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  1. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 9/26 through Sun, 10/2 *** Record Last Week: 3-3 (Overall: 77-82) Run Differential Last Week: +9 (Overall: +10) Standing: 3rd Place in AL Central (13.0 GB) Last Week's Game Results: Game 154 | MIN 4, CWS 0: Ober Dominates Sox with 10 Ks Game 155 | MIN 8, CWS 4: Heart of the Order Comes Through Game 156 | CWS 4, MIN 3: Late Defensive Lapse Costly in Loss Game 157 | MIN 7, DET 0: Ryan Masterful in Another Shutout Game 158 | DET 3, MIN 2: Missed Opportunities Mount In Motown Game 159 | DET 5, MIN 2: Bats Quiet Again in SWR's Debut NEWS & NOTES Not many of the Twins' injured players are going to make it back this year. But to his credit, Ryan Jeffers did. His rehab and recovery from a fractured thumb to longer than expected, and the catcher position was an offensive black hole in his absence, but ultimately Jeffers did make it back for the end of the season and that means something. Jeffers got plenty of action in his first week back, starting three times and appearing twice as a substitute. He went 3-for-15 with a triple and a couple of RBIs. On Sunday, Jeffers was behind the plate for the major-league debut of pitching prospect Simeon Woods Richardson, who had just completed a stellar season in the minors between Double-A and Triple-A (107.1 IP, 2.77 ERA). Five days removed from his 22nd birthday, the right-hander got the nod for Minnesota's series finale in Detroit, with his hilariously long last name wrapping fully around the No. 78 on his newly minted Twins jersey. It was an altogether strong outing for Woods Richardson, who allowed three runs (two earned) over five innings of work. He settled in pretty nicely after a shaky 29-pitch first inning and showed impressive poise – especially considering he became the youngest pitcher to appear in the majors this year (narrowly edging Ronny Henriquez who was optioned to make room for SWR). HIGHLIGHTS Joe Ryan ended a strong rookie campaign on a high note, with six innings of shutout ball against the Tigers on Friday night. In a season that brought his weaknesses to light – namely, a proneness to homers and vulnerability against high-caliber offenses – Ryan also cemented himself as a quality mid-rotation MLB starter. The flip side to his struggles against postseason teams is that Ryan was sublime when facing lesser lineups. Against sub-.500 competition he went 10-2 with a 2.42 ERA and 10.3 K/9 rate. Let's not act like this doesn't have value. Succeeding to that extent against any major-league lineups is impressive, and in particular Ryan was hyper-effective versus divisional opponents, against whom he finished 10-0 with a 1.23 ERA. He might not be the kind of starter you want toeing the rubber in a postseason game – not in his current state, which isn't to say he can't change that – but at the very least Ryan is proving to be a big regular-season asset. And currently, he is the club's sturdiest long-term asset in the rotation, coming off a mostly healthy and complete season. The same unfortunately cannot be said for Bailey Ober, otherwise he'd be right there in the conversation with Ryan as the stablest building block. Ober's start against Chicago on Tuesday night was just his 10th here in a season that was torpedoed by a major groin injury. But at least the big righty is finishing strong and setting the foundation for a fuller campaign in 2023. Kicking off the final home series at Target Field, Ober delivered the best performance of his young career, striking out 10 over 7 ⅓ shutout innings. The Sox legit had no chance against him as his late release point seemed to be stymying hitters more than ever. When he's been able to take the mound this year, the 27-year-old has been arguably the team's most effective starter, posting a 3.18 ERA, 2.74 FIP and 47-to-10 K/BB ratio with just three home runs allowed in 51 innings. Something to carry forward into next season, even if he won't have much of a workload base to build off in 2023. With Ryan and Ober finishing on high notes, Woods Richardson and Louie Varland getting late-season tastes of the majors, and Josh Winder making it back onto the field for a handful of starts, there are at least some positive youthful signs in a rotation closing out the year with its three top veterans on the injured list. The Twins lineup, meanwhile, is also severely diminished as they play out these final games. But it was nice to see some of the remaining bats step up and carry the load over the past week. Standout performers included Jake Cave (7-for-19, three RBIs) and Matt Wallner (double, homer, and five RBIs). Gio Urshela, who's capping off a solid season with a spectacular September, kept it rolling as the driving force in the offense, finishing the week 10-for-23 with some timely hits in big spots. Urshela has the fifth-best Win Probability Added on the team this year, and since the All-Star break he is second only to Carlos Correa. While the decision of whether or not to tender Urshela a contract in his coming final season of arbitration was once up in the air, his stellar finish probably seals it, although it remains possible the Twins could trade him if there's interest. LOWLIGHTS Nick Gordon's breakthrough season at the plate has been a big positive for the Twins in a year full of negatives. The past week saw him batting third in the lineup several times, albeit failing to live up that billing with a 3-for-20 sample. Regardless, Gordon's ability to hit is no longer really in question. His defensive versatility, on the other hand? The 26-year-old has been pressed into more into more intensive action at second base with Jorge Polanco sidelined, and it hasn't gone very smoothly. Gordon's been very susceptible to misplays at the position, including a costly dropped pop-up on Thursday that led to the decisive run scoring in a 4-3 loss. Looking ahead to next year, some have speculated that Gordon could be considered as a short-term plug at shortstop until Royce Lewis is ready to rejoin the fold. I don't think so. In fact, I genuinely wonder if what they Twins have seen from Gordon as an infielder late in this season will convince them that his future should exclusively be in the outfield. TRENDING STORYLINE At this point, the only remaining Twins storyline of intrigue is Luis Arraez's pursuit of his first batting title – or, as the rest of the baseball world might view it, his quest to deprive Aaron Judge of a triple crown. The Twins helped Arraez's chances over the weekend by sitting him against both of Detroit's left-handed starters. This favorable usage helped the infielder bat .389 (7-for-18) on the week, concluding play on Sunday with a 4-point edge over Judge (.315 to .311) after the latter went 0-for-3 on Sunday. LOOKING AHEAD The Twins have three games remaining, all against right-handed starters, so presumably Arraez will be in there for the entire series against the White Sox, looking to make a closing statement of his own and wrap up the 2022 AL batting title. Judge and the Yankees wrap their season in Texas with three games against the Rangers. MONDAY, 10/3: TWINS @ WHITE SOX – RHP Bailey Ober v. RHP Johnny Cueto TUESDAY, 10/4: TWINS @ WHITE SOX – RHP Josh Winder v. RHP Lucas Giolito WEDNESDAY, 10/5: TWINS @ WHITE SOX – RHP Louie Varland v. RHP Davis Martin
  2. Box Score Louie Varland: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K Home Runs: None Bottom 3 WPA: Caleb Thielbar (-.280), Jose Miranda (-.178), Matt Wallner (-.128) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The game’s action started quickly; as fans looked for seats, ordered popcorn, and organized their children, the Twins' offense clocked in for work, plating a pair of runs off Lucas Giolito in the 1st inning. Three straight singles from Carlos Correa, Luis Arraez, and Gio Urshela loaded the bases—and while a Gary Sánchez strikeout incited groans from an often apathetic crowd—Nick Gordon broke the mold, delivering a ringing two-run double into the right field corner. Giolito was in trouble early. On the flipside, Louie Varland easily settled into his start; the St. Paul native breezed through the opening frame and worked around a walk in the 2nd inning, supporting the two-run advantage his offense had gifted him. Trouble brewed in the 3rd inning, however; Matt Wallner awkwardly misplayed a line drive, allowing Josh Harrison to score from first base while Romy Gonzalez—the fortunate individual who hit the ball—scampered safely to third base. Gonzalez traveled home two batters later thanks to a Mark Payton single. The game remained a stalemate through the middle innings; neither starter found their dominant stuff, but they were both effective, resiliently tamping down minor attempts at scoring. The White Sox found the upper hand in the 6th inning, ambushing a freshly minted Griffin Jax for two singles and a run off an Andrew Vaughn sacrifice fly. The Twins struck back in the bottom half of the inning with some old-school small-ball. After Sánchez walked to begin the inning, Billy Hamilton—always the speed demon—took his spot at first base. In perhaps the least surprising move of all-time, Hamilton stole 2nd base and then claimed 3rd after Gordon struck out. Gilberto Celestino worked a mature plate appearance, walking in a full count to set up Ryan Jeffers in a pinch-hitting scenario. With a strike to his name, Jeffers laid down a perfect push-bunt towards 1st base, a play so masterful that he even beat out the throw to 1st base. The game was now tied. After an uneventful 7th inning, action began in the 8th; Caleb Thielbar entered the game in relief of Jorge López and coaxed a sky-high pop-up from Payton. Unfortunately, Gordon never comfortably found the ball, and it slipped out of his glove, allowing Payton to dash to second base safely. The White Sox pounced immediately; José Abreu—as he always does—struck a double off the wall in right-center field, scoring the go-ahead run. That final score proved to be the dagger; the Twins fell to Kendall Graveman in the 8th, and—despite a walk from Correa in the 9th—Liam Hendriks silenced their bats in the final frame, halting Minnesota from sweeping their final home series. Notes: Louie Varland has struck out three batters in three straight starts; he remains winless in his MLB career The Twins netted two hits outside of the 1st innings Luis Arraez stands atop of the AL batting race with a .315 mark; Aaron Judge is 2nd at .313 Caleb Thielbar received his first loss since August 20th against Texas Matt Wallner earned his first MLB steal in the 4th inning Post-Game Interview: What’s Next? The Twins will head to Detroit to start a three-game series on Friday; Joe Ryan will start opposite Tyler Alexander. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet:
  3. 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
