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Sherry Cerny

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  1. The Minnesota Twins’ bullpen has been struggling all season. The Twins need pitching now to make it to win the division and reach the postseason. With that said, maybe the best way for the Twins to capitalize is to bring Kyle Gibson home. Kyle Gibson , a first-round pick in the 2009 draft (22nd overall). He spent the first nine years of his baseball career with the club. After a challenging 2019 season on and off the field, he signed a three-year deal with the Texas Rangers. Even with the health struggles, in 2018 and 2019, Gibson was among the top 20 pitchers in MLB He became an All Star last year and should again be available at the trade deadline. Veteran Stability Gibson would provide stability for the Twins that they do not have right now. Sonny Gray is one of the Twins’ best pitchers; he went seven innings against Detroit and then struggled for five innings against the Guardians on Wednesday night. Dylan Bundy is the only pitcher this season to pitch through eight innings. The Twins’ bullpen is exhausted. Bringing a veteran pitcher into the rotation would increase the rest time for the key bullpen arms. While the Twins do need bullpen pitchers, they also need pitching that is not on restrictions or struggles once they get past the fourth inning. With Josh Winder being optioned back to St. Paul, Chris Paddack, Bailey Ober, and a handful of relievers not playing right now, the rotation the Twins have is not effective and it shows. Gibson has already seen long games this season and the biggest let down hasn't been his pitching, it's been the Phillies offense, or lack there of. If the argument against bringing Gibson home is his pitching stats, I suggest reviewing how the Twins are doing before turning a nose up at the concept. Gibson can go deep into games, which no Twins pitchers have rarely been able to do. Even some Twins fans agree, it's time to bring Gibson home. Gibson, after ten-plus years in the big leagues, his goal this season was not to reinvent himself or his pitching but to work on trying new things to catch hitters off guard. Gibson already had six pitches in his arsenal, but the pitch he has been working on lately is the cutter. The cutter is all about deception, and it’s a nasty pitch. If he can continue to perfect it, he will be one of the most dangerous pitchers in the league. Gibson’s goal is to perfect the cutter on both the throwing and glove sides. As a righty, the glove side is more manageable. Gibson spent a lot of the lockout working on his cutter and now uses it about 20% of the time. His determination to consistently improve shows on the mound and in the clubhouse. Leadership in the House Gibson is a leader who the Twins need for the remainder of the season. Since his contract ends after 2022 there is no commitment. Gibson is a good person, a leader, and a rally-man when the chips are down. The Rangers manager referred to Target Field as “The House that Kyle Gibson Built,” which tells you a lot. Gibson went to the Rangers and didn’t waste any time bringing his infectious attitude into the clubhouse, becoming a role model for the younger players. A true leader wants everyone on their team to succeed, and that’s what Kyle Gibson wants, no matter where he is. He doesn’t hold the business of baseball against other players or coaches. He sits with the younger guys and hears their concerns, answering their questions and creating dialogue. Most recently, the Phillies have had a rough season and, for the first time since 2020, dipped below .500, and Gibson noticed. Knowing what the team needs, he rallied the guys by reminding them to have fun. In an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer he told reporter Alex Coffey, “You are beating yourself if you are getting bogged down by the losses and not enjoying the wins.” He has told some of the younger hitters, “pretend they are playing backyard Wiffle ball,” meaning have fun and don’t forget why they love playing the game. The Twins hitters are having fun, but the pitchers look like they are going to a funeral every time they step onto the mound. There is a sense of dread and mistrust, not only from the fanbase, but fans also see the struggles and dread on the faces of the players. Low Cost, High Return The cost of bringing Gibson on board is minimal. He has a $7 million payout left on his contract for 2022, making a trade for him one of the best things the Twins could do with minimal financial impact or player loss on the team. The Phillies certainly will want a decent return on one of their best pitchers because the Phillies rely on their starting pitching and offense. Giving away the farm for Gibson would not be wise, but luckily the Phillies like guys they can grow. They are looking for a center-fielder and some bullpen help, and while the Twins are also looking for that additional bullpen help, they do have some outfielders they could part with and some lower-level pitchers that are up and coming. If the Twins mean business and want to sweeten the pot, they could send minor-league pitchers Yennier Cano or Marco Raya as part of a package. The great thing about bringing home Gibson is that for the Twins, it could be an excellent value, much like bringing Gio Urshela and Gary Sánchez, who have both been a part of the Twins’ offense, has been. You can’t put a price on the return of leadership, a solid arm, and rotation relief, but if you could. Should the Twins consider a reunion with Kyle Gibson? View full article
  2. Kyle Gibson , a first-round pick in the 2009 draft (22nd overall). He spent the first nine years of his baseball career with the club. After a challenging 2019 season on and off the field, he signed a three-year deal with the Texas Rangers. Even with the health struggles, in 2018 and 2019, Gibson was among the top 20 pitchers in MLB He became an All Star last year and should again be available at the trade deadline. Veteran Stability Gibson would provide stability for the Twins that they do not have right now. Sonny Gray is one of the Twins’ best pitchers; he went seven innings against Detroit and then struggled for five innings against the Guardians on Wednesday night. Dylan Bundy is the only pitcher this season to pitch through eight innings. The Twins’ bullpen is exhausted. Bringing a veteran pitcher into the rotation would increase the rest time for the key bullpen arms. While the Twins do need bullpen pitchers, they also need pitching that is not on restrictions or struggles once they get past the fourth inning. With Josh Winder being optioned back to St. Paul, Chris Paddack, Bailey Ober, and a handful of relievers not playing right now, the rotation the Twins have is not effective and it shows. Gibson has already seen long games this season and the biggest let down hasn't been his pitching, it's been the Phillies offense, or lack there of. If the argument against bringing Gibson home is his pitching stats, I suggest reviewing how the Twins are doing before turning a nose up at the concept. Gibson can go deep into games, which no Twins pitchers have rarely been able to do. Even some Twins fans agree, it's time to bring Gibson home. Gibson, after ten-plus years in the big leagues, his goal this season was not to reinvent himself or his pitching but to work on trying new things to catch hitters off guard. Gibson already had six pitches in his arsenal, but the pitch he has been working on lately is the cutter. The cutter is all about deception, and it’s a nasty pitch. If he can continue to perfect it, he will be one of the most dangerous pitchers in the league. Gibson’s goal is to perfect the cutter on both the throwing and glove sides. As a righty, the glove side is more manageable. Gibson spent a lot of the lockout working on his cutter and now uses it about 20% of the time. His determination to consistently improve shows on the mound and in the clubhouse. Leadership in the House Gibson is a leader who the Twins need for the remainder of the season. Since his contract ends after 2022 there is no commitment. Gibson is a good person, a leader, and a rally-man when the chips are down. The Rangers manager referred to Target Field as “The House that Kyle Gibson Built,” which tells you a lot. Gibson went to the Rangers and didn’t waste any time bringing his infectious attitude into the clubhouse, becoming a role model for the younger players. A true leader wants everyone on their team to succeed, and that’s what Kyle Gibson wants, no matter where he is. He doesn’t hold the business of baseball against other players or coaches. He sits with the younger guys and hears their concerns, answering their questions and creating dialogue. Most recently, the Phillies have had a rough season and, for the first time since 2020, dipped below .500, and Gibson noticed. Knowing what the team needs, he rallied the guys by reminding them to have fun. In an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer he told reporter Alex Coffey, “You are beating yourself if you are getting bogged down by the losses and not enjoying the wins.” He has told some of the younger hitters, “pretend they are playing backyard Wiffle ball,” meaning have fun and don’t forget why they love playing the game. The Twins hitters are having fun, but the pitchers look like they are going to a funeral every time they step onto the mound. There is a sense of dread and mistrust, not only from the fanbase, but fans also see the struggles and dread on the faces of the players. Low Cost, High Return The cost of bringing Gibson on board is minimal. He has a $7 million payout left on his contract for 2022, making a trade for him one of the best things the Twins could do with minimal financial impact or player loss on the team. The Phillies certainly will want a decent return on one of their best pitchers because the Phillies rely on their starting pitching and offense. Giving away the farm for Gibson would not be wise, but luckily the Phillies like guys they can grow. They are looking for a center-fielder and some bullpen help, and while the Twins are also looking for that additional bullpen help, they do have some outfielders they could part with and some lower-level pitchers that are up and coming. If the Twins mean business and want to sweeten the pot, they could send minor-league pitchers Yennier Cano or Marco Raya as part of a package. The great thing about bringing home Gibson is that for the Twins, it could be an excellent value, much like bringing Gio Urshela and Gary Sánchez, who have both been a part of the Twins’ offense, has been. You can’t put a price on the return of leadership, a solid arm, and rotation relief, but if you could. Should the Twins consider a reunion with Kyle Gibson?
  3. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K (107 pitches, 74 strikes (69%)) Home Runs: Gary Sanchez (8), Ryan Jeffers (5) Top 3 WPA: Dylan Bundy (.137), Luis Arraez (.108), Alex Kiriloff (.106) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The game started out a little slow, a battle of the pitching in which Bundy was very solid for eight innings. Nick Gordon and Luis Arraez got on base to start the third inning followed by an RBI Single when Carlos Correa poked a ball into right field,. Max Kepler, who was 0-for-1 to start the night, followed Correa to the plate and hit the ball into the gap, scoring Arraez on an RBI double. The third inning was exciting to say the least as the players continued to carry the momentum, Alex Kirilloff worked a 3-2 count and ripped a ball into right field scoring both Correa and Kepler on a beautiful double. Gary Sanchez joined in on the fun as he hit his eighth home run, giving the Twins a 6-0 lead as pitcher Luke Weaver struggled throwing 52 pitches in the first three innings, most of those in the third. Bundy looked the best he has all season with finding the strike zone, keeping the pitch count low, and moving quickly through each inning with three-up three-down until the fourth when Alek Thomas got on first base, breaking up Bundy's no-hitter. Bundy struggled to get through the end of the inning but managed to get out of it without anyone coming home. Bundy only allowed one run in his eight innings. His impressive mound appearance allowed the Twins to capitalize on offensive opportunities. Bundy going eight innings shows that Manager Rocco Baldelli certainly wants to see his pitching staff go as long as they can, and that Wes Johnson is getting them there. Bundy had outstanding command and control. The Twins have a long two weeks against division rivals Cleveland Guardians and Chicago White Sox, so preserving the bullpen can prove very important. Bundy left the game with his fourth win of the season, his best outing of the season, and his 50th career win. He truly looked great. The Diamondbacks left Weaver in to start the fourth inning and the Twins lineup for the third time. The Twins took advantage of every ball over the plate and blew open the lead 9-0 before Weaver was pulled from the game and replaced by Arizona’s Joe Smith. With the exception of Sanchez and Jeffers home runs, the rest of the Twins hits were all singles and doubles. The Twins three seasons ago were known for hitting “bombas” all over the parks and small ball was not even a thought. This season, there seems to be almost a focus on getting the bat on the ball and putting it into play and it’s worked out for them more than it hasn’t. Their dominant offense tonight allowed Gilbert Celestino to replace Arraez in the fifth inning, giving the All-Star a chance to rest. The Twins were up 9-0 and there was no need to leave Arraez in against a lefty when Celestino could get some at-bats in and improve. Gordon moved up to cover second base and Celestino took over in centerfield. Trevor Larnach broke up his small slump of going 0-for-17 in his last few appearances and the best feelings of the night: Ryan Jeffers, who has been struggling at the plate, hit a fantastic home run into left field to start out the seventh inning. Jeffers was the only Twin tonight in the starting lineup without a hit before his two-run homer. Even if Jeffers is struggling at the plate, he is certainly not struggling behind it. Dick Bremer mentioned during the broadcast that this is the 21st game for the Twins where they have had two or fewer runs and of those 21, Jeffers caught 15 of those games. The Twins offense and defense were both on fire. They kept the same energy all the way through the ninth inning for reliever Jharel Cotton. Correa showed off his defensive moves as Alek Thomas hit a line drive to the shortstop, who spun his body around with a solid throw to first base getting the out, A fly ball to Larnach ended the game. The energy of the team was constant all night long, ending in a Twins win. What’s Next? The Twins finish out their series this weekend with Arizona and the west coast tour. Pitching matchups for the series finale: Sunday 1:05: Chris Archer (1-2, 3.35 ERA) vs RHP Merrill Kelly (5-4, 3.68 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  4. Dylan Bundy and the Twins seemed to gather themselves for the Saturday game, getting ahead of Arizona in the third inning and keeping the momentum going throughout the game. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K (107 pitches, 74 strikes (69%)) Home Runs: Gary Sanchez (8), Ryan Jeffers (5) Top 3 WPA: Dylan Bundy (.137), Luis Arraez (.108), Alex Kiriloff (.106) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The game started out a little slow, a battle of the pitching in which Bundy was very solid for eight innings. Nick Gordon and Luis Arraez got on base to start the third inning followed by an RBI Single when Carlos Correa poked a ball into right field,. Max Kepler, who was 0-for-1 to start the night, followed Correa to the plate and hit the ball into the gap, scoring Arraez on an RBI double. The third inning was exciting to say the least as the players continued to carry the momentum, Alex Kirilloff worked a 3-2 count and ripped a ball into right field scoring both Correa and Kepler on a beautiful double. Gary Sanchez joined in on the fun as he hit his eighth home run, giving the Twins a 6-0 lead as pitcher Luke Weaver struggled throwing 52 pitches in the first three innings, most of those in the third. Bundy looked the best he has all season with finding the strike zone, keeping the pitch count low, and moving quickly through each inning with three-up three-down until the fourth when Alek Thomas got on first base, breaking up Bundy's no-hitter. Bundy struggled to get through the end of the inning but managed to get out of it without anyone coming home. Bundy only allowed one run in his eight innings. His impressive mound appearance allowed the Twins to capitalize on offensive opportunities. Bundy going eight innings shows that Manager Rocco Baldelli certainly wants to see his pitching staff go as long as they can, and that Wes Johnson is getting them there. Bundy had outstanding command and control. The Twins have a long two weeks against division rivals Cleveland Guardians and Chicago White Sox, so preserving the bullpen can prove very important. Bundy left the game with his fourth win of the season, his best outing of the season, and his 50th career win. He truly looked great. The Diamondbacks left Weaver in to start the fourth inning and the Twins lineup for the third time. The Twins took advantage of every ball over the plate and blew open the lead 9-0 before Weaver was pulled from the game and replaced by Arizona’s Joe Smith. With the exception of Sanchez and Jeffers home runs, the rest of the Twins hits were all singles and doubles. The Twins three seasons ago were known for hitting “bombas” all over the parks and small ball was not even a thought. This season, there seems to be almost a focus on getting the bat on the ball and putting it into play and it’s worked out for them more than it hasn’t. Their dominant offense tonight allowed Gilbert Celestino to replace Arraez in the fifth inning, giving the All-Star a chance to rest. The Twins were up 9-0 and there was no need to leave Arraez in against a lefty when Celestino could get some at-bats in and improve. Gordon moved up to cover second base and Celestino took over in centerfield. Trevor Larnach broke up his small slump of going 0-for-17 in his last few appearances and the best feelings of the night: Ryan Jeffers, who has been struggling at the plate, hit a fantastic home run into left field to start out the seventh inning. Jeffers was the only Twin tonight in the starting lineup without a hit before his two-run homer. Even if Jeffers is struggling at the plate, he is certainly not struggling behind it. Dick Bremer mentioned during the broadcast that this is the 21st game for the Twins where they have had two or fewer runs and of those 21, Jeffers caught 15 of those games. The Twins offense and defense were both on fire. They kept the same energy all the way through the ninth inning for reliever Jharel Cotton. Correa showed off his defensive moves as Alek Thomas hit a line drive to the shortstop, who spun his body around with a solid throw to first base getting the out, A fly ball to Larnach ended the game. The energy of the team was constant all night long, ending in a Twins win. What’s Next? The Twins finish out their series this weekend with Arizona and the west coast tour. Pitching matchups for the series finale: Sunday 1:05: Chris Archer (1-2, 3.35 ERA) vs RHP Merrill Kelly (5-4, 3.68 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  5. Thursday night, we watched as the Twins imploded late in the game against the Yankees. The depleted pitching staff struggled to keep the Yankees off the board and ultimately cost the Twins a win. The offense is on a trajectory for postseason action, but the pitching rotation and bullpen aren't even close. With the trade deadline coming in just under two months, the Twins need to capitalize on trades for available starting and back-end bullpen help. With several recent graduations, the Twins’ farm system is middle of the pack in the league. Sitting at 15 on Bleacher Report’s organizational, the Twins' depth has three top 100 players and more with the capability to get there. The Twins have acquired a lot of talent through the draft but also in some quality trades. Last year's Jose Berrios trade with the Blue Jays left many in the Twins community unhappy. He was an All-Star caliber pitcher for the Twins, the best one they had at the time. Berrios pitched one of his best games against the Twins last week reminding fans how much his arm is missed. At that time, many fans thought that was the most painful trade and left a sinking hole in people's hearts, but not as much as the trade with Tampa sending the fan and clubhouse favorite Nelson Cruz to the Rays. Those trades brought pitchers Joe Ryan, Drew Strotman, and Simeon Woods Richardson, as well as consensus Top 100 prospect, Austin Martin. To this point, only Joe Ryan has made a significant impact on the big-league club and bolstered them to where they are now. The Twins have an above .500 record, first place in the division, and three games ahead of the second-place Guardians. If it weren't for the trades, the team may not be stacked like it is. The only place the Twins seem to be struggling is the pitching, which is a nice change for the club, which seemed to struggle in all aspects of the game last year. This season though, it’s starting rotation has taken a huge hit. Even with the extra few roster spots and time to stretch out, we have seen several pitchers lose time due to injury. Josh Winder is out with a shoulder impingement, Sonny Gray is on the IL with a pectoral strain after making a comeback from a previous trip to the IL with a leg injury. Bailey Ober is back on the IL with the groin injury that cost him three weeks earlier this season. Joe Ryan is rehabbing after missing time on the COVID-IL. Chris Paddack had Tommy John surgery last month, and Cody Stashak needs season-ending biceps/shoulder surgery. Even if they get healthy, having another starting pitcher makes all the sense. At the end of the lockout, the Twins started by making some strong trades to bolster their roster, but at the end of all of the amazing acquisitions, the fan base was left wondering one question: "Where Frankie?” Frankie Montas, the right-handed starter from Oakland, is still there, beefing up his trade value and becoming one of the most significant assets at the trade deadline. To make this deal, the Twins would have to give the A's several players that would bolster their talent base and, hopefully, their fan base. Last week, Montas had a strong appearance, a win against the Astros, something the Twins lacked early on in the season. Montas has been doing his work to keep his trade value up. He has posted a 3.20 ERA and a 0.99 WHiP in his 64 2/3 innings entering Friday, striking out 71 batters with 15 walks. The Athletics know that he is a substantial piece of everyone's puzzle and will be looking for the best trade pieces to deal him. The A's spent the offseason cutting payroll, again. They traded Matt Chapman to the Blue Jays, Matt Olson to Atlanta, and Sean Manaea to the Padres. First-year manager Mark Kotsay has done a nice job working with the team in what is clearly a rebuilding phase. They acquired a lot of talent for those players, and will expect a ton in return for Montas. Keeping in mind that the Twins also need to acquire at least two relief pitchers without giving away the farm for Montas, the best trade pieces for the right-hander are Alex Kirilloff, José Miranda and Jovani Moran. Kirilloff and Miranda have quickly settled into the majors. Kirilloff struggled at the beginning of the season with an injury, but the outfielder has been cleaning up in St. Paul. He could be a home run hitter for the West Coast team. He has a good trade value. With all the depth in the Minnesota outfield with players like Trevor Larnach, Kyle Garlick, Gilberto Celestino, Nick Gordon, and Max Kepler, to name a few. Miranda, who looked a little shaky early in his big-league time, has grown into his swing. The corner infielder has been a surprising member of the home run club that the Twins have this season, and while it's not all the time, his batting certainly has come in clutch several times. Because the Athletics are struggling this season with pitching, giving them a player like Jovani Moran would give them another arm to fall back on. While The Twins are seemingly struggling with their bullpen, the pitchers there, given the ability to rest, can be effective for the team. Moran has a low ERA, and 13 strikeouts in his eight innings pitched. He hasn't been a massive contributor to the Twins’ bullpen and could easily be part of a package deal. Adding one more starting pitcher to the rotation, along with getting their starters healthy, would be good for the Twins. Another option might come from Cincinnati, like Sonny Gray did. Or, maybe both? Tyler Mahle has had a tough season for the Reds. He is 2-5 with a 5.07 ERA in 13 starts. The starting pitcher has not impacted the Reds' losses or wins, and they are several years from competing, so Mahle (and Luis Castillo) should be available. The Twins could easily trade for Montas and Mahle and still have a solid chance at making the postseason. Mahle has gone strong in six innings in his most recent appearances with a .193 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 18 innings. Most of the Twins pitching staff are just now working up to pitching six innings, Chris Archer just recently pitched five. While the trade with the Reds would not be as costly as the trade with the Athletics, Mahle would still carry a high enough price that Twins fans would have to understand another significant asset from the organization would be a part of a trade. Austin Martin is a great piece to make a trade. When acquired in the trade of Berríos, Martin was a top prospect and looked promising coming into the organization. Since arriving at the Twins, however, Martin’s trade value has declined some as his power has not yet developed in-game. He is not a bad player and is hitting .244 with a .366 OBP at Double-A Wichita. Like Gary Sánchez, a change of scenery may do him well. The Twins have plenty of depth at shortstop and can afford to part with Martin as part of a package deal with Noah Miller. Noah Miller, a shortstop with the Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels, was a 2021 draftee in the first round (36th overall) from Ozaukee High School in Fredonia, Wisconsin. With a similar batting average to Martin, and since the Twins have Carlos Correa and Jermaine Palacios and hopefully Royce Lewis, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear will bounce back and get healthy. There wouldn't be any logistical reasoning to keep Miller and Martin as players in the system. Making these two pitching acquisitions would allow the Twins to bring on at least one or two more bullpen acquisitions or give a player like Jharel Cotton more growth opportunities. The bullpen would be more successful with a solid, healthy starting rotation. Forcing the bullpen to pitch as much as they have will end their season sooner than fans and the team want. With the offense as solid as it is, the organization and the fans deserve pitching that is just as solid. Everyone is looking at Mahle and Montas, so the Twins and the fans need to be ready to wheel and deal. What do you think the Twins should do about pitching? Are you willing to trade your favorite player? Who are other pitchers you think the Twins should look at getting before the deadline? View full article
  6. With several recent graduations, the Twins’ farm system is middle of the pack in the league. Sitting at 15 on Bleacher Report’s organizational, the Twins' depth has three top 100 players and more with the capability to get there. The Twins have acquired a lot of talent through the draft but also in some quality trades. Last year's Jose Berrios trade with the Blue Jays left many in the Twins community unhappy. He was an All-Star caliber pitcher for the Twins, the best one they had at the time. Berrios pitched one of his best games against the Twins last week reminding fans how much his arm is missed. At that time, many fans thought that was the most painful trade and left a sinking hole in people's hearts, but not as much as the trade with Tampa sending the fan and clubhouse favorite Nelson Cruz to the Rays. Those trades brought pitchers Joe Ryan, Drew Strotman, and Simeon Woods Richardson, as well as consensus Top 100 prospect, Austin Martin. To this point, only Joe Ryan has made a significant impact on the big-league club and bolstered them to where they are now. The Twins have an above .500 record, first place in the division, and three games ahead of the second-place Guardians. If it weren't for the trades, the team may not be stacked like it is. The only place the Twins seem to be struggling is the pitching, which is a nice change for the club, which seemed to struggle in all aspects of the game last year. This season though, it’s starting rotation has taken a huge hit. Even with the extra few roster spots and time to stretch out, we have seen several pitchers lose time due to injury. Josh Winder is out with a shoulder impingement, Sonny Gray is on the IL with a pectoral strain after making a comeback from a previous trip to the IL with a leg injury. Bailey Ober is back on the IL with the groin injury that cost him three weeks earlier this season. Joe Ryan is rehabbing after missing time on the COVID-IL. Chris Paddack had Tommy John surgery last month, and Cody Stashak needs season-ending biceps/shoulder surgery. Even if they get healthy, having another starting pitcher makes all the sense. At the end of the lockout, the Twins started by making some strong trades to bolster their roster, but at the end of all of the amazing acquisitions, the fan base was left wondering one question: "Where Frankie?” Frankie Montas, the right-handed starter from Oakland, is still there, beefing up his trade value and becoming one of the most significant assets at the trade deadline. To make this deal, the Twins would have to give the A's several players that would bolster their talent base and, hopefully, their fan base. Last week, Montas had a strong appearance, a win against the Astros, something the Twins lacked early on in the season. Montas has been doing his work to keep his trade value up. He has posted a 3.20 ERA and a 0.99 WHiP in his 64 2/3 innings entering Friday, striking out 71 batters with 15 walks. The Athletics know that he is a substantial piece of everyone's puzzle and will be looking for the best trade pieces to deal him. The A's spent the offseason cutting payroll, again. They traded Matt Chapman to the Blue Jays, Matt Olson to Atlanta, and Sean Manaea to the Padres. First-year manager Mark Kotsay has done a nice job working with the team in what is clearly a rebuilding phase. They acquired a lot of talent for those players, and will expect a ton in return for Montas. Keeping in mind that the Twins also need to acquire at least two relief pitchers without giving away the farm for Montas, the best trade pieces for the right-hander are Alex Kirilloff, José Miranda and Jovani Moran. Kirilloff and Miranda have quickly settled into the majors. Kirilloff struggled at the beginning of the season with an injury, but the outfielder has been cleaning up in St. Paul. He could be a home run hitter for the West Coast team. He has a good trade value. With all the depth in the Minnesota outfield with players like Trevor Larnach, Kyle Garlick, Gilberto Celestino, Nick Gordon, and Max Kepler, to name a few. Miranda, who looked a little shaky early in his big-league time, has grown into his swing. The corner infielder has been a surprising member of the home run club that the Twins have this season, and while it's not all the time, his batting certainly has come in clutch several times. Because the Athletics are struggling this season with pitching, giving them a player like Jovani Moran would give them another arm to fall back on. While The Twins are seemingly struggling with their bullpen, the pitchers there, given the ability to rest, can be effective for the team. Moran has a low ERA, and 13 strikeouts in his eight innings pitched. He hasn't been a massive contributor to the Twins’ bullpen and could easily be part of a package deal. Adding one more starting pitcher to the rotation, along with getting their starters healthy, would be good for the Twins. Another option might come from Cincinnati, like Sonny Gray did. Or, maybe both? Tyler Mahle has had a tough season for the Reds. He is 2-5 with a 5.07 ERA in 13 starts. The starting pitcher has not impacted the Reds' losses or wins, and they are several years from competing, so Mahle (and Luis Castillo) should be available. The Twins could easily trade for Montas and Mahle and still have a solid chance at making the postseason. Mahle has gone strong in six innings in his most recent appearances with a .193 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 18 innings. Most of the Twins pitching staff are just now working up to pitching six innings, Chris Archer just recently pitched five. While the trade with the Reds would not be as costly as the trade with the Athletics, Mahle would still carry a high enough price that Twins fans would have to understand another significant asset from the organization would be a part of a trade. Austin Martin is a great piece to make a trade. When acquired in the trade of Berríos, Martin was a top prospect and looked promising coming into the organization. Since arriving at the Twins, however, Martin’s trade value has declined some as his power has not yet developed in-game. He is not a bad player and is hitting .244 with a .366 OBP at Double-A Wichita. Like Gary Sánchez, a change of scenery may do him well. The Twins have plenty of depth at shortstop and can afford to part with Martin as part of a package deal with Noah Miller. Noah Miller, a shortstop with the Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels, was a 2021 draftee in the first round (36th overall) from Ozaukee High School in Fredonia, Wisconsin. With a similar batting average to Martin, and since the Twins have Carlos Correa and Jermaine Palacios and hopefully Royce Lewis, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear will bounce back and get healthy. There wouldn't be any logistical reasoning to keep Miller and Martin as players in the system. Making these two pitching acquisitions would allow the Twins to bring on at least one or two more bullpen acquisitions or give a player like Jharel Cotton more growth opportunities. The bullpen would be more successful with a solid, healthy starting rotation. Forcing the bullpen to pitch as much as they have will end their season sooner than fans and the team want. With the offense as solid as it is, the organization and the fans deserve pitching that is just as solid. Everyone is looking at Mahle and Montas, so the Twins and the fans need to be ready to wheel and deal. What do you think the Twins should do about pitching? Are you willing to trade your favorite player? Who are other pitchers you think the Twins should look at getting before the deadline?
  7. Box Score SP: Chi Chi Gonzalez: 4 IP, 8 H, 3R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (67 pitches, 46 strikes (68.6%)) Home Runs: Luis Arraez (Grand Slam) (3), Top 3 WPA: Luis Arraez (.265), Jorge Polanco (.133), Jhoan Duran (.117) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Rays wasted no time getting ahead of Chi Chi Gonzalez and the Twins with three runs in the first inning. . Gonzalez on Friday triggered a minor-league opt-out with the Twins forcing their hand to decide if they will keep the pitcher on the Major League roster or release him. Gonzalez has only one game in the Majors with the Twins, against the Blue Jays where he allowed three runs in three innings before being pulled. The Twins won that game 9-3. Gonzalez got out of the subsequent innings in a quick 1, 2, 3 fashion not allowing more runs during his four complete innings in the game before turning it over to the Bullpen at the top of the fifth. Where the Twins were not getting hits initially in the game, they capitalized on the Rays' mistakes. In the second inning, Kevin Keirmaier slid past second base followed by Randy Arozarena the next inning who got picked off at first base after attempting to take second base during a fly-out from Ji-Man Choi. Gonzalez settled down and settled into a rhythm to continue the game. The lineup for the game was something that felt a little like spring training. Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton were resting today giving the Twins game a small-ball feel as they started piecing runs together in the third inning. First, Gilberto Celestino got on first base. He took advantage of a wild pitch advancing to second base, while Gordon and Jeffers were walked as Baz struggled to maintain control of the strike zone, bringing up Arraez to bat and hitting a 403-foot grand slam, his first-ever, into the right-field seats to give the Twins a 4-3 lead. Arraez raised his batting average up to .369 after his hit in the sixth inning, going 3-for-5 on the day. As odd as the lineup seemed, it worked. Audra Martin shared on the broadcast that during an interview with Rocco Baldelli before the game about resting both Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton on the same day. The Rays had used six pitchers by the sixth inning and the Twins took advantage of the rotating door of pitchers. Aside from Luis Arraez, Gilbert Celestino, Jorge Polanco and Ryan Jeffers had strong days at the plate. All three players were crucial in the success of today's outcome as they took turns bringing each other home in the third and sixth innings. Jeffers recently broke out of a 0-21 slump in the series against the Yankees and has continued to make contact with every at-bat. The Rays made an attempt to come back, but the Twins bullpen was on fire and managed to keep the Rays from garnering any more runs. Do you think the Twins should keep Chi Chi Gonzalez, or DFA him and put the decision back in the veteran's hands? Well, they quickly made their decision. Minutes after the game, it was announced. What’s Next? The Twins finish out their series with Tampa Bay before another series with the Mariners. Pitching matchups for Sunday: 1:05: Cole Sands (0-2, 8.49 ERA) vs LHP Jeffrey Springs (2-2, 1.62 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  8. No Buxton. No Correa. No Urshela. But Luis Arraez, the best hitter right now in baseball, was still in the lineup and provided the power. Chi Chi Gonzalez was promoted for his second start of the season, it was likely to be a bullpen-heavy game. The Twins faced Shane Baz, making his first start of the season after being on the IL all season. Box Score SP: Chi Chi Gonzalez: 4 IP, 8 H, 3R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (67 pitches, 46 strikes (68.6%)) Home Runs: Luis Arraez (Grand Slam) (3), Top 3 WPA: Luis Arraez (.265), Jorge Polanco (.133), Jhoan Duran (.117) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Rays wasted no time getting ahead of Chi Chi Gonzalez and the Twins with three runs in the first inning. . Gonzalez on Friday triggered a minor-league opt-out with the Twins forcing their hand to decide if they will keep the pitcher on the Major League roster or release him. Gonzalez has only one game in the Majors with the Twins, against the Blue Jays where he allowed three runs in three innings before being pulled. The Twins won that game 9-3. Gonzalez got out of the subsequent innings in a quick 1, 2, 3 fashion not allowing more runs during his four complete innings in the game before turning it over to the Bullpen at the top of the fifth. Where the Twins were not getting hits initially in the game, they capitalized on the Rays' mistakes. In the second inning, Kevin Keirmaier slid past second base followed by Randy Arozarena the next inning who got picked off at first base after attempting to take second base during a fly-out from Ji-Man Choi. Gonzalez settled down and settled into a rhythm to continue the game. The lineup for the game was something that felt a little like spring training. Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton were resting today giving the Twins game a small-ball feel as they started piecing runs together in the third inning. First, Gilberto Celestino got on first base. He took advantage of a wild pitch advancing to second base, while Gordon and Jeffers were walked as Baz struggled to maintain control of the strike zone, bringing up Arraez to bat and hitting a 403-foot grand slam, his first-ever, into the right-field seats to give the Twins a 4-3 lead. Arraez raised his batting average up to .369 after his hit in the sixth inning, going 3-for-5 on the day. As odd as the lineup seemed, it worked. Audra Martin shared on the broadcast that during an interview with Rocco Baldelli before the game about resting both Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton on the same day. The Rays had used six pitchers by the sixth inning and the Twins took advantage of the rotating door of pitchers. Aside from Luis Arraez, Gilbert Celestino, Jorge Polanco and Ryan Jeffers had strong days at the plate. All three players were crucial in the success of today's outcome as they took turns bringing each other home in the third and sixth innings. Jeffers recently broke out of a 0-21 slump in the series against the Yankees and has continued to make contact with every at-bat. The Rays made an attempt to come back, but the Twins bullpen was on fire and managed to keep the Rays from garnering any more runs. Do you think the Twins should keep Chi Chi Gonzalez, or DFA him and put the decision back in the veteran's hands? Well, they quickly made their decision. Minutes after the game, it was announced. What’s Next? The Twins finish out their series with Tampa Bay before another series with the Mariners. Pitching matchups for Sunday: 1:05: Cole Sands (0-2, 8.49 ERA) vs LHP Jeffrey Springs (2-2, 1.62 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  9. Box Score SP:Chris Archer 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (78 pitches, 50 strikes (64.1%)) Home Runs: Trevor Larnach (2) Top 3 WPA: Trevor Larnach (.153), Ryan Jeffers (.104), Byron Buxton (.08) Bottom 3 WPA: Chris Archer (-.334), Jorge Polanco (-.109), Gio Urshela (-.103) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) He Was Inverted Chris Archer started out the first inning by attacking the strike zone and the Royals took advantage of that and got the first run of the game. Archer’s control has continued to trend upward as he settles into the club. Archer, who has been limited on innings because of having no spring training and pitching very little overall the past two seasons, has really continued to improve as he’s stretched out. He had an ERA of 3.86 prior to today’s game, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Archer has kept his pitching consistent with each performance and the only thing hurting his ERA up until now is his only registered loss, which came against Houston, but all of the Twins' pitchers struggled that series. Archer has not been allowed to go past four innings all season and today we saw why. By the fourth inning, Archer seemed to lose a little of the command he had in the second and third innings and gave up a run before Wes Johnson made a visit to the mound. After the visit, Archer gave up another two runs before getting the third out which was the 28th pitch of the inning. A Jorge Polanco error could have been the third out. Instead, it was followed by a two-run double. Dick Bremer and LaTroy Hawkins both talked about how Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has been taking his time with the RHP who has spent a lot of time in the past three years injured and only pitched 19 ¾ innings last season. As much as Archer wants to go out and bring the heat full send, the plan that Rocco has him on to help him stretch out and work on his command has proven that not only does Baldelli know what his team needs, but what it is going to take to be competitive. "Remember, Boys, no points for Second Place" The Twins may have lost the game, but they still have the chance to tie the series on Sunday. The first hit of the game looked promising as Byron Buxton ran out a double with his first at-bat of the day as he poked a ball out to right field. Frustratingly Luis Arraez and Carlos Correa left him stranded, but Trevor Larnach answered the Royals with a home run deep to center field. Larnach has had two home runs for the season, both within the past two series and since returning from the IL. It seemed like every time there was a glimmer of hope, there was a sigh of frustration. The Twins have only started out behind in 17 of the 46 games they have played so far this season. In the other 29 games, they scored first and in 24 of those, they won. The Twins certainly did have quiet bats Saturday against Kansas City’s pitchers. There have been a lot of moves lately with injuries, COVID and giving players rest. Baldelli mentioned prior to the game today that even with all the moves lately, the guys continue to stay ready, work hard and show up when they need to. A lot of the guys have not had much rest so far this season. Max Kepler, who has been amazing this season both in the field and at the plate, seemed to gingerly run to first base and left the game with right leg tightness. Kyle Garlick came in for Kepler. While the bats seemed to pick up a small amount in the sixth inning with a hit from Arraez and Garlick following up with a single advancing Arraez to third, the Royals pulled Brady Singer to preserve their lead. Larnach continued to battle at every at-bat and drew a walk against pitcher Dylan Coleman, helping to load the bases for Ryan Jeffers, who came in for Gary Sanchez, who left the game with a heat-related illness in between innings. Jeffers wasted no time in helping get the guys back on the board and hit a line drive up the middle scoring Arraez and Garlick before ending the inning bringing the Twins to only a two-run deficit with plenty of game left. The Twins looked like they were making a comeback in the ninth inning with Luis Arraez getting his third hit of the day, followed by Correa getting on base. Polanco came up to bat, hitless the entire game made Josh Staumont work his count, and drew a walk bringing Garlick up to hit with bases loaded and two outs and the fans to their feet. Garlick hit a beautiful fly ball to centerfield but was just short, ending the game 7-3. What’s Next? The Twins finish out their series with the Royals tomorrow at 1:10pm before flying off to play in Detroit. Pitching matchup tomorrow: Sunday 1:10 pm CST: Sonny Gray (21-1, 2.60 ERA) vs RHP Zack Grienke (0-3, 4.53 ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Minaya 41 0 0 0 31 72 Moran 31 0 0 0 34 65 Duffey 12 0 31 0 20 63 Megill 0 8 0 26 0 34 Duran 14 0 0 19 0 33 Thielbar 0 30 0 1 0 31 Pagán 0 21 0 3 0 24 Jax 0 23 0 0 0 23 Smith 0 3 0 18 0 21
  10. Top Gun Day at Target field brought a need for speed, and a win, but the Royals got on the board early, while the Twins struggled to find a rhythm. Box Score SP:Chris Archer 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (78 pitches, 50 strikes (64.1%)) Home Runs: Trevor Larnach (2) Top 3 WPA: Trevor Larnach (.153), Ryan Jeffers (.104), Byron Buxton (.08) Bottom 3 WPA: Chris Archer (-.334), Jorge Polanco (-.109), Gio Urshela (-.103) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) He Was Inverted Chris Archer started out the first inning by attacking the strike zone and the Royals took advantage of that and got the first run of the game. Archer’s control has continued to trend upward as he settles into the club. Archer, who has been limited on innings because of having no spring training and pitching very little overall the past two seasons, has really continued to improve as he’s stretched out. He had an ERA of 3.86 prior to today’s game, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Archer has kept his pitching consistent with each performance and the only thing hurting his ERA up until now is his only registered loss, which came against Houston, but all of the Twins' pitchers struggled that series. Archer has not been allowed to go past four innings all season and today we saw why. By the fourth inning, Archer seemed to lose a little of the command he had in the second and third innings and gave up a run before Wes Johnson made a visit to the mound. After the visit, Archer gave up another two runs before getting the third out which was the 28th pitch of the inning. A Jorge Polanco error could have been the third out. Instead, it was followed by a two-run double. Dick Bremer and LaTroy Hawkins both talked about how Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has been taking his time with the RHP who has spent a lot of time in the past three years injured and only pitched 19 ¾ innings last season. As much as Archer wants to go out and bring the heat full send, the plan that Rocco has him on to help him stretch out and work on his command has proven that not only does Baldelli know what his team needs, but what it is going to take to be competitive. "Remember, Boys, no points for Second Place" The Twins may have lost the game, but they still have the chance to tie the series on Sunday. The first hit of the game looked promising as Byron Buxton ran out a double with his first at-bat of the day as he poked a ball out to right field. Frustratingly Luis Arraez and Carlos Correa left him stranded, but Trevor Larnach answered the Royals with a home run deep to center field. Larnach has had two home runs for the season, both within the past two series and since returning from the IL. It seemed like every time there was a glimmer of hope, there was a sigh of frustration. The Twins have only started out behind in 17 of the 46 games they have played so far this season. In the other 29 games, they scored first and in 24 of those, they won. The Twins certainly did have quiet bats Saturday against Kansas City’s pitchers. There have been a lot of moves lately with injuries, COVID and giving players rest. Baldelli mentioned prior to the game today that even with all the moves lately, the guys continue to stay ready, work hard and show up when they need to. A lot of the guys have not had much rest so far this season. Max Kepler, who has been amazing this season both in the field and at the plate, seemed to gingerly run to first base and left the game with right leg tightness. Kyle Garlick came in for Kepler. While the bats seemed to pick up a small amount in the sixth inning with a hit from Arraez and Garlick following up with a single advancing Arraez to third, the Royals pulled Brady Singer to preserve their lead. Larnach continued to battle at every at-bat and drew a walk against pitcher Dylan Coleman, helping to load the bases for Ryan Jeffers, who came in for Gary Sanchez, who left the game with a heat-related illness in between innings. Jeffers wasted no time in helping get the guys back on the board and hit a line drive up the middle scoring Arraez and Garlick before ending the inning bringing the Twins to only a two-run deficit with plenty of game left. The Twins looked like they were making a comeback in the ninth inning with Luis Arraez getting his third hit of the day, followed by Correa getting on base. Polanco came up to bat, hitless the entire game made Josh Staumont work his count, and drew a walk bringing Garlick up to hit with bases loaded and two outs and the fans to their feet. Garlick hit a beautiful fly ball to centerfield but was just short, ending the game 7-3. What’s Next? The Twins finish out their series with the Royals tomorrow at 1:10pm before flying off to play in Detroit. Pitching matchup tomorrow: Sunday 1:10 pm CST: Sonny Gray (21-1, 2.60 ERA) vs RHP Zack Grienke (0-3, 4.53 ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Minaya 41 0 0 0 31 72 Moran 31 0 0 0 34 65 Duffey 12 0 31 0 20 63 Megill 0 8 0 26 0 34 Duran 14 0 0 19 0 33 Thielbar 0 30 0 1 0 31 Pagán 0 21 0 3 0 24 Jax 0 23 0 0 0 23 Smith 0 3 0 18 0 21 View full article
  11. Box Score SP: Joe Ryan 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (79 pitches, 51 strikes (64.5%)) Home Runs: 0 Top 3 WPA: Luis Arraez (.203), Joe Ryan (.139), Max Kepler (.110) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Minimal Pitchers, Maximum Impact It’s true the pitching staff has been a little beat up, mainly due to a shortened spring training, but one pitcher has been a constant since the season started. Tonight, the Twins won the game only using four pitchers. With all the crazy moves that the pitchers have been experiencing with injuries, Ryan has been a bright spot in the pitching rotation. Ryan has made each of his scheduled starts and continued to work. Right now, Joe Ryan is among five pitchers who have a low Opponent Batting Average so far this season. With 35 innings pitched, he has a .179 Opp BA with Michael Kopech having .137 at number one. The hitters do have a hard time against the rookie. Ryan has given up only 24 hits and 10 runs in his 37 2/3 innings this season, keeping the scoring of the other team at a minimum. His numbers continue to impress. During a mound visit at the bottom of the sixth inning, Wes Johnson appeared to give Ryan an atta-boy, pep talk to get him through the remaining part of the inning. Ryan could not close out the inning giving two of the night's walks to load the bases, but he did leave the game with only one run and the Twins ahead and subsequently lowering his ERA. With bases loaded and two outs, Caleb Thielbar came on to get out of the sixth inning with no damage with a pop-fly caught by Gilberto Celestino. Thielbar managed damage control in the sixth with the bases loaded but gave up a solo home run on a knuckleball on his sixth pitch of the game in the bottom of the seventh. Thielbar had two outs before walking Benintendi, causing Rocco Baldelli to bring in Joe Smith. Smith worked his magic to keep the hitters at bay during the seventh and eighth inning. The Twins kept Smith out longer than normal, putting him in a small bind at the bottom of the eighth inning. He ended the inning with a breaking ball and another scoreless inning for the sidewinder. A Little Help from Our Friends The Twins offense has been hard at work attempting to win games with more than a run or two cushion. After some well-placed insurance runs from Jose Miranda Thursday night, game two is stacked with another round of powerhouses to continue what started last night. Two of the surprises in the line-up have been unexpected, but truly appreciated and officially have been accepted as a Minnesota Twin by the fan base. Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela both came from the Yankees before the season started and have officially earned a place in our hearts and on the field. Both players played a huge part in tonight’s win against the Royals. Sanchez amassed a lot of negativities from the Yankees community while there and initially from Twins fans as well when the trade happened. Sanchez was known for passed balls while catching and an inconsistent hitter at the plate. Since coming to the Twins, Sanchez has been a little slow getting settled, but in his past four games, Sanchez has been responsible for five of the RBI which also included two home runs and three doubles. His batting average may be showing .229, but what doesn’t show is his ability to come through lately in a clutch situation. Urshela has struggled at the plate. Whether out of comfort, change, or just a slump, the third baseman has had a hard time finding his stride at the plate. What Urshela lacked at the plate until recently, he has certainly made up for at defense lately making some insane plays to get players out, including one from the seat of his pants. Urshela’s confidence has certainly increased while making clutch plays at third base has seemed to transfer to his confidence at the plate. As of May 20, versus Kansas City, Urshela has been hitting .238 with five hits, two home runs, and five RBI. Urshela seems comfortable in the five or six spots in the line-up, as opposed to the early part of the line-up. Thanks to a sac bunt tonight from Celestino, Urshela who took a walk at his second plate appearance, made an advance to third base and was the first player to score tonight on a sacrifice from Buxton. Certainly, things are looking up for him on this squad. Certainly, the acquisitions from the Yankees have been fantastic, but the lineup as a whole has been wicked over the past six games. Tonight, Byron Buxton started out by draining ten pitches out of Brad Keller, the starting pitcher for Kansas City, but remained hitless tonight, but he was walked in the ninth contributing to the night of fun and runs he and his teammates had. Another Night of Fun and Runs Twins' fans have been loving the small ball the club has been playing the past two nights. No home runs and a few bunts made a contribution to the excitement of the "small ball" feel. With the exception of Ryan Jeffers, Luis Arraez, Jeffers, and Urshela, the bats stayed relatively quiet after the third inning where both teams got on the board until Brad Keller seemed to lose control of the zone in the sixth even more so than the inning prior and walked Arraez. That walk was just the beginning of the insanity that was the remaining part of the game for the club. With Keller walking Arraez, Polanco grounded out to first, and allowed Arraez to get into scoring position. Kepler followed up quickly with a single scoring Arraez, quickly followed by Sanchez who hit yet another double scoring Kepler, giving the Twins a three-run cushion. There was certainly no sense of urgency from the offense tonight, but they were able to move through the night with minimal hits and nothing from the powerhouses, it was quiet until Arraez ran home and slid headfirst superman style on a wild pitch from Speier after he initially walked (again) to start the inning. Arraez who walked twice tonight, also scored twice for the club. The Twins loaded up the bases in the top of the ninth with only one out left and once again, Arraez comes through for the club hitting a ball to right field bringing home Urshela but keeping the bases loaded for Correa who broke open the game even further with a solid hit to right field scoring two more runs. By the time the ninth inning was over for the Twins, they had another three runs bringing the score to 9-2, a safe cushion as Cody Stashak came out to finish the game for the Twins. The Twins have scored 29 runs in three games, with no homeruns and a three-game winning streak! is this real life!? Do you think the Twins can sweep the Royals? Tune in tomorrow to find out and welcome back Bailey Ober from the IL! What’s Next? The Twins finish out their series with the Royals Sunday at 1:10 pm before returning home to an eleven-game homestand including Detroit and another series with Kansas City. Pitching matchup tomorrow: Sunday 1:10 pm CST: Bailey Ober (1-1, 2.75 ERA) vs RHP Brady Singer (1-0, 2.84 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet - TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Duran 0 23 0 16 0 39 Thielbar 16 0 0 0 18 34 Stashak 0 13 0 0 18 31 Smith 0 0 0 0 21 21 Cano 0 19 0 0 0 19 Pagán 0 0 0 19 0 19 Jax 0 0 0 18 0 18 Duffey 0 0 0 18 0 18 Megill 0 0 0 0 0 0
  12. Joe Ryan made the Friday night start for the Twins. Ryan struggled in his previous start, allowing a season-high five walks. Whether he was squeezed or just had a rough game, the rookie pitcher showed resilience and bounced back in this appearance. He and the offense left a fun mark on the night. Box Score SP: Joe Ryan 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (79 pitches, 51 strikes (64.5%)) Home Runs: 0 Top 3 WPA: Luis Arraez (.203), Joe Ryan (.139), Max Kepler (.110) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Minimal Pitchers, Maximum Impact It’s true the pitching staff has been a little beat up, mainly due to a shortened spring training, but one pitcher has been a constant since the season started. Tonight, the Twins won the game only using four pitchers. With all the crazy moves that the pitchers have been experiencing with injuries, Ryan has been a bright spot in the pitching rotation. Ryan has made each of his scheduled starts and continued to work. Right now, Joe Ryan is among five pitchers who have a low Opponent Batting Average so far this season. With 35 innings pitched, he has a .179 Opp BA with Michael Kopech having .137 at number one. The hitters do have a hard time against the rookie. Ryan has given up only 24 hits and 10 runs in his 37 2/3 innings this season, keeping the scoring of the other team at a minimum. His numbers continue to impress. During a mound visit at the bottom of the sixth inning, Wes Johnson appeared to give Ryan an atta-boy, pep talk to get him through the remaining part of the inning. Ryan could not close out the inning giving two of the night's walks to load the bases, but he did leave the game with only one run and the Twins ahead and subsequently lowering his ERA. With bases loaded and two outs, Caleb Thielbar came on to get out of the sixth inning with no damage with a pop-fly caught by Gilberto Celestino. Thielbar managed damage control in the sixth with the bases loaded but gave up a solo home run on a knuckleball on his sixth pitch of the game in the bottom of the seventh. Thielbar had two outs before walking Benintendi, causing Rocco Baldelli to bring in Joe Smith. Smith worked his magic to keep the hitters at bay during the seventh and eighth inning. The Twins kept Smith out longer than normal, putting him in a small bind at the bottom of the eighth inning. He ended the inning with a breaking ball and another scoreless inning for the sidewinder. A Little Help from Our Friends The Twins offense has been hard at work attempting to win games with more than a run or two cushion. After some well-placed insurance runs from Jose Miranda Thursday night, game two is stacked with another round of powerhouses to continue what started last night. Two of the surprises in the line-up have been unexpected, but truly appreciated and officially have been accepted as a Minnesota Twin by the fan base. Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela both came from the Yankees before the season started and have officially earned a place in our hearts and on the field. Both players played a huge part in tonight’s win against the Royals. Sanchez amassed a lot of negativities from the Yankees community while there and initially from Twins fans as well when the trade happened. Sanchez was known for passed balls while catching and an inconsistent hitter at the plate. Since coming to the Twins, Sanchez has been a little slow getting settled, but in his past four games, Sanchez has been responsible for five of the RBI which also included two home runs and three doubles. His batting average may be showing .229, but what doesn’t show is his ability to come through lately in a clutch situation. Urshela has struggled at the plate. Whether out of comfort, change, or just a slump, the third baseman has had a hard time finding his stride at the plate. What Urshela lacked at the plate until recently, he has certainly made up for at defense lately making some insane plays to get players out, including one from the seat of his pants. Urshela’s confidence has certainly increased while making clutch plays at third base has seemed to transfer to his confidence at the plate. As of May 20, versus Kansas City, Urshela has been hitting .238 with five hits, two home runs, and five RBI. Urshela seems comfortable in the five or six spots in the line-up, as opposed to the early part of the line-up. Thanks to a sac bunt tonight from Celestino, Urshela who took a walk at his second plate appearance, made an advance to third base and was the first player to score tonight on a sacrifice from Buxton. Certainly, things are looking up for him on this squad. Certainly, the acquisitions from the Yankees have been fantastic, but the lineup as a whole has been wicked over the past six games. Tonight, Byron Buxton started out by draining ten pitches out of Brad Keller, the starting pitcher for Kansas City, but remained hitless tonight, but he was walked in the ninth contributing to the night of fun and runs he and his teammates had. Another Night of Fun and Runs Twins' fans have been loving the small ball the club has been playing the past two nights. No home runs and a few bunts made a contribution to the excitement of the "small ball" feel. With the exception of Ryan Jeffers, Luis Arraez, Jeffers, and Urshela, the bats stayed relatively quiet after the third inning where both teams got on the board until Brad Keller seemed to lose control of the zone in the sixth even more so than the inning prior and walked Arraez. That walk was just the beginning of the insanity that was the remaining part of the game for the club. With Keller walking Arraez, Polanco grounded out to first, and allowed Arraez to get into scoring position. Kepler followed up quickly with a single scoring Arraez, quickly followed by Sanchez who hit yet another double scoring Kepler, giving the Twins a three-run cushion. There was certainly no sense of urgency from the offense tonight, but they were able to move through the night with minimal hits and nothing from the powerhouses, it was quiet until Arraez ran home and slid headfirst superman style on a wild pitch from Speier after he initially walked (again) to start the inning. Arraez who walked twice tonight, also scored twice for the club. The Twins loaded up the bases in the top of the ninth with only one out left and once again, Arraez comes through for the club hitting a ball to right field bringing home Urshela but keeping the bases loaded for Correa who broke open the game even further with a solid hit to right field scoring two more runs. By the time the ninth inning was over for the Twins, they had another three runs bringing the score to 9-2, a safe cushion as Cody Stashak came out to finish the game for the Twins. The Twins have scored 29 runs in three games, with no homeruns and a three-game winning streak! is this real life!? Do you think the Twins can sweep the Royals? Tune in tomorrow to find out and welcome back Bailey Ober from the IL! What’s Next? The Twins finish out their series with the Royals Sunday at 1:10 pm before returning home to an eleven-game homestand including Detroit and another series with Kansas City. Pitching matchup tomorrow: Sunday 1:10 pm CST: Bailey Ober (1-1, 2.75 ERA) vs RHP Brady Singer (1-0, 2.84 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet - TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Duran 0 23 0 16 0 39 Thielbar 16 0 0 0 18 34 Stashak 0 13 0 0 18 31 Smith 0 0 0 0 21 21 Cano 0 19 0 0 0 19 Pagán 0 0 0 19 0 19 Jax 0 0 0 18 0 18 Duffey 0 0 0 18 0 18 Megill 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  13. To be honest, just when I think I have the pitching figured out, they change it. I know that Josh is super flexible in his rotation - whatever Rocco wants - but I would like to think that "yes", that's what they are doing...but.
  14. I really hope he stays, but logically I know what you mean. It would just be hard to watch him leave after his games.
  15. Naaaah, I mean we could, but why? He truly has the stuff and is exciting to watch. I know it was maybe a "bit" premature, but I really don't think it was. I love that you read it though!
  16. Thank you so much, talking with his mom was the highlight of my week. she's amazing. he has a great family!
  17. Josh Winder is a solid pitcher. His talent and discipline make him a predator on the mound, taking down his opponents and making it look easy. He has been preparing for being a starter since he was a young travel ball pitcher. With the news that Chris Paddack is out for the remainder of the season, Winder may just be the pitcher for the job. For the first time in spring training of 2022, fans saw Josh Winder take the mound unless you've been following on milb.tv in recent years. The 6'5" right-handed pitcher calmly, quietly, struck out hitter after hitter. Like a lion stalking prey, he studied his opponents in the batter's box, and then with a quick snap of his wrist, he threw a nasty slider to get his opponent out. After each strikeout, he circles the mound in true predatory fashion getting ready for his next ambush. Josh Winder strikes out two | 04/05/2022 | Minnesota Twins (mlb.com) When the Twins made the 28-man roster announcement, I was delighted and somewhat surprised. But it was no surprise and no shock for people in his life. Young Prodigy Josh Winder's baseball career has been pushing the boundaries over his entire life, which is probably why the coaching staff at VMI started recruiting him, and the Twins started scouting him, so early in their respective times. Winder started playing travel ball for the Prince George Swamp Things out of Prince George, Virginia, where his coaches saw early in his pre-teen years that he would be going places. His head coach at VMI, John Hadra saw him growing up playing on the fields of VMI, "Josh just had a natural talent. He had the ability to hone in on the strike zone". Leslie Winder, Josh's mom, said "Well, of course, as his parents, we knew that college was a possibility, but at that time, we weren't thinking of him playing past that." As he got older Leslie and Lee Winder started to see what the coaches saw. While playing travel ball, Winder would sometimes play up on the same team with older brother Gregory. Playing up a level provided Winder a chance to be challenged and grow in his discipline. His siblings always allowed him to be competitive. Leslie tells me that the kids had a great relationship; they all got along, but when it came to games and Wiffle Ball in the front yard, she would have to go outside to quiet the yelling from the "players" for not taking their outs, trying to steal a base or bending the rules. She said, "When they played Wiffle ball, they were playing for the World Series every time they played." The competitive nature in Wiffle ball stuck with Winder as he grew in baseball. His college coach Jon Hadra said that Josh is highly competitive, he wants to win, and he will do whatever is asked of him to help not only get his team a win but also improve. "Josh is competitive," Coach Hadra states in our interview, "but he is competitive internally. He takes things personally. If he has a bad inning or rough outing, he gets frustrated with himself, never the defense". Coach Hadra said that Winder never got angry or upset externally; he would work harder. He is a good leader, the other guys looked to him for leadership, and he didn't even have to say anything; he would show leadership. Josh's strong leadership and presence make him an asset to the game of baseball and the team that he is on. Winder's talent and ability to throw strikes make him an above-average rookie. He doesn't just throw the baseball; he takes the temperature of the man he is facing, taking a moment to decide what to do next. Winder has excellent control of the mound. He is not just a thrower; he is a pitcher. There are pitchers, throwers, and Winder's arm and delivery make him an outstanding pitcher and a menace on the mound. Winder is so good, he began the year at the Minnesota Twins AA affiliate Wichita in 2019 and in 10 starts for the Wind Surge went 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA, 65 strikeouts and just 10 walks over 54.2 innings. Winder was promoted to Class AAA St. Paul in late June and has a 3.52 ERA and a 1-0 record in two starts. He began the season as the Twins #12 ranked prospect by MLB.com. Even with missing a season in 2020 and the lockout in early 2022 he didn't miss a beat. "He continued to work out every day", says his mom, "He wasn't worried about it, or if he was, he certainly didn't show it. He came home and lived with his friends who continued to work with him. He worked out, threw and focused on being ready for whenever baseball would be back. He never got out of routine, or out of shape". Winder knows the importance of being ready at a moment's notice, like a lot of other players who weren't sure if they would play again, he took the opportunity to work hard and improve, making him even more of a threat on the mound. It's no wonder he only played three seasons in the minors. Winder makes hitters work. Some hitters can make a pitcher's pitch count rise, but Winder stays low in the count as he works through a game, making hitters chase, get tired, second guess their swings, and strike out before they even know what's going on. His junior high friends said he was so smooth when he pitched, he was stuck with the nickname “smooth” - because that’s what he is when he pitches. Natural Born Leader Josh doesn't say a lot, to himself, or anyone else really when he is on the mound. He is working and he has a job to do and that job requires focus. He learned that early on. When he was drafted in 2018, he left one semester of college behind him, but knowing how important that component was to his success, he came back later that fall to finish his degree. Coach Hadra says, "Josh is a good leader, a strong leader. He doesn't say much, you know? He doesn't have words of wisdom, or 'try this', he shows guys what makes him successful and they follow suit," He went on to tell me that, "when Josh came back to finish his semester after being drafted, he came to the field frequently to help players. They would get so excited because he was spending time with them, talking to them about his experiences and what made him successful. Those guys, who are now getting ready to graduate are doing the same thing, he is left an imprint, that is affecting the program in a generational capacity". This is exactly what the Twins need on the mound, someone who is a leader, who can set the tone for years to come. He may be a rookie, but as Josh's mom points out, "he's an old soul". He is routine, strict in his time management and is willing to listen to learn and to pass on whatever he is taught. His family dynamic is another part of his leadership. No matter how busy the rookie pitcher and his family are, they always make time for each other. His mom talks about how often they text, or when he calls home after a game. They also have weekly zoom calls with family that include Grandpa, who sometimes struggles with technology, but is quick to pull up an article on Twins Daily (thanks, Grandpa!). Family is a huge component to his success and something that is important to Winder off and on the field, and with the Twins going through constant transitions, leadership is something that would benefit everyone. It's been awhile since the pitching staff can say there has been one leader in the bullpen, and Winder may fit that role well. A leader never asks someone to do what they can't, even if they don't want to, adversity makes players (and people) who they are and one thing that Winder is not afraid of is adversity. Able to make it through transition When Coach Hadra first saw Winder at a young age, he came across him throwing bullpen, but he quickly noticed that as Winder grew, he was a starter. That is not always an option in the big leagues and his bullpen lessons aided him as he made his debut as a Twins pitcher. Coach Hadra told me that Josh has always been a starter, but when it comes to the team, Winder will do anything he can to get his team a win. He came in as a long reliever before his May 1 start with the Twins, which he had never had to do before. During his first three games as a long reliever, Winder got a chance to see how different that was for him to "be ready" to play at any time. The mentality to switch from working from a starting position to being ready to take over as a long reliever is very difficult for a pitcher. If they are used to a routine by starting, that can affect the pitcher’s game. That did not stop the predatory mentality from the mound from the rookie pitcher. Ready isn’t a thing in the majors, if Skip tells you you’re playing, you go. His relief appearances leave room for growth compared to his starting appearances, Winder showed not only the Twins but also the Dodgers who he is and why they should be ready when he's on the mound with his MLB debut. Winder came in to relieve Chris Archer in the fifth inning, and the line-up that he was coming into was no joke. Winder started his debut by striking out Will Smith, walking Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor. When Gavin Lux came up to hit, Cody Bellinger ran on Winder to steal second. "Okay, I will never do that again," Leslie Winder said as she talked about his first inning as a Twin, "He is used to watching from the dugout, not the bullpen. He watches the hitters and analyzes them. This was different for him and he knew as soon as Bellinger stole second, that letting his eye off of him was a big mistake. But, it was a learning mistake and Josh, he catches on quickly.". That is how he has approached his baseball career, taking each play and player and learning from it—continuing to analyze his prey and knowing how next time: how to be more aware, more stealthy, more elusive in his pitching, and ready for his next attack. His relief games with Houston and the Athletics was the most we have seen the pitcher struggle this season, but even then he controlled his emotions and his arm. He documented his first losses of the season, but still managed to strike out players and maintain a low ERA. While he doesn't shine as a reliever, there is only one way to get better and that's putting him in every chance they get. The more he sees, the better he will get. Compared to other starters in the rotation, he is just as reliable to control games, especially with the defense behind him. Being a long reliever is not where Winder will be successful for the Twins, he certainly makes it work in a pinch, but where he will be the biggest asset is in the starting lineup. Winder is hungry; his drive for perfection and success is evident when he gets on the mound. While he prefers to start a game, Winder does recognize that being put into the games to be a long reliever gives him a different vantage point. This different vantage point got him ready for his first official start on May 1, which was anything but short of amazing. Mound Command When he was younger and even now, Winder has a great command of the mound. During college he had health issues his junior year, giving him a struggle off and on, but his numbers and his attitude would never let you know. On April 13, 2018, Winder had a