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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Louie Varland, 5 1/3 IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 7K (80 pitches, 55 strikes, 68.8%) Home Runs: Jose Miranda (14) Bottom 3 WPA: Trevor Megill (-.570), Griffin Jax (-.254), Gio Urshela (-.201) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Varland is sharp in his major league debut (pulled too early?) There probably isn’t a much tougher way to start your major league career than the one Louie Varland had to. Called up for the first time on Tuesday, the St. Paul native had been the most anticipated Twins prospect since… what? Byron Buxton? Some might go even a little further and say… Joe Mauer? Either way, the amount of expectation this kid had to burden was enormous. Then, you look at all the elements surrounding today’s game. The Twins have been constantly crushed by the New York Yankees for the past two decades; they have been Minnesota’s perennial foes in the postseason in that same span; they haven’t lost a single series against the Twins since 2018, and not one at home since 2014. The list goes on. This game, in particular, is even more crucial short-term, as the Twins started the day a game and a half back from the Guardians for the division first place. Not being competitive in this Bronx series could be the end of the season for the Twins. Is that pressure enough for the 24-year-old Minnesotan? Before Varland even stepped on the Yankee Stadium mound, the offense made a good effort to relieve some of the pressure and perhaps calm him down. Luis Arraez jumped on the game’s second pitch and doubled against starter Domingo German. After a Carlos Correa strikeout, José Miranda hit a laser to the deep left corner for a home run, making it 2-0 Twins early. Whether or not the run support made a difference for Varland at that point, making him less nervous, we’ll never know. But the fact is that he had a nearly perfect first time through the order to begin his big-league career, retiring the first eight batters he faced. He also struck out three of those batters, including American League MVP frontrunner Aaron Judge for his first-ever MLB strikeout. That’s a heck of a greeting card. Varland’s first hit given up was an Oswald Peraza two-out double in the third, but he responded to that with an inning-ending groundout, his third of the game. Then, the offense came through for him again with some more run support. In the top of the fourth, Germán got two quick outs, but the bottom third of Minnesota’s lineup did some two-out damage. Jake Cave, Gary Sanchez, and Gilberto Celestino hit three consecutive singles, and, with that, another run scored, making it 3-0 Twins. The Yankees responded quickly, though, with Judge getting back at Varland in the bottom of the same inning with a leadoff home run, cutting the Twins’ lead to two. Varland displayed some impressive nerves after that, retiring batters three through five of the Yankee lineup, including back-to-back strikeouts following the Judge home run. Varland pitched into the sixth, facing two batters: he lost Peraza for a leadoff single but came back to strike out Oswaldo Cabrera. Before he could face Judge (the tying run) a third time in this game, Rocco Baldelli decided to call it a game for him. Griffin Jax was brought in, and he got Judge to pop out for the second out, but before he could finish the inning, Gleyber Torres hit a two-run home run that tied the game. Baldelli’s decision to pull Varland when he did cause mixed feelings throughout Twins Twitter. Twins Daily’s writers Nick Nelson and Seth Stohs, for example, had opposing views of Baldelli’s call (here and here). Do you think Varland should’ve stayed to face Judge and Torres? Use the comment section to give your opinion. Bats quiet down, bullpen trio takes the game into extras The Twins’ offense couldn’t bother the Yankees again for the better part of the game, with the only exception coming during the eighth inning. Miranda snapped an 0-for-9 skid with a one-out single, and Nick Gordon followed him up with a single of his own, posing the first Minnesota threat since the fourth inning. Unfortunately for the Twins, both runners ended up being stranded. Fortunately for them, though, the bullpen did a fine job maintaining this a tied game for the remainder of regulation. After Jax blew the lead in the sixth, Caleb Thielbar, Jorge Lopez, and Jhoan Duran did a fantastic job preventing New York from scoring. With Duran pitching in the ninth, Sánchez made a huge play catching Tim Locastro trying to steal second with a laser throw for the second out that Jermaine Palacios somehow caught and kept the tag on as Locastro came off the base. Then, after Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled and reached third with a steal and a throwing error, Correa ended the inning with a crucial defensive move. Celestino puts the Twins ahead, but the Yankees tie it, walk it off With Celestino starting the 10th inning at second base, Arráez hit a single to shallow right, and the outfielder was waved around. However, he hesitated a bit heading from third to home and was caught by catcher Jose Trevino with plenty of time. Duran pitched a scoreless 10th, and the game headed for the 11th. After the offense went down in order in the top of the inning, the Yankees loaded the bases in the bottom after an intentional walk to Judge and a walk to Torres. A beautiful 3-2-3 double play prevented the winning run from scoring and paved the way for another inning. Came the 12th inning, the Twins put some pressure on reliever Ron Marinaccio, with Cave drawing a leadoff walk. With a Sánchez strikeout, New York had a double play in order, but Celestino had other plans. He hit a sharp groundball to right, deep enough to score ghost runner Jermaine Palacios from second, snatching the lead back for the Twins. Arráez drew a walk to load the bases before the inning was done, but Correa and Miranda couldn’t take advantage. That lead didn’t last long, though. Kiner-Falefa hit a ground ball off Trevor Megill to lead off the bottom of the 12th, and former Twin Marwin Gonzalez scored from second. Trevino then hit a one-out single that sent Kiner-Falefa to third and, despite getting Peraza to fly out for the second out, Megill couldn’t retire Cabrera, who hit a grounder to short, past a diving Gordon, to bring Kiner-Falefa home and end the game. What’s Next? Game two of the doubleheader is about to start with Joe Ryan (3.88 ERA) on the mound for Minnesota and Gerrit Cole (3.28 ERA) starting for the Yankees. Currently, Minnesota still has the chance to split the series, as both teams are back on the field tomorrow for game four of the series. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Sanchez 70 0 0 0 0 70 Duran 0 20 0 0 28 48 Megill 0 0 27 0 20 47 Fulmer 0 14 0 0 16 30 Thielbar 0 15 0 0 11 26 Pagán 0 0 22 0 0 22 Jax 0 8 0 0 12 20 López 0 0 0 0 15 15 Davis 0 0 11 0 0 11 Moran 0 0 0 0 0 0
