Heading into their toughest stretch of the schedule so far, the Twins were hoping to pick up a few games on their division rivals, but ended up dropping 4 of the 5 games in Detroit.
Chris Archer threw an effective five innings, giving up just three hits and one run while striking out three. The Twins clearly had no intention of Archer facing the lineup three times, as he was lifted after just 57 pitches. A well-rested Jhoan Duran pitched the next two innings spotlessly by doing what exactly what Jhoan Duran does: throwing 100 MPH strikes.
The trouble for the Twins came in the 8th inning. After surrendering a single to Eric Haase, Emilio Pagán gave up a game winning two-run blast to the 9th man in Detroit’s lineup, Daz Cameron. Prior to the home run, Cameron put up a slash line of .184/.279/.211 for the season and .192/.263/.303 for his career. Long story short: he is a bad hitter, so naturally he hit the game winning home run.
If there was ever a sign the Twins need some bullpen help, this would be it. After losing recent games in the middle innings, Rocco made the decision to use Duran and Pagán earlier in the game. In the end, Pagán blew the lead in the 8th and the Twins lost anyway. Duran has been the Twins’ only reliable relief option this year, and if they want to contend against the high powered offenses of the Yankees, Astros, and Blue Jays, they need to make a move for at least one high-leverage reliever.
The only thing I’ll write about this horrendous offensive performance is this: Nick Gordon is good. He’s not a star and never will be, but he’s a reliable utility man who fields well at every position and has a bit of pop in his bat. Having those types of role players will be essential throughout the long season.
- Chris Archer (5 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 3 SO)
- Jhoan Duran (2 IP, 3K)
- Nick Gordon, doing a little bit of everything (2-3, 2B, BB, R, RBI, SB, Outfield Assist)
- Emilio Pagán (1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, HR)
- The first six guys in the lineup: Arraez, Buxton, Kepler, Polanco, Larnach, Sánchez (1-21, 4 BB, 6 SO, 10 LOB)
Here’s some good news to wrap the recap: as of this writing, the Twins still have a 4.5 game lead over the second place Chicago White Sox. The White Sox also have the second worst run differential in the entire American League, so take that for what it’s worth.