season high 11 strikes to get the win versus Western Carolina. He also, finished his career at VMI with the top K/9 mark in school history, second in BB/9, tied for third in wins, second in strikeouts, and fourth in both games started and innings pitched. In his first start against Tampa Bay, Winder pitched six innings, had seven strikes, and only allowed two hits and one walk. A smiling Winder was excited to not only share his experience. By the time the second start came around, he was able to use his five-day routine to prepare for the game and he counted his second win (in a week) as a rookie pitcher. During his post-game interview after his second start, after going six scoreless innings, a journalist inquired if he was ready or surprised to start that day. Winder replied, "I knew I would be starting, and I had to fly to meet the team, so I was in bed by 10:30 pm the night before to get lots of rest". When Winder is getting ready for a start, he has a five-day routine to get him ready, and he does not use his phone on game days at all. He also calls his dad after every game. His ability to be called into any situation shows he is a solid component of the team and dangerous to anyone in the batter's box. Ready to Set Records So far this season, Winder has started three times winning two and losing one. He relies heavily on his four-seam fastball and slider, which are as fast as they are nasty. His fastball sits at about 94mph and if he really wants to make a hitter work, he will use a curveball to throw them off dropping the speed down to roughly 80 mph and make them chase. Winder is the fourth pitcher since 1913, with zero errors and over seven strikeouts in his first two starts. In 2021 he was a part of the Futures American League Team as part of All-Star Week. The Futures game is for the top prospects across MLB. The defense that Winder gets to work with is one of the best in the league, even if news outlets won't say it, he is not afraid to. Players like Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco, and Luis Arraez round out his support if a ball gets hit into play. There is no doubt that there are great tools around the already outstanding pitcher. He also has strong chemistry with both Gary Sanchez and Ryan Jeffers. The season is still early. There is no doubt that as Winder continues on this journey, there will be losses, errors, and rough starts, but no more than what the starting rotation has been through. Winder may give Joe Ryan a run for becoming the Twins rookie pitcher of the year. View full article
  18. For the first time in spring training of 2022, fans saw Josh Winder take the mound unless you've been following on milb.tv in recent years. The 6'5" right-handed pitcher calmly, quietly, struck out hitter after hitter. Like a lion stalking prey, he studied his opponents in the batter's box, and then with a quick snap of his wrist, he threw a nasty slider to get his opponent out. After each strikeout, he circles the mound in true predatory fashion getting ready for his next ambush. Josh Winder strikes out two | 04/05/2022 | Minnesota Twins (mlb.com) When the Twins made the 28-man roster announcement, I was delighted and somewhat surprised. But it was no surprise and no shock for people in his life. Young Prodigy Josh Winder's baseball career has been pushing the boundaries over his entire life, which is probably why the coaching staff at VMI started recruiting him, and the Twins started scouting him, so early in their respective times. Winder started playing travel ball for the Prince George Swamp Things out of Prince George, Virginia, where his coaches saw early in his pre-teen years that he would be going places. His head coach at VMI, John Hadra saw him growing up playing on the fields of VMI, "Josh just had a natural talent. He had the ability to hone in on the strike zone". Leslie Winder, Josh's mom, said "Well, of course, as his parents, we knew that college was a possibility, but at that time, we weren't thinking of him playing past that." As he got older Leslie and Lee Winder started to see what the coaches saw. While playing travel ball, Winder would sometimes play up on the same team with older brother Gregory. Playing up a level provided Winder a chance to be challenged and grow in his discipline. His siblings always allowed him to be competitive. Leslie tells me that the kids had a great relationship; they all got along, but when it came to games and Wiffle Ball in the front yard, she would have to go outside to quiet the yelling from the "players" for not taking their outs, trying to steal a base or bending the rules. She said, "When they played Wiffle ball, they were playing for the World Series every time they played." The competitive nature in Wiffle ball stuck with Winder as he grew in baseball. His college coach Jon Hadra said that Josh is highly competitive, he wants to win, and he will do whatever is asked of him to help not only get his team a win but also improve. "Josh is competitive," Coach Hadra states in our interview, "but he is competitive internally. He takes things personally. If he has a bad inning or rough outing, he gets frustrated with himself, never the defense". Coach Hadra said that Winder never got angry or upset externally; he would work harder. He is a good leader, the other guys looked to him for leadership, and he didn't even have to say anything; he would show leadership. Josh's strong leadership and presence make him an asset to the game of baseball and the team that he is on. Winder's talent and ability to throw strikes make him an above-average rookie. He doesn't just throw the baseball; he takes the temperature of the man he is facing, taking a moment to decide what to do next. Winder has excellent control of the mound. He is not just a thrower; he is a pitcher. There are pitchers, throwers, and Winder's arm and delivery make him an outstanding pitcher and a menace on the mound. Winder is so good, he began the year at the Minnesota Twins AA affiliate Wichita in 2019 and in 10 starts for the Wind Surge went 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA, 65 strikeouts and just 10 walks over 54.2 innings. Winder was promoted to Class AAA St. Paul in late June and has a 3.52 ERA and a 1-0 record in two starts. He began the season as the Twins #12 ranked prospect by MLB.com. Even with missing a season in 2020 and the lockout in early 2022 he didn't miss a beat. "He continued to work out every day", says his mom, "He wasn't worried about it, or if he was, he certainly didn't show it. He came home and lived with his friends who continued to work with him. He worked out, threw and focused on being ready for whenever baseball would be back. He never got out of routine, or out of shape". Winder knows the importance of being ready at a moment's notice, like a lot of other players who weren't sure if they would play again, he took the opportunity to work hard and improve, making him even more of a threat on the mound. It's no wonder he only played three seasons in the minors. Winder makes hitters work. Some hitters can make a pitcher's pitch count rise, but Winder stays low in the count as he works through a game, making hitters chase, get tired, second guess their swings, and strike out before they even know what's going on. His junior high friends said he was so smooth when he pitched, he was stuck with the nickname “smooth” - because that’s what he is when he pitches. Natural Born Leader Josh doesn't say a lot, to himself, or anyone else really when he is on the mound. He is working and he has a job to do and that job requires focus. He learned that early on. When he was drafted in 2018, he left one semester of college behind him, but knowing how important that component was to his success, he came back later that fall to finish his degree. Coach Hadra says, "Josh is a good leader, a strong leader. He doesn't say much, you know? He doesn't have words of wisdom, or 'try this', he shows guys what makes him successful and they follow suit," He went on to tell me that, "when Josh came back to finish his semester after being drafted, he came to the field frequently to help players. They would get so excited because he was spending time with them, talking to them about his experiences and what made him successful. Those guys, who are now getting ready to graduate are doing the same thing, he is left an imprint, that is affecting the program in a generational capacity". This is exactly what the Twins need on the mound, someone who is a leader, who can set the tone for years to come. He may be a rookie, but as Josh's mom points out, "he's an old soul". He is routine, strict in his time management and is willing to listen to learn and to pass on whatever he is taught. His family dynamic is another part of his leadership. No matter how busy the rookie pitcher and his family are, they always make time for each other. His mom talks about how often they text, or when he calls home after a game. They also have weekly zoom calls with family that include Grandpa, who sometimes struggles with technology, but is quick to pull up an article on Twins Daily (thanks, Grandpa!). Family is a huge component to his success and something that is important to Winder off and on the field, and with the Twins going through constant transitions, leadership is something that would benefit everyone. It's been awhile since the pitching staff can say there has been one leader in the bullpen, and Winder may fit that role well. A leader never asks someone to do what they can't, even if they don't want to, adversity makes players (and people) who they are and one thing that Winder is not afraid of is adversity. Able to make it through transition When Coach Hadra first saw Winder at a young age, he came across him throwing bullpen, but he quickly noticed that as Winder grew, he was a starter. That is not always an option in the big leagues and his bullpen lessons aided him as he made his debut as a Twins pitcher. Coach Hadra told me that Josh has always been a starter, but when it comes to the team, Winder will do anything he can to get his team a win. He came in as a long reliever before his May 1 start with the Twins, which he had never had to do before. During his first three games as a long reliever, Winder got a chance to see how different that was for him to "be ready" to play at any time. The mentality to switch from working from a starting position to being ready to take over as a long reliever is very difficult for a pitcher. If they are used to a routine by starting, that can affect the pitcher’s game. That did not stop the predatory mentality from the mound from the rookie pitcher. Ready isn’t a thing in the majors, if Skip tells you you’re playing, you go. His relief appearances leave room for growth compared to his starting appearances, Winder showed not only the Twins but also the Dodgers who he is and why they should be ready when he's on the mound with his MLB debut. Winder came in to relieve Chris Archer in the fifth inning, and the line-up that he was coming into was no joke. Winder started his debut by striking out Will Smith, walking Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor. When Gavin Lux came up to hit, Cody Bellinger ran on Winder to steal second. "Okay, I will never do that again," Leslie Winder said as she talked about his first inning as a Twin, "He is used to watching from the dugout, not the bullpen. He watches the hitters and analyzes them. This was different for him and he knew as soon as Bellinger stole second, that letting his eye off of him was a big mistake. But, it was a learning mistake and Josh, he catches on quickly.". That is how he has approached his baseball career, taking each play and player and learning from it—continuing to analyze his prey and knowing how next time: how to be more aware, more stealthy, more elusive in his pitching, and ready for his next attack. His relief games with Houston and the Athletics was the most we have seen the pitcher struggle this season, but even then he controlled his emotions and his arm. He documented his first losses of the season, but still managed to strike out players and maintain a low ERA. While he doesn't shine as a reliever, there is only one way to get better and that's putting him in every chance they get. The more he sees, the better he will get. Compared to other starters in the rotation, he is just as reliable to control games, especially with the defense behind him. Being a long reliever is not where Winder will be successful for the Twins, he certainly makes it work in a pinch, but where he will be the biggest asset is in the starting lineup. Winder is hungry; his drive for perfection and success is evident when he gets on the mound. While he prefers to start a game, Winder does recognize that being put into the games to be a long reliever gives him a different vantage point. This different vantage point got him ready for his first official start on May 1, which was anything but short of amazing. Mound Command When he was younger and even now, Winder has a great command of the mound. During college he had health issues his junior year, giving him a struggle off and on, but his numbers and his attitude would never let you know. On April 13, 2018, Winder had a season high 11 strikes to get the win versus Western Carolina. He also, finished his career at VMI with the top K/9 mark in school history, second in BB/9, tied for third in wins, second in strikeouts, and fourth in both games started and innings pitched. In his first start against Tampa Bay, Winder pitched six innings, had seven strikes, and only allowed two hits and one walk. A smiling Winder was excited to not only share his experience. By the time the second start came around, he was able to use his five-day routine to prepare for the game and he counted his second win (in a week) as a rookie pitcher. During his post-game interview after his second start, after going six scoreless innings, a journalist inquired if he was ready or surprised to start that day. Winder replied, "I knew I would be starting, and I had to fly to meet the team, so I was in bed by 10:30 pm the night before to get lots of rest". When Winder is getting ready for a start, he has a five-day routine to get him ready, and he does not use his phone on game days at all. He also calls his dad after every game. His ability to be called into any situation shows he is a solid component of the team and dangerous to anyone in the batter's box. Ready to Set Records So far this season, Winder has started three times winning two and losing one. He relies heavily on his four-seam fastball and slider, which are as fast as they are nasty. His fastball sits at about 94mph and if he really wants to make a hitter work, he will use a curveball to throw them off dropping the speed down to roughly 80 mph and make them chase. Winder is the fourth pitcher since 1913, with zero errors and over seven strikeouts in his first two starts. In 2021 he was a part of the Futures American League Team as part of All-Star Week. The Futures game is for the top prospects across MLB. The defense that Winder gets to work with is one of the best in the league, even if news outlets won't say it, he is not afraid to. Players like Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco, and Luis Arraez round out his support if a ball gets hit into play. There is no doubt that there are great tools around the already outstanding pitcher. He also has strong chemistry with both Gary Sanchez and Ryan Jeffers. The season is still early. There is no doubt that as Winder continues on this journey, there will be losses, errors, and rough starts, but no more than what the starting rotation has been through. Winder may give Joe Ryan a run for becoming the Twins rookie pitcher of the year.
  19. Box Score SP: Dustin Smeltzer: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K (70 pitches, 50 strikes (71%)) Home Runs: Gio Urshela (2) Top 3 WPA: Devin Smeltzer (.133), Jhoan Duran (.128), Gary Sanchez (.102) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Makin’ Moves Following Thursday night's game, the Twins announced that they would be bringing up a pitcher to start Friday's game. The pitching staff has been run through and since Wednesday, the clubhouse has lost five pitchers (two starters and two relievers) with either ailment or injury leaving the bullpen to manage the past few games. There was lots of inquiry and speculation, but several fans were elated to find out that Devin Smeltzer would be returning to Target Field to start against the Cleveland Guardians and Shane Bieber. To make room for Smeltzer, first baseman Miguel Sano was sent to the 60-day Injured List (left knee, torn meniscus). Sano is not expected to make it back to the club until at least July, depending on how rehab goes. Outfielder/first baseman Alex Kirilloff was optioned to St. Paul. Kirilloff has been struggling this season with his recurring wrist injury, and while he sounds optimistic on the recovery and return, his hitting for the season between IL-stints has been .172 over ten games (5-for-29) and only two runs scored. Kirilloff has one remaining option left after this transaction, the hope is that he will get more at-bats and a chance to enhance his swing as his wrist improves. Smeltzer, who lost most of the 2021 season with elbow inflammation eventually was sidelined in June with a herniated disc in his neck. Smeltzer has worked hard to get back into shape to get a chance again to start for the Twins. He had a fantastic spring training performance. Devin Smeltzer has thrown in five games and while he carries a 3.86 ERA the stat doesn't tell the whole story of how his discipline has changed. Smeltzer has seen a total of 88 batters, only allowing nine runs in 21 innings, and has struck out 18 of batters faced. Smeltzer gained muscle and command since his last start with Minnesota, looked like his old self, maybe even better. Most of his major-league starts have been against Cleveland. The lefty had a quick first inning striking out one, Smeltzer was charged with just one run over five innings of work. The bullpen came in to relieve Smeltzer and continued to keep the score low, exercising every arm option they had at their disposal to keep the Guardians from adding a run. Battle of the Bats The Guardians did get on the board early in the second when Owen Miller scored on a Franmil Reyes single to center field, but Smeltzer held the Guardians to one run and only three hits in his five-inning start back with the Twins. In the first three innings for the Twins, Bieber struck out four and worked inside to right-handed hitters making it nearly impossible to hit off of him. The bottom of the third, the Twins loaded the bases with Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco, and Gary Sanchez, bringing up Max Kepler with two outs and a full count. Bieber threw a high cutter to strike out Kepler and leave the bases loaded. In the fourth inning, the bats seemed to start waking up. It looked like it was going to turn around when Gio Urshela stepped into the batter's box and hit a home run to center field to get the Twins on the board and tie up the game. The fifth inning was one of the more disappointing ones with bases loaded and nobody out, after just going through the same thing in the previous inning. Urshela, whose prior at-bat was a solo home run, hit a chopper that turned into a double play, followed by Arraez lining out to third, stranding three runners again. The Twins have a knack for leaving players stranded when in scoring position. Royce Lewis attempted to help out the Twins in the sixth inning with two bunt attempts to bring home a run. The Twins lineup doesn’t bunt nearly as much as other teams and for players like Kepler who are constantly hitting into the shift, this writer thinks bunting would be a greater offensive weapon to assist the Twins to more than one-run wins, but clearly tonight it didn't work. The Twins organization doesn't bunt, and for some, laying out a bunt with Royce Lewis, the Twins number one prospect, seemed odd. Bitter End The tenth inning started out with drama after The Twins and Guardians fought through five scoreless innings. Manager Rocco Baldelli got tossed for arguing with the umpires after Andres Gimenez was granted second base after colliding with Jose Miranda (called for interference rounding first base after a hit). To add to the already mounting stress, during all the excitement, the Guardians were able to bring home Ernie Clement, giving the Guardians a 2-1 advantage. As Jharel Cotton worked his way through the rotation, Myles Straw singled into right, scoring Gimenez before closing out the inning. Urshela, who had two RBIs tonight, helped the Twins in their shot in the tenth inning as he was able to beat out an infield single and bring home Gary Sanchez who was posted on second base as the extra-innings runner.. Where there was a spark of hope, it was quickly put out as the tying run was on base was left stranded once again when Nick Gordon struck out to end the game. While it wasn't the way fans or the Twins wanted to end the game, it was intense and exciting and the Twins still have a chance to take the series before heading out on the road. What’s Next? The Twins finish out their series with the Guardians tomorrow at 1:10pm before heading out to Oakland for a three game series followed by a stop by Kansas City to play the Royals. Pitching matchup tomorrow: Sunday 1:10 pm CST: Joe Ryan (3-2, 2.56 ERA) vs RHP Tristan McKenzie (2-2, 2.76 ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Cotton 58 0 0 0 17 75 Jax 0 0 0 50 0 50 Stashak 0 0 46 0 0 46 Thielbar 3 0 23 0 15 41 Duffey 0 0 33 0 5 38 Cano 0 0 36 0 0 36 Pagán 0 0 0 22 9 31 Duran 0 0 0 10 12 22 Smith 0 0 0 4 15 19
  20. The Twins faced the Cleveland Guardians and pitcher Shane Bieber for the first time this season. Bieber, was looking for a bounce back from his most-recent start. The Twins were looking to start another winning streak after only winning one of their last five games. But a slow-moving game, strong pitching, and stranded baserunners ended in the Guardians favor as the Twins lost in extra innings. Box Score SP: Dustin Smeltzer: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K (70 pitches, 50 strikes (71%)) Home Runs: Gio Urshela (2) Top 3 WPA: Devin Smeltzer (.133), Jhoan Duran (.128), Gary Sanchez (.102) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Makin’ Moves Following Thursday night's game, the Twins announced that they would be bringing up a pitcher to start Friday's game. The pitching staff has been run through and since Wednesday, the clubhouse has lost five pitchers (two starters and two relievers) with either ailment or injury leaving the bullpen to manage the past few games. There was lots of inquiry and speculation, but several fans were elated to find out that Devin Smeltzer would be returning to Target Field to start against the Cleveland Guardians and Shane Bieber. To make room for Smeltzer, first baseman Miguel Sano was sent to the 60-day Injured List (left knee, torn meniscus). Sano is not expected to make it back to the club until at least July, depending on how rehab goes. Outfielder/first baseman Alex Kirilloff was optioned to St. Paul. Kirilloff has been struggling this season with his recurring wrist injury, and while he sounds optimistic on the recovery and return, his hitting for the season between IL-stints has been .172 over ten games (5-for-29) and only two runs scored. Kirilloff has one remaining option left after this transaction, the hope is that he will get more at-bats and a chance to enhance his swing as his wrist improves. Smeltzer, who lost most of the 2021 season with elbow inflammation eventually was sidelined in June with a herniated disc in his neck. Smeltzer has worked hard to get back into shape to get a chance again to start for the Twins. He had a fantastic spring training performance. Devin Smeltzer has thrown in five games and while he carries a 3.86 ERA the stat doesn't tell the whole story of how his discipline has changed. Smeltzer has seen a total of 88 batters, only allowing nine runs in 21 innings, and has struck out 18 of batters faced. Smeltzer gained muscle and command since his last start with Minnesota, looked like his old self, maybe even better. Most of his major-league starts have been against Cleveland. The lefty had a quick first inning striking out one, Smeltzer was charged with just one run over five innings of work. The bullpen came in to relieve Smeltzer and continued to keep the score low, exercising every arm option they had at their disposal to keep the Guardians from adding a run. Battle of the Bats The Guardians did get on the board early in the second when Owen Miller scored on a Franmil Reyes single to center field, but Smeltzer held the Guardians to one run and only three hits in his five-inning start back with the Twins. In the first three innings for the Twins, Bieber struck out four and worked inside to right-handed hitters making it nearly impossible to hit off of him. The bottom of the third, the Twins loaded the bases with Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco, and Gary Sanchez, bringing up Max Kepler with two outs and a full count. Bieber threw a high cutter to strike out Kepler and leave the bases loaded. In the fourth inning, the bats seemed to start waking up. It looked like it was going to turn around when Gio Urshela stepped into the batter's box and hit a home run to center field to get the Twins on the board and tie up the game. The fifth inning was one of the more disappointing ones with bases loaded and nobody out, after just going through the same thing in the previous inning. Urshela, whose prior at-bat was a solo home run, hit a chopper that turned into a double play, followed by Arraez lining out to third, stranding three runners again. The Twins have a knack for leaving players stranded when in scoring position. Royce Lewis attempted to help out the Twins in the sixth inning with two bunt attempts to bring home a run. The Twins lineup doesn’t bunt nearly as much as other teams and for players like Kepler who are constantly hitting into the shift, this writer thinks bunting would be a greater offensive weapon to assist the Twins to more than one-run wins, but clearly tonight it didn't work. The Twins organization doesn't bunt, and for some, laying out a bunt with Royce Lewis, the Twins number one prospect, seemed odd. Bitter End The tenth inning started out with drama after The Twins and Guardians fought through five scoreless innings. Manager Rocco Baldelli got tossed for arguing with the umpires after Andres Gimenez was granted second base after colliding with Jose Miranda (called for interference rounding first base after a hit). To add to the already mounting stress, during all the excitement, the Guardians were able to bring home Ernie Clement, giving the Guardians a 2-1 advantage. As Jharel Cotton worked his way through the rotation, Myles Straw singled into right, scoring Gimenez before closing out the inning. Urshela, who had two RBIs tonight, helped the Twins in their shot in the tenth inning as he was able to beat out an infield single and bring home Gary Sanchez who was posted on second base as the extra-innings runner.. Where there was a spark of hope, it was quickly put out as the tying run was on base was left stranded once again when Nick Gordon struck out to end the game. While it wasn't the way fans or the Twins wanted to end the game, it was intense and exciting and the Twins still have a chance to take the series before heading out on the road. What’s Next? The Twins finish out their series with the Guardians tomorrow at 1:10pm before heading out to Oakland for a three game series followed by a stop by Kansas City to play the Royals. Pitching matchup tomorrow: Sunday 1:10 pm CST: Joe Ryan (3-2, 2.56 ERA) vs RHP Tristan McKenzie (2-2, 2.76 ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Cotton 58 0 0 0 17 75 Jax 0 0 0 50 0 50 Stashak 0 0 46 0 0 46 Thielbar 3 0 23 0 15 41 Duffey 0 0 33 0 5 38 Cano 0 0 36 0 0 36 Pagán 0 0 0 22 9 31 Duran 0 0 0 10 12 22 Smith 0 0 0 4 15 19 View full article
