The Twins offense was due. It had been over a week since the Twins put up double -digit runs, and with Pedro Payano on the mound for the Rangers, tonight's result was somewhat predictable. Michael Pineda provided five solid innings and despite a rough outing from Devin Smeltzer out of the bullpen the Twins came out on top 13-6.
Image courtesy of FanGraphs
Pineda: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 63.9% strikes (55 of 86 pitches)
Bullpen (Smeltzer): 4.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Home Runs: Arraez (3), Sano (22), Rosario (27)
Multi-Hit Games: Arraez (3-for-5), Cron (2-for-4), Gonzalez (2-for-4)
Top 3 WPA: Arraez (.170), Pineda (.115), Cave (.111)
Twins Offense Strikes Early and Often
The scouting report on right-handed pitcher Payano showed two things: 1) He has reverse splits with more success against left-handed batters, and 2) He struggles commanding the strike zone. That explains Sano batting second for the first time in his career as well as the five-run second inning where he was missing his spots badly after a quick first inning.
Luis Arraez started the party with a home run, which seemed about as likely as Kenny Wu joining the Bash Brothers, what with Payano’s success against lefties. All Mighty Duck references aside, Arraez got it started again in the third with a two-out double down the right field line followed by a Marwin Gonzalez single to drive him in. After two full-count walks in the fourth, Payano’s night was over after just 3 1/3 innings although that didn’t mean much to the Twins hitters. The offense would go on to score 13 runs on 14 hits including three home runs.
Pineda Looks Good in Return to Rotation
Michael Pineda’s didn’t miss a beat after suffering a triceps strain during his August 1 start against the Marlins. If you haven’t been tracking him closely Pineda has been the Twins best pitcher (in terms of fWAR) since June 1 and he looked all the part tonight. It wasn’t until the fourth inning with two outs that the Rangers were able to get their first hit and at that point they were down by 10, which definitely made things easier for Pineda. With a home run to start the inning by Willie Calhoun followed by back-to-back singles, the Rangers scored their second run of the game on Jorge Polanco’s fourth error in his last three games.
After a total of five hits, two earned runs, and 30 pitches Pineda would get through the fifth and give way to Devin Smeltzer out of the Twins bullpen. Throughout the night, Pineda was pinpointing his fastball and slider to the tune of six strikeouts and just one walk.
The Twins will look to stay hot tomorrow against Mike Minor who’s having the best year of his career. Meanwhile, Odorizzi will take the bump for the Twins and look to continue pitching well after he’s given up one run or less in his last three starts.