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  1. A drubbing by the Dodgers in L.A. felt like enough to wipe away the positive vibes for the Twins after a competitive split with the Blue Jays at Target Field. It wasn’t just the two-game set at Dodger Stadium that brought us here, though. This low point has been building for weeks. On May 24th, the Twins defeated the Tigers 2-0 in a seven-inning masterpiece from Sonny Gray. The Twins won their sixth straight game and nine of their last 11. They opened up a 5.5 game lead in the division and had 10 straight games against the Royals and Tigers to boot. Things started to unravel the next day. Trevor Megill gave up a game-winning two-run homer to Jeimer Candelario in the 10th and the Twins lost 4-2. Unfortunately, that was more of a foreshadow than an anomaly. Since that day, the Twins have given up 93 homers, tied for the third-most in baseball. The Twins are 30-37 since Gray’s 10-strikeout, shutout gem. They have a team ERA of 4.59 in that span, the fifth-highest in baseball. Their team Win Probability Added of negative-5.44 is the second-lowest in the majors. The pitching staff has been a borderline disaster, evidenced by Joe Ryan’s 5.33 ERA in his last 10 starts. Recognizing these major holes, the Twins’ braintrust went out and got three good pitchers in Jorge López, Tyler Mahle, and Michael Fulmer. A shaky staff now looks more stable, at least on paper. Of course, the guys need to perform on the field. López has already blown a save, Mahle gave up three homers in his Twins’ debut, and Fulmer gave up a critical homer to Chris Taylor in Wednesday’s loss. Beyond them, Griffin Jax has been anything but his solid self from the first half. Jax now has a 4.03 ERA in 42 appearances, thanks to three blowups in his last 10 outings. Add in the inconsistent playing time of Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa’s struggles, and myriad injuries, and it’s not difficult to see why the Twins have scuffled. The good news? The season doesn’t end today. If it did, the Twins wouldn’t make the playoffs. Max Kepler isn't hitting, Correa hasn't hit since May, and Alex Kirilloff's wrist injury evaporated some much-needed left-handed upside in the lineup. Even then, the Twins are tied with Houston for the 8th-highest team wOBA (.326) since May 25th. They're tied with the Cardinals for the seventh-highest Weighted Runs Created Plus (113) in that span. While sometimes inconsistent, the offense has mostly done its part. The worst of the six division winners in 2022 will certainly come out of the American League Central. It's unlikely the Twins, White Sox, or Guardians would make a run in October. Even then, it's absolutely worth the excitement of ending the treacherous 18-game Postseason losing streak. Playoff games at Target Field is the goal. So What’s Next? If this is truly the low point for the 2022 Twins, that’s good news. They have 52 games remaining, including 17 against the Guardians and White Sox (33%). 16 of the Twins’ next 19 games are against teams currently below .500, with 13 of those at Target Field. The Twins have 28 games, or roughly 54% of their schedule, against teams currently below .500. Of the Twins’ final 26 games, 14 are against the White Sox or Guardians. There’s plenty of opportunites to make up ground. For as rough as the Twins have looked, no one remembers what the standings were on August 11th. Of the 16 games in September/October that aren’t against their two divisional threats, 12 are against the Royals, Tigers, and Angels. The other four are at Yankee Stadium. The Twins have the 10th-easiest remaining schedule entering play Thursday. They need to perform. The Twins have the most head-to-head games remaining among the three contenders in the Central, which ultimately gives them an advantage. They control their own destiny here. Will they seize the moment? Comment your thoughts below! View full article
  2. On May 24th, the Twins defeated the Tigers 2-0 in a seven-inning masterpiece from Sonny Gray. The Twins won their sixth straight game and nine of their last 11. They opened up a 5.5 game lead in the division and had 10 straight games against the Royals and Tigers to boot. Things started to unravel the next day. Trevor Megill gave up a game-winning two-run homer to Jeimer Candelario in the 10th and the Twins lost 4-2. Unfortunately, that was more of a foreshadow than an anomaly. Since that day, the Twins have given up 93 homers, tied for the third-most in baseball. The Twins are 30-37 since Gray’s 10-strikeout, shutout gem. They have a team ERA of 4.59 in that span, the fifth-highest in baseball. Their team Win Probability Added of negative-5.44 is the second-lowest in the majors. The pitching staff has been a borderline disaster, evidenced by Joe Ryan’s 5.33 ERA in his last 10 starts. Recognizing these major holes, the Twins’ braintrust went out and got three good pitchers in Jorge López, Tyler Mahle, and Michael Fulmer. A shaky staff now looks more stable, at least on paper. Of course, the guys need to perform on the field. López has already blown a save, Mahle gave up three homers in his Twins’ debut, and Fulmer gave up a critical homer to Chris Taylor in Wednesday’s loss. Beyond them, Griffin Jax has been anything but his solid self from the first half. Jax now has a 4.03 ERA in 42 appearances, thanks to three blowups in his last 10 outings. Add in the inconsistent playing time of Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa’s struggles, and myriad injuries, and it’s not difficult to see why the Twins have scuffled. The good news? The season doesn’t end today. If it did, the Twins wouldn’t make the playoffs. Max Kepler isn't hitting, Correa hasn't hit since May, and Alex Kirilloff's wrist injury evaporated some much-needed left-handed upside in the lineup. Even then, the Twins are tied with Houston for the 8th-highest team wOBA (.326) since May 25th. They're tied with the Cardinals for the seventh-highest Weighted Runs Created Plus (113) in that span. While sometimes inconsistent, the offense has mostly done its part. The worst of the six division winners in 2022 will certainly come out of the American League Central. It's unlikely the Twins, White Sox, or Guardians would make a run in October. Even then, it's absolutely worth the excitement of ending the treacherous 18-game Postseason losing streak. Playoff games at Target Field is the goal. So What’s Next? If this is truly the low point for the 2022 Twins, that’s good news. They have 52 games remaining, including 17 against the Guardians and White Sox (33%). 16 of the Twins’ next 19 games are against teams currently below .500, with 13 of those at Target Field. The Twins have 28 games, or roughly 54% of their schedule, against teams currently below .500. Of the Twins’ final 26 games, 14 are against the White Sox or Guardians. There’s plenty of opportunites to make up ground. For as rough as the Twins have looked, no one remembers what the standings were on August 11th. Of the 16 games in September/October that aren’t against their two divisional threats, 12 are against the Royals, Tigers, and Angels. The other four are at Yankee Stadium. The Twins have the 10th-easiest remaining schedule entering play Thursday. They need to perform. The Twins have the most head-to-head games remaining among the three contenders in the Central, which ultimately gives them an advantage. They control their own destiny here. Will they seize the moment? Comment your thoughts below!
  3. Earlier this summer Twins Daily’s Melissa Berman sat down with artist Kickliy Sports and peeled back the layers as to what makes the Minnesota artist tick. With Minnesota Twins fans now well aware of his work, and clamoring for each new rendition, I wondered what viewing a game solely through his perspective would look like. It was an afternoon contest with Joe Ryan starting against the Detroit Tigers and Tyler Alexander. A gorgeous 84-degree day at the yard, Kickily was waiting for me in the bleachers near the bullpens. It was here that I had first met the artist, early on in the season, and he was quick to remind me that this was as good of a perspective as any to start. Melissa Berman on Kickliy We began discussion surrounding the YouTube Game of the Week, in which Minnesota was recently featured and Kickliy found himself on the broadcast. From discussing his art to doing live painting alongside the crew, it’s become more than apparent to the artist that Major League Baseball has taken note of his work. Taking note of the action around us, the Twins were donning their alternate reds, a uniform combination Kickliy notes as being fun to paint. Unfortunately, the Detroit Tigers had their boring grays on, something that leaves little eye appeal available. 1st Inning Kickliy brandishes his tools and pulls out the first sheet of paper. Still sitting in the left field bleachers, the view is of the whole field, with a focus on home plate and the stands behind. Green dots of paint are placed on the page, dried and ready for manipulation. This was a neat starting position I had not considered. Given the amount of similar color in his view, Kickliy allowed for a starting position to help with the speed in which he’s able to clock out his masterpieces. Ryan worked a quick top half, and Kickliy took in a phone call from home. Still painting the entire time, a scene begins to take place. 2nd Inning Working through what will eventually become his scene, Kickliy notes that the perspective from certain locations are set realities. What he’s capturing is action, and that’s why he puts in so much advanced work to understand movements of players and knowing their mannerisms. At this point in the season, he’s a creature of habit, and the vision becomes a routine process. While adults have taken notice of his work, there’s no age limit to the intrigue. A small baby boy is now looking on. Shortly thereafter we move up a few rows as someone came for the seats we were in. The entire paint studio moves on the fly, and within minutes the art is back underway. Background remains the focal point here as people stop and comment while finding their seats. Then Sandy Leon rips a two-run double, his first hit with the Twins, Kickliy smiles and kicks into action. 3rd Inning Less than ten minutes later the first painting is done. Leon’s initial highlight with Minnesota is in the books. Kickliy adds some words in his traditional font, and a fan from the row behind comments, “that’s awesome.” More comments from those around roll in, “That’s a really good painting,” says one. Another walks up and offers a “that is beautiful” sentiment. The artwork has now taken on a life of its own and questions as to whether they’re for sale of a gallery exists become a talking point. Kickliy then leans back for a selfie with his perspective in the background, uploading to Twitter and Instagram, and now all of Twins Territory has access to the art. 4th Inning With one piece already completed, it’s now time for a fresh perspective. From the left field bleachers, we walk down the concourse along the third base line. An usher inside one of the elevator areas recognizes Kickliy from previously being painted. He knocks on the window to get the artist’s attention and smiles while offering a thumbs up. We make our way past Hrbek’s, but not before being stopped by another usher, this one knowing Kickliy well. She sparks up a quick conversation before shaking his hand and offering “Have a great game” before we’re again on our way. Pulling up to a section along the first base line, a fan recognizes Kickliy before heading into the section. A quick conversation ensues, but after previously only following on Instagram, Kickliy has a new follower on Twitter. 5th Inning Sitting in one of the diamond boxes just beyond first base, we now get a closer look at Joe Ryan. Minnesota’s starter has cruised much of this day, and his long pitching motion catches the eye of Kickliy. With a new perspective visible, but action taking place, the art again gets underway. Ryan puts himself front and center when he finishes off the inning on a strikeout. 6th Inning Manager Rocco Baldelli goes to the bullpen for Michael Fulmer’s Twins debut. Kickliy already having started a piece featuring Ryan’s motion, he’s now forced to quickly finish from memory. As Carlos Correa’s walk-up song, 25/8 by Bad Bunny, comes on Kickliy begins to hum. He’s taken in so much action that he has the words down, and it fuels him as he again notes how much planning and repetition help him to stay sharp. 7th Inning While not all fans appreciate the monotony of the 7th inning stretch, you can count Kickliy a supporter. Standing, stretching, and beginning to sway along with the music, Kickliy emphatically throws up hand gestures for 1-2-3 strikes as the song concludes. A fan approaches him, this time from multiple rows back, and asks whether the art is for sale. He wants to know more after having seen him on a recent broadcast. Kickliy notes how to follow his work and then wraps up the second painting with another selfie being posted to his social media channels. 8th Inning While the perspective of games around Target Field largely remains constant, the action does not. This game had little in terms of constant action, and Kickliy is then forced to think on the fly. Finding a few subjects in the crowd near us, he opts for a group of older women sitting behind us off to his left. As they are taking in the game, none of them had noticed he’d begun to work with them as subjects. Despite this contest being largely wrapped up, there was still a story to tell during this late juncture. As other fans begin to notice Kickliy’s subjects, they eagerly look on at the paint and then back at the women to both judge the work and take in the expressions of the unknowing fans. As he wipes a bit of paint off on his pullover, a stadium giveaway from Opening Day, he remains clued in on the subject even with a small amount of action on the field. 9th Inning Jorge Lopez is on for his first save with the Twins, a game they’ve had in hand from the jump. Kickliy continues adding details to this image and is perfecting the final few strokes. Just before the Tigers limp off on the final out, he turns the painting around and the women immediately offer smiles and dropped jaws. Fans around the area clap and the women find themselves incredibly impressed with a moment presented to them simply by taking in a baseball game. Rather than a selfie this time, Kickliy has me take a picture with him and the subjects. They shake hands and are on their way. We relax in the seats for a few moments as the crowd clears out. It’s somewhat decompressing following the day’s game. Our final conversation ends, and we begin to go our separate ways. After all, there’s more action to be painted tomorrow. View full article
  4. It was an afternoon contest with Joe Ryan starting against the Detroit Tigers and Tyler Alexander. A gorgeous 84-degree day at the yard, Kickily was waiting for me in the bleachers near the bullpens. It was here that I had first met the artist, early on in the season, and he was quick to remind me that this was as good of a perspective as any to start. Melissa Berman on Kickliy We began discussion surrounding the YouTube Game of the Week, in which Minnesota was recently featured and Kickliy found himself on the broadcast. From discussing his art to doing live painting alongside the crew, it’s become more than apparent to the artist that Major League Baseball has taken note of his work. Taking note of the action around us, the Twins were donning their alternate reds, a uniform combination Kickliy notes as being fun to paint. Unfortunately, the Detroit Tigers had their boring grays on, something that leaves little eye appeal available. 1st Inning Kickliy brandishes his tools and pulls out the first sheet of paper. Still sitting in the left field bleachers, the view is of the whole field, with a focus on home plate and the stands behind. Green dots of paint are placed on the page, dried and ready for manipulation. This was a neat starting position I had not considered. Given the amount of similar color in his view, Kickliy allowed for a starting position to help with the speed in which he’s able to clock out his masterpieces. Ryan worked a quick top half, and Kickliy took in a phone call from home. Still painting the entire time, a scene begins to take place. 2nd Inning Working through what will eventually become his scene, Kickliy notes that the perspective from certain locations are set realities. What he’s capturing is action, and that’s why he puts in so much advanced work to understand movements of players and knowing their mannerisms. At this point in the season, he’s a creature of habit, and the vision becomes a routine process. While adults have taken notice of his work, there’s no age limit to the intrigue. A small baby boy is now looking on. Shortly thereafter we move up a few rows as someone came for the seats we were in. The entire paint studio moves on the fly, and within minutes the art is back underway. Background remains the focal point here as people stop and comment while finding their seats. Then Sandy Leon rips a two-run double, his first hit with the Twins, Kickliy smiles and kicks into action. 3rd Inning Less than ten minutes later the first painting is done. Leon’s initial highlight with Minnesota is in the books. Kickliy adds some words in his traditional font, and a fan from the row behind comments, “that’s awesome.” More comments from those around roll in, “That’s a really good painting,” says one. Another walks up and offers a “that is beautiful” sentiment. The artwork has now taken on a life of its own and questions as to whether they’re for sale of a gallery exists become a talking point. Kickliy then leans back for a selfie with his perspective in the background, uploading to Twitter and Instagram, and now all of Twins Territory has access to the art. 4th Inning With one piece already completed, it’s now time for a fresh perspective. From the left field bleachers, we walk down the concourse along the third base line. An usher inside one of the elevator areas recognizes Kickliy from previously being painted. He knocks on the window to get the artist’s attention and smiles while offering a thumbs up. We make our way past Hrbek’s, but not before being stopped by another usher, this one knowing Kickliy well. She sparks up a quick conversation before shaking his hand and offering “Have a great game” before we’re again on our way. Pulling up to a section along the first base line, a fan recognizes Kickliy before heading into the section. A quick conversation ensues, but after previously only following on Instagram, Kickliy has a new follower on Twitter. 5th Inning Sitting in one of the diamond boxes just beyond first base, we now get a closer look at Joe Ryan. Minnesota’s starter has cruised much of this day, and his long pitching motion catches the eye of Kickliy. With a new perspective visible, but action taking place, the art again gets underway. Ryan puts himself front and center when he finishes off the inning on a strikeout. 6th Inning Manager Rocco Baldelli goes to the bullpen for Michael Fulmer’s Twins debut. Kickliy already having started a piece featuring Ryan’s motion, he’s now forced to quickly finish from memory. As Carlos Correa’s walk-up song, 25/8 by Bad Bunny, comes on Kickliy begins to hum. He’s taken in so much action that he has the words down, and it fuels him as he again notes how much planning and repetition help him to stay sharp. 7th Inning While not all fans appreciate the monotony of the 7th inning stretch, you can count Kickliy a supporter. Standing, stretching, and beginning to sway along with the music, Kickliy emphatically throws up hand gestures for 1-2-3 strikes as the song concludes. A fan approaches him, this time from multiple rows back, and asks whether the art is for sale. He wants to know more after having seen him on a recent broadcast. Kickliy notes how to follow his work and then wraps up the second painting with another selfie being posted to his social media channels. 8th Inning While the perspective of games around Target Field largely remains constant, the action does not. This game had little in terms of constant action, and Kickliy is then forced to think on the fly. Finding a few subjects in the crowd near us, he opts for a group of older women sitting behind us off to his left. As they are taking in the game, none of them had noticed he’d begun to work with them as subjects. Despite this contest being largely wrapped up, there was still a story to tell during this late juncture. As other fans begin to notice Kickliy’s subjects, they eagerly look on at the paint and then back at the women to both judge the work and take in the expressions of the unknowing fans. As he wipes a bit of paint off on his pullover, a stadium giveaway from Opening Day, he remains clued in on the subject even with a small amount of action on the field. 9th Inning Jorge Lopez is on for his first save with the Twins, a game they’ve had in hand from the jump. Kickliy continues adding details to this image and is perfecting the final few strokes. Just before the Tigers limp off on the final out, he turns the painting around and the women immediately offer smiles and dropped jaws. Fans around the area clap and the women find themselves incredibly impressed with a moment presented to them simply by taking in a baseball game. Rather than a selfie this time, Kickliy has me take a picture with him and the subjects. They shake hands and are on their way. We relax in the seats for a few moments as the crowd clears out. It’s somewhat decompressing following the day’s game. Our final conversation ends, and we begin to go our separate ways. After all, there’s more action to be painted tomorrow.
