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  1. I think this game is out of reach, with the current state of the bullpen. I'd imagine we'd see Duffey after Thornburg. The Twins offense has been able to bail out a few bad starts in the last week, but appears lifeless today.
  2. Sands appeared overeager to get Arozarena out there. The HBP and Randy's reaction might have gotten to his head.
  3. Ah, Sands just got BABIP'd. He's looked fairly good so far, IMO. Just bad luck on that play.
  4. Springs is very good - although his expected ERA is higher than his actual (2.97 xERA vs 1.62 ERA). But that's still amazing. The silver lining is that the offense has handled Gausman, Cole, Cortes, Taillon, and Baz in the last week.
  5. The Twins have a chance to sw***p the Tampa Bay Rays today, in a matchup that pairs RHP Cole Sands against LHP Jeffrey Springs, with a righty-stacked lineup. More on that matchup is below, but first I wanted to take a moment to remember Chi Chi Gonzalez's tenure as a Twin. ROSTER MOVE - Ciao to Chi Chi Gonzalez was designated for assignment this morning, after two starts for the Twins. He pitched 7 innings with an era of 7.71 and a 1.71 WHIP. While it wasn't pretty, the Twins won BOTH Chi Chi starts against tough AL East opponents in Toronto and Tampa Bay. Chi Chi activated an opt-out clause earlier this week that required the Twins to call him up in a few days, or cut him loose. The front office took him up on both parts of that clause by DFA'ing him after calling him up for a spot start. Tyler Thornburg is replacing Chi Chi on the roster, after pitching for Atlanta earlier in 2022. Thornburg came up with Milwaukee in 2012 and pitched for the Brewers through 2016, as a very solid reliever (2.87 ERA in 219.2 IP, with 220Ks and 91 BBs). He's been fairly ineffective since, missing all of 2017, pitching poorly for Boston and Cincinnati between 2018-2020, and missing all of 2021. Thornburg has an average fastball, but also mixes in a curveball, changeup and a very rare slider. Statcast likes the spin Thornburg gets on his pitches in a small sample. I would expect Thornburg to be a temporary replacement, like the many 2021 veteran bullpen callups (Nick Vincent, Derek Law, Luke Farrell). But you can never know with relievers, and the Twins have plenty of room to allow auditions in the bullpen. THE MATCHUP: RHP Cole Sands (0-2) 8.49 ERA, 11.2 IP, 13K, 1.97 WHIP vs. LHP Jeffery Springs (2-2) 1.62 ERA, 44.1 IP, 45 K, 0.93 WHIP The matchup strongly favors the Rays here, as Cole Sands has looked ineffective in his brief MLB tenure. Jeffery Springs has been with the Rays since the beginning of 2021, but only began starting this year (7 Games Started in 15 Appearances). Springs has taken to the starting role and has pitched 5 or more IP in his last four consecutive starts - indicating that he is now built up to be a starting pitcher. The key for Cole Sands will be throw his breaking pitch effectively. Statcast considers it to be a curveball, but I've heard slider. Either way, hitters have an expected batting average of .166 against his breaking pitch, with a .282 expected slugging percentage. He throw the breaking pitch 27% of the time, compared to 51% of the time with his 92 mph fastball. The Lineups: The Twins have stacked right-handed against the left-handed Springs. I'm a bit surprised Arraez is getting the start at DH over Gary Sanchez, but the man hit a grand slam yesterday, so let him be a power threat in the middle of the lineup. Twins fans will be very happy to see both Buxton and Correa are starting today after both had scheduled days off yesterday. They are side-by-side in the lineup at 1 and 2, guaranteeing the most at bats possible. RAYS LINEUP: 1. DH Manuel Margot (R) 2. 1B Ji-Man Choi (L) 3. 3B Yandy Diaz (R) 4. LF Randy Arozarena (R) 5. CF Kevin Kiermaier (L) 6. SS Taylor Walls (R) 7. Francisco Mejia (S) 8. RF Brett Phillips (L) 9. 2B Vidal Brujan (S) TWINS LINEUP: 1. CF Byron Buxton (R) 2. SS Carlos Correa (R) 3. 2B Jorge Polanco (S) 4. 3B Gio Urshela (R) 5. DH Luis Arraez (L) 6. 1B Jose Miranda (R) 7. RF Gilberto Celestino (R) 8. LF Trevor Larnach (L) 9. C Ryan Jeffers (R) THE PREDICTION: The pitching matchup is not favorable for the Twins, and the bullpen fired a lot of bullets yesterday. I wouldn't be surprised to see both Duran and Pagan have days off today. I'm going to be a realist, and say that the Rays take this one, 7-2.
