Starting Pitcher: Josh Winder 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO (81 pitches, 59 strikes)
Homeruns: Jorge Polanco (8), Jose Miranda (5), Byron Buxton (20)
Top 3 WPA: Josh Winder .251, Jorge Polanco .222, Luis Arraez .146
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
On Tuesday evening, after a frustrating afternoon loss, the Twins concluded their double header against the Guardians. Here’s how they lined up for game two.
Early in the game, shadows were creeping across the mount, making for tricky sight lines for hitters on both sides. Josh Winder, acting as the Twins 27th player for the double-header, struggled a little in the early going. In the first inning, Winder worked around a walk and a single. In the second, a leadoff double. In each case, Winder really clamped down after allowing baserunners, gaining increasing command of his fastball and slider.
The Twins offense, meanwhile, began to assert control in the third inning against Konnor Pilkington. Luis Arraez tripled home Carlos Correa, who comically waited to be helped up from his slide at home plate after a long run. Jorge Polanco followed this with a 409-foot home run to left field, increasing the Twins lead to 3-0 after three innings.
After the second inning, Winder began to impress. In the next four innings, the only base runners he allowed were two doubles and a hit batter. He worked through six scoreless innings, and despite only striking out one, had Cleveland’s hitters off balance. Winder, when healthy, continues to look like a legitimately high ceiling starting pitcher, with a mid-90s fastball, an excellent slider, and a BB% of just 7.4% entering today’s start.
In the top of the fourth inning, back to back base running blunders cost the Twins the opportunity to increase their lead. Ryan Jeffers smoked a fly ball to right field, but was slow out of the box and was thrown out at second base on a perfect relay from the Guardians defense. Jose Miranda followed this up by being caught off third base on an attempted squeeze play, keeping the score 3-0.
The Twins added a run in the fifth on a Jorge Polanco groundout that was ruled a double play on the field. The Twins successfully challenged and increased the lead to 4-0. In the top of the sixth, Miranda made up for his base running blunder by crushing a long home run to left field, increasing the lead to 5-0.
The Twins turned it over to their bullpen in the seventh inning, which was in good shape after back-to-back strong starts from Twins starting pitchers. Tyler Duffey pitched a scoreless seventh inning, giving up a single and striking out a batter. Jovani Moran worked the eighth inning, taking care of the Guardians second, third, and fourth hitters in order.
In the top of the ninth, the Twins added on. Byron Buxton crushed a 427 foot home run to straight away center field, his 20th of the season, a career high, on June 28th.
Moran returned in the ninth inning, again retiring the side in order. The Twins moved to 5-4 in their season series against the Guardians, and restored their three game lead in the AL Central heading into game four of the series on Wednesday night.
Bullpen Usage Chart