  4. Box Score SP: Josh Winder 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (89 pitches, 54 strikes (60.6 strike %)) Home Runs: None Bottom 3 WPA: Jose Miranda (-.0104), Gio Urshela (-0.083), Jake Cave (-0.079) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Hitting woes continue For the game's first five innings, the Twins bats did not get anything going aside from a Carlos Correa infield single in the fourth to stop Jonathan Heasley’s 10 up-10 down start to the game. Many of the Twins’ at-bats were wasted on flyouts and groundouts and not taking enough pitches each at-bat to draw walks as Heasley had 64 pitches and 41 strikes through five. The Twins mounted their first threat in the top of the sixth when Caleb Hamilton led off with a walk (his first career walk) followed by a Luis Arraez single which advanced Hamilton to third. Hamilton scored two batters later on a Nick Gordon sacrifice fly finally getting the Twins on the board down 3-1. The Twins hitters combined for a total of two hits and three walks with a run in Thursday’s game, continuing to miss opportunities to drive in runs when provided as in the sixth. Winder throws well with no support Josh Winder had the start for the Twins and had a solid first two innings of work surrendering only a double to Bobby Witt Jr. and walking to Salvador Perez. Both those batters got to Winder once again in the third as both singled on back-to-back at-bats with Perez driving in Witt Jr. to put the Royals up 1-0. Winder gave up solo home runs to Edward Olivares in the fourth and Drew Waters in the fifth putting the Royals up 3-0. Winder worked the sixth inning to give the bullpen a little extra rest, and aside from a two-out single to Kyle Isbel, he was able to retire all other batters on flyouts. Winder’s afternoon was done after the sixth inning. He threw 89 pitches and gave up three runs on six hits. He struck out four. An improvement from his previous start against Cleveland but still plenty of room for growth. End of season skid sees no end After the loss, the Twins have a 6-15 record for the month of September. They have not had this bad a record for the month of September since 2016 when they went 8-19 in the final full month of that season. The 2016 season was the worst in Minnesota for franchise history, this year has not been the case, rather the slow burn of falling apart since mid-June. This Twins team has also failed to really capitalize on any run-scoring opportunities as they have scored only 67 runs across 21 games. What’s Next? Twins return to Target Field Friday night to start the final homestand of the season with a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. Louie Varland is on the mound for the Twins against the best two-way player in history; Shohei Ohtani. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. CT. Postgame Interview Coming soon. Bullpen Usage Sheet
  5. 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
  6. Box Score SP: Sonny Gray: 2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (44 pitches, 26 strikes (59.1%) Home Runs: Nick Gordon (9) Bottom 3 WPA: Sonny Gray (-.281), Mark Contreras (-.243), Ronny Henriquez (-.121) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Guardians grab lead early The Guardians wasted no time in putting runs on the board Monday afternoon. Quickly Amed Rosario and Jose Ramirez found themselves in scoring position. It didn’t matter where they were on the base paths as Josh Naylor got a hold of a Sonny Gray curveball and launched it into the right field seats giving the Guardians an early 3-0 lead. Gray exits after second Not only were the Twins behind early 3-0, but there were other signs that Gray's outing was going poorly. The radar gun showed that his average fastball speed was down about two miles per hour. We later learned what was ailing Gray was a return of the hamstring tightness that recently plagued him. Henriquez debuts With Gray out, Ronny Henriquez came into pitch, making his major league debut. Early on, his stuff was on display. The movement that the 22-year-old pitcher creates is impressive. Henriquez even flashed his glove as he was welcomed to the big leagues by a screaming Ramirez liner right back at him. The gloves behind him could have been a bit more sound as they helped create a bases-loaded situation that Henriquez was able to escape without allowing any runs to score. Henriquez is currently ranked as Twins Daily’s #16 prospect in the Twins system after coming over to the Twins in the Mitch Garver trade with the Texas Rangers. Since the trade, there has been an eye on Henriquez as a possible bullpen arm for the Twins in 2022. Finally, here in September, he is getting his chance. The debut was promising through three innings as Henriquez was able to hold Cleveland scoreless. In his fourth inning of work, the opposing bats were able to get to him. Including the exclamation point of an Amed Rosario three-run home run. Twins find some runs in the fourth Carlos Correa led off the fourth inning with an opposite-field single. Jose Miranda followed up with a similar opposite field hit for a double, setting the Twins up with runners on second and third with no outs. In a game full of infield hits, it was two hits that stayed in the infield that would bring both Correa and Miranda in to score. Those two runs cut the Twins deficit down to two with a 4-2 tally on the scoreboard. Opportunity missed in the sixth With the Twins down 4-3, they had the perfect opportunity to take the lead. With the bases loaded and one out, the Twins chased Guardians starter Cal Quantrill from the game. Nick Sandlin took his place, and Mark Contreras came in as a pinch hitter for Caleb Hamilton to try and drive in some runs for the Twins. Instead, Contreras lined out to first baseman Naylor, and Matt Wallner was doubled off to end the inning and the scoring threat. In the end, Cleveland would score two more runs after Rosario hit his three-run home run, bringing the final score to 11-4. In a week following the "official" end to the Twins playoff chances, there wasn't much to be excited about. Nick Gordon hit his ninth home run, and the first three innings of Henriquez's debut were good to see. Beyond that, any Twins fans watching got another look at why the Guardians are poised to win the division, and the Twins are not. What’s Next? The Minnesota Twins will make their way to Kansas City to open up a three-game series against the Royals. Dylan Bundy will take the mound for the Twins, while the Royals will send veteran Zach Greinke to the mound. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT Henriquez 0 0 0 0 0 73 73 López 0 0 0 32 0 34 66 Moran 40 0 0 15 5 0 60 Jax 0 18 22 13 0 0 53 Duran 0 19 16 0 17 0 52 Sanchez 0 0 0 49 0 0 49 Fulmer 0 21 11 17 0 0 49 Pagán 0 0 0 31 0 15 46 Thielbar 0 12 15 0 0 0 27
  7. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Josh Winder 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (82 pitches, 54 strikes (65%)) Home Runs: Nick Gordon (8) Top 3 WPA: Nick Gordon (0.435), Dereck Rodriguez (0.355), Griffin Jax (0.307), Michael Fulmer (0.307) Bottom 3 WPA: Matt Wallner (-0.377), Jermaine Palacios (-0.304), Sandy Leon (-0.286) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Josh Winder and Gary Sanchez started out the first inning finding a rhythm to their game. Winder let a run in immediately in the top of the first but managed to stay in control, finding that stride, and retired the next ten batters through the fourth inning. Winder started his third game against Cleveland this season and his second appearance since coming off the IL for shoulder tightness. The Twins let Winder try and work into the fifth, which was good until a slider to Amed Rosario backed up and didn't break. The red-hot Rosario crushed a three-run home run. Baldelli relieved Winder after Jose Ramirez hit a single and replaced him with Jovani Moran to finish the inning. The bullpen managed to keep the Guardians scoreless after their initial five runs. Even when it got exciting in the ninth and the Guardians made a push with players in scoring position. Steven Kwan was on second when Jorge Lopez uncoiled a wild pitch. Kwan rounded third and slid into home, not realizing that the pitch bounced into a dugout suite. Given another chance, Lopez closed out the inning and sent the game to the tenth. The Twins offense didn't get a hit off of Guardian starter Konor Pilkington until the sixth inning when Jose Miranda recorded a single. That ended the night for the Cleveland lefty. In the seventh inning, they threatened with one out and the bases loaded (after a pitch struck Nick Gordon) but left all three stranded. The Twins haven't been hitting much lately, and when they do get baserunners, they struggle with runners in scoring position. Due to the countless injuries and Triple-A players occupying the roster and line-up, the Twins have the youngest team in MLB. The rookies have received playing time and opportunities. Each has experienced some success to build upon, and each has found plenty of struggles and lessons learned. One player who has really taken advantage of his opportunity in 2022 is Nick Gordon. He regularly played in left of center field most of the season, but with Jorge Polanco on the Injured List and Luis Arraez hobbled, he's been playing a lot of second base of late. Check out this play. Since Terry Francona took over the Guardians coaching position in 2012, the Twins and Guardians have had 194 meetings, with the Twins winning 95 of those and the Guardians winning 99. The Guardians are one of the teams that have consistently given the Twins trouble getting past. The Guardians have been in 25 last-at-bat this season, and seven have been against the Twins. They have also won half of their walk-offs of the season against the Twins (3). Jake Cave came into the game as a pinch hitter and started a five-run eighth inning. After getting to first on an error, the bases loaded up again after Jose Miranda singled and Carlos Correa was hit by a pitch. A Gio Urshela single scored Cave and Miranda and cut the deficit to 5-2. Gary Sanchez scored Correa with a sacrifice fly. With two outs, Nick Gordon crushed a two-run homer that tied the game at five. The Twins managed to stay solid, even bringing back veteran and former Twins farmhand Dereck Rodriguez who had one appearance with the big club back on April 13th against the Dodgers. "Son of Pudge" managed to keep the Guardians at bay, giving the Twins a chance. In the 13th inning, it was Gordon again who gave the Twins a short-lived lead at 6-5 with a sacrifice fly that scored Correa. In 89 2/3 innings this season with Saints this season, he had 88 strikeouts and a 1.35 WHIP to accompany a 7-4 record. Rodriguez wasn’t even at the stadium when the game started, He was on a plane from Minneapolis to Cleveland and suited up and took the field. Right-handed reliever Trevor Megill was placed on the COVID-IL between games with Rodriguez, who is not on the 40-man roster, taking his spot. The Twins management throughout today's games was fantastic and it showed through the remaining portion of the game, but after 24 innings of baseball, the game ended with a Guardians walk-off in the bottom of the 15th inning due to a Jermaine Palacios error on a hard-hit ball from Amed Rosario (of course) allowing Austin Hedges to score, ending the night. With two games left in the series, the Twins remain in an absolutely must-win situation to stay relevant in the division. Do you think they have it in them, or are they done for the season? Pitching Preview Match-Up Cleveland Series: Sunday 12:40pm CST: Joe Ryan (11-8,3.83 ERA) vs. RHP Cody Morris (0-1,2.79 ERA) Monday 12:10 pm CST: Sonny Gray (8-4, 2.91 ERA) vs. RHP Cal Quantrill (12-5, 3.51 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  8. 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
  9. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 4 IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 2K (60 pitches, 41 strikes, 68.3%) Home Runs: Carlos Correa (21), Nick Gordon (7) Top 3 WPA: Carlos Correa (.155), Jhoan Duran (.153), Michael Fulmer (.115) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) In Honor of 21 Some things are bigger than the result on the field. 50 years following his passing, six Twins players donned #21 for Roberto Clemente Day on Thursday night. Puerto Rican natives Carlos Correa, Jose Miranda, Jorge López and Jovani Moran all donned #21 for the man who was arguably the father of baseball for the country. Emilio Pagán, who is of Puerto Rican descent (his father is from Puerto Rico) and Byron Buxton, who is the Twins' nominee for the 2022 Roberto Clemente Award also wore #21 on their jerseys. Early Action After the White Sox crunched the Guardians on Thursday afternoon, the Twins wasted no time to hop on top of the Royals on Thursday. Carlos Correa launched a full-count fastball over the left-field wall to put the Twins up 1-0. That homer was Correa's fifth in the last seven games. A clubhouse leader showing up when it matters? Absolutely. Nick Gordon added to the fun in the second inning. After Gilberto Celestino tallied a double (which really could have been a triple (or more) without an unfortunate trip), Nick "Flash G" Gordon launched a slider over the right-center field wall to give the Twins a 3-1 lead. Cy Bundy Twins starter Dylan Bundy was adequate through four innings, giving up two runs on four hits while striking out two and walking none. The real show was the Twins bullpen, who posted five innings of scoreless innings. Trevor Megill posted a perfect fifth inning followed by a perfect sixth from Griffin Jax. Caleb Thielbar and Michael Fulmer combined for perfect seventh and eighth innings with three strikeouts and flamethrower Jhoan Duran made things interesting, but he posted a two-strikeout ninth inning to secure the win for the Twins. Defense Wins! Perhaps the most brilliant play on the night came in the third inning. With Nicky Lopez at the plate, Jake Cave made arguably his best defensive play of his career with an extra-base stealer in front of the right field wall. Postgame Interviews What’s Next? This is when it counts. Four games down in the AL Central, the Twins head to Cleveland for a five-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 pm tomorrow night. As you can hear in the Baldelli interview above, Bailey Ober returns to the Twins and will start Game 1 in Cleveland. To make room for Ober to come off of the 60-Day IL and join the 28-man roster, RHP Jharel Cotton was again DFAd. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  10. 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
  11. Box Score SP: Josh Winder 4 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (67 pitches, 44 strikes (65.6 strike %) Home Runs: None Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Kyle Garlick -.249, Jermaine Palacios -.186, Carlos Correa -.123 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Sunday saw Josh Winder starting on the hill for the Twins after getting recalled from St. Paul. He made his first appearance with the team since July 12th. The right-hander gave up a lead-off double to Steven Kwan but was the first Twins starter to not surrender any runs to the Guardians in the first inning in this three-game series. Even with a scoreless first, the Twins still fell behind early when Winder surrendered a solo home run to Andres Gimenez with one out in the second. The Guardians, more specifically Kwan, got the better of Winder again with another home run that put Cleveland up 2-0. Max Kepler was removed from the game after fouling a ball off his right leg in his one and only at-bat of the game. Gilberto Celestino came in to take his batting spot while Jake Cave moved to right field. Shane Bieber dominated the Twins through the first four innings and kept them to one hit. Josh Winder was done after four full innings. Winder only made two mistakes with two home runs surrendered but only allowed two additional hits and a walk on 67 pitches. It is not a surprise that Rocco Baldelli pulled Winder after four innings, but only two runs were surrendered on solo homers, one has to wonder why they couldn’t have let him go one more inning. Caleb Thielbar was the first out of the pen for the Twins and kept the Guardians scoreless in the fifth. Nick Gordon led off the bottom half of the fifth with a double off the scoreboard. Gordon scored on a pinch-hit from Gary Sanchez when Sanchez’s single bounced off third base and over Jose Ramirez’s to make it a 2-1 game. The Guardians mounted a threat in the seventh off of Michael Fulmer. Fulmer was removed with runners on first and second and two out in favor of rookie phenom Jhoan Duran. Duran walked Ramirez but retired the next batter to end the threat. The Twins responded with a threat of their own in the bottom half of the seventh with back-to-back singles from Gio Urshela and Nick Gordon and no one out. Unfortunately, no one advanced from their bases and the Twins wasted their best chance since the fifth to get the game tied. Already behind by a run, the Twins had Jorge Lopez in for the ninth. Lopez’s struggles only mounted in his relief appearance as he allowed two singles before recording an out. They intentionally walked Ramirez to load the bases for Josh Naylor, who followed up with a single driving in two more runs. Lopez intentionally walked Andres Gimenez as well before getting the final out, but the damage was done as Cleveland led 4-1 going into the bottom of the ninth. James, the hair flipper, Karinchak got the save opportunity for the Guardians in the bottom of the ninth. Karinchak continued his obsessive hair flip in this outing as he did Friday night (and always) during this outing as he now carries the title of the modern-day human rain delay as former Guardian Mike Hargrove was best known for. Celestino received a lead-off walk to start the ninth and Gordon reached base on a one-out walk later in the inning. The Twins failed once again to get these runners home as Karinchak struck out Jermaine Palacios for the final out. In the words of Patrick Reusse, “This was a bad loss.” Which can be said for the whole series. What’s Next? Monday is an off day for the Twins as they will start a three-game series at Target Field against the Royals. Joe Ryan is the scheduled starter for the Twins against Kris Bubic of the Royals with a game start time of 6:40 p.m. CT. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  12. Box Score SP: Sonny Gray 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, BB, 7 K ( 79 pitches, 52 strikes (66%) Home Runs: Carlos Correa (18) Top 3 WPA: Carlos Correa (.354), Michael Fullmer (.198), Gary Sanchez (.179) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) ) If the Twins ever needed a win, it was on Thursday night. Anchored by a stellar start from Sonny Gray, a quality night from Gary Sanchez, and a clutch homer from Carlos Correa, the Twins snuck away from enemy territory with a hard-fought 4-3 win. Minus giving up a two-run shot to Miguel Andujar in the second inning, Gray was rock-solid, pounding the zone consistently and relying on sound defense and a sneaky-good spread of strikeouts. The Twins fought back by putting two runs on the board in the fifth thanks to a pair of hits from some former Yankees. After leading off with a single and advancing on a wild pitch, Gio Urshela scored on a Gary Sanchez double to center field. Two batters later, Nick Gordon knocked an RBI single to left field that scored Sanchez and knotted the game. That wasn't the final story for the Twins offense; with Jake Cave on base (on a controversial call at first base), Carlos Correa went yard for the second night in a row to give the Twins a lead that would be enough to win the game. Criticized plenty recently for underwhelming results, it was great to see Correa come in clutch in a big-time moment. A clubhouse leader, Correa's worth has extended far beyond batting average and assists all season. With a close lead against an infamous offense, the Twins bullpen held true in the back four. Minus a wild pitch from Jorge Lopez that scored a run in the eighth, the pen was solid, allowing just two hits. Griffin Jax pitched a scoreless inning. Lopez came on for the 8th inning and immediately struggled. With a runner on third, he threw a wild pitch. Caleb Thielbar came on to face a pinch-hitting Giancarlo Stanton. After several pitches and foul balls, Thielbar struck out the former MVP on a great curveball. After Thielbar gave up a single but got the first out of the ninth inning. Michael Fulmer came on and gave up a double to Aaron Hicks. It may have been a good thing for the Twins as the empty base allowed them to walk Aaron Judge to load the bases with just one out. That didn't phase him. Fulmer struck out Gleyber Torres and drew a groundout from "former Twin" Isaiah Kiner-Falefa to secure the win for the Twins and bring some positive momentum prior to a big home series against Cleveland starting on Friday night. Up Next: It's time to get out to Target Field. Just a game and half back, the Twins host the Guardians in a three-game series starting tomorrow night at 7:10. RHP Dylan Bundy will face off against RHP Cal Quantrill. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SUN MON TUE WED THU TOT Davis 0 11 0 43 0 54 Duran 20 0 0 28 0 48 Megill 0 27 0 20 0 47 Thielbar 15 0 0 11 19 45 Fulmer 14 0 0 16 12 42 López 0 0 0 15 25 40 Pagán 0 22 0 16 0 38 Jax 8 0 0 12 17 37 Moran 0 0 0 29 0 29 Sanchez 0 0 0 0 0 0