  16. In a four-hour marathon, the Yankees walked off the Twins in 12 innings at the Bronx. Louie Varland had a lovely big-league debut, but the bullpen relinquished the lead twice. Image courtesy of Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports Box Score Starting Pitcher: Louie Varland, 5 1/3 IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 7K (80 pitches, 55 strikes, 68.8%) Home Runs: Jose Miranda (14) Bottom 3 WPA: Trevor Megill (-.570), Griffin Jax (-.254), Gio Urshela (-.201) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Varland is sharp in his major league debut (pulled too early?) There probably isn’t a much tougher way to start your major league career than the one Louie Varland had to. Called up for the first time on Tuesday, the St. Paul native had been the most anticipated Twins prospect since… what? Byron Buxton? Some might go even a little further and say… Joe Mauer? Either way, the amount of expectation this kid had to burden was enormous. Then, you look at all the elements surrounding today’s game. The Twins have been constantly crushed by the New York Yankees for the past two decades; they have been Minnesota’s perennial foes in the postseason in that same span; they haven’t lost a single series against the Twins since 2018, and not one at home since 2014. The list goes on. This game, in particular, is even more crucial short-term, as the Twins started the day a game and a half back from the Guardians for the division first place. Not being competitive in this Bronx series could be the end of the season for the Twins. Is that pressure enough for the 24-year-old Minnesotan? Before Varland even stepped on the Yankee Stadium mound, the offense made a good effort to relieve some of the pressure and perhaps calm him down. Luis Arraez jumped on the game’s second pitch and doubled against starter Domingo German. After a Carlos Correa strikeout, José Miranda hit a laser to the deep left corner for a home run, making it 2-0 Twins early. Whether or not the run support made a difference for Varland at that point, making him less nervous, we’ll never know. But the fact is that he had a nearly perfect first time through the order to begin his big-league career, retiring the first eight batters he faced. He also struck out three of those batters, including American League MVP frontrunner Aaron Judge for his first-ever MLB strikeout. That’s a heck of a greeting card. Varland’s first hit given up was an Oswald Peraza two-out double in the third, but he responded to that with an inning-ending groundout, his third of the game. Then, the offense came through for him again with some more run support. In the top of the fourth, Germán got two quick outs, but the bottom third of Minnesota’s lineup did some two-out damage. Jake Cave, Gary Sanchez, and Gilberto Celestino hit three consecutive singles, and, with that, another run scored, making it 3-0 Twins. The Yankees responded quickly, though, with Judge getting back at Varland in the bottom of the same inning with a leadoff home run, cutting the Twins’ lead to two. Varland displayed some impressive nerves after that, retiring batters three through five of the Yankee lineup, including back-to-back strikeouts following the Judge home run. Varland pitched into the sixth, facing two batters: he lost Peraza for a leadoff single but came back to strike out Oswaldo Cabrera. Before he could face Judge (the tying run) a third time in this game, Rocco Baldelli decided to call it a game for him. Griffin Jax was brought in, and he got Judge to pop out for the second out, but before he could finish the inning, Gleyber Torres hit a two-run home run that tied the game. Baldelli’s decision to pull Varland when he did cause mixed feelings throughout Twins Twitter. Twins Daily’s writers Nick Nelson and Seth Stohs, for example, had opposing views of Baldelli’s call (here and here). Do you think Varland should’ve stayed to face Judge and Torres? Use the comment section to give your opinion. Bats quiet down, bullpen trio takes the game into extras The Twins’ offense couldn’t bother the Yankees again for the better part of the game, with the only exception coming during the eighth inning. Miranda snapped an 0-for-9 skid with a one-out single, and Nick Gordon followed him up with a single of his own, posing the first Minnesota threat since the fourth inning. Unfortunately for the Twins, both runners ended up being stranded. Fortunately for them, though, the bullpen did a fine job maintaining this a tied game for the remainder of regulation. After Jax blew the lead in the sixth, Caleb Thielbar, Jorge Lopez, and Jhoan Duran did a fantastic job preventing New York from scoring. With Duran pitching in the ninth, Sánchez made a huge play catching Tim Locastro trying to steal second with a laser throw for the second out that Jermaine Palacios somehow caught and kept the tag on as Locastro came off the base. Then, after Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled and reached third with a steal and a throwing error, Correa ended the inning with a crucial defensive move. Celestino puts the Twins ahead, but the Yankees tie it, walk it off With Celestino starting the 10th inning at second base, Arráez hit a single to shallow right, and the outfielder was waved around. However, he hesitated a bit heading from third to home and was caught by catcher Jose Trevino with plenty of time. Duran pitched a scoreless 10th, and the game headed for the 11th. After the offense went down in order in the top of the inning, the Yankees loaded the bases in the bottom after an intentional walk to Judge and a walk to Torres. A beautiful 3-2-3 double play prevented the winning run from scoring and paved the way for another inning. Came the 12th inning, the Twins put some pressure on reliever Ron Marinaccio, with Cave drawing a leadoff walk. With a Sánchez strikeout, New York had a double play in order, but Celestino had other plans. He hit a sharp groundball to right, deep enough to score ghost runner Jermaine Palacios from second, snatching the lead back for the Twins. Arráez drew a walk to load the bases before the inning was done, but Correa and Miranda couldn’t take advantage. That lead didn’t last long, though. Kiner-Falefa hit a ground ball off Trevor Megill to lead off the bottom of the 12th, and former Twin Marwin Gonzalez scored from second. Trevino then hit a one-out single that sent Kiner-Falefa to third and, despite getting Peraza to fly out for the second out, Megill couldn’t retire Cabrera, who hit a grounder to short, past a diving Gordon, to bring Kiner-Falefa home and end the game. What’s Next? Game two of the doubleheader is about to start with Joe Ryan (3.88 ERA) on the mound for Minnesota and Gerrit Cole (3.28 ERA) starting for the Yankees. Currently, Minnesota still has the chance to split the series, as both teams are back on the field tomorrow for game four of the series. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Sanchez 70 0 0 0 0 70 Duran 0 20 0 0 28 48 Megill 0 0 27 0 20 47 Fulmer 0 14 0 0 16 30 Thielbar 0 15 0 0 11 26 Pagán 0 0 22 0 0 22 Jax 0 8 0 0 12 20 López 0 0 0 0 15 15 Davis 0 0 11 0 0 11 Moran 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  17. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Sonny Gray, 4 IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 2K (59 pitches, 40 strikes, 67.8%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Jorge Lopez (-.367), Caleb Thielbar (-.205), Gary Sanchez (-.116) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Gordon, Offense Put Chicago on the Ropes Early Nick Gordon has been living what can perhaps be considered the hottest offensive streak of his major league career – and he simply doesn’t look like he wants to slow down. Coming into tonight’s game, he had been slashing .364/.391/.682 (1.073) for his previous seven games. The White Sox decided to have a bullpen game, bringing Joe Kelly to open the game. Gordon and the Twins took advantage of that. After the four first batters faced by Kelly, Minnesota had loaded the bases with one out, bringing red-hot Gordon to the plate. The Twins’ second baseman smacked his 22nd double to the right field corner, scoring Carlos Correa and Max Kepler. That was all the Twins could get, as Kelly stranded both remaining runners with a couple of strikeouts, but it was a great start for Minnesota nonetheless. Davis Martin, who was originally scheduled to start tonight’s game for Chicago, took over in relief of Kelly in the second inning. Still, Minnesota’s offense continued to push forward but failed to add on. Luis Arraez, who singled in the first, hit a two-out double, seemingly putting the August slump behind him. Correa drew a walk after him, and suddenly, the Twins were posing a threat once again, but Kepler lined out, and the inning was over. Gray Tosses Three Solid but Struggles with Command in the Fourth Sonny Gray gave up a two-out single in the bottom of the first, but that was pretty much all the White Sox could get off him for the first three innings, as he retired seven consecutive batters after that single. Then, in the fourth inning, things abruptly changed for him. Andrew Vaughn led off the inning with a double, but it didn’t look too serious after Gray induced back-to-back ground ball outs. But Yasmani Grandal hit a bloop single off the glove of Gio Urshela to score Vaughn. That was when things spiraled out of control for Gray, who started having command issues. Grandal moved to second on a wild pitch, then A.J. Pollock and Leury Garcia reached on a walk and a single, respectively, to load the bases. Facing Josh Harrison, all Gray needed was another out to end the threat. Instead, he (barely) brushed Harrison’s forearm with a fastball, and the game was tied. Gray got the final out to limit the damage, but, despite his pitch count not having reached 60, Rocco Baldelli decided he was done. At four innings pitched, this was Gray’s shortest start since July 14, tied for his third shortest start of the season. During the seventh inning, it was reported that Gray left the game due to some right hamstring tightness. The injury must have been caused by the last play of the third inning when Gray fielded a comebacker on the infield before throwing to Arráez at first. He clearly grabbed his hamstring after the play. Bullpen does a Good Job, Gordon Comes Through Again… After Gray’s injury, the bullpen had their work cut out for them, having to throw at least five innings. Michael Fulmer gave up back-to-back two-out singles in the fifth but eventually got the final out. Then, Griffin Jax and Jhoan Duran combined for a couple of quick, scoreless frames. Came the eighth inning, with the game tied, the offense showed up again. After the productive first two innings, the Twins’ lineup went quietly for most of the game, going 2-for-17 after Correa’s second-inning walk. But the bats came back to life in the eighth. Facing reliever Jimmy Lambert, Kepler got an infield leadoff single but ended up at second base on a throwing error from Harrison. Jose Miranda followed that with a single of his own, moving Kepler to third. Gordon stepped up to the plate and got his third run batted in on a ground out, putting the Twins back in front. …but the Sox Tied the Game, Walk it off After four consecutive scoreless appearances and nine out of the previous ten, Caleb Thielbar came in to try and keep the one-run lead in the bottom of the eighth. After retiring Eloy Jimenez to open the inning, he couldn’t get past Grandal, who crushed a game-tying solo shot to the left field corner. Gilberto Celestino got a single in the top of the ninth, but the Twins couldn’t capitalize. Then, with Jorge López pitching in the bottom of the inning, Chicago loaded the bases on back-to-back singles and a hit batter that caused the benches to clear. Next, López seemingly hit Abreu, ending the game, but after a challenge, the call was overturned, as the ball actually hit Abreu’s bat. It was no use, though. As the Abreu at-bat continued, the former AL MVP hit into a groundout that could’ve led to an inning-ending double play, but Correa couldn’t fire the throw to first, allowing Romy Gonzalez to score the winning run. Postgame interview What’s Next? Game two of the series is scheduled for tomorrow, with the first pitch at 6:15 pm CDT. Tyler Mahle (4.17 ERA) toes the rubber for Minnesota, while Dylan Cease (2.27 ERA) gets the start for Chicago. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Moran 0 0 52 0 0 52 Jax 17 8 0 0 20 45 Thielbar 15 13 0 0 13 41 Megill 0 23 14 0 0 37 Fulmer 0 13 0 0 17 30 Duran 14 0 0 0 11 25 López 9 0 0 0 13 22 Pagán 0 21 0 0 0 21
