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  1. Few baseball prospects can live up to the hype surrounding their trek through the minor league system. It looked like Nick Gordon was running out of big-league opportunities, but he has been crucial to Minnesota’s 2022 success. The Twins drafted Nick Gordon with the fifth overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. There can be plenty of pressure put on a top-5 draft pick, but that was even more true for Gordon. His brother, Dee Strange-Gordon, and his father, Tom Gordon, were All-Stars during their respective careers. There’s no quest that Gordon faced added pressure as a prospect, which might have impacted his development throughout his career. MLB’s draft is different from the other major sports leagues because no players immediately impact the big-league level. In Gordon’s draft, three players taken after him in the first round have accumulated more than 25 WAR, including Trea Turner, Aaron Nola, and Matt Chapman. It’s easy for fans to play the “what if” game with any of these players, but draft baseball talent isn’t an exact science. Gordon was highly touted as an amateur and deserved to be a top-10 pick. After signing with the Twins, Gordon immediately became one of the organization’s top-ranked prospects. All three major national rankings (Baseball America, MLB, and Baseball Prospectus) placed Gordon among baseball’s top 100 prospects for four consecutive seasons (2015-18). During that stretch, his highest OPS was in 2017, when he combined for 46 extra-base hits at Double-A. Gordon proved he could consistently get on base, but his power hadn’t developed. Unfortunately, multiple health issues impacted his development moving forward. Besides the pressures of being a top prospect, Gordon dealt with two health issues that had a chance to cost him his career. His entire 2020 season was erased when he tested positive for COVID-19 and didn’t clear protocols until late August. Gordon has also dealt with chronic gastritis that causes him to lose weight. He’s a naturally skinny player, but he was down to 153-pounds at one point. Luckily, he has worked through his health concerns and is currently playing at 180-pounds. It’s hard to put in perspective what Gordon has meant to the Twins during the 2022 season. Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff being out for the year has forced players like Gordon to step up and fill a prominent role. Gordon is doing more than filling in as he is putting himself into the team’s future plans. He ranks in the 79th percentile or higher in Barrel %, Average Exit Velocity, Hard Hit %, xSLG, and xwOBA. Also, Gordon ranks 9th on the Twins according to both versions of WAR. Every team needs role players, and Gordon is more than filling his role. There is no question that Gordon has been invaluable to the 2022 Twins, but the team might be lucky in other ways. Because he was a late-bloomer, Gordon is not arbitration eligible until 2025, and he can’t reach free agency until 2028. Currently, he is 26 years old, so Minnesota can control the prime of his career. Gordon may never be an All-Star like the other members of his family, but he is proving the Twins were right to draft him so highly. Not every prospect pans out, but the Twins would be in a much different position if Gordon wasn’t making plays for a first-place team. What has stood out to you most about Gordon this season? What do you remember about his minor league career? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  2. It was an eventful week that saw the Twins make several key additions at the trade deadline, part with multiple bullpen fixtures from the first half, and put forth a winning week on the field – dampened by a sour finish. Let's get caught up on all the action. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/1 through Sun, 8/7 *** Record Last Week: 4-3 (Overall: 57-51) Run Differential Last Week: +1 (Overall: +27) Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (1.0 GA) Last Week's Game Results: Game 102 | MIN 5, DET 3: Miranda and Urshela Deliver in the Clutch Game 103 | DET 5, MIN 3: Active Deadline Day Ends in Quiet Loss Game 104 | MIN 4, DET 1: Newcomers Contribute in Series Clincher Game 105 | TOR 9, MIN 3: Bullpen Breaks Down as Blue Jays Roll Game 106 | MIN 6, TOR 5: Twins Walk Off Toronto in Wild Win Game 107 | MIN 7, TOR 3: Revamped Pen Provides 5 Strong Innings Game 108 | TOR 3, MIN 2: Comeback Falls Short in Controversial Finish NEWS & NOTES The Twins front office made an emphatic statement at the trade deadline, leaning into the buyer position like never before with a string of significant moves while their competitors in the division were largely quiet. Here's a rundown of the prospect-for-vet deals that took place on Monday and Tuesday: Acquired starting pitcher Tyler Mahle from the Reds for IF Spencer Steer, OF Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and LHP Steve Hajjar. Acquired closer Jorge López from the Orioles for LHPs Cade Povich and Juan Rojas, RHPs Yennier Canó and Juan Nunez. Acquired setup man Michael Fulmer from the Tigers for RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long. Acquired backup catcher Sandy León from Guardians for RHP Ian Hamilton. Through this assertive series of trades, the Twins effectively addressed every glaring weakness on their roster, fortifying their standing in the AL Central while the two teams chasing them – Chicago and Cleveland – showed minimal initiative. With a historically aggressive deadline coming on the heels of signing Carlos Correa just before the season, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are redefining a traditionally passive franchise's mettle. The Minnesota Twins are officially swimming in the deep end, albeit perhaps struggling to stay afloat. Their deadline haul came at a cost. While the Twins were able to avoid parting with any of their very best prospects, they had to give up several good ones, some of whom are sure to haunt them down the road. But that's the cost of doing business. Speaking of which, the business side of baseball was felt be a couple of veteran relievers supplanted by these deadline additions. Joe Smith, the team's lone MLB free agent bullpen during the past offseason, was released after posting a 9.22 ERA in his last 18 appearances. Tyler Duffey was designated for assignment, his 11.81 post-break ERA convincing the Twins there was nothing left in the tank. Fellow veteran pitchers Aaron Sanchez and Jharrel Cotton were also ousted from the 40-man roster, but stuck in the organization at Triple-A after clearing DFA waivers. It's good news for the Twins from a depth perspective, because Cotton's been a solid piece when called upon and Sanchez actually looked mildly intriguing in his spot start on Monday. We could see either (or both) yet again this year. We probably won't be seeing Miguel Sanó, who landed on the 60-day IL with a flare-up of his knee injury. And we definitely won't be seeing Jorge Alcalá, who underwent season-ending elbow debridement surgery. Alex Kirilloff, sadly, is also done for the year. He's undergoing a rare surgery that involves deliberately breaking his ulna bone, shortening it, and then reconnecting it with plates and screws, in an effort to create space and reduce the painful friction impeding his swing. Needless to say it's a highly invasive procedure, of which Kirilloff said earlier this year, "I really hope it doesn't get to that." Well, here we are. The Twins are hopeful that Kirilloff will be ready for spring training next year, but there is no guarantee this course of action will deliver the desired results. It's rarely been done for baseball players. Hard as it is to say, this really feels like a last-ditch effort to save the 24-year-old's promising career. If it doesn't take ... then what? All we can do now is wait and hope, while reckoning with the reality that Minnesota will be without one of its most crucial bats the rest of the way. A colossal bummer. In other roster news: José Godoy was claimed off waivers by Pittsburgh. He was no longer useful to the Twins following the addition of León. Kyle Garlick was placed on IL due to a ribcage injury suffered in a wall collision. Gilberto Celestino returned to the roster in his stead. Caleb Thielbar was activated from IL, with Jovani Moran optioned to Triple-A. Cole Sands was also recalled in place of Sanchez. Max Kepler was activated on Saturday, sending Mark Contreras back to Triple-A. HIGHLIGHTS Nick Gordon stole the show in Friday night's victory over Toronto at Target Field, delivering a huge three-run homer against José Berríos early on and sliding across home with the winning run in the 10th. Finally healthy after long bouts with digestive issues, Gordon is showing the power that made him a top draft pick and highly touted prospect in the low minors. While swinging at almost everything, he keeps on barreling up with amazing frequency, causing the ball to consistently jump off his bat. Starting all seven games last week, he went 10-for-30 with the homer, three doubles, five RBIs, and – most refreshingly – four walks. Also instrumental in Friday's victory was Fulmer, who's making his impact in the late innings felt since being acquired minutes ahead of Tuesday's deadline. After firing a scoreless inning in his first Twins appearance on Wednesday, Fulmer drew the tough assignment of pitching the 10th Friday with a runner starting on second. He worked around a walk and a single to strike out the side and set up a walk-off in the bottom half. The Twins found themselves needing to win in the 10th because the new closer López had experienced a blown save in the ninth. However, it wasn't the type of performance that raises alarm. Toronto was able to string together a few singles and get a run across, without much in the way of hard contact. Two days earlier, in his Minnesota debut, López pitched a 1-2-3 ninth on seven pitches to secure his first save as a Twin and a series win. He followed up with a clean ninth on Saturday, despite having thrown 30 pitches the previous night. It's immediately evident the Twins see in their new closer a rubber arm that hasn't existed in their bullpen up to this point. While the new guys flashed their stuff, the incumbents at the back end of the bullpen made sure to remind us they're still here, and still important. Jhoan Durán was his usual dominant self, tossing 3 ⅔ scoreless innings while unveiling a new intro experience at Target Field. With López (who also got a light-dimming walkout treatment) now aboard, Durán has been fully fitted into a fireman role where he can be deployed in the highest-leverage of situations at any time, without a thought to hold him back for a later tight lead. This was evident on Friday night, when he came in to pitch the eighth inning of a one-run game, and on Saturday night, when he relieved Griffin Jax amidst a threat with two on, one out, and a couple heavy hitters coming up. Durán leads all AL relievers in Win Probability Added and he only figures to further extend his margin in this role, so long as he can stay healthy and keep dominating. Pending the former, there is little doubt of the latter, given how Durán has managed to make us all forget about his one supposed weakness (proneness to home runs – remember that?). An unsung hero and emerging weapon in this bullpen is Thielbar, who came off the IL and immediately made his presence felt. The lefty tossed a scoreless seventh in Wednesday's series-clinching win over Detroit, and looked dominant while mowing down four Blue Jays hitters on Saturday. Thielbar has had a few random blow-ups on the mound this year, but he's nearly two months removed from the last one and has otherwise been downright excellent. His Statcast measurables portray a guy who is throwing top-notch stuff and stifling opposing hitters. Finally, we can't run through the week's bright spots without once again mentioning rookie sensation José Miranda, who just keeps on cooking. Now routinely batting cleanup against lefties, Miranda's living up to that billing as a run-producing machine, with eight RBIs in an 8-for-26 week that included a double and home run. Miranda has the third-highest OPS on the team, trailing only All-Stars Byron Buxton and Luis Arraez. He is 24 years old. LOWLIGHTS Even with all its upgrades, the pitching staff still has its warts. Those definitely showed through on Thursday, when Emilio Pagán, Trevor Megill, and Duffey gave up three runs apiece in relief of Sonny Gray, turning a 1-0 lead into a 9-3 blowout loss. Duffey's dud performance proved to be the final straw, as his DFA was announced the following day. Subtracting from the bottom of the bullpen while adding at the top is a good way to turn around a drastically underperforming unit, but the fact remains: lower-tier guys are going to need to throw some innings and the Twins need better out of them than we saw against Toronto. When you play a lot of close games, as Minnesota does, everyone's going to have to pitch in relatively high leverage at times. With Canó shipped out, and Alcalá and Danny Coulombe down for the year, reinforcements have grown thin. Pagán came out of Sunday's game after wincing on a pitch, so he might be at risk of joining the fallen. The long ball, which bit Pagán and Duffey on Thursday, has been an all-too-common culprit for the entire Twins staff. They've surrendered the second-most home runs in the American League. This affliction touched the newest member of the Twins rotation on Friday, when Mahle narrowed a 5-0 lead to 5-4 by giving up three homers against the Blue Jays. It was the most allowed in a start by Mahle since May 2nd of 2021 – kind of ironic given all the steam about escaping from Cincinnati's homer-happy ballpark being his ticket to the next level. Ultimately, it is not memories of any home runs allowed that leave the Twins and their fans shaking their heads in the wake of this eventful week. It's the way it ended: a highly controversial and game-altering overturn of an out call at home plate, after Tim Beckham threw a pea from left field that beat Whit Merrifield. Gary Sánchez's successful tag-out was denied on the grounds that he violated MLB's nebulous home-plate collision rule – a notion that manager Rocco Baldelli took issue with to say the least. He immediately charged on the field, whipped his hat, and exploded into an animated tirade like we've never seen from him before. In his post-game rant, the typically even-keeled Baldelli pulled no punches. I'm inclined to agree with his viewpoint. This sour finish to an otherwise entertaining and compelling series against one of Minnesota's key rivals in the American League leaves a bad taste as we turn the page to Monday. TRENDING STORYLINE Trevor Larnach is now officially six weeks removed from undergoing a surgery that was estimated to have a six-week recovery time. On Sunday, the Twins lumped him into a larger group of players they are "hopeful" to get back in September, which is interesting since there've been no reports of a setback (to my knowledge) and we've still got three weeks left of August. The Twins could certainly use Larnach's pre-injury bat because they've been thinned out significantly in the outfield with Garlick and Kirilloff both on the shelf and Buxton continuing to be limited by his knee (he's started in center field just three times since the All-Star break). While outfield fill-ins like Gordon, Contreras, and Jake Cave all deserve credit for stepping up at various moments, getting back Larnach would make a huge difference. For a stretch early on, he was arguably the best hitter in the lineup, slashing .300/.375/.511 in his first 30 games before the core injury seemed to start taking its toll. If that issue is fully corrected by the surgery, and Larnach quickly returns to full strength ... look out. Hopefully in the coming week we'll get a little more clarity on his specific situation and rehab timeline. LOOKING AHEAD Another week of ample rest lies ahead, with days off on both Monday and Thursday bookending a two-game road series against the Dodgers. The Twins would be wise to savor them, because after this they won't have another scheduled break in the month of August. With left-handers on the docket for at least four of five games in the coming week, Garlick's bat will be missed and Gordon's offensive impact will be negated. Can guys like Celestino and Tim Beckham step up on a big West Coast road trip? TUESDAY, 8/9: TWINS @ DODGERS – RHP Joe Ryan v. LHP Julio Urias WEDNESDAY, 8/10: TWINS @ DODGERS – RHP Sonny Gray v. TBD FRIDAY, 8/12: TWINS @ ANGELS – RHP Tyler Mahle v. LHP Patrick Sandoval SATURDAY, 8/13: TWINS @ ANGELS – RHP Dylan Bundy v. LHP Reid Detmers SUNDAY, 8/14: TWINS @ ANGELS – RHP Chris Archer v. LHP Tucker Davidson View full article
