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  1. It was a tough battle, but the Twins came out on top to win their fourth series in a row thanks to yet another Jorge Polanco walk-off! Box Score Starter: Thorpe 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K Home Runs: Sano (20) Top 3 WPA: Duffey (0.485), Coulombe (0.485), Sano (0.299) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Lewis Thorpe Makes Return to Twins Rotation For the first time in nearly three months, Lewis Thorpe made an appearance in a Twins uniform, after getting recalled this morning from Triple-A St. Paul. Prior to today’s start, Thorpe had made just four appearances (3 starts) for the Twins in 2021, and posted a 3.86 ERA. Velocity concerns have plagued Thorpe of late, as his fastball velocity has dropped nearly two MPH since 2019, and sat at just 89.5 MPH in 2021. Those concerns became even more prevalent after today’s short outing where Thorpe had an average fastball velocity of just 87.8 MPH, per Statcast. This lack of velocity, combined with some serious control issues made for a short day from Thorpe, who was pulled with only one out in the second after walking the bases full. It was clear after today’s outing that Thorpe’s long-term future with the Twins might be in serious jeopardy if he is unable to fix the number of issues that have been ailing him. Miguel Sano Hits Twins Longest Home Run of 2021 With the Twins down by a score of 4 to 1 entering the bottom of the fourth, they needed to find some quick offense to get back into this game, and that is exactly what Miguel Sano delivered as he blasted a mammoth 475 foot home run to right-center field to cut Cleveland’s lead down to two. Cleveland Scores Single Runs in Each of the First Five Innings It was a steady barrage of one run at a time from Cleveland early on to help them build a 5-2 lead at the halfway point of the game, as they scored one run in each of the first five innings. They got their lone run in the first courtesy of a two-out home run from Jose Ramirez. In the second it was four walks from Twins pitching that resulted in Cleveland’s run, the final coming from Edgar Garcia after he replaced Lewis Thorpe who walked the bases full before being pulled. Edgar Garcia got two quick outs in the third, but after giving up a walk to Oscar Mercado, Owen Miller drilled a fly ball off the wall in right-center, bringing Mercado all the way around to score from first. The fourth inning looked almost identical to the third, but this time it was with Juan Minaya on the mound for the Twins, who like Garcia got two outs to begin the inning, but gave up a walk that was followed by a double that gave Cleveland their lone run in the fourth. With Minaya still on the mound in the fifth, Franmil Reyes responded to Miguel Sano’s mammoth home run with one of his own to stretch the Cleveland lead back out to three. Twins Use Two-Out Rally to Take the Lead in the 5th Things were not looking up for the Twins as they came to bat in the fifth back down by three runs. The inning did not appear to be a rally inning when it started, as a Max Kepler strikeout and a Jorge Polanco pop out sandwiched a Brent Rooker walk, giving the Twins a runner on first with two outs. That did not stop the Twins, however, as they strung together six straight two-out hits and left the inning with a 7-5 lead. Josh Donaldson got the two out rally started when he laced a line drive single up the middle. Luis Arraez then fought off a tough two-strike fastball and delivered a clutch RBI single to right. After a quick mound visit, it was Miguel Sano’s turn and he quickly fell behind 0-2, but he too came up clutch driving this breaking ball to the base of the wall in center for a game tying double. That was the end of the day for Cleveland pitcher Zach Plesac, but that wasn’t the end of the inning for the Twins. New Cleveland pitch Alex Young did not have much time to settle in, as Nick Gordon swung at his first pitch and drilled a hard ground ball down the first base line that bounced off of Owen Miller’s glove at first and trickled away, allowing Sano to score from second. Ryan Jeffers then followed it up with a single of his own before Andrelton Simmons came through with a ground rule double down the line in left, giving the Twins the 7-5 lead. This gave Max Kepler a chance to blow the game open with runners on second and third, but that would not be the case as the inning ended the same way it started, with a Max Kepler strikeout. Alex Colome Blows Save in 9th After a rough start to the season, Alex Colome has been pitching well of late. Unfortunately, today we saw more of the April version of Alex Colome, as he blew a two-run lead to allow Cleveland to tie the game at seven. The inning started with a leadoff double from Myles Straw that landed just out of the reach of a diving Jake Cave, who came in as a defensive replacement for Brent Rooker in left. He then got Amed Rosario to fly out, before Jose Ramirez laced a line drive into center field and hustled his way to second for a double. Ramirez then advanced to third on a weak ground out from Franmil Reyes and scored the game tying run on a wild pitch in the next plate appearance. Jorge Polanco is the Walk-off Hero Yet Again For the third time in four games, Jorge Polanco comes up with a clutch walk-off to give the Twins the victory! Bullpen Usage Chart SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Barnes 0 73 0 0 0 73 Gant 0 0 17 0 0 17 García 0 21 0 0 35 56 Thielbar 0 15 19 0 9 43 Garza Jr. 16 0 0 13 23 52 Duffey 0 27 0 0 14 41 Colomé 0 13 10 0 31 54 Minaya 0 0 19 0 40 59 Coulombe 10 0 0 0 7 17 Postgame Interviews What's Next? The Twins travel to New York for a four-game series with the Yankees. With the Twins out of contention, they have a chance to put a wrench in the surging Yankees postseason plans. Game one of the series is scheduled to begin Thursday at 6:05 pm CDT. View full article
  2. Box Score Starter: Thorpe 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K Home Runs: Sano (20) Top 3 WPA: Duffey (0.485), Coulombe (0.485), Sano (0.299) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Lewis Thorpe Makes Return to Twins Rotation For the first time in nearly three months, Lewis Thorpe made an appearance in a Twins uniform, after getting recalled this morning from Triple-A St. Paul. Prior to today’s start, Thorpe had made just four appearances (3 starts) for the Twins in 2021, and posted a 3.86 ERA. Velocity concerns have plagued Thorpe of late, as his fastball velocity has dropped nearly two MPH since 2019, and sat at just 89.5 MPH in 2021. Those concerns became even more prevalent after today’s short outing where Thorpe had an average fastball velocity of just 87.8 MPH, per Statcast. This lack of velocity, combined with some serious control issues made for a short day from Thorpe, who was pulled with only one out in the second after walking the bases full. It was clear after today’s outing that Thorpe’s long-term future with the Twins might be in serious jeopardy if he is unable to fix the number of issues that have been ailing him. Miguel Sano Hits Twins Longest Home Run of 2021 With the Twins down by a score of 4 to 1 entering the bottom of the fourth, they needed to find some quick offense to get back into this game, and that is exactly what Miguel Sano delivered as he blasted a mammoth 475 foot home run to right-center field to cut Cleveland’s lead down to two. Cleveland Scores Single Runs in Each of the First Five Innings It was a steady barrage of one run at a time from Cleveland early on to help them build a 5-2 lead at the halfway point of the game, as they scored one run in each of the first five innings. They got their lone run in the first courtesy of a two-out home run from Jose Ramirez. In the second it was four walks from Twins pitching that resulted in Cleveland’s run, the final coming from Edgar Garcia after he replaced Lewis Thorpe who walked the bases full before being pulled. Edgar Garcia got two quick outs in the third, but after giving up a walk to Oscar Mercado, Owen Miller drilled a fly ball off the wall in right-center, bringing Mercado all the way around to score from first. The fourth inning looked almost identical to the third, but this time it was with Juan Minaya on the mound for the Twins, who like Garcia got two outs to begin the inning, but gave up a walk that was followed by a double that gave Cleveland their lone run in the fourth. With Minaya still on the mound in the fifth, Franmil Reyes responded to Miguel Sano’s mammoth home run with one of his own to stretch the Cleveland lead back out to three. Twins Use Two-Out Rally to Take the Lead in the 5th Things were not looking up for the Twins as they came to bat in the fifth back down by three runs. The inning did not appear to be a rally inning when it started, as a Max Kepler strikeout and a Jorge Polanco pop out sandwiched a Brent Rooker walk, giving the Twins a runner on first with two outs. That did not stop the