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Thiéres Rabelo

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  1. Anyone following the soccer World Cup? Maybe we could use this thread to talk about it and also soccer in general.
  2. In the final game of their disappointing 2022 season, the Twins crushed the White Sox in Chicago, taking the season series against the Southsiders. The main highlight from this game was Luis Arráez officially winning the American League batting title – but it wasn’t the only one! Image courtesy of Thiéres Rabelo (graphics) Box Score Starting Pitcher: Louie Varland, 5 IP, 4H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 5K (78 pitches, 55 strikes, 70.5%) Home Runs: Gary Sanchez (16), Jermaine Palacios (2) Top 3 WPA: Gary Sánchez (.249), Jermaine Palacios (.088), Matt Wallner (.058) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Arráez is the American League batting champion! This is not breaking news, but… Luis Arraez has done it! Despite watching New York Yankee Aaron Judge briefly surpass him for the highest batting average in the American League, the Venezuelan hitting machine kept on hitting and regained first place, never letting it go again. He walked twice today before doubling to deep center in the third inning, raising his batting average to .316, and leaving the game after that. Even if he hadn’t doubled, his case for winning the crown was just too good. Coming into today, Arráez's batting average sat at .315, while Judge’s sat at .311. The Yankees outfielder would need to go 4-for-4 today just to match Arráez’s average while also hoping “La Regadera” would have some bad at-bats in Chicago. However, the Yankees decided not to play Judge for the day, making Arráez the batting champion right away. Even if Arráez had gone 0-for-4 for the day, his batting average would still be higher than that of Judge. Arráez becomes the fifth Twin to ever win the AL batting title, the first one since 2009, joining Tony Oliva (1964, 1965), Rod Carew (1969, 1971-75, 1977, 1978), Kirby Puckett (1989), and Joe Mauer (2006, 2008, 2009). He also becomes the sixth Venezuelan to win the distinction, the first one since 2017, joining Andres Galarraga, Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera, and Jose Altuve. The offense gets the job done early The game was basically decided after just two innings. The Twins' offense knocked around Chicago starter Davis Martin right out of the gate, building a six-run lead in the first inning. After Arráez drew a leadoff walk and was followed by a Gio Urshela single, Gary Sánchez obliterated a slider on the heart of the plate for a three-run rocket (106.2 MPH off his bat). On the very next at-bat, Jake Cave doubled to left, and he scored on a Matt Wallner single to center a couple of at-bats later. Then, Jermaine Palacios, who had hit his first major league home run on Tuesday night, made it back-to-back days with a dinger, taking Martin deep to left for a two-run jack, making it 6-0 Twins in the first. Three more runs scored in the second inning. Sánchez got another RBI with a double, bringing home Arráez from second after he got another leadoff walk and moved to second on a Nick Gordon single. That prompted a pitching change by Chicago, but it didn’t help. Both Sánchez and Gordon were pushed across by a Gilberto Celestino two-out single against reliever Vince Velasquez, making it 9-0 Minnesota. Things could’ve gotten even worse for Chicago in the third, as the offense loaded the bases with only one out against Velasquez. One of those runners was Arráez and his double, shortly before being lifted for pinch runner Jose Miranda. But this time, one run was all Minnesota could get after a Gordon sacrifice fly to score Caleb Hamilton. Varland takes advantage, secures first big league win Making his fifth start in the majors, rookie Louie Varland was still chasing his first big league win. Before today’s game, he had lost two and gotten a couple of no-decisions. Also, in his previous four starts, Varland had failed to prevent runs from scoring. He would reach both of those personal milestones by the end of the fifth inning today. Against an uninspired White Sox offense, Varland looked more comfortable than in any of his big league starts so far. He allowed a couple of hits early, one in each of the two first innings, including a leadoff double in the second. He pitched around that with three consecutive strikeouts. Despite not missing a lot of bats, Varland didn’t allow quality contact. Chicago hitters had an average 79.3 MPH exit velocity against him. Varland completed five on 78 pitches, throwing over 70% strikes. Also, this was the first start in his short big league career in which he didn’t allow a walk. Cole Sands pitched the rest of the way, and Chicago’s offense didn't pose a threat against him until the final inning, when they put two men on and scored a run, but Sands secured the four-inning save. With the win today, the Twins finish the season with a frustrating 78-84 record, but they do salvage one thing: they take the series season against the Sox with 10 wins in 19 games. Postgame interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Sands 0 0 0 0 59 59 Jax 0 12 21 0 0 33 Sanchez 0 0 0 33 0 33 López 0 18 0 9 0 27 Fulmer 0 26 0 0 0 26 Moran 0 0 0 21 0 21 Pagán 0 0 5 15 0 20 Thielbar 0 0 15 0 0 15 Duran 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  3. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Louie Varland, 5 IP, 4H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 5K (78 pitches, 55 strikes, 70.5%) Home Runs: Gary Sanchez (16), Jermaine Palacios (2) Top 3 WPA: Gary Sánchez (.249), Jermaine Palacios (.088), Matt Wallner (.058) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Arráez is the American League batting champion! This is not breaking news, but… Luis Arraez has done it! Despite watching New York Yankee Aaron Judge briefly surpass him for the highest batting average in the American League, the Venezuelan hitting machine kept on hitting and regained first place, never letting it go again. He walked twice today before doubling to deep center in the third inning, raising his batting average to .316, and leaving the game after that. Even if he hadn’t doubled, his case for winning the crown was just too good. Coming into today, Arráez's batting average sat at .315, while Judge’s sat at .311. The Yankees outfielder would need to go 4-for-4 today just to match Arráez’s average while also hoping “La Regadera” would have some bad at-bats in Chicago. However, the Yankees decided not to play Judge for the day, making Arráez the batting champion right away. Even if Arráez had gone 0-for-4 for the day, his batting average would still be higher than that of Judge. Arráez becomes the fifth Twin to ever win the AL batting title, the first one since 2009, joining Tony Oliva (1964, 1965), Rod Carew (1969, 1971-75, 1977, 1978), Kirby Puckett (1989), and Joe Mauer (2006, 2008, 2009). He also becomes the sixth Venezuelan to win the distinction, the first one since 2017, joining Andres Galarraga, Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera, and Jose Altuve. The offense gets the job done early The game was basically decided after just two innings. The Twins' offense knocked around Chicago starter Davis Martin right out of the gate, building a six-run lead in the first inning. After Arráez drew a leadoff walk and was followed by a Gio Urshela single, Gary Sánchez