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  1. Every. Single. Game. The same refrain thunders from fans all over Twins Territory. Why aren’t the Minnesota Twins allowing their starting pitchers to go deeper in games? Unfortunately, this isn’t something tied to the organization alone, and there’s a pretty straightforward answer. Image courtesy of Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports At the Major League Baseball level, most things are about the process working to dictate ideal results. Whether you view the concept of analytics as annoying or not, the reality is that they represent an application of information. When it comes to pitching, hitting, or virtually anything else on a baseball diamond, results are calculated by statistics derived from outcomes. Every time that Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli steps onto the field and travels to the pitching mound hand-wringing ensues. Of course this is often because the removal of a starting pitcher is happening in the 5th inning or earlier. It’s not something done on gut feeling or through a knee-jerk reaction, but instead a reflection of what makes sense based on actual results. Four pitchers have made the vast majority of starts for the Twins this season. Among them, Sonny Gray is the only one you would even consider for a top spot or two in a good rotation. Joe Ryan, while flashing signs of solid stuff, more closely resembles a number three or four pitcher. He’s been pulverized by teams above .500 all season long, and while that’s to be expected given his age and exposure, it doesn’t excuse the reality. I have been vocal in that Dylan Bundy seems to be found value for Minnesota considering his output in spite of the predictive metrics. He is going to regress. Everything about his outcomes suggests regression will hit him hard. What the Twins have done is dance around having that reality smack them in the face to this point, and pitching him any more than he has would be playing with fire. Chris Archer is that fire that routinely burns both his manager and the bullpen beyond three or four innings. His stuff has been good, but the wheels fall off and things go awry. Asking pitchers to face a lineup more than two times is not a bad idea, in fact it’s one that should be welcomed. In operating that way however, you need to have a stable of pitchers capable of completing that feat. There’s absolutely no argument to be made that the Twins had those arms when the season started, and now 36 pitchers into the year, they couldn’t be further from that being a possibility. If there’s criticism to be had, it’s towards Derek Falvey and Thad Levine in failing to adequately supplement their starting staff. Major League Baseball as a whole has trended towards shorter starts for quite some time. Through the first handful of months this season, the average start was lower than five innings for the first time in history. With that reality, you’re effectively asking managers to massage a bullpen for something like four innings on any given night. That requires both high-end arms, as well as solid depth. Minnesota had no arms capable of going deep into games when the season started, and their answer to a bullpen needing supplemental capabilities was a 38-year-old sidearmer in the form of Joe Smith. It’s great that rookie Jhoan Duran has been amazing, but it’s also been absolutely necessary for the Twins to stay afloat. His win probability added leads the league because of the weight being carried on his shoulders, and Baldelli wasn’t provided any additional answers until August. Jorge Lopez has regressed, and Michael Fulmer has been mediocre. Yes, Griffin Jax is a nice development, and it’s great Caleb Thielbar returned from coaching Division 2 baseball, but what are we doing here? At the end of the day, the question as to why the Twins don’t allow starters to go deeper into ballgames really becomes why doesn’t Minnesota have better starting pitchers. It’s a process to develop arms, and very few will ever be a true ace. It’s also incredibly difficult to spend dollars on arms with 29 other teams vying for their services, and even less talent finding you desirable. View full article
  2. At the Major League Baseball level, most things are about the process working to dictate ideal results. Whether you view the concept of analytics as annoying or not, the reality is that they represent an application of information. When it comes to pitching, hitting, or virtually anything else on a baseball diamond, results are calculated by statistics derived from outcomes. Every time that Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli steps onto the field and travels to the pitching mound hand-wringing ensues. Of course this is often because the removal of a starting pitcher is happening in the 5th inning or earlier. It’s not something done on gut feeling or through a knee-jerk reaction, but instead a reflection of what makes sense based on actual results. Four pitchers have made the vast majority of starts for the Twins this season. Among them, Sonny Gray is the only one you would even consider for a top spot or two in a good rotation. Joe Ryan, while flashing signs of solid stuff, more closely resembles a number three or four pitcher. He’s been pulverized by teams above .500 all season long, and while that’s to be expected given his age and exposure, it doesn’t excuse the reality. I have been vocal in that Dylan Bundy seems to be found value for Minnesota considering his output in spite of the predictive metrics. He is going to regress. Everything about his outcomes suggests regression will hit him hard. What the Twins have done is dance around having that reality smack them in the face to this point, and pitching him any more than he has would be playing with fire. Chris Archer is that fire that routinely burns both his manager and the bullpen beyond three or four innings. His stuff has been good, but the wheels fall off and things go awry. Asking pitchers to face a lineup more than two times is not a bad idea, in fact it’s one that should be welcomed. In operating that way however, you need to have a stable of pitchers capable of completing that feat. There’s absolutely no argument to be made that the Twins had those arms when the season started, and now 36 pitchers into the year, they couldn’t be further from that being a possibility. If there’s criticism to be had, it’s towards Derek Falvey and Thad Levine in failing to adequately supplement their starting staff. Major League Baseball as a whole has trended towards shorter starts for quite some time. Through the first handful of months this season, the average start was lower than five innings for the first time in history. With that reality, you’re effectively asking managers to massage a bullpen for something like four innings on any given night. That requires both high-end arms, as well as solid depth. Minnesota had no arms capable of going deep into games when the season started, and their answer to a bullpen needing supplemental capabilities was a 38-year-old sidearmer in the form of Joe Smith. It’s great that rookie Jhoan Duran has been amazing, but it’s also been absolutely necessary for the Twins to stay afloat. His win probability added leads the league because of the weight being carried on his shoulders, and Baldelli wasn’t provided any additional answers until August. Jorge Lopez has regressed, and Michael Fulmer has been mediocre. Yes, Griffin Jax is a nice development, and it’s great Caleb Thielbar returned from coaching Division 2 baseball, but what are we doing here? At the end of the day, the question as to why the Twins don’t allow starters to go deeper into ballgames really becomes why doesn’t Minnesota have better starting pitchers. It’s a process to develop arms, and very few will ever be a true ace. It’s also incredibly difficult to spend dollars on arms with 29 other teams vying for their services, and even less talent finding you desirable.
  3. The Twins traveled to The Bronx to start a big four-game series. There are a ton of ties between the two organizations, and several former teammates contributed, especially early in the game. Some good things happened, but ultimately, they let the guy you can't let beat you... beat you. Image courtesy of Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports Box Score SP: Chris Archer: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (76 pitches, 48 strikes (63.2%) Home Runs: Gary Sanchez (10) Bottom 3 WPA: Trevor Megill (-0.257), Jose Miranda (-0.143), Luis Arraez (-0.069) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Old Friends in New Places When you consider the dominance that the Yankees have held over the Twins over the past couple of decades, it’s hard to believe that there are so many players who have moved from one team to the other via trade or in free agency. Obviously the big move was the spring trade that sent Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Ben Rortvedt to The Bronx in exchange for Gio Urshella and Gary Sanchez. Aaron Hicks is in his seventh season in pinstripes, and could remain there through the 2026 season. He signed a seven-year, $70 million deal after a 2018 season in which he received MVP votes. Marwin Gonazalez played for the Twins in 2019 and 2020. He split 2021 between the Red Sox and Astros, and this season, he has played in 66 games for the Yankees. In addition, the Twins acquired Jake Cave from the Yankees prior to the 2018 season in exchange for hard-throwing Luis Gil. At the time, Gil had pitched only in the Dominican Summer League, but since has become a high-end prospect who debuted in 2021 but needed Tommy John surgery earlier this year. While he came from the Reds, Sonny Gray spent part of 2017 and all of 2018 with the Yankees. Combined, he went 15-16 with a 4.51 ERA over 195 2/3 innings. More Fun Connections Nick Gordon batted cleanup for the Twins in this game. As we know, his father, Tom, pitched 22 seasons in the big leagues including two great seasons with the Yankees in 2004 and 2005. He was an All Star in 2004 and had a 2.38 ERA over 170 1/3 innings over the two seasons. Yankees right-fielder Oswaldo Cabrera made his MLB debut on August 17th and Monday was his 18th big-league game. The 23-year-old’s older brother, Leobaldo Cabrera (24) has spent the 2022 season with the Wichita Wind Surge. Has To Feel Good Those #OldFriends accounted for the scoring early in the game. In the bottom of the first, Josh Donaldon hit a single off the wall in left field to drive in Aaron Judge. 1-0 Yankees. Two innings later, Marwin Gonzalez hit his fourth home run of the season. 2-0 Yankees. In the top of the fifth inning, Gary Sanchez hit a ball 115.1 mph at a 30-degree launch angle, and it traveled 473 feet from home plate, well beyond the outfield fence. Jake Cave had walked prior to the homer. Game Tied 2-2. Archer Negates Taillon Coming into the game, the pitching matchup of Chris Archer vs. Jameson Taillon looked like a major mismatch. If they matched up often, it likely wouldn’t bode well for the Twins. However, on this day, the two pitchers ended up with a very similar line. Both went five innings and gave up two runs. Taillon gave up two runs on six hits, including one homer. He walked two and struck out three batters. Archer gave up two runs on four hits, including one homer. He walked two and struck out two batters. Bullpen Game The bullpens took over a tie game in the sixth inning. The Yankees brought in Greg Weissert. Gio Urshela got on thanks to an error by Josh Donaldson, but the Twins were unable to score him as the next three batters were retired. Trevor Megill was the Twins sixth-inning man. Gleyber Torres led off with a line-drive single to right field. On a 2-2 pitch, Megill hung a curveball to Aaron Judge who hit the ball 110 mph at a 34 degree launch angle. It landed 404 feet from home plate, in the second deck in the left field bleachers. Giancarlo Stanton grounded out, but then Donaldson walked. Fortunately, Jose Trevino grounded into a double play to end the inning. As Glen Perkins said several times on the broadcast, Judge was the one guy in the Yankees lineup that you just can't let beat you. And they let him beat them. Now down 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Twins were certainly not going to use their top relievers in back-to-back days. So Emilio Pagan came on, presumably with the goal of working two innings. With one out, Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit just his second home run of the second. It wasn’t as prodigious as Sanchez or Judge’s homers, but it counts just the same. Pagan began the bottom of the 8th inning by striking out Aaron Judge. Aaron Hicks pinch hit for Stanton, and the Twins brought in Austin Davis for his Twins debut. The southpaw struck out by Hicks and Josh Donaldson to end the inning. (Learn more about Davis here.) Twins bullpen line: 3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. Yankees bullpen line: 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K. data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw== What’s Next? The Twins continue this four-game series with the Yankees. Here the the remaining pitching matchups in the series. Each game will start at 6:05 central time and air on Bally Sports North. Tuesday, RHP Joe Ryan (10-7, 3.88 ERA) vs RHP Gerrit Cole (10-7, 3.28 ERA) Wednesday: TBA vs Domingo German (2-3, 3.12 ERA) Thursday: RHP Sonny Gray (7-4, 3.18 ERA) vs. TBA Speculation Wednesday’s spot in the rotation is the one vacated by Tyler Mahle. I’d present two options. The first is fun. Call up Minnesotan Louie Varland to make his MLB debut at Yankees Stadium. The reigning Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year (and a leading candidate to repeat in 2022) would be exciting, regardless of what he did. Option #2 is that the Twins have Aaron Sanchez return to the rotation. He last pitched on Friday night, coming in for Mahle in the third inning and throwing 70 pitches in relief. This may not be exciting, but personal opinion, it’s probably the right decision. Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT Sanchez 0 0 70 0 0 70 Fulmer 0 17 0 14 0 31 Duran 0 11 0 20 0 31 Jax 0 20 0 8 0 28 Thielbar 0 13 0 15 0 28 Megill 0 0 0 0 27 27 Pagan 0 0 0 0 22 22 López 0 13 0 0 0 13 Davis 0 0 0 0 11 11 View full article
  4. Box Score SP: Chris Archer: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (76 pitches, 48 strikes (63.2%) Home Runs: Gary Sanchez (10) Bottom 3 WPA: Trevor Megill (-0.257), Jose Miranda (-0.143), Luis Arraez (-0.069) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Old Friends in New Places When you consider the dominance that the Yankees have held over the Twins over the past couple of decades, it’s hard to believe that there are so many players who have moved from one team to the other via trade or in free agency. Obviously the big move was the spring trade that sent Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Ben Rortvedt to The Bronx in exchange for Gio Urshella and Gary Sanchez. Aaron Hicks is in his seventh season in pinstripes, and could remain there through the 2026 season. He signed a seven-year, $70 million deal after a 2018 season in which he received MVP votes. Marwin Gonazalez played for the Twins in 2019 and 2020. He split 2021 between the Red Sox and Astros, and this season, he has played in 66 games for the Yankees. In addition, the Twins acquired Jake Cave from the Yankees prior to the 2018 season in exchange for hard-throwing Luis Gil. At the time, Gil had pitched only in the Dominican Summer League, but since has become a high-end prospect who debuted in 2021 but needed Tommy John surgery earlier this year. While he came from the Reds, Sonny Gray spent part of 2017 and all of 2018 with the Yankees. Combined, he went 15-16 with a 4.51 ERA over 195 2/3 innings. More Fun Connections Nick Gordon batted cleanup for the Twins in this game. As we know, his father, Tom, pitched 22 seasons in the big leagues including two great seasons with the Yankees in 2004 and 2005. He was an All Star in 2004 and had a 2.38 ERA over 170 1/3 innings over the two seasons. Yankees right-fielder Oswaldo Cabrera made his MLB debut on August 17th and Monday was his 18th big-league game. The 23-year-old’s older brother, Leobaldo Cabrera (24) has spent the 2022 season with the Wichita Wind Surge. Has To Feel Good Those #OldFriends accounted for the scoring early in the game. In the bottom of the first, Josh Donaldon hit a single off the wall in left field to drive in Aaron Judge. 1-0 Yankees. Two innings later, Marwin Gonzalez hit his fourth home run of the season. 2-0 Yankees. In the top of the fifth inning, Gary Sanchez hit a ball 115.1 mph at a 30-degree launch angle, and it traveled 473 feet from home plate, well beyond the outfield fence. Jake Cave had walked prior to the homer. Game Tied 2-2. Archer Negates Taillon Coming into the game, the pitching matchup of Chris Archer vs. Jameson Taillon looked like a major mismatch. If they matched up often, it likely wouldn’t bode well for the Twins. However, on this day, the two pitchers ended up with a very similar line. Both went five innings and gave up two runs. Taillon gave up two runs on six hits, including one homer. He walked two and struck out three batters. Archer gave up two runs on four hits, including one homer. He walked two and struck out two batters. Bullpen Game The bullpens took over a tie game in the sixth inning. The Yankees brought in Greg Weissert. Gio Urshela got on thanks to an error by Josh Donaldson, but the Twins were unable to score him as the next three batters were retired. Trevor Megill was the Twins sixth-inning man. Gleyber Torres led off with a line-drive single to right field. On a 2-2 pitch, Megill hung a curveball to Aaron Judge who hit the ball 110 mph at a 34 degree launch angle. It landed 404 feet from home plate, in the second deck in the left field bleachers. Giancarlo Stanton grounded out, but then Donaldson walked. Fortunately, Jose Trevino grounded into a double play to end the inning. As Glen Perkins said several times on the broadcast, Judge was the one guy in the Yankees lineup that you just can't let beat you. And they let him beat them. Now down 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Twins were certainly not going to use their top relievers in back-to-back days. So Emilio Pagan came on, presumably with the goal of working two innings. With one out, Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit just his second home run of the second. It wasn’t as prodigious as Sanchez or Judge’s homers, but it counts just the same. Pagan began the bottom of the 8th inning by striking out Aaron Judge. Aaron Hicks pinch hit for Stanton, and the Twins brought in Austin Davis for his Twins debut. The southpaw struck out by Hicks and Josh Donaldson to end the inning. (Learn more about Davis here.) Twins bullpen line: 3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. Yankees bullpen line: 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K. data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw== What’s Next? The Twins continue this four-game series with the Yankees. Here the the remaining pitching matchups in the series. Each game will start at 6:05 central time and air on Bally Sports North. Tuesday, RHP Joe Ryan (10-7, 3.88 ERA) vs RHP Gerrit Cole (10-7, 3.28 ERA) Wednesday: TBA vs Domingo German (2-3, 3.12 ERA) Thursday: RHP Sonny Gray (7-4, 3.18 ERA) vs. TBA Speculation Wednesday’s spot in the rotation is the one vacated by Tyler Mahle. I’d present two options. The first is fun. Call up Minnesotan Louie Varland to make his MLB debut at Yankees Stadium. The reigning Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year (and a leading candidate to repeat in 2022) would be exciting, regardless of what he did. Option #2 is that the Twins have Aaron Sanchez return to the rotation. He last pitched on Friday night, coming in for Mahle in the third inning and throwing 70 pitches in relief. This may not be exciting, but personal opinion, it’s probably the right decision. Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT Sanchez 0 0 70 0 0 70 Fulmer 0 17 0 14 0 31 Duran 0 11 0 20 0 31 Jax 0 20 0 8 0 28 Thielbar 0 13 0 15 0 28 Megill 0 0 0 0 27 27 Pagan 0 0 0 0 22 22 López 0 13 0 0 0 13 Davis 0 0 0 0 11 11
  5. With a little help from his friends, Nick Gordon guided the Twins to victory. Box Score Chris Archer: 4 ⅓ IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K Home Runs: Jake Cave (3), Nick Gordon (6), Gary Sánchez (13) Top 3 WPA: Nick Gordon (.509), Jose Miranda (.118), Jake Cave (.085) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Chris Archer took the mound opposite Kutter Crawford on Tuesday. The veteran righty was well-acquainted with the Red Sox; he spent his glory years with the Rays in the same division as his opponent on Tuesday. While the players have largely changed, Boston’s laundry remains an old foe. The early innings were easy to digest; Nick Gordon—after consecutive walks by Max Kepler and Jose Miranda—swung at an outside breaking ball and smoked a Joe Mauer special into left-center field, scoring both runners to give the Twins a 2-0 lead in the 1st frame. Gordon’s eventful night would be far from over. The Twins jabbed once more in the following inning: Jake Cave caught up to a high fastball, packing just enough oomph to will the ball over the left-center field wall. Kiké Hernández, try as he might, could not break free from gravity with enough force to rob Cave’s blast. The solo homer marked Cave’s third long ball since re-joining the Twins. The game stopped to rest in the 3rd inning before continuing its hectic drama; a marvelous defense gem by Carlos Correa provided the sole highlight. The fun started in the 4th inning; the Red Sox, ever aware of Archer’s struggles beyond the early frames, singled, doubled, sac-flied, and walked; a run was on the board, and the situation turned dire in an instant. Archer refused to give in, and a perfectly-placed slider coaxed a ground ball off Trevor Story’s bat; Gordon and Correa turned two, and the threat ended as quickly as it began. Boston’s bats were not deterred, and the 5th inning proved deadly to Archer’s start. A barrage of singles scored a run, knocking Archer out of the game while leaving the inning’s fate to the cleaner, Caleb Thielbar. The lefty—so well-trusted by Rocco Baldelli in these situations—revealed mortality as Xander Bogaerts dumped a game-tying single into left field and Rafael Devers walked. With the threat still at Defcon 1, Michael Fulmer emerged to put out the fire—which he did—but not before another run scored off a wild pitch. It was messy, brutish, and downright ugly, but the Red Sox walked out of the 5th inning with a one-run lead. Remember that sentence earlier about Nick Gordon? With aid from a truly egregious error from Alex Verdugo, the Twins loaded the bases for the second baseman, gifting him a chance to prove himself. In a season that has lacked a true ignitor—the kind of guy whose spark brings a team to life, Gordon has shown flashes of becoming that sort of player; could he do it once more? The count was 0-2, but that didn’t matter; Gordon jumped on a low fastball and crushed a grand slam over the high wall in right field. The home run was so crucial that Gary Sánchez hit a titanic bomb the following frame, and almost no one will remember it. The teams exchanged runs as the outs whittled away—a single here, a double there—but the game’s momentum never budged, and the Twins ended Tuesday's game as the victors. Notes: Nick Gordon is slashing .311/.360/.511 over his last 30 games. Jake Cave is slugging .667 over his last seven games. Chris Archer has crossed the five-inning threshold twice since the end of June. Griffin Jax has not given up an earned run since August 10th; he owns 12 strikeouts over 8 2/3 innings. Post-Game Interviews What’s Next? Joe Ryan and Michael Wacha will lead their respective teams in the game’s final series on Wednesday night. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  6. Box Score Chris Archer: 4 ⅓ IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K Home Runs: Jake Cave (3), Nick Gordon (6), Gary Sánchez (13) Top 3 WPA: Nick Gordon (.509), Jose Miranda (.118), Jake Cave (.085) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Chris Archer took the mound opposite Kutter Crawford on Tuesday. The veteran righty was well-acquainted with the Red Sox; he spent his glory years with the Rays in the same division as his opponent on Tuesday. While the players have largely changed, Boston’s laundry remains an old foe. The early innings were easy to digest; Nick Gordon—after consecutive walks by Max Kepler and Jose Miranda—swung at an outside breaking ball and smoked a Joe Mauer special into left-center field, scoring both runners to give the Twins a 2-0 lead in the 1st frame. Gordon’s eventful night would be far from over. The Twins jabbed once more in the following inning: Jake Cave caught up to a high fastball, packing just enough oomph to will the ball over the left-center field wall. Kiké Hernández, try as he might, could not break free from gravity with enough force to rob Cave’s blast. The solo homer marked Cave’s third long ball since re-joining the Twins. The game stopped to rest in the 3rd inning before continuing its hectic drama; a marvelous defense gem by Carlos Correa provided the sole highlight. The fun started in the 4th inning; the Red Sox, ever aware of Archer’s struggles beyond the early frames, singled, doubled, sac-flied, and walked; a run was on the board, and the situation turned dire in an instant. Archer refused to give in, and a perfectly-placed slider coaxed a ground ball off Trevor Story’s bat; Gordon and Correa turned two, and the threat ended as quickly as it began. Boston’s bats were not deterred, and the 5th inning proved deadly to Archer’s start. A barrage of singles scored a run, knocking Archer out of the game while leaving the inning’s fate to the cleaner, Caleb Thielbar. The lefty—so well-trusted by Rocco Baldelli in these situations—revealed mortality as Xander Bogaerts dumped a game-tying single into left field and Rafael Devers walked. With the threat still at Defcon 1, Michael Fulmer emerged to put out the fire—which he did—but not before another run scored off a wild pitch. It was messy, brutish, and downright ugly, but the Red Sox walked out of the 5th inning with a one-run lead. Remember that sentence earlier about Nick Gordon? With aid from a truly egregious error from Alex Verdugo, the Twins loaded the bases for the second baseman, gifting him a chance to prove himself. In a season that has lacked a true ignitor—the kind of guy whose spark brings a team to life, Gordon has shown flashes of becoming that sort of player; could he do it once more? The count was 0-2, but that didn’t matter; Gordon jumped on a low fastball and crushed a grand slam over the high wall in right field. The home run was so crucial that Gary Sánchez hit a titanic bomb the following frame, and almost no one will remember it. The teams exchanged runs as the outs whittled away—a single here, a double there—but the game’s momentum never budged, and the Twins ended Tuesday's game as the victors. Notes: Nick Gordon is slashing .311/.360/.511 over his last 30 games. Jake Cave is slugging .667 over his last seven games. Chris Archer has crossed the five-inning threshold twice since the end of June. Griffin Jax has not given up an earned run since August 10th; he owns 12 strikeouts over 8 2/3 innings. Post-Game Interviews What’s Next? Joe Ryan and Michael Wacha will lead their respective teams in the game’s final series on Wednesday night. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  7. There were moments of brilliance. Yet the Twins dropped another game to the Houston Astros on Thursday evening in the series finale against Houston. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Chris Archer, 4 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, BB, 2 K (86 pitches, 55 strikes, 64%) Home Runs: Jorge Polanco (16) Bottom 3 WPA: Chris Archer (-.351), Luis Arraez (-.128), Carlos Correa (-.089) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Things looked sweet off the bat when Jorge Polanco put the Twins in front with a solo homer in the bottom of the first inning, launching a 1-0 fastball from Luis Garcia over the right field wall. The lead didn't last for long. Chris Archer gave up five hits and four in the bottom of the first, including a three-run homer from Trey Mancini to put the Astros up 4-1. Minnesota stabbed back in the second thanks to the hitting and speed of Nick "Flash G" Gordon. Gordon crushed the first pitch of the inning to center field for a leadoff triple. On the next pitch, Gordon scored on a wild pitch to bring the Twins within two. A run scored before Garcia could even register a strike? Not too shabby! After surrendering a run in the third, The Twins brought the deficit back to two with a sac-fly from Luis Arraez that scored Gary Sanchez. Arraez's sac-fly would be the last laugh from the Twins' offense. The Twins recorded leadoff singles in both the sixth and seventh innings but failed to record any runs. Minnesota recorded only seven hits on the night and left three runners on base. Bending Arch Thursday night wasn't the cleanest day at the office for Twins starter Chris Archer. Through four innings, Archer allowed five runs on eight hits while striking out two and walking one. The outing was a stark contrast from his last start when he threw five innings of three-hit, one-run ball against the Rangers. Thursday's five runs were the most that Archer has given up since his July 27th start against the Brewers, when he gave up six runs on three hits through three innings. Archer has recorded a 3.93 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in the month of August. Bullpen Battles Despite the loss, the Twins' bullpen was rock solid on the evening. Jhoan Duran made his earliest appearance of the year, pitching a scoreless fifth inning. Griffin Jax followed suit with a perfect sixth inning; Jax now has six straight scoreless appearances, spanning six combined innings. Seven of Jax's 11 outings in the month of August have kept the opposition from touching home. Despite giving up two hits, trade deadline addition Jorge Lopez pitched a scoreless seventh inning, Trevor McGill gave up a two-out run in the eighth but managed to record all three outs on strikeouts. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet What's Next For the first time ever, the San Francisco Giants will head to Target Field to take on the Twins starting tomorrow night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10pm CST. View full article
  8. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Chris Archer, 4 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, BB, 2 K (86 pitches, 55 strikes, 64%) Home Runs: Jorge Polanco (16) Bottom 3 WPA: Chris Archer (-.351), Luis Arraez (-.128), Carlos Correa (-.089) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Things looked sweet off the bat when Jorge Polanco put the Twins in front with a solo homer in the bottom of the first inning, launching a 1-0 fastball from Luis Garcia over the right field wall. The lead didn't last for long. Chris Archer gave up five hits and four in the bottom of the first, including a three-run homer from Trey Mancini to put the Astros up 4-1. Minnesota stabbed back in the second thanks to the hitting and speed of Nick "Flash G" Gordon. Gordon crushed the first pitch of the inning to center field for a leadoff triple. On the next pitch, Gordon scored on a wild pitch to bring the Twins within two. A run scored before Garcia could even register a strike? Not too shabby! After surrendering a run in the third, The Twins brought the deficit back to two with a sac-fly from Luis Arraez that scored Gary Sanchez. Arraez's sac-fly would be the last laugh from the Twins' offense. The Twins recorded leadoff singles in both the sixth and seventh innings but failed to record any runs. Minnesota recorded only seven hits on the night and left three runners on base. Bending Arch Thursday night wasn't the cleanest day at the office for Twins starter Chris Archer. Through four innings, Archer allowed five runs on eight hits while striking out two and walking one. The outing was a stark contrast from his last start when he threw five innings of three-hit, one-run ball against the Rangers. Thursday's five runs were the most that Archer has given up since his July 27th start against the Brewers, when he gave up six runs on three hits through three innings. Archer has recorded a 3.93 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in the month of August. Bullpen Battles Despite the loss, the Twins' bullpen was rock solid on the evening. Jhoan Duran made his earliest appearance of the year, pitching a scoreless fifth inning. Griffin Jax followed suit with a perfect sixth inning; Jax now has six straight scoreless appearances, spanning six combined innings. Seven of Jax's 11 outings in the month of August have kept the opposition from touching home. Despite giving up two hits, trade deadline addition Jorge Lopez pitched a scoreless seventh inning, Trevor McGill gave up a two-out run in the eighth but managed to record all three outs on strikeouts. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet What's Next For the first time ever, the San Francisco Giants will head to Target Field to take on the Twins starting tomorrow night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10pm CST.
  9. This offseason the Minnesota Twins front office went for two separate bargain signings in the starting rotation. Targeting both Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer, the organization clearly was trying to squeeze more from both of them. Now nearing the end of the season, how has it worked out? Coming out of the lockout and going into Spring Training, it was always apparent that Minnesota needed to add frontline starting pitching. Jose Berrios was traded near the peak of his value, and finding an heir to the top of the rotation was a must. With Kenta Maeda set to be shelved for much of 2022, alternative options had to be explored. Ultimately Sonny Gray was the ace acquired for Minnesota’s starting rotation, but value plays were made with Bundy and Archer. Both had seen previous success, but neither seemed to be much more than an opportunity to capture lightning in a bottle. Where are we at now? Dylan Bundy After posting a 6.06 ERA with the Los Angeles Angels last season, Minnesota was certainly hoping to sign the Bundy that tallied a 3.29 ERA in 11 starts during the 2020 season. Now owning a 4.76 ERA with a 4.28 FIP, Bundy hasn’t been the best version of himself, but he also has avoided consistently being the worst starter in baseball that he has flashed at times. Bundy’s strikeout numbers have dropped substantially this season, all the way down to a 6.9 K/9, but he’s given up less walks and homers than he ever before has. His 3.86 xERA also suggests that he’s been better than the counting stats may indicate. Some credit is owed to Bundy reinventing himself while losing velocity. His 89 mph fastball is lower than it’s ever been, but he’s generated a career best chase rate and still gets whiffs 10% of the time. Having been worth 1.0 fWAR in 2022, Fangraphs puts Bundy’s value at $8.2 million. Signed for $5 million this season, Bundy won’t have his $11 million option for 2023 picked up, but he’s given the Twins exactly what they bargained for in 2022. Chris Archer Signed to a $3.5 million deal for 2022, Minnesota took a last minute look at Archer despite him having pitched under 20 innings since 2019. Archer has tried to battle back from injury, most notably undergoing surgery to correct Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Shoulder issues are typically more altering to pitcher trajectories than arm issues, and that’s been part of what has held Archer back. His 4.15 ERA across 20 starts is backed by a 4.42 FIP. He’s nowhere near the pitcher he once was, striking out just 7.5 per nine and walking a career worst 4.5 per nine. Allowed to go just two times through the lineup each start, Archer has basically been a tightrope walker. Working around traffic and trying not to give in too greatly, he’s consistently put the Twins bullpen in a situation where they’ll need to work overtime. Archer’s velocity is actually up a bit from where it was last season but he’s not getting whiffs or chases on his stuff. Needing to nibble on the edges, there’s consistently been situations where the walks pile up in bunches. At 0.6 fWAR though, Fangraphs suggests Minnesota has gotten what they paid for as he’s generated $4.7 million of value. Like Bundy, Archer won’t have his 2023 option picked up either, but both have been about as expected. There’s been more to like with the former first round pick, but neither are something that will be missed when they wind up elsewhere. In a vacuum, both arms could have made sense in Minnesota, but pairing either with a bad bullpen leaves opportunity for exposure on a weekly basis. It’s hard to go the route of bargain bin shopping in the rotation when you do the same thing in relief. View full article
  10. Coming out of the lockout and going into Spring Training, it was always apparent that Minnesota needed to add frontline starting pitching. Jose Berrios was traded near the peak of his value, and finding an heir to the top of the rotation was a must. With Kenta Maeda set to be shelved for much of 2022, alternative options had to be explored. Ultimately Sonny Gray was the ace acquired for Minnesota’s starting rotation, but value plays were made with Bundy and Archer. Both had seen previous success, but neither seemed to be much more than an opportunity to capture lightning in a bottle. Where are we at now? Dylan Bundy After posting a 6.06 ERA with the Los Angeles Angels last season, Minnesota was certainly hoping to sign the Bundy that tallied a 3.29 ERA in 11 starts during the 2020 season. Now owning a 4.76 ERA with a 4.28 FIP, Bundy hasn’t been the best version of himself, but he also has avoided consistently being the worst starter in baseball that he has flashed at times. Bundy’s strikeout numbers have dropped substantially this season, all the way down to a 6.9 K/9, but he’s given up less walks and homers than he ever before has. His 3.86 xERA also suggests that he’s been better than the counting stats may indicate. Some credit is owed to Bundy reinventing himself while losing velocity. His 89 mph fastball is lower than it’s ever been, but he’s generated a career best chase rate and still gets whiffs 10% of the time. Having been worth 1.0 fWAR in 2022, Fangraphs puts Bundy’s value at $8.2 million. Signed for $5 million this season, Bundy won’t have his $11 million option for 2023 picked up, but he’s given the Twins exactly what they bargained for in 2022. Chris Archer Signed to a $3.5 million deal for 2022, Minnesota took a last minute look at Archer despite him having pitched under 20 innings since 2019. Archer has tried to battle back from injury, most notably undergoing surgery to correct Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Shoulder issues are typically more altering to pitcher trajectories than arm issues, and that’s been part of what has held Archer back. His 4.15 ERA across 20 starts is backed by a 4.42 FIP. He’s nowhere near the pitcher he once was, striking out just 7.5 per nine and walking a career worst 4.5 per nine. Allowed to go just two times through the lineup each start, Archer has basically been a tightrope walker. Working around traffic and trying not to give in too greatly, he’s consistently put the Twins bullpen in a situation where they’ll need to work overtime. Archer’s velocity is actually up a bit from where it was last season but he’s not getting whiffs or chases on his stuff. Needing to nibble on the edges, there’s consistently been situations where the walks pile up in bunches. At 0.6 fWAR though, Fangraphs suggests Minnesota has gotten what they paid for as he’s generated $4.7 million of value. Like Bundy, Archer won’t have his 2023 option picked up either, but both have been about as expected. There’s been more to like with the former first round pick, but neither are something that will be missed when they wind up elsewhere. In a vacuum, both arms could have made sense in Minnesota, but pairing either with a bad bullpen leaves opportunity for exposure on a weekly basis. It’s hard to go the route of bargain bin shopping in the rotation when you do the same thing in relief.
  11. After an awful walk off loss on Saturday night, the Twins went into their series finale against the Angels on a mission to regroup and prove to themselves they are still a playoff contending team. That mission failed as the Twins dropped their second series of a five-game road trip returning home with only one win. Box Score: SP: Chris Archer 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (65 pitches, 45 strikes (65.8 strike %)) Home Runs: Byron Buxton (28) Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Chris Archer -.168, Jose Miranda .-126, Jorge Polanco -.110 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The first two innings for the Twins were all Byron Buxton and Chris Archer. Buxton put the Twins up 2-0 in the first with his 28th homer of the season, Correa being the other run scoring and reaching on a walk in the previous at bat. Archer continued from the progress of control he had shown in his previous start against the Blue Jays. For his first two innings, 21 of 29 Archer’s pitches were in the strike zone and he struck out half of the batters he faced to get outs as well. Command of the strike zone began to slip for Archer in the third. Archer threw 22 pitches to that point, but only 11 landed in the strike zone as he issued his first walk of the game against Shohei Ohtani which put Archer in a jam with two on and two out facing Luis Rengifo. Rengifo tied the game up 2-2 with a bases-clearing double making contact on a slider high in the strike zone and away. Archer averted further damage striking out Tyler Ward in the next at-bat with only three strikes. Still, the Twins found themselves tied once more and needed to mount the offense for another comeback for the second day in a row. The Twins failed to break the tie in the top of the fourth. This gave the Angels an opportunity to do so. And they did. Jo Adell led off the bottom half of the inning with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly from former Twin Kurt Suzuki that put the Angels up 3-2. The Twins did get their first base runner since Buxton’s homer in the fifth with a two-out Sandy Leon double. Luis Arraez followed up next but failed to drive him home. Archer’s afternoon would be done after four innings and mark his second straight start of allowing one or fewer walks. Archer last accomplished this feat in June during his June 19 start against the Diamondbacks with no walks, and his June 25 start against the Rockies with one walk. Trevor Megill would come into the game in place of Archer. Carlos Correa ended the 5th after Ohtani walked. Ohtani attempted to steal a base off Megill but Leon made a perfect throw right to Correa, who didn’t even turn his head to tag Ohtani out and keep the game at 3-2, Angels. The game would remain uneventful for the Twins hitters over the next two innings. Buxton provided the only excitement in the top of the sixth with a single and his fifth stolen base of the season. Pitching-wise, things got as ugly as usual. Megill continued to work the sixth, found himself in a jam of two on and two out but averted any damage. Michael Fulmer, who pitched the seventh, found himself in the same jam with one out and gave up an RBI single to Ohtani to make it a 4-2 Angels lead. The Angels came close to scoring another run in the next at-bat but Jorge Polanco threw out the runner advancing home to keep the score at 4-2. The Twins could not follow up Polanco’s smart defensive play with any offense for the rest of the game. Correa managed the only hit for the Twins in the game's final two innings while the Angels took home a win and series victory to finish out the Twins five game road trip What’s Next? The Twins return home Monday for a seven-game homestand. The first series is against the Royals beginning Monday night at 6:40 p.m. Joe Ryan is scheduled to make the start for the Twins against the Royals Kris Bubic. Postgame Interview (Bally Sports Tweets) Coming soon. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  12. Box Score: SP: Chris Archer 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (65 pitches, 45 strikes (65.8 strike %)) Home Runs: Byron Buxton (28) Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Chris Archer -.168, Jose Miranda .-126, Jorge Polanco -.110 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The first two innings for the Twins were all Byron Buxton and Chris Archer. Buxton put the Twins up 2-0 in the first with his 28th homer of the season, Correa being the other run scoring and reaching on a walk in the previous at bat. Archer continued from the progress of control he had shown in his previous start against the Blue Jays. For his first two innings, 21 of 29 Archer’s pitches were in the strike zone and he struck out half of the batters he faced to get outs as well. Command of the strike zone began to slip for Archer in the third. Archer threw 22 pitches to that point, but only 11 landed in the strike zone as he issued his first walk of the game against Shohei Ohtani which put Archer in a jam with two on and two out facing Luis Rengifo. Rengifo tied the game up 2-2 with a bases-clearing double making contact on a slider high in the strike zone and away. Archer averted further damage striking out Tyler Ward in the next at-bat with only three strikes. Still, the Twins found themselves tied once more and needed to mount the offense for another comeback for the second day in a row. The Twins failed to break the tie in the top of the fourth. This gave the Angels an opportunity to do so. And they did. Jo Adell led off the bottom half of the inning with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly from former Twin Kurt Suzuki that put the Angels up 3-2. The Twins did get their first base runner since Buxton’s homer in the fifth with a two-out Sandy Leon double. Luis Arraez followed up next but failed to drive him home. Archer’s afternoon would be done after four innings and mark his second straight start of allowing one or fewer walks. Archer last accomplished this feat in June during his June 19 start against the Diamondbacks with no walks, and his June 25 start against the Rockies with one walk. Trevor Megill would come into the game in place of Archer. Carlos Correa ended the 5th after Ohtani walked. Ohtani attempted to steal a base off Megill but Leon made a perfect throw right to Correa, who didn’t even turn his head to tag Ohtani out and keep the game at 3-2, Angels. The game would remain uneventful for the Twins hitters over the next two innings. Buxton provided the only excitement in the top of the sixth with a single and his fifth stolen base of the season. Pitching-wise, things got as ugly as usual. Megill continued to work the sixth, found himself in a jam of two on and two out but averted any damage. Michael Fulmer, who pitched the seventh, found himself in the same jam with one out and gave up an RBI single to Ohtani to make it a 4-2 Angels lead. The Angels came close to scoring another run in the next at-bat but Jorge Polanco threw out the runner advancing home to keep the score at 4-2. The Twins could not follow up Polanco’s smart defensive play with any offense for the rest of the game. Correa managed the only hit for the Twins in the game's final two innings while the Angels took home a win and series victory to finish out the Twins five game road trip What’s Next? The Twins return home Monday for a seven-game homestand. The first series is against the Royals beginning Monday night at 6:40 p.m. Joe Ryan is scheduled to make the start for the Twins against the Royals Kris Bubic. Postgame Interview (Bally Sports Tweets) Coming soon. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  13. The Twins clubhouse started the day with somber news of Alex Kirilloff being shut down for the season as they looked to complete a series victory over the Blue Jays Sunday. The Twins lost on a controversial overturn as umpires in New York cost the game for them on a bad replay call that had Rocco Baldelli more fired than ever before and Twins fans raging from coast to coast. Box Score SP: Chris Archer 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (79 pitches, 52 strikes (65.8 strike %)) Home Runs: None Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Max Kepler -.303, Nick Gordon -.282, Gio Urshela -.243 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Chris Archer made the start for the Twins. He came into the game with three consecutive starts of three or more walks allowed, Archer was hoping to have better control of the strike zone Sunday afternoon. For his first inning of work, Archer retired the minimum on 15 pitches, 12 strikes. When the time came for the Twins to hit, Jorge Polanco was practically given a free pass to get on base. The Blue Jays opted for a four-man outfield against Polanco, who was hitting lefty against Kevin Gausman. With that, it opened up the entirety of the left side of the infield for Polanco to lace a half-swing single and reach base. Even with greater control of the strike zone, the Blue Jays still made Archer hurt in the second inning as Teoscar Hernandez led off with a single on the first pitch and Bo Bichette followed with an RBI double on the first pitch of his at-bat to make it 1-0 Blue Jays. The Jays wouldn’t score any more runs against Archer in the second but worked him to throw 30 pitches in the inning, only expediting Cole Sands appearance out of the bullpen. The Jays bats would strike again against Archer in the top of the third as Cavan Biggio led off with another double and scored on the next at-bat off a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. RBI single. That would be the only run allowed by Archer in the third as the Jays now led 2-0. As Archer settled down to retire the Blue Jays with no runs or walks allowed through his five innings of work, only Luis Arraez managed to get on base for the Twins after the Blue Jays scored their second run. Both times were on singles but the Twins failed to make contact as easily as the last time they faced Gausman on Sunday, June 5. Archer was done for the afternoon after five innings of work and did not allow any walks in his five innings, making it his first start since June 19 against the Diamondbacks, without allowing any walks. To everyone’s surprise, Sands was not the first arm out of the Twins bullpen to replace Archer on the mound. Instead it was every Twins fan “favorite” Emilio Pagan. Pagan would come out of the sixth earlier than expected due to a shoulder injury. He only allowed one hit, a single to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and worked a 2-2 count to Hernandez before being removed from the game with a right lat cramp. Sands came in to finish the at-bat against Hernandez, and he doubled. Bichette followed with a five-pitch at-bat that ended in a strikeout and kept the Jays lead at 2-0. The Twins were finally able to get a run on the board in the bottom of the eighth as Polanco reached base on his second hit of the game. Two at-bats later, rookie sensation Jose Miranda drove in Polanco, marking at least one RBI in all games against the Blue Jays in this series. Miranda’s RBI made it a 2-1 score. Sands pitched an effective three innings of relief for the Twins and was pulled after totaling 51 pitches and allowing Alejandro Kirk on with a hit and two outs in the top of the ninth. Caleb Thielbar was called in to get the final out and achieved that, keeping it a run one game for the Twins to try and walk-off the Blue Jays for the season. Carlos Correa came in as a pinch hitter for Jake Cave in the bottom of the ninth. Correa reached base, getting clipped by a pitch in the shoulder. Tim Beckham came in as a pinch runner for Correa which brought up another walk-off opportunity for Byron Buxton. Buxton disappointed fans with a three-pitch strikeout, looking at a pitch that went right down the middle from Jordan Romano. Fortunately for Twins fans, Gary Sanchez kept the game alive after Buxton’s strikeout. Sanchez got a single that advanced Beckham to third, giving Arraez a chance to tie the game. And tie the game he did as he laced a single to right field scoring Beckham. Arraez’s game-tying hit made it his 12th three or more hit game for 2022. Polanco followed Arraez with a fielder’s choice groundout with the force at second base. This at least advanced Sanchez to third with runners on the corners, two outs and Max Kepler at the plate. Kepler pulled the ball to the first baseman, sending the game into extras. As the Twins went into extras, Whit Merrifield came in as the Manfred Man on second for the Jays. He advanced to third on a flyout by Santiago Espinal but in the next at-bat, Merrifield once again tried to tag and score on a flyout to left. However, Beckham, playing left field for the second time this season, nailed Merrifield out at home as it was originally called. The call was overturned by umpires in New York based off of Merrfield placing his slide directly into Sanchez's knee. Even as the video showed that Sanchez did allow Merrifield a lane to the plate, the Blue Jays gained a run for a 3-2 lead. This also led to Rocco Baldelli’s most fired-up ejection of his managing career as he asked why the call was overturned due to catcher interference. The Twins got out of the inning without surrendering more runs, but the damage was already done to them from people 1,200 miles away from Target Field. What’s Next? The Twins are off Monday and will head to the Los Angeles area for five games in six days. The first series starts Tuesday against the Dodgers at 9:10 p.m. CT with Joe Ryan scheduled to start for the Twins. Ryan will match up against one of many Dodger lefties, Julio Urias. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  14. Box Score SP: Chris Archer 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (79 pitches, 52 strikes (65.8 strike %)) Home Runs: None Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Max Kepler -.303, Nick Gordon -.282, Gio Urshela -.243 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Chris Archer made the start for the Twins. He came into the game with three consecutive starts of three or more walks allowed, Archer was hoping to have better control of the strike zone Sunday afternoon. For his first inning of work, Archer retired the minimum on 15 pitches, 12 strikes. When the time came for the Twins to hit, Jorge Polanco was practically given a free pass to get on base. The Blue Jays opted for a four-man outfield against Polanco, who was hitting lefty against Kevin Gausman. With that, it opened up the entirety of the left side of the infield for Polanco to lace a half-swing single and reach base. Even with greater control of the strike zone, the Blue Jays still made Archer hurt in the second inning as Teoscar Hernandez led off with a single on the first pitch and Bo Bichette followed with an RBI double on the first pitch of his at-bat to make it 1-0 Blue Jays. The Jays wouldn’t score any more runs against Archer in the second but worked him to throw 30 pitches in the inning, only expediting Cole Sands appearance out of the bullpen. The Jays bats would strike again against Archer in the top of the third as Cavan Biggio led off with another double and scored on the next at-bat off a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. RBI single. That would be the only run allowed by Archer in the third as the Jays now led 2-0. As Archer settled down to retire the Blue Jays with no runs or walks allowed through his five innings of work, only Luis Arraez managed to get on base for the Twins after the Blue Jays scored their second run. Both times were on singles but the Twins failed to make contact as easily as the last time they faced Gausman on Sunday, June 5. Archer was done for the afternoon after five innings of work and did not allow any walks in his five innings, making it his first start since June 19 against the Diamondbacks, without allowing any walks. To everyone’s surprise, Sands was not the first arm out of the Twins bullpen to replace Archer on the mound. Instead it was every Twins fan “favorite” Emilio Pagan. Pagan would come out of the sixth earlier than expected due to a shoulder injury. He only allowed one hit, a single to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and worked a 2-2 count to Hernandez before being removed from the game with a right lat cramp. Sands came in to finish the at-bat against Hernandez, and he doubled. Bichette followed with a five-pitch at-bat that ended in a strikeout and kept the Jays lead at 2-0. The Twins were finally able to get a run on the board in the bottom of the eighth as Polanco reached base on his second hit of the game. Two at-bats later, rookie sensation Jose Miranda drove in Polanco, marking at least one RBI in all games against the Blue Jays in this series. Miranda’s RBI made it a 2-1 score. Sands pitched an effective three innings of relief for the Twins and was pulled after totaling 51 pitches and allowing Alejandro Kirk on with a hit and two outs in the top of the ninth. Caleb Thielbar was called in to get the final out and achieved that, keeping it a run one game for the Twins to try and walk-off the Blue Jays for the season. Carlos Correa came in as a pinch hitter for Jake Cave in the bottom of the ninth. Correa reached base, getting clipped by a pitch in the shoulder. Tim Beckham came in as a pinch runner for Correa which brought up another walk-off opportunity for Byron Buxton. Buxton disappointed fans with a three-pitch strikeout, looking at a pitch that went right down the middle from Jordan Romano. Fortunately for Twins fans, Gary Sanchez kept the game alive after Buxton’s strikeout. Sanchez got a single that advanced Beckham to third, giving Arraez a chance to tie the game. And tie the game he did as he laced a single to right field scoring Beckham. Arraez’s game-tying hit made it his 12th three or more hit game for 2022. Polanco followed Arraez with a fielder’s choice groundout with the force at second base. This at least advanced Sanchez to third with runners on the corners, two outs and Max Kepler at the plate. Kepler pulled the ball to the first baseman, sending the game into extras. As the Twins went into extras, Whit Merrifield came in as the Manfred Man on second for the Jays. He advanced to third on a flyout by Santiago Espinal but in the next at-bat, Merrifield once again tried to tag and score on a flyout to left. However, Beckham, playing left field for the second time this season, nailed Merrifield out at home as it was originally called. The call was overturned by umpires in New York based off of Merrfield placing his slide directly into Sanchez's knee. Even as the video showed that Sanchez did allow Merrifield a lane to the plate, the Blue Jays gained a run for a 3-2 lead. This also led to Rocco Baldelli’s most fired-up ejection of his managing career as he asked why the call was overturned due to catcher interference. The Twins got out of the inning without surrendering more runs, but the damage was already done to them from people 1,200 miles away from Target Field. What’s Next? The Twins are off Monday and will head to the Los Angeles area for five games in six days. The first series starts Tuesday against the Dodgers at 9:10 p.m. CT with Joe Ryan scheduled to start for the Twins. Ryan will match up against one of many Dodger lefties, Julio Urias. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  15. Entering the trade deadline period, Minnesota needed to address pitching in both the starting rotation and the bullpen. They also found themselves in the market for catching help, although that was more by circumstance rather than a reflection of their own decisions. No matter what way you look at it, the 26-man roster needed something like four or five additions to truly be considered supplemented. How does that reflect what took place this winter? Every team in baseball has an ample amount of opportunity to spend money. While some organizations are better off than others due to desirability or revenues, no front office bill will ever scratch the surface of what an ownership group can truly afford. On that end, I was told by a front office source during this season that the desire to hit $150 million from a payroll perspective is something that will not likely be touched. That could change as economic standards adjust, but in the foreseeable future, Minnesota will not reach that threshold for an Opening Day roster. Per Spotrac, Minnesota’s current payroll sits at $138 million for the season, or roughly $10 million below what is seen as a non-starting amount. In getting there, they paid handsomely for Carlos Correa ($35.1 million) and brought in Gary Sanchez to replace Mitch Garver. Sonny Gray commands $10.6 million and was acquired for a prospect that the Twins handed a $2.5 million bonus just a year prior. Up against where ownership has given the front office somewhat of a line, that meant value plays had to pan out. The front office gambled on a bullpen largely reflective of their own development. Even without considering the Taylor Rogers trade, that meant big innings would be needed from Jhoan Duran (who was not seen as a lock going into Spring Training), Tyler Duffey, and Caleb Thielbar. The only addition to the relief corps was Joe Smith, a 38-year-old veteran with no velocity making just $2.5 million. On the starting front, behind Gray, it was all bargain bin additions. Dylan Bundy was a bounce-back candidate at $4 million, and Chris Archer was inked to an incentive-laden deal that starts at just $2.75 million. In and of themselves, neither pitcher has been the issue, while both have provided plenty of issues for Rocco Baldelli as a whole. Smartly, the skipper has tried to avoid having any of his back-three pitchers in the rotation see a lineup for the third time. Archer and Bundy have both been bludgeoned as games have gone on, and that’s made for significant bullpen workloads. On the flip side, a taxed relief unit that has largely underperformed has given a constant chicken-or-the-egg situation to navigate through. This all goes back to the situation Minnesota now finds themselves in, and if the plan originally dictated by ownership, was worth it. The front office has to play within the parameters of the budget given to them. That’s always going to present a value proposition scenario in which you attempt to acquire the most amount of return for the least amount of money. Bundy and Archer are a perfect representation of that; so too is Joe Smith. The significant surplus was applied to Correa, but then it was deemed that the well had been tapped. Say the Twins' front office could’ve been given another $10 million during the winter, does that change the level of starting arms they target looking to take work off the plate of the bullpen? Could they have added another reliever or two and passed on Smith being the only reinforcement? Adding at the deadline is a tricky scenario in that you’re likely bringing on more money anyways, and vying with multiple suitors all attempting to acquire the same available talent. I certainly don’t think there’s an argument to be made that the Twins front office failed to plan this year. They didn’t want the slew of injuries, but no one does. If they failed to plan, it was in that the constraints presented by ownership, and maybe not pushed back on by the front office, left them a couple of pieces short to start, and even more when the season drew on. There’s probably never an amount that represents enough spending in the eyes of fans, and that’s really not a fair place to operate a budget from. Considering the actual acquisitions, however, squeezing value from all but the big one clearly didn’t provide enough of an opportunity to withstand the rigors of a long season.