Twins, however, as they strung together six straight two-out hits and left the inning with a 7-5 lead. Josh Donaldson got the two out rally started when he laced a line drive single up the middle. Luis Arraez then fought off a tough two-strike fastball and delivered a clutch RBI single to right. After a quick mound visit, it was Miguel Sano’s turn and he quickly fell behind 0-2, but he too came up clutch driving this breaking ball to the base of the wall in center for a game tying double. That was the end of the day for Cleveland pitcher Zach Plesac, but that wasn’t the end of the inning for the Twins. New Cleveland pitch Alex Young did not have much time to settle in, as Nick Gordon swung at his first pitch and drilled a hard ground ball down the first base line that bounced off of Owen Miller’s glove at first and trickled away, allowing Sano to score from second. Ryan Jeffers then followed it up with a single of his own before Andrelton Simmons came through with a ground rule double down the line in left, giving the Twins the 7-5 lead. This gave Max Kepler a chance to blow the game open with runners on second and third, but that would not be the case as the inning ended the same way it started, with a Max Kepler strikeout. Alex Colome Blows Save in 9th After a rough start to the season, Alex Colome has been pitching well of late. Unfortunately, today we saw more of the April version of Alex Colome, as he blew a two-run lead to allow Cleveland to tie the game at seven. The inning started with a leadoff double from Myles Straw that landed just out of the reach of a diving Jake Cave, who came in as a defensive replacement for Brent Rooker in left. He then got Amed Rosario to fly out, before Jose Ramirez laced a line drive into center field and hustled his way to second for a double. Ramirez then advanced to third on a weak ground out from Franmil Reyes and scored the game tying run on a wild pitch in the next plate appearance. Jorge Polanco is the Walk-off Hero Yet Again For the third time in four games, Jorge Polanco comes up with a clutch walk-off to give the Twins the victory! Bullpen Usage Chart SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Barnes 0 73 0 0 0 73 Gant 0 0 17 0 0 17 García 0 21 0 0 35 56 Thielbar 0 15 19 0 9 43 Garza Jr. 16 0 0 13 23 52 Duffey 0 27 0 0 14 41 Colomé 0 13 10 0 31 54 Minaya 0 0 19 0 40 59 Coulombe 10 0 0 0 7 17 Postgame Interviews What's Next? The Twins travel to New York for a four-game series with the Yankees. With the Twins out of contention, they have a chance to put a wrench in the surging Yankees postseason plans. Game one of the series is scheduled to begin Thursday at 6:05 pm CDT.
  3. Jorge Polanco looked to be on the precipice of irrelevancy through the first month or so of the 2021 season after a train wreck 2020. Once looking like a future cornerstone, the shortstop appeared to have tumbled into questionable territory. We may have been too quick to judge. In 2019, the Twins signed Jorge Polanco to a five-year $25.75 million deal with options for 2024 and 2025. Up to this point, Polanco was already well worth his team-friendly deal with his slash line of .275/.333/.434. Even coming back from an 80-game suspension for a banned substance, Polanco appeared to be a steady bat the Twins could rely on for the next five years. In 2019, however, Polanco rewarded the Twins' show of faith with more than they ever could have expected. Polanco was the starting shortstop in the All-Star Game for the American League. Polanco was a dynamic player in the best lineup in the AL and finished the season with a 120 wRC+. TwinsDaily cited Polanco as the Twins most valuable asset following the season, and for good reason. While questions lingered regarding Polanco’s long-term defense, he looked to be an offensive force for years to come. In retrospect, Polanco’s offseason ankle surgery probably shouldn’t have been taken so lightly. In a season where it became clear the Bomba Squad was a one-year deal, Polanco was simply putrid on offense. Slashing .258/.304/.354, Polanco was 20% below a league average hitter during the 2020 season. After being a lock near the top of the lineup, Polanco finished the season shoring up the bottom of the order. It was plenty easy to call the 2020 season a one off, but Polanco followed it up by actually being worse to begin 2021. Through the end of April, Polanco was hitting just .209/.267/.286. He was still regularly showing off the half-swing that indicated his ongoing ankle issues. Then came May. Since the turn of the calendar, Polanco has been even better than the All-Star version of himself. His .270/.337/.487 line was 24% above league average. His wRC+ has shot up from 53 to 105. In addition to his offensive rebound, Polanco also appears to be acclimating to his new second base role well. He’s pegged for -1 Outs Above Average per Statcast and has been worth 1 Defensive Run Saved per Fangraphs. After a bit of an adjustment period, Polanco has really appeared to settle into what will probably be the position he fills for the entirety of his Twins career. It would have been easy to say “It’s just 100 or so games” and call it a cold streak, but it was much more difficult to do so with Polanco’s years-long ankle injury. It was well in bounds to wonder at some point if Polanco was bound for a bench or platoon role which would have left the Twins looking for a future second baseman while already having to address so many issues after this season. That makes Polanco’s turnaround all the more incredible. Polanco may not be the most valuable of the Twins' assets anymore with Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach looking like a formidable young duo. That being said, you can argue that Polanco has lifted himself back up to the top of the list of what many believed to be the Twins’ core headed into 2021. The Twins will need to address plenty this offseason from pitching to shortstop to center field depth. At second base, however, it appears the gamble they made two years ago on a steady hitter stretched at his shortstop position will continue paying off. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  4. In 2019, the Twins signed Jorge Polanco to a five-year $25.75 million deal with options for 2024 and 2025. Up to this point, Polanco was already well worth his team-friendly deal with his slash line of .275/.333/.434. Even coming back from an 80-game suspension for a banned substance, Polanco appeared to be a steady bat the Twins could rely on for the next five years. In 2019, however, Polanco rewarded the Twins' show of faith with more than they ever could have expected. Polanco was the starting shortstop in the All-Star Game for the American League. Polanco was a dynamic player in the best lineup in the AL and finished the season with a 120 wRC+. TwinsDaily cited Polanco as the Twins most valuable asset following the season, and for good reason. While questions lingered regarding Polanco’s long-term defense, he looked to be an offensive force for years to come. In retrospect, Polanco’s offseason ankle surgery probably shouldn’t have been taken so lightly. In a season where it became clear the Bomba Squad was a one-year deal, Polanco was simply putrid on offense. Slashing .258/.304/.354, Polanco was 20% below a league average hitter during the 2020 season. After being a lock near the top of the lineup, Polanco finished the season shoring up the bottom of the order. It was plenty easy to call the 2020 season a one off, but Polanco followed it up by actually being worse to begin 2021. Through the end of April, Polanco was hitting just .209/.267/.286. He was still regularly showing off the half-swing that indicated his ongoing ankle issues. Then came May. Since the turn of the calendar, Polanco has been even better than the All-Star version of himself. His .270/.337/.487 line was 24% above league average. His wRC+ has shot up from 53 to 105. In addition to his offensive rebound, Polanco also appears to be acclimating to his new second base role well. He’s pegged for -1 Outs Above Average per Statcast and has been worth 1 Defensive Run Saved per Fangraphs. After a bit of an adjustment period, Polanco has really appeared to settle into what will probably be the position he fills for the entirety of his Twins career. It would have been easy to say “It’s just 100 or so games” and call it a cold streak, but it was much more difficult to do so with Polanco’s years-long ankle injury. It was well in bounds to wonder at some point if Polanco was bound for a bench or platoon role which would have left the Twins looking for a future second baseman while already having to address so many issues after this season. That makes Polanco’s turnaround all the more incredible. Polanco may not be the most valuable of the Twins' assets anymore with Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach looking like a formidable young duo. That being said, you can argue that Polanco has lifted himself back up to the top of the list of what many believed to be the Twins’ core headed into 2021. The Twins will need to address plenty this offseason from pitching to shortstop to center field depth. At second base, however, it appears the gamble they made two years ago on a steady hitter stretched at his shortstop position will continue paying off. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  5. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Jake Odorizzi: 65 Game Score, 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 9 K, 2 BB, 65.7% strikes Home Runs: Miguel Sano (9) Multi-Hit Games: Joe Mauer (2-for-3, BB), Jorge Polanco (2-for-4, 2B), Max Kepler (2-for-4) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Duffey .170, Polanco .100 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Forsythe -.109 Outside of that rocky second inning, Odorizzi was outstanding. He held Pittsburgh to two runs on four hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings while striking out nine. He ran into some trouble in the sixth and was lifted after giving up back-to-back singles. It was a big spot in the game, as the Twins were clinging to a 3-2 lead, and Paul Molitor turned to Tyler Duffey. He got Francisco Cervelli swinging to end the threat. Duffey stayed in and delivered a 1-2-3 seventh inning as well. The Twins’ big three-run fourth inning was kicked off by a Joe Mauer single, followed by an Eddie Rosario double then a two-run single from Jorge Polanco. He scored on a Mex Kepler single later in the inning. The Twins got a pair of insurance runs in the eighth thanks to a Miguel Sano home run that plated Polanco. Trevor Hildenberger earned his second save of the season. Postgame With Molitor https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1029571988216406016 Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: AL Central Standings CLE 68-51 MIN 55-63 (-12.5) DET 50-70 (-18.5) CHW 43-76 (-25) KC 36-82 (-31.5) Next Three Game Wed vs. PIT, 12:10 pm CT: Jose Berrios vs. Chris Archer Thu vs. DET, 7:10 pm CT: TBD vs. Francisco Liriano Fri vs. DET, 7:10 pm CT: TBD vs. Matthew Boyd Last Three Games DET 4, MIN 2: Stewart Debuts, Bats Slump in Loss MIN 4, DET 3: Austin Homers, Hildy Survives Save Chance DET 5, MIN 3: Is There Anything Left?
  6. Jake Odorizzi looked like he was going to completely derail in the second inning. He gave up a pair of runs on two hits and a couple of walks. Meanwhile, Pirates starter Jameson Taillon was perfect through the first three frames. That script flipped real quick. Odorizzi averted the train wreck. The Twins got to Taillon.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Jake Odorizzi: 65 Game Score, 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 9 K, 2 BB, 65.7% strikes Home Runs: Miguel Sano (9) Multi-Hit Games: Joe Mauer (2-for-3, BB), Jorge Polanco (2-for-4, 2B), Max Kepler (2-for-4) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Duffey .170, Polanco .100 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Forsythe -.109 Download attachment: WinChart814.png Outside of that rocky second inning, Odorizzi was outstanding. He held Pittsburgh to two runs on four hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings while striking out nine. He ran into some trouble in the sixth and was lifted after giving up back-to-back singles. It was a big spot in the game, as the Twins were clinging to a 3-2 lead, and Paul Molitor turned to Tyler Duffey. He got Francisco Cervelli swinging to end the threat. Duffey stayed in and delivered a 1-2-3 seventh inning as well. The Twins’ big three-run fourth inning was kicked off by a Joe Mauer single, followed by an Eddie Rosario double then a two-run single from Jorge Polanco. He scored on a Mex Kepler single later in the inning. The Twins got a pair of insurance runs in the eighth thanks to a Miguel Sano home run that plated Polanco. Trevor Hildenberger earned his second save of the season. Postgame With Molitor Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Bullpen814.png AL Central Standings CLE 68-51 MIN 55-63 (-12.5) DET 50-70 (-18.5) CHW 43-76 (-25) KC 36-82 (-31.5) Next Three Game Wed vs. PIT, 12:10 pm CT: Jose Berrios vs. Chris Archer Thu vs. DET, 7:10 pm CT: TBD vs. Francisco Liriano Fri vs. DET, 7:10 pm CT: TBD vs. Matthew Boyd Last Three Games DET 4, MIN 2: Stewart Debuts, Bats Slump in Loss MIN 4, DET 3: Austin Homers, Hildy Survives Save Chance DET 5, MIN 3: Is There Anything Left? Click here to view the article
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