  21. Box Score SP: Sonny Gray 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K (66 pitches, 42 strikes (63.6%)) Home Runs: Jorge Polanco (3) Top 3 WPA: Jhoan Duran (.265), Sonny Gray (.205), Jorge Polanco (.159) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Welcome Back Sonny Sonny Gray has had a less than great start since coming to the Twins organization in a trade after the lockout. His much-anticipated acquisition meant some rounding out to the pitching rotation. Gray came from Cincinnati in March in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Chase Petty, Gray brings a source of veteran leadership to the rotation and a player to watch, but he has been sidelined much of the early season. He wasn’t nearly as stretched out as his teammates at the conclusion of spring training and ultimately ended up with a right hamstring injury early in the season. The discomfort was obvious on his face as he stepped back off the mound in the second inning and ultimately out of the rotation. Gray has only pitched one game at Target Field, against Seattle. He missed the last 19 games. During his IL stint, the pitcher rehabbed his hamstring and made one rehab start for Low-A Fort Myers last weekend. He pitched three shutout innings with one hit allowed and five strikeouts. He hasn’t left the team except for that one rehab game. He’s been with them in Florida and Baltimore, so instead of taking the starting position in St. Paul today, he returned to the mound on Saturday. In his first inning, he looked composed, loose, and settled in by the second batter, bouncing back from 3-0 count on Chad Pinder to strike him out. The outfield assisted in Gray getting through his first inning, giving him a quick 1-2-3 to his start back with the team. Gray continued to pinpoint his pitches and left the game with 66 pitches. The plan was for him to be around 65 pitches. Considering this is his first game back and throwing four shutout innings and allowing only one hit, this seemed to be like the time to pull him and let the bullpen take over. The bullpen continued to keep the game right where Gray left it. Home Grown Lineup... until it wasn't For a short time, the line-up that complimented Sonny Gray’s return was a homegrown Twins farm system team. For all the years that the Twins fans have spent frustrated with the front office, this lineup is a product of patience and hard work. Players like Trevor Larnach, Jose Miranda and Royce Lewis who have all put up outstanding numbers in the minors only to come-up to the Twins and show why they deserve to be on the 40-man. This was the original lineup. Jayce Tingler who has stepped up for Rocco Baldelli who is currently quarantining in Baltimore, has done a good job steering the ship and making good lineup and in-game decisions. This is exactly what happened after the "home-grown lineup" was announced, Trevor Larnach was sidelined with lower body tightness. Gary Sanchez replaced him in the lineup. Hopefully, we will get a chance for that lineup again, but it was fun to see and awesome to know how much homegrown depth there is.. Joining the crew on Friday was Alex Kirilloff. He didn't play on Friday night, but on Saturday, he batted eighth. Considering he had surgery that ended his 2021 season on that joint last July, there was some concern it would be more than just inflammation. This latest injury didn’t turn out to be anything structural. He started his rehab assignment with St. Paul on April 31st and played four games in St. Paul before being activated from the IL on Friday. Polanco the under-rated All-Star Jorge Polanco has been flying under the radar and while carrying a batting average of .211, he has an eight-game hitting streak, and six of his last fourteen RBIs in two games alone (May 1st and May 3rd). In his appearance against the Rays on May 1st, Polanco went 4-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI, rocketing the Twins to a 9-3 win. Among the stars of the Twins team, Polanco is potentially one of the better players on the team that doesn’t get talked about enough. He also doesn’t talk about himself. He is focused on being a team member and contributing to the game overall. He sets goals for himself that he doesn’t talk about, and even with solid defense and hitting, he still doesn’t reach all his goals. In a previous press conference Manager, Rocco Baldelli talked about the significance that Polanco has on the field. "He's such a solid contributor for us on the field," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "He does everything almost kind of under the radar. Personality-wise, he's a wonderful human being, but he's a quiet guy, and that's just who he is. So we probably don't talk about him enough." And just as this writer was deep-diving into Polanco’s stats, Polanco hit his third home run of the year, 451 feet according to Baseball Savant off of Kaprielian’s slider to center field to give the Twins a 1-0 lead in the sixth. Close Calls and a Marginal Lead Things started to heat up in the seventh inning as it looked like the Athletics were going to get into the action after a deep liner to center field that slid between Buxton and Nick Gordon, allowing Christian Bethancourt to get a double. The A’s momentum was brought to a screeching halt when Max Kepler stopped a fly ball by Brian McKinney to end the inning. In the bottom of the eighth, Royce Lewis got the second hit of his MLB career, a double off the wall in right-center. He was promptly picked off when a bunt was missed. Even with a challenge to New York, the call remained, and a frustrated Lewis returned to the dugout. Pitcher A.J. Puk had a tough time in the eighth, bobbling a ball hit back to him off of the bat of Gilberto Celestino who advanced to first and waited for a chance to advance, but to no avail. Heading into the ninth, the Twins had no insurance runs and a marginal lead, but Jhoan Duran came back out to finish what he started in the eighth frame. It wasn't without stress though. Just like Friday's game, this game brought extra anxiety in the ninth as Duran walked a batter and then hit another. The last out seemed to take forever. As Ryan Jeffers framed strike two to Bethancourt, the Twins were looking at one remaining strike to complete the game. Bethancourt continued to foul-off balls prolonging the pain of the ninth before Duran threw him with a 100mph fastball to get him swinging to end the game! Sonny Gray and the bullpen pulled off a combined shutout and guarantee a series win. Can they come back tomorrow and complete the sweep? Who is your favorite reliever in our Bullpen right now? Are you nervous about all the ninth inning bases loaded? What’s Next? The Twins finish up the series tomorrow on Mother’s day against Oakland before Houston arrives at Target Field. Pitching matchups for the series include: Sunday 1:10 central: Chris Paddack (1-2, 3.15 ERA) vs RHP Dalton Jefferies (1-4, 4.81 ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Coulombe 0 26 0 0 12 38 Thielbar 18 0 18 0 0 36 Jax 0 0 15 0 19 34 Duran 0 0 0 0 31 31 Duffey 18 0 0 11 0 29 Pagán 0 0 0 28 0 28 Stashak 11 0 0 0 0 11 Smith 0 0 0 6 0 6 Sands 0 0 0 0 0 0
  22. With the shortened season, injuries were a foregone conclusion. All 30 teams across MLB are feeling the sting of a shortened spring training, but players are starting to bounce back and make their comebacks. For the Twins, the fans couldn’t be more excited to see Sonny Gray making a start on Saturday, alongside the Minnesota Twins (nearly) homegrown line-up. Box Score SP: Sonny Gray 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K (66 pitches, 42 strikes (63.6%)) Home Runs: Jorge Polanco (3) Top 3 WPA: Jhoan Duran (.265), Sonny Gray (.205), Jorge Polanco (.159) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Welcome Back Sonny Sonny Gray has had a less than great start since coming to the Twins organization in a trade after the lockout. His much-anticipated acquisition meant some rounding out to the pitching rotation. Gray came from Cincinnati in March in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Chase Petty, Gray brings a source of veteran leadership to the rotation and a player to watch, but he has been sidelined much of the early season. He wasn’t nearly as stretched out as his teammates at the conclusion of spring training and ultimately ended up with a right hamstring injury early in the season. The discomfort was obvious on his face as he stepped back off the mound in the second inning and ultimately out of the rotation. Gray has only pitched one game at Target Field, against Seattle. He missed the last 19 games. During his IL stint, the pitcher rehabbed his hamstring and made one rehab start for Low-A Fort Myers last weekend. He pitched three shutout innings with one hit allowed and five strikeouts. He hasn’t left the team except for that one rehab game. He’s been with them in Florida and Baltimore, so instead of taking the starting position in St. Paul today, he returned to the mound on Saturday. In his first inning, he looked composed, loose, and settled in by the second batter, bouncing back from 3-0 count on Chad Pinder to strike him out. The outfield assisted in Gray getting through his first inning, giving him a quick 1-2-3 to his start back with the team. Gray continued to pinpoint his pitches and left the game with 66 pitches. The plan was for him to be around 65 pitches. Considering this is his first game back and throwing four shutout innings and allowing only one hit, this seemed to be like the time to pull him and let the bullpen take over. The bullpen continued to keep the game right where Gray left it. Home Grown Lineup... until it wasn't For a short time, the line-up that complimented Sonny Gray’s return was a homegrown Twins farm system team. For all the years that the Twins fans have spent frustrated with the front office, this lineup is a product of patience and hard work. Players like Trevor Larnach, Jose Miranda and Royce Lewis who have all put up outstanding numbers in the minors only to come-up to the Twins and show why they deserve to be on the 40-man. This was the original lineup. Jayce Tingler who has stepped up for Rocco Baldelli who is currently quarantining in Baltimore, has done a good job steering the ship and making good lineup and in-game decisions. This is exactly what happened after the "home-grown lineup" was announced, Trevor Larnach was sidelined with lower body tightness. Gary Sanchez replaced him in the lineup. Hopefully, we will get a chance for that lineup again, but it was fun to see and awesome to know how much homegrown depth there is.. Joining the crew on Friday was Alex Kirilloff. He didn't play on Friday night, but on Saturday, he batted eighth. Considering he had surgery that ended his 2021 season on that joint last July, there was some concern it would be more than just inflammation. This latest injury didn’t turn out to be anything structural. He started his rehab assignment with St. Paul on April 31st and played four games in St. Paul before being activated from the IL on Friday. Polanco the under-rated All-Star Jorge Polanco has been flying under the radar and while carrying a batting average of .211, he has an eight-game hitting streak, and six of his last fourteen RBIs in two games alone (May 1st and May 3rd). In his appearance against the Rays on May 1st, Polanco went 4-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI, rocketing the Twins to a 9-3 win. Among the stars of the Twins team, Polanco is potentially one of the better players on the team that doesn’t get talked about enough. He also doesn’t talk about himself. He is focused on being a team member and contributing to the game overall. He sets goals for himself that he doesn’t talk about, and even with solid defense and hitting, he still doesn’t reach all his goals. In a previous press conference Manager, Rocco Baldelli talked about the significance that Polanco has on the field. "He's such a solid contributor for us on the field," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "He does everything almost kind of under the radar. Personality-wise, he's a wonderful human being, but he's a quiet guy, and that's just who he is. So we probably don't talk about him enough." And just as this writer was deep-diving into Polanco’s stats, Polanco hit his third home run of the year, 451 feet according to Baseball Savant off of Kaprielian’s slider to center field to give the Twins a 1-0 lead in the sixth. Close Calls and a Marginal Lead Things started to heat up in the seventh inning as it looked like the Athletics were going to get into the action after a deep liner to center field that slid between Buxton and Nick Gordon, allowing Christian Bethancourt to get a double. The A’s momentum was brought to a screeching halt when Max Kepler stopped a fly ball by Brian McKinney to end the inning. In the bottom of the eighth, Royce Lewis got the second hit of his MLB career, a double off the wall in right-center. He was promptly picked off when a bunt was missed. Even with a challenge to New York, the call remained, and a frustrated Lewis returned to the dugout. Pitcher A.J. Puk had a tough time in the eighth, bobbling a ball hit back to him off of the bat of Gilberto Celestino who advanced to first and waited for a chance to advance, but to no avail. Heading into the ninth, the Twins had no insurance runs and a marginal lead, but Jhoan Duran came back out to finish what he started in the eighth frame. It wasn't without stress though. Just like Friday's game, this game brought extra anxiety in the ninth as Duran walked a batter and then hit another. The last out seemed to take forever. As Ryan Jeffers framed strike two to Bethancourt, the Twins were looking at one remaining strike to complete the game. Bethancourt continued to foul-off balls prolonging the pain of the ninth before Duran threw him with a 100mph fastball to get him swinging to end the game! Sonny Gray and the bullpen pulled off a combined shutout and guarantee a series win. Can they come back tomorrow and complete the sweep? Who is your favorite reliever in our Bullpen right now? Are you nervous about all the ninth inning bases loaded? What’s Next? The Twins finish up the series tomorrow on Mother’s day against Oakland before Houston arrives at Target Field. Pitching matchups for the series include: Sunday 1:10 central: Chris Paddack (1-2, 3.15 ERA) vs RHP Dalton Jefferies (1-4, 4.81 ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Coulombe 0 26 0 0 12 38 Thielbar 18 0 18 0 0 36 Jax 0 0 15 0 19 34 Duran 0 0 0 0 31 31 Duffey 18 0 0 11 0 29 Pagán 0 0 0 28 0 28 Stashak 11 0 0 0 0 11 Smith 0 0 0 6 0 6 Sands 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
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