obliterated a slider on the heart of the plate for a three-run rocket (106.2 MPH off his bat). On the very next at-bat, Jake Cave doubled to left, and he scored on a Matt Wallner single to center a couple of at-bats later. Then, Jermaine Palacios, who had hit his first major league home run on Tuesday night, made it back-to-back days with a dinger, taking Martin deep to left for a two-run jack, making it 6-0 Twins in the first. Three more runs scored in the second inning. Sánchez got another RBI with a double, bringing home Arráez from second after he got another leadoff walk and moved to second on a Nick Gordon single. That prompted a pitching change by Chicago, but it didn’t help. Both Sánchez and Gordon were pushed across by a Gilberto Celestino two-out single against reliever Vince Velasquez, making it 9-0 Minnesota. Things could’ve gotten even worse for Chicago in the third, as the offense loaded the bases with only one out against Velasquez. One of those runners was Arráez and his double, shortly before being lifted for pinch runner Jose Miranda. But this time, one run was all Minnesota could get after a Gordon sacrifice fly to score Caleb Hamilton. Varland takes advantage, secures first big league win Making his fifth start in the majors, rookie Louie Varland was still chasing his first big league win. Before today’s game, he had lost two and gotten a couple of no-decisions. Also, in his previous four starts, Varland had failed to prevent runs from scoring. He would reach both of those personal milestones by the end of the fifth inning today. Against an uninspired White Sox offense, Varland looked more comfortable than in any of his big league starts so far. He allowed a couple of hits early, one in each of the two first innings, including a leadoff double in the second. He pitched around that with three consecutive strikeouts. Despite not missing a lot of bats, Varland didn’t allow quality contact. Chicago hitters had an average 79.3 MPH exit velocity against him. Varland completed five on 78 pitches, throwing over 70% strikes. Also, this was the first start in his short big league career in which he didn’t allow a walk. Cole Sands pitched the rest of the way, and Chicago’s offense didn't pose a threat against him until the final inning, when they put two men on and scored a run, but Sands secured the four-inning save. With the win today, the Twins finish the season with a frustrating 78-84 record, but they do salvage one thing: they take the series season against the Sox with 10 wins in 19 games. Postgame interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Sands 0 0 0 0 59 59 Jax 0 12 21 0 0 33 Sanchez 0 0 0 33 0 33 López 0 18 0 9 0 27 Fulmer 0 26 0 0 0 26 Moran 0 0 0 21 0 21 Pagán 0 0 5 15 0 20 Thielbar 0 0 15 0 0 15 Duran 0 0 0 0 0 0
  4. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Joe Ryan, 6 IP, 5H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 8K (91 pitches, 65 strikes, 71.4%) Home Runs: Carlos Correa (22) Top 3 WPA: Joe Ryan (.302), Mark Contreras (.162), Ryan Jeffers (.081) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Already out of playoff contention, the Twins headed for Detroit for their final road trip of the year, with a couple of three-game sets. Tonight, they kicked off the Tigers series, and, without the postseason prospect, the focus turned to a final, unlikely goal: finishing the season at .500 or better. Already with 80 losses, they entered tonight’s game needing to win at least five of their remaining six games to finish at .500. They got off on the right foot, and with some early offense, they were able to jump to a quick three-run lead. Jermaine Palacios snapped a personal 0-for-33 funk dating back to the beginning of the month with a single in the third inning. On the very next at-bat, he scored on a Mark Contreras double, his first in the majors. That was all the offense could garner on that inning, but they would at it again on the next one. After giving up a leadoff single in the first, Joe Ryan went on to retire nine in a row, preserving the lead for the offensive turn in the fourth. Gio Urshela drew a leadoff walk, and a couple of at-bats later, Ryan Jeffers smacked a long ground ball to corner left, which was called a double for fan interference at first. Rocco Baldelli challenged the call, and it got overturned, as the two fans who tried to catch the ball whiffed on it. The call overturn turned Jeffers’ double into a triple, and it scored Urshela. A few moments later, Jake Cave, who’s been having a solid month, particularly as of late (he came into tonight’s game posting a .897 OPS in his previous seven games), hit a grounder to center, allowing Jeffers to score easily from third, making it 3-0 Twins. Ryan allowed a couple of singles in the bottom of the fourth but eventually got out of the jam to keep the shutout going into the fifth. Despite not scoring, the offense continued hot in the fifth, creating a bases-loaded situation against Tigers’ starter Tyler Alexander: walks by José Miranda and Gary Sánchez and a single by Carlos Correa. Ryan finishes off strong; offense puts the game out of reach Making the final start of his first full season in the majors, Ryan was looking for a solid start to wrap up a season full of ups and downs. Struggling against good times more times than not but dominating lesser teams, he came into tonight’s game with the chance to secure a season ERA in the mid-3s. For that, he needed to finish strong, but he looked a bit shaky in the sixth. Riley Greene drew a leadoff walk, and after a strikeout, Ryan lost Harold Castro to a single right before Miguel Cabrera stepped up to the plate representing the tying run. The Tiger legend got ahead on the count 2-0, with Ryan failing to get him to chase down and away, but eventually, Ryan got him to ground into a force out. Greene moved up to third, and Spencer Torkelson had one last chance to ruin Ryan’s start, also representing the tying run, but Ryan fanned him for his eighth punchout of the night, ending the threat. With tonight’s shutout, Ryan brings his September ERA down to 2.19, and he finishes his first full season in the majors with a solid 3.55 ERA over 147 innings of work, which is probably the most exciting start to a big league career from any Twins starter since maybe the 2017 season by José Berríos. Further proof of that is that with his eight strikeouts tonight, Ryan reached 151 punchouts, breaking the record for most strikeouts in a season by a Twins rookie pitcher, surpassing Francisco Liriano’s 144 back in 2006. To thank Ryan for his brilliant start, the offense put together another good inning in the top of the seventh to basically put the game out of reach. Detroit reliever Miguel Díaz did a fine job tossing a 1-2-3 sixth, but he couldn’t keep that same energy. Contreras drew a leadoff walk, his first one in the majors, then added some pressure on Diaz by stealing second, also his first stolen base in the big leagues. So much so that Diaz threw a wild pitch next, allowing him to reach third. Detroit made a pitching change, but it didn’t matter anyway, as Correa took reliever Will Vest deep on his very first pitch, a bomb to left, making it 5-0 Minnesota. The offense didn’t settle for just the two runs, and after Urshela and Jeffers hit a couple of singles, Gilberto Celestino hit a double to bring Urshela home and make this a six-run game. The offense added on in the eighth, with Palacios and Miranda hitting a couple of singles and Urshela pushing Palacios across with a single of his own, scoring the game’s final run. After Emilio Pagán had a hard time getting through the seventh (30 pitches), Jovani Moran slammed the door with a couple of hitless, scoreless innings. Postgame interview What’s Next? To open their version of October baseball, the Twins turn to Dylan Bundy (4.93 ERA) to start game two on Saturday, while the Tigers will try to even the series with Drew Hutchison (4.54 ERA) on the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 pm CDT. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Moran 0 0 12 0 23 35 Thielbar 0 0 15 18 0 33 López 0 0 16 14 0 30 Pagán 0 0 0 0 30 30 Fulmer 0 0 22 5 0 27 Jax 0 10 0 14 0 24 Megill 0 0 0 17 0 17 Duran 0 15 0 0 0 15 Henriquez 0 0 0 0 0 0
