SP: Bailey Ober 5.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K (88 pitches, 52 strikes (59%)
Home Runs: Carlos Correa (8), Michael A. Taylor (7)
Bottom 3 WPA: Bailey Ober (-.213), Royce Lewis (-.067), Donovan Solano (-.064)
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
Another Rough Start for the Club
The Twins third and final game of the series against the Rays, started about as well as expected. Chirinos served up very hittable pitches and they were all hit hard. So hard that a hit off Jorge Polanco's bat and deflected off of the glove of Yonny Chirinos, hit the umpire and still managed to get out on a fielder's choice. While the umpires and pitchers were being checked on, so was Polanco, who was seen attempting to run off a limp, but was ultimately pulled from the game and pinch run by Donovan Solano.
Polanco being injured and missing the remainder of the game is almost the icing on the cake for a difficult series. Polanco was just reinstated on June 1st after being on the IL since May 20th with a left hamstring injury, and left the game today for the same issue.
Polanco has spent a considerable time on the IL last season and this season and the frustration is palpable for not only fans, but Polanco as well. Polanco is one of the anchors and reliable players on the field and in the batter's box. Even with injuries, Polanco is still hitting .252 and has 16 RBI on the season. Not the best, but certainly one of the most reliable players and his absence certainly affects the team.
Ober and Out
Bailey Ober continues to be impressive on the mound. Ober was able to get the Rays to swing at the hard-high fast balls and everything in between. He had six straight strikeouts in the second and third inning and worked through the Rays batting order by the end of the third.
Ober was late to come out at the beginning of the fourth inning, according to Tampa’s broadcast, he was asked to wash his hands. After the wash, so was Ober’s fourth inning. Ober retired two and then gave up a walk to Randy Arozarena followed by a game-tying triple and then a home run by Harold Ramirez, giving the Rays a 3-1 lead.
Ober came back out for the fifth inning, back to his usual 1-2-3, but leaving the mound, the frustration on his face could be seen as he slightly shook his head and pursed his lips. Ober had one more chance in the sixth to face Arozarena after the frustration of the fourth inning, but only got one good strike on him in a 3-0 count and walked him for a second time. Rocco Baldelli came to remove Ober, who threw down the rosin bag and left undoubtedly frustrated.
Griffin Jax came in to replace a frustrated Ober. Before Jax could even begin his appearance, he took notice of his surroundings and with two on and one out, Jax noticed Wander Franco attempting to steal third. The Rays are extremely aggressive base running and they take every chance they can to steal and score. Jax stepped back to check Franco, but threw an errant ball and Franco scored pushing the Rays up 4-1. A frustrating start for Jax, but he struck out the next two batters to finish the inning.
The Twins didn’t play bad baseball, but the offense wasn't aggressive coming out of the gate, which was really unfortunate. Tampa Bay’s pitcher Chirino was serving up every opportunity for the Twins to capitalize and manufacture runs from the first inning. The offense was connecting with the ball, but were trying to hit the ball hard, not with energy to exploit Chirino’s flat pitching in the first three innings.
Carlos Correa was hitting clean-up today and changed the tone of the game when he stepped into the box. Correa has had a long slump this season with lots of strikeouts, but that hasn’t changed who he is as a person and player. His confidence is second-to-none and it showed as he rocketed a solo-home run deep into left field with his first at-bat of the game, getting the Twins on the board first for the first time this series.
The sixth inning gave the Twins a chance to catch up, with Alex Kirilloff leading the charge with a double looking to get more runs on the board before the Rays retired Chirino to bring in Jake Diekman, who stopped the Twins from getting on the board.
Michael A. Taylor had been trying all game for that “hit” and it finally came in the seventh inning off of pitcher Colin Poche, to close the gap up 4-2.
The Twins couldn't come back in the ninth, even with the power-hitters in the line-up, ending with being swept for the first time this season.
The Twins head due north for a series with Toronto starting Friday night.
Friday 7:07 pm: RHP Sonny Gray (4-1, 2.15) vs. Yusei Kikuchi (6-2, 4.40)
Saturday 3:07 pm: RHP Joe Ryan (7-3, 2.76) vs. Bowden Francis (0-0, 0.00)
Sunday 1:37 pm: RHP Louie Varland (3-2, 4.40) vs. Kevin Gausman (5-3, 2.63)
Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet