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  1. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Pineda 5.2 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K Homeruns: Polanco (32) Top 3 WPA: Pineda (0.181), Polanco (0.163), Duffey (0.121) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Jorge Polanco Give Twins Early Lead The Twins bats got off to a quick start in this ballgame providing some instant offensive support for Michael Pineda. Luis Arraez got things started with a single and advanced to second on a weakly-hit infield single from Byron Buxton. This set the table for Jorge Polanco, who promptly drove the very next pitch out of the ballpark, giving the Twins a 3-0 lead. Michael Pineda Has Strong Final Start of the Season With the Twins season coming to an end on Sunday, this was almost assuredly the final start of Michael Pineda’s season, and potentially his final start in a Twins uniform, as he will be a free agent at season’s end. Pineda held the Tigers offense scoreless on three singles through the first three innings of the ballgame, before surrendering his lone run of the game in the fourth. Robbie Grossman got the Tigers fourth started with a single, before Pineda struck Miguel Cabrera with a pitch. Grossman advanced to third on a Jeimer Candelario fly out, and then scored on this comebacker that struck Pineda. Twins Add Insurance Runs in the 8th Protecting small leads in the 9th have plagued the Twins all season, so the offense adding two insurance runs in the 8th inning to double their lead felt bigger than they usually would. After making a great catch to end the top of the inning, Byron Buxton led off the bottom of the inning and was hit by the first pitch he saw. Buxton then stole second, and advanced to third on a throwing error by Tigers catcher Eric Haase. Buxton would later come in to score on an RBI base-hit from Max Kepler. Miguel Sano followed the Kepler hit with a one-out walk to load the bases for Nick Gordon who hit a shallow fly ball to center that did not appear deep enough to score Josh Donaldson from third, but he tagged up anyway and scored the Twins fifth run of the game thanks to an off target throw home. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN TUE WED TOT Garza Jr. 0 0 18 19 0 37 Vincent 0 0 33 0 0 33 Thielbar 0 0 17 13 0 30 Coulombe 0 37 0 0 0 37 Farrell 0 18 0 0 0 18 Duffey 17 0 0 18 21 56 Barraclough 0 33 0 0 0 33 Colomé 5 0 0 26 18 49 Minaya 19 0 0 0 22 41 Moran 0 19 0 0 0 19 Alcalá 6 0 0 10 0 16 What's Next? The Twins have their final home game of the 2021 season on Thursday night, as they look to complete the three-game sweep of the Tigers. Joe Ryan is scheduled to pitch for the Twins opposite Tarik Skubal. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 pm CDT. Post Game Interviews
  2. Jorge Polanco gave the Minnesota Twins all the offense they would need with a home run in the first inning, as the pitching staff continued its excellence over the last month of the season, leading the Twins to the 5-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Pineda 5.2 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K Homeruns: Polanco (32) Top 3 WPA: Pineda (0.181), Polanco (0.163), Duffey (0.121) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Jorge Polanco Give Twins Early Lead The Twins bats got off to a quick start in this ballgame providing some instant offensive support for Michael Pineda. Luis Arraez got things started with a single and advanced to second on a weakly-hit infield single from Byron Buxton. This set the table for Jorge Polanco, who promptly drove the very next pitch out of the ballpark, giving the Twins a 3-0 lead. Michael Pineda Has Strong Final Start of the Season With the Twins season coming to an end on Sunday, this was almost assuredly the final start of Michael Pineda’s season, and potentially his final start in a Twins uniform, as he will be a free agent at season’s end. Pineda held the Tigers offense scoreless on three singles through the first three innings of the ballgame, before surrendering his lone run of the game in the fourth. Robbie Grossman got the Tigers fourth started with a single, before Pineda struck Miguel Cabrera with a pitch. Grossman advanced to third on a Jeimer Candelario fly out, and then scored on this comebacker that struck Pineda. Twins Add Insurance Runs in the 8th Protecting small leads in the 9th have plagued the Twins all season, so the offense adding two insurance runs in the 8th inning to double their lead felt bigger than they usually would. After making a great catch to end the top of the inning, Byron Buxton led off the bottom of the inning and was hit by the first pitch he saw. Buxton then stole second, and advanced to third on a throwing error by Tigers catcher Eric Haase. Buxton would later come in to score on an RBI base-hit from Max Kepler. Miguel Sano followed the Kepler hit with a one-out walk to load the bases for Nick Gordon who hit a shallow fly ball to center that did not appear deep enough to score Josh Donaldson from third, but he tagged up anyway and scored the Twins fifth run of the game thanks to an off target throw home. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN TUE WED TOT Garza Jr. 0 0 18 19 0 37 Vincent 0 0 33 0 0 33 Thielbar 0 0 17 13 0 30 Coulombe 0 37 0 0 0 37 Farrell 0 18 0 0 0 18 Duffey 17 0 0 18 21 56 Barraclough 0 33 0 0 0 33 Colomé 5 0 0 26 18 49 Minaya 19 0 0 0 22 41 Moran 0 19 0 0 0 19 Alcalá 6 0 0 10 0 16 What's Next? The Twins have their final home game of the 2021 season on Thursday night, as they look to complete the three-game sweep of the Tigers. Joe Ryan is scheduled to pitch for the Twins opposite Tarik Skubal. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 pm CDT. Post Game Interviews View full article
  3. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ryan 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 11 K Homeruns: Kepler 2 (19) Top 3 WPA: Kepler (0.326), Alcala (0.091), Ryan (0.088) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Joe Ryan Strikes Out Career High 11 Hitters In his first start since being struck by a comebacker last week, Joe Ryan showed that he is just fine as he struck out a career-high 11 Cubs in just five innings of work in tonight’s ballgame. While Joe Ryan has looked impressive in each of his first three starts, his strikeout potential was not on full display, as the most he struck out in any of those starts was just five. Joe Ryan got the night started strong, when he struck out the top of the Cubs order on just 13 pitches in the first. A leadoff walk, followed by a double from Cubs left fielder Ian Happ set up the Cubs lone scoring opportunity off Ryan in the second, which they capitalized on with a one out single from Nico Horner later in the inning. After the second, Joe Ryan was in control, as he allowed just one more base runner the rest of his outing. In fact, only two more Cubs hitters would even put the ball in play against Ryan in his final three innings of work, as he ended the night by striking out eight of the final nine batters that he faced. Max Kepler Schools the Professor With both Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco getting the night off (at-least from the starting lineup), Max Kepler picked up the slack, as he tee off on Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (AKA “The Professor), and provided all the offense the Twins would need in this game. In the top of the first, after two quick outs, Josh Donaldson got a little two out rally started when he laced a ground ball single up the middle. Max Kepler capitalized on that opportunity when he drilled a 2-0 fastball into the basket in right to give the Twins the early 2-0 lead. With the game tied at two runs a piece in the fourth, Max Kepler worked a full-count with one out before giving the Twins back the lead when he blasted his second home run of the night off of Kyle Hendricks. With two outs, and the Twins still leading 3-2, Max Kepler got his third opportunity vs Kyle Hendricks, and gave it his best attempt to Trevor Bauer him, but his bid for a third straight home run came up just short, as it hit off the wall in center for a two-out double. Miguel Sano would follow that up with a single that drove in Kepler from second to give the Twins the two-run lead. Twins Bullpen Shines… For the Most Part After Joe Ryan’s impressive five innings of work, the task of closing out the victory was left in the hands of the Twins bullpen. Juan Minaya was the first pitcher called out of the Twins pen to work the sixth. After giving up a leadoff single, Minaya was able to work out of it by getting Frank Schwindel to ground out, before striking out both Patrick Wisdom and Ian Happ to end the inning. It was Tyler Duffey’s turn to work the seventh, and he picked up right where the other two Twins pitchers before him left off, as Duffey struck out each of the first two batters that he faced before getting Nico Hoerner to fly out to center to set the Cubs down 1-2-3 four the fourth time of the night. We got more of the same from Jorge Alcala in the bottom of the eighth, as he worked yet another 1-2-3 inning, as he got Trayce Thompson and David Bote out on strikes before Rafael Ortega laced a line drive down the right-field line that was chased down by Max Kepler to end the inning. We got another dose of the Alex Colome experience in the ninth. With the Twins lead now at three, Colome needed every bit of that lead to secure the Twins win. After already surrendering two runs in the inning, the Cubs had the trying and winning runs both in scoring position and two outs, but unlike many nights before, Colome got the clutch out when he needed it, as he struck out Trayce Thompson to end the ballgame. Bullpen Usage Report FRI SAT SUN TUE WED TOT Barraclough 0 32 0 35 0 67 Vincent 0 0 40 0 0 40 Thielbar 0 0 22 16 0 38 Minaya 0 0 36 0 13 49 Moran 0 34 0 0 0 34 Farrell 0 0 34 0 0 34 Duffey 16 0 0 11 12 39 Alcalá 13 0 0 10 10 33 Colomé 14 0 0 7 24 45 Garza Jr. 0 17 0 0 0 17 Coulombe 0 0 0 17 0 17 What's Next? The Twins return home on Thursday to begin a four-game weekend series with the Toronto Blue Jays. First pitch of Thursday night's game with be at 6:40 pm CDT, with the Twins throwing Michale Pineda against left-hander Steven Matz. Post Game Interviews
  4. In a night where both Joe Ryan and Max Kepler shined, Alex Colome almost ruined it all, but he came up with a big strikeout when he needed it and the Minnesota Twins hung on to beat the Chicago Cubs by a score of 5-4. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ryan 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 11 K Homeruns: Kepler 2 (19) Top 3 WPA: Kepler (0.326), Alcala (0.091), Ryan (0.088) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Joe Ryan Strikes Out Career High 11 Hitters In his first start since being struck by a comebacker last week, Joe Ryan showed that he is just fine as he struck out a career-high 11 Cubs in just five innings of work in tonight’s ballgame. While Joe Ryan has looked impressive in each of his first three starts, his strikeout potential was not on full display, as the most he struck out in any of those starts was just five. Joe Ryan got the night started strong, when he struck out the top of the Cubs order on just 13 pitches in the first. A leadoff walk, followed by a double from Cubs left fielder Ian Happ set up the Cubs lone scoring opportunity off Ryan in the second, which they capitalized on with a one out single from Nico Horner later in the inning. After the second, Joe Ryan was in control, as he allowed just one more base runner the rest of his outing. In fact, only two more Cubs hitters would even put the ball in play against Ryan in his final three innings of work, as he ended the night by striking out eight of the final nine batters that he faced. Max Kepler Schools the Professor With both Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco getting the night off (at-least from the starting lineup), Max Kepler picked up the slack, as he tee off on Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (AKA “The Professor), and provided all the offense the Twins would need in this game. In the top of the first, after two quick outs, Josh Donaldson got a little two out rally started when he laced a ground ball single up the middle. Max Kepler capitalized on that opportunity when he drilled a 2-0 fastball into the basket in right to give the Twins the early 2-0 lead. With the game tied at two runs a piece in the fourth, Max Kepler worked a full-count with one out before giving the Twins back the lead when he blasted his second home run of the night off of Kyle Hendricks. With two outs, and the Twins still leading 3-2, Max Kepler got his third opportunity vs Kyle Hendricks, and gave it his best attempt to Trevor Bauer him, but his bid for a third straight home run came up just short, as it hit off the wall in center for a two-out double. Miguel Sano would follow that up with a single that drove in Kepler from second to give the Twins the two-run lead. Twins Bullpen Shines… For the Most Part After Joe Ryan’s impressive five innings of work, the task of closing out the victory was left in the hands of the Twins bullpen. Juan Minaya was the first pitcher called out of the Twins pen to work the sixth. After giving up a leadoff single, Minaya was able to work out of it by getting Frank Schwindel to ground out, before striking out both Patrick Wisdom and Ian Happ to end the inning. It was Tyler Duffey’s turn to work the seventh, and he picked up right where the other two Twins pitchers before him left off, as Duffey struck out each of the first two batters that he faced before getting Nico Hoerner to fly out to center to set the Cubs down 1-2-3 four the fourth time of the night. We got more of the same from Jorge Alcala in the bottom of the eighth, as he worked yet another 1-2-3 inning, as he got Trayce Thompson and David Bote out on strikes before Rafael Ortega laced a line drive down the right-field line that was chased down by Max Kepler to end the inning. We got another dose of the Alex Colome experience in the ninth. With the Twins lead now at three, Colome needed every bit of that lead to secure the Twins win. After already surrendering two runs in the inning, the Cubs had the trying and winning runs both in scoring position and two outs, but unlike many nights before, Colome got the clutch out when he needed it, as he struck out Trayce Thompson to end the ballgame. Bullpen Usage Report FRI SAT SUN TUE WED TOT Barraclough 0 32 0 35 0 67 Vincent 0 0 40 0 0 40 Thielbar 0 0 22 16 0 38 Minaya 0 0 36 0 13 49 Moran 0 34 0 0 0 34 Farrell 0 0 34 0 0 34 Duffey 16 0 0 11 12 39 Alcalá 13 0 0 10 10 33 Colomé 14 0 0 7 24 45 Garza Jr. 0 17 0 0 0 17 Coulombe 0 0 0 17 0 17 What's Next? The Twins return home on Thursday to begin a four-game weekend series with the Toronto Blue Jays. First pitch of Thursday night's game with be at 6:40 pm CDT, with the Twins throwing Michale Pineda against left-hander Steven Matz. Post Game Interviews View full article
  5. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Jax 4.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K Homeruns: Sano (28) Bottom 3 WPA: Jax (-0.201), Buxton (-0.047), Jeffers (-0.042) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Griffin Jax Gets Blown Up in the Fifth Griffin Jax’s rough first season in the Majors has been especially brutal of late, as he has posted a 7.54 ERA over his last four starts entering play on Wednesday. For a guy that is clearly pitching for a potential spot in the Twins 2022 starting rotation, these last few starts of the season are going to be very important to him. The way things started in this ballgame, it appeared as though Jax was going to have a start that would help him start to right the ship. However, that was not be the case. Jax faced just 10 batters through the first three innings of the game, before giving up a run on a couple doubles in the fourth. Things took a turn for the worse in the top of the fifth inning, which ended with a Twins reliever on the mound (Jovani Moran, to be specific). A single and an error put two runners on base for the Cleveland nine-hole hitter Oscar Mercado, who delivered a three-run blast into the bleachers in left, giving Cleveland a three-run lead. The damage didn't stop there. Cleveland continued to hit up Jax before he was finally pulled with two outs in the inning and the Twins trailing by five. Jovani Moran came in to relieve Jax in just his third Major League appearance, and got Bobby Bradley to strike out looking to end the inning. Moran would stay out and pitch a clean 1-2-3 sixth inning, before things imploded on him as well in the seventh when he gave up three runs on four hits before having to be relieved with just one out in the inning. Andrew Albers came in to relieve Moran, and promptly gave up a two-run blast to Bobby Bradley. One of those runs was charged to Moran, who finished with four earned runs in the inning. Andrew Albers would stay in and pitch the final 2 2/3 innings for the Twins to help give the rest of the bullpen the night off before an off day on Thursday for some additional much-needed rest. He surrendered single runs in both the eighth and ninth innings, the latter of which coming off a solo blast from Franmil Reyes. Twins Position Players Have Rough Night While this game will certainly be looked back on as a rough night for the pitching staff, the position players had an equally-rough night. The defense did the pitching staff no favors as they committed two sloppy throwing errors that helped lead to Cleveland’s two big innings. In addition to the defense, the bats were almost non-existent, at least until the game was well out of reach. The Twins bats mustered just one hit through six innings off of Cleveland starter Cal Quantrill, and it should have stayed that way through seven had it not been for a misplayed pop-up off the bat of Max Kepler that should have ended the inning. Instead, the inning stayed alive long enough for Miguel Sano to deliver a three-run blast to make the Twins offensive woes seem not as bad as they actually were. Twins Bullpen Usage Chart SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Minaya 0 17 0 13 0 30 Coulombe 23 0 0 27 0 50 Colomé 0 0 27 11 0 38 Duffey 0 0 38 0 0 38 Farrell 12 0 34 0 0 46 Barraclough 0 0 23 16 0 39 Moran 0 37 0 0 34 71 Thielbar 26 0 11 0 0 37 Alcalá 0 18 0 8 0 26 Albers 0 0 0 0 40 40 Garza Jr. 0 11 6 0 0 17 What's Next? The Twins are off on Thursday before heading back on the road for a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays beginning on Friday. Postgame Interview
  6. It was a rough night in every phase of the game for the Minnesota Twins, as they dropped the series finale to Cleveland by a score of 12-3. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Jax 4.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K Homeruns: Sano (28) Bottom 3 WPA: Jax (-0.201), Buxton (-0.047), Jeffers (-0.042) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Griffin Jax Gets Blown Up in the Fifth Griffin Jax’s rough first season in the Majors has been especially brutal of late, as he has posted a 7.54 ERA over his last four starts entering play on Wednesday. For a guy that is clearly pitching for a potential spot in the Twins 2022 starting rotation, these last few starts of the season are going to be very important to him. The way things started in this ballgame, it appeared as though Jax was going to have a start that would help him start to right the ship. However, that was not be the case. Jax faced just 10 batters through the first three innings of the game, before giving up a run on a couple doubles in the fourth. Things took a turn for the worse in the top of the fifth inning, which ended with a Twins reliever on the mound (Jovani Moran, to be specific). A single and an error put two runners on base for the Cleveland nine-hole hitter Oscar Mercado, who delivered a three-run blast into the bleachers in left, giving Cleveland a three-run lead. The damage didn't stop there. Cleveland continued to hit up Jax before he was finally pulled with two outs in the inning and the Twins trailing by five. Jovani Moran came in to relieve Jax in just his third Major League appearance, and got Bobby Bradley to strike out looking to end the inning. Moran would stay out and pitch a clean 1-2-3 sixth inning, before things imploded on him as well in the seventh when he gave up three runs on four hits before having to be relieved with just one out in the inning. Andrew Albers came in to relieve Moran, and promptly gave up a two-run blast to Bobby Bradley. One of those runs was charged to Moran, who finished with four earned runs in the inning. Andrew Albers would stay in and pitch the final 2 2/3 innings for the Twins to help give the rest of the bullpen the night off before an off day on Thursday for some additional much-needed rest. He surrendered single runs in both the eighth and ninth innings, the latter of which coming off a solo blast from Franmil Reyes. Twins Position Players Have Rough Night While this game will certainly be looked back on as a rough night for the pitching staff, the position players had an equally-rough night. The defense did the pitching staff no favors as they committed two sloppy throwing errors that helped lead to Cleveland’s two big innings. In addition to the defense, the bats were almost non-existent, at least until the game was well out of reach. The Twins bats mustered just one hit through six innings off of Cleveland starter Cal Quantrill, and it should have stayed that way through seven had it not been for a misplayed pop-up off the bat of Max Kepler that should have ended the inning. Instead, the inning stayed alive long enough for Miguel Sano to deliver a three-run blast to make the Twins offensive woes seem not as bad as they actually were. Twins Bullpen Usage Chart SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Minaya 0 17 0 13 0 30 Coulombe 23 0 0 27 0 50 Colomé 0 0 27 11 0 38 Duffey 0 0 38 0 0 38 Farrell 12 0 34 0 0 46 Barraclough 0 0 23 16 0 39 Moran 0 37 0 0 34 71 Thielbar 26 0 11 0 0 37 Alcalá 0 18 0 8 0 26 Albers 0 0 0 0 40 40 Garza Jr. 0 11 6 0 0 17 What's Next? The Twins are off on Thursday before heading back on the road for a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays beginning on Friday. Postgame Interview View full article
  7. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ryan 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K Homeruns: Sano (25) Top 3 WPA: Ryan (0.479), Gordon (0.101), Thielbar (0.58) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Joe Ryan Take Perfect Game into Seventh in Second Career Start Apart from one rough inning in his MLB debut last week against the Chicago Cubs, Joe Ryan looked pretty impressive and left an overall good first impression, at least in this writer’s eyes. Well, that strong first impression only got stronger after tonight’s start, as Ryan retired the first 19 hitters Cleveland sent to the plate. Joe Ryan had the fly ball out working in his favor early in the game tonight, as he gave up a number of deep fly balls that looked scary off the bat, but they all would eventually die harmlessly at the warning track for routine outs. Joe Ryan also did a good job keeping his pitch count low, as he completed seven shutout innings with just 85 pitches. While having just four strikeouts aided in that effort, the main reason was Joe not only avoided the walk, but he didn’t really work deep into many counts as he threw nearly 72% of his pitches for strikes. The perfect game, and the no-hitter, came to an end with one out in the seventh, when Amed Rosario laced a hard-hit ball between short and third for a one out single. Rosario would advance to second on a pickoff attempt throwing error from Ryan. However, Ryan would focus in and get out of the inning without allowing a run to score. Twins Get on the Board First in the Fifth The first few innings of this game were rather uneventful. The most action came from a Josh Donaldson leadoff double in the 2nd that was originally ruled an out, but after a Twins challenge Donaldson was awarded second base after it was determined that the ball made contact with the outfield wall just before it fell into the glove of Cleveland outfielder Harold Ramirez. The fifth inning started like most of the other innings early in this ballgame, as the Twins made two outs to begin the inning. Rob Refsnyder got the two out rally started by working the count full before drawing a two out walk. Then, with Nick Gordon up, Refsnyder stole second base to get in scoring position. Gordon then promptly delivered with a double, bringing Refsnyder around to score the first run of the game. Miguel Sano Goes Way Deep in the Seventh After putting up a run with two outs in the fifth, the Twins got another two out run in the seventh, this time via a more conventional way, a Miguel Sano bomb. Now I must preface this by saying, for Sano this was just another oh hum home run, but for any average MLB hitter this would certainly be classified as a bomb that traveled 449 feet to the opposite field. Twins Tack on Insurance Run in Eighth With the perfect game in the rearview mirror, the focus was shifted back on the original goal, winning the ballgame. The Twins bats aided in the bullpen’s quest to lock down the win by giving them a bigger cushion to work with. Ryan Jeffers got the inning started with a one out double into the left-center field gap. Luis Arraez followed with a single to left field that seemed like it should have scored Jeffers, but he was held up by third base coach Tony Diaz, despite the throw coming back into second. Byron Buxton then delivered on what should have been a TaylorMade double-play, but with Buxton’s speed those do not exist, as he beat it out allowing the run to score. Bullpen Usage Chart SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Colomé 11 23 9 17 0 60 Thielbar 0 28 0 25 8 61 Minaya 21 0 0 21 0 42 Alcalá 0 15 0 19 0 34 Garza Jr. 23 0 0 0 0 23 Duffey 0 10 8 0 17 35 Coulombe 0 0 0 0 0 0 What's Next The Twins will go for the rare four-game sweep vs Cleveland on Thursday night, as they will send Randy Dobnak to the mound to face Cleveland pitcher Cal Quantrill. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10pm CDT. Postgame Interviews
  8. Joe Ryan flirted with perfection in just his second career start, but in the end, he had to settle for seven shutout innings and his first MLB Win in the Twins second 3-0 victory over Cleveland in as many nights. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ryan 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K Homeruns: Sano (25) Top 3 WPA: Ryan (0.479), Gordon (0.101), Thielbar (0.58) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Joe Ryan Take Perfect Game into Seventh in Second Career Start Apart from one rough inning in his MLB debut last week against the Chicago Cubs, Joe Ryan looked pretty impressive and left an overall good first impression, at least in this writer’s eyes. Well, that strong first impression only got stronger after tonight’s start, as Ryan retired the first 19 hitters Cleveland sent to the plate. Joe Ryan had the fly ball out working in his favor early in the game tonight, as he gave up a number of deep fly balls that looked scary off the bat, but they all would eventually die harmlessly at the warning track for routine outs. Joe Ryan also did a good job keeping his pitch count low, as he completed seven shutout innings with just 85 pitches. While having just four strikeouts aided in that effort, the main reason was Joe not only avoided the walk, but he didn’t really work deep into many counts as he threw nearly 72% of his pitches for strikes. The perfect game, and the no-hitter, came to an end with one out in the seventh, when Amed Rosario laced a hard-hit ball between short and third for a one out single. Rosario would advance to second on a pickoff attempt throwing error from Ryan. However, Ryan would focus in and get out of the inning without allowing a run to score. Twins Get on the Board First in the Fifth The first few innings of this game were rather uneventful. The most action came from a Josh Donaldson leadoff double in the 2nd that was originally ruled an out, but after a Twins challenge Donaldson was awarded second base after it was determined that the ball made contact with the outfield wall just before it fell into the glove of Cleveland outfielder Harold Ramirez. The fifth inning started like most of the other innings early in this ballgame, as the Twins made two outs to begin the inning. Rob Refsnyder got the two out rally started by working the count full before drawing a two out walk. Then, with Nick Gordon up, Refsnyder stole second base to get in scoring position. Gordon then promptly delivered with a double, bringing Refsnyder around to score the first run of the game. Miguel Sano Goes Way Deep in the Seventh After putting up a run with two outs in the fifth, the Twins got another two out run in the seventh, this time via a more conventional way, a Miguel Sano bomb. Now I must preface this by saying, for Sano this was just another oh hum home run, but for any average MLB hitter this would certainly be classified as a bomb that traveled 449 feet to the opposite field. Twins Tack on Insurance Run in Eighth With the perfect game in the rearview mirror, the focus was shifted back on the original goal, winning the ballgame. The Twins bats aided in the bullpen’s quest to lock down the win by giving them a bigger cushion to work with. Ryan Jeffers got the inning started with a one out double into the left-center field gap. Luis Arraez followed with a single to left field that seemed like it should have scored Jeffers, but he was held up by third base coach Tony Diaz, despite the throw coming back into second. Byron Buxton then delivered on what should have been a TaylorMade double-play, but with Buxton’s speed those do not exist, as he beat it out allowing the run to score. Bullpen Usage Chart SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Colomé 11 23 9 17 0 60 Thielbar 0 28 0 25 8 61 Minaya 21 0 0 21 0 42 Alcalá 0 15 0 19 0 34 Garza Jr. 23 0 0 0 0 23 Duffey 0 10 8 0 17 35 Coulombe 0 0 0 0 0 0 What's Next The Twins will go for the rare four-game sweep vs Cleveland on Thursday night, as they will send Randy Dobnak to the mound to face Cleveland pitcher Cal Quantrill. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10pm CDT. Postgame Interviews View full article
  9. Alex Colome blew yet another save in the bottom of the 9th, but Josh Donaldson and Jake Cave both homered in the Twins five-run 10th inning to claim victory! Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ober 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO Home runs: Sano (22), Polanco (24), Donaldson (19), Cave (3) Top 3 WPA: Ober (.257), Donaldson (.130) Polanco (.118) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Miguel Sano Hits Longest Home Run in MLB This Season Last week Miguel Sano blasted a 475 foot bomb as part of the Twins extra inning win against Cleveland. At the time, it was the longest home run hit by a Minnesota Twin this season. Well... Sano wasn’t content with just having the Twins longest home run of the season, he wanted more and tonight he did just that as he blasted a 495 foot home run not just over the monster, but the billboards at the back of the deepest part of the monster. Truly a majestic home run that you need to see to believe. Jorge Polanco Hits 24th Home Run of the Season After failing to come through with bases loaded and just one out in the second, Jorge Polanco redeemed himself in his next at-bat. With one on and two outs in the top of the fourth inning, Polanco became the second Twins hitter in as many innings to take Nick Pivetta deep. Bailey Ober Has Another Strong Outing While Griffin Jax has gotten more recognition for his performance of late, Bailey Ober has quietly been very good over the past month as he carried a 2.81 ERA over his last five starts entering Wednesday night’s game. Those numbers only continued to improve after Ober went five shutout innings against the Red Sox. Tonight’s outing was as impressive as any he has made in his young Major League career. The only inning where the Red Sox put together a scoring threat was in the third. Christian Vasquez got the threat started with a one out single, and then advanced to second on a groundout from Enrique Hernandez. Kyle Schwarber then came through with a two-out hit, but poor baserunning from Vasquez caused him to be held up a third. This was the second chance Bailey Ober needed, as he got Xander Bogaerts to fly out to right to end the threat. Alex Colome Blows Yet Another Save If there has been one single theme to this disappointing season from the Twins, it has been Alex Colome blowing save after save. It started from day one and it hasn’t stopped as he blew yet another great performance from his teammates that should have led to a Twins 4-2 victory. Instead, he gave up this game-tying two-run blast to Kyle Schwarber in the bottom of the ninth. Colome then gave up a single and a walk to put the winning run on second base with still nobody out. However, he was able to work out of the jam and send this game to extra innings. Donaldson and Cave Go Yard in the 10th Just when all hope seemed lost, the Twins bats took back the lead with a five-run 10th inning. The inning got started with a two-run home run from Josh Donaldson. While those two runs were nice, it hardly felt like a safe lead for the Twins to hold in the bottom of the inning. Luckily, the Twins were not done hitting. With two outs in the inning, Rob Refsnyder got on base with a line drive single to center. Ryan Jeffers followed by getting hit by his second pitch of the game, setting the stage for Jake Cave who crushed a no-doubter over the bullpen in right, giving the Twins a much more comfortable 9-4 lead. Ralph Garza gave up two runs in the bottom of the tenth inning, but the Twins won 9-6. Bullpen Usage Chart THURS FRI SAT TUE WED TOT Barnes 0 109 0 0 0 109 Minaya 0 16 0 30 0 46 Albers 63 0 0 0 0 63 García 0 0 28 0 0 28 Gant 61 0 0 0 0 61 Garza Jr. 0 0 31 0 24 55 Barraclough 0 46 0 0 4 50 Duffey 0 0 0 19 9 33 Colomé 0 0 0 0 20 0 Coulombe 19 0 0 0 19 19 Thielbar 0 0 0 14 22 23 What's Next? The Twins will face the Red Sox in Game 3 of the series on Thursday night. John Gant is the scheduled Twins pitcher, and he will square off against Chris Sale. Post Game Interviews View full article
  10. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ober 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO Home runs: Sano (22), Polanco (24), Donaldson (19), Cave (3) Top 3 WPA: Ober (.257), Donaldson (.130) Polanco (.118) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Miguel Sano Hits Longest Home Run in MLB This Season Last week Miguel Sano blasted a 475 foot bomb as part of the Twins extra inning win against Cleveland. At the time, it was the longest home run hit by a Minnesota Twin this season. Well... Sano wasn’t content with just having the Twins longest home run of the season, he wanted more and tonight he did just that as he blasted a 495 foot home run not just over the monster, but the billboards at the back of the deepest part of the monster. Truly a majestic home run that you need to see to believe. Jorge Polanco Hits 24th Home Run of the Season After failing to come through with bases loaded and just one out in the second, Jorge Polanco redeemed himself in his next at-bat. With one on and two outs in the top of the fourth inning, Polanco became the second Twins hitter in as many innings to take Nick Pivetta deep. Bailey Ober Has Another Strong Outing While Griffin Jax has gotten more recognition for his performance of late, Bailey Ober has quietly been very good over the past month as he carried a 2.81 ERA over his last five starts entering Wednesday night’s game. Those numbers only continued to improve after Ober went five shutout innings against the Red Sox. Tonight’s outing was as impressive as any he has made in his young Major League career. The only inning where the Red Sox put together a scoring threat was in the third. Christian Vasquez got the threat started with a one out single, and then advanced to second on a groundout from Enrique Hernandez. Kyle Schwarber then came through with a two-out hit, but poor baserunning from Vasquez caused him to be held up a third. This was the second chance Bailey Ober needed, as he got Xander Bogaerts to fly out to right to end the threat. Alex Colome Blows Yet Another Save If there has been one single theme to this disappointing season from the Twins, it has been Alex Colome blowing save after save. It started from day one and it hasn’t stopped as he blew yet another great performance from his teammates that should have led to a Twins 4-2 victory. Instead, he gave up this game-tying two-run blast to Kyle Schwarber in the bottom of the ninth. Colome then gave up a single and a walk to put the winning run on second base with still nobody out. However, he was able to work out of the jam and send this game to extra innings. Donaldson and Cave Go Yard in the 10th Just when all hope seemed lost, the Twins bats took back the lead with a five-run 10th inning. The inning got started with a two-run home run from Josh Donaldson. While those two runs were nice, it hardly felt like a safe lead for the Twins to hold in the bottom of the inning. Luckily, the Twins were not done hitting. With two outs in the inning, Rob Refsnyder got on base with a line drive single to center. Ryan Jeffers followed by getting hit by his second pitch of the game, setting the stage for Jake Cave who crushed a no-doubter over the bullpen in right, giving the Twins a much more comfortable 9-4 lead. Ralph Garza gave up two runs in the bottom of the tenth inning, but the Twins won 9-6. Bullpen Usage Chart THURS FRI SAT TUE WED TOT Barnes 0 109 0 0 0 109 Minaya 0 16 0 30 0 46 Albers 63 0 0 0 0 63 García 0 0 28 0 0 28 Gant 61 0 0 0 0 61 Garza Jr. 0 0 31 0 24 55 Barraclough 0 46 0 0 4 50 Duffey 0 0 0 19 9 33 Colomé 0 0 0 0 20 0 Coulombe 19 0 0 0 19 19 Thielbar 0 0 0 14 22 23 What's Next? The Twins will face the Red Sox in Game 3 of the series on Thursday night. John Gant is the scheduled Twins pitcher, and he will square off against Chris Sale. Post Game Interviews
  11. Box Score Starter: Thorpe 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K Home Runs: Sano (20) Top 3 WPA: Duffey (0.485), Coulombe (0.485), Sano (0.299) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Lewis Thorpe Makes Return to Twins Rotation For the first time in nearly three months, Lewis Thorpe made an appearance in a Twins uniform, after getting recalled this morning from Triple-A St. Paul. Prior to today’s start, Thorpe had made just four appearances (3 starts) for the Twins in 2021, and posted a 3.86 ERA. Velocity concerns have plagued Thorpe of late, as his fastball velocity has dropped nearly two MPH since 2019, and sat at just 89.5 MPH in 2021. Those concerns became even more prevalent after today’s short outing where Thorpe had an average fastball velocity of just 87.8 MPH, per Statcast. This lack of velocity, combined with some serious control issues made for a short day from Thorpe, who was pulled with only one out in the second after walking the bases full. It was clear after today’s outing that Thorpe’s long-term future with the Twins might be in serious jeopardy if he is unable to fix the number of issues that have been ailing him. Miguel Sano Hits Twins Longest Home Run of 2021 With the Twins down by a score of 4 to 1 entering the bottom of the fourth, they needed to find some quick offense to get back into this game, and that is exactly what Miguel Sano delivered as he blasted a mammoth 475 foot home run to right-center field to cut Cleveland’s lead down to two. Cleveland Scores Single Runs in Each of the First Five Innings It was a steady barrage of one run at a time from Cleveland early on to help them build a 5-2 lead at the halfway point of the game, as they scored one run in each of the first five innings. They got their lone run in the first courtesy of a two-out home run from Jose Ramirez. In the second it was four walks from Twins pitching that resulted in Cleveland’s run, the final coming from Edgar Garcia after he replaced Lewis Thorpe who walked the bases full before being pulled. Edgar Garcia got two quick outs in the third, but after giving up a walk to Oscar Mercado, Owen Miller drilled a fly ball off the wall in right-center, bringing Mercado all the way around to score from first. The fourth inning looked almost identical to the third, but this time it was with Juan Minaya on the mound for the Twins, who like Garcia got two outs to begin the inning, but gave up a walk that was followed by a double that gave Cleveland their lone run in the fourth. With Minaya still on the mound in the fifth, Franmil Reyes responded to Miguel Sano’s mammoth home run with one of his own to stretch the Cleveland lead back out to three. Twins Use Two-Out Rally to Take the Lead in the 5th Things were not looking up for the Twins as they came to bat in the fifth back down by three runs. The inning did not appear to be a rally inning when it started, as a Max Kepler strikeout and a Jorge Polanco pop out sandwiched a Brent Rooker walk, giving the Twins a runner on first with two outs. That did not stop the Twins, however, as they strung together six straight two-out hits and left the inning with a 7-5 lead. Josh Donaldson got the two out rally started when he laced a line drive single up the middle. Luis Arraez then fought off a tough two-strike fastball and delivered a clutch RBI single to right. After a quick mound visit, it was Miguel Sano’s turn and he quickly fell behind 0-2, but he too came up clutch driving this breaking ball to the base of the wall in center for a game tying double. That was the end of the day for Cleveland pitcher Zach Plesac, but that wasn’t the end of the inning for the Twins. New Cleveland pitch Alex Young did not have much time to settle in, as Nick Gordon swung at his first pitch and drilled a hard ground ball down the first base line that bounced off of Owen Miller’s glove at first and trickled away, allowing Sano to score from second. Ryan Jeffers then followed it up with a single of his own before Andrelton Simmons came through with a ground rule double down the line in left, giving the Twins the 7-5 lead. This gave Max Kepler a chance to blow the game open with runners on second and third, but that would not be the case as the inning ended the same way it started, with a Max Kepler strikeout. Alex Colome Blows Save in 9th After a rough start to the season, Alex Colome has been pitching well of late. Unfortunately, today we saw more of the April version of Alex Colome, as he blew a two-run lead to allow Cleveland to tie the game at seven. The inning started with a leadoff double from Myles Straw that landed just out of the reach of a diving Jake Cave, who came in as a defensive replacement for Brent Rooker in left. He then got Amed Rosario to fly out, before Jose Ramirez laced a line drive into center field and hustled his way to second for a double. Ramirez then advanced to third on a weak ground out from Franmil Reyes and scored the game tying run on a wild pitch in the next plate appearance. Jorge Polanco is the Walk-off Hero Yet Again For the third time in four games, Jorge Polanco comes up with a clutch walk-off to give the Twins the victory! Bullpen Usage Chart SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Barnes 0 73 0 0 0 73 Gant 0 0 17 0 0 17 García 0 21 0 0 35 56 Thielbar 0 15 19 0 9 43 Garza Jr. 16 0 0 13 23 52 Duffey 0 27 0 0 14 41 Colomé 0 13 10 0 31 54 Minaya 0 0 19 0 40 59 Coulombe 10 0 0 0 7 17 Postgame Interviews What's Next? The Twins travel to New York for a four-game series with the Yankees. With the Twins out of contention, they have a chance to put a wrench in the surging Yankees postseason plans. Game one of the series is scheduled to begin Thursday at 6:05 pm CDT.
  12. It was a tough battle, but the Twins came out on top to win their fourth series in a row thanks to yet another Jorge Polanco walk-off! Box Score Starter: Thorpe 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K Home Runs: Sano (20) Top 3 WPA: Duffey (0.485), Coulombe (0.485), Sano (0.299) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Lewis Thorpe Makes Return to Twins Rotation For the first time in nearly three months, Lewis Thorpe made an appearance in a Twins uniform, after getting recalled this morning from Triple-A St. Paul. Prior to today’s start, Thorpe had made just four appearances (3 starts) for the Twins in 2021, and posted a 3.86 ERA. Velocity concerns have plagued Thorpe of late, as his fastball velocity has dropped nearly two MPH since 2019, and sat at just 89.5 MPH in 2021. Those concerns became even more prevalent after today’s short outing where Thorpe had an average fastball velocity of just 87.8 MPH, per Statcast. This lack of velocity, combined with some serious control issues made for a short day from Thorpe, who was pulled with only one out in the second after walking the bases full. It was clear after today’s outing that Thorpe’s long-term future with the Twins might be in serious jeopardy if he is unable to fix the number of issues that have been ailing him. Miguel Sano Hits Twins Longest Home Run of 2021 With the Twins down by a score of 4 to 1 entering the bottom of the fourth, they needed to find some quick offense to get back into this game, and that is exactly what Miguel Sano delivered as he blasted a mammoth 475 foot home run to right-center field to cut Cleveland’s lead down to two. Cleveland Scores Single Runs in Each of the First Five Innings It was a steady barrage of one run at a time from Cleveland early on to help them build a 5-2 lead at the halfway point of the game, as they scored one run in each of the first five innings. They got their lone run in the first courtesy of a two-out home run from Jose Ramirez. In the second it was four walks from Twins pitching that resulted in Cleveland’s run, the final coming from Edgar Garcia after he replaced Lewis Thorpe who walked the bases full before being pulled. Edgar Garcia got two quick outs in the third, but after giving up a walk to Oscar Mercado, Owen Miller drilled a fly ball off the wall in right-center, bringing Mercado all the way around to score from first. The fourth inning looked almost identical to the third, but this time it was with Juan Minaya on the mound for the Twins, who like Garcia got two outs to begin the inning, but gave up a walk that was followed by a double that gave Cleveland their lone run in the fourth. With Minaya still on the mound in the fifth, Franmil Reyes responded to Miguel Sano’s mammoth home run with one of his own to stretch the Cleveland lead back out to three. Twins Use Two-Out Rally to Take the Lead in the 5th Things were not looking up for the Twins as they came to bat in the fifth back down by three runs. The inning did not appear to be a rally inning when it started, as a Max Kepler strikeout and a Jorge Polanco pop out sandwiched a Brent Rooker walk, giving the Twins a runner on first with two outs. That did not stop the Twins, however, as they strung together six straight two-out hits and left the inning with a 7-5 lead. Josh Donaldson got the two out rally started when he laced a line drive single up the middle. Luis Arraez then fought off a tough two-strike fastball and delivered a clutch RBI single to right. After a quick mound visit, it was Miguel Sano’s turn and he quickly fell behind 0-2, but he too came up clutch driving this breaking ball to the base of the wall in center for a game tying double. That was the end of the day for Cleveland pitcher Zach Plesac, but that wasn’t the end of the inning for the Twins. New Cleveland pitch Alex Young did not have much time to settle in, as Nick Gordon swung at his first pitch and drilled a hard ground ball down the first base line that bounced off of Owen Miller’s glove at first and trickled away, allowing Sano to score from second. Ryan Jeffers then followed it up with a single of his own before Andrelton Simmons came through with a ground rule double down the line in left, giving the Twins the 7-5 lead. This gave Max Kepler a chance to blow the game open with runners on second and third, but that would not be the case as the inning ended the same way it started, with a Max Kepler strikeout. Alex Colome Blows Save in 9th After a rough start to the season, Alex Colome has been pitching well of late. Unfortunately, today we saw more of the April version of Alex Colome, as he blew a two-run lead to allow Cleveland to tie the game at seven. The inning started with a leadoff double from Myles Straw that landed just out of the reach of a diving Jake Cave, who came in as a defensive replacement for Brent Rooker in left. He then got Amed Rosario to fly out, before Jose Ramirez laced a line drive into center field and hustled his way to second for a double. Ramirez then advanced to third on a weak ground out from Franmil Reyes and scored the game tying run on a wild pitch in the next plate appearance. Jorge Polanco is the Walk-off Hero Yet Again For the third time in four games, Jorge Polanco comes up with a clutch walk-off to give the Twins the victory! Bullpen Usage Chart SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Barnes 0 73 0 0 0 73 Gant 0 0 17 0 0 17 García 0 21 0 0 35 56 Thielbar 0 15 19 0 9 43 Garza Jr. 16 0 0 13 23 52 Duffey 0 27 0 0 14 41 Colomé 0 13 10 0 31 54 Minaya 0 0 19 0 40 59 Coulombe 10 0 0 0 7 17 Postgame Interviews What's Next? The Twins travel to New York for a four-game series with the Yankees. With the Twins out of contention, they have a chance to put a wrench in the surging Yankees postseason plans. Game one of the series is scheduled to begin Thursday at 6:05 pm CDT. View full article
  13. Jorge Polanco and the Minnesota Twins pitchers put on a show today, as the Twins earned a hard fought 1-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox, and claimed the series victory in the process. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ober 5.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K Homeruns: Polanco (21) Top 3 WPA: Ober (0.284), Minaya (0.188), Polanco (0.154) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Bailey Ober’s Excellent Start After a shaky first month or so of his MLB career, Bailey Ober has settled in nicely since the start of July, as he has posted a respectable 4.23 ERA with solid strikeout and walk numbers in his last six starts coming into today. Those number’s got even better after Ober put up what may have been his best start of the season. Ober had a strong first inning, as he got Cesar Hernandez to strikeout to leadoff the ball game. Then, after an Andrew Vaughn strikeout, he struck out Jose Abreu to end the first. In the second, Eloy Jimenez got a leadoff single to begin the inning, before Brian Goodwin flew out to center field for the first out of the inning. Ober then made a great play on a weak comebacker off the bat of Adam Engel that set up the 1-4-3 double play to end the inning. After two smooth innings to start the game, Bailey Ober found himself in a big spot facing Andrew Vaughn with runners on the corners and two outs. Ober was up for the challenge, however, and got Vaughn to swing and miss on three straight 94 MPH fastballs to get out of the jam. After another strong inning in the fourth, where he gave up just a lone single, Ober found himself in another dicey spot in the fifth. After a leadoff single, followed by one out walk, the White Sox were threatening with the top of their order due up. Pitching coach Wes Johnson came out to settle down his young right-hander. Like many times before it, whatever Johnson said must have worked, as Ober came back with two more strikeouts to get out of the jam once again. Jorge Polanco Goes Deep Again One of the few bright spots for Twins fans this season has been the play of Jorge Polanco, who has returned to his early 2019 form over the past three plus months of this season. Entering play today, Polanco had an OPS of .885 since the start of May. Polanco has taken that to a whole new level so far in August, as he already had five home runs in just nine games entering play today. That hot streak continued again today, as Polanco went deep to the opposite field in the bottom of the sixth to give the Twins the 1-0 lead. He almost followed that up with another home run in the bottom of the eighth, that would have given the Twins a potentially huge insurance run. However, the ball hit right off of the top of the wall in right, and Polanco had to settle for a two out triple. Luis Arraez made a strong bid to drive him in, but his line drive held up just enough to be caught by White Sox center fielder Adam Engel. Twins Bats Were Cold Outside of the Jorge Polanco home run and triple, it was a rough day for Twins hitters at the plate. The other eight hitters in the Twins lineup went just 2-for-23 with 12 strikeouts and four walks. Luis Arraez got one of those two hits, drilled a leadoff double to the left-center field gap to leadoff the second. However, the Twins failed to cash in on the early opportunity. The other hit came from Trevor Larnach who got a two-out threat started with a single in the fifth. Andrelton Simmons followed that with a walk, before a wild pickoff attempt from White Sox pitcher Garrett Crochet allowed both Larnach and Simmons to advance. Unfortunately, that opportunity would not be taken advantage of as Max Kepler struck out to end the inning. The Bullpen Shuts the Door After Bailey Ober’s strong start, it was the bullpen’s job to seal the deal for the Twins win and that is exactly what they did today. Caleb Thielbar, Juan Minaya and Alex Colome all deserve some credit, as they each pitched exceptionally well. Collectively, they combined to go 3 and ⅔ innings, allowing zero runs on zero hits while striking out four and walking two. Bullpen Usage Chart What's Next? After back-to-back series wins against American League division leaders, the Twins will have an off day on Thursday before welcoming another American League division leader in the Tampa Bay Rays to town on Friday. Michael Pineda is scheduled to get the start for the Twins, while the Rays starter is still TBD. View full article
  14. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ober 5.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K Homeruns: Polanco (21) Top 3 WPA: Ober (0.284), Minaya (0.188), Polanco (0.154) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Bailey Ober’s Excellent Start After a shaky first month or so of his MLB career, Bailey Ober has settled in nicely since the start of July, as he has posted a respectable 4.23 ERA with solid strikeout and walk numbers in his last six starts coming into today. Those number’s got even better after Ober put up what may have been his best start of the season. Ober had a strong first inning, as he got Cesar Hernandez to strikeout to leadoff the ball game. Then, after an Andrew Vaughn strikeout, he struck out Jose Abreu to end the first. In the second, Eloy Jimenez got a leadoff single to begin the inning, before Brian Goodwin flew out to center field for the first out of the inning. Ober then made a great play on a weak comebacker off the bat of Adam Engel that set up the 1-4-3 double play to end the inning. After two smooth innings to start the game, Bailey Ober found himself in a big spot facing Andrew Vaughn with runners on the corners and two outs. Ober was up for the challenge, however, and got Vaughn to swing and miss on three straight 94 MPH fastballs to get out of the jam. After another strong inning in the fourth, where he gave up just a lone single, Ober found himself in another dicey spot in the fifth. After a leadoff single, followed by one out walk, the White Sox were threatening with the top of their order due up. Pitching coach Wes Johnson came out to settle down his young right-hander. Like many times before it, whatever Johnson said must have worked, as Ober came back with two more strikeouts to get out of the jam once again. Jorge Polanco Goes Deep Again One of the few bright spots for Twins fans this season has been the play of Jorge Polanco, who has returned to his early 2019 form over the past three plus months of this season. Entering play today, Polanco had an OPS of .885 since the start of May. Polanco has taken that to a whole new level so far in August, as he already had five home runs in just nine games entering play today. That hot streak continued again today, as Polanco went deep to the opposite field in the bottom of the sixth to give the Twins the 1-0 lead. He almost followed that up with another home run in the bottom of the eighth, that would have given the Twins a potentially huge insurance run. However, the ball hit right off of the top of the wall in right, and Polanco had to settle for a two out triple. Luis Arraez made a strong bid to drive him in, but his line drive held up just enough to be caught by White Sox center fielder Adam Engel. Twins Bats Were Cold Outside of the Jorge Polanco home run and triple, it was a rough day for Twins hitters at the plate. The other eight hitters in the Twins lineup went just 2-for-23 with 12 strikeouts and four walks. Luis Arraez got one of those two hits, drilled a leadoff double to the left-center field gap to leadoff the second. However, the Twins failed to cash in on the early opportunity. The other hit came from Trevor Larnach who got a two-out threat started with a single in the fifth. Andrelton Simmons followed that with a walk, before a wild pickoff attempt from White Sox pitcher Garrett Crochet allowed both Larnach and Simmons to advance. Unfortunately, that opportunity would not be taken advantage of as Max Kepler struck out to end the inning. The Bullpen Shuts the Door After Bailey Ober’s strong start, it was the bullpen’s job to seal the deal for the Twins win and that is exactly what they did today. Caleb Thielbar, Juan Minaya and Alex Colome all deserve some credit, as they each pitched exceptionally well. Collectively, they combined to go 3 and ⅔ innings, allowing zero runs on zero hits while striking out four and walking two. Bullpen Usage Chart What's Next? After back-to-back series wins against American League division leaders, the Twins will have an off day on Thursday before welcoming another American League division leader in the Tampa Bay Rays to town on Friday. Michael Pineda is scheduled to get the start for the Twins, while the Rays starter is still TBD.
