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  • Twins 7, Tigers 0: Keeping the .500 Dream Alive, Minnesota Crushes Tigers In Series Opener


    Thiéres Rabelo

    Another brilliant start by Joe Ryan and a dominant performance by the offense propelled the Twins to their third win in their last four games. Minnesota crushes the Tigers in the series opener and keeps their chances of finishing the season at .500 or better alive.

    Image courtesy of Aaron Josefczyk-USA TODAY Sports

    Twins Video

     

    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Joe Ryan, 6 IP, 5H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 8K (91 pitches, 65 strikes, 71.4%)
    Home Runs: Carlos Correa (22)
    Top 3 WPA: Joe Ryan (.302), Mark Contreras (.162), Ryan Jeffers (.081)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
    652158512_chart(1).png.a1f72aa85bce3d5ec9bf4daec584cb1a.png

    Already out of playoff contention, the Twins headed for Detroit for their final road trip of the year, with a couple of three-game sets. Tonight, they kicked off the Tigers series, and, without the postseason prospect, the focus turned to a final, unlikely goal: finishing the season at .500 or better. Already with 80 losses, they entered tonight’s game needing to win at least five of their remaining six games to finish at .500.

    They got off on the right foot, and with some early offense, they were able to jump to a quick three-run lead. Jermaine Palacios snapped a personal 0-for-33 funk dating back to the beginning of the month with a single in the third inning. On the very next at-bat, he scored on a Mark Contreras double, his first in the majors. That was all the offense could garner on that inning, but they would at it again on the next one.

    After giving up a leadoff single in the first, Joe Ryan went on to retire nine in a row, preserving the lead for the offensive turn in the fourth. Gio Urshela drew a leadoff walk, and a couple of at-bats later, Ryan Jeffers smacked a long ground ball to corner left, which was called a double for fan interference at first. Rocco Baldelli challenged the call, and it got overturned, as the two fans who tried to catch the ball whiffed on it. The call overturn turned Jeffers’ double into a triple, and it scored Urshela.

    A few moments later, Jake Cave, who’s been having a solid month, particularly as of late (he came into tonight’s game posting a .897 OPS in his previous seven games), hit a grounder to center, allowing Jeffers to score easily from third, making it 3-0 Twins. Ryan allowed a couple of singles in the bottom of the fourth but eventually got out of the jam to keep the shutout going into the fifth.  Despite not scoring, the offense continued hot in the fifth, creating a bases-loaded situation against Tigers’ starter Tyler Alexander: walks by José Miranda and Gary Sánchez and a single by Carlos Correa.

    Ryan finishes off strong; offense puts the game out of reach
    Making the final start of his first full season in the majors, Ryan was looking for a solid start to wrap up a season full of ups and downs. Struggling against good times more times than not but dominating lesser teams, he came into tonight’s game with the chance to secure a season ERA in the mid-3s. For that, he needed to finish strong, but he looked a bit shaky in the sixth.

    Riley Greene drew a leadoff walk, and after a strikeout, Ryan lost Harold Castro to a single right before Miguel Cabrera stepped up to the plate representing the tying run. The Tiger legend got ahead on the count 2-0, with Ryan failing to get him to chase down and away, but eventually, Ryan got him to ground into a force out. Greene moved up to third, and Spencer Torkelson had one last chance to ruin Ryan’s start, also representing the tying run, but Ryan fanned him for his eighth punchout of the night, ending the threat.

    With tonight’s shutout, Ryan brings his September ERA down to 2.19, and he finishes his first full season in the majors with a solid 3.55 ERA over 147 innings of work, which is probably the most exciting start to a big league career from any Twins starter since maybe the 2017 season by José Berríos. Further proof of that is that with his eight strikeouts tonight, Ryan reached 151 punchouts, breaking the record for most strikeouts in a season by a Twins rookie pitcher, surpassing Francisco Liriano’s 144 back in 2006.

    To thank Ryan for his brilliant start, the offense put together another good inning in the top of the seventh to basically put the game out of reach. Detroit reliever Miguel Díaz did a fine job tossing a 1-2-3 sixth, but he couldn’t keep that same energy. Contreras drew a leadoff walk, his first one in the majors, then added some pressure on Diaz by stealing second, also his first stolen base in the big leagues. So much so that Diaz threw a wild pitch next, allowing him to reach third.

    Detroit made a pitching change, but it didn’t matter anyway, as Correa took reliever Will Vest deep on his very first pitch, a bomb to left, making it 5-0 Minnesota. The offense didn’t settle for just the two runs, and after Urshela and Jeffers hit a couple of singles, Gilberto Celestino hit a double to bring Urshela home and make this a six-run game.

    The offense added on in the eighth, with Palacios and Miranda hitting a couple of singles and Urshela pushing Palacios across with a single of his own, scoring the game’s final run. After Emilio Pagán had a hard time getting through the seventh (30 pitches), Jovani Moran slammed the door with a couple of hitless, scoreless innings.

    Postgame interview

     

    What’s Next?
    To open their version of October baseball, the Twins turn to Dylan Bundy (4.93 ERA) to start game two on Saturday, while the Tigers will try to even the series with Drew Hutchison (4.54 ERA) on the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 pm CDT.

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

      MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT
                 
    Moran 0 0 12 0 23 35
    Thielbar 0 0 15 18 0 33
    López 0 0 16 14 0 30
    Pagán 0 0 0 0 30 30
    Fulmer 0 0 22 5 0 27
    Jax 0 10 0 14 0 24
    Megill 0 0 0 17 0 17
    Duran 0 15 0 0 0 15
    Henriquez 0 0 0 0 0 0
     

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    Ryan is fun to watch when he's on. Correa parked his minibus here for a year; wish it could be longer. I've tuned out the Twins when they collapsed, but next spring they'll be tied for first at 0-0 and I'll be on board.

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    Joe Ryan now has 13 wins - I like wins, it means that a pitcher stays around long enough to control the outcome.  I don't count reliever wins, but this is not a worthless stat.  Joe has been our go to guy and hopefully he improves enough by next year to impact the team against the winning teams.

    I am happy that we have KC and Detroit to make us feel better.  Think if we substitute Baltimore and Boston - the bottom of the East!  

    Why is Bundy still starting?  Minor league season is over, get a rookie up here. 

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    50 minutes ago, DJL44 said:

    That might be his final appearance in a Twins uniform

    One can only hope  ,,, 

    He's got electric stuff according to Rocco . but doesn't know how to pitch effectively in my eyes   ...

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    Really nice start from Joe Ryan. I continue to be a fan of his, and his starts are usually pretty fun to watch. I like the way he works a game, and he seems to keep things moving along pretty well. The slider is coming along well and even without elite velocity hitters struggle to square up on it up in the zone. Setting a team rookie record for Ks in a season is pretty impressive, especially when the guys you topped are Bert Blyleven and Francisco Liriano! He's still got some things to work on (sharpening up that 3rd pitch, finishing off hitters faster, keeping his command so that slider doesn't drop into the heart of the plate, etc) but he had a very successful rookie campaign.

    Pagan does nothing for me, and I would move on from him in the offseason. He gets strikeouts, but he walks too many guys and gives up too many hits because when his command gets shaky (and it frequently does) he ends up lobbing one in the heart of the plate and it gets hammered. At some point you can't keep hoping the stuff will play up. We can do better.

    Moran, on the other hand, I do like. He's a little more wild than I would like, but he doesn't give up the piles of hits and I think he can be a big part of the bullpen solution going forward. I love love love that change up. It's so fun watching a guy with that elite change up pitch, it's such a fun pitch to see. He can really make guys flail at it.

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    2 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

    Joe Ryan now has 13 wins - I like wins, it means that a pitcher stays around long enough to control the outcome.  I don't count reliever wins, but this is not a worthless stat.  Joe has been our go to guy and hopefully he improves enough by next year to impact the team against the winning teams.

    I am happy that we have KC and Detroit to make us feel better.  Think if we substitute Baltimore and Boston - the bottom of the East!  

    Why is Bundy still starting?  Minor league season is over, get a rookie up here. 

    One can only guess why bundy is pitching  ...

    Guess would be that the FO  will proudly claim they had  starters that pitched near 150 innings  ...

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    Gotta love Ryan.  Nice job.  Can't wait to see next year if he can pitch effectively against the good teams.  Big discrepancy this year in his stats against the top teams and the also rans.  But you just gotta love him.  Hopefully will be our foundation on the pitching staff for several years.

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    I’m expecting the off-season conversation will be whether Joe Ryan can be a legit ace or if he’s something less than that.  But for now - enjoy the nice run in this disappointing season. 

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