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. Strong pitching, lots of hits, and big runs. This is what summer nights are supposed to be and what the Twins have continued to bring us over the past three games. The Twins held off the Blue Jays and took game three giving them a 2-1 lead in a big series. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K (65 pitches, 45 strikes (69%)) Home Runs: Jose Miranda (11) Top 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco (.204), Luis Arraez (.177), Jose Miranda (.163) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Dylan Bundy started the game for the Twins on Saturday. He was able to hold off the Blue Jays through the first three innings, but the second time through the lineup, the Jays had seen enough of Bundy to capitalize on his pitches. Teoscar Hernandez doubled on a sharp line drive earlier and was brought home on a two-run homer from Bo Bichette tying up the game at 2-2 in the fourth inning. Bundy let two runs in but got out of the inning with no further issues. He had six strikeouts in his four innings, his best game since the Fourth of July against the White Sox. On the Blue Jays side, Mitch White started out and did a decent job of trying to keep the Twins off the board. In the third inning Sandy Leon was walked, which got the momentum started. Luis Arraez ripped a ball down the first base line for a double. Both Leon and Arraez were brought home on sacrifice flies from Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco to get the Twins on the board first. The Twins were seeing doubles. Throughout the game, the team accumulated five doubles. In the fifth inning, Luis Arraez doubled and later scored on a Jorge Polanco double. The Twins led 3-2 through five innings. The momentum of the hits was exciting, giving it almost a playoff feel. Jose Miranda got his 11th home run, Nick Gordon stole a base and scored on a squeeze bunt from Sandy Leon, and Arraez had three hits and stole a base. Jake Cave, who has been on a tear since coming up from Triple-A St. Paul hit a stand up triple giving the Twins a 7-3 lead. The Twins lineups and bullpen in this series have been fun to watch. There is no longer a doom and gloom hanging over the team. The hitters are putting balls into play, the bullpen is controlling the momentum of the other team. The bullpen came in and owned one of the better teams in the league for the second night in a row. Between solid arms and great game management by Rocco Baldelli, the bullpen moved quickly and swiftly through each inning. Trevor Megill was first out of the 'pen and the only reliever to struggle was Griffin Jax, who let two on base with no outs. Baldelli called Jhoan Duran to the mound. The Twins bullpen gave up just one run. Jorge Lopez came in to end the game with the Twins taking game three of the four-game series. What’s Next? The Twins finish out their four game series with the Blue Jays tomorrow, hoping to get a series win against one of the hardest teams in the league. Pitching matchup tomorrow: Sunday 12:10 pm CST: Chris Archer (2-5, 4.05 ERA) vs RHP Kevin Gausmann (8-8, 3.06 ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  9. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K (65 pitches, 45 strikes (69%)) Home Runs: Jose Miranda (11) Top 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco (.204), Luis Arraez (.177), Jose Miranda (.163) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Dylan Bundy started the game for the Twins on Saturday. He was able to hold off the Blue Jays through the first three innings, but the second time through the lineup, the Jays had seen enough of Bundy to capitalize on his pitches. Teoscar Hernandez doubled on a sharp line drive earlier and was brought home on a two-run homer from Bo Bichette tying up the game at 2-2 in the fourth inning. Bundy let two runs in but got out of the inning with no further issues. He had six strikeouts in his four innings, his best game since the Fourth of July against the White Sox. On the Blue Jays side, Mitch White started out and did a decent job of trying to keep the Twins off the board. In the third inning Sandy Leon was walked, which got the momentum started. Luis Arraez ripped a ball down the first base line for a double. Both Leon and Arraez were brought home on sacrifice flies from Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco to get the Twins on the board first. The Twins were seeing doubles. Throughout the game, the team accumulated five doubles. In the fifth inning, Luis Arraez doubled and later scored on a Jorge Polanco double. The Twins led 3-2 through five innings. The momentum of the hits was exciting, giving it almost a playoff feel. Jose Miranda got his 11th home run, Nick Gordon stole a base and scored on a squeeze bunt from Sandy Leon, and Arraez had three hits and stole a base. Jake Cave, who has been on a tear since coming up from Triple-A St. Paul hit a stand up triple giving the Twins a 7-3 lead. The Twins lineups and bullpen in this series have been fun to watch. There is no longer a doom and gloom hanging over the team. The hitters are putting balls into play, the bullpen is controlling the momentum of the other team. The bullpen came in and owned one of the better teams in the league for the second night in a row. Between solid arms and great game management by Rocco Baldelli, the bullpen moved quickly and swiftly through each inning. Trevor Megill was first out of the 'pen and the only reliever to struggle was Griffin Jax, who let two on base with no outs. Baldelli called Jhoan Duran to the mound. The Twins bullpen gave up just one run. Jorge Lopez came in to end the game with the Twins taking game three of the four-game series. What’s Next? The Twins finish out their four game series with the Blue Jays tomorrow, hoping to get a series win against one of the hardest teams in the league. Pitching matchup tomorrow: Sunday 12:10 pm CST: Chris Archer (2-5, 4.05 ERA) vs RHP Kevin Gausmann (8-8, 3.06 ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. The Minnesota Twins have an exciting matchup in Game 2 as they'll face their former teammate in RHP José Berríos while also seeing their brand new pitcher they acquired on Tuesday in RHP Tyler Mahle. They both have similar numbers so it should be fun to see how this game plays out. José Berríos has been struggling this season but the last time he faced his former team, he looked like his old stellar self - 7IP 3H 2R/ER 2BB 13K 1HR & his 4th win of the season in a 12-3 shallacking in Toronto. That was the beginning of June. Since then, he's gone 4-2 with a 4.68 ERA and a 1.231 WHIP with 11 walks and 57 strikeouts in 10 starts and 57.2 innings. The Minnesota Twins will also want to rebound from last night's 9-3 loss. Twinsactions (Twins Transactions) The Minnesota Twins made a couple more moves today and one of them is somewhat shocking, more for who it is than for why, though. RHP Tyler Duffey was Designated For Assignment (DFA) or Release today after spending the last 10 years in the organization and exactly 7 years with the big club when he made his Major League Debut on August 5th, 2012. 7 Years to the Day from his Major League Debut It makes sense but it’s still a difficult move since he had turned himself into a very effective reliever since the beginning of the 2019 season. Unfortunately, he’s been far from that this season. He’s lost velocity on his fastball and the control of his nasty curveball hasn’t been there for the majority of the season so hitters were able to sit on that fastball and his curveball was popping up too much so it was likely easy to recognize right away out of his hand. He messed around with a changeup in July but only threw 33 of them even though it really seemed to help keep hitters off their timing. We would assume the Twins would like to see him clear waivers so he could get to St. Paul and be able to get some work in down there to see if he can get back to being a reliable option out of the bullpen. Rookie RHP Cole Sands was recalled from Triple-A St. Paul to take Duffey’s place on the 26-man roster. It was also reported that reliever RHP Jharel Cotton and starter RHP Aaron Sanchez cleared waivers and reported to Triple-A St. Paul. Here’s how both teams lined up: Minnesota Twins Lineup: Toronto Blue Jays Lineup: Game Recap Twins fans didn’t have to wait long to see their newest starting pitcher as it took just 4 pitches for RHP Tyler Mahle to strike out CF Whit Merrifield swinging for his 1st out for his new team. 1B Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. grounded out to short and DH Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. flew out to left field. Former Twins starting pitcher RHP José Berríos was making his 2nd start at Target Field as an opponent and he started it by setting the Twins down 1-2-3 on 7 pitches as the Twins were looking for that early fastball. RF Teoscar Hernández led off the 2nd inning with a line drive to right center field for a single, at least. He tried to extend it to a double but CF Mark Contreras was on his horse knowing he might have to try to keep this hit to a single. He got to it, turned and fired a strike to 2nd for the first outfield assist of his MLB career* and Hernández had to settle for a single and a seat on the bench in the dugout. SS Bo Bichette struck out swinging and 3B Matt Chapman flew out to CF to end the top of the 2nd. Teoscar Hernández singles on a sharp line drive to CF Mark Contreras... The Twins got a 1-out single from LF Nick Gordon but it was quickly taken care of by an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. Blue Jays C Danny Jansen walked to lead off the 3rd inning but LF Raimel Tapia grounded into a 5-4-3 double play quickly cleared the bases and Tyler Mahle then struck out 2B Santiago Espinal on a foul tip to end the top of the 3rd inning. 1B Tim Beckham grounded out to 3rd to begin the bottom of the 3rd then CF Mark Contreras, fresh off a great defensive play in the previous half inning, put the Twins in front with his 2nd home run of the season to the bullpen in left center field. Marko Oppo! Mark Contreras is making you remember his name tonight! C Sandy León struck out looking and 2B Luis Arraez flew out to left field to end the 3rd. 1-0 Twins Mahle set the Blue Jays down 1-2-3 via groundout, strikeout and flyout. The Twins then got a leadoff double from SS Carlos Correa followed by a walk from Jorge Polanco and an RBI-single to center from 3B Jose Miranda (DYKM?) on the very next pitch. A mound visit was then followed by Nick Gordon sending a loud blast to right field for a 3-run shot and his 5th home run of the season on the 1st pitch he saw. Nick Gordon takes José Berríos deep with a 3-run HR (5) to put the Twins up 5-0 Cave flew out to CF, Beckham singled to deep short for an infield hit, Contreras lined out to CF, León walked and that was it for José Berríos as the Blue Jays made a pitching change to RHP Trevor Richards. Luis Arraez flew out to left field again to end the 4th inning but what an inning… 5-0 Twins A 2-out blast off the bat of Matt Chapman (21) reminded most fans that this game was far from over. The Twins got a 2-out walk but that’s all in the 5th. 5-1 Twins The comeback got 1 run closer with a 1-out HR from Santiago Espinal (7). A Whit Merrifield single followed and that brought up Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. and he fouled off the 2nd & 4th pitches, both of them fastballs then he crushed a slider over the center field wall to bring the Jays within 1. Vlad the Impaler chopped the lead down to 1 run! Mahle struck out Gurriel, Jr. swinging then got Hernández to line out to center to keep the Minnesota Twins in the lead. 5-4 Twins Zach Pop replaced Trevor Richards and Jake Cave greeted him with a base hit to left field but Tim Beckham grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to take all the good feelings away. Contreras then popped out to 3rd to end the 6th. RHP Griffin Jax replaced Tyler Mahle to pitch the 7th for the Twins. RHP Tyler Mahle’s Final Line 6IP 5H 4R/ER 1BB 5K 3HR - 86 pitches (61 strikes) In Line for the Win Tyler Mahle went 6 innings but allowed 3 HRs, all on sliders too high in the zone. Those balls are gone now! Jax used his slider to strike out the side in the 7th getting Bichette swinging, Chapman looking and Jansen swinging on just 11 pitches. Mow ‘em Down, Griff! I’ll call that Air Force because that sounds good! SLIIIIIDER! Hey, how ‘bout a stretch between the top & bottom of the 7th inning, huh? Sandy León then led off the bottom of the 7th with his 2nd double of the season in his 2nd game as a Twin. The Blue Jays replaced Zach Pop with RHP Adam Cimber, a submariner pitcher and Luis Arraez lined out to center. Carlos Correa singled but Sandy León could only advance to 3rd on a slow ground ball through the right side. Jorge Polanco struck out, leaving it up to Jose Miranda to pick him up to help the Twins get an insurance run… but he flew out to center field to end the 7th. Still 5-4 Twins RHP Jhoan Duran replaced Jax to pitch the 8th for Minnesota and he got Tapia to ground out to short for the 1st out. Toronto pinch-hit Alexandro Kirk for Santiago Espinal. The at-bat started with two straight high heaters at 101 mph. Duran got strike one with another 101 that was taken then he threw a perfect pitch that hit the high outside corner of the zone but was called a ball. Man, that’s frustrating. 3-1 is a whole lot different than 2-2, blue! COME ON! Another heater, this one in the zone at 102.1 mph, was fouled off to make it a full count and Jhoan reared back and threw the next pitch 102.8 mph that was swung through for the 2nd out. Whit Merrifield took the 1st pitch, also the first non-fastball, for strike 1 then he hit the 2nd one to right field for a single. Guerrero, Jr. came to the plate and singled to right field as well but Duran got Gurriel, Jr. to ground out to 3rd to end the top of the 8th and.. Still 5-4 Twins Whit Merrifield moved to 2nd base and Bradley Zimmer replaced Alexandro Kirk, batting 9th and playing center field. RHP David Phelps replaced Adam Cimber. Nick Gordon led off the bottom of the 8th with a ground rule double (15) on the first pitch. Jake Cave flew out to center field and Gordon just bluffed an attempt to advance to 3rd. Tim Beckham struck out swinging on a check swing and Contreras also struck out swinging to send it to the 9th and new closer Jorge López to face Teoscar Hernández, Bo Bichette and Matt Chapman. Hernández grounded out softly back to the pitcher. Bichette singled through the left side. Chapman flew out to 2nd. Danny Jansen singled to right field on a sharp ground ball. Bichette advanced to 2nd. Down 0-2 in the count, Raimel Tapia fought off an inside sinker to get it to land in short center field to tie the game. Raimel Tapia ties the game in the 9th! Cavan Biggio pinch-hit for Zimmer then flew out to left field but… The Game is Tied at 5! Whit Merrifield moved back to center field, Cavan Biggio took over at 2nd base and RHP Yimi Garcia replaced David Phelps and Gio Urshela, pinch-hitting for Sandy León, singled to right field and was pinch-run for with Gilberto Celestino. Luis Arraez grounded out to 2nd. Celestino advanced to 2nd but he had to make sure the ball didn’t hit him and it ended up bouncing through his legs. Correa reached on a fielding error by Biggio and Celestino advanced to 3rd. Polanco was intentionally walked. Miranda struck out swinging and Nick Gordon flew out to left field so we have… FREE BASEBALL!!! Even if we didn’t want it! DOH! RHP Michael Fulmer replaced Jorge López to pitch the 10th for the Twins. Biggio started the inning at 2nd base. Whit Merrifield struck out swinging for the 1st out. Guerrero, Jr. got the unintentional intentional walk. Gurriel, Jr. singled to center. Biggio advanced to 3rd because he had to hold up as the hit went over Arraez’s head and he wouldn’t want to get doubled up so the bases were loaded with 1 out. Hernández struck out swinging so it was up to Bichette and… HE STRUCK OUT LOOKING!!! RHP Jordan Romano replaced Yimi Garcia to try to keep the game tied against Jake Cave, Tim Beckham and Mark Contreras. Nick Gordon began the inning at 2nd base. Cave was taxed with trying to bunt Gordon over to 3rd. He missed the first pitch. He pulled back on the 2nd & 3rd pitches to make it 1-2. He fouled off the 4th pitch to even the count and he took the 5th pitch to fill the count. He swung through the payoff pitch but it wasn’t caught so Cave took off for 1st base…and Blue Jays C Danny Jansen tried to tag him but he wasn’t close enough so he had to try a lob throw to 1st because he was in foul territory and Cave was between him and Guerrero at 1st base. Up to the plate came Tim Beckham. He took the first pitch for a ball. Cave took 2nd base but it’s fielder’s indifference since his run didn't matter. On the 2nd pitch, Beckham hit a grounder to 3rd but the contact play was on so Nick Gordon took off for home. Matt Chapman fielded the ball and threw home but the ball hit the ground in front of Jansen making it hard to catch and Nick Gordon slid into home. It looked like he was out but Jansen never had the ball so… THAT IS A WALK OFF WIN!!! Tim Beckham put the ball in play & the contact play was on... Condensed Game Game Highlights (8;51 Run Time) ––––– TT ––––– Final Score Toronto Blue Jays 5 | 6 Minnesota Twins W-Fulmer(4-4-) L-Romano(3-3) Pitching Starters MN: RHP Tyler Mahle: 6IP 5H 4R/ER 1BB 5K 3HR - No Decision TOR: RHP José Berríos: 3.2IP 6H 5R/ER 2BB 1K 2HR - No Decision Bullpen MN: RHP Griffin Jax: 1IP 3K- 11th Hold RHP Jhoan Duran: 1IP 2H 1K - 12th Hold RHP Jorge López: 1IP 3H 1R/ER - 5th Blown Save RHP Michael Fulmer: 1IP 1H 1BB 3K - 4th Win TOR: RHP Trevor Richards: 1.1IP 1BB RHP Zach Pop: 1IP 2H RHP Adam Cimber: 1IP 1H 1K RHP David Phelps: 1IP 1H 2K RHP Yimi Garcia: 1IP 1H 1BB 1K RHP Jordan Romano: 0IP 1R 1K Hitting Home Runs MN: Mark Contreras(2), Nick Gordon(5) TOR: Matt Chapman(21), Santiago Espinal(7), Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.(23) Doubles MN: Carlos Correa(15), Sandy León(2), Gordon(15) TOR: None 2-Out RBI: MN (Inning): None TOR (Inning): Matt Chapman, Raimel Tapia Outfield Assist: MN: Mark Contreras(1) (2nd Inning) Team RISP MN: 3-for-15 TOR: 2-for-7 Team LOB (Left On Base) MN: 11 TOR: 7 ––––– TT ––––– We made our Game Notes section a separate article ––––– TT ––––– Next Up Game 3 at 6:10pm on Bally Sports North: Minnesota Twins RHP Dylan Bundy (6-5, 5.04 ERA, 1.29 WHIP*) vs Toronto Blue Jays RHP Mitch White (1-2, 3.70 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) *ERA=Earned Run Average, WHIP=Walks + Hits per Inning Pitched ––––– TT ––––– Thank You for reading our TwinsTakes! We’d love to hear your TwinsTakes! So, hit us up on Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook!!! That’s why it’s…
  13. 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
  14. “This feels like a thing that New York and Boston teams do while the rest of us trade for Sidney Ponson. Something isn’t right.” Minnesota shored up its rotation and battered bullpen in front of the 2022 MLB trade deadline to near-universal acclaim from local and national media. With the team’s obvious needs met at the cost of a handful of good prospects, local fans are left wondering what happened. “That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works,” said Bruce Johnstone, a retired teacher from Alexandria. “You need to be like (former Vikings GM) Rick Spielman and draft quarterbacks who can’t throw or just forget to sign offensive linemen. Then you keep the job for 15 years. There are rules.” The Twins acquired frontline starter Tyler Mahle from the Reds, closer Jorge Lopez from the Orioles, and setup man Michael Fulmer from the Tigers. The troubling display of attention to roster shortcomings makes Johnstone wonder when the next shoe will drop. “When you’re the Twins, you sign the deflated shell of Bret Boone or pretend Matt Shoemaker just needs a few adjustments,” said the 66-year-old. “Getting the right people at a manageable cost feels like a thing that the Yankees or Red Sox do while we trade for Sidney Ponson. Something isn’t right. I want some answers.” Brenda Perkins, a diehard Twins and Minnesota Wild fan, agrees. “If you’re a GM, the thing you do is sign veterans to these giant [REDACTED] millstone contracts,” said the 35-year-old Plymouth native. “Put them on the payroll until they’re 58, watch their skills degrade in real-time, and destroy your salary cap for a couple decades. Reasonable moves made to help bolster a pennant run without mortgaging the future? What are we even doing here?” It’s not just fans. Aaron Gleeman, Twins beat writer for The Athletic and celebrity spokesperson for Scribe’s Choice Neck Fan Solutions, LLC, says he is as surprised as anyone. “This is out of the ordinary, to say the least,” said Gleeman. “It’s usually tweaks or sell-offs. I think a lot of us are using code SURPRISE to get 30% off a 1-year subscription to The Athletic. It’s remarkable.” For his part, Johnstone is keeping it all in perspective. “Two of those guys will need Tommy John before Labor Day. A piano will fall on Byron Buxton. Spencer Steer is the next Mike Trout. The alternative is too bizarre to contemplate: a Minnesota team made a series of shrewd acquisitions to improve their playoff chances. Yeah, right.” View full article
  15. The 2022 Major League Baseball Trade Deadline is now behind us. The AL Central remains a tightly contested division, even if seemingly no one wants to actually go on a run and take command. Minnesota brought in reinforcements while everyone else is banking on their own options to hold serve. The Standings: Minnesota 55-50 Cleveland 54-51 (1.0 GB, 2.0 GB of 2nd Wild Card) Chicago 53-52 (2.0 GB) Kansas City 42-64 (13.5 GB) Detroit 42-65 (14.0 GB) The Guardians and White Sox have used the opportunity presented by the Twins to draw closer. Back as many as five games just before the All-Star Break, both clubs find themselves within striking distance as August gets underway. The division might not be good (it isn’t), but it should remain interesting. The Stories: Minnesota made all of the splashes during the trade deadline. Needing pitching help, in both the bullpen and rotation, arms such as Jorge Lopez and Tyler Mahle were both acquired. After Ryan Jeffers went down with a broken thumb, a catcher became a need as well, and Sandy Leon was grabbed from Cleveland. The bullpen pecking order has changed, but it didn’t take long for Emilio Pagan to mess things up again out of the break. Carlos Correa is slumping and Byron Buxton continues trying to manage his knee issues. Rocco Baldelli’s club needs to get going sooner rather than later. Somewhat shockingly the White Sox did virtually nothing at the trade deadline. They shipped catcher Reese McGuire out in exchange for lefty Jake Diekman, but that was the extent of their moves. A clean bill of health may be the best thing afforded to them the rest of the way, and that started with Luis Robert being activated off the injured list. Tony La Russa will need to do a better job managing down the stretch, but he’s certainly got a club capable of making some noise. Unlike Chicago, Cleveland literally did nothing at the deadline when it comes to the Major League roster. Leon was at Triple-A when sent to the Twins, and although Ian Hamilton may have a big league impact, he too was pitching for St. Paul. The Guardians need a full rotation if they’re going to hold serve with Minnesota, and getting Aaron Civale back should help. He began a rehab assignment at Triple-A on Thursday. Steven Kwan currently has an 18-game hitting streak and prospect Tyler Freeman made his big league debut. Despite suggesting they were open for business, Detroit wound up being quiet at the trade deadline. They did allow Michael Fulmer to walk across the diamond at Target Field, but Tarik Skubal stayed put. The Tigers ace probably sapped any trade possibility when he left his most recent start with left arm fatigue. He was later placed on the injured list. Hopefully it’s not a long injury or anything serious, but it’s obviously smart that Detroit is taking things seriously. The Royals wound up trading Andrew Benintendi to the New York Yankees and then finally shipped Whit Merrifield to the Toronto Blue Jays. Merrifield had been a subject of trade rumors for years, but this time it finally happened. He did also go through with vaccination for Covid in order to be eligible to enter Canada. Former Twins prospect Brent Rooker rejoined the division when San Diego sent him to Kansas City in exchange for Cam Gallagher. Heart and Hustle Nominees: The Heart and Hustle nominees for each team were announced this week. Voting takes place prior to the All-Star Break. MLB defines the award by saying, "This esteemed award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game. The Heart and Hustle Award is also the only award in Major League Baseball that is voted on by former players." The nominees for each club are: Minnesota Twins - Luis Arraez Chicago White Sox - Jose Abreu Cleveland Guardians - Jose Abreu Kansas City Royals - Bobby Witt Jr. Detroit Tigers - Eric Haase The Week Ahead: Things get tougher before they get easier on the Twins. A four-game set with Toronto starts the weekend, but then they travel to California and have a two-game set with the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw nearly threw a no-hitter against them earlier this season, and Minnesota was clearly outmatched. An underwhelming Angels squad will greet them next weekend. Chicago remains on the road against bottom feeders for most of the week. Playing against the Rangers and then headed to Kansas City, they should have plenty of wins to stack before returning home against Detroit. They could find themselves leading the division a few days from now with this slate. Terry Francona’s Guardians have a four-game set with the Astros over the weekend, but then travel to Detroit and Toronto next week. They could be in a spot to lose ground if Minnesota and Chicago are able to string wins together. Detroit has to fend off the Tampa Bay Rays at home this weekend which won’t be an easy task. Divisional matchups follow and they can’t get caught looking ahead, if that’s a thing for a team this bad. Eris Hosmer returned to Kansas City as the Red Sox new first basemen. He’s there over the weekend before the Royals host Chicago, including a doubleheader, then welcome the Dodgers for three. What are you looking forward to this week? Are the Twins actually going to lose the division lead? View full article
  16. The Standings: Minnesota 55-50 Cleveland 54-51 (1.0 GB, 2.0 GB of 2nd Wild Card) Chicago 53-52 (2.0 GB) Kansas City 42-64 (13.5 GB) Detroit 42-65 (14.0 GB) The Guardians and White Sox have used the opportunity presented by the Twins to draw closer. Back as many as five games just before the All-Star Break, both clubs find themselves within striking distance as August gets underway. The division might not be good (it isn’t), but it should remain interesting. The Stories: Minnesota made all of the splashes during the trade deadline. Needing pitching help, in both the bullpen and rotation, arms such as Jorge Lopez and Tyler Mahle were both acquired. After Ryan Jeffers went down with a broken thumb, a catcher became a need as well, and Sandy Leon was grabbed from Cleveland. The bullpen pecking order has changed, but it didn’t take long for Emilio Pagan to mess things up again out of the break. Carlos Correa is slumping and Byron Buxton continues trying to manage his knee issues. Rocco Baldelli’s club needs to get going sooner rather than later. Somewhat shockingly the White Sox did virtually nothing at the trade deadline. They shipped catcher Reese McGuire out in exchange for lefty Jake Diekman, but that was the extent of their moves. A clean bill of health may be the best thing afforded to them the rest of the way, and that started with Luis Robert being activated off the injured list. Tony La Russa will need to do a better job managing down the stretch, but he’s certainly got a club capable of making some noise. Unlike Chicago, Cleveland literally did nothing at the deadline when it comes to the Major League roster. Leon was at Triple-A when sent to the Twins, and although Ian Hamilton may have a big league impact, he too was pitching for St. Paul. The Guardians need a full rotation if they’re going to hold serve with Minnesota, and getting Aaron Civale back should help. He began a rehab assignment at Triple-A on Thursday. Steven Kwan currently has an 18-game hitting streak and prospect Tyler Freeman made his big league debut. Despite suggesting they were open for business, Detroit wound up being quiet at the trade deadline. They did allow Michael Fulmer to walk across the diamond at Target Field, but Tarik Skubal stayed put. The Tigers ace probably sapped any trade possibility when he left his most recent start with left arm fatigue. He was later placed on the injured list. Hopefully it’s not a long injury or anything serious, but it’s obviously smart that Detroit is taking things seriously. The Royals wound up trading Andrew Benintendi to the New York Yankees and then finally shipped Whit Merrifield to the Toronto Blue Jays. Merrifield had been a subject of trade rumors for years, but this time it finally happened. He did also go through with vaccination for Covid in order to be eligible to enter Canada. Former Twins prospect Brent Rooker rejoined the division when San Diego sent him to Kansas City in exchange for Cam Gallagher. Heart and Hustle Nominees: The Heart and Hustle nominees for each team were announced this week. Voting takes place prior to the All-Star Break. MLB defines the award by saying, "This esteemed award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game. The Heart and Hustle Award is also the only award in Major League Baseball that is voted on by former players." The nominees for each club are: Minnesota Twins - Luis Arraez Chicago White Sox - Jose Abreu Cleveland Guardians - Jose Abreu Kansas City Royals - Bobby Witt Jr. Detroit Tigers - Eric Haase The Week Ahead: Things get tougher before they get easier on the Twins. A four-game set with Toronto starts the weekend, but then they travel to California and have a two-game set with the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw nearly threw a no-hitter against them earlier this season, and Minnesota was clearly outmatched. An underwhelming Angels squad will greet them next weekend. Chicago remains on the road against bottom feeders for most of the week. Playing against the Rangers and then headed to Kansas City, they should have plenty of wins to stack before returning home against Detroit. They could find themselves leading the division a few days from now with this slate. Terry Francona’s Guardians have a four-game set with the Astros over the weekend, but then travel to Detroit and Toronto next week. They could be in a spot to lose ground if Minnesota and Chicago are able to string wins together. Detroit has to fend off the Tampa Bay Rays at home this weekend which won’t be an easy task. Divisional matchups follow and they can’t get caught looking ahead, if that’s a thing for a team this bad. Eris Hosmer returned to Kansas City as the Red Sox new first basemen. He’s there over the weekend before the Royals host Chicago, including a doubleheader, then welcome the Dodgers for three. What are you looking forward to this week? Are the Twins actually going to lose the division lead?
  17. Minnesota shored up its rotation and battered bullpen in front of the 2022 MLB trade deadline to near-universal acclaim from local and national media. With the team’s obvious needs met at the cost of a handful of good prospects, local fans are left wondering what happened. “That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works,” said Bruce Johnstone, a retired teacher from Alexandria. “You need to be like (former Vikings GM) Rick Spielman and draft quarterbacks who can’t throw or just forget to sign offensive linemen. Then you keep the job for 15 years. There are rules.” The Twins acquired frontline starter Tyler Mahle from the Reds, closer Jorge Lopez from the Orioles, and setup man Michael Fulmer from the Tigers. The troubling display of attention to roster shortcomings makes Johnstone wonder when the next shoe will drop. “When you’re the Twins, you sign the deflated shell of Bret Boone or pretend Matt Shoemaker just needs a few adjustments,” said the 66-year-old. “Getting the right people at a manageable cost feels like a thing that the Yankees or Red Sox do while we trade for Sidney Ponson. Something isn’t right. I want some answers.” Brenda Perkins, a diehard Twins and Minnesota Wild fan, agrees. “If you’re a GM, the thing you do is sign veterans to these giant [REDACTED] millstone contracts,” said the 35-year-old Plymouth native. “Put them on the payroll until they’re 58, watch their skills degrade in real-time, and destroy your salary cap for a couple decades. Reasonable moves made to help bolster a pennant run without mortgaging the future? What are we even doing here?” It’s not just fans. Aaron Gleeman, Twins beat writer for The Athletic and celebrity spokesperson for Scribe’s Choice Neck Fan Solutions, LLC, says he is as surprised as anyone. “This is out of the ordinary, to say the least,” said Gleeman. “It’s usually tweaks or sell-offs. I think a lot of us are using code SURPRISE to get 30% off a 1-year subscription to The Athletic. It’s remarkable.” For his part, Johnstone is keeping it all in perspective. “Two of those guys will need Tommy John before Labor Day. A piano will fall on Byron Buxton. Spencer Steer is the next Mike Trout. The alternative is too bizarre to contemplate: a Minnesota team made a series of shrewd acquisitions to improve their playoff chances. Yeah, right.”
  18. The Minnesota Twins added a starting pitcher, two relief pitchers and a backup catcher option before Tuesday’s MLB trade deadline. They lost some really good prospects to do so. With a day to reflect, what are your thoughts on what the Twins did at the deadline? The Twins waited until Tuesday, the trade deadline, to make their moves, but in the end, they added right-handed starter Tyler Mahle, right-handed relievers Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer, and a backup catcher option in Sandy Leon. It came at a price as the Twins dealt infielders Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand, left-handed pitchers Cade Povich, Steve Hajjar and Juan Rojas, right-handed pitchers Yennier Cano, Sawyer Gipson Long and Juan Nunez. Seth Stohs: As you know, I don’t like to see prospects traded, and yet, I fully understand that it is a necessary evil in order for the big-league club to add talent and fill holes. Before the deadline, the obvious question is: What do the Twins need to do? I would tell people that they need to add at least one starter, two reliable relievers, and another catching option. That’s exactly what the Twins front office did. Mahle now rejoins Sonny Gray at the top of the Twins rotation. Lopez should team with Jhoan Duran at the end of ball games. Fulmer should slot into 7th and 8th innings with Griffin Jax. Back to the prospects, Spencer Steer has a chance to be a really good player, but with the Twins, he’s behind Jose Miranda and others. Same with Christian Encarnacion-Strand who has destroyed baseballs since entering pro ball in 2021. Steve Hajjar has had an up and down season, but he has a chance to be good if healthy. Cade Povich has a chance to be a mid-rotation starter, maybe even more. The Twins had to give up something in order to get something, but they did just that. The front office made the necessary moves. The question, in my mind, is if the Twins added enough to stay ahead of the White Sox in the AL Central. We shall see. Jeremy Nygaard: For me, the long and the short of it is that you hope your prospects turn into productive players. Not that they’re great comparisons, but you hope you can develop Cade Povich into a player with Tyler Mahle’s ability. You hope that any of those other pitching prospects that were dealt if they fail as starters, turn into really good relievers like Jorge Lopez. And that’s exactly how the teams that dealt Mahle and Lopez feel too. They just acquired three or four chances. Nobody that the Twins dealt is sure things and like you mentioned, Seth, even Steer was going to have a hard time breaking into the lineup. It’s hard not to like the deals they made because they give the Twins a chance to go deeper this year, Mahle will be a big part of the rotation in ‘23 and Lopez helps the bullpen for the next two years. Plus they still have all their top prospects. Sure, Fulmer was a rental, but at a low cost. Now, if you want to talk about if Lopez has two more years being the dude he is now… well, that’s another story. Melissa Berman: Tuesday represented the most active trade deadline day the Twins have had in years, maybe ever, and is a clear message from the front office: "We see ourselves as serious contenders, and we want to win now." While losing high-flying prospects like Steer and Encarnacion-Strand is unfortunate, it simultaneously is a vote of confidence for the Twins' young corps of Arraez, Miranda, Lewis, Kirilloff, and Larnach. When healthy, each player has produced at a high level, and it is outwardly apparent that the Twins see them in their long-term outlook. Consequently, there would not be a lot of places for these hitting prospects to go in the Twins organization. The Twins made good moves on Tuesday that provide them with much-needed help for the rest of the 2022 season and several more to come. Contrast the multitude of Twins moves with the Chicago White Sox, who only added reliever Jake Diekman, and the Cleveland Guardians, who added pitcher Ian Hamilton. The lack of moves could mean one of two things: the teams think they can compete with what they currently have, or, conversely, they don't see themselves as serious division contenders this season. Rebuilding and major retooling of lineups are best done in the offseason with the free agent market at a team’s disposal. Time will tell if the AL Central, currently the most competitive division race in baseball, will stay a close three-horse race, and if the Twins’ moves will be enough to keep them on top. Rena Wang: To echo Melissa, it was exciting as a fan to see the Twins so active at the trade deadline for the first time in years. We’ve become accustomed to disappointment and a lack of urgency to win (CC. the trade Correa crew), but we’ve known in the back of our minds all along that the Twins’ front office is ready to win with the moves that were made in the offseason. It's always painful to lose prospects, especially Christian Encarnacion-Strand who was recently named the Minor League Hitter of the Month for the second time, but the definition of a prospect speaks for itself. I’m always an advocate of taking a risk for something tangible and certain. The Twins also exceeded expectations by trading for Jorge López, the best young closer in baseball. Although Michael Fulmer fits the profile of the average Twins’ trade target, he’s having a career season in the bullpen and would slot in perfectly with Griffin Jax and Tyler Duffey as a middle reliever. Tyler Mahle is the starter that the Twins desperately need with Bailey Ober headed to the 60-Day IL. All in all, if these trade targets continue to perform as advertised, the Twins have a real shot to compete for the first time in years. Theo Tollefson: The Falvey and Levine regime had their best trade deadline to date Tuesday. They acquired the bare minimum of what many Twins fans had been asking for since mid-June with a reliable middle-of-the-rotation starter and two backend relievers. Tyler Mahle was the best acquisition of them all. Mahle has had much better numbers on the road this year than he had at Great American Ballpark with the Red. Given that Target Field is more of a pitcher-friendly ballpark than GAB, Mahle should find himself more comfortable in his new home ballpark for the next year and a half with the Twins. Jorge Lopez was a surprise acquisition but a welcomed one at that. Lopez has finally reached the potential he was given as a prospect with the Brewers over seven years ago. Although Rocco Baldelli has never officially designated someone as the closer in his five years as manager, people can expect Lopez to unofficially fill that role for the Twins and take a load off of Duran and the rest of the bullpen. Michael Fulmer is just another good addition for a depleted Twins bullpen. He will certainly help in any role he is used for in relief. The Twins did give up a good amount of prospects to acquire who they needed this deadline, but they did not sell their entire farm system as the Padres did to get what they needed. This sets the team up well to win the AL Central this season and retool themselves for next year as well. Nash Walker: The Twins filled their biggest hole with a bang in Jorge López. They so badly needed a high-leverage right-handed reliever to pair with Jhoan Duran in the back of the bullpen. Other than Josh Hader, López was the best reliever dealt during the deadline. He’s also under team control through 2024, a significant wrinkle that sets up the Twins’ backend for the future. Tyler Mahle was my No. 1 target for the Twins when combining every factor. He should thrive outside of Cincinnati and I love his stuff. He knows how to pitch and there’s room for upside. Mahle is a mid-rotation starter *right now,* but I think there’s a real chance he’s a frontline starter very soon. Could they have used another starter? No question. Mahle is a great addition either way. After Mahle and López, I was hoping the Twins wouldn’t stop short. They then traded for Michael Fulmer, who I think is one of the more underrated relievers in baseball. Fulmer shuts down right-handed hitters and the Twins now boast a strength in the bullpen with Duran, López, Griffin Jax and Fulmer. It was a good finish to a good deadline. Let’s see how it plays out. Matt Braun: This was exactly the trade deadline the Twins needed; each move perfectly covered a weakness and two of the deals netted players who will impact future Twins teams as well. It’s hard to complain about that. What excites me—beyond the added talent—is that the team found a way to trade uncertain or blocked prospects without losing the big names. Spencer Steer is a major loss, but he had no easy path to the Twins; Cade Povich is a serious blow—I thought that he had the potential to become a solid mid-rotation arm—but he’s the only player I’m truly worked up over. Tyler Mahle is the dude. I’ve wanted Mahle on the team for years; I think his performance has another gear left and moving him away from a little league ballpark will neutralize his home run issue. I’m absolutely ecstatic that the Twins snagged him away from the Reds, and I might argue that he would be a theoretical game 1 starter (don’t worry, I knocked on wood after typing that). Jorge López is another great get. His stuff is mind-bending, he’s only 29, and the Twins will have him for two more years following this season. He and Jhoan Duran in the back-end may be the best—and nastiest—1-2 punch the team has had in a long time. Michael Fulmer is an acceptable get; he fills the 6th/7th inning role adequately—although his control worries me—and a middle relief piece deepens the bullpen. Gone are the days of Tyler Thornburg pitching in the 8th inning. My only qualm is that Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer still constitute 40% of the starting rotation. That’s not a terrible problem—every team will tell you that they aren’t fully comfortable with their starting staff—but it’s still an area the team could have improved upon. Netting Carlos Rodón would have made this an award-winning deadline; instead, it’s a great one. Your Turn: Share your thoughts in the comments below. Try to keep it to 150-200 words, and enjoy reading the thoughts of others. View full article
  19. Trade Deadline Day has begun, and the Twins have made the first move of the day. They have acquired Orioles' closer Jorge Lopez. Lefty starter Cade Povich is heading to the Orioles along with reliever Yennier Cano and two pitches currently in the Complex League. Jon Heyman was the first to report that the Twins are acquiring Jorge Lopez from the Orioles. The Twins will send four pitchers including Twins Daily Top 10 prospect Cade Povich, reliever Yennier Cano, and two more pitchers from the low-minors, Juan Rojas and Juan Nunez. Prior to this year, Lopez, 29, was a struggling starting pitcher. He debuted with two games with the Brewers in 2015 and then pitched in another 11 games with the Crew between 2017 and 2018. He went to the Royals and pitched in 47 games between 2018 and 2020. He went to the Orioles in 2020. That year, he posted a 6.34 ERA over 38 1/3 innings in nine games (six starts). In 2021, he went 3-14 with Baltimore with a 6.07 ERA over 121 2/3 innings. But this season, the O's moved him full-time into their bullpen and he became an All-Star. In 44 games, he is 4-6 with a 1.68 ERA. In 48 1/3 innings, he have given up 30 hits, 17 walks and struck out 54 batters. He has given up just three home runs, a couple to the Twins in back-to-back blown saves last month. Lopez throws hard, with a fastball averaging over 97 mph. As of right now, Lopez ranks as the second best reliever (behind Josh Hader) traded at the MLB deadline, though he’s likely to fall to at least third when Cubs closer David Robertson is dealt. He’s also under team control for two more seasons after this one. His worth is reflected in the quantity and quality of prospects the Twins gave up to acquire him. Twins Daily has learned that left-hander Cade Povich, their third-round pick in 2011 out of Nebraska, will be sent to the Orioles. Povich has spent the season with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He became a top prospect with the organization when he arrived at instructional league last fall throwing 97 with a slider. Cano was signed after leaving Cuba. The 28-year-old has been impressive the past two seasons in Double-A Wichita and Triple-A St. Paul. He has made 10 appearances for the Twins. In 13 2/3 innings, he has walked 11 and struck out 14 while posting an ERA of 9.22. He's got good stuff and a rubber arm and will do well with the Orioles. Juan Nunez, 21, signed with the Twins from the Dominican Republic. He pitched in 11 games in 2021 in the DSL. This season, he is 0-2 with a 4.85 ERA in eight games (7 starts). Over 29 2/3 innings, he has walked 10 and struck out 47 batters. Juan Rojas is 18 years old, signed out of Venezuela. He also pitched in the DSL in 2021. This season, he is 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA in eight games (5 starts). In 30 innings, he has 38 strikeouts and just four walks. So, the Twins need to make sure that Jorge Lopez 2022 is the Jorge Lopez they are acquiring, and not turn back into Jorge Lopez circa 2015-2021. Will Lopez be thrown into the closer's role? Most likely, Rocco Baldelli will be able to simply choose between Lopez and Jhoan Duran, along with Griffin Jax, in the late innings, and that is a positive. The Twins made one move... Will they make more? Let us know your thoughts and what more you would like to see in the comment section. View full article
  20. Minnesota’s pitchers combined for a fantastic afternoon on the mound, and the offense came through when needed, despite some early struggles, helping the Twins to secure a series victory against the Tigers at Target Field. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Joe Ryan, 5 IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 9K (78 pitches, 63 strikes, 80.8%) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Sandy León (.200), Joe Ryan (.155), Michael Fulmer (.079) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Four new ballplayers joined the Twins at Tuesday’s trade deadline, three pitchers (Tyler Mahle, Jorge López, and Michael Fulmer) and a catcher (Sandy León). With Minnesota’s pitching going through an incredibly rough patch for weeks now, it was natural for the pitcher trades to be celebrated the most. But it was the lone bat acquired in those deals to make some noise first. After going down in order in the first inning, the offense set the wheels in motion in the second. TD’s hitter of the month of July, José Miranda kicked things off with a leadoff single shortly before Nick Gordon drew a one-out walk. Lefty Tyler Alexander managed to retire Jake Cave for the second out, but he couldn’t dodge the León bullet. Batting eighth in his very first at-bat as a Twin, León drove in both runners with a double to the left-field corner. Unfortunately for the Twins, the offense couldn’t do much outside that second inning. Alexander pitched three perfect innings around it, keeping the Twins bats on a leash. Fortunately for the Twins, though, Joe Ryan had a tremendous start to this game – perhaps another impact brought to the table by León. Ryan tossed four scoreless innings to open this game, allowing only two hits while striking out seven. During the fifth, he had some issues, causing him to hit two batters and allowing Riley Greene to push the leadoff runner across, scoring Detroit’s first run. Ryan limited the damage to the one run by striking out the next two batters for a total of nine through five. Also, TD’s Nick Nelson found this gem: Came the sixth inning, and Rocco Baldelli decided it was time to have another new Twin make his debut for Minnesota. Fulmer needed only 13 pitches, nine of which were strikes, to toss a scoreless frame with a punch out. He also caught former teammate Harold Castro trying to steal second to end the inning. In the home sixth, Byron Buxton led things off with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and was pushed across by a Carlos Correa single, making it 3-1 Minnesota. While Caleb Thielbar and Jhoan Duran did a fine job keeping the lead intact through the seventh and eighth innings, the bats had a hard time adding on. Cave and León got back-to-back hits in the seventh (León’s first multi-hit game of the season), but both runners ended up being stranded. But they managed to get one more insurance run for Jorge Lopez to have an easier time trying to get his first save as a Twin in the ninth. Buxton led off the eighth with a single, shortly before Jorge Polanco got his first hit of the afternoon, a one-out single. Miranda drew a walk to load the bases with one out, and the Twins had the chance to break the game open. Gio Urshela hit a sac-fly to center to score Buxton from third, but that was all Minnesota got, as Gordon struck out next to end the inning. López stepped up for his first save opportunity with Minnesota and he breezed through the ninth, retiring the side on seven pitches, concluding a perfect debut for the new fellows. Postgame interview What’s Next? The Twins continue their homestand on Thursday when they start a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Target Field. The first pitch of game one is scheduled for tomorrow at 6:40 pm CDT, with Sonny Gray (3.41 ERA) taking the mound for Minnesota and Alek Manoah (2.43 ERA) starting for Toronto. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Pagán 20 20 0 16 0 56 Jax 11 0 20 24 0 55 Duran 11 0 10 0 19 40 Megill 7 23 0 8 0 38 Fulmer 0 0 23 0 13 36 Duffey 28 0 0 7 0 35 Moran 0 16 0 10 0 26 Thielbar 0 7 0 0 11 18 López 0 0 0 0 7 7 View full article
  21. The Twins waited until Tuesday, the trade deadline, to make their moves, but in the end, they added right-handed starter Tyler Mahle, right-handed relievers Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer, and a backup catcher option in Sandy Leon. It came at a price as the Twins dealt infielders Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand, left-handed pitchers Cade Povich, Steve Hajjar and Juan Rojas, right-handed pitchers Yennier Cano, Sawyer Gipson Long and Juan Nunez. Seth Stohs: As you know, I don’t like to see prospects traded, and yet, I fully understand that it is a necessary evil in order for the big-league club to add talent and fill holes. Before the deadline, the obvious question is: What do the Twins need to do? I would tell people that they need to add at least one starter, two reliable relievers, and another catching option. That’s exactly what the Twins front office did. Mahle now rejoins Sonny Gray at the top of the Twins rotation. Lopez should team with Jhoan Duran at the end of ball games. Fulmer should slot into 7th and 8th innings with Griffin Jax. Back to the prospects, Spencer Steer has a chance to be a really good player, but with the Twins, he’s behind Jose Miranda and others. Same with Christian Encarnacion-Strand who has destroyed baseballs since entering pro ball in 2021. Steve Hajjar has had an up and down season, but he has a chance to be good if healthy. Cade Povich has a chance to be a mid-rotation starter, maybe even more. The Twins had to give up something in order to get something, but they did just that. The front office made the necessary moves. The question, in my mind, is if the Twins added enough to stay ahead of the White Sox in the AL Central. We shall see. Jeremy Nygaard: For me, the long and the short of it is that you hope your prospects turn into productive players. Not that they’re great comparisons, but you hope you can develop Cade Povich into a player with Tyler Mahle’s ability. You hope that any of those other pitching prospects that were dealt if they fail as starters, turn into really good relievers like Jorge Lopez. And that’s exactly how the teams that dealt Mahle and Lopez feel too. They just acquired three or four chances. Nobody that the Twins dealt is sure things and like you mentioned, Seth, even Steer was going to have a hard time breaking into the lineup. It’s hard not to like the deals they made because they give the Twins a chance to go deeper this year, Mahle will be a big part of the rotation in ‘23 and Lopez helps the bullpen for the next two years. Plus they still have all their top prospects. Sure, Fulmer was a rental, but at a low cost. Now, if you want to talk about if Lopez has two more years being the dude he is now… well, that’s another story. Melissa Berman: Tuesday represented the most active trade deadline day the Twins have had in years, maybe ever, and is a clear message from the front office: "We see ourselves as serious contenders, and we want to win now." While losing high-flying prospects like Steer and Encarnacion-Strand is unfortunate, it simultaneously is a vote of confidence for the Twins' young corps of Arraez, Miranda, Lewis, Kirilloff, and Larnach. When healthy, each player has produced at a high level, and it is outwardly apparent that the Twins see them in their long-term outlook. Consequently, there would not be a lot of places for these hitting prospects to go in the Twins organization. The Twins made good moves on Tuesday that provide them with much-needed help for the rest of the 2022 season and several more to come. Contrast the multitude of Twins moves with the Chicago White Sox, who only added reliever Jake Diekman, and the Cleveland Guardians, who added pitcher Ian Hamilton. The lack of moves could mean one of two things: the teams think they can compete with what they currently have, or, conversely, they don't see themselves as serious division contenders this season. Rebuilding and major retooling of lineups are best done in the offseason with the free agent market at a team’s disposal. Time will tell if the AL Central, currently the most competitive division race in baseball, will stay a close three-horse race, and if the Twins’ moves will be enough to keep them on top. Rena Wang: To echo Melissa, it was exciting as a fan to see the Twins so active at the trade deadline for the first time in years. We’ve become accustomed to disappointment and a lack of urgency to win (CC. the trade Correa crew), but we’ve known in the back of our minds all along that the Twins’ front office is ready to win with the moves that were made in the offseason. It's always painful to lose prospects, especially Christian Encarnacion-Strand who was recently named the Minor League Hitter of the Month for the second time, but the definition of a prospect speaks for itself. I’m always an advocate of taking a risk for something tangible and certain. The Twins also exceeded expectations by trading for Jorge López, the best young closer in baseball. Although Michael Fulmer fits the profile of the average Twins’ trade target, he’s having a career season in the bullpen and would slot in perfectly with Griffin Jax and Tyler Duffey as a middle reliever. Tyler Mahle is the starter that the Twins desperately need with Bailey Ober headed to the 60-Day IL. All in all, if these trade targets continue to perform as advertised, the Twins have a real shot to compete for the first time in years. Theo Tollefson: The Falvey and Levine regime had their best trade deadline to date Tuesday. They acquired the bare minimum of what many Twins fans had been asking for since mid-June with a reliable middle-of-the-rotation starter and two backend relievers. Tyler Mahle was the best acquisition of them all. Mahle has had much better numbers on the road this year than he had at Great American Ballpark with the Red. Given that Target Field is more of a pitcher-friendly ballpark than GAB, Mahle should find himself more comfortable in his new home ballpark for the next year and a half with the Twins. Jorge Lopez was a surprise acquisition but a welcomed one at that. Lopez has finally reached the potential he was given as a prospect with the Brewers over seven years ago. Although Rocco Baldelli has never officially designated someone as the closer in his five years as manager, people can expect Lopez to unofficially fill that role for the Twins and take a load off of Duran and the rest of the bullpen. Michael Fulmer is just another good addition for a depleted Twins bullpen. He will certainly help in any role he is used for in relief. The Twins did give up a good amount of prospects to acquire who they needed this deadline, but they did not sell their entire farm system as the Padres did to get what they needed. This sets the team up well to win the AL Central this season and retool themselves for next year as well. Nash Walker: The Twins filled their biggest hole with a bang in Jorge López. They so badly needed a high-leverage right-handed reliever to pair with Jhoan Duran in the back of the bullpen. Other than Josh Hader, López was the best reliever dealt during the deadline. He’s also under team control through 2024, a significant wrinkle that sets up the Twins’ backend for the future. Tyler Mahle was my No. 1 target for the Twins when combining every factor. He should thrive outside of Cincinnati and I love his stuff. He knows how to pitch and there’s room for upside. Mahle is a mid-rotation starter *right now,* but I think there’s a real chance he’s a frontline starter very soon. Could they have used another starter? No question. Mahle is a great addition either way. After Mahle and López, I was hoping the Twins wouldn’t stop short. They then traded for Michael Fulmer, who I think is one of the more underrated relievers in baseball. Fulmer shuts down right-handed hitters and the Twins now boast a strength in the bullpen with Duran, López, Griffin Jax and Fulmer. It was a good finish to a good deadline. Let’s see how it plays out. Matt Braun: This was exactly the trade deadline the Twins needed; each move perfectly covered a weakness and two of the deals netted players who will impact future Twins teams as well. It’s hard to complain about that. What excites me—beyond the added talent—is that the team found a way to trade uncertain or blocked prospects without losing the big names. Spencer Steer is a major loss, but he had no easy path to the Twins; Cade Povich is a serious blow—I thought that he had the potential to become a solid mid-rotation arm—but he’s the only player I’m truly worked up over. Tyler Mahle is the dude. I’ve wanted Mahle on the team for years; I think his performance has another gear left and moving him away from a little league ballpark will neutralize his home run issue. I’m absolutely ecstatic that the Twins snagged him away from the Reds, and I might argue that he would be a theoretical game 1 starter (don’t worry, I knocked on wood after typing that). Jorge López is another great get. His stuff is mind-bending, he’s only 29, and the Twins will have him for two more years following this season. He and Jhoan Duran in the back-end may be the best—and nastiest—1-2 punch the team has had in a long time. Michael Fulmer is an acceptable get; he fills the 6th/7th inning role adequately—although his control worries me—and a middle relief piece deepens the bullpen. Gone are the days of Tyler Thornburg pitching in the 8th inning. My only qualm is that Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer still constitute 40% of the starting rotation. That’s not a terrible problem—every team will tell you that they aren’t fully comfortable with their starting staff—but it’s still an area the team could have improved upon. Netting Carlos Rodón would have made this an award-winning deadline; instead, it’s a great one. Your Turn: Share your thoughts in the comments below. Try to keep it to 150-200 words, and enjoy reading the thoughts of others.
  22. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Joe Ryan, 5 IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 9K (78 pitches, 63 strikes, 80.8%) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Sandy León (.200), Joe Ryan (.155), Michael Fulmer (.079) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Four new ballplayers joined the Twins at Tuesday’s trade deadline, three pitchers (Tyler Mahle, Jorge López, and Michael Fulmer) and a catcher (Sandy León). With Minnesota’s pitching going through an incredibly rough patch for weeks now, it was natural for the pitcher trades to be celebrated the most. But it was the lone bat acquired in those deals to make some noise first. After going down in order in the first inning, the offense set the wheels in motion in the second. TD’s hitter of the month of July, José Miranda kicked things off with a leadoff single shortly before Nick Gordon drew a one-out walk. Lefty Tyler Alexander managed to retire Jake Cave for the second out, but he couldn’t dodge the León bullet. Batting eighth in his very first at-bat as a Twin, León drove in both runners with a double to the left-field corner. Unfortunately for the Twins, the offense couldn’t do much outside that second inning. Alexander pitched three perfect innings around it, keeping the Twins bats on a leash. Fortunately for the Twins, though, Joe Ryan had a tremendous start to this game – perhaps another impact brought to the table by León. Ryan tossed four scoreless innings to open this game, allowing only two hits while striking out seven. During the fifth, he had some issues, causing him to hit two batters and allowing Riley Greene to push the leadoff runner across, scoring Detroit’s first run. Ryan limited the damage to the one run by striking out the next two batters for a total of nine through five. Also, TD’s Nick Nelson found this gem: Came the sixth inning, and Rocco Baldelli decided it was time to have another new Twin make his debut for Minnesota. Fulmer needed only 13 pitches, nine of which were strikes, to toss a scoreless frame with a punch out. He also caught former teammate Harold Castro trying to steal second to end the inning. In the home sixth, Byron Buxton led things off with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and was pushed across by a Carlos Correa single, making it 3-1 Minnesota. While Caleb Thielbar and Jhoan Duran did a fine job keeping the lead intact through the seventh and eighth innings, the bats had a hard time adding on. Cave and León got back-to-back hits in the seventh (León’s first multi-hit game of the season), but both runners ended up being stranded. But they managed to get one more insurance run for Jorge Lopez to have an easier time trying to get his first save as a Twin in the ninth. Buxton led off the eighth with a single, shortly before Jorge Polanco got his first hit of the afternoon, a one-out single. Miranda drew a walk to load the bases with one out, and the Twins had the chance to break the game open. Gio Urshela hit a sac-fly to center to score Buxton from third, but that was all Minnesota got, as Gordon struck out next to end the inning. López stepped up for his first save opportunity with Minnesota and he breezed through the ninth, retiring the side on seven pitches, concluding a perfect debut for the new fellows. Postgame interview What’s Next? The Twins continue their homestand on Thursday when they start a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Target Field. The first pitch of game one is scheduled for tomorrow at 6:40 pm CDT, with Sonny Gray (3.41 ERA) taking the mound for Minnesota and Alek Manoah (2.43 ERA) starting for Toronto. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Pagán 20 20 0 16 0 56 Jax 11 0 20 24 0 55 Duran 11 0 10 0 19 40 Megill 7 23 0 8 0 38 Fulmer 0 0 23 0 13 36 Duffey 28 0 0 7 0 35 Moran 0 16 0 10 0 26 Thielbar 0 7 0 0 11 18 López 0 0 0 0 7 7
  23. The key area of focus this trade deadline for the Minnesota Twins had to be on the mound. You could divide that between that rotation and bullpen, but an influx of talent was necessary in both places. With the first domino falling, Minnesota began in relief acquiring All-Star closer Jorge Lopez from the Baltimore Orioles. There’s been no denying that Rocco Baldelli needs additional arms at the back of his bullpen. Whether it’s Wes Johnson or Pete Maki helping to set up the pecking order, it’s basically been pray on Jhoan Duran or hope for rain. Griffin Jax has stepped up, and Tyler Duffey has even trended in the right direction. Emilio Pagan has been a flop though, and Caleb Thielbar hasn’t posted numbers in line with his metrics. In Jorge Lopez, Minnesota gets an All-Star reliever that owns a miniscule 1.68 ERA along with a 2.99 FIP. His 10.1 K/9 will immediately be among the best in Minnesota’s bullpen, and his 19 saves reflect an ability to pitch in high leverage. Lopez may be ripe for some small regression as his xERA sits at 2.99 and his xFIP is 3.10. Both marks would be a substantial upgrade for the Twins unit, however. What we know about this version of Lopez presents a smaller sample size. He was claimed off waivers from the Kansas City Royals in 2020. Even with the stellar 2022, his career ERA sits at 5.51. With a career 35.6% hard hit rate, the 19.8% mark he’s posted in 2022 stands out as a massive leap forward. The major difference for Lopez is that he’s now working out of the pen rather than starting. He has jumped his average fastball velocity nearly two mph to 97.4 mph this season. Instead of continuing to throw a traditional fastball though, Lopez now has become primarily a sinker-curveball pitcher with the two offerings combining to dominate more than 70% of his arsenal. Minnesota is taking a gamble on 48 1/3 innings being reflective of who Lopez is now, which is to say one of baseball’s best relievers, but they’ll have time to see him settle in as well. Rentals aren’t of significant interest to the Twins during this deadline, and Lopez isn’t a free agent until 2025. Grabbing a reliever like this would always come with a relatively substantial cost. Minnesota was forced to part with 2021 3rd round pick Cade Povich. Drafted out of Nebraska, Povich is seen as a mid-to-back-end starter. The 4.46 ERA at High-A Cedar Rapids isn’t shiny, but he’s got a gaudy 12.2 K/9 and has allowed just 3.0 BB/9. Probably a bit underrated on Minnesota prospect lists, he has looked the part of a very solid selection. Providing some Major League-ready talent to Baltimore as well, Minnesota is sending Cuban Yennier Cano. Signed back in 2019 as an international free agent, Cano is now 28-years-old. The stuff has played wonderfully for him at Triple-A St. Paul, where he owns a 1.90 ERA across 23 2/3 innings. His 9.5 K/9 there also is something to be excited about translating. Unfortunately he’s been hit around in less-than-deal spots when called up to the Twins, and has routinely been on the shuttle back and forth across town. He’s been assigned to Triple-A Norfolk for the Orioles, but a consistent pen role the rest of the way could help him to settle in. Completing the deal is 18-year-old Juan Rojas and 21-year-old Juan Nunez. Rojas is a lefty making his stateside debut this season in the Florida Complex League. He owns a 3.60 ERA across 30 innings and owns an impressive 38/4 K/BB. Nunez is right-handed, also making his stateside debut, and owns a 4.85 ERA across 29 2/3 innings. While he’s given up more hits and run production, Nunez also has an impressive 47/10 K/BB while allowing just two homers. It’s hard not to see this deal as a win for both sides in significantly different ways. Trading a closer when you’re not seriously in contention makes a good deal of sense. The Orioles are working with found money in that their acquisition cost of Lopes was nothing more than a waiver claim. Minnesota then gets an arm that can immediately slot into the back end of their bullpen and help to shore up among the biggest deficiencies for this club. Povich is absolutely the headliner here, and he could wind up being something similar to Josh Winder or Bailey Ober. At least a couple of years from that promise, tying him to two complete lottery tickets and a project in Cano, there’s no reason the Twins should have any questions about looking back on this one. Should Lopez continue development as a reliever with the Minnesota coaching staff, he’ll be an easy candidate to tender deals to each of the next two winters. What is your assessment of this trade? View full article
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