Saturday, June 22, 2024
Sports Gaming Monitor

MLB Preview: San Diego Padres (196-17) at Minnesota Twins (19-17)

SAN DIEGO PADRES NOTES:

Soto logs 4 hits & Wacha goes 6.0 strong in Padres’ 6-1 win over Twins
• Juan Soto had his 6th-career 4-hit game and his 1st as a Padre, going 4-for-4 with a double, walk, and a run scored… Manny Machado went 2-for-5, including a 9th inning 3-run home run to give the Padres the decisive 6-1 lead.

• Michael Wacha earned his 3rd win this year (now 3-1) after working 6.0 innings with 1 run on 3 hits…he allowed 3 walks with 4 punchouts.

Mayday Mayday

• A week into the month of May, the Padres pitching staff has the lowest ERA this month (1.66 ERA) and the lowest opponent average (.175).

You go, Lugo
• Starter Seth Lugo, made his staff-leading 4th quality start in his most recent outing on Wednesday, May 3 vs. the Reds, tossing 6.0 innings of 7-hit, 1-run ball in the Friars’ 7-1 win…his 3 winning decisions are tied with Michael Wacha for most on the club, and he’s allowed 2 ER-or-fewer in 4 of his 6 starts.

• Lugo leads all Padre starters in 1st pitch strike percentage, throwing a strike in pitch No. 1 on 62.2% of the time…ties with now-reliever Nick Martinez for the highest 1st pitch strike percentage on the team.

Problems with runners in scoring position
• San Diego batters rank 29th in baseball so far when hitting with runners in scoring position (.208), ahead of just the Tigers (.207).

• They’ve logged at least 1 hit with RISP in 5 straight games, but in that time, they’ve gone .186 (8-for-43). Pitches per batter faced

• San Diego pitchers have thrown an average of 4.07 pitches per batter faced, which are the most pitches thrown per batter of any team in the Majors…Padres pitchers have thrown 5,561 pitches in total entering today (ranked 5th most), while they have faced 1,368 batters (ranked 13th).

SD pitchers have held opposing right-handed batters to 4th-lowest clip in MLB
• Padres pitchers have held right-handed batters to a .229 clip, the 4th-lowest opponent average against any team by right-handed bats…the Twins also have held opposing right-handed hitters to a .225 average, the 3rd-lowest average in MLB…they trail just the Rays (.213) and Cubs (.207).

Pads have won 11 straight games in which they’ve scored at least 3 runs
• When SD has scored at least 3 runs this year, their 18-3 (.857) record is the 2nd best in all of baseball, behind just the Rays’ 28-2 (.933)…the Friars have won 11 straight games when scoring at least 3 runs.

STARTER – SETH LUGO 67
Lugo set for 2nd career start vs. Twins
One start after making his 2nd career start vs. the Reds, Lugo will make his 2nd career start vs. the Twins tonight in Game 2 of this 3-game set…his lone career start vs. the Twins came on Sept. 17, 2016 at Citi Field w/ the Mets, tossing 5.0 innings of 4-hit, 1-run ball…he last faced MIN during the ’19 season, when he made 2 relief outings and allowed 1 run across 3.0 IP

Lugo quality again vs. CIN
Made his staff-leading 4th quality start in his most recent outing on Wed, May 3 vs. CIN, tossing 6.0 innings of 7-hit, 1-run ball in SD’s 7-1 win…his 3 winning decisions are tied with Michael Wacha for most on the club, and he’s allowed 2 ER-or-fewer in 4 of his 6 starts.

Run support
After getting a combined 1 run of support across his previous 2 starts (April 21 @ ARI & April 27 @ CHC), Lugo received all 7 of the Padres runs in SD’s 7-1 win in his most recent start last Wed vs. CIN….entering today, his 6.42 run support average (runs scored while he’s in the game) is 12th-highest in the NL among all pitchers who have made at least 6 starts.

Pitch counts
2 of Lugo’s 7 100+ pitching outings have come in ’23, highlighted by his 109 pitches on April 9 @ ATL, the 2nd-most in his career and trailing only his 114 on Aug. 11, 2017 @ PHI w/ NYM… entering today’s action, his 98.3 pitches per game so far in ’23 are 6th-most in the Majors and 3rd in the NL, trailing only ATL’s Spencer Strider (99.4) and MIA’s Jesus Luzardo (98.8) .

Land vs. Air
So far in ’23, Lugo has posted a career-high 49.0% ground ball rate, ahead of his 45.2% career ground ball rate and trailing only the shortened 2020 season (51.5%) for highest single-season ground ball rate in his career…his 21.6% fly ball rate is the 2nd-lowest of his career, trailing only the shortened 2020 (19.8%) his career fly ball percentage is 24.9%.

Walk percentage
Lugo has walked 2-or-fewer in 5 of his 6 starts this season, including 2 starts (4/2 vs. COL & 4/27 @ CHC) with 0 free passes…he’s making his first starts since the 2020 season, and his 5.6 BB% is a career-best rate, ahead of his 5.7 BB% from 2017.

Starting vs. Relieving
Lugo spot in the starting rotation this season mark his first starts since the 2020 season, when he made 7 starts out of his 16 total appearances during the pandemic-shortened campaign…his start in his Padre debut on March 30 vs. COL snapped a streak of 108 consecutive relief appearances dating back to June 2, 2021…in his 43 career starts, has gone 18-12 with a 4.18 ERA and a .273 opponents’ AVG…in his 237 career relief outings, he is 17-14 with 16 SV in 30 SVO, 61 holds, 2.91 ERA, and a .212 opp. AVG.

Filthy with the curve
Per Statcast, last season he relied on his curveball 34% of the time with opponents hitting .159 (11-69) against the pitch and ranking in the 99th percentile in spin rate (3,253 rpm)… this season, he again is relying primarily on the curveball (35.7%), registering a 3,229 spin rate in the 100th percentile and opponents hitting .304 (14-46) against the pitch….he is averaging 62.2 inches of vertical drop on his curve – which is the 6th-highest vertical drop – and an average of 7.8 inches and 14% more drop – of all ML curveballs.

MINNESOTA TWINS NOTES:

GREAT STORY, COMPELLING AND RICH: After completing their six-game road-trip with a record of 2-4 (1-2 at Chicago-AL, and 1-2 at Cleveland), the Twins began their six-game Interleague homestand with a loss to the Padres last night…tonight, Minnesota will play the second of three against San Diego before completing the series tomorrow afternoon…after this series, they will host the Cubs for three games over the weekend…the Twins have gone 10-7 at Target Field and 9-10 on the road.

The Twins are looking to avoid losing a season-long four-straight games tonight.

GLASS CASE OF EMOTION: The Twins lost to the Padres last night at Target Field by a score of 6-1, allowing five runs in the final three innings…Louie Varland was the starter but did not factor into the decision, allowing one run on five hits in 6.0 innings pitched…Griffin Jax was issued the loss in relief, allowing two unearned runs in the seventh inning on no hits, two walks and one fielding error (Kirilloff)…the offense recorded six hits as Jose Miranda drove in the only Twins run with a fourth inning RBI double…Twins went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base…Minnesota is now just 1-for-21 with RISP in their last three games.

NO TOUCHING OF THE HAIR OR FACE: The Twins have returned infielder Kyle Farmer from his rehab assignment and reinstated him from the 10-day Injured List…Farmer, 32, has missed the Twins’ last 24 games with a facial laceration, which he sustained after being hit in the face by a pitch on April 12 vs. Chicago-AL…he appeared in four games on rehab assignment with Triple-A St. Paul, hitting .308 (4-for-13) with two doubles, one home run, three RBI, two walks and four runs scored…to make room for Farmer on the 26-man roster, the Twins have optioned infielder Jose Miranda to St. Paul…Miranda, 24, hit .220 (29-for-132) with four doubles, three home runs, 13 RBI, nine walks and 12 runs scored in 35 games for the Twins.

