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  1. Like
    glunn reacted to Jamie Cameron in Twins 4, White Sox 0: Ober Dominates as Wallner Slugs First Target Field Home Run   
    Bailey Ober dominated the White Sox on Tuesday night. The tall right-hander struck out ten in seven innings of one-hit baseball, inducing twenty swings and misses. Matt Wallner hit his first home run at Target Field in the win.
    Image courtesy of Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports  
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Bailey Ober 7.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K
    Homeruns: Matt Wallner (2)
    Top 3 WPA: Bailey Ober .348, Jose Miranda .169, Jake Cave .029
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Here’s how the Twins lined up to face the White Sox in the opening game of a three game series at Target Field on Tuesday night, their final home series of the 2022 season.
    Ober and Out
    With nine games remaining at the end of a 2022 season that has come to a sputtering halt, the Twins are left to look for positives. Bailey Ober stepped up in a big way on Tuesday night. The tall right-hander dominated a feeble White Sox lineup. Ober worked quickly, efficiently, and had pinpoint control. Over seven one-hit innings, he threw 73% strikes, struck out ten hitters, and induced twenty swings and misses.
    Ober is one of many Twins whose season has been derailed by injuries. Furthermore, Ober’s timeline for return consistently shifted throughout the season as he spent significant portions of the season on the IL with groin problems. He reminded Twins fans what he is capable of on Tuesday and adds his name is a stable of possible starting pitching options for 2023, albeit one in which almost every name is also accompanied by health-related questions.
    Plenty of Offense, Just Enough Runs
    The Twins had plenty of traffic on the base paths on Tuesday night, with few early returns. Three consecutive singles from Jose Miranda, Gio Urshela, and Jake Cave gave Minnesota a one run lead in the bottom of the second inning. Doubles from Luis Arraez and Miranda added another run to the lead in the bottom of the third. The Twins had tallied nine hits, producing just two runs, when Matt Wallner stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning. Wallner hit his second home run of the season and first at Target Field. The moon shoot cleared the right field wall, giving Twins fans another exciting glimpse of a promising 2023 season storyline.
    After surrendering his second hit in the top of the eighth inning, Ober was relieved by Griffin Jax, who made short work of the rest of the inning, striking out both hitters he faced on just ten pitches. Jhoan Duran closed the game for the Twins in the ninth inning, striking out two and bringing the total tally to 14 on the night for the Twins pitching staff. On a brisk, 56 degree night at Target Field, seeing the Twins put together an efficient, excellent performance in all phases of the game will be heartening for fans enjoying the dying embers of the 2022 season.
    Bullpen Usage Chart
      FRI SAT SUN MON TUES TOT               Henriquez 0 0 68 0 0 68 Megill 28 0 32 0 0 60 Duran 0 24 0 0 15 39 Jax 0 27 0 0 10 37 Thielbar 10 13 0 0 0 23 Pagán 23 0 0 0 0 23 López 0 11 0 0 0 11 Fulmer 0 9 0 0 0 9 Moran 0 0 6 0 0 6 Next Up
    On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against the White Sox. Josh Winder starts for Minnesota, against Johnny Cueto for the White Sox. First pitch is a 6:40 CT.
    Postgame Interviews

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  2. Like
    glunn reacted to Old Twins Cap in Rotten at the Core: 2022 Twins Were Let Down by Their Own Nucleus   
    Good insight on what makes a team click.
    I call it having a "career year".  Multiple players in the same year.
    Every time a good team makes a run into the playoffs and the World Series, you look at their team and what do you see?  Guys having one of the best, if not the best year, of their career.
    That's what makes a team click.  Hitters or pitchers,  Check their stats and put those up against their career numbers and you will see that a predominance of players on a team had very strong years.
    Throw in a talented rookie and some unusual contributions from fringe players and suddenly you've got a clubhouse that is having fun, is talented and makes a deep run into the playoffs.
    I tried to get excited about the Twins this year, but you look at their individual numbers in June and it's like:  Who is going to carry this team?   What four or five guys are having good years?
    There was no one there.  Nobody pushed forward with a great season.  You look at that and you know right away that there was no chance, there never was a chance, because no one was having a career year.
    Look at Cleveland.  They had a rookie having a great year, Rosario -- career year, Ramirez -- very strong year, Naylor -- career year, Gimenez -- career year.  Bunch of fringe guys step forward, you don't need much when you have five guys out front pulling.  Boom, a couple clutch hits, a great pitching staff, especially the bullpen, and it never was close to being the Twins' year.
  3. Like
    glunn reacted to ToddlerHarmon in Rotten at the Core: 2022 Twins Were Let Down by Their Own Nucleus   
    The new core is in?
    Arraez, Jeffers, Kirilloff, Gordon, Miranda, Lewis, Wallner, Celestino, and Larnach are all under 27, and 7 of them now have significant MLB experience.
    Yes, Celestino, Gordon, and Jeffers may all be stretched as starters. So, you keep Polanco and Buxton, and add a starting catcher
  4. Like
    glunn reacted to umterp23 in Rotten at the Core: 2022 Twins Were Let Down by Their Own Nucleus   
    So one stint to a the IL for Jeffers due to wild pitch in pregame bullpen warmup that led to a fracture in his throwing hand and you question durability.  Farther from the truth on that weak statement.  Plus you failed to mention that was his hottest streak of hitting during that stretch leading up to the team doctors finally figuring out he had a broken bone in his hand for 2 weeks since the original injury occurrence.  Sanchez showed flashes but he is basically a veteran Jeffers that has multiple years in the bigs.  Not a big time hitter, had maybe 2 really decent years early in his career.  Yankees were pleased to get rid of him so let's not kid ourselves on Sanchez.  Leon as a rental was awful.  Hamilton has 1 hit and isn't big league material.  Depth at catcher has to be addressed, as the minor league options are not impressive for developing in house.
    My biggest concern is the Trainers/Team doctors as a let down for this season.  Seems like some failed diagnosis multiple times this year with a bunch of guys.  
  5. Like
    glunn reacted to Nick Nelson in Rotten at the Core: 2022 Twins Were Let Down by Their Own Nucleus   
    You can't do it without your core. No amount of managerial savvy or front office maneuvering can offset the devastating impact of a foundational core that simply doesn't show up. 
    That will go down as the lasting epitaph for the 2022 Minnesota Twins, who were officially eliminated from division contention over the weekend.
    Image courtesy of Charles LeClaire, USA Today Sports So: the front office. They've had more than their fair share of missteps, and it's natural to focus on underwhelming acquisitions like Dylan Bundy, Chris Archer, and Emilio Pagán. But there's a dirty little secret: their two biggest moves of the offseason paid off handsomely.
    Minnesota traded its best young pitching prospect for a frontline starter in Sonny Gray to stabilize the top of the rotation in the absence of José Berríos. Gray, despite missing time on a few occasions, came through with an excellent season, posting a 3.08 ERA over 119.2 IP while leading all Twins pitchers in fWAR (2.4).
    By investing modestly in pitching and clearing out Josh Donaldon's salary, the Twins were able to acquire the top free agent on the market late in the offseason. That move also has been successful – Carlos Correa has put together a customarily excellent year, leading the team overall in fWAR (4.1) while slashing .289/.365/.468 through 128 games. 
    True to his rep, Correa's been stepping up his production here in the stretch run. The idea was that those contributions would be meaningful because he'd be melding with a greater veteran core to lead the charge for a contending team. Correa wasn't supposed to carry the load single-handedly, as he mostly has been throughout the second half. He was supposed to be combining powers with the likes of Byron Buxton, Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler and Ryan Jeffers.
    Among position players who are still here, those five led all Twins in fWAR between 2020 and 2021. They are homegrown talents the organization has been cultivating for many years. Three are under long-term contracts – the only extensions this front office has handed out to inherited players from the previous regime. All are in the heart of their prototypical primes, with ages ranging from 25 to 29. 
    These were the building blocks. They've earned that standing. 
    And you know what? The plan was working for a while. As recently as July 13th, the Twins were eight games above .500 at 49-41, and 4 ½  games up in the AL Central. By that point, the five players mentioned above had combined to be worth 10.3 fWAR, and the first two – Buxton and Arraez – were days away from appearing in their first All-Star Game.
    Since then, the Twins have gone 25-38, with all five combining for 1.6 fWAR in well over a third of the season. That includes 1.2 fWAR from Buxton, who somehow managed to put up .275/.370/.513 in 23 more games before succumbing to his knee and hip injuries – meaning the other four franchise staples have collectively been barely above replacement level over a prolonged stretch of the season where the team experienced a 15-game freefall in the standings.
    What more is there to say? Yes, injuries are the main headline of this season and they certainly played a big role in the drop-off from this group, but all that aside: the core came up woefully short when it counted most. Again. So the question is: where do we go from here? 
    The front office's strategy was structured around supplementing this tenured nucleus to make a push in 2022-23, while waiting for the next wave – Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, Austin Martin, Brooks Lee – to hopefully take center stage. But none of those players can really be counted on heading into 2023, for various reasons, so the Twins might need to consider making some short-term adjustments.
    Max Kepler stands out as the clearest candidate to be displanted. He presents quite the conundrum, under contract for one more year at $8.5 million (with a $10 million team option for 2024). 
    On the one hand, he was clearly one of the single biggest culprits in the Twins' implosion, slashing a Sandy Leon-esque .179/.241/.226 since the All-Star break with a negative WPA.
    Despite showing flashes of greatness at times, Kepler has made a habit out of not showing up for the Twins when they need him. He's a career .056 hitter in the playoffs, with one hit in 18 at-bats. He's been at his absolute worst this year when the team has been forced to rely on him heavily amidst a barrage of injuries. 
    On the other hand, Kepler still has undeniably intriguing traits. He remains an elite defensive right fielder. Before completely unraveling in the second half, he appeared to be on his way to an excellent year, pacing the team in fWAR with 1.6 for the first two months. It's reasonable to think that the new defensive shifting limitations will be positive for his hitting results. 
    And even here in what's clearly been the worst season of his career from a production standpoint ... Kepler's measurables via Statcast are still really, really good:

    Personally I feel ready to move on from Kepler despite all of the above, especially with Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, and Matt Wallner all on hand as promising young RF options. The $8.5 million owed to Kepler could be better used elsewhere, and perhaps he'd benefit from a change of scenery as his game stagnates here in Minnesota.
    The redeeming qualities of his profile make it likely that some team will be open to taking on Kepler and his relatively favorable contract. The Twins might actually be able to get some value in return, although the 29-year-old's bottomed-out stock position doesn't help. 
    Odds of Kepler being traded this offseason could probably be set at around 50:50. Everyone else is much less likely to move. 
    The Twins could possibly find a suitor for Arraez or Polanco. Their contractual situations are even more team-friendly than Kepler's – Arraez has three years of arbitration ahead, while Polanco is owed $7.5 million next year followed by two team options. But to me, the backup options behind both of them are less compelling, and their impact is less replaceable than Kepler's. I don't find my faith in either shaken to the same degree. 
    Jeffers won't be traded, since he's the sole major-league catching depth in the organization. Where he's concerned, the key decision – as Gary Sánchez heads to free agency – is whether the Twins should remain committed to him as their 1A catcher, seeking out a León-esque caddy for the minor timeshare. I'm not sure Jeffers has shown the ability or durability to be viewed as a cornerstone at the position, and at age 25 it's hard to project a lot of additional upside. 
    The Twins will have a lot of spending money available this offseason if they're unable to retain Carlos Correa, with no especially obvious places to spend it. That is, unless they decide to set their sights on top free agent catcher Willson Contreras and completely reshape their future behind the plate.
    These are the kinds of pivots that need to be on the table as the Twins re-evaluate their fundamental makeup of a roster that has now failed to get it done in back-to-back seasons.

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  6. Like
    glunn reacted to Cap'n Piranha in Reasons for hope in 2023   
    As we tick off the last few meaningless games of the 2022 season, attention turns to 2023.  With a little bit of Falvinelli self-reflection, I think a very successful 2023 is well within the realm of possibility.  Here are 6 reasons why.
    The starting rotation should (hopefully) be at worst solid, if not a strength.  With Gray and Ryan returning, the Twins have 2 starters with sub 4 ERAs--while advanced stats are a little more cautious, both are still seen as solid options.  Add in the expected return of Maeda, who when last healthy pitched like a borderline ace, reasonable progression from Varland, Winder, and Ober, the potential emergence of SWR, and a potential return from injury for Mahle and Paddack, and the Twins have 9 options who profile as legitimate MLB starters.  That is more depth than the Twins have had in the rotation in a long time; are there still questions, particularly around health?  Absolutely.  But there is also hope. The starting lineup should (hopefully) be filled with above average hitters from just about top to bottom. Jeffers at C, Kiriloff at 1B, Polanco at 2B, Lewis at SS, Miranda at 3B, Buxton at CF, Wallner/Larnach at the corners, and Arraez at DH; that's a very solid lineup that should be able to put up some runs.  Add in Gordon as depth, and the top 10 for the Twins, on paper, looks like a first division outfit.  Everyone will need to stay healthy, which is a very big ask, but if that happens, the Twins should score runs in bunches. The bullpen has (hopefully) a very solid foundation.  Duran is all-world; 1st in velo, 13th in ERA, 3rd in xFIP.  Theilbar and Jax have been very solid contributors, and Alcala should hopefully be back, bringing yet more velo to the pen, Moran has shown some flashes, and if he can get the walks under control, he'll be a real weapon.  Lopez is unfortunately a major question mark, and potential liability, but there is reason to hope that the Twins already have 4-5 solid options in the pen, 3 of whom have average velo above 95.  That's the best talent base for a pen the Twins have had in quite some time. Falvine should (hopefully) avoid some of the bad decisions that have plagued the last 2 seasons.  For two years in a row, Falvine have acquired a bullpen arm, installed that arm as closer, and watched said pitcher absolutely torpedo the season.  If they didn't know before, they should know now; the bullpen cannot be allowed to sink the season through lack of options, especially if starters are going to be inning restricted.  I think Falvey and Levine are both intelligent, and if they're humble enough to admit mistakes, I have every confidence they will avoid repeating them. The injury luck should (hopefully) be better.  I mean, it can't be worse, right?  Right? The payroll should (hopefully) allow the Twins to make one, or maybe even two big moves in FA.  According to Spotrac, the Twins have $118M on the books for next year; however, that includes Correa, Bundy, Archer, and Sano.  If none of those players return, that $118M drops precipitously, to $48M; if the Twins are also able to move Kepler's contract, that drops below $40M.  Between arb raises and rookie-scale deals, the Twins should easily be able to keep the payroll below $100M (this all changes if Correa opts in, of course).  That's plenty of room to make a big move.
  7. Like
    glunn reacted to Cody Christie in Byron Buxton Set for Season-Ending Knee Surgery   
    Minnesota hoped Byron Buxton would return to help the team with their playoff push. With the team’s playoff chances fading, he is set to undergo season-ending knee surgery. 
    Image courtesy of Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports The Twins announced Friday afternoon that Byron Buxton would undergo season-ending knee surgery. For the first-time All-Star, it is a frustrating end to one of his best big-league seasons. The arthroscopic procedure is considered a clean-up, and expectations are that he will be fully ready for the start of spring training. 

    Multiple injuries plagued Buxton throughout the 2022 campaign. His knee is the main problem he fought all season, and his recent hip issues are likely tied to his knee issues. His knee has been drained of fluid, and he has continued to get treatment throughout the season, such as platelet-rich plasma injections. Even while batting injuries, he started in center field at the All-Star Game and hit a career-high 28 home runs. 
    Injuries are part of the narrative that has followed Buxton throughout his career, and it’s also one of the reasons the team was able to sign him to a team-friendly long-term deal. He’s only played more than 92 games in one season, and his injury list is full of things that were in and out of his control. He’s missed time with a left-thumb injury, knee contusion, back spasms, migraines, groin strain, sprained wrist, fractured toe, shoulder surgery, concussion symptoms, hamstring issues, and hip strains. 

    For another offseason, injury questions will surround Buxton even though he was tremendous during the 2022 campaign. Minnesota paid Buxton $9.14 million for the 2022 season, and FanGraphs pegs his total value this year at nearly $32 million. Some fans may say he isn’t providing value to the team on his current contract because of how often he is injured. However, he provided enough value this season to cover his contract for this year and next.  Overall, a combination of bad luck and aggressive play has resulted in his ever-growing injury history. One positive of the Twins falling out of the race is the fact that Buxton can have the surgery now instead of waiting until further into the offseason. The team’s goal for him was to get to 100 games, and he fell just short of that total. Now, he can get his knee healthier and hopefully be ready for the start of 2023. 

    What are your thoughts on Buxton’s 2023 season? Was it a success? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

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  8. Like
    glunn reacted to Theo Tollefson in Angels 10, Twins 3 Halos secure series victory over Twins   
    The Twins played their final game Sunday home game of the season to wrap up their series with the Los Angeles Angels. With Dylan Bundy on the mound and the lineup still depleted of everyday players, could the Twins get their first series victory since sweeping the Royals two weeks prior? Or do Twins Fans need to sleep off the remainder of September with another loss on hand?
    Image courtesy of Matt Krohn, USA Today Sports Box Score
    SP: Dylan Bundy 3.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (84 pitches, 57 strikes (67.8 strike %))
    Home Runs: Caleb Hamilton (1)
    Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Dylan Bundy -.388, Jake Cave -.124, Trevor Megill -.067

    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    The end for Bundy?
    Dylan Bundy had the start for the Twins Sunday afternoon and continued not to look his sharpest on the mound. Bundy’s control of his breaking ball pitches, specifically the curve ball. 
    Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani both hit well off of Bundy combing to go 3-4 in their plate appearances against him with Trout having a solo home run in the top of the third to make it 3-1 Angels. 
    Bundy’s afternoon ended in the top of the fourth after giving up three singles and two runs to give the Angels a 5-2 lead. After a strong month of August where Bundy had a 2.63 ERA in five starts across 24 innings. Bundy’s September month has been the opposite, having a 7.48 ERA in five starts across 21.1 innings of work. The short struggles of Bundy’s Sunday performance skyrocketed his ERA from 6.38 to 7.48.
    With only nine games left in the season for the Twins, it is quite possible Twins fans have seen the end of Bundy’s time in a Twins uniform. 
    Henriquez Pick Me Up
    After Bundy’s crumble of an outing, Ronny Henriquez came into the game making his second career appearance in the Majors. Henriquez had a couple of hiccups in his 4.2 innings of work with three hits and a walk but he kept all those Angel base runners from scoring and the Twins within three runs when he exited. 
    Henriquez also had four strikeouts in his appearance while his fastest pitch topped out at 94.6 MPH against Michael Stefanic in the eighth. Henriquez’s longevity in the remainder of the game gave most of the Twins bullpen arms the chance to rest and fight for second place against the White Sox come Tuesday. 
    Trevor Megill was in for the ninth facing Trout to start the inning. Trout had a lead-off double and Ohtani followed up with an RBI single to make it a 6-3 Angels game. That wouldn’t be the end for Megill as he surrendered a two-run double to Max Stassi putting the Angels up 8-3. 
    The Stassi double was followed by another one from Livan Soto putting them up 10-3. Jovani Moran came into the game to get the Twins out of the jam. Moran successfully retired the last two batters adverting any further damage. 
    Correa Leads the Offense Still not Enough for Win
    The Twins bats kept themselves from being completely shut out Sunday afternoon and many thanks to Carlos Correa. Correa went 2-4 with a double and scored the Twins' first run in the first inning. 
    Alongside Correa with multi-hit games were Jose Miranda (2-4) and Gilberto Celestino (2-4, 2B). Even with nine hits on the day the Twins failed to get runners in scoring position home after the third inning going 0-2 in those opportunities. The bottom of the seventh was starting to look like one of those opportunities for the cold bats to break. 
    A leadoff single from Miranda and from Gio Urshela was followed by Gary Sanchez being hit by a pitch. Nick Gordon came to the plate with an opportunity to tie the game with the bases-loaded. Unfortunately, that was not the case as Gordon struck out as well as Celestino to end the inning. 
    Fortunately, the Twins did not stop scoring after the fiasco seventh as Caleb Hamilton finally scratched off his first big league hit with a solo home run to bring the Twins within a run of the Angels. 
    Wake Twins Fans Up When September Ends?
    The Twins fall further down an abysmal hole that is September baseball as they dropped to a 7-17 record with Sunday’s loss. The Twins have also allowed 119 runs to opponents while only scoring 80 for themselves, their worse runs scored/runs allowed ratio on the season for a month.
    Only four games remain for the Twins this month with three at home against the White Sox and one in Detroit. At best, they’ll be 11-17, at worse 7-21. Either way, Twins fans may need to follow the words of Green Day and wait to wake up until September ends. 
    What’s Next? 
    Twins are off Monday with the final home series of the season to start Tuesday night against the White Sox at 6:40 p.m. Former Twin Lance Lynn is set to go against current Twin Bailey Ober for Tuesday night’s game. 
    Postgame Interview 
    Bullpen Usage Sheet


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  9. Like
    glunn got a reaction from Wallner in Twins 4, Guardians 11: Gray Injured, Henriquez Debuts in Ugly Loss   
    You held out for longer than me. I gave up last week.
  10. Like
    glunn reacted to Unwinder in Twins 4, Guardians 11: Gray Injured, Henriquez Debuts in Ugly Loss   
    I have now given up on this season. I was a holdout and I give up.
  11. Like
    glunn reacted to Nate Palmer in Twins 4, Guardians 11: Gray Injured, Henriquez Debuts in Ugly Loss   
    The Minnesota Twins continued to be a magnet of bad news Monday afternoon. Starter Sonny Gray left early after re-injuring his hamstring and the Guardians dominated the Twins by scoring eleven runs. 
    Image courtesy of Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports  
    Box Score
    SP: Sonny Gray: 2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (44 pitches, 26 strikes (59.1%)
    Home Runs: Nick Gordon (9)
    Bottom 3 WPA: Sonny Gray (-.281), Mark Contreras (-.243), Ronny Henriquez (-.121)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Guardians grab lead early
    The Guardians wasted no time in putting runs on the board Monday afternoon. Quickly Amed Rosario and Jose Ramirez found themselves in scoring position. It didn’t matter where they were on the base paths as Josh Naylor got a hold of a Sonny Gray curveball and launched it into the right field seats giving the Guardians an early 3-0 lead. 
    Gray exits after second
    Not only were the Twins behind early 3-0, but there were other signs that Gray's outing was going poorly. The radar gun showed that his average fastball speed was down about two miles per hour. We later learned what was ailing Gray was a return of the hamstring tightness that recently plagued him. 
    Henriquez debuts
    With Gray out, Ronny Henriquez came into pitch, making his major league debut. Early on, his stuff was on display. The movement that the 22-year-old pitcher creates is impressive. Henriquez even flashed his glove as he was welcomed to the big leagues by a screaming Ramirez liner right back at him. The gloves behind him could have been a bit more sound as they helped create a bases-loaded situation that Henriquez was able to escape without allowing any runs to score. 
    Henriquez is currently ranked as Twins Daily’s #16 prospect in the Twins system after coming over to the Twins in the Mitch Garver trade with the Texas Rangers. Since the trade, there has been an eye on Henriquez as a possible bullpen arm for the Twins in 2022. Finally, here in September, he is getting his chance. 
    The debut was promising through three innings as Henriquez was able to hold Cleveland scoreless. In his fourth inning of work, the opposing bats were able to get to him. Including the exclamation point of an Amed Rosario three-run home run. 
    Twins find some runs in the fourth 
    Carlos Correa led off the fourth inning with an opposite-field single. Jose Miranda followed up with a similar opposite field hit for a double, setting the Twins up with runners on second and third with no outs. In a game full of infield hits, it was two hits that stayed in the infield that would bring both Correa and Miranda in to score. Those two runs cut the Twins deficit down to two with a 4-2 tally on the scoreboard. 
    Opportunity missed in the sixth
    With the Twins down 4-3, they had the perfect opportunity to take the lead. With the bases loaded and one out, the Twins chased Guardians starter Cal Quantrill from the game. Nick Sandlin took his place, and Mark Contreras came in as a pinch hitter for Caleb Hamilton to try and drive in some runs for the Twins. Instead, Contreras lined out to first baseman Naylor, and Matt Wallner was doubled off to end the inning and the scoring threat. 
    In the end, Cleveland would score two more runs after Rosario hit his three-run home run, bringing the final score to 11-4. In a week following the "official" end to the Twins playoff chances, there wasn't much to be excited about. Nick Gordon hit his ninth home run, and the first three innings of Henriquez's debut were good to see. Beyond that, any Twins fans watching got another look at why the Guardians are poised to win the division, and the Twins are not. 
    What’s Next?
    The Minnesota Twins will make their way to Kansas City to open up a three-game series against the Royals. Dylan Bundy will take the mound for the Twins, while the Royals will send veteran Zach Greinke to the mound. 
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
      TUE THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT                 Henriquez 0 0 0 0 0 73 73 López 0 0 0 32 0 34 66 Moran 40 0 0 15 5 0 60 Jax 0 18 22 13 0 0 53 Duran 0 19 16 0 17 0 52 Sanchez 0 0 0 49 0 0 49 Fulmer 0 21 11 17 0 0 49 Pagán 0 0 0 31 0 15 46 Thielbar 0 12 15 0 0 0 27  


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  12. Like
    glunn reacted to Seth Stohs in Twins 3, Guardians 0: Ryan Dominates Guardians for Much-Needed Win   
    Saturday was a long, tough day for the Twins and their fans, but the Twins woke up on Sunday, got dressed, went to the ballpark and just continued to show up. Joe Ryan was fantastic with some help from his defense. Jake Cave gave him an early lead, and they got a couple of huge insurance runs late from a likely source. 
    Image courtesy of Aaron Josefczyk-USA TODAY Sports  
    Box Score
    SP: Joe Ryan: 7 2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (95 pitches, 64 strikes (67.4%)
    Home Runs: Jake Cave (5) 
    Top 3 WPA: Joe Ryan (0.559), Carlos Correa (0.087), Luis Arraez (0.078)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Joe Ryan Does it Again, Well, Not Quite That, but… 
    Earlier in the week, Twins starter Joe Ryan threw seven no-hit innings against the Kansas City Royals at Target Field. While disappointed, it was easy to understand why he was removed after the seventh inning, and it was said often. His next start would be his biggest start of the season. 
    Well, that may or may not still be true - based on the Twins losing the first three games of this series, and being seven games back coming into the day - it was a very important game for the Twins. Saturday was a long day that ended in a double-header sweep at the hands of the Guardians. The Twins had lost eight straight games to Cleveland in key September games. The Twins needed a big outing from Ryan, and he gave it to the Twins. 
    After Saturday, it was important for Ryan to start out well. He had a one-two-three first inning that included a strikeout of Twins Killer Amed Rosario and a Jose Ramirez pop-out. He got two groundouts and a strikeout in the second inning, which does mean that he had nine straight no-hit innings. He walked a guy in the third inning, but no hits again. The fourth inning was again perfect, including a ground out by Rosario and a strikeout of Ramirez. His no-hit streak ended with one out in the bottom of the fifth frame when Tyler Freeman singled. He gave up two more hits and walked two batters, but he even recorded two outs in the eighth inning. After a Myles Straw single, lefty Jovani Moran came on and got Andrew Gimenez to fly out to end the inning and officially close the book on Joe Ryan’s fantastic outing. 
    Defense Comes Through 
    Any great pitching performance is likely to include some help from his defense. 
    In the fifth inning, there were runners on first and second with just one out, but Austin Hedges grounded into a double play.  
    Then in the sixth inning, Straw led off with a double before Gimenez was hit by a pitch. Runners on first and second and nobody out. Amed Rosario stepped to the plate and grounded into a double play. Straw remained at third with Jose Ramirez to bat. The perennial MVP candidate lined a shot to deep center field, but Gilberto Celestino got a great jump and was able to run it down on a full sprint to the warning track to end the threat and maintain a 1-0 lead. 
    But that catch always reminds me of another great Celestino catch, and why not show that one again…
    Josh Naylor walked to lead off the seventh inning, but with one out, Richie Palacios grounded into an inning-ending double play. 
    Captain Cave… Man! 
    Jake Cave has had a couple of tough years the last two seasons with the Twins, at least offensively. Prior to that, he was a very solid fourth outfielder, but with the Twins injuries the last couple of seasons, he has been forced into more action than was intended, including a lot of ABs against southpaws. Last year, he missed significant time with a fractured back. 
    Removed from the 40-man roster in the offseason, Cave spent most of this season at Triple-A St. Paul. He played great, getting on-base pretty much every game. In 85 games, he hit 273/.370/.509 (.879) with 20 doubles, seven triples and 14 home runs. As impressive, he continued to put up numbers as he watched player after player get called up to the Twins before he was. In fact, he was about the eighth outfielder on the depth chart when he was finally called back up. And, since then, more injuries have meant that he’s again played more than was planned. 
    Now, I’m not here to say that he’s been great. I’m not saying they should bring him back. I’m just saying that he’s filled in admirably and does not deserve the online hate that he often gets. 
    On Sunday afternoon, he gave the Twins their 1-0 lead in the second inning when he hit a solo homer. It was his fifth homer since joining the Twins and his second big home run in this Cleveland series. 
    One general observation from watching him play with the Saints and in his return to the Twins is that he is staying down on the ball and doing a much better job driving the ball to the opposite field, as he did today. 
    He has played solid defense wherever he’s been, and been happy with any opportunities he gets. And no one can ever question his effort. 
    All Rise for Arraez 
    Jovani Moran got the final out of the 8th inning to maintain a 1-0 lead for the Twins, but that isn’t exactly a comfortable lead. A little insurance sure would have been nice! 
    The first two batters in the top of the ninth inning got out, but then Celestino walked. It was followed by a single from Mark Contreras (who had come in an inning earlier as a defensive replacement for Matt Wallner, who had two hits in the game). Nick Gordon then pinch hit for Jermaine Palacios, and he waAll-Starlked to load the bases. 
    That set the stage for All Star Luis Arraez, and he came through with yet another big hit for the Twins. He lined a solid single up the middle to score two runs and give the Twins a 3-0 lead. 
    In addition, Carlos Correa continued his red-hot September. With three hits on Sunday, he had his seventh multi-hit game in the month. 
    Sanchez Helps Duran
    Jhoan Duran has been, arguably, the most dominant reliever in baseball for much of the second half, if not all year. Obviously, Cleveland’s Emmanuel Clase is in that conversation as well. 
    However, on Sunday, he didn’t display the same kind of control and command as we have seen from him throughout the season. He got the leadoff man (Rosario) out, but then he walked Jose Ramirez, and not intentionally. He started Josh Naylor off with a fastball for a ball. At that point, just four of Duran’s 11 pitches were strikes.
    Personal opinion and observation… With a 1-0 count, Gary Sanchez called three straight slow(ish) sliders (the upper-80s one that drops more than the other one) and Naylor missed all three for a strikeout. Sanchez continued to call mostly breaking balls and struck out Oscar Gonzalez on the same pitch. 
    Gary Sanchez is not a good defensive catcher. That’s probably putting it fairly nicely. The difference between Sanchez and Ryan Jeffers is very noticeable both by the eye test and by statistical measures. 
    However, have to give credit where credit is due, Sanchez deserves credit for having Duran mix it up. With his fastball command lost in this game, Sanchez recognized it and helped Duran by calling another of his pitches, and fortunately that pitch was on. In the end, he threw 17 pitches, so he ended the game with six straight strikes to end the game with two strikeouts. 
    Pre-Game Transaction
    Following Saturday’s lengthy double-header, the Twins wanted to make sure they had a long-relief option. Dereck Rodriguez was terrific in his 3 2/3 innings in that role in Saturday’s late game. Unfortunately, for him, that meant that he was optioned back to St. Paul. 
    Ronny Henriquez was set to start on Sunday afternoon for the Saints. Instead, he traveled to Cleveland and was activated shortly before the Twins game started. Veteran Ariel Jurado made the start for the Saints in his place. 
    Henriquez came to the Twins in the Mitch Garver trade to Texas. He turned 22 years old in mid-June, and has a 3-4 record with a 5.66 ERA with the Saints. The hard-throwing Dominican has made 14 starts and come out of the bullpen ten times. While his overall numbers don’t look great, he has been much better of late. Over his past five outings, he is 1-0 with a save. In 21 innings, he has just four walks to go with 24 strikeouts. He has given up just one or two runs in four of his past five appearances. On September 7th, he gave up two runs on one hit and one walk. In five innings, he struck out nine batters. On September 13th, he came out of the bullpen and recorded a four-inning save. He gave up one run on two hits. He walked none and struck out three. In short, if he doesn’t hurt himself with walks, he can be very effective and has some really sharp, nasty stuff. Texas had already placed him on the 40-man roster, so the Twins didn’t need to make an additional 40-man roster move. 
    What’s Next? 
    The Twins had hoped to take at least four (if not five) games in this five-game series. On Monday afternoon, they’ll send RHP Sonny Gray (8-4, 2.83 ERA) to the mound and attempt to win a second game in a row, and in the series. The game will start at 12:05 central time and air on Bally Sports North. Cleveland will counter with RHP Cal Quantrill (12-5, 3.51 ERA).
    Postgame Interviews
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
      TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT                 Moran 40 0 0 0 15 5 60 Jax 0 0 18 22 13 0 53 Duran 0 0 19 16 0 17 52 Sanchez 0 0 0 0 49 0 49 Fulmer 0 0 21 11 17 0 49 López 0 17 0 0 32 0 49 Thielbar 0 12 12 15 0 0 39 Pagán 0 0 0 0 31 0 31 Henriquez 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 
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  13. Like
    glunn reacted to Squirrel in Kepler to IL, Wallner added   
    Here we go!
  14. Like
    glunn reacted to minman1982 in Guardians 4, Twins 3: Cold Offense, Defensive Miscues, Cost the Twins the Game   
    Looks like Cleveland pretty much sealed the deal tonight.  Twins have some work to do in the off season if they want to go to the playoffs in 2023.  I always thought that 2023 and/or 2024 would be the best chances for this group to make a run in the playoffs.  They are in a better place than they were a year ago but still have some room to improve.
  15. Like
    glunn reacted to ashbury in Guardians 4, Twins 3: Cold Offense, Defensive Miscues, Cost the Twins the Game   
    The average team scores 4 runs a game.  Score more than that, your chances of winning are good.  Score fewer, your chances are not.
    Baseball's a simple game like that, sometimes.  Season on the line, and our Twins scored 3.
  16. Like
    glunn reacted to Thiéres Rabelo in Guardians 4, Twins 3: Cold Offense, Defensive Miscues, Cost the Twins the Game   
    Bailey Ober had a fine start in his return from the injured list, delivering five solid shutout innings. The offense came through early but went ice-cold for the rest of the game, and Cleveland took advantage of a couple of defensive miscues to steal the game late.
    Image courtesy of David Richard-USA TODAY Sports Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Bailey Ober, 5 IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 5K (70 pitches, 47 strikes, 67.1%)
    Home Runs: none
    Bottom 3 WPA: Griffin Jax (-.305), Jhoan Duran (-.239), Nick Gordon (-.123)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Ober looks sharp in his return, tosses five scoreless
    Bailey Ober was activated from the 60-day injured list earlier on Friday and was set to make his first big league start since June 1. That last start, which came a few days before he was placed on the 15-day injured list due to a right groin strain, didn’t make for a very good impression, as he gave up five runs in a 5-0 loss to a fourth-place Detroit team. But since returning to action on a minor league rehab assignment, he looked sharp, maintaining a 3.24 ERA through four starts in the minors. That good performance carried on into tonight’s game.
    Ober looked fantastic to start this game. It took him only 32 pitches to get through the first three innings, and he didn’t allow a single hit in that span. Despite not missing a lot of bats and allowing some hard contact, Ober made sure to induce bad-quality contact. Cleveland hitters couldn’t figure him out earlier, and the only Guardians baserunner came when José Ramírez got hit on the foot during the bottom of the first.
    The offense came through in response to Ober’s hot start. José Miranda nearly hit a home run in the first after a tremendous 12-pitch at-bat, but he had to settle for a double. Cleveland starter Triston McKenzie got on a roll and retired six consecutive batters after that Miranda double, but he ran into trouble during the third inning. Luis Arráez and Carlos Correa hit back-to-back two-out singles, and Miranda made McKenzie pay. With another double, the rookie pushed Arráez across to score the game’s first run.
    The bats weren’t done. Gio Urshela led off the top of the fourth with a ground ball single, and a couple of at-bats later, Jake Cave crushed the first pitch he saw on the at-bat for a 412-feet two-run bomb, making it 3-0 Minnesota. That poor ball – may it rest in peace – left his bat at 105.2 MPH.
    Ober found himself in his only jam of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Ramírez reached for the second time on the night by drawing a one-out walk, then suddenly reached third when Óscar González knocked a two-out single. Ober calmly struck out the last batter to end the threat, though. He came back for the fifth, his final inning of the night, and completed his shutout on 14 pitches.
    As solid as he had been this season before he got injured – he maintained a 3.25 ERA through the first six of his seven starts before tonight – this was actually Ober’s first shutout of the season. Now, the Twins have gotten three shutout starts from their starters in the last four games, which have combined for a total of 19 innings.
    Cleveland takes advantage of mistakes, takes the lead
    It wasn’t just the starting pitching that started clicking for the Twins in the last few days. Coming into tonight’s game, Minnesota’s bullpen had pitched nine consecutive shutout innings in the previous three games. Michael Fulmer came into tonight’s game in relief of Ober, and he extended that streak to ten innings with a scoreless sixth in which he pitched around a Ramírez double.
    But that streak came to an end during the seventh inning, and it all started with a fielding error. Andrés Giménez reached on a throwing error by Nick Gordon to lead off the inning. He was moved up to third on an Owen Miller single next and scored the Guardians’ first run on a Myles Straw one-out single off Griffin Jax (who was replacing Caleb Thielbar). Had Gordon not made the fielding error, not only would Gimenez not have scored, but Cleveland wouldn’t have tied the game. Jax retired Steven Kwan for the second out of the inning, but he couldn’t get Amed Rosario, who lined to center for a two-run single, to tie it up.
    After the Cave home run in the fourth, the offense couldn’t figure out McKenzie anymore, going 1-for-12 against him before he departed the game. The bats also went down in order in the top of the eighth, allowing Cleveland to snatch the lead in the home half of the inning. And once again, they took advantage of a Minnesota mistake. Before he could record a single out, Jhoan Duran lost the first two batters on back-to-back singles. Then, on a wild pitch in which Gary Sánchez couldn’t find the ball behind him, pinch-runner Ernie Clement had time to round third and score the winning run.
    Postgame interview
    What’s Next?
    On Saturday, both teams will be back on the field for a doubleheader. Game one is set to begin at 12:10 pm CDT, with rookie Louie Varland (3.38 ERA) taking on staff ace Shane Bieber (2.91 ERA). Then, with first pitch scheduled for 6:10 pm CDT, Josh Winder (3.83 ERA) gets the start of game two, facing Konnor Pilkington (4.30 ERA).
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
      MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT               Moran 0 40 0 0 0 40 Jax 0 0 0 18 22 40 Thielbar 0 0 12 12 15 39 Duran 0 0 0 19 16 35 Fulmer 0 0 0 21 11 32 López 0 0 17 0 0 17 Megill 0 0 0 14 0 14 Pagán 0 0 0 0 0 0 Sanchez 0 0 0 0 0 0  
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  17. Like
    glunn reacted to Doctor Gast in Déjà Vu: Can the Twins Surge Back in 2022?   
    My hope is the Twins will be firing on all 8, SPing , BP, defense & offense will all come together. That all the starring pieces comeback healthy & hungry, with CLE young team folding at the end and we with such momentum going into the post season to win our 1st post season game since who knows.
  18. Like
    glunn reacted to bean5302 in Déjà Vu: Can the Twins Surge Back in 2022?   
    This stretch of 5 games against the Guardians may well decide the Twins' season. The Twins are 4.0 games back of Cleveland and 1.0 games back of Chicago. If the Twins were to sweep the Guardians (exceedingly unlikely), they'd almost certainly be in the division lead.

    If the Twins were to get totally swept, they'd be 10 games back and fried extra crispy. How I like my chicken... not my favorite MLB team.

    1-4, Twins are 1% playoff potential.
    2-3, Twins are 5-10% playoff potential.
    3-2, Twins are 20-30% playoff potential.
    4-1, Twins are 30-50% playoff potential.
    5-0, Twins are 50%-70% playoff potential.

    There's a range because of what the White Sox might do in addition to the Guardians. In order to give the team a good shot at winning the division, the Twins really need to take 4 of 5 here.
  19. Like
    glunn reacted to Cody Christie in Déjà Vu: Can the Twins Surge Back in 2022?   
    Throughout Twins history, there have been mutiple seasons where the team has overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to win the AL Central. Can the current roster find some Minnesota magic and surge back into contention?
    Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports  
    Most franchises have seasons a fanbase can remember fondly for how their team fought to the season's final days. The Twins are no stranger to some late-season comebacks, and younger fans may have forgotten about the below-mentioned runs. In September, the current Twins team is facing its largest deficit in the division so far in 2022. Minnesota is running out of games to win the AL Central, but so were these three teams. 

    2006 Twins (96-66)
    Farthest Behind: 12.5 Games (May 27)
    September Deficit: 5 Games with 23 Remaining (September 7)
    The 2006 Twins only spent four total days in first place, but the club was on the top of the standings when it mattered most. With 96 wins, Minnesota already headed to the postseason, but that didn't take away from the drama. In the season's final series, the Twins lost the first two games against Chicago to make things more interesting. Minnesota won their final game, but fans refused to leave the Metrodome as the division title was still up for grabs. 

    The Tigers and Royals headed to extra-innings, and the fans and players could watch the final innings on the stadium's screens. Detroit entered the day tied with the Twins, but the 100-loss Royals put up a final day fight. Kansas City eventually won in 12 innings, and the Twins stormed the field before taking a victory lap.  

    2008 Twins (88-75)
    Farthest Behind: 6 Games (June 10)
    September Deficit: 2.5 Games with 6 Remaining (September 21)
    Minnesota made up three games in three days to enter the season's final weekend up a half-game on the White Sox. Unfortunately, the Twins couldn't take advantage of facing the Royals in the season's final series and ended up tied with Chicago. Everything came down to a Game 163 where future Twin Jim Thome hit a home run that accounted for the game's lone run. It was a brutal ending after a thrilling race to the division's top, but the Twins put themselves in a position to win the Central. 

    During the 2022 season, there will be no tie-breaker games, so the Twins need to win the head-to-head match-up with the Guardians. Entering play this weekend, Minnesota has gone 5-9 versus Cleveland, so the Twins need a five-game sweep to take the season series. 

    2009 Twins (87-76)
    Farthest Behind: 7 Games (September 6)
    September Deficit: 7 Games with 26 Remaining(September 6)
    Minnesota saved their longest winning streak for the season's final month with six straight wins from September 13-19. For the second consecutive year, the Twins ended the season with a series versus the Royals, but this time the Twins needed a sweep to force a decisive tie-breaker game. 

    Detroit and Minnesota played one of the most memorable games in team history as Alexi Casilla's one-out single in the bottom of the 12th inning scored Carlos Gomez. Minnesota went on to be swept by the Yankees, but the Tigers didn't reach the postseason, and fans were left with one final Metrodome memory. 
    Like the seasons mentioned above, Kansas City will play a role in deciding who eventually wins the AL Central. Because of the lockout, Cleveland's final six games are all at home against the Royals. It looks like Kansas City doesn't have much fight in them if the Twins recently concluded series is any indication. Minnesota will likely need KC to win multiple games in the season's final week for more Minnesota magic to unfold. 

    Do you think the Twins still have a chance to win the division? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

    View full article
  20. Like
    glunn reacted to Loops in 4 Reasons the 2022 Season is More Frustrating Than 2021   
    A VERY frustrating season to be sure. Your article sums it up nicely. As far as injuries go you have to wonder about why Minnesota is hit so hard. Is it just the players we have are more prone to injuries? Or is there something about how the players are being handled by the organization? Either way, not fun!
  21. Like
    glunn reacted to Otaknam in 4 Reasons the 2022 Season is More Frustrating Than 2021   
    Another season of moving on from baseball once the NFL starts. The predictable Buxton injury was especially frustrating. Trades for broken down pitchers Paddock and Mahle that didn’t help this year were  especially aggravating and a black mark on the FO. Lost a lot of minor league arms for 7 starts total.  
  22. Like
    glunn reacted to Five minute major in 4 Reasons the 2022 Season is More Frustrating Than 2021   
    It was frustrating in that it was obvious fairly early on that this team was not that good.   A very easy schedule to start the season compounded by playing in the weakest division in baseball gave some fans a false sense of what this team's destiny was going to be.    Once they started playing harder teams, the true skill level of this team was evidenced.   For me, the trade deadline was an absolute failure, particularly  in what we gave up for Mahle.  That trade will haunt down the road.
  23. Like
    glunn reacted to lukeduke1980 in 4 Reasons the 2022 Season is More Frustrating Than 2021   
    The opening day eve trade when the team seemed to be bullpen challenged already 
    The Buxton 100 game plan after the high of him signing the team friendly deal
    The elation of signing Correa followed by 50 RBI through August 
    The success of the 5 and flies with Bundys but pulling Gray and Ryan into that same program
    The excitement of the trade deadline followed by the offense disappearing and Mahle 
    In summary frustrating because of the highs and lows
  24. Like
    glunn reacted to IndianaTwin in 4 Reasons the 2022 Season is More Frustrating Than 2021   
    4 Reasons the 2022 Season is More Frustrating Than 2021
    I suppose it's okay to call the season "frustrating" while it's still happening, but I'd prefer to wait until season's end for such analysis.
    But if you're suggesting that it hasn't been fun in 2022, I'll gladly take the frustration of August and September over the apathy that resulted from playing their way out of contention in April and May of 2021.
  25. Like
    glunn reacted to Mike Sixel in 4 Reasons the 2022 Season is More Frustrating Than 2021   
    The journey this year is a million times better than last. Last year was bad so early, and so deeply, it made the rest of the year less fun. 
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