  13. Rocco Baldelli’s club has seen debuts of multiple rookies this season, while also enjoying the play of superstar Carlos Correa. Despite dealing with plenty of injuries and adversity, bright spots have been aplenty for a club looking to re-establish itself atop the American League Central division. Here are five of the best developments for the Minnesota Twins in 2022: Griffin Jax A year ago Griffin Jax was a starter that had next to nothing going for him. He had an ERA over 6.00 and was giving up homers at an alarming rate. Converted to a full-time reliever this season, Jax has arguably been one of the most underrated arms in baseball. Baldelli went to him often in high-leverage situations, and he worked as a setup guy for the club’s best relief arms. Now striking out over 10.0 per nine innings, he’s emerged as a weapon in relief for quite some time. Nick Gordon Finally healthy, and experiencing a full season, Gordon has emerged as a true asset as a utility player. Byron Buxton played through an immense amount of pain this season and put up All-Star numbers while doing so, but when he missed time it was Gordon who stepped up. Royce Lewis’ injury gave Gordon even more run, and having filled in all over the place, Gordon has done more than his part with both the bat and the glove. Luis Arraez There was no doubt that Minnesota’s Arraez could hit. He spent a good deal of the year batting north of the .330 mark, and he was a deserving All-Star. The shocking part is that he stepped up at first base, despite never playing there before, and has held down the role for months. No Alex Kirilloff and no Miguel Sano meant Minnesota was in dire straits. Arraez has never been considered a good defender at second base, and he’s not exceptional at first, but to pick it up on the fly and keep hitting has been nothing short of amazing. Jose Miranda There’s no argument to be made that Miranda earned his demotion. He posted a .484 OPS through 19 games and it was time to head back to St. Paul. When the roster spot opened after Lewis’ injury, he turned the car around and never made it back to CHS Field. He’s been on fire since, deserves some votes for Rookie of the Year consideration, and leads Minnesota in runs batted in. He’s not a good defender and has played a decent amount as the designated hitter down the stretch, but you have to be thrilled with the continuation of what was an amazing minor league season in 2021. Jhoan Duran Enough can’t possibly be said about Jhoan Duran. He came into the season as a starting pitching prospect and was not expected to make the Opening Day roster. A dominant showing in Fort Myers forced the organization’s hand, and he looked electric in a late-inning role. With the fastest pitches not only in Twins history, but among Major League Baseball as a whole, he’s become one of the best relief arms the sport has seen. Duran has closed out games but has given Baldelli an arm to rely on in the highest leverage scenarios and has provided Minnesota with more value than they ever could have imagined.
  14. Box Score SP: Tyler Mahle 2.0 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K ( 37 pitches, 22 strikes (60%)) Home Runs: absolutely no one Bottom 3 WPA: Tyler Mahle (-.288), Gary Sanchez (-.058), Carlos Correa (-.026) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) While the White Sox started the day three games back of the division lead, this series could certainly change that. The White Sox have had a rough season and now with manager Tony LaRussa out and interim coach Miguel Cairo in they look like they could be turning it around and making a run for the division. This is what the White Sox have been waiting for and under Cairo the Sox are 4-0. Even with the injuries they have had off and on this season, the team has been waiting to get hot, and unfortunately for the Twins, that time is now. After winning five out of seven games throughout the last week, the Twins looked like they were going to push for first place, but this series is proving to be difficult for the club. Tyler Mahle came back after being on the IL with shoulder fatigue when his last game his velocity dropped to 89-91. Mahle didn’t pitch in a rehab game, but completed a simulated game at Target Field on Thursday to prepare for this game. Mahle struggled in the first inning. He gave up four runs, three came on a home run by Eloy Jimenez. Mahle was on a pitch count, and while the Twins were hoping for some length, it was not to be. Mahle continued to lose velocity on his pitches. It dropped from 91-93 mph to 88-89 mph in the second inning. Manager Rocco Baldelli brought in Aaron Sanchez to start the third inning. In the fourth inning, Romy Gonzales hit his first career MLB homer, a three-run home run off of Aaron Sanchez. However, Sanchez was able to complete four innings. Resting the rest of the bullpen, Nick Gordon came in to pitch the eighth inning. Gordon has come in for the Twins four times this season as a relief pitcher and has recorded three earned runs in his previous three games. On Saturday night, Gordon gave up six runs including a grand-slam to Elvis Andrus to push the White Sox lead to 13-0. Jermaine Palacios came in from shortstop and had a three-pitch strikeout to end the inning. Luis Arraez is still leading the league in batting average at .318 and is fifth in the league in On Base Percentage. He works the pitchers and makes contact, but even with the league leader in the line-up, the Twins offense was kept on a tight leash by Dylan Cease, who is the White Sox best pitcher and in the race for the Cy Young. Cease went 8 1/3 innings with a no-hitter. The game was out of reach by the bottom of the sixth. Rocco Baldelli brought in Jermaine Palacios and Kyle Garlick to rest Carlos Correa and Max Kepler. The Twins remained scoreless and hitless off of Cease. The White Sox no-hitter through the eighth inning. The Twins made contact, but the White Sox defense made the plays, With two outs in the top of the ninth, Luis Arraez (who was 0-for-3 at that point) came up to the plate and drilled a ball into right field for a single. Kyle Garlick followed with a strikeout to end the game. The saving grace is that at least the Guardians have been on a downward slope as well. The Guardians haven’t won a game since August 30th, giving the Twins at least a chance to stay in the second place position though now the White Sox are just a game behind them. A highlight of the game was listening to and watching Twins radio play-by-play man Cory Provus working in the television booth covering the game for Fox along with former Twins catcher AJ Pierzynski, Even as the Twins lost, Provus continued to call an impartial, fun, and electric game. He never ceases to impress whether calling games for Twins Radio or calling college football and basketball on the Big 10 Network. Pitching matchup tomorrow: On Sunday at 1:10 pm CST, Dylan Bundy (7-6, 4.53 ERA) will hope to help the Twins avoid the sweep against White Sox RHP Lucas Giolito (10-8, 75.27 ERA) Postgame Interview With the game on Fox, there is not postgame video. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Sanchez 0 0 0 0 70 70 Megill 23 14 0 0 0 37 Fulmer 13 0 0 17 0 30 Jax 8 0 0 20 0 28 Thielbar 13 0 0 13 0 26 Pagán 21 0 0 0 0 21 López 0 0 0 13 0 13 Duran 0 0 0 11 0 11
  15. 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
  16. August was a streaky month for the Twins hitting core. The team had their first month with a record of .500 or higher since May, finishing August with a 14-14 record. Some of that is to the core four of the Twins hitters that have kept them in contention and earned honors in the discussion for Twins hitter of the month. Without further ado, here are the four Twins hitters up for hitter of the month for August. Honorable mention #3: Luis Arraez Arraez had his first month hitting below .300 in August, posting a .269 batting average. He still was one of the more clutch hitters for the month, hitting two home runs, driving in 11 runs, and posting a .710 OPS in 25 games. The biggest positive for Arraez’s month is that he only struck out five times, dropping down from nine times in July. August is certainly the low point of the 2022 season for the American League batting leader, but for someone who had not hit below .314 or posted an OPS of .783 in any month prior to this one. It would be expected for Arraez to have a cooling-off period. If Arraez returns to his all-star hitting form, he will need to hit the ball to all gaps in the field rather than right to the left fielder as he did most of the month of August. Honorable mention #2: Jose Miranda Miranda, like Arraez, saw his first dip in production for the season since his May 30 recall from St. Paul. Miranda cooled off in August posting a .259/.325/.380 (.705) slash line, but he managed to hit three home runs, drive in 17 runs and had a .325 batting average on balls in play. The good news is that Miranda played in every single game for the Twins in August. The 24-year-old is due for an off day in September but that doesn’t mean he won’t rebound from a lower production month. The biggest split for Miranda’s production on the season is his triple slash in wins and losses. In games the Twins lost, Miranda has hit .203/.230/.311 and posted a .540 OPS in 49 Twins losses he has played in. In the 43 games Miranda has played in for the Twins that they won, he has hit .352/.421/.607 with a 1.028 OPS. If the Twins keep finding ways to win and make September/October their first month over .500 since May, Miranda will be a key player at the plate to make that happen. Honorable Mention #1: Carlos Correa Correa’s month of August was refreshing for Twins fans and Correa himself after an abysmal month of July when he had a .175/.264/.350 in 21 games. In August, Correa posted a .283/.392/.385 triple slash line, a .776 OPS. Although the run production numbers had not gone up much in August from July for Correa only hitting two home runs and nine RBI. Correa took more opportunities to get on base, having the most walks for a month on the season with 18. Correa might also be getting hot at just the right time for the Twins. The Twins still have a 36% chance of making the postseason according to Baseball Reference and Correa is the player on the team with the most experience in getting to the postseason. If Correa can put together his best month at the plate in September in the final five regular season games in October, he could be the biggest difference maker in the Twins' overall record for the year. August Hitter of the Month: Nick Gordon After his best night at the plate, hitting a grand slam and driving six runs against the Red Sox on Tuesday, August 30. There was no question that Nick Gordon would earn the honors for Twins hitter of the month. In a month that had so many holes in the Twins everyday lineup and was overfilled with left-handed bats, Gordon proved to be the best of them all. On top of his best day at the plate, Gordon posted a .321/.360/.531 triple slash and career high for OPS in a month at .891. The Twins super utility man brought his season numbers to .279/.323/.439 for his triple slash and now has a 119 OPS+ for the year. With Byron Buxton out for the next couple of weeks, Gordon is still expected to see playing time every day for the Twins and will look to continue his hot streak at the plate into September. What do you think? Who would get your award for Twins Hitter of the Month. Leave your own rankings below.
  17. 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
  18. The above graph shows the percent of Gordon's hitting outcomes over the previous 100 plate appearances as his career as progressed. The point where the data cross from his 2021 season to his 2022 season is marked with a gray vertical line. Here are the key takeaways: Throughout his rookie season, Nick Gordon hit the ball on the ground. A lot. More than 50 percent of balls in play were ground balls and, for most of the season, less than 20 percent of balls were fly balls. The data show a small jump in fly balls and drop in ground balls toward the end of 2021, however. That was a sign of things to come. Gordon in 2022 is an entirely different hitter. He went through a stretch of ground-ball-heavy hitting in the early part of the season, but his groundball rate has plummeted. In his last 100 plate appearances, he's hit only 37 percent ground balls. His flyball rate is roughly 3 times higher in 2022 than 2021. The steady growth in this flyball rate is evident. Are fly balls good? Usually! It's difficult to get extra-base hits (and especially home runs, it turns out) when the ball is on the ground. An increase in fly balls is the reason his slugging percentage has jumped from 0.355 in 2021 to 0.431 in 2022. Given his slender frame, Nick Gordon looks like a slap-hitting utility man. And in 2021, that's mostly what he was. But through a drastic change in approach at the plate, Nick Gordon has transformed into a well-above-average hitter with a 116 OPS+. Maybe that lofty prospect status is starting to shine through.
  19. Box Score Chris Archer: 4 ⅓ IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K Home Runs: Jake Cave (3), Nick Gordon (6), Gary Sánchez (13) Top 3 WPA: Nick Gordon (.509), Jose Miranda (.118), Jake Cave (.085) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Chris Archer took the mound opposite Kutter Crawford on Tuesday. The veteran righty was well-acquainted with the Red Sox; he spent his glory years with the Rays in the same division as his opponent on Tuesday. While the players have largely changed, Boston’s laundry remains an old foe. The early innings were easy to digest; Nick Gordon—after consecutive walks by Max Kepler and Jose Miranda—swung at an outside breaking ball and smoked a Joe Mauer special into left-center field, scoring both runners to give the Twins a 2-0 lead in the 1st frame. Gordon’s eventful night would be far from over. The Twins jabbed once more in the following inning: Jake Cave caught up to a high fastball, packing just enough oomph to will the ball over the left-center field wall. Kiké Hernández, try as he might, could not break free from gravity with enough force to rob Cave’s blast. The solo homer marked Cave’s third long ball since re-joining the Twins. The game stopped to rest in the 3rd inning before continuing its hectic drama; a marvelous defense gem by Carlos Correa provided the sole highlight. The fun started in the 4th inning; the Red Sox, ever aware of Archer’s struggles beyond the early frames, singled, doubled, sac-flied, and walked; a run was on the board, and the situation turned dire in an instant. Archer refused to give in, and a perfectly-placed slider coaxed a ground ball off Trevor Story’s bat; Gordon and Correa turned two, and the threat ended as quickly as it began. Boston’s bats were not deterred, and the 5th inning proved deadly to Archer’s start. A barrage of singles scored a run, knocking Archer out of the game while leaving the inning’s fate to the cleaner, Caleb Thielbar. The lefty—so well-trusted by Rocco Baldelli in these situations—revealed mortality as Xander Bogaerts dumped a game-tying single into left field and Rafael Devers walked. With the threat still at Defcon 1, Michael Fulmer emerged to put out the fire—which he did—but not before another run scored off a wild pitch. It was messy, brutish, and downright ugly, but the Red Sox walked out of the 5th inning with a one-run lead. Remember that sentence earlier about Nick Gordon? With aid from a truly egregious error from Alex Verdugo, the Twins loaded the bases for the second baseman, gifting him a chance to prove himself. In a season that has lacked a true ignitor—the kind of guy whose spark brings a team to life, Gordon has shown flashes of becoming that sort of player; could he do it once more? The count was 0-2, but that didn’t matter; Gordon jumped on a low fastball and crushed a grand slam over the high wall in right field. The home run was so crucial that Gary Sánchez hit a titanic bomb the following frame, and almost no one will remember it. The teams exchanged runs as the outs whittled away—a single here, a double there—but the game’s momentum never budged, and the Twins ended Tuesday's game as the victors. Notes: Nick Gordon is slashing .311/.360/.511 over his last 30 games. Jake Cave is slugging .667 over his last seven games. Chris Archer has crossed the five-inning threshold twice since the end of June. Griffin Jax has not given up an earned run since August 10th; he owns 12 strikeouts over 8 2/3 innings. Post-Game Interviews What’s Next? Joe Ryan and Michael Wacha will lead their respective teams in the game’s final series on Wednesday night. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  20. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Tyler Mahle, 2 1/3 IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 1K (42 pitches, 29 strikes, 69.0%) Home Runs: Jose Miranda (12) Top 3 WPA: José Miranda (.177), Tyler Mahle (.115), Max Kepler (.069) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Twins jump to an early three-run lead Coincidentally, the last time the Twins swept an opponent in a three-game set was against this same Royals team. Having won eight of the previous twelve matchups against Kansas City on the year, Minnesota would guarantee at least a season series tie with a win this afternoon. In order to do that, they quickly jumped to an early lead on a couple of swings in the first two innings of the game. After Twins starter Tyler Mahle pitched around a leadoff walk to conclude the top of the first inning, the offense was off to a slow start to the bottom half. Royals’ Daniel Lynch got two outs on two pitches to begin his start, and the opening inning seemed doomed for Minnesota right away. However, Luis Arráez worked a short single against Lynch to keep the inning alive, and cleanup hitter José Miranda followed him with a two-run home run to left center. Mahle threw a scoreless 1-2-3 top of the second, and the bats responded with more run support. Gilberto Celestino lined a leadoff single to center, and the Twins cashed in on a Royals fielding blunder. When Michael Massey made a throwing error to second on a Max Kepler hit, Celestino was able to move to third and be waved in by third base coach Tommy Watkins, scoring Minnesota’s third run of the matchup. Mahle leaves the game in the third inning Other than the leadoff walk in the first, Mahle navigated through the first two innings rather uneventfully, but something seemed off with his velocity. He struck out Nate Eaton on three pitches to start the third inning, but in the middle of his next at-bat, he departed the game with an apparent injury. Later on, the clubhouse announced that he left the game due to some right shoulder fatigue. Having tossed 42 total pitches, his overall velocity averaged 86.1 MPH, with his four-seamer averaging 89.3 MPH. Compared to his season averages, his overall average was down over a full mile per hour (87,2 MPH on the year), and the four-seamer specifically was down over four miles per hour (93,4 MPH on the year). Making his first appearance since Sunday’s nightmarish outing, Emilio Pagán bounced back nicely and delivered two scoreless frames in relief of Mahle. Bullpen, outstanding defense, hold on to the win Pagán allowed a couple of hits during the fourth inning, but he was bailed out by some fantastic defense behind him. First, Nick Gordon stole a deep single from Bobby Witt Jr. with a tremendous diving catch in the corner of the left field. Then, after Salvador Pérez and Vinnie Pasquantino hit back-to-back one-out singles, Pagán induced a groundball double play against Brent Rooker, beautifully turned in by Arráez and Miranda to end the inning. Fortunately for Pagán and whoever came in to pitch after him, the offense added one more run to the Twins’ lead. After flashing the leather at the top of the fourth, Gordon also made his offensive contribution. Gary Sánchez drew a one-out walk, and a couple of at-bats later, Gordon jumped on the first pitch he saw for a double that brought Sánchez home, making it 4-0 Minnesota. Pagán departed the game in the fifth, after getting the inning’s first out, with Griffin Jax taking over. With an inherited runner, he induced an inning-ending groundball double play on his first pitch. He also breezed through the sixth, tossing a 1-2-3 inning on eleven pitches and two strikeouts. Pagán and Jax nearly completed four innings of shutout ball, making for a brilliant afternoon by the bullpen. When Jhoan Duran took over to pitch the seventh, it seemed like things were about to change. Pérez and Pasquantino, once again, hit back-to-back singles to open the inning and suddenly had the chance to make this a one-run game with a swing of the bat. Duran struck out the next batter before Celestino made yet another brilliant defensive move for the Twins defense, taking a hit away from Massey with a diving catch. Michael Fulmer was made to work hard to get through the eighth, but eventually stranded two runners to give Trevor Megill a four-run lead in the ninth. Topping at 100.5 MPH, Megill had no trouble to toss a 1-2-3 inning and secure the win. With its first three-game winning streak since June 27, Minnesota now improves to 61-55 and have the chance to climb into a virtual tie at first place of the American League Central with the Cleveland Guardians later tonight, in case of a Cleveland loss. Postgame interviews What’s Next? Minnesota has the day off tomorrow, and they begin a four-game set against the Texas Rangers on Friday, also at Target Field. Game one is scheduled for 7:10 pm CDT on Friday, and neither team has named a starter just yet. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Pagán 9 10 0 0 35 54 Fulmer 0 20 0 7 23 50 Duran 19 0 10 0 18 47 Jax 13 0 14 0 12 39 Megill 0 26 0 0 13 39 Thielbar 13 0 8 17 0 38 López 19 0 13 0 0 32 Sands 0 0 0 19 0 19
