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  1. You know about the increased velocity, but it's how he's using it that has turned him into an elite left-handed reliever. Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports If things had gone differently, Caleb Thielbar might have been in South Dakota, conducting recruiting visits and game-planning for a Division II baseball program as Augustana’s pitching coach. If he didn’t seek help from Driveline Baseball, he might not have added the necessary velocity or maximized each pitch’s effectiveness. If he did not get invited onto USA Baseball’s Premier 12 roster in 2019 – one composed of mostly young prospects – he might not have caught the attention of scouts with his high spin curveball and his now low 90s fastball. Instead, he’s reporting alongside the other pitchers and catchers in Fort Myers next month, returning to the Minnesota Twins as one of the most valuable weapons in the bullpen. Thielbar’s age-35 season was pretty impressive. He struck out 32.7% of hitters faced (20th best among pitchers who faced 200 or more batters). He allowed the lowest hard-hit ball percentages (25.9%) than anyone not named Lucas Luetge. What is unique about Thielbar is that as he ages, his velocity increases – the rare Benjamin Button effect for pitchers. When pitchers increase velocity, they discuss expanding the ceiling and the floor. Thielbar was capable of reaching 92.8 in 2020 but sat at 89.8. The following season, he was topping at 95.3 while sitting at 91.3. This past season, while the ceiling didn’t move much (he maxed at 95.5), his average fastball velocity was now at 92.8. Moreover, Thielbar’s secondary pitches also saw a good amount of velocity spike. In 2020, his curve averaged 68.7 but was up to 73.0 mph in 2022. The slider averaged 77.5 in 2020 and was now up to 81.3. Thielbar had a well-documented transformation at Driveline. Their pitching experts found minor issues with his mechanics overall. But they did find one area for him to attack in his remote training. Plyo drills, prescribed thanks to Driveline’s biomechanics analysis that revealed he had lower than usual hip-shoulder separation at foot plant, helped him improve this area of his mechanics and aided some of his velocity gains. He also acknowledged that he was trying to throw harder, as crazy as that sounds. When you compare the 2020 mechanics to this past year’s, you can visually see someone who indeed appears to be trying to throw harder. Still, Thielbar’s velocity improvement remained below average for major league left-handed relievers. Despite the gains, Thielbar’s fastball was at the 39th percentile for velocity in 2022. Nevertheless, at a 17.9% swinging strike rate, his fastball missed more bats than every reliever besides Pittsburgh’s David Bednar (who threw his at a slightly crisper 96.5 mph on average)*. So how was it so effective? Well that requires a deeper dive, available only to Twins Daily's Caretakers. Our Caretakers take care of the site and in return, we take care of them. That includes us investing in deeper dive stories, like this story, and others by Parker Hageman, Matthew Trueblood and others. Caretakers also get free Winter Meltdown tickets, acknowledgement in the forums, and other perks. If you visit Twins Daily, well, daily, maybe it's time to consider joining our Caretakers. We would love to have you join our little club, and we think you'll love it, too, and not just for the perks. Just click here to get started. View full article
  2. If things had gone differently, Caleb Thielbar might have been in South Dakota, conducting recruiting visits and game-planning for a Division II baseball program as Augustana’s pitching coach. If he didn’t seek help from Driveline Baseball, he might not have added the necessary velocity or maximized each pitch’s effectiveness. If he did not get invited onto USA Baseball’s Premier 12 roster in 2019 – one composed of mostly young prospects – he might not have caught the attention of scouts with his high spin curveball and his now low 90s fastball. Instead, he’s reporting alongside the other pitchers and catchers in Fort Myers next month, returning to the Minnesota Twins as one of the most valuable weapons in the bullpen. Thielbar’s age-35 season was pretty impressive. He struck out 32.7% of hitters faced (20th best among pitchers who faced 200 or more batters). He allowed the lowest hard-hit ball percentages (25.9%) than anyone not named Lucas Luetge. What is unique about Thielbar is that as he ages, his velocity increases – the rare Benjamin Button effect for pitchers. When pitchers increase velocity, they discuss expanding the ceiling and the floor. Thielbar was capable of reaching 92.8 in 2020 but sat at 89.8. The following season, he was topping at 95.3 while sitting at 91.3. This past season, while the ceiling didn’t move much (he maxed at 95.5), his average fastball velocity was now at 92.8. Moreover, Thielbar’s secondary pitches also saw a good amount of velocity spike. In 2020, his curve averaged 68.7 but was up to 73.0 mph in 2022. The slider averaged 77.5 in 2020 and was now up to 81.3. Thielbar had a well-documented transformation at Driveline. Their pitching experts found minor issues with his mechanics overall. But they did find one area for him to attack in his remote training. Plyo drills, prescribed thanks to Driveline’s biomechanics analysis that revealed he had lower than usual hip-shoulder separation at foot plant, helped him improve this area of his mechanics and aided some of his velocity gains. He also acknowledged that he was trying to throw harder, as crazy as that sounds. When you compare the 2020 mechanics to this past year’s, you can visually see someone who indeed appears to be trying to throw harder. Still, Thielbar’s velocity improvement remained below average for major league left-handed relievers. Despite the gains, Thielbar’s fastball was at the 39th percentile for velocity in 2022. Nevertheless, at a 17.9% swinging strike rate, his fastball missed more bats than every reliever besides Pittsburgh’s David Bednar (who threw his at a slightly crisper 96.5 mph on average)*. So how was it so effective? Well that requires a deeper dive, available only to Twins Daily's Caretakers. Our Caretakers take care of the site and in return, we take care of them. That includes us investing in deeper dive stories, like this story, and others by Parker Hageman, Matthew Trueblood and others. Caretakers also get free Winter Meltdown tickets, acknowledgement in the forums, and other perks. If you visit Twins Daily, well, daily, maybe it's time to consider joining our Caretakers. We would love to have you join our little club, and we think you'll love it, too, and not just for the perks. Just click here to get started.
  3. Twins bring back lefty reliever for fourth season with the franchise. Image courtesy of Scott Taetsch, USA Today Sports MINNEAPOLIS – The Twins have re-signed left-handed reliever Danny Coulombe to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, as reported by Betsy Helfand of the Pioneer Press. Coulombe, 33, has been with the Twins organization since 2020, appearing in 41 relief appearances over the last three season and posting a 2.92 ERA in 49.1 innings pitched in that time. The Twins bullpen is still light on left-handed relievers with Caleb Thielbar and Jovani Moran as the only two with MLB service time on the 40-man roster. The other lefty currently on the 40-man is Brent Headrick, who spent his 2022 season as a starter between High A Cedar Rapids and Double A Wichita. Coulombe pitched in only 10 games for the Twins in 2022 before being shutdown for the season due to injury. View full article
  4. MINNEAPOLIS – The Twins have re-signed left-handed reliever Danny Coulombe to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, as reported by Betsy Helfand of the Pioneer Press. Coulombe, 33, has been with the Twins organization since 2020, appearing in 41 relief appearances over the last three season and posting a 2.92 ERA in 49.1 innings pitched in that time. The Twins bullpen is still light on left-handed relievers with Caleb Thielbar and Jovani Moran as the only two with MLB service time on the 40-man roster. The other lefty currently on the 40-man is Brent Headrick, who spent his 2022 season as a starter between High A Cedar Rapids and Double A Wichita. Coulombe pitched in only 10 games for the Twins in 2022 before being shutdown for the season due to injury.
  5. Friday was the next key moment of the offseason as Major League teams needed to make decisions on their arbitration eligible candidates. Minnesota had already handled some of these situations, but the front office handed out contracts to seven players prior to the 7pm deadline. Image courtesy of Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports Although the morning on Friday was spent unveiling the Minnesota Twins new uniforms, the evening was about exactly who would be playing in them. With a full 40-man roster, the Twins had seven arbitration-eligible candidates left to make decisions on. Earlier in the afternoon, they avoided a decision (or, very clearly made their decision) on third baseman Gio Urshela when they sent him to the Los Angeles Angels for Single-A right-handed pitcher Alejandro Hidalgo. Urshela was set to make nearly $10 million this year, and with Jose Miranda looking like the Opening Day third basemen, there simply was not enough playing time to be had for that kind of investment. Before Friday’s deadline, Danny Coulombe, Jake Cave, and Cody Stashak were all dealt with. Each was arbitration-eligible, currently have been left out of the Twins plans in 2023. Emilio Pagan’s outcome was left until the last minute, and although there was talk of a team-friendly extension, nothing ultimately came to fruition. That left Tyler Mahle, Caleb Thielbar, Jorge Lopez, Luis Arraez, Jorge Alcala, and Chris Paddack, and Emilio Pagan as the only players yet outstanding. Earlier this week Nick Nelson went through the looming decisions for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, ranking them in order. Urshela checked in at the top and ultimately was the choice for someone else. Of those remaining, only Paddack found himself with a bit of hand-wringing. As Nick pointed out, it’s a wait-and-see scenario for the former San Diego Padres starter. When dealing Taylor Rogers and Brent Rooker to the Padres prior to Opening Day, Pagan was likely seen as more of a throw-in for the bullpen. Paddack, and his additional year of control, was the prize. After undergoing Tommy John surgery, a second one at that, it remains to be seen what type of pitcher returns, and when. MLB Trade Rumors has Paddack projected at just under a $2.5 million deal for 2023, hardly a substantial amount of a good starter. The problem is that Minnesota will have a dead spot on their 40-man roster until spring training. They can and will place Paddack on the 60-day injured list at that point, but are limited in their construction by one roster spot until then. Coming over from the Reds, Mahle was the Twins prize at the trade deadline and should be expected to be relied upon heavily in the rotation this season. New head trainer Nick Paparesta will look to get and keep him healthy, but Mahle has the makings of a breakout ace if he can get there. Like Mahle, Lopez was acquired at the deadline and left a Baltimore team that he represented as an All-Star closer during the Midsummer Classic. Since returning to professional baseball, Thielbar has been among the most overlooked yet dominant lefties in the game. He’s not exciting, but it doesn’t matter when he’s getting the job done. Rocco Baldelli will hope to have Alcala be the arm he was undoubtedly counting on in the bullpen last season, but a full year off makes that a game of wait-and-see. There was certainly questions as to whether Pagan would be retained after a tumultuous start to his Minnesota tenure. After working with Twins coaching a bit more as the season went on, Pagan was able to find success to the tune of a 2.16 ERA in his final 16 2/3 innings. The Twins front office did work to hammer out a multi-year deal but ultimately just agreed on avoiding a non-tender. The stuff has always profiled well as evidenced by a strong K/9. Presumably, the sides will stick it out for a few months into 2023 to see if there's a turnaround. Rounding out the group was the easiest one of the bunch to call. Arraez is fresh off his first batting title, won a Silver Slugger award, was named an All-Star, and has his sights set on a Gold Glove next. As a reminder, the arbitration deadline is one in which Minnesota had to decide if they would tender a player a contract or not. The sides will then exchange numbers. If the number is agreed to, that will be reported and updated below. If the sides remain apart on their valuations, a hearing could take place at a later date. View full article
  6. Although the morning on Friday was spent unveiling the Minnesota Twins new uniforms, the evening was about exactly who would be playing in them. With a full 40-man roster, the Twins had seven arbitration-eligible candidates left to make decisions on. Earlier in the afternoon, they avoided a decision (or, very clearly made their decision) on third baseman Gio Urshela when they sent him to the Los Angeles Angels for Single-A right-handed pitcher Alejandro Hidalgo. Urshela was set to make nearly $10 million this year, and with Jose Miranda looking like the Opening Day third basemen, there simply was not enough playing time to be had for that kind of investment. Before Friday’s deadline, Danny Coulombe, Jake Cave, and Cody Stashak were all dealt with. Each was arbitration-eligible, currently have been left out of the Twins plans in 2023. Emilio Pagan’s outcome was left until the last minute, and although there was talk of a team-friendly extension, nothing ultimately came to fruition. That left Tyler Mahle, Caleb Thielbar, Jorge Lopez, Luis Arraez, Jorge Alcala, and Chris Paddack, and Emilio Pagan as the only players yet outstanding. Earlier this week Nick Nelson went through the looming decisions for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, ranking them in order. Urshela checked in at the top and ultimately was the choice for someone else. Of those remaining, only Paddack found himself with a bit of hand-wringing. As Nick pointed out, it’s a wait-and-see scenario for the former San Diego Padres starter. When dealing Taylor Rogers and Brent Rooker to the Padres prior to Opening Day, Pagan was likely seen as more of a throw-in for the bullpen. Paddack, and his additional year of control, was the prize. After undergoing Tommy John surgery, a second one at that, it remains to be seen what type of pitcher returns, and when. MLB Trade Rumors has Paddack projected at just under a $2.5 million deal for 2023, hardly a substantial amount of a good starter. The problem is that Minnesota will have a dead spot on their 40-man roster until spring training. They can and will place Paddack on the 60-day injured list at that point, but are limited in their construction by one roster spot until then. Coming over from the Reds, Mahle was the Twins prize at the trade deadline and should be expected to be relied upon heavily in the rotation this season. New head trainer Nick Paparesta will look to get and keep him healthy, but Mahle has the makings of a breakout ace if he can get there. Like Mahle, Lopez was acquired at the deadline and left a Baltimore team that he represented as an All-Star closer during the Midsummer Classic. Since returning to professional baseball, Thielbar has been among the most overlooked yet dominant lefties in the game. He’s not exciting, but it doesn’t matter when he’s getting the job done. Rocco Baldelli will hope to have Alcala be the arm he was undoubtedly counting on in the bullpen last season, but a full year off makes that a game of wait-and-see. There was certainly questions as to whether Pagan would be retained after a tumultuous start to his Minnesota tenure. After working with Twins coaching a bit more as the season went on, Pagan was able to find success to the tune of a 2.16 ERA in his final 16 2/3 innings. The Twins front office did work to hammer out a multi-year deal but ultimately just agreed on avoiding a non-tender. The stuff has always profiled well as evidenced by a strong K/9. Presumably, the sides will stick it out for a few months into 2023 to see if there's a turnaround. Rounding out the group was the easiest one of the bunch to call. Arraez is fresh off his first batting title, won a Silver Slugger award, was named an All-Star, and has his sights set on a Gold Glove next. As a reminder, the arbitration deadline is one in which Minnesota had to decide if they would tender a player a contract or not. The sides will then exchange numbers. If the number is agreed to, that will be reported and updated below. If the sides remain apart on their valuations, a hearing could take place at a later date.
