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Series beginning
06/13/2022

Minnesota Twins

After a disappointing 2021, the Twins have returned as a top club in the American League. Leading the AL Central division, Minnesota is eight games over .500 as this series begins on the strength of first baseman Luis Arraez, shortstop Carlos Correa, and the home-run pop of center fielder Byron Buxton. Arraez  leads the league in batting average at .359 and has been batting .400 over the last month. Correa missed a short amount of time with injury, but has been back since June 8th, adding 24 points to his batting average over those four games. Buxton continues to have trouble staying healthy, missing time yet again this year (this time only a week or so, with a knee problem), but when he's 100%, he's as good a player as you're ever going to see. He clearly has not been at 100% for the whole season—he slumped badly in May (.169/.250/.360, 24 Ks in 100 trips to the plate)—but of late he's shown Twins fans what 100% looks like, with half a dozen homers along with a .344 average since the calendar turned to June. These are excellent defensive players as well, giving Minnesota a solid core supported by interesting pieces like Max Kepler, Gio Urshela, and Jorge Polanco.

The Twins' pitching staff is in trouble right now, with four starters among the eleven pitchers currently on their injured list. Right-hander Joe Ryan, who was having an excellent campaign (5-2, 2.28 ERA, 0.992 WHIP) before testing positing for COVID-19, will likely come off the IL to start one of the three games in this series, but Sonny Gray and Bailey Ober remain sidelined with pectoral and groin injuries, respectively, and Kenta Maeda is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Still, the relief corps is decent and the Twins have weathered the storm of injuries pretty well to this point.

2022 record: 35-27, 1st place in AL Central

Last series: Won two of three vs. Tampa Bay

Most interesting player: Buxton, who is the quintessential 5-tool player. If he could only stay healthy. To date he has averaged just 67 games per season (71 if you don't count 2020) because of a plethora of injuries.

Pitching matchups: Monday's is the only one set, with Chris Archer going for the Twins against Seattle's Chris Flexen. Archer is having his best year since his All-Star campaign of 2015, when he finished 5th in Cy Young voting as a member of the Rays; his issue this season has been endurance, he's only lasted five innings twice (his last two starts, both one-run efforts against the Tigers and Yankees). Flex Mentallo is coming off of three strong outings totaling 1823 innings and six earned runs (2.89 ERA). Logan Gilbert will pitch for the Mariners Tuesday night, while Marco Gonzales is slated for the Wednesday afternoon matinee. One of them will draw rookie Joe Ryan, who last pitched May 21st, a one-run, 523 inning effort against the Royals. Ryan has four quality starts on the year in eight games. Whether the Twins will opt for a bullpen day or call someone up from the minors to start the other game remains to be determined.

Splits

Last ten 5-5
Away 15-13
vs. LHP 12-8
vs. RHP 23-19
One-run games 10-6
vs. AL West 7-6
vs. Mariners 2-2

Who’s Hot & Not

Last ten games

Luis Arraez
.350/.395/.500, 2 HR, 7 RBI

Jorge Polanco
.333/.429/.556, 2 HR, 7 RBI

Carlos Correa
.395/.458/.674, 3 HR, 5 RBI

Ryan Jeffers
.097/.177/.194, 12 Ks

Gary Sánchez
.139/.184/.333, 11 Ks

Trevor Larnach
.143/.211/.343, 15 Ks

Last 3 series vs. Seattle

4/11/22 MIN 4, SEA 0
4/10/22 MIN 10, SEA 4
4/9/22 SEA 4, MIN 3
4/8/22 SEA 2, MIN 1
6/16/21 MIN 7, SEA 2
6/15/21 SEA 10, MIN 0
6/14/21 SEA 4, MIN 3
4/11/21 SEA 8, MIN 6
4/10/21 SEA 4, MIN 3
4/8/21 MIN 10, SEA 2

Manager

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Rocco Baldelli: The onetime Tampa Bay Devil Rays standout had an abbreviated playing career thanks to a series of injuries and illness that was eventually sourced to mitochondrial channelopathy exacerbated by a childhood bout with Lyme disease; a treatment of medications and dietary proscriptions helped some, but he still had to retire as a player at age 29. Since then he's worked for the Rays as a special assistant, roving instructor, first-base coach, and finally as Major League Field Coordinator. The Twins hired him after letting former manager Paul Molitor go following the 2018 season. Like Alex Cora with the Red Sox and Aaron Boone with the Yankees, Baldelli assumed the reins of a big-league club without any previous managerial experience and promptly won AL Manager of the Year. "Rocco understands the bigger picture as well as anyone I've seen in the game," said Derek Falvey, the Twins president of baseball operations. "He recognizes the importance of rest over the long term. Getting a guy a day off here, while it may slightly reduce your chances of winning today, could impact days 2, 3, and 4. … And it's pretty impressive to see him think through it."

Familiar Face

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Emilio Pagan: A late addition to the Twins, Pagan joined the club in a trade with the Padres the day before the season opener. Drafted by the M's in 2013, the right-hander made it to the big club in ’17 and put up decent numbers (3.22 ERA, 56 Ks, sub-1.000 WHIP), but was the reluctant price paid to get Ryon Healy from the A's before the ’18 season. He spent one year in Oakland and got traded again, this time to Tampa Bay where he had a brilliant season that should have cemented his value to a club. Instead he got traded to San Diego and finally had stability—two years on one team! Except one was the mini-season of 2020, so maybe that doesn't count. Now he's a Twin, and hoping to recapture the stuff that made him a go-to reliever with the M's and Rays after his career-worst year in 2021. So far so good, as Pagan has become one of Minnesota's closing options along with fellow righty Jhoan Duran.

Franchise History

Minnesota Twins(1961 - present)
 
World Champions:1924, 1987, 1991
League Champions:1925, 1933, 1965
Division Titles:1969, 1970

— Notes —

Nick Gordon is the half-brother of former Mariner Dee Strange-Gordon, also a son of former All-Star pitcher Tom "Flash" Gordon.

Ian Hamilton: In 2019, this Twins farmhand paired up with teammate Ryan Burr to recreate the infamous 1804 duel between their namesakes, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, in full period costume.