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  1. Royce Lewis was the spark to the Minnesota Twins offense early, scoring the Twins first two runs. Gary Sanchez added some power, and the Twins bullpen was lights out once again as the Twins won the first game of their west coast road trip. Box Score SP: Chris Archer: 4 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (62 pitches, 37 strikes (59.7%)) Home Runs: Gary Sanchez (3) Top 3 WPA: Gary Sanchez (0.143), Griffin Jax (0.143), Jorge Polanco (0.138) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Garlick activated The Twins sent out their patented righty heavy lineup with lefty Zach Logue on the mound for the Athletics. It was a perfect opportunity for the healthy Kyle Garlick to return to the Twins after spending time on the IL with an injured calf. Coming into Monday night, Garlick has hit .357/.500/1.000 with a 1.500 OPS against left-handed pitchers. Archer gives the Twins four innings Chris Archer did exactly what 2022 Archer does. He gave the Twins four full innings of work and left the game with the Twins in a position to win the game. It was an uneasy beginning as it seemed Archer was trying to nibble around the edges of the plate. Once the right-hander could locate some pitches better, he went through a stretch of sending nine straight A's batters back to the dugout. Lewis makes his case As Carlos Correa draws closer to returning from his finger injury, Royce Lewis isn’t ready to go back to St. Paul just yet. The Twins shortstop is doing everything to make sure he stays in the majors. Lewis accounted for two Twins runs. He was first driven home by Jorge Polanco after his third-inning double and then Byron Buxton after a fifth-inning walk. While Lewis will need to find a new defensive home if he and Correa are to coexist in the same lineup, his bat may force just that to happen. Lewis is now hitting .286/.306/.457 since his call up. Gary brings the power While the Twins needed to employ small-ball tactics of what feels like an era forgotten for their second run, Gary Sanchez brought us right back to present-day baseball. Sanchez smashed a ball to center field in the sixth inning for the Twins third run. His home run measured at 433 feet and had an exit velocity of 109.9 mph. Cano, Jax, Duffey impress out of the bullpen Yennier Cano has seen the Twins bullpen roles be shuffled around, and now he is staking his claim to a role of his own. Cano once again was asked to pitch two innings as he came on in relief of Archer. As he sat mid-90s with his fastball, Cano only allowed one hit and recorded two strikeouts. Cano is turning heads early on in his major league career. Griffin Jax was the next man up out of the bullpen and added his own two innings following Cano. Allowing only one hit, Jax has continued to be trusted by his manager and has become a real asset for the Twins. Tyler Duffey followed to get the save on a night in which Emilio Pagan was unavailable. It is also interesting that the choice was Duffey and not Jhoan Duran, but now Duran will be available for the rest of the series. What’s Next? The Twins will go to bed likely with the sounds of drums and horns bouncing in their heads. It was announced Dylan Bundy will return from the COVID IL to make the start on Tuesday. Bundy brings into the game a 5.76 ERA on the season in his five starts. The A’s will send James Kaprielian to the mound. The right-hander has made three starts in 2022 and currently owns a 4.97 ERA. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Jax 0 50 0 0 25 75 Cano 36 0 0 0 25 61 Stashak 46 0 0 13 0 59 Duffey 33 0 5 0 20 58 Pagán 0 22 9 10 0 41 Thielbar 23 0 15 2 0 40 Smith 0 4 15 9 0 28 Duran 0 10 12 0 0 22 Cotton 0 0 17 0 0 17 View full article
  2. Box Score SP: Chris Archer: 4 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (62 pitches, 37 strikes (59.7%)) Home Runs: Gary Sanchez (3) Top 3 WPA: Gary Sanchez (0.143), Griffin Jax (0.143), Jorge Polanco (0.138) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Garlick activated The Twins sent out their patented righty heavy lineup with lefty Zach Logue on the mound for the Athletics. It was a perfect opportunity for the healthy Kyle Garlick to return to the Twins after spending time on the IL with an injured calf. Coming into Monday night, Garlick has hit .357/.500/1.000 with a 1.500 OPS against left-handed pitchers. Archer gives the Twins four innings Chris Archer did exactly what 2022 Archer does. He gave the Twins four full innings of work and left the game with the Twins in a position to win the game. It was an uneasy beginning as it seemed Archer was trying to nibble around the edges of the plate. Once the right-hander could locate some pitches better, he went through a stretch of sending nine straight A's batters back to the dugout. Lewis makes his case As Carlos Correa draws closer to returning from his finger injury, Royce Lewis isn’t ready to go back to St. Paul just yet. The Twins shortstop is doing everything to make sure he stays in the majors. Lewis accounted for two Twins runs. He was first driven home by Jorge Polanco after his third-inning double and then Byron Buxton after a fifth-inning walk. While Lewis will need to find a new defensive home if he and Correa are to coexist in the same lineup, his bat may force just that to happen. Lewis is now hitting .286/.306/.457 since his call up. Gary brings the power While the Twins needed to employ small-ball tactics of what feels like an era forgotten for their second run, Gary Sanchez brought us right back to present-day baseball. Sanchez smashed a ball to center field in the sixth inning for the Twins third run. His home run measured at 433 feet and had an exit velocity of 109.9 mph. Cano, Jax, Duffey impress out of the bullpen Yennier Cano has seen the Twins bullpen roles be shuffled around, and now he is staking his claim to a role of his own. Cano once again was asked to pitch two innings as he came on in relief of Archer. As he sat mid-90s with his fastball, Cano only allowed one hit and recorded two strikeouts. Cano is turning heads early on in his major league career. Griffin Jax was the next man up out of the bullpen and added his own two innings following Cano. Allowing only one hit, Jax has continued to be trusted by his manager and has become a real asset for the Twins. Tyler Duffey followed to get the save on a night in which Emilio Pagan was unavailable. It is also interesting that the choice was Duffey and not Jhoan Duran, but now Duran will be available for the rest of the series. What’s Next? The Twins will go to bed likely with the sounds of drums and horns bouncing in their heads. It was announced Dylan Bundy will return from the COVID IL to make the start on Tuesday. Bundy brings into the game a 5.76 ERA on the season in his five starts. The A’s will send James Kaprielian to the mound. The right-hander has made three starts in 2022 and currently owns a 4.97 ERA. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Jax 0 50 0 0 25 75 Cano 36 0 0 0 25 61 Stashak 46 0 0 13 0 59 Duffey 33 0 5 0 20 58 Pagán 0 22 9 10 0 41 Thielbar 23 0 15 2 0 40 Smith 0 4 15 9 0 28 Duran 0 10 12 0 0 22 Cotton 0 0 17 0 0 17
  3. The Twins have had seven different players play second base, shortstop, or third base this season. Let's take a closer look at how these positions may evolve as the season progresses and into next season as well. View full video
  4. The Twins have had seven different players play second base, shortstop, or third base this season. Let's take a closer look at how these positions may evolve as the season progresses and into next season as well.
  5. Jose Miranda has struggled in his first month in the majors, why? What are the numbers behind his struggles? What can he do to turn it around? Who cares about 46 plate appearances? Not me. Neither, globally speaking, should you. 46 plate appearances, however, is all we have to judge Jose Miranda on so far in the big leagues, and it hasn't been pretty. After putting together a MiLB season for the ages in 2021 in which he hit 30 HR and a combined 159 wRC+ between AA and AAA, Miranda has struggled in his opening month with the Twins. Over 11 games, he’s put up an 8 wRC+ and has been worth -0.5 fWAR. Obviously not great. What do the numbers say about Miranda? How might he turn his slow start around? Miranda’s 2021 MiLB breakthrough came from the ability to drive the ball well. In 2021, his Line Drive Percentage (LD%) was 24.3% at AA and AAA. For a point of reference, Jorge Polanco, who put up 4.1 fWAR for the Twins, was at 23.1%. Obviously, a different level of competition, but a useful reference point. Fast forward to 2022 and Miranda’s LD% has plummeted to just 2.7%. Essentially, everything he’s hitting is into the ground, or straight up in the air. What gives? The clues come in the form of Miranda’s plate discipline numbers. He doesn’t walk often 4.3% BB%. He also doesn’t strike out very often, something we might expect for someone struggling so mightily at the plate (15.2% K%). Miranda’s low walk and low strikeout totals warrant further investigation, for that, it’s useful to look at his swing and contact rates. Miranda has an O-Swing% of 29.9%, meaning he swings at 29.9% of pitches thrown outside the strike zone. This isn’t an alarming number (Polanco, our contextual comparison for this piece, is at 28.8% here). Miranda, however, swings significantly more in the zone than other hitters (70.2% so far in 2022 to Polanco’s 61.5%). We know that Miranda can crush the ball, no one who hits 30 HR in a season can’t. However, his average exit velocity is 88.2 mph, right at league average with a Barrel% of just 5.4%. If we put these two data points together, here’s what we can glean; Miranda has a tendency to swing at pitches in the strike zone, which is fine. Currently, his swings in the zone are not selective enough, causing him to ground out and pop out frequently. His tendencies are a much scaled-back version of the challenges Willians Astudillo faced in Minnesota, where his ability to put bat-to-ball was negated by the poor quality of contact he produced. I’ll finish with this; who cares? Hitting in the majors is a game of reactivity and constraint adjustments. Whether Miranda continues to work through his struggles in Minneapolis or St. Paul, I remain extremely confident in his ability to hit at the big league level. If he wants to maximize his success, however, he needs to once again hunt for pitches he can drive. View full article
  6. Who cares about 46 plate appearances? Not me. Neither, globally speaking, should you. 46 plate appearances, however, is all we have to judge Jose Miranda on so far in the big leagues, and it hasn't been pretty. After putting together a MiLB season for the ages in 2021 in which he hit 30 HR and a combined 159 wRC+ between AA and AAA, Miranda has struggled in his opening month with the Twins. Over 11 games, he’s put up an 8 wRC+ and has been worth -0.5 fWAR. Obviously not great. What do the numbers say about Miranda? How might he turn his slow start around? Miranda’s 2021 MiLB breakthrough came from the ability to drive the ball well. In 2021, his Line Drive Percentage (LD%) was 24.3% at AA and AAA. For a point of reference, Jorge Polanco, who put up 4.1 fWAR for the Twins, was at 23.1%. Obviously, a different level of competition, but a useful reference point. Fast forward to 2022 and Miranda’s LD% has plummeted to just 2.7%. Essentially, everything he’s hitting is into the ground, or straight up in the air. What gives? The clues come in the form of Miranda’s plate discipline numbers. He doesn’t walk often 4.3% BB%. He also doesn’t strike out very often, something we might expect for someone struggling so mightily at the plate (15.2% K%). Miranda’s low walk and low strikeout totals warrant further investigation, for that, it’s useful to look at his swing and contact rates. Miranda has an O-Swing% of 29.9%, meaning he swings at 29.9% of pitches thrown outside the strike zone. This isn’t an alarming number (Polanco, our contextual comparison for this piece, is at 28.8% here). Miranda, however, swings significantly more in the zone than other hitters (70.2% so far in 2022 to Polanco’s 61.5%). We know that Miranda can crush the ball, no one who hits 30 HR in a season can’t. However, his average exit velocity is 88.2 mph, right at league average with a Barrel% of just 5.4%. If we put these two data points together, here’s what we can glean; Miranda has a tendency to swing at pitches in the strike zone, which is fine. Currently, his swings in the zone are not selective enough, causing him to ground out and pop out frequently. His tendencies are a much scaled-back version of the challenges Willians Astudillo faced in Minnesota, where his ability to put bat-to-ball was negated by the poor quality of contact he produced. I’ll finish with this; who cares? Hitting in the majors is a game of reactivity and constraint adjustments. Whether Miranda continues to work through his struggles in Minneapolis or St. Paul, I remain extremely confident in his ability to hit at the big league level. If he wants to maximize his success, however, he needs to once again hunt for pitches he can drive.
  7. The Minnesota Twins saw their hot streak come to a screeching halt at home as mounting injury woes and improved competition were too much to overcome. Still, the team is hanging in there and maintaining a three-game lead in the division as a seriously soft patch of the schedule looms. Last Week's Game Results: Game 30 | HOU 5, MIN 0: Verlander Dominates Hapless Twins Game 31 | HOU 11, MIN 3: Astros Blast Twins in Suspended Game Game 32 | HOU 5, MIN 0: Lack of Luck, Lots of Runners Stranded Game 33 | MIN 12, CLE 8: Bats Awaken, Snap Losing Streak Game 34 | CLE 3, MIN 2: Offense Absent, Twins Fall in Extras Game 35 | MIN 3, CLE 1: Ryan Rebounds, Twins Take Series Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 5/9 through Sun, 5/15 *** Record Last Week: 2-4 (Overall: 20-15) Run Differential Last Week: -13 (Overall: +12) Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (3.0 GA) NEWS & NOTES The list of news and moves from last week is a long one, so let's just try and rattle through it rapid-fire: Carlos Correa, whose bruised finger wasn't improving fast enough to facilitate a speedy return to action, was placed on the injured list for the sake of roster flexibility. He got in some work over the weekend and is expected to be back relatively soon. Luis Arraez was activated from COVID IL, and played throughout the latter part of the week while showing no ill effects. Dylan Bundy, however, remains sidelined as he recovers from his battle with the virus. He wasn't able to go on Saturday so Devin Smeltzer came up to make his 2022 Twins debut, hurling five innings of one-run ball. Alex Kirilloff returned from rehab, basically out of necessity, but looked completely ineffective as his wrist continues to restrict him. The Twins optioned him back to St. Paul on Saturday and he'll stay there until his bat shows signs of life. Meanwhile, Mark Contreras is up from Triple-A and temporarily providing some outfield depth. Danny Coulombe, whose season was off to a magnificent start, suffered a hip injury on Tuesday that forced him to the shelf. It's another blow to this bullpen, which hopes to get a boost from his replacement: 28-year-old Yennier Canó, called up after a strong run at Triple-A. Jhon Romero was moved to the 60-day IL to create 40-man space. Kyle Garlick embarked upon a rehab stint at Triple-A, with his calf apparently healed. He went 3-for-9 with a homer in St. Paul over the weekend and could rejoin the Twins for their coming road trip. They will be happy to get back his lefty-mashing stick. Also due back this week: Bailey Ober, who threw 72 pitches over five innings in a rehab start on Sunday. He struck out seven with no walks, although he did allow four earned runs. The most impactful health development of the week concerned starting pitcher Chris Paddack, but that one is discouraging enough that we'll save it for the Lowlights section. HIGHLIGHTS While the lineup has largely been struggling, a few players are stepping up in a big way. Jorge Polanco is at the head of that list, with his bat catching fire here in May following a fairly quiet first month. He contributed a homer and two doubles last week, and leads the team with 20 RBIs. In a lineup that's seen almost everyone else miss time, Polanco has been a steady and durable force, appearing in all but one of Minnesota's games so far while easily leading the team in plate appearances. His ankle has sometimes impeded his performance but Polanco's been able to battle through and stay on the field, and it's one of his defining qualities. Dating back to 2019 only eight MLB players have amassed more plate appearances. With Correa sidelined, Royce Lewis has been very impressive while filling in on the other side of second base. Although there have a been a few hiccups defensively, he's mostly made the plays and Lewis is swinging a good bat. The past week saw him notch six hits in 22 at-bats, including his first major-league home run – a grand slam that broke things open in Friday's win over Cleveland. It was a really awesome moment for a kid who is extremely easy to root for. Byron Buxton was great as usual when available, launching a pair of homers against Cleveland over the weekend, but he's still bothered by soreness and occasional swelling in his knee, which is keeping him out of the lineup semi-regularly. With that being the case, the emergence of Gilberto Celestino has been tremendously impactful. Celestino went 4-for-11 with a double last week and is now slashing .333/.396/.417 in 52 plate appearances this year. His defense in the outfield has been beyond exceptional (see below). It would've been hard to imagine, given how overmatched he looked as a rookie last year, but Celestino came right back to the big leagues and is giving the Twins everything they could want out of him as a fourth outfielder. On the pitching side, a heaping share of credit is due to Joe Smith, who's been absolutely brilliant out of the Twins bullpen. The front office's lone MLB free agent addition for this unit has been providing absurd value, making frequent yet short appearances and ALWAYS getting the job done. He worked all three games in the Cleveland series, pitching on back-to-back-to-back days and running his season-opening scoreless streak to 12 ⅓ innings. The two couldn't be much different stylistically, but the 38-year-old sidearmer Smith and the 24-year-old flamethrower Jhoan Duran – who worked two scoreless innings last week and rewrote the franchise record for pitch velocity multiple times – are leading the way in a surprisingly reliable bullpen, ranking first and second on the staff in Win Probability Added. LOWLIGHTS The Astros series served as a stark reality check for the Twins, who'd ridden a major hot streak into a multi-game division lead despite all of their injury trials and setbacks. One-run victories over soft competition will be happily banked, but they're not necessarily the most convincing displays. Facing one of the league's truly elite teams, Minnesota was barely competitive. Even at full strength the Twins are probably not at the level of Houston – yet – and all weaknesses were magnified in their undermanned state. Batting Gary Sánchez third in your lineup against Justin Verlander is ... not what you want. Options were limited, unfortunately, and to some extent they still are. Far from giving the lineup a boost, José Miranda has reverted to his old offensive profile – swing at everything, with lots of weak contact – and it's not playing in the majors, as evidenced by a .114/.152/.227 slash line. Meanwhile, the streaky Ryan Jeffers has gone cold again – he went 3-for-16 last week and doesn't have an XBH since his last homer on May 3rd. Sánchez and Gio Urshela have been mostly unproductive outside of the occasional long ball, with each sporting a sub-.290 OBP. The Twins could desperately use a healthy and effective Kirilloff in the middle of their lineup right now, but that simply isn't in the cards. He's in a weird purgatory with his ailing right wrist, where it's not "injured" enough to merit being on the IL, but it's clearly giving him no chance to succeed at the plate. During his time with the Twins, Kirilloff wasn't generating any loud contact. His batted ball metrics were brutal, with exit velos and launch angles ranking at the bottom of the team – not at all what you expect from a hitter of his caliber. Kirilloff still has not barreled a single ball in the majors this year. All the team can really do at this point is send him to a lower-pressure environment and hope the wrist progressively improves, with results turning around in kind. One wonders if it'd be wise to simply give him some time off from swinging. But that's a difficult ask of a 24-year-old who is trying like hell to get his career going. In addition to an offense that was shut out twice and nearly no-hit, the Houston series was also a harsh one for the rookies and reclamation project in Minnesota's rotation, with Joe Ryan, Chris Archer and Josh Winder all struggling to varying degrees. The patience of the Astros lineup proved too much for these starters. Ryan issued a career-high five walks on Tuesday while coughing up four earned runs in four innings. (To his immense credit, he bounced back with a clean and stellar performance on Sunday.) Archer threw just 42 of 75 pitches for strikes on Wednesday and lasted three laborious innings in a loss. Winder was touched up for four runs (three earned) over 3 ⅓ innings in the series finale, yielding six hits and three free passes. Twins pitching was completely outclassed by that of the Astros, with the rotation setting the tone for a lopsided series sweep. It was the type of stretch that leaves you yearning for a steady veteran hand to go along with the youth movement. Seemingly this was a big part of the motivation in acquiring Paddack just ahead of the season, but now that trade has taken a turn for the worse with his elbow issues resurfacing. Paddack exited his last start due to elbow inflammation, and has since been in the process of consulting specialists and gathering information to determine his next move. Having been placed on the 60-day IL, he'll miss at least a couple of months and it seems likely he'll undergo Tommy John surgery, costing him the rest of the season. Last year in San Diego, Paddack was diagnosed with a partial tear of his UCL, which he tried to pitch through and remedy via non-surgical means. As such, this outcome is hardly shocking. The Twins knew the risks involved when they moved on Paddack, and now it looks like the worst-case scenario will be realized: he's going to contribute very little this year while Taylor Rogers is balling for the Padres. Presumably we'll get more clarity in the coming week concerning the plan for Paddack. If you're seeking an optimistic slant, you could take a look at the example of Twins prospect Blayne Enlow, who underwent Tommy John surgery last June and is now ramping up and returning to action, less than one year later. A similar timeline for Paddack could potentially have him back pitching for the Twins in the first half of next year. But again, we'll need to see the details. One way or another, he has a long road ahead of him. TRENDING STORYLINE With Correa set to return soon, perhaps even in the coming week, it will be interesting to see what the plan is for Lewis. He certainly looks like a guy who belongs in the majors and the Twins aren't necessarily in a position where they should feel comfortable losing his spark. But obviously their superstar free agent will resume everyday shortstop duties once activated. Lewis has the speed to be an asset in the outfield and could probably hold his own at third base, where Urshela hasn't been terribly impressive (offensively, anyway – the defense has been quite spectacular). But Lewis lacks much of any experience playing these positions, and you wonder if the Twins are comfortable letting him learn on the fly in the big leagues. I guess we'll find out soon enough. LOOKING AHEAD An extremely soft section of the schedule is underway, and the Twins need to make hay. They'll open the coming week with a trip out west to face the Athletics, who they swept at home a week ago. Then it's off to Kansas City for a match-up against the Royals. The following 12 games are all against Detroit and KC. After that, the Twins will be running through an AL East gauntlet featuring the Blue Jays, Yankees and Rays, and at that point, they'll have a chance to show their mettle against strong competition after falling woefully short versus Houston. But until then, the goal is just to rattle off victories and build some distance in the Central standings. As I publish this, no starter has been officially announced for Friday but that nod will presumably go to Ober. MONDAY, 5/16: TWINS @ ATHLETICS – RHP Chris Archer v. LHP Zach Logue TUESDAY, 5/17: TWINS @ ATHLETICS – RHP Josh Winder v. RHP James Kaprielian WEDNESDAY, 5/18: TWINS @ ATHLETICS – RHP Sonny Gray v. RHP Daulton Jefferies FRIDAY, 5/20: TWINS @ ROYALS – TBD v. LHP Daniel Lynch SATURDAY, 5/21: TWINS @ ROYALS – RHP Joe Ryan v. RHP Brad Keller SUNDAY, 5/22: TWINS @ ROYALS – RHP Chris Archer v. TBD View full article
  8. Last Week's Game Results: Game 30 | HOU 5, MIN 0: Verlander Dominates Hapless Twins Game 31 | HOU 11, MIN 3: Astros Blast Twins in Suspended Game Game 32 | HOU 5, MIN 0: Lack of Luck, Lots of Runners Stranded Game 33 | MIN 12, CLE 8: Bats Awaken, Snap Losing Streak Game 34 | CLE 3, MIN 2: Offense Absent, Twins Fall in Extras Game 35 | MIN 3, CLE 1: Ryan Rebounds, Twins Take Series Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 5/9 through Sun, 5/15 *** Record Last Week: 2-4 (Overall: 20-15) Run Differential Last Week: -13 (Overall: +12) Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (3.0 GA) NEWS & NOTES The list of news and moves from last week is a long one, so let's just try and rattle through it rapid-fire: Carlos Correa, whose bruised finger wasn't improving fast enough to facilitate a speedy return to action, was placed on the injured list for the sake of roster flexibility. He got in some work over the weekend and is expected to be back relatively soon. Luis Arraez was activated from COVID IL, and played throughout the latter part of the week while showing no ill effects. Dylan Bundy, however, remains sidelined as he recovers from his battle with the virus. He wasn't able to go on Saturday so Devin Smeltzer came up to make his 2022 Twins debut, hurling five innings of one-run ball. Alex Kirilloff returned from rehab, basically out of necessity, but looked completely ineffective as his wrist continues to restrict him. The Twins optioned him back to St. Paul on Saturday and he'll stay there until his bat shows signs of life. Meanwhile, Mark Contreras is up from Triple-A and temporarily providing some outfield depth. Danny Coulombe, whose season was off to a magnificent start, suffered a hip injury on Tuesday that forced him to the shelf. It's another blow to this bullpen, which hopes to get a boost from his replacement: 28-year-old Yennier Canó, called up after a strong run at Triple-A. Jhon Romero was moved to the 60-day IL to create 40-man space. Kyle Garlick embarked upon a rehab stint at Triple-A, with his calf apparently healed. He went 3-for-9 with a homer in St. Paul over the weekend and could rejoin the Twins for their coming road trip. They will be happy to get back his lefty-mashing stick. Also due back this week: Bailey Ober, who threw 72 pitches over five innings in a rehab start on Sunday. He struck out seven with no walks, although he did allow four earned runs. The most impactful health development of the week concerned starting pitcher Chris Paddack, but that one is discouraging enough that we'll save it for the Lowlights section. HIGHLIGHTS While the lineup has largely been struggling, a few players are stepping up in a big way. Jorge Polanco is at the head of that list, with his bat catching fire here in May following a fairly quiet first month. He contributed a homer and two doubles last week, and leads the team with 20 RBIs. In a lineup that's seen almost everyone else miss time, Polanco has been a steady and durable force, appearing in all but one of Minnesota's games so far while easily leading the team in plate appearances. His ankle has sometimes impeded his performance but Polanco's been able to battle through and stay on the field, and it's one of his defining qualities. Dating back to 2019 only eight MLB players have amassed more plate appearances. With Correa sidelined, Royce Lewis has been very impressive while filling in on the other side of second base. Although there have a been a few hiccups defensively, he's mostly made the plays and Lewis is swinging a good bat. The past week saw him notch six hits in 22 at-bats, including his first major-league home run – a grand slam that broke things open in Friday's win over Cleveland. It was a really awesome moment for a kid who is extremely easy to root for. Byron Buxton was great as usual when available, launching a pair of homers against Cleveland over the weekend, but he's still bothered by soreness and occasional swelling in his knee, which is keeping him out of the lineup semi-regularly. With that being the case, the emergence of Gilberto Celestino has been tremendously impactful. Celestino went 4-for-11 with a double last week and is now slashing .333/.396/.417 in 52 plate appearances this year. His defense in the outfield has been beyond exceptional (see below). It would've been hard to imagine, given how overmatched he looked as a rookie last year, but Celestino came right back to the big leagues and is giving the Twins everything they could want out of him as a fourth outfielder. On the pitching side, a heaping share of credit is due to Joe Smith, who's been absolutely brilliant out of the Twins bullpen. The front office's lone MLB free agent addition for this unit has been providing absurd value, making frequent yet short appearances and ALWAYS getting the job done. He worked all three games in the Cleveland series, pitching on back-to-back-to-back days and running his season-opening scoreless streak to 12 ⅓ innings. The two couldn't be much different stylistically, but the 38-year-old sidearmer Smith and the 24-year-old flamethrower Jhoan Duran – who worked two scoreless innings last week and rewrote the franchise record for pitch velocity multiple times – are leading the way in a surprisingly reliable bullpen, ranking first and second on the staff in Win Probability Added. LOWLIGHTS The Astros series served as a stark reality check for the Twins, who'd ridden a major hot streak into a multi-game division lead despite all of their injury trials and setbacks. One-run victories over soft competition will be happily banked, but they're not necessarily the most convincing displays. Facing one of the league's truly elite teams, Minnesota was barely competitive. Even at full strength the Twins are probably not at the level of Houston – yet – and all weaknesses were magnified in their undermanned state. Batting Gary Sánchez third in your lineup against Justin Verlander is ... not what you want. Options were limited, unfortunately, and to some extent they still are. Far from giving the lineup a boost, José Miranda has reverted to his old offensive profile – swing at everything, with lots of weak contact – and it's not playing in the majors, as evidenced by a .114/.152/.227 slash line. Meanwhile, the streaky Ryan Jeffers has gone cold again – he went 3-for-16 last week and doesn't have an XBH since his last homer on May 3rd. Sánchez and Gio Urshela have been mostly unproductive outside of the occasional long ball, with each sporting a sub-.290 OBP. The Twins could desperately use a healthy and effective Kirilloff in the middle of their lineup right now, but that simply isn't in the cards. He's in a weird purgatory with his ailing right wrist, where it's not "injured" enough to merit being on the IL, but it's clearly giving him no chance to succeed at the plate. During his time with the Twins, Kirilloff wasn't generating any loud contact. His batted ball metrics were brutal, with exit velos and launch angles ranking at the bottom of the team – not at all what you expect from a hitter of his caliber. Kirilloff still has not barreled a single ball in the majors this year. All the team can really do at this point is send him to a lower-pressure environment and hope the wrist progressively improves, with results turning around in kind. One wonders if it'd be wise to simply give him some time off from swinging. But that's a difficult ask of a 24-year-old who is trying like hell to get his career going. In addition to an offense that was shut out twice and nearly no-hit, the Houston series was also a harsh one for the rookies and reclamation project in Minnesota's rotation, with Joe Ryan, Chris Archer and Josh Winder all struggling to varying degrees. The patience of the Astros lineup proved too much for these starters. Ryan issued a career-high five walks on Tuesday while coughing up four earned runs in four innings. (To his immense credit, he bounced back with a clean and stellar performance on Sunday.) Archer threw just 42 of 75 pitches for strikes on Wednesday and lasted three laborious innings in a loss. Winder was touched up for four runs (three earned) over 3 ⅓ innings in the series finale, yielding six hits and three free passes. Twins pitching was completely outclassed by that of the Astros, with the rotation setting the tone for a lopsided series sweep. It was the type of stretch that leaves you yearning for a steady veteran hand to go along with the youth movement. Seemingly this was a big part of the motivation in acquiring Paddack just ahead of the season, but now that trade has taken a turn for the worse with his elbow issues resurfacing. Paddack exited his last start due to elbow inflammation, and has since been in the process of consulting specialists and gathering information to determine his next move. Having been placed on the 60-day IL, he'll miss at least a couple of months and it seems likely he'll undergo Tommy John surgery, costing him the rest of the season. Last year in San Diego, Paddack was diagnosed with a partial tear of his UCL, which he tried to pitch through and remedy via non-surgical means. As such, this outcome is hardly shocking. The Twins knew the risks involved when they moved on Paddack, and now it looks like the worst-case scenario will be realized: he's going to contribute very little this year while Taylor Rogers is balling for the Padres. Presumably we'll get more clarity in the coming week concerning the plan for Paddack. If you're seeking an optimistic slant, you could take a look at the example of Twins prospect Blayne Enlow, who underwent Tommy John surgery last June and is now ramping up and returning to action, less than one year later. A similar timeline for Paddack could potentially have him back pitching for the Twins in the first half of next year. But again, we'll need to see the details. One way or another, he has a long road ahead of him. TRENDING STORYLINE With Correa set to return soon, perhaps even in the coming week, it will be interesting to see what the plan is for Lewis. He certainly looks like a guy who belongs in the majors and the Twins aren't necessarily in a position where they should feel comfortable losing his spark. But obviously their superstar free agent will resume everyday shortstop duties once activated. Lewis has the speed to be an asset in the outfield and could probably hold his own at third base, where Urshela hasn't been terribly impressive (offensively, anyway – the defense has been quite spectacular). But Lewis lacks much of any experience playing these positions, and you wonder if the Twins are comfortable letting him learn on the fly in the big leagues. I guess we'll find out soon enough. LOOKING AHEAD An extremely soft section of the schedule is underway, and the Twins need to make hay. They'll open the coming week with a trip out west to face the Athletics, who they swept at home a week ago. Then it's off to Kansas City for a match-up against the Royals. The following 12 games are all against Detroit and KC. After that, the Twins will be running through an AL East gauntlet featuring the Blue Jays, Yankees and Rays, and at that point, they'll have a chance to show their mettle against strong competition after falling woefully short versus Houston. But until then, the goal is just to rattle off victories and build some distance in the Central standings. As I publish this, no starter has been officially announced for Friday but that nod will presumably go to Ober. MONDAY, 5/16: TWINS @ ATHLETICS – RHP Chris Archer v. LHP Zach Logue TUESDAY, 5/17: TWINS @ ATHLETICS – RHP Josh Winder v. RHP James Kaprielian WEDNESDAY, 5/18: TWINS @ ATHLETICS – RHP Sonny Gray v. RHP Daulton Jefferies FRIDAY, 5/20: TWINS @ ROYALS – TBD v. LHP Daniel Lynch SATURDAY, 5/21: TWINS @ ROYALS – RHP Joe Ryan v. RHP Brad Keller SUNDAY, 5/22: TWINS @ ROYALS – RHP Chris Archer v. TBD
  9. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine should rightfully get credit for the team's current success, but eleven players on the current 40-man roster were acquired under the previous regime. So, which players are tied to Bill Smith and Terry Ryan's front offices? Bill Smith Contributions (2007-2011) Smith faced a challenging time in Twins history as he took over the GM role. Torii Hunter was on his way out the door, and the team needed to trade Johan Santana. The Twins lost a Game 163 (2008) and won the division twice (2009-10) during his tenure. Despite these positive results, Smith couldn’t survive the 2011 campaign as the Twins lost 99 games. It was one of the most disappointing seasons in Twins history, but he helped sign three core pieces to the current roster. Smith’s lasting legacy with the Twins connects to the 2009 international signing class, which was tremendous in retrospect. Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, and Max Kepler signed as part of this class. These players have combined for 37.3 total WAR and two All-Star appearances in their big-league careers. Sano’s Twins tenure may conclude in 2022, but Kepler and Polanco are under team control for multiple more seasons. Terry Ryan Contributions (2012-2016) Ryan served as GM for two different stints, so it makes sense for his fingerprints to be all over the Twins organization over the last decade. When taking over from Smith, Ryan got the opportunity to pick the second overall pick, and the organization decided on Byron Buxton. Multiple pitchers were in the conversation for Minnesota, but Buxton has accumulated the fourth-most WAR among players from the 2012 first round. He is now the face of the franchise, and he will be in a Twins uniform for over a decade after Ryan was fired. Minnesota signed Luis Arraez as an international free agent during the 2013 signing class. He has been worth 5.9 WAR in his career while hitting .312/.374/.400 (.748) with a 130 OPS+. Nick Gordon was a top-5 draft pick under the Ryan regime. His professional career hasn’t progressed perfectly, but he has shown the club the value he can provide over the last two seasons. These players look like they will be part of the team’s roster for multiple seasons moving forward. Minnesota’s bullpen picture is also covered with players acquired by Ryan. Tyler Duffey was a fifth-round pick in 2012, and he has been one of the team’s best relievers since 2019. Cody Stashak, a 13th-round pick in 2015, has been terrific to start the 2022 season, and he has yet to become arbitration-eligible. The Twins took Griffin Jax in the 3rd round of the 2016 MLB Draft, Ryan’s last with the organization. This season, he is transitioning to the bullpen, and signs point to him fitting well into his new role. Other prospects on the 40-man roster were also acquired under the Ryan regime. Jovani Moran was a seventh-round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, and he has the potential to be a dominant late-inning reliever. His change-up is a dominant pitch, and it has helped him post a 13.4 K/9 in his minor league career. Jordan Balazovic was a fifth-round pick in 2016, and he currently ranks as Twins Daily’s fifth overall prospect. Entering the season, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus each had him in the back-half of their top-100 prospects. He recently made his Triple-A debut, so there is a good chance his big-league debut will be in 2022. Smith and Ryan might not be regarded highly because of how each left the organization. However, their impact will be felt years after their departure. Besides Buxton, which of these players will provide the most long-term value to the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  10. 10. Jorge Polanco: 30 HR Polanco has become one of Minnesota's most valuable contributors, and he is one of 22 second basemen to hit more than 30 home runs in a season. During the 2019 season, Minnesota coughed up a ninth-inning lead only to have Polanco hit a walk-off in the tenth inning. 9. Joe Mauer: 32 HR Mauer wasn't known for his home run prowess and his best home run season came at the Metrodome. His first walk-off home run was worth the wait as it came in his 14th big-league season. 8. Josh Willingham: 33 HR Willingham's home run prowess gets a little lost because he played on some bad Twins teams. However, he hit one of the most valuable home runs in Target Field history. With the Twins down to their final out, Willingham sent the fans home happy. 7. Nelson Cruz: 36 HR What is left to say about Cruz? His Twins tenure was full of remarkable moments, and he seemed to be the glue behind Minnesota's record-breaking home run season. The Twins don't have a lot of good memories against the Yankees, but his walk-off home run against Aroldis Chapman has to be one of the best. 6. Byron Buxton: 38 HR Buxton's long-term deal means he will continue to move up this list in the years ahead. However, he already hit a memorable home run during the 2022 season. His 469-foot moonshot was the longest walk-off home run in the StatCast era. Which one of these home runs stands out most to you? How high will Buxton get on this list before the end of his career? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. PREVIOUS POSTS IN THE SERIES -Home Run Hitters: 11-15
  11. The Twins are closing in on 1,000 home runs at Target Field and plenty of memorable players have helped them reach this milestone. Here are the players that cracked the back-half of the top-10 and their biggest hits. 10. Jorge Polanco: 30 HR Polanco has become one of Minnesota's most valuable contributors, and he is one of 22 second basemen to hit more than 30 home runs in a season. During the 2019 season, Minnesota coughed up a ninth-inning lead only to have Polanco hit a walk-off in the tenth inning. 9. Joe Mauer: 32 HR Mauer wasn't known for his home run prowess and his best home run season came at the Metrodome. His first walk-off home run was worth the wait as it came in his 14th big-league season. 8. Josh Willingham: 33 HR Willingham's home run prowess gets a little lost because he played on some bad Twins teams. However, he hit one of the most valuable home runs in Target Field history. With the Twins down to their final out, Willingham sent the fans home happy. 7. Nelson Cruz: 36 HR What is left to say about Cruz? His Twins tenure was full of remarkable moments, and he seemed to be the glue behind Minnesota's record-breaking home run season. The Twins don't have a lot of good memories against the Yankees, but his walk-off home run against Aroldis Chapman has to be one of the best. 6. Byron Buxton: 38 HR Buxton's long-term deal means he will continue to move up this list in the years ahead. However, he already hit a memorable home run during the 2022 season. His 469-foot moonshot was the longest walk-off home run in the StatCast era. Which one of these home runs stands out most to you? How high will Buxton get on this list before the end of his career? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. PREVIOUS POSTS IN THE SERIES -Home Run Hitters: 11-15 View full article
  12. Over 19 hours after it started, the second game of the Twins-Astros series mercifully came to an end. Tornado warnings and an impressive storm in the Twin Cities area on Wednesday night caused the suspension of the game after just three innings. On Thursday afternoon, the game finished in a decisive fashion. The final game of the series will begin in approximately 30 minutes. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Chris Archer, 3.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K (75 pitches, 42 strikes, 56%) Home Runs: none Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Offense shows some encouraging signs early, but Archer can't come through Apparently, not having to face Justin Verlander makes a huge difference – who knew? Contrary to Tuesday night, when Minnesota’s first hit of the game came only in the eighth inning, the bats were off to a good start early. Max Kepler doubled to deep right in the Twins’ second at-bat of the game and scored moments later when Jorge Polanco hit a double to the right corner. Starting this game with a couple of good, extra-base hits was a relief for this offense. The Twins hadn’t scored a run since the third inning of the final game of the Oakland series. Polanco hit an RBI single on Sunday, and the Twins went on to hit .137 since. But the Twins needed their starting pitcher to pick up as well, and that didn’t come close to happening tonight. Making his sixth start of the season, Chris Archer hadn’t given up more than two runs in any of his previous five starts, but things were about to change. After a long 1-2-3 first inning, Archer struggled with his command and very quickly gave up the Twins' one-run lead. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel hit back-to-back singles to open the second inning, and both of them scored later on, on a sac fly and a single. José Altuve hit a leadoff home run to right to open the third, and then things definitely spiraled out of control for Archer. He gave up back-to-back walks after the home run, then loaded the bases with a two-out walk to Kyle Tucker. Jeremy Peña hit a liner to right to score two more runs, making it 5-1 Houston. That concluded Archer’s night, making it the fourth consecutive game in which a Twins starter pitches four innings or less. A storm breaks out, and the game gets suspended, set to resume on Thursday A Royce Lewis single to lead off the bottom of the third brought some hope that the Twins could build some momentum offensively, with the top of the order coming next. But José Urquidy retired the side on 13 pitches to end the threat and… the night at Target Field. Before the fourth inning started, with Yennier Cano warming up to make his big league debut, a storm broke out, and the game went into a weather delay. Fans were evacuated from the stands into the concourses and had to wait until the announcement of the game suspension came, roughly one hour after the interruption of the game. Here we go again... After a 15-hour weather delay (aka, suspended game), the Twins and Astros resumed play at 12:10. Big-League Debuts Technically, Yennier Cano made his MLB debut on Wednesday night because he was announced. However, the reality is that he actually made his MLB debut when the game resumed on Thursday. Cano, who had all night to think about it, was impressive. He struck out the first batter he faced, catcher Martin Maldanado. Then he got Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley quickly. In the fifth inning, he got through Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Guerriel without breaking a sweat. He went out for a third inning. Kyle Tucker hit a high home run over the wall in right field to lead off the sixth frame. He got one out in that inning but after a couple of singles, Cody Stashak came on and allowed both inherited runners to score. So in his 2 1/3 innings, he was charged with three runs on three hits. That line is so much worse than how Cano performed. The Twins had a second player make his MLB debut in the game too. When play resumed, Gilberto Celestino had moved from left to center field. Mark Contreras took over in left field. Contreras came to the plate with runners on first and third and nobody out. He swung at the first pitch and hit a ball 105 mph to center. It was caught just in front of the warning track, but the run scored, so Contreras was awarded an RBI on the sacrifice fly. In his next at-bat, Contreras saw a handful of pitches before hitting a bounding grounder up the middle. Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena misplayed it for an error. Contreras later came around to score a run too. His final at-bat ended with a fielder's choice. The Twins are off to a very nice start to their season, but playing against a strong, veteran Astros team without Carlos Correa, and with young pitchers, was always going to be a bit of a reality check. Again, consider the amount of MLB time and at-bats that Alex Kirilloff, Jose Miranda, Gilberto Celestino, Royce Lewis, Mark Contreras, and even Ryan Jeffers have. Yet each of them contributed something in this game and are holding their own. So, you can say it's a reality check to see the Twins lose by a big margin, and that's fair. You can also be really excited about the future of this club, not only this year when Correa and Byron Buxton are back at full strength but for years to come. Along with the pitching pipeline that we are starting to see contribute to the Twins, there are hitters too. It's also OK to acknowledge both. Speaking of firsts... Nick Gordon has played all over the place since joining the Twins last summer. On Thursday, he made his pitching debut. The son of the former All-Star and long-time reliever Tom Gordon, Nick came in to face the Astros with the Twins down 11-3. And, he kept the score right there. For the most part, he lobbed in pitches at 70 mph or so. That said, he hit 87 with one pitch and 88 with another. He got a little help from Gio Urshela, but threw a scoreless frame. What’s Next? In approximately 30 minutes, Josh Winder (1.61 ERA) will try to snap the sequence of bad starts as he takes the mound for the third and final game of this series, facing Luis Garcia (3.45 ERA). Postgame Interview No postgame interviews due to the quick turn-around. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SUN MON TUE WED THU TOT Stashak 34 0 0 0 46 80 Cotton 0 0 58 0 0 58 Cano 0 0 0 0 36 36 Coulombe 0 0 29 IL IL 29 Pagán 28 0 0 0 0 28 Thielbar 20 0 3 0 0 23 Smith 12 0 0 0 0 12 Duffey 9 0 0 0 0 9 Duran 0 0 0 0 0 0 Jax 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  13. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Chris Archer, 3.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K (75 pitches, 42 strikes, 56%) Home Runs: none Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Offense shows some encouraging signs early, but Archer can't come through Apparently, not having to face Justin Verlander makes a huge difference – who knew? Contrary to Tuesday night, when Minnesota’s first hit of the game came only in the eighth inning, the bats were off to a good start early. Max Kepler doubled to deep right in the Twins’ second at-bat of the game and scored moments later when Jorge Polanco hit a double to the right corner. Starting this game with a couple of good, extra-base hits was a relief for this offense. The Twins hadn’t scored a run since the third inning of the final game of the Oakland series. Polanco hit an RBI single on Sunday, and the Twins went on to hit .137 since. But the Twins needed their starting pitcher to pick up as well, and that didn’t come close to happening tonight. Making his sixth start of the season, Chris Archer hadn’t given up more than two runs in any of his previous five starts, but things were about to change. After a long 1-2-3 first inning, Archer struggled with his command and very quickly gave up the Twins' one-run lead. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel hit back-to-back singles to open the second inning, and both of them scored later on, on a sac fly and a single. José Altuve hit a leadoff home run to right to open the third, and then things definitely spiraled out of control for Archer. He gave up back-to-back walks after the home run, then loaded the bases with a two-out walk to Kyle Tucker. Jeremy Peña hit a liner to right to score two more runs, making it 5-1 Houston. That concluded Archer’s night, making it the fourth consecutive game in which a Twins starter pitches four innings or less. A storm breaks out, and the game gets suspended, set to resume on Thursday A Royce Lewis single to lead off the bottom of the third brought some hope that the Twins could build some momentum offensively, with the top of the order coming next. But José Urquidy retired the side on 13 pitches to end the threat and… the night at Target Field. Before the fourth inning started, with Yennier Cano warming up to make his big league debut, a storm broke out, and the game went into a weather delay. Fans were evacuated from the stands into the concourses and had to wait until the announcement of the game suspension came, roughly one hour after the interruption of the game. Here we go again... After a 15-hour weather delay (aka, suspended game), the Twins and Astros resumed play at 12:10. Big-League Debuts Technically, Yennier Cano made his MLB debut on Wednesday night because he was announced. However, the reality is that he actually made his MLB debut when the game resumed on Thursday. Cano, who had all night to think about it, was impressive. He struck out the first batter he faced, catcher Martin Maldanado. Then he got Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley quickly. In the fifth inning, he got through Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Guerriel without breaking a sweat. He went out for a third inning. Kyle Tucker hit a high home run over the wall in right field to lead off the sixth frame. He got one out in that inning but after a couple of singles, Cody Stashak came on and allowed both inherited runners to score. So in his 2 1/3 innings, he was charged with three runs on three hits. That line is so much worse than how Cano performed. The Twins had a second player make his MLB debut in the game too. When play resumed, Gilberto Celestino had moved from left to center field. Mark Contreras took over in left field. Contreras came to the plate with runners on first and third and nobody out. He swung at the first pitch and hit a ball 105 mph to center. It was caught just in front of the warning track, but the run scored, so Contreras was awarded an RBI on the sacrifice fly. In his next at-bat, Contreras saw a handful of pitches before hitting a bounding grounder up the middle. Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena misplayed it for an error. Contreras later came around to score a run too. His final at-bat ended with a fielder's choice. The Twins are off to a very nice start to their season, but playing against a strong, veteran Astros team without Carlos Correa, and with young pitchers, was always going to be a bit of a reality check. Again, consider the amount of MLB time and at-bats that Alex Kirilloff, Jose Miranda, Gilberto Celestino, Royce Lewis, Mark Contreras, and even Ryan Jeffers have. Yet each of them contributed something in this game and are holding their own. So, you can say it's a reality check to see the Twins lose by a big margin, and that's fair. You can also be really excited about the future of this club, not only this year when Correa and Byron Buxton are back at full strength but for years to come. Along with the pitching pipeline that we are starting to see contribute to the Twins, there are hitters too. It's also OK to acknowledge both. Speaking of firsts... Nick Gordon has played all over the place since joining the Twins last summer. On Thursday, he made his pitching debut. The son of the former All-Star and long-time reliever Tom Gordon, Nick came in to face the Astros with the Twins down 11-3. And, he kept the score right there. For the most part, he lobbed in pitches at 70 mph or so. That said, he hit 87 with one pitch and 88 with another. He got a little help from Gio Urshela, but threw a scoreless frame. What’s Next? In approximately 30 minutes, Josh Winder (1.61 ERA) will try to snap the sequence of bad starts as he takes the mound for the third and final game of this series, facing Luis Garcia (3.45 ERA). Postgame Interview No postgame interviews due to the quick turn-around. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SUN MON TUE WED THU TOT Stashak 34 0 0 0 46 80 Cotton 0 0 58 0 0 58 Cano 0 0 0 0 36 36 Coulombe 0 0 29 IL IL 29 Pagán 28 0 0 0 0 28 Thielbar 20 0 3 0 0 23 Smith 12 0 0 0 0 12 Duffey 9 0 0 0 0 9 Duran 0 0 0 0 0 0 Jax 0 0 0 0 0 0
  14. The Astros beat the Twins 5-0 on Tuesday as Justin Verlander was five outs away from a no-hitter. The loss moves the Twins to 18-12 on the season. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ryan 4 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 3 K Homeruns: None Bottom 3 WPA: Ryan -.209, Urshela -.069, Kepler -.068 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Tuesday’s game was billed as one of the best pitching matchups of the season, as Joe Ryan took on Justin Verlander. Entering the contest, the pitchers had remarkably similar statistics on the year, while the Twins and Astros had identical 18-11 records. The Astros made Joe Ryan work in the first inning. Despite this, he pitched around a walk of Alex Bregman to manage a scoreless frame. Justin Verlander, despite Gary Sanchez's scalding a line drive to left field, managed a hitless first inning of his own. Ryan struggled in the top of the second, surrendering a leadoff hit before walking Kyle Tucker for his second free pass in as many innings. After a fly ball moved Yuli Gurriel to third, a Jeremy Pena groundout gave the Astros a 1-0 lead. Verlander, meanwhile, continued to cruise, retiring the side in order to sit at just 23 pitches after two hitless innings. In the fourth inning, Ryan walked Kyle Tucker with one out. Tucker stole second and came around to score on a bloop single from Pena with two outs. Ryan struck out Martin Maldonado to end the fourth inning trailing 2-0. Ryan had poor command and did not look sharp on Tuesday. It’s perhaps a testament to him that he managed to keep the game close, despite walking four and throwing 83 pitches through four innings. Verlander sat at just 43 pitches through four hitless innings. The Twins produced poor at-bats against the future Hall-of-Famer, but he also threw 81% strikes. A Jose Altuve bloop single and Joe Ryan’s fifth walk of the game led off the fifth inning for Houston. An Alex Bregman double increased the lead to 3-0 with runners of second and third and none out and ended Ryan’s night, undoubtedly his most disappointing outing of the season. Danny Coulombe entered the game and managed to limit the damage to just one more run. The Twins entered the bottom of the fifth inning trailing 4-0. Verlander allowed his first base runner in the fifth inning when Jorge Polanco walked. Gio Urshela promptly grounded into a double play to immediately end any inkling of Twins resistance. In the sixth inning, Coulombe exited the game, the latest in a litany of injured players. He was replaced by Jharel Cotton. The Astros tacked on another run, pushing the score to 5-0. Gilberto Celestino took the Twins' second walk of the game in the sixth inning but he was thrown out trying to take second base on an errant pitch from Verlander, who faced the minimum through six innings. Jharel Cotton continued to pitch admirably for the Twins as he was asked to eat as many innings as possible to preserve the bullpen through the rest of the series. He pitched scoreless seventh and eight innings. Verlander finally lost his no-hit bid with one out in the eighth inning. Gio Urshela punched an opposite field single to give the Twins just their third base runner of the game. The crowd sounded their appreciation, both for Urshela, and Verlander's masterful performance. Tuesday's game was the second time this season the Twins were at risk of being no-hit by a future Hall of Fame pitcher. Royce Lewis grounded into a double play to erase the runner, and get Verlander through eight one-hit innings, striking out five. The Twins managed to get two runners aboard in the bottom of the ninth, advancing a runner to second base for the first time in the game! Jose Miranda flew out to centerfield to complete the shutout for the Astros. the loss dropped the Twins to 18-12 on the season. If nothing else, the Astros effortless swatting of the Twins on Tuesday emphasized the easy ride Minnesota has had with their recent schedule. A lineup without Buxton, Arraez, and Correa looked toothless. The Astros provided the first stern test for a severely undermanned Twins team. Verlander was brilliant. The Twins failed comprehensively. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Cotton 0 0 0 0 58 58 Pagán 28 0 28 0 0 56 Coulombe 0 12 0 0 29 41 Stashak 0 0 34 0 0 34 Duran 0 31 0 0 0 31 Thielbar 0 0 20 0 3 23 Duffey 11 0 9 0 0 20 Jax 0 19 0 0 0 19 Smith 6 0 12 0 0 18 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against the Astros. Chris Archer will start for Minnesota while José Urquidy starts for Houston. The first pitch is at 6:40 CT Postgame Interviews - Coming Soon View full article
  15. Bill Smith Contributions (2007-2011) Smith faced a challenging time in Twins history as he took over the GM role. Torii Hunter was on his way out the door, and the team needed to trade Johan Santana. The Twins lost a Game 163 (2008) and won the division twice (2009-10) during his tenure. Despite these positive results, Smith couldn’t survive the 2011 campaign as the Twins lost 99 games. It was one of the most disappointing seasons in Twins history, but he helped sign three core pieces to the current roster. Smith’s lasting legacy with the Twins connects to the 2009 international signing class, which was tremendous in retrospect. Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, and Max Kepler signed as part of this class. These players have combined for 37.3 total WAR and two All-Star appearances in their big-league careers. Sano’s Twins tenure may conclude in 2022, but Kepler and Polanco are under team control for multiple more seasons. Terry Ryan Contributions (2012-2016) Ryan served as GM for two different stints, so it makes sense for his fingerprints to be all over the Twins organization over the last decade. When taking over from Smith, Ryan got the opportunity to pick the second overall pick, and the organization decided on Byron Buxton. Multiple pitchers were in the conversation for Minnesota, but Buxton has accumulated the fourth-most WAR among players from the 2012 first round. He is now the face of the franchise, and he will be in a Twins uniform for over a decade after Ryan was fired. Minnesota signed Luis Arraez as an international free agent during the 2013 signing class. He has been worth 5.9 WAR in his career while hitting .312/.374/.400 (.748) with a 130 OPS+. Nick Gordon was a top-5 draft pick under the Ryan regime. His professional career hasn’t progressed perfectly, but he has shown the club the value he can provide over the last two seasons. These players look like they will be part of the team’s roster for multiple seasons moving forward. Minnesota’s bullpen picture is also covered with players acquired by Ryan. Tyler Duffey was a fifth-round pick in 2012, and he has been one of the team’s best relievers since 2019. Cody Stashak, a 13th-round pick in 2015, has been terrific to start the 2022 season, and he has yet to become arbitration-eligible. The Twins took Griffin Jax in the 3rd round of the 2016 MLB Draft, Ryan’s last with the organization. This season, he is transitioning to the bullpen, and signs point to him fitting well into his new role. Other prospects on the 40-man roster were also acquired under the Ryan regime. Jovani Moran was a seventh-round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, and he has the potential to be a dominant late-inning reliever. His change-up is a dominant pitch, and it has helped him post a 13.4 K/9 in his minor league career. Jordan Balazovic was a fifth-round pick in 2016, and he currently ranks as Twins Daily’s fifth overall prospect. Entering the season, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus each had him in the back-half of their top-100 prospects. He recently made his Triple-A debut, so there is a good chance his big-league debut will be in 2022. Smith and Ryan might not be regarded highly because of how each left the organization. However, their impact will be felt years after their departure. Besides Buxton, which of these players will provide the most long-term value to the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  16. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ryan 4 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 3 K Homeruns: None Bottom 3 WPA: Ryan -.209, Urshela -.069, Kepler -.068 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Tuesday’s game was billed as one of the best pitching matchups of the season, as Joe Ryan took on Justin Verlander. Entering the contest, the pitchers had remarkably similar statistics on the year, while the Twins and Astros had identical 18-11 records. The Astros made Joe Ryan work in the first inning. Despite this, he pitched around a walk of Alex Bregman to manage a scoreless frame. Justin Verlander, despite Gary Sanchez's scalding a line drive to left field, managed a hitless first inning of his own. Ryan struggled in the top of the second, surrendering a leadoff hit before walking Kyle Tucker for his second free pass in as many innings. After a fly ball moved Yuli Gurriel to third, a Jeremy Pena groundout gave the Astros a 1-0 lead. Verlander, meanwhile, continued to cruise, retiring the side in order to sit at just 23 pitches after two hitless innings. In the fourth inning, Ryan walked Kyle Tucker with one out. Tucker stole second and came around to score on a bloop single from Pena with two outs. Ryan struck out Martin Maldonado to end the fourth inning trailing 2-0. Ryan had poor command and did not look sharp on Tuesday. It’s perhaps a testament to him that he managed to keep the game close, despite walking four and throwing 83 pitches through four innings. Verlander sat at just 43 pitches through four hitless innings. The Twins produced poor at-bats against the future Hall-of-Famer, but he also threw 81% strikes. A Jose Altuve bloop single and Joe Ryan’s fifth walk of the game led off the fifth inning for Houston. An Alex Bregman double increased the lead to 3-0 with runners of second and third and none out and ended Ryan’s night, undoubtedly his most disappointing outing of the season. Danny Coulombe entered the game and managed to limit the damage to just one more run. The Twins entered the bottom of the fifth inning trailing 4-0. Verlander allowed his first base runner in the fifth inning when Jorge Polanco walked. Gio Urshela promptly grounded into a double play to immediately end any inkling of Twins resistance. In the sixth inning, Coulombe exited the game, the latest in a litany of injured players. He was replaced by Jharel Cotton. The Astros tacked on another run, pushing the score to 5-0. Gilberto Celestino took the Twins' second walk of the game in the sixth inning but he was thrown out trying to take second base on an errant pitch from Verlander, who faced the minimum through six innings. Jharel Cotton continued to pitch admirably for the Twins as he was asked to eat as many innings as possible to preserve the bullpen through the rest of the series. He pitched scoreless seventh and eight innings. Verlander finally lost his no-hit bid with one out in the eighth inning. Gio Urshela punched an opposite field single to give the Twins just their third base runner of the game. The crowd sounded their appreciation, both for Urshela, and Verlander's masterful performance. Tuesday's game was the second time this season the Twins were at risk of being no-hit by a future Hall of Fame pitcher. Royce Lewis grounded into a double play to erase the runner, and get Verlander through eight one-hit innings, striking out five. The Twins managed to get two runners aboard in the bottom of the ninth, advancing a runner to second base for the first time in the game! Jose Miranda flew out to centerfield to complete the shutout for the Astros. the loss dropped the Twins to 18-12 on the season. If nothing else, the Astros effortless swatting of the Twins on Tuesday emphasized the easy ride Minnesota has had with their recent schedule. A lineup without Buxton, Arraez, and Correa looked toothless. The Astros provided the first stern test for a severely undermanned Twins team. Verlander was brilliant. The Twins failed comprehensively. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Cotton 0 0 0 0 58 58 Pagán 28 0 28 0 0 56 Coulombe 0 12 0 0 29 41 Stashak 0 0 34 0 0 34 Duran 0 31 0 0 0 31 Thielbar 0 0 20 0 3 23 Duffey 11 0 9 0 0 20 Jax 0 19 0 0 0 19 Smith 6 0 12 0 0 18 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against the Astros. Chris Archer will start for Minnesota while José Urquidy starts for Houston. The first pitch is at 6:40 CT Postgame Interviews - Coming Soon
  17. Chris Paddack had a short start, but the Twins bullpen continued to be incredible. They threw six zeroes on the board to close out the win on Sunday. Jorge Polanco had the big hit in the third inning. The Twins won their ninth straight game at Target Field. The A's lost their ninth straight game. Box Score SP: Chris Paddack: 2 1/3 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (55 pitches, 41 strikes (74.5%) Home Runs: None Top 3 WPA: Emilio Pagan (0.150), Jorge Polanco (0.146), Gilberto Celestino (0.124) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Pregame Notes Injuries and ‘day-to-day’ nagging injuries are adding up, and that continued on Sunday. In the morning, the team announced that outfielder Trevor Larnach was being placed on the Injured List with a right adductor strain. To take his place, the Twins recalled catcher Jose Godoy. In 22 games this year, Larnach has hit .313/.365/.448 (.813) with nine doubles. He has been hitting most everything hard. Hopefully it’s just a 10-day injury and he can get back into the lineup shortly. It’s also fair to ask why Godoy would be brought up? Sure. However, he is the only hitter on the 40-man roster, and it would make no sense to take someone off the 40-man roster, add someone else, when it's likely a couple of hitters will be playing again on Tuesday. Paddack Leaves with Injury Chris Paddack started the game strong. He struck out the first two batters, but after a couple of soft singles, Chad Pinder lined a single that gave the A’s a 1-0 lead. In the second inning, he had a strikeout, a weak line out, and a ground out. He started the third inning with a strikeout as well. But after Sheldon Neuse hit a single and Sean Murphy doubled, trainer Michael Salazar was summoned to the mound. After a couple of questions, Paddack was removed from the game without even attempting a practice throw off the mound. With two runners on, Cody Stashak came into the game. He gave up a single that scored both inherited runners before getting out of the inning. Obviously, we can hope for the best. Paddack has looked really good so far this season. On Sunday, he was sitting 93-95 mph and had a pitch hit 95.8 mph. His breaking ball has been much improved and his changeup remains a really good pitch. In the middle innings, we learned that he was removed from the game with “right elbow inflammation.” That’s pretty vague, and with his history of elbow issues, they will certainly continue to evaluate and do all the needed imaging. Twins starting pitching has been good to this point in the season, much better than expected. They really have had seven starting pitchers on their roster. Sonny Gray just returned from a hamstring injury. Bailey Ober is on the IL with a groin injury. Dylan Bundy is on the Covid-IL. The Twins have good starting pitching depth, but that’s only true until it isn’t. Get ‘em Back The best way to respond after a tough top of the third inning, not only falling behind 3-1 but also losing their starting pitcher is to put up some runs. The Twins did just that in the bottom of the third inning. With runners on first and third and one out, Jose Miranda doubled down the left-field line to score one run. Then came Jorge Polanco, and he dropped a 72.5 mph single in front of the left fielder. Miranda read it well and scored from second to give the Twins a 4-3 lead. Polanco now has a nine-game hitting streak. Celebrating Celestino A year ago, Gilberto Celestino had barely played above Low-A ball when the Twins were desperate in the outfield and called him up because he was on the 40-man roster. Celestino had ended the 2019 season with eight games in High-A Ft. Myers. He missed the entire 2020 season, though he was at the alternate site. Then he began the 2021 season with 21 games at Double-A Wichita before being called up. No surprise that he struggled. In 23 games last year with the Twins, he hit just .136/.177/.288 (.466). He was set to begin the 2022 season in St. Paul, but he ended up on the Opening Day roster, playing little. He was sent to the Saints, but after just two games, he was needed at Target Field again. And he has been a major contributor. On Sunday, he had three more hits and ended the day hitting .324/.390/.405 (.796) with three doubles. He has at least one hit in eight of his past nine games. Over that time, he is 11-for-27 (.407). With the Twins being cautious with Byron Buxton, Celestino has been given opportunities in center field, and he has done well out there too. Bullpen Big Again While Stashak allowed his inherited runners to score, he was very good. He gave up just one hit over 2 2/3 innings. Caleb Thielbar came in for the sixth inning. He walked the leadoff batter but then struck out the next three hitters. Joe Smith faced three batters in a scoreless seventh frame. Tyler Duffey needed nine pitches to close out the eighth inning. And, Emilio Pagan came in for the ninth inning. Of course, runners got to second and third, but he did not allow a run and recorded the save. When you sweep a series by scores of 2-1, 1-0, and 4-3, the bullpen has to perform under stress, and they have certainly done that! The Defense of Lewis Royce Lewis made all the plays this weekend at shortstop. On Sunday, he made a play early in the game, deep in the hole, and threw a perfect, one-hop throw across the diamond to Alex Kirilloff for an out. It's such a smart play, and one we have seen Carlos Correa make a couple of times already this season. In the eighth inning, the leadoff batter hit a slow roller toward short. Lewis charged, bare-handed it, and uncoiled a perfect throw to first for a big out. From what we have seen, both this weekend and in the first month at St. Paul, Royce Lewis can play shortstop in the big leagues. He won't always be perfect. There will be errors, but it's good to know that he can stick there. Lewis had one hit in all three games this weekend. He went 3-for-10 (.300). Do you know when the last time that a Twins' hitter had a hit in each of his first three games? In May of 2019, Luis Arraez did it. What’s Next? The Twins will enjoy a day off at home on Monday. The Twins have been playing well, but the aches and pains are catching up so a day off is really needed. On Tuesday, the Astros will come to town for a three-game series. Tuesday: Joe Ryan (3-1, 1.63 ERA) vs TBA Wednesday: Chris Archer (0-0, 3.26 ERA) vs TBA Thursday: Josh Winder (2-0, 1.61 ERA) vs TBA Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Pagán 0 0 28 0 28 56 Coulombe 26 0 0 12 0 38 Thielbar 0 18 0 0 20 38 Jax 0 15 0 19 0 34 Stashak 0 0 0 0 34 34 Duran 0 0 0 31 0 31 Duffey 0 0 11 0 9 20 Smith 0 0 6 0 12 18 View full article
  18. The Minnesota Twins beat the A's 4-3 to earn the sweep, as Jorge Polanco delivered what ended up as the go-ahead two-run hit in the third inning. Starter Chris Paddack had to exit early due to injury but the bullpen stepped up and provided 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball. Other players featured in tonight's recap include Jose Miranda, Royce Lewis, Gilberto Celestino, Yennier Cano, Austin Martin, Sawyer Gipson-Long, Anthony Prato and more.
  19. The Minnesota Twins beat the A's 4-3 to earn the sweep, as Jorge Polanco delivered what ended up as the go-ahead two-run hit in the third inning. Starter Chris Paddack had to exit early due to injury but the bullpen stepped up and provided 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball. Other players featured in tonight's recap include Jose Miranda, Royce Lewis, Gilberto Celestino, Yennier Cano, Austin Martin, Sawyer Gipson-Long, Anthony Prato and more. View full video
  20. Box Score SP: Chris Paddack: 2 1/3 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (55 pitches, 41 strikes (74.5%) Home Runs: None Top 3 WPA: Emilio Pagan (0.150), Jorge Polanco (0.146), Gilberto Celestino (0.124) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Pregame Notes Injuries and ‘day-to-day’ nagging injuries are adding up, and that continued on Sunday. In the morning, the team announced that outfielder Trevor Larnach was being placed on the Injured List with a right adductor strain. To take his place, the Twins recalled catcher Jose Godoy. In 22 games this year, Larnach has hit .313/.365/.448 (.813) with nine doubles. He has been hitting most everything hard. Hopefully it’s just a 10-day injury and he can get back into the lineup shortly. It’s also fair to ask why Godoy would be brought up? Sure. However, he is the only hitter on the 40-man roster, and it would make no sense to take someone off the 40-man roster, add someone else, when it's likely a couple of hitters will be playing again on Tuesday. Paddack Leaves with Injury Chris Paddack started the game strong. He struck out the first two batters, but after a couple of soft singles, Chad Pinder lined a single that gave the A’s a 1-0 lead. In the second inning, he had a strikeout, a weak line out, and a ground out. He started the third inning with a strikeout as well. But after Sheldon Neuse hit a single and Sean Murphy doubled, trainer Michael Salazar was summoned to the mound. After a couple of questions, Paddack was removed from the game without even attempting a practice throw off the mound. With two runners on, Cody Stashak came into the game. He gave up a single that scored both inherited runners before getting out of the inning. Obviously, we can hope for the best. Paddack has looked really good so far this season. On Sunday, he was sitting 93-95 mph and had a pitch hit 95.8 mph. His breaking ball has been much improved and his changeup remains a really good pitch. In the middle innings, we learned that he was removed from the game with “right elbow inflammation.” That’s pretty vague, and with his history of elbow issues, they will certainly continue to evaluate and do all the needed imaging. Twins starting pitching has been good to this point in the season, much better than expected. They really have had seven starting pitchers on their roster. Sonny Gray just returned from a hamstring injury. Bailey Ober is on the IL with a groin injury. Dylan Bundy is on the Covid-IL. The Twins have good starting pitching depth, but that’s only true until it isn’t. Get ‘em Back The best way to respond after a tough top of the third inning, not only falling behind 3-1 but also losing their starting pitcher is to put up some runs. The Twins did just that in the bottom of the third inning. With runners on first and third and one out, Jose Miranda doubled down the left-field line to score one run. Then came Jorge Polanco, and he dropped a 72.5 mph single in front of the left fielder. Miranda read it well and scored from second to give the Twins a 4-3 lead. Polanco now has a nine-game hitting streak. Celebrating Celestino A year ago, Gilberto Celestino had barely played above Low-A ball when the Twins were desperate in the outfield and called him up because he was on the 40-man roster. Celestino had ended the 2019 season with eight games in High-A Ft. Myers. He missed the entire 2020 season, though he was at the alternate site. Then he began the 2021 season with 21 games at Double-A Wichita before being called up. No surprise that he struggled. In 23 games last year with the Twins, he hit just .136/.177/.288 (.466). He was set to begin the 2022 season in St. Paul, but he ended up on the Opening Day roster, playing little. He was sent to the Saints, but after just two games, he was needed at Target Field again. And he has been a major contributor. On Sunday, he had three more hits and ended the day hitting .324/.390/.405 (.796) with three doubles. He has at least one hit in eight of his past nine games. Over that time, he is 11-for-27 (.407). With the Twins being cautious with Byron Buxton, Celestino has been given opportunities in center field, and he has done well out there too. Bullpen Big Again While Stashak allowed his inherited runners to score, he was very good. He gave up just one hit over 2 2/3 innings. Caleb Thielbar came in for the sixth inning. He walked the leadoff batter but then struck out the next three hitters. Joe Smith faced three batters in a scoreless seventh frame. Tyler Duffey needed nine pitches to close out the eighth inning. And, Emilio Pagan came in for the ninth inning. Of course, runners got to second and third, but he did not allow a run and recorded the save. When you sweep a series by scores of 2-1, 1-0, and 4-3, the bullpen has to perform under stress, and they have certainly done that! The Defense of Lewis Royce Lewis made all the plays this weekend at shortstop. On Sunday, he made a play early in the game, deep in the hole, and threw a perfect, one-hop throw across the diamond to Alex Kirilloff for an out. It's such a smart play, and one we have seen Carlos Correa make a couple of times already this season. In the eighth inning, the leadoff batter hit a slow roller toward short. Lewis charged, bare-handed it, and uncoiled a perfect throw to first for a big out. From what we have seen, both this weekend and in the first month at St. Paul, Royce Lewis can play shortstop in the big leagues. He won't always be perfect. There will be errors, but it's good to know that he can stick there. Lewis had one hit in all three games this weekend. He went 3-for-10 (.300). Do you know when the last time that a Twins' hitter had a hit in each of his first three games? In May of 2019, Luis Arraez did it. What’s Next? The Twins will enjoy a day off at home on Monday. The Twins have been playing well, but the aches and pains are catching up so a day off is really needed. On Tuesday, the Astros will come to town for a three-game series. Tuesday: Joe Ryan (3-1, 1.63 ERA) vs TBA Wednesday: Chris Archer (0-0, 3.26 ERA) vs TBA Thursday: Josh Winder (2-0, 1.61 ERA) vs TBA Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Pagán 0 0 28 0 28 56 Coulombe 26 0 0 12 0 38 Thielbar 0 18 0 0 20 38 Jax 0 15 0 19 0 34 Stashak 0 0 0 0 34 34 Duran 0 0 0 31 0 31 Duffey 0 0 11 0 9 20 Smith 0 0 6 0 12 18
  21. With the shortened season, injuries were a foregone conclusion. All 30 teams across MLB are feeling the sting of a shortened spring training, but players are starting to bounce back and make their comebacks. For the Twins, the fans couldn’t be more excited to see Sonny Gray making a start on Saturday, alongside the Minnesota Twins (nearly) homegrown line-up. Box Score SP: Sonny Gray 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K (66 pitches, 42 strikes (63.6%)) Home Runs: Jorge Polanco (3) Top 3 WPA: Jhoan Duran (.265), Sonny Gray (.205), Jorge Polanco (.159) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Welcome Back Sonny Sonny Gray has had a less than great start since coming to the Twins organization in a trade after the lockout. His much-anticipated acquisition meant some rounding out to the pitching rotation. Gray came from Cincinnati in March in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Chase Petty, Gray brings a source of veteran leadership to the rotation and a player to watch, but he has been sidelined much of the early season. He wasn’t nearly as stretched out as his teammates at the conclusion of spring training and ultimately ended up with a right hamstring injury early in the season. The discomfort was obvious on his face as he stepped back off the mound in the second inning and ultimately out of the rotation. Gray has only pitched one game at Target Field, against Seattle. He missed the last 19 games. During his IL stint, the pitcher rehabbed his hamstring and made one rehab start for Low-A Fort Myers last weekend. He pitched three shutout innings with one hit allowed and five strikeouts. He hasn’t left the team except for that one rehab game. He’s been with them in Florida and Baltimore, so instead of taking the starting position in St. Paul today, he returned to the mound on Saturday. In his first inning, he looked composed, loose, and settled in by the second batter, bouncing back from 3-0 count on Chad Pinder to strike him out. The outfield assisted in Gray getting through his first inning, giving him a quick 1-2-3 to his start back with the team. Gray continued to pinpoint his pitches and left the game with 66 pitches. The plan was for him to be around 65 pitches. Considering this is his first game back and throwing four shutout innings and allowing only one hit, this seemed to be like the time to pull him and let the bullpen take over. The bullpen continued to keep the game right where Gray left it. Home Grown Lineup... until it wasn't For a short time, the line-up that complimented Sonny Gray’s return was a homegrown Twins farm system team. For all the years that the Twins fans have spent frustrated with the front office, this lineup is a product of patience and hard work. Players like Trevor Larnach, Jose Miranda and Royce Lewis who have all put up outstanding numbers in the minors only to come-up to the Twins and show why they deserve to be on the 40-man. This was the original lineup. Jayce Tingler who has stepped up for Rocco Baldelli who is currently quarantining in Baltimore, has done a good job steering the ship and making good lineup and in-game decisions. This is exactly what happened after the "home-grown lineup" was announced, Trevor Larnach was sidelined with lower body tightness. Gary Sanchez replaced him in the lineup. Hopefully, we will get a chance for that lineup again, but it was fun to see and awesome to know how much homegrown depth there is.. Joining the crew on Friday was Alex Kirilloff. He didn't play on Friday night, but on Saturday, he batted eighth. Considering he had surgery that ended his 2021 season on that joint last July, there was some concern it would be more than just inflammation. This latest injury didn’t turn out to be anything structural. He started his rehab assignment with St. Paul on April 31st and played four games in St. Paul before being activated from the IL on Friday. Polanco the under-rated All-Star Jorge Polanco has been flying under the radar and while carrying a batting average of .211, he has an eight-game hitting streak, and six of his last fourteen RBIs in two games alone (May 1st and May 3rd). In his appearance against the Rays on May 1st, Polanco went 4-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI, rocketing the Twins to a 9-3 win. Among the stars of the Twins team, Polanco is potentially one of the better players on the team that doesn’t get talked about enough. He also doesn’t talk about himself. He is focused on being a team member and contributing to the game overall. He sets goals for himself that he doesn’t talk about, and even with solid defense and hitting, he still doesn’t reach all his goals. In a previous press conference Manager, Rocco Baldelli talked about the significance that Polanco has on the field. "He's such a solid contributor for us on the field," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "He does everything almost kind of under the radar. Personality-wise, he's a wonderful human being, but he's a quiet guy, and that's just who he is. So we probably don't talk about him enough." And just as this writer was deep-diving into Polanco’s stats, Polanco hit his third home run of the year, 451 feet according to Baseball Savant off of Kaprielian’s slider to center field to give the Twins a 1-0 lead in the sixth. Close Calls and a Marginal Lead Things started to heat up in the seventh inning as it looked like the Athletics were going to get into the action after a deep liner to center field that slid between Buxton and Nick Gordon, allowing Christian Bethancourt to get a double. The A’s momentum was brought to a screeching halt when Max Kepler stopped a fly ball by Brian McKinney to end the inning. In the bottom of the eighth, Royce Lewis got the second hit of his MLB career, a double off the wall in right-center. He was promptly picked off when a bunt was missed. Even with a challenge to New York, the call remained, and a frustrated Lewis returned to the dugout. Pitcher A.J. Puk had a tough time in the eighth, bobbling a ball hit back to him off of the bat of Gilberto Celestino who advanced to first and waited for a chance to advance, but to no avail. Heading into the ninth, the Twins had no insurance runs and a marginal lead, but Jhoan Duran came back out to finish what he started in the eighth frame. It wasn't without stress though. Just like Friday's game, this game brought extra anxiety in the ninth as Duran walked a batter and then hit another. The last out seemed to take forever. As Ryan Jeffers framed strike two to Bethancourt, the Twins were looking at one remaining strike to complete the game. Bethancourt continued to foul-off balls prolonging the pain of the ninth before Duran threw him with a 100mph fastball to get him swinging to end the game! Sonny Gray and the bullpen pulled off a combined shutout and guarantee a series win. Can they come back tomorrow and complete the sweep? Who is your favorite reliever in our Bullpen right now? Are you nervous about all the ninth inning bases loaded? What’s Next? The Twins finish up the series tomorrow on Mother’s day against Oakland before Houston arrives at Target Field. Pitching matchups for the series include: Sunday 1:10 central: Chris Paddack (1-2, 3.15 ERA) vs RHP Dalton Jefferies (1-4, 4.81 ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Coulombe 0 26 0 0 12 38 Thielbar 18 0 18 0 0 36 Jax 0 0 15 0 19 34 Duran 0 0 0 0 31 31 Duffey 18 0 0 11 0 29 Pagán 0 0 0 28 0 28 Stashak 11 0 0 0 0 11 Smith 0 0 0 6 0 6 Sands 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  22. The Minnesota Twins beat the A's 1-0 Saturday behind a masterful pitching performance from Sonny Gray, Danny Coulombe, Griffin Jax and Jhoan Duran. Jorge Polanco hit a long home run to center for the only run of the game. Down on the farm, Jordan Balazovic made his Triple-A debut in St. Paul. Also featured in tonight's video are Royce Lewis, Kevin Merrell, Simeon Woods Richardson, Austin Martin, Spencer Steer, Anthony Prato, Will Holland, Aaron Sabato, Cade Povich and Blayne Enlow. View full video
  23. The Minnesota Twins beat the A's 1-0 Saturday behind a masterful pitching performance from Sonny Gray, Danny Coulombe, Griffin Jax and Jhoan Duran. Jorge Polanco hit a long home run to center for the only run of the game. Down on the farm, Jordan Balazovic made his Triple-A debut in St. Paul. Also featured in tonight's video are Royce Lewis, Kevin Merrell, Simeon Woods Richardson, Austin Martin, Spencer Steer, Anthony Prato, Will Holland, Aaron Sabato, Cade Povich and Blayne Enlow.
  24. Box Score SP: Sonny Gray 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K (66 pitches, 42 strikes (63.6%)) Home Runs: Jorge Polanco (3) Top 3 WPA: Jhoan Duran (.265), Sonny Gray (.205), Jorge Polanco (.159) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Welcome Back Sonny Sonny Gray has had a less than great start since coming to the Twins organization in a trade after the lockout. His much-anticipated acquisition meant some rounding out to the pitching rotation. Gray came from Cincinnati in March in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Chase Petty, Gray brings a source of veteran leadership to the rotation and a player to watch, but he has been sidelined much of the early season. He wasn’t nearly as stretched out as his teammates at the conclusion of spring training and ultimately ended up with a right hamstring injury early in the season. The discomfort was obvious on his face as he stepped back off the mound in the second inning and ultimately out of the rotation. Gray has only pitched one game at Target Field, against Seattle. He missed the last 19 games. During his IL stint, the pitcher rehabbed his hamstring and made one rehab start for Low-A Fort Myers last weekend. He pitched three shutout innings with one hit allowed and five strikeouts. He hasn’t left the team except for that one rehab game. He’s been with them in Florida and Baltimore, so instead of taking the starting position in St. Paul today, he returned to the mound on Saturday. In his first inning, he looked composed, loose, and settled in by the second batter, bouncing back from 3-0 count on Chad Pinder to strike him out. The outfield assisted in Gray getting through his first inning, giving him a quick 1-2-3 to his start back with the team. Gray continued to pinpoint his pitches and left the game with 66 pitches. The plan was for him to be around 65 pitches. Considering this is his first game back and throwing four shutout innings and allowing only one hit, this seemed to be like the time to pull him and let the bullpen take over. The bullpen continued to keep the game right where Gray left it. Home Grown Lineup... until it wasn't For a short time, the line-up that complimented Sonny Gray’s return was a homegrown Twins farm system team. For all the years that the Twins fans have spent frustrated with the front office, this lineup is a product of patience and hard work. Players like Trevor Larnach, Jose Miranda and Royce Lewis who have all put up outstanding numbers in the minors only to come-up to the Twins and show why they deserve to be on the 40-man. This was the original lineup. Jayce Tingler who has stepped up for Rocco Baldelli who is currently quarantining in Baltimore, has done a good job steering the ship and making good lineup and in-game decisions. This is exactly what happened after the "home-grown lineup" was announced, Trevor Larnach was sidelined with lower body tightness. Gary Sanchez replaced him in the lineup. Hopefully, we will get a chance for that lineup again, but it was fun to see and awesome to know how much homegrown depth there is.. Joining the crew on Friday was Alex Kirilloff. He didn't play on Friday night, but on Saturday, he batted eighth. Considering he had surgery that ended his 2021 season on that joint last July, there was some concern it would be more than just inflammation. This latest injury didn’t turn out to be anything structural. He started his rehab assignment with St. Paul on April 31st and played four games in St. Paul before being activated from the IL on Friday. Polanco the under-rated All-Star Jorge Polanco has been flying under the radar and while carrying a batting average of .211, he has an eight-game hitting streak, and six of his last fourteen RBIs in two games alone (May 1st and May 3rd). In his appearance against the Rays on May 1st, Polanco went 4-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI, rocketing the Twins to a 9-3 win. Among the stars of the Twins team, Polanco is potentially one of the better players on the team that doesn’t get talked about enough. He also doesn’t talk about himself. He is focused on being a team member and contributing to the game overall. He sets goals for himself that he doesn’t talk about, and even with solid defense and hitting, he still doesn’t reach all his goals. In a previous press conference Manager, Rocco Baldelli talked about the significance that Polanco has on the field. "He's such a solid contributor for us on the field," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "He does everything almost kind of under the radar. Personality-wise, he's a wonderful human being, but he's a quiet guy, and that's just who he is. So we probably don't talk about him enough." And just as this writer was deep-diving into Polanco’s stats, Polanco hit his third home run of the year, 451 feet according to Baseball Savant off of Kaprielian’s slider to center field to give the Twins a 1-0 lead in the sixth. Close Calls and a Marginal Lead Things started to heat up in the seventh inning as it looked like the Athletics were going to get into the action after a deep liner to center field that slid between Buxton and Nick Gordon, allowing Christian Bethancourt to get a double. The A’s momentum was brought to a screeching halt when Max Kepler stopped a fly ball by Brian McKinney to end the inning. In the bottom of the eighth, Royce Lewis got the second hit of his MLB career, a double off the wall in right-center. He was promptly picked off when a bunt was missed. Even with a challenge to New York, the call remained, and a frustrated Lewis returned to the dugout. Pitcher A.J. Puk had a tough time in the eighth, bobbling a ball hit back to him off of the bat of Gilberto Celestino who advanced to first and waited for a chance to advance, but to no avail. Heading into the ninth, the Twins had no insurance runs and a marginal lead, but Jhoan Duran came back out to finish what he started in the eighth frame. It wasn't without stress though. Just like Friday's game, this game brought extra anxiety in the ninth as Duran walked a batter and then hit another. The last out seemed to take forever. As Ryan Jeffers framed strike two to Bethancourt, the Twins were looking at one remaining strike to complete the game. Bethancourt continued to foul-off balls prolonging the pain of the ninth before Duran threw him with a 100mph fastball to get him swinging to end the game! Sonny Gray and the bullpen pulled off a combined shutout and guarantee a series win. Can they come back tomorrow and complete the sweep? Who is your favorite reliever in our Bullpen right now? Are you nervous about all the ninth inning bases loaded? What’s Next? The Twins finish up the series tomorrow on Mother’s day against Oakland before Houston arrives at Target Field. Pitching matchups for the series include: Sunday 1:10 central: Chris Paddack (1-2, 3.15 ERA) vs RHP Dalton Jefferies (1-4, 4.81 ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Coulombe 0 26 0 0 12 38 Thielbar 18 0 18 0 0 36 Jax 0 0 15 0 19 34 Duran 0 0 0 0 31 31 Duffey 18 0 0 11 0 29 Pagán 0 0 0 28 0 28 Stashak 11 0 0 0 0 11 Smith 0 0 0 6 0 6 Sands 0 0 0 0 0 0
  25. Josh Winder went to the mound Sunday afternoon for his first Major League start, and his teammates gave him an early favor by scoring five runs in the first inning. The Twins went on to a 9-3 win, and a series win on the road in Tampa. Box Score SP: Josh Winder 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (83 pitches, 54 strikes (65 strike %)) Home Runs: Byron Buxton (7) Top 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco (.131), Kyle Garlick (.106), Josh Winder (.102) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Twins bats were ready to continue their hot streak from Saturday against the Rays on Sunday and wasted no time doing so. The top of the first brought about a lot of excitement for the Twins as Byron Buxton reached base on a throwing error from Rays shortstop Taylor Walls which advanced him to second. In the next at-bat Carlos Correa hit a single to have two runners on for Kyle Garlick. Garlick was able to drive in the Twins' first run of the game with an RBI single to right which scored Buxton. This had two runners aboard for Jorge Polanco who drove both Correa and Garlick in on a bases-clearing double to make it a 3-0 Twins lead. Gio Urshela was the Twins first out of the inning, but Max Kepler came up next to make it a 4-0 game on another double. The scoring didn’t stop there for the Twins in the top of the first. Gary Sanchez followed Kepler’s RBI double with an RBI single of his own to make it 5-0. Left fielder Gilberto Celestino ended the inning with a double play hit to Walls but the Twins still gave Winder an extensive lead for his first MLB start. The Twins offense certainly stood out during Sunday’s game but Winder was the star of the game making his first MLB start. Winder had made three bullpen appearances for the Twins before Sunday only looking rough in his MLB debut against the Dodgers on April 12. The six inning workload that Winder pitched on Sunday was not set to be a challenge either. Winder had a relief appearance of 5 1/3 innings on April 16 after Sonny Gray was removed from his start due to injury. Winder’s start against the Rays was his best pitching appearance of 2022 to date. Six shutout innings, only three base runners on two hits and a walk and seven strikeouts proved why the Twins were smart to put him on the Opening Day roster. After the first inning that almost had the Twins bat around, the scoring didn’t stop there for them. Buxton was the next to add on a run for the Twins as he hit his seventh home run of the season to deep left field in the top of the fourth. The Twins bats wouldn’t do anything again until the top of the seventh where they scored an additional two runs thanks to another Polanco bases-clearing double. Trevor Larnach, who came into the game for Garlick who had to leave due to a hamstring injury, made sure the Twins weren’t done scoring in the top of the eighth. Larnach drove in Celestino on an RBI single to make it a 9-1 game for the Twins. The Twins bullpen was not able to keep the shoutout going for Winder after he left the game. Tyler Duffey came into the game in the bottom of the seventh and gave up an RBI double to Walls to make it a 8-1 game. Following Duffey’s one-run inning, Twins Daily 13th-ranked prospect Cole Sands came into the game to make his Major League debut in the bottom of the eighth. After recording the first out, Sands struggled surrendering three straight hits and two earned runs. Sands recovered though as he recorded his first two big-league strikeouts to get out of the eighth inning. Even with his struggles in the eighth, Rocco Baldelli sent his newly arrived reliever in for the ninth to close the game out for the Twins. Sands cooled off completely in the ninth throwing a one, two, three ninth inning to give the Twins the win and series victory on the road against Tampa. What’s Next? The Twins will start the second series of this road trip against Baltimore tomorrow night at 6:05 p.m. CT. Chris Paddack will be making his fourth start for the Twins against the Orioles 6’8 righty Tyler Wells. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Coulombe 20 0 35 0 0 55 Jax 0 46 0 0 0 46 Stashak 0 18 0 14 0 32 Sands 0 0 0 0 30 30 Duffey 0 8 0 0 17 25 Duran 0 0 0 20 0 20 Smith 10 0 0 9 0 19 Thielbar 0 0 0 15 0 15 Pagán 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
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