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  1. As the Minnesota Twins enter 2021 a new rivalry has emerged. With the Chicago White Sox looking like contenders a season ago, a full 162-game schedule should provide plenty of excitement between the two clubs. Over the past couple of years Minnesota has been challenged at the top of the AL Central by the Cleveland Indians. They were a good team, with plenty of exciting stars, but unfortunately the fanbase never showed up. Ranking 21st in attendance during the 2019 season, Cleveland’s support system has always seemed relatively nonexistent. Maybe that’s why ownership felt the need to tear things down in the midst of a competitive window, but this ballclub has never seen the vocal support that the LeBron-led Cavs or Cleveland Browns have experienced. Enter the Chicago White Sox. Yes, their attendance in 2019 was awful as well, ranking 23rd in all of Major League Baseball. However, as the organization has developed its young stars, there’s a vocal fan base in a very large market. The White Sox made the Postseason in 2020 for the first time since 2008. The time before that however, 2005, they swept the Houston Astros en route to a World Series title. This organization has seen success, even if it hasn’t been extremely recent. Often times I’ve suggested that seeing a competitive club on a yearly basis is my desire as a fan. While winning a World Series is the ultimate goal, the stark reality is that 29 teams fall short every season. If the full 162-game schedule can provide some drama, meaningful October baseball can be played, and excitement be had along the way, I will have enjoyed roughly eight months of the year from a sports perspective. Include a rivalry that sparks debate, discussion, and intensified importance on any number of games throughout the week and you’ve put a cherry on top. From guys like Barstool’s own White Sox Dave, or Twitter-famous ChiSoxFanMike, the White Sox have a well-represented fanbase. As with any situation there’s some rose-colored glasses type of takes, but it’s oddly refreshing to see banter and interaction each and every time Chicago’s South Side contingent is mentioned in the context of opinion. It’s foolish to think that an improved White Sox team with another year of youth development will finish behind Cleveland again in 2021. The Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox will battle all year at the top of the AL Central, and with both likely destined for the playoffs, it should provide plenty of must-see moments along the way. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  2. As teams begin to kick off a more traditional Spring Training with the goal of completing it entirely this season, we’re now looking forward to a full 162-game slate. The Twins return as repeat AL Central Division champions, and they’ll look for a three-peat in 2021. Shuffling has taken place throughout the Central with Chicago having had a strong offseason, Cleveland selling off, and Kansas City quietly making some noise. Last year I put this projection piece out in February, and then needed to come up with an amended version at the end of July. Let’s hope for good health and as much baseball as we can handle this time around. Here’s how I have the AL Central going, along with PECOTA projections in parenthesis. Minnesota Twins 97-63 (90-72) It’s more than fair to suggest the Twins could’ve taken further steps forward this offseason, however they had the least to improve upon. Piece did depart, but none of them were substantial contributors and the addition of Andrelton Simmons should make a massive impact defensively. This team is going to go as far as a healthy Josh Donaldson and Byron Buxton allow them too. It’d be great if Miguel Sano were the Nelson Cruz aging insurance along the way. Expect additions at the deadline, and a stable of prospects are near ready to contribute. Chicago White Sox 90-72 (82-80) There’s no denying that the South Siders have closed even more of the gap. That said, I still think this club is in for some regression given the unpredictability of youth. They broke out in a big way during a shortened 2020 campaign that afforded them the luxury of small sample sizes. Thinking back to the 2018 Twins, a similar swoon could happen here. The talent level is too great to drift too far, but they should be considered a runner-up. Postseason expectations are a must however, and they shouldn’t have much problem achieving that. Kansas City Royals 78-84 (72-90) While the Royals are not yet there, and they are waiting on some offensive prospects to step up, they did a lot of nice things this winter. The Mike Minor signing was an underrated one, and Carlos Santana should provide a steadying veteran presence for them. I like Brady Singer and Kris Bubic in the rotation and think there’s a different trajectory here than in years past. This isn’t a Kansas City club yet ready to compete, but they’re substantially better than the bottom feeding Tigers and should have more firepower than Cleveland. Cleveland Indians 77-85 (85-77) Rather than load up for one last go with a strong rotation and a final year of Francisco Lindor, Cleveland decided to punt on 2021. The rotation is top heavy with Shane Bieber and Aaron Civale, but beyond that there’s more question marks with upside than anything. They’ve done a good job developing arms, and I’d expect that to continue, but it still needs to be proven. There isn’t much talent in the field or at the plate, and if they aren’t going to compete it makes little sense to hang onto Jose Ramirez. Assuming he’s dangled at the deadline, they could accelerate the rebuild they’re now destined for. Detroit Tigers 65-97 (66-96) A.J. Hinch has a tall task in front of him as this isn’t a club rich with talent akin to the Astros teams he’s used to having led. That said, there’s going to be a handful of prospects that filter into Comerica this year, and Detroit has one of the best systems in the game. I’d expect some of those kids to take their lumps, and even if they do produce, there’s just not enough on the roster to raise the overall water level. That said, this club isn’t far from turning the corner and adding pieces with a focus on competing once again. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  3. Today marked the unveiling of PECOTA’s standings projection from Baseball Prospectus. For the Minnesota Twins, things are looking great as the system sees 91 wins and a third straight AL Central division title. There are definitely some noteworthy revelations, however. Of course, as Twins fans, the hometown club appearing atop the division once again is the most exciting development. 91 wins seems conservative in a division that should really be a two-team race, but PECOTA doesn’t see the breakdown working quite like that. Despite all of the fanfare, the projection system has the Chicago White Sox finishing third in the division and winning just 83 games. From my vantage point, the White Sox coming in anywhere lower than second seems like quite the shock. Cleveland dealt away Francisco Lindor, should do the same with Jose Ramirez, and despite a stellar pitching staff, have little else to hang their hats on. The White Sox certainly could be primed for some regression though. They burst onto the scene a year ago, but the season was just a 60-game sample size. Looking back to the 2017 Twins, there was a Postseason appearance prior to a backwards slide that then set them up for the current run. Trying to make some sense of what PECOTA may be seeing, I looked at the added WAR for Minnesota and Chicago through the lens of ZiPS from Fangraphs. Chicago has added just 6.5 fWAR while the Twins tacked on a tally of 7.2 fWAR. That’s largely a reflection of where both clubs added. The White Sox needed help in the outfield but responded with just Adam Eaton and Adam Engel. Lance Lynn is a solid addition if he keeps down the path of recent success, but even as good as Liam Hendriks is, Alex Colome was already stellar a year ago and a single reliever has just minimal impact. Both Nelson Cruz and Andrelton Simmons are seen as substantial additions for Minnesota, while J.A. Happ should be considered a steadying presence. Even without the distaste for Chicago clouding my view, I still find it hard to believe that club will finish below Cleveland. I’ve written in this space that I’d hardly be shocked if the Royals end up third in the division, and for now I’m going to stick to that. Projection systems or otherwise, you can bet the South Side fanbase won’t take kindly to what will be viewed as disrespect. One other area of note within PECOTA is the projection for the NL Central. That division is expected to be a dumpster fire, and the Milwaukee Brewers are slated to win it with just 88 wins. It’s worth making a note of considering the Central will serve as the interleague foe for Minnesota in 2021. Despite the regionalized schedule a year ago, the Twins face the same grouping of opponents in the National League. Being able to face off against a division that’s largely not trying should only provide additional opportunity to add tallies in the win column. We’ll have to take a look back on these standings come October when the dust settles. Right now, though, another Twins division title and some shade towards the South Side is more than good with me. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  4. Hendriks originally signed with the Twins in early 2007 as a teenager out of Australia. He’d make his professional debut with the GCL Twins and post a 2.05 ERA with a 1.18 WHIP while striking out 52 batters in 44 innings. That winter, he pitched for Australia in the final Olympic Qualification Tournament, but then he needed back surgery that cost him the entire 2008 campaign. In 2009, he returned to the mound and the majority of his starts came at Low-A where he was nearly two years younger than the average age of the competition. For the season, he made 14 starts and posted a 3.55 ERA with a 1.29 WHIP. He was limited to fewer than 84 innings, but he struck out 75 and only walked 16 batters. The 2010 season was his coming out party as he dominated both Low- and High-A on his way to flying up Twins prospect lists. He pitched over 100 innings for the first time in his career while posting a 1.74 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP. Hendriks posted career bests in strikeouts per nine, walks per nine, and hits per nine. At season’s end, Seth and I ranked him as the team’s third best pitching prospect even though he had yet to make his Double-A debut. Minnesota didn’t mess around with Hendriks during the 2011 season and that was easy to do when the club was on their way to losing close to 100 games. The bulk of his innings came at Double-A and he was successful at that level by posting a 2.70 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. From there, the Twins pushed him to Triple-A and he allowed 25 earned runs in just over 49 innings. September wasn’t going to be pretty for the Twins, but Hendriks was still pushed to make his big-league debut. In four starts, he allowed 16 runs in 23 1/3 innings with a 16 to 6 strikeout to walk ratio. Hendriks was still only 23-years old, so there was plenty of promise in his right arm. He dominated the next year during his time at Triple-A with a 2.20 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. However, that performance didn’t translate to the big-league level as he struggled to post a 6.43 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP. As far as his time as a starter, it was getting close to being sink or swim time. As a 24-year-old, Hendriks was not nearly as successful at Triple-A, but it was going to be hard to live up to his 2012 numbers. The 2013 season wound up being his final year in the Twins organization. He bounced around between Triple-A and the big leagues throughout the season even though the Twins were on their way to losing 96 games. Minnesota’s rotation that year included Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey, Scott Diamond, and Sam Deduno. Hendriks struggled, but it’s not like the team had a lot of big names blocking his path. The Twins never gave Hendriks a shot in the bullpen and they designated him for assignment in December 2013 while he still had minor league options remaining. Minnesota was in the midst of a terrible run of baseball where the club lost 92+ games in six out of seven seasons. Maybe the front office thought he would sneak through waivers or maybe they didn’t think he could be successful in the bullpen. Either way it looks like the Twins missed out on one of baseball’s best relievers. It’s not as if the Twins were the only organization that missed the boat on Hendriks. He spent the next few years bouncing between multiple organizations. The Cubs claimed him from the Twins and 10 days later the Orioles claimed him. He didn’t pitch for either of these organizations as he was claimed by Toronto in February 2014. He’d pitch parts of the next two seasons with the Blue Jays and the Royals before finally finding himself, literally and figuratively, in Oakland. It’s hard to predict what path Hendriks would have taken had he stayed in Minnesota. Perhaps being designated for assignment that many times put a chip on his shoulder. He also might have needed to end up in Oakland for that club to find his magic spark on the mound. Either way, it seems like he will be causing headaches for Twins fans in the years to come. What are your thoughts on the way Hendriks was handled by the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. The Chicago White Sox announced Thursday that they’re adding another Hall of Fame manager to DUI enthusiast Tony La Russa’s coaching staff. “We’re incredibly thrilled to announce that Connie Mack will be our bench coach for the 2020 season,” said White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Mack, who has been dead since 1956, holds the major league record for managerial wins, losses, and total games. “With so many exciting young players on our team, getting proven leaders on board to help guide this ship and take that next step in the playoffs is critical,” said Reinsdorf. “Connie fits this bill perhaps better than anyone.” Reaction to the hire was mixed. “He’s been dead since 1956,” said ESPN’s Jeff Passan. “I’d note that he also never managed a Black or Hispanic player and the inherent cultural differences that might entail, but the overriding concern from the sources I’ve spoken with is that he died many, many years ago. It’s a heavy lift.” “Tony La Russa is a Hall of Fame baseball guy,” said Reinsdorf. “And the critics had their knives out for him. I’m not surprised by this reaction by bloggers and so-called journalists chasing clicks. It’s disappointing.” Mack’s ancestors could not be reached for comment. His remains are interred at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Glenside, Pennsylvania. “Between Tony and Connie, we added a century of baseball knowledge in one offseason,” said Reinsdorf. “Some teams are parting with their best players or are more worried about getting their financial house in order. We’re going for it. I think it says a lot about the Chicago White Sox organization.” “He’s dead. He’s been dead for a very long time,” noted Passan.
  6. AL Central contender adds more veteran leadership for young ballclub with all-time wins leader. Some critics disagree.The Chicago White Sox announced Thursday that they’re adding another Hall of Fame manager to DUI enthusiast Tony La Russa’s coaching staff. “We’re incredibly thrilled to announce that Connie Mack will be our bench coach for the 2020 season,” said White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Mack, who has been dead since 1956, holds the major league record for managerial wins, losses, and total games. “With so many exciting young players on our team, getting proven leaders on board to help guide this ship and take that next step in the playoffs is critical,” said Reinsdorf. “Connie fits this bill perhaps better than anyone.” Reaction to the hire was mixed. “He’s been dead since 1956,” said ESPN’s Jeff Passan. “I’d note that he also never managed a Black or Hispanic player and the inherent cultural differences that might entail, but the overriding concern from the sources I’ve spoken with is that he died many, many years ago. It’s a heavy lift.” “Tony La Russa is a Hall of Fame baseball guy,” said Reinsdorf. “And the critics had their knives out for him. I’m not surprised by this reaction by bloggers and so-called journalists chasing clicks. It’s disappointing.” Mack’s ancestors could not be reached for comment. His remains are interred at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Glenside, Pennsylvania. “Between Tony and Connie, we added a century of baseball knowledge in one offseason,” said Reinsdorf. “Some teams are parting with their best players or are more worried about getting their financial house in order. We’re going for it. I think it says a lot about the Chicago White Sox organization.” “He’s dead. He’s been dead for a very long time,” noted Passan. Click here to view the article
  7. Today Twins vs Tigers 7:10 pm CDT Betting Line: MIN -150 O/U 8.5 Twins Starter: Jose Berrios (5-3) RHP 3.72 ERA Jose Berrios will take his final turn of the season for the Twins tonight. After a rough start to the year he’s been on cruise control of late. His last six outings have resulted in a 2.14 ERA with a 37/11 K/BB. Opponents have just a .547 OPS against him during that stretch and five of those outings have come against teams vying for Postseason spots. Interestingly, this will be Berrios’ fifth start against an NL Central team in 2020. He’s 4-0 with a 1.57 ERA and 27/7 K/BB in those contests. This serves as a tune up for game two of the Wild Card round and making sure he can keep things rolling against a playoff bound Reds team would be nice to see. Reds Starter: Tyler Mahle (2-2) RHP 3.57 ERA Cincinnati’s 25-year-old Mahle is having a breakout season. His 3.57 ERA is a career best, and it’s substantiated by a 3.96 FIP. He’s got an 11.1 K/9, reaching double digits for the first time in his career, and his 1.103 WHIP is well below the career norm. Although he hasn’t been overly dominant at any point this year, Mahle has been extremely consistent. He’s never allowed more than three runs in an outing, and he’s completed at least six innings in four of his eight starts. Shutting down the White Sox in his last time out, Mahle saw the Reds win for the first time when he was on the mound against an AL Central opponent. Twins Lineup https://twitter.com/tlschwerz/status/1309576127007068160?s=21 Reds Lineup https://twitter.com/reds/status/1309555208826093568?s=21 Division Recaptured Minnesota comes into tonight leading the AL Central Division by a full game. The Cleveland Indians swept the Chicago White Sox, coming from behind in the final three games, to give the Twins new life. Not holding a tiebreaker over Chicago, Rocco Baldelli’s club will need a win in hand to repeat. Postseason in Flux Minnesota could finish as high as the two seed and as low as the four seed. They’re looking at opponents such as the Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, and Chicago White Sox. Postseason Staff Taking Final Turn Kenta Maeda threw the last game against Detroit for Minnesota, lining him up to open the Wild Card round. Rocco Baldelli confirmed that was the intention, and Jose Berrios will be penciled in for game two with Michael Pineda slotting behind him after his final outing tomorrow night. Around the AL Central Cleveland 5, Chicago 4 Kansas City 8, Detroit 7 MIN 35-22 +57 run differential CWS 34-23 1.0 GB +68 CLE 33-24 2.0 GB +44 KC 24-33 11.0 GB -26 DET 22-33 12.0 GB -67
  8. With just three games to go in the 60-game sprint Minnesota finds themselves in control of their own destiny. Needing to win a single game more than the White Sox to repeat as AL Central champions, they’ll look to knock off a hot Cincinnati Reds club looking to make the Postseason on their own.Today Twins vs Tigers 7:10 pm CDT Betting Line: MIN -150 O/U 8.5 Twins Starter: Jose Berrios (5-3) RHP 3.72 ERA Jose Berrios will take his final turn of the season for the Twins tonight. After a rough start to the year he’s been on cruise control of late. His last six outings have resulted in a 2.14 ERA with a 37/11 K/BB. Opponents have just a .547 OPS against him during that stretch and five of those outings have come against teams vying for Postseason spots. Interestingly, this will be Berrios’ fifth start against an NL Central team in 2020. He’s 4-0 with a 1.57 ERA and 27/7 K/BB in those contests. This serves as a tune up for game two of the Wild Card round and making sure he can keep things rolling against a playoff bound Reds team would be nice to see. Reds Starter: Tyler Mahle (2-2) RHP 3.57 ERA Cincinnati’s 25-year-old Mahle is having a breakout season. His 3.57 ERA is a career best, and it’s substantiated by a 3.96 FIP. He’s got an 11.1 K/9, reaching double digits for the first time in his career, and his 1.103 WHIP is well below the career norm. Although he hasn’t been overly dominant at any point this year, Mahle has been extremely consistent. He’s never allowed more than three runs in an outing, and he’s completed at least six innings in four of his eight starts. Shutting down the White Sox in his last time out, Mahle saw the Reds win for the first time when he was on the mound against an AL Central opponent. Twins Lineup Reds Lineup Division Recaptured Minnesota comes into tonight leading the AL Central Division by a full game. The Cleveland Indians swept the Chicago White Sox, coming from behind in the final three games, to give the Twins new life. Not holding a tiebreaker over Chicago, Rocco Baldelli’s club will need a win in hand to repeat. Postseason in Flux Minnesota could finish as high as the two seed and as low as the four seed. They’re looking at opponents such as the Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, and Chicago White Sox. Postseason Staff Taking Final Turn Kenta Maeda threw the last game against Detroit for Minnesota, lining him up to open the Wild Card round. Rocco Baldelli confirmed that was the intention, and Jose Berrios will be penciled in for game two with Michael Pineda slotting behind him after his final outing tomorrow night. Around the AL Central Cleveland 5, Chicago 4 Kansas City 8, Detroit 7 MIN 35-22 +57 run differential CWS 34-23 1.0 GB +68 CLE 33-24 2.0 GB +44 KC 24-33 11.0 GB -26 DET 22-33 12.0 GB -67 Click here to view the article
  9. It’s a bit unfortunate that 2020 has dealt the world the hand it has. On the sports front, and baseball in particular, the year has looked nothing like a traditional schedule. With Minnesota putting together arguably the most talented roster in franchise history, it’s unfortunate we didn’t get to see it perform over a full 162-game slate. What still matters however, is that all that talent is at the disposal of Rocco Baldelli when the games become win-or-go-home. The most likely opponents for the Twins in the Wild Card round of the Postseason look to be the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, or Cleveland Indians. We know the field at this point, and there’s no reason Minnesota can’t be excited about facing any of these teams. In reverse order though, here’s how I’ll argue the stack up, from easiest to toughest. 7. Toronto Blue Jays (Batting 18th Pitching 18th Fielding 18th) Somewhat of a surprise team, the Blue Jays have competed in what has been an up and down AL East this season. New York looked like a minor league team depending on which lineup you caught them with, and the Red Sox took ownership of the Orioles doldrums positioning. Toronto doesn’t do anything all that well, but they don’t have any glaring problem areas either. Bo Bichette is a stud, and right now Teoscar Hernandez has assumed the production intended for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Hyun-Jin Ryu has looked the part of the ace he was hoped to be, but they haven’t got much help on the pitching front elsewhere. Ken Giles isn’t coming back either, and the bullpen is plenty beatable. 6. Houston Astros (Batting 22nd Pitching 11th Fielding 28th) What a difference a year makes. Houston was probably always going to be seen as tough despite the fallout from their cheating scandal due to the number of weapons that can hurt you. Their problem is that many of them have been a shell of themselves, and the pitching isn’t there either. Gerrit Cole is gone and Justin Verlander is done. George Springer and Michael Brantley have hit, but Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa have been awful. You can’t let this team beat you, they have the talent to do so, but it isn’t the scary Astros anymore. 5. Oakland Athletics (Batting 10th Pitching 8th Fielding 3rd) Taking the Athletics down a notch was the massive loss of Matt Chapman. He’s a superstar and arguably the best defender in baseball at third base. There’s still thump in their lineup with Matt Olson and Marcus Semien, but one through nine isn’t where they’ll beat you. This team can pitch in the rotation and the bullpen, while converting outs at a high clip defensively. Oakland isn’t a team to take lightly but the +53-run differential and overall win tally seems to be aided by a very mediocre AL West. 4. Cleveland Indians (Batting 16th Pitching 1st Fielding 2nd) By now Twins fans have seen enough of the Indians to know what expectations are. The club can once again pitch, shocker, but they still can’t hit. Jose Ramirez has looked like an AL MVP candidate, but the middle of the order still features a black hole in Carlos Santana. The outfield production is atrocious, and they’ll rely on beating teams in low-scoring affairs. This isn’t a group you want to see in October. Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac, and company can shut down any lineup. That said, there’s warts here and Minnesota has already handled them to the tune of a 7-3 record in 2020. 3. Chicago White Sox (Batting 1st Pitching 9th Fielding 9th) The rivalry has certainly been renewed, and it doesn’t matter who wins the division, the Southsiders will be coming for Minnesota plenty in the years ahead. The Twins split the season series with Chicago, and while a couple of those contests were lopsided, Rick Renteria’s club has the bats to do plenty of damage on their own. I think this unit is still a year away from settling into their own, but a series going up and down that lineup on a nightly basis would be as tense as it gets. Lucas Giolito is not an arm that has owned the Twins, and the rotation is barren behind him and Keuchel. Still though, it’s the bats that make this club worthy of a no-fly zone. 2. New York Yankees (Batting 7th Pitching 14th Fielding 13th) Going on season numbers for the Yankees are relatively hollow considering the amount of time they were without key players. Now a healthy Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have returned, and all bets are off. Gerrit Cole is an ace in every sense of the word, and Masahiro Tanaka is plenty consistent in his own right. I actually don’t think New York’s rotation is that much better than Minnesota’s but turning to Cole twice in a short series could be the trump card. There are questions as to whether Judge and Stanton have enough at bats to feel comfortable, but both are capable of going off at any time. Throw in Luke Voit and D.J. LeMahieu and you’ve once again got an opponent to avoid. 1. Tampa Bay Rays (Batting 11th Pitching 10th Fielding 8th) Maybe I’m overrating the Rays a bit given the opportunities they had against a more lackluster Yankees lineup, but this feels like the most complete team in the American League. Kevin Cash has this club clicking on all cylinders, and most of the names are guys a national landscape would gloss over. Brandon Lowe is a superstar, while Willy Adames has finally started living up to his potential. Tyler Glasnow is a problem on the mound and Nick Anderson may be the best reliever in baseball. Up and down this roster is a group of guys that constantly embody next man up, and anyone is capable of producing on a nightly basis. It’d be a fun narrative series for the Twins, but not one I’d want to willingly sign up for. *Overall ranks based on Fangraphs fWAR totals MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. Coming into the series against the Chicago White Sox the matchups had all the makings of a Postseason atmosphere. Then Rocco Baldelli ran out a watered-down lineup in game one, and the Minnesota Twins fell on their faces in two consecutive evenings. With just a short runway left, it’s time to kick it in.Because of the expanded Postseason field in 2020 there has been talk all year alluding to the muted significance behind the regular season. That’s more than a fair argument, although it didn’t stop the trade deadline from being a feeding frenzy. As Minnesota has tread water towards the top of the AL Central for weeks now however, it’s at this point they need to go take what’s theirs. Leaving the South Side with anything but a series win was always going to be suboptimal. They’d still be looking up at competition in the standings, and things don’t get easier when venturing across town. Odds will be available on Friday morning, but you can assume that Minnesota will be dogs to David Ross’ Cubs in at least a game or two over the weekend. Wrapping up six days on the road isn’t fun and coming out ready to go will be a must against the Wrigley natives. There’s a certain level of understanding that the playoffs and Postseason represent something larger and more impactful. The Twins accomplished virtually everything they could in a regular season last year. In 2020 they want to make October waves and take that next step forward. Managing for that without ramp-up time still seems like somewhat of a foolish venture, however. Mitch Garver remains on the Injured List, as does Luis Arraez. Those two both need to get back and in a rhythm before realistically being able to rely on them over the course of a playoff run. Jake Odorizzi looked strong against the White Sox in his return to the mound, but a blister issue still ended his night abruptly. We saw Miguel Sano need to track pitches for weeks prior to settling in, and while both Garver and Arraez have action under their belt, assuming immediate production is probably wishful thinking. Before the Twins leave Chicago, they’ll need to turn the tide on this road trip as a whole. Going back home having won the last jaunt away on the season should feel like a massive victory. Baldelli’s club has fared incredibly well within Target Field, and regardless of their ability to host a brief three-game series to kick off the Postseason, they need to be clicking and confident when entering the bubble. This Twins team is more than talented enough to make real waves and cause real damage. Baseball is a sport that normalizes over time and repetition, however. Rather than trying to catch lightning in a bottle it’d be great to see this club spark its own luck the rest of the way, reinforcements or otherwise. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  11. Because of the expanded Postseason field in 2020 there has been talk all year alluding to the muted significance behind the regular season. That’s more than a fair argument, although it didn’t stop the trade deadline from being a feeding frenzy. As Minnesota has tread water towards the top of the AL Central for weeks now however, it’s at this point they need to go take what’s theirs. Leaving the South Side with anything but a series win was always going to be suboptimal. They’d still be looking up at competition in the standings, and things don’t get easier when venturing across town. Odds will be available on Friday morning, but you can assume that Minnesota will be dogs to David Ross’ Cubs in at least a game or two over the weekend. Wrapping up six days on the road isn’t fun and coming out ready to go will be a must against the Wrigley natives. There’s a certain level of understanding that the playoffs and Postseason represent something larger and more impactful. The Twins accomplished virtually everything they could in a regular season last year. In 2020 they want to make October waves and take that next step forward. Managing for that without ramp-up time still seems like somewhat of a foolish venture, however. Mitch Garver remains on the Injured List, as does Luis Arraez. Those two both need to get back and in a rhythm before realistically being able to rely on them over the course of a playoff run. Jake Odorizzi looked strong against the White Sox in his return to the mound, but a blister issue still ended his night abruptly. We saw Miguel Sano need to track pitches for weeks prior to settling in, and while both Garver and Arraez have action under their belt, assuming immediate production is probably wishful thinking. Before the Twins leave Chicago, they’ll need to turn the tide on this road trip as a whole. Going back home having won the last jaunt away on the season should feel like a massive victory. Baldelli’s club has fared incredibly well within Target Field, and regardless of their ability to host a brief three-game series to kick off the Postseason, they need to be clicking and confident when entering the bubble. This Twins team is more than talented enough to make real waves and cause real damage. Baseball is a sport that normalizes over time and repetition, however. Rather than trying to catch lightning in a bottle it’d be great to see this club spark its own luck the rest of the way, reinforcements or otherwise. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  12. Another quiet night for the bats ended in a Twins loss Tuesday. Rookie Dane Dunning helped keep the White Sox rolling, surrendering two runs (one earned) over seven innings. Since dropping back-to-back games to the Twins to open September, the White Sox have gone 10-1.Box Score Dobnak: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K Home Runs: Buxton (9) Bottom 3 WPA: Dobnak -.259, Sanó -.103, Jeffers -.079 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs): Download attachment: Winchart.png The Twins got another look at one of the strong young AL Central arms in Dane Dunning. Dunning was an often-overlooked secondary piece in the Adam Eaton and Lucas Giolito trade back in 2016. Dunning went seven strong innings for the White Sox tonight, allowing just two runs (one earned) on just three hits, while striking out seven. With the way Dunning has pitched in his first five starts, he is making a bid for a spot in the White Sox Postseason starting rotation. After having his inside-the-park home run in last night’s game taken away, Byron Buxton got redemption leading off the third inning of tonight’s ballgame. This time, there was no doubt as Buxton circled the bases with his usual lightning fast speed. That wasn’t the only time Buxton trotted around the basepaths tonight. In the fifth, Buxton reached base with a leadoff single on a liner over the shortstop’s head into centerfield. Buxton was then able to advance all the way to third during the next at-bat, thanks to both a wild pitch followed up by a passed ball. He then came in to score the Twins second run of the game on Ryan Jeffers RBI groundout. Randy Dobnak had another rough outing tonight, marking his third rough start in his last four outings. In the first, Dobnak allowed a run on three groundball singles, two of which come with two outs in the inning. He then allowed a couple more baserunners in the second but was able to pitch his way out of the inning without allowing another run to score. Dobnak wasn’t as fortunate in the third inning as he was in the second. He began the inning by issuing a walk to Yasmani Grandal before giving up another groundball base hit to Jose Abreu. Jorge Polanco made a nice diving play on the ball, but his rushed throw to second was errant, and allowed Grandal to advance to third. Dobnak was able to strikeout Eloy Jimenez for the first out of the inning, but then gave up a double to James McCann, followed by Luis Robert, and before you know it the White Sox had opened up a 4-1 lead. Tyler Clippard came on with one out in the fifth to relieve Randy Dobnak. After pitching out of yet another jam, Clippard came out to pitch the sixth and proceeded to give up a solo home run to Tim Anderson, that extended the White Sox lead to a score of 5-2. A big story of tonight’s game was the strike zone that umpire Will Little had behind the plate. It seemed to be all over the place, and more often than not it went against the favor of the Minnesota Twins. After yet another missed call from Little, where he rung up Ryan Jeffers to end the Twins half of the seventh. This led to some unkind words from the Twins dugout that resulted in the ejections of both Rocco Baldelli and Nelson Cruz. If you were unable to watch the game, here is a chart that illustrates the called strikes that the White Sox pitchers received tonight, as you can tell, it was pretty bad. Download attachment: 4353C84C-E26E-4E33-847D-91DF7CC3F2BB.png Jorge Alcala came in to pitch the seventh and eighth innings for the Twins, and aside from a solo home run that he gave up to James McCann in the seventh, it was another impressive outing for Alcala, who is making a strong case for being added to the Twins Postseason roster with his performance of late. Lost in everything, Travis Blankenhorn made his MLB debut tonight. After recording outs in his first two at-bats of the evening, he was hit by a pitch in the seventh, before picking up his first career MLB hit with a two-out double in the ninth. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Download attachment: Bullpen.png Click here to view the article
  13. Box Score Dobnak: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K Home Runs: Buxton (9) Bottom 3 WPA: Dobnak -.259, Sanó -.103, Jeffers -.079 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs): The Twins got another look at one of the strong young AL Central arms in Dane Dunning. Dunning was an often-overlooked secondary piece in the Adam Eaton and Lucas Giolito trade back in 2016. Dunning went seven strong innings for the White Sox tonight, allowing just two runs (one earned) on just three hits, while striking out seven. With the way Dunning has pitched in his first five starts, he is making a bid for a spot in the White Sox Postseason starting rotation. After having his inside-the-park home run in last night’s game taken away, Byron Buxton got redemption leading off the third inning of tonight’s ballgame. This time, there was no doubt as Buxton circled the bases with his usual lightning fast speed. https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1306038389913915399 That wasn’t the only time Buxton trotted around the basepaths tonight. In the fifth, Buxton reached base with a leadoff single on a liner over the shortstop’s head into centerfield. Buxton was then able to advance all the way to third during the next at-bat, thanks to both a wild pitch followed up by a passed ball. He then came in to score the Twins second run of the game on Ryan Jeffers RBI groundout. Randy Dobnak had another rough outing tonight, marking his third rough start in his last four outings. In the first, Dobnak allowed a run on three groundball singles, two of which come with two outs in the inning. He then allowed a couple more baserunners in the second but was able to pitch his way out of the inning without allowing another run to score. Dobnak wasn’t as fortunate in the third inning as he was in the second. He began the inning by issuing a walk to Yasmani Grandal before giving up another groundball base hit to Jose Abreu. Jorge Polanco made a nice diving play on the ball, but his rushed throw to second was errant, and allowed Grandal to advance to third. Dobnak was able to strikeout Eloy Jimenez for the first out of the inning, but then gave up a double to James McCann, followed by Luis Robert, and before you know it the White Sox had opened up a 4-1 lead. Tyler Clippard came on with one out in the fifth to relieve Randy Dobnak. After pitching out of yet another jam, Clippard came out to pitch the sixth and proceeded to give up a solo home run to Tim Anderson, that extended the White Sox lead to a score of 5-2. A big story of tonight’s game was the strike zone that umpire Will Little had behind the plate. It seemed to be all over the place, and more often than not it went against the favor of the Minnesota Twins. After yet another missed call from Little, where he rung up Ryan Jeffers to end the Twins half of the seventh. This led to some unkind words from the Twins dugout that resulted in the ejections of both Rocco Baldelli and Nelson Cruz. If you were unable to watch the game, here is a chart that illustrates the called strikes that the White Sox pitchers received tonight, as you can tell, it was pretty bad. Jorge Alcala came in to pitch the seventh and eighth innings for the Twins, and aside from a solo home run that he gave up to James McCann in the seventh, it was another impressive outing for Alcala, who is making a strong case for being added to the Twins Postseason roster with his performance of late. Lost in everything, Travis Blankenhorn made his MLB debut tonight. After recording outs in his first two at-bats of the evening, he was hit by a pitch in the seventh, before picking up his first career MLB hit with a two-out double in the ninth. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  14. The Minnesota Twins begin a four-game set tonight in Chicago, and it’s arguably their most important series of the year. How much importance lies in the amount of weight put on Postseason positioning, however. After sweeping the Cleveland Indians over the weekend Rocco Baldelli’s club has all but put a nail in that proverbial coffin. Terry Francona’s squad has another tilt with the White Sox yet to play and cannibalizing divisional foes shouldn’t help them climb back into the race. That leaves Minnesota and Chicago, four games, division on the line. Here’s the deal, there was never a point in which it seemed in doubt that the Twins would miss the Postseason. They are one of the five best teams in baseball, and an argument for the top two is more than healthy. Despite a midseason skid, even in a sprint, they’ve been well positioned the entire way. It’s that positioning, and exactly what they’re playing for, that remains to be seen. Winning the AL Central in just 60 games loses some of its luster. Having home field advantage with no fans, and for just one three-game series prior to moving to a neutral site waters down impact. What Baldelli and his club must not lose sight of however, is understanding exactly what they can control. Right now, it appears that some combination of the White Sox, Indians, Houston Astros, and New York Yankees could all be included amongst the bottom half of the Postseason clubs. Two of those are well known divisional foes, while the other two are regular juggernauts on an annual basis. None of their positioning is determinable solely by Minnesota, however. If there’s a “lighter” inclusion come playoff time, it’d have to be argued that the Toronto Blue Jays qualify. Minnesota trying to play a matchup game seems like a losing proposition however, and a shift in mental makeup that generally would thrive off competition. Short of playing guys through injury, it’s time to go for it. Winning this series against the White Sox, as they have done twice already this year, should be viewed as a must. Go grab hold of the AL Central and chase down the Tampa Bay Rays in hopes of landing the best seed in the American League. From there, setting yourself up for familiarity during the most volatile series makes too much sense. First through fourth gets home field advantage in the opening round of the Postseason. Having secured that while winning the division sets a momentum building precedence going into somewhat of a crapshoot. There’s a definite boost playing within the confines of familiarity and having the ability to escape the game outside of a hotel room. Regardless who Minnesota finds in the opposing dugout come October, they’ll all have more warts. Cleveland and Chicago have been routinely bested in the regular season, while the Astros and Yankees have pitching and injury question marks of their own, respectively. As was thought to be the case going into the year, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine’s club should have a leg up on virtually anyone they square off against. The sky doesn’t fall if the Twins come up on the short end of the four-game set on the South Side. That said, it’s a series that should be managed with the highest priority and with no stones left unturned. Time to get it done and begin riding a wave that ends in a parade. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  15. So You’re Telling Me There’s A Chance Minnesota’s strong start to the shortened season greatly increased the club’s chances of qualifying for the postseason, especially considering the newly implemented expanded playoff format. The Twins are currently the seventh overall seed in the American League, but they have over a 90% chance of making the playoffs with the second highest change of winning one of the two wild card spots. Looking around the division and its looking increasingly likely that the AL Central will have three playoff teams and there is an outside chance at four clubs qualifying. Chicago and Cleveland have been back and forth at the top of the AL Central, but each club has over a 98% chance of making the playoffs. Tampa Bay and Oakland, the AL’s top-two teams, have the best odds to make the postseason tournament. Looking in the Rearview Mirror Behind the Twins in the AL standings are a group of teams that wouldn’t have even thought about being in playoff position under the old format. Toronto has a good young core of players, but they are a few years away from being strong contenders. That being said, they have an over .500 record and they a greater than 60% chance qualifying for the postseason. Another AL Central foe, the Tigers, sit behind the Blue Jays in the American League standings. Minnesota has had its fair share of trouble with the Tigers this season and now the Motor City Kitties head to Minneapolis for five games this weekend. Detroit is the final AL team with a record above .500 so the Twins would have to fall behind the Tigers to be out of playoff contention. Playoff Bound? At season’s start, Minnesota had the easiest strength of schedule compared to team’s records from last year. Obviously, the AL Central has been much more competitive than originally thought. Cleveland has the easiest strength of schedule (.479 winning %) among the contended AL Central teams. Chicago (.496) and Minnesota (.499) have nearly identical strength of schedules the rest of the way. The Tigers (.508) have the third hardest remaining schedule in the league. If the playoffs started today, the Twins would play a three-game series in Oakland to decided who makes it out of the first round. For a healthy Twins team, that would be a series the team could win. The A’s have also been off the field all week after someone in their organization tested positive for the coronavirus so they are going to be playing catch-up to get all 60-games played before season’s end. Houston trails Oakland by a handful of games in the AL West race so there is a possibility the Twins could end up heading to Texas. There’s also a chance the AL Central winner (Chicago or Cleveland) ends up with the number two overall seed and that could result in an intriguing match-up for the Twins. Luckily, the Yankees are in second place in the AL East, so a match-up with the Bronx Bombers is unlikely at this point. Realistically, everything is going to come down to a short three-game series at the start of the playoffs. The Twins haven’t won a single playoff game since 2004 and they haven’t won a playoff series since defeating Oakland back in 2002. It’s a weird season and the playoff race is only going to make it weirder. What are your thoughts on the Twins playoff chances? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  16. We’ve finally made it and baseball is back in just a matter of days. The Minnesota Twins will kick off this 60-game sprint in Chicago, and they’ll look to distance themselves from a team looking to prove they’re ready. I put out a 162-game projection back in February, but with so many logistical changes and update is necessary. I don’t foresee any changes in the positioning among the teams from where I had them at the beginning of the year, but we’re obviously only going to play roughly one-third of the games now. There’s significantly more volatility involved, and it will play against Minnesota more than any other club. That said, here’s how the division shakes out this season, and in parenthesis what the PECOTA projections are for each team in this scenario: Minnesota Twins 36-24 (35-25) There’s no argument to be made that Minnesota isn’t the best team in this division. They have arguably the best lineup in baseball and aren’t far behind with their bullpen. The rotation is cemented in depth and there’s plenty of candidates to be a top-tier arm as well. Josh Donaldson is a massive addition and having Rich Hill from the jump should be a nice boost. The Twins have stiffer competition in the White Sox this year, but it’s hard not to see the Indians having taken a step backwards. Cleveland Indians 32-28 (32-28) While it won’t be long before Chicago overtakes Cleveland, I’m not sure it happens in 2020. Cleveland still has an awesome rotation at the top with Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber. Clevinger is already a health risk though, and Carlos Carrasco’s return is a question mark. Save for Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, there’s also concerns about star power in the lineup. Should this club stumble out of the gate, maybe Lindor gets moved at the deadline. Chicago White Sox 31-29 (31-29) I’m all in on Luis Robert, he’s going to be a stud. What his career ends up being remains to be seen, and while I think he could break out right away, there’s still plenty more that needs to go right for the White Sox. Lucas Giolito faded at times in 2019, and neither Dallas Keuchel nor Gio Gonzalez are impact pitchers anymore. Yasmani Grandal is a huge addition, but someone had to supplement the flash in the pan that was James McCann a year ago. The Southsiders will be knocking at the door soon, and the shortened season helps their chances, but give it one more year. Kansas City Royals 24-36 (25-35) Down here you’re really competing for the best of the worst, and I’m not certain what way these final two shake out. It’s my belief that the Royals slide will be less drastic than the volatility of the Tigers prospects. Kansas City isn’t good, and they aren’t exciting either. There are some pieces here though that can squeak out enough to stay out of the bottom spot in the division. Detroit Tigers 22-38 (26-34) I’m really excited to see what Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Alex Faedo, and Riley Greene can do. Unfortunately, none of those guys will be on the Opening Day roster, and while watching Miguel Cabrera chase down records is fun, there’s nothing else of note here. I don’t think Ron Gardenhire is the right guy to push a prospect-laden team forwards as that’s where he ended his tenure with the Twins, so he may see his way out around the time new faces make their debuts. In case you missed it, here’s how I have the yearly awards and Postseason shaking out as well: Award Winners and World Series Victors For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  17. https://www.mlb.com/news/yoan-moncada-contract-extension Ken Rosenthal reported a 5 year, $70 million extension with an option year that would bring it to $90 million. The Sox now have Jimenez, Robert, and Moncada extended.
  18. Going into the 2019 season just about every outlet had the Minnesota Twins as a clear second place finisher in the AL Central. They were an up and coming story, but not yet ready to break through. I found myself disagreeing with that and suggested they’d win the division. In 2020, it happens again.Rewind to this time last year and just about every projection system had a good but not great view of Minnesota under first-year manager Rocco Baldelli. PECOTA tabbed the Twins for a .500 record, while the Sporting News’s panel had them registering 83 wins. In 2020 PECOTA calls the Bomba Squad odds-on favorites to win the division tallying 93 victories. The result looks correct, but I’ll take aim at the final records and results within the shifting Central. 1. Minnesota Twins 98-64 (93-69*) Last year I characterized the Twins position by saying “no team has done more in the division to take strides forward.” That may not hold true in comparison to the Chicago White Sox for 2020, but Minnesota was a substantially better squad to begin with. They don’t need to win 101 games this time around, but they won’t be any less dominant. Josh Donaldson makes the lineup look like the best in the game, and Kenta Maeda provides stability to a deep rotation. They’ll add down the stretch if need be, and there’s bottom feeders to still pick on. Expecting a slight slide from Cleveland, wins won’t be hard to come by. 2. Cleveland Indians 85-77 (86-76*) It looked like Cleveland would take a step back last year, but it wasn’t quite as substantiated as I may have expected. Gone are both Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer. The outfield has more questions than answers, and Francisco Lindor could conceivably be on his way out at any time. As has always been the case, the rotation will remain a threat, and you can bet they’ll develop another arm or two that will make an impact. The Indians should be competitive, but I don’t think the second Wild Card is coming from this division, and the dive off the deep end could be immediate here. 3. Chicago White Sox 84-78 (83-79*) Easily viewed as the darlings of the offseason, the White Sox did a ton to add talent on the 26-man roster. With internal pieces beginning to mature, it made sense to supplement. Yasmani Grandal is a massive get for them, but that’s really where the talent additions cease to outweigh the names. Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Keuchel are known commodities, but neither fit real well as ground ball pitchers in front of a poor defense. Nomar Mazara isn’t a good defender, and his corner partner Eloy was rough during his rookie year. Luis Robert could certainly be the real deal out of the gate, but the Southsiders seems to be looking for a lot from Nick Madrigal. Lucas Giolito put together a nice half-season, and Michael Kopech will factor in, but it’s actually Reynaldo Lopez I may be most intrigued by. This is a squad worth watching, and they’ll make some noise, but this is much more the 2017 Twins than it is the 2019 version. 4. Kansas City Royals 61-101 (68-94*) Things get ugly in a hurry here at the bottom of the AL Central. Kansas City won just 59 games a year ago, and they did very little in terms of adding talent. Whit Merrifield is a star, and Jorge Soler broke out, but the roster is really void of much else. Maikel Franco is a dart throw at third, and retaining 36-year-old Alex Gordon is more nostalgia than anything else. Maybe Salvador Perez returns from a missed 2019 and is a threat, but then again he’s never been much of a bat anyways. The Royals could easily bring up the rear in the division, but I’ll give them the benefit of doubt that they keep some of the gap established between them and Detroit a year ago. 5. Detroit Tigers 55-107 (69-93*) Across baseball in 2019, only the AL Central had two teams lose 100 or more games. That seems near certain to repeat itself in my estimation. Detroit added some veteran talent in Jonathan Schoop and C.J. Cron to bolster the infield. Miguel Cabrera looks cooked though, and Cameron Maybin probably represents their best free agent acquisition. Matt Boyd looked the part of a staff ace for part of the year, and if he can get back to that at the beginning of 2020, they’d be silly not to move him by the deadline. I like Spencer Turnbull a decent amount, but Casey Mize should show up for this group in the next handful of months. With Mize being potentially joined by Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal, and Alex Faedo this year, fans will have plenty of their future to watch. It probably won’t pan out much better immediately, but they have hope. *Designates 2020 PECOTA projection as of February 17, 2020 MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  19. Rewind to this time last year and just about every projection system had a good but not great view of Minnesota under first-year manager Rocco Baldelli. PECOTA tabbed the Twins for a .500 record, while the Sporting News’s panel had them registering 83 wins. In 2020 PECOTA calls the Bomba Squad odds-on favorites to win the division tallying 93 victories. The result looks correct, but I’ll take aim at the final records and results within the shifting Central. 1. Minnesota Twins 98-64 (93-69*) Last year I characterized the Twins position by saying “no team has done more in the division to take strides forward.” That may not hold true in comparison to the Chicago White Sox for 2020, but Minnesota was a substantially better squad to begin with. They don’t need to win 101 games this time around, but they won’t be any less dominant. Josh Donaldson makes the lineup look like the best in the game, and Kenta Maeda provides stability to a deep rotation. They’ll add down the stretch if need be, and there’s bottom feeders to still pick on. Expecting a slight slide from Cleveland, wins won’t be hard to come by. 2. Cleveland Indians 85-77 (86-76*) It looked like Cleveland would take a step back last year, but it wasn’t quite as substantiated as I may have expected. Gone are both Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer. The outfield has more questions than answers, and Francisco Lindor could conceivably be on his way out at any time. As has always been the case, the rotation will remain a threat, and you can bet they’ll develop another arm or two that will make an impact. The Indians should be competitive, but I don’t think the second Wild Card is coming from this division, and the dive off the deep end could be immediate here. 3. Chicago White Sox 84-78 (83-79*) Easily viewed as the darlings of the offseason, the White Sox did a ton to add talent on the 26-man roster. With internal pieces beginning to mature, it made sense to supplement. Yasmani Grandal is a massive get for them, but that’s really where the talent additions cease to outweigh the names. Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Keuchel are known commodities, but neither fit real well as ground ball pitchers in front of a poor defense. Nomar Mazara isn’t a good defender, and his corner partner Eloy was rough during his rookie year. Luis Robert could certainly be the real deal out of the gate, but the Southsiders seems to be looking for a lot from Nick Madrigal. Lucas Giolito put together a nice half-season, and Michael Kopech will factor in, but it’s actually Reynaldo Lopez I may be most intrigued by. This is a squad worth watching, and they’ll make some noise, but this is much more the 2017 Twins than it is the 2019 version. 4. Kansas City Royals 61-101 (68-94*) Things get ugly in a hurry here at the bottom of the AL Central. Kansas City won just 59 games a year ago, and they did very little in terms of adding talent. Whit Merrifield is a star, and Jorge Soler broke out, but the roster is really void of much else. Maikel Franco is a dart throw at third, and retaining 36-year-old Alex Gordon is more nostalgia than anything else. Maybe Salvador Perez returns from a missed 2019 and is a threat, but then again he’s never been much of a bat anyways. The Royals could easily bring up the rear in the division, but I’ll give them the benefit of doubt that they keep some of the gap established between them and Detroit a year ago. 5. Detroit Tigers 55-107 (69-93*) Across baseball in 2019, only the AL Central had two teams lose 100 or more games. That seems near certain to repeat itself in my estimation. Detroit added some veteran talent in Jonathan Schoop and C.J. Cron to bolster the infield. Miguel Cabrera looks cooked though, and Cameron Maybin probably represents their best free agent acquisition. Matt Boyd looked the part of a staff ace for part of the year, and if he can get back to that at the beginning of 2020, they’d be silly not to move him by the deadline. I like Spencer Turnbull a decent amount, but Casey Mize should show up for this group in the next handful of months. With Mize being potentially joined by Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal, and Alex Faedo this year, fans will have plenty of their future to watch. It probably won’t pan out much better immediately, but they have hope. *Designates 2020 PECOTA projection as of February 17, 2020 MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  20. Today we received the highly anticipated PECOTA projections from Baseball Prospectus. Put out around this time each year, they are the gold standard among projection systems when it comes to putting a number to teams' win totals. Often there’s an organization or two that feels scorned, but Minnesota is sitting pretty heading into 2020.It should be expected that the Twins would be seen as the odds-on favorite to repeat in the AL Central division. After winnings 101 games a year ago, they got better this offseason and widened the talent gap between themselves and the Cleveland Indians. Although the White Sox were the darlings of the winter, it is expected that they still have a ways to go. Download attachment: Capture.PNG PECOTA sees the AL Central winner crossing the finish line with 93 victories. That would give them a seven-game advantage over the Indians, which is just one game less than they won the division by a year ago. It’s the White Sox that understandably see the largest boost in winning, and while bad, both the Royals and Tigers cross the 60-win threshold. With projection systems it’s important to understand that these values are derived using an algorithm and are produced utilizing multiple inputs. Specifically, for PECOTA, there are three elements to consider. From Baseball Prospectus, you have: • Major-league equivalencies, to allow us to use minor-league stats to project how a player will perform in the majors. • Baseline forecasts, which use weighted averages and regression to the mean to produce an estimate of a player's true talent level. • A career-path adjustment, which incorporates information about how comparable players' stats changed over time. In general, that means there’s an assumed amount of variability. The Twins winning the division with 93 wins would be the 50th percentile of their outcomes. As evidenced by the bell curves below, a 100th percentile would have them somewhere near a franchise record of 105 wins. We can also see that it’s both the Indians and White Sox that have the largest amount of volatility on the positive sides of their outcomes. Download attachment: Curve.PNG Relative to the American League as a whole, it’s clear Minnesota is viewed favorably. Trailing only the Yankees (99) and Astros (98), they are on the heels of the best teams in baseball. The National League is understandably looked down upon as a whole. Los Angeles checks in with 103 wins while no other division winner is seen capable of reaching 90. Considering the narrow range of expectations among clubs in both the NL East and Central, it’s fair to believe that no one may run away from the pack. As far as getting to the postseason is concerned, the Twins are given 89.2% odds in that department. PECOTA projected the Twins for 81 wins going into 2019, and the 20 additional they produced on top of that would have advanced beyond their 100th percentile expectation. In short, they are certainly being viewed in a positive light earned through positive performance. Again, these are just projections and using them as hard and fast outcomes doesn’t seem wise. However, if the Twins are to win the division (and they likely will), surpassing that 93-win threshold is a pretty decent bet. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have provided some great pieces for Rocco Baldelli and his staff. The team capitalized on their abilities last year and doing so again should bear more fruit. *Concerning projections totaling 103 games, Baseball Prospectus noted a glitch and the results remaining incorrect due to a caching issue. The win totals are accurate. Full game totals are derived by taking 162 games and subtracting the win column to come up with record. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  21. It should be expected that the Twins would be seen as the odds-on favorite to repeat in the AL Central division. After winnings 101 games a year ago, they got better this offseason and widened the talent gap between themselves and the Cleveland Indians. Although the White Sox were the darlings of the winter, it is expected that they still have a ways to go. PECOTA sees the AL Central winner crossing the finish line with 93 victories. That would give them a seven-game advantage over the Indians, which is just one game less than they won the division by a year ago. It’s the White Sox that understandably see the largest boost in winning, and while bad, both the Royals and Tigers cross the 60-win threshold. With projection systems it’s important to understand that these values are derived using an algorithm and are produced utilizing multiple inputs. Specifically, for PECOTA, there are three elements to consider. From Baseball Prospectus, you have: • Major-league equivalencies, to allow us to use minor-league stats to project how a player will perform in the majors. • Baseline forecasts, which use weighted averages and regression to the mean to produce an estimate of a player's true talent level. • A career-path adjustment, which incorporates information about how comparable players' stats changed over time. In general, that means there’s an assumed amount of variability. The Twins winning the division with 93 wins would be the 50th percentile of their outcomes. As evidenced by the bell curves below, a 100th percentile would have them somewhere near a franchise record of 105 wins. We can also see that it’s both the Indians and White Sox that have the largest amount of volatility on the positive sides of their outcomes. Relative to the American League as a whole, it’s clear Minnesota is viewed favorably. Trailing only the Yankees (99) and Astros (98), they are on the heels of the best teams in baseball. The National League is understandably looked down upon as a whole. Los Angeles checks in with 103 wins while no other division winner is seen capable of reaching 90. Considering the narrow range of expectations among clubs in both the NL East and Central, it’s fair to believe that no one may run away from the pack. As far as getting to the postseason is concerned, the Twins are given 89.2% odds in that department. PECOTA projected the Twins for 81 wins going into 2019, and the 20 additional they produced on top of that would have advanced beyond their 100th percentile expectation. In short, they are certainly being viewed in a positive light earned through positive performance. Again, these are just projections and using them as hard and fast outcomes doesn’t seem wise. However, if the Twins are to win the division (and they likely will), surpassing that 93-win threshold is a pretty decent bet. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have provided some great pieces for Rocco Baldelli and his staff. The team capitalized on their abilities last year and doing so again should bear more fruit. *Concerning projections totaling 103 games, Baseball Prospectus noted a glitch and the results remaining incorrect due to a caching issue. The win totals are accurate. Full game totals are derived by taking 162 games and subtracting the win column to come up with record. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  22. Hoarding prospects has been an effective strategy for the Twins as they enjoyed breakouts from Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, Miguel Sanó, and Byron Buxton among others. The White Sox have employed a similar tactic, trading away numerous big leaguers for top-end prospects. Those prospects are here, and a few of them showed real promise last year. Three things remain true about Chicago.1.) They have a porous pitching staff. The rotation looked like a strong part of the rebuild for Chicago as Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech were both ranked in the top 25 on MLB Pipeline. Kopech has not pitched in over a year after Tommy John surgery and Cease struggled in the majors, starting 14 games and allowing an .839 OPS and 1.8 HR/9. Cease finished the year strong with a 3.00 ERA in September, but his last three starts came against the Angels, Mariners, and Tigers. After a step forward in 2018, Reynaldo López took two steps back. Teammate Lucas Giolito allowed 118 runs in 2018 and López allowed 110 runs this year, both led MLB. López allowed 35 homers in 184 innings. Giolito bounced back with a 3.41 ERA and 228 strikeouts in 176 2/3 innings. Giolito’s hard hit percentage only decreased 2.3%, but his strikeout rate doubled and his walk rate improved from 11.1% to 8.1%. Giolito was an All-Star but regressed following the break: Their latest additions, Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez, should help eat some innings. Keuchel hid behind a 4.72 FIP playing in front of Josh Donaldson and Ozzie Albies last year. His ground ball tendencies make little sense for a Chicago defense that ranked 25th in baseball in 2019. Gonzalez is more of a depth piece than anything of impact. 2.) The devil is in the details Slugger Eloy Jiménez started the year with a poor .674 OPS and 25 strikeouts in his first 85 plate appearances. He improved to hit .292 with a .542 slugging percentage after the break. The caveat is that Jiménez was an awful outfielder with -11 DRS and a -6.6 UZR/150. Let’s compare him to fellow rookie Luis Arraez: Batting champion Tim Anderson hit .335 with a .399 BABIP. The Sox led in BABIP at .329, 31 points above average. Anderson posted a putrid 109-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio, the worst in baseball. His hard hit percentage is a low 32.3%, ranking 332nd in MLB, according to baseball savant. Anderson ranks fourth in swing percentage at 58.5%. All of these numbers scream regression. Anderson was also an atrocious shortstop with -9 DRS and a -11.7 UZR/150. Anderson finished second in BABIP to teammate Yoàn Moncada, who followed up his strikeout plagued 2018 with improvement a year later. Moncada hit .315/.367/.548 with 25 home runs. Moncada, Anderson and Jiménez all ranked in the bottom 10 in strikeout-to-walk ratio. The White Sox ranked last in walks and sixth in strikeouts. Moncada, like his counterparts, was a below average defender with -7 DRS at third base. The White Sox only beat out the Marlins and Pirates in GB/FB ratio. Only the Marlins hit more ground balls than the Sox in 2019. 3.) They are not the 2018 Twins The Twins won 23 more games in one year, but this is different for Chicago. Minnesota has the capital, talent and front office to run this division for the foreseeable future. The Twins beat the White Sox in 13 of their 19 games this year, outscoring them by 60 runs. While the Twins were not good in 2018, they still ranked ninth in the AL in OPS, sixth in runs scored, and ninth in team ERA. The White Sox finished 13th in runs scored and home runs and 12th in OPS, despite having the batting champion in Anderson and RBI leader in Abreu. The offseason has shifted the attention back to the White Sox, and they have done a nice job improving. I believe the Sox can maybe push for a Wild Card spot, but they are far behind the defending division champions. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Handbook Preview: Glen Perkins Reviewing Relievers — Twins Can Begin Cashing in on Prospects — Hot Corner Consideration: Potential Third Base Alternatives to Miguel Sano Click here to view the article
  23. 1.) They have a porous pitching staff. The rotation looked like a strong part of the rebuild for Chicago as Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech were both ranked in the top 25 on MLB Pipeline. Kopech has not pitched in over a year after Tommy John surgery and Cease struggled in the majors, starting 14 games and allowing an .839 OPS and 1.8 HR/9. Cease finished the year strong with a 3.00 ERA in September, but his last three starts came against the Angels, Mariners, and Tigers. After a step forward in 2018, Reynaldo López took two steps back. Teammate Lucas Giolito allowed 118 runs in 2018 and López allowed 110 runs this year, both led MLB. López allowed 35 homers in 184 innings. Giolito bounced back with a 3.41 ERA and 228 strikeouts in 176 2/3 innings. Giolito’s hard hit percentage only decreased 2.3%, but his strikeout rate doubled and his walk rate improved from 11.1% to 8.1%. Giolito was an All-Star but regressed following the break: Their latest additions, Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez, should help eat some innings. Keuchel hid behind a 4.72 FIP playing in front of Josh Donaldson and Ozzie Albies last year. His ground ball tendencies make little sense for a Chicago defense that ranked 25th in baseball in 2019. Gonzalez is more of a depth piece than anything of impact. 2.) The devil is in the details Slugger Eloy Jiménez started the year with a poor .674 OPS and 25 strikeouts in his first 85 plate appearances. He improved to hit .292 with a .542 slugging percentage after the break. The caveat is that Jiménez was an awful outfielder with -11 DRS and a -6.6 UZR/150. Let’s compare him to fellow rookie Luis Arraez: Batting champion Tim Anderson hit .335 with a .399 BABIP. The Sox led in BABIP at .329, 31 points above average. Anderson posted a putrid 109-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio, the worst in baseball. His hard hit percentage is a low 32.3%, ranking 332nd in MLB, according to baseball savant. Anderson ranks fourth in swing percentage at 58.5%. All of these numbers scream regression. Anderson was also an atrocious shortstop with -9 DRS and a -11.7 UZR/150. Anderson finished second in BABIP to teammate Yoàn Moncada, who followed up his strikeout plagued 2018 with improvement a year later. Moncada hit .315/.367/.548 with 25 home runs. Moncada, Anderson and Jiménez all ranked in the bottom 10 in strikeout-to-walk ratio. The White Sox ranked last in walks and sixth in strikeouts. Moncada, like his counterparts, was a below average defender with -7 DRS at third base. The White Sox only beat out the Marlins and Pirates in GB/FB ratio. Only the Marlins hit more ground balls than the Sox in 2019. 3.) They are not the 2018 Twins The Twins won 23 more games in one year, but this is different for Chicago. Minnesota has the capital, talent and front office to run this division for the foreseeable future. The Twins beat the White Sox in 13 of their 19 games this year, outscoring them by 60 runs. While the Twins were not good in 2018, they still ranked ninth in the AL in OPS, sixth in runs scored, and ninth in team ERA. The White Sox finished 13th in runs scored and home runs and 12th in OPS, despite having the batting champion in Anderson and RBI leader in Abreu. The offseason has shifted the attention back to the White Sox, and they have done a nice job improving. I believe the Sox can maybe push for a Wild Card spot, but they are far behind the defending division champions. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Handbook Preview: Glen Perkins Reviewing Relievers — Twins Can Begin Cashing in on Prospects — Hot Corner Consideration: Potential Third Base Alternatives to Miguel Sano
  24. This game had pretty much everything you could ask for from a great baseball game. An historic home run, three different comebacks to tie the game, and a walk-off hit-by-pitch by Ronald Torreyes. When all was said and done, 22 different Minnesota Twins played a part in their 9-8 win over the Chicago White Sox.Box Score Perez: 4.2 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 70.3% strikes (45 of 64 pitches) Home Runs: LaMarre (1), Sano (30) Multi-Hit Games: Rosario (3 for 6, 2 2B), Gonzalez (3 for 6), Arraez (3 for 6, 2B) WPA of +0.1: Gonzalez .359, Rosario .307, Wade .254, Torreyes .164, Rogers .144, LaMarre .122, Romo .111, Cruz .102, WPA of -0.1: Harper -.402, Sano -.214, Littell -.145, May -.143, Polanco -.114, Schoop -.100 After the Twins failed to hit a home run in their 5-3 win over the White Sox last night, it was Ryan LaMarre of all people who hit the Twins first home run of the series, leading off the bottom of the third inning. It was just LaMarre’s third home run of his major league career. The homer drew this great reaction from Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders. Later in the third inning, Miguel Sano helped the Twins make more major league history, when he belted his 30th home run of the season, making the 2019 Minnesota Twins the first team to ever have five different 30-home run hitters in the same season. Sano’s home run traveled 482 feet, and became the second longest home run in Target Field history, behind only Jim Thome’s 490 foot blast back in 2011. Unfortunately for the Twins, the pitching staff was unable to hold the 5-0 lead they were given. Martin Perez was hit all over the yard tonight, giving up 10 hits in just 4- 2/3 innings. Somehow, he managed to give up just three runs. In the top of the sixth, Trevor May gave up home runs to Zack Collings and Adam Engel on back-to-back pitches, and just like that the game was tied. Tyler Duffey had another excellent outing tonight, striking out the White Sox' 3-4-5 hitters in the top of the seventh inning. Duffey has now worked 22 consecutive scoreless outings, dating back to July 28th. Over that time, Duffey has 33 strikeouts to just five walks in 19 2/3 innings pitched and has lowered his ERA from 3.82 down to 2.39. It was Sergio Romo’s turn in the top of the eighth inning to keep the score tied at five. Which is just what he did, getting a couple of big strikeouts with a runner on first to end the inning. However, he did so with an obvious limp after every pitch. The Twins came out to chat with him about it, be he insisted he was fine and stayed in the game to get the final two hitters. It will be worth monitoring this situation in the coming days to make sure nothing comes from it. Both Taylor Rogers and Zack Littell had to work out of jams in the top of the ninth and the top of the tenth respectively, to give the Twins hitters extra chances to try to win the game. The first two batters reached against Rogers via an error by Jorge Polanco, and a fielder’s choice by Rogers, when he tried to make the play at second after fielding a comebacker but was late with the throw. However, he was able to battle back by inducing a double play and getting Eloy Jimenez to strike out. In the tenth, Littell gave up two singles to lead off the inning. Then, after a sac bunt, Rocco Baldelli decided to load the bases with an intentional walk. That moved paid off, as Littell got a pop out and a flyout to get out of the jam. The Twins weren’t as fortunate in the 11th inning as they had been in the innings prior, as Tim Anderson led off the inning with a no-doubter off Zack Littell. Littell did a nice job not surrendering any more runs in the inning, keeping the White Sox lead at just one run. This played out huge for the Twins in the bottom of the inning, when Jonathan Schoop led off the inning with a single. He got pinch run for by LaMonte Wade Jr., who advanced to second on a C.J. Cron ground out, and to third on a wild pitch that barely got away from the White Sox catcher. This aggressive base running kept the Twins alive, as Mitch Garver came through with a sac fly to tie the game back up at six. In the 12th inning, Rocco Baldelli turned to Ryne Harper to get three outs, and the Twins bats back up with a chance to win the game. Harper did get those three outs However, that wasn’t until after he had surrendered a two-run home run to Ryan Cordell, giving the White Sox a 8-6 lead. Harper nearly gave up a few more runs, as the White Sox had first and third with two outs, but Harper got Eloy Jimenez to ground out to end the inning. The Twins may have been down but they certainly weren’t out of it, with the middle of their order due up in the bottom of the 12th. Nelson Cruz got the rally started with a lead off single, which was immediately followed by a double from Eddie Rosario, and just like that the Twins were in business. Then Miguel Sano came to the plate, and was immediately set down on three pitches. After Sano came Marwin Gonzalez, who after falling behind in the count, came through with a base hit to bring both Cruz and Rosario around to score, tying the game at eight. However, the Twins weren’t done quite yet. Luis Arraez followed up Gonzalez’s single with one of his own, Arraez’s third hit of the game. That brought LaMonte Wade Jr. up to the plate and he smacked a line-drive single up the middle. Fortunately for the Twins, Tony Diaz has learned from his mistakes earlier in the season, and held Gonzalez at third on a throw that would have had him out by 30 feet. This loaded the bases for Ronald Torreyes, who came in as a defensive replacement for C.J. Cron in the top of the 12th, and this happened. Postgame With Baldelli Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Next Three Games Wed vs CHW, 6:40 pm CT (Cover-Odorizzi) Thu vs KCR, 6:40 pm CT (Montgomery-TBD) Fri vs KCR, 7:10 pm CT (TBD-TBD) Last Game Twins Game Recap (9/16): Berrios tosses a strong 7.1 innings Click here to view the article
  25. Box Score Perez: 4.2 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 70.3% strikes (45 of 64 pitches) Home Runs: LaMarre (1), Sano (30) Multi-Hit Games: Rosario (3 for 6, 2 2B), Gonzalez (3 for 6), Arraez (3 for 6, 2B) WPA of +0.1: Gonzalez .359, Rosario .307, Wade .254, Torreyes .164, Rogers .144, LaMarre .122, Romo .111, Cruz .102, WPA of -0.1: Harper -.402, Sano -.214, Littell -.145, May -.143, Polanco -.114, Schoop -.100 After the Twins failed to hit a home run in their 5-3 win over the White Sox last night, it was Ryan LaMarre of all people who hit the Twins first home run of the series, leading off the bottom of the third inning. It was just LaMarre’s third home run of his major league career. The homer drew this great reaction from Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders. https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1174117393108525057 Later in the third inning, Miguel Sano helped the Twins make more major league history, when he belted his 30th home run of the season, making the 2019 Minnesota Twins the first team to ever have five different 30-home run hitters in the same season. Sano’s home run traveled 482 feet, and became the second longest home run in Target Field history, behind only Jim Thome’s 490 foot blast back in 2011. https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1174119088819527680 Unfortunately for the Twins, the pitching staff was unable to hold the 5-0 lead they were given. Martin Perez was hit all over the yard tonight, giving up 10 hits in just 4- 2/3 innings. Somehow, he managed to give up just three runs. In the top of the sixth, Trevor May gave up home runs to Zack Collings and Adam Engel on back-to-back pitches, and just like that the game was tied. Tyler Duffey had another excellent outing tonight, striking out the White Sox' 3-4-5 hitters in the top of the seventh inning. Duffey has now worked 22 consecutive scoreless outings, dating back to July 28th. Over that time, Duffey has 33 strikeouts to just five walks in 19 2/3 innings pitched and has lowered his ERA from 3.82 down to 2.39. It was Sergio Romo’s turn in the top of the eighth inning to keep the score tied at five. Which is just what he did, getting a couple of big strikeouts with a runner on first to end the inning. However, he did so with an obvious limp after every pitch. The Twins came out to chat with him about it, be he insisted he was fine and stayed in the game to get the final two hitters. It will be worth monitoring this situation in the coming days to make sure nothing comes from it. Both Taylor Rogers and Zack Littell had to work out of jams in the top of the ninth and the top of the tenth respectively, to give the Twins hitters extra chances to try to win the game. The first two batters reached against Rogers via an error by Jorge Polanco, and a fielder’s choice by Rogers, when he tried to make the play at second after fielding a comebacker but was late with the throw. However, he was able to battle back by inducing a double play and getting Eloy Jimenez to strike out. In the tenth, Littell gave up two singles to lead off the inning. Then, after a sac bunt, Rocco Baldelli decided to load the bases with an intentional walk. That moved paid off, as Littell got a pop out and a flyout to get out of the jam. The Twins weren’t as fortunate in the 11th inning as they had been in the innings prior, as Tim Anderson led off the inning with a no-doubter off Zack Littell. Littell did a nice job not surrendering any more runs in the inning, keeping the White Sox lead at just one run. This played out huge for the Twins in the bottom of the inning, when Jonathan Schoop led off the inning with a single. He got pinch run for by LaMonte Wade Jr., who advanced to second on a C.J. Cron ground out, and to third on a wild pitch that barely got away from the White Sox catcher. This aggressive base running kept the Twins alive, as Mitch Garver came through with a sac fly to tie the game back up at six. In the 12th inning, Rocco Baldelli turned to Ryne Harper to get three outs, and the Twins bats back up with a chance to win the game. Harper did get those three outs However, that wasn’t until after he had surrendered a two-run home run to Ryan Cordell, giving the White Sox a 8-6 lead. Harper nearly gave up a few more runs, as the White Sox had first and third with two outs, but Harper got Eloy Jimenez to ground out to end the inning. The Twins may have been down but they certainly weren’t out of it, with the middle of their order due up in the bottom of the 12th. Nelson Cruz got the rally started with a lead off single, which was immediately followed by a double from Eddie Rosario, and just like that the Twins were in business. Then Miguel Sano came to the plate, and was immediately set down on three pitches. After Sano came Marwin Gonzalez, who after falling behind in the count, came through with a base hit to bring both Cruz and Rosario around to score, tying the game at eight. However, the Twins weren’t done quite yet. Luis Arraez followed up Gonzalez’s single with one of his own, Arraez’s third hit of the game. That brought LaMonte Wade Jr. up to the plate and he smacked a line-drive single up the middle. Fortunately for the Twins, Tony Diaz has learned from his mistakes earlier in the season, and held Gonzalez at third on a throw that would have had him out by 30 feet. This loaded the bases for Ronald Torreyes, who came in as a defensive replacement for C.J. Cron in the top of the 12th, and this happened. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1174179570519543810 Postgame With Baldelli https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1174187314316226560 Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Next Three Games Wed vs CHW, 6:40 pm CT (Cover-Odorizzi) Thu vs KCR, 6:40 pm CT (Montgomery-TBD) Fri vs KCR, 7:10 pm CT (TBD-TBD) Last Game Twins Game Recap (9/16): Berrios tosses a strong 7.1 innings
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