  18. With the chance of tying Cleveland for the AL Central first place, the Twins had the lead twice against the White Sox in Chicago, but they ended up giving up both those leads and ended up being walked off in the series opener. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Sonny Gray, 4 IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 2K (59 pitches, 40 strikes, 67.8%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Jorge Lopez (-.367), Caleb Thielbar (-.205), Gary Sanchez (-.116) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Gordon, Offense Put Chicago on the Ropes Early Nick Gordon has been living what can perhaps be considered the hottest offensive streak of his major league career – and he simply doesn’t look like he wants to slow down. Coming into tonight’s game, he had been slashing .364/.391/.682 (1.073) for his previous seven games. The White Sox decided to have a bullpen game, bringing Joe Kelly to open the game. Gordon and the Twins took advantage of that. After the four first batters faced by Kelly, Minnesota had loaded the bases with one out, bringing red-hot Gordon to the plate. The Twins’ second baseman smacked his 22nd double to the right field corner, scoring Carlos Correa and Max Kepler. That was all the Twins could get, as Kelly stranded both remaining runners with a couple of strikeouts, but it was a great start for Minnesota nonetheless. Davis Martin, who was originally scheduled to start tonight’s game for Chicago, took over in relief of Kelly in the second inning. Still, Minnesota’s offense continued to push forward but failed to add on. Luis Arraez, who singled in the first, hit a two-out double, seemingly putting the August slump behind him. Correa drew a walk after him, and suddenly, the Twins were posing a threat once again, but Kepler lined out, and the inning was over. Gray Tosses Three Solid but Struggles with Command in the Fourth Sonny Gray gave up a two-out single in the bottom of the first, but that was pretty much all the White Sox could get off him for the first three innings, as he retired seven consecutive batters after that single. Then, in the fourth inning, things abruptly changed for him. Andrew Vaughn led off the inning with a double, but it didn’t look too serious after Gray induced back-to-back ground ball outs. But Yasmani Grandal hit a bloop single off the glove of Gio Urshela to score Vaughn. That was when things spiraled out of control for Gray, who started having command issues. Grandal moved to second on a wild pitch, then A.J. Pollock and Leury Garcia reached on a walk and a single, respectively, to load the bases. Facing Josh Harrison, all Gray needed was another out to end the threat. Instead, he (barely) brushed Harrison’s forearm with a fastball, and the game was tied. Gray got the final out to limit the damage, but, despite his pitch count not having reached 60, Rocco Baldelli decided he was done. At four innings pitched, this was Gray’s shortest start since July 14, tied for his third shortest start of the season. During the seventh inning, it was reported that Gray left the game due to some right hamstring tightness. The injury must have been caused by the last play of the third inning when Gray fielded a comebacker on the infield before throwing to Arráez at first. He clearly grabbed his hamstring after the play. Bullpen does a Good Job, Gordon Comes Through Again… After Gray’s injury, the bullpen had their work cut out for them, having to throw at least five innings. Michael Fulmer gave up back-to-back two-out singles in the fifth but eventually got the final out. Then, Griffin Jax and Jhoan Duran combined for a couple of quick, scoreless frames. Came the eighth inning, with the game tied, the offense showed up again. After the productive first two innings, the Twins’ lineup went quietly for most of the game, going 2-for-17 after Correa’s second-inning walk. But the bats came back to life in the eighth. Facing reliever Jimmy Lambert, Kepler got an infield leadoff single but ended up at second base on a throwing error from Harrison. Jose Miranda followed that with a single of his own, moving Kepler to third. Gordon stepped up to the plate and got his third run batted in on a ground out, putting the Twins back in front. …but the Sox Tied the Game, Walk it off After four consecutive scoreless appearances and nine out of the previous ten, Caleb Thielbar came in to try and keep the one-run lead in the bottom of the eighth. After retiring Eloy Jimenez to open the inning, he couldn’t get past Grandal, who crushed a game-tying solo shot to the left field corner. Gilberto Celestino got a single in the top of the ninth, but the Twins couldn’t capitalize. Then, with Jorge López pitching in the bottom of the inning, Chicago loaded the bases on back-to-back singles and a hit batter that caused the benches to clear. Next, López seemingly hit Abreu, ending the game, but after a challenge, the call was overturned, as the ball actually hit Abreu’s bat. It was no use, though. As the Abreu at-bat continued, the former AL MVP hit into a groundout that could’ve led to an inning-ending double play, but Correa couldn’t fire the throw to first, allowing Romy Gonzalez to score the winning run. Postgame interview What’s Next? Game two of the series is scheduled for tomorrow, with the first pitch at 6:15 pm CDT. Tyler Mahle (4.17 ERA) toes the rubber for Minnesota, while Dylan Cease (2.27 ERA) gets the start for Chicago. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Moran 0 0 52 0 0 52 Jax 17 8 0 0 20 45 Thielbar 15 13 0 0 13 41 Megill 0 23 14 0 0 37 Fulmer 0 13 0 0 17 30 Duran 14 0 0 0 11 25 López 9 0 0 0 13 22 Pagán 0 21 0 0 0 21 View full article
  19. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Joe Ryan, 5 IP, 8H, 5R, 5ER, 1BB, 8K (100 pitches, 69 strikes, 69.0%) Home Runs: Luis Arraez (8) Bottom 3 WPA: Carlos Correa (-.335), Joe Ryan (-.263), Luis Arráez (-.137) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Boston burns Ryan early Things didn’t click for Joe Ryan on Wednesday night, and his start was stained pretty early in the game. After a couple of scoreless innings, including a 1-2-3 second, the Twins’ starter was ambushed in the top of the third. Despite getting ahead on the count against all of them, Ryan failed to retire the first four batters he faced, and Boston took advantage of that. Kevin Plawecki and Tommy Pham got back-to-back singles to start the inning, the latter with a tough eight-pitch at-bat. When Alex Verdugo hit a grounder towards first, Jose Miranda decided to throw home to prevent Plawecki from scoring, allowing Verdugo to reach and load the bases with no outs. Xander Bogaerts wasted no time and destroyed a low-hanging slider down the middle for a grand slam. A flyout following the grand slam didn’t help much: despite getting ahead J.D. Martinez 0-2, Boston’s designated hitter took him deep for a second time in the evening, making it 5-0 Red Sox. With Michael Wacha having tossed two perfect innings to start the game, it was hard to imagine Minnesota would have the energy for a comeback. Their only chance would be to do some damage quickly. Twins get two runs back, can’t complete a rally By retiring Nick Gordon and Gilberto Celestino to open the bottom of the third, Wacha made it eight consecutive batters retired to start the game. Sandy Leon broke the streak with a bloop single to center and salvaged the inning, with Luis Arráez stepping up to the plate. He fought hard to turn a 1-2 count into a full count before hitting a liner to right for a two-run shot to put the Twins back in contention. Ryan remained in the game and pitched for two more innings. He got into a jam to begin the fourth, when he gave up a leadoff single and hit a batter, but pitched around those to end the inning. The offense started putting together another potential rally in the bottom of the inning when Kyle Garlick reached on a fielding error from second, and Gio Urshela singled, but Gordon struck out, ending the inning. Ryan also tossed a scoreless fifth to conclude his outing at exactly 100 pitches, his highest-scoring start in over three weeks. Moran has another good outing, maintains great season numbers Making his first big league appearance since August 2, Jovani Moran seemed to have picked up right where he left off when he last appeared in the majors. He couldn’t prevent Boston from scoring, with Plawecki hitting a leadoff double in the sixth and scoring later on a Bogaerts two-out double to right. Outside of those two extra-base hits allowed, Moran’s outing was brilliant. He struck out five batters through the sixth and seventh innings, then induced three groundball outs in a 1-2-3 eighth to complete three innings of one-run ball without any walks. He now has a 2.05 ERA through 21 appearances this season, making up for a fantastic second season in the majors. Too bad the offense couldn’t capitalize on several opportunities they’ve created. They had two men on in the sixth after a Correa walk and a Max Kepler double but came out empty-handed. Then, in the seventh, the Twins had men on the corners with one out after a Gordon leadoff double and a Gary Sanchez one-out walk. However, all they could get was a single run that came on an Arráez sac-fly. Gordon comes through again, but it’s not enough Gordon’s epic display last night was an indicator that this kid is ready for stardom, and he continued to swing the bat brilliantly tonight. His second hit of the night was a huge one in the eighth inning that made things very interesting. Kepler and Urshela both reached with a single each, making Gordon the tying run when he stepped up to the batter’s box. Gordon jumped on the first pitch for a long double that hit the right field wall, deep enough to push both runners across and make this a one-run game. Unfortunately, Gordon was caught at third trying to stretch a double into a triple, and the inning was over. Despite Gordon’s baserunning blunder, his two runs batted in in the eighth proved vital for Minnesota’s chances. After Trevor Megill delivered a scoreless top of the ninth (throwing 12 strikes in 14 pitches), Celestino led off the bottom of the inning with a chopper that Bogaerts couldn’t glove in time. Then, Sánchez drew a five-pitch walk, his second of the night, to put two men on with no outs for Arráez. Sadly, for Minnesota, Arráez flied out, and Correa grounded into a double play next, ending the game. The offense finished the night going 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position after Correa's double play. What’s Next? On Thursday, the Twins have a day off that they’ll use to travel to South Side Chicago, where they’ll begin a three-game set against the White Sox. Game one of the series is scheduled for Friday, with first pitch at 7:10 pm CDT. Sonny Gray (3.04 ERA) takes the mound for the Twins, with Davis Martin (4.62 ERA) starting for Chicago. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Megill 35 0 0 23 14 72 Moran 0 0 0 0 52 52 Thielbar 22 0 15 13 0 50 Pagán 0 22 0 21 0 43 Jax 8 0 17 8 0 33 Fulmer 0 15 0 13 0 28 Duran 13 0 14 0 0 27 López 0 0 9 0 0 9
  20. An early grand slam helped put the Red Sox ahead by five runs. The Twins never gave up, though, and they managed to make this a one-run game and to put the winning run at first base, but they couldn’t capitalize. The winning streak ends at five. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Joe Ryan, 5 IP, 8H, 5R, 5ER, 1BB, 8K (100 pitches, 69 strikes, 69.0%) Home Runs: Luis Arraez (8) Bottom 3 WPA: Carlos Correa (-.335), Joe Ryan (-.263), Luis Arráez (-.137) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Boston burns Ryan early Things didn’t click for Joe Ryan on Wednesday night, and his start was stained pretty early in the game. After a couple of scoreless innings, including a 1-2-3 second, the Twins’ starter was ambushed in the top of the third. Despite getting ahead on the count against all of them, Ryan failed to retire the first four batters he faced, and Boston took advantage of that. Kevin Plawecki and Tommy Pham got back-to-back singles to start the inning, the latter with a tough eight-pitch at-bat. When Alex Verdugo hit a grounder towards first, Jose Miranda decided to throw home to prevent Plawecki from scoring, allowing Verdugo to reach and load the bases with no outs. Xander Bogaerts wasted no time and destroyed a low-hanging slider down the middle for a grand slam. A flyout following the grand slam didn’t help much: despite getting ahead J.D. Martinez 0-2, Boston’s designated hitter took him deep for a second time in the evening, making it 5-0 Red Sox. With Michael Wacha having tossed two perfect innings to start the game, it was hard to imagine Minnesota would have the energy for a comeback. Their only chance would be to do some damage quickly. Twins get two runs back, can’t complete a rally By retiring Nick Gordon and Gilberto Celestino to open the bottom of the third, Wacha made it eight consecutive batters retired to start the game. Sandy Leon broke the streak with a bloop single to center and salvaged the inning, with Luis Arráez stepping up to the plate. He fought hard to turn a 1-2 count into a full count before hitting a liner to right for a two-run shot to put the Twins back in contention. Ryan remained in the game and pitched for two more innings. He got into a jam to begin the fourth, when he gave up a leadoff single and hit a batter, but pitched around those to end the inning. The offense started putting together another potential rally in the bottom of the inning when Kyle Garlick reached on a fielding error from second, and