  5. Another brilliant start by Joe Ryan and a dominant performance by the offense propelled the Twins to their third win in their last four games. Minnesota crushes the Tigers in the series opener and keeps their chances of finishing the season at .500 or better alive. Image courtesy of Aaron Josefczyk-USA TODAY Sports Box Score Starting Pitcher: Joe Ryan, 6 IP, 5H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 8K (91 pitches, 65 strikes, 71.4%) Home Runs: Carlos Correa (22) Top 3 WPA: Joe Ryan (.302), Mark Contreras (.162), Ryan Jeffers (.081) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Already out of playoff contention, the Twins headed for Detroit for their final road trip of the year, with a couple of three-game sets. Tonight, they kicked off the Tigers series, and, without the postseason prospect, the focus turned to a final, unlikely goal: finishing the season at .500 or better. Already with 80 losses, they entered tonight’s game needing to win at least five of their remaining six games to finish at .500. They got off on the right foot, and with some early offense, they were able to jump to a quick three-run lead. Jermaine Palacios snapped a personal 0-for-33 funk dating back to the beginning of the month with a single in the third inning. On the very next at-bat, he scored on a Mark Contreras double, his first in the majors. That was all the offense could garner on that inning, but they would at it again on the next one. After giving up a leadoff single in the first, Joe Ryan went on to retire nine in a row, preserving the lead for the offensive turn in the fourth. Gio Urshela drew a leadoff walk, and a couple of at-bats later, Ryan Jeffers smacked a long ground ball to corner left, which was called a double for fan interference at first. Rocco Baldelli challenged the call, and it got overturned, as the two fans who tried to catch the ball whiffed on it. The call overturn turned Jeffers’ double into a triple, and it scored Urshela. A few moments later, Jake Cave, who’s been having a solid month, particularly as of late (he came into tonight’s game posting a .897 OPS in his previous seven games), hit a grounder to center, allowing Jeffers to score easily from third, making it 3-0 Twins. Ryan allowed a couple of singles in the bottom of the fourth but eventually got out of the jam to keep the shutout going into the fifth. Despite not scoring, the offense continued hot in the fifth, creating a bases-loaded situation against Tigers’ starter Tyler Alexander: walks by José Miranda and Gary Sánchez and a single by Carlos Correa. Ryan finishes off strong; offense puts the game out of reach Making the final start of his first full season in the majors, Ryan was looking for a solid start to wrap up a season full of ups and downs. Struggling against good times more times than not but dominating lesser teams, he came into tonight’s game with the chance to secure a season ERA in the mid-3s. For that, he needed to finish strong, but he looked a bit shaky in the sixth. Riley Greene drew a leadoff walk, and after a strikeout, Ryan lost Harold Castro to a single right before Miguel Cabrera stepped up to the plate representing the tying run. The Tiger legend got ahead on the count 2-0, with Ryan failing to get him to chase down and away, but eventually, Ryan got him to ground into a force out. Greene moved up to third, and Spencer Torkelson had one last chance to ruin Ryan’s start, also representing the tying run, but Ryan fanned him for his eighth punchout of the night, ending the threat. With tonight’s shutout, Ryan brings his September ERA down to 2.19, and he finishes his first full season in the majors with a solid 3.55 ERA over 147 innings of work, which is probably the most exciting start to a big league career from any Twins starter since maybe the 2017 season by José Berríos. Further proof of that is that with his eight strikeouts tonight, Ryan reached 151 punchouts, breaking the record for most strikeouts in a season by a Twins rookie pitcher, surpassing Francisco Liriano’s 144 back in 2006. To thank Ryan for his brilliant start, the offense put together another good inning in the top of the seventh to basically put the game out of reach. Detroit reliever Miguel Díaz did a fine job tossing a 1-2-3 sixth, but he couldn’t keep that same energy. Contreras drew a leadoff walk, his first one in the majors, then added some pressure on Diaz by stealing second, also his first stolen base in the big leagues. So much so that Diaz threw a wild pitch next, allowing him to reach third. Detroit made a pitching change, but it didn’t matter anyway, as Correa took reliever Will Vest deep on his very first pitch, a bomb to left, making it 5-0 Minnesota. The offense didn’t settle for just the two runs, and after Urshela and Jeffers hit a couple of singles, Gilberto Celestino hit a double to bring Urshela home and make this a six-run game. The offense added on in the eighth, with Palacios and Miranda hitting a couple of singles and Urshela pushing Palacios across with a single of his own, scoring the game’s final run. After Emilio Pagán had a hard time getting through the seventh (30 pitches), Jovani Moran slammed the door with a couple of hitless, scoreless innings. Postgame interview What’s Next? To open their version of October baseball, the Twins turn to Dylan Bundy (4.93 ERA) to start game two on Saturday, while the Tigers will try to even the series with Drew Hutchison (4.54 ERA) on the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 pm CDT. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Moran 0 0 12 0 23 35 Thielbar 0 0 15 18 0 33 López 0 0 16 14 0 30 Pagán 0 0 0 0 30 30 Fulmer 0 0 22 5 0 27 Jax 0 10 0 14 0 24 Megill 0 0 0 17 0 17 Duran 0 15 0 0 0 15 Henriquez 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  6. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Josh Winder, 4 2/3 IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 6K (91 pitches, 60 strikes, 65.9%) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Jake Cave (.236), Matt Wallner (.185), Gio Urshela (.158) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Facing mathematical elimination from playoff contention in case of a loss (or a Seattle Mariners win), the Twins got off on the wrong foot, but they put on some fight. After a quick, scoreless first inning, the White Sox jumped to a quick two-run lead on three consecutive singles and a sacrifice fly in the top of the second. It was the first time in the series Chicago was ahead – or even scored a run, for that matter. But that wouldn’t last long. Right in the bottom of that same inning, Minnesota rallied back to snatch the lead, manufacturing three runs. The Twins' response was quick, with the three runs coming on four consecutive hits off Johnny Cueto. Jose Miranda led off the inning with a single, and he scored after a Gio Urshela double and a Jake Cave single. Cueto got a mound visit, but it didn't stop Matt Wallner from hitting a long double that pushed both Urshela and Cave across, making it 3-2 Minnesota. Josh Winder settled in after a rough second inning and delivered two scoreless after that. Then, the offense came through for him once agai, and scored two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Cueto got ambushed again by the heart of the Twins’ order: Urshela, Cave, and Wallner hit three consecutive off him, enough to score Urshela and leave two men on with no outs. Ryan Jeffers grounded into a double play, and Cave scored Minnesota’s fifth run. Winder pitched himself into a jam in the fifth, and he was pulled before he could complete the inning. Josh Harrison led off the inning with a single, and Winder hit Romy Gonzalez on the next at-bat. The Twins' rookie managed to retire the following two batters, but before he could close out the inning, Jose Abreu hit an RBI single to score Chicago's third run, prompting a pitching change by Rocco Baldelli. Caleb Thielbar came in to close out the fifth, and he also delivered a scoreless sixth. It was time the offense showed up again, and the middle of the lineup got to Cueto again. Urshela (single) and Cava (double) got back-to-back one-out hits, and Cueto decided to intentionally walk Wallner next, loading the bases. He got the second out, but Chicago made a pitching change, and with reliever Jake Diekman pitching, Gilberto Celestino drew a walk to bring home another run, making it once again a three-run game. Michael Fulmer nearly allowed the Sox to rally in the seventh, but he barely escaped, limiting the damage to just one run. Harrison and Gonzalez opened up the inning with back-to-back singles, and Andrew Vaughn hit a one-out single to score Harrison. Fulmer then hit Abreu next to load the bases, but after a mound visit, he managed to get an inning-ending double-play. But once again, the Chicago run was useless, as Miranda doubled in the bottom of the inning to score Carlos Correa, who drew a leadoff walk moments earlier. Arráez drives in a run, ties Judge for the AL batting title lead We’re following Luis Arraez’s chase of Aaron Judge for the Rod Carew American League Batting Title on our social media with the Luis Arráez Watch”. Coming into tonight, Arráez had a .313 batting average, with Judge leading the league with .314. The Twins’ infielder saw his average drop to .312 after starting the game going 0-for-2, but he got a single in the fifth. Then, after Ryan Jeffers drew a leadoff walk in the eighth and pinch-runner Billy Hamilton stole second, Arráez got his second hit of the night and drove in Minnesota’s eighth and final run. With that hit, Arráez drove his batting average back up to .313, and with Judge going 1-for-4 in the Yankees game against the Blue Jays, the two players are now tied for the AL batting average lead, both sitting at .313. Make sure to check Twins Daily’s Twitter and Instagram daily to get all the updates on the AL Batting Title race, as Arráez can become the first Twin to win the title since Joe Mauer did in 2009. Postgame interview What’s Next? The two division foes close out the series on Thursday afternoon, with the first pitch scheduled for 12:10 pm CDT. Minnesota will try to complete the sweep of the South Siders with Louie Varland (5.06 ERA) on the mound, while Chicago will try to avoid it with Lucas Giolito ( 5.05 ERA) starting. After the game, the Twins get on the road for a six-game road trip, three against the Tigers in Detroit and three more against these same White Sox in Chicago. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Henriquez 0 68 0 0 0 68 Duran 24 0 0 15 0 39 Jax 27 0 0 10 0 37 Megill 0 32 0 0 0 32 Fulmer 9 0 0 0 22 31 Thielbar 13 0 0 0 15 28 López 11 0 0 0 16 27 Moran 0 6 0 0 12 18 Pagán 0 0 0 0 0 0
  7. The Twins won’t be in the playoffs, but in their final series at home, they made sure to show their appreciation to fans attending the game at Target Field by securing a series win against the White Sox. Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports Box Score Starting Pitcher: Josh Winder, 4 2/3 IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 6K (91 pitches, 60 strikes, 65.9%) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Jake Cave (.236), Matt Wallner (.185), Gio Urshela (.158) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Facing mathematical elimination from playoff contention in case of a loss (or a Seattle Mariners win), the Twins got off on the wrong foot, but they put on some fight. After a quick, scoreless first inning, the White Sox jumped to a quick two-run lead on three consecutive singles and a sacrifice fly in the top of the second. It was the first time in the series Chicago was ahead – or even scored a run, for that matter. But that wouldn’t last long. Right in the bottom of that same inning, Minnesota rallied back to snatch the lead, manufacturing three runs. The Twins' response was quick, with the three runs coming on four consecutive hits off Johnny Cueto. Jose Miranda led off the inning with a single, and he scored after a Gio Urshela double and a Jake Cave single. Cueto got a mound visit, but it didn't stop Matt Wallner from hitting a long double that pushed both Urshela and Cave across, making it 3-2 Minnesota. Josh Winder settled in after a rough second inning and delivered two scoreless after that. Then, the offense came through for him once agai, and scored two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Cueto got ambushed again by the heart of the Twins’ order: Urshela, Cave, and Wallner hit three consecutive off him, enough to score Urshela and leave two men on with no outs. Ryan Jeffers grounded into a double play, and Cave scored Minnesota’s fifth run. Winder pitched himself into a jam in the fifth, and he was pulled before he could complete the inning. Josh Harrison led off the inning with a single, and Winder hit Romy Gonzalez on the next at-bat. The Twins' rookie managed to retire the following two batters, but before he could close out the inning, Jose Abreu hit an RBI single to score Chicago's third run, prompting a pitching change by Rocco Baldelli. Caleb Thielbar came in to close out the fifth, and he also delivered a scoreless sixth. It was time the offense showed up again, and the middle of the lineup got to Cueto again. Urshela (single) and Cava (double) got back-to-back one-out hits, and Cueto decided to intentionally walk Wallner next, loading the bases. He got the second out, but Chicago made a pitching change, and with reliever Jake Diekman pitching, Gilberto Celestino drew a walk to bring home another run, making it once again a three-run game. Michael Fulmer nearly allowed the Sox to rally in the seventh, but he barely escaped, limiting the damage to just one run. Harrison and Gonzalez opened up the inning with back-to-back singles, and Andrew Vaughn hit a one-out single to score Harrison. Fulmer then hit Abreu next to load the bases, but after a mound visit, he managed to get an inning-ending double-play. But once again, the Chicago run was useless, as Miranda doubled in the bottom of the inning to score Carlos Correa, who drew a leadoff walk moments earlier. Arráez drives in a run, ties Judge for the AL batting title lead We’re following Luis Arraez’s chase of