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  1. The Minnesota Twins outrighted lefty Devin Smeltzer off the 40-man roster this week, and rather than take another trip across town to St. Paul, he opted for an opportunity to utilize his skills at the big league level for an organization willing to keep him. In doing so, the Twins chapter with Brian Dozier is closed. Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports Brian Dozier hasn’t played professional baseball since the 2020-pandemic-stricken-season. He last played for the Minnesota Twins during 2018. There was talk of him being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier for Jose De Leon, and even while Minnesota asked for the like of Cody Bellinger or Walker Buehler, those discussions never moved far. Ultimately, Minnesota netted a return of Logan Forsythe, Luke Raley, and Devin Smeltzer following an agreement set by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. Fast forward to where we are now, and things have come full circle for both organizations. Dozier wound up playing in just 47 games for the Dodgers. Down the stretch in 2018, he posted a .650 OPS and was never able to regain his 134 OPS+ form from the 42-homer season in 2016. Raley was ultimately sent back to the Dodgers when Minnesota acquired Kenta Maeda by including Brusdar Graterol. Forsythe was never meant to be more than a stopgap, and Smeltzer was the only player remaining. Set to become a free agent following the World Series this season, Smeltzer got a jumpstart on his alternatives by denying his outright to St. Paul. Coming off a career-high 70 1/3 innings for Minnesota, Smeltzer posted a career-best 3.71 ERA. He made 15 appearances, including 12 stars, and while the 5.23 FIP suggests some smoke and mirrors, his results ultimately didn’t reflect the path set out for him. Over the course of his Twins career, there has been a handful of realities. As a southpaw, Smeltzer is not a high-velocity arm, and he doesn’t pile up strikeouts, but he’s a guy that’s shown an ability to create a slow bleed and benefit as his outings go on. Homers have certainly been a bugaboo for him at times, but the former Los Angeles prospect has also done a great job in limiting free passes. The H/9 totals have jumped in recent seasons, and the strikeout numbers have tumbled, but he’s worked around traffic to generate solid outings. Ultimately, it looked as though Smeltzer could be an ideal long reliever for a big-league club. It’s odd that Minnesota didn’t opt for that path more frequently this season with a bullpen so obviously needing someone in that role. Having been shuttled back and forth with no real opportunity to settle in at either place, Smeltzer likely finds the lack of direction for his future with the Twins, and therefore will look to greener pastures. You’d be hard-pressed to argue against Smeltzer being a big-league arm, and at just 27 years old, he has the runway to become an arm that got away. No matter where he winds up, his focus will likely be in contributing at the Major League level regardless of his outlined role. The Twins will turn to the rest of their internal depth when looking to eat innings, and we’ll see what’s next for the final piece of the Dozier trade. View full article
  2. Brian Dozier hasn’t played professional baseball since the 2020-pandemic-stricken-season. He last played for the Minnesota Twins during 2018. There was talk of him being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier for Jose De Leon, and even while Minnesota asked for the like of Cody Bellinger or Walker Buehler, those discussions never moved far. Ultimately, Minnesota netted a return of Logan Forsythe, Luke Raley, and Devin Smeltzer following an agreement set by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. Fast forward to where we are now, and things have come full circle for both organizations. Dozier wound up playing in just 47 games for the Dodgers. Down the stretch in 2018, he posted a .650 OPS and was never able to regain his 134 OPS+ form from the 42-homer season in 2016. Raley was ultimately sent back to the Dodgers when Minnesota acquired Kenta Maeda by including Brusdar Graterol. Forsythe was never meant to be more than a stopgap, and Smeltzer was the only player remaining. Set to become a free agent following the World Series this season, Smeltzer got a jumpstart on his alternatives by denying his outright to St. Paul. Coming off a career-high 70 1/3 innings for Minnesota, Smeltzer posted a career-best 3.71 ERA. He made 15 appearances, including 12 stars, and while the 5.23 FIP suggests some smoke and mirrors, his results ultimately didn’t reflect the path set out for him. Over the course of his Twins career, there has been a handful of realities. As a southpaw, Smeltzer is not a high-velocity arm, and he doesn’t pile up strikeouts, but he’s a guy that’s shown an ability to create a slow bleed and benefit as his outings go on. Homers have certainly been a bugaboo for him at times, but the former Los Angeles prospect has also done a great job in limiting free passes. The H/9 totals have jumped in recent seasons, and the strikeout numbers have tumbled, but he’s worked around traffic to generate solid outings. Ultimately, it looked as though Smeltzer could be an ideal long reliever for a big-league club. It’s odd that Minnesota didn’t opt for that path more frequently this season with a bullpen so obviously needing someone in that role. Having been shuttled back and forth with no real opportunity to settle in at either place, Smeltzer likely finds the lack of direction for his future with the Twins, and therefore will look to greener pastures. You’d be hard-pressed to argue against Smeltzer being a big-league arm, and at just 27 years old, he has the runway to become an arm that got away. No matter where he winds up, his focus will likely be in contributing at the Major League level regardless of his outlined role. The Twins will turn to the rest of their internal depth when looking to eat innings, and we’ll see what’s next for the final piece of the Dozier trade.
  3. Spin rate is back up across baseball after a crackdown on sticky substances last season. Are Twins pitchers following this trend or falling behind? Image courtesy of Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Over the last year, MLB has tried to crack down on the substances pitchers use on the ball to generate more spin. When first enforced, there were some heated moments, including Josh Donaldson, a Twins player at the time, calling out pitchers he knew were violating the rule. Initially, baseball saw a decline in spin rate, but those numbers have increased this season. Now, spin rates are nearly back to the same level as before enforcement began. Starting in 2020, Statcast posted an active spin leaderboard, which can also include an active spin %. They offer a longer explanation at their site, but the nuts-and-bolts description is the spin that contributes to movement, including up or down and side to side. Twins Four-Seam Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Tyler Mahle (99.5%), Jorge Lopez (98.1%), Joe Ryan (96.5%), Chris Archer (96.5%) Minnesota’s top-two trade deadline acquisitions rank the best on the team regarding active spin % on their four-seam fastballs. In fact, Mahle sits atop the leaderboard among all MLB pitchers that have thrown a minimum of 1000 pitches. Opponents have posted a .205 BA and a .368 SLG when facing Mahle’s four-seamer. His numbers also include his recent starts, where his shoulder hasn’t allowed him to reach his normal velocity levels. Lopez ranks in the top 25, while Ryan and Archer are in the top 50. Twins Changeup Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Joe Ryan (99.5%), Jorge Lopez (98.3%), Chris Archer (96%), Ryan throws his fastball over 60% of the time, but his changeup might be vital to unlocking his full potential. His changeup leads MLB in active spin among pitchers with a minimum of 1000 pitches thrown. Ryan has thrown his changeup fewer than 300 times this season, but he has increased his percentage from his 2021 big-league appearances. Lopez ranks in the top 35, and Archer is near the backend of the top 75 with his changeup’s active spin. Twins Sinker Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Jorge Lopez (96%), Devin Smeltzer (93.2%), Dylan Bundy (93.1%) Minnesota ranks well in the two pitches mentioned above, but the team doesn’t have a regular sinker ball pitcher with a high active spin %. Lopez cracks the top-30 with his sinker, which is the pitch he throws over 50% of the time. Opponents have posted a .230 BA and a .341 SLG facing his sinker. Smeltzer and Bundy sit just outside the top-40 according to the active spin on their sinkers. According to Baseball Savant, Smeltzer has only thrown ten sinkers this season, so that is hardly a large sample. Bundy’s sinker is his least utilized pitch (7.9%), as he has allowed a .500 SLG so far in 2022. Twins Slider Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Sonny Gray (63.6%), Devin Smeltzer (58.4%), Jorge Lopez (40.7%) Active spin on sliders is much different compared to other pitches because only two pitchers (Rich Hill and Steve Cishek) have an active spin % above 80%. Gray currently sits in fifth place on the MLB leaderboard, with only two AL pitchers ranking higher than him. He throws his slider 11.4% of the time, and batters have a .291 SLG when facing that pitch. Smeltzer ranks just outside the top-10 as he has held opponents to a .214 BA versus his slider. Lopez, who ranks in the top 60, appears on these leaderboards thanks to the amount of spin he generates. He doesn’t tend to get a lot of strikeouts, so he needs spin to coax outs. Are you surprised by any of the names on the leaderboards mentioned above? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  4. Over the last year, MLB has tried to crack down on the substances pitchers use on the ball to generate more spin. When first enforced, there were some heated moments, including Josh Donaldson, a Twins player at the time, calling out pitchers he knew were violating the rule. Initially, baseball saw a decline in spin rate, but those numbers have increased this season. Now, spin rates are nearly back to the same level as before enforcement began. Starting in 2020, Statcast posted an active spin leaderboard, which can also include an active spin %. They offer a longer explanation at their site, but the nuts-and-bolts description is the spin that contributes to movement, including up or down and side to side. Twins Four-Seam Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Tyler Mahle (99.5%), Jorge Lopez (98.1%), Joe Ryan (96.5%), Chris Archer (96.5%) Minnesota’s top-two trade deadline acquisitions rank the best on the team regarding active spin % on their four-seam fastballs. In fact, Mahle sits atop the leaderboard among all MLB pitchers that have thrown a minimum of 1000 pitches. Opponents have posted a .205 BA and a .368 SLG when facing Mahle’s four-seamer. His numbers also include his recent starts, where his shoulder hasn’t allowed him to reach his normal velocity levels. Lopez ranks in the top 25, while Ryan and Archer are in the top 50. Twins Changeup Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Joe Ryan (99.5%), Jorge Lopez (98.3%), Chris Archer (96%), Ryan throws his fastball over 60% of the time, but his changeup might be vital to unlocking his full potential. His changeup leads MLB in active spin among pitchers with a minimum of 1000 pitches thrown. Ryan has thrown his changeup fewer than 300 times this season, but he has increased his percentage from his 2021 big-league appearances. Lopez ranks in the top 35, and Archer is near the backend of the top 75 with his changeup’s active spin. Twins Sinker Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Jorge Lopez (96%), Devin Smeltzer (93.2%), Dylan Bundy (93.1%) Minnesota ranks well in the two pitches mentioned above, but the team doesn’t have a regular sinker ball pitcher with a high active spin %. Lopez cracks the top-30 with his sinker, which is the pitch he throws over 50% of the time. Opponents have posted a .230 BA and a .341 SLG facing his sinker. Smeltzer and Bundy sit just outside the top-40 according to the active spin on their sinkers. According to Baseball Savant, Smeltzer has only thrown ten sinkers this season, so that is hardly a large sample. Bundy’s sinker is his least utilized pitch (7.9%), as he has allowed a .500 SLG so far in 2022. Twins Slider Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Sonny Gray (63.6%), Devin Smeltzer (58.4%), Jorge Lopez (40.7%) Active spin on sliders is much different compared to other pitches because only two pitchers (Rich Hill and Steve Cishek) have an active spin % above 80%. Gray currently sits in fifth place on the MLB leaderboard, with only two AL pitchers ranking higher than him. He throws his slider 11.4% of the time, and batters have a .291 SLG when facing that pitch. Smeltzer ranks just outside the top-10 as he has held opponents to a .214 BA versus his slider. Lopez, who ranks in the top 60, appears on these leaderboards thanks to the amount of spin he generates. He doesn’t tend to get a lot of strikeouts, so he needs spin to coax outs. Are you surprised by any of the names on the leaderboards mentioned above? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  5. The Twins dominated the Giants offensively and defensively this series, a definite confidence booster from what many saw as a "must win" series! Box Score SP: Aaron Sanchez 3.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (81 pitches, 50 strikes (62%)) Home Runs: Jake Cave (2) Top 3 WPA: Jake Cave (.284), Max Kepler (.166), Carlos Correa (.107) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Pitching Payoff Aaron Sanchez started his third game for the Twins since being traded. Sanchez has pitched only nine innings with the club. Sanchez racked up 20+ pitches before getting out of the first inning with the help of his defense. Sanchez got through almost four innings, two times through the line-up, and 81 pitches before hitting Mike Yastrzemski. The Twins challenged the hit-by-pitch and after losing the challenge, with two guys on in scoring position and two outs, Emilio Pagan came in to relieve Sanchez. Pagan walked the first two batters he faced. The second walk tied the game at three. Pagan started the fifth frame as well. Devin Smeltzer replaced Pagan with one out in the fifth inning. He allowed an inherited run to score, but got the Twins out of a jam and then pitched well for two more innings. Smeltzer has been coming in not as a starter, but as a middle reliever for the past few games and he has been holding strong in that position. While it may not be an easy transition for a pitcher to make, he certainly has made it look easy and seamless. Come Back Kings With September coming later this week, the team knows that it’s going to take a full effort from everyone to get back up to first place in the division. The starting line-up Sunday consisted of Nick Gordon playing at second base. Gordon has played second base five times throughout the season, but this was his first game starting at second base. He has become instrumental to the chemistry of this team, a true utility player. He is always up to the challenge. That mentality of “team effort” started right away in the first inning. Carlos Correa and Max Kepler got on base, but both were ultimately stranded and left the inning with no runs. Kepler, who couldn’t get a bunt down, swung at the next pitch and ended up with a short chopper towards the mound that looked how he probably wanted his bunt to. The first baseman attempted to field the ball and during that time, Kepler landed safely on first. The Giants scored first with a hit from former Twins LaMonte Wade Jr. but the Twins answered quickly. Correa, who has been on fire since returning from the series with Houston, came up to the plate and hit a double that scored Gilberto Celestino. Correa was happily disappointed, signaling to the wall, to say, “it should have been a home run”, in any other park, it may have been, but here it was just enough to tie up the game. The Twins stayed in the game offensively with hot bats, and it eventually paid off. In the top of the fourth, a two-run home run from Jake Cave off a slider gave the Twins the lead for the first time. Cave was absolutely clutch this weekend. More than once this weekend he has been in positions to give the Twins the advantage and come out with a win. All of the Twins batted in the next inning starting with Luis Arraez getting a single. He scored on a Max Kepler double. The momentum was real and the hits kept coming! Jose Miranda, Gio Urshela and Cave all followed with run-scoring doubles to help push the score up 8-3 before the inning ended. The next few innings were a little more relaxing. There is always a chance when you are in close contention of a score, that it can get stressful, but this series has been everything that this team and fanbase has needed. It’s given everyone a chance to see exactly what this team is made of, a boost of confidence and a chance to get back first place in the central. A sweep is a great place to start! What’s Next? Boston comes to Minnesota for a three game series, can they keep up the winning momentum? Pitching matchup for the next series: Monday 6:40 pm CST: Dylan Bundy(7-6, 4.56 ERA) vs. RHP Brayan Bello (0-3, 7.36 ERA) Tuesday 6:40 pm CST Chris Archer (2-7, 4.34 ERA) vs. RHP Kutter Crawford (3-5, 5.30 ERA) Wednesday 6:40 pm CST Joe Ryan (10-6, 3.65 ERA) vs. RHP Michael Wacha (9-1, 2.53 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  6. Box Score SP: Aaron Sanchez 3.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (81 pitches, 50 strikes (62%)) Home Runs: Jake Cave (2) Top 3 WPA: Jake Cave (.284), Max Kepler (.166), Carlos Correa (.107) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Pitching Payoff Aaron Sanchez started his third game for the Twins since being traded. Sanchez has pitched only nine innings with the club. Sanchez racked up 20+ pitches before getting out of the first inning with the help of his defense. Sanchez got through almost four innings, two times through the line-up, and 81 pitches before hitting Mike Yastrzemski. The Twins challenged the hit-by-pitch and after losing the challenge, with two guys on in scoring position and two outs, Emilio Pagan came in to relieve Sanchez. Pagan walked the first two batters he faced. The second walk tied the game at three. Pagan started the fifth frame as well. Devin Smeltzer replaced Pagan with one out in the fifth inning. He allowed an inherited run to score, but got the Twins out of a jam and then pitched well for two more innings. Smeltzer has been coming in not as a starter, but as a middle reliever for the past few games and he has been holding strong in that position. While it may not be an easy transition for a pitcher to make, he certainly has made it look easy and seamless. Come Back Kings With September coming later this week, the team knows that it’s going to take a full effort from everyone to get back up to first place in the division. The starting line-up Sunday consisted of Nick Gordon playing at second base. Gordon has played second base five times throughout the season, but this was his first game starting at second base. He has become instrumental to the chemistry of this team, a true utility player. He is always up to the challenge. That mentality of “team effort” started right away in the first inning. Carlos Correa and Max Kepler got on base, but both were ultimately stranded and left the inning with no runs. Kepler, who couldn’t get a bunt down, swung at the next pitch and ended up with a short chopper towards the mound that looked how he probably wanted his bunt to. The first baseman attempted to field the ball and during that time, Kepler landed safely on first. The Giants scored first with a hit from former Twins LaMonte Wade Jr. but the Twins answered quickly. Correa, who has been on fire since returning from the series with Houston, came up to the plate and hit a double that scored Gilberto Celestino. Correa was happily disappointed, signaling to the wall, to say, “it should have been a home run”, in any other park, it may have been, but here it was just enough to tie up the game. The Twins stayed in the game offensively with hot bats, and it eventually paid off. In the top of the fourth, a two-run home run from Jake Cave off a slider gave the Twins the lead for the first time. Cave was absolutely clutch this weekend. More than once this weekend he has been in positions to give the Twins the advantage and come out with a win. All of the Twins batted in the next inning starting with Luis Arraez getting a single. He scored on a Max Kepler double. The momentum was real and the hits kept coming! Jose Miranda, Gio Urshela and Cave all followed with run-scoring doubles to help push the score up 8-3 before the inning ended. The next few innings were a little more relaxing. There is always a chance when you are in close contention of a score, that it can get stressful, but this series has been everything that this team and fanbase has needed. It’s given everyone a chance to see exactly what this team is made of, a boost of confidence and a chance to get back first place in the central. A sweep is a great place to start! What’s Next? Boston comes to Minnesota for a three game series, can they keep up the winning momentum? Pitching matchup for the next series: Monday 6:40 pm CST: Dylan Bundy(7-6, 4.56 ERA) vs. RHP Brayan Bello (0-3, 7.36 ERA) Tuesday 6:40 pm CST Chris Archer (2-7, 4.34 ERA) vs. RHP Kutter Crawford (3-5, 5.30 ERA) Wednesday 6:40 pm CST Joe Ryan (10-6, 3.65 ERA) vs. RHP Michael Wacha (9-1, 2.53 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  7. Facing the Astros’ juggernaut pitching staff, the Twins’ offense was once again dominated, despite a late rally bringing the tying run to the plate. Dylan Bundy was solid through five, but a rough sixth inning cost Minnesota the game. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 5 IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 0K (66 pitches, 44 strikes, 66.6%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Max Kepler (-.301), Michael Fulmer (-.200), José Miranda (-.088) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Bundy tosses five solid innings, gives Twins a chance Right out of the gate, this game seemed doomed for the Twins. Houston starter Framber Valdez had a 1-2-3 first inning that took him only 14 pitches. Then, when Dylan Bundy took the mound for the bottom half, José Altuve took him deep on his very first pitch, putting the Astros on the board right away. Fortunately, Bundy settled in and retired six of the next seven batters faced, only giving up a walk. Meanwhile, the offense attempted to put something together and managed to get two men on base during the second inning after a walk by Luis Arráez followed by a Gilberto Celestino single. They kept pushing until they manufactured the tying run in the next inning. Sandy León led off the third with a walk, and, suddenly, Minnesota had two men in scoring position after a Jorge Polanco double. Former Astro Carlos Correa hit a liner to left, and León tagged and scored. Martín Maldonado broke Bundy’s hot streak with a leadoff double to start the bottom of the third. He was eventually brought home by an Altuve single and a Yuli Gurriel sac fly, regaining the lead for Houston. Once again, Bundy didn’t lose control: by retiring Alex Bregman on a lineout to conclude the third, he began a streak of seven consecutive batters retired, keeping this a one-run game into the sixth. With tonight’s start, Bundy has completed five consecutive starts in which he gives up three earned runs or less. Houston breaks it open against Fulmer Bundy departed the game after two trips through the order, despite having thrown only 66 total pitches. Should he have been kept in the game, given his pitch count? His 8.53 season ERA in the third time through the order sure isn’t very encouraging, so Rocco Baldelli decided to activate the bullpen, bringing Michael Fulmer to pitch the sixth. Houston added a run after Yordan Álvarez stretched a single into a double after a defensive miscue by the Twins’ outfield. He also moved up to third on a wild pitch, which allowed him to score on a Bregman sac fly. Fulmer couldn’t stop the bleeding, giving up another double, this time to Kyle Tucker with two outs. Then, Trey Mancini blasted a two-run shot to right field, making it 5-1 Astros. With Valdez completing seven innings, the Twins’ struggling offense was once again severely uninspired to spark a rally. Devin Smeltzer came in to eat up the final two innings and did a fine job at it, tossing two scoreless frames. After reliever Bryan Abreu pitched a scoreless eighth, Rafael Montero came in to try to close out the game, Montero failed to retire the first four batters he faced, and the Twins scored a couple of runs: Arráez doubled Gio Urshela home after he had hit a leadoff single; then, Arráez himself was brought home from second on a Jake Cave fielder’s choice (a ball that was bobbled by Altuve). But when Max Kepler grounded into a double play, Montero had no trouble retiring Gary Sanchez for the game’s final out. Postgame interview What’s Next? On Thursday, these two teams play the final game of the series, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 pm CDT. To try and avoid the sweep, the Twins turn to Chris Archer (4.02 ERA), who will be facing Luis Garcia (4.09 ERA). After the game, the Twins head back to Minnesota for a six-game homestand. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Smeltzer 45 0 0 0 27 72 Pagán 0 39 0 14 0 53 Fulmer 0 0 12 0 23 35 Jax 11 0 14 0 0 25 Megill 0 15 0 8 0 23 Thielbar 11 0 12 0 0 23 López 9 0 0 0 0 9 Duran 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  8. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 5 IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 0K (66 pitches, 44 strikes, 66.6%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Max Kepler (-.301), Michael Fulmer (-.200), José Miranda (-.088) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Bundy tosses five solid innings, gives Twins a chance Right out of the gate, this game seemed doomed for the Twins. Houston starter Framber Valdez had a 1-2-3 first inning that took him only 14 pitches. Then, when Dylan Bundy took the mound for the bottom half, José Altuve took him deep on his very first pitch, putting the Astros on the board right away. Fortunately, Bundy settled in and retired six of the next seven batters faced, only giving up a walk. Meanwhile, the offense attempted to put something together and managed to get two men on base during the second inning after a walk by Luis Arráez followed by a Gilberto Celestino single. They kept pushing until they manufactured the tying run in the next inning. Sandy León led off the third with a walk, and, suddenly, Minnesota had two men in scoring position after a Jorge Polanco double. Former Astro Carlos Correa hit a liner to left, and León tagged and scored. Martín Maldonado broke Bundy’s hot streak with a leadoff double to start the bottom of the third. He was eventually brought home by an Altuve single and a Yuli Gurriel sac fly, regaining the lead for Houston. Once again, Bundy didn’t lose control: by retiring Alex Bregman on a lineout to conclude the third, he began a streak of seven consecutive batters retired, keeping this a one-run game into the sixth. With tonight’s start, Bundy has completed five consecutive starts in which he gives up three earned runs or less. Houston breaks it open against Fulmer Bundy departed the game after two trips through the order, despite having thrown only 66 total pitches. Should he have been kept in the game, given his pitch count? His 8.53 season ERA in the third time through the order sure isn’t very encouraging, so Rocco Baldelli decided to activate the bullpen, bringing Michael Fulmer to pitch the sixth. Houston added a run after Yordan Álvarez stretched a single into a double after a defensive miscue by the Twins’ outfield. He also moved up to third on a wild pitch, which allowed him to score on a Bregman sac fly. Fulmer couldn’t stop the bleeding, giving up another double, this time to Kyle Tucker with two outs. Then, Trey Mancini blasted a two-run shot to right field, making it 5-1 Astros. With Valdez completing seven innings, the Twins’ struggling offense was once again severely uninspired to spark a rally. Devin Smeltzer came in to eat up the final two innings and did a fine job at it, tossing two scoreless frames. After reliever Bryan Abreu pitched a scoreless eighth, Rafael Montero came in to try to close out the game, Montero failed to retire the first four batters he faced, and the Twins scored a couple of runs: Arráez doubled Gio Urshela home after he had hit a leadoff single; then, Arráez himself was brought home from second on a Jake Cave fielder’s choice (a ball that was bobbled by Altuve). But when Max Kepler grounded into a double play, Montero had no trouble retiring Gary Sanchez for the game’s final out. Postgame interview What’s Next? On Thursday, these two teams play the final game of the series, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 pm CDT. To try and avoid the sweep, the Twins turn to Chris Archer (4.02 ERA), who will be facing Luis Garcia (4.09 ERA). After the game, the Twins head back to Minnesota for a six-game homestand. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Smeltzer 45 0 0 0 27 72 Pagán 0 39 0 14 0 53 Fulmer 0 0 12 0 23 35 Jax 11 0 14 0 0 25 Megill 0 15 0 8 0 23 Thielbar 11 0 12 0 0 23 López 9 0 0 0 0 9 Duran 0 0 0 0 0 0
  9. The Twins left ten men on base, especially in clutch situations. They weren't able to string hits together. The pitching has been doing well, but the offense has struggled. Box Score SP: Chris Archer: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (77 pitches, 45 strikes (58%)) Home Runs: None Top 3 WPA: Chris Archer (.133), Jorge Lopez (.133), Jose Miranda (.122) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Chris Archer started for the Twins on Saturday. The right-hander was able to complete five innings and only allowed one earned run. It was one of his best outings of the season. The bullpen really got a nice break with Devin Smeltzer taking on three innings after relieving Archer in the sixth inning. Smeltzer struggled in his first two innings but somehow gave just up one run to give the Rangers the lead. He gave up five singles, and had it not been for the defense, would have given up more runs. The southpaw came back out for the eighth inning and had a great 1-2-3 inning, but the Twins were still trailing 2-1 heading into the ninth. It’s been amazing to see how little the bullpen has been used this week with the longevity of the starting staff and the longer relievers. Even in extra innings, they looked rested, ready and in control on the mound, not indicated by the two runs given up in the tenth inning. The Twins defense was really the main character of the game. The defense has been playing well for the past few games, helping to get the “W” for the team when the score is too close for comfort. In the fourth inning, after the Rangers threatened with more runners in scoring position, Ezequiel Duran hit a slow chopper to Carlos Correa who turned the ball and threw it to Luis Arraez at first base and got the out to end the inning. Jorge Polanco may not have had any production at the plate, but in the ninth inning, he made a beautiful slide to grab a line drive from Marcus Siemen. He calmly stepped on second base and threw to Arraez for a double play to bring up the Twins to what fans hoped would be the end of the night. Rangers starter Glenn Otto did a nice job on the mound tonight, not allowing the Twins to do more to manufacture runs. Also, the Twins pattern of hitting quite poorly overall with runners in scoring position. Opportunities were given to the Twins, but few of them worked out. Otto walked Gary Sanchez which advanced Jake Cave to second base and brought up Arraez who ripped a ball just over a leaping Corey Seager's extended arm and brought Cave home to get the Twins on the board. Max Kepler, who was on base after a walk, was brought home when Jose Miranda came up clutch and tied the game at 2-2. Kepler was on first when the liner was hit to the right centerfield gap. Kepler dashed around second, and Tommy Watkins waved him home. A dropped relay throw allowed Kepler to score on Miranda's single. The Twins got a runner on base in the bottom of the ninth but were unable to score, sending the game to extra frames. The Rangers started out the extra innings with two runs, but The Twins refused to go silently into the night, battling with every single pitch. They were gifted a run with two outs when the pitcher misplayed a soft grounder, allowing Arraez to score and cut the score to 4-3. However, the game ended when Miranda, who has been instrumental in so many late-rally games, hit a fly-out to left field giving the Rangers the win for the night. What’s Next? The Twins still have two more games to finish off with the Rangers before traveling to Houston to face the Astros who are first place in the AL West and have gone 7-for-11. Pitching matchup for the rest of the series: Sunday 1:10pm CST: Joe Ryan (9-5, 3.92 ERA) vs RHP Kohei Arihara (0-1, 4.76 ERA) Monday 6:10pm CST: Sonny Gray(7-3, 3.11 ERA) vs. LHP Cole Ragans (0-2, 5.02 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  10. Box Score SP: Chris Archer: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (77 pitches, 45 strikes (58%)) Home Runs: None Top 3 WPA: Chris Archer (.133), Jorge Lopez (.133), Jose Miranda (.122) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Chris Archer started for the Twins on Saturday. The right-hander was able to complete five innings and only allowed one earned run. It was one of his best outings of the season. The bullpen really got a nice break with Devin Smeltzer taking on three innings after relieving Archer in the sixth inning. Smeltzer struggled in his first two innings but somehow gave just up one run to give the Rangers the lead. He gave up five singles, and had it not been for the defense, would have given up more runs. The southpaw came back out for the eighth inning and had a great 1-2-3 inning, but the Twins were still trailing 2-1 heading into the ninth. It’s been amazing to see how little the bullpen has been used this week with the longevity of the starting staff and the longer relievers. Even in extra innings, they looked rested, ready and in control on the mound, not indicated by the two runs given up in the tenth inning. The Twins defense was really the main character of the game. The defense has been playing well for the past few games, helping to get the “W” for the team when the score is too close for comfort. In the fourth inning, after the Rangers threatened with more runners in scoring position, Ezequiel Duran hit a slow chopper to Carlos Correa who turned the ball and threw it to Luis Arraez at first base and got the out to end the inning. Jorge Polanco may not have had any production at the plate, but in the ninth inning, he made a beautiful slide to grab a line drive from Marcus Siemen. He calmly stepped on second base and threw to Arraez for a double play to bring up the Twins to what fans hoped would be the end of the night. Rangers starter Glenn Otto did a nice job on the mound tonight, not allowing the Twins to do more to manufacture runs. Also, the Twins pattern of hitting quite poorly overall with runners in scoring position. Opportunities were given to the Twins, but few of them worked out. Otto walked Gary Sanchez which advanced Jake Cave to second base and brought up Arraez who ripped a ball just over a leaping Corey Seager's extended arm and brought Cave home to get the Twins on the board. Max Kepler, who was on base after a walk, was brought home when Jose Miranda came up clutch and tied the game at 2-2. Kepler was on first when the liner was hit to the right centerfield gap. Kepler dashed around second, and Tommy Watkins waved him home. A dropped relay throw allowed Kepler to score on Miranda's single. The Twins got a runner on base in the bottom of the ninth but were unable to score, sending the game to extra frames. The Rangers started out the extra innings with two runs, but The Twins refused to go silently into the night, battling with every single pitch. They were gifted a run with two outs when the pitcher misplayed a soft grounder, allowing Arraez to score and cut the score to 4-3. However, the game ended when Miranda, who has been instrumental in so many late-rally games, hit a fly-out to left field giving the Rangers the win for the night. What’s Next? The Twins still have two more games to finish off with the Rangers before traveling to Houston to face the Astros who are first place in the AL West and have gone 7-for-11. Pitching matchup for the rest of the series: Sunday 1:10pm CST: Joe Ryan (9-5, 3.92 ERA) vs RHP Kohei Arihara (0-1, 4.76 ERA) Monday 6:10pm CST: Sonny Gray(7-3, 3.11 ERA) vs. LHP Cole Ragans (0-2, 5.02 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  11. TRANSACTIONS There were a slew of transactions in the system leading into Tuesday’s games. RHP Tyler Viza was released from the St. Paul Saints roster, and RHP Daniel Gosset was assigned from the Wind Surge in his place.. In Double-A, RHP Francis Peguero was assigned to Wichita from Cedar Rapids, RHP Simeon Woods Richardson, and RHP Blayne Enlow were activated from the injured list. SS Kevin Merrell was released, and RHP Melvi Acosta was placed on the development list. In Fort Myers, LHP Ryan Horstman was sent on a rehab assignment with the FCL Twins, and LHP Jesus Toledo was released. SAINTS SENTINEL Iowa 6, St. Paul 2 Box Score Devin Smeltzer took the hill for the Saints on Tuesday and was solid through his five innings. He allowed just one run on four hits and a walk while punching out six Cubs hitters. Despite that effort, he wasn’t in line for a win as his offense struggled just as much against the opposing pitchers. They did manage to tie the game at one in the bottom of the fifth by stringing together three singles, the third of which was the RBI variety off the bat of Tim Beckham. Drew Strotman was summoned for the sixth inning and allowed a hit, a walk, and an unearned run for the Cubs to retake the lead. Juan Minaya came on for the seventh and delivered a scoreless inning. In the bottom half, the Saints put together a two-out rally, started by a Spencer Steer walk. Jake Cave then brought him home with a double to tie the game at two. Back out for the eighth, Minaya ran into trouble and a fielders choice grounder allowed another go-ahead run to score for the Cubs. Minaya finished 1 1/3, striking out one. With rain and lightning rearing its head by this point, the game was at risk of being suspended at any point. They made it into the top of the ninth inning and Evan Sisk had recorded three outs by that point, including two K’s, but a single and a walk in the ninth came before being delayed. When play resumed, Wladamir Pinto was brought in to pitch, and it didn’t go well. A double, walk, and sac fly resulted in three more runs for the Cubs, and a 6-2 lead. A pair of walks to start the bottom of the ninth gave some good vibes, but they were quickly erased by a double-play ball from Steer, and a strikeout from Cave to end the game. The Saints got multi-hit efforts from Beckham (2-for-4, RBI, K) and Jermaine Palacios (2-for-4, 2 K). As a team, they were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base. WIND SURGE WISDOM NW Arkansas 3, Wichita 9 Box Score Wichita took the lead early and never looked back in this one, putting it well out of reach late. Blayne Enlow was given the start after being activated from the injured list and pitched the first two innings. He faced the minimum and allowed just a walk, and struck out one. Simeon Woods Richardson joined him on the return from the IL, and went the next two innings, allowing one hit and striking out two. The Wind Surge had taken a 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a two-run home run from Chris Williams, his 18th of the season. The game was relatively quiet from there until the seventh, when Wichita extended their lead to 5-0 thanks to a three-run bomb from Cole Sturgeon. They tacked on four more in the eighth thanks to a two-run single from Christian Encarnacion-Strand, sac fly from Williams, and RBI double from Andrew Bechtold. After Enlow and Woods Richardson were done, Cody Laweryson (3 IP, 4 H, BB, 2 K), Alex Phillips (2/3 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, K), and Denny Bentley (1 1/3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, K) finished off the win for Wichita. Encarnacion-Strand (2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, K), Sturgeon (2-for-3, R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB), Bechtold (2-for-4, 2B, RBI, BB, K), and Nash Knight (2-for-3, R, BB, K) each had two hits in the win. Out of the leadoff spot, Edouard Julien went 1-for-4, scored two runs, and drew a walk. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 10, Wisconsin 4 Box Score The Kernels fell behind 4-1 through four innings in this one but came back big late to take care of the Timber Rattlers. John Stankiewicz made the start and completed three innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out two. While warming up for the fourth inning, he appeared to suffer an injury and had to leave the game. Tyler Palm replaced him and went the next two innings. He allowed two runs of his own on two hits and two walks. Cedar Rapids got on the scoreboard first in the opening frame, when Yunior Severino doubled, and a relay throw got away from the shortstop allowing Aaron Sabato, who had drawn a walk, to scamper home. They didn’t score again until the sixth, and that’s when the tides began to turn. They closed the gap to 4-3 thanks to a Severino two-run homer. They tied it at four in the seventh on a sac fly from Will Holland to score Wander Javier, who had led off the inning with a double. They took a 5-4 lead in the eighth when, you guessed it, Severino added another RBI double to his ledger. Orlando Rodriguez (2 IP, 3 H, 2 K), Hunter McMahon (1 IP, 2 K), and Jon Olsen (1 IP, 2 K) combined to shutout Wisconsin after the fourth inning. In the ninth, the Kernels blew it wide open thanks to some wild pitching, and a big blast from one of their sluggers. Javier led off with a single, then a pair of walks and a hit by pitch scored the first run, and left the bases loaded for Sabato. He cleared them on a 3-1 pitch, sending a 436-foot blast out of the stadium in dead center to put an exclamation on the win. Sabato finished 1-for-3, but reached base three times and scored three runs, in addition to the grand slam. Severino drove in four with his 3-for-5 night, including two doubles and a home run of his own. Javier also chipped in two hits, including a double, drew a walk, and scored two runs (don’t look now, but Javier has an .870 OPS since the start of June). MUSSEL MATTERS Tampa 7, Fort Myers 2 (10 innings) Box Score Jaylen Nowlin took the mound for the Mighty Mussels and was solid over his five innings. He allowed two runs on five hits and one walk while striking out five. Both runs came in the third inning, in which he allowed three singles. Jackson Hicks pitched two scoreless innings of relief, walking one and striking out three. He was followed by John Wilson who got them to extra innings with two scoreless frames. Back out for the tenth, however, he was charged with three earned runs on two hits and two walks, striking out one in his 2 2/3 innings. The Fort Myers lineup was actually being no-hit through six innings, but Noah Miller finally led off the seventh with a single to end that bid. He was caught stealing during the next at-bat, but Keoni Cavaco added a single of his own and two players were hit by pitches to load the bases, but they weren’t able to cash in. In the bottom of the ninth, it was again Miller getting a rally started, as he drew a leadoff walk. Cavaco and Kala’i Rosario then each followed with a single to get the Mighty Mussels on the board, before a pair of groundouts were enough to get Cavaco home to tie the game and send it to extra innings. But it unraveled pretty quickly for Wilson on the mound, and Johnathan Lavallee wasn’t able to limit the damage either, allowing two hits, a walk, and two runs (one earned) of his own as they fell behind 7-2. Cavaco’s two hits led the offense, who had just four hits on the night as a team. They were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left only six men on base for the game. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Braves 2, FCL Twins 5 (6+ innings) Box Score There were several games in the Florida Complex League on Tuesday that were affected by rain, and the Twins game was called official after being suspended in the top of the seventh. Brayan Medina pitched the first four innings, allowing two runs on a homer in the first inning, but didn’t allow any other damage after that, retiring 11 to finish his outing. He walked none and struck out four. Ryan Horstman (1 IP, K), Zaquiel Puentes (1 IP, 2 BB), and Yon Landaeta (2 BB) made appearances out of the bullpen. The Twins tied the game in the second inning, thanks to a two-run double from Ismael Perez. In the third, Danny De Andrade put them in front for good with a solo home run, his second of the season. Perez added another RBI double in the fourth, then a sac fly in the sixth to cap the scoring before the game was called. Perez (2-for-2, 2 2B, 4 RBI) and Gregory Duran (2-for-2, R, BB) each had two hits in the win. DOMINICAN DAILIES DSL Twins 3, DSL Colorado 6 Box Score The Twins got a solid start from right-hander Miguel Olivares, who finished five scoreless innings and left with his team-leading 3-0. He allowed just one hit, walked two, and struck out three. Relievers Oscar Paredes (2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, BB, K) and Leonardo Lugo (2/3 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, K) combined to allow six runs and Colorado to come back. Jose Brito got the last out of the game for the Twins. Leading the lineup was Jose Rodriguez, who went 2-for-4 including a two-run home run, his ninth of the season. Bryan Acuna also had two hits, including a double, and stole a base. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Devin Smeltzer, St. Paul Saints (5 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 6 K) Hitter of the Day - Yunior Severino, Cedar Rapids Kernels (3-for-5, R, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 2 IP, H, 2 K #6 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, R, BB #8 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-3, R, BB, K #12 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, 2 K #13 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 2 IP, BB, K #15 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-4, 2 R, BB #16 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Wichita) - 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (1:07 PM CDT) - RHP Aaron Sanchez (3-1, 4.50 ERA) NW Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Casey Legumina Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (12:10 PM CDT) - TBD Tampa @ Fort Myers, Game 1 (3:30 PM CDT) - RHP Pierson Ohl (4-5, 4.37 ERA) Tampa @ Fort Myers, Game 2 - TBD DSL Cardinals @ DSL Twins (10:00 AM CDT) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  12. Tuesday saw the return of a pair of top pitching prospects in Double-A, but it was power from the lineups for Cedar Rapids and Wichita that led their teams to victories. TRANSACTIONS There were a slew of transactions in the system leading into Tuesday’s games. RHP Tyler Viza was released from the St. Paul Saints roster, and RHP Daniel Gosset was assigned from the Wind Surge in his place.. In Double-A, RHP Francis Peguero was assigned to Wichita from Cedar Rapids, RHP Simeon Woods Richardson, and RHP Blayne Enlow were activated from the injured list. SS Kevin Merrell was released, and RHP Melvi Acosta was placed on the development list. In Fort Myers, LHP Ryan Horstman was sent on a rehab assignment with the FCL Twins, and LHP Jesus Toledo was released. SAINTS SENTINEL Iowa 6, St. Paul 2 Box Score Devin Smeltzer took the hill for the Saints on Tuesday and was solid through his five innings. He allowed just one run on four hits and a walk while punching out six Cubs hitters. Despite that effort, he wasn’t in line for a win as his offense struggled just as much against the opposing pitchers. They did manage to tie the game at one in the bottom of the fifth by stringing together three singles, the third of which was the RBI variety off the bat of Tim Beckham. Drew Strotman was summoned for the sixth inning and allowed a hit, a walk, and an unearned run for the Cubs to retake the lead. Juan Minaya came on for the seventh and delivered a scoreless inning. In the bottom half, the Saints put together a two-out rally, started by a Spencer Steer walk. Jake Cave then brought him home with a double to tie the game at two. Back out for the eighth, Minaya ran into trouble and a fielders choice grounder allowed another go-ahead run to score for the Cubs. Minaya finished 1 1/3, striking out one. With rain and lightning rearing its head by this point, the game was at risk of being suspended at any point. They made it into the top of the ninth inning and Evan Sisk had recorded three outs by that point, including two K’s, but a single and a walk in the ninth came before being delayed. When play resumed, Wladamir Pinto was brought in to pitch, and it didn’t go well. A double, walk, and sac fly resulted in three more runs for the Cubs, and a 6-2 lead. A pair of walks to start the bottom of the ninth gave some good vibes, but they were quickly erased by a double-play ball from Steer, and a strikeout from Cave to end the game. The Saints got multi-hit efforts from Beckham (2-for-4, RBI, K) and Jermaine Palacios (2-for-4, 2 K). As a team, they were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base. WIND SURGE WISDOM NW Arkansas 3, Wichita 9 Box Score Wichita took the lead early and never looked back in this one, putting it well out of reach late. Blayne Enlow was given the start after being activated from the injured list and pitched the first two innings. He faced the minimum and allowed just a walk, and struck out one. Simeon Woods Richardson joined him on the return from the IL, and went the next two innings, allowing one hit and striking out two. The Wind Surge had taken a 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a two-run home run from Chris Williams, his 18th of the season. The game was relatively quiet from there until the seventh, when Wichita extended their lead to 5-0 thanks to a three-run bomb from Cole Sturgeon. They tacked on four more in the eighth thanks to a two-run single from Christian Encarnacion-Strand, sac fly from Williams, and RBI double from Andrew Bechtold. After Enlow and Woods Richardson were done, Cody Laweryson (3 IP, 4 H, BB, 2 K), Alex Phillips (2/3 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, K), and Denny Bentley (1 1/3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, K) finished off the win for Wichita. Encarnacion-Strand (2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, K), Sturgeon (2-for-3, R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB), Bechtold (2-for-4, 2B, RBI, BB, K), and Nash Knight (2-for-3, R, BB, K) each had two hits in the win. Out of the leadoff spot, Edouard Julien went 1-for-4, scored two runs, and drew a walk. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 10, Wisconsin 4 Box Score The Kernels fell behind 4-1 through four innings in this one but came back big late to take care of the Timber Rattlers. John Stankiewicz made the start and completed three innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out two. While warming up for the fourth inning, he appeared to suffer an injury and had to leave the game. Tyler Palm replaced him and went the next two innings. He allowed two runs of his own on two hits and two walks. Cedar Rapids got on the scoreboard first in the opening frame, when Yunior Severino doubled, and a relay throw got away from the shortstop allowing Aaron Sabato, who had drawn a walk, to scamper home. They didn’t score again until the sixth, and that’s when the tides began to turn. They closed the gap to 4-3 thanks to a Severino two-run homer. They tied it at four in the seventh on a sac fly from Will Holland to score Wander Javier, who had led off the inning with a double. They took a 5-4 lead in the eighth when, you guessed it, Severino added another RBI double to his ledger. Orlando Rodriguez (2 IP, 3 H, 2 K), Hunter McMahon (1 IP, 2 K), and Jon Olsen (1 IP, 2 K) combined to shutout Wisconsin after the fourth inning. In the ninth, the Kernels blew it wide open thanks to some wild pitching, and a big blast from one of their sluggers. Javier led off with a single, then a pair of walks and a hit by pitch scored the first run, and left the bases loaded for Sabato. He cleared them on a 3-1 pitch, sending a 436-foot blast out of the stadium in dead center to put an exclamation on the win. Sabato finished 1-for-3, but reached base three times and scored three runs, in addition to the grand slam. Severino drove in four with his 3-for-5 night, including two doubles and a home run of his own. Javier also chipped in two hits, including a double, drew a walk, and scored two runs (don’t look now, but Javier has an .870 OPS since the start of June). MUSSEL MATTERS Tampa 7, Fort Myers 2 (10 innings) Box Score Jaylen Nowlin took the mound for the Mighty Mussels and was solid over his five innings. He allowed two runs on five hits and one walk while striking out five. Both runs came in the third inning, in which he allowed three singles. Jackson Hicks pitched two scoreless innings of relief, walking one and striking out three. He was followed by John Wilson who got them to extra innings with two scoreless frames. Back out for the tenth, however, he was charged with three earned runs on two hits and two walks, striking out one in his 2 2/3 innings. The Fort Myers lineup was actually being no-hit through six innings, but Noah Miller finally led off the seventh with a single to end that bid. He was caught stealing during the next at-bat, but Keoni Cavaco added a single of his own and two players were hit by pitches to load the bases, but they weren’t able to cash in. In the bottom of the ninth, it was again Miller getting a rally started, as he drew a leadoff walk. Cavaco and Kala’i Rosario then each followed with a single to get the Mighty Mussels on the board, before a pair of groundouts were enough to get Cavaco home to tie the game and send it to extra innings. But it unraveled pretty quickly for Wilson on the mound, and Johnathan Lavallee wasn’t able to limit the damage either, allowing two hits, a walk, and two runs (one earned) of his own as they fell behind 7-2. Cavaco’s two hits led the offense, who had just four hits on the night as a team. They were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left only six men on base for the game. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Braves 2, FCL Twins 5 (6+ innings) Box Score There were several games in the Florida Complex League on Tuesday that were affected by rain, and the Twins game was called official after being suspended in the top of the seventh. Brayan Medina pitched the first four innings, allowing two runs on a homer in the first inning, but didn’t allow any other damage after that, retiring 11 to finish his outing. He walked none and struck out four. Ryan Horstman (1 IP, K), Zaquiel Puentes (1 IP, 2 BB), and Yon Landaeta (2 BB) made appearances out of the bullpen. The Twins tied the game in the second inning, thanks to a two-run double from Ismael Perez. In the third, Danny De Andrade put them in front for good with a solo home run, his second of the season. Perez added another RBI double in the fourth, then a sac fly in the sixth to cap the scoring before the game was called. Perez (2-for-2, 2 2B, 4 RBI) and Gregory Duran (2-for-2, R, BB) each had two hits in the win. DOMINICAN DAILIES DSL Twins 3, DSL Colorado 6 Box Score The Twins got a solid start from right-hander Miguel Olivares, who finished five scoreless innings and left with his team-leading 3-0. He allowed just one hit, walked two, and struck out three. Relievers Oscar Paredes (2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, BB, K) and Leonardo Lugo (2/3 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, K) combined to allow six runs and Colorado to come back. Jose Brito got the last out of the game for the Twins. Leading the lineup was Jose Rodriguez, who went 2-for-4 including a two-run home run, his ninth of the season. Bryan Acuna also had two hits, including a double, and stole a base. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Devin Smeltzer, St. Paul Saints (5 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 6 K) Hitter of the Day - Yunior Severino, Cedar Rapids Kernels (3-for-5, R, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 2 IP, H, 2 K #6 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, R, BB #8 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-3, R, BB, K #12 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, 2 K #13 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 2 IP, BB, K #15 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-4, 2 R, BB #16 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Wichita) - 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (1:07 PM CDT) - RHP Aaron Sanchez (3-1, 4.50 ERA) NW Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Casey Legumina Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (12:10 PM CDT) - TBD Tampa @ Fort Myers, Game 1 (3:30 PM CDT) - RHP Pierson Ohl (4-5, 4.37 ERA) Tampa @ Fort Myers, Game 2 - TBD DSL Cardinals @ DSL Twins (10:00 AM CDT) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games! 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  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. Minnesota's front office didn't mess around at the 2018 trade deadline. Take a look back at the talent acquired during the last week in July. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over Minnesota's baseball operations department leading into the 2017 season. Each season has taken on a different feel, but they have a track record of making moves at the trade deadline. This series will look back at each trade deadline under this regime. Minnesota surprised many by being in contention during the 2017 season, with their front office shifting between buying and selling at the deadline. The 2018 season was a little easier because the team was below .500 but ended up in second place in the AL Central. The Twins made multiple moves before the deadline, and the big-league roster still feels these trades' impacts. Trade 1 (July 27, 2018) Twins Receive: OF Ernie De La Trinidad, P Jhoan Duran, OF Gabriel Maciel Diamondbacks Receive: INF Eduardo Escobar Escobar was on an expiring contract, so it made sense to deal the veteran who was in the middle of a tremendous season. Duran has turned into the team's dominant high-leverage reliever, which is more than enough for a couple of months of Escobar. De La Trinidad topped out at Double-A last season with the Twins, where he posted a .759 OPS in 80 games. Maciel played 73 games at Cedar Rapids last season with a .621 OPS. In December, he was selected in the minor-league Rule 5 draft by the Athletics organization and has a .733 OPS as he repeats High-A. Trade 2 (July 27, 2018) Twins Receive: P Jorge Alcala, OF Gilberto Celestino Astros Receive: P Ryan Pressly It was tough to see the Twins part with a reliever that wasn't on an expiring contract, but both prospects in the deal were viewed highly by evaluators. Pressly has stayed in Houston for the remainder of his career while turning into one of baseball's best late-inning arms. Alcala posted decent numbers as a reliever last season, and the team hopes he can return this year to help a struggling bullpen. Celestino has proven his value to the club as a strong center-field defender to complement a decent bat. Minnesota acquired two big-league assets for 14 months of Pressly, so this deal looks great for both teams. Trade 3 (July 30, 2018) Twins Receive: P Chase De Jong, 1B/3B Ryan Costello Seattle Receive: P Zach Duke Duke was a strong left-handed specialist at a time when relievers could face fewer than three batters. Following the trade, he posted a 5.52 ERA in 27 appearances. De Jong made five appearances with the Twins and allowed 11 earned runs in 18 2/3 innings. During the 2022 season, he found a role in the Pirates bullpen, having a 2.25 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in 32 innings. Costello posted a .755 OPS between High- and Double-A during the 2019 season. Tragically, he passed away on November 18, 2019, from a sudden cardiac arrhythmia. (Learn more about The RC13 Foundation here.) Trade 4 (July 30, 2018) Twins Receive: 1B/OF Tyler Austin, P Luis Rijo Yankees Receive: P Lance Lynn Lynn has evolved into one of baseball's best pitchers over the last four seasons, but he was terrible for the Twins in 2018. It made sense to deal with his expiring contract, and the returning players offered some intrigue. Austin played parts of two seasons with the Twins and posted a .786 OPS. Rijo has been limited to nine appearances over the last two seasons as he dealt with right elbow UCL reconstruction. He is currently rehabbing with the FCL Twins. Trade 5 (July 31, 2018) Twins Receive: 2B Logan Forsythe, OF/1B Luke Raley, P Devin Smeltzer Dodgers Receive: 2B Brian Dozier One year after being vocal about the team trading away veterans, Dozier found himself dealt to a contender. After leaving the Twins, Dozier only played one more full season, but he won a World Series with the Nationals. Forsythe was included in the deal, so the Twins had someone to fill second base for the season's remaining games. Raley eventually was part of the Kenta Maeda trade as he returned to the Dodger organization. Smeltzer has been a surprise contributor to the Twins rotation in 2022. What do you remember about this trade deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES -2017 Trade Deadline View full article
  16. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over Minnesota's baseball operations department leading into the 2017 season. Each season has taken on a different feel, but they have a track record of making moves at the trade deadline. This series will look back at each trade deadline under this regime. Minnesota surprised many by being in contention during the 2017 season, with their front office shifting between buying and selling at the deadline. The 2018 season was a little easier because the team was below .500 but ended up in second place in the AL Central. The Twins made multiple moves before the deadline, and the big-league roster still feels these trades' impacts. Trade 1 (July 27, 2018) Twins Receive: OF Ernie De La Trinidad, P Jhoan Duran, OF Gabriel Maciel Diamondbacks Receive: INF Eduardo Escobar Escobar was on an expiring contract, so it made sense to deal the veteran who was in the middle of a tremendous season. Duran has turned into the team's dominant high-leverage reliever, which is more than enough for a couple of months of Escobar. De La Trinidad topped out at Double-A last season with the Twins, where he posted a .759 OPS in 80 games. Maciel played 73 games at Cedar Rapids last season with a .621 OPS. In December, he was selected in the minor-league Rule 5 draft by the Athletics organization and has a .733 OPS as he repeats High-A. Trade 2 (July 27, 2018) Twins Receive: P Jorge Alcala, OF Gilberto Celestino Astros Receive: P Ryan Pressly It was tough to see the Twins part with a reliever that wasn't on an expiring contract, but both prospects in the deal were viewed highly by evaluators. Pressly has stayed in Houston for the remainder of his career while turning into one of baseball's best late-inning arms. Alcala posted decent numbers as a reliever last season, and the team hopes he can return this year to help a struggling bullpen. Celestino has proven his value to the club as a strong center-field defender to complement a decent bat. Minnesota acquired two big-league assets for 14 months of Pressly, so this deal looks great for both teams. Trade 3 (July 30, 2018) Twins Receive: P Chase De Jong, 1B/3B Ryan Costello Seattle Receive: P Zach Duke Duke was a strong left-handed specialist at a time when relievers could face fewer than three batters. Following the trade, he posted a 5.52 ERA in 27 appearances. De Jong made five appearances with the Twins and allowed 11 earned runs in 18 2/3 innings. During the 2022 season, he found a role in the Pirates bullpen, having a 2.25 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in 32 innings. Costello posted a .755 OPS between High- and Double-A during the 2019 season. Tragically, he passed away on November 18, 2019, from a sudden cardiac arrhythmia. (Learn more about The RC13 Foundation here.) Trade 4 (July 30, 2018) Twins Receive: 1B/OF Tyler Austin, P Luis Rijo Yankees Receive: P Lance Lynn Lynn has evolved into one of baseball's best pitchers over the last four seasons, but he was terrible for the Twins in 2018. It made sense to deal with his expiring contract, and the returning players offered some intrigue. Austin played parts of two seasons with the Twins and posted a .786 OPS. Rijo has been limited to nine appearances over the last two seasons as he dealt with right elbow UCL reconstruction. He is currently rehabbing with the FCL Twins. Trade 5 (July 31, 2018) Twins Receive: 2B Logan Forsythe, OF/1B Luke Raley, P Devin Smeltzer Dodgers Receive: 2B Brian Dozier One year after being vocal about the team trading away veterans, Dozier found himself dealt to a contender. After leaving the Twins, Dozier only played one more full season, but he won a World Series with the Nationals. Forsythe was included in the deal, so the Twins had someone to fill second base for the season's remaining games. Raley eventually was part of the Kenta Maeda trade as he returned to the Dodger organization. Smeltzer has been a surprise contributor to the Twins rotation in 2022. What do you remember about this trade deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES -2017 Trade Deadline
  17. Wait, they didn't come back? Box Score Starting Pitcher: Devin Smeltzer: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K Home Runs: None Bottom 3 WPA: Max Kepler (.138), Carlos Correa (.132), Jose Miranda (.109) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Devin Smeltzer, already established as the rotation’s savior, faced off against an ex-Twins farmhand, Tyler Wells. Smeltzer had just set a season-high in strikeouts (10) in his previous start; Wells looked to continue his effectiveness in the Orioles’ starting rotation. The game began sleepily and lazily; neither team scored until the 5th inning, and both the Twins and the Orioles committed a careless error in the 1st frame. Gilberto Celestino was the culprit for Minnesota; Rougned Odor was the one for Baltimore. The mistakes did not lead to runs. The Orioles struck in the 4th inning; Anthony Santander hit a Texas Leaguer over Alex Kirilloff’s head and reached 2nd base after Smeltzer uncharacteristically spiked a wild pitch into the dirt. Tyler Nevin—the son of former Twin and current red-ass Phil Nevin—smoked a single up the middle, forcing Santander to try his luck with Celestino’s arm from center field. In a close battle, Celestino’s throw beat Santander to the plate, and Gary Sánchez slapped the runner to secure the out and energize the crowd. But the Twins offense remained in a coma; Wells, typically not a strike-out pitcher, overwhelmed Minnesota’s bats with his rising fastball and darting slider. Hitters of all variety failed to fight back; the team’s array of lefties netted just one extra-base hit (a Nick Gordon double in the 6th inning), while many walked away with an extra strikeout or two on their ledger. Even Luis Arraez punched out. Something was not right. Fortune turned quickly in the middle innings. Odor smoked a solo homer to right field to net the first run of the ball game; Trey Mancini and Ryan Mountcastle blasted off consecutively in the next frame. Suddenly, after Smeltzer appeared well in command of the game, the score ballooned to 3-0. After innings of nothingness, the Twins revved up their engines in the 6th, trampolining off a Celestino lead-off walk to plate a run. There was a slight feeling of disappointment amid the success; Carlos Correa grounded into a double-play following an Arraez single, eliminating a base-runner before Jorge Polanco singled home Celestino. Juan Minaya did his best to keep the Twins in the game; the often yo-yo-ed righty posted two scoreless innings with three strikeouts and one hit allowed. On a team looking for relief help, such outings will help Minaya make a case for acquiring crucial innings down the stretch. The Twins could not find success even after Wells exited the game. A series of Baltimore relievers—Keegan Akin, Joey Krehbiel, and Dillon Tate—continued Wells’ dominance and shutout Minnesota’s offense in the final three frames. What’s Next? The Twins will travel to Chicago and take on the White Sox for the first a few series in July; Dylan Bundy will take the mound for Minnesota, while Johnny Cueto (yes, he’s still around) will toe the rubber for Chicago. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  18. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Devin Smeltzer: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K Home Runs: None Bottom 3 WPA: Max Kepler (.138), Carlos Correa (.132), Jose Miranda (.109) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Devin Smeltzer, already established as the rotation’s savior, faced off against an ex-Twins farmhand, Tyler Wells. Smeltzer had just set a season-high in strikeouts (10) in his previous start; Wells looked to continue his effectiveness in the Orioles’ starting rotation. The game began sleepily and lazily; neither team scored until the 5th inning, and both the Twins and the Orioles committed a careless error in the 1st frame. Gilberto Celestino was the culprit for Minnesota; Rougned Odor was the one for Baltimore. The mistakes did not lead to runs. The Orioles struck in the 4th inning; Anthony Santander hit a Texas Leaguer over Alex Kirilloff’s head and reached 2nd base after Smeltzer uncharacteristically spiked a wild pitch into the dirt. Tyler Nevin—the son of former Twin and current red-ass Phil Nevin—smoked a single up the middle, forcing Santander to try his luck with Celestino’s arm from center field. In a close battle, Celestino’s throw beat Santander to the plate, and Gary Sánchez slapped the runner to secure the out and energize the crowd. But the Twins offense remained in a coma; Wells, typically not a strike-out pitcher, overwhelmed Minnesota’s bats with his rising fastball and darting slider. Hitters of all variety failed to fight back; the team’s array of lefties netted just one extra-base hit (a Nick Gordon double in the 6th inning), while many walked away with an extra strikeout or two on their ledger. Even Luis Arraez punched out. Something was not right. Fortune turned quickly in the middle innings. Odor smoked a solo homer to right field to net the first run of the ball game; Trey Mancini and Ryan Mountcastle blasted off consecutively in the next frame. Suddenly, after Smeltzer appeared well in command of the game, the score ballooned to 3-0. After innings of nothingness, the Twins revved up their engines in the 6th, trampolining off a Celestino lead-off walk to plate a run. There was a slight feeling of disappointment amid the success; Carlos Correa grounded into a double-play following an Arraez single, eliminating a base-runner before Jorge Polanco singled home Celestino. Juan Minaya did his best to keep the Twins in the game; the often yo-yo-ed righty posted two scoreless innings with three strikeouts and one hit allowed. On a team looking for relief help, such outings will help Minaya make a case for acquiring crucial innings down the stretch. The Twins could not find success even after Wells exited the game. A series of Baltimore relievers—Keegan Akin, Joey Krehbiel, and Dillon Tate—continued Wells’ dominance and shutout Minnesota’s offense in the final three frames. What’s Next? The Twins will travel to Chicago and take on the White Sox for the first a few series in July; Dylan Bundy will take the mound for Minnesota, while Johnny Cueto (yes, he’s still around) will toe the rubber for Chicago. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  19. The Twins lost to the Guardians in familiarly frustrating fashion on Tuesday. The third Emilio Pagán meltdown in a week wasted a gem by Devin Smeltzer and a huge home run by Carlos Correa. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Devin Smeltzer 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO (95 pitches, 63 strikes) Homeruns: Carlos Correa (9) Bottom 3 WPA: Emilio Pagán -.538, Gio Urshela -.236, Luis Arraez -.161 Bottom Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) On Tuesday afternoon, the Twins kicked off an important double header against Cleveland, after a commanding win on Monday night. Here’s how they lined up for game one of their split doubleheader. On the mound, the game offered a rematch of the final game of the last series between the two teams. On that occasion, a Nick Gordon solo home run provided the lone scoring punctuating a pair of strong pitching performances, Tuesday provided more of the same. Zach Plesac struggled for command early, walking Carlos Correa and Max Kepler in the top of the first inning, but inducing a weak ground ball from hit-hitting Alex Kirilloff to end the moderate first-inning threat. In the bottom of the frame, the Guardians got on the board in bizarre fashion. After Ahmed Rosario singled on a ground ball to left field Franmil Reyes doubled on a ball to shallow right field. Alex Kirilloff clearly lost the ball in the sun and Max Kepler, jogging in casually from the outfield, looked like he assumed Kirilloff would make the play. The batted ball, with an xBA of .010, traveled 65 feet but landed for a double, scoring Rosario all the way from first base. After a hit-by-pitch in the second inning and a single in the third inning, Smeltzer really settled in and found a groove. He retired ten consecutive batters (six by strikeout) before allowing a Jose Ramirez double in the bottom of the sixth inning. Smeltzer relied heavily on his changeup and kept Cleveland’s offense off balance, inducing 12 swings and misses in his outing. The Minnesota offense, meanwhile, looked destined to be shut out for a league-leading eleventh time by the Guardians. Through six innings, Plesac had accumulated a whopping 17 swings and misses. Aside from a pair of fourth-inning singles, the Twins weren’t able to muster much offensively, a continued, frustrating trend of an up and down Twins offense. Finally, in the seventh inning, the offense broke through. Jose Miranda laced a 109 mph double down the left field line for a double before Gilberto Celestino crushed a triple to left center field off outstanding Guardians reliever Evan Morgan, tying the game at 1-1. In the bottom of the seventh, Griffin Jax relieved Smeltzer. After quickly retiring Oscar Gonzalez, Jax dropped a flip from Alex Kirilloff while covering first base, allowing Andres Gimenez to reach first on an error. Jax quickly recovered to induce two ground outs to end the seventh inning. In the top of the eighth, the Twins took their first lead of the game. Minnesota native Sam Hentges came out in relief for Cleveland. Carlos Correa took an elevated fastball deep to left field for his ninth home run of the year. Max Kepler reached second base on a Hentges throwing error a batter latter, on an excuse me infield dribbler from Kepler. Garlick drilled a 107 mph line drive straight at the center fielder, before Byron Buxton pinch hit for Alex Kirilloff. Buxton and Gary Sanchez struck out to end the inning. Predictably, Emilio Pagán immediately undid all of the momentum, and all of the hard work. After entering in the bottom of the eighth inning against the bottom of the Cleveland lineup, he surrendered two walks, a wild pitch, and a single, to give the Guardians the lead at 3-2 and put Emmanuel Clase on deck to close the game. It was yet another late-inning meltdown against the Guardians, yet another wasted big moment, and yet another example of how fragile, inconsistent, and lacking in quality the Twins bullpen is. Caleb Thielbar relieved Pagán and cleaned up the mess, but the damage was already done. Clase closed the game for Cleveland, marking the third time in a week the Twins bullpen, Pagán specifically, has thrown away a game close and late. Game two will follow tonight. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Cotton 0 25 0 24 0 49 Pagan 0 0 22 0 22 44 Duffey 28 0 15 0 0 43 Thornburg 7 35 0 0 0 42 Jax 0 12 0 0 21 33 Theilbar 0 0 19 0 10 29 Duran 0 0 18 0 0 18 Moran 0 0 0 0 0 0 Next Up On Tuesday night, the Twins will conclude their double header against Cleveland. Josh Winder gets the start for the Twins, against Konnor Pilkington of the Guardians. First pitch is at 6:10 CT. On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against Cleveland. Dylan Bundy goes for the Twins, against Cal Quantrill for the Guardians. First pitch is at 6:10 CT. Postgame Interviews - Coming Soon View full article
  20. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Devin Smeltzer 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO (95 pitches, 63 strikes) Homeruns: Carlos Correa (9) Bottom 3 WPA: Emilio Pagán -.538, Gio Urshela -.236, Luis Arraez -.161 Bottom Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) On Tuesday afternoon, the Twins kicked off an important double header against Cleveland, after a commanding win on Monday night. Here’s how they lined up for game one of their split doubleheader. On the mound, the game offered a rematch of the final game of the last series between the two teams. On that occasion, a Nick Gordon solo home run provided the lone scoring punctuating a pair of strong pitching performances, Tuesday provided more of the same. Zach Plesac struggled for command early, walking Carlos Correa and Max Kepler in the top of the first inning, but inducing a weak ground ball from hit-hitting Alex Kirilloff to end the moderate first-inning threat. In the bottom of the frame, the Guardians got on the board in bizarre fashion. After Ahmed Rosario singled on a ground ball to left field Franmil Reyes doubled on a ball to shallow right field. Alex Kirilloff clearly lost the ball in the sun and Max Kepler, jogging in casually from the outfield, looked like he assumed Kirilloff would make the play. The batted ball, with an xBA of .010, traveled 65 feet but landed for a double, scoring Rosario all the way from first base. After a hit-by-pitch in the second inning and a single in the third inning, Smeltzer really settled in and found a groove. He retired ten consecutive batters (six by strikeout) before allowing a Jose Ramirez double in the bottom of the sixth inning. Smeltzer relied heavily on his changeup and kept Cleveland’s offense off balance, inducing 12 swings and misses in his outing. The Minnesota offense, meanwhile, looked destined to be shut out for a league-leading eleventh time by the Guardians. Through six innings, Plesac had accumulated a whopping 17 swings and misses. Aside from a pair of fourth-inning singles, the Twins weren’t able to muster much offensively, a continued, frustrating trend of an up and down Twins offense. Finally, in the seventh inning, the offense broke through. Jose Miranda laced a 109 mph double down the left field line for a double before Gilberto Celestino crushed a triple to left center field off outstanding Guardians reliever Evan Morgan, tying the game at 1-1. In the bottom of the seventh, Griffin Jax relieved Smeltzer. After quickly retiring Oscar Gonzalez, Jax dropped a flip from Alex Kirilloff while covering first base, allowing Andres Gimenez to reach first on an error. Jax quickly recovered to induce two ground outs to end the seventh inning. In the top of the eighth, the Twins took their first lead of the game. Minnesota native Sam Hentges came out in relief for Cleveland. Carlos Correa took an elevated fastball deep to left field for his ninth home run of the year. Max Kepler reached second base on a Hentges throwing error a batter latter, on an excuse me infield dribbler from Kepler. Garlick drilled a 107 mph line drive straight at the center fielder, before Byron Buxton pinch hit for Alex Kirilloff. Buxton and Gary Sanchez struck out to end the inning. Predictably, Emilio Pagán immediately undid all of the momentum, and all of the hard work. After entering in the bottom of the eighth inning against the bottom of the Cleveland lineup, he surrendered two walks, a wild pitch, and a single, to give the Guardians the lead at 3-2 and put Emmanuel Clase on deck to close the game. It was yet another late-inning meltdown against the Guardians, yet another wasted big moment, and yet another example of how fragile, inconsistent, and lacking in quality the Twins bullpen is. Caleb Thielbar relieved Pagán and cleaned up the mess, but the damage was already done. Clase closed the game for Cleveland, marking the third time in a week the Twins bullpen, Pagán specifically, has thrown away a game close and late. Game two will follow tonight. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Cotton 0 25 0 24 0 49 Pagan 0 0 22 0 22 44 Duffey 28 0 15 0 0 43 Thornburg 7 35 0 0 0 42 Jax 0 12 0 0 21 33 Theilbar 0 0 19 0 10 29 Duran 0 0 18 0 0 18 Moran 0 0 0 0 0 0 Next Up On Tuesday night, the Twins will conclude their double header against Cleveland. Josh Winder gets the start for the Twins, against Konnor Pilkington of the Guardians. First pitch is at 6:10 CT. On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against Cleveland. Dylan Bundy goes for the Twins, against Cal Quantrill for the Guardians. First pitch is at 6:10 CT. Postgame Interviews - Coming Soon
  21. The Minnesota Twins played a doubleheader in Cleveland Tuesday 6/28. Here are highlights of both of those games plus some of the minor league action across the system. Spencer Steer, Austin Martin and Christian Encarnacion-Strand are among the prospects featured.
  22. The Minnesota Twins played a doubleheader in Cleveland Tuesday 6/28. Here are highlights of both of those games plus some of the minor league action across the system. Spencer Steer, Austin Martin and Christian Encarnacion-Strand are among the prospects featured. View full video
  23. You all thought there were going to lose, didn't you? Box Score Starting Pitcher: Devin Smeltzer 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K Home Runs: Nick Gordon (2) Top 3 WPA: Devin Smeltzer (.359), Jhoan Duran (.188), Joe Smith (.094) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Devin Smeltzer faced off against seatbelt-enthusiast Zach Plesac in the final game of the series against the Cleveland Guardians. It was a beautiful day game; people around the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX, while Twins fans looked to celebrate a victory after pulling defeat from the jaws of victory on Monday and Tuesday. The first few innings breezed by before Nick Gordon blasted a hanging curveball deep into center field for his second homer of the season. The opportunity for Gordon to play centerfield and start in the lineup existed in the vacuum left by Byron Buxton’s mysterious, nagging injury. The team’s caution is Gordon’s advantage; the extra playing time has allowed him and Gilberto Celestino to flex their usefulness until Buxton returns. Smeltzer was the story on Thursday. The often-leaned on lefty came up clutch again, firing off 6 shutout innings with three strikeouts to stymy Cleveland’s bats. The Guardians were confounded all day, sending balls directly toward defenders without recourse; their BABIP against Smeltzer was a paltry .167. No one knows how he continues to do this, but few will dare be anything but grateful for the boost Smeltzer has given to the starting rotation in the absence of multiple starters. But this is a Twins game in 2022, and we know better than to get our hopes up after a great start; the bullpen must do their job, after all. Joe Smith started the 7th inning, and while he loaded the bases before netting out, he somehow wriggled out of the situation, and the team walked away unscathed. Jhoan Duran had the 8th inning and was considerably less noisy in his work. He “hit” Amed Rosario in the hand with a fastball—Rosario’s hands would no longer exist if that were true—but had an otherwise clean inning. Duran then entered the 9th inning, looking to end the game possibly. He obliterated Franmil Reyes before Rocco Baldelli halted the game and began a slow walk to the mound. It’s unclear what Baldelli said—us mere regulars don’t earn the privilege of knowing—but Caleb Thielbar then came bounding out of the bullpen to the sounds of exhausted boos anticipating the future. Andrés Giménez plopped a double into left field, of course, before Ernie Clement dribbled a ball 50 feet; Thielbar threw him out at 1st. Steven Kwan, the nuisance of the series, stepped up to the plate to pinch-hit. Thielbar peppered him with fastballs around the perimeter, daring the rookie to trust his strike zone instincts before blowing a fastball by him for strike three. After two barn-burners, Thursday's game was a tame palate cleanser. Both teams collected just five hits⁠—Carlos Correa had three of them for the Twins⁠—and pitchers issued just three walks on the day. If there was ever a dictionary definition of a getaway day-game, this would be it. Outside of Gordon's homer, the only extra-base hit for the Twins belonged to Gio Urshela, who earned credit for a "double" that Reyes brutally fumbled. Apparently the official scorer felt lenient on Thursday. What’s Next? The Twins will remain in Minnesota and host the Colorado Rockies on Friday, the first time Colorado has played at Target Field since 2017. Dylan Bundy is set to face off against Germán Márquez. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  24. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Devin Smeltzer 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K Home Runs: Nick Gordon (2) Top 3 WPA: Devin Smeltzer (.359), Jhoan Duran (.188), Joe Smith (.094) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Devin Smeltzer faced off against seatbelt-enthusiast Zach Plesac in the final game of the series against the Cleveland Guardians. It was a beautiful day game; people around the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX, while Twins fans looked to celebrate a victory after pulling defeat from the jaws of victory on Monday and Tuesday. The first few innings breezed by before Nick Gordon blasted a hanging curveball deep into center field for his second homer of the season. The opportunity for Gordon to play centerfield and start in the lineup existed in the vacuum left by Byron Buxton’s mysterious, nagging injury. The team’s caution is Gordon’s advantage; the extra playing time has allowed him and Gilberto Celestino to flex their usefulness until Buxton returns. Smeltzer was the story on Thursday. The often-leaned on lefty came up clutch again, firing off 6 shutout innings with three strikeouts to stymy Cleveland’s bats. The Guardians were confounded all day, sending balls directly toward defenders without recourse; their BABIP against Smeltzer was a paltry .167. No one knows how he continues to do this, but few will dare be anything but grateful for the boost Smeltzer has given to the starting rotation in the absence of multiple starters. But this is a Twins game in 2022, and we know better than to get our hopes up after a great start; the bullpen must do their job, after all. Joe Smith started the 7th inning, and while he loaded the bases before netting out, he somehow wriggled out of the situation, and the team walked away unscathed. Jhoan Duran had the 8th inning and was considerably less noisy in his work. He “hit” Amed Rosario in the hand with a fastball—Rosario’s hands would no longer exist if that were true—but had an otherwise clean inning. Duran then entered the 9th inning, looking to end the game possibly. He obliterated Franmil Reyes before Rocco Baldelli halted the game and began a slow walk to the mound. It’s unclear what Baldelli said—us mere regulars don’t earn the privilege of knowing—but Caleb Thielbar then came bounding out of the bullpen to the sounds of exhausted boos anticipating the future. Andrés Giménez plopped a double into left field, of course, before Ernie Clement dribbled a ball 50 feet; Thielbar threw him out at 1st. Steven Kwan, the nuisance of the series, stepped up to the plate to pinch-hit. Thielbar peppered him with fastballs around the perimeter, daring the rookie to trust his strike zone instincts before blowing a fastball by him for strike three. After two barn-burners, Thursday's game was a tame palate cleanser. Both teams collected just five hits⁠—Carlos Correa had three of them for the Twins⁠—and pitchers issued just three walks on the day. If there was ever a dictionary definition of a getaway day-game, this would be it. Outside of Gordon's homer, the only extra-base hit for the Twins belonged to Gio Urshela, who earned credit for a "double" that Reyes brutally fumbled. Apparently the official scorer felt lenient on Thursday. What’s Next? The Twins will remain in Minnesota and host the Colorado Rockies on Friday, the first time Colorado has played at Target Field since 2017. Dylan Bundy is set to face off against Germán Márquez. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  25. The Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Guardians went toe-to-toe, blow-for-blow the first two games of their series, leaving both pitching staffs depleted. So, naturally, the series finale was a 1-0 game. Baseball is ridiculous. Here are highlights of that game plus some more of Jordan Balazovic and Spencer Steer from today's Saints game
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