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  1. The Twins got another excellent start from Dylan Bundy, who pitched six innings on 60 pitches, but Colorado had an even better one from Germán Márquez. Minnesota’s offense couldn’t figure him out and the Rockies held on to a sixth-inning run to win the series opener. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 6.0 IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 2K (60 pitches, 42 strikes, 70.0%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Gio Urshela (-.198), Alex Kirilloff (-.195), Max Kepler (-.164) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Tonight’s starters aren’t having the most impressive of seasons thus far, but based on their recent outings, both offenses had their work cut out for them. Dylan Bundy arguably had his best start in a Twins uniform last Saturday, when he delivered eight innings of one-run ball against the Diamondbacks. Similarly, Rockies starter German Marquez pitched very well in his last two starts away from Coors Field, allowing only five runs in 13 innings of work. Bundy and Márquez’ recent success set the tone early on tonight, as both starters completely dominated their opposing lineups. It only took Bundy 19 pitches for his first time through the order, allowing only a couple of hits in the second inning, the only time Colorado’s offense threatened him early on. Similarly, Márquez originally took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, when Ryan Jeffers broke his no-hit bid with a two-out double. But later in the game, they officially changed a Max Kepler reaching on a fielding error in the fourth inning into a single. Márquez wasn’t the only obstacle for Twins hitters in the early going, but also some solid defense from Colorado. Alex Kirilloff and Luis Arraez had a couple of hard-hit flyballs to deep left fielded by outfielder Connor Joe. Kirilloff’s flyout in the second left his bat at 98.9 MPH and had a .550 expected batting average. The pitch count looked great for Bundy, who completed five innings of shutout ball with only 41 pitches. But came the sixth inning and Colorado put together a good offensive display against him. Joe and Yonathan Daza hit back-to-back one-out singles, allowing Joe to reach third. Then Charlie Blackmon hit a ground ball to the middle of the Twins’ shift, preventing Carlos Correa from turning a double play in time and allowing Joe to score from third. Bundy would still give up a two-out walk before inducing a groundout to end the inning. Despite the low pitch count, Bundy didn’t return for the seventh. As Márquez continued to dazzle Twins hitters, Minnesota’s offense couldn’t build up any momentum. After that Jeffers double in the fifth, the Twins lineup went 0-for-8 against him with three walks. With two outs in the eighth, Correa reached on a fielding error by old friend C.J. Cron, also sending Jeffers to third. That play finished the night for Márquez, but Kepler grounded out against reliever Daniel Bard next, ending Minnesota’s potential rally. One silver lining from tonight’s disappointing loss was the good outing from the bullpen. Tyler Duffey (two) and Tyler Thornburg (one) combined for three shutout innings on 35 pitches, which could be great for morale after a tough week for Twins relievers. Potential targets for the Twins? Last week, Twins Daily’s Cody Pirkl wrote a nice article on how Márquez could be a great target for the Twins at the trade deadline. Tonight, he certainly showed he can be very comfortable at Target Field. If not Márquez, Bard is another great arm from the Rockies organization whom the Twins could also target. He helped Colorado to seal the deal tonight with a four-out save. That was his 15th of the season, tied for seventh-most in the majors. His ERA is now down to 1.91. What’s Next? Game two of the series is scheduled for tomorrow at 6:15 pm CDT. Minnesota will have Chris Archer (3.44 ERA) on the mound, while the Rockies will start Antonio Senzatela (4.42 ERA). Postgame interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Smith 0 0 21 26 0 47 Duran 0 27 0 17 0 44 Pagán 0 17 24 0 0 41 Cotton 0 11 28 0 0 39 Jax 0 27 7 0 0 34 Duffey 0 0 0 0 28 28 Thielbar 0 0 15 12 0 27 Thornburg 0 0 0 0 7 7 View full article
  2. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 6.0 IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 2K (60 pitches, 42 strikes, 70.0%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Gio Urshela (-.198), Alex Kirilloff (-.195), Max Kepler (-.164) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Tonight’s starters aren’t having the most impressive of seasons thus far, but based on their recent outings, both offenses had their work cut out for them. Dylan Bundy arguably had his best start in a Twins uniform last Saturday, when he delivered eight innings of one-run ball against the Diamondbacks. Similarly, Rockies starter German Marquez pitched very well in his last two starts away from Coors Field, allowing only five runs in 13 innings of work. Bundy and Márquez’ recent success set the tone early on tonight, as both starters completely dominated their opposing lineups. It only took Bundy 19 pitches for his first time through the order, allowing only a couple of hits in the second inning, the only time Colorado’s offense threatened him early on. Similarly, Márquez originally took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, when Ryan Jeffers broke his no-hit bid with a two-out double. But later in the game, they officially changed a Max Kepler reaching on a fielding error in the fourth inning into a single. Márquez wasn’t the only obstacle for Twins hitters in the early going, but also some solid defense from Colorado. Alex Kirilloff and Luis Arraez had a couple of hard-hit flyballs to deep left fielded by outfielder Connor Joe. Kirilloff’s flyout in the second left his bat at 98.9 MPH and had a .550 expected batting average. The pitch count looked great for Bundy, who completed five innings of shutout ball with only 41 pitches. But came the sixth inning and Colorado put together a good offensive display against him. Joe and Yonathan Daza hit back-to-back one-out singles, allowing Joe to reach third. Then Charlie Blackmon hit a ground ball to the middle of the Twins’ shift, preventing Carlos Correa from turning a double play in time and allowing Joe to score from third. Bundy would still give up a two-out walk before inducing a groundout to end the inning. Despite the low pitch count, Bundy didn’t return for the seventh. As Márquez continued to dazzle Twins hitters, Minnesota’s offense couldn’t build up any momentum. After that Jeffers double in the fifth, the Twins lineup went 0-for-8 against him with three walks. With two outs in the eighth, Correa reached on a fielding error by old friend C.J. Cron, also sending Jeffers to third. That play finished the night for Márquez, but Kepler grounded out against reliever Daniel Bard next, ending Minnesota’s potential rally. One silver lining from tonight’s disappointing loss was the good outing from the bullpen. Tyler Duffey (two) and Tyler Thornburg (one) combined for three shutout innings on 35 pitches, which could be great for morale after a tough week for Twins relievers. Potential targets for the Twins? Last week, Twins Daily’s Cody Pirkl wrote a nice article on how Márquez could be a great target for the Twins at the trade deadline. Tonight, he certainly showed he can be very comfortable at Target Field. If not Márquez, Bard is another great arm from the Rockies organization whom the Twins could also target. He helped Colorado to seal the deal tonight with a four-out save. That was his 15th of the season, tied for seventh-most in the majors. His ERA is now down to 1.91. What’s Next? Game two of the series is scheduled for tomorrow at 6:15 pm CDT. Minnesota will have Chris Archer (3.44 ERA) on the mound, while the Rockies will start Antonio Senzatela (4.42 ERA). Postgame interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Smith 0 0 21 26 0 47 Duran 0 27 0 17 0 44 Pagán 0 17 24 0 0 41 Cotton 0 11 28 0 0 39 Jax 0 27 7 0 0 34 Duffey 0 0 0 0 28 28 Thielbar 0 0 15 12 0 27 Thornburg 0 0 0 0 7 7
  3. On Monday, Major League Baseball began enforcing the 13-pitcher roster limit that had been initially planned for the start of 2020. How does this rule impact the Twins? Entering the 2020 season, MLB announced various rules changes, including a 26-man roster and a three-batter minimum for relief pitchers. Part of those rule adjustments was limiting pitching staffs to 13 pitchers, but that limit has been continually pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic. MLB hopes limiting rostered pitchers will help increase the pace of play because there is one less pitcher to turn to in the bullpen. During the current season, there have been multiple delays to the 13-pitcher limit as teams dealt with a shortened spring training, and pitchers needed time to build up their workload. Minnesota was one of 18 teams with 14 pitchers on their active roster following Saturday’s games. Now, the 13-pitcher roster limit is going into effect, and here are three impacts for the Twins. Roster Flexibility Minnesota has shuffled pitchers with minor league options from Triple-A to the big leagues in recent years. This pitcher shuffling will take on even more importance with the new rule going into effect. Players with options may pitch one day and find themselves on the train back to St. Paul following the game so a fresh arm can be called up. So far this season, players like Yennier Cano, Jharel Cotton, and Jovani Moran have all made the trip back and forth from Triple-A. Players without options may be lost to the waiver wire, as the Twins saw last week with Chi Chi Gonzalez. Starters Going Deeper Ideally, MLB hopes to see starters go deeper into games, but pitching use continues to evolve. Leaving starters in longer might not speed up the game and might be detrimental to the pitcher’s long-term health. Over the weekend, Dylan Bundy pitched eight innings for the first time with the Twins. Devin Smeltzer has pitched into the sixth inning or later in four of his seven starts. As other Minnesota pitchers get healthier, it seems reasonable to expect them to pitch deeper into games if the bullpen needs a break. “I think they’re doing that to, in theory, keep the starters in the game, not run to so many matchups,” Chicago Cubs manager David Ross said over the weekend. “You know they did that with the three-batter minimum, so I think in their mind it’s for the betterment of the game. We’ll see how it plays out.” Position Players Pitching Another ramification of the 13-pitcher limit may be more position players pitching. It can be entertaining for fans when a position player takes the mound, but it hardly speeds up the pace of play. Teams are also required to be losing by five runs or more, so that is a scenario teams never want to encounter. Luckily, Minnesota has only used one position player on the mound this season. Nick Gordon took the mound in the first game of a double header with Houston as Minnesota trailed 11-3. It was a fantastic moment for the son of former pitcher Tom Gordon, but the Twins likely don’t want to see him on the mound anymore this season. Overall, teams will adjust to the new rule, but there will be some long-term ramifications throughout the rest of the season. How do you think the 13-pitcher roster limit will impact the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  4. Entering the 2020 season, MLB announced various rules changes, including a 26-man roster and a three-batter minimum for relief pitchers. Part of those rule adjustments was limiting pitching staffs to 13 pitchers, but that limit has been continually pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic. MLB hopes limiting rostered pitchers will help increase the pace of play because there is one less pitcher to turn to in the bullpen. During the current season, there have been multiple delays to the 13-pitcher limit as teams dealt with a shortened spring training, and pitchers needed time to build up their workload. Minnesota was one of 18 teams with 14 pitchers on their active roster following Saturday’s games. Now, the 13-pitcher roster limit is going into effect, and here are three impacts for the Twins. Roster Flexibility Minnesota has shuffled pitchers with minor league options from Triple-A to the big leagues in recent years. This pitcher shuffling will take on even more importance with the new rule going into effect. Players with options may pitch one day and find themselves on the train back to St. Paul following the game so a fresh arm can be called up. So far this season, players like Yennier Cano, Jharel Cotton, and Jovani Moran have all made the trip back and forth from Triple-A. Players without options may be lost to the waiver wire, as the Twins saw last week with Chi Chi Gonzalez. Starters Going Deeper Ideally, MLB hopes to see starters go deeper into games, but pitching use continues to evolve. Leaving starters in longer might not speed up the game and might be detrimental to the pitcher’s long-term health. Over the weekend, Dylan Bundy pitched eight innings for the first time with the Twins. Devin Smeltzer has pitched into the sixth inning or later in four of his seven starts. As other Minnesota pitchers get healthier, it seems reasonable to expect them to pitch deeper into games if the bullpen needs a break. “I think they’re doing that to, in theory, keep the starters in the game, not run to so many matchups,” Chicago Cubs manager David Ross said over the weekend. “You know they did that with the three-batter minimum, so I think in their mind it’s for the betterment of the game. We’ll see how it plays out.” Position Players Pitching Another ramification of the 13-pitcher limit may be more position players pitching. It can be entertaining for fans when a position player takes the mound, but it hardly speeds up the pace of play. Teams are also required to be losing by five runs or more, so that is a scenario teams never want to encounter. Luckily, Minnesota has only used one position player on the mound this season. Nick Gordon took the mound in the first game of a double header with Houston as Minnesota trailed 11-3. It was a fantastic moment for the son of former pitcher Tom Gordon, but the Twins likely don’t want to see him on the mound anymore this season. Overall, teams will adjust to the new rule, but there will be some long-term ramifications throughout the rest of the season. How do you think the 13-pitcher roster limit will impact the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  5. We’ve seen the Minnesota Twins dive into the scrap heap when it comes to starting pitching in recent seasons. Last year it was J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker. This year they turned to Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy. Most of it hasn’t worked out, but they are getting a good bit of run from the former Tampa Bay Rays ace. For years it seemed like Chris Archer was the type of arm any team should want to acquire, and Twins fans were of that thinking for a while too. No one wanted him more than the Pittsburgh Pirates piecing out their farm for him, but that’s another story. Fast forward to now and Archer is a few years removed from being healthy, and even further from being effective. The Twins gave Archer a $3.5 million deal this offseason, but incentives can push that to nearly $10 million. He has a mutual option for 2023, and while those largely go unexercised, both parties have to be proud of where they’re at to this point. On the season, Archer has made 11 starts for Minnesota, the most among the group. He’s pitched 44 1/3 innings which averages out to just about four innings per start. In a world where lengthy starts are no longer the norm, that number is significantly below the league average. However, for everyone involved, this is definitely by design. As noted, Archer hasn’t pitched more than 119 innings since 2019, and he hasn’t topped 150 innings since 2017. As a guy that routinely gave Tampa Bay 200 or more innings in a season, he’s coming off of surgery to address Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and had plenty of time off prior to that. As analytically inclined as Archer is, he’s likely a fan of avoiding lineups the third time through. He’s faced lineups twice in each of his 11 starts this season, but made it a third time on just three occasions totaling six plate appearances. The first time through, Archer is allowing a paltry .615 OPS, but that jumps to .828 the second time through the lineup. As a guy who is still trying to build back up in regards to innings, it’s also not surprising that he would wear down as the game goes on. Minnesota is obviously managing the arm while dancing around danger as well. Archer owns a 3.65 ERA but that’s backed by a 4.92 FIP, 5.10 xFIP, and 5.26 xERA. As someone who’s always given up a healthy amount of homers, Archer has avoided additional damage by shaving from his H/9. Unfortunately, his walk rate and strikeout rate are also at career-worst marks. Unquestionably the production from Archer was always going to be a process for Minnesota. Pitching coach Wes Johnson needed to help re-establish velocity, and that’s happened with a one mph gain over last season. He’s still not the 95 or 96 mph pitcher he was in his heyday, but sitting just below 94 mph can work with a revamped repertoire. Minnesota has become one of the most slider-reliant teams in baseball, and Archer is using it more than he ever has. A curveball has been reintroduced sparingly, and the fastball has been cut down substantially. Results aren’t evident of a guy who will again be an ace, and there are plenty of advanced numbers to suggest this could go belly up at any time. However, chase rate trending positive and a hard hit rate lower than anything he’s produced since 2016 are both strong developments. Archer won’t suddenly be some sort of reliable horse for the Twins, but in a season where their pitching staff has largely been in flux, he’s provided a stabilizing presence. Give it to the Twins for coaching up an arm and teaching an established veteran some new tricks. It’d be positive if the bullpen was stronger when covering for his short outings and ideal if the rotation wasn’t constantly needing him to get it done every five days, but so far things have worked out. If another arm can be added to this group, having Archer provide this value at the bottom of it is hardly a negative. View full article
  6. Dylan Bundy and the Twins seemed to gather themselves for the Saturday game, getting ahead of Arizona in the third inning and keeping the momentum going throughout the game. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K (107 pitches, 74 strikes (69%)) Home Runs: Gary Sanchez (8), Ryan Jeffers (5) Top 3 WPA: Dylan Bundy (.137), Luis Arraez (.108), Alex Kiriloff (.106) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The game started out a little slow, a battle of the pitching in which Bundy was very solid for eight innings. Nick Gordon and Luis Arraez got on base to start the third inning followed by an RBI Single when Carlos Correa poked a ball into right field,. Max Kepler, who was 0-for-1 to start the night, followed Correa to the plate and hit the ball into the gap, scoring Arraez on an RBI double. The third inning was exciting to say the least as the players continued to carry the momentum, Alex Kirilloff worked a 3-2 count and ripped a ball into right field scoring both Correa and Kepler on a beautiful double. Gary Sanchez joined in on the fun as he hit his eighth home run, giving the Twins a 6-0 lead as pitcher Luke Weaver struggled throwing 52 pitches in the first three innings, most of those in the third. Bundy looked the best he has all season with finding the strike zone, keeping the pitch count low, and moving quickly through each inning with three-up three-down until the fourth when Alek Thomas got on first base, breaking up Bundy's no-hitter. Bundy struggled to get through the end of the inning but managed to get out of it without anyone coming home. Bundy only allowed one run in his eight innings. His impressive mound appearance allowed the Twins to capitalize on offensive opportunities. Bundy going eight innings shows that Manager Rocco Baldelli certainly wants to see his pitching staff go as long as they can, and that Wes Johnson is getting them there. Bundy had outstanding command and control. The Twins have a long two weeks against division rivals Cleveland Guardians and Chicago White Sox, so preserving the bullpen can prove very important. Bundy left the game with his fourth win of the season, his best outing of the season, and his 50th career win. He truly looked great. The Diamondbacks left Weaver in to start the fourth inning and the Twins lineup for the third time. The Twins took advantage of every ball over the plate and blew open the lead 9-0 before Weaver was pulled from the game and replaced by Arizona’s Joe Smith. With the exception of Sanchez and Jeffers home runs, the rest of the Twins hits were all singles and doubles. The Twins three seasons ago were known for hitting “bombas” all over the parks and small ball was not even a thought. This season, there seems to be almost a focus on getting the bat on the ball and putting it into play and it’s worked out for them more than it hasn’t. Their dominant offense tonight allowed Gilbert Celestino to replace Arraez in the fifth inning, giving the All-Star a chance to rest. The Twins were up 9-0 and there was no need to leave Arraez in against a lefty when Celestino could get some at-bats in and improve. Gordon moved up to cover second base and Celestino took over in centerfield. Trevor Larnach broke up his small slump of going 0-for-17 in his last few appearances and the best feelings of the night: Ryan Jeffers, who has been struggling at the plate, hit a fantastic home run into left field to start out the seventh inning. Jeffers was the only Twin tonight in the starting lineup without a hit before his two-run homer. Even if Jeffers is struggling at the plate, he is certainly not struggling behind it. Dick Bremer mentioned during the broadcast that this is the 21st game for the Twins where they have had two or fewer runs and of those 21, Jeffers caught 15 of those games. The Twins offense and defense were both on fire. They kept the same energy all the way through the ninth inning for reliever Jharel Cotton. Correa showed off his defensive moves as Alek Thomas hit a line drive to the shortstop, who spun his body around with a solid throw to first base getting the out, A fly ball to Larnach ended the game. The energy of the team was constant all night long, ending in a Twins win. What’s Next? The Twins finish out their series this weekend with Arizona and the west coast tour. Pitching matchups for the series finale: Sunday 1:05: Chris Archer (1-2, 3.35 ERA) vs RHP Merrill Kelly (5-4, 3.68 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  7. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K (107 pitches, 74 strikes (69%)) Home Runs: Gary Sanchez (8), Ryan Jeffers (5) Top 3 WPA: Dylan Bundy (.137), Luis Arraez (.108), Alex Kiriloff (.106) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The game started out a little slow, a battle of the pitching in which Bundy was very solid for eight innings. Nick Gordon and Luis Arraez got on base to start the third inning followed by an RBI Single when Carlos Correa poked a ball into right field,. Max Kepler, who was 0-for-1 to start the night, followed Correa to the plate and hit the ball into the gap, scoring Arraez on an RBI double. The third inning was exciting to say the least as the players continued to carry the momentum, Alex Kirilloff worked a 3-2 count and ripped a ball into right field scoring both Correa and Kepler on a beautiful double. Gary Sanchez joined in on the fun as he hit his eighth home run, giving the Twins a 6-0 lead as pitcher Luke Weaver struggled throwing 52 pitches in the first three innings, most of those in the third. Bundy looked the best he has all season with finding the strike zone, keeping the pitch count low, and moving quickly through each inning with three-up three-down until the fourth when Alek Thomas got on first base, breaking up Bundy's no-hitter. Bundy struggled to get through the end of the inning but managed to get out of it without anyone coming home. Bundy only allowed one run in his eight innings. His impressive mound appearance allowed the Twins to capitalize on offensive opportunities. Bundy going eight innings shows that Manager Rocco Baldelli certainly wants to see his pitching staff go as long as they can, and that Wes Johnson is getting them there. Bundy had outstanding command and control. The Twins have a long two weeks against division rivals Cleveland Guardians and Chicago White Sox, so preserving the bullpen can prove very important. Bundy left the game with his fourth win of the season, his best outing of the season, and his 50th career win. He truly looked great. The Diamondbacks left Weaver in to start the fourth inning and the Twins lineup for the third time. The Twins took advantage of every ball over the plate and blew open the lead 9-0 before Weaver was pulled from the game and replaced by Arizona’s Joe Smith. With the exception of Sanchez and Jeffers home runs, the rest of the Twins hits were all singles and doubles. The Twins three seasons ago were known for hitting “bombas” all over the parks and small ball was not even a thought. This season, there seems to be almost a focus on getting the bat on the ball and putting it into play and it’s worked out for them more than it hasn’t. Their dominant offense tonight allowed Gilbert Celestino to replace Arraez in the fifth inning, giving the All-Star a chance to rest. The Twins were up 9-0 and there was no need to leave Arraez in against a lefty when Celestino could get some at-bats in and improve. Gordon moved up to cover second base and Celestino took over in centerfield. Trevor Larnach broke up his small slump of going 0-for-17 in his last few appearances and the best feelings of the night: Ryan Jeffers, who has been struggling at the plate, hit a fantastic home run into left field to start out the seventh inning. Jeffers was the only Twin tonight in the starting lineup without a hit before his two-run homer. Even if Jeffers is struggling at the plate, he is certainly not struggling behind it. Dick Bremer mentioned during the broadcast that this is the 21st game for the Twins where they have had two or fewer runs and of those 21, Jeffers caught 15 of those games. The Twins offense and defense were both on fire. They kept the same energy all the way through the ninth inning for reliever Jharel Cotton. Correa showed off his defensive moves as Alek Thomas hit a line drive to the shortstop, who spun his body around with a solid throw to first base getting the out, A fly ball to Larnach ended the game. The energy of the team was constant all night long, ending in a Twins win. What’s Next? The Twins finish out their series this weekend with Arizona and the west coast tour. Pitching matchups for the series finale: Sunday 1:05: Chris Archer (1-2, 3.35 ERA) vs RHP Merrill Kelly (5-4, 3.68 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  8. For years it seemed like Chris Archer was the type of arm any team should want to acquire, and Twins fans were of that thinking for a while too. No one wanted him more than the Pittsburgh Pirates piecing out their farm for him, but that’s another story. Fast forward to now and Archer is a few years removed from being healthy, and even further from being effective. The Twins gave Archer a $3.5 million deal this offseason, but incentives can push that to nearly $10 million. He has a mutual option for 2023, and while those largely go unexercised, both parties have to be proud of where they’re at to this point. On the season, Archer has made 11 starts for Minnesota, the most among the group. He’s pitched 44 1/3 innings which averages out to just about four innings per start. In a world where lengthy starts are no longer the norm, that number is significantly below the league average. However, for everyone involved, this is definitely by design. As noted, Archer hasn’t pitched more than 119 innings since 2019, and he hasn’t topped 150 innings since 2017. As a guy that routinely gave Tampa Bay 200 or more innings in a season, he’s coming off of surgery to address Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and had plenty of time off prior to that. As analytically inclined as Archer is, he’s likely a fan of avoiding lineups the third time through. He’s faced lineups twice in each of his 11 starts this season, but made it a third time on just three occasions totaling six plate appearances. The first time through, Archer is allowing a paltry .615 OPS, but that jumps to .828 the second time through the lineup. As a guy who is still trying to build back up in regards to innings, it’s also not surprising that he would wear down as the game goes on. Minnesota is obviously managing the arm while dancing around danger as well. Archer owns a 3.65 ERA but that’s backed by a 4.92 FIP, 5.10 xFIP, and 5.26 xERA. As someone who’s always given up a healthy amount of homers, Archer has avoided additional damage by shaving from his H/9. Unfortunately, his walk rate and strikeout rate are also at career-worst marks. Unquestionably the production from Archer was always going to be a process for Minnesota. Pitching coach Wes Johnson needed to help re-establish velocity, and that’s happened with a one mph gain over last season. He’s still not the 95 or 96 mph pitcher he was in his heyday, but sitting just below 94 mph can work with a revamped repertoire. Minnesota has become one of the most slider-reliant teams in baseball, and Archer is using it more than he ever has. A curveball has been reintroduced sparingly, and the fastball has been cut down substantially. Results aren’t evident of a guy who will again be an ace, and there are plenty of advanced numbers to suggest this could go belly up at any time. However, chase rate trending positive and a hard hit rate lower than anything he’s produced since 2016 are both strong developments. Archer won’t suddenly be some sort of reliable horse for the Twins, but in a season where their pitching staff has largely been in flux, he’s provided a stabilizing presence. Give it to the Twins for coaching up an arm and teaching an established veteran some new tricks. It’d be positive if the bullpen was stronger when covering for his short outings and ideal if the rotation wasn’t constantly needing him to get it done every five days, but so far things have worked out. If another arm can be added to this group, having Archer provide this value at the bottom of it is hardly a negative.
  9. No one predicted this would occur, yet everyone saw it coming. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 4 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, BB, K Home Runs: Luis Arraez (2), Byron Buxton 2 (14, 15), Carlos Correa (4), Trevor Larnach (5) Top 3 WPA: Byron Buxton (.337), Luiz Arraez (.094), Carlos Correa (.068) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Dylan Bundy matched up against Gerrit Cole in the series' rubber match. It looked like a classic David-vs-Goliath battle nestled within a broader clash in a similar vein; the Twins against the Yankees. Bundy coughed up a run in the 1st inning off some dinks and dunks, but the real story of the inning wouldn’t exist until the bottom half. Luis Arraez sent a ball over the wall for a solo homer, Byron Buxton followed suit, and Carlos Correa finally made it an improbable three-peat with a solo home run that made it a 3-1 game before Cole recorded a single out. For real, against Cole. But this was just the 1st inning—one against the Yankees no less; the game was far from over. Bundy nabbed two quick outs in the 2nd inning before Jose Trevino dumped a single into center, and muscly big man Joey Gallo provided the “blast” portion of “a bloop and a blast.” 1st inning fanfare could barely have time to recede before the game turned tied. Because this was a Yankees vs. Twins game, the craziness refused to exit the ballpark, and Buxton launched a three-run homer off Cole in the bottom of the 2nd to push the lead to 6-3. Again, against Gerrit Cole. The Yankees went quietly in the 3rd—perhaps saving their torrent for later—and Trevor Larnach tacked on a solo shot for the 5th Twins homer of the night. There’s probably some German word out there for it—god knows how to spell or say it—but the feeling at this point became an uneasy comfort, one that acknowledges the incredible lead while still not believing for a second that it will hold. Sure, the Twins held a four-run lead after dumping all over one of the finest starting pitchers in the sport, but come on, we know how this story goes; we aren’t fools. The Yankees moved in the 5th inning. Bundy gave up a massive homer to Joey Gallo, the second of the night for the former Ranger before Rocco Baldelli took the lonely trot to the mound and called upon Jharel Cotton in the hopes that he could provide some necessary relief. He did not. A tough missed strike three call necessitated an extra pitch, and D.J. Lemahieu cut the lead down to two with a solo bomb of his own. The Twins' offense was in scuffle mode. Yankees lefty Lucas Leutge pulled a Chad Green in 2017 (since when has it almost been five years since that game?) and held back the onslaught while New York’s bats chipped away as the outs melted away slower than the Twins would have liked. At this point, Twins fans anticipated the dreadful reality of this game's conclusion. The lead lasted one more full inning before, sigh, old friend Aaron Hicks knotted the game at 7 with a two-run homer. It didn’t stop there—the Yankees jumped all over Jhoan Duran and plated two more runs thanks to an Anthony Rizzo single and a Hicks opposite-field knock. New York took just four innings to tie and eventually overtake Minnesota’s quick, fleeting lead. Slow, draining baseball followed until the game mercifully ended. Whatever reliever Aaron Boone chose didn’t matter; they all methodically shut down a Twins offense that crushed Gerrit Cole but could find no answers for Wandy Peralta. The team mustered up just one lonely hit once the struggling starter exited the game. So it goes. The Yankees plated another run—they didn’t matter at this point, but the spirit of competition and sportsmanship call for it—and Minnesota officially fell to New York by a score of 10-7. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  10. Dylan Bundy was the first prominent free agent signing for the Minnesota Twins this offseason, coming to an agreement with the club prior to the lockout taking place. He was coming off a lackluster year with the Los Angeles Angels but the hope was he could stabilize the back of the rotation. It hasn’t worked out that way. Early this season Dylan Bundy came out firing. He allowed just a single run through his first 15 1/3 innings this season and posted a dazzling 0.59 ERA. Then came two starts in which he allowed six and nine runs before going on the Covid list. Maybe you could chalk up the performance to effects from the virus, but things haven’t gotten better. Blasted by the Blue Jays in his latest outing, Bundy owns a 5.29 ERA with a 5.44 FIP over his last four starts. If you want to include the two complete blowups prior to that streak, it’s an 8.44 ERA giving up 26 runs in his last 26 2/3 innings. Any way you cut it, and if you could cut it in a positive way I’d love to see it, the results are ugly. What’s problematic for both Bundy and the Twins is that there simply may be no end in sight. Bundy is not a velocity pitcher anymore by any means, and his velocity against Toronto was actually the high point of his season. The stuff simply isn’t playing in any juncture. The chase rate against Toronto was the lowest he’s generated in any game this season, and his zone contact rates the past five games are all at 85% or high with two being at exactly 100%. He’s throwing some of the least amount of first pitch strikes on the season and he’s generating whiffs less as the season goes on. The flip side is what’s being done to the balls put in play. Bundy’s allowing an ever-increasing hard hit rate, and has been over 42% in three of his last five starts after being below 30% in each of his first four starts, with three of them being at 20% or below. Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson find themselves in somewhat of a pickle at the moment though. Bundy is healthy and that’s more than can be said for a host of Twins arms. With Sonny Gray on the injured list, Chris Paddack done for the year, and an ever-evolving door of who hits the skids next, it’s tough to put down available starting arms. The emergence of Devin Smeltzer has been a significant positive for the Twins, but more depth hasn’t really taken shape yet on the farm. Cole Sands has come up and been hit around, while Jordan Balazovic looks out of sorts at Triple-A. Maybe the tides turn as the season goes on, but the refrain right now has to be about going to battle with the guys you have. A $5 million deal is hardly a glowing endorsement of Bundy’s expectations or future prognosis in Minnesota. It isn’t negligible as a whole though, and he’ll be given ample opportunity to work through things as long as the Twins remain in the driver’s seat of the division. It’s becoming more clear though, that Bundy is tough to trust any time you run him out there, even if alternative options are not present. How long of a leash should Bundy have at this point? If you’re replacing him, where are you turning to do so? View full article
  11. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 4 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, BB, K Home Runs: Luis Arraez (2), Byron Buxton 2 (14, 15), Carlos Correa (4), Trevor Larnach (5) Top 3 WPA: Byron Buxton (.337), Luiz Arraez (.094), Carlos Correa (.068) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Dylan Bundy matched up against Gerrit Cole in the series' rubber match. It looked like a classic David-vs-Goliath battle nestled within a broader clash in a similar vein; the Twins against the Yankees. Bundy coughed up a run in the 1st inning off some dinks and dunks, but the real story of the inning wouldn’t exist until the bottom half. Luis Arraez sent a ball over the wall for a solo homer, Byron Buxton followed suit, and Carlos Correa finally made it an improbable three-peat with a solo home run that made it a 3-1 game before Cole recorded a single out. For real, against Cole. But this was just the 1st inning—one against the Yankees no less; the game was far from over. Bundy nabbed two quick outs in the 2nd inning before Jose Trevino dumped a single into center, and muscly big man Joey Gallo provided the “blast” portion of “a bloop and a blast.” 1st inning fanfare could barely have time to recede before the game turned tied. Because this was a Yankees vs. Twins game, the craziness refused to exit the ballpark, and Buxton launched a three-run homer off Cole in the bottom of the 2nd to push the lead to 6-3. Again, against Gerrit Cole. The Yankees went quietly in the 3rd—perhaps saving their torrent for later—and Trevor Larnach tacked on a solo shot for the 5th Twins homer of the night. There’s probably some German word out there for it—god knows how to spell or say it—but the feeling at this point became an uneasy comfort, one that acknowledges the incredible lead while still not believing for a second that it will hold. Sure, the Twins held a four-run lead after dumping all over one of the finest starting pitchers in the sport, but come on, we know how this story goes; we aren’t fools. The Yankees moved in the 5th inning. Bundy gave up a massive homer to Joey Gallo, the second of the night for the former Ranger before Rocco Baldelli took the lonely trot to the mound and called upon Jharel Cotton in the hopes that he could provide some necessary relief. He did not. A tough missed strike three call necessitated an extra pitch, and D.J. Lemahieu cut the lead down to two with a solo bomb of his own. The Twins' offense was in scuffle mode. Yankees lefty Lucas Leutge pulled a Chad Green in 2017 (since when has it almost been five years since that game?) and held back the onslaught while New York’s bats chipped away as the outs melted away slower than the Twins would have liked. At this point, Twins fans anticipated the dreadful reality of this game's conclusion. The lead lasted one more full inning before, sigh, old friend Aaron Hicks knotted the game at 7 with a two-run homer. It didn’t stop there—the Yankees jumped all over Jhoan Duran and plated two more runs thanks to an Anthony Rizzo single and a Hicks opposite-field knock. New York took just four innings to tie and eventually overtake Minnesota’s quick, fleeting lead. Slow, draining baseball followed until the game mercifully ended. Whatever reliever Aaron Boone chose didn’t matter; they all methodically shut down a Twins offense that crushed Gerrit Cole but could find no answers for Wandy Peralta. The team mustered up just one lonely hit once the struggling starter exited the game. So it goes. The Yankees plated another run—they didn’t matter at this point, but the spirit of competition and sportsmanship call for it—and Minnesota officially fell to New York by a score of 10-7. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  12. Early this season Dylan Bundy came out firing. He allowed just a single run through his first 15 1/3 innings this season and posted a dazzling 0.59 ERA. Then came two starts in which he allowed six and nine runs before going on the Covid list. Maybe you could chalk up the performance to effects from the virus, but things haven’t gotten better. Blasted by the Blue Jays in his latest outing, Bundy owns a 5.29 ERA with a 5.44 FIP over his last four starts. If you want to include the two complete blowups prior to that streak, it’s an 8.44 ERA giving up 26 runs in his last 26 2/3 innings. Any way you cut it, and if you could cut it in a positive way I’d love to see it, the results are ugly. What’s problematic for both Bundy and the Twins is that there simply may be no end in sight. Bundy is not a velocity pitcher anymore by any means, and his velocity against Toronto was actually the high point of his season. The stuff simply isn’t playing in any juncture. The chase rate against Toronto was the lowest he’s generated in any game this season, and his zone contact rates the past five games are all at 85% or high with two being at exactly 100%. He’s throwing some of the least amount of first pitch strikes on the season and he’s generating whiffs less as the season goes on. The flip side is what’s being done to the balls put in play. Bundy’s allowing an ever-increasing hard hit rate, and has been over 42% in three of his last five starts after being below 30% in each of his first four starts, with three of them being at 20% or below. Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson find themselves in somewhat of a pickle at the moment though. Bundy is healthy and that’s more than can be said for a host of Twins arms. With Sonny Gray on the injured list, Chris Paddack done for the year, and an ever-evolving door of who hits the skids next, it’s tough to put down available starting arms. The emergence of Devin Smeltzer has been a significant positive for the Twins, but more depth hasn’t really taken shape yet on the farm. Cole Sands has come up and been hit around, while Jordan Balazovic looks out of sorts at Triple-A. Maybe the tides turn as the season goes on, but the refrain right now has to be about going to battle with the guys you have. A $5 million deal is hardly a glowing endorsement of Bundy’s expectations or future prognosis in Minnesota. It isn’t negligible as a whole though, and he’ll be given ample opportunity to work through things as long as the Twins remain in the driver’s seat of the division. It’s becoming more clear though, that Bundy is tough to trust any time you run him out there, even if alternative options are not present. How long of a leash should Bundy have at this point? If you’re replacing him, where are you turning to do so?
  13. After a surprising win from a depleted roster on Friday night, the Twins team that we expected to see in Canada reared its face as the Twins got crushed by the Blue Jays. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 2 ⅓ IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (67 pitches, 42 strikes (63%)) Home Runs: Polanco (6) Bottom 3 WPA: Dylan Bundy -.463, Byron Buxton -.061, Mark Contreras -.049 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Game Notes The Minnesota Twins’ bats picked up where they left off on Friday night as they got off to a quick start on Saturday afternoon. Luis Arraez kicked off the game with a leadoff single to set up Jorge Polanco for a 2-run home run, his sixth of the 2022 season. Coming into today’s game, José Berríos owned a 5.62 ERA in 2022. The quick damage from the Twins in the first inning made it seem like the old friend’s nightmare start to the 2022 season would continue. Following the first inning, though, Berríos settled down in a big way and quieted the Twins’ bats in a big way. After getting two hits and two runs in the first inning, the Twins were only able to muster one more hit over Berríos’ seven-inning start right-hander turned in one of his best starts of the season, potentially turning around his disastrous start. On the Twins’ side of the mound, Dylan Bundy’s start went about as poorly as possible. Bundy couldn’t even make it through the third inning as the Blue Jays pounded him at every opportunity. In just 2 ⅓ short innings, Bundy allowed eight hits and five earned runs, including home runs to Bo Bichette and Alejandro Kirk. After a stellar night for the Twins’ bullpen on Friday, the reliever group was terrible for the Twins on Saturday afternoon. As a group, the bullpen allowed six earned runs over 5 ⅔ innings, striking out only three batters. Each of Ian Hamilton, Yennier Cano and Juan Minaya were tagged for multiple hits and at least one earned run. Overall it was a day to forget for the Minnesota Twins. Every pitcher who appeared in the game for the Twins looked bad, and after a promising first inning, the bats were completely silent all game (aside from a meaningless run in the 9th), making a poorly performing José Berríos look like prime Johan Santana. In the end the Twins ended up on the losing side, 12-3, dropping their record to 31-24. What’s Next? The beautiful part of baseball is that the Twins get a chance at redemption tomorrow. The Minnesota Twins will wrap up their three game series against the Blue Jays in a rubber match on Sunday afternoon. The Twins will trot Devin Smeltzer out to the mound to face off against AL Cy Young candidate, Kevin Gausman. Game time is 12:37pm central time. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  14. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 2 ⅓ IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (67 pitches, 42 strikes (63%)) Home Runs: Polanco (6) Bottom 3 WPA: Dylan Bundy -.463, Byron Buxton -.061, Mark Contreras -.049 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Game Notes The Minnesota Twins’ bats picked up where they left off on Friday night as they got off to a quick start on Saturday afternoon. Luis Arraez kicked off the game with a leadoff single to set up Jorge Polanco for a 2-run home run, his sixth of the 2022 season. Coming into today’s game, José Berríos owned a 5.62 ERA in 2022. The quick damage from the Twins in the first inning made it seem like the old friend’s nightmare start to the 2022 season would continue. Following the first inning, though, Berríos settled down in a big way and quieted the Twins’ bats in a big way. After getting two hits and two runs in the first inning, the Twins were only able to muster one more hit over Berríos’ seven-inning start right-hander turned in one of his best starts of the season, potentially turning around his disastrous start. On the Twins’ side of the mound, Dylan Bundy’s start went about as poorly as possible. Bundy couldn’t even make it through the third inning as the Blue Jays pounded him at every opportunity. In just 2 ⅓ short innings, Bundy allowed eight hits and five earned runs, including home runs to Bo Bichette and Alejandro Kirk. After a stellar night for the Twins’ bullpen on Friday, the reliever group was terrible for the Twins on Saturday afternoon. As a group, the bullpen allowed six earned runs over 5 ⅔ innings, striking out only three batters. Each of Ian Hamilton, Yennier Cano and Juan Minaya were tagged for multiple hits and at least one earned run. Overall it was a day to forget for the Minnesota Twins. Every pitcher who appeared in the game for the Twins looked bad, and after a promising first inning, the bats were completely silent all game (aside from a meaningless run in the 9th), making a poorly performing José Berríos look like prime Johan Santana. In the end the Twins ended up on the losing side, 12-3, dropping their record to 31-24. What’s Next? The beautiful part of baseball is that the Twins get a chance at redemption tomorrow. The Minnesota Twins will wrap up their three game series against the Blue Jays in a rubber match on Sunday afternoon. The Twins will trot Devin Smeltzer out to the mound to face off against AL Cy Young candidate, Kevin Gausman. Game time is 12:37pm central time. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  15. The Minnesota Twins looked to be on their way to win on Memorial Day after hitting three home runs. In the end, defensive miscues brought the Twins to a loss against the Tigers to open the road trip. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 6 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (95 pitches, 64 strikes (67.4%)) Home Runs: Gary Sanchez (5), Jose Miranda (2), Gio Urshela (5) Bottom 3 WPA: Joe Smith (-0.300), Dylan Bundy (-0.214), Kyle Garlick (-0.149) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Pregame Notes Sunday was filled with the excitement of the return of Royce Lewis and his start in center field. Monday was kicked off with the news that he would be hitting the IL with a bruised knee after his collision with the outfield wall during Sunday’s game. Jose Miranda got the call back to the Twins after being the move to make room for Lewis initially. There is certainly room to wonder whether or not Alex Kirilloff was more deserving of the spot on the Twins 26-man. Miranda’s handedness has helped him hang on to his spot on the MLB roster. Sanchez gets Twins going early With plenty of Twins starters like Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Carlos Correa, and Royce Lewish not in the lineup for various reasons, Gary Sanchez got the Twins offense going early in the second inning. The home run was his fifth of the season and his hardest-hit ball of the 2022 season, with an exit velocity of 113.2 mph and traveling 415 feet. The Twins could have gotten more runs, but as has continued to be a trend, they struggled to get hits with runners on base. Trevor Larnach should have scored the second Twins run after a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Larnach was then thrown out at third base while trying to advance after Gio Urshela grounded to Tigers shortstop Javier Baez. The attempt to advance by Larnach was likely the wrong read, and that misjudgment removed him from the bases when he would have likely scored on Jose Miranda’s single to center on the very next at-bat. Miranda’s bat stays hot, glove goes cold While the past 24 hours have been a roller coaster for Miranda after being sent down and then immediately recalled based on the events surrounding Lewis. The right-hander has remained hot at the plate. Monday afternoon, he got started with a single in front of the Tigers centerfielder, Hill. The fireworks came in the fourth inning as Miranda hit his second major league home run to give the Twins a 3-1 lead. While Miranda's bat had fans forgetting about Kirilloff, his glovework raised questions. Two defensive miscues directly lead to Tiger runs. First was a throw behind Joe Smith. The second came on the back end of a fantastic Gio Urshela play where Miranda may have needed to step off of first to grab an offline throw. A decision a more experienced first baseman may have been able to make. Bundy manages hard hits but is undone by weak contact Dylan Bundy has been a relatively steady force for the Twins in their starting rotation. Monday afternoon wasn’t an outing Bundy will likely want to remember. While he managed a barrage of the hard-hit ball (12 to be exact), the weak grounders and bloops seemed to undo him. What may be the key to starts by Bundy is that he left the game with the Twins in a place to be able to win the game. He did manage that as he exited with the game tied at four runs a piece. Smith’s struggles continue After pitching near-perfect baseball to begin the season, Joe Smith continued to unravel Monday. Smith was only able to make it 2/3 of an inning before leaving the game after giving up three hits, one earned run, and another run scored after a throwing error by Miranda. Smith has now given up a run in three out of his last four appearances after giving up no earned runs in every other appearance of 2022 before those four. Former Twin Schoop with milestone hit While 2022 hasn’t exactly been kind to the current Tiger and former Twin infielder, Jonathan Schoop was able to pick up the 1,000th hit of his career Monday afternoon. Schoop spent the 2019 season with the Twins. A season in which he hit 23 home runs and especially punished left-handed pitching. What’s Next? The Twins will hope that the rest gained by some players on Monday will help with the doubleheader scheduled for Tuesday. In Game 1 the Twins will send Devin Smeltzer to the mound against right-hander Rony Garcia of the Tigers. Then in game 2, the Twins look to send Cole Sands to the mound against lefty Joey Wentz. Hopefully, the Twins lineup can succeed against two arms with limited major league experience and right the ship after Monday's loss. Postgame Interview No Interviews but we learned this news postgame. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet THU FRI SUN SUN MON TOT Megill 0 26 0 0 34 60 Duffey 31 0 20 0 0 51 Moran 0 0 34 0 0 34 Smith 0 18 0 0 16 34 Minaya 0 0 31 0 0 31 Thielbar 0 1 0 22 0 23 Jax 0 0 0 20 0 20 Duran 0 19 0 0 0 19 Pagán 0 3 0 12 0 15 View full article
  16. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 6 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (95 pitches, 64 strikes (67.4%)) Home Runs: Gary Sanchez (5), Jose Miranda (2), Gio Urshela (5) Bottom 3 WPA: Joe Smith (-0.300), Dylan Bundy (-0.214), Kyle Garlick (-0.149) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Pregame Notes Sunday was filled with the excitement of the return of Royce Lewis and his start in center field. Monday was kicked off with the news that he would be hitting the IL with a bruised knee after his collision with the outfield wall during Sunday’s game. Jose Miranda got the call back to the Twins after being the move to make room for Lewis initially. There is certainly room to wonder whether or not Alex Kirilloff was more deserving of the spot on the Twins 26-man. Miranda’s handedness has helped him hang on to his spot on the MLB roster. Sanchez gets Twins going early With plenty of Twins starters like Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Carlos Correa, and Royce Lewish not in the lineup for various reasons, Gary Sanchez got the Twins offense going early in the second inning. The home run was his fifth of the season and his hardest-hit ball of the 2022 season, with an exit velocity of 113.2 mph and traveling 415 feet. The Twins could have gotten more runs, but as has continued to be a trend, they struggled to get hits with runners on base. Trevor Larnach should have scored the second Twins run after a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Larnach was then thrown out at third base while trying to advance after Gio Urshela grounded to Tigers shortstop Javier Baez. The attempt to advance by Larnach was likely the wrong read, and that misjudgment removed him from the bases when he would have likely scored on Jose Miranda’s single to center on the very next at-bat. Miranda’s bat stays hot, glove goes cold While the past 24 hours have been a roller coaster for Miranda after being sent down and then immediately recalled based on the events surrounding Lewis. The right-hander has remained hot at the plate. Monday afternoon, he got started with a single in front of the Tigers centerfielder, Hill. The fireworks came in the fourth inning as Miranda hit his second major league home run to give the Twins a 3-1 lead. While Miranda's bat had fans forgetting about Kirilloff, his glovework raised questions. Two defensive miscues directly lead to Tiger runs. First was a throw behind Joe Smith. The second came on the back end of a fantastic Gio Urshela play where Miranda may have needed to step off of first to grab an offline throw. A decision a more experienced first baseman may have been able to make. Bundy manages hard hits but is undone by weak contact Dylan Bundy has been a relatively steady force for the Twins in their starting rotation. Monday afternoon wasn’t an outing Bundy will likely want to remember. While he managed a barrage of the hard-hit ball (12 to be exact), the weak grounders and bloops seemed to undo him. What may be the key to starts by Bundy is that he left the game with the Twins in a place to be able to win the game. He did manage that as he exited with the game tied at four runs a piece. Smith’s struggles continue After pitching near-perfect baseball to begin the season, Joe Smith continued to unravel Monday. Smith was only able to make it 2/3 of an inning before leaving the game after giving up three hits, one earned run, and another run scored after a throwing error by Miranda. Smith has now given up a run in three out of his last four appearances after giving up no earned runs in every other appearance of 2022 before those four. Former Twin Schoop with milestone hit While 2022 hasn’t exactly been kind to the current Tiger and former Twin infielder, Jonathan Schoop was able to pick up the 1,000th hit of his career Monday afternoon. Schoop spent the 2019 season with the Twins. A season in which he hit 23 home runs and especially punished left-handed pitching. What’s Next? The Twins will hope that the rest gained by some players on Monday will help with the doubleheader scheduled for Tuesday. In Game 1 the Twins will send Devin Smeltzer to the mound against right-hander Rony Garcia of the Tigers. Then in game 2, the Twins look to send Cole Sands to the mound against lefty Joey Wentz. Hopefully, the Twins lineup can succeed against two arms with limited major league experience and right the ship after Monday's loss. Postgame Interview No Interviews but we learned this news postgame. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet THU FRI SUN SUN MON TOT Megill 0 26 0 0 34 60 Duffey 31 0 20 0 0 51 Moran 0 0 34 0 0 34 Smith 0 18 0 0 16 34 Minaya 0 0 31 0 0 31 Thielbar 0 1 0 22 0 23 Jax 0 0 0 20 0 20 Duran 0 19 0 0 0 19 Pagán 0 3 0 12 0 15
  17. Minnesota got a solid start from Dylan Bundy, who pitched into the sixth. But lack of productivity from the offense and a shaky display by the bullpen cost the Twins the game and ended their winning streak. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (85 pitches, 63 strikes, 74.1%) Home Runs: Trevor Larnach (1) Bottom 3 WPA: Trevor Megill (-.315), Gary Sánchez (-.265), Max Kepler (-.222) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Dylan Bundy and Rony García pitched really well to begin this game, shutting out both offenses for three innings. Making his second start since being reinstated from the injured list, Bundy gave up three hits in those three innings, but he had excellent command and never pitched himself into jams. The Twins caught a break in the third inning when Derek Hill tried to score from third on a pitch that got away from Gary Sánchez. Home plate umpire Charlie Ramos called him out and the Tigers challenged the play, but it was upheld. Was the tag really applied? The first runs of the game came in the bottom of the fourth inning. García was on a roll, having retired six Twins in a row. Then, Sánchez drew a walk against him and that came back to haunt García. On the next at-bat, Trevor Larnach obliterated a four-seamer, crushing it for a two-run home run, his first of the season. With such a mammoth shot, Larnach continues to feast on fastballs. Coming into this game, ha was slugging .459 against fastballs, with also a .500 xSLG, per Statcast. This home run came off his bat at 112.4 MPH, his hardest-hit ball of the season. Bundy, now with some run support, continued his solid effort, pitching into the sixth inning. He gave up a leadoff single in the fifth but went on to strike out the next three batters on 11 pitches. Returning for the sixth, he gave up a leadoff home run to Harold Castro, bringing the Tigers within one run. If it wasn’t for a fielding error that allowed Javier Báez to reach, Bundy would likely finish another inning and possibly complete a quality start, but after striking out Jeimer Candelario for his second punchout of the inning, Rocco Baldelli decided to bring take him out of the game at 85 pitches. After a couple of rough starts before hitting the IL, Bundy has given up one run through 8 2/3 innings since rejoining the team. A shaky bullpen allows Detroit to tie the game After Larnach’s home run in the fourth, the Twins offense went 2-for-13, failing to provide the bullpen some insurance runs. Griffin Jax and Joe Smith kept the shutout going until the end of the seventh, but then Emilio Pagán gave up a leadoff home run to the same Castro in the eighth, tying the game at 2-2. With a hit and a walk given up today, Pagán has now allowed hitters to reach safely against him in 11 of his last 12 outings. His season WHIP now sits at 1.47, a career-worst for him, despite the excellent 2.30 season ERA thus far, a career-best. Should we be at all worried about him? Caleb Thielbar came flew pitch the top of the ninth and he also struggled, despite facing the bottom of the Tiger lineup. After retiring the leadoff hitter, he allowed the next three batters to reach on a single and a couple of walks, loading the bases. Detroit brought in Miguel Cabrera to pinch-hit for Castro, but Thielbar caught a break when a ball four was called a strikeout for the second out of the inning. It was up for the cold offense to avoid extra innings and secure the sweep. Sánchez flied out to lead off the ninth, making it eight straight Twins retired in a row, but then things nearly shifted the Twins' way. Kyle Garlick, pinch-hitting for Larnach, got hit by a pitch and then reached third on a Nick Gordon two-out single. But Minnesota couldn’t capitalize, as Gilberto Celestino grounded out and the game headed for extras. Detroit snatches the lead in the 10th, Twins rally falls short Trevor Megill took the mound to pitch the 10th inning, with former Twin Jonathan Schoop as the ghost runner at second. After striking out Báez to lead off the inning, Megill hung a four-seamer in the heart of the plate, which got crushed by Candelario for a two-run homer. Celestino was inches away from robbing him of the dinger. But the Twins weren’t done. Hitless for his previous 23 at-bats, Byron Buxton reached safely for the first time in three games on a throwing error by shortstop Willi Castro. Luis Arráez followed that with a liner to center, loading the bases with no outs for Minnesota’s batters three, four, and five. Michael Fulmer struck out Carlos Correa, then A.J. Hinch brought in lefty Andrew Chafin to try and get the final two outs. He did so on eight pitches, striking out Max Kepler and getting Sánchez to pop out. What’s Next? The Twins remain home, where they start a four-game series tomorrow against the Kansas City Royals. The first game is scheduled for tomorrow at 6:40 pm CDT, and, up until now, Minnesota’s starting pitcher is still to be determined. The Royals will have lefty Daniel Lynch (4.01 ERA) on the mound. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Jax 0 0 33 0 23 56 Thielbar 18 0 3 0 30 51 Pagán 0 0 28 0 21 49 Smith 21 0 17 0 3 41 Megill 0 31 0 0 8 39 Cano 0 38 0 0 0 38 Duran 0 17 0 14 0 31 Duffey 0 14 0 12 0 26 Stashak 18 0 0 0 0 18 View full article
  18. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (85 pitches, 63 strikes, 74.1%) Home Runs: Trevor Larnach (1) Bottom 3 WPA: Trevor Megill (-.315), Gary Sánchez (-.265), Max Kepler (-.222) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Dylan Bundy and Rony García pitched really well to begin this game, shutting out both offenses for three innings. Making his second start since being reinstated from the injured list, Bundy gave up three hits in those three innings, but he had excellent command and never pitched himself into jams. The Twins caught a break in the third inning when Derek Hill tried to score from third on a pitch that got away from Gary Sánchez. Home plate umpire Charlie Ramos called him out and the Tigers challenged the play, but it was upheld. Was the tag really applied? The first runs of the game came in the bottom of the fourth inning. García was on a roll, having retired six Twins in a row. Then, Sánchez drew a walk against him and that came back to haunt García. On the next at-bat, Trevor Larnach obliterated a four-seamer, crushing it for a two-run home run, his first of the season. With such a mammoth shot, Larnach continues to feast on fastballs. Coming into this game, ha was slugging .459 against fastballs, with also a .500 xSLG, per Statcast. This home run came off his bat at 112.4 MPH, his hardest-hit ball of the season. Bundy, now with some run support, continued his solid effort, pitching into the sixth inning. He gave up a leadoff single in the fifth but went on to strike out the next three batters on 11 pitches. Returning for the sixth, he gave up a leadoff home run to Harold Castro, bringing the Tigers within one run. If it wasn’t for a fielding error that allowed Javier Báez to reach, Bundy would likely finish another inning and possibly complete a quality start, but after striking out Jeimer Candelario for his second punchout of the inning, Rocco Baldelli decided to bring take him out of the game at 85 pitches. After a couple of rough starts before hitting the IL, Bundy has given up one run through 8 2/3 innings since rejoining the team. A shaky bullpen allows Detroit to tie the game After Larnach’s home run in the fourth, the Twins offense went 2-for-13, failing to provide the bullpen some insurance runs. Griffin Jax and Joe Smith kept the shutout going until the end of the seventh, but then Emilio Pagán gave up a leadoff home run to the same Castro in the eighth, tying the game at 2-2. With a hit and a walk given up today, Pagán has now allowed hitters to reach safely against him in 11 of his last 12 outings. His season WHIP now sits at 1.47, a career-worst for him, despite the excellent 2.30 season ERA thus far, a career-best. Should we be at all worried about him? Caleb Thielbar came flew pitch the top of the ninth and he also struggled, despite facing the bottom of the Tiger lineup. After retiring the leadoff hitter, he allowed the next three batters to reach on a single and a couple of walks, loading the bases. Detroit brought in Miguel Cabrera to pinch-hit for Castro, but Thielbar caught a break when a ball four was called a strikeout for the second out of the inning. It was up for the cold offense to avoid extra innings and secure the sweep. Sánchez flied out to lead off the ninth, making it eight straight Twins retired in a row, but then things nearly shifted the Twins' way. Kyle Garlick, pinch-hitting for Larnach, got hit by a pitch and then reached third on a Nick Gordon two-out single. But Minnesota couldn’t capitalize, as Gilberto Celestino grounded out and the game headed for extras. Detroit snatches the lead in the 10th, Twins rally falls short Trevor Megill took the mound to pitch the 10th inning, with former Twin Jonathan Schoop as the ghost runner at second. After striking out Báez to lead off the inning, Megill hung a four-seamer in the heart of the plate, which got crushed by Candelario for a two-run homer. Celestino was inches away from robbing him of the dinger. But the Twins weren’t done. Hitless for his previous 23 at-bats, Byron Buxton reached safely for the first time in three games on a throwing error by shortstop Willi Castro. Luis Arráez followed that with a liner to center, loading the bases with no outs for Minnesota’s batters three, four, and five. Michael Fulmer struck out Carlos Correa, then A.J. Hinch brought in lefty Andrew Chafin to try and get the final two outs. He did so on eight pitches, striking out Max Kepler and getting Sánchez to pop out. What’s Next? The Twins remain home, where they start a four-game series tomorrow against the Kansas City Royals. The first game is scheduled for tomorrow at 6:40 pm CDT, and, up until now, Minnesota’s starting pitcher is still to be determined. The Royals will have lefty Daniel Lynch (4.01 ERA) on the mound. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Jax 0 0 33 0 23 56 Thielbar 18 0 3 0 30 51 Pagán 0 0 28 0 21 49 Smith 21 0 17 0 3 41 Megill 0 31 0 0 8 39 Cano 0 38 0 0 0 38 Duran 0 17 0 14 0 31 Duffey 0 14 0 12 0 26 Stashak 18 0 0 0 0 18
  19. The Twins lost to the Athletics, 5-2 on Tuesday night. Royce Lewis delivered another incredible performance, while Oakland knocked around Josh Winder to drop the Twins to 21-16 on the season. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO Homeruns: Royce Lewis (2), Gary Sánchez (4) Bottom 3 WPA: Josh Winder -.489, Jorge Polanco -.143, Jose Miranda -.131 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) On Tuesday night, the Twins were out to secure another series win in Oakland. The game marked the return of Dylan Bundy from the COVID IL. Bundy had struggled prior to being on the IL. The storyline heading into the game was if he could give the Twins an opportunity to win? Here’s how Minnesota lined up. The Twins came into the game having won the previous four encounters against Oakland despite scoring just 10 runs. Perhaps Oakland was the team to get Bundy back on track? Bundy looked relatively comfortable in the first inning, retiring Oakland on 19 pitches, surrendering only a bloop single to left-field that Nick Gordon couldn’t quite track down. James Kaprielian cruised through his first two innings of work for Oakland. He served Twins hitters a steady diet of mid-90s fastballs up in the zone, and breaking pitches down. Bundy worked around a leadoff walk in the second inning, keeping the game scoreless through two innings. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Coliseum, it was going down. Royce Lewis led off the top of the third inning with a scorching, 111.7 mph double to the left-center-field gap. The Twins failed to capitalize however, as Jose Miranda and Jorge Polanco struck out to extricate Kaprielian from trouble. Tony Kemp singled in the bottom of the third with Josh Winder already warming up. A short start was always likely for Bundy, returning from COVID. Jed Lowrie walked to put runners on first and second base with one out. Jose Miranda bobbled a relatively straightforward grounder to third that should have been an inning-ending double play. He managed to rescue the force at second, putting runners at the corners with two out. Bundy escaped, striking out Seth Brown to throw three scoreless, and encouraging innings in his return from the IL. The Twins continued to struggle to cash in runners in the fourth inning. Gary Sánchez missed home runs on two sliders he crushed down the left-field line by mere feet. Max Kepler singled to left field with one out, but the Twins couldn’t bring him home, despite a hard hit lineout from Nick Gordon to right field. Josh Winder relieved Bundy in he bottom of the fourth inning. With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Kevin Smith crushed a belt-high fastball into the left-field seats to give Oakland a 2-0 lead. The pitch wasn’t a bad one from Winder, it was above the strike zone, Smith just hit it out. The Twins got half of the lead back in the top of the fifth, when Royce Lewis blasted his second home run into the left-field seats, cutting the deficit to one. Lewis has made the Twins forthcoming roster challenge difficult, with Bailey Ober, Carlos Correa, and Trevor Larnach all due back from the IL in short order. One thing is clear, he can’t be sent down right now, he’s on fire. Winder struggled with his command in the fifth inning, with Oakland’s contact continuing to find holes. He loaded the bases with two outs, before escaping the bases loaded jam, to preserve the one-run deficit. Gary Sánchez knocked Kaprielian from the game, launching a game-tying, solo home run to left field after Elvis Andrus took a base hit away from Jorge Polanco in the previous at bat. Max Kepler added a one-out single. Rocco Baldelli pinch hit Kyle Garlick for Nick Gordon. Garlick promptly struck out, before Gilberto Celestino reached on an infield hit to put runners at first and third base with two outs and Royce Lewis due up. Lewis grounded out to second base to end the inning with the game tied at two. Aside from a walk for Luis Arraez, the top of the seventh inning was uneventful for the Twins. In the bottom of the innings, the Athletics broke the game open. Winder walked Lowrie and hit Laureano. There is an argument that Winder should have been pulled, having surrendered five hits and two walks to that point. He stayed in the game. Seth Brown crushed a double and Sean Murphy blooped a single and the Athletics took a 5-2 lead. Winder surrendered two more hits before finally being pulled by Baldelli. He allowed five runs on nine hits with two walks in 3.2 innings of work. It's clear that the Twins had planned on the combination of Bundy and Winder eating the majority of the innings on Tuesday night. Ultimately, Winder's command issues made that plan challenging to execute. The Twins threatened in the top of the eight, managing two base runners, but failed to eat into the lead. The Athletics closed out the game in the ninth to even the series at one game each. In spite of this, the Twins have won the season series, and will look to win the current series on Wednesday. The Twins fell to 21-16 on the season. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Winder 0 0 0 0 78 78 Jax 50 0 0 25 0 75 Pagán 22 9 10 0 0 41 Thielbar 0 15 2 0 16 33 Smith 4 15 9 0 0 28 Cano 0 0 0 25 0 25 Duffey 0 5 0 20 0 25 Duran 10 12 0 0 0 22 Stashak 0 0 13 0 0 13 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will conclude their series against Oakland. Sonny Gray gets the start for Minnesota, against Daulton Jefferies of the Athletics. First pitch is 2:37 CT View full article
  20. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO Homeruns: Royce Lewis (2), Gary Sánchez (4) Bottom 3 WPA: Josh Winder -.489, Jorge Polanco -.143, Jose Miranda -.131 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) On Tuesday night, the Twins were out to secure another series win in Oakland. The game marked the return of Dylan Bundy from the COVID IL. Bundy had struggled prior to being on the IL. The storyline heading into the game was if he could give the Twins an opportunity to win? Here’s how Minnesota lined up. The Twins came into the game having won the previous four encounters against Oakland despite scoring just 10 runs. Perhaps Oakland was the team to get Bundy back on track? Bundy looked relatively comfortable in the first inning, retiring Oakland on 19 pitches, surrendering only a bloop single to left-field that Nick Gordon couldn’t quite track down. James Kaprielian cruised through his first two innings of work for Oakland. He served Twins hitters a steady diet of mid-90s fastballs up in the zone, and breaking pitches down. Bundy worked around a leadoff walk in the second inning, keeping the game scoreless through two innings. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Coliseum, it was going down. Royce Lewis led off the top of the third inning with a scorching, 111.7 mph double to the left-center-field gap. The Twins failed to capitalize however, as Jose Miranda and Jorge Polanco struck out to extricate Kaprielian from trouble. Tony Kemp singled in the bottom of the third with Josh Winder already warming up. A short start was always likely for Bundy, returning from COVID. Jed Lowrie walked to put runners on first and second base with one out. Jose Miranda bobbled a relatively straightforward grounder to third that should have been an inning-ending double play. He managed to rescue the force at second, putting runners at the corners with two out. Bundy escaped, striking out Seth Brown to throw three scoreless, and encouraging innings in his return from the IL. The Twins continued to struggle to cash in runners in the fourth inning. Gary Sánchez missed home runs on two sliders he crushed down the left-field line by mere feet. Max Kepler singled to left field with one out, but the Twins couldn’t bring him home, despite a hard hit lineout from Nick Gordon to right field. Josh Winder relieved Bundy in he bottom of the fourth inning. With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Kevin Smith crushed a belt-high fastball into the left-field seats to give Oakland a 2-0 lead. The pitch wasn’t a bad one from Winder, it was above the strike zone, Smith just hit it out. The Twins got half of the lead back in the top of the fifth, when Royce Lewis blasted his second home run into the left-field seats, cutting the deficit to one. Lewis has made the Twins forthcoming roster challenge difficult, with Bailey Ober, Carlos Correa, and Trevor Larnach all due back from the IL in short order. One thing is clear, he can’t be sent down right now, he’s on fire. Winder struggled with his command in the fifth inning, with Oakland’s contact continuing to find holes. He loaded the bases with two outs, before escaping the bases loaded jam, to preserve the one-run deficit. Gary Sánchez knocked Kaprielian from the game, launching a game-tying, solo home run to left field after Elvis Andrus took a base hit away from Jorge Polanco in the previous at bat. Max Kepler added a one-out single. Rocco Baldelli pinch hit Kyle Garlick for Nick Gordon. Garlick promptly struck out, before Gilberto Celestino reached on an infield hit to put runners at first and third base with two outs and Royce Lewis due up. Lewis grounded out to second base to end the inning with the game tied at two. Aside from a walk for Luis Arraez, the top of the seventh inning was uneventful for the Twins. In the bottom of the innings, the Athletics broke the game open. Winder walked Lowrie and hit Laureano. There is an argument that Winder should have been pulled, having surrendered five hits and two walks to that point. He stayed in the game. Seth Brown crushed a double and Sean Murphy blooped a single and the Athletics took a 5-2 lead. Winder surrendered two more hits before finally being pulled by Baldelli. He allowed five runs on nine hits with two walks in 3.2 innings of work. It's clear that the Twins had planned on the combination of Bundy and Winder eating the majority of the innings on Tuesday night. Ultimately, Winder's command issues made that plan challenging to execute. The Twins threatened in the top of the eight, managing two base runners, but failed to eat into the lead. The Athletics closed out the game in the ninth to even the series at one game each. In spite of this, the Twins have won the season series, and will look to win the current series on Wednesday. The Twins fell to 21-16 on the season. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Winder 0 0 0 0 78 78 Jax 50 0 0 25 0 75 Pagán 22 9 10 0 0 41 Thielbar 0 15 2 0 16 33 Smith 4 15 9 0 0 28 Cano 0 0 0 25 0 25 Duffey 0 5 0 20 0 25 Duran 10 12 0 0 0 22 Stashak 0 0 13 0 0 13 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will conclude their series against Oakland. Sonny Gray gets the start for Minnesota, against Daulton Jefferies of the Athletics. First pitch is 2:37 CT
  21. Royce Lewis hit his second home run for the Minnesota Twins Tuesday night against the A’s. He also had a double earlier in the game. Tonight was also Dylan Bundy’s return to the Twins rotation. He had a strong, albeit short, start. Also highlighted in tonight’s video are Chi Chi Gonzalez, Matt Canterino, Alex Isola, Sean Mooney, Willie Joe Garry Jr. and more.
  22. Royce Lewis hit his second home run for the Minnesota Twins Tuesday night against the A’s. He also had a double earlier in the game. Tonight was also Dylan Bundy’s return to the Twins rotation. He had a strong, albeit short, start. Also highlighted in tonight’s video are Chi Chi Gonzalez, Matt Canterino, Alex Isola, Sean Mooney, Willie Joe Garry Jr. and more. View full video
  23. Some say you learn more from losing than from winning. 2021 in that case should have provided the Twins with an exorbitant amount of knowledge. Will we see them learn from their 2021 meltdown? On Wednesday night in Baltimore, Dylan Bundy took away any possibility of a Twins win for the second straight start. While recording just 11 outs, Bundy surrendered 11 hits, two walks, two home runs, and nine earned runs. For the second straight start, he allowed a string of five-plus hitters to reach base safely without recording an out, a feat that’s rare enough to wonder whether it could possibly be a fluke. After dazzling in his first three starts, Bundy has absolutely cratered his season line. The result of this is a reality check for Twins fans on a pitcher who’s failing to crack 90 mph and posted an ERA over 6.00 in 2021. Having signed for $5m, Bundy should have never been expected to provide premium innings, even after his first three starts. The question is whether the Twins' front office has received this same reality check. The issues were plentiful for the 2021 Twins, but starting pitching was arguably #1 on the list. The signings of J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker, whom the Twins had identified as values in the offseason, turned out to be two of the worst pitchers in all of baseball and provided the Twins with a predetermined loss every 4th and 5th day. Despite this fact, Shoemaker remained in the rotation until the end of June and Happ remained until he was somehow traded at the deadline. Both proved that pitching signings of their tier simply don’t warrant a whole lot of patience. Neither has a job in Major League Baseball in 2022. Context is key in this scenario, as by the time they need to move on became abundantly clear, the Twins season was effectively over already. The farm system also suffered from a wide range of pitching injuries, leaving the Twins with several bullpen days per week and no replacement options for the rotation. In short, the goal became crossing off innings rather than filling them in a meaningful way. In 2022, things have to be different. Two starts make up just a small percentage of a pitcher’s season-long workload, and plenty of high-quality arms will struggle for such a short stretch. For that reason it’s not yet time to make any significant moves with Dylan Bundy. That being said, it is time for the Twins to feel some skepticism towards the 29-year-old right-hander. After watching three starts and wondering whether any kind of success could continue given Bundy’s visible lack of stuff, these last two starts may be the beginning of our answer. Unlike 2021, the Twins simply have too many alternatives to allow Bundy to become a deciding factor in their 2022 season. Their financial commitment to him is too low, as are the odds of him factoring into any long-term plans. With him headed to the COVID IL, we should get to see more from Josh Winder for another start or two, although it’s very likely Bundy gets a chance to reclaim his spot in the rotation. In the meantime, if Josh Winder continues to stake his claim to a rotation spot, it may leave the Twins set up to act quickly if Bundy doesn’t rebound. For what it’s worth, they’ve shown early signs of learning from their mistakes in 2021. After sticking with Alex Colomé through one of the worst months by a reliever in franchise history, the Twins were very quick to pull the plug on Tyler Duffey in high leverage this season after his early struggles. I would guess their lack of patience with a homegrown former staple of their bullpen foreshadows a very short leash for a one-year bounceback candidate in the rotation. At this point one thing is certain, Dylan Bundy is currently the last man on the totem pole that is the Twins rotation. The wounds that 2021 left in Twins Territory are still fresh in the minds of fans as many already wonder “How many more starts can we let this happen?”. For a front office that was seemingly so eager to show off the arrival of their pitching pipeline, my best bet would be “Not much longer” as the Twins attempt to make a worst to first rebound in 2022. How long of a leash should Dylan Bundy get? — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  24. Entering play on Wednesday, May 4, the Minnesota Twins owned the ninth-best starting rotation in terms of fWAR, and the fourth-best group in terms of ERA. For a unit that was expected to need the most help this offseason, it’s been a great development. Now the question becomes how sustainable is this? Rather than opting for an ace on the free-agent market like Carlos Rodon or Kevin Gausman, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine swung a deal for Sonny Gray. They flipped relief pitching for Chris Paddack. They came to terms on a low-risk offer for Dylan Bundy. They trusted both Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober. Now a month in, it’s hard to suggest they were anything but right. That said, there’s no denying that pitchers have had the upper hand thus far. When pitching in cooler temperatures the ball travels shorter distances and hitters are less comfortable. Those things will both change as the game-time temperatures warm up, so some level of regression is to be expected. How can each be evaluated individually thus far, though? Joe Ryan 5 G 27.2 IP 1.63 ERA 3.08 FIP 9.1 K/9 2.3 BB/9 The Twins Opening Day starter has done nothing to suggest he wasn’t deserving of that nod. He’s been all but dominant in each of his four turns, and despite a FIP that suggests some regression may come, he’s still pitching well above what you’d expect from a lower-velocity fastball. Ryan’s expected ERA is 2.94 which is a slight step backward, but still a dazzling number. Although he’s giving up slightly more hard-hit contact, he’s halved the barrel rate opponents are putting up against him from last season. He’s actually dialed back the fastball usage about 15% and poured it into his slider, a pitch Minnesota's coaches love. He’s throwing about one mph harder this season, and he’s upped the whiff rate to 12.7%. Ryan is giving up even less contact than last season, and although batters are chasing a bit less often, they just haven’t been able to figure him out. There’s little opportunity for Ryan not to go down as the greatest trade return in Twins history. Flipping two months of an aging veteran for a guy profiling as a staff ace is incredible. Statcast seems to agree, and no level of regression should knock him out of being a significant contributor. Sonny Gray 2 G 6.1 IP 5.68 ERA 7.03 FIP 7.1 K/9 4.3 BB/9 It’s pretty impossible to draw conclusions on Gray from two short starts and then a stint on the Injured List. If anything, it’s heartwarming to feel like a better version will return for Minnesota. Gray’s velocity was down in the time he has spent on the mound, but again he pitched in cold and through injury. There’s not much reason to spend time here breaking down what was. The Twins traded for Gray because getting him out of Cincinnati should mean better production in a more friendly ballpark. This is all still to be determined. Bailey Ober 4 G 19.2 IP 2.75 ERA 3.54 FIP 7.3 K/9 2.3 BB/9 Of the two Twins holdovers, it may have been Ober that was more questionable despite the longer track record. He had less prospect pedigree and made it work to the tune of a 4.19 ERA last season. In year two, he’s been more stingy with the home runs, although walks are up and strikeouts are down. That said, he’s still showing plenty of reason to believe in the FIP category and it’s because of deception. Ober has a fastball that plays up because of his stature. Being so tall means the 92 mph pitch gets on batters quicker. He’s limited hard-hit contact, and while his stuff isn’t overpowering, the 37.7% chase rate means batters are playing into his pitches. Allowing Ober to expand the zone gives him more ways to beat you, and he’s been successful doing that thus far. Like Ryan, Minnesota has taken a chunk of fastball usage and put it into Ober’s slider. The results have been positive so far, and it makes for a guy whose floor continues to rise. Dylan Bundy 4 G 21.1 IP 2.95 ERA 2.94 FIP 8.0 K/9 1.3 BB/9 A guy that finished in the top 10 for Cy Young voting just two seasons ago shouldn’t be considered a breakthrough, but Bundy looked lost last year with the Angels. Now he’s still striking guys out, not giving up walks, and being tight with the longball. Bundy’s velocity is about the only thing on his Statcast profile that doesn’t scream amazing. He’s avoiding the barrel, confusing batters, generating soft contact, and everything about the results suggests sustainability. The 89.7 mph average fastball velocity is a career-low, but he’s only using the pitch 38.9% of the time. The splitter/slider combination is serving him well and everything else aligns with career norms. Minnesota didn’t have Bundy reinvent the wheel, but sequencing and pitchability have led him to a place where contact has avoided an opportunity for damage. The Twins have a strong infield defense and generating ground balls 48% of the time is only going to help turn batted balls into outs. Chris Paddack 4 G 20.0 IP 3.15 ERA 1.93 FIP 7.2 K/9 0.9 BB/9 Swinging a deal for Paddack, the Twins sought to find the guy who posted a 3.33 ERA for the Padres as a rookie. A few tweaks in and they may have unlocked something. Rather than having him pitch in the middle of the zone, Minnesota has elevated his target on fastballs and the results have been encouraging. Despite pitching in cold weather to start the season for the first time, Paddack has only seen a minor dip in velocity. The Twins have also pushed their new arm to utilize a slider and his curveball more, which has taken focus away from an exceptional changeup. He’s been among the best in baseball when it comes to limiting walks, and keeping runners off the basepaths has allowed him to avoid significant damage. Paddack’s numbers are good as they are, and they’d be even better if not for bad 1st innings in each of his first two starts. Getting this type of pitcher under team control in exchange for a reliever was always going to be a win, but Minnesota’s changes could bear significant fruit for both parties. There’s a lot of good news across this rotation. That’s not to say steps backward won’t happen, because the level they are currently competing at is truly extraordinary. That being said, it’s not as though the numbers are backed by truth, and even a bit of evening out looks to stay within a good place. When everyone was clamoring for the big names, Minnesota’s front office instead trusted the process to show big improvements derived from their internal belief. View full article
  25. On Wednesday night in Baltimore, Dylan Bundy took away any possibility of a Twins win for the second straight start. While recording just 11 outs, Bundy surrendered 11 hits, two walks, two home runs, and nine earned runs. For the second straight start, he allowed a string of five-plus hitters to reach base safely without recording an out, a feat that’s rare enough to wonder whether it could possibly be a fluke. After dazzling in his first three starts, Bundy has absolutely cratered his season line. The result of this is a reality check for Twins fans on a pitcher who’s failing to crack 90 mph and posted an ERA over 6.00 in 2021. Having signed for $5m, Bundy should have never been expected to provide premium innings, even after his first three starts. The question is whether the Twins' front office has received this same reality check. The issues were plentiful for the 2021 Twins, but starting pitching was arguably #1 on the list. The signings of J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker, whom the Twins had identified as values in the offseason, turned out to be two of the worst pitchers in all of baseball and provided the Twins with a predetermined loss every 4th and 5th day. Despite this fact, Shoemaker remained in the rotation until the end of June and Happ remained until he was somehow traded at the deadline. Both proved that pitching signings of their tier simply don’t warrant a whole lot of patience. Neither has a job in Major League Baseball in 2022. Context is key in this scenario, as by the time they need to move on became abundantly clear, the Twins season was effectively over already. The farm system also suffered from a wide range of pitching injuries, leaving the Twins with several bullpen days per week and no replacement options for the rotation. In short, the goal became crossing off innings rather than filling them in a meaningful way. In 2022, things have to be different. Two starts make up just a small percentage of a pitcher’s season-long workload, and plenty of high-quality arms will struggle for such a short stretch. For that reason it’s not yet time to make any significant moves with Dylan Bundy. That being said, it is time for the Twins to feel some skepticism towards the 29-year-old right-hander. After watching three starts and wondering whether any kind of success could continue given Bundy’s visible lack of stuff, these last two starts may be the beginning of our answer. Unlike 2021, the Twins simply have too many alternatives to allow Bundy to become a deciding factor in their 2022 season. Their financial commitment to him is too low, as are the odds of him factoring into any long-term plans. With him headed to the COVID IL, we should get to see more from Josh Winder for another start or two, although it’s very likely Bundy gets a chance to reclaim his spot in the rotation. In the meantime, if Josh Winder continues to stake his claim to a rotation spot, it may leave the Twins set up to act quickly if Bundy doesn’t rebound. For what it’s worth, they’ve shown early signs of learning from their mistakes in 2021. After sticking with Alex Colomé through one of the worst months by a reliever in franchise history, the Twins were very quick to pull the plug on Tyler Duffey in high leverage this season after his early struggles. I would guess their lack of patience with a homegrown former staple of their bullpen foreshadows a very short leash for a one-year bounceback candidate in the rotation. At this point one thing is certain, Dylan Bundy is currently the last man on the totem pole that is the Twins rotation. The wounds that 2021 left in Twins Territory are still fresh in the minds of fans as many already wonder “How many more starts can we let this happen?”. For a front office that was seemingly so eager to show off the arrival of their pitching pipeline, my best bet would be “Not much longer” as the Twins attempt to make a worst to first rebound in 2022. How long of a leash should Dylan Bundy get? — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
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