WHAT IF JUST FOR TONIGHT, WE WERE CO-PEOPLE: Pablo López, Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan are all tied for team lead with seven starts apiece…the three have combined to go 11-3, 2.55 ERA (127.0 IP, 36 ER) with 31 walks, 148 strikeouts and an opponent batting average of .207 (97-for-468)…below are their individual numbers and AL ranks among starters:

IP ERA K BAA OPS FIP WHIP WAR
GRAY 40.0 (T-22) 1.35 (1) 47 (T-11) .199 (10) .540 (5) 2.12 (2) 1.10 (16) 1.7 (3)
RYAN 44.0 (12) 2.45 (7) 47 (T-11) .191 (6) .515 (2) 2.86 (10) 0.84 (3) 1.4 (8)
LÓPEZ 43.0 (13) 3.77 (18) 54 (6) .231 (19) .665 (18) 3.01 (11) 1.09 (14) 1.3 (10)

IT JUMPED UP A NOTCH! IT DID, DIDN’T IT?!: Twins starters have combined to go 14-9, 3.14 ERA (203.2 IP, 71 ER) with 50 walks, 226 strikeouts and a .223 opponent batting average… below are Twins starting pitching ranks among all teams in all of baseball:

INNINGS ERA BAA BB FIP WHIP K’s OPS
MIN – 203.2 TB – 2.93 TB – .218 SF – 40 TB – 3.18 MIN – 1.08 MIN – 226 TB – .619
PIT – 202.2 MIN – 3.14 MIN – .223 SEA – 48 MIN – 3.21 SEA – 1.10 CWS – 218 SEA – .625
SEA – 201.1 CHC – 3.33 SEA – .231 MIN – 50 SEA – 3.33 TB – 1.13 NYY – 203 MIN – .628

SAN DIEG-ITES, SAN DIEGO-INS, SAN DIEAGANS: The Twins are 16-8 all-time against the Padres, posting a .667 winning percentage, their highest vs. any NL opponent…the Twins are 6-2 all-time against the Padres at Target Field, 7-3 at Petco Park, 2-1 at Qualcomm Stadium, and 1-2 at Metrodome.

The Twins have gone 2-5 in Interleague Play this season, going 1-2 at Miami from April 3-5, 1-2 vs. Washington from April 21-23 and 0-1 vs. San Diego.

FLY BALLS IN FLIGHT, AFTERNOON DELIGHT: The Twins have gone homerless in their last two games after homering in a franchise record 18-straight games from April 18-May 6…the streak started on April 18 and since that date, the Twins have hit 29 home runs, the sixth most in baseball, trailing Tampa Bay (38), Atlanta (35), Los Angeles-NL (31) and San Francisco (31) in that span.

SON OF A B(EE) STING!: Byron Buxton has reached safely in 17 of his last 18 games and in a season-long 12 straight (via hit, walk or HBP)…it is the fourth-longest on-base streak of his career (also 2020), his top three are: 19 (August 3-21, 2017), 18 (August 9, 2022-April 9, 2023) and 16 (September 15-October 3, 2021)…he has a .396 on-base percentage (10 hits, 10 walks), a .690 slugging percentage and a 1.087 OPS during the streak.

THE HUMAN TORCH (WAS DENIED A BANK LOAN): Jhoan Duran has thrown 91 of his 215 pitches at least 100 mph, second most in baseball trailing St. Louis’ Jordan Hicks (135)…he has thrown 24 pitches at least 102 mph (Hicks – 36)…since the start of last season, he has thrown 483 pitches of 1,238 total pitches 100-plus, the most in baseball, next being Hunter Greene with 413.

WHEN IN ROME AT HOME: : Twins have gone 10-7 at home this season for a .588 winning percentage, tied for seventh best in baseball…they have gone 4-1-0 in series play at Target Field this season, their one series defeat coming April 21-23, dropping two of three to Washington.

Twins hitters are slashing .243/.324/.418 and scoring 4.47 runs-per-game at Target Field, compared to .198/.278/.356 with 4.05 runs-per-game on the road.

HEY EVERYONE! COME SEE HOW GOOD I LOOK!: Since coming off the Injured List (left knee inflammation) on April 21, Jorge Polanco has hit safely in 13 of 16 games…in 10 games at Target Field he has hit .326 (14-for-43) with nine RBI and an .884 OPS, compared to .200 (5-for-25) with two RBI and a .459 OPS in six road games…in fact, in his last 39 home games, dating back to June 7, 2022, Polo is hitting .302 (42-for-139) with an .888 OPS.

BY THE BEARD OF ZEUS!: Joey Gallo snapped an 0-for-last-25 last night, going 1-for-4…despite the recent slide, Gallo still has posted a .326 on-base percentage, a .541 slugging percentage and an .866 OPS in 26 games…he leads the Twins in slugging percentage (min. 80 plate appearances) and OPS…also, he ranks 15th in the AL in slugging percentage, first in the AL in avg. exit velo (95.8 mph) and second in hard hit % (64.4).

HEY ROC-UALUNG!: Rocco Baldelli has a career managerial record of 307-275, including a record of 41-46 in Interleague Play, 1-3 vs. San Diego…since Rocco became the club’s manager in 2019, the Twins have gone 164-127 at Target Field, the fourth most home wins in the AL…prior to Rocco, from 2010-18, the Twins had gone 350-379 at Target Field, the second fewest home wins in the AL (Houston – 252).

JUST DOING MY WORKOUT, THURSDAY’S ARMS AND BACK: Twins number two prospect, Royce Lewis, is scheduled to begin his rehab assignment with Double-A Wichita tomorrow…he has been recovering from surgery he had performed on his right ACL on June 21, 2022.

WHY DO THEY CALL IT THE BIG APPLE? BECAUSE THERE’S AN APPLE TREE ON EVERY STREET: This Friday night, the Twins will host the Cubs on Apple TV+…it will mark the club’s second time on that platform this season, the previous being Friday, May 5 at Cleveland (2-0 win).

STARTING PITCHER – PABLO LóPEZ #49
2023: 2-2, 3.77 ERA CAREER: 30-33, 3.92 ERA

Making his eighth start and appearance of 2023 in his sixth major league season (Miami – 2018- 22)…also his 102nd career appearance (all starts).

Facing San Diego for the third time in his career…is 1-1, 4.26 ERA (12.2 IP, 6 ER) with five walks and seven strikeouts in two previous starts vs. Padres (both with Miami in 2022).

Acquired by the Twins from Miami on January 20, 2023, along with infielder Jose Salas and outfielder Byron Chourio, in exchange for infielder/outfielder Luis Arraez.

LAST TIME OUT: Did not factor into the decision in the Twins 7-3, 12-inning win at Guaranteed Rate Field on May 4 against the Chicago White Sox…went 7.0 innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits with one walk and eight strikeouts…allowed a two-run home run to designated hitter Eloy Jiménez in the bottom of the third inning…stranded two runners in scoring position in the sixth inning by inducing an inning-ending groundout from infielder Elvis Andrus…retired the side in order in the seventh inning and was relieved by Jorge López in the bottom of the eighth after the Twins tied the score 2-2 on a Byron Buxton solo home run in the top of the eighth…Minnesota scored five runs in
the 12th inning and five Twins relievers limited the White Sox to one unearned run over 5.0 innings pitched to close out the victory.

Marked his third start of 7.0-or-more innings and eight-or-more strikeouts this season, tied for first in baseball this year with Toronto’s Kevin Gausman and Houston’s Framber Valdez… López has recorded nine such starts in his career.

López has recorded six-or-more strikeouts in each of his last eight starts, since October 4, 2022, the longest streak of his career…his seven-start streak to start 2023 is tied with Atlanta’s Spencer Strider and Seattle’s Logan Gilbert for the longest streak in baseball.

TWO STARTS AGO: Earned the win in the Twins 8-6 victory over Kansas City on April 28 at Target Field…pitched 6.0 innings, allowing a season-high six runs on a season-high-tying eight hits with one walk and seven strikeouts…opposed right-hander Jordan Lyles, who took the loss…conceded a first-inning run for the fourth time this year when catcher Salvador Perez hit a sacrifice fly, scoring infielder Bobby Witt Jr….allowed a RBI single to infielder Nick Pratto in the fourth inning and a two-run homer to Perez in the sixth…first two batters of the seventh inning reached against López before he was relieved by Griffin Jax, who allowed both inherited runs to score…received eight runs of support, his highest total of the season and the most since May 7, 2022 with Miami at San Diego…Twins bullpen held Royals scoreless in the final two innings to secure the victory.

Allowed at least eight hits in back-to-back starts for the second time in his career, also doing so with Miami on July 31, 2022 vs. New York-NL (12 H) and August 6, 2022 at Chicago-NL (9 H).

Earned his first career win when allowing four-or-more earned runs…previous high allowed in a win was three earned runs, done five times in his career, most recently on September 27, 2022 at New York-NL.

Stopped his two-game losing streak and recorded his first career win at Target Field, giving him a win at 14 different ballparks in his career.

SHAKY STARTS, THEN SMOOTH SAILING: López allowed two hits in the first inning of his last start at Chicago-AL on May 4 but held the White Sox scoreless…marked the third time he has held opponents scoreless in the first inning this year (March 30 at Kansas City, April 16 at New York-AL)…six of López’s 18 runs allowed (33.3 percent) this season have come in the first inning…here are his numbers in the first inning compared to all other innings combined:

STATISTIC 1ST INNING #s 2ND-8TH INNING #s
ERA ………………………………………………………… 7.71 ………………………………………………………. 3.09
Opponent Batting Average…………………………. .400 ……………………………………………………….. .192
Opponent OPS …………………………………………. 1.041 ………………………………………………………. .577
Home Runs-Per-9.0 Innings……………………….. 1.29 ………………………………………………………. 0.75
Hits-Per-9.0 Innings…………………………………. 15.43 ……………………………………………………… 6.25

STATS VS. SAN DIEGO: Facing the Padres for the third time in his career and first time with Minnesota… pitched against San Diego twice in 2022 with Miami, going 1-1, 4.26 ERA (12.2 IP, 6 ER) with five walks and seven strikeouts in those two starts…last faced the Padres on August 17, 2022 at loanDepot Park, taking the loss in a 10-3 Marlins defeat…pitched 4.2 innings, allowing six earned runs on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts…the two strikeouts tied three other starts for his second-lowest strikeout total last season…in his only other start vs. San Diego, earned the win at Petco Park on May 7, 2022, pitching 8.0 shutout innings with five hits allowed, two walks and five strikeouts in a 8-0 Marlins victory…tied his start on June 8, 2021 vs. Colorado for the longest outing of his career.

FINDING HIS TARGET: Tonight is López’s fourth start of the year at Target Field…also his fourth career start at the venue…in his first three home starts this season, López went 1-1, 6.62 ERA (17.2 IP, 13 ER) with four walks and 23 strikeouts, with the Twins winning two of those three starts…Minnesota has gone 2-2 in his four road starts this year, with López going 1-1, 1.78 ERA (25.1 IP, 5 ER) with six walks and 31 strikeouts…over his career, López is 15-16, 3.64 ERA (301.2 IP, 122 ER) with 83 walks and 291 strikeouts in 53 home starts…in 48 road starts, he is 15-17, 4.26 ERA (251.1 IP, 119 ER) with 69 walks and 252 strikeouts.

LEFT/RIGHT: López has limited left-handed hitters to a .230 (14-for-61) batting average this season… right-handed hitters are batting at a .232 (23-for-99) clip…his 35 strikeouts against righties are sixth most in the American League…over his career, López has better numbers against right-handed hitters (.667 OPS) than left-handed hitters (.737 OPS)…his .221 (134-for-606) opponent batting average against right-handed hitters since 2021 is 18th best in baseball (min. 500 at-bats).

PITCH BREAKDOWN: Used a five-pitch mix in his first seven starts this season, according to Baseball Savant…has exclusively used his sweeper and sinker against right-handed hitters, favoring his changeup and curveball when facing left-handed hitters…recorded strikeouts with all five of his pitch types in his last start on May 4 at Chicago-AL (four-seam fastball – 2, sweeper – 2, changeup – 2, sinker – 1, curveball – 1)…here is a look at his 2023 arsenal:

PITCH (AVG. MPH) PCT. (# OF PITCHES, VS. RHB/LHB) RESULTS
4-Seam Fastball (95.0)……………..34.2% (222 pitches, 121/101)….. .234 (11-for-47), 3 2B, 2 HR, 17 K
Sweeper (83.6)………………………….21.5% (140 pitches, 140/0) … .226 (7-for-31), 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 11 K
Changeup (88.3)……………………….21.1% (137 pitches, 53/84) ……………. .103 (4-for-39), 1 2B, 17 K
Sinker (94.3) ………………………………13.8% (90 pitches, 90/0) ……………. .280 (7-for-25), 2 2B, 2 K
Curveball (81.3)…………………………..9.4% (61 pitches, 6/55) …….. .444 (8-for-18), 1 3B, 1 HR, 7 K

López has a 37.7 percent chase rate this year, which ranks 14th in baseball and places him in the 97th percentile among MLB pitchers, according to Baseball Savant.

In his first seven starts, López has an average fastball velocity of 94.8 mph, a 2.1 mph increase from last season and the largest year-to-year jump of his career.

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