Aaron Judge for the Rod Carew American League Batting Title on our social media with the Luis Arráez Watch”. Coming into tonight, Arráez had a .313 batting average, with Judge leading the league with .314. The Twins’ infielder saw his average drop to .312 after starting the game going 0-for-2, but he got a single in the fifth. Then, after Ryan Jeffers drew a leadoff walk in the eighth and pinch-runner Billy Hamilton stole second, Arráez got his second hit of the night and drove in Minnesota’s eighth and final run. With that hit, Arráez drove his batting average back up to .313, and with Judge going 1-for-4 in the Yankees game against the Blue Jays, the two players are now tied for the AL batting average lead, both sitting at .313. Make sure to check Twins Daily’s Twitter and Instagram daily to get all the updates on the AL Batting Title race, as Arráez can become the first Twin to win the title since Joe Mauer did in 2009. Postgame interview What’s Next? The two division foes close out the series on Thursday afternoon, with the first pitch scheduled for 12:10 pm CDT. Minnesota will try to complete the sweep of the South Siders with Louie Varland (5.06 ERA) on the mound, while Chicago will try to avoid it with Lucas Giolito ( 5.05 ERA) starting. After the game, the Twins get on the road for a six-game road trip, three against the Tigers in Detroit and three more against these same White Sox in Chicago. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Henriquez 0 68 0 0 0 68 Duran 24 0 0 15 0 39 Jax 27 0 0 10 0 37 Megill 0 32 0 0 0 32 Fulmer 9 0 0 0 22 31 Thielbar 13 0 0 0 15 28 López 11 0 0 0 16 27 Moran 0 6 0 0 12 18 Pagán 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  8. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Louie Varland, 5 2/3 IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 1BB, 3K (88 pitches, 58 strikes, 65.9%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Gilberto Celestino (-.203), Matt Wallner (-.161), Jermaine Palacios (-.140) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Varland and Ohtani both debut at Target Field, both pitch into the sixth Two teams with disappointing seasons and miles away from playoff contention met on a cold, somewhat rainy Friday night at Target Field. Everything pointed out to this being one of the most irrelevant games for both fanbases to attend or watch from home, except for one thing: the pitching duel. After two starts on the road, St. Paul native and recently appointed Twins Daily’s minor league starting pitcher of the year, Louie Varland, finally made his Target Field debut. Furthermore, Shohei Ohtani, one of our generation’s greatest talents, was set to toe the rubber for the Angels, also representing his first-ever start at Target Field. Varland was off to a hot start, tossing a 1-2-3 top of the first on only seven pitches, retiring Ohtani himself with a groundout on the first pitch. Then, Shohei took to the mound for what might’ve been the coldest temperature he’s ever experienced at first pitch in his MLB career. To make matters even worse for him, the rain came down during his first trip to the mound and almost caused him some serious damage. After Ohtani retired leadoff hitter Luis Arraez, the rain got stronger, and he started to struggle with his command. So much so that he lost the next three batters, giving up walks to Jose Miranda and Gio Urshela and hitting Nick Gordon in the ankle. Then, Jake Cave grounded into an inning-ending double play which, at first, kept this a scoreless game. But after review, it was noticed that Miranda crossed home plate before third baseman Matt Duffy could glove the throw by second baseman Livan Soto, scoring the game’s first run. But that lead didn’t last long. Varland gave up a leadoff home run to Taylor Ward in the top of the second that tied the game. Then, in the third inning, after losing the first two batters, Varland gave up an RBI single to Mike Trout, which scored Max Stassi from third. Ohtani couldn’t get anything going in his second at-bat of the game, but, back on the mound, he really got into the zone. He pitched a perfect bottom of the third, and after giving up a leadoff walk in the fourth – matching his season-high four walks in a game – he went on to strike out five Twins batters in a row. Minnesota didn’t have a hit until the fifth when Arráez hit a two-out grounder to left. Despite allowing a few hits, Varland managed to deliver a couple of scoreless frames after the Angels scored their second run. But for the second time on the night, Ward took him deep to lead off an inning. The Angels’ cleanup hitter crushed another fastball up the middle, basically at the same location as his first home run, making it 3-1 Angels in the top of the sixth. Varland retired the next two batters before Rocco Baldelli brought in Trevor Megill to get the inning’s final out. Twins get one run back but waste a bases-loaded, nobody-out situation After four dominant innings from Ohtani, the Twins’ offense finally made him sweat and ended the night for him. Gordon led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, then Urshela drew his third walk of the night. As the Angels bullpen started to warm up, Cave singled to center, and Gordon scored from second, cutting the Angels’ lead in half. Ohtani was allowed to face another batter in Gary Sanchez, and the Twins’ catcher also drew a walk, loading the bases for the second time on the night for Minnesota – this time with no outs. Ball four was rightfully protested as the Twins caught a huge break, but it ended up going to waste anyway. With reliever Aaron Loup pitching, Matt Wallner and Gilberto Celestino couldn’t capitalize. Loup escaped with a strikeout and an inning-ending double play. Minnesota failed to add on, but Los Angeles didn’t. Megill got two outs in the seventh, but not before he had also allowed two men to reach on a couple of walks. The latter came after a hard-fought, ten-pitch at-bat against Trout that brought Ohtani to the plate with two men on instead of ending the inning. Baldelli decided to bring Caleb Thielbar to face a still-hitless Ohtani, but it didn’t pan out. The superstar hit a ground ball to center and brought Soto home, making it 4-2 Angels. Overall, Minnesota’s offense went 2-for-13 against the Angels bullpen and didn’t come even close to sparkling a late rally. Postgame interview What’s Next? Game two of the series is scheduled for this Saturday, with first pitch at 6:10 pm CDT. The Twins will bring Joe Ryan (3.61 ERA) to the mound, whereas Los Angeles will start lefty Reid Detmers (3.71 ERA). Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Henriquez 73 0 0 0 0 73 Megill 0 17 0 0 28 45 Pagán 15 0 0 0 23 38 López 34 0 0 0 0 34 Thielbar 0 23 0 0 10 33 Moran 0 0 0 31 0 31 Fulmer 0 23 0 0 0 23 Jax 0 4 0 0 0 4 Duran 0 0 0 0 0 0
  9. The Twins didn’t take advantage of two loaded bases situations and were offensively limited by a solid Shohei Ohtani start. Louie Varland gave them a chance, but the Angels did just enough to hold on to their lead. Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports Box Score Starting Pitcher: Louie Varland, 5 2/3 IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 1BB, 3K (88 pitches, 58 strikes, 65.9%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Gilberto Celestino (-.203), Matt Wallner (-.161), Jermaine Palacios (-.140) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Varland and Ohtani both debut at Target Field, both pitch into the sixth Two teams with disappointing seasons and miles away from playoff contention met on a cold, somewhat rainy Friday night at Target Field. Everything pointed out to this being one of the most irrelevant games for both fanbases to attend or watch from home, except for one thing: the pitching duel. After two starts on the road, St. Paul native and recently appointed Twins Daily’s minor league starting pitcher of the year, Louie Varland, finally made his Target Field debut. Furthermore, Shohei Ohtani, one of our generation’s greatest talents, was set to toe the rubber for the Angels, also representing his first-ever start at Target Field. Varland was off to a hot start, tossing a 1-2-3 top of the first on only seven pitches, retiring Ohtani himself with a groundout on the first pitch. Then, Shohei took to the mound for what might’ve been the coldest temperature he’s ever experienced at first pitch in his MLB career. To make matters even worse for him, the rain came down during his first trip to the mound and almost caused him some serious damage. After Ohtani retired leadoff hitter Luis Arraez, the rain got stronger, and he started to struggle with his command. So much so that he lost the next three batters, giving up walks to Jose Miranda and Gio Urshela and hitting Nick Gordon in the ankle. Then, Jake Cave grounded into an inning-ending double play which, at first, kept this a scoreless game. But after review, it was noticed that Miranda crossed home plate before third baseman Matt Duffy could glove the throw by second baseman Livan Soto, scoring the game’s first run. But that lead didn’t last long. Varland gave up a leadoff home run to Taylor Ward in the top of the second that tied the game. Then, in the third inning, after losing the first two batters, Varland gave up an RBI single to Mike Trout, which scored Max Stassi from third. Ohtani couldn’t get anything going in his second at-bat of the game, but, back on the mound, he really got into the zone. He pitched a perfect bottom of the third, and after giving up a leadoff walk in the fourth – matching his season-high four walks in a game – he went on to strike out five Twins batters in a row. Minnesota didn’t have a hit until the fifth when Arráez hit a two-out grounder to left. Despite allowing a few hits, Varland managed to deliver a couple of scoreless frames after the Angels scored their second run. But for the second time on the night, Ward took him deep to lead off an inning. The Angels’ cleanup hitter crushed another fastball up the middle, basically at the same location as his first home run, making it 3-1 Angels in the top of the sixth. Varland retired the next two batters before Rocco Baldelli brought in Trevor Megill to get the inning’s final out. Twins get one run back but waste a bases-loaded, nobody-out situation After four dominant innings from Ohtani, the Twins’ offense finally made him sweat and ended the night for him. Gordon led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, then Urshela drew his third walk of the night. As the Angels bullpen started to warm up, Cave singled to center, and Gordon scored from second, cutting the Angels’ lead in half. Ohtani was allowed to face another batter in Gary Sanchez, and the Twins’ catcher also drew a walk, loading the bases for the second time on the night for Minnesota – this time with no outs. Ball four was rightfully protested as the Twins caught a huge break, but it ended up going to waste anyway. With reliever Aaron Loup pitching, Matt Wallner and Gilberto Celestino couldn’t capitalize. Loup escaped with a strikeout and an inning-ending double play. Minnesota failed to add on, but Los Angeles didn’t. Megill got two outs in the seventh, but not before he had also allowed two men to reach on a couple of walks. The latter came after a hard-fought, ten-pitch at-bat against Trout that brought Ohtani to the plate with two men on instead of ending the inning. Baldelli decided to bring Caleb Thielbar to face a still-hitless Ohtani, but it didn’t pan out. The superstar hit a ground ball to center and brought Soto home, making it 4-2 Angels. Overall, Minnesota’s offense went 2-for-13 against the Angels bullpen and didn’t come even close to sparkling a late rally. Postgame interview What’s Next? Game two of the series is scheduled for this Saturday, with first pitch at 6:10 pm CDT. The Twins will bring Joe Ryan (3.61 ERA) to the mound, whereas Los Angeles will start lefty Reid Detmers (3.71 ERA). Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Henriquez 73 0 0 0 0 73 Megill 0 17 0 0 28 45 Pagán 15 0 0 0 23 38 López 34 0 0 0 0 34 Thielbar 0 23 0 0 10 33 Moran 0 0 0 31 0 31 Fulmer 0 23 0 0 0 23 Jax 0 4 0 0 0 4 Duran 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  10. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 4 2/3 IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, 1BB, 2K (65 pitches, 42 strikes, 64.6%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Luis Arraez (-.197), Mark Contreras (-.195), Jose Miranda (-.171) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) For the second time in the past seven days, the Twins’ offense got the upper hand against Royals’ starting pitcher Zack Greinke in the early going and managed to build a nice three-run lead. When these two teams met last week, said three-run lead came right in the first inning, whereas tonight, it took Minnesota a little longer. Despite stranding a couple of runners in the first inning, after José Miranda and Nick Gordon hit back-to-back two-out singles, Minnesota’s lineup didn’t slow down. In the second inning, they were back at it with back-to-back singles from Jake Cave and Gilberto Celestino. Matt Wallner then made it three hits in a row with a long double to the right field corner to score Cave. Celestino showed have scored on a Luis Arráez flyout, but somehow he decided not to tag up. No worries there because Carlos Correa did some two-out damage before the inning was over. He jumped on a 2-1 four-seamer to find the gap at short and score both runners. He continues to have his best month on the season, by far, slashing .361/.425/.667 (1.092) before tonight’s game. Too bad we most likely won’t be able to see if that hot streak would’ve extended into October… Bundy is solid at first, can’t hold on to the lead, and the game goes back and forth Meanwhile, Dylan Bundy delivered two perfect innings to open the game, but his shutout wouldn’t last long. After a leadoff double by Gordon went to waste in the top of the third, Bundy also allowed a leadoff double in the home half to Edward Olivares. He did strike out a pair after that, but he couldn’t shut the door on the inning, allowing a two-run home run to MJ Melendez that cut the Twins’ lead to one. Bundy settled in in the fourth but couldn’t deliver another scoreless frame in the fifth. Hunter Dozier tied the game with a one-out solo home run to left, shortly before Nate Eaton followed that with a single of his own. Eaton moved to third on a wild pitch by Bundy, and after the starter departed the game, he scored on a Bobby Witt Jr single off Griffin Jax that gave Kansas City their first lead of the night, 4-3. After the shaky start, Greinke found a way to keep the Twins offense on a leash for most of the time, despite allowing a few hits. It was only during the sixth inning that the bats were able to capitalize again: Urshela led off the inning with a double, and Greinke was done for the night after striking out Gary Sanchez. Against