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Thiéres Rabelo

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  1. Down by four runs early on, the Twins never gave up and managed to rally back to beat the Angels and even the series, one game a piece. Ryan Jeffers' clutch hit and Nick Gordon's aggressive baserunning sealed the deal late. Box Score Happ: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (62.5% strikes) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Jeffers .512, Rogers .169, Polanco .104 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Happ struggles early but settles in nicely Eight pitches. Eight pitches were all it took for this game to have its first runs on the board. Happ was off to a horrendous start, which is not news. Coming into tonight’s game, 21.3% of all earned runs given up by the southpaw in the season happened during the first inning of games. That became a little worse when Phil Gosselin doubled and then scored on a Jose Iglesias’ single. Then it became a lot worse a few moments later when old friend Kurt Suzuki hit a two-out, two-run bomb to the left field corner, making it 3-0 Angels. Facing righty Alex Cobb, the offense loaded the bases during the bottom of the first inning but couldn’t capitalize. They went down in order in the second frame, but not before Happ had given up yet another home run in the top of the inning to Jack Mayfield, extending the Angels’ lead to four. With the four early runs allowed, the Twins’ starter took the lead of Robbie Ray for most earned runs allowed by any left-handed pitcher in the American League. Minnesota got one run back in the third inning with Jorge Polanco keeping his hot streak alive and well with a double, and being pushed across by a single from Trevor Larnach. Fortunately, that was also the inning when Happ had started to settle in. After the awful first two innings, he went on to pitch four scoreless frames. Before he departed, the Twins manufactured another run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Max Kepler hit a bullet to lead off the inning (110 MPH exit velocity), then Polanco singled to move him to third. With men on the corners, a fantastic defensive play from Mayfield at third prevented the Twins from maybe scoring a couple of runs. Instead, Josh Donaldson grounded into a double-play, but that was enough to score Kepler from third and cut Los Angeles’ lead to 4-2. Offense keeps pushing for a rally The Twins continued to peck their way into this game. Cobb came back to the mound for the bottom of the sixth, but he left the game with a blister before throwing a single pitch. With Steve Cishek pitching, Miguel Sanó led off the inning with a double, and Nick Gordon singled to right to bring the big man home, putting Minnesota within a run. Minnesota kept hitting the ball hard. After Alexander Colomé delivered a scoreless seventh inning, Donaldson hit a single in the bottom of the inning, the Twins’ 11th hit of the night. However, they couldn’t add on, thanks to Mayfield’s impressive defensive display at the hot corner. While the Twins were able to produce baserunners, most of them were stranded by the Angel defense. Juan Minaya worked out of a jam in the top of the eighth to keep this a one-run game. Then, with a series of great at-bats, the offense came through in the home half. Sanó worked an eight-pitch at-bat to draw a leadoff walk, prompting a pitching change. Joe Maddon brought in star closer Raisel Iglesias to try to keep the Angels ahead. After he got the first out of the inning, Gordon responded with a single, his second of the night. Then Ryan Jeffers came through with his most clutch hit yet! A single to left, just out of the reach of Mayfield, was enough to score Sanó from second. After an errant throw home, Suzuki tried to catch Gordon advancing to third base, but he was way off the mark, allowing the Twins’ rookie to score sliding and give the Twins their first lead of the night, 5-4. Taylor Rogers came in to pitch the ninth inning and, despite giving up a bloop single to David Fletcher, managed to retire the side and secure the Twins win. This was his ninth save of the season, the 50th in his career. He's now even closer to enter the top 10 in career saves in Senators/Twins franchise history, ranking 13th at the moment. Postgame Interviews Nick Gordon Ryan Jeffers Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Colomé 0 26 22 0 11 59 Duffey 16 0 38 0 0 54 Alcala 23 24 0 0 0 47 Coulombe 0 5 0 32 0 37 Rogers 19 0 0 0 18 37 Thielbar 0 17 16 0 0 33 Robles 19 7 0 0 0 26 Minaya 0 0 0 0 20 20 View full article
  2. Box Score Happ: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (62.5% strikes) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Jeffers .512, Rogers .169, Polanco .104 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Happ struggles early but settles in nicely Eight pitches. Eight pitches were all it took for this game to have its first runs on the board. Happ was off to a horrendous start, which is not news. Coming into tonight’s game, 21.3% of all earned runs given up by the southpaw in the season happened during the first inning of games. That became a little worse when Phil Gosselin doubled and then scored on a Jose Iglesias’ single. Then it became a lot worse a few moments later when old friend Kurt Suzuki hit a two-out, two-run bomb to the left field corner, making it 3-0 Angels. Facing righty Alex Cobb, the offense loaded the bases during the bottom of the first inning but couldn’t capitalize. They went down in order in the second frame, but not before Happ had given up yet another home run in the top of the inning to Jack Mayfield, extending the Angels’ lead to four. With the four early runs allowed, the Twins’ starter took the lead of Robbie Ray for most earned runs allowed by any left-handed pitcher in the American League. Minnesota got one run back in the third inning with Jorge Polanco keeping his hot streak alive and well with a double, and being pushed across by a single from Trevor Larnach. Fortunately, that was also the inning when Happ had started to settle in. After the awful first two innings, he went on to pitch four scoreless frames. Before he departed, the Twins manufactured another run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Max Kepler hit a bullet to lead off the inning (110 MPH exit velocity), then Polanco singled to move him to third. With men on the corners, a fantastic defensive play from Mayfield at third prevented the Twins from maybe scoring a couple of runs. Instead, Josh Donaldson grounded into a double-play, but that was enough to score Kepler from third and cut Los Angeles’ lead to 4-2. Offense keeps pushing for a rally The Twins continued to peck their way into this game. Cobb came back to the mound for the bottom of the sixth, but he left the game with a blister before throwing a single pitch. With Steve Cishek pitching, Miguel Sanó led off the inning with a double, and Nick Gordon singled to right to bring the big man home, putting Minnesota within a run. Minnesota kept hitting the ball hard. After Alexander Colomé delivered a scoreless seventh inning, Donaldson hit a single in the bottom of the inning, the Twins’ 11th hit of the night. However, they couldn’t add on, thanks to Mayfield’s impressive defensive display at the hot corner. While the Twins were able to produce baserunners, most of them were stranded by the Angel defense. Juan Minaya worked out of a jam in the top of the eighth to keep this a one-run game. Then, with a series of great at-bats, the offense came through in the home half. Sanó worked an eight-pitch at-bat to draw a leadoff walk, prompting a pitching change. Joe Maddon brought in star closer Raisel Iglesias to try to keep the Angels ahead. After he got the first out of the inning, Gordon responded with a single, his second of the night. Then Ryan Jeffers came through with his most clutch hit yet! A single to left, just out of the reach of Mayfield, was enough to score Sanó from second. After an errant throw home, Suzuki tried to catch Gordon advancing to third base, but he was way off the mark, allowing the Twins’ rookie to score sliding and give the Twins their first lead of the night, 5-4. Taylor Rogers came in to pitch the ninth inning and, despite giving up a bloop single to David Fletcher, managed to retire the side and secure the Twins win. This was his ninth save of the season, the 50th in his career. He's now even closer to enter the top 10 in career saves in Senators/Twins franchise history, ranking 13th at the moment. Postgame Interviews Nick Gordon Ryan Jeffers Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Colomé 0 26 22 0 11 59 Duffey 16 0 38 0 0 54 Alcala 23 24 0 0 0 47 Coulombe 0 5 0 32 0 37 Rogers 19 0 0 0 18 37 Thielbar 0 17 16 0 0 33 Robles 19 7 0 0 0 26 Minaya 0 0 0 0 20 20
  3. The Mets, under new ownership, were aggressive in the market last winter and landed some key pieces. However, injuries have taken a toll on their season, and winning the division isn't a certainty. They haven't been to the postseason in four years, and if they want to have a relevant October, they need to add at least a starting pitcher and one more bat. Minnesota has exactly what they need. Will the clubs find the right price? What's their situation? The Mets' presence in October looks pretty likely, although it's not a sure thing. They went into the All-Star break leading the NL East by 3.5 games over the Philadelphia Phillies, with a record of 47-40. After a slow start in April, they exploded to go 17-9 in May. This helped them improve from the fourth-worst record in the NL to the top of their division by the end of the month. Winning the division – something they did last in 2015 – appears to be the safest way for them to make it into the postseason. The Los Angeles Dodgers (56-35) and the San Diego Padres (53-40), the two clubs currently in ownership of the two wild card spots, both have records considerably better than New York at this point. If one of them manages to win the NL West, the San Francisco Giants (currently at 57-32) suddenly become the Mets' competition for the wild card. New York finished the first half of the season with a winning record within the division, 19-18. But against their two main threats, the Phillies and the Braves, they are at 14-10. The Braves, unfortunately, lost Ronald Acuña Jr. for the season due to a torn ACL, so their already-average offensive productivity (100 wRC+) may take a dip during the second half. With the Mets having one of baseball's best pitching staffs, making the right additions in this trade deadline could be key to put them over the top in the NL East. Steven Cohen, the team's new boss since last October, is baseball's richest team owner with a net worth that has reached the $16 billion thresholds last April, according to Forbes. Not three months after acquiring Francisco Lindor from Cleveland last January, Cohen demonstrated his business aggressiveness and locked him up in late March with a 10-year, $341 million extension. Not only this proves his total commitment to building a World Series-caliber team, but it also puts the Mets into a very convenient position when they need to lure free agents or top trade targets into the club. Trading for and then signing Lindor to an extension wasn't the only move from the Mets for this season. Over the winter, they made some key free-agent additions, such as keeping Marcus Stroman, as well as All-Star starter Taijuan Walker, former All-Star catcher James McCann, and our dear Trevor May. The Mets being in a position of entering a pennant race after the trade deadline additions is certainly not an accident. What do they need? As good as the Mets' pitching staff has been, they could still use some help. Their starting rotation has produced 9.9 fWAR (4th most in baseball) while also having the second-best ERA, with 2.98, and the best FIP, at 3.36. However, they did that relying basically on three arms: Stroman, Walker, and Jacob deGrom, who's having one of the most dominant seasons a starting pitcher has had in years, possibly decades. Outside of the trio mentioned above, if you put together all the other pitchers who started at least one game for the Mets this season, they have a combined 4.62 ERA and 4.61 FIP. If they don't pursue pitching help now, that's the kind of productivity they'll be relying on should any severe injuries happen to one of their top three starters. Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard have slight chances of returning to the team this season, but that definitely shouldn't be something to count on. If you're the Mets, shopping for a solid starter to strengthen your rotation in the second half and into October should be your top priority. Next on their list are, of course, bats. The Mets as a team have had a very poor offense – to sugarcoat it – throughout this season, ranking 17th in wRC+ (93) and 25th in OPS (.683), while striking out 24.4% of the time, which represents the 10th highest percentage in baseball. They've produced the second-fewest runs in all of baseball so far this season, with a total of 327. deGrom, who constantly doesn't get run support from New York's lineup, has a .758 OPS, which is higher than those of seven of the eight qualified hitters in the team. Lindor appears to have found his mojo this month, but he's had an abysmal first three months as a Met, being booed several times by the fans. J.D. Davis has been sidelined for most of the season, which creates a huge gap in their lineup. Even though he's expected to be activated very soon, you have no idea what version of him is coming back from the injured list. So it makes a lot of sense to look for some help at third base. Besides, if he does come back hitting as well as he was in April, they can easily move him to one of their corner outfield spots. Good pitching is never enough, but so far, the Mets haven't been linked to any significant relief pitching rumors. They appear to be satisfied with what their bullpen is bringing to the table, a staff with a 2.12 WPA so far this season, the 12th-best in baseball. Seven of their eight most-used relievers this season have a sub-four ERA. Which Twins are the best fit? Having that in mind, the Twins may immediately become the best trading partner available for New York, as they can kill two birds with one stone by dealing with Minnesota. Josh Donaldson might not be a frontrunner, but he would be the perfect fit for the Mets. Earlier this month, it was reported that both sides started preliminary talks. However, things didn't progress. Nonetheless, 'The Bringer of Rain' is undeniably an upgrade over veteran Jonathan Villar, the Mets' primary hot corner starter this season. Donaldson's .831 OPS for the season (1.035 over his last 30 games) are considerably above Villar's .745. Besides, even with some of his defensive metrics being below his career average right now, Donaldson still provides the Mets much better defense. José Berríos is the next big thing the Twins have to offer. The former All-Star is not an ace, as we all know, but he is absolutely solid and, at 27 and under team control for this season and next, the upside is huge. After 18 starts this season, 'La Makina' is posting some career numbers, such as 3.48 ERA, 3.40 FIP, and 1.10 WHIP. In several metrics, Berríos is a superior pitcher to Walker himself, providing more strikeouts and giving up fewer walks. Having Berríos as their number three or four starter would make the Met rotation much, much scarier. Adding Berríos would also be huge for New York because both Stroman and Syndergaard will be free agents at the end of the season. The upside that he brings to the table is so significant that some Mets fans even consider him the 'condition' to accept all the potential downside of bringing in Donaldson, such as the age, the injury history, and the high salary. However, names like Kris Bryant, Adam Frazier, and Eduardo Escobar might get in the way of them making another blockbuster trade, such as the one they did with Cleveland in January. Who could the Twins get back? In mid-June, New York-based SNY presented this package in exchange for Berríos: Ronny Mauricio, a 20-year-old shortstop, is currently the organization's #2 prospect, while J.T. Ginn (RHP) is their #6, and Junior Santos (RHP) their #11. While this is a package containing some of your best-ranked prospects, looking at their productivity in the minors this season makes you think. Santos', who's only 19, still hasn't had a very good season in the Mets' system, with a 4.37 career ERA so far. On the other hand, Ginn has a solid 2.48 ERA this season, his first out of college, but the sample might still be too small to judge him. Mauricio is a very attractive piece, even though he doesn't have eye-popping numbers so far. However, it's uncertain how much the Twins would be willing to have the most valuable trade piece be a shortstop. This position already accounts for four of the team's top 30 prospects list, including their #1, Royce Lewis, and #7, Keoni Cavaco. Not to mention that Nick Gordon just made the big league team and is doing pretty well. But those are all more of a wondering than it is a reason to say no. It's hard to imagine that the Mets would toss in anything more than this for Berríos. Would they be willing to add a low-end prospect to the package in exchange for Donaldson? As much as Berríos and Donaldson would be the perfect fit for them, perhaps they won't be willing to go any higher than something similar to what's been suggested above. They could probably land a better third baseman with those same pieces if they decide to trade with some other team. At the same time, I also feel like the Twins could get a better return in exchange for Berríos. That is if they're really willing to deal him – which we aren't sure they are. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  4. What's their situation? The Mets' presence in October looks pretty likely, although it's not a sure thing. They went into the All-Star break leading the NL East by 3.5 games over the Philadelphia Phillies, with a record of 47-40. After a slow start in April, they exploded to go 17-9 in May. This helped them improve from the fourth-worst record in the NL to the top of their division by the end of the month. Winning the division – something they did last in 2015 – appears to be the safest way for them to make it into the postseason. The Los Angeles Dodgers (56-35) and the San Diego Padres (53-40), the two clubs currently in ownership of the two wild card spots, both have records considerably better than New York at this point. If one of them manages to win the NL West, the San Francisco Giants (currently at 57-32) suddenly become the Mets' competition for the wild card. New York finished the first half of the season with a winning record within the division, 19-18. But against their two main threats, the Phillies and the Braves, they are at 14-10. The Braves, unfortunately, lost Ronald Acuña Jr. for the season due to a torn ACL, so their already-average offensive productivity (100 wRC+) may take a dip during the second half. With the Mets having one of baseball's best pitching staffs, making the right additions in this trade deadline could be key to put them over the top in the NL East. Steven Cohen, the team's new boss since last October, is baseball's richest team owner with a net worth that has reached the $16 billion thresholds last April, according to Forbes. Not three months after acquiring Francisco Lindor from Cleveland last January, Cohen demonstrated his business aggressiveness and locked him up in late March with a 10-year, $341 million extension. Not only this proves his total commitment to building a World Series-caliber team, but it also puts the Mets into a very convenient position when they need to lure free agents or top trade targets into the club. Trading for and then signing Lindor to an extension wasn't the only move from the Mets for this season. Over the winter, they made some key free-agent additions, such as keeping Marcus Stroman, as well as All-Star starter Taijuan Walker, former All-Star catcher James McCann, and our dear Trevor May. The Mets being in a position of entering a pennant race after the trade deadline additions is certainly not an accident. What do they need? As good as the Mets' pitching staff has been, they could still use some help. Their starting rotation has produced 9.9 fWAR (4th most in baseball) while also having the second-best ERA, with 2.98, and the best FIP, at 3.36. However, they did that relying basically on three arms: Stroman, Walker, and Jacob deGrom, who's having one of the most dominant seasons a starting pitcher has had in years, possibly decades. Outside of the trio mentioned above, if you put together all the other pitchers who started at least one game for the Mets this season, they have a combined 4.62 ERA and 4.61 FIP. If they don't pursue pitching help now, that's the kind of productivity they'll be relying on should any severe injuries happen to one of their top three starters. Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard have slight chances of returning to the team this season, but that definitely shouldn't be something to count on. If you're the Mets, shopping for a solid starter to strengthen your rotation in the second half and into October should be your top priority. Next on their list are, of course, bats. The Mets as a team have had a very poor offense – to sugarcoat it – throughout this season, ranking 17th in wRC+ (93) and 25th in OPS (.683), while striking out 24.4% of the time, which represents the 10th highest percentage in baseball. They've produced the second-fewest runs in all of baseball so far this season, with a total of 327. deGrom, who constantly doesn't get run support from New York's lineup, has a .758 OPS, which is higher than those of seven of the eight qualified hitters in the team. Lindor appears to have found his mojo this month, but he's had an abysmal first three months as a Met, being booed several times by the fans. J.D. Davis has been sidelined for most of the season, which creates a huge gap in their lineup. Even though he's expected to be activated very soon, you have no idea what version of him is coming back from the injured list. So it makes a lot of sense to look for some help at third base. Besides, if he does come back hitting as well as he was in April, they can easily move him to one of their corner outfield spots. Good pitching is never enough, but so far, the Mets haven't been linked to any significant relief pitching rumors. They appear to be satisfied with what their bullpen is bringing to the table, a staff with a 2.12 WPA so far this season, the 12th-best in baseball. Seven of their eight most-used relievers this season have a sub-four ERA. Which Twins are the best fit? Having that in mind, the Twins may immediately become the best trading partner available for New York, as they can kill two birds with one stone by dealing with Minnesota. Josh Donaldson might not be a frontrunner, but he would be the perfect fit for the Mets. Earlier this month, it was reported that both sides started preliminary talks. However, things didn't progress. Nonetheless, 'The Bringer of Rain' is undeniably an upgrade over veteran Jonathan Villar, the Mets' primary hot corner starter this season. Donaldson's .831 OPS for the season (1.035 over his last 30 games) are considerably above Villar's .745. Besides, even with some of his defensive metrics being below his career average right now, Donaldson still provides the Mets much better defense. José Berríos is the next big thing the Twins have to offer. The former All-Star is not an ace, as we all know, but he is absolutely solid and, at 27 and under team control for this season and next, the upside is huge. After 18 starts this season, 'La Makina' is posting some career numbers, such as 3.48 ERA, 3.40 FIP, and 1.10 WHIP. In several metrics, Berríos is a superior pitcher to Walker himself, providing more strikeouts and giving up fewer walks. Having Berríos as their number three or four starter would make the Met rotation much, much scarier. Adding Berríos would also be huge for New York because both Stroman and Syndergaard will be free agents at the end of the season. The upside that he brings to the table is so significant that some Mets fans even consider him the 'condition' to accept all the potential downside of bringing in Donaldson, such as the age, the injury history, and the high salary. However, names like Kris Bryant, Adam Frazier, and Eduardo Escobar might get in the way of them making another blockbuster trade, such as the one they did with Cleveland in January. Who could the Twins get back? In mid-June, New York-based SNY presented this package in exchange for Berríos: Ronny Mauricio, a 20-year-old shortstop, is currently the organization's #2 prospect, while J.T. Ginn (RHP) is their #6, and Junior Santos (RHP) their #11. While this is a package containing some of your best-ranked prospects, looking at their productivity in the minors this season makes you think. Santos', who's only 19, still hasn't had a very good season in the Mets' system, with a 4.37 career ERA so far. On the other hand, Ginn has a solid 2.48 ERA this season, his first out of college, but the sample might still be too small to judge him. Mauricio is a very attractive piece, even though he doesn't have eye-popping numbers so far. However, it's uncertain how much the Twins would be willing to have the most valuable trade piece be a shortstop. This position already accounts for four of the team's top 30 prospects list, including their #1, Royce Lewis, and #7, Keoni Cavaco. Not to mention that Nick Gordon just made the big league team and is doing pretty well. But those are all more of a wondering than it is a reason to say no. It's hard to imagine that the Mets would toss in anything more than this for Berríos. Would they be willing to add a low-end prospect to the package in exchange for Donaldson? As much as Berríos and Donaldson would be the perfect fit for them, perhaps they won't be willing to go any higher than something similar to what's been suggested above. They could probably land a better third baseman with those same pieces if they decide to trade with some other team. At the same time, I also feel like the Twins could get a better return in exchange for Berríos. That is if they're really willing to deal him – which we aren't sure they are. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. Box Score Maeda: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K (68.8% strikes) Home Runs: Donaldson (14) Bottom 3 WPA: Rogers -.542, Jeffers -.366, Kirilloff -.192 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Bats show up early, Baddoo overpowers them In game one of the doubleheader, Minnesota’s lineup couldn’t figure out how to get to the Tigers pitching. They managed to get only two total hits the Twins were shut out. But in game two, things were different and it didn’t take long this time. Nelson Cruz hit a two-out double off Tyler Alexander shortly before Josh Donaldson brought him home with a liner to center. It was a rocket, too, leaving his bat at 108 MPH. Minnesota surpassed its hits total from the first game during the second inning when Miguel Sanó hit a double, but that threat was short-lived. Detroit, however, made the most of their opportunity in that same inning. A ghost from Kenta Maeda’s last start came back to haunt him, as he failed to retire the leadoff hitter, issuing a walk. Despite retiring his next two batters, he loaded the bases on a single and a hit-by-pitch. Akil Badoo made him pay and, on the next at-bat, the former Twins prospect tripled to clear the bases, putting the Tigers ahead, 3-1. Donaldson brings the rain, puts the rally in motion The Twins were far from done. While Maeda settled in and delivered back-to-back 1-2-3 innings, Minnesota tied it up, scoring a run in two consecutive innings. First, Donaldson got his second hit and run batted in of the game, with a leadoff home run in the fourth, to put the Twins within one. Oh, and potential Donaldson buyers at the trade deadline are going to be happy to know that this was an even stronger blast, leaving his bat at 113 MPH. Digging into their bullpen, the Tigers couldn’t avoid the Twins’ comeback. Minnesota loaded them up early in the fifth, after Andrelton Simmons and Jorge Polanco hit back-to-back singles, prompting Detroit’s second pitching change of the night, and Trevor Larnach drew a walk. Cruz hit a 107 MPH chopper that was understandably bobbled by second baseman Harold Castro, allowing Simmons to score and tied the game. After giving up that triple against Baddoo in the second, Maeda never allowed another Tiger to reach, retiring the final ten batters he saw. In fact, minus the second inning, he allowed only one baserunner to reach in this game, a single in the first inning. It was the third consecutive start in which he induced at least 15 swings and misses. Both bullpens didn’t allow any further scoring during regulation. Hansel Robles, topping at 99.6 MPH, pitched two scoreless innings. The only Tiger to reach against him was Eric Haase, who got hit by a pitch on the helmet by a 95 MPH four-seamer. Scary stuff. But fortunately, he seemed fine, as he stood up. Detroit medical staff did decide to remove him from the game. Ghost runners will haunt The 8th inning, which was also an extra-inning (2021 baseball, right?), was very peculiar, and I’m not talking about the ghost runner. Let’s begin with the fact that, after being hit by a pitch, Cruz stole another base. For the first time since 2015, Nelly has at least three stolen bases in the same season! But in all seriousness. Cruz’s presence at second put a lot of pressure on Tigers’ reliever Joe Jiménez, who now had two runners in scoring position, with Nick Gordon, the ghost runner, advancing to third on a sac-fly. Facing Ryan Jeffers, Jiménez threw a wild pitch, allowing both runners to move up and Gordon to score. Minnesota was back on top and headed to the bottom of the inning with a 4-3 lead. Then disaster struck. Jonathan Schoop tied the game against Taylor Rogers with a one-out single, scoring Derek Hill from third base. Rogers struck out Baddoo to open the inning and then did the same to Robbie Grossman. When facing Miguel Cabrera, the All-Star reliever managed to induce weak contact from Miggy, who popped up to center. But neither Gordon and Simmons could get to the ball. It dropped and Schoop was rewarded, scoring the winning run all the way from first base, in heartbreaking fashion (from the Twins' perspective). Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Burrows 0 0 0 0 32 32 Rogers 0 0 0 0 21 21 Robles 0 0 0 0 18 18 Thielbar 0 0 0 0 0 0 Duffey 0 0 0 0 0 0 Colomé 0 0 0 0 0 0 Coulombe 0 0 0 0 0 0 Alcala 0 0 0 0 0 0
  6. The Twins managed to come back from a two-run deficit and led by one in extra innings, but with an unbelievable play that ended the game, the Tigers won the nightcap and swept the split doubleheader with a walk-off. Box Score Maeda: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K (68.8% strikes) Home Runs: Donaldson (14) Bottom 3 WPA: Rogers -.542, Jeffers -.366, Kirilloff -.192 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Bats show up early, Baddoo overpowers them In game one of the doubleheader, Minnesota’s lineup couldn’t figure out how to get to the Tigers pitching. They managed to get only two total hits the Twins were shut out. But in game two, things were different and it didn’t take long this time. Nelson Cruz hit a two-out double off Tyler Alexander shortly before Josh Donaldson brought him home with a liner to center. It was a rocket, too, leaving his bat at 108 MPH. Minnesota surpassed its hits total from the first game during the second inning when Miguel Sanó hit a double, but that threat was short-lived. Detroit, however, made the most of their opportunity in that same inning. A ghost from Kenta Maeda’s last start came back to haunt him, as he failed to retire the leadoff hitter, issuing a walk. Despite retiring his next two batters, he loaded the bases on a single and a hit-by-pitch. Akil Badoo made him pay and, on the next at-bat, the former Twins prospect tripled to clear the bases, putting the Tigers ahead, 3-1. Donaldson brings the rain, puts the rally in motion The Twins were far from done. While Maeda settled in and delivered back-to-back 1-2-3 innings, Minnesota tied it up, scoring a run in two consecutive innings. First, Donaldson got his second hit and run batted in of the game, with a leadoff home run in the fourth, to put the Twins within one. Oh, and potential Donaldson buyers at the trade deadline are going to be happy to know that this was an even stronger blast, leaving his bat at 113 MPH. Digging into their bullpen, the Tigers couldn’t avoid the Twins’ comeback. Minnesota loaded them up early in the fifth, after Andrelton Simmons and Jorge Polanco hit back-to-back singles, prompting Detroit’s second pitching change of the night, and Trevor Larnach drew a walk. Cruz hit a 107 MPH chopper that was understandably bobbled by second baseman Harold Castro, allowing Simmons to score and tied the game. After giving up that triple against Baddoo in the second, Maeda never allowed another Tiger to reach, retiring the final ten batters he saw. In fact, minus the second inning, he allowed only one baserunner to reach in this game, a single in the first inning. It was the third consecutive start in which he induced at least 15 swings and misses. Both bullpens didn’t allow any further scoring during regulation. Hansel Robles, topping at 99.6 MPH, pitched two scoreless innings. The only Tiger to reach against him was Eric Haase, who got hit by a pitch on the helmet by a 95 MPH four-seamer. Scary stuff. But fortunately, he seemed fine, as he stood up. Detroit medical staff did decide to remove him from the game. Ghost runners will haunt The 8th inning, which was also an extra-inning (2021 baseball, right?), was very peculiar, and I’m not talking about the ghost runner. Let’s begin with the fact that, after being hit by a pitch, Cruz stole another base. For the first time since 2015, Nelly has at least three stolen bases in the same season! But in all seriousness. Cruz’s presence at second put a lot of pressure on Tigers’ reliever Joe Jiménez, who now had two runners in scoring position, with Nick Gordon, the ghost runner, advancing to third on a sac-fly. Facing Ryan Jeffers, Jiménez threw a wild pitch, allowing both runners to move up and Gordon to score. Minnesota was back on top and headed to the bottom of the inning with a 4-3 lead. Then disaster struck. Jonathan Schoop tied the game against Taylor Rogers with a one-out single, scoring Derek Hill from third base. Rogers struck out Baddoo to open the inning and then did the same to Robbie Grossman. When facing Miguel Cabrera, the All-Star reliever managed to induce weak contact from Miggy, who popped up to center. But neither Gordon and Simmons could get to the ball. It dropped and Schoop was rewarded, scoring the winning run all the way from first base, in heartbreaking fashion (from the Twins' perspective). Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Burrows 0 0 0 0 32 32 Rogers 0 0 0 0 21 21 Robles 0 0 0 0 18 18 Thielbar 0 0 0 0 0 0 Duffey 0 0 0 0 0 0 Colomé 0 0 0 0 0 0 Coulombe 0 0 0 0 0 0 Alcala 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
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  8. Kenta Maeda and Tigers’ starter Matt Manning both pitched five innings of shutout baseball before Minnesota’s offense ambushed the Detroit rookie for four runs in the sixth inning. The Twins have a chance to win the series on Saturday afternoon. Box Score Maeda: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K (61.9% strikes) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Maeda .288, Kepler .170, Robles .119 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Both starters began this game in a real pitchers’ duel. Making his fifth big league start, Manning no-hit the Twins lineup through three innings, on 34 pitches. Maeda had to work a bit harder, struggling to retire leadoff batters and surpassing 50 pitches in that same span. He did manage to fan six through three scoreless frames, but he also relied on some good defense to bale him out. Like when Ben Rortvedt caught former Twins prospect Akil Baddoo trying to steal second base during the first inning to complete a double play. Speaking of Rortvedt, here’s a fun stat brought by MLB.com beat writer Do-Hyoung Park: After three innings of work, both offenses managed to produce only three runners combined. Maeda continued to have a hard time with leadoff hitters, as four out of five reached. But he also missed a ton of bats, producing 17 swings and misses in this game, his third-highest total in a game this season. Strangely, Rocco Baldelli pulled him after five innings, with his pitch count at 84. He concluded his shutout with seven punch outs, all of them on swinging strikes, which makes it 31 consecutive swinging strikeouts for him. Manning took his no-hit bid into the fifth inning, still under 60 pitches, retiring nine consecutive Minnesota batters at one point. Then the Twins threatened for the first time in the game, with Jorge Polanco drawing a walk and being sent to third by a Max Kepler opposite field single. However, he took care of the next two batters and kept the game scoreless through five. The offense comes through big in the sixth Jorge Alcala pitched a quick, scoreless sixth inning. Then, the Twins offense finally managed to break Manning’s dominance. Luis Arraez jumped on the first pitch he saw for a leadoff single. Josh Donaldson drew a walk immediately afterward which forced A.J. Hinch to pull his rookie. Reliever Ian Krol took over, but he couldn’t take care of the inherited runners. He balked, advancing both of them, before giving up an RBI-single to Trevor Larnach. Nelson Cruz hit a sac-fly to push Donaldson across and double the Twins' lead. But they weren’t done. Alex Kirilloff drew a walk after falling behind 0-2 in the count and kept the threat going. Kepler, who’s having a scorching-hot month of July, cleared the bases with a two-out triple, scoring Larnach and Kirilloff, making it 4-0 Minnesota. Oh, and it wasn’t without the help of some vintage Robbie Grossman defense out in left field. The bullpen kept things interesting. Caleb Thielbar took over for Alcala in the seventh and managed to close out the inning, in spite of giving up a single. However, after allowing a leadoff single to Baddoo in the eighth, he saw Grossman hit a two-run bomb to left, cutting the Twins’ lead in half. Baldelli had enough and brought Hansel Robles into the game at once. Not only did he end the threat in the eight, but he also closed out the game with a scoreless ninth, earning his ninth save of the season. Robles has now had back-to-back scoreless outings, after giving runs in four consecutive games. The Twins record is now 37-50 and they have the chance to win the series this Saturday. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:10 pm CT, with Bailey Ober on the mound for Minnesota. Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Thielbar 29 0 20 0 20 69 Law 0 0 50 0 0 50 Rogers 31 0 0 6 0 37 Robles 12 0 0 0 24 36 Duffey 17 0 0 15 0 32 Alcala 0 0 0 0 23 23 Colomé 0 14 0 0 0 14 Coulombe 0 12 0 0 0 12 View full article
  9. Box Score Maeda: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K (61.9% strikes) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Maeda .288, Kepler .170, Robles .119 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Both starters began this game in a real pitchers’ duel. Making his fifth big league start, Manning no-hit the Twins lineup through three innings, on 34 pitches. Maeda had to work a bit harder, struggling to retire leadoff batters and surpassing 50 pitches in that same span. He did manage to fan six through three scoreless frames, but he also relied on some good defense to bale him out. Like when Ben Rortvedt caught former Twins prospect Akil Baddoo trying to steal second base during the first inning to complete a double play. Speaking of Rortvedt, here’s a fun stat brought by MLB.com beat writer Do-Hyoung Park: After three innings of work, both offenses managed to produce only three runners combined. Maeda continued to have a hard time with leadoff hitters, as four out of five reached. But he also missed a ton of bats, producing 17 swings and misses in this game, his third-highest total in a game this season. Strangely, Rocco Baldelli pulled him after five innings, with his pitch count at 84. He concluded his shutout with seven punch outs, all of them on swinging strikes, which makes it 31 consecutive swinging strikeouts for him. Manning took his no-hit bid into the fifth inning, still under 60 pitches, retiring nine consecutive Minnesota batters at one point. Then the Twins threatened for the first time in the game, with Jorge Polanco drawing a walk and being sent to third by a Max Kepler opposite field single. However, he took care of the next two batters and kept the game scoreless through five. The offense comes through big in the sixth Jorge Alcala pitched a quick, scoreless sixth inning. Then, the Twins offense finally managed to break Manning’s dominance. Luis Arraez jumped on the first pitch he saw for a leadoff single. Josh Donaldson drew a walk immediately afterward which forced A.J. Hinch to pull his rookie. Reliever Ian Krol took over, but he couldn’t take care of the inherited runners. He balked, advancing both of them, before giving up an RBI-single to Trevor Larnach. Nelson Cruz hit a sac-fly to push Donaldson across and double the Twins' lead. But they weren’t done. Alex Kirilloff drew a walk after falling behind 0-2 in the count and kept the threat going. Kepler, who’s having a scorching-hot month of July, cleared the bases with a two-out triple, scoring Larnach and Kirilloff, making it 4-0 Minnesota. Oh, and it wasn’t without the help of some vintage Robbie Grossman defense out in left field. The bullpen kept things interesting. Caleb Thielbar took over for Alcala in the seventh and managed to close out the inning, in spite of giving up a single. However, after allowing a leadoff single to Baddoo in the eighth, he saw Grossman hit a two-run bomb to left, cutting the Twins’ lead in half. Baldelli had enough and brought Hansel Robles into the game at once. Not only did he end the threat in the eight, but he also closed out the game with a scoreless ninth, earning his ninth save of the season. Robles has now had back-to-back scoreless outings, after giving runs in four consecutive games. The Twins record is now 37-50 and they have the chance to win the series this Saturday. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:10 pm CT, with Bailey Ober on the mound for Minnesota. Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Thielbar 29 0 20 0 20 69 Law 0 0 50 0 0 50 Rogers 31 0 0 6 0 37 Robles 12 0 0 0 24 36 Duffey 17 0 0 15 0 32 Alcala 0 0 0 0 23 23 Colomé 0 14 0 0 0 14 Coulombe 0 12 0 0 0 12
  10. Box Score Happ: 4.1 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K Home Runs: None Bottom 3 WPA: Happ -.405, Cruz -.135, Arraez -.092 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Unsurprisingly, J.A. Happ and Brady Singer both struggled early in the game, making this a high-scoring affair very quickly. Minnesota manufactured three runs in the top of the first: Luis Arraez and Josh Donaldson hit back-to-back doubles to open the game and Trevor Larnach scored both of them with a grounder towards the mound. Singer made an awful throw to home plate, which not only allowed Donaldson to score but also Larnach to reach second. Alex Kirilloff joined the party and pushed Larny across on a single, a couple of at-bats later. But that wouldn’t last. As a matter of fact, Happ pitched an incredibly good first inning, retiring the top of the Kansas City order on only seven pitches. For a moment, things actually looked like they were going to go smoothly for a change. But it’s the 2021 Twins we’re talking about. After the offense went down in order in the top of the second, the ballgame was tied before a single out could be recorded. Happ gave up four consecutive hits to open the home second, including a leadoff home run to Salvador Pérez and a couple of doubles. Singer wasn’t sharp either and the Twins threatened in the following inning, loading the bases for Max Kepler. He struck out to end the inning, failing to end his slump. Also in the third, the Royals took their first lead of the game. Pérez hit a one-out single and was followed by a home run by Hanser Alberto. The Royal lineup ambushed Happ once again in the fifth, with three consecutive hits to start the inning. The third one, an RBI-single by Carlos Santana, gave Kansas City a 6-3 lead. Happ was done shortly after that and he has now allowed 47 runs in his last 47 innings. Could he be the next Twins starter to be DFA’d, joining Matt Shoemaker? The offense even tried to start a rally during the sixth inning. Royals reliever Jake Brentz loaded the bases without recording an out, but all the Twins could get was one run, with Arraez grounding into a double play to score Kepler. Tyler Duffey and Alexander Colomé provided a couple of rather uneventful, scoreless innings, while Danny Coulombe pitched himself in and out of a jam in the seventh. Their effort kept the Twins within two runs, with a chance to win it. But then Taylor Rogers, out of all people, struggled with his command during the eighth. He tossed two wild pitches in the inning, allowing Nicky Lopez -- who had hit a double off him -- to advance from second to third and then score standing. Donaldson managed to reach in the ninth, but the threat never materialized. Postgame interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Coulombe 0 0 43 0 0 16 59 Duffey 23 0 15 0 0 13 51 Thielbar 30 0 0 16 0 0 46 Robles 0 0 0 0 34 0 34 Law 0 0 0 0 32 0 32 Colomé 0 0 0 14 0 17 31 Rogers 0 0 0 0 0 22 22 Alcala 0 0 0 0 19 0 19 Jax 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  11. The Twins visited a last-placed Royals team, coming off a then league-worst nine consecutive losses. Even though Minnesota built an early three-run lead, J.A. Happ struggled badly, allowing six runs, and the Twins simply couldn’t bounce back. They drop four in a row and are now back at last place. Box Score Happ: 4.1 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K Home Runs: None Bottom 3 WPA: Happ -.405, Cruz -.135, Arraez -.092 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Unsurprisingly, J.A. Happ and Brady Singer both struggled early in the game, making this a high-scoring affair very quickly. Minnesota manufactured three runs in the top of the first: Luis Arraez and Josh Donaldson hit back-to-back doubles to open the game and Trevor Larnach scored both of them with a grounder towards the mound. Singer made an awful throw to home plate, which not only allowed Donaldson to score but also Larnach to reach second. Alex Kirilloff joined the party and pushed Larny across on a single, a couple of at-bats later. But that wouldn’t last. As a matter of fact, Happ pitched an incredibly good first inning, retiring the top of the Kansas City order on only seven pitches. For a moment, things actually looked like they were going to go smoothly for a change. But it’s the 2021 Twins we’re talking about. After the offense went down in order in the top of the second, the ballgame was tied before a single out could be recorded. Happ gave up four consecutive hits to open the home second, including a leadoff home run to Salvador Pérez and a couple of doubles. Singer wasn’t sharp either and the Twins threatened in the following inning, loading the bases for Max Kepler. He struck out to end the inning, failing to end his slump. Also in the third, the Royals took their first lead of the game. Pérez hit a one-out single and was followed by a home run by Hanser Alberto. The Royal lineup ambushed Happ once again in the fifth, with three consecutive hits to start the inning. The third one, an RBI-single by Carlos Santana, gave Kansas City a 6-3 lead. Happ was done shortly after that and he has now allowed 47 runs in his last 47 innings. Could he be the next Twins starter to be DFA’d, joining Matt Shoemaker? The offense even tried to start a rally during the sixth inning. Royals reliever Jake Brentz loaded the bases without recording an out, but all the Twins could get was one run, with Arraez grounding into a double play to score Kepler. Tyler Duffey and Alexander Colomé provided a couple of rather uneventful, scoreless innings, while Danny Coulombe pitched himself in and out of a jam in the seventh. Their effort kept the Twins within two runs, with a chance to win it. But then Taylor Rogers, out of all people, struggled with his command during the eighth. He tossed two wild pitches in the inning, allowing Nicky Lopez -- who had hit a double off him -- to advance from second to third and then score standing. Donaldson managed to reach in the ninth, but the threat never materialized. Postgame interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Coulombe 0 0 43 0 0 16 59 Duffey 23 0 15 0 0 13 51 Thielbar 30 0 0 16 0 0 46 Robles 0 0 0 0 34 0 34 Law 0 0 0 0 32 0 32 Colomé 0 0 0 14 0 17 31 Rogers 0 0 0 0 0 22 22 Alcala 0 0 0 0 19 0 19 Jax 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  12. Yeap! It's always nice! If you do come, make sure to visit the "Nordeste" beaches as well, because they're even better than the ones from Rio!
  13. Luis Arráez exploded with a three-hit night, all for extra bases, to help Minnesota overcome a bullpen night and beat Cleveland to even the series at a game apiece. Griffin Jax navigated through some ups and downs and managed to earn his first big league win. Box Score Coulombe (starter): 1.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (71.8% strikes) Jax (primary): 4.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 K (65.3% strikes) Home Runs: Kirilloff (6) Top 3 WPA: Arráez .445, Cruz .119, Kirilloff .095 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Lefty Danny Coulombe started tonight’s bullpen game, but he was roughed up in a hurry — with the help of some bad fielding behind him. Cleveland struck first, scoring three quick runs on two hits in the top of the first inning. Amed Rosario hit a solo home run five pitches into the game to score the first run. Then, Jorge Polanco made a costly error charging for the ball, allowing old friend Eddie Rosario to reach with two outs. Bobby Bradley made Minnesota pay, hitting a 436-feet bomb to center. Minnesota got one run back in the home half of the first inning. Luis Arráez hit a leadoff triple, with a little help from right fielder Josh Naylor, who lost the ball against the sun. Josh Donaldson scored Arráez with a sacrifice fly. Coulombe settled in nicely in the second frame, retiring the first two batters he faced on eight pitches before handing over the ball to Griffin Jax. Combined, Coulombe and Jax retired eight consecutive batters after that first inning home run. Then the offense put together an amazing display in the home half of the third inning. Nick Gordon led off with a double but was thrown out trying to go to third base on an Andrelton Simmons fielder’s choice. With Simmons on, Arráez hit his second triple of the night, with yet another awful misplay from the Cleveland outfield, scoring Simmons. This time he went oppo and became the first Twin to have two triples in a game since Aug. 30, 2017, when Ehire Adrianza did it. Donaldson followed up with a single to push Arráez across, earning himself his second RBI of the night and bringing the go-ahead run to the plate. Alex Kirilloff stepped into the batter’s box and… remember when he was struggling against offspeed pitches? Well, I