  21. Wednesday night's loss in Los Angeles might be the low point in the season so far. However, the Dodgers are arguably baseball's best team, and they finished the series with a 10-game winning streak. The Twins eventually need to be able to beat playoff-caliber teams, but the club was hardly playing its best baseball. Twins Vice President of Communication and Content Dustin Morse had a simple message for fans following the team's loss, "Let's ride together." Sports are designed to be frustrating for fans. Only one team can end the season as the champion, so 29 other fan bases will be upset. Baseball isn't fun if you don't enjoy the journey of a 162-game season. With Morse's message in mind, here are three reasons to be excited about the remainder of the Twins' schedule. Twins Control Their Own Destiny MLB's unbalanced schedule means the Twins have 27 remaining games against AL Central teams. This includes nine games against the Royals and White Sox, six games against the Guardians, and three games against Detroit. Minnesota can control its own destiny by winning the majority of the games in the division, including 15 games against Cleveland and Chicago, the other teams chasing a division title. There will also be some tough tests on the schedule with seven road games against the AL's powerhouse teams. Minnesota travels to Houston on August 23-25 to play the Astros in a three-game set. Houston has a 71-41 record, and they are tough to beat at home with a .660 winning percentage. New York has the same record as Houston but has struggled recently with a 2-8 record in their last ten games. The Twins head to New York for a four games series from September 5-8. Both series will be a good test for the Twins. Arraez's Batting Title Chase Entering play on Thursday, Luis Arraez leads baseball with a .333 batting average. He is five points ahead of St. Louis' Paul Goldschmidt for the MLB lead and over 20 points higher than Rafael Devers for the AL lead. Minnesota hasn't had a batting title champion since Joe Mauer during the 2009 season when he won AL MVP. Only four Twins players have won a batting title, but each player has their number retired by the team (Mauer, Tony Oliva, Rod Carew, and Kirby Puckett). Arraez struggled in a recent stretch going 7-for-42 (.167 BA), but he seems to have recovered his swing. Over his last three games, he has gone 9-for-14 (.643 BA) to help improve his average. Also, he has 13 three-hit games so far this season which ties him for second in baseball. If Arraez can stay healthy, he should earn his first batting title. Young Contributors Roster depth helps every contending team, and the Twins are no different, with multiple young players providing value to the team. It took some time, but Nick Gordon seems to be living up to his former status as one of the team's top prospects. Jose Miranda is coming off one of the best minor league seasons in franchise history, but few expected him to have 126 OPS+ during his rookie campaign. Jhoan Duran has been one of the team's bright spots during his first taste of the big leagues. His dominant relief appearances are some of the team's must-watch moments, but some may forget he was a starter until this year. It's easy to get mad and upset when a team isn't performing well on the field, but fans need to enjoy the ride, or sports will never be enjoyable. What are you excited about watching in the last 52 games? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  22. The Twins drafted Nick Gordon with the fifth overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. There can be plenty of pressure put on a top-5 draft pick, but that was even more true for Gordon. His brother, Dee Strange-Gordon, and his father, Tom Gordon, were All-Stars during their respective careers. There’s no quest that Gordon faced added pressure as a prospect, which might have impacted his development throughout his career. MLB’s draft is different from the other major sports leagues because no players immediately impact the big-league level. In Gordon’s draft, three players taken after him in the first round have accumulated more than 25 WAR, including Trea Turner, Aaron Nola, and Matt Chapman. It’s easy for fans to play the “what if” game with any of these players, but draft baseball talent isn’t an exact science. Gordon was highly touted as an amateur and deserved to be a top-10 pick. After signing with the Twins, Gordon immediately became one of the organization’s top-ranked prospects. All three major national rankings (Baseball America, MLB, and Baseball Prospectus) placed Gordon among baseball’s top 100 prospects for four consecutive seasons (2015-18). During that stretch, his highest OPS was in 2017, when he combined for 46 extra-base hits at Double-A. Gordon proved he could consistently get on base, but his power hadn’t developed. Unfortunately, multiple health issues impacted his development moving forward. Besides the pressures of being a top prospect, Gordon dealt with two health issues that had a chance to cost him his career. His entire 2020 season was erased when he tested positive for COVID-19 and didn’t clear protocols until late August. Gordon has also dealt with chronic gastritis that causes him to lose weight. He’s a naturally skinny player, but he was down to 153-pounds at one point. Luckily, he has worked through his health concerns and is currently playing at 180-pounds. It’s hard to put in perspective what Gordon has meant to the Twins during the 2022 season. Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff being out for the year has forced players like Gordon to step up and fill a prominent role. Gordon is doing more than filling in as he is putting himself into the team’s future plans. He ranks in the 79th percentile or higher in Barrel %, Average Exit Velocity, Hard Hit %, xSLG, and xwOBA. Also, Gordon ranks 9th on the Twins according to both versions of WAR. Every team needs role players, and Gordon is more than filling his role. There is no question that Gordon has been invaluable to the 2022 Twins, but the team might be lucky in other ways. Because he was a late-bloomer, Gordon is not arbitration eligible until 2025, and he can’t reach free agency until 2028. Currently, he is 26 years old, so Minnesota can control the prime of his career. Gordon may never be an All-Star like the other members of his family, but he is proving the Twins were right to draft him so highly. Not every prospect pans out, but the Twins would be in a much different position if Gordon wasn’t making plays for a first-place team. What has stood out to you most about Gordon this season? What do you remember about his minor league career? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  23. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/1 through Sun, 8/7 *** Record Last Week: 4-3 (Overall: 57-51) Run Differential Last Week: +1 (Overall: +27) Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (1.0 GA) Last Week's Game Results: Game 102 | MIN 5, DET 3: Miranda and Urshela Deliver in the Clutch Game 103 | DET 5, MIN 3: Active Deadline Day Ends in Quiet Loss Game 104 | MIN 4, DET 1: Newcomers Contribute in Series Clincher Game 105 | TOR 9, MIN 3: Bullpen Breaks Down as Blue Jays Roll Game 106 | MIN 6, TOR 5: Twins Walk Off Toronto in Wild Win Game 107 | MIN 7, TOR 3: Revamped Pen Provides 5 Strong Innings Game 108 | TOR 3, MIN 2: Comeback Falls Short in Controversial Finish NEWS & NOTES The Twins front office made an emphatic statement at the trade deadline, leaning into the buyer position like never before with a string of significant moves while their competitors in the division were largely quiet. Here's a rundown of the prospect-for-vet deals that took place on Monday and Tuesday: Acquired starting pitcher Tyler Mahle from the Reds for IF Spencer Steer, OF Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and LHP Steve Hajjar. Acquired closer Jorge López from the Orioles for LHPs Cade Povich and Juan Rojas, RHPs Yennier Canó and Juan Nunez. Acquired setup man Michael Fulmer from the Tigers for RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long. Acquired backup catcher Sandy León from Guardians for RHP Ian Hamilton. Through this assertive series of trades, the Twins effectively addressed every glaring weakness on their roster, fortifying their standing in the AL Central while the two teams chasing them – Chicago and Cleveland – showed minimal initiative. With a historically aggressive deadline coming on the heels of signing Carlos Correa just before the season, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are redefining a traditionally passive franchise's mettle. The Minnesota Twins are officially swimming in the deep end, albeit perhaps struggling to stay afloat. Their deadline haul came at a cost. While the Twins were able to avoid parting with any of their very best prospects, they had to give up several good ones, some of whom are sure to haunt them down the road. But that's the cost of doing business. Speaking of which, the business side of baseball was felt be a couple of veteran relievers supplanted by these deadline additions. Joe Smith, the team's lone MLB free agent bullpen during the past offseason, was released