  15. Box Score Barnes: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 5R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K Home Runs: Polanco (18) Bottom 3 WPA: Barnes (-0.299), Sano (-0.259), Rooker (-0.215) Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs) Jorge Polanco Gets the Twins on the Board Early Just a matter of hours after hitting the game winning home run in the top of the ninth in Tuesday night’s ballgame, Jorge Polanco went deep again in the first inning of today’s game, giving the Twins the early 1-0 lead. Polanco had another good performance at the plate again today, as he would go 2-for-4 with a walk. Charlie Barnes Gets the Nod for Second Career Start 25-year-old Charlie Barns began the game on the mound this afternoon for the Twins. In his only previous start, the 2017 4th round pick out of Clemson did well, as he only allowed one run, on a solo shot, over four innings of work to the Detroit Tigers back on July 17th. Things went well for Burns to begin the ballgame. He gave up a leadoff single to Jonathan India, who has lived up to the hype so far as the former 5th overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft was recently named the NL Rookie of the Month for July. That would be no trouble for Burns, however, as he got Jesse Winker to flyout to left before Kyle Farmer grounded into a double play to end the inning. In the second, Burns gave up a two out single to Eugenio Suarez, but other than that looked sharp. The third inning is where things got away from Burns. Reds center fielder Shogo Akiyama singled to begin the inning, before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt from Reds pitcher Luis Castillo. Burns then got Jonathan India to strikeout and appeared to be on the cusp of getting out of the inning with no damage done. That would not be the case, however, as the next four Reds batters went walk, single, double, single and before you knew it they had a 4-1 lead. The Reds would tack on another run against Charlie Burns in the fourth. After Aristides Aquino flew out to begin the inning, Burns issued a one out walk to Shogo Akiyama. The Reds then executed National League style baseball to perfection, as they had Luis Castillo sacrifice him over to second and Jonathan India came through with a clutch two out single to give the Red the 5-1 lead. Juan Minaya Strikes Out Five in Two Innings of Relief Work A week removed from his outing against Detroit in the emphamis 17-14 Twins loss, where Juan Minaya was cruising until everything fell apart on him in the ninth, Rocco Baldelli learned his lesson and only left Minaya in for two innings of work. The outing did not get off to a great start for Juan Minaya, as he walked both Kyle Farmer and Joey Votto to leadoff the fifth. However, after a mound visit from pitching coach Wes Johnson, Minaya found his rhythm as he struck out each of the next three batters to get out of the inning. Minaya would follow that up with another scoreless inning in the sixth, where he gave up a two out double to Jonathan India, but struck out two more hitters, including Jesse Winker to get out of the inning unscathed. Reds Add Crucial Insurance Run in the 7th After an excellent outing from Juan Minaya, Rocco Baldelli turned to Beau Burrows in the seventh, with the Twins still trailing 5-1 at the time. Burrows looked decent in the inning, as he retired three of the four batters he faced. Unfortunately for the Twins, the loan batter he failed to get out was Tyler Stephenson, who took Burrows deep to center field giving the Reds a 6-1 lead. While it may not have seemed like it at the time, that run would be monumental just an inning later. Twins Comeback Effort Falls Short With the Twins trailing 6-1 entering the eighth inning, it seemed as though the game was getting out of reach of the Twins if they didn’t get something going with the bats in a hurry, and that is exactly what they did. Jorge Polanco and Luis Arraez leadoff the inning with a couple of walks, before Miguel Sano laced an opposite field double into right, bringing Polanco around to score and advancing Arraez to third. The Reds then went to the bullpen and brought in Luis Cessa to face Trevor Larnach, who was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts at that point in the game. That would change quickly, though, as Larnach delivered with a ground ball double that was just fair down the first baseline, bringing around both Arraez and Sano to score. With Nick Gordon up with Trevor Larnach on second, and the Twins now down by just two with still nobody out, they seemed primed to finish off the big comeback right here. Gordon would wind up advancing Larnach to third on a groundout, before Ryan Jeffers brought him in with a one out single. The Reds would go to the bullpen once again, this time bringing in Michael Lorenzen. With the pitcher’s spot in the order due up, Josh Donaldson made an appearance as a pinch hitter, but he would fail to help the cause as he struck out for the second out of the inning. It was then Max Kepler’s turn, who would come up with a big double of his own. Despite being two outs in the inning, Ryan Jeffers was unable to score for first and was held up at third. While Jeffers being not the most fleet of foot base runners did not help, credit the Reds defense for getting the ball back in so quickly and forcing Tony Diaz to put the stop sign up for Jeffers as he rounded third. This put the pressure on an already 0-for-4 Brent Rooker to come up with a big two out hit. However, things did not turn out the Twins' way, as Rooker struck out to end the scoring threat. The Twins would have another chance in the top of the ninth with Polanco, Arraez and Sano due up. Polanco put up a good battle, but eventually struck out on a 3-2 pitch. Luis Arraez then did his job as he got on base with a one out single. Nothing came of that however, as Miguel Sano would immediately ground into a double play to end the ballgame. Bullpen Usage Chart SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Coulombe 0 21 0 13 0 34 Burrows 0 45 0 0 13 58 Gant 0 16 0 22 0 38 Colomé 16 0 0 20 0 36 Duffey 0 0 0 0 0 0 Alcala 21 0 0 0 0 21 Minaya 18 0 0 0 44 62 Thielbar 14 0 0 0 22 36 Postgame Interviews What's Next The Twins will travel to Houston to face the Astros in a four-game series beginning Thursday night at 7:10 p.m. CDT. Griffen Jax (6.41 ERA) is scheduled to be on the mound against Astros starter Framber Valdez (3.01 ERA).
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