Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
Archer four innings of bend don’t break
In the offseason, Chris Archer was picked up to be the Twins 5th starter. That said, Archer has since become one of the most available arms for the Twins, even if it is for only four innings at a time. The short outings still often leave the Twins in a spot to win more often than not.
The journey there can be bumpy. Monday night, that came in the way of three hits and two walks and scoring threats in three of the four innings Archer completed. If it weren’t for Daz Cameron’s speed beating out a double play, Archer likely would have put up a scoreless outing. The difficulty with the short outings is that it means the bullpen must be able to pick Archer up. More on that later.
“Checked then Wrecked”
You have probably heard the patented phrase “bloop and a blast.” The Twins put together a first inning that resulted in a check-swing single from Jorge Polanco to load the bases—followed by an absolute bomb from Max Kepler for a grand slam to give the Twins and Archer an early 4-0 lead.
Monday night’s grand slam was Kepler’s sixth on the season. A season in which Kepler is reestablishing himself as a reliable offensive threat in the Twins lineup. Coming into Monday evening, he carried a career-best 136 WRC+.
Chinks in the bullpen armor
The bullpen has, time and time again in 2022, shut down opposing lineups. Monday night, the Tigers tested that ability was tested, and the results were not favorable. Griffin Jax came into the game to begin the 5th inning. In that inning, Jax let up a home run to Jonathan Schoop. Then in the 6th, Eric Haase was able to drive in a second run against Jax cutting the Twins lead down to one.
Even the seemingly untouchable Joe Smith was scored on Monday night. This time Schoop was the one on base after his own one-out double and driven in by a Miguel Cabrera single. Smith was only to record one out in his appearance and was chased from the game after allowing three hits and striking out one.
Pagan steadies the ship
Emilio Pagan has created some interesting moments at the backend of games, but he came up big right on Monday night when the Twins needed it. Not only did Pagan shut down the Tigers in the eight. The Twins also called on to take on the ninth. While Pagan allowed one hit, he also struck out four batters. Including Schoop and Cabrera, who caused trouble for the Twins bullpen earlier in the game. Pagan likely won't be mentioned in headlines, but he came up big for the Twins.
Urshela with heroics for the second straight game
After allowing the Tigers back into the game and tying the score up at four, the Twins had to rally in the bottom of the ninth. Kepler, who already had the important grand slam in the first inning, took a vital walk to lead off the inning. With a lefty in Andrew Chafin on the mound, Rocco Baldelli turned to his bench and lefty masher Kyle Garlick. Garlick promptly hit a single to the outfield which advanced Kepler to third base. On night after Garlick homered off of a righty, he continues to show how elite he is when facing lefties.
After a Sanchez pop-out, Gio Urshela came to the plate. Urshela has been one of many Twins that has been bit by the double-play grounder bug. With Garlick on first, that result had a strong chance as one of the Twins bottom of the ninth outcomes. Instead, Urshela was able to hit a grounder up the middle with enough speed that the Tigers couldn't handle it and allowed Kepler to score the game's winning run.
Two incredible and exciting wins in the row take the Twins to five straight wins as they try to extend their AL Central lead.
Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet