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  1. On June 30th, the year of our lord 2022, the Minnesota Twins’ bullpen blew a two-run lead with two innings left in the ballgame. It felt inevitable; the team had already melted down in four similar games against this same Cleveland team, each loss degrading from tragedy to outright comedy. The bullpen is the scapegoat, and while they deserve their share of criticism, these excruciating losses are a group effort. Frequently in baseball, we break up starters and relievers into separate, distinct groups; both types of pitchers exist in their sphere outside of the influence of the other. But such a view is myopic and inaccurate. Baseball is a team sport, after all, and the actions of one player reverberate among every player in this game and into future matches. Take it from a former soccer goalkeeper; sure, it’s the keeper's fault when they allow a goal, but why did an opposing player have the opportunity to score in the first place? What happened amongst the defense? Is it fair to blame a streaking striker on the keeper? Previous actions influenced the future. To lay this out in baseball terms, we must consider the workload the game flow demands of each party; a starter unable to collect a few extra, precious innings places more strain on the bullpen. A team can adjust for a series or even a month, but the wear-down will hit at some point; the Pied Piper always earns his due. As of Thursday, Twins starters have thrown the 11th fewest innings in MLB, while their bullpen has tossed the 4th most innings; the team is 4th overall in total innings. By itself, this isn’t necessarily a sign of an unhealthy pitching ecosystem; the Rays bullpen has thrown the most innings of any team in MLB, and they are probably okay with that given that their crew owns a 3.18 ERA. But the Rays are a unique beast; the Twins are a different animal entirely. The Rays want their relievers to pitch those innings; they have melted down titles like “starter” and “reliever” until a pitcher is merely an “out-getter” precisely until they aren’t, whether that ends with three or 12 outs. Kevin Cash mixes and matches his assorted pitchers until the team nets their allotted nine innings, and everyone goes home. The Twins perhaps had some mildly similar plan on hand when the season began, but they lacked the preparation. Chris Archer pitched four innings on Thursday, a standard fare for him these days. Knowing that Archer would not be suitable for more than five innings, the Twins decided to back him up conventionally; no pitcher after him netted more than five outs. Rocco Baldelli—a manager already working with an exhausted bullpen—called on Jovani Moran, Tyler Duffey, and Tyler Thornburg to end the game. He had no choice; he had already used five relievers the day prior. Moran and Duffey did their job, but games are not seven innings long, and suddenly a player signed earlier this month pitched the final two frames. It went as well as you expected. This situation would not have happened if the starter had pitched six innings, if they had a true multi-inning pitcher available, or if the bullpen wasn’t horribly gassed. You can blame Baldelli—he absolutely threw the game by keeping Thornburg out an extra inning—but his options were slim. You can blame Thornburg—he was the man on the mound in the situation—but he’s not supposed to be an 8th-inning reliever. The problem is that the Twins bullpen is constantly tired due to a shortage of effective arms mixed with a starting staff that has failed to pitch deep into ballgames. This shortcoming falls squarely on the front office, but luck is also at play. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine knowingly ran headfirst into the season with a pitching staff low on starters that can pitch deep into the game combined with a bullpen missing their ace reliever, Taylor Rogers. Instead—and again, they knew that pitchers like Archer, Dylan Bundy, and Bailey Ober are dead-to-right five-and-fly guys—traditional single-inning relievers who can occasionally stretch an extra out or two populated the bullpen. That plan worked fine when everyone was healthy, but injuries combined with Archer and Bundy failing to bounce back have strained the relief core to exhaustion. Of course, when the baseball gods sense weakness, they’ll painfully expose it. A team ill-prepared for an overwhelming amount of innings has been fed them like slop in the trough; their 690 2/3 innings looks monstrous compared to Cleveland’s MLB fewest 641. Perhaps, to play a little Devil’s Advocate, this is an extreme consequence of a plan gone awry; the team primed Winder for the swingman role, but his injury left a void no pitcher could fill. Devin Smeltzer could have done it, but the team needed him in the starting rotations; Cole Sands could have done it, but he lacked major league polish. Jorge Alcala, Joe Smith, Trevor Megill, Danny Coulombe, and Cody Stashak are all trustworthy arms to varying degrees; none of those relievers are currently healthy. The answer could just be to wait. The situation isn’t impossible to climb out of; the Twins will get Ober and Kenta Maeda back at some point, they’ll run into a few extra off-days soon, and the team will pick up extra arms before the trade deadline. Jhoan Duran and Griffin Jax are a good 1-2 punch already; adding two more competent relievers knocks everyone down the totem pole until pitchers like Cotton and Thornburg are early-game/mop-up arms like they should be. An extra stud starter—Tyler Mahle, Frankie Montas, and the such—can move a rotation member like Bundy or Archer into the missing long relief role, making them the aid in an emergency, not the cause. Solutions to the problem do exist; we will just have to see which ones the team chooses. View full article
  2. Frequently in baseball, we break up starters and relievers into separate, distinct groups; both types of pitchers exist in their sphere outside of the influence of the other. But such a view is myopic and inaccurate. Baseball is a team sport, after all, and the actions of one player reverberate among every player in this game and into future matches. Take it from a former soccer goalkeeper; sure, it’s the keeper's fault when they allow a goal, but why did an opposing player have the opportunity to score in the first place? What happened amongst the defense? Is it fair to blame a streaking striker on the keeper? Previous actions influenced the future. To lay this out in baseball terms, we must consider the workload the game flow demands of each party; a starter unable to collect a few extra, precious innings places more strain on the bullpen. A team can adjust for a series or even a month, but the wear-down will hit at some point; the Pied Piper always earns his due. As of Thursday, Twins starters have thrown the 11th fewest innings in MLB, while their bullpen has tossed the 4th most innings; the team is 4th overall in total innings. By itself, this isn’t necessarily a sign of an unhealthy pitching ecosystem; the Rays bullpen has thrown the most innings of any team in MLB, and they are probably okay with that given that their crew owns a 3.18 ERA. But the Rays are a unique beast; the Twins are a different animal entirely. The Rays want their relievers to pitch those innings; they have melted down titles like “starter” and “reliever” until a pitcher is merely an “out-getter” precisely until they aren’t, whether that ends with three or 12 outs. Kevin Cash mixes and matches his assorted pitchers until the team nets their allotted nine innings, and everyone goes home. The Twins perhaps had some mildly similar plan on hand when the season began, but they lacked the preparation. Chris Archer pitched four innings on Thursday, a standard fare for him these days. Knowing that Archer would not be suitable for more than five innings, the Twins decided to back him up conventionally; no pitcher after him netted more than five outs. Rocco Baldelli—a manager already working with an exhausted bullpen—called on Jovani Moran, Tyler Duffey, and Tyler Thornburg to end the game. He had no choice; he had already used five relievers the day prior. Moran and Duffey did their job, but games are not seven innings long, and suddenly a player signed earlier this month pitched the final two frames. It went as well as you expected. This situation would not have happened if the starter had pitched six innings, if they had a true multi-inning pitcher available, or if the bullpen wasn’t horribly gassed. You can blame Baldelli—he absolutely threw the game by keeping Thornburg out an extra inning—but his options were slim. You can blame Thornburg—he was the man on the mound in the situation—but he’s not supposed to be an 8th-inning reliever. The problem is that the Twins bullpen is constantly tired due to a shortage of effective arms mixed with a starting staff that has failed to pitch deep into ballgames. This shortcoming falls squarely on the front office, but luck is also at play. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine knowingly ran headfirst into the season with a pitching staff low on starters that can pitch deep into the game combined with a bullpen missing their ace reliever, Taylor Rogers. Instead—and again, they knew that pitchers like Archer, Dylan Bundy, and Bailey Ober are dead-to-right five-and-fly guys—traditional single-inning relievers who can occasionally stretch an extra out or two populated the bullpen. That plan worked fine when everyone was healthy, but injuries combined with Archer and Bundy failing to bounce back have strained the relief core to exhaustion. Of course, when the baseball gods sense weakness, they’ll painfully expose it. A team ill-prepared for an overwhelming amount of innings has been fed them like slop in the trough; their 690 2/3 innings looks monstrous compared to Cleveland’s MLB fewest 641. Perhaps, to play a little Devil’s Advocate, this is an extreme consequence of a plan gone awry; the team primed Winder for the swingman role, but his injury left a void no pitcher could fill. Devin Smeltzer could have done it, but the team needed him in the starting rotations; Cole Sands could have done it, but he lacked major league polish. Jorge Alcala, Joe Smith, Trevor Megill, Danny Coulombe, and Cody Stashak are all trustworthy arms to varying degrees; none of those relievers are currently healthy. The answer could just be to wait. The situation isn’t impossible to climb out of; the Twins will get Ober and Kenta Maeda back at some point, they’ll run into a few extra off-days soon, and the team will pick up extra arms before the trade deadline. Jhoan Duran and Griffin Jax are a good 1-2 punch already; adding two more competent relievers knocks everyone down the totem pole until pitchers like Cotton and Thornburg are early-game/mop-up arms like they should be. An extra stud starter—Tyler Mahle, Frankie Montas, and the such—can move a rotation member like Bundy or Archer into the missing long relief role, making them the aid in an emergency, not the cause. Solutions to the problem do exist; we will just have to see which ones the team chooses.
  3. The Minnesota Twins blew another lead in Cleveland, as Tyler Thornburg imploded out of the bullpen. Down on the farm, Louie Varland struck out nine batters, Matt Wallner hit a pair of home runs and there were some fine defensive plays made. All that and more in tonight's system recap.
  4. The Minnesota Twins blew another lead in Cleveland, as Tyler Thornburg imploded out of the bullpen. Down on the farm, Louie Varland struck out nine batters, Matt Wallner hit a pair of home runs and there were some fine defensive plays made. All that and more in tonight's system recap. View full video
  5. Minnesota’s bullpen has been a roller coaster ride during the 2022 season. So, who should the team trust when the game is on the line? Throughout any baseball season, bullpen roles and responsibilities are going to shift. Sometimes a pitcher has a great stretch and starts pitching in more high-leverage spots. Other times, a pitcher struggles, and the team attempts to find a new role for that arm. One bad outing doesn’t necessarily shift a player lower on the list, but an accumulation of bad performances impacts the team’s bullpen pecking order. 1. Jhoan Duran (2.15 Win Probability Added) Realistically, Jhoan Duran is the lone bullpen arm that has been consistent throughout the season. His transition to the bullpen has been electric, with 46 strikeouts in 33 innings. The team is using him in the highest leverage situations, and he has responded with only four appearances where he has allowed an earned run or more. Duran has also proven he can be relied on to pitch in multiple innings as he has recorded more than three outs in nine appearances. He’s been a lifesaver for the 2022 Twins, and the team will continue to trust him in late-inning roles. 2. Griffin Jax (0.50 WPA) Griffin Jax has been a surprise late-inning contributor to the Twins. Outside of Duran, Jax might be the most trusted name in the Twins bullpen. One of his most significant changes this season has been an increase in his slider usage. Batters have posted a slugging percentage over 175 points lower when facing his slider compared to his fastball. Jax will continue to see an increase in his WPA as he is used in higher leverage situations. 3. Caleb Thielbar (0.43 WPA) There have been three outings where Thielbar has allowed three earned runs or more, but outside of those appearances, he has been terrific. In high leverage situations, opponents are hitting .143/.294/.179 (.473) with eight strikeouts in 38 at-bats. He’s the lone left-handed reliever on a first-place team, which is quite the switch from how bullpens have traditionally been built. For the Twins to succeed, Thielbar must continue to pitch well. 4. Emilio Pagan (0.03 WPA) Pagan has been used in many high-leverage situations, and the results have been mixed. In his first 25 appearances, he posted a 99 ERA+ with 2.1 HR/9. His strikeouts per nine innings have jumped from under 10.0 K/9 over the last two seasons to over 12.1 K/9 in 2022. Without other options, Pagan will continue to get high leverage opportunities, especially on nights when Duran is unavailable. 5. Tyler Thornburg (0.07 WPA) Earlier in the season, names like Tyler Duffey and Joe Smith would be included in the team’s most trusted bullpen arms. Both have struggled through different parts of the season, which has allowed players like Thornburg to take on even more critical roles. Since joining the Twins, he has yet to allow an earned run in four appearances. Nearly all of his appearances have been low leverage this season, but he has held opponents to a .254 slugging percentage without allowing a home run. How would you rank the players above? Who are your Top 5, or even Top 9? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  6. Throughout any baseball season, bullpen roles and responsibilities are going to shift. Sometimes a pitcher has a great stretch and starts pitching in more high-leverage spots. Other times, a pitcher struggles, and the team attempts to find a new role for that arm. One bad outing doesn’t necessarily shift a player lower on the list, but an accumulation of bad performances impacts the team’s bullpen pecking order. 1. Jhoan Duran (2.15 Win Probability Added) Realistically, Jhoan Duran is the lone bullpen arm that has been consistent throughout the season. His transition to the bullpen has been electric, with 46 strikeouts in 33 innings. The team is using him in the highest leverage situations, and he has responded with only four appearances where he has allowed an earned run or more. Duran has also proven he can be relied on to pitch in multiple innings as he has recorded more than three outs in nine appearances. He’s been a lifesaver for the 2022 Twins, and the team will continue to trust him in late-inning roles. 2. Griffin Jax (0.50 WPA) Griffin Jax has been a surprise late-inning contributor to the Twins. Outside of Duran, Jax might be the most trusted name in the Twins bullpen. One of his most significant changes this season has been an increase in his slider usage. Batters have posted a slugging percentage over 175 points lower when facing his slider compared to his fastball. Jax will continue to see an increase in his WPA as he is used in higher leverage situations. 3. Caleb Thielbar (0.43 WPA) There have been three outings where Thielbar has allowed three earned runs or more, but outside of those appearances, he has been terrific. In high leverage situations, opponents are hitting .143/.294/.179 (.473) with eight strikeouts in 38 at-bats. He’s the lone left-handed reliever on a first-place team, which is quite the switch from how bullpens have traditionally been built. For the Twins to succeed, Thielbar must continue to pitch well. 4. Emilio Pagan (0.03 WPA) Pagan has been used in many high-leverage situations, and the results have been mixed. In his first 25 appearances, he posted a 99 ERA+ with 2.1 HR/9. His strikeouts per nine innings have jumped from under 10.0 K/9 over the last two seasons to over 12.1 K/9 in 2022. Without other options, Pagan will continue to get high leverage opportunities, especially on nights when Duran is unavailable. 5. Tyler Thornburg (0.07 WPA) Earlier in the season, names like Tyler Duffey and Joe Smith would be included in the team’s most trusted bullpen arms. Both have struggled through different parts of the season, which has allowed players like Thornburg to take on even more critical roles. Since joining the Twins, he has yet to allow an earned run in four appearances. Nearly all of his appearances have been low leverage this season, but he has held opponents to a .254 slugging percentage without allowing a home run. How would you rank the players above? Who are your Top 5, or even Top 9? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  7. One night after being shut out by the Rockies, the Twins bounced back brilliantly, shutting out the same Rockies, while also scoring six runs. They held off Colorado to one hit all night, as Chris Archer and the bullpen had a magnificent evening. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Chris Archer , 5.0 IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 5K (78 pitches, 51 strikes, 65.4%) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Chris Archer (.261), Luis Arraez (.096), Byron Buxton (.078) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) In last night’s game, the Twins offense got shut out for the 10th time this season, more than any team in the majors this year. Against Rockies’ ace Germán Márquez, they were held to only three hits the entire game, sadly wasting a very solid start from Dylan Bundy. Frustrating to say the least. But tonight, things were bound to be different and that was largely thanks to a particular centerfielder returning to the lineup. After three consecutive games away from the starting lineup, Byron Buxton returned and he made his presence in the very first pitch he saw. After Luis Arráez hit a leadoff double to left, Buxton followed that with a hustle triple to center, celebrating a ton after he dove head first into third. Apparently, Minnesota’s offense got more energy in tonight’s first two at-bats than they did in the entire game on Friday night. Still in the first, they could’ve added on when Max Kepler drew a one-out walk to put men on the corners, but Antonio Senzatela struck out the next two batters to end the threat. Minnesota’s offense was hungry, though, and they picked up where they left off in the second inning. Gary Sanchez and Nick Gordon hit back-to-back singles to open the inning, and after Gio Urshela sent his longtime teammate to third on a sac-fly, Arráez hit the Twins’ third single of the inning to easily score Sánchez. Posting a 2.00 ERA in June before this game, Chris Archer was once again solid as a rock. He shut out the Rockies offense through five, allowing only one hit and a walk. The only time he was in fact in danger was in the second inning, when he surrendered a leadoff single to C.J. Cron, followed by a walk to Ryan McMahon. But after that, he went on to retire twelve Rockies in a row. This was just the third time in the season he completed five innings (all of them this month), finishing one pitch shy of matching his season-high 79 pitches in a game. Archer has Arráez to thank, for, in his final pitch, the Twins second baseman made a fine defensive play to avoid a single by Elias Diaz. Before Archer officially departed the game, the bats provided some more run support, to try and ensure he would end up with the win. Carlos Correa hit a one-out single and was followed by a Kepler walk. After a mound visit, Senzatela gave up a long single to Kyle Garlick that scored Correa and sent Kepler to third. Alex Kirilloff stepped up to the plate and couldn’t get a hit himself, but he batted in Kepler with a sac-fly, making it 4-0 Twins. Following a complete meltdown on Wednesday’s game against the Guardians, the Twins bullpen didn’t allow any runs for the third consecutive game. Jharel Cotton took over for Archer in the sixth and he didn’t have a clean, easy outing, as he allowed back-to-back one-out walks, but managed to pitch around them to end the inning. Then Griffin Jax was fantastic in the seventh, striking out the side on 12 pitches with some nasty stuff. In that same seventh inning, the offense scored a couple more runs to put the game out of Colorado’s reach. Reliever Carlos Estevez had gotten two quick outs when Kepler drew his third walk of the night, a season-high for him. Garlick followed him with a single, then Kirilloff hit a long double to right, pushing both runners across. His three runs batted in in the night are also a season-high for him. Tyler Thornburg came into this game, making it the first time this season he’s pitched on back-to-back games. He had a 25-pitch eighth in which he was briefly in a jam when he gave up two consecutive one-out walks. He managed to get out of it and was brought back to the ninth. This time around he had a much easier time, finishing off the Rockies on ten pitches. What’s Next? The series goes for its rubber game on Sunday afternoon, with the first pitch scheduled for 1:10 pm CDT, when rookie Joe Ryan (3.00 ERA) squares off against Ryan Feltner (5.46 ERA). Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Cotton 11 28 0 0 25 64 Smith 0 21 26 0 0 47 Jax 27 7 0 0 12 46 Duran 27 0 17 0 0 44 Thornburg 0 0 0 7 35 42 Pagán 17 24 0 0 0 41 Duffey 0 0 0 28 0 28 Thielbar 0 15 12 0 0 27 View full article
  8. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Chris Archer , 5.0 IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 5K (78 pitches, 51 strikes, 65.4%) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Chris Archer (.261), Luis Arraez (.096), Byron Buxton (.078) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) In last night’s game, the Twins offense got shut out for the 10th time this season, more than any team in the majors this year. Against Rockies’ ace Germán Márquez, they were held to only three hits the entire game, sadly wasting a very solid start from Dylan Bundy. Frustrating to say the least. But tonight, things were bound to be different and that was largely thanks to a particular centerfielder returning to the lineup. After three consecutive games away from the starting lineup, Byron Buxton returned and he made his presence in the very first pitch he saw. After Luis Arráez hit a leadoff double to left, Buxton followed that with a hustle triple to center, celebrating a ton after he dove head first into third. Apparently, Minnesota’s offense got more energy in tonight’s first two at-bats than they did in the entire game on Friday night. Still in the first, they could’ve added on when Max Kepler drew a one-out walk to put men on the corners, but Antonio Senzatela struck out the next two batters to end the threat. Minnesota’s offense was hungry, though, and they picked up where they left off in the second inning. Gary Sanchez and Nick Gordon hit back-to-back singles to open the inning, and after Gio Urshela sent his longtime teammate to third on a sac-fly, Arráez hit the Twins’ third single of the inning to easily score Sánchez. Posting a 2.00 ERA in June before this game, Chris Archer was once again solid as a rock. He shut out the Rockies offense through five, allowing only one hit and a walk. The only time he was in fact in danger was in the second inning, when he surrendered a leadoff single to C.J. Cron, followed by a walk to Ryan McMahon. But after that, he went on to retire twelve Rockies in a row. This was just the third time in the season he completed five innings (all of them this month), finishing one pitch shy of matching his season-high 79 pitches in a game. Archer has Arráez to thank, for, in his final pitch, the Twins second baseman made a fine defensive play to avoid a single by Elias Diaz. Before Archer officially departed the game, the bats provided some more run support, to try and ensure he would end up with the win. Carlos Correa hit a one-out single and was followed by a Kepler walk. After a mound visit, Senzatela gave up a long single to Kyle Garlick that scored Correa and sent Kepler to third. Alex Kirilloff stepped up to the plate and couldn’t get a hit himself, but he batted in Kepler with a sac-fly, making it 4-0 Twins. Following a complete meltdown on Wednesday’s game against the Guardians, the Twins bullpen didn’t allow any runs for the third consecutive game. Jharel Cotton took over for Archer in the sixth and he didn’t have a clean, easy outing, as he allowed back-to-back one-out walks, but managed to pitch around them to end the inning. Then Griffin Jax was fantastic in the seventh, striking out the side on 12 pitches with some nasty stuff. In that same seventh inning, the offense scored a couple more runs to put the game out of Colorado’s reach. Reliever Carlos Estevez had gotten two quick outs when Kepler drew his third walk of the night, a season-high for him. Garlick followed him with a single, then Kirilloff hit a long double to right, pushing both runners across. His three runs batted in in the night are also a season-high for him. Tyler Thornburg came into this game, making it the first time this season he’s pitched on back-to-back games. He had a 25-pitch eighth in which he was briefly in a jam when he gave up two consecutive one-out walks. He managed to get out of it and was brought back to the ninth. This time around he had a much easier time, finishing off the Rockies on ten pitches. What’s Next? The series goes for its rubber game on Sunday afternoon, with the first pitch scheduled for 1:10 pm CDT, when rookie Joe Ryan (3.00 ERA) squares off against Ryan Feltner (5.46 ERA). Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Cotton 11 28 0 0 25 64 Smith 0 21 26 0 0 47 Jax 27 7 0 0 12 46 Duran 27 0 17 0 0 44 Thornburg 0 0 0 7 35 42 Pagán 17 24 0 0 0 41 Duffey 0 0 0 28 0 28 Thielbar 0 15 12 0 0 27
  9. The Twins got another excellent start from Dylan Bundy, who pitched six innings on 60 pitches, but Colorado had an even better one from Germán Márquez. Minnesota’s offense couldn’t figure him out and the Rockies held on to a sixth-inning run to win the series opener. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 6.0 IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 2K (60 pitches, 42 strikes, 70.0%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Gio Urshela (-.198), Alex Kirilloff (-.195), Max Kepler (-.164) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Tonight’s starters aren’t having the most impressive of seasons thus far, but based on their recent outings, both offenses had their work cut out for them. Dylan Bundy arguably had his best start in a Twins uniform last Saturday, when he delivered eight innings of one-run ball against the Diamondbacks. Similarly, Rockies starter German Marquez pitched very well in his last two starts away from Coors Field, allowing only five runs in 13 innings of work. Bundy and Márquez’ recent success set the tone early on tonight, as both starters completely dominated their opposing lineups. It only took Bundy 19 pitches for his first time through the order, allowing only a couple of hits in the second inning, the only time Colorado’s offense threatened him early on. Similarly, Márquez originally took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, when Ryan Jeffers broke his no-hit bid with a two-out double. But later in the game, they officially changed a Max Kepler reaching on a fielding error in the fourth inning into a single. Márquez wasn’t the only obstacle for Twins hitters in the early going, but also some solid defense from Colorado. Alex Kirilloff and Luis Arraez had a couple of hard-hit flyballs to deep left fielded by outfielder Connor Joe. Kirilloff’s flyout in the second left his bat at 98.9 MPH and had a .550 expected batting average. The pitch count looked great for Bundy, who completed five innings of shutout ball with only 41 pitches. But came the sixth inning and Colorado put together a good offensive display against him. Joe and Yonathan Daza hit back-to-back one-out singles, allowing Joe to reach third. Then Charlie Blackmon hit a ground ball to the middle of the Twins’ shift, preventing Carlos Correa from turning a double play in time and allowing Joe to score from third. Bundy would still give up a two-out walk before inducing a groundout to end the inning. Despite the low pitch count, Bundy didn’t return for the seventh. As Márquez continued to dazzle Twins hitters, Minnesota’s offense couldn’t build up any momentum. After that Jeffers double in the fifth, the Twins lineup went 0-for-8 against him with three walks. With two outs in the eighth, Correa reached on a fielding error by old friend C.J. Cron, also sending Jeffers to third. That play finished the night for Márquez, but Kepler grounded out against reliever Daniel Bard next, ending Minnesota’s potential rally. One silver lining from tonight’s disappointing loss was the good outing from the bullpen. Tyler Duffey (two) and Tyler Thornburg (one) combined for three shutout innings on 35 pitches, which could be great for morale after a tough week for Twins relievers. Potential targets for the Twins? Last week, Twins Daily’s Cody Pirkl wrote a nice article on how Márquez could be a great target for the Twins at the trade deadline. Tonight, he certainly showed he can be very comfortable at Target Field. If not Márquez, Bard is another great arm from the Rockies organization whom the Twins could also target. He helped Colorado to seal the deal tonight with a four-out save. That was his 15th of the season, tied for seventh-most in the majors. His ERA is now down to 1.91. What’s Next? Game two of the series is scheduled for tomorrow at 6:15 pm CDT. Minnesota will have Chris Archer (3.44 ERA) on the mound, while the Rockies will start Antonio Senzatela (4.42 ERA). Postgame interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Smith 0 0 21 26 0 47 Duran 0 27 0 17 0 44 Pagán 0 17 24 0 0 41 Cotton 0 11 28 0 0 39 Jax 0 27 7 0 0 34 Duffey 0 0 0 0 28 28 Thielbar 0 0 15 12 0 27 Thornburg 0 0 0 0 7 7 View full article
  10. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 6.0 IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 2K (60 pitches, 42 strikes, 70.0%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Gio Urshela (-.198), Alex Kirilloff (-.195), Max Kepler (-.164) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Tonight’s starters aren’t having the most impressive of seasons thus far, but based on their recent outings, both offenses had their work cut out for them. Dylan Bundy arguably had his best start in a Twins uniform last Saturday, when he delivered eight innings of one-run ball against the Diamondbacks. Similarly, Rockies starter German Marquez pitched very well in his last two starts away from Coors Field, allowing only five runs in 13 innings of work. Bundy and Márquez’ recent success set the tone early on tonight, as both starters completely dominated their opposing lineups. It only took Bundy 19 pitches for his first time through the order, allowing only a couple of hits in the second inning, the only time Colorado’s offense threatened him early on. Similarly, Márquez originally took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, when Ryan Jeffers broke his no-hit bid with a two-out double. But later in the game, they officially changed a Max Kepler reaching on a fielding error in the fourth inning into a single. Márquez wasn’t the only obstacle for Twins hitters in the early going, but also some solid defense from Colorado. Alex Kirilloff and Luis Arraez had a couple of hard-hit flyballs to deep left fielded by outfielder Connor Joe. Kirilloff’s flyout in the second left his bat at 98.9 MPH and had a .550 expected batting average. The pitch count looked great for Bundy, who completed five innings of shutout ball with only 41 pitches. But came the sixth inning and Colorado put together a good offensive display against him. Joe and Yonathan Daza hit back-to-back one-out singles, allowing Joe to reach third. Then Charlie Blackmon hit a ground ball to the middle of the Twins’ shift, preventing Carlos Correa from turning a double play in time and allowing Joe to score from third. Bundy would still give up a two-out walk before inducing a groundout to end the inning. Despite the low pitch count, Bundy didn’t return for the seventh. As Márquez continued to dazzle Twins hitters, Minnesota’s offense couldn’t build up any momentum. After that Jeffers double in the fifth, the Twins lineup went 0-for-8 against him with three walks. With two outs in the eighth, Correa reached on a fielding error by old friend C.J. Cron, also sending Jeffers to third. That play finished the night for Márquez, but Kepler grounded out against reliever Daniel Bard next, ending Minnesota’s potential rally. One silver lining from tonight’s disappointing loss was the good outing from the bullpen. Tyler Duffey (two) and Tyler Thornburg (one) combined for three shutout innings on 35 pitches, which could be great for morale after a tough week for Twins relievers. Potential targets for the Twins? Last week, Twins Daily’s Cody Pirkl wrote a nice article on how Márquez could be a great target for the Twins at the trade deadline. Tonight, he certainly showed he can be very comfortable at Target Field. If not Márquez, Bard is another great arm from the Rockies organization whom the Twins could also target. He helped Colorado to seal the deal tonight with a four-out save. That was his 15th of the season, tied for seventh-most in the majors. His ERA is now down to 1.91. What’s Next? Game two of the series is scheduled for tomorrow at 6:15 pm CDT. Minnesota will have Chris Archer (3.44 ERA) on the mound, while the Rockies will start Antonio Senzatela (4.42 ERA). Postgame interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Smith 0 0 21 26 0 47 Duran 0 27 0 17 0 44 Pagán 0 17 24 0 0 41 Cotton 0 11 28 0 0 39 Jax 0 27 7 0 0 34 Duffey 0 0 0 0 28 28 Thielbar 0 0 15 12 0 27 Thornburg 0 0 0 0 7 7
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