  6. I agree, there's a lot of MLB pitchers who have never had a pitch clock. Older veterans will need to adjust more gradually. I think a tier-system with a plan to get to 14/18 seconds gradually over a few seasons could work.
  7. Stashak has had a few clunkers that have destroyed his stats. Pagan has been effectively wild, but needs to reign in the control because that will bite him eventually. Coulombe is a slow pitcher who has pitched very well. It would make sense that confidence and time to home would be related, especially if there's less confidence in control.
  8. MLB wants a pitch clock to speed up time of games, and has already implemented a pitch clock in Minor League Baseball. The current clock is set at 14 seconds for when the bases are empty, and allows up to 18 seconds when runners are on. These changes have shaved off 20 minutes from MiLB game times, and MLB has a new policy in the recent CBA that could allow them to implement a pitch clock at the major league level in 45 days, but 2023 seems more likely. Today, MLB's Baseball Savant released a "Pitch Tempo Leaderboard", which measures the median time between pitches (release to release thrown to the same batter). Maybe MLB wants to help prepare the public by making this available? It's not the most insightful data in the world, but it's fun to conceptualize and match our perceptions with reality. For example, I knew Emilo Pagán was a slower pitcher, but there are some pitchers with a surprising pitch tempo that I didn't notice. Below is a quick look at how the current Minnesota Twins pitching staff currently fares in this department compared to the league, and then we'll dive into the slowest and fastest pitchers on the staff with bases empty and runners on base scenarios. MLB Average Pitch Tempo vs. Twins Average Pitch Tempo MLB Average With Runners Empty: 18.2 seconds Twins Average With Runners Empty: 18.9 seconds MLB Average With Runners On Base: 23.6 seconds Twins Average With Runners On Base: 24.3 seconds Overall, the Twins have a slower pitch tempo than other teams. It doesn't appear to matter if the bases are empty or if the bases have traffic. We can't determine if this is a philosophy of Derek Falvey and pitching coach Wes Johnson, or if it's just the mix of pitchers on the staff. Every pitcher likely developed habits long before they were in the Twins system, especially older players who had no pitch clock prior to their MLB careers. Pitcher-Level Pitch Tempos - Bases Empty The table below is sorted by average pitch tempo when Bases are Empty. Fast Tempos with the Bases Empty: Jhoan Duran and Dylan Bundy lead the Twins pitching staff with a tempo of 15.7 seconds. Duran leads the Twins in percentage of pitches that are considered "Fast" (thrown under 15 second), at 37.1%. This appears to be very unusual for a reliever, as Duran ranks 50th across all of MLB Pitch Tempos with the bases empty. Most of the pitchers above him are starting pitchers. 8 out of 14 qualified Twins pitchers are faster than the MLB Average pitch tempo with the bases empty (18.2 seconds). Slow Tempos with the Bases Empty: Cody Stashak has the slowest pitch tempo on the team when the bases are empty, with 24.1 seconds between pitches. This ranks as the 13th slowest pitch tempo in MLB when the bases are empty. Most of the Twins bullpen outside of Duran has taken Stashak's approach. Griffin Jax, Caleb Thielbar, Emilo Pagán, and Danny Coulombe haven't thrown a single pitch under 15 seconds this year, and all average over 20 seconds with empty bases. Chris Archer has the slowest tempo of the starting pitchers with the bases empty, at 19.5 seconds between pitches. All other starters are below 17,7 seconds. Pitcher-Level Pitch Tempos - Runners On Base The table below is sorted by average tempo when runners are on base. Fast Tempos with Runners On Base: Dylan Bundy is the fastest pitcher on the staff overall with runners on bases, with an average tempo of 21.6 seconds. This is 5.9 seconds above his tempo with the bases empty. While this is the fastest tempo with runners on base across the Twins pitching staff, Bundy's 21.6 seconds between pitches ranks 77th in MLB. This indicates that the team take time with runners on base as a staff. Joe Ryan has the second fastest pitch tempo with runners on base, at 22.5 seconds. He is the only Twins pitcher to throw a single pitch under 15 seconds with traffic on the bases (only 1.1% in this scenario). While Jhoan Duran is a speed demon with the bases empty, he slows down considerably when runners are on base at 23.9 seconds between pitches. This is a difference of 8.2 seconds to his pitch tempo from when the bases are empty. Only 4 of the 14 qualified Twins pitchers are faster than the MLB Average pitch tempo with the bases empty (23.6 seconds). Slow Tempos with Runners On Base: The slowest pitches with runners are actually starters: Josh Winder (26.4 seconds) and Chris Paddack (26.2). These tempos rank 46th and 60th in MLB, respectively. Winder also has the highest percentage of pitches over 30 second with runners on base, at 22.2%. Chris Paddack has the largest difference in tempo between bases empty and runners on, with 9.1 seconds added. Cody Stashak is weird. He is the only Twins pitcher on the staff that is actually faster when runners are on base. His pitch tempo is 23.8 second with runners on, which 0.3 seconds faster than with the bases empty. This could be due to him pitching in low-leverage situations, but that's me speculating. Caleb Thielbar, Danny Coulombe, and Emilo Pagán all have nearly the exact same pitch tempo with runners on base (25.4 - 25.5 seconds). Who would be in violation of the current Minor League Pitch Clock? The current limit is 14 seconds with the bases empty, and 18 seconds with runners on base. All Twins pitchers have an average pitch tempo above 14 seconds with the bases empty and above 18 seconds with runners on base. They would all be in violation! However, only 8 MLB pitchers have a pitch tempo that would not be in violation with the bases empty, and only one (Wade Miley) wouldn't be in violation with runners on bases. Fun Chart Time I highly suggest using the "compare" tool to see how pitchers vary in pitch tempo. You can see how consistent Dylan Bundy (the speed king) is, while Cody Stashak can be all over the place. Starters: Relievers: If you got to the end of this post, congratulations. I hope you read this at a quick tempo, like Dylan Bundy.
  9. Not the win I expected, but Sonny Gray was lights out! This starting pitching is leagues above what anyone could have expected.
  10. That was a barrel at 105.7 MPH had an expected batting average of .970,
  11. Thanks! Looks like Polanco hasn't had a scheduled day off dating back to 4/21, so it's been quite a while.
  12. The Tigers and Twins kick off the second game of a 3-game series tonight, after a walk-off victory to begin the series yesterday. By June 2nd, the Twins will have played the Tigers in 8 out of 12 games. If you aren't sign of the Olde English "D" yet, we all will be. The big acquisition news coming out of yesterday is the addition of a Gong to the Twins clubhouse. I guarantee there will be some merch to commemorate this Gong, and I am all for it. Replace the Bomba Siren! THE MATCHUP: RHP Sonny Gray (1-1) 3.48 ERA, 20.2 IP, 25K, 1.26 WHIP vs. RHP Beau Brieske (0-3) 5.13 ERA, 26.1 IP, 15 K, 1.33 WHIP The matchup strongly favors the Twins here, as Sonny Gray has been pretty solid while averaging just over 4 IP per start. Gray went 6 IP in his recent start against his original team of Oakland, and was fairly effective. The bullpen could use a break tonight, after close contests over the last few games. For the Tigers, Beau Brieske has struggled in his rookie season, with 0.4 fWAR and an ERA that is lucky considering his FIP (6.68) and xFIP (5.53). He has allowed 2.39 HR/9, with a very poor K/9 (5.13) and BB/9 (3.76). The biggest note about Brieske other than his very catchy name is his reverse split. Right-handed hitters are slashing .296/.371/.574 against Brieske, compared to .167/.231/.354 from left-handed hitters. This has resulted in a funky Twins lineup, with only two lefties. The Lineups: TIGERS LINEUP: 1. RF Robbie Grossman (S) 2. 2B Jonathan Scoop (R) 3. DH Miguel Cabrera (R) 4. SS Javier Baez (R) 5. 3B Jeimer Candelario (S) 6. LF Willi Castro (S) 7. 1B Spencer Torkleson (R) 8. C Tucker Barnhart (S) 9. CF Derek Hill (R) TWINS LINEUP: 1. CF Byron Buxton (R) 2. 2B Luis Arraez (L) 3. SS Carlos Correa (R) 4. DH Gary Sanchez (R) 5. RF Max Kepler (L) 6. LF Gilberto Celestino (R) 7. 3B Gio Urshela (R) 8. 1B Jose Miranda (R) 9. C Ryan Jeffers (R) THE PREDICTION: Twins come out big and early, with Trevor Megill eating up some innings after Gray departs. Final Score: 9-3
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