After Shane Bieber gave up three home runs and six earned runs in his last start, it looked like the Minnesota Twins, owners of the most potent offense in the MLB, might have an easy time against Cleveland’s starter. However, Bieber figured out the Twins lineup and was able to throw seven innings while only allowing two runs, both coming on solo home runs.
Smeltzer: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 59.8% strikes (49 of 82 pitches)
Home Runs: Gonzalez (7), Rosario (18)
Multi-Hit Games: Gonzalez (2-for-4, 2B, HR)
WPA of +0.1: None
WPA of -0.1: Kepler -.102, Smeltzer -.183
(chart via FanGraphs)
The Twins had only one other true scoring threat, when they put Miguel Sano at third and Johnathon Schoop at second with two outs in the second inning. Minnesota didn’t move anybody past second base outside of their two solo shots. The Tribe’s bullpen would come in and shut the door, Oliver Perez struck out the side in the eighth, and Brad Hand shut the door for the save in the ninth. The Twins did not record a hit after Eddie Rosario’s home run in the sixth inning.
Margo and Rosie Continue Their Tears, Rest of Team Goes Silent
One of the bright spots in a bleak night in Cleveland is the continued surges of Marwin Gonzalez and Eddie Rosario. Gonzalez would add a home run and double to his season total, following his strong series in Tampa Bay where he had another game where he had a double and home run. Gonzalez has six home runs and seven doubles this year. Unfortunately, Gonzalez ended his night with a game ending double-play ball.
Eddie Rosario only had one hit, but it was his 18th home run this year. The Twins couldn’t muster anything else out of their offense, with another particularly bad performance turned in by right fielder Max Kepler. Kepler went 0-for-4 to extend his at-bat streak without a hit to 17. Outside of Gonzalez and Rosario, the Twins only had two other hits, the double by Jonathan Schoop, and a single by Jorge Polanco. Byron Buxton should have had an infield single in the eighth, but a bobble by Cleveland shortstop Fransisco Lindor made it an error.
Smetlzer Can’t Figure Out Lindor, Gets Chased by Back-to-Back Homers
Rookie Devin Smeltzer had his “welcome to the big leagues” game as a starter today when he gave up two home runs to Indians’ shortstop Fransisco Lindor. Lindor hit a solo shot in the third on an 0-2 count, a pitch that Smeltzer was trying to locate above the zone, but left it belt-high and middle-in.
The second home run that Lindor hit was another pitch middle-in, but this time was a changeup left just under the belt. Lindor finished the game with those two home runs, a walk, and three RBIs. Smeltzer was chased from the game in the seventh inning when he gave up home runs on back-to-back pitches to Cleveland’s Roberto Perez and Jake Bauers. Twins relievers were solid tonight, and not overtaxed as Ryne Harper collected two outs and Tyler Duffey pitched a spotless eighth.
The Twins certainly didn’t play up to their potential tonight, but they also got rocked 14-3 to start their last series in Tampa Bay. The bats going cold is concerning, but it’s happened before. Smeltzer didn’t look as untouchable as he did in his last start, but it’s only his second career start and he was only making it as Michael Pineda spends time on the injured list. It never feels good to lose to a division rival, but this series is not make-or-break for the Twins. Look for a good bounce-back tomorrow from Minnesota tomorrow. After all, they are 15-3 following losses.
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: