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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. The 2022 Major League Baseball Trade Deadline is now behind us. The AL Central remains a tightly contested division, even if seemingly no one wants to actually go on a run and take command. Minnesota brought in reinforcements while everyone else is banking on their own options to hold serve. The Standings: Minnesota 55-50 Cleveland 54-51 (1.0 GB, 2.0 GB of 2nd Wild Card) Chicago 53-52 (2.0 GB) Kansas City 42-64 (13.5 GB) Detroit 42-65 (14.0 GB) The Guardians and White Sox have used the opportunity presented by the Twins to draw closer. Back as many as five games just before the All-Star Break, both clubs find themselves within striking distance as August gets underway. The division might not be good (it isn’t), but it should remain interesting. The Stories: Minnesota made all of the splashes during the trade deadline. Needing pitching help, in both the bullpen and rotation, arms such as Jorge Lopez and Tyler Mahle were both acquired. After Ryan Jeffers went down with a broken thumb, a catcher became a need as well, and Sandy Leon was grabbed from Cleveland. The bullpen pecking order has changed, but it didn’t take long for Emilio Pagan to mess things up again out of the break. Carlos Correa is slumping and Byron Buxton continues trying to manage his knee issues. Rocco Baldelli’s club needs to get going sooner rather than later. Somewhat shockingly the White Sox did virtually nothing at the trade deadline. They shipped catcher Reese McGuire out in exchange for lefty Jake Diekman, but that was the extent of their moves. A clean bill of health may be the best thing afforded to them the rest of the way, and that started with Luis Robert being activated off the injured list. Tony La Russa will need to do a better job managing down the stretch, but he’s certainly got a club capable of making some noise. Unlike Chicago, Cleveland literally did nothing at the deadline when it comes to the Major League roster. Leon was at Triple-A when sent to the Twins, and although Ian Hamilton may have a big league impact, he too was pitching for St. Paul. The Guardians need a full rotation if they’re going to hold serve with Minnesota, and getting Aaron Civale back should help. He began a rehab assignment at Triple-A on Thursday. Steven Kwan currently has an 18-game hitting streak and prospect Tyler Freeman made his big league debut. Despite suggesting they were open for business, Detroit wound up being quiet at the trade deadline. They did allow Michael Fulmer to walk across the diamond at Target Field, but Tarik Skubal stayed put. The Tigers ace probably sapped any trade possibility when he left his most recent start with left arm fatigue. He was later placed on the injured list. Hopefully it’s not a long injury or anything serious, but it’s obviously smart that Detroit is taking things seriously. The Royals wound up trading Andrew Benintendi to the New York Yankees and then finally shipped Whit Merrifield to the Toronto Blue Jays. Merrifield had been a subject of trade rumors for years, but this time it finally happened. He did also go through with vaccination for Covid in order to be eligible to enter Canada. Former Twins prospect Brent Rooker rejoined the division when San Diego sent him to Kansas City in exchange for Cam Gallagher. Heart and Hustle Nominees: The Heart and Hustle nominees for each team were announced this week. Voting takes place prior to the All-Star Break. MLB defines the award by saying, "This esteemed award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game. The Heart and Hustle Award is also the only award in Major League Baseball that is voted on by former players." The nominees for each club are: Minnesota Twins - Luis Arraez Chicago White Sox - Jose Abreu Cleveland Guardians - Jose Abreu Kansas City Royals - Bobby Witt Jr. Detroit Tigers - Eric Haase The Week Ahead: Things get tougher before they get easier on the Twins. A four-game set with Toronto starts the weekend, but then they travel to California and have a two-game set with the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw nearly threw a no-hitter against them earlier this season, and Minnesota was clearly outmatched. An underwhelming Angels squad will greet them next weekend. Chicago remains on the road against bottom feeders for most of the week. Playing against the Rangers and then headed to Kansas City, they should have plenty of wins to stack before returning home against Detroit. They could find themselves leading the division a few days from now with this slate. Terry Francona’s Guardians have a four-game set with the Astros over the weekend, but then travel to Detroit and Toronto next week. They could be in a spot to lose ground if Minnesota and Chicago are able to string wins together. Detroit has to fend off the Tampa Bay Rays at home this weekend which won’t be an easy task. Divisional matchups follow and they can’t get caught looking ahead, if that’s a thing for a team this bad. Eris Hosmer returned to Kansas City as the Red Sox new first basemen. He’s there over the weekend before the Royals host Chicago, including a doubleheader, then welcome the Dodgers for three. What are you looking forward to this week? Are the Twins actually going to lose the division lead? View full article
  4. The Standings: Minnesota 55-50 Cleveland 54-51 (1.0 GB, 2.0 GB of 2nd Wild Card) Chicago 53-52 (2.0 GB) Kansas City 42-64 (13.5 GB) Detroit 42-65 (14.0 GB) The Guardians and White Sox have used the opportunity presented by the Twins to draw closer. Back as many as five games just before the All-Star Break, both clubs find themselves within striking distance as August gets underway. The division might not be good (it isn’t), but it should remain interesting. The Stories: Minnesota made all of the splashes during the trade deadline. Needing pitching help, in both the bullpen and rotation, arms such as Jorge Lopez and Tyler Mahle were both acquired. After Ryan Jeffers went down with a broken thumb, a catcher became a need as well, and Sandy Leon was grabbed from Cleveland. The bullpen pecking order has changed, but it didn’t take long for Emilio Pagan to mess things up again out of the break. Carlos Correa is slumping and Byron Buxton continues trying to manage his knee issues. Rocco Baldelli’s club needs to get going sooner rather than later. Somewhat shockingly the White Sox did virtually nothing at the trade deadline. They shipped catcher Reese McGuire out in exchange for lefty Jake Diekman, but that was the extent of their moves. A clean bill of health may be the best thing afforded to them the rest of the way, and that started with Luis Robert being activated off the injured list. Tony La Russa will need to do a better job managing down the stretch, but he’s certainly got a club capable of making some noise. Unlike Chicago, Cleveland literally did nothing at the deadline when it comes to the Major League roster. Leon was at Triple-A when sent to the Twins, and although Ian Hamilton may have a big league impact, he too was pitching for St. Paul. The Guardians need a full rotation if they’re going to hold serve with Minnesota, and getting Aaron Civale back should help. He began a rehab assignment at Triple-A on Thursday. Steven Kwan currently has an 18-game hitting streak and prospect Tyler Freeman made his big league debut. Despite suggesting they were open for business, Detroit wound up being quiet at the trade deadline. They did allow Michael Fulmer to walk across the diamond at Target Field, but Tarik Skubal stayed put. The Tigers ace probably sapped any trade possibility when he left his most recent start with left arm fatigue. He was later placed on the injured list. Hopefully it’s not a long injury or anything serious, but it’s obviously smart that Detroit is taking things seriously. The Royals wound up trading Andrew Benintendi to the New York Yankees and then finally shipped Whit Merrifield to the Toronto Blue Jays. Merrifield had been a subject of trade rumors for years, but this time it finally happened. He did also go through with vaccination for Covid in order to be eligible to enter Canada. Former Twins prospect Brent Rooker rejoined the division when San Diego sent him to Kansas City in exchange for Cam Gallagher. Heart and Hustle Nominees: The Heart and Hustle nominees for each team were announced this week. Voting takes place prior to the All-Star Break. MLB defines the award by saying, "This esteemed award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game. The Heart and Hustle Award is also the only award in Major League Baseball that is voted on by former players." The nominees for each club are: Minnesota Twins - Luis Arraez Chicago White Sox - Jose Abreu Cleveland Guardians - Jose Abreu Kansas City Royals - Bobby Witt Jr. Detroit Tigers - Eric Haase The Week Ahead: Things get tougher before they get easier on the Twins. A four-game set with Toronto starts the weekend, but then they travel to California and have a two-game set with the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw nearly threw a no-hitter against them earlier this season, and Minnesota was clearly outmatched. An underwhelming Angels squad will greet them next weekend. Chicago remains on the road against bottom feeders for most of the week. Playing against the Rangers and then headed to Kansas City, they should have plenty of wins to stack before returning home against Detroit. They could find themselves leading the division a few days from now with this slate. Terry Francona’s Guardians have a four-game set with the Astros over the weekend, but then travel to Detroit and Toronto next week. They could be in a spot to lose ground if Minnesota and Chicago are able to string wins together. Detroit has to fend off the Tampa Bay Rays at home this weekend which won’t be an easy task. Divisional matchups follow and they can’t get caught looking ahead, if that’s a thing for a team this bad. Eris Hosmer returned to Kansas City as the Red Sox new first basemen. He’s there over the weekend before the Royals host Chicago, including a doubleheader, then welcome the Dodgers for three. What are you looking forward to this week? Are the Twins actually going to lose the division lead?
  5. The Minnesota Twins added a starting pitcher, two relief pitchers and a backup catcher option before Tuesday’s MLB trade deadline. They lost some really good prospects to do so. With a day to reflect, what are your thoughts on what the Twins did at the deadline? The Twins waited until Tuesday, the trade deadline, to make their moves, but in the end, they added right-handed starter Tyler Mahle, right-handed relievers Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer, and a backup catcher option in Sandy Leon. It came at a price as the Twins dealt infielders Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand, left-handed pitchers Cade Povich, Steve Hajjar and Juan Rojas, right-handed pitchers Yennier Cano, Sawyer Gipson Long and Juan Nunez. Seth Stohs: As you know, I don’t like to see prospects traded, and yet, I fully understand that it is a necessary evil in order for the big-league club to add talent and fill holes. Before the deadline, the obvious question is: What do the Twins need to do? I would tell people that they need to add at least one starter, two reliable relievers, and another catching option. That’s exactly what the Twins front office did. Mahle now rejoins Sonny Gray at the top of the Twins rotation. Lopez should team with Jhoan Duran at the end of ball games. Fulmer should slot into 7th and 8th innings with Griffin Jax. Back to the prospects, Spencer Steer has a chance to be a really good player, but with the Twins, he’s behind Jose Miranda and others. Same with Christian Encarnacion-Strand who has destroyed baseballs since entering pro ball in 2021. Steve Hajjar has had an up and down season, but he has a chance to be good if healthy. Cade Povich has a chance to be a mid-rotation starter, maybe even more. The Twins had to give up something in order to get something, but they did just that. The front office made the necessary moves. The question, in my mind, is if the Twins added enough to stay ahead of the White Sox in the AL Central. We shall see. Jeremy Nygaard: For me, the long and the short of it is that you hope your prospects turn into productive players. Not that they’re great comparisons, but you hope you can develop Cade Povich into a player with Tyler Mahle’s ability. You hope that any of those other pitching prospects that were dealt if they fail as starters, turn into really good relievers like Jorge Lopez. And that’s exactly how the teams that dealt Mahle and Lopez feel too. They just acquired three or four chances. Nobody that the Twins dealt is sure things and like you mentioned, Seth, even Steer was going to have a hard time breaking into the lineup. It’s hard not to like the deals they made because they give the Twins a chance to go deeper this year, Mahle will be a big part of the rotation in ‘23 and Lopez helps the bullpen for the next two years. Plus they still have all their top prospects. Sure, Fulmer was a rental, but at a low cost. Now, if you want to talk about if Lopez has two more years being the dude he is now… well, that’s another story. Melissa Berman: Tuesday represented the most active trade deadline day the Twins have had in years, maybe ever, and is a clear message from the front office: "We see ourselves as serious contenders, and we want to win now." While losing high-flying prospects like Steer and Encarnacion-Strand is unfortunate, it simultaneously is a vote of confidence for the Twins' young corps of Arraez, Miranda, Lewis, Kirilloff, and Larnach. When healthy, each player has produced at a high level, and it is outwardly apparent that the Twins see them in their long-term outlook. Consequently, there would not be a lot of places for these hitting prospects to go in the Twins organization. The Twins made good moves on Tuesday that provide them with much-needed help for the rest of the 2022 season and several more to come. Contrast the multitude of Twins moves with the Chicago White Sox, who only added reliever Jake Diekman, and the Cleveland Guardians, who added pitcher Ian Hamilton. The lack of moves could mean one of two things: the teams think they can compete with what they currently have, or, conversely, they don't see themselves as serious division contenders this season. Rebuilding and major retooling of lineups are best done in the offseason with the free agent market at a team’s disposal. Time will tell if the AL Central, currently the most competitive division race in baseball, will stay a close three-horse race, and if the Twins’ moves will be enough to keep them on top. Rena Wang: To echo Melissa, it was exciting as a fan to see the Twins so active at the trade deadline for the first time in years. We’ve become accustomed to disappointment and a lack of urgency to win (CC. the trade Correa crew), but we’ve known in the back of our minds all along that the Twins’ front office is ready to win with the moves that were made in the offseason. It's always painful to lose prospects, especially Christian Encarnacion-Strand who was recently named the Minor League Hitter of the Month for the second time, but the definition of a prospect speaks for itself. I’m always an advocate of taking a risk for something tangible and certain. The Twins also exceeded expectations by trading for Jorge López, the best young closer in baseball. Although Michael Fulmer fits the profile of the average Twins’ trade target, he’s having a career season in the bullpen and would slot in perfectly with Griffin Jax and Tyler Duffey as a middle reliever. Tyler Mahle is the starter that the Twins desperately need with Bailey Ober headed to the 60-Day IL. All in all, if these trade targets continue to perform as advertised, the Twins have a real shot to compete for the first time in years. Theo Tollefson: The Falvey and Levine regime had their best trade deadline to date Tuesday. They acquired the bare minimum of what many Twins fans had been asking for since mid-June with a reliable middle-of-the-rotation starter and two backend relievers. Tyler Mahle was the best acquisition of them all. Mahle has had much better numbers on the road this year than he had at Great American Ballpark with the Red. Given that Target Field is more of a pitcher-friendly ballpark than GAB, Mahle should find himself more comfortable in his new home ballpark for the next year and a half with the Twins. Jorge Lopez was a surprise acquisition but a welcomed one at that. Lopez has finally reached the potential he was given as a prospect with the Brewers over seven years ago. Although Rocco Baldelli has never officially designated someone as the closer in his five years as manager, people can expect Lopez to unofficially fill that role for the Twins and take a load off of Duran and the rest of the bullpen. Michael Fulmer is just another good addition for a depleted Twins bullpen. He will certainly help in any role he is used for in relief. The Twins did give up a good amount of prospects to acquire who they needed this deadline, but they did not sell their entire farm system as the Padres did to get what they needed. This sets the team up well to win the AL Central this season and retool themselves for next year as well. Nash Walker: The Twins filled their biggest hole with a bang in Jorge López. They so badly needed a high-leverage right-handed reliever to pair with Jhoan Duran in the back of the bullpen. Other than Josh Hader, López was the best reliever dealt during the deadline. He’s also under team control through 2024, a significant wrinkle that sets up the Twins’ backend for the future. Tyler Mahle was my No. 1 target for the Twins when combining every factor. He should thrive outside of Cincinnati and I love his stuff. He knows how to pitch and there’s room for upside. Mahle is a mid-rotation starter *right now,* but I think there’s a real chance he’s a frontline starter very soon. Could they have used another starter? No question. Mahle is a great addition either way. After Mahle and López, I was hoping the Twins wouldn’t stop short. They then traded for Michael Fulmer, who I think is one of the more underrated relievers in baseball. Fulmer shuts down right-handed hitters and the Twins now boast a strength in the bullpen with Duran, López, Griffin Jax and Fulmer. It was a good finish to a good deadline. Let’s see how it plays out. Matt Braun: This was exactly the trade deadline the Twins needed; each move perfectly covered a weakness and two of the deals netted players who will impact future Twins teams as well. It’s hard to complain about that. What excites me—beyond the added talent—is that the team found a way to trade uncertain or blocked prospects without losing the big names. Spencer Steer is a major loss, but he had no easy path to the Twins; Cade Povich is a serious blow—I thought that he had the potential to become a solid mid-rotation arm—but he’s the only player I’m truly worked up over. Tyler Mahle is the dude. I’ve wanted Mahle on the team for years; I think his performance has another gear left and moving him away from a little league ballpark will neutralize his home run issue. I’m absolutely ecstatic that the Twins snagged him away from the Reds, and I might argue that he would be a theoretical game 1 starter (don’t worry, I knocked on wood after typing that). Jorge López is another great get. His stuff is mind-bending, he’s only 29, and the Twins will have him for two more years following this season. He and Jhoan Duran in the back-end may be the best—and nastiest—1-2 punch the team has had in a long time. Michael Fulmer is an acceptable get; he fills the 6th/7th inning role adequately—although his control worries me—and a middle relief piece deepens the bullpen. Gone are the days of Tyler Thornburg pitching in the 8th inning. My only qualm is that Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer still constitute 40% of the starting rotation. That’s not a terrible problem—every team will tell you that they aren’t fully comfortable with their starting staff—but it’s still an area the team could have improved upon. Netting Carlos Rodón would have made this an award-winning deadline; instead, it’s a great one. Your Turn: Share your thoughts in the comments below. Try to keep it to 150-200 words, and enjoy reading the thoughts of others. View full article
  6. Minnesota’s pitchers combined for a fantastic afternoon on the mound, and the offense came through when needed, despite some early struggles, helping the Twins to secure a series victory against the Tigers at Target Field. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Joe Ryan, 5 IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 9K (78 pitches, 63 strikes, 80.8%) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Sandy León (.200), Joe Ryan (.155), Michael Fulmer (.079) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Four new ballplayers joined the Twins at Tuesday’s trade deadline, three pitchers (Tyler Mahle, Jorge López, and Michael Fulmer) and a catcher (Sandy León). With Minnesota’s pitching going through an incredibly rough patch for weeks now, it was natural for the pitcher trades to be celebrated the most. But it was the lone bat acquired in those deals to make some noise first. After going down in order in the first inning, the offense set the wheels in motion in the second. TD’s hitter of the month of July, José Miranda kicked things off with a leadoff single shortly before Nick Gordon drew a one-out walk. Lefty Tyler Alexander managed to retire Jake Cave for the second out, but he couldn’t dodge the León bullet. Batting eighth in his very first at-bat as a Twin, León drove in both runners with a double to the left-field corner. Unfortunately for the Twins, the offense couldn’t do much outside that second inning. Alexander pitched three perfect innings around it, keeping the Twins bats on a leash. Fortunately for the Twins, though, Joe Ryan had a tremendous start to this game – perhaps another impact brought to the table by León. Ryan tossed four scoreless innings to open this game, allowing only two hits while striking out seven. During the fifth, he had some issues, causing him to hit two batters and allowing Riley Greene to push the leadoff runner across, scoring Detroit’s first run. Ryan limited the damage to the one run by striking out the next two batters for a total of nine through five. Also, TD’s Nick Nelson found this gem: Came the sixth inning, and Rocco Baldelli decided it was time to have another new Twin make his debut for Minnesota. Fulmer needed only 13 pitches, nine of which were strikes, to toss a scoreless frame with a punch out. He also caught former teammate Harold Castro trying to steal second to end the inning. In the home sixth, Byron Buxton led things off with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and was pushed across by a Carlos Correa single, making it 3-1 Minnesota. While Caleb Thielbar and Jhoan Duran did a fine job keeping the lead intact through the seventh and eighth innings, the bats had a hard time adding on. Cave and León got back-to-back hits in the seventh (León’s first multi-hit game of the season), but both runners ended up being stranded. But they managed to get one more insurance run for Jorge Lopez to have an easier time trying to get his first save as a Twin in the ninth. Buxton led off the eighth with a single, shortly before Jorge Polanco got his first hit of the afternoon, a one-out single. Miranda drew a walk to load the bases with one out, and the Twins had the chance to break the game open. Gio Urshela hit a sac-fly to center to score Buxton from third, but that was all Minnesota got, as Gordon struck out next to end the inning. López stepped up for his first save opportunity with Minnesota and he breezed through the ninth, retiring the side on seven pitches, concluding a perfect debut for the new fellows. Postgame interview What’s Next? The Twins continue their homestand on Thursday when they start a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Target Field. The first pitch of game one is scheduled for tomorrow at 6:40 pm CDT, with Sonny Gray (3.41 ERA) taking the mound for Minnesota and Alek Manoah (2.43 ERA) starting for Toronto. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Pagán 20 20 0 16 0 56 Jax 11 0 20 24 0 55 Duran 11 0 10 0 19 40 Megill 7 23 0 8 0 38 Fulmer 0 0 23 0 13 36 Duffey 28 0 0 7 0 35 Moran 0 16 0 10 0 26 Thielbar 0 7 0 0 11 18 López 0 0 0 0 7 7 View full article
  7. The Twins waited until Tuesday, the trade deadline, to make their moves, but in the end, they added right-handed starter Tyler Mahle, right-handed relievers Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer, and a backup catcher option in Sandy Leon. It came at a price as the Twins dealt infielders Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand, left-handed pitchers Cade Povich, Steve Hajjar and Juan Rojas, right-handed pitchers Yennier Cano, Sawyer Gipson Long and Juan Nunez. Seth Stohs: As you know, I don’t like to see prospects traded, and yet, I fully understand that it is a necessary evil in order for the big-league club to add talent and fill holes. Before the deadline, the obvious question is: What do the Twins need to do? I would tell people that they need to add at least one starter, two reliable relievers, and another catching option. That’s exactly what the Twins front office did. Mahle now rejoins Sonny Gray at the top of the Twins rotation. Lopez should team with Jhoan Duran at the end of ball games. Fulmer should slot into 7th and 8th innings with Griffin Jax. Back to the prospects, Spencer Steer has a chance to be a really good player, but with the Twins, he’s behind Jose Miranda and others. Same with Christian Encarnacion-Strand who has destroyed baseballs since entering pro ball in 2021. Steve Hajjar has had an up and down season, but he has a chance to be good if healthy. Cade Povich has a chance to be a mid-rotation starter, maybe even more. The Twins had to give up something in order to get something, but they did just that. The front office made the necessary moves. The question, in my mind, is if the Twins added enough to stay ahead of the White Sox in the AL Central. We shall see. Jeremy Nygaard: For me, the long and the short of it is that you hope your prospects turn into productive players. Not that they’re great comparisons, but you hope you can develop Cade Povich into a player with Tyler Mahle’s ability. You hope that any of those other pitching prospects that were dealt if they fail as starters, turn into really good relievers like Jorge Lopez. And that’s exactly how the teams that dealt Mahle and Lopez feel too. They just acquired three or four chances. Nobody that the Twins dealt is sure things and like you mentioned, Seth, even Steer was going to have a hard time breaking into the lineup. It’s hard not to like the deals they made because they give the Twins a chance to go deeper this year, Mahle will be a big part of the rotation in ‘23 and Lopez helps the bullpen for the next two years. Plus they still have all their top prospects. Sure, Fulmer was a rental, but at a low cost. Now, if you want to talk about if Lopez has two more years being the dude he is now… well, that’s another story. Melissa Berman: Tuesday represented the most active trade deadline day the Twins have had in years, maybe ever, and is a clear message from the front office: "We see ourselves as serious contenders, and we want to win now." While losing high-flying prospects like Steer and Encarnacion-Strand is unfortunate, it simultaneously is a vote of confidence for the Twins' young corps of Arraez, Miranda, Lewis, Kirilloff, and Larnach. When healthy, each player has produced at a high level, and it is outwardly apparent that the Twins see them in their long-term outlook. Consequently, there would not be a lot of places for these hitting prospects to go in the Twins organization. The Twins made good moves on Tuesday that provide them with much-needed help for the rest of the 2022 season and several more to come. Contrast the multitude of Twins moves with the Chicago White Sox, who only added reliever Jake Diekman, and the Cleveland Guardians, who added pitcher Ian Hamilton. The lack of moves could mean one of two things: the teams think they can compete with what they currently have, or, conversely, they don't see themselves as serious division contenders this season. Rebuilding and major retooling of lineups are best done in the offseason with the free agent market at a team’s disposal. Time will tell if the AL Central, currently the most competitive division race in baseball, will stay a close three-horse race, and if the Twins’ moves will be enough to keep them on top. Rena Wang: To echo Melissa, it was exciting as a fan to see the Twins so active at the trade deadline for the first time in years. We’ve become accustomed to disappointment and a lack of urgency to win (CC. the trade Correa crew), but we’ve known in the back of our minds all along that the Twins’ front office is ready to win with the moves that were made in the offseason. It's always painful to lose prospects, especially Christian Encarnacion-Strand who was recently named the Minor League Hitter of the Month for the second time, but the definition of a prospect speaks for itself. I’m always an advocate of taking a risk for something tangible and certain. The Twins also exceeded expectations by trading for Jorge López, the best young closer in baseball. Although Michael Fulmer fits the profile of the average Twins’ trade target, he’s having a career season in the bullpen and would slot in perfectly with Griffin Jax and Tyler Duffey as a middle reliever. Tyler Mahle is the starter that the Twins desperately need with Bailey Ober headed to the 60-Day IL. All in all, if these trade targets continue to perform as advertised, the Twins have a real shot to compete for the first time in years. Theo Tollefson: The Falvey and Levine regime had their best trade deadline to date Tuesday. They acquired the bare minimum of what many Twins fans had been asking for since mid-June with a reliable middle-of-the-rotation starter and two backend relievers. Tyler Mahle was the best acquisition of them all. Mahle has had much better numbers on the road this year than he had at Great American Ballpark with the Red. Given that Target Field is more of a pitcher-friendly ballpark than GAB, Mahle should find himself more comfortable in his new home ballpark for the next year and a half with the Twins. Jorge Lopez was a surprise acquisition but a welcomed one at that. Lopez has finally reached the potential he was given as a prospect with the Brewers over seven years ago. Although Rocco Baldelli has never officially designated someone as the closer in his five years as manager, people can expect Lopez to unofficially fill that role for the Twins and take a load off of Duran and the rest of the bullpen. Michael Fulmer is just another good addition for a depleted Twins bullpen. He will certainly help in any role he is used for in relief. The Twins did give up a good amount of prospects to acquire who they needed this deadline, but they did not sell their entire farm system as the Padres did to get what they needed. This sets the team up well to win the AL Central this season and retool themselves for next year as well. Nash Walker: The Twins filled their biggest hole with a bang in Jorge López. They so badly needed a high-leverage right-handed reliever to pair with Jhoan Duran in the back of the bullpen. Other than Josh Hader, López was the best reliever dealt during the deadline. He’s also under team control through 2024, a significant wrinkle that sets up the Twins’ backend for the future. Tyler Mahle was my No. 1 target for the Twins when combining every factor. He should thrive outside of Cincinnati and I love his stuff. He knows how to pitch and there’s room for upside. Mahle is a mid-rotation starter *right now,* but I think there’s a real chance he’s a frontline starter very soon. Could they have used another starter? No question. Mahle is a great addition either way. After Mahle and López, I was hoping the Twins wouldn’t stop short. They then traded for Michael Fulmer, who I think is one of the more underrated relievers in baseball. Fulmer shuts down right-handed hitters and the Twins now boast a strength in the bullpen with Duran, López, Griffin Jax and Fulmer. It was a good finish to a good deadline. Let’s see how it plays out. Matt Braun: This was exactly the trade deadline the Twins needed; each move perfectly covered a weakness and two of the deals netted players who will impact future Twins teams as well. It’s hard to complain about that. What excites me—beyond the added talent—is that the team found a way to trade uncertain or blocked prospects without losing the big names. Spencer Steer is a major loss, but he had no easy path to the Twins; Cade Povich is a serious blow—I thought that he had the potential to become a solid mid-rotation arm—but he’s the only player I’m truly worked up over. Tyler Mahle is the dude. I’ve wanted Mahle on the team for years; I think his performance has another gear left and moving him away from a little league ballpark will neutralize his home run issue. I’m absolutely ecstatic that the Twins snagged him away from the Reds, and I might argue that he would be a theoretical game 1 starter (don’t worry, I knocked on wood after typing that). Jorge López is another great get. His stuff is mind-bending, he’s only 29, and the Twins will have him for two more years following this season. He and Jhoan Duran in the back-end may be the best—and nastiest—1-2 punch the team has had in a long time. Michael Fulmer is an acceptable get; he fills the 6th/7th inning role adequately—although his control worries me—and a middle relief piece deepens the bullpen. Gone are the days of Tyler Thornburg pitching in the 8th inning. My only qualm is that Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer still constitute 40% of the starting rotation. That’s not a terrible problem—every team will tell you that they aren’t fully comfortable with their starting staff—but it’s still an area the team could have improved upon. Netting Carlos Rodón would have made this an award-winning deadline; instead, it’s a great one. Your Turn: Share your thoughts in the comments below. Try to keep it to 150-200 words, and enjoy reading the thoughts of others.
  8. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Joe Ryan, 5 IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 9K (78 pitches, 63 strikes, 80.8%) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Sandy León (.200), Joe Ryan (.155), Michael Fulmer (.079) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Four new ballplayers joined the Twins at Tuesday’s trade deadline, three pitchers (Tyler Mahle, Jorge López, and Michael Fulmer) and a catcher (Sandy León). With Minnesota’s pitching going through an incredibly rough patch for weeks now, it was natural for the pitcher trades to be celebrated the most. But it was the lone bat acquired in those deals to make some noise first. After going down in order in the first inning, the offense set the wheels in motion in the second. TD’s hitter of the month of July, José Miranda kicked things off with a leadoff single shortly before Nick Gordon drew a one-out walk. Lefty Tyler Alexander managed to retire Jake Cave for the second out, but he couldn’t dodge the León bullet. Batting eighth in his very first at-bat as a Twin, León drove in both runners with a double to the left-field corner. Unfortunately for the Twins, the offense couldn’t do much outside that second inning. Alexander pitched three perfect innings around it, keeping the Twins bats on a leash. Fortunately for the Twins, though, Joe Ryan had a tremendous start to this game – perhaps another impact brought to the table by León. Ryan tossed four scoreless innings to open this game, allowing only two hits while striking out seven. During the fifth, he had some issues, causing him to hit two batters and allowing Riley Greene to push the leadoff runner across, scoring Detroit’s first run. Ryan limited the damage to the one run by striking out the next two batters for a total of nine through five. Also, TD’s Nick Nelson found this gem: Came the sixth inning, and Rocco Baldelli decided it was time to have another new Twin make his debut for Minnesota. Fulmer needed only 13 pitches, nine of which were strikes, to toss a scoreless frame with a punch out. He also caught former teammate Harold Castro trying to steal second to end the inning. In the home sixth, Byron Buxton led things off with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and was pushed across by a Carlos Correa single, making it 3-1 Minnesota. While Caleb Thielbar and Jhoan Duran did a fine job keeping the lead intact through the seventh and eighth innings, the bats had a hard time adding on. Cave and León got back-to-back hits in the seventh (León’s first multi-hit game of the season), but both runners ended up being stranded. But they managed to get one more insurance run for Jorge Lopez to have an easier time trying to get his first save as a Twin in the ninth. Buxton led off the eighth with a single, shortly before Jorge Polanco got his first hit of the afternoon, a one-out single. Miranda drew a walk to load the bases with one out, and the Twins had the chance to break the game open. Gio Urshela hit a sac-fly to center to score Buxton from third, but that was all Minnesota got, as Gordon struck out next to end the inning. López stepped up for his first save opportunity with Minnesota and he breezed through the ninth, retiring the side on seven pitches, concluding a perfect debut for the new fellows. Postgame interview What’s Next? The Twins continue their homestand on Thursday when they start a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Target Field. The first pitch of game one is scheduled for tomorrow at 6:40 pm CDT, with Sonny Gray (3.41 ERA) taking the mound for Minnesota and Alek Manoah (2.43 ERA) starting for Toronto. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Pagán 20 20 0 16 0 56 Jax 11 0 20 24 0 55 Duran 11 0 10 0 19 40 Megill 7 23 0 8 0 38 Fulmer 0 0 23 0 13 36 Duffey 28 0 0 7 0 35 Moran 0 16 0 10 0 26 Thielbar 0 7 0 0 11 18 López 0 0 0 0 7 7
  9. Needing catching help after Ryan Jeffers found himself on the injured list due to a fractured thumb, the Minnesota Twins had a new addition to their shopping list. Trading within the division, they got a partner for Gary Sanchez in the form of veteran Sandy Leon. It’s often thought that teams don’t match up with foes from within the division, especially considering how closely the Cleveland Guardians are in contention with the Minnesota Twins. Sandy Leon has been at Triple-A for the majority of this season, however, playing just eight games at the Major League level. An 11-year veteran, Leon is a light hitting backstop owning just a .595 career OPS. He hasn’t batted above the Mendoza Line since 2017 with the Boston Red Sox, but he’s been a capable defender behind the dish. Given the inexperience brought with Caleb Hamilton, and Sanchez’s inability to control the position defensively, this is a move that acts as an insurance policy until the return of Jeffers. In acquiring Leon, Minnesota decided to part with minor league reliever Ian Hamilton. Signed in 2021 after spending time with the Chicago White Sox, Hamilton is a hard thrower that’s struggled with command and worked to build his way back following a serious car accident in 2019. Hamilton has posted a very strong 1.88 ERA at Triple-A this year, but it’s turned into just 2 2/3 innings of opportunity at the highest level. Given Hamilton’s 11.3 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9, it seemed he could be someone that Minnesota may opt to select at some point down the stretch. Knowing the Twins bullpen needs help, Hamilton has shown flashes that probably could’ve been explored. Still, trading for another need in-depth behind the plate, this is the type of low-risk move that gets it done. There’s still just about an hour until the 2022 Major League Baseball trade deadline passes, and it remains to be seen if Minnesota is done for the day. Adding three pieces across three separate trades, the front office has put in some substantial work to supplement a group leading the American League Central division. View full article
  10. It’s often thought that teams don’t match up with foes from within the division, especially considering how closely the Cleveland Guardians are in contention with the Minnesota Twins. Sandy Leon has been at Triple-A for the majority of this season, however, playing just eight games at the Major League level. An 11-year veteran, Leon is a light hitting backstop owning just a .595 career OPS. He hasn’t batted above the Mendoza Line since 2017 with the Boston Red Sox, but he’s been a capable defender behind the dish. Given the inexperience brought with Caleb Hamilton, and Sanchez’s inability to control the position defensively, this is a move that acts as an insurance policy until the return of Jeffers. In acquiring Leon, Minnesota decided to part with minor league reliever Ian Hamilton. Signed in 2021 after spending time with the Chicago White Sox, Hamilton is a hard thrower that’s struggled with command and worked to build his way back following a serious car accident in 2019. Hamilton has posted a very strong 1.88 ERA at Triple-A this year, but it’s turned into just 2 2/3 innings of opportunity at the highest level. Given Hamilton’s 11.3 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9, it seemed he could be someone that Minnesota may opt to select at some point down the stretch. Knowing the Twins bullpen needs help, Hamilton has shown flashes that probably could’ve been explored. Still, trading for another need in-depth behind the plate, this is the type of low-risk move that gets it done. There’s still just about an hour until the 2022 Major League Baseball trade deadline passes, and it remains to be seen if Minnesota is done for the day. Adding three pieces across three separate trades, the front office has put in some substantial work to supplement a group leading the American League Central division.
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