Saturday, June 22, 2024
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MLB Preview: Minnesota Twins (72-66) at Cleveland Guardians (66-72)


THE TWINS: Have gone 3-1 through four games on their current six-game road-trip, going 2-1 in Texas, followed by a win in Cleveland last night…tonight, the Twins will continue the trip with the second of three at Cleveland before finishing the series/trip tomorrow afternoon… after tomorrow’s game, Minnesota will travel home to enjoy an off-day on Thursday, then begin their penultimate homestand of 2023 with three against the Mets this weekend, followed by three against the Rays next Monday-Wednesday…the Twins have gone 40-29 at home and 32-37 on the road. Since the All-Star break, the Twins have gone 27-20, the fourth-most wins in the AL, trailing Seattle (32-16), Baltimore (32-16) and Houston (28-20). A win tonight would make the Twins seven games over .500, which would be their high-water mark for 2023…the Twins have been six games over .500 six times this season…the last time they were seven games over was through games of August 19, 2022, when they finished the day 62-55.

TWINS FIND THE END ZONE THREE TIMES IN CLEVELAND: The Twins beat the Guardians last night at Progressive Field by a score of 20-6, their largest margin of victory since an 18-4 victory at Seattle on May 18, 2019…Pablo López (10-7) was the starter and winner, allowing one run on eight hits in 6.0 innings pitched…the ffense set season-highs in runs, hits (20) and home runs (6)…Jorge Polanco, Royce Lewis and Matt Wallner each had three-hit games, as Lewis hit his third grand slam of the season…Polanco (12), Carlos Correa (17), Joey Gallo (21), Kyle Farmer (9) and Wallner (11) also all homered. A11 different Twins recorded hits, eight drove in at least one run and 12 scored a run…12 different players scoring tied for most in club history (4/27/80 vs. OAK, 8/1/70 vs. DET). Marked the 10th time in club history that the Twins scored 20-plus runs, first since June 4, 2002, when the Twins won 23-2 over Cleveland at the Metrodome.

ALMOST 24 HOURS SINCE LEWIS HIT A GRAND SLAM…HE’S DUE: Royce Lewis’ second inning grand slam last night was the fourth of his career and third in his last eight games…he became the fourth player (1st rookie) in AL/NL history to hit three grand slams in a span of eight games-or-fewer, joining Jim Northrup (1968 – 4-game span), Lou Gehrig (1931 – 5-game span) and Larry Parrish (1982 – 8-game span). Four career grand slams already ties Lewis for 11th on Twins all-time list with Bob Allison, Rod Carew, Shane Mack and Eddie Rosario…Harmon Killebrew’s 10 is the record. Three grand slams this season ties a club single-season record, joining Bob Allison (1961), Rod Carew (1976), Kent Hrbek (1985), Kirby Puckett (1992) and Torii Hunter (2007). Royce is the second player in AL/NL history with four grand slams within his first 13 career homers, joining Chris Taylor…Taylor’s fourth slam was his 11th homer, so Lewis has the second fewest homers to reach four career grannies. Four grand slams in 56 career games is the fastest to that figure in AL/NL history, the next fastest being the Tigers’ Rudy York, who did it in 132 games in 1938.

TWINS AND GUARDS: The Twins are playing the Guardians for the 12th of 13 times in 2023… the Twins are 5-6 vs. the Guards this season, going 3-4 at Target Field and 2-2 at Progressive Field…the Twins have outscored the Guards 50-39 this season. Minnesota has homered 18 times against Cleveland pitching this season, the most in baseball against the Guardians (White Sox – 17). The Twins have hit 122 home runs against Cleveland pitching since the start of 2019, their most against any opponent in that span…of those 122 home runs, 65 have been hit at Progressive Field, the Twins’ most in any opposing ballpark in that stretch…65 homers are also the most for any opponent here since 2019 (next: Chicago-AL, Detroit and Kansas City – 41). \Carlos Correa is hitting .301 (28-for-93) with seven home runs, a .363 on-base percentage, a .538 slugging percentage and a .900 OPS in 24 games against the Guardians since the start of last season. Max Kepler has 45 hits, 16 home runs, 32 runs scored and 35 RBI at Progressive Field (51 career games), all his most in any opposing ballpark.

SERIES CONVERSATIONS: The Twins are seeking their 22nd series victory this season…they are 21-18-5 in series play in 2023, going 12-7-3 at home and 9-11-2 on the road…they are looking to win their second-straight road series and third in their last four chances away from Target Field (2-1 at PHI — 8/11-13, 0-2 at MIL — 8/22-23, 2-1 at TEX — 9/1-3). Minnesota is looking to win their first series against Cleveland since these two first met in 2022, when the Twins took two of three at Target Field from May 13-15…Twins have gone 0-6-1 in series play against the Guardians since that series. The Twins’ last series win in Cleveland came September 6-9, 2021, when the Twins took three of four.

LEWIS – TURNS ON PS5, SELECTS BEGINNER MODE: After starting the season hitting .182 (6-for-33) with a .576 OPS in his first eight games, Royce Lewis has hit .351 (47-for-134) with four doubles, nine home runs, 32 RBI, a .404 on-base percentage, a .582 slugging percentage and a .986 OPS in his last 36 games, including nine three-plus-hit games… among all MLB rookies with a minimum of 175 plate appearances, Lewis ranks first in batting average (.317), runs created-per-27 (8.42), OPS+ (147.0), slugging percentage (.545), OPS (.908), and wOBA (.389). Lewis has the most RBI (44), second-most homers (13), and second-most total bases (113) in Twins history through 56 career games.

POLO ON THE MARK: Jorge Polanco has reached safely in a season-long 13-straight games, hitting .356 (16-for-45) with two doubles, four home runs, 11 RBI, 11 walks, a .482 on-base percentage, a .667 slugging percentage and a 1.149 OPS in that span…his career high for an on-base streak is 37, done from May 13-June 25, 2019.
Polanco has reached base seven times in his last eight plate appearances.

C4 IGNITING: Carlos Correa has multiple hits in three-straight games, including at least one RBI in all three…in his last 36 road games, since June 8, Correa is hitting .292 (42-for-144) with nine doubles, eight home runs, 21 RBI, 12 walks, a .352 on-base percentage, a .521 slugging percentage and an .873 OPS. He has reached safely in 13-straight road games, posting a .436 OBP in that span with 11 RBI.

COWBOY UP(DATE): Right-handed pitcher Chris Paddack is scheduled to start in a rehab game with Low-A Fort Myers tomorrow night vs. Bradenton…he will throw three innings or 50 pitches…Paddack underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on May 18, 2022

2023: 7-6, 2.92 ERA CAREER: 97-83, 3.50 ERA

Making his 275th career appearance and 266th career start…also his 28th start/appearance this season. Owns the lowest ERA (2.92) among qualified American League pitchers, ranks third in baseball, trailing SD’s Blake Snell (2.50) and CHC’s Justin Steele (2.55). Facing Cleveland for the fourth time this season…is 0-1, 2.89 ERA (18.2 IP, 6 ER) with four walks and 13 strikeouts in his three previous starts… is 6-5, 3.41 ERA (100.1 IP, 38 ER) with 35 walks and 96 strikeouts in 18 career starts against the Guardians. Acquired by the Twins on March 13, 2022 in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds, along with right-handed pitcher Francis Peguero, in exchange for right-handed pitcher Chase Petty.

LAST TIME OUT: Did not factor into the decision despite recording his 14th quality start of the year in his start on August 30 vs. Cleveland…pitched a season-high-tying 7.0 shutout innings and al- lowed just three hits, with zero walks and five strikeouts in a 10-inning 5-2 Twins’ defeat…allowed a leadoff double to Steven Kwan, then retired 20 of the next 23 batters he faced…relieved Griffin Jax in the eighth inning and allowed one double…Caleb Thielbar replaced Jax and yielded an RBI single to Kwan…Jhoan Duran entered in the ninth inning and allowed Andrés Giménez to score on a wild pitch to tie the game…Kody Funderburk surrendered a go-ahead three-run home run to Kole Calhoun in the 10th inning. Has pitched at least 6.0 innings in eight-straight starts, dating back to July 22…is 3-2, 2.44 ERA (51.2 IP, 14 ER) with eight walks and 50 strikeouts in those games…marks his longest since a nine-start streak from June 25-August 15, 2017 with Oakland and New York-AL (career high is 13 in 2015 with Oakland). Marked the first time he has pitched 7.0-or-more innings in back-to-back starts since July 3-12, 2019 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds (8.0 IP – July 3 vs. Milwaukee, 7.0 IP – July 12 at Colorado).

TWO STARTS AGO: Earned his seventh win of the season in his start on August 25 vs. Texas…pitched a season-high-tying 7.0 innings and allowed one run on six hits (1 HR), with zero walks and four strikeouts in a 12-2 Twins’ victory; marked the Twins’ largest margin of victory over the Rangers since a 15-5 win on July 10, 2016 in Texas…allowed his lone run on a solo home run to Mitch Garver to lead off the second inning…retired 17 of the final 22 batters he faced after the homer…relieved by Cole Sands who pitched 2.0 innings and allowed one run (unearned run) with one strikeout…allowed a single to Corey Seager in the eighth inning, Seager advanced to second on a passed ball…permitted an RBI single to Nathaniel Lowe to score Seager.

HINDERING HOMERS: Has allowed just six home runs through his 27 starts this season…has allowed the fewest homers in baseball among pitchers with at least 15 starts…is one of two pitchers in Twins’ history (since 1961) to allow six-or-fewer home runs in his first 27 starts of the year, joining Francisco Liriano (4 HR through first 27 GS in 2010)…his 0.34 home runs-per-9.0 inning ratio is the lowest by a qualified pitcher in Twins’ history (1961-).

ROCK HALL: Gray is facing the Guardians for the 19th time in his career and for the fourth time this season…is 0-1, 2.89 ERA (18.2 IP, 6 ER) with four walks and 13 strikeouts in his three previous starts this season…is 6-5, 3.41 ERA (100.1 IP, 38 ER) with 35 walks and 96 strikeouts in his 18 career starts against the Guardians. AIs 1-2, 3.75 ERA (36.0 IP, 15 ER) with 10 walks and 29 strikeouts in seven starts against the Guardians since joining the Twins…1-1, 4.50 ERA (14.0 IP, 7 ER) with five walks and 10 strikeouts in three starts at Progressive Field. Is looking for his first win against the Guardians since June 27, 2022 when he led the Twins to an 11-1 win at Progressive Field (7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R/ER, 1 BB, 3 K)…also has not earned a win at home against the Guardians since August 3, 2020 with Cincinnati (6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 8 K). Owns the third-most strikeouts against the Guardians since 2014 (min. 15 GS), trailing Carlos Rodón (124) and Justin Verlander (115)…also owns the third-lowest opponent batting average (.231), trailing Rodón (.214) and José Berríos (.224).

THE ARSENAL: Gray has used a six-pitch mix this season, per Baseball Savant…currently uses his four-seam fastball the most at 26.0 percent…recorded all five of his strikeouts using his sweeper in his last start on August 30 vs. Cleveland…primarily uses his curveball (286 pitches) and changeup (151 pitches) against lefties and his cutter (250 pitches), sinker (342 pitches) and sweeper (334 pitches) against righties…here’s a look at his repertoire so far:

4-Seam Fastball (92.9)………….26.0% (623 pitches, 222/401)…. .317 (44-for-139), 7 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 9 K
Sweeper (84.3)……………………..19.8% (474 pitches, 334/140)………. .108 (18-for-166), 4 2B, 91 K
Curveball (79.5)……………………17.7% (424 pitches, 138/286)… .271 (26-for-96), 8 2B, 1 HR, 20 K
Sinker (92.8)………………………………16.0% (384 pitches, 342/42)…. .231 (21-for-91), 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 24 K
Cutter (87.5) …………………………14.0% (337 pitches, 250/87)…………. .242 (15-for-62), 6 2B, 10 K
Changeup (87.7)……………………..6.5% (157 pitches, 6/151)………. .242 (8-for-33), 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 K

Owns a .196 (88-for-448) opponent batting average across all of his secondary pitches (curveball, sweeper, sinker, cutter and changeup). Owns the lowest opponent batting average against a sweeper in the majors (min. 100 PA)… owns the highest whiff percentage against a sweeper (43.6, min. 150 PA)…also owns the highest run value on a sweeper (14)

TO THE ROAD: Gray is making his first road start since August 13 at Philadelphia (W, 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, 3 BB, 7 K)…marks his 14th road start of the season; is 3-3, 3.07 ERA (73.1 IP, 25 ER) with 28 walks and 73 strikeouts in his 13 prior road outings…has allowed three-or-fewer earned runs in 12 of his 13 road starts this season, with the lone blemish on July 17 at Seattle when he allowed five runs in 5.2 innings…also has seven quality starts on the road this year… is 7-6, 3.30 ERA (125.1 IP, 46 ER) with 39 walks and 112 strikeouts in 24 road starts since becoming a Twin. Owns the fifth-lowest ERA on the road this season among qualifying American League pitchers.

RIGHT WAY: Gray has seen more success against right-handed hitters as opposed to lefthanded hitters this season…Gray has held righties to a .209 (64-for-306) batting average with 89 strikeouts as opposed to lefties who are batting .242 (68-for-281) with 67 strikeouts… allowed two hits to lefties (2-for-14 with 1 double) in his last start on August 30 vs. Cleve- land…held righties to just one hit (Myles Straw single in the 6th)…since becoming a Twin, lefties are slashing .225/.279/.333 against him while righties are batting .224/.299/.327. Owns the lowest slugging percentage against righties (.284) among qualified pitch- ers in baseball this season…also owns the fourth-lowest OPS (.561, 3rd best in the American League).


The Cleveland Guardians surrendered their highest run total in just over 21 years, falling to the Minnesota Twins in the opener of a 3-game set by a 20-6 final on Monday night at Progressive Field… club has gone 14-10-4 over last 28 series (+1G above .500/45-44 record since May 26), reeling off 3 consecutive series wins for the first time since ending the 2022 campaign with 5 straight. Minnesota’s offense clubbed 20 base hits, including 6 homers and 8 extra-base knocks overall…making his first start in a Guardians uniform, LUCAS GIOLITO surrendered 9 runs to match a career-high across just 3.0 innings (3.0IP, 7H, 9R-ER, 3BB, 3SO, 3HR, WP, 76 pitches)…gave up a 1st-inning solo shot to Jorge Polanco (12), the contest’s second batter…after striking out the first 2 batters of the 2nd, Giolito issued a pair of free passes on either side of a single before giving up a bases-loaded walk to Polanco, followed by Royce Lewis’ third grand slam (11) of the season…also gave up a lead-off homer to Carlos Correa (17) on the way to 3 more runs in the 3rd…SAM HENTGES and ENYEL DE LOS SANTOS each contributed a single inning of relief, bridging the gap to utility man DAVID FRY, who turned in 4.0 innings of relief to shield the Guardians bullpen from further usage (4.0IP, 10H, 7R-ER, BB,
0SO, 3SO, 64 pitches)…Cleveland’s offense managed 13 hits, but went just 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position and stranded 14 on base…JOSÉ RAMÍREZ put the Guardians on the board in the 3rd, following a STEVEN KWAN single with an RBI-triple…TYLER FREEMAN connected for a solo homer (2) in the 7th…RAMON LAUREANO and WILL BRENNAN both finished with 3 hits. Cleveland (66-72) sits in 2nd place in AL Central standings, 6.0 games behind 2nd-place Minnesota (72-66) & 2.5 games ahead
of 3rd-place Detroit (-8.5G, 63-74)…despite winning 6 of last 10, Guardians have dropped 10 of 18, 21 of 35 and 66 of last 123 overall since starting year 9-6.

Since May 30, Cleveland has out-hit their opponents in 51 games, one more time than any other MLB team (Los Angeles-NL, 50) and 5 more times than any AL team (Boston and Houston, 46)…the Guardians 37 wins in those 51 games are T2nd-most in the AL with Seattle, trailing Baltimore’s 38 such wins, and T4th-most in MLB behind Los Angeles-NL (43) and Atlanta (45)…their 14 losses when out-hitting their opponents since May 30 rank 2nd in MLB, behind Houston (15)…the Guardians rank 3rd in the AL/T4th in MLB with 37 10+ hit games since May 30, trailing Baltimore (38), Boston (38) and Atlanta (39)…the club’s 773 hits since May 30 rank 4th in the AL/5th in MLB during the stretch, behind Texas (776), Boston (777), Houston (794) and Atlanta (808).

With his next save, EMMANUEL CLASE will tie José Mesa (104) for 5th-most in club history…his 37 saves this season lead MLB ahead of CIN’s Alexis Diaz (35) and SF’s Camilo Doval (35)… his 64 appearances are T3rd in MLB with HOU’s Bryan Abreu, trailing ARI’s Miguel Castro (65), and SEA’s Matt Brash (66)…since July 7, Clase has converted 13 of 15 save opportunities with a 1.61 ERA (4ER/22.1IP) across 22 appearances…since the start of last season, Clase leads MLB with 79 saves and 141 appearances, while his 135.2IP rank 3rd among MLB relievers during that stretch.

Entering today, JOSÉ RAMÍREZ owns a .274 (161-for-588) batting average with 42 doubles, 21 home runs and 73 RBI in 155 career games against the Twins…since his first game against Minnesota in 2014, he ranks among MLB hitters against the Twins in runs (88, 1st), doubles (42, 1st), hits (161, 2nd), extra-base hits (65, 2nd), total bases (270, 2nd), walks (59, 2nd), singles (96, 3rd), home runs (21, T3rd) and RBI (73, T3rd)…is one home run away from tying Andre Thornton (214) for 8th-most in club history… Larry Doby (215) sits at 7th-most in franchise history, while Carlos Santana and Hal Trosky (216) are T6th-most…with 2 more RBI, he will tie Lou Boudreau (740) for 12th-most in club history. In 2023, the 30-year-old has 21 home runs and 21 steals, marking his fifth season of 20-or-more homers and 20-or-more steals…Ramírez’s 5 seasons of 20-or-more homers and steals are the most in club history, ahead of Grady Sizemore (4), and tied for the most among active players with LAA’s Mike Trout…he ranks T10th in MLB history for most such seasons and has turned the trick in each of his last 5 full seasons (2018-19, ‘21-23).

With no outs in the 6th inning of last night’s contest, DAVID FRY was called on for his second career pitching appearance… he pitched the final 4.0 innings, allowing 7 runs (earned) on 10 hits with a walk…Fry became the first Cleveland non-primary pitcher to throw 4.0-or-more innings since right fielder Milt Galatzer (6.0IP, 7H, 3R/ER, 5BB, 3SO) on August 26, 1936 vs. the Washington Senators…is the fourth different non-primary pitcher to throw 4.0-ormore innings in a game in franchise history, joining Tom Donovan (1901), Charlie Jamieson (1919) and Galatzer…he became the first non-primary pitcher in MLB to throw 4.0-or-more innings in a game since St. Louis’ Jose Oquendo (4.0IP) on May 14, 1988 in a 7-5, 19-inning loss…per Codify Baseball, Fry became the first pitcher in the pitch-tracking era to throw 30-or-more pitches under 60 miles per hour, as he threw 64 pitches below the threshold.

In his last 10 games dating back to August 22, WILL BRENNAN is hitting a team-best .412 (14-for-34) with 4 runs scored and 3 RBI while slashing .417/.441/.858…among MLB hitters (min. 30AB) during that stretch, his .412 batting average ranks 2nd in the AL/4th in MLB behind LAA’s Luis Rengifo (.438), ATL’s Marcell Ozuna (.442) and LAD’s Mookie Betts (.481).

Cleveland has 2 pitchers ranking in the top 10 in AL rookie starting pitcher bWAR with TANNER BIBEE in 1st (2.9) and LOGAN ALLEN in 9th (1.4)…among American League rookies, Bibee ranks 3rd in bWAR, behind NYY’s Anthony Volpe and BAL’s Gunnar Henderson.


2023 5-2 2.02 10 10 58.0 41 15 13 17 59
Career 5-2 2.02 10 10 58.0 41 15 13 17 59

2023 10-3 3.03 22 22 124.2 111 44 42 40 125
Career 10-3 3.03 22 22 124.2 111 44 42 40 125

The 24-year-old right-hander is scheduled to make his 23rd career start, 11th at home, in the second matchup of this 3-game set with the Minnesota Twins…marks his 3rd start against Minnesota this season, owning a 4.50 ERA (5ER/10.0IP)…is 1-2 with a 4.75 ERA (16ER/30.1IP) in 6 starts against the AL Central this season…in 12 career starts following a team loss, Bibee is 8-0 with a 2.21 ERA (17ER/69.1IP). Bibee ranks among MLB rookie starting pitchers (min 65.0IP) in win percentage (.769, 1st), wins (10, T1st), ERA (3.03, 3rd), innings pitched (124.2IP, 3rd) and HR/9 (0.94, 4th)…he and HOU’s J.P. France are the only rookies to win 7 straight decisions this season. He was originally selected by Cleveland in the 5th round (156th overall) of the 2021 MLB Draft out of Cal State Fullerton… entered the 2023 season as Cleveland’s #5 prospect according to…he is starting on 4 days’ rest; is 3-0 with a 3.74 ERA (14ER/33.2IP) in 6 starts on 4 days’ rest.

Bibee’s last start was on Wednesday in a 5-2 victory over the Twins…locked in a pitcher’s duel with Sonny Gray, Bibee did not factor into the decision after allowing 2 runs (earned) on 4 hits with 8 strikeouts and 3 walks in 5.0 innings of work…recorded all 3 outs in the 1st frame via strikeouts…faced the minimum from the 2nd through 4th frames…his only mark on the day came with 2 outs in the 5th inning, when Jorge Polanco drove in a pair of runs with a single…he recorded the final out of the inning to finish his day… has worked 5.0-or-more innings in his last 13 starts since June 18…owns an 8-1 record with a 2.48 ERA (21ER/76.1IP) during that stretch.

From June 18 to August 13, Bibee won 7 consecutive decisions, becoming the third rookie in franchise history to do so…the only other Cleveland rookie hurlers to win 7-or-more consecutive decisions are Gene Bearden (7) in 1948 and Wes Ferrell (10) in 1929… Bibee is one of 7 pitchers in MLB history to post a 3.04-orlower ERA, 125-or-more strikeouts and 10-or-more wins within their first 22 career games, joining Masahiro Tanaka (2014-15), Hideo Nomo (1995), Jack Sanford (1996-97). Herb Score (1955), Red Ames (1905) and Noodles Hahn (1901)…he is also the first pitcher in Cleveland history and 4th pitcher in MLB history to make 20-or-more starts of 5.0+ innings and 3-or-fewer runs within their first 21 career starts, last done by Gerrit Cole (20) in 2014 while a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. His 125 strikeouts in his first 22 career games rank 5th in club history, trailing SHANE BIEBER (129), Danny Salazar (134), Greg Swindell (136) and Herb Score (165)…owns the 3rd-lowest ERA (3.01, min. 15 GS) through a Cleveland pitcher’s first 22 outings, trailing Bearden (2.85) and Luis Tiant (2.82).

Since June 24, Bibee is 7-1 with a 2.27 ERA (18ER/71.1IP) in 12 starts, ranking 2nd in MLB in ERA behind SD’s Blake Snell (1.70)…is holding hitters to a .221 average (58-for-263) and .626 OPS during that stretch…has allowed 2-or-fewer runs in 10 of his last 12 starts…since June 24, he has recorded a quality start in 7 of his 12 outings and has a total of 10 on the season. » Over his last 12 outings, his slider is holding hitters to a .178 average (13-for-73) with 22 strikeouts and an average exit velocity of 82.4mph…his 4-seam fastball has had success as well, limiting hitters to a .220 average (26-for-118) with 29 strikeouts…overall this season, opposing batters are hitting .226 (38-for-168) in at-bats ending with a breaking ball and .243 (54-for-222) in at-bats ending with a fastball.

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