reliever Amir Garrett, doubled himself and scored Urshela to tie the game. The Twins also took the lead briefly when Wallner hit a ground ball that was initially called safe at first, scoring Cave from third. But Kansas City challenged the play, and it got overturned, ending the inning. Caleb Thielbar tossed a scoreless bottom of the sixth, but Michael Fulmer couldn’t keep the game tied in the seventh. He gave up back-to-back one-out doubles that nearly scored the go-ahead run for the Royals. Correa’s arm prevented Melendez from scoring with a phenomenal throw home. However, on the very next at-bat, Salvador Perez hit a flare to shallow right, scoring Witt Jr from second to put the Royals back on top. The Twins had a golden opportunity during the eighth inning when Urshela and Sánchez both reached after getting hit by pitches with only one out. Then both moved into scoring position on a Cave fly out but ended up stranded when Mark Contreras struck out. Despite having the top of their lineup back in the ninth, the Twins went down in order to end the game. What’s Next? The series continues on Wednesday night, with game two scheduled to start at 7:10 pm CDT. Minnesota will bring Bailey Ober (3.49 ERA) to the mound to square off Daniel Lynch (5.15 ERA). Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Henriquez 0 0 0 0 73 0 73 López 0 0 32 0 34 0 66 Moran 40 0 15 5 0 0 60 Fulmer 0 11 17 0 0 23 51 Sanchez 0 0 49 0 0 0 49 Pagán 0 0 31 0 15 0 46 Jax 0 22 13 0 0 4 39 Thielbar 0 15 0 0 0 23 38 Duran 0 16 0 17 0 0 33 Megill 0 0 0 0 0 17 17
  11. The Twins built an early lead but couldn’t hold on to it nor take advantage of the opportunities they created on offense, going 3-for-13 from scoring position. They drop the series opener in Kansas City and are now one step closer to mathematical elimination from playoff contention. Image courtesy of Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 4 2/3 IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, 1BB, 2K (65 pitches, 42 strikes, 64.6%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Luis Arraez (-.197), Mark Contreras (-.195), Jose Miranda (-.171) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) For the second time in the past seven days, the Twins’ offense got the upper hand against Royals’ starting pitcher Zack Greinke in the early going and managed to build a nice three-run lead. When these two teams met last week, said three-run lead came right in the first inning, whereas tonight, it took Minnesota a little longer. Despite stranding a couple of runners in the first inning, after José Miranda and Nick Gordon hit back-to-back two-out singles, Minnesota’s lineup didn’t slow down. In the second inning, they were back at it with back-to-back singles from Jake Cave and Gilberto Celestino. Matt Wallner then made it three hits in a row with a long double to the right field corner to score Cave. Celestino showed have scored on a Luis Arráez flyout, but somehow he decided not to tag up. No worries there because Carlos Correa did some two-out damage before the inning was over. He jumped on a 2-1 four-seamer to find the gap at short and score both runners. He continues to have his best month on the season, by far, slashing .361/.425/.667 (1.092) before tonight’s game. Too bad we most likely won’t be able to see if that hot streak would’ve extended into October… Bundy is solid at first, can’t hold on to the lead, and the game goes back and forth Meanwhile, Dylan Bundy delivered two perfect innings to open the game, but his shutout wouldn’t last long. After a leadoff double by Gordon went to waste in the top of the third, Bundy also allowed a leadoff double in the home half to Edward Olivares. He did strike out a pair after that, but he couldn’t shut the door on the inning, allowing a two-run home run to MJ Melendez that cut the Twins’ lead to one. Bundy settled in in the fourth but couldn’t deliver another scoreless frame in the fifth. Hunter Dozier tied the game with a one-out solo home run to left, shortly before Nate Eaton followed that with a single of his own. Eaton moved to third on a wild pitch by Bundy, and after the starter departed the game, he scored on a Bobby Witt Jr single off Griffin Jax that gave Kansas City their first lead of the night, 4-3. After the shaky start, Greinke found a way to keep the Twins offense on a leash for most of the time, despite allowing a few hits. It was only during the sixth inning that the bats were able to capitalize again: Urshela led off the inning with a double, and Greinke was done for the night after striking out Gary Sanchez. Against reliever Amir Garrett, doubled himself and scored Urshela to tie the game. The Twins also took the lead briefly when Wallner hit a ground ball that was initially called safe at first, scoring Cave from third. But Kansas City challenged the play, and it got overturned, ending the inning. Caleb Thielbar tossed a scoreless bottom of the sixth, but Michael Fulmer couldn’t keep the game tied in the seventh. He gave up back-to-back one-out doubles that nearly scored the go-ahead run for the Royals. Correa’s arm prevented Melendez from scoring with a phenomenal throw home. However, on the very next at-bat, Salvador Perez hit a flare to shallow right, scoring Witt Jr from second to put the Royals back on top. The Twins had a golden opportunity during the eighth inning when Urshela and Sánchez both reached after getting hit by pitches with only one out. Then both moved into scoring position on a Cave fly out but ended up stranded when Mark Contreras struck out. Despite having the top of their lineup back in the ninth, the Twins went down in order to end the game. What’s Next? The series continues on Wednesday night, with game two scheduled to start at 7:10 pm CDT. Minnesota will bring Bailey Ober (3.49 ERA) to the mound to square off Daniel Lynch (5.15 ERA). Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Henriquez 0 0 0 0 73 0 73 López 0 0 32 0 34 0 66 Moran 40 0 15 5 0 0 60 Fulmer 0 11 17 0 0 23 51 Sanchez 0 0 49 0 0 0 49 Pagán 0 0 31 0 15 0 46 Jax 0 22 13 0 0 4 39 Thielbar 0 15 0 0 0 23 38 Duran 0 16 0 17 0 0 33 Megill 0 0 0 0 0 17 17 View full article
  12. 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
  13. 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 View full article
  14. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Sonny Gray, 7 IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 8K (91 pitches, 64 strikes, 70.3%) Home Runs: None Top 3 WPA: Sonny Gray (.300), Gary Sanchez (.137), Carlos Correa (.098) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Some early offense gives Gray support to throw seven shutout innings In last night’s game, the Twins built a comfortable six-run lead, but they actually didn’t score a run until the third inning. Tonight, things looked different from the get-go, as the Twins wasted no time putting some runs on the board. After Sonny Gray breezed through the top of the first with only eight pitches, the offense ambushed Royals starter Zack Greinke and manufactured three runs in the bottom of the inning. Luis Arraez and Carlos Correa opened up the inning with back-to-back singles, and suddenly, the Twins had men on the corners. Jose Miranda then grounded into a double play and scored Arráez from third. This could’ve been the moment when Greinke would get out of the jam, but five more Minnesota hitters would reach before the veteran could close out the inning. Gio Urshela drew a four-pitch walk, then was sent to third on a Nick Gordon single. Gary Sánchez then stepped up to the batter’s box and hit a long double to deep center, bringing home both, Urshela and Gordon. While the bats were quiet down by Greinke, who retired nine consecutive batters, Gray had no trouble dominating the Royals' hitting either. By the end of the fourth inning, he had tossed only 54 pitches, striking out five and allowing only a hit and a walk. That was also when Royals hitters began to make some hard contact off him, but, fortunately, it wasn’t quality contact. The only exception was a rocket hit by Ryan O'Hearn to lead off the fifth (104.5 MPH exit velocity) that had .820 xBA, but it was caught by Gilberto Celestino in a fine defensive play at the track. Four innings was all the Royals could get from Greinke, and the Twins offense was quick to pose a threat against the Kansas City bullpen in the fifth, despite not capitalizing. Miranda drew a walk, and Urshela got hit by a pitch, suddenly giving the Twins another scoring opportunity – and prompting a second pitching change from the Royals in the inning. Still, at that point, the Twins lineup had failed to get a hit since the first inning, when they got five of them. Gray, on the other hand, came back to pitch a couple more scoreless frames, completing seven innings of shutout ball, allowing only three hits, walking only one batter, and fanning eight. Offense adds on in the 7th, bullpen shuts the door After six innings without a hit, the Twins offense delivered a couple of hits in the seventh and scored an insurance run in the process. Kyle Garlick, who replaced Arráez after the first inning, hit a leadoff single and was replaced by pinch-runner Billy Hamilton. Correa sent him to third with a double, and he scored on an Urshela sac-fly, making it 4-0 Twins. It was all up to the bullpen now, and they managed to protect the four-run lead. Caleb Thielbar pitched around a leadoff single to complete a scoreless eighth on 12 pitches, and Jorge Lopez closed out the game in the ninth with no trouble, also pitching around a leadoff single. The Twins win their first series since the final week of August when they took two out of three against the Boston Red Sox. They are now back above the .500 mark, sitting at 71-70, and they pick up a game on the Chicago White Sox. Postgame interview What’s Next? The third game of the series is tomorrow, also starting at 6:40 pm CDT. Said game will wrap up Minnesota’s homestand, as the team takes to the road for eight games in seven days in Cleveland and Kansas City after that. Dylan Bundy (4.68 ERA) toes the rubber for Minnesota in the final game of this homestand, with Daniel Lynch (5.14 ERA) starting for Kansas City. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Moran 0 0 0 40 0 40 López 0 18 0 0 17 35 Pagán 33 0 0 0 0 33 Duran 0 27 0 0 0 27 Thielbar 0 15 0 0 12 27 Fulmer 0 18 0 0 0 18 Megill 14 0 0 0 0 14 Jax 0 8 0 0 0 8 Cotton 0 0 0 0 0 0 Sanchez 0 0 0 0 0 0
  15. It had been two weeks since the last time the Twins won a series, but they finally did it again. With another brilliant game by a starting pitcher, the Twins got an easy win over the Royals and can now go for a sweep tomorrow night. Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports Box Score Starting Pitcher: Sonny Gray, 7 IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 8K (91 pitches, 64 strikes, 70.3%) Home Runs: None Top 3 WPA: Sonny Gray (.300), Gary Sanchez (.137), Carlos Correa (.098) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Some early offense gives Gray support to throw seven shutout innings In last night’s game, the Twins built a comfortable six-run lead, but they actually didn’t score a run until the third inning. Tonight, things looked different from the get-go, as the Twins wasted no time putting some runs on the board. After Sonny Gray breezed through the top of the first with only eight pitches, the offense ambushed Royals starter Zack Greinke and manufactured three runs in the bottom of the inning. Luis Arraez and Carlos Correa opened up the inning with back-to-back singles, and suddenly, the Twins had men on the corners. Jose Miranda then grounded into a double play and scored Arráez from third. This could’ve been the moment when Greinke would get out of the jam, but five more Minnesota hitters would reach before the veteran could close out the inning. Gio Urshela drew a four-pitch walk, then was sent to third on a Nick Gordon single. Gary Sánchez then stepped up to the batter’s box and hit a long double to deep center, bringing home both, Urshela and Gordon. While the bats were quiet down by Greinke, who retired nine consecutive batters, Gray had no trouble dominating the Royals' hitting either. By the end of the fourth inning, he had tossed only 54 pitches, striking out five and allowing only a hit and a walk. That was also when Royals hitters began to make some hard contact off him, but, fortunately, it wasn’t quality contact. The only exception was a rocket hit by Ryan O'Hearn to lead off the fifth (104.5 MPH exit velocity) that had .820 xBA, but it was caught by Gilberto Celestino in a fine defensive play at the track. Four innings was all the Royals could get from Greinke, and the Twins offense was quick to pose a threat against the Kansas City bullpen in the fifth, despite not capitalizing. Miranda drew a walk, and Urshela got hit by a pitch, suddenly giving the Twins another scoring opportunity – and prompting a second pitching change from the Royals in the inning. Still, at that point, the Twins lineup had failed to get a hit since the first inning, when they got five of them. Gray, on the other hand, came back to pitch a couple more scoreless frames, completing seven innings of shutout ball, allowing only three hits, walking only one batter, and fanning eight. Offense adds on in the 7th, bullpen shuts the door After six innings without a hit, the Twins offense delivered a couple of hits in the seventh and scored an insurance run in the process. Kyle Garlick, who replaced Arráez after the first inning, hit a leadoff single and was replaced by pinch-runner Billy Hamilton. Correa sent him to third with a double, and he scored on an Urshela sac-fly, making it 4-0 Twins. It was all up to the bullpen now, and they managed to protect the four-run lead. Caleb Thielbar pitched around a leadoff single to complete a scoreless eighth on 12 pitches, and Jorge Lopez closed out the game in the ninth with no trouble, also pitching around a leadoff single. The Twins win their first series since the final week of August when they took two out of three against the Boston Red Sox. They are now back above the .500 mark, sitting at 71-70, and they pick up a game on the Chicago White Sox. Postgame interview What’s Next? The third game of the series is tomorrow, also starting at 6:40 pm CDT. Said game will wrap up Minnesota’s homestand, as the team takes to the road for eight games in seven days in Cleveland and Kansas City after that. Dylan Bundy (4.68 ERA) toes the rubber for Minnesota in the final game of this homestand, with Daniel Lynch (5.14 ERA) starting for Kansas City. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Moran 0 0 0 40 0 40 López 0 18 0 0 17 35 Pagán 33 0 0 0 0 33 Duran 0 27 0 0 0 27 Thielbar 0 15 0 0 12 27 Fulmer 0 18 0 0 0 18 Megill 14 0 0 0 0 14 Jax 0 8 0 0 0 8 Cotton 0 0 0 0 0 0 Sanchez 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
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