  3. The Twins drafted Nick Gordon with the fifth overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. There can be plenty of pressure put on a top-5 draft pick, but that was even more true for Gordon. His brother, Dee Strange-Gordon, and his father, Tom Gordon, were All-Stars during their respective careers. There’s no quest that Gordon faced added pressure as a prospect, which might have impacted his development throughout his career. MLB’s draft is different from the other major sports leagues because no players immediately impact the big-league level. In Gordon’s draft, three players taken after him in the first round have accumulated more than 25 WAR, including Trea Turner, Aaron Nola, and Matt Chapman. It’s easy for fans to play the “what if” game with any of these players, but draft baseball talent isn’t an exact science. Gordon was highly touted as an amateur and deserved to be a top-10 pick. After signing with the Twins, Gordon immediately became one of the organization’s top-ranked prospects. All three major national rankings (Baseball America, MLB, and Baseball Prospectus) placed Gordon among baseball’s top 100 prospects for four consecutive seasons (2015-18). During that stretch, his highest OPS was in 2017, when he combined for 46 extra-base hits at Double-A. Gordon proved he could consistently get on base, but his power hadn’t developed. Unfortunately, multiple health issues impacted his development moving forward. Besides the pressures of being a top prospect, Gordon dealt with two health issues that had a chance to cost him his career. His entire 2020 season was erased when he tested positive for COVID-19 and didn’t clear protocols until late August. Gordon has also dealt with chronic gastritis that causes him to lose weight. He’s a naturally skinny player, but he was down to 153-pounds at one point. Luckily, he has worked through his health concerns and is currently playing at 180-pounds. It’s hard to put in perspective what Gordon has meant to the Twins during the 2022 season. Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff being out for the year has forced players like Gordon to step up and fill a prominent role. Gordon is doing more than filling in as he is putting himself into the team’s future plans. He ranks in the 79th percentile or higher in Barrel %, Average Exit Velocity, Hard Hit %, xSLG, and xwOBA. Also, Gordon ranks 9th on the Twins according to both versions of WAR. Every team needs role players, and Gordon is more than filling his role. There is no question that Gordon has been invaluable to the 2022 Twins, but the team might be lucky in other ways. Because he was a late-bloomer, Gordon is not arbitration eligible until 2025, and he can’t reach free agency until 2028. Currently, he is 26 years old, so Minnesota can control the prime of his career. Gordon may never be an All-Star like the other members of his family, but he is proving the Twins were right to draft him so highly. Not every prospect pans out, but the Twins would be in a much different position if Gordon wasn’t making plays for a first-place team. What has stood out to you most about Gordon this season? What do you remember about his minor league career? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  4. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/1 through Sun, 8/7 *** Record Last Week: 4-3 (Overall: 57-51) Run Differential Last Week: +1 (Overall: +27) Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (1.0 GA) Last Week's Game Results: Game 102 | MIN 5, DET 3: Miranda and Urshela Deliver in the Clutch Game 103 | DET 5, MIN 3: Active Deadline Day Ends in Quiet Loss Game 104 | MIN 4, DET 1: Newcomers Contribute in Series Clincher Game 105 | TOR 9, MIN 3: Bullpen Breaks Down as Blue Jays Roll Game 106 | MIN 6, TOR 5: Twins Walk Off Toronto in Wild Win Game 107 | MIN 7, TOR 3: Revamped Pen Provides 5 Strong Innings Game 108 | TOR 3, MIN 2: Comeback Falls Short in Controversial Finish NEWS & NOTES The Twins front office made an emphatic statement at the trade deadline, leaning into the buyer position like never before with a string of significant moves while their competitors in the division were largely quiet. Here's a rundown of the prospect-for-vet deals that took place on Monday and Tuesday: Acquired starting pitcher Tyler Mahle from the Reds for IF Spencer Steer, OF Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and LHP Steve Hajjar. Acquired closer Jorge López from the Orioles for LHPs Cade Povich and Juan Rojas, RHPs Yennier Canó and Juan Nunez. Acquired setup man Michael Fulmer from the Tigers for RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long. Acquired backup catcher Sandy León from Guardians for RHP Ian Hamilton. Through this assertive series of trades, the Twins effectively addressed every glaring weakness on their roster, fortifying their standing in the AL Central while the two teams chasing them – Chicago and Cleveland – showed minimal initiative. With a historically aggressive deadline coming on the heels of signing Carlos Correa just before the season, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are redefining a traditionally passive franchise's mettle. The Minnesota Twins are officially swimming in the deep end, albeit perhaps struggling to stay afloat. Their deadline haul came at a cost. While the Twins were able to avoid parting with any of their very best prospects, they had to give up several good ones, some of whom are sure to haunt them down the road. But that's the cost of doing business. Speaking of which, the business side of baseball was felt be a couple of veteran relievers supplanted by these deadline additions. Joe Smith, the team's lone MLB free agent bullpen during the past offseason, was released after posting a 9.22 ERA in his last 18 appearances. Tyler Duffey was designated for assignment, his 11.81 post-break ERA convincing the Twins there was nothing left in the tank. Fellow veteran pitchers Aaron Sanchez and Jharrel Cotton were also ousted from the 40-man roster, but stuck in the organization at Triple-A after clearing DFA waivers. It's good news for the Twins from a depth perspective, because Cotton's been a solid piece when called upon and Sanchez actually looked mildly intriguing in his spot start on Monday. We could see either (or both) yet again this year. We probably won't be seeing Miguel Sanó, who landed on the 60-day IL with a flare-up of his knee injury. And we definitely won't be seeing Jorge Alcalá, who underwent season-ending elbow debridement surgery. Alex Kirilloff, sadly, is also done for the year. He's undergoing a rare surgery that involves deliberately breaking his ulna bone, shortening it, and then reconnecting it with plates and screws, in an effort to create space and reduce the painful friction impeding his swing. Needless to say it's a highly invasive procedure, of which Kirilloff said earlier this year, "I really hope it doesn't get to that." Well, here we are. The Twins are hopeful that Kirilloff will be ready for spring training next year, but there is no guarantee this course of action will deliver the desired results. It's rarely been done for baseball players. Hard as it is to say, this really feels like a last-ditch effort to save the 24-year-old's promising career. If it doesn't take ... then what? All we can do now is wait and hope, while reckoning with the reality that Minnesota will be without one of its most crucial bats the rest of the way. A colossal bummer. In other roster news: José Godoy was claimed off waivers by Pittsburgh. He was no longer useful to the Twins following the addition of León. Kyle Garlick was placed on IL due to a ribcage injury suffered in a wall collision. Gilberto Celestino returned to the roster in his stead. Caleb Thielbar was activated from IL, with Jovani Moran optioned to Triple-A. Cole Sands was also recalled in place of Sanchez. Max Kepler was activated on Saturday, sending Mark Contreras back to Triple-A. HIGHLIGHTS Nick Gordon stole the show in Friday night's victory over Toronto at Target Field, delivering a huge three-run homer against José Berríos early on and sliding across home with the winning run in the 10th. Finally healthy after long bouts with digestive issues, Gordon is showing the power that made him a top draft pick and highly touted prospect in the low minors. While swinging at almost everything, he keeps on barreling up with amazing frequency, causing the ball to consistently jump off his bat. Starting all seven games last week, he went 10-for-30 with the homer, three doubles, five RBIs, and – most refreshingly – four walks. Also instrumental in Friday's victory was Fulmer, who's making his impact in the late innings felt since being acquired minutes ahead of Tuesday's deadline. After firing a scoreless inning in his first Twins appearance on Wednesday, Fulmer drew the tough assignment of pitching the 10th Friday with a runner starting on second. He worked around a walk and a single to strike out the side and set up a walk-off in the bottom half. The Twins found themselves needing to win in the 10th because the new closer López had experienced a blown save in the ninth. However, it wasn't the type of performance that raises alarm. Toronto was able to string together a few singles and get a run across, without much in the way of hard contact. Two days earlier, in his Minnesota debut, López pitched a 1-2-3 ninth on seven pitches to secure his first save as a Twin and a series win. He followed up with a clean ninth on Saturday, despite having thrown 30 pitches the previous night. It's immediately evident the Twins see in their new closer a rubber arm that hasn't existed in their bullpen up to this point. While the new guys flashed their stuff, the incumbents at the back end of the bullpen made sure to remind us they're still here, and still important. Jhoan Durán was his usual dominant self, tossing 3 ⅔ scoreless innings while unveiling a new intro experience at Target Field. With López (who also got a light-dimming walkout treatment) now aboard, Durán has been fully fitted into a fireman role where he can be deployed in the highest-leverage of situations at any time, without a thought to hold him back for a later tight lead. This was evident on Friday night, when he came in to pitch the eighth inning of a one-run game, and on Saturday night, when he relieved Griffin Jax amidst a threat with two on, one out, and a couple heavy hitters coming up. Durán leads all AL relievers in Win Probability Added and he only figures to further extend his margin in this role, so long as he can stay healthy and keep dominating. Pending the former, there is little doubt of the latter, given how Durán has managed to make us all forget about his one supposed weakness (proneness to home runs – remember that?). An unsung hero and emerging weapon in this bullpen is Thielbar, who came off the IL and immediately made his presence felt. The lefty tossed a scoreless seventh in Wednesday's series-clinching win over Detroit, and looked dominant while mowing down four Blue Jays hitters on Saturday. Thielbar has had a few random blow-ups on the mound this year, but he's nearly two months removed from the last one and has otherwise been downright excellent. His Statcast measurables portray a guy who is throwing top-notch stuff and stifling opposing hitters. Finally, we can't run through the week's bright spots without once again mentioning rookie sensation José Miranda, who just keeps on cooking. Now routinely batting cleanup against lefties, Miranda's living up to that billing as a run-producing machine, with eight RBIs in an 8-for-26 week that included a double and home run. Miranda has the third-highest OPS on the team, trailing only All-Stars Byron Buxton and Luis Arraez. He is 24 years old. LOWLIGHTS Even with all its upgrades, the pitching staff still has its warts. Those definitely showed through on Thursday, when Emilio Pagán, Trevor Megill, and Duffey gave up three runs apiece in relief of Sonny Gray, turning a 1-0 lead into a 9-3 blowout loss. Duffey's dud performance proved to be the final straw, as his DFA was announced the following day. Subtracting from the bottom of the bullpen while adding at the top is a good way to turn around a drastically underperforming unit, but the fact remains: lower-tier guys are going to need to throw some innings and the Twins need better out of them than we saw against Toronto. When you play a lot of close games, as Minnesota does, everyone's going to have to pitch in relatively high leverage at times. With Canó shipped out, and Alcalá and Danny Coulombe down for the year, reinforcements have grown thin. Pagán came out of Sunday's game after wincing on a pitch, so he might be at risk of joining the fallen. The long ball, which bit Pagán and Duffey on Thursday, has been an all-too-common culprit for the entire Twins staff. They've surrendered the second-most home runs in the American League. This affliction touched the newest member of the Twins rotation on Friday, when Mahle narrowed a 5-0 lead to 5-4 by giving up three homers against the Blue Jays. It was the most allowed in a start by Mahle since May 2nd of 2021 – kind of ironic given all the steam about escaping from Cincinnati's homer-happy ballpark being his ticket to the next level. Ultimately, it is not memories of any home runs allowed that leave the Twins and their fans shaking their heads in the wake of this eventful week. It's the way it ended: a highly controversial and game-altering overturn of an out call at home plate, after Tim Beckham threw a pea from left field that beat Whit Merrifield. Gary Sánchez's successful tag-out was denied on the grounds that he violated MLB's nebulous home-plate collision rule – a notion that manager Rocco Baldelli took issue with to say the least. He immediately charged on the field, whipped his hat, and exploded into an animated tirade like we've never seen from him before. In his post-game rant, the typically even-keeled Baldelli pulled no punches. I'm inclined to agree with his viewpoint. This sour finish to an otherwise entertaining and compelling series against one of Minnesota's key rivals in the American League leaves a bad taste as we turn the page to Monday. TRENDING STORYLINE Trevor Larnach is now officially six weeks removed from undergoing a surgery that was estimated to have a six-week recovery time. On Sunday, the Twins lumped him into a larger group of players they are "hopeful" to get back in September, which is interesting since there've been no reports of a setback (to my knowledge) and we've still got three weeks left of August. The Twins could certainly use Larnach's pre-injury bat because they've been thinned out significantly in the outfield with Garlick and Kirilloff both on the shelf and Buxton continuing to be limited by his knee (he's started in center field just three times since the All-Star break). While outfield fill-ins like Gordon, Contreras, and Jake Cave all deserve credit for stepping up at various moments, getting back Larnach would make a huge difference. For a stretch early on, he was arguably the best hitter in the lineup, slashing .300/.375/.511 in his first 30 games before the core injury seemed to start taking its toll. If that issue is fully corrected by the surgery, and Larnach quickly returns to full strength ... look out. Hopefully in the coming week we'll get a little more clarity on his specific situation and rehab timeline. LOOKING AHEAD Another week of ample rest lies ahead, with days off on both Monday and Thursday bookending a two-game road series against the Dodgers. The Twins would be wise to savor them, because after this they won't have another scheduled break in the month of August. With left-handers on the docket for at least four of five games in the coming week, Garlick's bat will be missed and Gordon's offensive impact will be negated. Can guys like Celestino and Tim Beckham step up on a big West Coast road trip? TUESDAY, 8/9: TWINS @ DODGERS – RHP Joe Ryan v. LHP Julio Urias WEDNESDAY, 8/10: TWINS @ DODGERS – RHP Sonny Gray v. TBD FRIDAY, 8/12: TWINS @ ANGELS – RHP Tyler Mahle v. LHP Patrick Sandoval SATURDAY, 8/13: TWINS @ ANGELS – RHP Dylan Bundy v. LHP Reid Detmers SUNDAY, 8/14: TWINS @ ANGELS – RHP Chris Archer v. LHP Tucker Davidson
  5. After being up 5-0, the Twins failed to capitalize on offense, allowing Toronto to tie the game in the ninth. Thanks to the bullpen and some lousy defense by Toronto, the Twins were able to get a wild walk-off win in extras to even the series. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Tyler Mahle, 6 IP, 5H, 4R, 4ER, 1BB, 5K (86 pitches, 61 strikes, 70.9%) Home Runs: Mark Contreras (2), Nick Gordon (5) Top 3 WPA: Michael Fulmer (.307), Carlos Correa (.205), Jhoan Duran (.118) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) A good turnout showed up at Target Field on a lovely evening, and all eyes were on the Twins’ new starter Tyler Mahle, who was set to make his first start for Minnesota since being acquired at the trade deadline. Well, some hundreds of eyes might’ve also been on old friend and still beloved by all, José Berríos, especially those of Blue Jays fans all over the place. The first two innings of this game seemed to set the tone: it was going to be a pitchers’ duel. Both starters faced the minimum, with Berríos needing only 14 pitches to do so – 12 fewer pitches than Mahle. But things took a shift in a very different direction once the third inning started. After Mahle pitched around a leadoff walk in the top of the inning, Berríos suffered his first punch. Mark Contreras fell behind in the count 0-2, but he came back to crush a line drive to left-center for his second home run in the big leagues, putting the Twins on the board. Berríos limited the damage to the one run heading to the fourth, and while Mahle continued to dominate the Blue Jay lineup, the former Twins ace just lost it. After Mahle tossed a quick, 1-2-3 top of the fourth on seven pitches, Berríos’ nightmare against his old teammates was about to start. Carlos Correa and Jorge Polanco opened up the home fourth with a long double and a walk, respectively. Next, José Miranda lined a single to center to push Correa across. Then, Nick Gordon didn’t waste any time and jumped on the first pitch he saw for a three-run bomb to right-center. A definite no-doubter to break the game wide open, making it 5-0 Twins before Berríos could even record an out. Minnesota’s offense continued to pound him, and after a Tim Beckham one-out single and a Sandy León two-out walk, Berríos was pulled from the game. Toronto rallies back with three home runs After four innings of sheer dominance over the Blue Jays lineup, Mahle started to lose his stuff. After retiring seven batters in a row and just as he was one out away from delivering a scoreless fifth, he gave up a two-out home run to Matt Chapman, putting Toronto on the board. He completed five innings of one-run ball on only sixty pitches, still in his second time through the order. But just as Berríos’ first home run given up gave Minnesota some momentum, Chapman’s dinger did exactly the same. After a lengthy at-bat by Raimel Tapia to start the sixth inning, Toronto’s number nine hitter, Santiago Espinal, hit a one-out solo homer to center to score the visitors’ second run. Newcomer Whit Merrifield, a career .297 hitter against the Twins, followed Espinal’s home run with a single that set Blue Jays fans on fire at Target Field. Then, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. crushed a long two-run dong to cut Minnesota’s lead to 5-4. Mahle managed to get back on track and finish the inning, but only after he tossed 26 pitches, the most out of any inning in this game. By doing so, he became the first Twins starter to complete six innings in a game in almost two weeks. Bullpen withstands pressure, but missed opportunities prove costly On Thursday, the Twins bullpen had one of the worst outings of the season, giving up all nine Toronto runs in a devastating loss. Tonight, they had a great opportunity to rebound from such an awful display, and they did a fine job. Griffin Jax struck out the side facing the heart of the Blue Jays lineup for a quick, 11-pitch seventh inning. Then, Jhoan Duran got two quick outs in the eighth but gave up a single to Merrifield, having to face Guerrero Jr. with the game on the line next. Pete Maki made a mound visit and decided not to intentionally walk the All-Star first baseman. Duran couldn’t retire Guerrero Jr., but he managed to induce weak-enough contact to hold him to a groundball single. Facing Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Duran got the huge final out on a force out, setting Jorge López up for the save. After not capitalizing on leadoff doubles in the seventh and the eighth innings, the Twins had flame-throwing closer López in the ninth to try to hold on to a one-run lead. The All-Star closer lost Bo Bichette to a one-out single but retired Chapman next after a tough at-bat for the second out. However, Danny Jansen and Tapia hit back-to-back singles and scored Bichette. That was López’s third blown save all year. Offense loads the bases in the 9th, but comes out empty-handed Gio Urshela was briefly brought into the game in the ninth inning to pinch-hit for León, and for a third consecutive inning, Minnesota had the leadoff man on. He smacked a single off Yimi Garcia, then left the game for pinch-runner Gilberto Celestino. Luis Arráez moved him to second on a groundout, then he reached third on a fielding error by Cavan Biggio. With only one out, the Jays made the bold decision to intentionally walk Polanco and bring none other than Miranda to the plate with the bases loaded. He struck out swinging, and Garcia got Gordon to fly out on the next at-bat, taking the game to extra innings. The Twins finished regulation with an awful 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Twins walk off on a couple of defensive mistakes by Toronto Michael Fulmer, making his second appearance as a Twin, scared us all when he gave up a walk to Guerrero Jr. and a single to Gurriel Jr. to load the bases in the 10th inning. However, he bounced back incredibly by striking out Teoscar Hernández and Bichette. It was again up to the offense to salvage this game. Jake Cave had a great, six-pitch at-bat against Jordan Romano, which ended in a strikeout that Jansen couldn’t hold on to. When he made the throw to first, Guerrero Jr. couldn’t hold on to the ball, and ghost runner Gordon reached third. With two men on and no outs, Beckham grounded to short, and Gordon beat the throw by Chapman at home to win the game. Postgame interview What’s Next? Both teams are back on the field tomorrow for game three, with first pitch scheduled for 6:10 pm CDT. The Twins turn to Dylan Bundy (5.04 ERA), while Mitch White (3.70 ERA) starts the game for Toronto. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Jax 20 24 0 0 11 55 Fulmer 23 0 13 0 15 51 Duran 10 0 19 0 17 46 Pagán 0 16 0 25 0 41 Megill 0 8 0 29 0 37 López 0 0 7 0 30 37 Thielbar 0 0 11 0 0 11 Sands 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  6. Strong pitching, lots of hits, and big runs. This is what summer nights are supposed to be and what the Twins have continued to bring us over the past three games. The Twins held off the Blue Jays and took game three giving them a 2-1 lead in a big series. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K (65 pitches, 45 strikes (69%)) Home Runs: Jose Miranda (11) Top 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco (.204), Luis Arraez (.177), Jose Miranda (.163) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Dylan Bundy started the game for the Twins on Saturday. He was able to hold off the Blue Jays through the first three innings, but the second time through the lineup, the Jays had seen enough of Bundy to capitalize on his pitches. Teoscar Hernandez doubled on a sharp line drive earlier and was brought home on a two-run homer from Bo Bichette tying up the game at 2-2 in the fourth inning. Bundy let two runs in but got out of the inning with no further issues. He had six strikeouts in his four innings, his best game since the Fourth of July against the White Sox. On the Blue Jays side, Mitch White started out and did a decent job of trying to keep the Twins off the board. In the third inning Sandy Leon was walked, which got the momentum started. Luis Arraez ripped a ball down the first base line for a double. Both Leon and Arraez were brought home on sacrifice flies from Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco to get the Twins on the board first. The Twins were seeing doubles. Throughout the game, the team accumulated five doubles. In the fifth inning, Luis Arraez doubled and later scored on a Jorge Polanco double. The Twins led 3-2 through five innings. The momentum of the hits was exciting, giving it almost a playoff feel. Jose Miranda got his 11th home run, Nick Gordon stole a base and scored on a squeeze bunt from Sandy Leon, and Arraez had three hits and stole a base. Jake Cave, who has been on a tear since coming up from Triple-A St. Paul hit a stand up triple giving the Twins a 7-3 lead. The Twins lineups and bullpen in this series have been fun to watch. There is no longer a doom and gloom hanging over the team. The hitters are putting balls into play, the bullpen is controlling the momentum of the other team. The bullpen came in and owned one of the better teams in the league for the second night in a row. Between solid arms and great game management by Rocco Baldelli, the bullpen moved quickly and swiftly through each inning. Trevor Megill was first out of the 'pen and the only reliever to struggle was Griffin Jax, who let two on base with no outs. Baldelli called Jhoan Duran to the mound. The Twins bullpen gave up just one run. Jorge Lopez came in to end the game with the Twins taking game three of the four-game series. What’s Next? The Twins finish out their four game series with the Blue Jays tomorrow, hoping to get a series win against one of the hardest teams in the league. Pitching matchup tomorrow: Sunday 12:10 pm CST: Chris Archer (2-5, 4.05 ERA) vs RHP Kevin Gausmann (8-8, 3.06 ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  7. During a baseball season, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in each individual game that one can miss larger trends in player performance. Let’s take a step back and look at who on the Minnesota Twins has been hot, and who has not. In looking at our hot or not list we will be looking at player performance since July 1. This is a long enough timespan to give a decent sample size of plate appearances and show an actual trend of performance. We’ll look at two Twins hitters who have been “hot” and two who have “not”. HOT: José Miranda .329/.400/.529 (95 plate appearances) 168 wRC+ 5 HR, 25 RBI Jose Miranda has been an absolute stud for the Minnesota Twins since his slow start immediately following his call up. Since the calendar turned to July, Miranda has easily been the best hitter on the Twins and has shown up in the clutch, too, delivering walk off hits on two separate occasions. One area in which Miranda has especially excelled is in limiting strikeouts. Since July 1, Miranda has had a K% of just 15.8, good for second best on the Twins during that span. Nick Gordon .333/.387/.561 (75 plate appearances) 165 wRC+ 2 HR, 9 RBI If you thought Jose Miranda’s hot streak was surprising, then you’re going to need to sit down for this one, because Nick Gordon has been on an absolute scorcher for the Minnesota Twins since July 1, with a team-best OPS of .947 in that span. The slim Gordon may look like a scrappy singles-hitting ballplayer, but he has been demolishing the ball with a high exit velocity and has delivered 11 extra base hits since July 1. NOT: Gary Sanchéz .155/.246/.224 (65 plate appearances) 38 wRC+ 1 HR, 6 RBI After posting a strong month of May, Sanchez had a terrible month of June and has been even worse since the calendar turned to July. To make matters worse, Ryan Jeffers has since hit the injured list, forcing Sanchez to become an everyday player for the Twins. Sanchez has been striking out at a 30% clip and has shown absolutely no power, owning a slugging percentage even lower than his on-base percentage. Carlos Correa .194/.292/.347 (113 plate appearances) 82 wRC+ 4 HR, 13 RBI Going under the radar has been just how pedestrian Carlos Correa has been at the plate over the past five weeks. Since the calendar turned to July, Correa owns the second-lowest OPS on the Minnesota Twins at .639 along with the second-lowest average exit velocity of 87.9 MPH. With a player option following the season, could Correa possibly opt in to return to the Land of 10,000 lakes in 2023? What are your thoughts on the hot/not list above? Do you think the players listed will stick in the same category over the last two months of the season? Leave a comment below and start the conversation! View full article
  8. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K (65 pitches, 45 strikes (69%)) Home Runs: Jose Miranda (11) Top 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco (.204), Luis Arraez (.177), Jose Miranda (.163) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Dylan Bundy started the game for the Twins on Saturday. He was able to hold off the Blue Jays through the first three innings, but the second time through the lineup, the Jays had seen enough of Bundy to capitalize on his pitches. Teoscar Hernandez doubled on a sharp line drive earlier and was brought home on a two-run homer from Bo Bichette tying up the game at 2-2 in the fourth inning. Bundy let two runs in but got out of the inning with no further issues. He had six strikeouts in his four innings, his best game since the Fourth of July against the White Sox. On the Blue Jays side, Mitch White started out and did a decent job of trying to keep the Twins off the board. In the third inning Sandy Leon was walked, which got the momentum started. Luis Arraez ripped a ball down the first base line for a double. Both Leon and Arraez were brought home on sacrifice flies from Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco to get the Twins on the board first. The Twins were seeing doubles. Throughout the game, the team accumulated five doubles. In the fifth inning, Luis Arraez doubled and later scored on a Jorge Polanco double. The Twins led 3-2 through five innings. The momentum of the hits was exciting, giving it almost a playoff feel. Jose Miranda got his 11th home run, Nick Gordon stole a base and scored on a squeeze bunt from Sandy Leon, and Arraez had three hits and stole a base. Jake Cave, who has been on a tear since coming up from Triple-A St. Paul hit a stand up triple giving the Twins a 7-3 lead. The Twins lineups and bullpen in this series have been fun to watch. There is no longer a doom and gloom hanging over the team. The hitters are putting balls into play, the bullpen is controlling the momentum of the other team. The bullpen came in and owned one of the better teams in the league for the second night in a row. Between solid arms and great game management by Rocco Baldelli, the bullpen moved quickly and swiftly through each inning. Trevor Megill was first out of the 'pen and the only reliever to struggle was Griffin Jax, who let two on base with no outs. Baldelli called Jhoan Duran to the mound. The Twins bullpen gave up just one run. Jorge Lopez came in to end the game with the Twins taking game three of the four-game series. What’s Next? The Twins finish out their four game series with the Blue Jays tomorrow, hoping to get a series win against one of the hardest teams in the league. Pitching matchup tomorrow: Sunday 12:10 pm CST: Chris Archer (2-5, 4.05 ERA) vs RHP Kevin Gausmann (8-8, 3.06 ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  9. Minnesota Twins Game Notes are here! You’re probably asking what are Game Notes? Game notes are topics that have come up during a game that we think deserve some more attention. That can be a player, a play and it could be a good thing or a bad thing, a mistake or a great play or anything really. We used to have them at the end of our Game Recaps articles. We made a logo and everything. Well, kind of. It’s a notes icon with some text on it. HEY! That’s what a logo is. We just wanted somewhere to talk about some of the little things that happen in a game that we wanted to expand on. So…this is our 1st separate Game Notes article and it’s about Game 2 between the Minnesota Twins and the Toronto Blue Jays from August 5th, 2022 and it had a pretty crazy ending so...check that out then let us know what you think with a comment or on social media.. Game Notes * Why Didn’t Guerrero Adjust for the Throw to 1st in Extra Innings? Jake Cave swung through strike 3 but Blue Jays C Danny Jansen didn’t catch the ball so Jake took off running to try to get to 1st base before the ball. The ball rolled into foul territory on the 1st base side and when he corralled it and picked it up, his first thought was to try to tag Cave but he was already too far away so he tried to throw to 1st for the out. Jake Cave reaches on a strikeout in the 10th inning - Twitter Video Minnesota Twins vs Toronto Blue Jays August 5th, 2022 Game Highlights 2:31 into the Game Highlights video Cave was in the baseline and Guerrero, Jr. didn’t help his catcher out by trying to give him a better target forcing him to try to lob it over Cave so he threw it high and Guerrero didn’t catch it. Cave was safe at 1st and Nick Gordon advanced to 3rd on the play. It’s obviously a fast play but, and any 1st baseman out there let us know, shouldn’t it be automatic as a 1st baseman when you see a ball go into foul territory on the 1st base side to step to the other side of 1st base for an easier and shorter throw? Jansen could also make a harder throw. If all the catchers and first baseman on the Blue Jays know that a ball in the dirt to the first base side in foul territory means the throw should be to the right (foul territory) side of 1st base every time, this play wouldn’t have been a problem at all. The video of it above is 10 seconds long and Jansen gets the ball around the 4-second mark of the video so Guerrero has plenty of time to move to the foul territory side of 1st base for an easy throw for the out. Blue Jays manager John Schneider on the play: It was interesting to see that and not to see Justin Morneau point that out as a former 1st baseman. Maybe that’s not the case but it sure seems like that would make it easier, doesn’t it? ––––– If you thought Twins fans were bad, try searching Danny Jansen on Twitter to see what Toronto Blue Jays fans think about their catcher. Wow! The pitch landed just past home plate so it’s easy to see why it was a hard play for the catcher to make. He blocked it. That’s his job. Are there any catchers who would expect to catch that pitch? No way, right? It’s going to bounce into their chest protector and they just want to keep it in front of them so they can hopefully get to it quickly and keep the runner/s from advancing. The pitch landed just past home plate. Then go to the throw to first base. Is it an easy throw? Yes would be the obvious answer but it’s not a normal throw for professional baseball players during a game. They’re throwing the ball hard on every play unless it’s a short toss of about 10 feet or so and those throws don’t usually have a runner between them and the throw’s destination. ** What is Nick Gordon doing on that play? He’s going back to 2nd base for some reason. Staying where he was seems more plausible but it’s almost as if he’s tagging up on the play going all the way back to 2nd base. He only advances to 3rd after he sees the ball get away from Guerrero. How far away should he be from 2nd base? A quarter to a third of the way to 3rd base? He was ripped for getting caught off 3rd in the 1st game against Detroit. Did that play a part in what he did here? Was he hesitant to go when the ball hit the dirt? Shouldn’t he go as soon as he sees it bounce away from the catcher? Would he not have made it to 3rd easily? Add in that Jansen knows it’s a force out at 1st while Gordon would need to be tagged out at 3rd and would he even try to make a throw to 3rd? Minnesota Twins vs Detroit Tigers Game Highlights from August 1st, 2022 2:01 in, Nick Gordon is caught off of 3rd base to end the bottom of the 9th *** How ‘bout Gilberto Celestino avoiding the ball as he ran to 2nd in the bottom of the 9th? Gilberto Celestino replaced Gio Urshela as a pinch-runner after Gio singled to lead off the bottom of the 9th. Luis Arraez then hit a ground ball to 2nd and Gilberto had to try to dance around said ground ball while simultaneously trying to get to 2nd as quickly as possible so he wouldn’t be thrown out. The ball ended up going through his legs! That’s some Edwin Moses stuff right there or that's his imitation of Superman landing! ––––– TT ––––– Thank You for reading our TwinsTakes! We’d love to hear your TwinsTakes! So, hit us up on Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook!!! That’s why it’s…
  10. In looking at our hot or not list we will be looking at player performance since July 1. This is a long enough timespan to give a decent sample size of plate appearances and show an actual trend of performance. We’ll look at two Twins hitters who have been “hot” and two who have “not”. HOT: José Miranda .329/.400/.529 (95 plate appearances) 168 wRC+ 5 HR, 25 RBI Jose Miranda has been an absolute stud for the Minnesota Twins since his slow start immediately following his call up. Since the calendar turned to July, Miranda has easily been the best hitter on the Twins and has shown up in the clutch, too, delivering walk off hits on two separate occasions. One area in which Miranda has especially excelled is in limiting strikeouts. Since July 1, Miranda has had a K% of just 15.8, good for second best on the Twins during that span. Nick Gordon .333/.387/.561 (75 plate appearances) 165 wRC+ 2 HR, 9 RBI If you thought Jose Miranda’s hot streak was surprising, then you’re going to need to sit down for this one, because Nick Gordon has been on an absolute scorcher for the Minnesota Twins since July 1, with a team-best OPS of .947 in that span. The slim Gordon may look like a scrappy singles-hitting ballplayer, but he has been demolishing the ball with a high exit velocity and has delivered 11 extra base hits since July 1. NOT: Gary Sanchéz .155/.246/.224 (65 plate appearances) 38 wRC+ 1 HR, 6 RBI After posting a strong month of May, Sanchez had a terrible month of June and has been even worse since the calendar turned to July. To make matters worse, Ryan Jeffers has since hit the injured list, forcing Sanchez to become an everyday player for the Twins. Sanchez has been striking out at a 30% clip and has shown absolutely no power, owning a slugging percentage even lower than his on-base percentage. Carlos Correa .194/.292/.347 (113 plate appearances) 82 wRC+ 4 HR, 13 RBI Going under the radar has been just how pedestrian Carlos Correa has been at the plate over the past five weeks. Since the calendar turned to July, Correa owns the second-lowest OPS on the Minnesota Twins at .639 along with the second-lowest average exit velocity of 87.9 MPH. With a player option following the season, could Correa possibly opt in to return to the Land of 10,000 lakes in 2023? What are your thoughts on the hot/not list above? Do you think the players listed will stick in the same category over the last two months of the season? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!
  11. The Minnesota Twins have an exciting matchup in Game 2 as they'll face their former teammate in RHP José Berríos while also seeing their brand new pitcher they acquired on Tuesday in RHP Tyler Mahle. They both have similar numbers so it should be fun to see how this game plays out. José Berríos has been struggling this season but the last time he faced his former team, he looked like his old stellar self - 7IP 3H 2R/ER 2BB 13K 1HR & his 4th win of the season in a 12-3 shallacking in Toronto. That was the beginning of June. Since then, he's gone 4-2 with a 4.68 ERA and a 1.231 WHIP with 11 walks and 57 strikeouts in 10 starts and 57.2 innings. The Minnesota Twins will also want to rebound from last night's 9-3 loss. Twinsactions (Twins Transactions) The Minnesota Twins made a couple more moves today and one of them is somewhat shocking, more for who it is than for why, though. RHP Tyler Duffey was Designated For Assignment (DFA) or Release today after spending the last 10 years in the organization and exactly 7 years with the big club when he made his Major League Debut on August 5th, 2012. 7 Years to the Day from his Major League Debut It makes sense but it’s still a difficult move since he had turned himself into a very effective reliever since the beginning of the 2019 season. Unfortunately, he’s been far from that this season. He’s lost velocity on his fastball and the control of his nasty curveball hasn’t been there for the majority of the season so hitters were able to sit on that fastball and his curveball was popping up too much so it was likely easy to recognize right away out of his hand. He messed around with a changeup in July but only threw 33 of them even though it really seemed to help keep hitters off their timing. We would assume the Twins would like to see him clear waivers so he could get to St. Paul and be able to get some work in down there to see if he can get back to being a reliable option out of the bullpen. Rookie RHP Cole Sands was recalled from Triple-A St. Paul to take Duffey’s place on the 26-man roster. It was also reported that reliever RHP Jharel Cotton and starter RHP Aaron Sanchez cleared waivers and reported to Triple-A St. Paul. Here’s how both teams lined up: Minnesota Twins Lineup: Toronto Blue Jays Lineup: Game Recap Twins fans didn’t have to wait long to see their newest starting pitcher as it took just 4 pitches for RHP Tyler Mahle to strike out CF Whit Merrifield swinging for his 1st out for his new team. 1B Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. grounded out to short and DH Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. flew out to left field. Former Twins starting pitcher RHP José Berríos was making his 2nd start at Target Field as an opponent and he started it by setting the Twins down 1-2-3 on 7 pitches as the Twins were looking for that early fastball. RF Teoscar Hernández led off the 2nd inning with a line drive to right center field for a single, at least. He tried to extend it to a double but CF Mark Contreras was on his horse knowing he might have to try to keep this hit to a single. He got to it, turned and fired a strike to 2nd for the first outfield assist of his MLB career* and Hernández had to settle for a single and a seat on the bench in the dugout. SS Bo Bichette struck out swinging and 3B Matt Chapman flew out to CF to end the top of the 2nd. Teoscar Hernández singles on a sharp line drive to CF Mark Contreras... The Twins got a 1-out single from LF Nick Gordon but it was quickly taken care of by an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. Blue Jays C Danny Jansen walked to lead off the 3rd inning but LF Raimel Tapia grounded into a 5-4-3 double play quickly cleared the bases and Tyler Mahle then struck out 2B Santiago Espinal on a foul tip to end the top of the 3rd inning. 1B Tim Beckham grounded out to 3rd to begin the bottom of the 3rd then CF Mark Contreras, fresh off a great defensive play in the previous half inning, put the Twins in front with his 2nd home run of the season to the bullpen in left center field. Marko Oppo! Mark Contreras is making you remember his name tonight! C Sandy León struck out looking and 2B Luis Arraez flew out to left field to end the 3rd. 1-0 Twins Mahle set the Blue Jays down 1-2-3 via groundout, strikeout and flyout. The Twins then got a leadoff double from SS Carlos Correa followed by a walk from Jorge Polanco and an RBI-single to center from 3B Jose Miranda (DYKM?) on the very next pitch. A mound visit was then followed by Nick Gordon sending a loud blast to right field for a 3-run shot and his 5th home run of the season on the 1st pitch he saw. Nick Gordon takes José Berríos deep with a 3-run HR (5) to put the Twins up 5-0 Cave flew out to CF, Beckham singled to deep short for an infield hit, Contreras lined out to CF, León walked and that was it for José Berríos as the Blue Jays made a pitching change to RHP Trevor Richards. Luis Arraez flew out to left field again to end the 4th inning but what an inning… 5-0 Twins A 2-out blast off the bat of Matt Chapman (21) reminded most fans that this game was far from over. The Twins got a 2-out walk but that’s all in the 5th. 5-1 Twins The comeback got 1 run closer with a 1-out HR from Santiago Espinal (7). A Whit Merrifield single followed and that brought up Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. and he fouled off the 2nd & 4th pitches, both of them fastballs then he crushed a slider over the center field wall to bring the Jays within 1. Vlad the Impaler chopped the lead down to 1 run! Mahle struck out Gurriel, Jr. swinging then got Hernández to line out to center to keep the Minnesota Twins in the lead. 5-4 Twins Zach Pop replaced Trevor Richards and Jake Cave greeted him with a base hit to left field but Tim Beckham grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to take all the good feelings away. Contreras then popped out to 3rd to end the 6th. RHP Griffin Jax replaced Tyler Mahle to pitch the 7th for the Twins. RHP Tyler Mahle’s Final Line 6IP 5H 4R/ER 1BB 5K 3HR - 86 pitches (61 strikes) In Line for the Win Tyler Mahle went 6 innings but allowed 3 HRs, all on sliders too high in the zone. Those balls are gone now! Jax used his slider to strike out the side in the 7th getting Bichette swinging, Chapman looking and Jansen swinging on just 11 pitches. Mow ‘em Down, Griff! I’ll call that Air Force because that sounds good! SLIIIIIDER! Hey, how ‘bout a stretch between the top & bottom of the 7th inning, huh? Sandy León then led off the bottom of the 7th with his 2nd double of the season in his 2nd game as a Twin. The Blue Jays replaced Zach Pop with RHP Adam Cimber, a submariner pitcher and Luis Arraez lined out to center. Carlos Correa singled but Sandy León could only advance to 3rd on a slow ground ball through the right side. Jorge Polanco struck out, leaving it up to Jose Miranda to pick him up to help the Twins get an insurance run… but he flew out to center field to end the 7th. Still 5-4 Twins RHP Jhoan Duran replaced Jax to pitch the 8th for Minnesota and he got Tapia to ground out to short for the 1st out. Toronto pinch-hit Alexandro Kirk for Santiago Espinal. The at-bat started with two straight high heaters at 101 mph. Duran got strike one with another 101 that was taken then he threw a perfect pitch that hit the high outside corner of the zone but was called a ball. Man, that’s frustrating. 3-1 is a whole lot different than 2-2, blue! COME ON! Another heater, this one in the zone at 102.1 mph, was fouled off to make it a full count and Jhoan reared back and threw the next pitch 102.8 mph that was swung through for the 2nd out. Whit Merrifield took the 1st pitch, also the first non-fastball, for strike 1 then he hit the 2nd one to right field for a single. Guerrero, Jr. came to the plate and singled to right field as well but Duran got Gurriel, Jr. to ground out to 3rd to end the top of the 8th and.. Still 5-4 Twins Whit Merrifield moved to 2nd base and Bradley Zimmer replaced Alexandro Kirk, batting 9th and playing center field. RHP David Phelps replaced Adam Cimber. Nick Gordon led off the bottom of the 8th with a ground rule double (15) on the first pitch. Jake Cave flew out to center field and Gordon just bluffed an attempt to advance to 3rd. Tim Beckham struck out swinging on a check swing and Contreras also struck out swinging to send it to the 9th and new closer Jorge López to face Teoscar Hernández, Bo Bichette and Matt Chapman. Hernández grounded out softly back to the pitcher. Bichette singled through the left side. Chapman flew out to 2nd. Danny Jansen singled to right field on a sharp ground ball. Bichette advanced to 2nd. Down 0-2 in the count, Raimel Tapia fought off an inside sinker to get it to land in short center field to tie the game. Raimel Tapia ties the game in the 9th! Cavan Biggio pinch-hit for Zimmer then flew out to left field but… The Game is Tied at 5! Whit Merrifield moved back to center field, Cavan Biggio took over at 2nd base and RHP Yimi Garcia replaced David Phelps and Gio Urshela, pinch-hitting for Sandy León, singled to right field and was pinch-run for with Gilberto Celestino. Luis Arraez grounded out to 2nd. Celestino advanced to 2nd but he had to make sure the ball didn’t hit him and it ended up bouncing through his legs. Correa reached on a fielding error by Biggio and Celestino advanced to 3rd. Polanco was intentionally walked. Miranda struck out swinging and Nick Gordon flew out to left field so we have… FREE BASEBALL!!! Even if we didn’t want it! DOH! RHP Michael Fulmer replaced Jorge López to pitch the 10th for the Twins. Biggio started the inning at 2nd base. Whit Merrifield struck out swinging for the 1st out. Guerrero, Jr. got the unintentional intentional walk. Gurriel, Jr. singled to center. Biggio advanced to 3rd because he had to hold up as the hit went over Arraez’s head and he wouldn’t want to get doubled up so the bases were loaded with 1 out. Hernández struck out swinging so it was up to Bichette and… HE STRUCK OUT LOOKING!!! RHP Jordan Romano replaced Yimi Garcia to try to keep the game tied against Jake Cave, Tim Beckham and Mark Contreras. Nick Gordon began the inning at 2nd base. Cave was taxed with trying to bunt Gordon over to 3rd. He missed the first pitch. He pulled back on the 2nd & 3rd pitches to make it 1-2. He fouled off the 4th pitch to even the count and he took the 5th pitch to fill the count. He swung through the payoff pitch but it wasn’t caught so Cave took off for 1st base…and Blue Jays C Danny Jansen tried to tag him but he wasn’t close enough so he had to try a lob throw to 1st because he was in foul territory and Cave was between him and Guerrero at 1st base. Up to the plate came Tim Beckham. He took the first pitch for a ball. Cave took 2nd base but it’s fielder’s indifference since his run didn't matter. On the 2nd pitch, Beckham hit a grounder to 3rd but the contact play was on so Nick Gordon took off for home. Matt Chapman fielded the ball and threw home but the ball hit the ground in front of Jansen making it hard to catch and Nick Gordon slid into home. It looked like he was out but Jansen never had the ball so… THAT IS A WALK OFF WIN!!! Tim Beckham put the ball in play & the contact play was on... Condensed Game Game Highlights (8;51 Run Time) ––––– TT ––––– Final Score Toronto Blue Jays 5 | 6 Minnesota Twins W-Fulmer(4-4-) L-Romano(3-3) Pitching Starters MN: RHP Tyler Mahle: 6IP 5H 4R/ER 1BB 5K 3HR - No Decision TOR: RHP José Berríos: 3.2IP 6H 5R/ER 2BB 1K 2HR - No Decision Bullpen MN: RHP Griffin Jax: 1IP 3K- 11th Hold RHP Jhoan Duran: 1IP 2H 1K - 12th Hold RHP Jorge López: 1IP 3H 1R/ER - 5th Blown Save RHP Michael Fulmer: 1IP 1H 1BB 3K - 4th Win TOR: RHP Trevor Richards: 1.1IP 1BB RHP Zach Pop: 1IP 2H RHP Adam Cimber: 1IP 1H 1K RHP David Phelps: 1IP 1H 2K RHP Yimi Garcia: 1IP 1H 1BB 1K RHP Jordan Romano: 0IP 1R 1K Hitting Home Runs MN: Mark Contreras(2), Nick Gordon(5) TOR: Matt Chapman(21), Santiago Espinal(7), Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.(23) Doubles MN: Carlos Correa(15), Sandy León(2), Gordon(15) TOR: None 2-Out RBI: MN (Inning): None TOR (Inning): Matt Chapman, Raimel Tapia Outfield Assist: MN: Mark Contreras(1) (2nd Inning) Team RISP MN: 3-for-15 TOR: 2-for-7 Team LOB (Left On Base) MN: 11 TOR: 7 ––––– TT ––––– We made our Game Notes section a separate article ––––– TT ––––– Next Up Game 3 at 6:10pm on Bally Sports North: Minnesota Twins RHP Dylan Bundy (6-5, 5.04 ERA, 1.29 WHIP*) vs Toronto Blue Jays RHP Mitch White (1-2, 3.70 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) *ERA=Earned Run Average, WHIP=Walks + Hits per Inning Pitched ––––– TT ––––– Thank You for reading our TwinsTakes! 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  12. The Minnesota Twins beat the Blue Jays in extra innings Friday night at Target Field, which was Tyler Mahle's debut with the club. An unfamiliar looking Twins lineup jumped all over old friend Jose Berrios but Toronto battled back and the Twins lineup failed to take advantage of several opportunities. In the end it was Jake Cave, Tim Beckham and Nick Gordon who put the pressure on and took advantage of some misplays to walk it off. Crazy game. Also included in tonight's recap are minor league highlights of Michael Helman, Jermaine Palacios, Matt Wallner, Simeon Woods Richardson, DaShawn Keirsey Jr., Pat Winkel and Mikey Perez.
  13. The Minnesota Twins beat the Blue Jays in extra innings Friday night at Target Field, which was Tyler Mahle's debut with the club. An unfamiliar looking Twins lineup jumped all over old friend Jose Berrios but Toronto battled back and the Twins lineup failed to take advantage of several opportunities. In the end it was Jake Cave, Tim Beckham and Nick Gordon who put the pressure on and took advantage of some misplays to walk it off. Crazy game. Also included in tonight's recap are minor league highlights of Michael Helman, Jermaine Palacios, Matt Wallner, Simeon Woods Richardson, DaShawn Keirsey Jr., Pat Winkel and Mikey Perez. View full video
  14. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Tyler Mahle, 6 IP, 5H, 4R, 4ER, 1BB, 5K (86 pitches, 61 strikes, 70.9%) Home Runs: Mark Contreras (2), Nick Gordon (5) Top 3 WPA: Michael Fulmer (.307), Carlos Correa (.205), Jhoan Duran (.118) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) A good turnout showed up at Target Field on a lovely evening, and all eyes were on the Twins’ new starter Tyler Mahle, who was set to make his first start for Minnesota since being acquired at the trade deadline. Well, some hundreds of eyes might’ve also been on old friend and still beloved by all, José Berríos, especially those of Blue Jays fans all over the place. The first two innings of this game seemed to set the tone: it was going to be a pitchers’ duel. Both starters faced the minimum, with Berríos needing only 14 pitches to do so – 12 fewer pitches than Mahle. But things took a shift in a very different direction once the third inning started. After Mahle pitched around a leadoff walk in the top of the inning, Berríos suffered his first punch. Mark Contreras fell behind in the count 0-2, but he came back to crush a line drive to left-center for his second home run in the big leagues, putting the Twins on the board. Berríos limited the damage to the one run heading to the fourth, and while Mahle continued to dominate the Blue Jay lineup, the former Twins ace just lost it. After Mahle tossed a quick, 1-2-3 top of the fourth on seven pitches, Berríos’ nightmare against his old teammates was about to start. Carlos Correa and Jorge Polanco opened up the home fourth with a long double and a walk, respectively. Next, José Miranda lined a single to center to push Correa across. Then, Nick Gordon didn’t waste any time and jumped on the first pitch he saw for a three-run bomb to right-center. A definite no-doubter to break the game wide open, making it 5-0 Twins before Berríos could even record an out. Minnesota’s offense continued to pound him, and after a Tim Beckham one-out single and a Sandy León two-out walk, Berríos was pulled from the game. Toronto rallies back with three home runs After four innings of sheer dominance over the Blue Jays lineup, Mahle started to lose his stuff. After retiring seven batters in a row and just as he was one out away from delivering a scoreless fifth, he gave up a two-out home run to Matt Chapman, putting Toronto on the board. He completed five innings of one-run ball on only sixty pitches, still in his second time through the order. But just as Berríos’ first home run given up gave Minnesota some momentum, Chapman’s dinger did exactly the same. After a lengthy at-bat by Raimel Tapia to start the sixth inning, Toronto’s number nine hitter, Santiago Espinal, hit a one-out solo homer to center to score the visitors’ second run. Newcomer Whit Merrifield, a career .297 hitter against the Twins, followed Espinal’s home run with a single that set Blue Jays fans on fire at Target Field. Then, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. crushed a long two-run dong to cut Minnesota’s lead to 5-4. Mahle managed to get back on track and finish the inning, but only after he tossed 26 pitches, the most out of any inning in this game. By doing so, he became the first Twins starter to complete six innings in a game in almost two weeks. Bullpen withstands pressure, but missed opportunities prove costly On Thursday, the Twins bullpen had one of the worst outings of the season, giving up all nine Toronto runs in a devastating loss. Tonight, they had a great opportunity to rebound from such an awful display, and they did a fine job. Griffin Jax struck out the side facing the heart of the Blue Jays lineup for a quick, 11-pitch seventh inning. Then, Jhoan Duran got two quick outs in the eighth but gave up a single to Merrifield, having to face Guerrero Jr. with the game on the line next. Pete Maki made a mound visit and decided not to intentionally walk the All-Star first baseman. Duran couldn’t retire Guerrero Jr., but he managed to induce weak-enough contact to hold him to a groundball single. Facing Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Duran got the huge final out on a force out, setting Jorge López up for the save. After not capitalizing on leadoff doubles in the seventh and the eighth innings, the Twins had flame-throwing closer López in the ninth to try to hold on to a one-run lead. The All-Star closer lost Bo Bichette to a one-out single but retired Chapman next after a tough at-bat for the second out. However, Danny Jansen and Tapia hit back-to-back singles and scored Bichette. That was López’s third blown save all year. Offense loads the bases in the 9th, but comes out empty-handed Gio Urshela was briefly brought into the game in the ninth inning to pinch-hit for León, and for a third consecutive inning, Minnesota had the leadoff man on. He smacked a single off Yimi Garcia, then left the game for pinch-runner Gilberto Celestino. Luis Arráez moved him to second on a groundout, then he reached third on a fielding error by Cavan Biggio. With only one out, the Jays made the bold decision to intentionally walk Polanco and bring none other than Miranda to the plate with the bases loaded. He struck out swinging, and Garcia got Gordon to fly out on the next at-bat, taking the game to extra innings. The Twins finished regulation with an awful 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Twins walk off on a couple of defensive mistakes by Toronto Michael Fulmer, making his second appearance as a Twin, scared us all when he gave up a walk to Guerrero Jr. and a single to Gurriel Jr. to load the bases in the 10th inning. However, he bounced back incredibly by striking out Teoscar Hernández and Bichette. It was again up to the offense to salvage this game. Jake Cave had a great, six-pitch at-bat against Jordan Romano, which ended in a strikeout that Jansen couldn’t hold on to. When he made the throw to first, Guerrero Jr. couldn’t hold on to the ball, and ghost runner Gordon reached third. With two men on and no outs, Beckham grounded to short, and Gordon beat the throw by Chapman at home to win the game. Postgame interview What’s Next? Both teams are back on the field tomorrow for game three, with first pitch scheduled for 6:10 pm CDT. The Twins turn to Dylan Bundy (5.04 ERA), while Mitch White (3.70 ERA) starts the game for Toronto. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Jax 20 24 0 0 11 55 Fulmer 23 0 13 0 15 51 Duran 10 0 19 0 17 46 Pagán 0 16 0 25 0 41 Megill 0 8 0 29 0 37 López 0 0 7 0 30 37 Thielbar 0 0 11 0 0 11 Sands 0 0 0 0 0 0
  15. The Twins and the Padres started a three-game series Friday night, just the 21st time the two teams have met over their history. With the Twins line-up poised to battle a left-handed pitcher, Joe Ryan took the mound in search of his eighth win of the season. Box Score SP: Joe Ryan 4.2 IP, 8 H, 10 ER, 2 BB, 7 K (81 pitches, 57 strikes (70%)) Home Runs: Byron Buxton (25) Bottom 3 WPA: Joe Ryan (-.350), Gilberto Celestino (-.101), Miguel Sano (-.081) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) More Pitching Woes The Twins gave up the lead early in the game when Luke Voit hit a home run to center field after a lead off walk to Jurickson Profar, scoring both players in the bottom of the first. What looked like a fluke early on, spiraled quickly into pitching misery for Joe Ryan. In an uncharacteristic game, Ryan gave up five home runs and had ten earned runs overall. This writer noticed early on that Ryan struggled with command, some of his pitches lacking movement and speed making him extremely hittable for the Padres. Ryan has not given up more than four runs a game this season and was the first Twins since 2003 to give up 10+ runs in a game. Manager Rocco Baldelli finally pulled Ryan after being shelled and going through the order three times by the fifth inning. The fifth inning was the worst for the rookie pitcher. He saw all nine hitters, gave up six runs pushing the lead to ten for the Padres. Needless to say, it was a rough game, one of the hardest we’ve seen for him this season. Jovani Moran came in to relieve Ryan and quickly closed out the inning with four pitches allowing the game to move to the next inning. Moran and Jharel Cotton did a great job keeping their pitch counts low and moving swiftly through the innings. In a complete change of pace, the bullpen managed to move quickly through the game and manage any further damage incurred by the starter. The offense was as dismal as the pitching tonight. Unable to produce any runs, The Twins bats stayed quiet until Byron Buxton hit his 25th home run of the season at the top of the fourth inning, finally getting them on the board, trailing only by two with plenty of game left. Blake Snell, who has had a rough season for the Padres, held the Twins to just one run before being relieved by Dinelson Lamet, a RHP who was recalled from Triple-A El Paso for Mackenzie Gore. Lamet handled business for the Padres keeping the Twins off the board. Twins fans have been seeing Miguel Sano in the line-up since the Milwaukee series. Sano came in as the Designated Hitter again and completed his first full game today, and while he was doing well in Triple-A Saint Paul, the Twins have been easing him back into the game, he’s yet to get a hit, and Twins fans took to Twitter to express their frustration with Sano on top of the already mounting frustration with the pitching. The game overall was dismal, but the eighth inning was entertaining. While the Padres were pitching, the crowd came to a roar and Dick Bremer and Roy Smalley continued to talk about the game, while security wrestled a streaker. To add to the excitement, the Twins brought in Nick Gordon as a relief pitcher. Gordon started the mound appearance with the umpire staff giving him a hard time about his glove. The glove Gordon had evidently looked similar to the color of a baseball masking the pitch. While the staff found Gordon a new glove, the Padres staff loudly blasted “what’s going on” by 4Non Blondes in the background. Gordon went with the flow: smiling during ‘glove gate’, took calls from Sanchez and had a scoreless eighth inning. The Twins were quickly shut down in the ninth inning by Tim Hill, ending the game and the frustration for the evening. After a couple tough losses in Milwaukee, this was not a great way to start a comeback. With the trade deadline looming, the Twins need to make some moves that will benefit the team. Even if the play-offs aren't in the future this season, the pitching core needs help. What’s Next? Pitching matchup for the rest of the series: Saturday 6:15 pm CST: Sonny Gray (5-3, 3.52ERA) vs RHP Joe Musgrove (8-3, 2.63 ERA) Sunday 1:10 pm CST: TBD vs RHP Sean Manaea (5-5, 4.33 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  16. Box Score SP: Joe Ryan 4.2 IP, 8 H, 10 ER, 2 BB, 7 K (81 pitches, 57 strikes (70%)) Home Runs: Byron Buxton (25) Bottom 3 WPA: Joe Ryan (-.350), Gilberto Celestino (-.101), Miguel Sano (-.081) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) More Pitching Woes The Twins gave up the lead early in the game when Luke Voit hit a home run to center field after a lead off walk to Jurickson Profar, scoring both players in the bottom of the first. What looked like a fluke early on, spiraled quickly into pitching misery for Joe Ryan. In an uncharacteristic game, Ryan gave up five home runs and had ten earned runs overall. This writer noticed early on that Ryan struggled with command, some of his pitches lacking movement and speed making him extremely hittable for the Padres. Ryan has not given up more than four runs a game this season and was the first Twins since 2003 to give up 10+ runs in a game. Manager Rocco Baldelli finally pulled Ryan after being shelled and going through the order three times by the fifth inning. The fifth inning was the worst for the rookie pitcher. He saw all nine hitters, gave up six runs pushing the lead to ten for the Padres. Needless to say, it was a rough game, one of the hardest we’ve seen for him this season. Jovani Moran came in to relieve Ryan and quickly closed out the inning with four pitches allowing the game to move to the next inning. Moran and Jharel Cotton did a great job keeping their pitch counts low and moving swiftly through the innings. In a complete change of pace, the bullpen managed to move quickly through the game and manage any further damage incurred by the starter. The offense was as dismal as the pitching tonight. Unable to produce any runs, The Twins bats stayed quiet until Byron Buxton hit his 25th home run of the season at the top of the fourth inning, finally getting them on the board, trailing only by two with plenty of game left. Blake Snell, who has had a rough season for the Padres, held the Twins to just one run before being relieved by Dinelson Lamet, a RHP who was recalled from Triple-A El Paso for Mackenzie Gore. Lamet handled business for the Padres keeping the Twins off the board. Twins fans have been seeing Miguel Sano in the line-up since the Milwaukee series. Sano came in as the Designated Hitter again and completed his first full game today, and while he was doing well in Triple-A Saint Paul, the Twins have been easing him back into the game, he’s yet to get a hit, and Twins fans took to Twitter to express their frustration with Sano on top of the already mounting frustration with the pitching. The game overall was dismal, but the eighth inning was entertaining. While the Padres were pitching, the crowd came to a roar and Dick Bremer and Roy Smalley continued to talk about the game, while security wrestled a streaker. To add to the excitement, the Twins brought in Nick Gordon as a relief pitcher. Gordon started the mound appearance with the umpire staff giving him a hard time about his glove. The glove Gordon had evidently looked similar to the color of a baseball masking the pitch. While the staff found Gordon a new glove, the Padres staff loudly blasted “what’s going on” by 4Non Blondes in the background. Gordon went with the flow: smiling during ‘glove gate’, took calls from Sanchez and had a scoreless eighth inning. The Twins were quickly shut down in the ninth inning by Tim Hill, ending the game and the frustration for the evening. After a couple tough losses in Milwaukee, this was not a great way to start a comeback. With the trade deadline looming, the Twins need to make some moves that will benefit the team. Even if the play-offs aren't in the future this season, the pitching core needs help. What’s Next? Pitching matchup for the rest of the series: Saturday 6:15 pm CST: Sonny Gray (5-3, 3.52ERA) vs RHP Joe Musgrove (8-3, 2.63 ERA) Sunday 1:10 pm CST: TBD vs RHP Sean Manaea (5-5, 4.33 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  17. Out since April 30, Minnesota Twins slugger Miguel Sano is set to return to the lineup. After suffering a knee injury which led to surgery repairing a meniscus injury, Sano completes his rehab assignment and rejoins a first place Twins club. In order to make room for Sano, the Twins optioned Gilberto Celestino to Triple-A. After owning a .359 average and .860 OPS through his first 28 games this season, Celestino has hit .202 with just a .503 OPS across 38 games since. Celestino looks the part of a legitimate big league defender, but he may benefit from a reset similar to what he experienced last season with the Saints. Needing a spot on the 40-man roster as well, given Sano was placed on the 60-day injured list, the Twins transferred reliever Danny Coulombe to the 60-day injured list. At the time of Miguel Sano's knee injury, the Minnesota Twins were 12-9 with a three-game lead in the American League Central Division. Sano himself was carrying a terrible .093/.231/.148 (.379) slash line that saw him record just a single extra-base hit in 65 plate appearances. Although it was cold and the ball wasn’t flying to start the year, Rocco Baldelli needed Sano to step up at first base with second-year player Alex Kirilloff dealing with a nagging wrist issue. Minnesota saw Sano as the only true first baseman on the roster, and it wasn’t until Luis Arraez was forced into action at the position that he emerged as an eventual All-Star and held down the fort. The Twins are now 52-44 with a three-game lead in the division, but both the Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Guardians continue to breathe down their neck. Horrible pitching performances have stunted the opportunity to expand on the lead over their competition, but far too often the lineup has gone dormant as well. Obviously, Sano would love to be returning to better numbers, but if you’ve been a fan of Minnesota for any amount of time, you know how quickly Sano can go on one of his hot streaks. He was making loud contact at the big league level prior to his knee injury, and the rehab stint has provided some room to hope. Across 12 games with the Triple-A Saints and FCL Twins, Sano owns a .333/.422/.795 line. He recorded three doubles and blasted five homers while compiling an 12/6 K/BB. Sano returns to somewhat of a crowded situation at first base with Kirilloff and Arraez now both being well established at the position. Rookie Jose Miranda has gone on a tear since a slow start, and while he's more suited at the hot corner, he too has provided value at first base. Sano will draw starts at designated hitter as well, and that role has become less crowded with the injury to Ryan Jeffers. In order to make room for Sano, the Twins optioned Gilberto Celestino to Triple-A. After owning a .359 average and .860 OPS through his first 28 games this season, Celestino has hit .202 with just a .503 OPS across 38 games since. Celestino looks the part of a legitimate big league defender, but he may benefit from a reset similar to what he experienced last season with the Saints. The Twins have just five games left in the month of July. They remain on the road until August 1st, at which point they return home to face a bottom-feeding Detroit Tigers team. Minnesota would love for Sano to parlay hit hot-hitting during his rehab assignment into renewed production at the highest level. It would seem to be a fair assessment that Minnesota would be open to dealing Sano should an offer come their way. He’s still due roughly $12 million even with his 2023 buyout, and opening up the roster spot rather than DFA’ing him for nothing could be a positive outcome. The Major League Baseball trade deadline in 2022 is on August 2nd. View full article
  18. In order to make room for Sano, the Twins optioned Gilberto Celestino to Triple-A. After owning a .359 average and .860 OPS through his first 28 games this season, Celestino has hit .202 with just a .503 OPS across 38 games since. Celestino looks the part of a legitimate big league defender, but he may benefit from a reset similar to what he experienced last season with the Saints. Needing a spot on the 40-man roster as well, given Sano was placed on the 60-day injured list, the Twins transferred reliever Danny Coulombe to the 60-day injured list. At the time of Miguel Sano's knee injury, the Minnesota Twins were 12-9 with a three-game lead in the American League Central Division. Sano himself was carrying a terrible .093/.231/.148 (.379) slash line that saw him record just a single extra-base hit in 65 plate appearances. Although it was cold and the ball wasn’t flying to start the year, Rocco Baldelli needed Sano to step up at first base with second-year player Alex Kirilloff dealing with a nagging wrist issue. Minnesota saw Sano as the only true first baseman on the roster, and it wasn’t until Luis Arraez was forced into action at the position that he emerged as an eventual All-Star and held down the fort. The Twins are now 52-44 with a three-game lead in the division, but both the Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Guardians continue to breathe down their neck. Horrible pitching performances have stunted the opportunity to expand on the lead over their competition, but far too often the lineup has gone dormant as well. Obviously, Sano would love to be returning to better numbers, but if you’ve been a fan of Minnesota for any amount of time, you know how quickly Sano can go on one of his hot streaks. He was making loud contact at the big league level prior to his knee injury, and the rehab stint has provided some room to hope. Across 12 games with the Triple-A Saints and FCL Twins, Sano owns a .333/.422/.795 line. He recorded three doubles and blasted five homers while compiling an 12/6 K/BB. Sano returns to somewhat of a crowded situation at first base with Kirilloff and Arraez now both being well established at the position. Rookie Jose Miranda has gone on a tear since a slow start, and while he's more suited at the hot corner, he too has provided value at first base. Sano will draw starts at designated hitter as well, and that role has become less crowded with the injury to Ryan Jeffers. In order to make room for Sano, the Twins optioned Gilberto Celestino to Triple-A. After owning a .359 average and .860 OPS through his first 28 games this season, Celestino has hit .202 with just a .503 OPS across 38 games since. Celestino looks the part of a legitimate big league defender, but he may benefit from a reset similar to what he experienced last season with the Saints. The Twins have just five games left in the month of July. They remain on the road until August 1st, at which point they return home to face a bottom-feeding Detroit Tigers team. Minnesota would love for Sano to parlay hit hot-hitting during his rehab assignment into renewed production at the highest level. It would seem to be a fair assessment that Minnesota would be open to dealing Sano should an offer come their way. He’s still due roughly $12 million even with his 2023 buyout, and opening up the roster spot rather than DFA’ing him for nothing could be a positive outcome. The Major League Baseball trade deadline in 2022 is on August 2nd.
  19. Trading is all about dealing from a place of strength to address a weakness. In the Twins case, they have a strength at a very valuable position that they could deal from if they see fit. But should they? The Twins farm system has seen better days after multiple top prospects have graduated and several others have struggled in 2022. For that reason, it may be a bit tougher to stomach parting with the players who have been impressing in the lower levels. Perhaps the Twins can bridge that gap by dipping into their Major League center field depth, however. The Twins have an interesting roster, as where some teams struggle to find viable options in center field, the Twins have three. This strategy makes sense, as Byron Buxton requires more time off than the regular center fielder. Despite his regular absences, Buxton is tied for the lead in Outs Above Average among center fielders. The Twins of course miss his glove when it’s not out there, but not as much as you’d think. Gilberto Celestino has a 4 Outs Above Average, 10th overall in baseball. Even Nick Gordon, who profiles as a better corner outfielder, grades out at an average 0. And so the question becomes: Do the Twins need this much depth at center field? And if the answer is no, which player should the Twins part with? Gilberto Celestino A center fielder his entire career, Celestino is the much better defender between himself and Gordon. Long considered a glove-first prospect, Celestino has flashed plus offensive ability several times recently, including posting an .827 OPS in AAA last season after struggling mightily in his MLB debut. His 2022 slash of .274/.333/.336 is 5% below league average, but if the 23-year-old can tap into any kind of power, he likely becomes an everyday, starting-caliber center fielder. Celestino has undoubtedly raised his stock this year by holding his own at the big league level at only 23 years of age. While he doesn’t carry the kind of value to be the centerpiece of a trade for a controllable starter, he should get the Twins at least part way there if they choose to dangle him. That being said, it’s difficult to envision. Celestino could easily wind up being the future center fielder in a couple of years, and his right handedness is a good complement to the left handed heavy corner outfielders. Very few young players should be untradeable at this point, but the Twins would likely need to be working on quite the acquisition to drop Celestino on the table. Nick Gordon After an up and down career, Gordon has transformed himself into a valuable and versatile player in 2022. The former middle infielder rarely leaves the outfield grass these days, often filling in at left field and occasionally in center admirably. In addition, the light-hitting lefty has become a contributor on offense as well. Gordon is the type of player that makes up the fringes of a competitive roster. He’s been an above-average hitter this season and his versatility is a huge plus. That being said, at 26 years old, his stock may be at an all-time high. For as good as he’s been, it’ll be tough for him to win a playing-time battle with left-handed hitting Trevor Larnach when he returns from the IL. With several roster crunches on the horizon, Gordon has likely become too valuable to simply cut bait on. In terms of value, the former 1st round pick won’t move the needle much in a trade for a starting pitcher. That being said, he’s not a free agent until 2028. It’s not impossible that he could fetch the Twins a usable reliever or perhaps a more valuable one if they add onto their end with a middling prospect. We’ve seen before with players such as Jurickson Profar that the “jack of all trades, master of none” type player can appeal to a wide range of teams. Perhaps it’s a bit too risky to part with a centerfielder given Buxton’s health concerns but the Twins could possibly save a bit on prospects by doing so. Keep in mind also that Kepler has filled in at centerfield in a pinch before. Should the Twins consider dealing from their center field depth, or look to part with pieces elsewhere? Let us know below! View full article
  20. The Twins farm system has seen better days after multiple top prospects have graduated and several others have struggled in 2022. For that reason, it may be a bit tougher to stomach parting with the players who have been impressing in the lower levels. Perhaps the Twins can bridge that gap by dipping into their Major League center field depth, however. The Twins have an interesting roster, as where some teams struggle to find viable options in center field, the Twins have three. This strategy makes sense, as Byron Buxton requires more time off than the regular center fielder. Despite his regular absences, Buxton is tied for the lead in Outs Above Average among center fielders. The Twins of course miss his glove when it’s not out there, but not as much as you’d think. Gilberto Celestino has a 4 Outs Above Average, 10th overall in baseball. Even Nick Gordon, who profiles as a better corner outfielder, grades out at an average 0. And so the question becomes: Do the Twins need this much depth at center field? And if the answer is no, which player should the Twins part with? Gilberto Celestino A center fielder his entire career, Celestino is the much better defender between himself and Gordon. Long considered a glove-first prospect, Celestino has flashed plus offensive ability several times recently, including posting an .827 OPS in AAA last season after struggling mightily in his MLB debut. His 2022 slash of .274/.333/.336 is 5% below league average, but if the 23-year-old can tap into any kind of power, he likely becomes an everyday, starting-caliber center fielder. Celestino has undoubtedly raised his stock this year by holding his own at the big league level at only 23 years of age. While he doesn’t carry the kind of value to be the centerpiece of a trade for a controllable starter, he should get the Twins at least part way there if they choose to dangle him. That being said, it’s difficult to envision. Celestino could easily wind up being the future center fielder in a couple of years, and his right handedness is a good complement to the left handed heavy corner outfielders. Very few young players should be untradeable at this point, but the Twins would likely need to be working on quite the acquisition to drop Celestino on the table. Nick Gordon After an up and down career, Gordon has transformed himself into a valuable and versatile player in 2022. The former middle infielder rarely leaves the outfield grass these days, often filling in at left field and occasionally in center admirably. In addition, the light-hitting lefty has become a contributor on offense as well. Gordon is the type of player that makes up the fringes of a competitive roster. He’s been an above-average hitter this season and his versatility is a huge plus. That being said, at 26 years old, his stock may be at an all-time high. For as good as he’s been, it’ll be tough for him to win a playing-time battle with left-handed hitting Trevor Larnach when he returns from the IL. With several roster crunches on the horizon, Gordon has likely become too valuable to simply cut bait on. In terms of value, the former 1st round pick won’t move the needle much in a trade for a starting pitcher. That being said, he’s not a free agent until 2028. It’s not impossible that he could fetch the Twins a usable reliever or perhaps a more valuable one if they add onto their end with a middling prospect. We’ve seen before with players such as Jurickson Profar that the “jack of all trades, master of none” type player can appeal to a wide range of teams. Perhaps it’s a bit too risky to part with a centerfielder given Buxton’s health concerns but the Twins could possibly save a bit on prospects by doing so. Keep in mind also that Kepler has filled in at centerfield in a pinch before. Should the Twins consider dealing from their center field depth, or look to part with pieces elsewhere? Let us know below!
  21. Friday night's game started just like Thursday night's game, struggling pitchers, hot bats from the White Sox, and a two-run lead before the end of the first inning. The White Sox maintained the lead in both the game and the series. Box Score SP: Devin Smeltzer 3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (67 pitches, 40 strikes (59.7%)) Home Runs: None Bottom 3 WPA: Jose Miranda (-.143), Max Kepler (-.133), Carlos Correa (-.105) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Devin Smeltzer struggled with command in the first inning mirroring Sonny Gray's start last night, giving up two runs. The southpaw needed 26 pitches in the first inning but settled in, throwing 15 pitches in a scoreless second frame. The third inning wasn’t as quick as the second and Smeltzer struggled to get through the inning. He threw another 26 pitches to the five hitters. Overall, he threw 67 pitches in just three innings. Rocco Baldelli understandably pulled him after the third inning. Emilio Pagan came in for the fourth inning. Pagan, who has struggled to get out of innings, needed just 11 pitches to complete the inning. One of his pitches was in the center of the strike zone, and Tim Anderson hit the ball deep into centerfield. An eager Nick Gordon scaled the wall and just missed the catch. The home run gave the White Sox the 3-2 lead. As the Twins pitching staff took turns in the game, Tyler Duffey replaced Pagan after one inning, and he got four outs. He was replaced by Caleb Thielbar to face switch hitter Leury Garcia. Theilbar finished out the sixth inning with no runs and only three pitches. After starting the sixth inning, Theilbar left the mound after facing left-handed batter Reese Maguire and retired for the evening after no runs scored and only seven pitches thrown. The White Sox opened up the lead in the seventh inning with a three-run home run by Adam Engel, scoring Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada off of Griffin Jax, giving the White Sox a 6-2 lead. The White Sox have had the lead throughout the series and the Twins just couldn’t get the bats going after the first inning. The Twins looked like they were going to start out hot. In the bottom of the first, they wasted no time answering the White Sox with bases loaded against pitcher Michael Kopech. For the fifth straight game against the White Sox, the Twins loaded the bases in the first frame. When Alex Kirilloff came up to bat, he hit a sharp drive to right field for a double that scored Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton to tie up the game at two. The Twins bats cooled off and even though the White Sox pitching wasn’t immaculate and Kopech struggled, the Twins bats struggled more as they once again failed to manufacture runs. Joe Kelly came in to pitch in the bottom of the sixth. The last time the lineup faced Joe Kelly (7/5), the Twins took advantage of his lack of command. Kelly allowed two hits, four runs (three earned), and two walks while striking out one batter in 2/3 innings in the loss to the Twins. This time, Kelly returned to the mound not allowing a single run and had a 1-2-3 inning claiming redemption over his implosion earlier in the month. The Twins had no base runners between a Luis Arraez single in the fourth inning until the bottom of the eighth when Buxton got on base with a single. Jorge Polanco then ripped a ball into right field for another single. With one out and runners on first and second, it looked hopeful. Alex Kirilloff stepped into the box and ripped a grounder to second for a double play. The Twins are getting close to battling for their spot at the top of the division, what do you think of the series so far? Do you think Duffey or Theilbar should have been left in? What’s Next? The Twins have two day games left in the series with the White Sox and a chance to split the series. Tune in tomorrow! Pitching matchup for the rest of the series: Saturday 1:10 pm CST: Dylan Bundy (5-4, 4.68 ERA) vs RHP Lance Lynn (1-2, 6.97 ERA) Sunday 1:10 pm CST: TBD (X, X ERA) vs RHP Dylan Cease (7-4, 2.45 ERA) Note - The assumption is that Chris Archer will return on Sunday to make that start. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  22. Box Score SP: Devin Smeltzer 3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (67 pitches, 40 strikes (59.7%)) Home Runs: None Bottom 3 WPA: Jose Miranda (-.143), Max Kepler (-.133), Carlos Correa (-.105) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Devin Smeltzer struggled with command in the first inning mirroring Sonny Gray's start last night, giving up two runs. The southpaw needed 26 pitches in the first inning but settled in, throwing 15 pitches in a scoreless second frame. The third inning wasn’t as quick as the second and Smeltzer struggled to get through the inning. He threw another 26 pitches to the five hitters. Overall, he threw 67 pitches in just three innings. Rocco Baldelli understandably pulled him after the third inning. Emilio Pagan came in for the fourth inning. Pagan, who has struggled to get out of innings, needed just 11 pitches to complete the inning. One of his pitches was in the center of the strike zone, and Tim Anderson hit the ball deep into centerfield. An eager Nick Gordon scaled the wall and just missed the catch. The home run gave the White Sox the 3-2 lead. As the Twins pitching staff took turns in the game, Tyler Duffey replaced Pagan after one inning, and he got four outs. He was replaced by Caleb Thielbar to face switch hitter Leury Garcia. Theilbar finished out the sixth inning with no runs and only three pitches. After starting the sixth inning, Theilbar left the mound after facing left-handed batter Reese Maguire and retired for the evening after no runs scored and only seven pitches thrown. The White Sox opened up the lead in the seventh inning with a three-run home run by Adam Engel, scoring Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada off of Griffin Jax, giving the White Sox a 6-2 lead. The White Sox have had the lead throughout the series and the Twins just couldn’t get the bats going after the first inning. The Twins looked like they were going to start out hot. In the bottom of the first, they wasted no time answering the White Sox with bases loaded against pitcher Michael Kopech. For the fifth straight game against the White Sox, the Twins loaded the bases in the first frame. When Alex Kirilloff came up to bat, he hit a sharp drive to right field for a double that scored Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton to tie up the game at two. The Twins bats cooled off and even though the White Sox pitching wasn’t immaculate and Kopech struggled, the Twins bats struggled more as they once again failed to manufacture runs. Joe Kelly came in to pitch in the bottom of the sixth. The last time the lineup faced Joe Kelly (7/5), the Twins took advantage of his lack of command. Kelly allowed two hits, four runs (three earned), and two walks while striking out one batter in 2/3 innings in the loss to the Twins. This time, Kelly returned to the mound not allowing a single run and had a 1-2-3 inning claiming redemption over his implosion earlier in the month. The Twins had no base runners between a Luis Arraez single in the fourth inning until the bottom of the eighth when Buxton got on base with a single. Jorge Polanco then ripped a ball into right field for another single. With one out and runners on first and second, it looked hopeful. Alex Kirilloff stepped into the box and ripped a grounder to second for a double play. The Twins are getting close to battling for their spot at the top of the division, what do you think of the series so far? Do you think Duffey or Theilbar should have been left in? What’s Next? The Twins have two day games left in the series with the White Sox and a chance to split the series. Tune in tomorrow! Pitching matchup for the rest of the series: Saturday 1:10 pm CST: Dylan Bundy (5-4, 4.68 ERA) vs RHP Lance Lynn (1-2, 6.97 ERA) Sunday 1:10 pm CST: TBD (X, X ERA) vs RHP Dylan Cease (7-4, 2.45 ERA) Note - The assumption is that Chris Archer will return on Sunday to make that start. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  23. The White Sox and Twins are fighting for their place in the division. The Twins left too many men on base early in the game, and then the White Sox bats came alive and added on as they crushed the Twins in Game 1 of the final series before the All-Star break. Box Score SP: Sonny Gray 3 2/3 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (79 pitches, 48 strikes (60.7%) Home Runs: Kyle Garlick (6) Bottom 3 WPA: Sonny Gray (-.369), Luis Arraez (-.197), Alex Kirilloff (-.125) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Sonny Gray started out the game giving up a hit to Tim Anderson on the first pitch. He ultimately scored off a rip to right field from Jose Abreu. Gray battled his command and went to a full count with Gavin Sheets. After several pitches were fouled off, Sheets hit a ball into right field putting runners at the corners for a potentially big first inning. The White Sox had some luck too when the Andrew Vaughn bounced a single off of second base scoring another run and giving the Sox a two-run lead in the first. Sonny Gray has been lacking some command and control over his past few starts. We saw a small glimmer of hope in the second inning, the grunting, the focus, the swagger, and the command appeared to be there, but the pitch count continued to creep up until the fourth inning when it all collapsed under Gray when Luis Robert hit a grand slam. A couple of batters earlier, Gray was hit in the back by a line drive. How much that impacted his performance, we can only guess. Trevor Megill came in for Gray in the fourth inning and managed to keep any more runs from scoring. He returned for the fifth inning and had a beautiful 1-2-3 inning. Three up, three down with only ten pitches thrown and six strikes thrown. Joe Smith made his return to the game after being reactivated from the 15-day Injured List on Wednesday. The Twins now have a nine-man bullpen, after Josh Winder was optioned down to St. Paul to make room for Smith. Smith, who was out with upper-trap tightness, gave up two runs in his 16 pitches, pushing the White Sox lead to 8-1. However, out of the 16 pitches that were thrown, 13 of them were strikes. Smith was only in for one inning and was relieved by Jharel Cotton who has been a bright spot in the Twins bullpen. Cotton worked two innings and threw 34 pitches and only gave up one run. Three of the four pitchers for the Twins gave up at least one run. Cotton, like Smith even though he gave up a run, in his 34 pitches threw 22 strikes. Nick Gordon came in to pitch for the Twins at the top of the ninth. Gordon, who loves having a chance to pitch got through the inning. In his mound appearance, Gordon wasn't throwing strikes, but he was still able to get the hitters to swing, and three hits ended up in the sweet spot giving up a three-run homerun to Seby Zavala, pushing the lead to 12-1. Johnny Cueto went deep into the game only allowing the Twins one run, but early in the game Cueto gave the Twins a chance to answer the White Sox. Many times, they loaded the bases. Jose Miranda drove in Gio Urshela with the Twins lone run of the game. The rookie continues to get hits and get the Twins on the board in clutch situations. There were so many opportunities for the Twins to manufacture runs, they just could not get them home. Each inning was like the one before, the line-up would get hits, get on base and never produce. By the end of the game, the players were tired and frustrated, but gave their all. They never quit swinging. The saddest stranding of the game came in the third inning after Buxton ripped a ball deep to centerfield, dug deep and got a triple only to be stranded by the end of the inning. The All-Star who came under Twitter scrutiny the past few games for his ‘lack of hitting’ silenced the haters and keyed up the crowd after landing on third base cuing the “Buck Truck” horn. Buxton stayed on third base through three hitters and never got a chance to come home. One of the most fun moments of the game was being able to witness the “Buck Truck”, something that Buxton does in honor of his father who was a truck driver and his teammates have joined him in the dugout. To watch it happen as he got a standing triple was something really neat. The Twins, who are usually good for late-game rallies, and in true Twins fashion, that's what happened. Kyle Garlick who came in to pinch hit for Correa took a ball deep to homer. While there were two outs and no one was expecting a miracle, it was fun to watch and gave the fans watching something to cheer about. The game ended with a frustrated Celestino, who was in the game as a replacement for Buxton made a comment to the pitcher and both benches started to clear. The umpires and coaches managed to keep it quick and civil, but tensions certainly are at their boiling point with these two teams. The White Sox have only beat the Twins twice this season, and there are still three games to go this weekend. Do you think the Twins can take this series or are they teetering on giving up their place in the division? What’s Next? The Twins have three games left with the White Sox and I will be covering Friday and Saturday's games! Come hang out with me on Twitter and Twins Daily Forums! The pitching match ups are sure to make the rest of the weekend intense! Pitching matchup for the rest of the series: Friday 7:10 pm CST: Devin Smeltzer (4-2, 3.92 ERA) vs RHP Michael Kopech (2-6, 3.35 ERA) Saturday 1:10 pm CST: Dylan Bundy (5-4, 4.68 ERA) vs RHP Lance Lynn (1-2, 6.97 ERA) Sunday 2:10 pm CST: TBD (X, X ERA) vs RHP Dylan Cease (7-4, 2.45 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  24. Box Score SP: Sonny Gray 3 2/3 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (79 pitches, 48 strikes (60.7%) Home Runs: Kyle Garlick (6) Bottom 3 WPA: Sonny Gray (-.369), Luis Arraez (-.197), Alex Kirilloff (-.125) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Sonny Gray started out the game giving up a hit to Tim Anderson on the first pitch. He ultimately scored off a rip to right field from Jose Abreu. Gray battled his command and went to a full count with Gavin Sheets. After several pitches were fouled off, Sheets hit a ball into right field putting runners at the corners for a potentially big first inning. The White Sox had some luck too when the Andrew Vaughn bounced a single off of second base scoring another run and giving the Sox a two-run lead in the first. Sonny Gray has been lacking some command and control over his past few starts. We saw a small glimmer of hope in the second inning, the grunting, the focus, the swagger, and the command appeared to be there, but the pitch count continued to creep up until the fourth inning when it all collapsed under Gray when Luis Robert hit a grand slam. A couple of batters earlier, Gray was hit in the back by a line drive. How much that impacted his performance, we can only guess. Trevor Megill came in for Gray in the fourth inning and managed to keep any more runs from scoring. He returned for the fifth inning and had a beautiful 1-2-3 inning. Three up, three down with only ten pitches thrown and six strikes thrown. Joe Smith made his return to the game after being reactivated from the 15-day Injured List on Wednesday. The Twins now have a nine-man bullpen, after Josh Winder was optioned down to St. Paul to make room for Smith. Smith, who was out with upper-trap tightness, gave up two runs in his 16 pitches, pushing the White Sox lead to 8-1. However, out of the 16 pitches that were thrown, 13 of them were strikes. Smith was only in for one inning and was relieved by Jharel Cotton who has been a bright spot in the Twins bullpen. Cotton worked two innings and threw 34 pitches and only gave up one run. Three of the four pitchers for the Twins gave up at least one run. Cotton, like Smith even though he gave up a run, in his 34 pitches threw 22 strikes. Nick Gordon came in to pitch for the Twins at the top of the ninth. Gordon, who loves having a chance to pitch got through the inning. In his mound appearance, Gordon wasn't throwing strikes, but he was still able to get the hitters to swing, and three hits ended up in the sweet spot giving up a three-run homerun to Seby Zavala, pushing the lead to 12-1. Johnny Cueto went deep into the game only allowing the Twins one run, but early in the game Cueto gave the Twins a chance to answer the White Sox. Many times, they loaded the bases. Jose Miranda drove in Gio Urshela with the Twins lone run of the game. The rookie continues to get hits and get the Twins on the board in clutch situations. There were so many opportunities for the Twins to manufacture runs, they just could not get them home. Each inning was like the one before, the line-up would get hits, get on base and never produce. By the end of the game, the players were tired and frustrated, but gave their all. They never quit swinging. The saddest stranding of the game came in the third inning after Buxton ripped a ball deep to centerfield, dug deep and got a triple only to be stranded by the end of the inning. The All-Star who came under Twitter scrutiny the past few games for his ‘lack of hitting’ silenced the haters and keyed up the crowd after landing on third base cuing the “Buck Truck” horn. Buxton stayed on third base through three hitters and never got a chance to come home. One of the most fun moments of the game was being able to witness the “Buck Truck”, something that Buxton does in honor of his father who was a truck driver and his teammates have joined him in the dugout. To watch it happen as he got a standing triple was something really neat. The Twins, who are usually good for late-game rallies, and in true Twins fashion, that's what happened. Kyle Garlick who came in to pinch hit for Correa took a ball deep to homer. While there were two outs and no one was expecting a miracle, it was fun to watch and gave the fans watching something to cheer about. The game ended with a frustrated Celestino, who was in the game as a replacement for Buxton made a comment to the pitcher and both benches started to clear. The umpires and coaches managed to keep it quick and civil, but tensions certainly are at their boiling point with these two teams. The White Sox have only beat the Twins twice this season, and there are still three games to go this weekend. Do you think the Twins can take this series or are they teetering on giving up their place in the division? What’s Next? The Twins have three games left with the White Sox and I will be covering Friday and Saturday's games! Come hang out with me on Twitter and Twins Daily Forums! The pitching match ups are sure to make the rest of the weekend intense! Pitching matchup for the rest of the series: Friday 7:10 pm CST: Devin Smeltzer (4-2, 3.92 ERA) vs RHP Michael Kopech (2-6, 3.35 ERA) Saturday 1:10 pm CST: Dylan Bundy (5-4, 4.68 ERA) vs RHP Lance Lynn (1-2, 6.97 ERA) Sunday 2:10 pm CST: TBD (X, X ERA) vs RHP Dylan Cease (7-4, 2.45 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  25. When Royce Lewis emerged on the big-league scene with a dazzling debut back in May, fans were captivated by the promise of a dynamic former first-round pick making a big impact with his speed, versatility, and power. It turns out we've gotten that since. Just not from the source we expected. Stepping in for an injured Carlos Correa back in May, Royce Lewis was brilliant, slashing .300/.317/.550 in 11 games while filling in at shortstop. Upon Correa's healthy return, the Twins made the logical decision to option Lewis to the minors. This raised a great deal of consternation among fans who wanted to see the electric rookie stick around. At the time, I tweeted out a question: If you wanted Lewis to stay, who was getting bumped from the roster to make room for Correa? I was stunned by the number of responders casually casting their votes for Nick Gordon – even with the understanding he is out of options and would thus be lost from the organization. It's true that Gordon had worn off much of his prospect shine in the eight years since being drafted No. 5 overall. And it's true he was unspectacular as a rookie in 2021, albeit while training in as a utilityman on the fly. But he's also a 26-year-old whose development was derailed by physical issues, and who'd shown some genuinely positive signs in his checkered MLB play. Looking back, calls for waiving Gordon to keep Lewis illustrate the danger of short-sighted, emotional thinking. Had they done so, only to have Lewis suffer a season-ending knee injury, they'd now be without both. And that would really suck because, as it turns out, Gordon has basically turned into exactly the player we wanted Lewis to be. In 34 games since May 18th, the date of Lewis' demotion, Gordon is slashing .289/.330/.505 with five doubles, two triples, and four home runs. He has played all over the field: center, left, second base, even a little shortstop. His speed and range have been highly valuable in the outfield. His undisciplined and aggressive approach at the plate (22 K, 3 BB) is paying off with a bunch of power and consistent productivity. If Lewis had stayed healthy and produced the following Statcast measurables over the past five weeks, I think we'd have all been pretty much over the moon: This is not to say it doesn't suck Lewis is gone. But it's a very good thing Gordon is still here, and to his deep credit, he is helping fill the void of expectations set (perhaps optimistically) for Lewis as a free-swinging, speedy 800-OPS utilityman who makes contributions from all over the field. If he were a little better defensively at short, I'd almost say Gordon is building a case to serve as interim fill-in while Lewis rehabs in early 2023, but I think that's a stretch. Even so, the late-blooming first-rounder and top prospect is finally fortifying his fit with the organization that drafted him. And it's a beautiful thing to see. View full article
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