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  1. Prior to the 2022 Major League Baseball season the Minnesota Twins owned a rotation in desperate need of an overhaul. A bad 2021 team used 16 different starting pitchers, more than three rotations worth, and the year ahead had to be a drastic change. The front office immediately opted for more of the same. Image courtesy of Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports Going into 2021, manager Rocco Baldelli was strapped with ineffective veterans Matt Shoemaker and J.A. Happ. The latter posted mediocre numbers with the New York Yankees in a truncated 2020, and hadn’t truly been good since 2018. The former wouldn’t know a clean bill of health if a doctor prescribed it, and while decent when healthy, was nothing short of a trainwreck for the Twins. In total, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine’s constructed roster saw a record 35 pitchers brought to the mound. Short starts were a constant due to ineffectiveness, and team mascot Willians Astudillo made four different appearances on the bump. Fast forward to free agency 2022 and Dylan Bundy was the first acquisition made by Minnesota. Bundy’s lone good season came during the 2020 debacle, and despite being a former 4th overall pick, he’s never looked the part of a legit starting arm. It was a fine back-of-the-rotation edition, but ultimately he made 29 starts and far too often in big spots. Doubling down on more of the same, the Twins opted for Chris Archer who had recently had Thoracic Outlet surgery and repaired a hip labrum. His 19 1/3 innings dating back to 2019 should’ve never had him beginning 2022 in anyone’s starting rotation. Falvey told reporters recently Minnesota wanted to ease him along, but things never got better. The Twins President of Baseball Operations said, “Our hope was that if we started a little slow with him … to be able to unleash that a little more through the course of the year,” Falvey said. “And we were just never able to get there. Then when we had other injuries, as a result of the other guys going down … we then ultimately had to continue to lean on Chris at that stage to make those starts.” Despite using a club record 38 pitchers in 2022, again because of poor performances both in the rotation and bullpen, a positive caveat was discovered depth. Louie Varland followed up a 2021 Minor League Pitcher of the Year award by making it to the big leagues and grabbing his first game on the final day of the season. Simeon Woods Richardson, a piece acquired with Austin Martin from the Blue Jays when Minnesota sent out Jose Berrios, also took a turn in the majors. Add in the continued growth for Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, and Josh Winder and you’ve got a solid set of depth starters. We won’t see Devin Smeltzer back in the organization next season as he opted to pursue opportunities elsewhere, but Cole Sands could continue to develop. There’s hope that Jordan Balazovic will return to form, and another big jump from Marco Raya, David Festa, or Blayne Enlow could put them in the conversation as well. In short, there are plenty of options to fill out the group. That puts pressure on Falvey and Levine to adequately allocate pitching funds this offseason. Whether on the open market or in trade, the time to bargain shop has come and gone. Kenta Maeda, Sonny Gray, and Tyler Mahle are all capable top-half rotation pieces. Chris Paddack could be that too, assuming he comes back well mid-summer. No one else brought in can even flirt with the notion of slotting in behind that group. Aces are few and far between in baseball. Rarely do they hit the open market, and it’s always a bit of a dice roll as to which will thrive in a new situation. Minnesota isn’t an ideal market, but money talks and it’s time for the front office to speak with it. Another throw-in starter being signed to anything but a camp invite deal should be cause for significant ire. It’s time to add big or stop asking to be taken seriously. View full article
  2. No one in baseball spent more money this season than the New York Mets. It wasn’t enough to win Steve Cohen’s organization a division title, and they bowed out early in the postseason. Now a rotation exodus begins and the Minnesota Twins could be intrigued by a few names. Image courtesy of Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports Only the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros won more games than the 101 victories recorded by the New York Mets this season. By fWAR, the Mets starters compiled the fifth-highest total across baseball. Their 3.61 ERA was also fifth while the 9.4 K/9 topped all of baseball. Facing plenty of change in 2023, Jacob deGrom is able to opt out of the final two years of his contract, and he could be joined by both Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker. To be fair, deGrom doesn’t seem like the type of pitcher Minnesota will target. He’s a true ace, that will get something over $35 million per year on a multi-year deal despite being 34 years old. The two-time Cy Young winner has not been healthy either of the past two seasons and spending big on an aging question mark doesn’t seem up the Twins' alley. It’s also fair to note that the likelihood of interest from the career Mets pitcher will probably be non-existent. The alternatives could certainly provide a bit more promise, however. Chris Bassitt will be 34 next season and has flown under the radar as one of baseball’s best pitchers since 2018. Drafted by the White Sox way back in 2011, Bassitt announced his presence in a limited 2015, before missing 2017 due to injury. Since 2018, Bassitt has posted a 3.29 ERA across nearly 600 innings. He gets punch outs, he avoids walks, and he keeps the ball in the yard. Individual accolades haven’t added up for Bassitt, with just a single All-Star appearance and twice generating Cy Young votes, but he’s been as consistent as they come. Health could be a concern, but Bassitt has largely remained available since returning to the mound in 2018. With a $19 million mutual option, he’ll obviously turn that down with the qualifying offer being north of that for 2023. Draft pick compensation could stymie his market some, but he shouldn’t have trouble finding a two-to-four-year deal making something north of $20 million in each of them. Walker is interesting in that he should be affordable, which benefits the Twins, but his addition may not raise the bar all that much. I’m not sure Derek Falvey or Thad Levine would be able to sell Walker surpassing the bar of Tyler Mahle, Sonny Gray, or Kenta Maeda. A former top prospect, he’s been solid when healthy, but rarely that, and never great. Since 2018 Walker has pitched for four organizations and even with a 3.78 ERA, he hasn’t topped 400 total innings and his 4.16 FIP is more reflective of his effectiveness. Walker at his best is lightyears ahead of either Dylan Bundy or Chris Archer, but at his worst, or even what could be projected, he may not represent much more than either of them at their best for the Twins in 2022. The trio of former Mets definitely represent options for Minnesota to consider, and they range in desirability and likelihood. There should probably only be a single option to pursue here, but it remains to be seen how the front office will act. Do you have any interest in adding any of these pitchers from the Mets? View full article
  3. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros won more games than the 101 victories recorded by the New York Mets this season. By fWAR, the Mets starters compiled the fifth-highest total across baseball. Their 3.61 ERA was also fifth while the 9.4 K/9 topped all of baseball. Facing plenty of change in 2023, Jacob deGrom is able to opt out of the final two years of his contract, and he could be joined by both Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker. To be fair, deGrom doesn’t seem like the type of pitcher Minnesota will target. He’s a true ace, that will get something over $35 million per year on a multi-year deal despite being 34 years old. The two-time Cy Young winner has not been healthy either of the past two seasons and spending big on an aging question mark doesn’t seem up the Twins' alley. It’s also fair to note that the likelihood of interest from the career Mets pitcher will probably be non-existent. The alternatives could certainly provide a bit more promise, however. Chris Bassitt will be 34 next season and has flown under the radar as one of baseball’s best pitchers since 2018. Drafted by the White Sox way back in 2011, Bassitt announced his presence in a limited 2015, before missing 2017 due to injury. Since 2018, Bassitt has posted a 3.29 ERA across nearly 600 innings. He gets punch outs, he avoids walks, and he keeps the ball in the yard. Individual accolades haven’t added up for Bassitt, with just a single All-Star appearance and twice generating Cy Young votes, but he’s been as consistent as they come. Health could be a concern, but Bassitt has largely remained available since returning to the mound in 2018. With a $19 million mutual option, he’ll obviously turn that down with the qualifying offer being north of that for 2023. Draft pick compensation could stymie his market some, but he shouldn’t have trouble finding a two-to-four-year deal making something north of $20 million in each of them. Walker is interesting in that he should be affordable, which benefits the Twins, but his addition may not raise the bar all that much. I’m not sure Derek Falvey or Thad Levine would be able to sell Walker surpassing the bar of Tyler Mahle, Sonny Gray, or Kenta Maeda. A former top prospect, he’s been solid when healthy, but rarely that, and never great. Since 2018 Walker has pitched for four organizations and even with a 3.78 ERA, he hasn’t topped 400 total innings and his 4.16 FIP is more reflective of his effectiveness. Walker at his best is lightyears ahead of either Dylan Bundy or Chris Archer, but at his worst, or even what could be projected, he may not represent much more than either of them at their best for the Twins in 2022. The trio of former Mets definitely represent options for Minnesota to consider, and they range in desirability and likelihood. There should probably only be a single option to pursue here, but it remains to be seen how the front office will act. Do you have any interest in adding any of these pitchers from the Mets?