  7. The Twins need bullpen help and could certainly use another left hander to mix and match with late in games. Luckily an old friend is looking for a home this winter. Is a reunion with Taylor Rogers in the cards? Image courtesy of Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports The Twins have mostly neglected the bullpen in years past and it’s more often than not blown up in their faces. The few additions they typically make are what many consider “bargain bin” pitchers, typically coming off of rough seasons in search of a bounce back. By targeting Taylor Rogers, they can stick to the strategy we’ve seen them use time and time again, though this time the payoff could be much better. Rogers is coming off of a rough season by his standards. In 64 innings he posted a 4.76 ERA. His strikeout rate remained strong at 30.7%, still in the 10th percentile in all of baseball. His walks ticked up slightly as did his homers, though neither to a worrisome degree. While his peripherals were higher than usual, they were far from disastrous (3.32 FIP, 3.26 xFIP). His season was marred by untimely meltdowns, blowing 10 saves between San Diego and Milwaukee. Is there hope Rogers could rebound in his age-32 season? As noted, Rogers was still able to strike out hitters at an impressive clip, and while his average fastball was down over a full tick from 2021, his average of 94.3 mph isn’t far off from his career norm. There isn’t much to suggest that he’s entered the decline of his career quite yet aside from his unsightly ERA. One little talked about factor of Rogers's season is that it appeared San Diego changed the shape of his slider. The pitch was three mph slower than it was in 2021 and had 40.4 inches of drop as opposed to 35.7 in 2021. Instead of the hard breaker we’d grown accustomed to seeing, Rogers was throwing more of a looping breaking ball. While the results didn’t show up on the slider, it was likely easier to differentiate between his out-pitch and his sinker. His slider’s underlying success was about the same, but his fastball produced the worst underlying numbers of his career. It seems like this would be an easy fix for Rogers to make. With the rest of his stuff appearing to be intact, Rogers could be due for a huge bounce-back. At the very least his underlying numbers as is suggest he massively underperformed in 2022. Rogers also had an absurd 16 saves through May 21, as a questionable Padres bullpen leaned on him heavily to begin the season before he began to unravel. We saw a decline in performance from the left-hander in Minnesota during several seasons when Rogers was ridden particularly hard. The Padres may have simply bent him until he broke early in the year, especially given the fact that he was coming off of a finger injury. A Twins bullpen consisting of Duran, Jax, Thielbar, Lopez, etc. is a far cry from the bullpens of Twins past or the Padres early 2022 bullpen in which Rogers was the go-to guy for every situation. With more options, the Twins would be able to avoid any kind of burnout Rogers has suffered from in the past. In regards to the fit, the Twins could greatly use another left-handed option even as Caleb Thielbar has become a certified dude. Having two left-handed options who can also get righties out at a respectable clip would add an entirely new dimension to the Twins bullpen. We often saw Thielbar pitching in late situations regardless of matchup in 2022 when other arms were missing or struggling, leaving the Twins without another effective lefty if a matchup opportunity arose. Rogers would be an easy and familiar fix. Let's be honest. The Twins aren’t going to all of a sudden pony up and sign a legit back end of the bullpen reliever. It’s not in their DNA. There’s a lengthy list of their typical candidates they’ll probably be plucking a few names from in hopes that one of their bounce-back projects finally works out. Instead of hitching their wagon to an Ian Kennedy or Archie Bradley, why not reach out to a familiar face with tangible signs of a rebound in their profile? Not to mention the fact that it would be a homecoming for a homegrown player who was just recently a fan favorite. Taylor Rogers checks a lot of boxes that the Twins are looking for, and a reunion just seems like it would make too much sense. Should we be hoping to see the former anchor of the Twins bullpen added back to a new look core at the back end of games in 2023? Let us know below. View full article
  8. The Twins have mostly neglected the bullpen in years past and it’s more often than not blown up in their faces. The few additions they typically make are what many consider “bargain bin” pitchers, typically coming off of rough seasons in search of a bounce back. By targeting Taylor Rogers, they can stick to the strategy we’ve seen them use time and time again, though this time the payoff could be much better. Rogers is coming off of a rough season by his standards. In 64 innings he posted a 4.76 ERA. His strikeout rate remained strong at 30.7%, still in the 10th percentile in all of baseball. His walks ticked up slightly as did his homers, though neither to a worrisome degree. While his peripherals were higher than usual, they were far from disastrous (3.32 FIP, 3.26 xFIP). His season was marred by untimely meltdowns, blowing 10 saves between San Diego and Milwaukee. Is there hope Rogers could rebound in his age-32 season? As noted, Rogers was still able to strike out hitters at an impressive clip, and while his average fastball was down over a full tick from 2021, his average of 94.3 mph isn’t far off from his career norm. There isn’t much to suggest that he’s entered the decline of his career quite yet aside from his unsightly ERA. One little talked about factor of Rogers's season is that it appeared San Diego changed the shape of his slider. The pitch was three mph slower than it was in 2021 and had 40.4 inches of drop as opposed to 35.7 in 2021. Instead of the hard breaker we’d grown accustomed to seeing, Rogers was throwing more of a looping breaking ball. While the results didn’t show up on the slider, it was likely easier to differentiate between his out-pitch and his sinker. His slider’s underlying success was about the same, but his fastball produced the worst underlying numbers of his career. It seems like this would be an easy fix for Rogers to make. With the rest of his stuff appearing to be intact, Rogers could be due for a huge bounce-back. At the very least his underlying numbers as is suggest he massively underperformed in 2022. Rogers also had an absurd 16 saves through May 21, as a questionable Padres bullpen leaned on him heavily to begin the season before he began to unravel. We saw a decline in performance from the left-hander in Minnesota during several seasons when Rogers was ridden particularly hard. The Padres may have simply bent him until he broke early in the year, especially given the fact that he was coming off of a finger injury. A Twins bullpen consisting of Duran, Jax, Thielbar, Lopez, etc. is a far cry from the bullpens of Twins past or the Padres early 2022 bullpen in which Rogers was the go-to guy for every situation. With more options, the Twins would be able to avoid any kind of burnout Rogers has suffered from in the past. In regards to the fit, the Twins could greatly use another left-handed option even as Caleb Thielbar has become a certified dude. Having two left-handed options who can also get righties out at a respectable clip would add an entirely new dimension to the Twins bullpen. We often saw Thielbar pitching in late situations regardless of matchup in 2022 when other arms were missing or struggling, leaving the Twins without another effective lefty if a matchup opportunity arose. Rogers would be an easy and familiar fix. Let's be honest. The Twins aren’t going to all of a sudden pony up and sign a legit back end of the bullpen reliever. It’s not in their DNA. There’s a lengthy list of their typical candidates they’ll probably be plucking a few names from in hopes that one of their bounce-back projects finally works out. Instead of hitching their wagon to an Ian Kennedy or Archie Bradley, why not reach out to a familiar face with tangible signs of a rebound in their profile? Not to mention the fact that it would be a homecoming for a homegrown player who was just recently a fan favorite. Taylor Rogers checks a lot of boxes that the Twins are looking for, and a reunion just seems like it would make too much sense. Should we be hoping to see the former anchor of the Twins bullpen added back to a new look core at the back end of games in 2023? Let us know below.
  9. Imagine a pitcher who can touch 104 mph, throws strikes and combines it with elite offspeed stuff. The Twins have never had such an arm… until now. Twins Daily’s 2022 pick for Pitcher of the Year is rookie sensation Jhoan Duran. While the majority of the Twins’ bullpen struggled to close games, Duran was invaluable all season long. He led American League relievers in Win Probability Added (4.59), frequently facing the opponent’s best hitters in the highest leverage spots. Duran’s “clutch” score registered at 1.26, also the highest in the AL. If you looked only at Duran on the surface, you’d crown him as one of the best relievers in baseball. His incredible season was impressive without context. The context, however, is where the magic lies. Duran was a rookie thrust into the tightest spots for a team fighting for the playoffs. He had never pitched in relief before 2022, save for a couple games at Triple-A in 2019 and 2021. After working at the Twins' alternate site in 2020, Duran threw only 16 innings a season ago in St. Paul. He had a 5.06 ERA before an elbow injury shut down his season, putting his future in question. Duran dazzled in spring training and earned a spot on the Opening Day roster. Even the most optimistic believers in Duran’s incredible stuff couldn’t have predicted what came next. Among pitchers who threw at least 250 offerings in 2022, Duran’s four-seamer ranked first in average velocity (100.8). His splitter also paced the league at a ridiculous 96.4 mph. Duran unquestionably has the best raw stuff in Twins history and one of the most electrifying repertoires the game has ever seen. There have been plenty of young pitchers with electric arms but Duran’s command is the separator. His 27.4% strikeout-to-walk rate was tied for 10th among qualified relievers, ahead of Cleveland phenom Emmanuel Clase. Duran throws extremely hard and he throws strikes. That combo led to nearly three Wins Above Replacement at Baseball Reference. Duran worked through early pitch-selection pains and got better as the season went on. Only two AL relievers had a lower ERA than Duran in the second half (1.05), minimum of 25 innings. The rookie was also lights-out in front of the home crowd, posting a 0.83 ERA at Target Field, the lowest in a season in the park’s history. Handing your most pivotal bullpen spot to a rookie can be a risky proposition, given the pressure of that role. Duran was unfazed. With two outs and runners in scoring position, Duran held opponents to a 1-for-25 mark, with the lone hit a single. In high-leverage situations, opponents hit .180 with a .489 OPS. Duran’s pulse is impossible to see. Twins fans were understandably sad to see the team trade Eduardo Escobar at the 2018 deadline. The reward, however, looks to be potentially game-changing. Duran has instantly become one of the game’s best relievers and he’s under contract with the Twins through at least 2027. He’s a joy to watch. HONORABLE MENTIONS Sonny Gray The Twins traded their first-round pick from a year ago for Sonny Gray, who was very good when healthy in his first season as a Twin. Gray had trouble staying healthy and pitching deep into games, but his 3.08 ERA and 3.41 FIP show he’s still a frontline starter. Griffin Jax Also in his first season as a full-time reliever, Griffin Jax enjoyed a massive spike in velocity and effectiveness. Jax posted a solid 3.36 ERA in 65 games, regularly setting up Duran as the second-best reliever in the bullpen. Jax averaged over 95 mph with his four-seamer and produced a 37% whiff rate on his elite, high-spin slider. Caleb Thielbar Caleb Thielbar is another example of why we should trust the expected statistics. A ballooned ERA was backed by much better metrics early in 2022. Thielbar was outstanding in the second half with a 1.50 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 24 innings. The lefty filled in more than admirably for Taylor Rogers. Joe Ryan Joe Ryan set the Twins’ single-season rookie record for strikeouts, backed by a 3.55 ERA in a team-leading 147 innings. Ryan was exceptional down the stretch with a 2.81 ERA over his last nine starts. Still just a rookie, Ryan has been impressive for many of his now 32 starts in the big leagues. View full article
  10. While the majority of the Twins’ bullpen struggled to close games, Duran was invaluable all season long. He led American League relievers in Win Probability Added (4.59), frequently facing the opponent’s best hitters in the highest leverage spots. Duran’s “clutch” score registered at 1.26, also the highest in the AL. If you looked only at Duran on the surface, you’d crown him as one of the best relievers in baseball. His incredible season was impressive without context. The context, however, is where the magic lies. Duran was a rookie thrust into the tightest spots for a team fighting for the playoffs. He had never pitched in relief before 2022, save for a couple games at Triple-A in 2019 and 2021. After working at the Twins' alternate site in 2020, Duran threw only 16 innings a season ago in St. Paul. He had a 5.06 ERA before an elbow injury shut down his season, putting his future in question. Duran dazzled in spring training and earned a spot on the Opening Day roster. Even the most optimistic believers in Duran’s incredible stuff couldn’t have predicted what came next. Among pitchers who threw at least 250 offerings in 2022, Duran’s four-seamer ranked first in average velocity (100.8). His splitter also paced the league at a ridiculous 96.4 mph. Duran unquestionably has the best raw stuff in Twins history and one of the most electrifying repertoires the game has ever seen. There have been plenty of young pitchers with electric arms but Duran’s command is the separator. His 27.4% strikeout-to-walk rate was tied for 10th among qualified relievers, ahead of Cleveland phenom Emmanuel Clase. Duran throws extremely hard and he throws strikes. That combo led to nearly three Wins Above Replacement at Baseball Reference. Duran worked through early pitch-selection pains and got better as the season went on. Only two AL relievers had a lower ERA than Duran in the second half (1.05), minimum of 25 innings. The rookie was also lights-out in front of the home crowd, posting a 0.83 ERA at Target Field, the lowest in a season in the park’s history. Handing your most pivotal bullpen spot to a rookie can be a risky proposition, given the pressure of that role. Duran was unfazed. With two outs and runners in scoring position, Duran held opponents to a 1-for-25 mark, with the lone hit a single. In high-leverage situations, opponents hit .180 with a .489 OPS. Duran’s pulse is impossible to see. Twins fans were understandably sad to see the team trade Eduardo Escobar at the 2018 deadline. The reward, however, looks to be potentially game-changing. Duran has instantly become one of the game’s best relievers and he’s under contract with the Twins through at least 2027. He’s a joy to watch. HONORABLE MENTIONS Sonny Gray The Twins traded their first-round pick from a year ago for Sonny Gray, who was very good when healthy in his first season as a Twin. Gray had trouble staying healthy and pitching deep into games, but his 3.08 ERA and 3.41 FIP show he’s still a frontline starter. Griffin Jax Also in his first season as a full-time reliever, Griffin Jax enjoyed a massive spike in velocity and effectiveness. Jax posted a solid 3.36 ERA in 65 games, regularly setting up Duran as the second-best reliever in the bullpen. Jax averaged over 95 mph with his four-seamer and produced a 37% whiff rate on his elite, high-spin slider. Caleb Thielbar Caleb Thielbar is another example of why we should trust the expected statistics. A ballooned ERA was backed by much better metrics early in 2022. Thielbar was outstanding in the second half with a 1.50 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 24 innings. The lefty filled in more than admirably for Taylor Rogers. Joe Ryan Joe Ryan set the Twins’ single-season rookie record for strikeouts, backed by a 3.55 ERA in a team-leading 147 innings. Ryan was exceptional down the stretch with a 2.81 ERA over his last nine starts. Still just a rookie, Ryan has been impressive for many of his now 32 starts in the big leagues.
  11. Not ideal. Image courtesy of Nick Wosika, USA TODAY Sports 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: View full article
  12. The Twins won’t be in the playoffs, but in their final series at home, they made sure to show their appreciation to fans attending the game at Target Field by securing a series win against the White Sox. Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports Box Score Starting Pitcher: Josh Winder, 4 2/3 IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 6K (91 pitches, 60 strikes, 65.9%) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Jake Cave (.236), Matt Wallner (.185), Gio Urshela (.158) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Facing mathematical elimination from playoff contention in case of a loss (or a Seattle Mariners win), the Twins got off on the wrong foot, but they put on some fight. After a quick, scoreless first inning, the White Sox jumped to a quick two-run lead on three consecutive singles and a sacrifice fly in the top of the second. It was the first time in the series Chicago was ahead – or even scored a run, for that matter. But that wouldn’t last long. Right in the bottom of that same inning, Minnesota rallied back to snatch the lead, manufacturing three runs. The Twins' response was quick, with the three runs coming on four consecutive hits off Johnny Cueto. Jose Miranda led off the inning with a single, and he scored after a Gio Urshela double and a Jake Cave single. Cueto got a mound visit, but it didn't stop Matt Wallner from hitting a long double that pushed both Urshela and Cave across, making it 3-2 Minnesota. Josh Winder settled in after a rough second inning and delivered two scoreless after that. Then, the offense came through for him once agai, and scored two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Cueto got ambushed again by the heart of the Twins’ order: Urshela, Cave, and Wallner hit three consecutive off him, enough to score Urshela and leave two men on with no outs. Ryan Jeffers grounded into a double play, and Cave scored Minnesota’s fifth run. Winder pitched himself into a jam in the fifth, and he was pulled before he could complete the inning. Josh Harrison led off the inning with a single, and Winder hit Romy Gonzalez on the next at-bat. The Twins' rookie managed to retire the following two batters, but before he could close out the inning, Jose Abreu hit an RBI single to score Chicago's third run, prompting a pitching change by Rocco Baldelli. Caleb Thielbar came in to close out the fifth, and he also delivered a scoreless sixth. It was time the offense showed up again, and the middle of the lineup got to Cueto again. Urshela (single) and Cava (double) got back-to-back one-out hits, and Cueto decided to intentionally walk Wallner next, loading the bases. He got the second out, but Chicago made a pitching change, and with reliever Jake Diekman pitching, Gilberto Celestino drew a walk to bring home another run, making it once again a three-run game. Michael Fulmer nearly allowed the Sox to rally in the seventh, but he barely escaped, limiting the damage to just one run. Harrison and Gonzalez opened up the inning with back-to-back singles, and Andrew Vaughn hit a one-out single to score Harrison. Fulmer then hit Abreu next to load the bases, but after a mound visit, he managed to get an inning-ending double-play. But once again, the Chicago run was useless, as Miranda doubled in the bottom of the inning to score Carlos Correa, who drew a leadoff walk moments earlier. Arráez drives in a run, ties Judge for the AL batting title lead We’re following Luis Arraez’s chase of Aaron Judge for the Rod Carew American League Batting Title on our social media with the Luis Arráez Watch”. Coming into tonight, Arráez had a .313 batting average, with Judge leading the league with .314. The Twins’ infielder saw his average drop to .312 after starting the game going 0-for-2, but he got a single in the fifth. Then, after Ryan Jeffers drew a leadoff walk in the eighth and pinch-runner Billy Hamilton stole second, Arráez got his second hit of the night and drove in Minnesota’s eighth and final run. With that hit, Arráez drove his batting average back up to .313, and with Judge going 1-for-4 in the Yankees game against the Blue Jays, the two players are now tied for the AL batting average lead, both sitting at .313. Make sure to check Twins Daily’s Twitter and Instagram daily to get all the updates on the AL Batting Title race, as Arráez can become the first Twin to win the title since Joe Mauer did in 2009. Postgame interview What’s Next? The two division foes close out the series on Thursday afternoon, with the first pitch scheduled for 12:10 pm CDT. Minnesota will try to complete the sweep of the South Siders with Louie Varland (5.06 ERA) on the mound, while Chicago will try to avoid it with Lucas Giolito ( 5.05 ERA) starting. After the game, the Twins get on the road for a six-game road trip, three against the Tigers in Detroit and three more against these same White Sox in Chicago. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Henriquez 0 68 0 0 0 68 Duran 24 0 0 15 0 39 Jax 27 0 0 10 0 37 Megill 0 32 0 0 0 32 Fulmer 9 0 0 0 22 31 Thielbar 13 0 0 0 15 28 López 11 0 0 0 16 27 Moran 0 6 0 0 12 18 Pagán 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  13. 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:
  14. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Josh Winder, 4 2/3 IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 6K (91 pitches, 60 strikes, 65.9%) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Jake Cave (.236), Matt Wallner (.185), Gio Urshela (.158) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Facing mathematical elimination from playoff contention in case of a loss (or a Seattle Mariners win), the Twins got off on the wrong foot, but they put on some fight. After a quick, scoreless first inning, the White Sox jumped to a quick two-run lead on three consecutive singles and a sacrifice fly in the top of the second. It was the first time in the series Chicago was ahead – or even scored a run, for that matter. But that wouldn’t last long. Right in the bottom of that same inning, Minnesota rallied back to snatch the lead, manufacturing three runs. The Twins' response was quick, with the three runs coming on four consecutive hits off Johnny Cueto. Jose Miranda led off the inning with a single, and he scored after a Gio Urshela double and a Jake Cave single. Cueto got a mound visit, but it didn't stop Matt Wallner from hitting a long double that pushed both Urshela and Cave across, making it 3-2 Minnesota. Josh Winder settled in after a rough second inning and delivered two scoreless after that. Then, the offense came through for him once agai, and scored two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Cueto got ambushed again by the heart of the Twins’ order: Urshela, Cave, and Wallner hit three consecutive off him, enough to score Urshela and leave two men on with no outs. Ryan Jeffers grounded into a double play, and Cave scored Minnesota’s fifth run. Winder pitched himself into a jam in the fifth, and he was pulled before he could complete the inning. Josh Harrison led off the inning with a single, and Winder hit Romy Gonzalez on the next at-bat. The Twins' rookie managed to retire the following two batters, but before he could close out the inning, Jose Abreu hit an RBI single to score Chicago's third run, prompting a pitching change by Rocco Baldelli. Caleb Thielbar came in to close out the fifth, and he also delivered a scoreless sixth. It was time the offense showed up again, and the middle of the lineup got to Cueto again. Urshela (single) and Cava (double) got back-to-back one-out hits, and Cueto decided to intentionally walk Wallner next, loading the bases. He got the second out, but Chicago made a pitching change, and with reliever Jake Diekman pitching, Gilberto Celestino drew a walk to bring home another run, making it once again a three-run game. Michael Fulmer nearly allowed the Sox to rally in the seventh, but he barely escaped, limiting the damage to just one run. Harrison and Gonzalez opened up the inning with back-to-back singles, and Andrew Vaughn hit a one-out single to score Harrison. Fulmer then hit Abreu next to load the bases, but after a mound visit, he managed to get an inning-ending double-play. But once again, the Chicago run was useless, as Miranda doubled in the bottom of the inning to score Carlos Correa, who drew a leadoff walk moments earlier. Arráez drives in a run, ties Judge for the AL batting title lead We’re following Luis Arraez’s chase of Aaron Judge for the Rod Carew American League Batting Title on our social media with the Luis Arráez Watch”. Coming into tonight, Arráez had a .313 batting average, with Judge leading the league with .314. The Twins’ infielder saw his average drop to .312 after starting the game going 0-for-2, but he got a single in the fifth. Then, after Ryan Jeffers drew a leadoff walk in the eighth and pinch-runner Billy Hamilton stole second, Arráez got his second hit of the night and drove in Minnesota’s eighth and final run. With that hit, Arráez drove his batting average back up to .313, and with Judge going 1-for-4 in the Yankees game against the Blue Jays, the two players are now tied for the AL batting average lead, both sitting at .313. Make sure to check Twins Daily’s Twitter and Instagram daily to get all the updates on the AL Batting Title race, as Arráez can become the first Twin to win the title since Joe Mauer did in 2009. Postgame interview What’s Next? The two division foes close out the series on Thursday afternoon, with the first pitch scheduled for 12:10 pm CDT. Minnesota will try to complete the sweep of the South Siders with Louie Varland (5.06 ERA) on the mound, while Chicago will try to avoid it with Lucas Giolito ( 5.05 ERA) starting. After the game, the Twins get on the road for a six-game road trip, three against the Tigers in Detroit and three more against these same White Sox in Chicago. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Henriquez 0 68 0 0 0 68 Duran 24 0 0 15 0 39 Jax 27 0 0 10 0 37 Megill 0 32 0 0 0 32 Fulmer 9 0 0 0 22 31 Thielbar 13 0 0 0 15 28 López 11 0 0 0 16 27 Moran 0 6 0 0 12 18 Pagán 0 0 0 0 0 0
