Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
Guardians grab lead early
The Guardians wasted no time in putting runs on the board Monday afternoon. Quickly Amed Rosario and Jose Ramirez found themselves in scoring position. It didn’t matter where they were on the base paths as Josh Naylor got a hold of a Sonny Gray curveball and launched it into the right field seats giving the Guardians an early 3-0 lead.
Gray exits after second
Not only were the Twins behind early 3-0, but there were other signs that Gray's outing was going poorly. The radar gun showed that his average fastball speed was down about two miles per hour. We later learned what was ailing Gray was a return of the hamstring tightness that recently plagued him.
With Gray out, Ronny Henriquez came into pitch, making his major league debut. Early on, his stuff was on display. The movement that the 22-year-old pitcher creates is impressive. Henriquez even flashed his glove as he was welcomed to the big leagues by a screaming Ramirez liner right back at him. The gloves behind him could have been a bit more sound as they helped create a bases-loaded situation that Henriquez was able to escape without allowing any runs to score.
Henriquez is currently ranked as Twins Daily’s #16 prospect in the Twins system after coming over to the Twins in the Mitch Garver trade with the Texas Rangers. Since the trade, there has been an eye on Henriquez as a possible bullpen arm for the Twins in 2022. Finally, here in September, he is getting his chance.
The debut was promising through three innings as Henriquez was able to hold Cleveland scoreless. In his fourth inning of work, the opposing bats were able to get to him. Including the exclamation point of an Amed Rosario three-run home run.
Twins find some runs in the fourth
Carlos Correa led off the fourth inning with an opposite-field single. Jose Miranda followed up with a similar opposite field hit for a double, setting the Twins up with runners on second and third with no outs. In a game full of infield hits, it was two hits that stayed in the infield that would bring both Correa and Miranda in to score. Those two runs cut the Twins deficit down to two with a 4-2 tally on the scoreboard.
Opportunity missed in the sixth
With the Twins down 4-3, they had the perfect opportunity to take the lead. With the bases loaded and one out, the Twins chased Guardians starter Cal Quantrill from the game. Nick Sandlin took his place, and Mark Contreras came in as a pinch hitter for Caleb Hamilton to try and drive in some runs for the Twins. Instead, Contreras lined out to first baseman Naylor, and Matt Wallner was doubled off to end the inning and the scoring threat.
In the end, Cleveland would score two more runs after Rosario hit his three-run home run, bringing the final score to 11-4. In a week following the "official" end to the Twins playoff chances, there wasn't much to be excited about. Nick Gordon hit his ninth home run, and the first three innings of Henriquez's debut were good to see. Beyond that, any Twins fans watching got another look at why the Guardians are poised to win the division, and the Twins are not.
The Minnesota Twins will make their way to Kansas City to open up a three-game series against the Royals. Dylan Bundy will take the mound for the Twins, while the Royals will send veteran Zach Greinke to the mound.
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