After a run of great offensive performances over the last week, the Twins were due for a clunker.
Jeffrey Springs dominated the Twins lineup in every way imaginable, and the Tampa Bay bullpen finished out the job after that. Springs threw 5.1 innings giving up just two hits and two walks while striking out five Twins batters. Other than Carlos Correa, the Twins never really seemed to find their groove against the crafty lefty as he consistently induced weak contact.
The Twins’ only real threat came in the bottom of the sixth. After striking out Byron Buxton and walking Correa, Springs was lifted in favor of former Twin Matt Wisler, who then walked Jorge Polanco. Wisler settled in after that, getting Gio Urshela and Luis Arraez to fly out to centerfield to end the threat.
On the other side of the ball, Cole Sands looked very good for the first three innings, allowing only allowing a single run on a freak Ji-Man Choi infield single that deflected off of his own leg.
With a semi-depleted bullpen, the Twins needed him to pitch deeper into the game, which is when he ran into to trouble. With runners on second and third with no outs, the Twins brought the infield in, and the plan worked perfectly. Taylor Walls hit a ground ball right to Jose Miranda at first who threw home, but the throw was slightly offline, resulting in Randy Arozarena being safe at home. A Vidal Brujan single would bring home one more run in the inning.
Sands would go on to allow two more runs in the fifth before being lifted for new Twin Tyler Thornburg. Thornburg would save the Twins’ bacon in his debut, throwing 2.1 hitless innings and making a case to stick around a while longer.
Tyler Duffey allowed a solo home run to Kevin Kiermaier in the eighth inning as his downward spiral continued. When it was all said and done, the Rays triumphed over the Twins 6-0.
- Carlos Correa: 2-3, BB
- Tyler Thornburg: 2.1 hitless innings in his Twins debut
- Byron Buxton: 0-4, 2 K
- Gio Urshela: 0-4, 5 LOB
- Tyler Duffey: gave up another HR
Let’s focus on some positives. The Twins beat the Rays in a three-game series for the second time this year. Facing their toughest stretch of the season, the Twins came out with a winning record, going 5-4 against the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Rays. Also, they did that in a stretch with two games started each by Chi Chi Gonzalez, Cole Sands, and Dylan Bundy.
More good news is coming on the pitching front. Joe Ryan, Sonny Gray, and Josh Winder are each expected to return this week. Gonzalez was already DFA’d off the roster and Sands will be optioned back to AAA soon. It will be interesting to see how much longer of a leash Bundy gets. Winder has been good this year, but has looked better in the bullpen than as a starter. Bundy will eventually be removed from the rotation. The only question is if it’s now or at the trade deadline.
The Twins are back in action tomorrow night in Seattle. It will be a battle of the Chris-es as Chris Archer takes on Chris Flexen.