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  1. The Twins won a marathon game 9-5 in Chicago on Tuesday night. In an offensive outburst, Josh Donaldson, Max Kepler, Nick Gordon, and Mitch Garver all had three hits to pace the Twins. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Jax 3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K Homeruns: Gordon (3) Top 3 WPA: Gordon .217, Donaldson .192, Buxton .175 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The battle for 2022 draft positions continued on Tuesday night, as Minnesota kicked off a two-game set in Chicago against the Cubs. Here’s how the Twins lined up to face Alec Mills. The Twins got off to a strong start, with back-to-back singles putting Luis Arraez on third and Byron Buxton on first base. Buxton stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error by Wilson Contreras, with Arraez scoring. A Josh Donaldson sacrifice fly made it 2-0 Twins after the top of the first. The Cubs immediately chipped away at the Twins lead, scoring one in the first, one in the second, and one in the third. The later two runs came from solo home runs from Trayce Thompson and Willson Contreras, giving the Cubs a 3-1 lead after three innings. The familiar home run bug has continued to bite Griffin Jax, who only managed to make it through three innings. The Twins fought back in the top of the fourth inning. A Josh Donaldson walk, wild pitch, and Max Kepler single cut the deficit to 3-2. A Nick Gordon home run to left center field added two more runs, giving the Twins a 5-3 lead. The Twins continued to add to their lead in the top of the fifth. A Luis Arraez walk and Byron Buxton single were backed up by further singles from Josh Donaldson and Max Kepler, increasing the Twins lead to 7-3. The Cubs trimmed the lead in the sixth inning. A Rafael Ortega single was followed up by a Frank Schwindel double. Jorge Alcala replaced Danny Coulombe and struck out Wilson Contreras, but allowed a Patrick Wisdom single, scoring two runs. Alcala, however, has been on a recent run of good form which is encouraging news for a bullpen which needs padding heading into 2022. The Twins immediately increased the lead. Doubles from Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sano, followed by singles from Nick Gordon and Mitch Garver added two runs, pushing the lead to 9-5 and giving the Twins offense 16 hits on the night. Byron Buxton was hit by a pitch in the foot in the top of the ninth inning. Mercifully, Alexander Colome threw a scoreless inning to draw a marathon four-hour game to a close, bringing the Twins record for the season to 66-85. Bullpen Usage Chart THU FRI SAT SUN TUE TOT Barraclough 0 0 32 0 35 67 Vincent 0 0 0 40 0 40 Thielbar 0 0 0 22 16 38 Minaya 0 0 0 36 0 36 Moran 0 0 34 0 0 34 Farrell 0 0 0 34 0 34 Duffey 0 16 0 0 11 27 Alcalá 0 13 0 0 10 23 Colomé 0 14 0 0 7 21 Garza Jr. 0 0 17 0 0 17 Coulombe 0 0 0 0 17 17 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will finish their short series in Chicago. Joe Ryan will take the mound against Kyle Hendricks. First pitch is at 6:40 CST. Postgame Interviews View full article
  2. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Jax 3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K Homeruns: Gordon (3) Top 3 WPA: Gordon .217, Donaldson .192, Buxton .175 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The battle for 2022 draft positions continued on Tuesday night, as Minnesota kicked off a two-game set in Chicago against the Cubs. Here’s how the Twins lined up to face Alec Mills. The Twins got off to a strong start, with back-to-back singles putting Luis Arraez on third and Byron Buxton on first base. Buxton stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error by Wilson Contreras, with Arraez scoring. A Josh Donaldson sacrifice fly made it 2-0 Twins after the top of the first. The Cubs immediately chipped away at the Twins lead, scoring one in the first, one in the second, and one in the third. The later two runs came from solo home runs from Trayce Thompson and Willson Contreras, giving the Cubs a 3-1 lead after three innings. The familiar home run bug has continued to bite Griffin Jax, who only managed to make it through three innings. The Twins fought back in the top of the fourth inning. A Josh Donaldson walk, wild pitch, and Max Kepler single cut the deficit to 3-2. A Nick Gordon home run to left center field added two more runs, giving the Twins a 5-3 lead. The Twins continued to add to their lead in the top of the fifth. A Luis Arraez walk and Byron Buxton single were backed up by further singles from Josh Donaldson and Max Kepler, increasing the Twins lead to 7-3. The Cubs trimmed the lead in the sixth inning. A Rafael Ortega single was followed up by a Frank Schwindel double. Jorge Alcala replaced Danny Coulombe and struck out Wilson Contreras, but allowed a Patrick Wisdom single, scoring two runs. Alcala, however, has been on a recent run of good form which is encouraging news for a bullpen which needs padding heading into 2022. The Twins immediately increased the lead. Doubles from Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sano, followed by singles from Nick Gordon and Mitch Garver added two runs, pushing the lead to 9-5 and giving the Twins offense 16 hits on the night. Byron Buxton was hit by a pitch in the foot in the top of the ninth inning. Mercifully, Alexander Colome threw a scoreless inning to draw a marathon four-hour game to a close, bringing the Twins record for the season to 66-85. Bullpen Usage Chart THU FRI SAT SUN TUE TOT Barraclough 0 0 32 0 35 67 Vincent 0 0 0 40 0 40 Thielbar 0 0 0 22 16 38 Minaya 0 0 0 36 0 36 Moran 0 0 34 0 0 34 Farrell 0 0 0 34 0 34 Duffey 0 16 0 0 11 27 Alcalá 0 13 0 0 10 23 Colomé 0 14 0 0 7 21 Garza Jr. 0 0 17 0 0 17 Coulombe 0 0 0 0 17 17 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will finish their short series in Chicago. Joe Ryan will take the mound against Kyle Hendricks. First pitch is at 6:40 CST. Postgame Interviews
  3. Minnesota Twins minor leaguer Drew Maggi finally got the call. After 11 seasons in the minor leagues, more than 1,000 games played, the 32-year-old was promoted to the Twins. Stick around to the end of this video to see some of his introductory press session. Also featured in this video are Brent Rooker, Josh Donaldson, Austin Martin, Edouard Julien, Aaron Sabato and Sawyer Gipson-Long. There's also an update on a trio of 2021 draftees, including Chase Petty.
  4. Minnesota Twins minor leaguer Drew Maggi finally got the call. After 11 seasons in the minor leagues, more than 1,000 games played, the 32-year-old was promoted to the Twins. Stick around to the end of this video to see some of his introductory press session. Also featured in this video are Brent Rooker, Josh Donaldson, Austin Martin, Edouard Julien, Aaron Sabato and Sawyer Gipson-Long. There's also an update on a trio of 2021 draftees, including Chase Petty. View full video
  5. Box Score SP: Bailey Ober: 4.0 IP,4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (74 pitches, 48 strikes (64.9%)) Home Runs: Josh Donaldson (24) Bottom 3 WPA: Bailey Ober (-0.143), Ryan Jeffers (-0.143), Joe Ryan (-0.097) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Second Time Not the Charm for Ober Bailey Ober has had a terrific showing in his rookie season, and on Saturday things looked to be going quite well. Ober got outs on the first eight batters he faced before issuing a four-pitch walk to nine-hitter Reese McGuire. He recovered to strike out leadoff man, George Springer for the final out of the third inning. However, things went south in a hurry in the fourth inning. Ober thought things were going to start out well. He thought he got Marcus Semien looking at a called third strike. Unfortunately, it was called a ball. The next pitch, Semien crushed his 40th home run of the season. Ober then walked Vlad Guerrero, Jr. before Bo Bichette lined a single to center field. That brought All Star Teoscar Hernandez to the plate. He hit a high fly ball to left field that landed just beyond the fence for a three run homer. Ober gave up one more hit, but he was able to complete the fourth inning. Donaldson at Home in Toronto For the second straight day, Josh Donaldson got an ovation before his first at-bat at Rogers Centre in Toronto. For the second straight day, Donaldson hit a home run against the team he spent almost four seasons playing for. In his time in Toronto, he played in two All Star games, won two Silver Slugger awards and was named the 2015 AL MVP. Unfortunately, the Twins had just four hits in the game. Ups and Downs for Jovani Moran The value of getting your feet wet in the big leagues is different for every player. Generally, it is to help get rid of some of the nerves that can appear early in a player's career. That's especially important for a guy like Jovani Moran. We know how good he can be. Just look at those strikeout numbers and read accounts of hitters trying to hit his changeup when it is on. However, we can also acknowledge that he can sometimes get wild and issue walks. While we will be able to see the splits over his big-league career, it would likely be more anecdotal for me to guess that in the minor leagues, it seemed like he often struggled most with his control in big situations. On Saturday, we got to see both. Moran came in with a runner on in the sixth inning and completed the inning by coaxing a big double-play ball. Unfortunately, in the seventh inning, Moran could not find the plate and walked the bases loaded. At one point, Wes Johnson came out to talk to him. From that point forward, he threw almost exclusively changeups, and with more success. He did get a Marcus Semien strikeout. But after the third walk, he was replaced by Kyle Barraclough who allowed two inherited runners to score. The point, at least for me, is that it will be nice for Moran to go through the ups and downs and have some of these good and bad experiences down the stretch. Clearly, his stuff can play in the big leagues. He just needs to find a way to relax on the mound. If he can, he can be very impactful. If he can't, he can't be use in big situations. I'll bet that he'll be impactful. What’s Next? The Twins will finish their series in Toronto and face #OldFriend Jose Berrios. The Twins have yet to announce their Sunday starter, but this will be updated as soon as it is announced. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Moran 0 34 0 0 34 68 Barraclough 0 0 0 0 32 32 Coulombe 27 0 0 0 0 27 Colomé 11 0 0 14 0 25 Vincent 0 21 0 0 0 21 Alcalá 8 0 0 13 0 21 Garza Jr. 0 0 0 0 17 17 Duffey 0 0 0 16 0 16 Minaya 13 0 0 0 0 13 Farrell 0 0 0 0 0 0 Thielbar 0 0 0 0 0 0
  6. Bailey Ober had a successful first trip through the Blue Jays lineup on Saturday. The second time around didn’t go as well. Josh Donaldson provided some power, but it wasn’t enough as the Blue Jays gained a game on the Yankees in the AL Wild Card chase. Box Score SP: Bailey Ober: 4.0 IP,4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (74 pitches, 48 strikes (64.9%)) Home Runs: Josh Donaldson (24) Bottom 3 WPA: Bailey Ober (-0.143), Ryan Jeffers (-0.143), Joe Ryan (-0.097) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Second Time Not the Charm for Ober Bailey Ober has had a terrific showing in his rookie season, and on Saturday things looked to be going quite well. Ober got outs on the first eight batters he faced before issuing a four-pitch walk to nine-hitter Reese McGuire. He recovered to strike out leadoff man, George Springer for the final out of the third inning. However, things went south in a hurry in the fourth inning. Ober thought things were going to start out well. He thought he got Marcus Semien looking at a called third strike. Unfortunately, it was called a ball. The next pitch, Semien crushed his 40th home run of the season. Ober then walked Vlad Guerrero, Jr. before Bo Bichette lined a single to center field. That brought All Star Teoscar Hernandez to the plate. He hit a high fly ball to left field that landed just beyond the fence for a three run homer. Ober gave up one more hit, but he was able to complete the fourth inning. Donaldson at Home in Toronto For the second straight day, Josh Donaldson got an ovation before his first at-bat at Rogers Centre in Toronto. For the second straight day, Donaldson hit a home run against the team he spent almost four seasons playing for. In his time in Toronto, he played in two All Star games, won two Silver Slugger awards and was named the 2015 AL MVP. Unfortunately, the Twins had just four hits in the game. Ups and Downs for Jovani Moran The value of getting your feet wet in the big leagues is different for every player. Generally, it is to help get rid of some of the nerves that can appear early in a player's career. That's especially important for a guy like Jovani Moran. We know how good he can be. Just look at those strikeout numbers and read accounts of hitters trying to hit his changeup when it is on. However, we can also acknowledge that he can sometimes get wild and issue walks. While we will be able to see the splits over his big-league career, it would likely be more anecdotal for me to guess that in the minor leagues, it seemed like he often struggled most with his control in big situations. On Saturday, we got to see both. Moran came in with a runner on in the sixth inning and completed the inning by coaxing a big double-play ball. Unfortunately, in the seventh inning, Moran could not find the plate and walked the bases loaded. At one point, Wes Johnson came out to talk to him. From that point forward, he threw almost exclusively changeups, and with more success. He did get a Marcus Semien strikeout. But after the third walk, he was replaced by Kyle Barraclough who allowed two inherited runners to score. The point, at least for me, is that it will be nice for Moran to go through the ups and downs and have some of these good and bad experiences down the stretch. Clearly, his stuff can play in the big leagues. He just needs to find a way to relax on the mound. If he can, he can be very impactful. If he can't, he can't be use in big situations. I'll bet that he'll be impactful. What’s Next? The Twins will finish their series in Toronto and face #OldFriend Jose Berrios. The Twins have yet to announce their Sunday starter, but this will be updated as soon as it is announced. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Moran 0 34 0 0 34 68 Barraclough 0 0 0 0 32 32 Coulombe 27 0 0 0 0 27 Colomé 11 0 0 14 0 25 Vincent 0 21 0 0 0 21 Alcalá 8 0 0 13 0 21 Garza Jr. 0 0 0 0 17 17 Duffey 0 0 0 16 0 16 Minaya 13 0 0 0 0 13 Farrell 0 0 0 0 0 0 Thielbar 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  7. Rumors swirled at the trade deadline regarding possible Josh Donaldson trade scenarios. On a team with little to play for, he has continued to produce. Here are four concerns facing any potential Donaldson deal in the offseason. After failing to contend in 2021, the Twins are in an intriguing position when planning for the future. Can the team be competitive in 2022? Is it going to take multiple years to get back near the top of the AL Central? Josh Donaldson is under contract for two more seasons, and there is a chance he isn’t part of Minnesota’s next winning club. Concern 1: Offensive Production Minnesota paid a hefty premium to sign Donaldson because they were in the middle of a winning window. Generally speaking, the Twins knew what they were getting with Donaldson, and he has lived up to that billing. He’s posted an .822 OPS and a 127 OPS+ during his Twins tenure, which is probably more than fans expected when signing a player in his mid-30s. Since signing, Donaldson ranks ninth in WAR among AL third basemen, just behind Alex Bregman. Only four AL third basemen rank higher than Donaldson when it comes to Win Probability Added. His Baseball Savant page is also full of plenty of red. He ranks in the 90th percentile or higher in average exit velocity, max exit velocity, hard-hit %, xwOBA, xSLG, barrel %, and BB %. His offensive skills are still there even at age 35. Concern 2: Long-Term Health This season, health has been less of an issue as he has appeared in over 115 games for only the second time since 2016. Chronic calf issues seem to be part of the Donaldson equation, but maybe he has figured out the proper regimen to stay on the field. Minnesota has also given Donaldson regular rest and time at designated hitter. During the 2021 season, Donaldson has missed the most time with hamstring injuries. He altered his running style to put less pressure on his calves, which might have hampered his hamstrings. Even if he has put some doubts to rest, his age and previous injury history will factor into any Donaldson trade. Concern 3: Large Contract Finding a taker for Donaldson’s contract might be another challenge, because Donaldson has over $50 million in guaranteed money remaining on his contract. Minnesota will likely need to pay some of his remaining guaranteed money to get any value in return. According to FanGraphs, Donaldson was worth just under $7 million in 2020, and he has been worth $12.7 million so far in 2021. That’s lower than the $21.75 million he is due in each of the next two years. Would the Twins be willing to pay $20-25 million of his remaining guaranteed money? That might seem like a lot, but that’s what it may take to get a decent return. Concern 4: Personality There are also some teams that aren't going to be interested in Donaldson because of his on and off the field behavior. Overall, he has a personality that rubs some people the wrong way. Minnesota’s front office had to know what they were getting when they signed Josh Donaldson. He had a proven track record of being outspoken, but the Twins were willing to deal with his on and off-field behavior if he helped push the team to postseason success. Obviously, Donaldson has yet to help the team to October glory, and the team may be ready to move on from him. Do you think Donaldson gets traded this winter? Will the team spend the money needed to get a prospect back? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  8. The Twins put a dent in Toronto’s wild card run with a four-home run night, combined with a solid start from Michael Pineda and a rock-solid bullpen performance. Minnesota wins their eighth in a row against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Box Score Pineda: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (71.9% strikes) Home Runs: Polanco (31), Donaldson (23), Sanó (29), Rooker (8) Top 3 WPA: Rooker .141, Buxton .117, Donaldson .095 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Minnesota’s first trip to Rogers Centre in almost two and a half years became fun very early. Both starters, Michael Pineda for the Twins and Hyun Jin Ryu for the Blue Jays, pitched economical, scoreless first innings. But then both teams combined for nine runs in the following two innings. Miguel Sanó drew a leadoff walk in the top of the second and scored a couple of at-bats later on a Brent Rooker double, putting the Twins ahead. But an awful defensive mistake in the bottom half of that same inning gave Toronto a couple of runs that put them ahead. With two outs, Pineda induced a weak ground ball that would have ended the inning. However, Jorge Polanco overthrew Sanó, allowing Corey Dickerson to score from second and Danny Jansen to reach first. Then, Jake Lamb doubled to score Jansen, making it 2-1 Toronto. Minnesota makes it ugly for Ryu In a quick “Bomba Squad” flashback, the Twins exploded for five runs on five hits in their half of the third, including three home runs, before Toronto could record a single out! The game was suddenly tied after Ryan Jeffers hit a leadoff single and Byron Buxton pushed him across with a double. Then, Polanco redeemed himself from his previous error and regained the lead for Minnesota with a two-run shot. The party wasn’t over. Josh Donaldson, who got a warm welcome from the Jays fans earlier, made it back-to-back with a bomb to right field, giving the Twins a three-run lead, prompting some Donaldson-jersey-wearing Toronto fans to boo him. That was fun. Not so much for Ryu, who was immediately pulled from the game by Jays’ manager Charlie Montoyo. That was Donaldson’s 64th home run at Rogers Centre, the most by any active player in the majors. Miggy Smalls didn’t want to feel left out, so he followed Donaldson’s homer with a dinger of his own, his 29th of the season. That was also the 160th long ball of his career, putting him even closer to the Twins’ all-time top 10 in total home runs. He needs four more on the year to drop Tom Brunansky from 10th place. In the bottom half of the inning, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got one run back to Toronto, hitting a rocket (111 MPH exit velocity) to left field, his 46th home run of the season. Pineda, bullpen finish off strong Big Mike got in the zone after that Guerrero Jr. home run in the third. Pineda retired eight in a row from that moment on, with a couple of 1-2-3 innings. After throwing 45 pitches to complete 2 1/3 innings, he needed only 30 to complete the next 2 2/3 innings. Rooker gave Pineda even more run support hitting a solo home run in the top of the sixth, making it 7-3 Minnesota. Pineda came back and retired the first two batters of the sixth on only four pitches, making it ten batters in a row retired. But he lost Teoscar Hernández on a ten-pitch walk, causing Rocco Baldelli to take him out of the game. Jorge Alcalá took care of the inherited runner for him, concluding Pineda’s solid line for the evening. Is it possible that tonight’s outing from Big Mike might have changed Twins Daily’s Cody Pirkl’s mind about a possible reunion in 2022? Alcalá came back for the seventh, and he continued his amazing second-half run. By pitching a clean, seven-pitch inning, the Dominican flamethrower has now posted a 1.42 ERA since the start of August. He needed only 13 pitches to get four outs, 10 of which were strikes. He also maxed out at 99.8 MPH. Tyler Duffey was equally brilliant, striking out the side for a 1-2-3 eighth. Alexander Colomé closed out the game with a scoreless inning of his own, securing the win. A fun stat from the Twins bullpen: according to Fangraphs, before tonight's game, the Twins bullpen has ranked 8th in ERA (3.64) since the start of August. Could we be seeing some encouraging signs for 2022? Bailey Ober will try to keep the winning streak in Toronto tomorrow against Steven Matz. With Friday's win, the Twins haven't lost a game at Rogers Centre since Aug 26, 2017. Saturday's first pitch is scheduled for 2:07 CDT. Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Duffey 38 0 0 0 16 54 Colomé 27 11 0 0 14 52 Barraclough 23 16 0 0 0 39 Farrell 34 0 0 0 0 34 Moran 0 0 34 0 0 34 Coulombe 0 27 0 0 0 27 Vincent 0 0 21 0 0 21 Alcalá 0 8 0 0 13 21 Minaya 0 13 0 0 0 13 Thielbar 11 0 0 0 0 11 Garza Jr. 6 0 0 0 0 6 View full article
  9. Minnesota Twins Jorge Polanco, Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sanó went back-to-back-to-back in Toronto Friday evening. Highlights of those home runs plus some of Brent Rooker, Mitch Garver, Cole Sands, Aaron Sabato and Jose Miranda.
  10. Minnesota Twins Jorge Polanco, Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sanó went back-to-back-to-back in Toronto Friday evening. Highlights of those home runs plus some of Brent Rooker, Mitch Garver, Cole Sands, Aaron Sabato and Jose Miranda. View full video
  11. Box Score Pineda: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (71.9% strikes) Home Runs: Polanco (31), Donaldson (23), Sanó (29), Rooker (8) Top 3 WPA: Rooker .141, Buxton .117, Donaldson .095 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Minnesota’s first trip to Rogers Centre in almost two and a half years became fun very early. Both starters, Michael Pineda for the Twins and Hyun Jin Ryu for the Blue Jays, pitched economical, scoreless first innings. But then both teams combined for nine runs in the following two innings. Miguel Sanó drew a leadoff walk in the top of the second and scored a couple of at-bats later on a Brent Rooker double, putting the Twins ahead. But an awful defensive mistake in the bottom half of that same inning gave Toronto a couple of runs that put them ahead. With two outs, Pineda induced a weak ground ball that would have ended the inning. However, Jorge Polanco overthrew Sanó, allowing Corey Dickerson to score from second and Danny Jansen to reach first. Then, Jake Lamb doubled to score Jansen, making it 2-1 Toronto. Minnesota makes it ugly for Ryu In a quick “Bomba Squad” flashback, the Twins exploded for five runs on five hits in their half of the third, including three home runs, before Toronto could record a single out! The game was suddenly tied after Ryan Jeffers hit a leadoff single and Byron Buxton pushed him across with a double. Then, Polanco redeemed himself from his previous error and regained the lead for Minnesota with a two-run shot. The party wasn’t over. Josh Donaldson, who got a warm welcome from the Jays fans earlier, made it back-to-back with a bomb to right field, giving the Twins a three-run lead, prompting some Donaldson-jersey-wearing Toronto fans to boo him. That was fun. Not so much for Ryu, who was immediately pulled from the game by Jays’ manager Charlie Montoyo. That was Donaldson’s 64th home run at Rogers Centre, the most by any active player in the majors. Miggy Smalls didn’t want to feel left out, so he followed Donaldson’s homer with a dinger of his own, his 29th of the season. That was also the 160th long ball of his career, putting him even closer to the Twins’ all-time top 10 in total home runs. He needs four more on the year to drop Tom Brunansky from 10th place. In the bottom half of the inning, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got one run back to Toronto, hitting a rocket (111 MPH exit velocity) to left field, his 46th home run of the season. Pineda, bullpen finish off strong Big Mike got in the zone after that Guerrero Jr. home run in the third. Pineda retired eight in a row from that moment on, with a couple of 1-2-3 innings. After throwing 45 pitches to complete 2 1/3 innings, he needed only 30 to complete the next 2 2/3 innings. Rooker gave Pineda even more run support hitting a solo home run in the top of the sixth, making it 7-3 Minnesota. Pineda came back and retired the first two batters of the sixth on only four pitches, making it ten batters in a row retired. But he lost Teoscar Hernández on a ten-pitch walk, causing Rocco Baldelli to take him out of the game. Jorge Alcalá took care of the inherited runner for him, concluding Pineda’s solid line for the evening. Is it possible that tonight’s outing from Big Mike might have changed Twins Daily’s Cody Pirkl’s mind about a possible reunion in 2022? Alcalá came back for the seventh, and he continued his amazing second-half run. By pitching a clean, seven-pitch inning, the Dominican flamethrower has now posted a 1.42 ERA since the start of August. He needed only 13 pitches to get four outs, 10 of which were strikes. He also maxed out at 99.8 MPH. Tyler Duffey was equally brilliant, striking out the side for a 1-2-3 eighth. Alexander Colomé closed out the game with a scoreless inning of his own, securing the win. A fun stat from the Twins bullpen: according to Fangraphs, before tonight's game, the Twins bullpen has ranked 8th in ERA (3.64) since the start of August. Could we be seeing some encouraging signs for 2022? Bailey Ober will try to keep the winning streak in Toronto tomorrow against Steven Matz. With Friday's win, the Twins haven't lost a game at Rogers Centre since Aug 26, 2017. Saturday's first pitch is scheduled for 2:07 CDT. Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Duffey 38 0 0 0 16 54 Colomé 27 11 0 0 14 52 Barraclough 23 16 0 0 0 39 Farrell 34 0 0 0 0 34 Moran 0 0 34 0 0 34 Coulombe 0 27 0 0 0 27 Vincent 0 0 21 0 0 21 Alcalá 0 8 0 0 13 21 Minaya 0 13 0 0 0 13 Thielbar 11 0 0 0 0 11 Garza Jr. 6 0 0 0 0 6
  12. After failing to contend in 2021, the Twins are in an intriguing position when planning for the future. Can the team be competitive in 2022? Is it going to take multiple years to get back near the top of the AL Central? Josh Donaldson is under contract for two more seasons, and there is a chance he isn’t part of Minnesota’s next winning club. Concern 1: Offensive Production Minnesota paid a hefty premium to sign Donaldson because they were in the middle of a winning window. Generally speaking, the Twins knew what they were getting with Donaldson, and he has lived up to that billing. He’s posted an .822 OPS and a 127 OPS+ during his Twins tenure, which is probably more than fans expected when signing a player in his mid-30s. Since signing, Donaldson ranks ninth in WAR among AL third basemen, just behind Alex Bregman. Only four AL third basemen rank higher than Donaldson when it comes to Win Probability Added. His Baseball Savant page is also full of plenty of red. He ranks in the 90th percentile or higher in average exit velocity, max exit velocity, hard-hit %, xwOBA, xSLG, barrel %, and BB %. His offensive skills are still there even at age 35. Concern 2: Long-Term Health This season, health has been less of an issue as he has appeared in over 115 games for only the second time since 2016. Chronic calf issues seem to be part of the Donaldson equation, but maybe he has figured out the proper regimen to stay on the field. Minnesota has also given Donaldson regular rest and time at designated hitter. During the 2021 season, Donaldson has missed the most time with hamstring injuries. He altered his running style to put less pressure on his calves, which might have hampered his hamstrings. Even if he has put some doubts to rest, his age and previous injury history will factor into any Donaldson trade. Concern 3: Large Contract Finding a taker for Donaldson’s contract might be another challenge, because Donaldson has over $50 million in guaranteed money remaining on his contract. Minnesota will likely need to pay some of his remaining guaranteed money to get any value in return. According to FanGraphs, Donaldson was worth just under $7 million in 2020, and he has been worth $12.7 million so far in 2021. That’s lower than the $21.75 million he is due in each of the next two years. Would the Twins be willing to pay $20-25 million of his remaining guaranteed money? That might seem like a lot, but that’s what it may take to get a decent return. Concern 4: Personality There are also some teams that aren't going to be interested in Donaldson because of his on and off the field behavior. Overall, he has a personality that rubs some people the wrong way. Minnesota’s front office had to know what they were getting when they signed Josh Donaldson. He had a proven track record of being outspoken, but the Twins were willing to deal with his on and off-field behavior if he helped push the team to postseason success. Obviously, Donaldson has yet to help the team to October glory, and the team may be ready to move on from him. Do you think Donaldson gets traded this winter? Will the team spend the money needed to get a prospect back? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  13. A big four-run first inning was all the Twins got from their offense tonight, as they couldn’t produce a single run after that. The bullpen had an inspired night before giving up a game-winning home run to Andrew Benintendi in the 11th inning. Box Score Jax: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (75% strikes) Home Runs: Buxton (12), Donaldson (22) Bottom 3 WPA: Refsnyder -.296, Rooker -.274, Gordon -.208 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Seven runs scored right away, in the first inning of this game. Looking to bounce back after three consecutive bad starts, Griffin Jax struggled early tonight. Despite getting ahead on the count, the Twins starter gave up a double to Nicky Lopez and a walk to Salvador Pérez before facing Andrew Benintendi. A lifetime .349 hitter (1.035 OPS) at Target Field, the former Red Sock improved those numbers even more by hitting a three-run bomb to put Kansas City ahead. But rookie lefty Daniel Lynch didn’t take advantage of all the run support. The Virginia native gave up four consecutive hits to open the game. The first one was a mammoth, 457-feet leadoff home run to Byron Buxton. Minnesota was definitely not done hitting that inning. Jorge Polanco followed that Buxton homer with a double, with Rob Refsnyder adding a single. Josh Donaldson didn’t care that Lynch hadn’t brought an umbrella with him and brought the rain to catapult the Twins into the lead, 4-3. But contrary to what happened in the first inning, both starters settled down and mostly dominated their opposing lineups for the following innings. Lynch tossed four scoreless, and, beginning with the final two outs of the first, Jax was able to retire eight in a row, including a pair of 1-2-3 innings. Benintendi broke the streak leading off the fourth and later scored from first on a long double from Michael Taylor, tying the game. That didn’t affect Jax at all. The rookie retired seven of the final eight batters he saw, going scoreless in the fifth and the sixth. He didn’t come back for the seventh, even though his pitch count was still at only 76 pitches, 57 of which were thrown for strikes (75%!). Tonight’s start was the first since Aug. 16, in which Jax completed six innings of work. After a 23-pitch first inning, he navigated through the next five on only 53 pitches. Can he use this outing to regain some confidence and finish the season on a high note? Neither offense performed well against opposing bullpens. Tyler Duffey and Jorge Alcalá threw a couple of scoreless innings on only 20 pitches, 80% of which were strikes. Royals hitters didn’t know what hit them. While Kansas City’s relievers were just as effective, Donaldson did drew a two-out walk in the eighth, bringing Miguel Sanó to the plate. However, he struck out, ending the threat. Benintendi was at it again, hitting a leadoff single off Alexander Colomé in the ninth inning. But Colomé did a great job, striking out the next two batters on six pitches, before retiring Taylor. The offense couldn’t take advantage of yet another great outing by a Twins reliever, as they fell in order in the bottom half of the inning, taking the game to extra innings. To the extras, we go Red-hot Juan Minaya came in to pitch the 10th, posting a 0.98 ERA in his previous 14 outings. He struck out the first batter he saw but then gave up a walk to Kansas City’s number nine hitter, Edward Olivares, forcing him to face the top of the Royal lineup with two men on. He struck out Whit Merrifield but then committed a fielding error against Lopez, loading the bases to face Pérez. Fortunately, “Salvy” swung on the first pitch he saw and grounded out, with a beautiful throw from Polanco to first. In the bottom half of the 10th, Luis Arráez drew a leadoff walk, putting two men on. But the Twins couldn’t move either runner, with the following three batters being retired. Buxton, who hit immediately after Arraez, made an absolutely awful bunt attempt. Following that, Minaya continued in the game, and Benintendi (who else?) swung on the first pitch he saw, homering to center field, scoring him and Pérez, the ghost runner. Kansas City took a definitive two-run lead, 6-4. Donaldson, Sanó, and Brent Rooker went down in order in the bottom of the 11th. Minnesota drops the first of three games of the series. They send Michael Pineda to the mound on Saturday evening, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:10 pm CDT. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Minaya 0 21 0 0 40 61 Colomé 9 17 0 0 12 38 Duffey 8 0 17 0 11 36 Thielbar 0 25 8 0 0 33 Farrell 0 0 0 32 0 32 Alcalá 0 19 0 0 9 28 Garza Jr. 0 0 0 19 0 19 Coulombe 0 0 0 15 0 15 View full article
  14. Box Score Jax: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (75% strikes) Home Runs: Buxton (12), Donaldson (22) Bottom 3 WPA: Refsnyder -.296, Rooker -.274, Gordon -.208 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Seven runs scored right away, in the first inning of this game. Looking to bounce back after three consecutive bad starts, Griffin Jax struggled early tonight. Despite getting ahead on the count, the Twins starter gave up a double to Nicky Lopez and a walk to Salvador Pérez before facing Andrew Benintendi. A lifetime .349 hitter (1.035 OPS) at Target Field, the former Red Sock improved those numbers even more by hitting a three-run bomb to put Kansas City ahead. But rookie lefty Daniel Lynch didn’t take advantage of all the run support. The Virginia native gave up four consecutive hits to open the game. The first one was a mammoth, 457-feet leadoff home run to Byron Buxton. Minnesota was definitely not done hitting that inning. Jorge Polanco followed that Buxton homer with a double, with Rob Refsnyder adding a single. Josh Donaldson didn’t care that Lynch hadn’t brought an umbrella with him and brought the rain to catapult the Twins into the lead, 4-3. But contrary to what happened in the first inning, both starters settled down and mostly dominated their opposing lineups for the following innings. Lynch tossed four scoreless, and, beginning with the final two outs of the first, Jax was able to retire eight in a row, including a pair of 1-2-3 innings. Benintendi broke the streak leading off the fourth and later scored from first on a long double from Michael Taylor, tying the game. That didn’t affect Jax at all. The rookie retired seven of the final eight batters he saw, going scoreless in the fifth and the sixth. He didn’t come back for the seventh, even though his pitch count was still at only 76 pitches, 57 of which were thrown for strikes (75%!). Tonight’s start was the first since Aug. 16, in which Jax completed six innings of work. After a 23-pitch first inning, he navigated through the next five on only 53 pitches. Can he use this outing to regain some confidence and finish the season on a high note? Neither offense performed well against opposing bullpens. Tyler Duffey and Jorge Alcalá threw a couple of scoreless innings on only 20 pitches, 80% of which were strikes. Royals hitters didn’t know what hit them. While Kansas City’s relievers were just as effective, Donaldson did drew a two-out walk in the eighth, bringing Miguel Sanó to the plate. However, he struck out, ending the threat. Benintendi was at it again, hitting a leadoff single off Alexander Colomé in the ninth inning. But Colomé did a great job, striking out the next two batters on six pitches, before retiring Taylor. The offense couldn’t take advantage of yet another great outing by a Twins reliever, as they fell in order in the bottom half of the inning, taking the game to extra innings. To the extras, we go Red-hot Juan Minaya came in to pitch the 10th, posting a 0.98 ERA in his previous 14 outings. He struck out the first batter he saw but then gave up a walk to Kansas City’s number nine hitter, Edward Olivares, forcing him to face the top of the Royal lineup with two men on. He struck out Whit Merrifield but then committed a fielding error against Lopez, loading the bases to face Pérez. Fortunately, “Salvy” swung on the first pitch he saw and grounded out, with a beautiful throw from Polanco to first. In the bottom half of the 10th, Luis Arráez drew a leadoff walk, putting two men on. But the Twins couldn’t move either runner, with the following three batters being retired. Buxton, who hit immediately after Arraez, made an absolutely awful bunt attempt. Following that, Minaya continued in the game, and Benintendi (who else?) swung on the first pitch he saw, homering to center field, scoring him and Pérez, the ghost runner. Kansas City took a definitive two-run lead, 6-4. Donaldson, Sanó, and Brent Rooker went down in order in the bottom of the 11th. Minnesota drops the first of three games of the series. They send Michael Pineda to the mound on Saturday evening, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:10 pm CDT. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Minaya 0 21 0 0 40 61 Colomé 9 17 0 0 12 38 Duffey 8 0 17 0 11 36 Thielbar 0 25 8 0 0 33 Farrell 0 0 0 32 0 32 Alcalá 0 19 0 0 9 28 Garza Jr. 0 0 0 19 0 19 Coulombe 0 0 0 15 0 15
  15. Minnesota Twins starting pitcher John Gant delivered five scoreless innings against Cleveland Tuesday night and struck out seven batters. Down on the farm, Matt Wallner was the headliner with a three-hit night that included a grand slam. Also featured in tonight's recap are Josh Donaldson, Brent Rooker, Luis Arraez, Jose Miranda, Gilberto Celestino, Mark Contreras, Austin Martin, Edouard Julien and Christian Encarnacion-Strand.
  16. Minnesota Twins starting pitcher John Gant delivered five scoreless innings against Cleveland Tuesday night and struck out seven batters. Down on the farm, Matt Wallner was the headliner with a three-hit night that included a grand slam. Also featured in tonight's recap are Josh Donaldson, Brent Rooker, Luis Arraez, Jose Miranda, Gilberto Celestino, Mark Contreras, Austin Martin, Edouard Julien and Christian Encarnacion-Strand. View full video
  17. It’s time to name the best Minnesota Twins hitter of the month! So far, Mitch Garver, Nelson Cruz, and Jorge Polanco have taken home this prestigious award. Will there be a new winner for the month of August? August represented the first month of the season in which Minnesota had a winning record. Curiously enough, according to several metrics, it was also the month in which they had their lowest offensive productivity. This controversy (given that their pitching wasn’t substantially better either) could be explained by the fact that Twins hitters performed very well in clutch situations, making the difference between losing and winning in at least a handful of games. Without further ado, here are three honorable mentions, followed by the big winner! Honorable Mention #3: Luis Arraez This is how good Luis Arraez is: despite having a slight dip in productivity during August, he still had one of the top 15 batting averages in baseball. Also, by slashing .291/.371/.384 (.755), he finished the month with the highest batting average on the team. Unsurprisingly, his power numbers aren’t impressive, but he compensates for that with a ton of plate discipline. Among all qualified batters in August, Arraez’s strikeout rate (8.2%) ranked fourth-best in baseball. He only struck out more than one of his teammates in August: bullpen legend Willians Astudillo (2.9%). It should be brought to your attention that Arraez’s final numbers in August started to drop only during the last week of the month. Until Aug 24, he was slashing .314/.381/.404 (.785) before an 0-for-16 slump. Hopefully, the turn of the calendar will help him get back on track. Honorable Mention #2: Miguel Sanó Miguel Sanó’s mere presence in this Twins lineup was a question mark for quite some time. When he struggles, as he did during April and May, many people are vocal about it. Well, for the past three months, he’s been proving many people wrong, having a very consistent, above league average productivity. His highlight of the month happened last week, when he hit the longest home run in all of baseball this year, sending the poor baseball completely out of Fenway Park. During August, Sanó had his highest number of plate appearances of the season (106), and he was able to sustain a season-best .820 OPS while also having a .344 wOBA and 118 wRC+. It seems as if consistent playing time makes all the difference for the big fellow. Sanó had the team’s second-most extra-base hits (11) and third-highest SLG (.489) in August. Not to mention that he stepped up when the team needed him the most, putting the ball in play 50% of the time in high-leverage situations, the eighth-best BABip in all of baseball in such situations. Honorable Mention #1: Josh Donaldson “The Bringer of Rain” had an incredible month of August, possibly his best in a Twins uniform. Donaldson led the team in batting average for the month, slashing .278/.360/.519 (.878) while also posting .376 wOBA and 140 wRC+, both ranking second-best on the team and considerably above league average. This was the fourth month out of five this year in which he maintained a wRC+ of at least 125. For those who believe the Twins should pursue a trade involving him next winter, his improved second half of the season can seriously increase his trade value. Hitter of the Month: Jorge Polanco For the first time since we’ve established the hitter of the month award, we have a player to be named for a second time. In August, Jorge Polanco was easily the Twins’ best hitter, leading the team in fWAR, with 1.1 and also most of the other relevant offensive metrics, including .945 OPS, .612 SLG, .390 wOBA, and 150 wRC+. But what was even more impressive about Polanco’s August was how clutch and decisive he was! He was responsible for three consecutive walk-off RBI hits for Minnesota this month alone. Check out this video from Twins Daily’s Tom Froemming with every one of his five walk-off hits this season. Given his track record and expected statistics, his current power surge is probably unsustainable over an entire season. He slugged .421 for the first three months of 2021 before jumping to .548 in July and .612 in August. Nonetheless, Polanco’s August was just the icing on the cake of what has been one of his best seasons as a major-leaguer, entitling him to be a front-runner to be named the Twins’ hitter of the year. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  18. August represented the first month of the season in which Minnesota had a winning record. Curiously enough, according to several metrics, it was also the month in which they had their lowest offensive productivity. This controversy (given that their pitching wasn’t substantially better either) could be explained by the fact that Twins hitters performed very well in clutch situations, making the difference between losing and winning in at least a handful of games. Without further ado, here are three honorable mentions, followed by the big winner! Honorable Mention #3: Luis Arraez This is how good Luis Arraez is: despite having a slight dip in productivity during August, he still had one of the top 15 batting averages in baseball. Also, by slashing .291/.371/.384 (.755), he finished the month with the highest batting average on the team. Unsurprisingly, his power numbers aren’t impressive, but he compensates for that with a ton of plate discipline. Among all qualified batters in August, Arraez’s strikeout rate (8.2%) ranked fourth-best in baseball. He only struck out more than one of his teammates in August: bullpen legend Willians Astudillo (2.9%). It should be brought to your attention that Arraez’s final numbers in August started to drop only during the last week of the month. Until Aug 24, he was slashing .314/.381/.404 (.785) before an 0-for-16 slump. Hopefully, the turn of the calendar will help him get back on track. Honorable Mention #2: Miguel Sanó Miguel Sanó’s mere presence in this Twins lineup was a question mark for quite some time. When he struggles, as he did during April and May, many people are vocal about it. Well, for the past three months, he’s been proving many people wrong, having a very consistent, above league average productivity. His highlight of the month happened last week, when he hit the longest home run in all of baseball this year, sending the poor baseball completely out of Fenway Park. During August, Sanó had his highest number of plate appearances of the season (106), and he was able to sustain a season-best .820 OPS while also having a .344 wOBA and 118 wRC+. It seems as if consistent playing time makes all the difference for the big fellow. Sanó had the team’s second-most extra-base hits (11) and third-highest SLG (.489) in August. Not to mention that he stepped up when the team needed him the most, putting the ball in play 50% of the time in high-leverage situations, the eighth-best BABip in all of baseball in such situations. Honorable Mention #1: Josh Donaldson “The Bringer of Rain” had an incredible month of August, possibly his best in a Twins uniform. Donaldson led the team in batting average for the month, slashing .278/.360/.519 (.878) while also posting .376 wOBA and 140 wRC+, both ranking second-best on the team and considerably above league average. This was the fourth month out of five this year in which he maintained a wRC+ of at least 125. For those who believe the Twins should pursue a trade involving him next winter, his improved second half of the season can seriously increase his trade value. Hitter of the Month: Jorge Polanco For the first time since we’ve established the hitter of the month award, we have a player to be named for a second time. In August, Jorge Polanco was easily the Twins’ best hitter, leading the team in fWAR, with 1.1 and also most of the other relevant offensive metrics, including .945 OPS, .612 SLG, .390 wOBA, and 150 wRC+. But what was even more impressive about Polanco’s August was how clutch and decisive he was! He was responsible for three consecutive walk-off RBI hits for Minnesota this month alone. Check out this video from Twins Daily’s Tom Froemming with every one of his five walk-off hits this season. Given his track record and expected statistics, his current power surge is probably unsustainable over an entire season. He slugged .421 for the first three months of 2021 before jumping to .548 in July and .612 in August. Nonetheless, Polanco’s August was just the icing on the cake of what has been one of his best seasons as a major-leaguer, entitling him to be a front-runner to be named the Twins’ hitter of the year. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  19. The Minnesota Twins beat the Tigers in a makeup game Monday behind another strong performance from Bailey Ober, who finished August with a 2.30 ERA for the month. Josh Donaldson hit his 21st home run, Byron Buxton had his first hit since returning from the IL and Alex Colomé recorded a tight walk save. Down on the farm, Emmanuel Rodriguez hit his FCL-leading ninth home run and pitchers Sean Mooney and Cade Povich were promoted.
  20. The Minnesota Twins beat the Tigers in a makeup game Monday behind another strong performance from Bailey Ober, who finished August with a 2.30 ERA for the month. Josh Donaldson hit his 21st home run, Byron Buxton had his first hit since returning from the IL and Alex Colomé recorded a tight walk save. Down on the farm, Emmanuel Rodriguez hit his FCL-leading ninth home run and pitchers Sean Mooney and Cade Povich were promoted. View full video
  21. Box Score Starter: Bailey Ober 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K Home Runs: Josh Donaldson (21) Top 3 WPA: Alcala (.259), Colome (.214), Donaldson (.191) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Monday was a day the Twins were initially scheduled to have a day off but instead spent the afternoon making up a game against division foe Detroit before heading home for a series against the Cubs. While it had all the makings of a “throw-away” game, with two below .500 teams facing off, it gave us a good starting pitching matchup. The Tigers sent former top draft pick Casey Mize to the mound, who entered the game with 24 starts and a 3.55 ERA. The Twins counter with their hottest starter in Bailey Ober. In his 4 August starts, Ober holds a 2.11 ERA, .265 batting average against, and a .697 OPS. The majority of the first three innings produced quick three up, three down baseball. That is until the end of the third inning when Ober needed to get one more out to start the game with nine straight batters retired. Instead, Derek Hill smashed an up and in 92.7 mph fastball for his second home run of the season to put the Tigers up 1-0. The Twins would answer immediately in the 4th. Buxton collected the Twins first hit with a 1-out double down the left-field line. With Polanco up to bat, a Mize pitch would find the backstop, allowing Buxton to move to third and easily be singled home by Polanco to tie the game up 1-1. With Polanco on first base, Josh Donaldson took a Mize slider to center field for his 21st home run and a Twins 3-1 lead. The Tigers would get one back in the 5th. Harold Perez was standing on second after a lead-off double. He scored on a bloop single from Zack Short that landed beyond a diving Simmons who played in a bit on the infield. While the hit wasn’t the most impressive of hits, it was enough to bring Perez around to score. Down to the Wire Once again, an Alex Colome outing turned interesting. This time it wasn't necessarily because of his pitching but because of his fielding. Two fielding miscues put Colome in a position where he needed to get out of a 2-out, runners on the corners jam. He thankfully popped up old friend Robbie Grossman to end the game and get the team on the road back to the Twin Cities. Bailey Ober Solid Again As the Twins will be looking to fill rotation spots for 2022, Ober again makes a good case that he will need to be in the mix for one of those spots. He put his team in a spot to win and himself in a place to earn a win. Didn’t give up any free passes and collected a good number of whiffs as well. He continues to be one of the exciting players to follow down the stretch of a lost season. When it comes to the development of Ober, there are encouraging signs surrounding his fastball, as pointed out by Nash Walker. Josh Donaldson Showing His Worth Donaldson’s aforementioned 21st home run of the season also was his 5th of the month. While the Twins may continue to look to offload his contract because of the injury risk, if he sticks around for 2022, the Twins will look forward to penciling his bat into the lineup every day he is healthy. Monday showed again how valuable Donaldson could be as he can change a game quickly with one at-bat, one swing. Here is a breakdown of Donaldson's home run swing by our own Nash Walker: Tomorrow the Twins kick off their series with the Chicago Cubs. It should be a fun mid-week series even if neither team is looking at the playoffs. Don't forget Wednesday night you could order a drink from John Bonnes if you are at the game! Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT Albers 0 88 0 0 0 88 Colomé 0 13 13 0 23 49 Alcalá 0 12 0 0 25 37 Gibaut 0 0 0 33 0 33 Thielbar 0 0 23 0 0 23 Coulombe 0 20 0 0 0 20 Minaya 0 0 17 0 0 17 Garza Jr. 4 0 0 11 0 15 Duffey 0 6 0 0 0 6
  22. Bailey Ober’s solid start and Josh Donaldson’s 2-run home run secures a Twins win over the Tigers in a game that came down to the wire. Box Score Starter: Bailey Ober 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K Home Runs: Josh Donaldson (21) Top 3 WPA: Alcala (.259), Colome (.214), Donaldson (.191) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Monday was a day the Twins were initially scheduled to have a day off but instead spent the afternoon making up a game against division foe Detroit before heading home for a series against the Cubs. While it had all the makings of a “throw-away” game, with two below .500 teams facing off, it gave us a good starting pitching matchup. The Tigers sent former top draft pick Casey Mize to the mound, who entered the game with 24 starts and a 3.55 ERA. The Twins counter with their hottest starter in Bailey Ober. In his 4 August starts, Ober holds a 2.11 ERA, .265 batting average against, and a .697 OPS. The majority of the first three innings produced quick three up, three down baseball. That is until the end of the third inning when Ober needed to get one more out to start the game with nine straight batters retired. Instead, Derek Hill smashed an up and in 92.7 mph fastball for his second home run of the season to put the Tigers up 1-0. The Twins would answer immediately in the 4th. Buxton collected the Twins first hit with a 1-out double down the left-field line. With Polanco up to bat, a Mize pitch would find the backstop, allowing Buxton to move to third and easily be singled home by Polanco to tie the game up 1-1. With Polanco on first base, Josh Donaldson took a Mize slider to center field for his 21st home run and a Twins 3-1 lead. The Tigers would get one back in the 5th. Harold Perez was standing on second after a lead-off double. He scored on a bloop single from Zack Short that landed beyond a diving Simmons who played in a bit on the infield. While the hit wasn’t the most impressive of hits, it was enough to bring Perez around to score. Down to the Wire Once again, an Alex Colome outing turned interesting. This time it wasn't necessarily because of his pitching but because of his fielding. Two fielding miscues put Colome in a position where he needed to get out of a 2-out, runners on the corners jam. He thankfully popped up old friend Robbie Grossman to end the game and get the team on the road back to the Twin Cities. Bailey Ober Solid Again As the Twins will be looking to fill rotation spots for 2022, Ober again makes a good case that he will need to be in the mix for one of those spots. He put his team in a spot to win and himself in a place to earn a win. Didn’t give up any free passes and collected a good number of whiffs as well. He continues to be one of the exciting players to follow down the stretch of a lost season. When it comes to the development of Ober, there are encouraging signs surrounding his fastball, as pointed out by Nash Walker. Josh Donaldson Showing His Worth Donaldson’s aforementioned 21st home run of the season also was his 5th of the month. While the Twins may continue to look to offload his contract because of the injury risk, if he sticks around for 2022, the Twins will look forward to penciling his bat into the lineup every day he is healthy. Monday showed again how valuable Donaldson could be as he can change a game quickly with one at-bat, one swing. Here is a breakdown of Donaldson's home run swing by our own Nash Walker: Tomorrow the Twins kick off their series with the Chicago Cubs. It should be a fun mid-week series even if neither team is looking at the playoffs. Don't forget Wednesday night you could order a drink from John Bonnes if you are at the game! Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT Albers 0 88 0 0 0 88 Colomé 0 13 13 0 23 49 Alcalá 0 12 0 0 25 37 Gibaut 0 0 0 33 0 33 Thielbar 0 0 23 0 0 23 Coulombe 0 20 0 0 0 20 Minaya 0 0 17 0 0 17 Garza Jr. 4 0 0 11 0 15 Duffey 0 6 0 0 0 6 View full article
  23. Nash Walker breaks down Josh Donaldson's home run against the Detroit Tigers, examining how Josh generates his power from his legs and uses a snap effect to get his bat barrel through the zone rapidly and induces so many longballs from his relatively small frame.
  24. Nash Walker breaks down Josh Donaldson's home run against the Detroit Tigers, examining how Josh generates his power from his legs and uses a snap effect to get his bat barrel through the zone rapidly and induces so many longballs from his relatively small frame. View full video
  25. Minnesota took an early lead on a Josh Donaldson first-inning home run. Andrew Albers delivered five-plus scoreless innings, and the bullpen was lights out, helping the Twins shut out the Brewers in game one of the Border Battle. Box Score Andrew Albers: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K Home Runs: Donaldson (20) Top 3 WPA: Albers .306, Donaldson .177, Coulombe .080 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Before either team even took the field, two special stories were already on display. First, third baseman Eduardo Escobar, now with the Brewers, made his first visit to Target Field as an opposing player since he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2018. He got a warm welcome from Twins fans! The other story, the most important one, was also about a player’s return. After spending over two months on the injured list recovering from a hand fracture caused by a hit-by-pitch, Byron Buxton was activated by the Twins roughly an hour before the game. He took the leadoff spot in Rocco Baldelli’s lineup, starting what might be a crucial stretch for his continuity as a Twin. While Buxton’s first plate appearance in the majors since Jun. 22 was unimpressive, with a three-pitch strikeout, that didn’t mean Minnesota’s offense wasn’t going to make some noise early. With two outs in the first, Rob Refsnyder singled, reaching with a head-first slide. Josh Donaldson hit a line drive home run to left in the following at-bat, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead. This was Donaldson’s fourth home run in the last six games. Even though they came out of the second inning empty-handed, the Twins offense kept Brewers starter Eric Lauer on the ropes. They loaded the bases with only one out and suddenly had the chance to blow this game wide open. One of those runners was Buxton himself, who worked a five-pitch walk after getting ahead in the count with 3-0. Refsnyder hit a ground ball to left that would’ve cleared the bases had it stayed fair. But it landed inches into foul territory, and he ended up being struck out briefly after that to end the inning. Albers picks up where he left off Meanwhile, Andrew Albers began putting together a nice start. Over a week after his relief appearance in New York, where he provided four innings of one-run ball, he dominated Milwaukee’s lineup the first time through the order. He retired nine of his first 11 batters faced, pitching three shutout innings on 41 pitches. He pitched himself into a jam during the fourth inning. After allowing only one hit through three, he gave up two and hit a batter, loading the bases. But he managed to induce weak enough contact to get out of it. In fact, this is what he was able to do a lot tonight. His stuff wasn’t electric, but everything was well located, causing Brewers batters to ground out multiple times. With an arsenal of five pitches, very few of them were not thrown for a strike. According to Statcast, he didn’t give up a single barrel during this outing. After a shaky fourth inning, he returned to pitch a 1-2-3 fifth and retired one batter in the sixth before being removed from the game. Jorge Alcala, also making his return to the team from the IL, came in in his relief and finished off the Brewers on ten pitches. Offense quiets down, but the bullpen is lights out Minnesota didn’t get a lot done on offense for the remainder of the game. The only time they could pose a threat was during the sixth inning when Buxton had men in the corners with two outs. Kirk Cousins’ cousin, Jake, painted the inside part of the strike zone to strike him out. Fortunately for the Twins, their bullpen was lights out. Jorge Alcala and Danny Coulombe held the Brewers scoreless until the eighth before Tyler Duffey came in to get the final out of the inning. Duffey, in fact, caught a huge break with a slow curveball out of the zone that was called for a strike – framed brilliantly by Ryan Jeffers. But on the previous pitch, a pitch that painted the lower corner of the zone and got called for a ball should’ve ended the inning. Alexander Colomé pitched the ninth inning, looking to bounce back from his previous two disastrous outings. This time, he was able to retire the side on only 13 pitches (10 strikes) to earn his eighth save of the year. Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT TUE WED THU FRI TOT Albers 0 0 0 0 88 88 Garza Jr. 31 0 24 4 0 59 Coulombe 0 0 19 0 20 39 Thielbar 0 14 22 0 0 36 Duffey 0 19 9 0 6 34 Colomé 0 0 20 0 13 33 Minaya 0 30 0 0 0 30 Gibaut 0 23 0 0 0 23 Alcalá 0 0 0 0 12 12 Barnes 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
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