Gio Urshela singled, but Gordon struck out, ending the inning. Ryan also tossed a scoreless fifth to conclude his outing at exactly 100 pitches, his highest-scoring start in over three weeks. Moran has another good outing, maintains great season numbers Making his first big league appearance since August 2, Jovani Moran seemed to have picked up right where he left off when he last appeared in the majors. He couldn’t prevent Boston from scoring, with Plawecki hitting a leadoff double in the sixth and scoring later on a Bogaerts two-out double to right. Outside of those two extra-base hits allowed, Moran’s outing was brilliant. He struck out five batters through the sixth and seventh innings, then induced three groundball outs in a 1-2-3 eighth to complete three innings of one-run ball without any walks. He now has a 2.05 ERA through 21 appearances this season, making up for a fantastic second season in the majors. Too bad the offense couldn’t capitalize on several opportunities they’ve created. They had two men on in the sixth after a Correa walk and a Max Kepler double but came out empty-handed. Then, in the seventh, the Twins had men on the corners with one out after a Gordon leadoff double and a Gary Sanchez one-out walk. However, all they could get was a single run that came on an Arráez sac-fly. Gordon comes through again, but it’s not enough Gordon’s epic display last night was an indicator that this kid is ready for stardom, and he continued to swing the bat brilliantly tonight. His second hit of the night was a huge one in the eighth inning that made things very interesting. Kepler and Urshela both reached with a single each, making Gordon the tying run when he stepped up to the batter’s box. Gordon jumped on the first pitch for a long double that hit the right field wall, deep enough to push both runners across and make this a one-run game. Unfortunately, Gordon was caught at third trying to stretch a double into a triple, and the inning was over. Despite Gordon’s baserunning blunder, his two runs batted in in the eighth proved vital for Minnesota’s chances. After Trevor Megill delivered a scoreless top of the ninth (throwing 12 strikes in 14 pitches), Celestino led off the bottom of the inning with a chopper that Bogaerts couldn’t glove in time. Then, Sánchez drew a five-pitch walk, his second of the night, to put two men on with no outs for Arráez. Sadly, for Minnesota, Arráez flied out, and Correa grounded into a double play next, ending the game. The offense finished the night going 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position after Correa's double play. What’s Next? On Thursday, the Twins have a day off that they’ll use to travel to South Side Chicago, where they’ll begin a three-game set against the White Sox. Game one of the series is scheduled for Friday, with first pitch at 7:10 pm CDT. Sonny Gray (3.04 ERA) takes the mound for the Twins, with Davis Martin (4.62 ERA) starting for Chicago. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Megill 35 0 0 23 14 72 Moran 0 0 0 0 52 52 Thielbar 22 0 15 13 0 50 Pagán 0 22 0 21 0 43 Jax 8 0 17 8 0 33 Fulmer 0 15 0 13 0 28 Duran 13 0 14 0 0 27 López 0 0 9 0 0 9 View full article
  21. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Joe Ryan, 6 IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 3BB, 8K (106 pitches, 68 strikes, 64.2%) Home Runs: Carlos Correa (15), Gary Sánchez (12), Kyle Garlick (9) Top 3 WPA: Carlos Correa (.207), Joe Ryan (.156), Kyle Garlick (.095) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Twins get an early lead, nearly lose it The Twins entered tonight’s trying to prevent their losing streak from reaching seven games, which would represent their longest one since April 26, 2018. This current six-game losing streak is the longest one since the shortened 2020 season when they lost six in a row in the final week of August. Furthermore, tonight’s game marked the one-week anniversary since their last win, a week in which they were outscored 29-12. Could tonight finally be the one they would put an end to all of those narratives? Not only had it been a whole week since the last time the Twins won a game, but it had also been a week since they had a two-run lead in a game (seriously, how did we make it through this week without losing our minds?). That changed right from the get-go tonight. After a long but scoreless top of the first by Joe Ryan, the offense decided to show up early: leadoff man Kyle Garlick got hit by Giants’ starter Alex Wood, and, immediately after that, Carlos Correa hit a two-run bomb to deep left field. That was Correa’s first dinger since August 13. Seeing some runs on the board early on might’ve been a relief, but it felt like it would all melt away soon. After a 20-pitch first, Ryan struggled once again to put away batters quickly in the second. Despite facing the bottom half of the San Francisco lineup, he allowed Brandon Crawford (walk) and Austin Slater (double) to reach, and suddenly, the Giants had two men in scoring position with one out. Ryan managed to induce a pop out and a fly out to end the threat, but not before his pitch count had been driven to 45 pitches. Minnesota scores six runs on five hits in the third Ryan settled in nicely in the top of the third, finishing off the top of the Giants’ order on 15 pitches. In retribution, the offense decided to put the game away. They loaded the bases with no outs on three consecutive singles (Sandy León, Garlick, and Correa) for José Miranda. The rookie couldn’t make it four in a row, but he hit a line drive long enough to bring León home from third. When Wood struck out Gio Urshela for the second out, it felt like he would limit the damage to a minimum, but Minnesota’s bats had other plans. Jorge Polanco was hit on the foot, and once again, the bases were juiced. Gilberto Celestino stepped up to the plate and was a few feet away from hitting a grand slam, but he settled for a bases-clearing double off the center field wall to make it 6-0 Twins. And they weren’t done! As former Twin Zack Littell was warming up to replace Wood, Gary Sánchez also went yard for a two-run laser to right, his 12th home run of the season and the first one since August 10. This eight-run lead was the largest one the Twins had built since August 16, when they crushed the Royals at Target Field for a 9-0 win. Such a comfortable lead helped Ryan. He faced the minimum with only 24 pitches in the fourth and fifth innings; to start the sixth, he lost the first two batters he faced by giving up a leadoff walk to Tommy La Stella and hitting Wilmer Flores on the elbow. But after a mound visit, he retired the next three batters, including a couple of punch outs, for a total of eight in the game. Ryan completed six without allowing a run, making this the first time he’s tossed at least six shutout innings in a game since April 27. Also, for only the fifth time this season, he surpassed the 100-pitch mark with 106, his second-lengthiest start of the season. Bullpen is spotless, offense adds on Emilio Pagán took over for Ryan in the seventh, and he delivered two scoreless frames, allowing only one hit. This was his third multi-inning appearance in his last four outings, possibly confirming his new role as a long middle man. After his eighth inning, the offense added another run to this blowout: Garlick jumped on the first pitch of his at-bat for a solo home run. Michael Fulmer came in to pitch the ninth, and he sealed the deal on 12 pitches. Postgame interview What’s Next? Both teams take the field again tomorrow for game two, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:15 pm CDT. Sonny Gray (3.10 ERA) will toe the rubber for Minnesota, while Alex Cobb (3.99 ERA) will try to avoid a series loss for the Giants. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Fulmer 12 0 23 0 12 47 Pagán 0 14 0 0 28 42 Megill 0 8 0 23 0 31 Smeltzer 0 0 27 0 0 27 Duran 0 0 0 20 0 20 Jax 14 0 0 6 0 20 López 0 0 0 18 0 18 Thielbar 12 0 0 0 0 12
  22. Finally! The Twins demolished the Giants with eight early runs and snapped a six-game losing streak. Joe Ryan tossed six shutout innings, allowing only two hits, making up for a perfect Friday night at Target Field. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Joe Ryan, 6 IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 3BB, 8K (106 pitches, 68 strikes, 64.2%) Home Runs: Carlos Correa (15), Gary Sánchez (12), Kyle Garlick (9) Top 3 WPA: Carlos Correa (.207), Joe Ryan (.156), Kyle Garlick (.095) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Twins get an early lead, nearly lose it The Twins entered tonight’s trying to prevent their losing streak from reaching seven games, which would represent their longest one since April 26, 2018. This current six-game losing streak is the longest one since the shortened 2020 season when they lost six in a row in the final week of August. Furthermore, tonight’s game marked the one-week anniversary since their last win, a week in which they were outscored 29-12. Could tonight finally be the one they would put an end to all of those narratives? Not only had it been a whole week since the last time the Twins won a game, but it had also been a week since they had a two-run lead in a game (seriously, how did we make it through this week without losing our minds?). That changed right from the get-go tonight. After a long but scoreless top of the first by Joe Ryan, the offense decided to show up early: leadoff man Kyle Garlick got hit by Giants’ starter Alex Wood, and, immediately after that, Carlos Correa hit a two-run bomb to deep left field. That was Correa’s first dinger since August 13. Seeing some runs on the board early on might’ve been a relief, but it felt like it would all melt away soon. After a 20-pitch first, Ryan struggled once again to put away batters quickly in the second. Despite facing the bottom half of the San Francisco lineup, he allowed Brandon Crawford (walk) and Austin Slater (double) to reach, and suddenly, the Giants had two men in scoring position with one out. Ryan managed to induce a pop out and a fly out to end the threat, but not before his pitch count had been driven to 45 pitches. Minnesota scores six runs on five hits in the third Ryan settled in nicely in the top of the third, finishing off the top of the Giants’ order on 15 pitches. In retribution, the offense decided to put the game away. They loaded the bases with no outs on three consecutive singles (Sandy León, Garlick, and Correa) for José Miranda. The rookie couldn’t make it four in a row, but he hit a line drive long enough to bring León home from third. When Wood struck out Gio Urshela for the second out, it felt like he would limit the damage to a minimum, but Minnesota’s bats had other plans. Jorge Polanco was hit on the foot, and once again, the bases were juiced. Gilberto Celestino stepped up to the plate and was a few feet away from hitting a grand slam, but he settled for a bases-clearing double off the center field wall to make it 6-0 Twins. And they weren’t done! As former Twin Zack Littell was warming up to replace Wood, Gary Sánchez also went yard for a two-run laser to right, his 12th home run of the season and the first one since August 10. This eight-run lead was the largest one the Twins had built since August 16, when they crushed the Royals at Target Field for a 9-0 win. Such a comfortable lead helped Ryan. He faced the minimum with only 24 pitches in the fourth and fifth innings; to start the sixth, he lost the first two batters he faced by giving up a leadoff walk to Tommy La Stella and hitting Wilmer Flores on the elbow. But after a mound visit, he retired the next three batters, including a couple of punch outs, for a total of eight in the game. Ryan completed six without allowing a run, making this the first time he’s tossed at least six shutout innings in a game since April 27. Also, for only the fifth time this season, he surpassed the 100-pitch mark with 106, his second-lengthiest start of the season. Bullpen is spotless, offense adds on Emilio Pagán took over for Ryan in the seventh, and he delivered two scoreless frames, allowing only one hit. This was his third multi-inning appearance in his last four outings, possibly confirming his new role as a long middle man. After his eighth inning, the offense added another run to this blowout: Garlick jumped on the first pitch of his at-bat for a solo home run. Michael Fulmer came in to pitch the ninth, and he sealed the deal on 12 pitches. Postgame interview What’s Next? Both teams take the field again tomorrow for game two, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:15 pm CDT. Sonny Gray (3.10 ERA) will toe the rubber for Minnesota, while Alex Cobb (3.99 ERA) will try to avoid a series loss for the Giants. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Fulmer 12 0 23 0 12 47 Pagán 0 14 0 0 28 42 Megill 0 8 0 23 0 31 Smeltzer 0 0 27 0 0 27 Duran 0 0 0 20 0 20 Jax 14 0 0 6 0 20 López 0 0 0 18 0 18 Thielbar 12 0 0 0 0 12 View full article
  23. If this is a repeated topic, I apologize. But I'd like to know the fans' opinions on a pretty straightforward question: should Rocco Baldelli remain at the helm of the Twins after this season? If so, why? If not, why not? Your reasonings are what I'm interested in the most here.
  24. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 5 IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 0K (66 pitches, 44 strikes, 66.6%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Max Kepler (-.301), Michael Fulmer (-.200), José Miranda (-.088) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Bundy tosses five solid innings, gives Twins a chance Right out of the gate, this game seemed doomed for the Twins. Houston starter Framber Valdez had a 1-2-3 first inning that took him only 14 pitches. Then, when Dylan Bundy took the mound for the bottom half, José Altuve took him deep on his very first pitch, putting the Astros on the board right away. Fortunately, Bundy settled in and retired six of the next seven batters faced, only giving up a walk. Meanwhile, the offense attempted to put something together and managed to get two men on base during the second inning after a walk by Luis Arráez followed by a Gilberto Celestino single. They kept pushing until they manufactured the tying run in the next inning. Sandy León led off the third with a walk, and, suddenly, Minnesota had two men in scoring position after a Jorge Polanco double. Former Astro Carlos Correa hit a liner to left, and León tagged and scored. Martín Maldonado broke Bundy’s hot streak with a leadoff double to start the bottom of the third. He was eventually brought home by an Altuve single and a Yuli Gurriel sac fly, regaining the lead for Houston. Once again, Bundy didn’t lose control: by retiring Alex Bregman on a lineout to conclude the third, he began a streak of seven consecutive batters retired, keeping this a one-run game into the sixth. With tonight’s start, Bundy has completed five consecutive starts in which he gives up three earned runs or less. Houston breaks it open against Fulmer Bundy departed the game after two trips through the order, despite having thrown only 66 total pitches. Should he have been kept in the game, given his pitch count? His 8.53 season ERA in the third time through the order sure isn’t very encouraging, so Rocco Baldelli decided to activate the bullpen, bringing Michael Fulmer to pitch the sixth. Houston added a run after Yordan Álvarez stretched a single into a double after a defensive miscue by the Twins’ outfield. He also moved up to third on a wild pitch, which allowed him to score on a Bregman sac fly. Fulmer couldn’t stop the bleeding, giving up another double, this time to Kyle Tucker with two outs. Then, Trey Mancini blasted a two-run shot to right field, making it 5-1 Astros. With Valdez completing seven innings, the Twins’ struggling offense was once again severely uninspired to spark a rally. Devin Smeltzer came in to eat up the final two innings and did a fine job at it, tossing two scoreless frames. After reliever Bryan Abreu pitched a scoreless eighth, Rafael Montero came in to try to close out the game, Montero failed to retire the first four batters he faced, and the Twins scored a couple of runs: Arráez doubled Gio Urshela home after he had hit a leadoff single; then, Arráez himself was brought home from second on a Jake Cave fielder’s choice (a ball that was bobbled by Altuve). But when Max Kepler grounded into a double play, Montero had no trouble retiring Gary Sanchez for the game’s final out. Postgame interview What’s Next? On Thursday, these two teams play the final game of the series, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 pm CDT. To try and avoid the sweep, the Twins turn to Chris Archer (4.02 ERA), who will be facing Luis Garcia (4.09 ERA). After the game, the Twins head back to Minnesota for a six-game homestand. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Smeltzer 45 0 0 0 27 72 Pagán 0 39 0 14 0 53 Fulmer 0 0 12 0 23 35 Jax 11 0 14 0 0 25 Megill 0 15 0 8 0 23 Thielbar 11 0 12 0 0 23 López 9 0 0 0 0 9 Duran 0 0 0 0 0 0
  25. Facing the Astros’ juggernaut pitching staff, the Twins’ offense was once again dominated, despite a late rally bringing the tying run to the plate. Dylan Bundy was solid through five, but a rough sixth inning cost Minnesota the game. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 5 IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 0K (66 pitches, 44 strikes, 66.6%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Max Kepler (-.301), Michael Fulmer (-.200), José Miranda (-.088) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Bundy tosses five solid innings, gives Twins a chance Right out of the gate, this game seemed doomed for the Twins. Houston starter Framber Valdez had a 1-2-3 first inning that took him only 14 pitches. Then, when Dylan Bundy took the mound for the bottom half, José Altuve took him deep on his very first pitch, putting the Astros on the board right away. Fortunately, Bundy settled in and retired six of the next seven batters faced, only giving up a walk. Meanwhile, the offense attempted to put something together and managed to get two men on base during the second inning after a walk by Luis Arráez followed by a Gilberto Celestino single. They kept pushing until they manufactured the tying run in the next inning. Sandy León led off the third with a walk, and, suddenly, Minnesota had two men in scoring position after a Jorge Polanco double. Former Astro Carlos Correa hit a liner to left, and León tagged and scored. Martín Maldonado broke Bundy’s hot streak with a leadoff double to start the bottom of the third. He was eventually brought home by an Altuve single and a Yuli Gurriel sac fly, regaining the lead for Houston. Once again, Bundy didn’t lose control: by retiring Alex Bregman on a lineout to conclude the third, he began a streak of seven consecutive batters retired, keeping this a one-run game into the sixth. With tonight’s start, Bundy has completed five consecutive starts in which he gives up three earned runs or less. Houston breaks it open against Fulmer Bundy departed the game after two trips through the order, despite having thrown only 66 total pitches. Should he have been kept in the game, given his pitch count? His 8.53 season ERA in the third time through the order sure isn’t very encouraging, so Rocco Baldelli decided to activate the bullpen, bringing Michael Fulmer to pitch the sixth. Houston added a run after Yordan Álvarez stretched a single into a double after a defensive miscue by the Twins’ outfield. He also moved up to third on a wild pitch, which allowed him to score on a Bregman sac fly. Fulmer couldn’t stop the bleeding, giving up another double, this time to Kyle Tucker with two outs. Then, Trey Mancini blasted a two-run shot to right field, making it 5-1 Astros. With Valdez completing seven innings, the Twins’ struggling offense was once again severely uninspired to spark a rally. Devin Smeltzer came in to eat up the final two innings and did a fine job at it, tossing two scoreless frames. After reliever Bryan Abreu pitched a scoreless eighth, Rafael Montero came in to try to close out the game, Montero failed to retire the first four batters he faced, and the Twins scored a couple of runs: Arráez doubled Gio Urshela home after he had hit a leadoff single; then, Arráez himself was brought home from second on a Jake Cave fielder’s choice (a ball that was bobbled by Altuve). But when Max Kepler grounded into a double play, Montero had no trouble retiring Gary Sanchez for the game’s final out. Postgame interview What’s Next? On Thursday, these two teams play the final game of the series, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 pm CDT. To try and avoid the sweep, the Twins turn to Chris Archer (4.02 ERA), who will be facing Luis Garcia (4.09 ERA). After the game, the Twins head back to Minnesota for a six-game homestand. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Smeltzer 45 0 0 0 27 72 Pagán 0 39 0 14 0 53 Fulmer 0 0 12 0 23 35 Jax 11 0 14 0 0 25 Megill 0 15 0 8 0 23 Thielbar 11 0 12 0 0 23 López 9 0 0 0 0 9 Duran 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
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