  4. Going into 2021, manager Rocco Baldelli was strapped with ineffective veterans Matt Shoemaker and J.A. Happ. The latter posted mediocre numbers with the New York Yankees in a truncated 2020, and hadn’t truly been good since 2018. The former wouldn’t know a clean bill of health if a doctor prescribed it, and while decent when healthy, was nothing short of a trainwreck for the Twins. In total, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine’s constructed roster saw a record 35 pitchers brought to the mound. Short starts were a constant due to ineffectiveness, and team mascot Willians Astudillo made four different appearances on the bump. Fast forward to free agency 2022 and Dylan Bundy was the first acquisition made by Minnesota. Bundy’s lone good season came during the 2020 debacle, and despite being a former 4th overall pick, he’s never looked the part of a legit starting arm. It was a fine back-of-the-rotation edition, but ultimately he made 29 starts and far too often in big spots. Doubling down on more of the same, the Twins opted for Chris Archer who had recently had Thoracic Outlet surgery and repaired a hip labrum. His 19 1/3 innings dating back to 2019 should’ve never had him beginning 2022 in anyone’s starting rotation. Falvey told reporters recently Minnesota wanted to ease him along, but things never got better. The Twins President of Baseball Operations said, “Our hope was that if we started a little slow with him … to be able to unleash that a little more through the course of the year,” Falvey said. “And we were just never able to get there. Then when we had other injuries, as a result of the other guys going down … we then ultimately had to continue to lean on Chris at that stage to make those starts.” Despite using a club record 38 pitchers in 2022, again because of poor performances both in the rotation and bullpen, a positive caveat was discovered depth. Louie Varland followed up a 2021 Minor League Pitcher of the Year award by making it to the big leagues and grabbing his first game on the final day of the season. Simeon Woods Richardson, a piece acquired with Austin Martin from the Blue Jays when Minnesota sent out Jose Berrios, also took a turn in the majors. Add in the continued growth for Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, and Josh Winder and you’ve got a solid set of depth starters. We won’t see Devin Smeltzer back in the organization next season as he opted to pursue opportunities elsewhere, but Cole Sands could continue to develop. There’s hope that Jordan Balazovic will return to form, and another big jump from Marco Raya, David Festa, or Blayne Enlow could put them in the conversation as well. In short, there are plenty of options to fill out the group. That puts pressure on Falvey and Levine to adequately allocate pitching funds this offseason. Whether on the open market or in trade, the time to bargain shop has come and gone. Kenta Maeda, Sonny Gray, and Tyler Mahle are all capable top-half rotation pieces. Chris Paddack could be that too, assuming he comes back well mid-summer. No one else brought in can even flirt with the notion of slotting in behind that group. Aces are few and far between in baseball. Rarely do they hit the open market, and it’s always a bit of a dice roll as to which will thrive in a new situation. Minnesota isn’t an ideal market, but money talks and it’s time for the front office to speak with it. Another throw-in starter being signed to anything but a camp invite deal should be cause for significant ire. It’s time to add big or stop asking to be taken seriously.
  5. After a second consecutive disappointing season, the Minnesota Twins front office has come under plenty of fire. There is one area in particular, though, where this front office has especially hurt the Twins’ chances. Image courtesy of Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports Matt Shoemaker. J.A. Happ. Alexander Colomé. Chris Archer. Dylan Bundy. Emilio Pagán. Each of these players are veteran pitchers who struggled mightily out of the gate in a Twins’ uniform, yet were given a leash long enough to pitch well into the Summer (in the cases of Matt Shoemaker and J.A. Happ) or for the entirety of the season (for the rest of the players listed). The Derek Falvey-led front office of the Minnesota Twins has repeatedly shown an affinity for signing aging middle-tier pitchers and a hesitancy to move on from those veteran pitchers, even when those pitchers are performing especially poorly. In 2021, this issue was seen all over the roster. J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker were giving up 5+ earned runs per start for months and Alexander Colomé was continuously trotted out to the mound to blow game after game. Rather than learning from those mistakes in 2021, Falvey’s propensity for sticking with veterans too long was even more prominent in 2022. Both Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy somehow made it through the entire season on the roster, despite both of them being terrible all season and each finishing with ERAs in the high 4’s. And then there’s Emilio Pagán. We all know of the struggles that Pagán had in 2022, yet he was continuously relied upon in big moments throughout the season, and the Twins suffered mightily as a result. One would think that after the Alexander Colomé disaster of 2021 that Falvey would have learned his lesson, but things only got worse this season, as Pagán finished third on the team in innings pitched despite having the 8th worst win probability added in the American League. The most common rebuttal that I’ve heard from Twins fans defending Derek Falvey for sticking with his veterans is that there were so many injuries that the Twins had no choice but to stick with these guys. The final months of the 2022 season for the Twins, though, proved otherwise. Over the final months of the season, the Minnesota Twins saw impressive debuts from rookies such as Louie Varland, Ronny Henriquez, and Simeon Woods Richardson. They also had other arms in the minors performing well, namely Evan Sisk, who posted a 2.00 ERA over 63 innings in Double-A and Triple-A. Not only were the Minnesota Twins trotting out pitchers day after day that were actively losing them baseball games, but they proved at the end of the year that they had plenty of talent in the minor leagues that could have performed better and also gotten valuable experience they needed as part of the long-term future of this ball club. Looking ahead to free agency of 2023, let’s hope that the Twins front office has finally learned from their mistakes with trusting middle-tier veteran pitchers. Time and time again, we have learned that veteran-ness does not automatically make you a better player and that by giving an opportunity to younger pitchers, you are unlocking opportunity and ceiling that simply isn’t there with the Dylan Bundy’s and Matt Shoemaker’s of the world. View full article
  6. Matt Shoemaker. J.A. Happ. Alexander Colomé. Chris Archer. Dylan Bundy. Emilio Pagán. Each of these players are veteran pitchers who struggled mightily out of the gate in a Twins’ uniform, yet were given a leash long enough to pitch well into the Summer (in the cases of Matt Shoemaker and J.A. Happ) or for the entirety of the season (for the rest of the players listed). The Derek Falvey-led front office of the Minnesota Twins has repeatedly shown an affinity for signing aging middle-tier pitchers and a hesitancy to move on from those veteran pitchers, even when those pitchers are performing especially poorly. In 2021, this issue was seen all over the roster. J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker were giving up 5+ earned runs per start for months and Alexander Colomé was continuously trotted out to the mound to blow game after game. Rather than learning from those mistakes in 2021, Falvey’s propensity for sticking with veterans too long was even more prominent in 2022. Both Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy somehow made it through the entire season on the roster, despite both of them being terrible all season and each finishing with ERAs in the high 4’s. And then there’s Emilio Pagán. We all know of the struggles that Pagán had in 2022, yet he was continuously relied upon in big moments throughout the season, and the Twins suffered mightily as a result. One would think that after the Alexander Colomé disaster of 2021 that Falvey would have learned his lesson, but things only got worse this season, as Pagán finished third on the team in innings pitched despite having the 8th worst win probability added in the American League. The most common rebuttal that I’ve heard from Twins fans defending Derek Falvey for sticking with his veterans is that there were so many injuries that the Twins had no choice but to stick with these guys. The final months of the 2022 season for the Twins, though, proved otherwise. Over the final months of the season, the Minnesota Twins saw impressive debuts from rookies such as Louie Varland, Ronny Henriquez, and Simeon Woods Richardson. They also had other arms in the minors performing well, namely Evan Sisk, who posted a 2.00 ERA over 63 innings in Double-A and Triple-A. Not only were the Minnesota Twins trotting out pitchers day after day that were actively losing them baseball games, but they proved at the end of the year that they had plenty of talent in the minor leagues that could have performed better and also gotten valuable experience they needed as part of the long-term future of this ball club. Looking ahead to free agency of 2023, let’s hope that the Twins front office has finally learned from their mistakes with trusting middle-tier veteran pitchers. Time and time again, we have learned that veteran-ness does not automatically make you a better player and that by giving an opportunity to younger pitchers, you are unlocking opportunity and ceiling that simply isn’t there with the Dylan Bundy’s and Matt Shoemaker’s of the world.
  7. Over the course of the past few seasons, plenty has been made of the struggles plaguing the Minnesota Twins. While the product on the field has failed, there’s also been plenty of finger-pointing at those that control it. When it comes to the manager, what do fans need to see? Image courtesy of Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports Rocco Baldelli took over as manager for the Minnesota Twins prior to the 2019 season. He replaced Hall of Fame player, Paul Molitor. Although Molitor was seen favorably in his time on the field, he was more of a figurehead manager, celebrated for his own accolades, than those accomplished from the dugout. Molitor seemed to be on the hot seat following a 103-loss campaign in 2016, but the 85-win season brought him Manager of the Year honors and spared him another season under Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. Wanting to bring in their own manager and distance themselves from the Terry Ryan regime, Falvey and Levine cast a wide net and ultimately landed on Baldelli. A former top prospect with a solid career, this is Baldelli’s first managing gig. He came highly respected from the forward-thinking, and analytically driven, Tampa Bay Rays organization. In year one (2019), Baldelli was praised mightily as he orchestrated one of the most successful regular seasons in franchise history. The Bomba Squad invigorated the fanbase, and a club led by Nelson Cruz launched the most home runs by any team over a single season in Major League Baseball history. 2020 is hard to quantify given the truncated nature of the pandemic-influenced season, and we know how the past two years have gone. After what can be categorized as a wildly successful beginning, Baldelli’s allure with fans has hit the skids. Is that largely due to a reflection of what his team has done lately, more of a response to what he’s brought to the table as a whole, or something in between? If there are two chief complaints for the Twins manager, I’d likely boil them down to pitching management and lack of ultimate success. Pitching Management The first relates directly to starting pitchers and bullpen usage. Over the course of recent seasons, it’s become a major complaint from the fanbase that Baldelli pulls his starters too soon. To date in 2022, the Twins 4.8 innings per start is tied for 28th across Major League Baseball. That average is higher than only the Washington Nationals and Tampa Bay Rays. That’s notable as the former is doing so by circumstance, while the latter is doing so by choice. The league average innings per start is 5.2, which is just above Minnesota’s tally. As discussed earlier this year, short starts aren’t simply a Twins thing, and they really aren’t a Baldelli thing either. Baseball has trended toward pulling pitchers earlier as hitters have become so much more advanced, and there are so few truly elite arms. A team like Tampa Bay has supplemented that reality with strong tactics and bullpen help, while the teams who rely most on their starters such as the Astros, Guardians, and Phillies have arms like Justin Verlander, Shane Bieber, and Aaron Nola. Across baseball in 2022, there was an average of 32.2 pitchers used in 2023. That’s the second highest number in the history of the sport, trailing only the 34.4 used last season. What has to happen for Baldelli to allow starters a longer leash is two-fold. Minnesota must produce more runs than they did in 2022, and the starting pitchers have to be better. Expecting the likes of Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy to give five or more innings on a routine basis isn’t logical. While Baldelli has a say in player acquisition, he’s also at the mercy of the team provided to him. Implore the front office to better when it comes to acquisitions on the front end (or the bullpen if following the Rays model) and the results should follow. Win When it Counts While it’s not the fault of this current Twins club that the franchise totes an 0-18 record in the postseason currently, it is at the forefront of fans’ minds. The reality is that no matter how many division titles the Twins have won, and they’ve gone .500 in that regard under Baldelli, they’ve also bowed out without even a playoff victory while he’s been in charge. It’s certainly not easy to win in October, especially if you’re getting paired up against a juggernaut like New York or Houston. However, there’s no reason why a team winning 101 games should bow out with a whimper, or why you can’t grab a victory at home in a short series. Twins fans want to see the regular season translate into playoff success. With 30 teams, and only one winning their final tilt, it’s hard to suggest World Series or bust as an expectation, but doing something of note beyond the 162-game calendar would go a long way. Knowing 2023 is an integral point for Minnesota and Baldelli, what are you hoping for in a change of pace? If you support what Rocco has brought to the table, why? If you need to see better, what could change your opinion? View full article
  8. Rocco Baldelli took over as manager for the Minnesota Twins prior to the 2019 season. He replaced Hall of Fame player, Paul Molitor. Although Molitor was seen favorably in his time on the field, he was more of a figurehead manager, celebrated for his own accolades, than those accomplished from the dugout. Molitor seemed to be on the hot seat following a 103-loss campaign in 2016, but the 85-win season brought him Manager of the Year honors and spared him another season under Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. Wanting to bring in their own manager and distance themselves from the Terry Ryan regime, Falvey and Levine cast a wide net and ultimately landed on Baldelli. A former top prospect with a solid career, this is Baldelli’s first managing gig. He came highly respected from the forward-thinking, and analytically driven, Tampa Bay Rays organization. In year one (2019), Baldelli was praised mightily as he orchestrated one of the most successful regular seasons in franchise history. The Bomba Squad invigorated the fanbase, and a club led by Nelson Cruz launched the most home runs by any team over a single season in Major League Baseball history. 2020 is hard to quantify given the truncated nature of the pandemic-influenced season, and we know how the past two years have gone. After what can be categorized as a wildly successful beginning, Baldelli’s allure with fans has hit the skids. Is that largely due to a reflection of what his team has done lately, more of a response to what he’s brought to the table as a whole, or something in between? If there are two chief complaints for the Twins manager, I’d likely boil them down to pitching management and lack of ultimate success. Pitching Management The first relates directly to starting pitchers and bullpen usage. Over the course of recent seasons, it’s become a major complaint from the fanbase that Baldelli pulls his starters too soon. To date in 2022, the Twins 4.8 innings per start is tied for 28th across Major League Baseball. That average is higher than only the Washington Nationals and Tampa Bay Rays. That’s notable as the former is doing so by circumstance, while the latter is doing so by choice. The league average innings per start is 5.2, which is just above Minnesota’s tally. As discussed earlier this year, short starts aren’t simply a Twins thing, and they really aren’t a Baldelli thing either. Baseball has trended toward pulling pitchers earlier as hitters have become so much more advanced, and there are so few truly elite arms. A team like Tampa Bay has supplemented that reality with strong tactics and bullpen help, while the teams who rely most on their starters such as the Astros, Guardians, and Phillies have arms like Justin Verlander, Shane Bieber, and Aaron Nola. Across baseball in 2022, there was an average of 32.2 pitchers used in 2023. That’s the second highest number in the history of the sport, trailing only the 34.4 used last season. What has to happen for Baldelli to allow starters a longer leash is two-fold. Minnesota must produce more runs than they did in 2022, and the starting pitchers have to be better. Expecting the likes of Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy to give five or more innings on a routine basis isn’t logical. While Baldelli has a say in player acquisition, he’s also at the mercy of the team provided to him. Implore the front office to better when it comes to acquisitions on the front end (or the bullpen if following the Rays model) and the results should follow. Win When it Counts While it’s not the fault of this current Twins club that the franchise totes an 0-18 record in the postseason currently, it is at the forefront of fans’ minds. The reality is that no matter how many division titles the Twins have won, and they’ve gone .500 in that regard under Baldelli, they’ve also bowed out without even a playoff victory while he’s been in charge. It’s certainly not easy to win in October, especially if you’re getting paired up against a juggernaut like New York or Houston. However, there’s no reason why a team winning 101 games should bow out with a whimper, or why you can’t grab a victory at home in a short series. Twins fans want to see the regular season translate into playoff success. With 30 teams, and only one winning their final tilt, it’s hard to suggest World Series or bust as an expectation, but doing something of note beyond the 162-game calendar would go a long way. Knowing 2023 is an integral point for Minnesota and Baldelli, what are you hoping for in a change of pace? If you support what Rocco has brought to the table, why? If you need to see better, what could change your opinion?
  9. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (77 pitches, 53 strikes (69%)) Home Runs: Mark Contreras (3) Top 3 WPA: Gio Urshela (0.132), Gilberto Celestino (0.98), Jake Cave (0.54) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Tigers took advantage of Dylan Bundy early and the Twins' defense scoring a run in the first. Matt Wallner was charged with an error when a bounding single from Riley Greene got past him and turned into a single two-base error. The Tigers struck first blood and got a run on the board in the first inning. The Twins shut out the Tigers on Friday night and Saturday's game continued to trend. The two teams battled back and forth through the first few innings. Detroit pitcher Drew Hutchison ran up 72 pitches by the time Gary Sanchez came to bat in the fourth. Jake Cave led the fourth inning off with a single, and as Hutchinson labored through the line-up, a grounder from Sanchez killed the inning with a double-play, and Matt Wallner struck out swinging. The Twins batting with Runners in Scoring Position this season has been frustrating. Leaving Nothing on the Field Both teams are out of the postseason chase. For Carlos Correa, it is the first time since 2016 that he hasn't played in the playoffs. Gio Urshela is another player missing the post-season but, has been a huge asset in the Twins' clubhouse and on the field throughout the season. The best thing about this club is that there is depth and options for next season. The Twins were plagued with injuries throughout the season, but many replacements who came up stepped up. Manager Rocco Baldelli stepped in when the Twins came up against rough games or bad calls. Baldelli spent a lot of time challenging plays this season and in this game, that was no exception. Gary Sanchez, who isn't fast, rocketed to first base on a fielder's choice. Detroit shortstop Ryan Kreidler flipped to second to get Cave out and the throw to first base appeared to get Sanchez out. Baldelli challenged the play, the call was overturned, and Sanchez was safe. Jose Miranda has been another player putting on quite the clinic during his time with the club. Miranda leads the club with 66 RBIs and has been one of the hottest rookies in MLB this season. Dick Bremer mentioned that Miranda will be spending with Correa in Houston in the off-season, which certainly will give Miranda an education. A Fight to the End (of the Night) Bundy gave up his 24th home run of the season when Eric Haase hit his eighth home run to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth. That changed when Mark Contreas came up to bat in the top of the fifth frame and hit a bomb into the right field stands just inside the foul pole, Luis Arraez started the night 0-for-2 and ripped a ball into right field for a single. Arraez grabbed at his hamstring as he approached first base, but he remained in the game. During a Detroit pitching change, Arraez walked over to third base coach Tommy Watkins and was still out on second after the commercial break. Urshela came up to bat and hit a single to left, and Arraez took off; not without a grimace and a slight hobble, but he dug deep, found speed, and made it home to tie the game at two! The season may be over for the Twins, but Arraez is still contending for the American League batting title. Hitting .315, he is just edging out Aaron Judge, who is striving for the MVP and a Yankees home run record. The race for the batting title potentially could keep Judge from achieving the Triple Crown. During an earlier interview, Baldelli said, "There is a new calm with Arraez over the past few days." Arraez has stated that he's enjoying the race but wants to win. While everyone loves a good contention, no one deserves the AL batting title more than Luis Arraez (at least in the mind of Twins fans... right?). The Tigers changed their pitcher, and the Twins had bases loaded and two outs with Sanchez up to bat. Sanchez was due for a hit, and with a .323 average with RISP, it would have been beautiful to see a grand slam. Instead, Jose Cisnero saw an opportunity out of the corner of his eye and picked off Urshela at second base to end the inning. Finishing out the Night Ronny Henriquez came in to pitch in the sixth inning. Henriquez came to the Twins in the Mitch Garver trade in spring training and has had two appearances with the Twins. In his previous games, he has posted a 3.12 ERA with seven hits, three earned runs, and six strike-outs. He gave up an unearned run on an error by Arraez on a chopper from Harold Castro. The Tigers held the lead, but the Twins loaded the bases in the eighth inning. Instead of Wallner coming to the plate, the Twins pulled Ryan Jeffers off the bench as a pinch hitter. A smart decision by Baldelli when All-Star lefty Gregory Soto came in. Jeffers had an 0-2 count and hit a hard groundball that was destined for centerfield, but Soto deflected it with his glove and it went right to the shortstop who turned a double play to end the inning and another rally for the Twins. The Twins were only down a run going into the ninth and quickly got the tying run on a single from Arraez. Correa came up to bat and hit a fly-out (liner) to right field, but with two outs and the Twins history of late-inning rallies, the dream was still alive. The rally fell short when Nick Gordon, who had two hits earlier in the game, struck out swinging. Pitching for tomorrow’s game: Thursday 11:10 am CST: RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (MLB Debut, as reported on Friday by Twins Daily) v. LHP Joey Wentz (2-2, 3.54 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  10. Dylan Bundy stepped onto the mound for the final time this season against the Detroit Tigers and the Twins last Saturday night of the baseball season. Image courtesy of David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (77 pitches, 53 strikes (69%)) Home Runs: Mark Contreras (3) Top 3 WPA: Gio Urshela (0.132), Gilberto Celestino (0.98), Jake Cave (0.54) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Tigers took advantage of Dylan Bundy early and the Twins' defense scoring a run in the first. Matt Wallner was charged with an error when a bounding single from Riley Greene got past him and turned into a single two-base error. The Tigers struck first blood and got a run on the board in the first inning. The Twins shut out the Tigers on Friday night and Saturday's game continued to trend. The two teams battled back and forth through the first few innings. Detroit pitcher Drew Hutchison ran up 72 pitches by the time Gary Sanchez came to bat in the fourth. Jake Cave led the fourth inning off with a single, and as Hutchinson labored through the line-up, a grounder from Sanchez killed the inning with a double-play, and Matt Wallner struck out swinging. The Twins batting with Runners in Scoring Position this season has been frustrating. Leaving Nothing on the Field Both teams are out of the postseason chase. For Carlos Correa, it is the first time since 2016 that he hasn't played in the playoffs. Gio Urshela is another player missing the post-season but, has been a huge asset in the Twins' clubhouse and on the field throughout the season. The best thing about this club is that there is depth and options for next season. The Twins were plagued with injuries throughout the season, but many replacements who came up stepped up. Manager Rocco Baldelli stepped in when the Twins came up against rough games or bad calls. Baldelli spent a lot of time challenging plays this season and in this game, that was no exception. Gary Sanchez, who isn't fast, rocketed to first base on a fielder's choice. Detroit shortstop Ryan Kreidler flipped to second to get Cave out and the throw to first base appeared to get Sanchez out. Baldelli challenged the play, the call was overturned, and Sanchez was safe. Jose Miranda has been another player putting on quite the clinic during his time with the club. Miranda leads the club with 66 RBIs and has been one of the hottest rookies in MLB this season. Dick Bremer mentioned that Miranda will be spending with Correa in Houston in the off-season, which certainly will give Miranda an education. A Fight to the End (of the Night) Bundy gave up his 24th home run of the season when Eric Haase hit his eighth home run to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth. That changed when Mark Contreas came up to bat in the top of the fifth frame and hit a bomb into the right field stands just inside the foul pole, Luis Arraez started the night 0-for-2 and ripped a ball into right field for a single. Arraez grabbed at his hamstring as he approached first base, but he remained in the game. During a Detroit pitching change, Arraez walked over to third base coach Tommy Watkins and was still out on second after the commercial break. Urshela came up to bat and hit a single to left, and Arraez took off; not without a grimace and a slight hobble, but he dug deep, found speed, and made it home to tie the game at two! The season may be over for the Twins, but Arraez is still contending for the American League batting title. Hitting .315, he is just edging out Aaron Judge, who is striving for the MVP and a Yankees home run record. The race for the batting title potentially could keep Judge from achieving the Triple Crown. During an earlier interview, Baldelli said, "There is a new calm with Arraez over the past few days." Arraez has stated that he's enjoying the race but wants to win. While everyone loves a good contention, no one deserves the AL batting title more than Luis Arraez (at least in the mind of Twins fans... right?). The Tigers changed their pitcher, and the Twins had bases loaded and two outs with Sanchez up to bat. Sanchez was due for a hit, and with a .323 average with RISP, it would have been beautiful to see a grand slam. Instead, Jose Cisnero saw an opportunity out of the corner of his eye and picked off Urshela at second base to end the inning. Finishing out the Night Ronny Henriquez came in to pitch in the sixth inning. Henriquez came to the Twins in the Mitch Garver trade in spring training and has had two appearances with the Twins. In his previous games, he has posted a 3.12 ERA with seven hits, three earned runs, and six strike-outs. He gave up an unearned run on an error by Arraez on a chopper from Harold Castro. The Tigers held the lead, but the Twins loaded the bases in the eighth inning. Instead of Wallner coming to the plate, the Twins pulled Ryan Jeffers off the bench as a pinch hitter. A smart decision by Baldelli when All-Star lefty Gregory Soto came in. Jeffers had an 0-2 count and hit a hard groundball that was destined for centerfield, but Soto deflected it with his glove and it went right to the shortstop who turned a double play to end the inning and another rally for the Twins. The Twins were only down a run going into the ninth and quickly got the tying run on a single from Arraez. Correa came up to bat and hit a fly-out (liner) to right field, but with two outs and the Twins history of late-inning rallies, the dream was still alive. The rally fell short when Nick Gordon, who had two hits earlier in the game, struck out swinging. Pitching for tomorrow’s game: Thursday 11:10 am CST: RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (MLB Debut, as reported on Friday by Twins Daily) v. LHP Joey Wentz (2-2, 3.54 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  11. The Twins played their final game Sunday home game of the season to wrap up their series with the Los Angeles Angels. With Dylan Bundy on the mound and the lineup still depleted of everyday players, could the Twins get their first series victory since sweeping the Royals two weeks prior? Or do Twins Fans need to sleep off the remainder of September with another loss on hand? Image courtesy of Matt Krohn, USA Today Sports Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy 3.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (84 pitches, 57 strikes (67.8 strike %)) Home Runs: Caleb Hamilton (1) Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Dylan Bundy -.388, Jake Cave -.124, Trevor Megill -.067 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The end for Bundy? Dylan Bundy had the start for the Twins Sunday afternoon and continued not to look his sharpest on the mound. Bundy’s control of his breaking ball pitches, specifically the curve ball. Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani both hit well off of Bundy combing to go 3-4 in their plate appearances against him with Trout having a solo home run in the top of the third to make it 3-1 Angels. Bundy’s afternoon ended in the top of the fourth after giving up three singles and two runs to give the Angels a 5-2 lead. After a strong month of August where Bundy had a 2.63 ERA in five starts across 24 innings. Bundy’s September month has been the opposite, having a 7.48 ERA in five starts across 21.1 innings of work. The short struggles of Bundy’s Sunday performance skyrocketed his ERA from 6.38 to 7.48. With only nine games left in the season for the Twins, it is quite possible Twins fans have seen the end of Bundy’s time in a Twins uniform. Henriquez Pick Me Up After Bundy’s crumble of an outing, Ronny Henriquez came into the game making his second career appearance in the Majors. Henriquez had a couple of hiccups in his 4.2 innings of work with three hits and a walk but he kept all those Angel base runners from scoring and the Twins within three runs when he exited. Henriquez also had four strikeouts in his appearance while his fastest pitch topped out at 94.6 MPH against Michael Stefanic in the eighth. Henriquez’s longevity in the remainder of the game gave most of the Twins bullpen arms the chance to rest and fight for second place against the White Sox come Tuesday. Trevor Megill was in for the ninth facing Trout to start the inning. Trout had a lead-off double and Ohtani followed up with an RBI single to make it a 6-3 Angels game. That wouldn’t be the end for Megill as he surrendered a two-run double to Max Stassi putting the Angels up 8-3. The Stassi double was followed by another one from Livan Soto putting them up 10-3. Jovani Moran came into the game to get the Twins out of the jam. Moran successfully retired the last two batters adverting any further damage. Correa Leads the Offense Still not Enough for Win The Twins bats kept themselves from being completely shut out Sunday afternoon and many thanks to Carlos Correa. Correa went 2-4 with a double and scored the Twins' first run in the first inning. Alongside Correa with multi-hit games were Jose Miranda (2-4) and Gilberto Celestino (2-4, 2B). Even with nine hits on the day the Twins failed to get runners in scoring position home after the third inning going 0-2 in those opportunities. The bottom of the seventh was starting to look like one of those opportunities for the cold bats to break. A leadoff single from Miranda and from Gio Urshela was followed by Gary Sanchez being hit by a pitch. Nick Gordon came to the plate with an opportunity to tie the game with the bases-loaded. Unfortunately, that was not the case as Gordon struck out as well as Celestino to end the inning. Fortunately, the Twins did not stop scoring after the fiasco seventh as Caleb Hamilton finally scratched off his first big league hit with a solo home run to bring the Twins within a run of the Angels. Wake Twins Fans Up When September Ends? The Twins fall further down an abysmal hole that is September baseball as they dropped to a 7-17 record with Sunday’s loss. The Twins have also allowed 119 runs to opponents while only scoring 80 for themselves, their worse runs scored/runs allowed ratio on the season for a month. Only four games remain for the Twins this month with three at home against the White Sox and one in Detroit. At best, they’ll be 11-17, at worse 7-21. Either way, Twins fans may need to follow the words of Green Day and wait to wake up until September ends. What’s Next? Twins are off Monday with the final home series of the season to start Tuesday night against the White Sox at 6:40 p.m. Former Twin Lance Lynn is set to go against current Twin Bailey Ober for Tuesday night’s game. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Sheet View full article
  12. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy 3.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (84 pitches, 57 strikes (67.8 strike %)) Home Runs: Caleb Hamilton (1) Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Dylan Bundy -.388, Jake Cave -.124, Trevor Megill -.067 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The end for Bundy? Dylan Bundy had the start for the Twins Sunday afternoon and continued not to look his sharpest on the mound. Bundy’s control of his breaking ball pitches, specifically the curve ball. Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani both hit well off of Bundy combing to go 3-4 in their plate appearances against him with Trout having a solo home run in the top of the third to make it 3-1 Angels. Bundy’s afternoon ended in the top of the fourth after giving up three singles and two runs to give the Angels a 5-2 lead. After a strong month of August where Bundy had a 2.63 ERA in five starts across 24 innings. Bundy’s September month has been the opposite, having a 7.48 ERA in five starts across 21.1 innings of work. The short struggles of Bundy’s Sunday performance skyrocketed his ERA from 6.38 to 7.48. With only nine games left in the season for the Twins, it is quite possible Twins fans have seen the end of Bundy’s time in a Twins uniform. Henriquez Pick Me Up After Bundy’s crumble of an outing, Ronny Henriquez came into the game making his second career appearance in the Majors. Henriquez had a couple of hiccups in his 4.2 innings of work with three hits and a walk but he kept all those Angel base runners from scoring and the Twins within three runs when he exited. Henriquez also had four strikeouts in his appearance while his fastest pitch topped out at 94.6 MPH against Michael Stefanic in the eighth. Henriquez’s longevity in the remainder of the game gave most of the Twins bullpen arms the chance to rest and fight for second place against the White Sox come Tuesday. Trevor Megill was in for the ninth facing Trout to start the inning. Trout had a lead-off double and Ohtani followed up with an RBI single to make it a 6-3 Angels game. That wouldn’t be the end for Megill as he surrendered a two-run double to Max Stassi putting the Angels up 8-3. The Stassi double was followed by another one from Livan Soto putting them up 10-3. Jovani Moran came into the game to get the Twins out of the jam. Moran successfully retired the last two batters adverting any further damage. Correa Leads the Offense Still not Enough for Win The Twins bats kept themselves from being completely shut out Sunday afternoon and many thanks to Carlos Correa. Correa went 2-4 with a double and scored the Twins' first run in the first inning. Alongside Correa with multi-hit games were Jose Miranda (2-4) and Gilberto Celestino (2-4, 2B). Even with nine hits on the day the Twins failed to get runners in scoring position home after the third inning going 0-2 in those opportunities. The bottom of the seventh was starting to look like one of those opportunities for the cold bats to break. A leadoff single from Miranda and from Gio Urshela was followed by Gary Sanchez being hit by a pitch. Nick Gordon came to the plate with an opportunity to tie the game with the bases-loaded. Unfortunately, that was not the case as Gordon struck out as well as Celestino to end the inning. Fortunately, the Twins did not stop scoring after the fiasco seventh as Caleb Hamilton finally scratched off his first big league hit with a solo home run to bring the Twins within a run of the Angels. Wake Twins Fans Up When September Ends? The Twins fall further down an abysmal hole that is September baseball as they dropped to a 7-17 record with Sunday’s loss. The Twins have also allowed 119 runs to opponents while only scoring 80 for themselves, their worse runs scored/runs allowed ratio on the season for a month. Only four games remain for the Twins this month with three at home against the White Sox and one in Detroit. At best, they’ll be 11-17, at worse 7-21. Either way, Twins fans may need to follow the words of Green Day and wait to wake up until September ends. What’s Next? Twins are off Monday with the final home series of the season to start Tuesday night against the White Sox at 6:40 p.m. Former Twin Lance Lynn is set to go against current Twin Bailey Ober for Tuesday night’s game. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Sheet
  13. The Twins built an early lead but couldn’t hold on to it nor take advantage of the opportunities they created on offense, going 3-for-13 from scoring position. They drop the series opener in Kansas City and are now one step closer to mathematical elimination from playoff contention. Image courtesy of Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 4 2/3 IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, 1BB, 2K (65 pitches, 42 strikes, 64.6%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Luis Arraez (-.197), Mark Contreras (-.195), Jose Miranda (-.171) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) For the second time in the past seven days, the Twins’ offense got the upper hand against Royals’ starting pitcher Zack Greinke in the early going and managed to build a nice three-run lead. When these two teams met last week, said three-run lead came right in the first inning, whereas tonight, it took Minnesota a little longer. Despite stranding a couple of runners in the first inning, after José Miranda and Nick Gordon hit back-to-back two-out singles, Minnesota’s lineup didn’t slow down. In the second inning, they were back at it with back-to-back singles from Jake Cave and Gilberto Celestino. Matt Wallner then made it three hits in a row with a long double to the right field corner to score Cave. Celestino showed have scored on a Luis Arráez flyout, but somehow he decided not to tag up. No worries there because Carlos Correa did some two-out damage before the inning was over. He jumped on a 2-1 four-seamer to find the gap at short and score both runners. He continues to have his best month on the season, by far, slashing .361/.425/.667 (1.092) before tonight’s game. Too bad we most likely won’t be able to see if that hot streak would’ve extended into October… Bundy is solid at first, can’t hold on to the lead, and the game goes back and forth Meanwhile, Dylan Bundy delivered two perfect innings to open the game, but his shutout wouldn’t last long. After a leadoff double by Gordon went to waste in the top of the third, Bundy also allowed a leadoff double in the home half to Edward Olivares. He did strike out a pair after that, but he couldn’t shut the door on the inning, allowing a two-run home run to MJ Melendez that cut the Twins’ lead to one. Bundy settled in in the fourth but couldn’t deliver another scoreless frame in the fifth. Hunter Dozier tied the game with a one-out solo home run to left, shortly before Nate Eaton followed that with a single of his own. Eaton moved to third on a wild pitch by Bundy, and after the starter departed the game, he scored on a Bobby Witt Jr single off Griffin Jax that gave Kansas City their first lead of the night, 4-3. After the shaky start, Greinke found a way to keep the Twins offense on a leash for most of the time, despite allowing a few hits. It was only during the sixth inning that the bats were able to capitalize again: Urshela led off the inning with a double, and Greinke was done for the night after striking out Gary Sanchez. Against reliever Amir Garrett, doubled himself and scored Urshela to tie the game. The Twins also took the lead briefly when Wallner hit a ground ball that was initially called safe at first, scoring Cave from third. But Kansas City challenged the play, and it got overturned, ending the inning. Caleb Thielbar tossed a scoreless bottom of the sixth, but Michael Fulmer couldn’t keep the game tied in the seventh. He gave up back-to-back one-out doubles that nearly scored the go-ahead run for the Royals. Correa’s arm prevented Melendez from scoring with a phenomenal throw home. However, on the very next at-bat, Salvador Perez hit a flare to shallow right, scoring Witt Jr from second to put the Royals back on top. The Twins had a golden opportunity during the eighth inning when Urshela and Sánchez both reached after getting hit by pitches with only one out. Then both moved into scoring position on a Cave fly out but ended up stranded when Mark Contreras struck out. Despite having the top of their lineup back in the ninth, the Twins went down in order to end the game. What’s Next? The series continues on Wednesday night, with game two scheduled to start at 7:10 pm CDT. Minnesota will bring Bailey Ober (3.49 ERA) to the mound to square off Daniel Lynch (5.15 ERA). Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Henriquez 0 0 0 0 73 0 73 López 0 0 32 0 34 0 66 Moran 40 0 15 5 0 0 60 Fulmer 0 11 17 0 0 23 51 Sanchez 0 0 49 0 0 0 49 Pagán 0 0 31 0 15 0 46 Jax 0 22 13 0 0 4 39 Thielbar 0 15 0 0 0 23 38 Duran 0 16 0 17 0 0 33 Megill 0 0 0 0 0 17 17 View full article
  14. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 4 2/3 IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, 1BB, 2K (65 pitches, 42 strikes, 64.6%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Luis Arraez (-.197), Mark Contreras (-.195), Jose Miranda (-.171) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) For the second time in the past seven days, the Twins’ offense got the upper hand against Royals’ starting pitcher Zack Greinke in the early going and managed to build a nice three-run lead. When these two teams met last week, said three-run lead came right in the first inning, whereas tonight, it took Minnesota a little longer. Despite stranding a couple of runners in the first inning, after José Miranda and Nick Gordon hit back-to-back two-out singles, Minnesota’s lineup didn’t slow down. In the second inning, they were back at it with back-to-back singles from Jake Cave and Gilberto Celestino. Matt Wallner then made it three hits in a row with a long double to the right field corner to score Cave. Celestino showed have scored on a Luis Arráez flyout, but somehow he decided not to tag up. No worries there because Carlos Correa did some two-out damage before the inning was over. He jumped on a 2-1 four-seamer to find the gap at short and score both runners. He continues to have his best month on the season, by far, slashing .361/.425/.667 (1.092) before tonight’s game. Too bad we most likely won’t be able to see if that hot streak would’ve extended into October… Bundy is solid at first, can’t hold on to the lead, and the game goes back and forth Meanwhile, Dylan Bundy delivered two perfect innings to open the game, but his shutout wouldn’t last long. After a leadoff double by Gordon went to waste in the top of the third, Bundy also allowed a leadoff double in the home half to Edward Olivares. He did strike out a pair after that, but he couldn’t shut the door on the inning, allowing a two-run home run to MJ Melendez that cut the Twins’ lead to one. Bundy settled in in the fourth but couldn’t deliver another scoreless frame in the fifth. Hunter Dozier tied the game with a one-out solo home run to left, shortly before Nate Eaton followed that with a single of his own. Eaton moved to third on a wild pitch by Bundy, and after the starter departed the game, he scored on a Bobby Witt Jr single off Griffin Jax that gave Kansas City their first lead of the night, 4-3. After the shaky start, Greinke found a way to keep the Twins offense on a leash for most of the time, despite allowing a few hits. It was only during the sixth inning that the bats were able to capitalize again: Urshela led off the inning with a double, and Greinke was done for the night after striking out Gary Sanchez. Against reliever Amir Garrett, doubled himself and scored Urshela to tie the game. The Twins also took the lead briefly when Wallner hit a ground ball that was initially called safe at first, scoring Cave from third. But Kansas City challenged the play, and it got overturned, ending the inning. Caleb Thielbar tossed a scoreless bottom of the sixth, but Michael Fulmer couldn’t keep the game tied in the seventh. He gave up back-to-back one-out doubles that nearly scored the go-ahead run for the Royals. Correa’s arm prevented Melendez from scoring with a phenomenal throw home. However, on the very next at-bat, Salvador Perez hit a flare to shallow right, scoring Witt Jr from second to put the Royals back on top. The Twins had a golden opportunity during the eighth inning when Urshela and Sánchez both reached after getting hit by pitches with only one out. Then both moved into scoring position on a Cave fly out but ended up stranded when Mark Contreras struck out. Despite having the top of their lineup back in the ninth, the Twins went down in order to end the game. What’s Next? The series continues on Wednesday night, with game two scheduled to start at 7:10 pm CDT. Minnesota will bring Bailey Ober (3.49 ERA) to the mound to square off Daniel Lynch (5.15 ERA). Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Henriquez 0 0 0 0 73 0 73 López 0 0 32 0 34 0 66 Moran 40 0 15 5 0 0 60 Fulmer 0 11 17 0 0 23 51 Sanchez 0 0 49 0 0 0 49 Pagán 0 0 31 0 15 0 46 Jax 0 22 13 0 0 4 39 Thielbar 0 15 0 0 0 23 38 Duran 0 16 0 17 0 0 33 Megill 0 0 0 0 0 17 17
  15. Spin rate is back up across baseball after a crackdown on sticky substances last season. Are Twins pitchers following this trend or falling behind? Image courtesy of Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Over the last year, MLB has tried to crack down on the substances pitchers use on the ball to generate more spin. When first enforced, there were some heated moments, including Josh Donaldson, a Twins player at the time, calling out pitchers he knew were violating the rule. Initially, baseball saw a decline in spin rate, but those numbers have increased this season. Now, spin rates are nearly back to the same level as before enforcement began. Starting in 2020, Statcast posted an active spin leaderboard, which can also include an active spin %. They offer a longer explanation at their site, but the nuts-and-bolts description is the spin that contributes to movement, including up or down and side to side. Twins Four-Seam Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Tyler Mahle (99.5%), Jorge Lopez (98.1%), Joe Ryan (96.5%), Chris Archer (96.5%) Minnesota’s top-two trade deadline acquisitions rank the best on the team regarding active spin % on their four-seam fastballs. In fact, Mahle sits atop the leaderboard among all MLB pitchers that have thrown a minimum of 1000 pitches. Opponents have posted a .205 BA and a .368 SLG when facing Mahle’s four-seamer. His numbers also include his recent starts, where his shoulder hasn’t allowed him to reach his normal velocity levels. Lopez ranks in the top 25, while Ryan and Archer are in the top 50. Twins Changeup Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Joe Ryan (99.5%), Jorge Lopez (98.3%), Chris Archer (96%), Ryan throws his fastball over 60% of the time, but his changeup might be vital to unlocking his full potential. His changeup leads MLB in active spin among pitchers with a minimum of 1000 pitches thrown. Ryan has thrown his changeup fewer than 300 times this season, but he has increased his percentage from his 2021 big-league appearances. Lopez ranks in the top 35, and Archer is near the backend of the top 75 with his changeup’s active spin. Twins Sinker Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Jorge Lopez (96%), Devin Smeltzer (93.2%), Dylan Bundy (93.1%) Minnesota ranks well in the two pitches mentioned above, but the team doesn’t have a regular sinker ball pitcher with a high active spin %. Lopez cracks the top-30 with his sinker, which is the pitch he throws over 50% of the time. Opponents have posted a .230 BA and a .341 SLG facing his sinker. Smeltzer and Bundy sit just outside the top-40 according to the active spin on their sinkers. According to Baseball Savant, Smeltzer has only thrown ten sinkers this season, so that is hardly a large sample. Bundy’s sinker is his least utilized pitch (7.9%), as he has allowed a .500 SLG so far in 2022. Twins Slider Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Sonny Gray (63.6%), Devin Smeltzer (58.4%), Jorge Lopez (40.7%) Active spin on sliders is much different compared to other pitches because only two pitchers (Rich Hill and Steve Cishek) have an active spin % above 80%. Gray currently sits in fifth place on the MLB leaderboard, with only two AL pitchers ranking higher than him. He throws his slider 11.4% of the time, and batters have a .291 SLG when facing that pitch. Smeltzer ranks just outside the top-10 as he has held opponents to a .214 BA versus his slider. Lopez, who ranks in the top 60, appears on these leaderboards thanks to the amount of spin he generates. He doesn’t tend to get a lot of strikeouts, so he needs spin to coax outs. Are you surprised by any of the names on the leaderboards mentioned above? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  16. Over the last year, MLB has tried to crack down on the substances pitchers use on the ball to generate more spin. When first enforced, there were some heated moments, including Josh Donaldson, a Twins player at the time, calling out pitchers he knew were violating the rule. Initially, baseball saw a decline in spin rate, but those numbers have increased this season. Now, spin rates are nearly back to the same level as before enforcement began. Starting in 2020, Statcast posted an active spin leaderboard, which can also include an active spin %. They offer a longer explanation at their site, but the nuts-and-bolts description is the spin that contributes to movement, including up or down and side to side. Twins Four-Seam Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Tyler Mahle (99.5%), Jorge Lopez (98.1%), Joe Ryan (96.5%), Chris Archer (96.5%) Minnesota’s top-two trade deadline acquisitions rank the best on the team regarding active spin % on their four-seam fastballs. In fact, Mahle sits atop the leaderboard among all MLB pitchers that have thrown a minimum of 1000 pitches. Opponents have posted a .205 BA and a .368 SLG when facing Mahle’s four-seamer. His numbers also include his recent starts, where his shoulder hasn’t allowed him to reach his normal velocity levels. Lopez ranks in the top 25, while Ryan and Archer are in the top 50. Twins Changeup Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Joe Ryan (99.5%), Jorge Lopez (98.3%), Chris Archer (96%), Ryan throws his fastball over 60% of the time, but his changeup might be vital to unlocking his full potential. His changeup leads MLB in active spin among pitchers with a minimum of 1000 pitches thrown. Ryan has thrown his changeup fewer than 300 times this season, but he has increased his percentage from his 2021 big-league appearances. Lopez ranks in the top 35, and Archer is near the backend of the top 75 with his changeup’s active spin. Twins Sinker Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Jorge Lopez (96%), Devin Smeltzer (93.2%), Dylan Bundy (93.1%) Minnesota ranks well in the two pitches mentioned above, but the team doesn’t have a regular sinker ball pitcher with a high active spin %. Lopez cracks the top-30 with his sinker, which is the pitch he throws over 50% of the time. Opponents have posted a .230 BA and a .341 SLG facing his sinker. Smeltzer and Bundy sit just outside the top-40 according to the active spin on their sinkers. According to Baseball Savant, Smeltzer has only thrown ten sinkers this season, so that is hardly a large sample. Bundy’s sinker is his least utilized pitch (7.9%), as he has allowed a .500 SLG so far in 2022. Twins Slider Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Sonny Gray (63.6%), Devin Smeltzer (58.4%), Jorge Lopez (40.7%) Active spin on sliders is much different compared to other pitches because only two pitchers (Rich Hill and Steve Cishek) have an active spin % above 80%. Gray currently sits in fifth place on the MLB leaderboard, with only two AL pitchers ranking higher than him. He throws his slider 11.4% of the time, and batters have a .291 SLG when facing that pitch. Smeltzer ranks just outside the top-10 as he has held opponents to a .214 BA versus his slider. Lopez, who ranks in the top 60, appears on these leaderboards thanks to the amount of spin he generates. He doesn’t tend to get a lot of strikeouts, so he needs spin to coax outs. Are you surprised by any of the names on the leaderboards mentioned above? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  17. Break out the brooms. Thanks to early-inning heroics from Carlos Correa and Nick Gordon, the Twins notched a critical win on Thursday night against the Royals. Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 4 IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 2K (60 pitches, 41 strikes, 68.3%) Home Runs: Carlos Correa (21), Nick Gordon (7) Top 3 WPA: Carlos Correa (.155), Jhoan Duran (.153), Michael Fulmer (.115) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) In Honor of 21 Some things are bigger than the result on the field. 50 years following his passing, six Twins players donned #21 for Roberto Clemente Day on Thursday night. Puerto Rican natives Carlos Correa, Jose Miranda, Jorge López and Jovani Moran all donned #21 for the man who was arguably the father of baseball for the country. Emilio Pagán, who is of Puerto Rican descent (his father is from Puerto Rico) and Byron Buxton, who is the Twins' nominee for the 2022 Roberto Clemente Award also wore #21 on their jerseys. Early Action After the White Sox crunched the Guardians on Thursday afternoon, the Twins wasted no time to hop on top of the Royals on Thursday. Carlos Correa launched a full-count fastball over the left-field wall to put the Twins up 1-0. That homer was Correa's fifth in the last seven games. A clubhouse leader showing up when it matters? Absolutely. Nick Gordon added to the fun in the second inning. After Gilberto Celestino tallied a double (which really could have been a triple (or more) without an unfortunate trip), Nick "Flash G" Gordon launched a slider over the right-center field wall to give the Twins a 3-1 lead. Cy Bundy Twins starter Dylan Bundy was adequate through four innings, giving up two runs on four hits while striking out two and walking none. The real show was the Twins bullpen, who posted five innings of scoreless innings. Trevor Megill posted a perfect fifth inning followed by a perfect sixth from Griffin Jax. Caleb Thielbar and Michael Fulmer combined for perfect seventh and eighth innings with three strikeouts and flamethrower Jhoan Duran made things interesting, but he posted a two-strikeout ninth inning to secure the win for the Twins. Defense Wins! Perhaps the most brilliant play on the night came in the third inning. With Nicky Lopez at the plate, Jake Cave made arguably his best defensive play of his career with an extra-base stealer in front of the right field wall. Postgame Interviews What’s Next? This is when it counts. Four games down in the AL Central, the Twins head to Cleveland for a five-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 pm tomorrow night. As you can hear in the Baldelli interview above, Bailey Ober returns to the Twins and will start Game 1 in Cleveland. To make room for Ober to come off of the 60-Day IL and join the 28-man roster, RHP Jharel Cotton was again DFAd. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  18. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 4 IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 2K (60 pitches, 41 strikes, 68.3%) Home Runs: Carlos Correa (21), Nick Gordon (7) Top 3 WPA: Carlos Correa (.155), Jhoan Duran (.153), Michael Fulmer (.115) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) In Honor of 21 Some things are bigger than the result on the field. 50 years following his passing, six Twins players donned #21 for Roberto Clemente Day on Thursday night. Puerto Rican natives Carlos Correa, Jose Miranda, Jorge López and Jovani Moran all donned #21 for the man who was arguably the father of baseball for the country. Emilio Pagán, who is of Puerto Rican descent (his father is from Puerto Rico) and Byron Buxton, who is the Twins' nominee for the 2022 Roberto Clemente Award also wore #21 on their jerseys. Early Action After the White Sox crunched the Guardians on Thursday afternoon, the Twins wasted no time to hop on top of the Royals on Thursday. Carlos Correa launched a full-count fastball over the left-field wall to put the Twins up 1-0. That homer was Correa's fifth in the last seven games. A clubhouse leader showing up when it matters? Absolutely. Nick Gordon added to the fun in the second inning. After Gilberto Celestino tallied a double (which really could have been a triple (or more) without an unfortunate trip), Nick "Flash G" Gordon launched a slider over the right-center field wall to give the Twins a 3-1 lead. Cy Bundy Twins starter Dylan Bundy was adequate through four innings, giving up two runs on four hits while striking out two and walking none. The real show was the Twins bullpen, who posted five innings of scoreless innings. Trevor Megill posted a perfect fifth inning followed by a perfect sixth from Griffin Jax. Caleb Thielbar and Michael Fulmer combined for perfect seventh and eighth innings with three strikeouts and flamethrower Jhoan Duran made things interesting, but he posted a two-strikeout ninth inning to secure the win for the Twins. Defense Wins! Perhaps the most brilliant play on the night came in the third inning. With Nicky Lopez at the plate, Jake Cave made arguably his best defensive play of his career with an extra-base stealer in front of the right field wall. Postgame Interviews What’s Next? This is when it counts. Four games down in the AL Central, the Twins head to Cleveland for a five-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 pm tomorrow night. As you can hear in the Baldelli interview above, Bailey Ober returns to the Twins and will start Game 1 in Cleveland. To make room for Ober to come off of the 60-Day IL and join the 28-man roster, RHP Jharel Cotton was again DFAd. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  19. Every. Single. Game. The same refrain thunders from fans all over Twins Territory. Why aren’t the Minnesota Twins allowing their starting pitchers to go deeper in games? Unfortunately, this isn’t something tied to the organization alone, and there’s a pretty straightforward answer. Image courtesy of Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports At the Major League Baseball level, most things are about the process working to dictate ideal results. Whether you view the concept of analytics as annoying or not, the reality is that they represent an application of information. When it comes to pitching, hitting, or virtually anything else on a baseball diamond, results are calculated by statistics derived from outcomes. Every time that Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli steps onto the field and travels to the pitching mound hand-wringing ensues. Of course this is often because the removal of a starting pitcher is happening in the 5th inning or earlier. It’s not something done on gut feeling or through a knee-jerk reaction, but instead a reflection of what makes sense based on actual results. Four pitchers have made the vast majority of starts for the Twins this season. Among them, Sonny Gray is the only one you would even consider for a top spot or two in a good rotation. Joe Ryan, while flashing signs of solid stuff, more closely resembles a number three or four pitcher. He’s been pulverized by teams above .500 all season long, and while that’s to be expected given his age and exposure, it doesn’t excuse the reality. I have been vocal in that Dylan Bundy seems to be found value for Minnesota considering his output in spite of the predictive metrics. He is going to regress. Everything about his outcomes suggests regression will hit him hard. What the Twins have done is dance around having that reality smack them in the face to this point, and pitching him any more than he has would be playing with fire. Chris Archer is that fire that routinely burns both his manager and the bullpen beyond three or four innings. His stuff has been good, but the wheels fall off and things go awry. Asking pitchers to face a lineup more than two times is not a bad idea, in fact it’s one that should be welcomed. In operating that way however, you need to have a stable of pitchers capable of completing that feat. There’s absolutely no argument to be made that the Twins had those arms when the season started, and now 36 pitchers into the year, they couldn’t be further from that being a possibility. If there’s criticism to be had, it’s towards Derek Falvey and Thad Levine in failing to adequately supplement their starting staff. Major League Baseball as a whole has trended towards shorter starts for quite some time. Through the first handful of months this season, the average start was lower than five innings for the first time in history. With that reality, you’re effectively asking managers to massage a bullpen for something like four innings on any given night. That requires both high-end arms, as well as solid depth. Minnesota had no arms capable of going deep into games when the season started, and their answer to a bullpen needing supplemental capabilities was a 38-year-old sidearmer in the form of Joe Smith. It’s great that rookie Jhoan Duran has been amazing, but it’s also been absolutely necessary for the Twins to stay afloat. His win probability added leads the league because of the weight being carried on his shoulders, and Baldelli wasn’t provided any additional answers until August. Jorge Lopez has regressed, and Michael Fulmer has been mediocre. Yes, Griffin Jax is a nice development, and it’s great Caleb Thielbar returned from coaching Division 2 baseball, but what are we doing here? At the end of the day, the question as to why the Twins don’t allow starters to go deeper into ballgames really becomes why doesn’t Minnesota have better starting pitchers. It’s a process to develop arms, and very few will ever be a true ace. It’s also incredibly difficult to spend dollars on arms with 29 other teams vying for their services, and even less talent finding you desirable. View full article
  20. At the Major League Baseball level, most things are about the process working to dictate ideal results. Whether you view the concept of analytics as annoying or not, the reality is that they represent an application of information. When it comes to pitching, hitting, or virtually anything else on a baseball diamond, results are calculated by statistics derived from outcomes. Every time that Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli steps onto the field and travels to the pitching mound hand-wringing ensues. Of course this is often because the removal of a starting pitcher is happening in the 5th inning or earlier. It’s not something done on gut feeling or through a knee-jerk reaction, but instead a reflection of what makes sense based on actual results. Four pitchers have made the vast majority of starts for the Twins this season. Among them, Sonny Gray is the only one you would even consider for a top spot or two in a good rotation. Joe Ryan, while flashing signs of solid stuff, more closely resembles a number three or four pitcher. He’s been pulverized by teams above .500 all season long, and while that’s to be expected given his age and exposure, it doesn’t excuse the reality. I have been vocal in that Dylan Bundy seems to be found value for Minnesota considering his output in spite of the predictive metrics. He is going to regress. Everything about his outcomes suggests regression will hit him hard. What the Twins have done is dance around having that reality smack them in the face to this point, and pitching him any more than he has would be playing with fire. Chris Archer is that fire that routinely burns both his manager and the bullpen beyond three or four innings. His stuff has been good, but the wheels fall off and things go awry. Asking pitchers to face a lineup more than two times is not a bad idea, in fact it’s one that should be welcomed. In operating that way however, you need to have a stable of pitchers capable of completing that feat. There’s absolutely no argument to be made that the Twins had those arms when the season started, and now 36 pitchers into the year, they couldn’t be further from that being a possibility. If there’s criticism to be had, it’s towards Derek Falvey and Thad Levine in failing to adequately supplement their starting staff. Major League Baseball as a whole has trended towards shorter starts for quite some time. Through the first handful of months this season, the average start was lower than five innings for the first time in history. With that reality, you’re effectively asking managers to massage a bullpen for something like four innings on any given night. That requires both high-end arms, as well as solid depth. Minnesota had no arms capable of going deep into games when the season started, and their answer to a bullpen needing supplemental capabilities was a 38-year-old sidearmer in the form of Joe Smith. It’s great that rookie Jhoan Duran has been amazing, but it’s also been absolutely necessary for the Twins to stay afloat. His win probability added leads the league because of the weight being carried on his shoulders, and Baldelli wasn’t provided any additional answers until August. Jorge Lopez has regressed, and Michael Fulmer has been mediocre. Yes, Griffin Jax is a nice development, and it’s great Caleb Thielbar returned from coaching Division 2 baseball, but what are we doing here? At the end of the day, the question as to why the Twins don’t allow starters to go deeper into ballgames really becomes why doesn’t Minnesota have better starting pitchers. It’s a process to develop arms, and very few will ever be a true ace. It’s also incredibly difficult to spend dollars on arms with 29 other teams vying for their services, and even less talent finding you desirable.
  21. Following a depressing one-hit shutout Saturday night, the Twins had ground to make up in the division race in their Sunday finale against the White Sox. Could the Twins avoid the sweep or did the White Sox manage to have a renaissance against the Twins for their second straight series matchup? Image courtesy of David Banks, USA Today Sports Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (66 pitches, 47 strikes (71.2 strike %)) Home Runs: Carlos Correa (16) Top 3 WPA: Jhoan Duran .384, Dylan Bundy, . 275, Carlos Correa .231 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The first three innings of this game were all pitching. The Twins and White Sox gathered two hits a piece with Kyle Garlick ensuring Lucas Giolito couldn’t have a no-hit bid going in the top of the second. Dylan Bundy had great command of the strike zone once again in the first three innings and kept the White Sox hitters looking like fools with his slider. Bundy compiled three strikeouts and issued no walks in the first three frames of the game and hoped to continue his success for a longer outing. In the top of the fourth, the Twins managed to make their first threat of scoring against Giolito thanks to singles from Jose Miranda and Gio Urshela. Nick Gordon followed up with a two-out walk, giving Gary Sanchez an opportunity to do damage with the bases loaded. Sanchez would not do anything as he struck out looking on a pitch that was a few inches out of the strike zone. No one could blame him for looking. Bundy responded well to the lack of run support in the bottom of the fourth as he retired the minimum on a flyout and two groundouts. The Twins broke the shutout in the fifth thanks to Carlos Correa’s 16th homer of the season to put the Twins up 2-0. In addition to Correa’s homer, the Twins worked Giolito’s pitch count up to 95 through five innings ending his afternoon there. With the Twins in the lead, Bundy did his best to enter cruise control for the fifth, he only hit one speed bump while in cruise control issuing a walk to A.J. Pollock. Aside from that, Bundy remained in command of the strike zone to keep the Twins up 2-0. Giolito was done after five and the Twins didn’t stop hitting in the sixth as Jake Cave led off the inning with a pinch-hit triple in Kyle Garlick spot. Cave’s chance to score was wasted though as Sanchez hit a ball to short that Cave ran on but was thrown out easily. However, the Twins wouldn’t let the White Sox walk away with the out as they challenged the call at home due to Yasmani Grandal’s blockage of the plate. From an objective perspective, Grandal blocked more of the plate than Sanchez did a month ago in a devastating loss to the Blue Jays. But the umpires would not give way to their call of Cave being out at home and the score remained 2-0. Even with Bundy dealing through five innings on 66 pitches. Rocco Baldelli’s fear of Bundy facing the batting order a third time greatly outweighed his fear of going to the bullpen too early after Saturday night's blowout. Griffin Jax was given the ball for the bottom of the sixth. Jax proved those fears unfounded in the sixth on eight pitches. Michael Fulmer who followed, did not. Fulmer only got one out on 14 pitches in the seventh giving up three hits and the Sox first run of the game. Jhoan Duran came into the game to get the Twins out of their jam in the seventh without any further damage. Duran went out again for the eighth with another insurance run added from Max Kepler scoring on a wild pitch to make it 3-1, Twins. Duran pitched a stellar bottom half of the eighth. The Twins threatened again in the top of the ninth with Billy Hamilton, who pinch ran for Arraez, was at third and Correa at second. Fortunately, both Hamilton and Correa scored the Twins final two runs to give them some breathing room for the bottom of the ninth. Jose Miranda laced an RBI double to left-center field to make it 5-1 Twins. Caleb Thielbar was the Twins man to get the final three outs of the game. The first two hitters went down on a flyout and strikeout before Seby Zavala hit a ball to the left field fence for a single. Thielbar got the next batter out on the very next pitch to cement the Twins 5-1 win. What’s Next? The Twins head into the heart of the Evil Empire Monday afternoon to begin a four-game set against the New York Yankees. Chris Archer has the start of the Twins as the Yankees will send out Jameson Taillon. The first pitch is scheduled to start at 12:05 p.m. CT. Postgame Interview (Bally Sports Tweets) Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  22. The Minnesota Twins beat the White Sox 5-1 Sunday to regain a share of the AL Central division lead. Carlos Correa, Dylan Bundy, Jhoan Duran and Jose Miranda were among the Twins to deliver in that one. Down in the minors, Josh Winder, Randy Dobnak and Cole Sands all had rehab outings for the Saints. Winder looked great, in particular. Jair Camargo and Brooks Lee both homered. Players from Fort Myers highlighted include Keoni Cavaco, Dillon Tatum, Noah Cardenas, Carlos Aguiar, Daniel Ozoria and Tanner Schobel.
  23. The Minnesota Twins beat the White Sox 5-1 Sunday to regain a share of the AL Central division lead. Carlos Correa, Dylan Bundy, Jhoan Duran and Jose Miranda were among the Twins to deliver in that one. Down in the minors, Josh Winder, Randy Dobnak and Cole Sands all had rehab outings for the Saints. Winder looked great, in particular. Jair Camargo and Brooks Lee both homered. Players from Fort Myers highlighted include Keoni Cavaco, Dillon Tatum, Noah Cardenas, Carlos Aguiar, Daniel Ozoria and Tanner Schobel. View full video
  24. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (66 pitches, 47 strikes (71.2 strike %)) Home Runs: Carlos Correa (16) Top 3 WPA: Jhoan Duran .384, Dylan Bundy, . 275, Carlos Correa .231 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The first three innings of this game were all pitching. The Twins and White Sox gathered two hits a piece with Kyle Garlick ensuring Lucas Giolito couldn’t have a no-hit bid going in the top of the second. Dylan Bundy had great command of the strike zone once again in the first three innings and kept the White Sox hitters looking like fools with his slider. Bundy compiled three strikeouts and issued no walks in the first three frames of the game and hoped to continue his success for a longer outing. In the top of the fourth, the Twins managed to make their first threat of scoring against Giolito thanks to singles from Jose Miranda and Gio Urshela. Nick Gordon followed up with a two-out walk, giving Gary Sanchez an opportunity to do damage with the bases loaded. Sanchez would not do anything as he struck out looking on a pitch that was a few inches out of the strike zone. No one could blame him for looking. Bundy responded well to the lack of run support in the bottom of the fourth as he retired the minimum on a flyout and two groundouts. The Twins broke the shutout in the fifth thanks to Carlos Correa’s 16th homer of the season to put the Twins up 2-0. In addition to Correa’s homer, the Twins worked Giolito’s pitch count up to 95 through five innings ending his afternoon there. With the Twins in the lead, Bundy did his best to enter cruise control for the fifth, he only hit one speed bump while in cruise control issuing a walk to A.J. Pollock. Aside from that, Bundy remained in command of the strike zone to keep the Twins up 2-0. Giolito was done after five and the Twins didn’t stop hitting in the sixth as Jake Cave led off the inning with a pinch-hit triple in Kyle Garlick spot. Cave’s chance to score was wasted though as Sanchez hit a ball to short that Cave ran on but was thrown out easily. However, the Twins wouldn’t let the White Sox walk away with the out as they challenged the call at home due to Yasmani Grandal’s blockage of the plate. From an objective perspective, Grandal blocked more of the plate than Sanchez did a month ago in a devastating loss to the Blue Jays. But the umpires would not give way to their call of Cave being out at home and the score remained 2-0. Even with Bundy dealing through five innings on 66 pitches. Rocco Baldelli’s fear of Bundy facing the batting order a third time greatly outweighed his fear of going to the bullpen too early after Saturday night's blowout. Griffin Jax was given the ball for the bottom of the sixth. Jax proved those fears unfounded in the sixth on eight pitches. Michael Fulmer who followed, did not. Fulmer only got one out on 14 pitches in the seventh giving up three hits and the Sox first run of the game. Jhoan Duran came into the game to get the Twins out of their jam in the seventh without any further damage. Duran went out again for the eighth with another insurance run added from Max Kepler scoring on a wild pitch to make it 3-1, Twins. Duran pitched a stellar bottom half of the eighth. The Twins threatened again in the top of the ninth with Billy Hamilton, who pinch ran for Arraez, was at third and Correa at second. Fortunately, both Hamilton and Correa scored the Twins final two runs to give them some breathing room for the bottom of the ninth. Jose Miranda laced an RBI double to left-center field to make it 5-1 Twins. Caleb Thielbar was the Twins man to get the final three outs of the game. The first two hitters went down on a flyout and strikeout before Seby Zavala hit a ball to the left field fence for a single. Thielbar got the next batter out on the very next pitch to cement the Twins 5-1 win. What’s Next? The Twins head into the heart of the Evil Empire Monday afternoon to begin a four-game set against the New York Yankees. Chris Archer has the start of the Twins as the Yankees will send out Jameson Taillon. The first pitch is scheduled to start at 12:05 p.m. CT. Postgame Interview (Bally Sports Tweets) Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  25. The Twins are making their way back into first place slowly but surely and they have (at least) four pitchers to thank for their performances in August that helped kept them in postseason contention. The Twins received much needed additions to their rotation at the start of August with Tyler Mahle, Jorge Lopez, and Michael Fulmer. As great as these three pitches have been for the Twins, none of them pitched as well as four others who have been with the team all season. These four Twins have been crucial arms keeping them in the race for the division title and a trip to October. Without further ado, here are the Twins Daily rankings for pitcher of the month. Honorable Mention #3: Dylan Bundy Bundy had his best month with the Twins over the course of August. The transition from a brutal month of July where Bundy posted an ERA just under 6.00 and had an opponent's baBIP of .300, he became the Twins second most reliable starter in August. Over his five starts, Bundy posted a 2.63 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, walked only five batters, and brought his opponent’s baBIP down to .244. Bundy also pitched a one-hitter against the Rangers on August 19 when he went five and a third innings to get the Twins their only win in that series. Bundy’s consistency of hitting the strike zone was key to his success for the month of August. As long as he can maintain that consistency in September and work as many innings as possible per start, Bundy’s arm will be critical in getting the Twins to the postseason. Honorable Mention #2: Caleb Thielbar Thielbar has continuously improved on the mound each month as the Twins season has gone on. August was without a doubt some of the best pitching Twins fans have ever seen in Thielbar’s career in Minnesota. For August, Thielbar made 13 relief appearances and pitched 12 innings. He only allowed 10 base runners on eight hits and two walks. And only one of those base runners scored off Thielbar bringing his ERA for the month to 0.75. The Twins front office are relying on Thielbar to be the key lefty for the remainder of this season in the Twins bullpen. Jovani Moran is back to give him support but as long as he keeps up the success of August for the remaining games, he should be a big threat to opponents in the postseason. Honorable Mention #1: Sonny Gray Gray carried the Twins starting rotation for the month of August over the course of his five starts. Working 26 2/3 innings, Gray managed to keep opponents from gaining more than seven runs against him as he posted a 2.03 ERA for the month. In addition to the low ERA, Gray had an impressive 30 strikeouts averaging 10.1 K per nine, along with an opponent's batting average of .189 for the month. The only real concern for Gray in August was allowing the most walks in a month on the season with 13. However, five of those came in his first start of the month on August 4 against the Blue Jays. Now that August is over, Gray makes the first start from the rotation in September. As long as the walks decrease and the strikeouts keep coming, Gray could be the ace to get the Twins into the postseason. Twins Daily Pitcher of the Month: Jhoan Duran Duran may have earned this award for throwing the fastest off-speed pitch in MLB history alone. But he deserves the recognition for much more than that. Over the course of August, Duran was practically untouchable. He posted a .171 opponent batting average over the month, struck 17 of 44 batters faced, and only walked three. And only one of those runners came home to score against Duran giving him a 0.77 ERA for the month in 11 2/3 innings. Duran has been the best Twins pitcher overall in the second half of the season as he has made 15 relief appearances in that time with a 0.66 ERA, 13.5 K per 9, and hitting the fastest pitches on the radar gun in every relief appearance. The sky certainly seems to be the limit for the Twins' top rookie as he will only continue to set records for Twins relievers as the final month of the season begins. What do you think? Was Duran the right choice, or maybe one of the starters? August was much better to Twins pitchers than July, and June, and... Let us know what you think in the comments below. View full article
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