bet Cal Quantrill was sorry to find out that that might not be a thing anymore. The Cleveland starter threw two consecutive changeups against Kirilloff only to watch the second one be obliterated. A 409-feet bomb that left Kirilloff’s bat at 104 mph, making it 5-3 Twins. Jax pitched himself into a jam during the fourth inning. Struggling with his command, he loaded the bases with only one out, throwing only six strikes on 18 pitches. After striking out Bradley Zimmer, it seemed like he would get out of the mess unharmed, but Austin Hedges jumped on his fastball for a two-out single to tie the game. After the offense went down in order in the home fourth, Jax was having a much smoother fifth frame. However, "Rosie" (of course) hit a solo shot to right to put Cleveland back ahead by one run. He was booed. Bats tie it up, retake the lead When Simmons (single) and Donaldson (walk) reached to start the bottom half of the fifth, Terry Francona had enough of Quantrill and brought in the bullpen. Nelson Cruz hit a weak flare to short with two-outs, just far enough to score Simmons from second and tie the game again. Jax pitched his best inning of the game, delivering an eight-pitch scoreless sixth. He was done after that, ending the night with 4 1/3 innings, on 75 pitches (49 for strikes), allowing three runs. Reliever Nick Wittgren needed only three pitches to get through Max Kepler and Ryan Jeffers to start the bottom of the sixth. However, he was about to get into trouble. NicknGordon singled to center for his second hit of the night and was followed by a single from Simmons, with once again some sloppy defense from Cleveland. Then, it was up to Arráez to make that inning count, and he absolutely didn’t disappoint. With his third extra-base hit of the night, he put the Twins back ahead, 8-6. While the offense didn’t produce much for the remainder of the game, the relievers who took to the mound did an outstanding job. Alexander Colomé and Taylor Rogers took care of the seventh and eighth with a couple of 1-2-3 innings, with neither of them needing more than nine pitches. Plus, they combined for 80% strikes. Hansel Robles allowed a solo shot to Naylor and nearly saw Zimmer reach second, but Kepler bailed him out with a perfect one-hop throw to Simmons for the tag. Robles earned his seventh save of the season, in nine opportunities, helping Jax earn his first big league win. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Jax 0 0 0 0 0 75 75 Alcalá 18 20 0 0 10 0 48 Coulombe 0 0 16 0 0 32 48 Colomé 0 7 30 0 0 7 44 Shoemaker 0 32 0 0 11 0 43 Thielbar 0 19 12 0 4 0 35 Rogers 0 16 0 0 8 9 33 Duffey 21 0 11 0 0 0 32 Robles 0 0 21 0 0 10 31 View full article
  14. Box Score Coulombe (starter): 1.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (71.8% strikes) Jax (primary): 4.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 K (65.3% strikes) Home Runs: Kirilloff (6) Top 3 WPA: Arráez .445, Cruz .119, Kirilloff .095 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Lefty Danny Coulombe started tonight’s bullpen game, but he was roughed up in a hurry — with the help of some bad fielding behind him. Cleveland struck first, scoring three quick runs on two hits in the top of the first inning. Amed Rosario hit a solo home run five pitches into the game to score the first run. Then, Jorge Polanco made a costly error charging for the ball, allowing old friend Eddie Rosario to reach with two outs. Bobby Bradley made Minnesota pay, hitting a 436-feet bomb to center. Minnesota got one run back in the home half of the first inning. Luis Arráez hit a leadoff triple, with a little help from right fielder Josh Naylor, who lost the ball against the sun. Josh Donaldson scored Arráez with a sacrifice fly. Coulombe settled in nicely in the second frame, retiring the first two batters he faced on eight pitches before handing over the ball to Griffin Jax. Combined, Coulombe and Jax retired eight consecutive batters after that first inning home run. Then the offense put together an amazing display in the home half of the third inning. Nick Gordon led off with a double but was thrown out trying to go to third base on an Andrelton Simmons fielder’s choice. With Simmons on, Arráez hit his second triple of the night, with yet another awful misplay from the Cleveland outfield, scoring Simmons. This time he went oppo and became the first Twin to have two triples in a game since Aug. 30, 2017, when Ehire Adrianza did it. Donaldson followed up with a single to push Arráez across, earning himself his second RBI of the night and bringing the go-ahead run to the plate. Alex Kirilloff stepped into the batter’s box and… remember when he was struggling against offspeed pitches? Well, I bet Cal Quantrill was sorry to find out that that might not be a thing anymore. The Cleveland starter threw two consecutive changeups against Kirilloff only to watch the second one be obliterated. A 409-feet bomb that left Kirilloff’s bat at 104 mph, making it 5-3 Twins. Jax pitched himself into a jam during the fourth inning. Struggling with his command, he loaded the bases with only one out, throwing only six strikes on 18 pitches. After striking out Bradley Zimmer, it seemed like he would get out of the mess unharmed, but Austin Hedges jumped on his fastball for a two-out single to tie the game. After the offense went down in order in the home fourth, Jax was having a much smoother fifth frame. However, "Rosie" (of course) hit a solo shot to right to put Cleveland back ahead by one run. He was booed. Bats tie it up, retake the lead When Simmons (single) and Donaldson (walk) reached to start the bottom half of the fifth, Terry Francona had enough of Quantrill and brought in the bullpen. Nelson Cruz hit a weak flare to short with two-outs, just far enough to score Simmons from second and tie the game again. Jax pitched his best inning of the game, delivering an eight-pitch scoreless sixth. He was done after that, ending the night with 4 1/3 innings, on 75 pitches (49 for strikes), allowing three runs. Reliever Nick Wittgren needed only three pitches to get through Max Kepler and Ryan Jeffers to start the bottom of the sixth. However, he was about to get into trouble. NicknGordon singled to center for his second hit of the night and was followed by a single from Simmons, with once again some sloppy defense from Cleveland. Then, it was up to Arráez to make that inning count, and he absolutely didn’t disappoint. With his third extra-base hit of the night, he put the Twins back ahead, 8-6. While the offense didn’t produce much for the remainder of the game, the relievers who took to the mound did an outstanding job. Alexander Colomé and Taylor Rogers took care of the seventh and eighth with a couple of 1-2-3 innings, with neither of them needing more than nine pitches. Plus, they combined for 80% strikes. Hansel Robles allowed a solo shot to Naylor and nearly saw Zimmer reach second, but Kepler bailed him out with a perfect one-hop throw to Simmons for the tag. Robles earned his seventh save of the season, in nine opportunities, helping Jax earn his first big league win. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Jax 0 0 0 0 0 75 75 Alcalá 18 20 0 0 10 0 48 Coulombe 0 0 16 0 0 32 48 Colomé 0 7 30 0 0 7 44 Shoemaker 0 32 0 0 11 0 43 Thielbar 0 19 12 0 4 0 35 Rogers 0 16 0 0 8 9 33 Duffey 21 0 11 0 0 0 32 Robles 0 0 21 0 0 10 31
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