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  1. It was an eventful week that saw the Twins make several key additions at the trade deadline, part with multiple bullpen fixtures from the first half, and put forth a winning week on the field – dampened by a sour finish. Let's get caught up on all the action. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/1 through Sun, 8/7 *** Record Last Week: 4-3 (Overall: 57-51) Run Differential Last Week: +1 (Overall: +27) Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (1.0 GA) Last Week's Game Results: Game 102 | MIN 5, DET 3: Miranda and Urshela Deliver in the Clutch Game 103 | DET 5, MIN 3: Active Deadline Day Ends in Quiet Loss Game 104 | MIN 4, DET 1: Newcomers Contribute in Series Clincher Game 105 | TOR 9, MIN 3: Bullpen Breaks Down as Blue Jays Roll Game 106 | MIN 6, TOR 5: Twins Walk Off Toronto in Wild Win Game 107 | MIN 7, TOR 3: Revamped Pen Provides 5 Strong Innings Game 108 | TOR 3, MIN 2: Comeback Falls Short in Controversial Finish NEWS & NOTES The Twins front office made an emphatic statement at the trade deadline, leaning into the buyer position like never before with a string of significant moves while their competitors in the division were largely quiet. Here's a rundown of the prospect-for-vet deals that took place on Monday and Tuesday: Acquired starting pitcher Tyler Mahle from the Reds for IF Spencer Steer, OF Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and LHP Steve Hajjar. Acquired closer Jorge López from the Orioles for LHPs Cade Povich and Juan Rojas, RHPs Yennier Canó and Juan Nunez. Acquired setup man Michael Fulmer from the Tigers for RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long. Acquired backup catcher Sandy León from Guardians for RHP Ian Hamilton. Through this assertive series of trades, the Twins effectively addressed every glaring weakness on their roster, fortifying their standing in the AL Central while the two teams chasing them – Chicago and Cleveland – showed minimal initiative. With a historically aggressive deadline coming on the heels of signing Carlos Correa just before the season, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are redefining a traditionally passive franchise's mettle. The Minnesota Twins are officially swimming in the deep end, albeit perhaps struggling to stay afloat. Their deadline haul came at a cost. While the Twins were able to avoid parting with any of their very best prospects, they had to give up several good ones, some of whom are sure to haunt them down the road. But that's the cost of doing business. Speaking of which, the business side of baseball was felt be a couple of veteran relievers supplanted by these deadline additions. Joe Smith, the team's lone MLB free agent bullpen during the past offseason, was released after posting a 9.22 ERA in his last 18 appearances. Tyler Duffey was designated for assignment, his 11.81 post-break ERA convincing the Twins there was nothing left in the tank. Fellow veteran pitchers Aaron Sanchez and Jharrel Cotton were also ousted from the 40-man roster, but stuck in the organization at Triple-A after clearing DFA waivers. It's good news for the Twins from a depth perspective, because Cotton's been a solid piece when called upon and Sanchez actually looked mildly intriguing in his spot start on Monday. We could see either (or both) yet again this year. We probably won't be seeing Miguel Sanó, who landed on the 60-day IL with a flare-up of his knee injury. And we definitely won't be seeing Jorge Alcalá, who underwent season-ending elbow debridement surgery. Alex Kirilloff, sadly, is also done for the year. He's undergoing a rare surgery that involves deliberately breaking his ulna bone, shortening it, and then reconnecting it with plates and screws, in an effort to create space and reduce the painful friction impeding his swing. Needless to say it's a highly invasive procedure, of which Kirilloff said earlier this year, "I really hope it doesn't get to that." Well, here we are. The Twins are hopeful that Kirilloff will be ready for spring training next year, but there is no guarantee this course of action will deliver the desired results. It's rarely been done for baseball players. Hard as it is to say, this really feels like a last-ditch effort to save the 24-year-old's promising career. If it doesn't take ... then what? All we can do now is wait and hope, while reckoning with the reality that Minnesota will be without one of its most crucial bats the rest of the way. A colossal bummer. In other roster news: José Godoy was claimed off waivers by Pittsburgh. He was no longer useful to the Twins following the addition of León. Kyle Garlick was placed on IL due to a ribcage injury suffered in a wall collision. Gilberto Celestino returned to the roster in his stead. Caleb Thielbar was activated from IL, with Jovani Moran optioned to Triple-A. Cole Sands was also recalled in place of Sanchez. Max Kepler was activated on Saturday, sending Mark Contreras back to Triple-A. HIGHLIGHTS Nick Gordon stole the show in Friday night's victory over Toronto at Target Field, delivering a huge three-run homer against José Berríos early on and sliding across home with the winning run in the 10th. Finally healthy after long bouts with digestive issues, Gordon is showing the power that made him a top draft pick and highly touted prospect in the low minors. While swinging at almost everything, he keeps on barreling up with amazing frequency, causing the ball to consistently jump off his bat. Starting all seven games last week, he went 10-for-30 with the homer, three doubles, five RBIs, and – most refreshingly – four walks. Also instrumental in Friday's victory was Fulmer, who's making his impact in the late innings felt since being acquired minutes ahead of Tuesday's deadline. After firing a scoreless inning in his first Twins appearance on Wednesday, Fulmer drew the tough assignment of pitching the 10th Friday with a runner starting on second. He worked around a walk and a single to strike out the side and set up a walk-off in the bottom half. The Twins found themselves needing to win in the 10th because the new closer López had experienced a blown save in the ninth. However, it wasn't the type of performance that raises alarm. Toronto was able to string together a few singles and get a run across, without much in the way of hard contact. Two days earlier, in his Minnesota debut, López pitched a 1-2-3 ninth on seven pitches to secure his first save as a Twin and a series win. He followed up with a clean ninth on Saturday, despite having thrown 30 pitches the previous night. It's immediately evident the Twins see in their new closer a rubber arm that hasn't existed in their bullpen up to this point. While the new guys flashed their stuff, the incumbents at the back end of the bullpen made sure to remind us they're still here, and still important. Jhoan Durán was his usual dominant self, tossing 3 ⅔ scoreless innings while unveiling a new intro experience at Target Field. With López (who also got a light-dimming walkout treatment) now aboard, Durán has been fully fitted into a fireman role where he can be deployed in the highest-leverage of situations at any time, without a thought to hold him back for a later tight lead. This was evident on Friday night, when he came in to pitch the eighth inning of a one-run game, and on Saturday night, when he relieved Griffin Jax amidst a threat with two on, one out, and a couple heavy hitters coming up. Durán leads all AL relievers in Win Probability Added and he only figures to further extend his margin in this role, so long as he can stay healthy and keep dominating. Pending the former, there is little doubt of the latter, given how Durán has managed to make us all forget about his one supposed weakness (proneness to home runs – remember that?). An unsung hero and emerging weapon in this bullpen is Thielbar, who came off the IL and immediately made his presence felt. The lefty tossed a scoreless seventh in Wednesday's series-clinching win over Detroit, and looked dominant while mowing down four Blue Jays hitters on Saturday. Thielbar has had a few random blow-ups on the mound this year, but he's nearly two months removed from the last one and has otherwise been downright excellent. His Statcast measurables portray a guy who is throwing top-notch stuff and stifling opposing hitters. Finally, we can't run through the week's bright spots without once again mentioning rookie sensation José Miranda, who just keeps on cooking. Now routinely batting cleanup against lefties, Miranda's living up to that billing as a run-producing machine, with eight RBIs in an 8-for-26 week that included a double and home run. Miranda has the third-highest OPS on the team, trailing only All-Stars Byron Buxton and Luis Arraez. He is 24 years old. LOWLIGHTS Even with all its upgrades, the pitching staff still has its warts. Those definitely showed through on Thursday, when Emilio Pagán, Trevor Megill, and Duffey gave up three runs apiece in relief of Sonny Gray, turning a 1-0 lead into a 9-3 blowout loss. Duffey's dud performance proved to be the final straw, as his DFA was announced the following day. Subtracting from the bottom of the bullpen while adding at the top is a good way to turn around a drastically underperforming unit, but the fact remains: lower-tier guys are going to need to throw some innings and the Twins need better out of them than we saw against Toronto. When you play a lot of close games, as Minnesota does, everyone's going to have to pitch in relatively high leverage at times. With Canó shipped out, and Alcalá and Danny Coulombe down for the year, reinforcements have grown thin. Pagán came out of Sunday's game after wincing on a pitch, so he might be at risk of joining the fallen. The long ball, which bit Pagán and Duffey on Thursday, has been an all-too-common culprit for the entire Twins staff. They've surrendered the second-most home runs in the American League. This affliction touched the newest member of the Twins rotation on Friday, when Mahle narrowed a 5-0 lead to 5-4 by giving up three homers against the Blue Jays. It was the most allowed in a start by Mahle since May 2nd of 2021 – kind of ironic given all the steam about escaping from Cincinnati's homer-happy ballpark being his ticket to the next level. Ultimately, it is not memories of any home runs allowed that leave the Twins and their fans shaking their heads in the wake of this eventful week. It's the way it ended: a highly controversial and game-altering overturn of an out call at home plate, after Tim Beckham threw a pea from left field that beat Whit Merrifield. Gary Sánchez's successful tag-out was denied on the grounds that he violated MLB's nebulous home-plate collision rule – a notion that manager Rocco Baldelli took issue with to say the least. He immediately charged on the field, whipped his hat, and exploded into an animated tirade like we've never seen from him before. In his post-game rant, the typically even-keeled Baldelli pulled no punches. I'm inclined to agree with his viewpoint. This sour finish to an otherwise entertaining and compelling series against one of Minnesota's key rivals in the American League leaves a bad taste as we turn the page to Monday. TRENDING STORYLINE Trevor Larnach is now officially six weeks removed from undergoing a surgery that was estimated to have a six-week recovery time. On Sunday, the Twins lumped him into a larger group of players they are "hopeful" to get back in September, which is interesting since there've been no reports of a setback (to my knowledge) and we've still got three weeks left of August. The Twins could certainly use Larnach's pre-injury bat because they've been thinned out significantly in the outfield with Garlick and Kirilloff both on the shelf and Buxton continuing to be limited by his knee (he's started in center field just three times since the All-Star break). While outfield fill-ins like Gordon, Contreras, and Jake Cave all deserve credit for stepping up at various moments, getting back Larnach would make a huge difference. For a stretch early on, he was arguably the best hitter in the lineup, slashing .300/.375/.511 in his first 30 games before the core injury seemed to start taking its toll. If that issue is fully corrected by the surgery, and Larnach quickly returns to full strength ... look out. Hopefully in the coming week we'll get a little more clarity on his specific situation and rehab timeline. LOOKING AHEAD Another week of ample rest lies ahead, with days off on both Monday and Thursday bookending a two-game road series against the Dodgers. The Twins would be wise to savor them, because after this they won't have another scheduled break in the month of August. With left-handers on the docket for at least four of five games in the coming week, Garlick's bat will be missed and Gordon's offensive impact will be negated. Can guys like Celestino and Tim Beckham step up on a big West Coast road trip? TUESDAY, 8/9: TWINS @ DODGERS – RHP Joe Ryan v. LHP Julio Urias WEDNESDAY, 8/10: TWINS @ DODGERS – RHP Sonny Gray v. TBD FRIDAY, 8/12: TWINS @ ANGELS – RHP Tyler Mahle v. LHP Patrick Sandoval SATURDAY, 8/13: TWINS @ ANGELS – RHP Dylan Bundy v. LHP Reid Detmers SUNDAY, 8/14: TWINS @ ANGELS – RHP Chris Archer v. LHP Tucker Davidson View full article
  2. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/1 through Sun, 8/7 *** Record Last Week: 4-3 (Overall: 57-51) Run Differential Last Week: +1 (Overall: +27) Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (1.0 GA) Last Week's Game Results: Game 102 | MIN 5, DET 3: Miranda and Urshela Deliver in the Clutch Game 103 | DET 5, MIN 3: Active Deadline Day Ends in Quiet Loss Game 104 | MIN 4, DET 1: Newcomers Contribute in Series Clincher Game 105 | TOR 9, MIN 3: Bullpen Breaks Down as Blue Jays Roll Game 106 | MIN 6, TOR 5: Twins Walk Off Toronto in Wild Win Game 107 | MIN 7, TOR 3: Revamped Pen Provides 5 Strong Innings Game 108 | TOR 3, MIN 2: Comeback Falls Short in Controversial Finish NEWS & NOTES The Twins front office made an emphatic statement at the trade deadline, leaning into the buyer position like never before with a string of significant moves while their competitors in the division were largely quiet. Here's a rundown of the prospect-for-vet deals that took place on Monday and Tuesday: Acquired starting pitcher Tyler Mahle from the Reds for IF Spencer Steer, OF Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and LHP Steve Hajjar. Acquired closer Jorge López from the Orioles for LHPs Cade Povich and Juan Rojas, RHPs Yennier Canó and Juan Nunez. Acquired setup man Michael Fulmer from the Tigers for RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long. Acquired backup catcher Sandy León from Guardians for RHP Ian Hamilton. Through this assertive series of trades, the Twins effectively addressed every glaring weakness on their roster, fortifying their standing in the AL Central while the two teams chasing them – Chicago and Cleveland – showed minimal initiative. With a historically aggressive deadline coming on the heels of signing Carlos Correa just before the season, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are redefining a traditionally passive franchise's mettle. The Minnesota Twins are officially swimming in the deep end, albeit perhaps struggling to stay afloat. Their deadline haul came at a cost. While the Twins were able to avoid parting with any of their very best prospects, they had to give up several good ones, some of whom are sure to haunt them down the road. But that's the cost of doing business. Speaking of which, the business side of baseball was felt be a couple of veteran relievers supplanted by these deadline additions. Joe Smith, the team's lone MLB free agent bullpen during the past offseason, was released after posting a 9.22 ERA in his last 18 appearances. Tyler Duffey was designated for assignment, his 11.81 post-break ERA convincing the Twins there was nothing left in the tank. Fellow veteran pitchers Aaron Sanchez and Jharrel Cotton were also ousted from the 40-man roster, but stuck in the organization at Triple-A after clearing DFA waivers. It's good news for the Twins from a depth perspective, because Cotton's been a solid piece when called upon and Sanchez actually looked mildly intriguing in his spot start on Monday. We could see either (or both) yet again this year. We probably won't be seeing Miguel Sanó, who landed on the 60-day IL with a flare-up of his knee injury. And we definitely won't be seeing Jorge Alcalá, who underwent season-ending elbow debridement surgery. Alex Kirilloff, sadly, is also done for the year. He's undergoing a rare surgery that involves deliberately breaking his ulna bone, shortening it, and then reconnecting it with plates and screws, in an effort to create space and reduce the painful friction impeding his swing. Needless to say it's a highly invasive procedure, of which Kirilloff said earlier this year, "I really hope it doesn't get to that." Well, here we are. The Twins are hopeful that Kirilloff will be ready for spring training next year, but there is no guarantee this course of action will deliver the desired results. It's rarely been done for baseball players. Hard as it is to say, this really feels like a last-ditch effort to save the 24-year-old's promising career. If it doesn't take ... then what? All we can do now is wait and hope, while reckoning with the reality that Minnesota will be without one of its most crucial bats the rest of the way. A colossal bummer. In other roster news: José Godoy was claimed off waivers by Pittsburgh. He was no longer useful to the Twins following the addition of León. Kyle Garlick was placed on IL due to a ribcage injury suffered in a wall collision. Gilberto Celestino returned to the roster in his stead. Caleb Thielbar was activated from IL, with Jovani Moran optioned to Triple-A. Cole Sands was also recalled in place of Sanchez. Max Kepler was activated on Saturday, sending Mark Contreras back to Triple-A. HIGHLIGHTS Nick Gordon stole the show in Friday night's victory over Toronto at Target Field, delivering a huge three-run homer against José Berríos early on and sliding across home with the winning run in the 10th. Finally healthy after long bouts with digestive issues, Gordon is showing the power that made him a top draft pick and highly touted prospect in the low minors. While swinging at almost everything, he keeps on barreling up with amazing frequency, causing the ball to consistently jump off his bat. Starting all seven games last week, he went 10-for-30 with the homer, three doubles, five RBIs, and – most refreshingly – four walks. Also instrumental in Friday's victory was Fulmer, who's making his impact in the late innings felt since being acquired minutes ahead of Tuesday's deadline. After firing a scoreless inning in his first Twins appearance on Wednesday, Fulmer drew the tough assignment of pitching the 10th Friday with a runner starting on second. He worked around a walk and a single to strike out the side and set up a walk-off in the bottom half. The Twins found themselves needing to win in the 10th because the new closer López had experienced a blown save in the ninth. However, it wasn't the type of performance that raises alarm. Toronto was able to string together a few singles and get a run across, without much in the way of hard contact. Two days earlier, in his Minnesota debut, López pitched a 1-2-3 ninth on seven pitches to secure his first save as a Twin and a series win. He followed up with a clean ninth on Saturday, despite having thrown 30 pitches the previous night. It's immediately evident the Twins see in their new closer a rubber arm that hasn't existed in their bullpen up to this point. While the new guys flashed their stuff, the incumbents at the back end of the bullpen made sure to remind us they're still here, and still important. Jhoan Durán was his usual dominant self, tossing 3 ⅔ scoreless innings while unveiling a new intro experience at Target Field. With López (who also got a light-dimming walkout treatment) now aboard, Durán has been fully fitted into a fireman role where he can be deployed in the highest-leverage of situations at any time, without a thought to hold him back for a later tight lead. This was evident on Friday night, when he came in to pitch the eighth inning of a one-run game, and on Saturday night, when he relieved Griffin Jax amidst a threat with two on, one out, and a couple heavy hitters coming up. Durán leads all AL relievers in Win Probability Added and he only figures to further extend his margin in this role, so long as he can stay healthy and keep dominating. Pending the former, there is little doubt of the latter, given how Durán has managed to make us all forget about his one supposed weakness (proneness to home runs – remember that?). An unsung hero and emerging weapon in this bullpen is Thielbar, who came off the IL and immediately made his presence felt. The lefty tossed a scoreless seventh in Wednesday's series-clinching win over Detroit, and looked dominant while mowing down four Blue Jays hitters on Saturday. Thielbar has had a few random blow-ups on the mound this year, but he's nearly two months removed from the last one and has otherwise been downright excellent. His Statcast measurables portray a guy who is throwing top-notch stuff and stifling opposing hitters. Finally, we can't run through the week's bright spots without once again mentioning rookie sensation José Miranda, who just keeps on cooking. Now routinely batting cleanup against lefties, Miranda's living up to that billing as a run-producing machine, with eight RBIs in an 8-for-26 week that included a double and home run. Miranda has the third-highest OPS on the team, trailing only All-Stars Byron Buxton and Luis Arraez. He is 24 years old. LOWLIGHTS Even with all its upgrades, the pitching staff still has its warts. Those definitely showed through on Thursday, when Emilio Pagán, Trevor Megill, and Duffey gave up three runs apiece in relief of Sonny Gray, turning a 1-0 lead into a 9-3 blowout loss. Duffey's dud performance proved to be the final straw, as his DFA was announced the following day. Subtracting from the bottom of the bullpen while adding at the top is a good way to turn around a drastically underperforming unit, but the fact remains: lower-tier guys are going to need to throw some innings and the Twins need better out of them than we saw against Toronto. When you play a lot of close games, as Minnesota does, everyone's going to have to pitch in relatively high leverage at times. With Canó shipped out, and Alcalá and Danny Coulombe down for the year, reinforcements have grown thin. Pagán came out of Sunday's game after wincing on a pitch, so he might be at risk of joining the fallen. The long ball, which bit Pagán and Duffey on Thursday, has been an all-too-common culprit for the entire Twins staff. They've surrendered the second-most home runs in the American League. This affliction touched the newest member of the Twins rotation on Friday, when Mahle narrowed a 5-0 lead to 5-4 by giving up three homers against the Blue Jays. It was the most allowed in a start by Mahle since May 2nd of 2021 – kind of ironic given all the steam about escaping from Cincinnati's homer-happy ballpark being his ticket to the next level. Ultimately, it is not memories of any home runs allowed that leave the Twins and their fans shaking their heads in the wake of this eventful week. It's the way it ended: a highly controversial and game-altering overturn of an out call at home plate, after Tim Beckham threw a pea from left field that beat Whit Merrifield. Gary Sánchez's successful tag-out was denied on the grounds that he violated MLB's nebulous home-plate collision rule – a notion that manager Rocco Baldelli took issue with to say the least. He immediately charged on the field, whipped his hat, and exploded into an animated tirade like we've never seen from him before. In his post-game rant, the typically even-keeled Baldelli pulled no punches. I'm inclined to agree with his viewpoint. This sour finish to an otherwise entertaining and compelling series against one of Minnesota's key rivals in the American League leaves a bad taste as we turn the page to Monday. TRENDING STORYLINE Trevor Larnach is now officially six weeks removed from undergoing a surgery that was estimated to have a six-week recovery time. On Sunday, the Twins lumped him into a larger group of players they are "hopeful" to get back in September, which is interesting since there've been no reports of a setback (to my knowledge) and we've still got three weeks left of August. The Twins could certainly use Larnach's pre-injury bat because they've been thinned out significantly in the outfield with Garlick and Kirilloff both on the shelf and Buxton continuing to be limited by his knee (he's started in center field just three times since the All-Star break). While outfield fill-ins like Gordon, Contreras, and Jake Cave all deserve credit for stepping up at various moments, getting back Larnach would make a huge difference. For a stretch early on, he was arguably the best hitter in the lineup, slashing .300/.375/.511 in his first 30 games before the core injury seemed to start taking its toll. If that issue is fully corrected by the surgery, and Larnach quickly returns to full strength ... look out. Hopefully in the coming week we'll get a little more clarity on his specific situation and rehab timeline. LOOKING AHEAD Another week of ample rest lies ahead, with days off on both Monday and Thursday bookending a two-game road series against the Dodgers. The Twins would be wise to savor them, because after this they won't have another scheduled break in the month of August. With left-handers on the docket for at least four of five games in the coming week, Garlick's bat will be missed and Gordon's offensive impact will be negated. Can guys like Celestino and Tim Beckham step up on a big West Coast road trip? TUESDAY, 8/9: TWINS @ DODGERS – RHP Joe Ryan v. LHP Julio Urias WEDNESDAY, 8/10: TWINS @ DODGERS – RHP Sonny Gray v. TBD FRIDAY, 8/12: TWINS @ ANGELS – RHP Tyler Mahle v. LHP Patrick Sandoval SATURDAY, 8/13: TWINS @ ANGELS – RHP Dylan Bundy v. LHP Reid Detmers SUNDAY, 8/14: TWINS @ ANGELS – RHP Chris Archer v. LHP Tucker Davidson
  3. After being up 5-0, the Twins failed to capitalize on offense, allowing Toronto to tie the game in the ninth. Thanks to the bullpen and some lousy defense by Toronto, the Twins were able to get a wild walk-off win in extras to even the series. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Tyler Mahle, 6 IP, 5H, 4R, 4ER, 1BB, 5K (86 pitches, 61 strikes, 70.9%) Home Runs: Mark Contreras (2), Nick Gordon (5) Top 3 WPA: Michael Fulmer (.307), Carlos Correa (.205), Jhoan Duran (.118) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) A good turnout showed up at Target Field on a lovely evening, and all eyes were on the Twins’ new starter Tyler Mahle, who was set to make his first start for Minnesota since being acquired at the trade deadline. Well, some hundreds of eyes might’ve also been on old friend and still beloved by all, José Berríos, especially those of Blue Jays fans all over the place. The first two innings of this game seemed to set the tone: it was going to be a pitchers’ duel. Both starters faced the minimum, with Berríos needing only 14 pitches to do so – 12 fewer pitches than Mahle. But things took a shift in a very different direction once the third inning started. After Mahle pitched around a leadoff walk in the top of the inning, Berríos suffered his first punch. Mark Contreras fell behind in the count 0-2, but he came back to crush a line drive to left-center for his second home run in the big leagues, putting the Twins on the board. Berríos limited the damage to the one run heading to the fourth, and while Mahle continued to dominate the Blue Jay lineup, the former Twins ace just lost it. After Mahle tossed a quick, 1-2-3 top of the fourth on seven pitches, Berríos’ nightmare against his old teammates was about to start. Carlos Correa and Jorge Polanco opened up the home fourth with a long double and a walk, respectively. Next, José Miranda lined a single to center to push Correa across. Then, Nick Gordon didn’t waste any time and jumped on the first pitch he saw for a three-run bomb to right-center. A definite no-doubter to break the game wide open, making it 5-0 Twins before Berríos could even record an out. Minnesota’s offense continued to pound him, and after a Tim Beckham one-out single and a Sandy León two-out walk, Berríos was pulled from the game. Toronto rallies back with three home runs After four innings of sheer dominance over the Blue Jays lineup, Mahle started to lose his stuff. After retiring seven batters in a row and just as he was one out away from delivering a scoreless fifth, he gave up a two-out home run to Matt Chapman, putting Toronto on the board. He completed five innings of one-run ball on only sixty pitches, still in his second time through the order. But just as Berríos’ first home run given up gave Minnesota some momentum, Chapman’s dinger did exactly the same. After a lengthy at-bat by Raimel Tapia to start the sixth inning, Toronto’s number nine hitter, Santiago Espinal, hit a one-out solo homer to center to score the visitors’ second run. Newcomer Whit Merrifield, a career .297 hitter against the Twins, followed Espinal’s home run with a single that set Blue Jays fans on fire at Target Field. Then, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. crushed a long two-run dong to cut Minnesota’s lead to 5-4. Mahle managed to get back on track and finish the inning, but only after he tossed 26 pitches, the most out of any inning in this game. By doing so, he became the first Twins starter to complete six innings in a game in almost two weeks. Bullpen withstands pressure, but missed opportunities prove costly On Thursday, the Twins bullpen had one of the worst outings of the season, giving up all nine Toronto runs in a devastating loss. Tonight, they had a great opportunity to rebound from such an awful display, and they did a fine job. Griffin Jax struck out the side facing the heart of the Blue Jays lineup for a quick, 11-pitch seventh inning. Then, Jhoan Duran got two quick outs in the eighth but gave up a single to Merrifield, having to face Guerrero Jr. with the game on the line next. Pete Maki made a mound visit and decided not to intentionally walk the All-Star first baseman. Duran couldn’t retire Guerrero Jr., but he managed to induce weak-enough contact to hold him to a groundball single. Facing Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Duran got the huge final out on a force out, setting Jorge López up for the save. After not capitalizing on leadoff doubles in the seventh and the eighth innings, the Twins had flame-throwing closer López in the ninth to try to hold on to a one-run lead. The All-Star closer lost Bo Bichette to a one-out single but retired Chapman next after a tough at-bat for the second out. However, Danny Jansen and Tapia hit back-to-back singles and scored Bichette. That was López’s third blown save all year. Offense loads the bases in the 9th, but comes out empty-handed Gio Urshela was briefly brought into the game in the ninth inning to pinch-hit for León, and for a third consecutive inning, Minnesota had the leadoff man on. He smacked a single off Yimi Garcia, then left the game for pinch-runner Gilberto Celestino. Luis Arráez moved him to second on a groundout, then he reached third on a fielding error by Cavan Biggio. With only one out, the Jays made the bold decision to intentionally walk Polanco and bring none other than Miranda to the plate with the bases loaded. He struck out swinging, and Garcia got Gordon to fly out on the next at-bat, taking the game to extra innings. The Twins finished regulation with an awful 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Twins walk off on a couple of defensive mistakes by Toronto Michael Fulmer, making his second appearance as a Twin, scared us all when he gave up a walk to Guerrero Jr. and a single to Gurriel Jr. to load the bases in the 10th inning. However, he bounced back incredibly by striking out Teoscar Hernández and Bichette. It was again up to the offense to salvage this game. Jake Cave had a great, six-pitch at-bat against Jordan Romano, which ended in a strikeout that Jansen couldn’t hold on to. When he made the throw to first, Guerrero Jr. couldn’t hold on to the ball, and ghost runner Gordon reached third. With two men on and no outs, Beckham grounded to short, and Gordon beat the throw by Chapman at home to win the game. Postgame interview What’s Next? Both teams are back on the field tomorrow for game three, with first pitch scheduled for 6:10 pm CDT. The Twins turn to Dylan Bundy (5.04 ERA), while Mitch White (3.70 ERA) starts the game for Toronto. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Jax 20 24 0 0 11 55 Fulmer 23 0 13 0 15 51 Duran 10 0 19 0 17 46 Pagán 0 16 0 25 0 41 Megill 0 8 0 29 0 37 López 0 0 7 0 30 37 Thielbar 0 0 11 0 0 11 Sands 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  4. Minnesota's bullpen received an influx of talent at the trade deadline. How will Rocco Baldelli organize the Twins' new bullpen hierarchy? The Twins added Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer to a bullpen that has struggled for most of the 2022 campaign. Jhoan Duran has been unbelievable during his rookie campaign, and Griffin Jax has emerged as a late-inning weapon. How do these pieces fit into the new bullpen hierarchy? The Closer: Jorge López Baseball has gotten away from a traditional closer role, and the Twins have followed this trend under Rocco Baldelli. So far in 2022, seven different relievers have earned a save, with Emilio Pagan (9 saves) and Jhoan Duran (6 saves) leading the team. In his first full season as a reliever, López became an All-Star, and now he finds himself in the middle of the pennant race. It seems likely for him to get the majority of the save situations down the stretch. The Fireman: Jhoan Duran Adding López allows the Twins to use Duran in each game's most important moments. For instance, the team can use him when the middle of the line-up is scheduled to bat in the sixth inning or if the starter runs into trouble in a tight game. Duran has also shown the ability to pitch more than one inning as he has recorded more than three outs in 11 of his 38 appearances. Duran will still get some save opportunities, but now Baldelli has more flexibility regarding when to use him. The Set-Up Men: Michael Fulmer, Griffin Jax, Caleb Thielbar Minnesota relied on Jax and Thielbar in roles they weren't expected to fill at the season's start. Thielbar has more appearances than anyone on the team, and Jax has been the team's most successful reliever outside of Duran. According to fWAR, Thielbar and Jax only trail Duran among Twins relievers. Since June 22, Thielbar has an ERA under 2.00 while holding opponents to a .539 OPS. Jax has a 53-to-14 strikeout to walk ratio in 49 innings while holding batters to a .363 SLG. Fulmer's addition allows Thielbar and Jax to be pushed down the bullpen hierarchy in roles they were expected to occupy earlier in the season. First Out of the Pen: Emilio Pagán, Trevor Megill, Jovani Moran, Cole Sands The Twins used Pagán, Megill and Tyler Duffey in Thursday's loss, where they combined to allow nine runs (eight earned). Pagán hasn't been a good reliever since 2019, and he continues to be dreadful for the Twins. Duffey saw his velocity drop for the third consecutive season and the team waived him on Friday. According to Win Probability Added, Pagán and Duffey have been worth -2.12 wins for the Twins in 2022. Megill has only allowed multiple earned runs in three of his 20 appearances, and he wasn't expected to fit a high leverage role. Moran has struggled with control at the big-league level, but his change-up can be a bullpen weapon. Sands struggled with the Twins but he has done so in a small sample size of just over 16 innings. Minnesota's bullpen significantly improves with the addition of López and Fulmer. Moving other players down the bullpen hierarchy will hopefully be able to find more success in less high leverage situations. The Twins have led the AL Central for most of the season, and the bullpen will be essential if the team wants to win their third division title in the last four years. How would you organize the new bullpen hierarchy if you were the manager? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  5. The Twins added Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer to a bullpen that has struggled for most of the 2022 campaign. Jhoan Duran has been unbelievable during his rookie campaign, and Griffin Jax has emerged as a late-inning weapon. How do these pieces fit into the new bullpen hierarchy? The Closer: Jorge López Baseball has gotten away from a traditional closer role, and the Twins have followed this trend under Rocco Baldelli. So far in 2022, seven different relievers have earned a save, with Emilio Pagan (9 saves) and Jhoan Duran (6 saves) leading the team. In his first full season as a reliever, López became an All-Star, and now he finds himself in the middle of the pennant race. It seems likely for him to get the majority of the save situations down the stretch. The Fireman: Jhoan Duran Adding López allows the Twins to use Duran in each game's most important moments. For instance, the team can use him when the middle of the line-up is scheduled to bat in the sixth inning or if the starter runs into trouble in a tight game. Duran has also shown the ability to pitch more than one inning as he has recorded more than three outs in 11 of his 38 appearances. Duran will still get some save opportunities, but now Baldelli has more flexibility regarding when to use him. The Set-Up Men: Michael Fulmer, Griffin Jax, Caleb Thielbar Minnesota relied on Jax and Thielbar in roles they weren't expected to fill at the season's start. Thielbar has more appearances than anyone on the team, and Jax has been the team's most successful reliever outside of Duran. According to fWAR, Thielbar and Jax only trail Duran among Twins relievers. Since June 22, Thielbar has an ERA under 2.00 while holding opponents to a .539 OPS. Jax has a 53-to-14 strikeout to walk ratio in 49 innings while holding batters to a .363 SLG. Fulmer's addition allows Thielbar and Jax to be pushed down the bullpen hierarchy in roles they were expected to occupy earlier in the season. First Out of the Pen: Emilio Pagán, Trevor Megill, Jovani Moran, Cole Sands The Twins used Pagán, Megill and Tyler Duffey in Thursday's loss, where they combined to allow nine runs (eight earned). Pagán hasn't been a good reliever since 2019, and he continues to be dreadful for the Twins. Duffey saw his velocity drop for the third consecutive season and the team waived him on Friday. According to Win Probability Added, Pagán and Duffey have been worth -2.12 wins for the Twins in 2022. Megill has only allowed multiple earned runs in three of his 20 appearances, and he wasn't expected to fit a high leverage role. Moran has struggled with control at the big-league level, but his change-up can be a bullpen weapon. Sands struggled with the Twins but he has done so in a small sample size of just over 16 innings. Minnesota's bullpen significantly improves with the addition of López and Fulmer. Moving other players down the bullpen hierarchy will hopefully be able to find more success in less high leverage situations. The Twins have led the AL Central for most of the season, and the bullpen will be essential if the team wants to win their third division title in the last four years. How would you organize the new bullpen hierarchy if you were the manager? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  6. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Tyler Mahle, 6 IP, 5H, 4R, 4ER, 1BB, 5K (86 pitches, 61 strikes, 70.9%) Home Runs: Mark Contreras (2), Nick Gordon (5) Top 3 WPA: Michael Fulmer (.307), Carlos Correa (.205), Jhoan Duran (.118) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) A good turnout showed up at Target Field on a lovely evening, and all eyes were on the Twins’ new starter Tyler Mahle, who was set to make his first start for Minnesota since being acquired at the trade deadline. Well, some hundreds of eyes might’ve also been on old friend and still beloved by all, José Berríos, especially those of Blue Jays fans all over the place. The first two innings of this game seemed to set the tone: it was going to be a pitchers’ duel. Both starters faced the minimum, with Berríos needing only 14 pitches to do so – 12 fewer pitches than Mahle. But things took a shift in a very different direction once the third inning started. After Mahle pitched around a leadoff walk in the top of the inning, Berríos suffered his first punch. Mark Contreras fell behind in the count 0-2, but he came back to crush a line drive to left-center for his second home run in the big leagues, putting the Twins on the board. Berríos limited the damage to the one run heading to the fourth, and while Mahle continued to dominate the Blue Jay lineup, the former Twins ace just lost it. After Mahle tossed a quick, 1-2-3 top of the fourth on seven pitches, Berríos’ nightmare against his old teammates was about to start. Carlos Correa and Jorge Polanco opened up the home fourth with a long double and a walk, respectively. Next, José Miranda lined a single to center to push Correa across. Then, Nick Gordon didn’t waste any time and jumped on the first pitch he saw for a three-run bomb to right-center. A definite no-doubter to break the game wide open, making it 5-0 Twins before Berríos could even record an out. Minnesota’s offense continued to pound him, and after a Tim Beckham one-out single and a Sandy León two-out walk, Berríos was pulled from the game. Toronto rallies back with three home runs After four innings of sheer dominance over the Blue Jays lineup, Mahle started to lose his stuff. After retiring seven batters in a row and just as he was one out away from delivering a scoreless fifth, he gave up a two-out home run to Matt Chapman, putting Toronto on the board. He completed five innings of one-run ball on only sixty pitches, still in his second time through the order. But just as Berríos’ first home run given up gave Minnesota some momentum, Chapman’s dinger did exactly the same. After a lengthy at-bat by Raimel Tapia to start the sixth inning, Toronto’s number nine hitter, Santiago Espinal, hit a one-out solo homer to center to score the visitors’ second run. Newcomer Whit Merrifield, a career .297 hitter against the Twins, followed Espinal’s home run with a single that set Blue Jays fans on fire at Target Field. Then, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. crushed a long two-run dong to cut Minnesota’s lead to 5-4. Mahle managed to get back on track and finish the inning, but only after he tossed 26 pitches, the most out of any inning in this game. By doing so, he became the first Twins starter to complete six innings in a game in almost two weeks. Bullpen withstands pressure, but missed opportunities prove costly On Thursday, the Twins bullpen had one of the worst outings of the season, giving up all nine Toronto runs in a devastating loss. Tonight, they had a great opportunity to rebound from such an awful display, and they did a fine job. Griffin Jax struck out the side facing the heart of the Blue Jays lineup for a quick, 11-pitch seventh inning. Then, Jhoan Duran got two quick outs in the eighth but gave up a single to Merrifield, having to face Guerrero Jr. with the game on the line next. Pete Maki made a mound visit and decided not to intentionally walk the All-Star first baseman. Duran couldn’t retire Guerrero Jr., but he managed to induce weak-enough contact to hold him to a groundball single. Facing Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Duran got the huge final out on a force out, setting Jorge López up for the save. After not capitalizing on leadoff doubles in the seventh and the eighth innings, the Twins had flame-throwing closer López in the ninth to try to hold on to a one-run lead. The All-Star closer lost Bo Bichette to a one-out single but retired Chapman next after a tough at-bat for the second out. However, Danny Jansen and Tapia hit back-to-back singles and scored Bichette. That was López’s third blown save all year. Offense loads the bases in the 9th, but comes out empty-handed Gio Urshela was briefly brought into the game in the ninth inning to pinch-hit for León, and for a third consecutive inning, Minnesota had the leadoff man on. He smacked a single off Yimi Garcia, then left the game for pinch-runner Gilberto Celestino. Luis Arráez moved him to second on a groundout, then he reached third on a fielding error by Cavan Biggio. With only one out, the Jays made the bold decision to intentionally walk Polanco and bring none other than Miranda to the plate with the bases loaded. He struck out swinging, and Garcia got Gordon to fly out on the next at-bat, taking the game to extra innings. The Twins finished regulation with an awful 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Twins walk off on a couple of defensive mistakes by Toronto Michael Fulmer, making his second appearance as a Twin, scared us all when he gave up a walk to Guerrero Jr. and a single to Gurriel Jr. to load the bases in the 10th inning. However, he bounced back incredibly by striking out Teoscar Hernández and Bichette. It was again up to the offense to salvage this game. Jake Cave had a great, six-pitch at-bat against Jordan Romano, which ended in a strikeout that Jansen couldn’t hold on to. When he made the throw to first, Guerrero Jr. couldn’t hold on to the ball, and ghost runner Gordon reached third. With two men on and no outs, Beckham grounded to short, and Gordon beat the throw by Chapman at home to win the game. Postgame interview What’s Next? Both teams are back on the field tomorrow for game three, with first pitch scheduled for 6:10 pm CDT. The Twins turn to Dylan Bundy (5.04 ERA), while Mitch White (3.70 ERA) starts the game for Toronto. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Jax 20 24 0 0 11 55 Fulmer 23 0 13 0 15 51 Duran 10 0 19 0 17 46 Pagán 0 16 0 25 0 41 Megill 0 8 0 29 0 37 López 0 0 7 0 30 37 Thielbar 0 0 11 0 0 11 Sands 0 0 0 0 0 0
  7. Each Friday, Seth joins Dave Overlund on his Hang Up and Listen show on WJON radio in St. Cloud. This week, they handed out 1st half awards and recorded the discussion. Leave comments below on who would choose in each category.
  8. Each Friday, Seth joins Dave Overlund on his Hang Up and Listen show on WJON radio in St. Cloud. This week, they handed out 1st half awards and recorded the discussion. Leave comments below on who would choose in each category. View full video
  9. The Twins came into Saturday's game looking to get their first win of the series as they battled the White Sox in Game 3 of a four-game series. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy (5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (88 pitches, 65 strikes (74%)) Home Runs: Luis Arraez (4), Carlos Correa (10), Jorge Polanco (13) Top 3 WPA: Carlos Correa (.148), Jorge Polanco (.113), Dylan Bundy (.082) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) It was a good day at Target Field on Saturday. Before the game, Twins legend Jim Kaat saw his #36 retired by the Twins in front of family, friends, and former teammates. Many spoke about his leadership, work ethic and status in Twins Territory. The Twins retired number 36 today just a few weeks before Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva get inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. There to help him reveal his number were the two other players who also wore number 36, former pitchers Joe Nathan and Terry Steinbach. Jim Kaat’s grandkids reveal his officially retired number on the wall as he held his wife’s hand as the black drape fell revealing a number that will now live in Twins infamy. The most memorable moment was watching his former catcher, George Mitterwald catch Kaat’s ceremonial first pitch. Congrats to Jim Kaat! And now, onto the game… Dylan Bundy came out in the first inning and meant business. Through the first three innings, Bundy kept the White Sox off the board. In the fourth inning, a few singles added up to one run scoring. Bundy kept a low pitch count and was able to stay in the game into six innings. He surrendered two more runs in the sixth inning before Trevor Megill came on to end the threat with some help from Max Kepler who made a terrific sliding catch to end the inning. The Twins offense came out swinging (pun intended). The lineup has really struggled to manufacture runs the last two games, simply owned by the White Sox pitching. However, Luis Arraez said ‘not today’ as he stepped into the batter's box and got the Twins on the board with a solo home run in the first inning and the lead for the first time in the series. Gary Sanchez led off the third inning with a single deep down the third baseline. He wasn’t there long before Carlos Correa crushed a two-run home run to widen the Twins lead to three. The fun kept coming as Byron Buxton and Max Kepler singled and scored on a three-run home run from Jorge Polanco who hit a ball deep to right field, his 20th homer off of White Sox pitching (in his career) and his sixth home run of the month of July. The Twins tried to add some insurance in the sixth inning as the bases loaded up with a single from Alex Kirilloff, a double from Gio Urshela and a walk from Gary Sanchez to load the bases. However, all were stranded as Luis Arraez grounded out to the shortstop. The White Sox continued to threaten at least a tie game throughout the eighth, but the Twins defense backed up the bullpen pitcher Jhoan Duran who faced the heart of the Sox lineup in a scoreless eighth. Tyler Duffey got loose in the bullpen as Duran came back out in the ninth. However, Duran fought through the ninth in the heat and humidity as his pitch count rose. With two outs on the board, he battled against Tim Anderson through ten pitches. With a runner on third base, Anderson continued to foul off everything that was thrown at him until he hit a chopper to Urshela who threw to first to end the inning and Game 3 of the series. It felt great to get one in the win column. Do you see the Twins splitting the series with the White Sox? What’s Next? Sunday is the last game of the Twins and White Sox Series and the last game before the All-Star Break. Pitching matchup for Sunday: Sunday 1:10 pm CST: RHP Chris Archer (2-3, 3.08 ERA) vs RHP Dylan Cease (7-4, 2.45 ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  10. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy (5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (88 pitches, 65 strikes (74%)) Home Runs: Luis Arraez (4), Carlos Correa (10), Jorge Polanco (13) Top 3 WPA: Carlos Correa (.148), Jorge Polanco (.113), Dylan Bundy (.082) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) It was a good day at Target Field on Saturday. Before the game, Twins legend Jim Kaat saw his #36 retired by the Twins in front of family, friends, and former teammates. Many spoke about his leadership, work ethic and status in Twins Territory. The Twins retired number 36 today just a few weeks before Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva get inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. There to help him reveal his number were the two other players who also wore number 36, former pitchers Joe Nathan and Terry Steinbach. Jim Kaat’s grandkids reveal his officially retired number on the wall as he held his wife’s hand as the black drape fell revealing a number that will now live in Twins infamy. The most memorable moment was watching his former catcher, George Mitterwald catch Kaat’s ceremonial first pitch. Congrats to Jim Kaat! And now, onto the game… Dylan Bundy came out in the first inning and meant business. Through the first three innings, Bundy kept the White Sox off the board. In the fourth inning, a few singles added up to one run scoring. Bundy kept a low pitch count and was able to stay in the game into six innings. He surrendered two more runs in the sixth inning before Trevor Megill came on to end the threat with some help from Max Kepler who made a terrific sliding catch to end the inning. The Twins offense came out swinging (pun intended). The lineup has really struggled to manufacture runs the last two games, simply owned by the White Sox pitching. However, Luis Arraez said ‘not today’ as he stepped into the batter's box and got the Twins on the board with a solo home run in the first inning and the lead for the first time in the series. Gary Sanchez led off the third inning with a single deep down the third baseline. He wasn’t there long before Carlos Correa crushed a two-run home run to widen the Twins lead to three. The fun kept coming as Byron Buxton and Max Kepler singled and scored on a three-run home run from Jorge Polanco who hit a ball deep to right field, his 20th homer off of White Sox pitching (in his career) and his sixth home run of the month of July. The Twins tried to add some insurance in the sixth inning as the bases loaded up with a single from Alex Kirilloff, a double from Gio Urshela and a walk from Gary Sanchez to load the bases. However, all were stranded as Luis Arraez grounded out to the shortstop. The White Sox continued to threaten at least a tie game throughout the eighth, but the Twins defense backed up the bullpen pitcher Jhoan Duran who faced the heart of the Sox lineup in a scoreless eighth. Tyler Duffey got loose in the bullpen as Duran came back out in the ninth. However, Duran fought through the ninth in the heat and humidity as his pitch count rose. With two outs on the board, he battled against Tim Anderson through ten pitches. With a runner on third base, Anderson continued to foul off everything that was thrown at him until he hit a chopper to Urshela who threw to first to end the inning and Game 3 of the series. It felt great to get one in the win column. Do you see the Twins splitting the series with the White Sox? What’s Next? Sunday is the last game of the Twins and White Sox Series and the last game before the All-Star Break. Pitching matchup for Sunday: Sunday 1:10 pm CST: RHP Chris Archer (2-3, 3.08 ERA) vs RHP Dylan Cease (7-4, 2.45 ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  11. The team has a solid foundation from which other additions can improve. If you’ve paid even a second of attention to Twins fans lately, the dominant discussion point revolves around the bullpen’s lack of quality; the team needs extra, quality arms, and they need them now. This feeling is well-founded; it seems like every close loss involves a reliever screwing up late, costing the team a chance to escape the quagmire of mediocrity that plagues the rest of the AL Central. But is the team’s bullpen that bad in comparison to other teams? Relief pitchers are doomed to fail. The position naturally lends itself to magnified mistakes, and brutal momentum swings as a game’s final outs melt away at an accelerated pace. Each run allowed feels like the end of the world because, as far as a single baseball game is concerned, it is; the lack of remaining outs increases each outcome’s drama to a sometimes unbearable level. In that context, analyzing relievers requires us to remove emotion from the equation, instead choosing to coldly dissect the topic with numbers immune from hyperbole. Stats can’t complain. Overall, the picture isn’t pretty, but it’s not egregiously ugly; the relief core is 14th in MLB in ERA (3.74), 21st in FIP (4.10), 13th in xFIP (3.80), and 16th in WPA (0.19). No lipstick can spruce up this pig, but these numbers reflect a mediocre to below-average group, not one bordering on Greek Tragedy. The problem does not seem as dire with contextualized stats; the team needs to improve their bullpen, but so could just about every team in MLB. The Twins are well equipped to absorb fresh talent. What’s lost in bullpen arguments is the strategic aspect of utilizing relievers; broadly stating that the relievers stink helps no one; instead, we should imagine the role a reliever is filling and ask whether they can adequately fill it. For the Twins, their main issue is that pitchers who should not pitch in important innings are doing so because of a failure of top-end depth; it isn’t fully Jharel Cotton’s fault if he blows a game in the 9th inning because he shouldn’t be pitching in that scenario. As it stands, the team has one fully reliable reliever (Jhoan Duran), another solid reliever (Griffin Jax), and varying degrees of coin flips. With Duran rarely pitching in back-to-back games, when the game is close late—a situation a good team like the Twins frequently enters—Rocco Baldelli has little choice but to play baseball Russian Roulette and pray that Caleb Thielbar’s fastball looks extra rise-y today, or that Joe Smith’s corkscrewing magic appears even more incredible. It’s always a rock and a hard place choice. If one or two more quality relievers make their way to the team before the trade deadline, the bullpen can fall into place. Whatever scrap-heap reliever they picked up the other day could pitch earlier in the game rather than Thornburg-ing it up in a role he’s ill-equipped for. Usually worthwhile relievers like Tyler Duffey can simmer in a low-intensity role as another capable arm gives him a break he desperately needs; unproven pitchers like Jovani Moran can freely gain confidence by netting outs in the 6th inning, not the 9th. The Twins bullpen isn’t made of bad pitchers, just miscast ones. Duran is obviously an elite arm, but no other reliever commands as much trust, so the chain collapses when he can’t pitch, or the team needs an extended effort to reach his inning. Cotton is a Road to Nowhere when used beyond the 7th inning, but he has attempted to fill that role because no one else works in that spot; they don’t exist. If the team acquired a true, dominant arm to pair with Duran, the effect would reverberate around the entire bullpen; arms far higher on the totem pole of trust would fall back where they can succeed. David Robertson and/or Daniel Bard, a potentially revamped Tyler Duffey, and a healthy Joe Smith could establish order in the current chaos; the days of 8th inning man Tyler Thornburg would no longer exist. It’s hard to see, and sometimes it seems impossible, but there’s a good bullpen somewhere in the mess; it just needs some cleaning. View full article
  12. If you’ve paid even a second of attention to Twins fans lately, the dominant discussion point revolves around the bullpen’s lack of quality; the team needs extra, quality arms, and they need them now. This feeling is well-founded; it seems like every close loss involves a reliever screwing up late, costing the team a chance to escape the quagmire of mediocrity that plagues the rest of the AL Central. But is the team’s bullpen that bad in comparison to other teams? Relief pitchers are doomed to fail. The position naturally lends itself to magnified mistakes, and brutal momentum swings as a game’s final outs melt away at an accelerated pace. Each run allowed feels like the end of the world because, as far as a single baseball game is concerned, it is; the lack of remaining outs increases each outcome’s drama to a sometimes unbearable level. In that context, analyzing relievers requires us to remove emotion from the equation, instead choosing to coldly dissect the topic with numbers immune from hyperbole. Stats can’t complain. Overall, the picture isn’t pretty, but it’s not egregiously ugly; the relief core is 14th in MLB in ERA (3.74), 21st in FIP (4.10), 13th in xFIP (3.80), and 16th in WPA (0.19). No lipstick can spruce up this pig, but these numbers reflect a mediocre to below-average group, not one bordering on Greek Tragedy. The problem does not seem as dire with contextualized stats; the team needs to improve their bullpen, but so could just about every team in MLB. The Twins are well equipped to absorb fresh talent. What’s lost in bullpen arguments is the strategic aspect of utilizing relievers; broadly stating that the relievers stink helps no one; instead, we should imagine the role a reliever is filling and ask whether they can adequately fill it. For the Twins, their main issue is that pitchers who should not pitch in important innings are doing so because of a failure of top-end depth; it isn’t fully Jharel Cotton’s fault if he blows a game in the 9th inning because he shouldn’t be pitching in that scenario. As it stands, the team has one fully reliable reliever (Jhoan Duran), another solid reliever (Griffin Jax), and varying degrees of coin flips. With Duran rarely pitching in back-to-back games, when the game is close late—a situation a good team like the Twins frequently enters—Rocco Baldelli has little choice but to play baseball Russian Roulette and pray that Caleb Thielbar’s fastball looks extra rise-y today, or that Joe Smith’s corkscrewing magic appears even more incredible. It’s always a rock and a hard place choice. If one or two more quality relievers make their way to the team before the trade deadline, the bullpen can fall into place. Whatever scrap-heap reliever they picked up the other day could pitch earlier in the game rather than Thornburg-ing it up in a role he’s ill-equipped for. Usually worthwhile relievers like Tyler Duffey can simmer in a low-intensity role as another capable arm gives him a break he desperately needs; unproven pitchers like Jovani Moran can freely gain confidence by netting outs in the 6th inning, not the 9th. The Twins bullpen isn’t made of bad pitchers, just miscast ones. Duran is obviously an elite arm, but no other reliever commands as much trust, so the chain collapses when he can’t pitch, or the team needs an extended effort to reach his inning. Cotton is a Road to Nowhere when used beyond the 7th inning, but he has attempted to fill that role because no one else works in that spot; they don’t exist. If the team acquired a true, dominant arm to pair with Duran, the effect would reverberate around the entire bullpen; arms far higher on the totem pole of trust would fall back where they can succeed. David Robertson and/or Daniel Bard, a potentially revamped Tyler Duffey, and a healthy Joe Smith could establish order in the current chaos; the days of 8th inning man Tyler Thornburg would no longer exist. It’s hard to see, and sometimes it seems impossible, but there’s a good bullpen somewhere in the mess; it just needs some cleaning.
  13. Minnesota's front office didn't mess around at the 2018 trade deadline. Take a look back at the talent acquired during the last week in July. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over Minnesota's baseball operations department leading into the 2017 season. Each season has taken on a different feel, but they have a track record of making moves at the trade deadline. This series will look back at each trade deadline under this regime. Minnesota surprised many by being in contention during the 2017 season, with their front office shifting between buying and selling at the deadline. The 2018 season was a little easier because the team was below .500 but ended up in second place in the AL Central. The Twins made multiple moves before the deadline, and the big-league roster still feels these trades' impacts. Trade 1 (July 27, 2018) Twins Receive: OF Ernie De La Trinidad, P Jhoan Duran, OF Gabriel Maciel Diamondbacks Receive: INF Eduardo Escobar Escobar was on an expiring contract, so it made sense to deal the veteran who was in the middle of a tremendous season. Duran has turned into the team's dominant high-leverage reliever, which is more than enough for a couple of months of Escobar. De La Trinidad topped out at Double-A last season with the Twins, where he posted a .759 OPS in 80 games. Maciel played 73 games at Cedar Rapids last season with a .621 OPS. In December, he was selected in the minor-league Rule 5 draft by the Athletics organization and has a .733 OPS as he repeats High-A. Trade 2 (July 27, 2018) Twins Receive: P Jorge Alcala, OF Gilberto Celestino Astros Receive: P Ryan Pressly It was tough to see the Twins part with a reliever that wasn't on an expiring contract, but both prospects in the deal were viewed highly by evaluators. Pressly has stayed in Houston for the remainder of his career while turning into one of baseball's best late-inning arms. Alcala posted decent numbers as a reliever last season, and the team hopes he can return this year to help a struggling bullpen. Celestino has proven his value to the club as a strong center-field defender to complement a decent bat. Minnesota acquired two big-league assets for 14 months of Pressly, so this deal looks great for both teams. Trade 3 (July 30, 2018) Twins Receive: P Chase De Jong, 1B/3B Ryan Costello Seattle Receive: P Zach Duke Duke was a strong left-handed specialist at a time when relievers could face fewer than three batters. Following the trade, he posted a 5.52 ERA in 27 appearances. De Jong made five appearances with the Twins and allowed 11 earned runs in 18 2/3 innings. During the 2022 season, he found a role in the Pirates bullpen, having a 2.25 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in 32 innings. Costello posted a .755 OPS between High- and Double-A during the 2019 season. Tragically, he passed away on November 18, 2019, from a sudden cardiac arrhythmia. (Learn more about The RC13 Foundation here.) Trade 4 (July 30, 2018) Twins Receive: 1B/OF Tyler Austin, P Luis Rijo Yankees Receive: P Lance Lynn Lynn has evolved into one of baseball's best pitchers over the last four seasons, but he was terrible for the Twins in 2018. It made sense to deal with his expiring contract, and the returning players offered some intrigue. Austin played parts of two seasons with the Twins and posted a .786 OPS. Rijo has been limited to nine appearances over the last two seasons as he dealt with right elbow UCL reconstruction. He is currently rehabbing with the FCL Twins. Trade 5 (July 31, 2018) Twins Receive: 2B Logan Forsythe, OF/1B Luke Raley, P Devin Smeltzer Dodgers Receive: 2B Brian Dozier One year after being vocal about the team trading away veterans, Dozier found himself dealt to a contender. After leaving the Twins, Dozier only played one more full season, but he won a World Series with the Nationals. Forsythe was included in the deal, so the Twins had someone to fill second base for the season's remaining games. Raley eventually was part of the Kenta Maeda trade as he returned to the Dodger organization. Smeltzer has been a surprise contributor to the Twins rotation in 2022. What do you remember about this trade deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES -2017 Trade Deadline View full article
  14. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over Minnesota's baseball operations department leading into the 2017 season. Each season has taken on a different feel, but they have a track record of making moves at the trade deadline. This series will look back at each trade deadline under this regime. Minnesota surprised many by being in contention during the 2017 season, with their front office shifting between buying and selling at the deadline. The 2018 season was a little easier because the team was below .500 but ended up in second place in the AL Central. The Twins made multiple moves before the deadline, and the big-league roster still feels these trades' impacts. Trade 1 (July 27, 2018) Twins Receive: OF Ernie De La Trinidad, P Jhoan Duran, OF Gabriel Maciel Diamondbacks Receive: INF Eduardo Escobar Escobar was on an expiring contract, so it made sense to deal the veteran who was in the middle of a tremendous season. Duran has turned into the team's dominant high-leverage reliever, which is more than enough for a couple of months of Escobar. De La Trinidad topped out at Double-A last season with the Twins, where he posted a .759 OPS in 80 games. Maciel played 73 games at Cedar Rapids last season with a .621 OPS. In December, he was selected in the minor-league Rule 5 draft by the Athletics organization and has a .733 OPS as he repeats High-A. Trade 2 (July 27, 2018) Twins Receive: P Jorge Alcala, OF Gilberto Celestino Astros Receive: P Ryan Pressly It was tough to see the Twins part with a reliever that wasn't on an expiring contract, but both prospects in the deal were viewed highly by evaluators. Pressly has stayed in Houston for the remainder of his career while turning into one of baseball's best late-inning arms. Alcala posted decent numbers as a reliever last season, and the team hopes he can return this year to help a struggling bullpen. Celestino has proven his value to the club as a strong center-field defender to complement a decent bat. Minnesota acquired two big-league assets for 14 months of Pressly, so this deal looks great for both teams. Trade 3 (July 30, 2018) Twins Receive: P Chase De Jong, 1B/3B Ryan Costello Seattle Receive: P Zach Duke Duke was a strong left-handed specialist at a time when relievers could face fewer than three batters. Following the trade, he posted a 5.52 ERA in 27 appearances. De Jong made five appearances with the Twins and allowed 11 earned runs in 18 2/3 innings. During the 2022 season, he found a role in the Pirates bullpen, having a 2.25 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in 32 innings. Costello posted a .755 OPS between High- and Double-A during the 2019 season. Tragically, he passed away on November 18, 2019, from a sudden cardiac arrhythmia. (Learn more about The RC13 Foundation here.) Trade 4 (July 30, 2018) Twins Receive: 1B/OF Tyler Austin, P Luis Rijo Yankees Receive: P Lance Lynn Lynn has evolved into one of baseball's best pitchers over the last four seasons, but he was terrible for the Twins in 2018. It made sense to deal with his expiring contract, and the returning players offered some intrigue. Austin played parts of two seasons with the Twins and posted a .786 OPS. Rijo has been limited to nine appearances over the last two seasons as he dealt with right elbow UCL reconstruction. He is currently rehabbing with the FCL Twins. Trade 5 (July 31, 2018) Twins Receive: 2B Logan Forsythe, OF/1B Luke Raley, P Devin Smeltzer Dodgers Receive: 2B Brian Dozier One year after being vocal about the team trading away veterans, Dozier found himself dealt to a contender. After leaving the Twins, Dozier only played one more full season, but he won a World Series with the Nationals. Forsythe was included in the deal, so the Twins had someone to fill second base for the season's remaining games. Raley eventually was part of the Kenta Maeda trade as he returned to the Dodger organization. Smeltzer has been a surprise contributor to the Twins rotation in 2022. What do you remember about this trade deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES -2017 Trade Deadline
  15. Every team has to make long-term plans for the organization's direction. Which players compose Minnesota's core four for 2022 and beyond? For most of a decade, the Yankees were one of baseball's best teams as they relied on the services of players deemed their "Core Four." Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera captured four World Series titles in five years. Minnesota relied on players like Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, Greg Gagne, and Gene Larkin to win two championships in a five-year span. Other players fit into vital roles, but core pieces stayed the same on both of these rosters. Few core groups can match the Yankees team's success, but every franchise is looking for the players to keep their winning window open. So, who is a current member of the Twins Core Four? Byron Buxton Contract Status: Signed thru 2028, 7 yrs/$100M (22-28) Earliest Free Agency: 2029 Byron Buxton is the face of the franchise, and Minnesota made sure he would fulfill this role for much of the next decade. He certainly doesn't have the levels of playoff success associated with Jeter and Puckett, but Buxton has just six total playoff at-bats. Minnesota is in a position to make the playoffs this season, and the Twins are doing their best to ensure Buxton is healthy at the season's end. With Buxton in the line-up, Minnesota has a tremendous record throughout his professional career. Now the team and fans hope Buxton can end the franchise's postseason losing streak. Luis Arraez Contract Status: 1st Year Arb Eligible (Super 2) Earliest Free Agency: 2026 Out of the players on this list, Luis Arraez is under team control for the fewest remaining years. He was awarded Super 2 status entering the 2022 season, so he qualifies for an extra year of arbitration. Minnesota may want to consider a long-term deal with Arraez, especially as other players like Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler see their deals coming closer to the end. Like Jorge Posada, Arraez may be considered somewhat unheralded, but he is key to the team's success. So far this season, Arraez has revamped his batting stance and his pre-game routine. The results speak for themselves, and now the Twins should find a way to keep him in Minnesota for the prime of his career. Joe Ryan Contract Status: Pre-Arbitration Eligible Earliest Free Agency: 2028 When the Twins traded for Joe Ryan, few could have imagined how good he would be during this early juncture of his career. He's also 26 years old, so the Twins have team control over him until his early 30s. He has a long way to go before getting close to the same category as Andy Pettitte. Over nearly two decades, Pettitte pitched over 275 innings in the playoffs. Ryan is also an unconventional starting pitcher who relies on his fastball nearly 60% of the time. Will he continue to succeed, or will the league start figuring him out? For now, the Twins always need pitching, and he looks like he is the most likely member of the rotation for most of the next decade. Jhoan Duran Contract Status: Pre-Arbitration Eligible Earliest Free Agency: 2028 During his rookie season, even Mariano Rivera didn't have as much success as Jhoan Duran. Rivera began his career as a starter but struggled before the team moved him to the bullpen. Rivera went on to a Hall of Fame career as he is widely considered the best reliever in baseball history. To reach the same level, Duran will need to continue to find success in the regular season and hope for postseason opportunities to prove his worth. After dealing with injuries in the minors, Duran also needs to prove he can have the same level of durability as Rivera. Relievers can be fickle, but Duran is already off to a tremendous start. What do you think the ceiling is for Minnesota's Core Four? Would you put someone else in the group? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  16. For most of a decade, the Yankees were one of baseball's best teams as they relied on the services of players deemed their "Core Four." Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera captured four World Series titles in five years. Minnesota relied on players like Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, Greg Gagne, and Gene Larkin to win two championships in a five-year span. Other players fit into vital roles, but core pieces stayed the same on both of these rosters. Few core groups can match the Yankees team's success, but every franchise is looking for the players to keep their winning window open. So, who is a current member of the Twins Core Four? Byron Buxton Contract Status: Signed thru 2028, 7 yrs/$100M (22-28) Earliest Free Agency: 2029 Byron Buxton is the face of the franchise, and Minnesota made sure he would fulfill this role for much of the next decade. He certainly doesn't have the levels of playoff success associated with Jeter and Puckett, but Buxton has just six total playoff at-bats. Minnesota is in a position to make the playoffs this season, and the Twins are doing their best to ensure Buxton is healthy at the season's end. With Buxton in the line-up, Minnesota has a tremendous record throughout his professional career. Now the team and fans hope Buxton can end the franchise's postseason losing streak. Luis Arraez Contract Status: 1st Year Arb Eligible (Super 2) Earliest Free Agency: 2026 Out of the players on this list, Luis Arraez is under team control for the fewest remaining years. He was awarded Super 2 status entering the 2022 season, so he qualifies for an extra year of arbitration. Minnesota may want to consider a long-term deal with Arraez, especially as other players like Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler see their deals coming closer to the end. Like Jorge Posada, Arraez may be considered somewhat unheralded, but he is key to the team's success. So far this season, Arraez has revamped his batting stance and his pre-game routine. The results speak for themselves, and now the Twins should find a way to keep him in Minnesota for the prime of his career. Joe Ryan Contract Status: Pre-Arbitration Eligible Earliest Free Agency: 2028 When the Twins traded for Joe Ryan, few could have imagined how good he would be during this early juncture of his career. He's also 26 years old, so the Twins have team control over him until his early 30s. He has a long way to go before getting close to the same category as Andy Pettitte. Over nearly two decades, Pettitte pitched over 275 innings in the playoffs. Ryan is also an unconventional starting pitcher who relies on his fastball nearly 60% of the time. Will he continue to succeed, or will the league start figuring him out? For now, the Twins always need pitching, and he looks like he is the most likely member of the rotation for most of the next decade. Jhoan Duran Contract Status: Pre-Arbitration Eligible Earliest Free Agency: 2028 During his rookie season, even Mariano Rivera didn't have as much success as Jhoan Duran. Rivera began his career as a starter but struggled before the team moved him to the bullpen. Rivera went on to a Hall of Fame career as he is widely considered the best reliever in baseball history. To reach the same level, Duran will need to continue to find success in the regular season and hope for postseason opportunities to prove his worth. After dealing with injuries in the minors, Duran also needs to prove he can have the same level of durability as Rivera. Relievers can be fickle, but Duran is already off to a tremendous start. What do you think the ceiling is for Minnesota's Core Four? Would you put someone else in the group? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  17. To kick off an important series in Chicago, Arraez showed up with three hits and the most important in extra innings. Buxton hit another home run. The combination of the two helped the Twins record another win against an AL Central opponent. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (58 pitches, 41 strikes (70.7%)) Home Runs: Byron Buxton (22) Top 3 WPA: Luis Arraez (0.268), Byron Buxton (0.136), Dylan Bundy (0.135) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) For some time this offseason, Twins fans were under the belief that Johnny Cueto was close to becoming a Twin, adding an interesting wrinkle to Monday night’s game. Coming into the game, Cueto had been pitching relatively well with a 3.33 ERA over 54 innings pitched coming into the night. Through four innings, Cueto was able to hold the Twins from scoring even though he surrendered some hits and allowed four walks. After an ample missed opportunity in the first inning, it almost looked like Cueto had the Twins locked into one of those nights where the offense would go absent. Until the fifth rolled around. Buxton’s feelin’ 22 Luis Arraez led off the game in the first inning with a double. In the fifth, he hit another. In the first, Buxton missed the opportunity to bring Arraez around, but he did not waste any time regarding the same situation in the fifth. Buxton got a hold of a Cueto offspeed pitch and planted it in the left-field seats for his 22nd home run of the season. Bundy completes a solid five innings While Cueto kept the Twins at bay until the fifth inning, Dylan Bundy was also pitching well. Bundy produced 12 swings and misses while striking out six White Sox batters. The Twins starter also only allowed one walk. There were some loudly hit balls, and thankfully the Twins defense came through for Bundy multiple times to keep runners off the bases and runs off the scoreboard. The one ball that the defense couldn’t do anything about was in the second inning off of the bat of Jose Abreu. Abreu tagged Bundy for a home run that just missed Max Kepler’s glove and landed on the other side of the fence instead. Jax struggles in his second inning The Twins called on Griffin Jax to relieve Bundy to start the sixth inning. After cruising through the sixth, he was asked to continue into the seventh. The seventh would prove to be a very tough inning for Jax to navigate. After a potentially missed hit-by-pitch call, Abreu was once again a thorn in the Twins side and reached base by way of a double. Gavin Sheets then occupied first base after being hit by a pitch of his own out of the hand of Jax. With those runners on first and second, Yoan Moncada came to the plate with no outs and singled the ball to left field. That single allowed Abreu to come around and score as the White Sox tied the game up 2-2. The seventh inning could have been disastrous if it wasn’t for a big break in the form of the Twins franchise 16th triple play. AJ Pollock gave a Jax pitch an excellent ride to right-center field, where Buxton, in a majestic way, tracked the fly ball down. With Adam Engel and Moncada running with no expectation of the ball being caught, once Buxton got the ball into the infield, Gio Urshela could make easy work of outs two and three. Hendriks, Graveman prove to be too tough of a task The Twins saw firsthand why the White Sox were picked to have one of the best bullpens entering the 2022 season. Liam Hendriks came into the eighth inning fresh off the IL and struck out the side. He sent Correa, Kepler, and Polanco all packing. While Nick Gordon was able to get on base against Kendall Graveman, that was all the Twins were able to do against the White Sox reliever. Setting the scene for Emilio Pagan to once again pitch in relief for the Twins with a walk-off opportunity ripe for the taking for the opposing team. Pagan holds the ninth Every Twins fan collectively had nightmarish-type visions of what happened against Cleveland as Pagan took the mound in the bottom of the ninth. For one night, Pagan righted the ship. With two-outs, danger lurked as the right-hander walked Engel to bring Moncada to the plate. Engel attempted to steal second base off of Pagan, but Ryan Jeffers had other thoughts as he made a fantastic throw to second. It was met by an equally incredible tag by Carlos Correa. Initially, Engel was called safe, but after a challenge, the call was overturned to end the ninth inning. Arraez, Twins bats with extra-inning magic The Twins began the tenth inning with Gilberto Celestino on second base. Arraez would have the first crack at bringing the speedy Celestino around to score. There may not have been a more perfect setup for the Twins. With a 2-1 count, Arraez took a Joe Kelly curveball to center field to bring Celestino around to give the Twins a 3-2 lead. Jorge Polanco would add to the lead with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly that moved every runner up and plated Arraez. It was then Alex Kirilloff's turn to get a hit off of Kelly as he sent the ball through the left side of the infield to score two runs and increase the Twins lead to 6-2. Those runs allowed Jhoan Duran to come on to finish off the game. After allowing the lineup to turn over and Time Anderson to hit again, Duran ultimately only allowed the spotted runner on second to come around to score and cut the winning score down to 6-3. What’s Next? Tomorrow evening the Twins will get set for game two of this series against the White Sox. Chris Archer will toe the rubber for the Twins as he looks to continue his string of solid performances and improve upon his 3.08 ERA. The Twins could have a challenging task ahead of them in White Sox right-handed starter Michael Kopech. Kopech is only 2-5 on the season but will bring to the table a 2.78 ERA. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Duffey 28 0 0 0 13 41 Cotton 0 0 38 0 0 38 Moran 20 0 0 18 0 38 Pagán 0 0 10 0 18 28 Jax 0 0 0 0 26 26 Duran 0 0 0 0 20 20 Thielbar 0 12 0 0 0 12 Megill 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  18. With the trade deadline in less than a month, the Twins will be out looking for bullpen help in the trade market. But they can only acquire so many new arms. Some of the in-house options will have to fill important roles down the stretch. Who should they turn to? The chart above lists the current options in the Twins bullpen ranked from top to bottom by their measures in three underlying statistics: strike percentage, whiff rate (the fraction of swings that are misses), and average exit velocity. Red circles are good, blue circles are not so good. There's a simple rule of thumb for reading these statistics. A pitcher ought to have strong measures in two of the three statistics to be effective. For example, Jhoan Duran can give up hard contact as shown by his team-average exit velocity. But he pounds the strike zone and hitters rarely catch up to him. That's effective. Using similar assessments, the Twins ought to carve out roles for Caleb Thielbar and Griffin Jax. Jovani Moran may prove to be a bit of a wild card. He has a team-high 38% whiff rate and limits hard contact. If he can keep the ball in the strike zone often enough to avoid costly walks, he would prove valuable. Danny Coulombe may also warrant another shot when he returns to full health. What about Emilio Pagán, Tyler Duffey, and Joe Smith? Have they simply gotten unlucky in big moments despite pitching well? Not exactly. Pagán gets hit harder than any other Twins reliever and doesn't miss bats often enough to hide that. Duffey's numbers paint him as a poor man's Pagán. Smith has a paltry 13% whiff rate, which means he rarely misses bats. That's a big problem since his exit velocities are also quite high. The Twins will surely add to their bullpen through trades. But they can also get more out of their bullpen by redefining roles, tweaking pitcher usage, and perhaps letting go of a few veterans. View full article
  19. The chart above lists the current options in the Twins bullpen ranked from top to bottom by their measures in three underlying statistics: strike percentage, whiff rate (the fraction of swings that are misses), and average exit velocity. Red circles are good, blue circles are not so good. There's a simple rule of thumb for reading these statistics. A pitcher ought to have strong measures in two of the three statistics to be effective. For example, Jhoan Duran can give up hard contact as shown by his team-average exit velocity. But he pounds the strike zone and hitters rarely catch up to him. That's effective. Using similar assessments, the Twins ought to carve out roles for Caleb Thielbar and Griffin Jax. Jovani Moran may prove to be a bit of a wild card. He has a team-high 38% whiff rate and limits hard contact. If he can keep the ball in the strike zone often enough to avoid costly walks, he would prove valuable. Danny Coulombe may also warrant another shot when he returns to full health. What about Emilio Pagán, Tyler Duffey, and Joe Smith? Have they simply gotten unlucky in big moments despite pitching well? Not exactly. Pagán gets hit harder than any other Twins reliever and doesn't miss bats often enough to hide that. Duffey's numbers paint him as a poor man's Pagán. Smith has a paltry 13% whiff rate, which means he rarely misses bats. That's a big problem since his exit velocities are also quite high. The Twins will surely add to their bullpen through trades. But they can also get more out of their bullpen by redefining roles, tweaking pitcher usage, and perhaps letting go of a few veterans.
  20. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (58 pitches, 41 strikes (70.7%)) Home Runs: Byron Buxton (22) Top 3 WPA: Luis Arraez (0.268), Byron Buxton (0.136), Dylan Bundy (0.135) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) For some time this offseason, Twins fans were under the belief that Johnny Cueto was close to becoming a Twin, adding an interesting wrinkle to Monday night’s game. Coming into the game, Cueto had been pitching relatively well with a 3.33 ERA over 54 innings pitched coming into the night. Through four innings, Cueto was able to hold the Twins from scoring even though he surrendered some hits and allowed four walks. After an ample missed opportunity in the first inning, it almost looked like Cueto had the Twins locked into one of those nights where the offense would go absent. Until the fifth rolled around. Buxton’s feelin’ 22 Luis Arraez led off the game in the first inning with a double. In the fifth, he hit another. In the first, Buxton missed the opportunity to bring Arraez around, but he did not waste any time regarding the same situation in the fifth. Buxton got a hold of a Cueto offspeed pitch and planted it in the left-field seats for his 22nd home run of the season. Bundy completes a solid five innings While Cueto kept the Twins at bay until the fifth inning, Dylan Bundy was also pitching well. Bundy produced 12 swings and misses while striking out six White Sox batters. The Twins starter also only allowed one walk. There were some loudly hit balls, and thankfully the Twins defense came through for Bundy multiple times to keep runners off the bases and runs off the scoreboard. The one ball that the defense couldn’t do anything about was in the second inning off of the bat of Jose Abreu. Abreu tagged Bundy for a home run that just missed Max Kepler’s glove and landed on the other side of the fence instead. Jax struggles in his second inning The Twins called on Griffin Jax to relieve Bundy to start the sixth inning. After cruising through the sixth, he was asked to continue into the seventh. The seventh would prove to be a very tough inning for Jax to navigate. After a potentially missed hit-by-pitch call, Abreu was once again a thorn in the Twins side and reached base by way of a double. Gavin Sheets then occupied first base after being hit by a pitch of his own out of the hand of Jax. With those runners on first and second, Yoan Moncada came to the plate with no outs and singled the ball to left field. That single allowed Abreu to come around and score as the White Sox tied the game up 2-2. The seventh inning could have been disastrous if it wasn’t for a big break in the form of the Twins franchise 16th triple play. AJ Pollock gave a Jax pitch an excellent ride to right-center field, where Buxton, in a majestic way, tracked the fly ball down. With Adam Engel and Moncada running with no expectation of the ball being caught, once Buxton got the ball into the infield, Gio Urshela could make easy work of outs two and three. Hendriks, Graveman prove to be too tough of a task The Twins saw firsthand why the White Sox were picked to have one of the best bullpens entering the 2022 season. Liam Hendriks came into the eighth inning fresh off the IL and struck out the side. He sent Correa, Kepler, and Polanco all packing. While Nick Gordon was able to get on base against Kendall Graveman, that was all the Twins were able to do against the White Sox reliever. Setting the scene for Emilio Pagan to once again pitch in relief for the Twins with a walk-off opportunity ripe for the taking for the opposing team. Pagan holds the ninth Every Twins fan collectively had nightmarish-type visions of what happened against Cleveland as Pagan took the mound in the bottom of the ninth. For one night, Pagan righted the ship. With two-outs, danger lurked as the right-hander walked Engel to bring Moncada to the plate. Engel attempted to steal second base off of Pagan, but Ryan Jeffers had other thoughts as he made a fantastic throw to second. It was met by an equally incredible tag by Carlos Correa. Initially, Engel was called safe, but after a challenge, the call was overturned to end the ninth inning. Arraez, Twins bats with extra-inning magic The Twins began the tenth inning with Gilberto Celestino on second base. Arraez would have the first crack at bringing the speedy Celestino around to score. There may not have been a more perfect setup for the Twins. With a 2-1 count, Arraez took a Joe Kelly curveball to center field to bring Celestino around to give the Twins a 3-2 lead. Jorge Polanco would add to the lead with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly that moved every runner up and plated Arraez. It was then Alex Kirilloff's turn to get a hit off of Kelly as he sent the ball through the left side of the infield to score two runs and increase the Twins lead to 6-2. Those runs allowed Jhoan Duran to come on to finish off the game. After allowing the lineup to turn over and Time Anderson to hit again, Duran ultimately only allowed the spotted runner on second to come around to score and cut the winning score down to 6-3. What’s Next? Tomorrow evening the Twins will get set for game two of this series against the White Sox. Chris Archer will toe the rubber for the Twins as he looks to continue his string of solid performances and improve upon his 3.08 ERA. The Twins could have a challenging task ahead of them in White Sox right-handed starter Michael Kopech. Kopech is only 2-5 on the season but will bring to the table a 2.78 ERA. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Duffey 28 0 0 0 13 41 Cotton 0 0 38 0 0 38 Moran 20 0 0 18 0 38 Pagán 0 0 10 0 18 28 Jax 0 0 0 0 26 26 Duran 0 0 0 0 20 20 Thielbar 0 12 0 0 0 12 Megill 0 0 0 0 0 0
  21. The month of June was a bit of a roller coaster for the Twins pitching staff, but the team maintained their first-place lead in the American League Central even as they had a losing record on the month of 13-15. Three Twins pitchers stood out with their help keeping the team at the .500 mark over the course of the month. Sonny Gray dominated in his three starts for the month of June with a 1.69 ERA in those starts, but being on the IL for half of the month kept him out of the voting for pitcher of the month. Without further adieu, here are the top two honorable mentions and winner for the Twins Daily Pitcher of the Month. Honorable Mention Two: Jhoan Duran The rookie phenom Jhoan Duran has had another stellar month keeping up his case to make it to the all-star game in July. Duran made ten relief appearances for the Twins in the month of June posting a 1.42 ERA, 10.0 K/9, 1.63 FIP, and 14 strikeouts in 10 relief appearances. The one outing that kept Duran from being placed higher on this list was his first real scuffle with big-league hitting. It came in his June 9th outing against the New York Yankees where he surrendered two runs to the Evil Empire while only retiring one batter. Since that outing, Duran has not given up a run in 8 1/3 innings of work. There’s no telling if Duran will experience burnout next month or continue his dominance as the fastest pitcher in baseball, but Twins fans can take solace in the fact he has been the best reliever for the team during the first three months of the season. Honorable Mention One: Griffin Jax Leading the way for the Twins bullpen in a rocky month of June was sophomore Griffin Jax. In his 12 relief appearances throughout the month, Jax led all Twins relievers in ERA (1.38), opponent AVG (.098), WHIP (0.38), and strikeouts (18). Jax’s month of June alone has shown how far he’s come since he was a rookie starter with the team last year. Where Jax previously struggled just to get through more than three innings, he has now become the Twins most effective long reliever. The Twins bullpen has many fixes needed for the remainder of the season, but both Jax and Duran have proven themselves as the most reliable arms out of the pen. The Twins will not use them every day during the month of July, but Twins fans should be grateful for what these two provided while other members of the bullpen struggled often. Twins Pitcher of the Month: Chris Archer The resurgence of Chris Archer with the Twins has been a great surprise to many in baseball. Now with the man who has turned Archer’s career around, Wes Johnson, leaving Minnesota for Louisiana State University, it’s only fair to dub Archer as the Twins pitcher of the month for June. Archer was the anchor of the Twins rotation when Gray and Joe Ryan were on the IL for the first half of the month. June has been Archer’s greatest month of the season to date, even with his innings still limited as he compiled a total of 27 innings, in six starts for the month. In those six starts, Archer posted a 1.67 ERA, .156 AVG, 1.04 WHIP, and only gave up two home runs. Archer’s best start of the month came on June 8th against the best team in baseball, the Yankees, where he only allowed two hits and one run in five innings of work. Yes, Archer does still have a high walk rate and that was showcased in his final start of the month on June 30 against the Guardians where he walked six batters. But the high walk rate should not be reason to ignore the recognition that Archer deserves for being the stabilizing force of the Twins' starting rotation during a rocky month of pitching. What do you think? Would you vote for Archer for Twins pitcher of the month in June, or would you vote for one of the relievers? View full article
  22. Three Twins pitchers stood out with their help keeping the team at the .500 mark over the course of the month. Sonny Gray dominated in his three starts for the month of June with a 1.69 ERA in those starts, but being on the IL for half of the month kept him out of the voting for pitcher of the month. Without further adieu, here are the top two honorable mentions and winner for the Twins Daily Pitcher of the Month. Honorable Mention Two: Jhoan Duran The rookie phenom Jhoan Duran has had another stellar month keeping up his case to make it to the all-star game in July. Duran made ten relief appearances for the Twins in the month of June posting a 1.42 ERA, 10.0 K/9, 1.63 FIP, and 14 strikeouts in 10 relief appearances. The one outing that kept Duran from being placed higher on this list was his first real scuffle with big-league hitting. It came in his June 9th outing against the New York Yankees where he surrendered two runs to the Evil Empire while only retiring one batter. Since that outing, Duran has not given up a run in 8 1/3 innings of work. There’s no telling if Duran will experience burnout next month or continue his dominance as the fastest pitcher in baseball, but Twins fans can take solace in the fact he has been the best reliever for the team during the first three months of the season. Honorable Mention One: Griffin Jax Leading the way for the Twins bullpen in a rocky month of June was sophomore Griffin Jax. In his 12 relief appearances throughout the month, Jax led all Twins relievers in ERA (1.38), opponent AVG (.098), WHIP (0.38), and strikeouts (18). Jax’s month of June alone has shown how far he’s come since he was a rookie starter with the team last year. Where Jax previously struggled just to get through more than three innings, he has now become the Twins most effective long reliever. The Twins bullpen has many fixes needed for the remainder of the season, but both Jax and Duran have proven themselves as the most reliable arms out of the pen. The Twins will not use them every day during the month of July, but Twins fans should be grateful for what these two provided while other members of the bullpen struggled often. Twins Pitcher of the Month: Chris Archer The resurgence of Chris Archer with the Twins has been a great surprise to many in baseball. Now with the man who has turned Archer’s career around, Wes Johnson, leaving Minnesota for Louisiana State University, it’s only fair to dub Archer as the Twins pitcher of the month for June. Archer was the anchor of the Twins rotation when Gray and Joe Ryan were on the IL for the first half of the month. June has been Archer’s greatest month of the season to date, even with his innings still limited as he compiled a total of 27 innings, in six starts for the month. In those six starts, Archer posted a 1.67 ERA, .156 AVG, 1.04 WHIP, and only gave up two home runs. Archer’s best start of the month came on June 8th against the best team in baseball, the Yankees, where he only allowed two hits and one run in five innings of work. Yes, Archer does still have a high walk rate and that was showcased in his final start of the month on June 30 against the Guardians where he walked six batters. But the high walk rate should not be reason to ignore the recognition that Archer deserves for being the stabilizing force of the Twins' starting rotation during a rocky month of pitching. What do you think? Would you vote for Archer for Twins pitcher of the month in June, or would you vote for one of the relievers?
  23. Another bullpen implosion in extra innings gives Twins their worst loss of the season. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (83 pitches, 58 strikes (70%)) Home Runs: Alex Kirilloff (1), Gio Urshela (7). Max Kepler (7) Top 3 WPA: Alex Kirilloff (.20), Carlos Correa (.14), Gio Urshela (.13), Bottom 3 WPA: Jharel Cotton (-.72), Emilio Pagan (-.19), Ryan Jeffers (-.19) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Bundy, who had a rough first inning against the Guardians calmed down, looking sharper and more controlled, gave another four innings to the team. The Guardians drove up his pitch count and tried to wear him down, but Bundy battled through the innings not imploding and keeping the runs at three. The defense stayed strong behind him through the five innings not allowing any more runs on the board. The defense was different with both Jorge Polanco at shortstop and Luis Arraez at second base filling in for Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa who were both out of the starting lineup. After Bundy loaded up the bases with singles and no outs in the first frame, Franmil Reyes got out on a fielder’s choice to Polanco, who tossed the ball to Arraez getting out Jose Ramirez. Arraez attempted to throw the ball to first for a double play but an errant throw allowed Amed Rosario to score. A sloppy first inning for the Twins defensively allowed the Guardians a two-run lead early. The Twins seemed to struggle offensively as much as they were defensively early in the game. They were getting hits and getting on base but couldn’t capitalize with runs when it mattered. The Guardians got an early lead in the game thanks to the help of Steven Kwan who stole his fifth base with Amed Rosario at the plate. Rosario poked a ball to right field over Max Kepler's head which allowed Kwan to advance to third. Kwan scored on a sacrifice fly from Josh Naylor to give Cleveland a 3-0 lead. As slow as the offense started for the Twins, the defense had some notable plays that saved the bottom of innings and more runs from scoring. Gilberto Celestino chased down a fly ball to the warning track in center field off the bat of Andres Gimenez. Jose Miranda dove to catch a line drive hit by Jose Ramirez and tagged out Reyes who took a large lead off first and got tagged trying to scramble back. The out closed out the inning leaving players stranded for the Guardians. In true Twins fashion, the fun started late in the game when Alex Kirilloff hit a heater off of Quantrill, his first home run of the season. It was a two-run shot in the top of the sixth. Gio Urshela followed with a solo home run to tie the game! Quantrill was now under threat of his first loss. Quantrill had not lost a game against the Twins at Progressive Field. Jhoan Duran held the Guardians in the eighth and ninth innings and just like that the Twins were in another extra-inning game. Byron Buxton, who came on to pinch-hit in the eighth inning, He gave the fans a scare when he took off toward third base on a foul ball off the bat of Luis Arraez. Richie Palacios made a great catch against the netting. Buxton got up and appeared fine and Twins Territory sighed a breath of relief (I'm sure). Carlos Correa, who came into to pinch hit for Jose Miranda in the 10th inning, took advantage of having the first part of the evening off and through the reluctant loud “Boos” of the stadium, worked up a full count before poking a ball into right, scoring Buxton giving the Twins their first lead of the night and landing on first. The Twins piled on in the tenth with a home run from Max Kepler bringing the lead 6-3 before ending the inning. The Twins went into the bottom of the tenth inning with a three-run lead, but again, the bullpen imploded, Emilio Pagan came on to start the inning, and he got the first batter that he faced out. But, he issued a walk and a run-scoring single to Amed Rosario. Jharel Cotton was summoned, and he got Jose Ramirez on a pop out to center. Unfortunately after a passed ball, the Guardians got within one run of a tie. Unfortunately, after working Josh Naylor with fastballs up in the zone, Cotton served up a fastball down in the zone, and Naylor hit a bomb to left field for a two-run, walk-off homer. Another very frustrating end to looked like a solid win and just like that the Twins are in the losing bracket of extra-innings going 1-and-4 for the season. What’s Next? The Twins finish out the five-game series with a chance to take the series win with the Guardians tomorrow afternoon. Pitching matchups for the series include: Thursday 1:05pm est: Chris Archer (2-3, 3.14 ERA) vs RHP Shane Bieber (3-4, 3.07ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  24. Minnesota’s bullpen has been a roller coaster ride during the 2022 season. So, who should the team trust when the game is on the line? Throughout any baseball season, bullpen roles and responsibilities are going to shift. Sometimes a pitcher has a great stretch and starts pitching in more high-leverage spots. Other times, a pitcher struggles, and the team attempts to find a new role for that arm. One bad outing doesn’t necessarily shift a player lower on the list, but an accumulation of bad performances impacts the team’s bullpen pecking order. 1. Jhoan Duran (2.15 Win Probability Added) Realistically, Jhoan Duran is the lone bullpen arm that has been consistent throughout the season. His transition to the bullpen has been electric, with 46 strikeouts in 33 innings. The team is using him in the highest leverage situations, and he has responded with only four appearances where he has allowed an earned run or more. Duran has also proven he can be relied on to pitch in multiple innings as he has recorded more than three outs in nine appearances. He’s been a lifesaver for the 2022 Twins, and the team will continue to trust him in late-inning roles. 2. Griffin Jax (0.50 WPA) Griffin Jax has been a surprise late-inning contributor to the Twins. Outside of Duran, Jax might be the most trusted name in the Twins bullpen. One of his most significant changes this season has been an increase in his slider usage. Batters have posted a slugging percentage over 175 points lower when facing his slider compared to his fastball. Jax will continue to see an increase in his WPA as he is used in higher leverage situations. 3. Caleb Thielbar (0.43 WPA) There have been three outings where Thielbar has allowed three earned runs or more, but outside of those appearances, he has been terrific. In high leverage situations, opponents are hitting .143/.294/.179 (.473) with eight strikeouts in 38 at-bats. He’s the lone left-handed reliever on a first-place team, which is quite the switch from how bullpens have traditionally been built. For the Twins to succeed, Thielbar must continue to pitch well. 4. Emilio Pagan (0.03 WPA) Pagan has been used in many high-leverage situations, and the results have been mixed. In his first 25 appearances, he posted a 99 ERA+ with 2.1 HR/9. His strikeouts per nine innings have jumped from under 10.0 K/9 over the last two seasons to over 12.1 K/9 in 2022. Without other options, Pagan will continue to get high leverage opportunities, especially on nights when Duran is unavailable. 5. Tyler Thornburg (0.07 WPA) Earlier in the season, names like Tyler Duffey and Joe Smith would be included in the team’s most trusted bullpen arms. Both have struggled through different parts of the season, which has allowed players like Thornburg to take on even more critical roles. Since joining the Twins, he has yet to allow an earned run in four appearances. Nearly all of his appearances have been low leverage this season, but he has held opponents to a .254 slugging percentage without allowing a home run. How would you rank the players above? Who are your Top 5, or even Top 9? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  25. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (83 pitches, 58 strikes (70%)) Home Runs: Alex Kirilloff (1), Gio Urshela (7). Max Kepler (7) Top 3 WPA: Alex Kirilloff (.20), Carlos Correa (.14), Gio Urshela (.13), Bottom 3 WPA: Jharel Cotton (-.72), Emilio Pagan (-.19), Ryan Jeffers (-.19) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Bundy, who had a rough first inning against the Guardians calmed down, looking sharper and more controlled, gave another four innings to the team. The Guardians drove up his pitch count and tried to wear him down, but Bundy battled through the innings not imploding and keeping the runs at three. The defense stayed strong behind him through the five innings not allowing any more runs on the board. The defense was different with both Jorge Polanco at shortstop and Luis Arraez at second base filling in for Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa who were both out of the starting lineup. After Bundy loaded up the bases with singles and no outs in the first frame, Franmil Reyes got out on a fielder’s choice to Polanco, who tossed the ball to Arraez getting out Jose Ramirez. Arraez attempted to throw the ball to first for a double play but an errant throw allowed Amed Rosario to score. A sloppy first inning for the Twins defensively allowed the Guardians a two-run lead early. The Twins seemed to struggle offensively as much as they were defensively early in the game. They were getting hits and getting on base but couldn’t capitalize with runs when it mattered. The Guardians got an early lead in the game thanks to the help of Steven Kwan who stole his fifth base with Amed Rosario at the plate. Rosario poked a ball to right field over Max Kepler's head which allowed Kwan to advance to third. Kwan scored on a sacrifice fly from Josh Naylor to give Cleveland a 3-0 lead. As slow as the offense started for the Twins, the defense had some notable plays that saved the bottom of innings and more runs from scoring. Gilberto Celestino chased down a fly ball to the warning track in center field off the bat of Andres Gimenez. Jose Miranda dove to catch a line drive hit by Jose Ramirez and tagged out Reyes who took a large lead off first and got tagged trying to scramble back. The out closed out the inning leaving players stranded for the Guardians. In true Twins fashion, the fun started late in the game when Alex Kirilloff hit a heater off of Quantrill, his first home run of the season. It was a two-run shot in the top of the sixth. Gio Urshela followed with a solo home run to tie the game! Quantrill was now under threat of his first loss. Quantrill had not lost a game against the Twins at Progressive Field. Jhoan Duran held the Guardians in the eighth and ninth innings and just like that the Twins were in another extra-inning game. Byron Buxton, who came on to pinch-hit in the eighth inning, He gave the fans a scare when he took off toward third base on a foul ball off the bat of Luis Arraez. Richie Palacios made a great catch against the netting. Buxton got up and appeared fine and Twins Territory sighed a breath of relief (I'm sure). Carlos Correa, who came into to pinch hit for Jose Miranda in the 10th inning, took advantage of having the first part of the evening off and through the reluctant loud “Boos” of the stadium, worked up a full count before poking a ball into right, scoring Buxton giving the Twins their first lead of the night and landing on first. The Twins piled on in the tenth with a home run from Max Kepler bringing the lead 6-3 before ending the inning. The Twins went into the bottom of the tenth inning with a three-run lead, but again, the bullpen imploded, Emilio Pagan came on to start the inning, and he got the first batter that he faced out. But, he issued a walk and a run-scoring single to Amed Rosario. Jharel Cotton was summoned, and he got Jose Ramirez on a pop out to center. Unfortunately after a passed ball, the Guardians got within one run of a tie. Unfortunately, after working Josh Naylor with fastballs up in the zone, Cotton served up a fastball down in the zone, and Naylor hit a bomb to left field for a two-run, walk-off homer. Another very frustrating end to looked like a solid win and just like that the Twins are in the losing bracket of extra-innings going 1-and-4 for the season. What’s Next? The Twins finish out the five-game series with a chance to take the series win with the Guardians tomorrow afternoon. Pitching matchups for the series include: Thursday 1:05pm est: Chris Archer (2-3, 3.14 ERA) vs RHP Shane Bieber (3-4, 3.07ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
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