  16. Sometimes you fail to plan, which is not what the Minnesota Twins did this offseason. Sometimes you plan to fail, which certainly could be what the Minnesota Twins did this offseason. Entering the trade deadline period, Minnesota needed to address pitching in both the starting rotation and the bullpen. They also found themselves in the market for catching help, although that was more by circumstance rather than a reflection of their own decisions. No matter what way you look at it, the 26-man roster needed something like four or five additions to truly be considered supplemented. How does that reflect what took place this winter? Every team in baseball has an ample amount of opportunity to spend money. While some organizations are better off than others due to desirability or revenues, no front office bill will ever scratch the surface of what an ownership group can truly afford. On that end, I was told by a front office source during this season that the desire to hit $150 million from a payroll perspective is something that will not likely be touched. That could change as economic standards adjust, but in the foreseeable future, Minnesota will not reach that threshold for an Opening Day roster. Per Spotrac, Minnesota’s current payroll sits at $138 million for the season, or roughly $10 million below what is seen as a non-starting amount. In getting there, they paid handsomely for Carlos Correa ($35.1 million) and brought in Gary Sanchez to replace Mitch Garver. Sonny Gray commands $10.6 million and was acquired for a prospect that the Twins handed a $2.5 million bonus just a year prior. Up against where ownership has given the front office somewhat of a line, that meant value plays had to pan out. The front office gambled on a bullpen largely reflective of their own development. Even without considering the Taylor Rogers trade, that meant big innings would be needed from Jhoan Duran (who was not seen as a lock going into Spring Training), Tyler Duffey, and Caleb Thielbar. The only addition to the relief corps was Joe Smith, a 38-year-old veteran with no velocity making just $2.5 million. On the starting front, behind Gray, it was all bargain bin additions. Dylan Bundy was a bounce-back candidate at $4 million, and Chris Archer was inked to an incentive-laden deal that starts at just $2.75 million. In and of themselves, neither pitcher has been the issue, while both have provided plenty of issues for Rocco Baldelli as a whole. Smartly, the skipper has tried to avoid having any of his back-three pitchers in the rotation see a lineup for the third time. Archer and Bundy have both been bludgeoned as games have gone on, and that’s made for significant bullpen workloads. On the flip side, a taxed relief unit that has largely underperformed has given a constant chicken-or-the-egg situation to navigate through. This all goes back to the situation Minnesota now finds themselves in, and if the plan originally dictated by ownership, was worth it. The front office has to play within the parameters of the budget given to them. That’s always going to present a value proposition scenario in which you attempt to acquire the most amount of return for the least amount of money. Bundy and Archer are a perfect representation of that; so too is Joe Smith. The significant surplus was applied to Correa, but then it was deemed that the well had been tapped. Say the Twins' front office could’ve been given another $10 million during the winter, does that change the level of starting arms they target looking to take work off the plate of the bullpen? Could they have added another reliever or two and passed on Smith being the only reinforcement? Adding at the deadline is a tricky scenario in that you’re likely bringing on more money anyways, and vying with multiple suitors all attempting to acquire the same available talent. I certainly don’t think there’s an argument to be made that the Twins front office failed to plan this year. They didn’t want the slew of injuries, but no one does. If they failed to plan, it was in that the constraints presented by ownership, and maybe not pushed back on by the front office, left them a couple of pieces short to start, and even more when the season drew on. There’s probably never an amount that represents enough spending in the eyes of fans, and that’s really not a fair place to operate a budget from. Considering the actual acquisitions, however, squeezing value from all but the big one clearly didn’t provide enough of an opportunity to withstand the rigors of a long season. View full article
  17. Box Score SP: Chris Archer 4.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 K (49 pitches, 77 strikes (64%)) Home Runs: Mark Contreras (1) Bottom 3 WPA: Gio Urshela (-.180), Jose Miranda (-.086), Luis Arraez (-.068) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The game started out slow. Both pitchers went scoreless through the first two innings and in just his eighth MLB start, Mark Contreras came up to bat in the third and ripped his first MLB home run 407 feet to center field, putting the Twins ahead for the first time of the night. The bases quickly loaded the bases. With Luis Arraez, Carlos Correa and Jose Miranda on base and one out, Nick Gordon came to the plate. He hit what the fans, Twins and Gordon himself thought was a grand slam, but alas, after review, the call of Foul Ball was upheld. Gordon did hit a sacrifice fly that brought Arraez home, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead. Akil Baddoo ended the inning with a diving catch off of Gio Urshela’s high fly ball. Carlos Correa scored another run for the club on another Gordon sacrifice fly, but the Tigers pitching staff managed to keep the Twins from scoring a fourth run. Chris Archer started in his third game tonight since returning from the IL. He threw 77 pitches, had a season-high, eight strikeouts. He gave up two earned runs in the top of the fifth before being relieved by Jovani Moran. Archer has not been able to get past the fifth inning, or over 80 pitches (minus one game) throughout the season. Baldelli has spoken previously about Archer and his confidence in the pitcher, noting that he just needs to continue working on stretching out and he sees him improving. Emilio Pagan showed well, striking out two and moving swiftly through the sixth inning with no damage. The trouble came for the Twins in the seventh inning when Griffin Jax gave up three more earned runs which gave the Tigers the lead for the first time in the game and the series. Trevor Megill, Tyler Duffey and Joe Smith all had outstanding outings, allowing no runs. Minus the three runs from Jax, the bullpen did a phenomenal job, a welcome sight for sure. The Twins 40-man roster has experienced a lot of change and injury lately. Most recently, Miguel Sano returned to the 60-day IL with right knee inflammation and Alex Kirilloff was played on the Injured List with right-wrist inflammation. Jake Cave was finally recalled from St. Paul for the first time this season. Cave has been working hard and playing great with the Saints, logging a triple-slash line of .273/.370/.509 with 14 home runs this season. The last time he broke double digits in home runs was in 2018 before his back problems started. He went 2-for-3 for the club with an impressive double. Do you see the Twins pushing forward to be competitive and hanging onto first place in the division? What’s Next? The Twins have a day game to finish out the series with Detroit before a four-game set with Toronto when the Blue Jays come to town. Pitching matchup tomorrow: Wednesday 12:10 pm CST: Joe Ryan (7-4, 3.78 ERA) vs RHP Tyler Alexander (2-4, 4-10 ERA) Postgame Interview
  18. As the trade deadline expired, game time for the Twins approached. The Twins had several roster changes including welcoming back outfielder Jake Cave. The Twins were still on a walk-off high coming into the game and ready to continue the momentum. Box Score SP: Chris Archer 4.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 K (49 pitches, 77 strikes (64%)) Home Runs: Mark Contreras (1) Bottom 3 WPA: Gio Urshela (-.180), Jose Miranda (-.086), Luis Arraez (-.068) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The game started out slow. Both pitchers went scoreless through the first two innings and in just his eighth MLB start, Mark Contreras came up to bat in the third and ripped his first MLB home run 407 feet to center field, putting the Twins ahead for the first time of the night. The bases quickly loaded the bases. With Luis Arraez, Carlos Correa and Jose Miranda on base and one out, Nick Gordon came to the plate. He hit what the fans, Twins and Gordon himself thought was a grand slam, but alas, after review, the call of Foul Ball was upheld. Gordon did hit a sacrifice fly that brought Arraez home, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead. Akil Baddoo ended the inning with a diving catch off of Gio Urshela’s high fly ball. Carlos Correa scored another run for the club on another Gordon sacrifice fly, but the Tigers pitching staff managed to keep the Twins from scoring a fourth run. Chris Archer started in his third game tonight since returning from the IL. He threw 77 pitches, had a season-high, eight strikeouts. He gave up two earned runs in the top of the fifth before being relieved by Jovani Moran. Archer has not been able to get past the fifth inning, or over 80 pitches (minus one game) throughout the season. Baldelli has spoken previously about Archer and his confidence in the pitcher, noting that he just needs to continue working on stretching out and he sees him improving. Emilio Pagan showed well, striking out two and moving swiftly through the sixth inning with no damage. The trouble came for the Twins in the seventh inning when Griffin Jax gave up three more earned runs which gave the Tigers the lead for the first time in the game and the series. Trevor Megill, Tyler Duffey and Joe Smith all had outstanding outings, allowing no runs. Minus the three runs from Jax, the bullpen did a phenomenal job, a welcome sight for sure. The Twins 40-man roster has experienced a lot of change and injury lately. Most recently, Miguel Sano returned to the 60-day IL with right knee inflammation and Alex Kirilloff was played on the Injured List with right-wrist inflammation. Jake Cave was finally recalled from St. Paul for the first time this season. Cave has been working hard and playing great with the Saints, logging a triple-slash line of .273/.370/.509 with 14 home runs this season. The last time he broke double digits in home runs was in 2018 before his back problems started. He went 2-for-3 for the club with an impressive double. Do you see the Twins pushing forward to be competitive and hanging onto first place in the division? What’s Next? The Twins have a day game to finish out the series with Detroit before a four-game set with Toronto when the Blue Jays come to town. Pitching matchup tomorrow: Wednesday 12:10 pm CST: Joe Ryan (7-4, 3.78 ERA) vs RHP Tyler Alexander (2-4, 4-10 ERA) Postgame Interview View full article
  19. First baseman Rowdy Tellez drove in six runs on two home runs and almost single-handedly catapulted the Brewers to another win and the series sweep. Chris Archer struggled with his command and had one of his worst starts of the year. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Chris Archer, 3 IP, 3H, 6R, 6ER, 6BB, 2K (78 pitches, 36 strikes, 46.1%) Home Runs: Jose Miranda (9), Kyle Garlick (8) Bottom 3 WPA: Chris Archer (-.309), Jharel Cotton (-.191), Luis Arraez (-.067) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Things did not look good at all for Minnesota after the first inning of this game. Reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes cruised through the top of the inning on 16 pitches, with the only Twins baserunner coming after a fielding error on the outfield. Then, Chris Archer struggled badly, allowing each of the first four batters he faced to reach. After a Christian Yelich leadoff walk and a single by Willy Adames, Rowdy Tellez crushed the first pitch he saw for a three-run home run. The Twins provided a quick response, though. At the top of the second, José Miranda homered off Burnes in the very first pitch of the inning, putting Minnesota on the board, and starting Burnes’ nightmare inning. The Twins lineup made the All-Star starter work twice as hard to get through the second inning – it took him 32 pitches to complete the frame. After the Miranda home run and an Alex Kirilloff groundout, Minnesota’s bottom third of the lineup got three consecutive hits that scored two more runs and tied the game. Kyle Garlick doubled to right and scored after Nick Gordon did the same thing. Gordon himself scored too on a Gary Sanchez liner to center. The Twins were back at the top of the lineup with only one out and a man on, but they couldn’t capitalize. In fact, Burnes really settled down starting right there, in the second inning. He struck out Luis Arráez and Carlos Correa to get out of the jam, but that wasn’t all. Those two strikeouts began a hot streak for the Crew’s ace, as he went on to retire thirteen straight Minnesota batters. Archer, bullpen give up seven runs on two home runs Archer tossed a couple of scoreless innings, in the second and in the third, but the Brewers ambushed him again in the fourth, and he was done. Despite facing the bottom half of the Milwaukee lineup, he struggled to throw strikes and surrendered three consecutive walks. Jharel Cotton took over, trying to put out the fire, but he ultimately couldn’t do it. After a strikeout, he gave up a loaded bases walk to Yelich that gave the Brewers the lead. Then, Adames hit a sac-fly to left to score Luis Urias from third, making it 5-3 Milwaukee. He was one out away from keeping the game open. Then, Tellez happened. Again. After a hard-fought seven-pitch at-bat, the big man destroyed a changeup at the heart of the plate (111.8 MPH exit velocity) for a three-run dong that blew the game wide open. Making his first appearance since July 14, Yennier Cano took over in relief of Cotton in the fifth. Since being sent down to Triple-A Saint Paul, Cano improved very much, maintaining a 3.85 ERA through eleven appearances and allowing only one earned run in five appearances (six innings) in July for the Saints. He got called up last Friday and got his first look back at majors today. He retired Hunter Renfroe to start the fifth, but he was really shaky for the remainder of the inning. Kolten Wong hit a double off him, and Urías blasted a two-run shot to make it 10-3 Milwaukee, basically putting the game out of reach. Cano continued in the game for the sixth inning, and things looked much smoother for him. He tossed a scoreless frame on 16 pitches, pitching around a leadoff walk to Tellez. Twins get one back but can’t spark a rally Minnesota’s second home run of the afternoon was also leadoff fashion. Garlick took Jake McGee deep in the first pitch of the seventh inning, cutting the Brewers’ lead to six. Following that homer, Gordon drew a four-pitch walk off the same McGee, with the top of the lineup coming up. But the Milwaukee reliever managed to retire the next three batters faced to end the threat. Miranda got his third hit of the afternoon in the eighth inning, making it three-consecutive games with at least three hits. His season numbers are now up to .281 AVG and .799 OPS, but he’s even better in his recent games, slashing .377/.431/.642 (1.073) in his last 15 games. The YouTube broadcast fellows said he doesn’t stand a chance at winning rookie of the year. Could they be wrong? What’s Next? Tomorrow the Twins have their second off day this week as they head for South California, where they’ll start a three-game set against the Padres in San Diego. Game one is scheduled to start at 8:40 pm CDT on Friday, with Joe Ryan (2.89 ERA) taking the mound for Minnesota and Blake Snell (4.75 ERA) toeing the rubber for the Padres. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Moran 28 0 0 0 21 49 Cano 0 0 0 0 46 46 Cotton 0 11 0 0 33 44 Duran 11 0 0 32 0 43 Duffey 11 0 0 25 0 36 Smith 0 16 0 17 0 33 Jax 0 13 0 12 0 25 Pagán 2 0 0 20 0 22 Megill 7 0 0 0 10 17 View full article
  20. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Chris Archer, 3 IP, 3H, 6R, 6ER, 6BB, 2K (78 pitches, 36 strikes, 46.1%) Home Runs: Jose Miranda (9), Kyle Garlick (8) Bottom 3 WPA: Chris Archer (-.309), Jharel Cotton (-.191), Luis Arraez (-.067) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Things did not look good at all for Minnesota after the first inning of this game. Reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes cruised through the top of the inning on 16 pitches, with the only Twins baserunner coming after a fielding error on the outfield. Then, Chris Archer struggled badly, allowing each of the first four batters he faced to reach. After a Christian Yelich leadoff walk and a single by Willy Adames, Rowdy Tellez crushed the first pitch he saw for a three-run home run. The Twins provided a quick response, though. At the top of the second, José Miranda homered off Burnes in the very first pitch of the inning, putting Minnesota on the board, and starting Burnes’ nightmare inning. The Twins lineup made the All-Star starter work twice as hard to get through the second inning – it took him 32 pitches to complete the frame. After the Miranda home run and an Alex Kirilloff groundout, Minnesota’s bottom third of the lineup got three consecutive hits that scored two more runs and tied the game. Kyle Garlick doubled to right and scored after Nick Gordon did the same thing. Gordon himself scored too on a Gary Sanchez liner to center. The Twins were back at the top of the lineup with only one out and a man on, but they couldn’t capitalize. In fact, Burnes really settled down starting right there, in the second inning. He struck out Luis Arráez and Carlos Correa to get out of the jam, but that wasn’t all. Those two strikeouts began a hot streak for the Crew’s ace, as he went on to retire thirteen straight Minnesota batters. Archer, bullpen give up seven runs on two home runs Archer tossed a couple of scoreless innings, in the second and in the third, but the Brewers ambushed him again in the fourth, and he was done. Despite facing the bottom half of the Milwaukee lineup, he struggled to throw strikes and surrendered three consecutive walks. Jharel Cotton took over, trying to put out the fire, but he ultimately couldn’t do it. After a strikeout, he gave up a loaded bases walk to Yelich that gave the Brewers the lead. Then, Adames hit a sac-fly to left to score Luis Urias from third, making it 5-3 Milwaukee. He was one out away from keeping the game open. Then, Tellez happened. Again. After a hard-fought seven-pitch at-bat, the big man destroyed a changeup at the heart of the plate (111.8 MPH exit velocity) for a three-run dong that blew the game wide open. Making his first appearance since July 14, Yennier Cano took over in relief of Cotton in the fifth. Since being sent down to Triple-A Saint Paul, Cano improved very much, maintaining a 3.85 ERA through eleven appearances and allowing only one earned run in five appearances (six innings) in July for the Saints. He got called up last Friday and got his first look back at majors today. He retired Hunter Renfroe to start the fifth, but he was really shaky for the remainder of the inning. Kolten Wong hit a double off him, and Urías blasted a two-run shot to make it 10-3 Milwaukee, basically putting the game out of reach. Cano continued in the game for the sixth inning, and things looked much smoother for him. He tossed a scoreless frame on 16 pitches, pitching around a leadoff walk to Tellez. Twins get one back but can’t spark a rally Minnesota’s second home run of the afternoon was also leadoff fashion. Garlick took Jake McGee deep in the first pitch of the seventh inning, cutting the Brewers’ lead to six. Following that homer, Gordon drew a four-pitch walk off the same McGee, with the top of the lineup coming up. But the Milwaukee reliever managed to retire the next three batters faced to end the threat. Miranda got his third hit of the afternoon in the eighth inning, making it three-consecutive games with at least three hits. His season numbers are now up to .281 AVG and .799 OPS, but he’s even better in his recent games, slashing .377/.431/.642 (1.073) in his last 15 games. The YouTube broadcast fellows said he doesn’t stand a chance at winning rookie of the year. Could they be wrong? What’s Next? Tomorrow the Twins have their second off day this week as they head for South California, where they’ll start a three-game set against the Padres in San Diego. Game one is scheduled to start at 8:40 pm CDT on Friday, with Joe Ryan (2.89 ERA) taking the mound for Minnesota and Blake Snell (4.75 ERA) toeing the rubber for the Padres. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Moran 28 0 0 0 21 49 Cano 0 0 0 0 46 46 Cotton 0 11 0 0 33 44 Duran 11 0 0 32 0 43 Duffey 11 0 0 25 0 36 Smith 0 16 0 17 0 33 Jax 0 13 0 12 0 25 Pagán 2 0 0 20 0 22 Megill 7 0 0 0 10 17
  21. Box Score SP: Chris Archer (4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (68 pitches, 42 strikes (61.8 strike %)) Home Runs: None Bottom 3 WPA: Tyler Duffey -.120, Jose Miranda, -.065, Luis Arraez -.060 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Archer looked as good as ever during his first inning of work for the Twins on Sunday. Archer struck out the first two batters of the game, only giving up a hit to Andrew Vaughn and getting Jose Abreu to ground out in the next at-bat. The Twins bats did not get anything going in the bottom of the first even as Byron Buxton was announced as an All-Star starter in replacement of Mike Trout and his injury. Buxton himself struck out to end the inning while he remained unaware of the news. Archer continued to dominate through the next two innings for the Twins retiring seven straight. He totaled 38 pitches through the first three innings of the game keeping a pace to give the Twins bullpen much-needed rest. The Twins bats couldn’t keep up with Archer’s dominance on the mound as White Sox starter Dylan Cease no-hit the Twins through the first three innings, only allowing one base runner on a Jorge Polanco walk. The top of the fourth saw Archer allow just his second base runner of the game on an Abreu two-out base hit that ended up going nowhere as Archer struck out Gavin Sheets to end the inning. Archer ran into trouble against the White Sox in the top of the fifth with two outs on three pitches. Archer walked catcher Seby Zavala and gave up a single to Adam Engel in the next at-bat. Both runners were able to score on an error by Nick Gordon in left field recovering the ball. Zavala and Engel would go on to score in the next at-bat as Tim Anderson had a two-RBI single. What was looking to be the first time all season Archer could go into the sixth inning was shut down by Yoan Moncada as he hit a ground-rule double, tallying Archer’s to 68 and 16 since he recorded the second out in the fifth. Tyler Duffey was called upon from the bullpen to get the Twins out of the fifth. Duffey gave up another RBI double in the first at-bat to Vaughn but was able to get out of the troubling inning by retiring Abreu on a 6-4 ground out. What began as a pitchers duel in the fifth ended in a clear lead for the Sox as they were now up 4-0 going to the bottom of the fifth. Cease continued his no-hit bid in the bottom of the fifth getting Kepler on a ground out back to him to start the inning. He then walked Polanco again and gave up the first Twins hit of the afternoon to Alex Kirilloff in the next at-bat. Neither Polanco or Kirilloff would make their way home to score as Cease struck out the final two batters of the inning to get out of the jam. Caleb Thielbar was on the mound for the Twins in the sixth and allowed only one base runner on a Josh Harrison single but kept him from advancing any further. The Twins could not get anything going again in the sixth as Cease was on a crusade to prove he should be in Los Angeles Tuesday for the All-Star Game. Even if he wouldn’t be able to pitch in the game. Joe Smith was next from the Twins bullpen for the 7th inning. He gave up a leadoff single to Engel and retired Anderson on a ground out. But what followed were back-to-back home runs to Moncada and Vaughn to put the Sox up 7-0. Then it was an Abreu single and a team conference on the mound with the infield for Smith. The mound visit with the infield seemed to have little help as Smith walked Sheets next and well, Smith wanted to quickly forget what happened next. Another home run, this time a three-run shot to Josh Harrison that traveled to left field put the White Sox up 10-0. The home run removed Smith from the game and was the third he gave up in the inning, only managing to retire one batter in the seventh. A bit of good did come for the Twins to start the top of the 8th. Caleb Hamilton, who was called up from St. Paul on Friday as Ryan Jeffers was put on the IL, made his MLB debut as a defensive sub for Gary Sanchez at catcher. Hamilton caught Jharel Cotton for the eighth. Cotton’s inning was a continuing example of how worn out this Twins pitching staff has been since the start of June. Cotton surrendered a leadoff double to Reese McGuire, who pinch hit for Tim Anderson, and walked Vaughn who reached base for the fourth time in the game. It took Cotton 32 pitches to retire three outs in the eighth. The upside for Cotton and the entire Twins pen today? They are all off until next Saturday. The eighth ended on a nice snagging catch from Gilberto Celestino in center, who came into the game as Buxton departed for Los Angeles to start in the All Star Game Tuesday. The Twins caught their first break of the day in the bottom of the eighth. Miranda drew a one-out walk from Joe Kelly and what looked to be a fielder's choice that got Miranda out at second and Gordon safe at first. Was eventually overturned to be a FC, E6 as Garcia, now at short, never touched second base. This brought up Caleb Hamilton for his first MLB at-bat with two runners on and no one out, and Hamilton hit into another fielder's choice, but at least moved the runners into scoring position with two out for Arraez. Unfortunately, no one scored as Arraez grounded out to second to end the inning. The ninth was another relief appearance from Emilio Pagan who gave up one more run to the Sox. Kyle Garlick got a hit in his only at-bat of the game but did not score as White Sox reliever Jose Ruiz retired the final three batters to end the game. What’s Next? The Twins go into the All Star Break and are off until Saturday, July 23 for a quick two-game series against the Detroit Tigers. Joe Ryan is likely to get the start as the Twins turn to a four man rotation of Ryan, Gray, Bundy and Archer to finish out the month of July and start the second half. First pitch for Saturday’s game is at 5:10 p.m. CT. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Sheet
  22. What started out as a pitcher's duel turned into an ugly loss and series loss to the White Sox. The Twins enter the All-Star Break 50-44, still leading the AL Central by two games over Cleveland but certainly showed they need a break to rest and recuperate after Sunday’s brutal loss. Box Score SP: Chris Archer (4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (68 pitches, 42 strikes (61.8 strike %)) Home Runs: None Bottom 3 WPA: Tyler Duffey -.120, Jose Miranda, -.065, Luis Arraez -.060 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Archer looked as good as ever during his first inning of work for the Twins on Sunday. Archer struck out the first two batters of the game, only giving up a hit to Andrew Vaughn and getting Jose Abreu to ground out in the next at-bat. The Twins bats did not get anything going in the bottom of the first even as Byron Buxton was announced as an All-Star starter in replacement of Mike Trout and his injury. Buxton himself struck out to end the inning while he remained unaware of the news. Archer continued to dominate through the next two innings for the Twins retiring seven straight. He totaled 38 pitches through the first three innings of the game keeping a pace to give the Twins bullpen much-needed rest. The Twins bats couldn’t keep up with Archer’s dominance on the mound as White Sox starter Dylan Cease no-hit the Twins through the first three innings, only allowing one base runner on a Jorge Polanco walk. The top of the fourth saw Archer allow just his second base runner of the game on an Abreu two-out base hit that ended up going nowhere as Archer struck out Gavin Sheets to end the inning. Archer ran into trouble against the White Sox in the top of the fifth with two outs on three pitches. Archer walked catcher Seby Zavala and gave up a single to Adam Engel in the next at-bat. Both runners were able to score on an error by Nick Gordon in left field recovering the ball. Zavala and Engel would go on to score in the next at-bat as Tim Anderson had a two-RBI single. What was looking to be the first time all season Archer could go into the sixth inning was shut down by Yoan Moncada as he hit a ground-rule double, tallying Archer’s to 68 and 16 since he recorded the second out in the fifth. Tyler Duffey was called upon from the bullpen to get the Twins out of the fifth. Duffey gave up another RBI double in the first at-bat to Vaughn but was able to get out of the troubling inning by retiring Abreu on a 6-4 ground out. What began as a pitchers duel in the fifth ended in a clear lead for the Sox as they were now up 4-0 going to the bottom of the fifth. Cease continued his no-hit bid in the bottom of the fifth getting Kepler on a ground out back to him to start the inning. He then walked Polanco again and gave up the first Twins hit of the afternoon to Alex Kirilloff in the next at-bat. Neither Polanco or Kirilloff would make their way home to score as Cease struck out the final two batters of the inning to get out of the jam. Caleb Thielbar was on the mound for the Twins in the sixth and allowed only one base runner on a Josh Harrison single but kept him from advancing any further. The Twins could not get anything going again in the sixth as Cease was on a crusade to prove he should be in Los Angeles Tuesday for the All-Star Game. Even if he wouldn’t be able to pitch in the game. Joe Smith was next from the Twins bullpen for the 7th inning. He gave up a leadoff single to Engel and retired Anderson on a ground out. But what followed were back-to-back home runs to Moncada and Vaughn to put the Sox up 7-0. Then it was an Abreu single and a team conference on the mound with the infield for Smith. The mound visit with the infield seemed to have little help as Smith walked Sheets next and well, Smith wanted to quickly forget what happened next. Another home run, this time a three-run shot to Josh Harrison that traveled to left field put the White Sox up 10-0. The home run removed Smith from the game and was the third he gave up in the inning, only managing to retire one batter in the seventh. A bit of good did come for the Twins to start the top of the 8th. Caleb Hamilton, who was called up from St. Paul on Friday as Ryan Jeffers was put on the IL, made his MLB debut as a defensive sub for Gary Sanchez at catcher. Hamilton caught Jharel Cotton for the eighth. Cotton’s inning was a continuing example of how worn out this Twins pitching staff has been since the start of June. Cotton surrendered a leadoff double to Reese McGuire, who pinch hit for Tim Anderson, and walked Vaughn who reached base for the fourth time in the game. It took Cotton 32 pitches to retire three outs in the eighth. The upside for Cotton and the entire Twins pen today? They are all off until next Saturday. The eighth ended on a nice snagging catch from Gilberto Celestino in center, who came into the game as Buxton departed for Los Angeles to start in the All Star Game Tuesday. The Twins caught their first break of the day in the bottom of the eighth. Miranda drew a one-out walk from Joe Kelly and what looked to be a fielder's choice that got Miranda out at second and Gordon safe at first. Was eventually overturned to be a FC, E6 as Garcia, now at short, never touched second base. This brought up Caleb Hamilton for his first MLB at-bat with two runners on and no one out, and Hamilton hit into another fielder's choice, but at least moved the runners into scoring position with two out for Arraez. Unfortunately, no one scored as Arraez grounded out to second to end the inning. The ninth was another relief appearance from Emilio Pagan who gave up one more run to the Sox. Kyle Garlick got a hit in his only at-bat of the game but did not score as White Sox reliever Jose Ruiz retired the final three batters to end the game. What’s Next? The Twins go into the All Star Break and are off until Saturday, July 23 for a quick two-game series against the Detroit Tigers. Joe Ryan is likely to get the start as the Twins turn to a four man rotation of Ryan, Gray, Bundy and Archer to finish out the month of July and start the second half. First pitch for Saturday’s game is at 5:10 p.m. CT. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Sheet View full article
  23. The above graph shows OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) against each starting pitcher separated by times through the order. So for example, it shows that hitters have a 0.786 OPS when hitting against Joe Ryan for the second time in a game. The size of the points indicate fraction of pitches. Chris Archer has only pitched to 10 hitters for a third time in a game (mercifully, it seems). The pattern for most pitchers is clear: the scales tip toward the batter with each successive time through the lineup. So for Rocco Baldelli, the urge to call on the bullpen should strengthen each time opposing lineups turn over. For comparison's sake, consider the group of middle relievers comprised of Tyler Duffey, Caleb Thielbar, Emilio Pagán, Jovani Moran, and Trevor Megill. That group has an OPS against of 0.636. So while turning to the bullpen often has not been pretty, it's still a much better option than having the likes of Chris Archer, Dylan Bundy, or Devin Smeltzer face a hitter for a 3rd time.
  24. A manager's decision to pull a starting pitcher or squeeze another inning out of them is often criticized. Rocco Baldelli, who tends to pull pitchers quickly, is no exception. But what goes into that decision and how should we assess the effectiveness of Baldelli's quick hook? The above graph shows OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) against each starting pitcher separated by times through the order. So for example, it shows that hitters have a 0.786 OPS when hitting against Joe Ryan for the second time in a game. The size of the points indicate fraction of pitches. Chris Archer has only pitched to 10 hitters for a third time in a game (mercifully, it seems). The pattern for most pitchers is clear: the scales tip toward the batter with each successive time through the lineup. So for Rocco Baldelli, the urge to call on the bullpen should strengthen each time opposing lineups turn over. For comparison's sake, consider the group of middle relievers comprised of Tyler Duffey, Caleb Thielbar, Emilio Pagán, Jovani Moran, and Trevor Megill. That group has an OPS against of 0.636. So while turning to the bullpen often has not been pretty, it's still a much better option than having the likes of Chris Archer, Dylan Bundy, or Devin Smeltzer face a hitter for a 3rd time. View full article
  25. Three Twins pitchers stood out with their help keeping the team at the .500 mark over the course of the month. Sonny Gray dominated in his three starts for the month of June with a 1.69 ERA in those starts, but being on the IL for half of the month kept him out of the voting for pitcher of the month. Without further adieu, here are the top two honorable mentions and winner for the Twins Daily Pitcher of the Month. Honorable Mention Two: Jhoan Duran The rookie phenom Jhoan Duran has had another stellar month keeping up his case to make it to the all-star game in July. Duran made ten relief appearances for the Twins in the month of June posting a 1.42 ERA, 10.0 K/9, 1.63 FIP, and 14 strikeouts in 10 relief appearances. The one outing that kept Duran from being placed higher on this list was his first real scuffle with big-league hitting. It came in his June 9th outing against the New York Yankees where he surrendered two runs to the Evil Empire while only retiring one batter. Since that outing, Duran has not given up a run in 8 1/3 innings of work. There’s no telling if Duran will experience burnout next month or continue his dominance as the fastest pitcher in baseball, but Twins fans can take solace in the fact he has been the best reliever for the team during the first three months of the season. Honorable Mention One: Griffin Jax Leading the way for the Twins bullpen in a rocky month of June was sophomore Griffin Jax. In his 12 relief appearances throughout the month, Jax led all Twins relievers in ERA (1.38), opponent AVG (.098), WHIP (0.38), and strikeouts (18). Jax’s month of June alone has shown how far he’s come since he was a rookie starter with the team last year. Where Jax previously struggled just to get through more than three innings, he has now become the Twins most effective long reliever. The Twins bullpen has many fixes needed for the remainder of the season, but both Jax and Duran have proven themselves as the most reliable arms out of the pen. The Twins will not use them every day during the month of July, but Twins fans should be grateful for what these two provided while other members of the bullpen struggled often. Twins Pitcher of the Month: Chris Archer The resurgence of Chris Archer with the Twins has been a great surprise to many in baseball. Now with the man who has turned Archer’s career around, Wes Johnson, leaving Minnesota for Louisiana State University, it’s only fair to dub Archer as the Twins pitcher of the month for June. Archer was the anchor of the Twins rotation when Gray and Joe Ryan were on the IL for the first half of the month. June has been Archer’s greatest month of the season to date, even with his innings still limited as he compiled a total of 27 innings, in six starts for the month. In those six starts, Archer posted a 1.67 ERA, .156 AVG, 1.04 WHIP, and only gave up two home runs. Archer’s best start of the month came on June 8th against the best team in baseball, the Yankees, where he only allowed two hits and one run in five innings of work. Yes, Archer does still have a high walk rate and that was showcased in his final start of the month on June 30 against the Guardians where he walked six batters. But the high walk rate should not be reason to ignore the recognition that Archer deserves for being the stabilizing force of the Twins' starting rotation during a rocky month of pitching. What do you think? Would you vote for Archer for Twins pitcher of the month in June, or would you vote for one of the relievers?
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