after posting a 9.22 ERA in his last 18 appearances. Tyler Duffey was designated for assignment, his 11.81 post-break ERA convincing the Twins there was nothing left in the tank. Fellow veteran pitchers Aaron Sanchez and Jharrel Cotton were also ousted from the 40-man roster, but stuck in the organization at Triple-A after clearing DFA waivers. It's good news for the Twins from a depth perspective, because Cotton's been a solid piece when called upon and Sanchez actually looked mildly intriguing in his spot start on Monday. We could see either (or both) yet again this year. We probably won't be seeing Miguel Sanó, who landed on the 60-day IL with a flare-up of his knee injury. And we definitely won't be seeing Jorge Alcalá, who underwent season-ending elbow debridement surgery. Alex Kirilloff, sadly, is also done for the year. He's undergoing a rare surgery that involves deliberately breaking his ulna bone, shortening it, and then reconnecting it with plates and screws, in an effort to create space and reduce the painful friction impeding his swing. Needless to say it's a highly invasive procedure, of which Kirilloff said earlier this year, "I really hope it doesn't get to that." Well, here we are. The Twins are hopeful that Kirilloff will be ready for spring training next year, but there is no guarantee this course of action will deliver the desired results. It's rarely been done for baseball players. Hard as it is to say, this really feels like a last-ditch effort to save the 24-year-old's promising career. If it doesn't take ... then what? All we can do now is wait and hope, while reckoning with the reality that Minnesota will be without one of its most crucial bats the rest of the way. A colossal bummer. In other roster news: José Godoy was claimed off waivers by Pittsburgh. He was no longer useful to the Twins following the addition of León. Kyle Garlick was placed on IL due to a ribcage injury suffered in a wall collision. Gilberto Celestino returned to the roster in his stead. Caleb Thielbar was activated from IL, with Jovani Moran optioned to Triple-A. Cole Sands was also recalled in place of Sanchez. Max Kepler was activated on Saturday, sending Mark Contreras back to Triple-A. HIGHLIGHTS Nick Gordon stole the show in Friday night's victory over Toronto at Target Field, delivering a huge three-run homer against José Berríos early on and sliding across home with the winning run in the 10th. Finally healthy after long bouts with digestive issues, Gordon is showing the power that made him a top draft pick and highly touted prospect in the low minors. While swinging at almost everything, he keeps on barreling up with amazing frequency, causing the ball to consistently jump off his bat. Starting all seven games last week, he went 10-for-30 with the homer, three doubles, five RBIs, and – most refreshingly – four walks. Also instrumental in Friday's victory was Fulmer, who's making his impact in the late innings felt since being acquired minutes ahead of Tuesday's deadline. After firing a scoreless inning in his first Twins appearance on Wednesday, Fulmer drew the tough assignment of pitching the 10th Friday with a runner starting on second. He worked around a walk and a single to strike out the side and set up a walk-off in the bottom half. The Twins found themselves needing to win in the 10th because the new closer López had experienced a blown save in the ninth. However, it wasn't the type of performance that raises alarm. Toronto was able to string together a few singles and get a run across, without much in the way of hard contact. Two days earlier, in his Minnesota debut, López pitched a 1-2-3 ninth on seven pitches to secure his first save as a Twin and a series win. He followed up with a clean ninth on Saturday, despite having thrown 30 pitches the previous night. It's immediately evident the Twins see in their new closer a rubber arm that hasn't existed in their bullpen up to this point. While the new guys flashed their stuff, the incumbents at the back end of the bullpen made sure to remind us they're still here, and still important. Jhoan Durán was his usual dominant self, tossing 3 ⅔ scoreless innings while unveiling a new intro experience at Target Field. With López (who also got a light-dimming walkout treatment) now aboard, Durán has been fully fitted into a fireman role where he can be deployed in the highest-leverage of situations at any time, without a thought to hold him back for a later tight lead. This was evident on Friday night, when he came in to pitch the eighth inning of a one-run game, and on Saturday night, when he relieved Griffin Jax amidst a threat with two on, one out, and a couple heavy hitters coming up. Durán leads all AL relievers in Win Probability Added and he only figures to further extend his margin in this role, so long as he can stay healthy and keep dominating. Pending the former, there is little doubt of the latter, given how Durán has managed to make us all forget about his one supposed weakness (proneness to home runs – remember that?). An unsung hero and emerging weapon in this bullpen is Thielbar, who came off the IL and immediately made his presence felt. The lefty tossed a scoreless seventh in Wednesday's series-clinching win over Detroit, and looked dominant while mowing down four Blue Jays hitters on Saturday. Thielbar has had a few random blow-ups on the mound this year, but he's nearly two months removed from the last one and has otherwise been downright excellent. His Statcast measurables portray a guy who is throwing top-notch stuff and stifling opposing hitters. Finally, we can't run through the week's bright spots without once again mentioning rookie sensation José Miranda, who just keeps on cooking. Now routinely batting cleanup against lefties, Miranda's living up to that billing as a run-producing machine, with eight RBIs in an 8-for-26 week that included a double and home run. Miranda has the third-highest OPS on the team, trailing only All-Stars Byron Buxton and Luis Arraez. He is 24 years old. LOWLIGHTS Even with all its upgrades, the pitching staff still has its warts. Those definitely showed through on Thursday, when Emilio Pagán, Trevor Megill, and Duffey gave up three runs apiece in relief of Sonny Gray, turning a 1-0 lead into a 9-3 blowout loss. Duffey's dud performance proved to be the final straw, as his DFA was announced the following day. Subtracting from the bottom of the bullpen while adding at the top is a good way to turn around a drastically underperforming unit, but the fact remains: lower-tier guys are going to need to throw some innings and the Twins need better out of them than we saw against Toronto. When you play a lot of close games, as Minnesota does, everyone's going to have to pitch in relatively high leverage at times. With Canó shipped out, and Alcalá and Danny Coulombe down for the year, reinforcements have grown thin. Pagán came out of Sunday's game after wincing on a pitch, so he might be at risk of joining the fallen. The long ball, which bit Pagán and Duffey on Thursday, has been an all-too-common culprit for the entire Twins staff. They've surrendered the second-most home runs in the American League. This affliction touched the newest member of the Twins rotation on Friday, when Mahle narrowed a 5-0 lead to 5-4 by giving up three homers against the Blue Jays. It was the most allowed in a start by Mahle since May 2nd of 2021 – kind of ironic given all the steam about escaping from Cincinnati's homer-happy ballpark being his ticket to the next level. Ultimately, it is not memories of any home runs allowed that leave the Twins and their fans shaking their heads in the wake of this eventful week. It's the way it ended: a highly controversial and game-altering overturn of an out call at home plate, after Tim Beckham threw a pea from left field that beat Whit Merrifield. Gary Sánchez's successful tag-out was denied on the grounds that he violated MLB's nebulous home-plate collision rule – a notion that manager Rocco Baldelli took issue with to say the least. He immediately charged on the field, whipped his hat, and exploded into an animated tirade like we've never seen from him before. In his post-game rant, the typically even-keeled Baldelli pulled no punches. I'm inclined to agree with his viewpoint. This sour finish to an otherwise entertaining and compelling series against one of Minnesota's key rivals in the American League leaves a bad taste as we turn the page to Monday. TRENDING STORYLINE Trevor Larnach is now officially six weeks removed from undergoing a surgery that was estimated to have a six-week recovery time. On Sunday, the Twins lumped him into a larger group of players they are "hopeful" to get back in September, which is interesting since there've been no reports of a setback (to my knowledge) and we've still got three weeks left of August. The Twins could certainly use Larnach's pre-injury bat because they've been thinned out significantly in the outfield with Garlick and Kirilloff both on the shelf and Buxton continuing to be limited by his knee (he's started in center field just three times since the All-Star break). While outfield fill-ins like Gordon, Contreras, and Jake Cave all deserve credit for stepping up at various moments, getting back Larnach would make a huge difference. For a stretch early on, he was arguably the best hitter in the lineup, slashing .300/.375/.511 in his first 30 games before the core injury seemed to start taking its toll. If that issue is fully corrected by the surgery, and Larnach quickly returns to full strength ... look out. Hopefully in the coming week we'll get a little more clarity on his specific situation and rehab timeline. LOOKING AHEAD Another week of ample rest lies ahead, with days off on both Monday and Thursday bookending a two-game road series against the Dodgers. The Twins would be wise to savor them, because after this they won't have another scheduled break in the month of August. With left-handers on the docket for at least four of five games in the coming week, Garlick's bat will be missed and Gordon's offensive impact will be negated. Can guys like Celestino and Tim Beckham step up on a big West Coast road trip? TUESDAY, 8/9: TWINS @ DODGERS – RHP Joe Ryan v. LHP Julio Urias WEDNESDAY, 8/10: TWINS @ DODGERS – RHP Sonny Gray v. TBD FRIDAY, 8/12: TWINS @ ANGELS – RHP Tyler Mahle v. LHP Patrick Sandoval SATURDAY, 8/13: TWINS @ ANGELS – RHP Dylan Bundy v. LHP Reid Detmers SUNDAY, 8/14: TWINS @ ANGELS – RHP Chris Archer v. LHP Tucker Davidson
  24. In looking at our hot or not list we will be looking at player performance since July 1. This is a long enough timespan to give a decent sample size of plate appearances and show an actual trend of performance. We’ll look at two Twins hitters who have been “hot” and two who have “not”. HOT: José Miranda .329/.400/.529 (95 plate appearances) 168 wRC+ 5 HR, 25 RBI Jose Miranda has been an absolute stud for the Minnesota Twins since his slow start immediately following his call up. Since the calendar turned to July, Miranda has easily been the best hitter on the Twins and has shown up in the clutch, too, delivering walk off hits on two separate occasions. One area in which Miranda has especially excelled is in limiting strikeouts. Since July 1, Miranda has had a K% of just 15.8, good for second best on the Twins during that span. Nick Gordon .333/.387/.561 (75 plate appearances) 165 wRC+ 2 HR, 9 RBI If you thought Jose Miranda’s hot streak was surprising, then you’re going to need to sit down for this one, because Nick Gordon has been on an absolute scorcher for the Minnesota Twins since July 1, with a team-best OPS of .947 in that span. The slim Gordon may look like a scrappy singles-hitting ballplayer, but he has been demolishing the ball with a high exit velocity and has delivered 11 extra base hits since July 1. NOT: Gary Sanchéz .155/.246/.224 (65 plate appearances) 38 wRC+ 1 HR, 6 RBI After posting a strong month of May, Sanchez had a terrible month of June and has been even worse since the calendar turned to July. To make matters worse, Ryan Jeffers has since hit the injured list, forcing Sanchez to become an everyday player for the Twins. Sanchez has been striking out at a 30% clip and has shown absolutely no power, owning a slugging percentage even lower than his on-base percentage. Carlos Correa .194/.292/.347 (113 plate appearances) 82 wRC+ 4 HR, 13 RBI Going under the radar has been just how pedestrian Carlos Correa has been at the plate over the past five weeks. Since the calendar turned to July, Correa owns the second-lowest OPS on the Minnesota Twins at .639 along with the second-lowest average exit velocity of 87.9 MPH. With a player option following the season, could Correa possibly opt in to return to the Land of 10,000 lakes in 2023? What are your thoughts on the hot/not list above? Do you think the players listed will stick in the same category over the last two months of the season? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!
  25. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Tyler Mahle, 6 IP, 5H, 4R, 4ER, 1BB, 5K (86 pitches, 61 strikes, 70.9%) Home Runs: Mark Contreras (2), Nick Gordon (5) Top 3 WPA: Michael Fulmer (.307), Carlos Correa (.205), Jhoan Duran (.118) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) A good turnout showed up at Target Field on a lovely evening, and all eyes were on the Twins’ new starter Tyler Mahle, who was set to make his first start for Minnesota since being acquired at the trade deadline. Well, some hundreds of eyes might’ve also been on old friend and still beloved by all, José Berríos, especially those of Blue Jays fans all over the place. The first two innings of this game seemed to set the tone: it was going to be a pitchers’ duel. Both starters faced the minimum, with Berríos needing only 14 pitches to do so – 12 fewer pitches than Mahle. But things took a shift in a very different direction once the third inning started. After Mahle pitched around a leadoff walk in the top of the inning, Berríos suffered his first punch. Mark Contreras fell behind in the count 0-2, but he came back to crush a line drive to left-center for his second home run in the big leagues, putting the Twins on the board. Berríos limited the damage to the one run heading to the fourth, and while Mahle continued to dominate the Blue Jay lineup, the former Twins ace just lost it. After Mahle tossed a quick, 1-2-3 top of the fourth on seven pitches, Berríos’ nightmare against his old teammates was about to start. Carlos Correa and Jorge Polanco opened up the home fourth with a long double and a walk, respectively. Next, José Miranda lined a single to center to push Correa across. Then, Nick Gordon didn’t waste any time and jumped on the first pitch he saw for a three-run bomb to right-center. A definite no-doubter to break the game wide open, making it 5-0 Twins before Berríos could even record an out. Minnesota’s offense continued to pound him, and after a Tim Beckham one-out single and a Sandy León two-out walk, Berríos was pulled from the game. Toronto rallies back with three home runs After four innings of sheer dominance over the Blue Jays lineup, Mahle started to lose his stuff. After retiring seven batters in a row and just as he was one out away from delivering a scoreless fifth, he gave up a two-out home run to Matt Chapman, putting Toronto on the board. He completed five innings of one-run ball on only sixty pitches, still in his second time through the order. But just as Berríos’ first home run given up gave Minnesota some momentum, Chapman’s dinger did exactly the same. After a lengthy at-bat by Raimel Tapia to start the sixth inning, Toronto’s number nine hitter, Santiago Espinal, hit a one-out solo homer to center to score the visitors’ second run. Newcomer Whit Merrifield, a career .297 hitter against the Twins, followed Espinal’s home run with a single that set Blue Jays fans on fire at Target Field. Then, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. crushed a long two-run dong to cut Minnesota’s lead to 5-4. Mahle managed to get back on track and finish the inning, but only after he tossed 26 pitches, the most out of any inning in this game. By doing so, he became the first Twins starter to complete six innings in a game in almost two weeks. Bullpen withstands pressure, but missed opportunities prove costly On Thursday, the Twins bullpen had one of the worst outings of the season, giving up all nine Toronto runs in a devastating loss. Tonight, they had a great opportunity to rebound from such an awful display, and they did a fine job. Griffin Jax struck out the side facing the heart of the Blue Jays lineup for a quick, 11-pitch seventh inning. Then, Jhoan Duran got two quick outs in the eighth but gave up a single to Merrifield, having to face Guerrero Jr. with the game on the line next. Pete Maki made a mound visit and decided not to intentionally walk the All-Star first baseman. Duran couldn’t retire Guerrero Jr., but he managed to induce weak-enough contact to hold him to a groundball single. Facing Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Duran got the huge final out on a force out, setting Jorge López up for the save. After not capitalizing on leadoff doubles in the seventh and the eighth innings, the Twins had flame-throwing closer López in the ninth to try to hold on to a one-run lead. The All-Star closer lost Bo Bichette to a one-out single but retired Chapman next after a tough at-bat for the second out. However, Danny Jansen and Tapia hit back-to-back singles and scored Bichette. That was López’s third blown save all year. Offense loads the bases in the 9th, but comes out empty-handed Gio Urshela was briefly brought into the game in the ninth inning to pinch-hit for León, and for a third consecutive inning, Minnesota had the leadoff man on. He smacked a single off Yimi Garcia, then left the game for pinch-runner Gilberto Celestino. Luis Arráez moved him to second on a groundout, then he reached third on a fielding error by Cavan Biggio. With only one out, the Jays made the bold decision to intentionally walk Polanco and bring none other than Miranda to the plate with the bases loaded. He struck out swinging, and Garcia got Gordon to fly out on the next at-bat, taking the game to extra innings. The Twins finished regulation with an awful 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Twins walk off on a couple of defensive mistakes by Toronto Michael Fulmer, making his second appearance as a Twin, scared us all when he gave up a walk to Guerrero Jr. and a single to Gurriel Jr. to load the bases in the 10th inning. However, he bounced back incredibly by striking out Teoscar Hernández and Bichette. It was again up to the offense to salvage this game. Jake Cave had a great, six-pitch at-bat against Jordan Romano, which ended in a strikeout that Jansen couldn’t hold on to. When he made the throw to first, Guerrero Jr. couldn’t hold on to the ball, and ghost runner Gordon reached third. With two men on and no outs, Beckham grounded to short, and Gordon beat the throw by Chapman at home to win the game. Postgame interview What’s Next? Both teams are back on the field tomorrow for game three, with first pitch scheduled for 6:10 pm CDT. The Twins turn to Dylan Bundy (5.04 ERA), while Mitch White (3.70 ERA) starts the game for Toronto. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Jax 20 24 0 0 11 55 Fulmer 23 0 13 0 15 51 Duran 10 0 19 0 17 46 Pagán 0 16 0 25 0 41 Megill 0 8 0 29 0 37 López 0 0 7 0 30 37 Thielbar 0 0 11 0 0 11 Sands 0 0 0 0 0 0
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