  15. The Twins topped the Angels on the back of the bullpen and some big bats coming through in important situations. Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports Box Score SP: Joe Ryan: 7 2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (69 pitches, 41 strikes (59.4%)) Home Runs: Gary Sanchez (15) Top 3 WPA: Gio Urshela (0.169), Gary Sanchez (0.146), Jake Cave (0.100) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Eight is Enough, at least tonight When a team's bats are struggling, as the Twins certainly have of late, it sure is nice to see a pitching staff toss a shutout. When a team gets a short start from a starter, it is really nice to have the offense provide a little cushion and help deliver the team a relatively easy, low-stress win. The Twins jumped on the board first in the bottom of the first when Gio Urshela ripped a ground-rule double to score Jose Miranda. Gary Sanchez followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0. In the second frame, Carlos Correa singled to score Jermaine Palacios and give them a 3-0 lead. However, the Angels two big bats tied the game in the third inning. Mike Trout doubled to score Livan Soto. Shohei Ohtani followed with a two-run single. In the fourth inning, Jermaine Palacios just missed a home run but flew out deep enough to left field to score Jake Cave who had led off with a double. Palacios had some quality plate appearances on Saturday, but he is now hitless in his past 31 at-bats. It is the longest hitless streak since Oswaldo Arcia went 0-for-31 in 2014. The big blast came in the bottom of the fifth inning when Gary Sanchez came to the plate with two runners on base. He took a 3-0 pitch down the middle and crushed it well into the left field bleachers. Sanchez's 15th homer gave the Twins a little breathing room with a 7-3 lead. The Sanchez homer was the 153rd of his MLB career, so it is surprising that it was the first that he has hit on a 3-0 count. Gilberto Celestino drove in Urshela with a ground out to give the Twins their eighth run which proved to be enough on this night. The Twins snapped their five-game losing streak and can tie the season series with the Angels with a win on Sunday. Big Boppers Jose Miranda took off with a big July, and while he has still been quite solid in August and September, there is no question that he has cooled down. On Saturday night, Miranda had three hits in his first three at-bats. His first-inning single ended an 0-for-14 streak. In addition, Gio Urshela went 3-for-4, but as you can see from his WPA, he had a couple of big hits to help the team win. Luis Arraez had two hits, and clearly, the big hit of the game came off the bat of Sanchez. Arraez Watch Luis Arraez batted third and played first base on Saturday night. He went 2-for-4 in the game so his average now sits at .313. He recorded multiple hits for the 46th time this season. Xander Bogaerts went 2-for 4. He is hitting .315. Aaron Judge went 0-for-3 with a walk, so his average is now down to .314. Jose Abreu went 0-for-4 to drop his average to .305. Nathaniel Lowe (Rangers) went 0-for-3 with a walk, so his average fell to .305 as well. Bullpen Provides Zero(es) Joe Ryan went just four innings, but the bullpen really stepped it up in this game to help the team to a win. However, Ryan did record five strikeouts and is now one strikeout shy of setting the Twins rookie record. Francisco Liriano struck out 144 batters in his 2006 rookie season. Griffin Jax received his seventh win of the season. He walked one and struck out one in a scoreless fifth inning. Caleb Thielbar came in and looked dominant. He struck out the first two batters before the inning ended on a strikeout. Michael Fulmer only needed nine pitches to work a perfect seventh inning. Jorge Lopez got two groundouts and a strikeout in a perfect eighth frame. Thielbar, Fulmer and Lopez faced a total of nine batters and needed a combined 33 pitches. Then the Twins bullpen ace, Jhoan Duran came on and struggled, but didn’t really struggle. He gave up one run on three hits, though none of the three hits was hit hard. The bases were loaded with one out and Mike Trout coming to the plate. Duran had already thrown a lot of pitches, so I’m sure the bench was getting a little anxious. However, Duran got Trout to line out to right field for a sacrifice fly before getting Ohtani on a slow roller to end the game. What’s Next? The Twins will send RHP Dylan Bundy (8-7, 4.78 ERA) to the mound on Sunday to attempt to gain a series win over the Angels. The team will face Jose Suarez who is 6-8 with a 4.11 ERA. The game is scheduled for 1:10 pm. On Monday, the Twins will have their final off day of the year. Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Thielbar 23 0 0 10 13 46 Megill 17 0 0 28 0 45 Fulmer 23 0 0 0 9 32 Moran 0 0 31 0 0 31 Jax 4 0 0 0 27 31 Duran 0 0 0 0 24 24 Pagán 0 0 0 23 0 23 López 0 0 0 0 11 11 Henriquez 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  16. Box Score SP: Joe Ryan: 7 2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (69 pitches, 41 strikes (59.4%)) Home Runs: Gary Sanchez (15) Top 3 WPA: Gio Urshela (0.169), Gary Sanchez (0.146), Jake Cave (0.100) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Eight is Enough, at least tonight When a team's bats are struggling, as the Twins certainly have of late, it sure is nice to see a pitching staff toss a shutout. When a team gets a short start from a starter, it is really nice to have the offense provide a little cushion and help deliver the team a relatively easy, low-stress win. The Twins jumped on the board first in the bottom of the first when Gio Urshela ripped a ground-rule double to score Jose Miranda. Gary Sanchez followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0. In the second frame, Carlos Correa singled to score Jermaine Palacios and give them a 3-0 lead. However, the Angels two big bats tied the game in the third inning. Mike Trout doubled to score Livan Soto. Shohei Ohtani followed with a two-run single. In the fourth inning, Jermaine Palacios just missed a home run but flew out deep enough to left field to score Jake Cave who had led off with a double. Palacios had some quality plate appearances on Saturday, but he is now hitless in his past 31 at-bats. It is the longest hitless streak since Oswaldo Arcia went 0-for-31 in 2014. The big blast came in the bottom of the fifth inning when Gary Sanchez came to the plate with two runners on base. He took a 3-0 pitch down the middle and crushed it well into the left field bleachers. Sanchez's 15th homer gave the Twins a little breathing room with a 7-3 lead. The Sanchez homer was the 153rd of his MLB career, so it is surprising that it was the first that he has hit on a 3-0 count. Gilberto Celestino drove in Urshela with a ground out to give the Twins their eighth run which proved to be enough on this night. The Twins snapped their five-game losing streak and can tie the season series with the Angels with a win on Sunday. Big Boppers Jose Miranda took off with a big July, and while he has still been quite solid in August and September, there is no question that he has cooled down. On Saturday night, Miranda had three hits in his first three at-bats. His first-inning single ended an 0-for-14 streak. In addition, Gio Urshela went 3-for-4, but as you can see from his WPA, he had a couple of big hits to help the team win. Luis Arraez had two hits, and clearly, the big hit of the game came off the bat of Sanchez. Arraez Watch Luis Arraez batted third and played first base on Saturday night. He went 2-for-4 in the game so his average now sits at .313. He recorded multiple hits for the 46th time this season. Xander Bogaerts went 2-for 4. He is hitting .315. Aaron Judge went 0-for-3 with a walk, so his average is now down to .314. Jose Abreu went 0-for-4 to drop his average to .305. Nathaniel Lowe (Rangers) went 0-for-3 with a walk, so his average fell to .305 as well. Bullpen Provides Zero(es) Joe Ryan went just four innings, but the bullpen really stepped it up in this game to help the team to a win. However, Ryan did record five strikeouts and is now one strikeout shy of setting the Twins rookie record. Francisco Liriano struck out 144 batters in his 2006 rookie season. Griffin Jax received his seventh win of the season. He walked one and struck out one in a scoreless fifth inning. Caleb Thielbar came in and looked dominant. He struck out the first two batters before the inning ended on a strikeout. Michael Fulmer only needed nine pitches to work a perfect seventh inning. Jorge Lopez got two groundouts and a strikeout in a perfect eighth frame. Thielbar, Fulmer and Lopez faced a total of nine batters and needed a combined 33 pitches. Then the Twins bullpen ace, Jhoan Duran came on and struggled, but didn’t really struggle. He gave up one run on three hits, though none of the three hits was hit hard. The bases were loaded with one out and Mike Trout coming to the plate. Duran had already thrown a lot of pitches, so I’m sure the bench was getting a little anxious. However, Duran got Trout to line out to right field for a sacrifice fly before getting Ohtani on a slow roller to end the game. What’s Next? The Twins will send RHP Dylan Bundy (8-7, 4.78 ERA) to the mound on Sunday to attempt to gain a series win over the Angels. The team will face Jose Suarez who is 6-8 with a 4.11 ERA. The game is scheduled for 1:10 pm. On Monday, the Twins will have their final off day of the year. Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Thielbar 23 0 0 10 13 46 Megill 17 0 0 28 0 45 Fulmer 23 0 0 0 9 32 Moran 0 0 31 0 0 31 Jax 4 0 0 0 27 31 Duran 0 0 0 0 24 24 Pagán 0 0 0 23 0 23 López 0 0 0 0 11 11 Henriquez 0 0 0 0 0 0
  17. An ancient philosopher once said "fourth time's the charm." After a frustrating first three games in Yankees Stadium, the Twins snatched a win from the Bronx Bombers, moving to just 1.5 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central. Image courtesy of Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports 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 View full article
  18. 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
  19. The Minnesota Twins held on to win a game at Yankee Stadium Thursday. It was a nail-biter, but they prevailed 4-3. Carlos Correa delivered the lead with a late home run while Caleb Thielbar and Michael Fulmer protected it through a stressful final two innings. Down in the minors, Simeon Woods Richardson had a strong outing for St. Paul, Austin Martin homered for Wichita and both Matt Wallner and Brooks Lee made good plays in the field.
  20. The Minnesota Twins held on to win a game at Yankee Stadium Thursday. It was a nail-biter, but they prevailed 4-3. Carlos Correa delivered the lead with a late home run while Caleb Thielbar and Michael Fulmer protected it through a stressful final two innings. Down in the minors, Simeon Woods Richardson had a strong outing for St. Paul, Austin Martin homered for Wichita and both Matt Wallner and Brooks Lee made good plays in the field. View full video
  21. As the season winds down, it's easier to focus on some players who may be the team's secret weapons. So, who have been Minnesota's most underappreciated players in 2022? Image courtesy of Jesse Johnson, USA TODAY Sports Last week, MLB.com attempted to name the most underappreciated player on every team. This can be a challenging exercise for a national writer who can't focus on the day-to-day of every MLB team. The Twins have players that have exceeded expectations and others that have struggled to fill their roles. Here are the team's most underappreciated players this season. Gio Urshela, 3B MLB.com picked Urshela as the team's most underappreciated player for multiple reasons. Surprisingly, he has a higher OPS than Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Josh Donaldson. That doesn't tell the entire story with Urshela. His defense at third base has dramatically improved in the second half, which helps his overall value to the club. During the offseason, the Twins will need to decide whether or not to offer Urshela arbitration in his final year of eligibility. Urshela's contributions to the team may be underappreciated because of baseball's offensive drop this season. He has an OPS near his career mark of .744, which translates to a 114 OPS+ in 2022. According to FanGraphs, Urshela has provided his second highest amount of value ($10.6 million) in any big-league season. Minnesota may consider this when deciding whether or not to bring him back for 2023. Caleb Thielbar, RP It's easy to look at Thielbar's overall numbers for the season and not be impressed with a 3.80 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. However, some poor appearances near the season's start cloud those numbers. Since April 30, Thielbar has posted a 2.36 ERA with a 57-to-12 strikeout to walk ratio in 42 innings. For much of the season, he has also been the team's only left-handed pitcher out of the bullpen. While others have struggled, Thielbar has been invaluable as a late-inning option. Before the 2020 season, Thielbar was close to retiring from baseball as he was going to take a college coaching job. Luckily, the Twins convinced him that he had something left in the tank. Over the last three seasons, Thielbar has provided the Twins with nearly $20 million worth of value, including close to $9 million in 2022. Relievers can go through ups-and-downs with the small sample size of innings they pitch in a season, but Thielbar has continued to be consistent into his mid-30s. Gilberto Celestino, OF In 2021, Celestino's first taste of the big leagues couldn't have gone much worse. He hit .136/.177/.288 (.466) with three doubles and two home runs in 23 games. Minnesota rushed him to the MLB level without playing at Triple-A, so the results should have been expected for a 22-year-old. He has improved significantly during the 2022 campaign, including a month when he was one of the team's best hitters. Back in May, he hit .364/.426/.418 (.844) across 19 games. With Byron Buxton getting regular rest, Celestino has been needed to fill the void in center field. Celestino can't compare to Buxton's defensive prowess, but few players can be that good. Defensively, Celestino ranks in the 82nd percentile for Outs Above Average, and his sprint speed is in the 65th percentile. He is an above-average defender that has provided offensive value that impacts the line-up. Some may forget that he is only 23 years old and has played fewer than 120 games at the big-league level. Minnesota will need him to continue to fill an outfield role in the years ahead. Who do you think have been the most underappreciated Twins players this season? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  22. Last week, MLB.com attempted to name the most underappreciated player on every team. This can be a challenging exercise for a national writer who can't focus on the day-to-day of every MLB team. The Twins have players that have exceeded expectations and others that have struggled to fill their roles. Here are the team's most underappreciated players this season. Gio Urshela, 3B MLB.com picked Urshela as the team's most underappreciated player for multiple reasons. Surprisingly, he has a higher OPS than Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Josh Donaldson. That doesn't tell the entire story with Urshela. His defense at third base has dramatically improved in the second half, which helps his overall value to the club. During the offseason, the Twins will need to decide whether or not to offer Urshela arbitration in his final year of eligibility. Urshela's contributions to the team may be underappreciated because of baseball's offensive drop this season. He has an OPS near his career mark of .744, which translates to a 114 OPS+ in 2022. According to FanGraphs, Urshela has provided his second highest amount of value ($10.6 million) in any big-league season. Minnesota may consider this when deciding whether or not to bring him back for 2023. Caleb Thielbar, RP It's easy to look at Thielbar's overall numbers for the season and not be impressed with a 3.80 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. However, some poor appearances near the season's start cloud those numbers. Since April 30, Thielbar has posted a 2.36 ERA with a 57-to-12 strikeout to walk ratio in 42 innings. For much of the season, he has also been the team's only left-handed pitcher out of the bullpen. While others have struggled, Thielbar has been invaluable as a late-inning option. Before the 2020 season, Thielbar was close to retiring from baseball as he was going to take a college coaching job. Luckily, the Twins convinced him that he had something left in the tank. Over the last three seasons, Thielbar has provided the Twins with nearly $20 million worth of value, including close to $9 million in 2022. Relievers can go through ups-and-downs with the small sample size of innings they pitch in a season, but Thielbar has continued to be consistent into his mid-30s. Gilberto Celestino, OF In 2021, Celestino's first taste of the big leagues couldn't have gone much worse. He hit .136/.177/.288 (.466) with three doubles and two home runs in 23 games. Minnesota rushed him to the MLB level without playing at Triple-A, so the results should have been expected for a 22-year-old. He has improved significantly during the 2022 campaign, including a month when he was one of the team's best hitters. Back in May, he hit .364/.426/.418 (.844) across 19 games. With Byron Buxton getting regular rest, Celestino has been needed to fill the void in center field. Celestino can't compare to Buxton's defensive prowess, but few players can be that good. Defensively, Celestino ranks in the 82nd percentile for Outs Above Average, and his sprint speed is in the 65th percentile. He is an above-average defender that has provided offensive value that impacts the line-up. Some may forget that he is only 23 years old and has played fewer than 120 games at the big-league level. Minnesota will need him to continue to fill an outfield role in the years ahead. Who do you think have been the most underappreciated Twins players this season? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  23. The Minnesota Twins were able to extend their winning streak to four games Monday night. Dylan Bundy and the bullpen were able to hold the Red Sox bats at bay and Gio Urshela got the go-ahead, bases-clearing double to secure the victory. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 4 2/3 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (86 pitches, 62 strikes (72.1%)) Home Runs: N/A Top 3 WPA: Gio Urshela (.464), Caleb Thielbar (.113), Nick Gordon (.103) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Minnesota Twins enter into Monday night’s game on the heels of a three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants. That sweep had the hometown nine two games back of Cleveland for the AL Central lead. The Twins need to keep things going against a Boston Red Sox team whose record does not look great, but there are plenty of dangerous names up and down their roster. Prior to Monday's game there was a notable bullpen move. Devin Smeltzer was optioned back to St. Paul while fellow lefty Jovani Moran was brought back to the Twins. Before we get to the game, could you take a moment to let us know more about how you like to engage with minor league coverage at Twins Daily? Red Sox break through first, Bundy limits damage As the game ventured into the third inning, the Red Sox began to hit the ball hard. Tommy Pham reached on a line drive single. Alex Verdugo followed up with another hard-hit ball but for a double this time. The double was enough to score Pham. With the score 1-0, Xander Bogaerts would follow up with a single to make it runners on first and third with one out. The inning looked headed straight towards a crooked number, Bundy somehow limited the damage and got out of the inning without allowing any more runs. The fourth inning felt much the same as the third. The Red Sox were going down the lineup and collecting hard hits and hard contact. With one out it was a soft bloop double by Reese McGuire that scored Trevor Story. Once again, it felt like an inning was going sideways for the Twins. Insert Bundy. With a ground out and strike out the Twins starter was able to close out the inning with only one run scored. Cave produces again Red Sox starter Brayan Bello has had very good minor league numbers this season. His ERA has been ugly in the majors at 7.36. At the same time, with a 3.03 FIP it seems there is something better underneath what has happened on the scoreboard for Bello this season in the majors. The right-hander also simply has some nasty stuff. For three innings, Bello looked purely like the 3.03 FIP version of himself. Finally, in the fourth inning, the Twins were able to get their bats going and loaded the bases with no outs. One of this weekend’s heroes, Jake Cave was able to drive in the Twins' first run on a sac fly to center field which brought Jose Miranda home. Unfortunately, that was the only run the Twins could score in that RISP situation. Brings to the forefront again one of the biggest frustration with the Twins' offense this season. Gio with the go-ahead The Twins were able to chase Bello in the fifth after he walk both Luis Arraez and Carlos Correa. After a weird Max Kepler swinging bunt that barely rolled to the front of home plate advanced the runners to second and third, Miranda collected a walk of his own. Kyle Garlick pinch hit for Nick Gordon but wasn’t able to come through after striking out. Then Gio Urshela stepped up to the plate with a fresh John Schreiber brought in to face him. With the count full, Urshela went down and got a low and away slider and was able to poke it down the right field line to clear the bases and put the Twins up 4-2. Bullpen Cruises Monday night was a night where we once again saw the beauty of deadline bullpen addition at work. Caleb Thielbar first came in to help Bundy get out of a jam. Just as Thielbar has done many times again, he did just that getting the final out of fifth and handled the sixth inning as well. Jhoan Duran then came in to take on the heart of the Red Sox lineup. He did so with his patented high-velocity heat. Duran wouldn't have been able to take on that spot if it wasn't for the deadline additions, as he would have been needed to potentially close. Griffin Jax got the eighth and made quick work of it giving up only a single to Story. It was then Jorge Lopez's turn and shut the door with authority getting two ground outs and a strike out to secure the victory for the Twins. What’s Next? The Twins will face off against another young Boston arm in Kutter Crawford. The right hander sports a 5.30 ERA this season over 73.0 innings. The Twins will counter with Chris Archer. Archer will look to bounce back after a rough start against Houston where he surrendered five earned runs. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT Megill 23 0 35 0 0 58 Pagán 0 28 0 22 0 50 Duran 20 0 13 0 14 47 Thielbar 0 0 22 0 15 37 Jax 6 0 8 0 17 31 Fulmer 0 12 0 15 0 27 López 18 0 0 0 9 27 Moran 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  24. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 4 2/3 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (86 pitches, 62 strikes (72.1%)) Home Runs: N/A Top 3 WPA: Gio Urshela (.464), Caleb Thielbar (.113), Nick Gordon (.103) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Minnesota Twins enter into Monday night’s game on the heels of a three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants. That sweep had the hometown nine two games back of Cleveland for the AL Central lead. The Twins need to keep things going against a Boston Red Sox team whose record does not look great, but there are plenty of dangerous names up and down their roster. Prior to Monday's game there was a notable bullpen move. Devin Smeltzer was optioned back to St. Paul while fellow lefty Jovani Moran was brought back to the Twins. Before we get to the game, could you take a moment to let us know more about how you like to engage with minor league coverage at Twins Daily? Red Sox break through first, Bundy limits damage As the game ventured into the third inning, the Red Sox began to hit the ball hard. Tommy Pham reached on a line drive single. Alex Verdugo followed up with another hard-hit ball but for a double this time. The double was enough to score Pham. With the score 1-0, Xander Bogaerts would follow up with a single to make it runners on first and third with one out. The inning looked headed straight towards a crooked number, Bundy somehow limited the damage and got out of the inning without allowing any more runs. The fourth inning felt much the same as the third. The Red Sox were going down the lineup and collecting hard hits and hard contact. With one out it was a soft bloop double by Reese McGuire that scored Trevor Story. Once again, it felt like an inning was going sideways for the Twins. Insert Bundy. With a ground out and strike out the Twins starter was able to close out the inning with only one run scored. Cave produces again Red Sox starter Brayan Bello has had very good minor league numbers this season. His ERA has been ugly in the majors at 7.36. At the same time, with a 3.03 FIP it seems there is something better underneath what has happened on the scoreboard for Bello this season in the majors. The right-hander also simply has some nasty stuff. For three innings, Bello looked purely like the 3.03 FIP version of himself. Finally, in the fourth inning, the Twins were able to get their bats going and loaded the bases with no outs. One of this weekend’s heroes, Jake Cave was able to drive in the Twins' first run on a sac fly to center field which brought Jose Miranda home. Unfortunately, that was the only run the Twins could score in that RISP situation. Brings to the forefront again one of the biggest frustration with the Twins' offense this season. Gio with the go-ahead The Twins were able to chase Bello in the fifth after he walk both Luis Arraez and Carlos Correa. After a weird Max Kepler swinging bunt that barely rolled to the front of home plate advanced the runners to second and third, Miranda collected a walk of his own. Kyle Garlick pinch hit for Nick Gordon but wasn’t able to come through after striking out. Then Gio Urshela stepped up to the plate with a fresh John Schreiber brought in to face him. With the count full, Urshela went down and got a low and away slider and was able to poke it down the right field line to clear the bases and put the Twins up 4-2. Bullpen Cruises Monday night was a night where we once again saw the beauty of deadline bullpen addition at work. Caleb Thielbar first came in to help Bundy get out of a jam. Just as Thielbar has done many times again, he did just that getting the final out of fifth and handled the sixth inning as well. Jhoan Duran then came in to take on the heart of the Red Sox lineup. He did so with his patented high-velocity heat. Duran wouldn't have been able to take on that spot if it wasn't for the deadline additions, as he would have been needed to potentially close. Griffin Jax got the eighth and made quick work of it giving up only a single to Story. It was then Jorge Lopez's turn and shut the door with authority getting two ground outs and a strike out to secure the victory for the Twins. What’s Next? The Twins will face off against another young Boston arm in Kutter Crawford. The right hander sports a 5.30 ERA this season over 73.0 innings. The Twins will counter with Chris Archer. Archer will look to bounce back after a rough start against Houston where he surrendered five earned runs. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT Megill 23 0 35 0 0 58 Pagán 0 28 0 22 0 50 Duran 20 0 13 0 14 47 Thielbar 0 0 22 0 15 37 Jax 6 0 8 0 17 31 Fulmer 0 12 0 15 0 27 López 18 0 0 0 9 27 Moran 0 0 0 0 0 0
  25. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Sonny Gray 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO Homeruns: Gilberto Celestino (2) Top 3 WPA: Sonny Gray .179, Caleb Thielbar .158, Gilberto Celestino .125 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) After doing ‘just enough’ on Monday night, the Twins were back at it on Tuesday, looking to get a winning streak, and some momentum going in their efforts to chase down the Cleveland Guardians. Here’s how they lined up against Zack Greinke. Jorge Polanco was the notable absentee after being lifted from the series opener with knee soreness after an awkward slide. Prior to the game, a pensive sounding Sonny Gray, somewhat carefully, stated his desire to pitch deeper into ballgames. I’d love to hear folks thoughts on Gray’s interview in the comments. Gray Dominates Weak Royals Lineup Whatever Sonny Gray was alluding to in his pre-game interview, he sure delivered in the mound. The Twins recent weeks have been incredibly frustrating to watch. Games have been punctuated by a sputtering offense, poor pitching, or both. Boy, did Gray hold up his end of the bargain on Tuesday night. After cruising through six innings, Gray ran into trouble in the seventh, giving up back to back singles to Salvador Perez and Vinnie Pasquantino. Gray was close to his best however, throwing 61 strikes in 92 pitches while racking up ten strikeouts, tying a season high. Gray was relieved by Caleb Thielbar with two men on and no outs in the seventh innings. Lots of Hits, Not Enough Big Hits Early for Twins Offense The offensive showing was painfully familiar through the firsttwo-thirdss of the game. Through five innings, the Twins had managed 8 hit, but managed just three runs off Zack Greinke. Going back to their poor final two games in the Angels series, the Twins were 4 for their last 34 (.117) with runners in scoring position. The Twins scored twice in the second inning. After a Gio Urshela single, Gilberto Celestino reached on a fielding error. A Sandy Leon bunt scored Urshela, while a Luis Arraez single brought home Celestino. Celestino added a solo home run in his next at bat in the fourth inning, his second in his last five games. With limited right-handed flexibility in the lineup, Celestino developing any kind of line drive power would be a welcome surprise for the Twins. Thielbar Snuffs out Runners, Twins Add On Despite Gray running into trouble in the top of the seventh inning, the Twins had the perfect foil in Caleb Thielbar. With two men on and no outs, he pitched a scoreless frame, striking out two. Thielbar has been one of the Twins best relievers in 2022, and outside April, has been the lone bullpen success story to start the season with the Twins not name Jhoan Duran. The Twins did what they have struggled to do in recent games in the bottom of the seventh inning, add on. A Max Kepler groundout, Gio Urshela single, and a Nick Gordon double added on three runs, increasing the lead to 6-0 and offering the kind of all around offensive output the Twins will need to continue to win the AL Central. Michael Fulmer and Cole Sands pitched the final two (scoreless) innings of the game for Minnesota. In the bottom of the eighth, the Twins added three more runs, courtesy of singles from Jose Miranda, Gio Urshela, and Nick Gordon. After the wreckage had cleared, the Twins managed 16 hits and ended the game 6-18 with runners in scoring position. Elsewhere in the AL Central, the Guardians lost, allowing the Twins to close within a game of Cleveland, having played two less games. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUES TOT Duran 15 19 0 10 0 44 López 10 19 0 13 0 42 Fulmer 12 0 20 0 7 39 Thielbar 0 13 0 8 17 38 Jax 0 13 0 14 0 27 Megill 0 0 26 0 0 26 Pagan 0 9 10 0 0 19 Sands 0 0 0 0 19 19 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will conclude their series against Kansas City. Tyler Mahle goes for the Twins against Daniel Lynch for the Royals. First pitch is 12:10pm CT Postgame Interviews
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