game comments over the last 2 nights.  

    Nothing I can think of that would've had the old Hawkero blaming the umpiring crew for the lethargic play of the Sox.  

    You can put it on the board.

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    12 hours ago, D.C Twins said:

    Hopefully Lewis, Kirilloff, Jeffers, and Lee will be the Puckett, Gaetti, Hrbek, and Brunansky core for years of success to come. 

    If all goes well, Correa and Buck will be welcomed icing, but not the cake going forward..... 

    I think you nailed it.  The 4 guys you mentioned plus several on the farm are what this team should continue to build around.  The Twins are no longer dependent upon Correa and Buxton performing as all-stars...although wouldn't that be a tasty icing on the cake that you mentioned.

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    Don't know where to put this, but I'll put it in last night's game recap--LaTroy Hawkins was all over Alan Porter's strike zone last night, but it came in as solidly above average by Umpire Scorecard. I think this is a good example of the "TV Box" not being the most accurate guide to what is or is not a strike.

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    3 hours ago, terrydactyls said:

    To anyone who wants to refer to Lewis' accomplishments this season as a Small Sample Size, consider this:  That's the whole point!  In exactly 1/3 of a season, he has 4 grand slams, 14 home runs, 50 runs batted in, and 6 stolen bases.  And he's a rookie.  Whether or not you think 54 games is a SSS, those are still damn impressive numbers.

    The bullpen (despite the complaints of many) appears to be a strength heading into the playoffs.  With Gray, Lopez, and Ryan as three sure starters, that leaves Duran, Jax, Thielbar, Pagan, Varland, Ober, and Maeda (and maybe Paddock and Stewart) available for bullpen duties.  If an occasional fourth starter is needed, the Twins have Ober, Varland, Maeda, and possibly Keuchel to choose from.  That might be a better selection of arms than any trade deadline acquisitions might have created - and without any reduction of minor league assets.

    After Cleveland sold at the deadline it made perfect sense for the FO to just stay put with players - let guys heal - win the Division with whatever record compiled. No reason to make trades for relief help to try & win Division by 5 more games.

    Cleveland had dumped Civale - Josh Bell & McKenzie/Bieber were already out until late September on IL. They were toast!

    Stewart was/is a bonus “maybe” in October ……the 4 core guys would/should be available……1 starter for sure will be in Pen……..Varland in Pen…….. Funderburk in Pen……….may only go with 7 relievers & 4 starters to get a 15th bat.

    Wouldnt be surprised if Ober isn’t rostered in first series.

    Kuechel is an option as well from Pen in a longer series. Doubt he’ll be rostered in the 3 game series with Wildcard.

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    55 minutes ago, stringer bell said:

    Don't know where to put this, but I'll put it in last night's game recap--LaTroy Hawkins was all over Alan Porter's strike zone last night, but it came in as solidly above average by Umpire Scorecard. I think this is a good example of the "TV Box" not being the most accurate guide to what is or is not a strike.

    I watch 90% of the games on MLB and I didn’t think the zone was a problem at all last night. Always a couple low pitches are called as they are moving downward - usually some outside corner pitches, that are wide, will get called as the ump is set-up on other side of catcher/plate. Nothing glaring or repetitively bad last night.

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    28 minutes ago, NotAboutWinning said:

    Ok stats gurus... how many IBB have ever been given with bases loaded?

    I don't know. But I'd look to Barry Bonds at his peak. To me, even more remarkable, is an intentional walk with no one on base! Again, Bonds.

    Royce Lewis. Wow. Major role in making Twins baseball so much fun now, and for the next 2 weeks and beyond. Keep doing what you do, and please stay healthy.

    Pardon my digression here, but I only realized yesterday, I think, that the Mariners and Rangers have 7 games left against each other, including the final 4 of the season.  How cool is that. Couldn't have scripted it better for the Twins (and the Blue Jays)

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    17 hours ago, IndianaTwin said:

    Lewis with five grand slams in his first 16 homers. 

    Hank Aaron hit his fifth grand slam on his 266th homer. 


    17 hours ago, IndianaTwin said:
    17 hours ago, IndianaTwin said:

    Lewis has more career grand slams than Derek Jeter and Al Kaline. 



    That's some pretty lofty company you're putting Lewis in. Kaline won a batting title at 20. Jeter was 22 when he helped the Yankees to a WS championship.  Hank Aaron was Hank Aaron. Lewis is probably way ahead of Babe Ruth too. Since Ruth mostly pitched his first 5 years.  It's nice to see Lewis and what he's been doing. But easy on the comparisons. Hell TD knocked him down to the #2 prospect to start the year

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    On 9/15/2023 at 11:11 PM, waltomeal said:


    A hallfamer (Al Kaline) and the most overrated player in sports history. Nice. 

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    33 minutes ago, Hashim said:

    A hallfamer (Al Kaline) and the most overrated player in sports history. Nice. 


    That's...not very insightful.

    20 years, over 3400 hits, lifetime .310/.377/.440. Top10 in MVP voting 8 times. Still playing a solid shortstop through his last day.

    Jeter is, if anything, UNDERrated. 




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