SP:Chris Archer 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (78 pitches, 50 strikes (64.1%))
Home Runs: Trevor Larnach (2)
Top 3 WPA: Trevor Larnach (.153), Ryan Jeffers (.104), Byron Buxton (.08)
Bottom 3 WPA: Chris Archer (-.334), Jorge Polanco (-.109), Gio Urshela (-.103)
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
He Was Inverted
Chris Archer started out the first inning by attacking the strike zone and the Royals took advantage of that and got the first run of the game. Archer’s control has continued to trend upward as he settles into the club. Archer, who has been limited on innings because of having no spring training and pitching very little overall the past two seasons, has really continued to improve as he’s stretched out.
He had an ERA of 3.86 prior to today’s game, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Archer has kept his pitching consistent with each performance and the only thing hurting his ERA up until now is his only registered loss, which came against Houston, but all of the Twins' pitchers struggled that series.
Archer has not been allowed to go past four innings all season and today we saw why. By the fourth inning, Archer seemed to lose a little of the command he had in the second and third innings and gave up a run before Wes Johnson made a visit to the mound. After the visit, Archer gave up another two runs before getting the third out which was the 28th pitch of the inning. A Jorge Polanco error could have been the third out. Instead, it was followed by a two-run double.
Dick Bremer and LaTroy Hawkins both talked about how Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has been taking his time with the RHP who has spent a lot of time in the past three years injured and only pitched 19 ¾ innings last season. As much as Archer wants to go out and bring the heat full send, the plan that Rocco has him on to help him stretch out and work on his command has proven that not only does Baldelli know what his team needs, but what it is going to take to be competitive.
"Remember, Boys, no points for Second Place"
The Twins may have lost the game, but they still have the chance to tie the series on Sunday. The first hit of the game looked promising as Byron Buxton ran out a double with his first at-bat of the day as he poked a ball out to right field. Frustratingly Luis Arraez and Carlos Correa left him stranded, but Trevor Larnach answered the Royals with a home run deep to center field. Larnach has had two home runs for the season, both within the past two series and since returning from the IL. It seemed like every time there was a glimmer of hope, there was a sigh of frustration.
The Twins have only started out behind in 17 of the 46 games they have played so far this season. In the other 29 games, they scored first and in 24 of those, they won. The Twins certainly did have quiet bats Saturday against Kansas City’s pitchers. There have been a lot of moves lately with injuries, COVID and giving players rest. Baldelli mentioned prior to the game today that even with all the moves lately, the guys continue to stay ready, work hard and show up when they need to.
A lot of the guys have not had much rest so far this season. Max Kepler, who has been amazing this season both in the field and at the plate, seemed to gingerly run to first base and left the game with right leg tightness. Kyle Garlick came in for Kepler. While the bats seemed to pick up a small amount in the sixth inning with a hit from Arraez and Garlick following up with a single advancing Arraez to third, the Royals pulled Brady Singer to preserve their lead.
Larnach continued to battle at every at-bat and drew a walk against pitcher Dylan Coleman, helping to load the bases for Ryan Jeffers, who came in for Gary Sanchez, who left the game with a heat-related illness in between innings. Jeffers wasted no time in helping get the guys back on the board and hit a line drive up the middle scoring Arraez and Garlick before ending the inning bringing the Twins to only a two-run deficit with plenty of game left.
The Twins looked like they were making a comeback in the ninth inning with Luis Arraez getting his third hit of the day, followed by Correa getting on base. Polanco came up to bat, hitless the entire game made Josh Staumont work his count, and drew a walk bringing Garlick up to hit with bases loaded and two outs and the fans to their feet. Garlick hit a beautiful fly ball to centerfield but was just short, ending the game 7-3.
The Twins finish out their series with the Royals tomorrow at 1:10pm before flying off to play in Detroit.
Pitching matchup tomorrow:
- Sunday 1:10 pm CST: Sonny Gray (21-1, 2.60 ERA) vs RHP Zack Grienke (0-3, 4.53 ERA)
Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet