José Berríos faces off against the Twins today. For the sake of the standings, I think I'll root for him.
This was pretty much what I was going to write about the Twins first matchup against their former ace. I want José to be great and have success more than I want this version of the Twins to win their 66th game today.
Berríos has pitched into the 7th inning in each of his last four starts. He's struck out 30, walked 2, and allowed 7 runs in 27.1 innings. His Game Score has been 60+ in each of those starts. He's kind of on a roll.
Last game before the All-Star break, and the Twins have a chance to get to a tie for third place in the division with a win.
Twins haven't had a lot of luck getting wins in Berrios starts of late, losing the last three games despite Berrios allowing only 5 earned runs in 18.1 innings in those three games. Surely that will even out today and we'll get to see good pitching and good hitting combine for a Twins win.
I always like our chances best when Jose Berrios is on the mound. If there's an All-Star on this team this year, he gets my vote. In 14 starts Berrios has won seven and lost just two. He has a very respectable 3.56 ERA (almost perfectly in line with his 3.57 FIP) which translates into a 115 ERA+, and he has a nice low 1.092 WHIP. For every walk he gives up he strikes out about four batters, and he's fairly stingy with the long ball, giving up just 1.1 home runs every nine innings. He coaxes two ground balls for every fly ball he gives up, and batters are hitting just .227 against him. If there's room for improvement, I'd like to see him go deeper into games than just six innings per start, and when he's not missing bats his 38.2% hard hit rate could be lower, although it should come as no surprise that Twins pitchers as a group have the absolute worst hard hit rate in baseball this year at 43.8%. Add it all up and Berrios delivers a 1.2 WPA, which isn't elite class but it's not bad for a small market ace. He just consistently gives this team its best opportunities to win ballgames.
Looking over his stats today I stumbled across one in particular that I never gave much attention before - base/out runs saved, abbreviated as RE24 which I have yet to figure out why. So far this year Berrios has 9.2 base/out runs saved. League average is set at zero, so if I understand this stat correctly in 14 games Berrios has saved the team slightly more than 9 runs with his situational pitching, and that's enough of a margin to be the difference between winning and losing. By way of comparison, Kevin Gausman of the Giants leads MLB with a 29.9 RE24 (alongside a .889 winning percentage and a ridiculous 1.49 ERA). I thought it would be fun to check this stat in aggregate for our bullpen (fun in the scare-the-shit-out-of-me-so-we-can-all-laugh-about-it sense), but then I decided it would be too much like work and there are some ratholes you're just better off leaving unexplored.
Cleveland is well-positioned as a strong contender to win the division this year, nine games above .500 and just 2.5 games back of Chicago. They'll trot out rookie righthander J.C. Mejia for the start today. He sports a 1-2 record and a 6.11 ERA over four starts and seven appearances. In 17 and 2/3 innings he's given up 12 runs, all earned, on 17 hits and five walks (1.245 WHIP), and he's also notched 16 strikeouts, so he looks like a youngster with some potential. That'll have to do for now, I have to spend the rest of the day keeping the dog from eating the kitten. Play ball!
Yesterday's game was terrible, luckily, I didn't make it past the second run in the bottom of the first. I got home from work, had the game on in the car, and had a vague idea of where things were going.
I assume today's game will be better. Will it actually be worth watching/listening to? Who knows. At this point, each game gets taken at its own merits. Berrios could pitch a no hitter. That would be worth listening. He could earn the Matty P. Shoes Award For Outstanding Achievement in Giving Up Runs to Teams from Kansas City. If that's the case, this game log will barely have been worth making.
Due to personal time constraints, this is a reprint from last year which has not been updated.
Frank Snyder (1894)
Pinky Higgins (1909)
Terry Moore (1912) George O’Donnell (1929) Jerry Kindall (1935) Fred Bruckbauer (1938) Jim Holt (1944) Gary Nolan (1948)
Terry Collins (1949)
Mark Connor (1949)
Mark Clear (1956)
Ed Nunez (1963)
John Jaha (1966) Jeff Bagwell (1968) Frank Thomas (1968)
Todd Hundley (1969)
Brad Boxberger (1988)
Garrett Richards (1988) Jose Berrios (1994)
Terry Collins was the manager of Houston from 1994-96, of Anaheim from 1997-99, and of the Mets from 2011-2017.
Mark Connor pitched in the Twins’ minor league system from 1971-1972 before he suffered a career-ending arm injury. He has been a pitching coach for the Yankees, Arizona, Toronto, Texas, and Baltimore. He also was the head baseball coach at the University of Tennessee.
The White Sox own the Twins this year and brother do they have the receipts. After losing yesterday's matinee and the home series to the Pale Hose in what's become a typically scowl-inducing fashion, the Twins hopped a plane to the West Coast to make up two games with Anaheim from April that were postponed because of the COVID. They'll do that with a doubleheader today, after which the team will wing its way to Cleveland to open a weekend series on Friday. That's a lot of miles to log in just a couple of days.
In game one of today's twin bill, the Gemini will send southpaw Lewis Thorpe to the mound. He was added as the 27th man (I still have not internalized this rule) to the roster for the makeup games. His only other appearance this year opened the truncated series in Anaheim on April 16th that's being completed today, a spot start in which he gave up two runs on three hits over four inning. The Angels counter with right-hander Alex Cobb coming off the injured list for his first trip to the mound since Star Wars day. He threw five scoreless innings against the Rays in his last start before he was sidelined with a blistered finger.
Game two today figures to be the better pitching matchup of the pair, with the Twins featuring Jose Berrios and the Angels handing the ball to Griffin Canning (no, that is not some mythical beast putting up preserves). Both Berrios and Canning hold 3-2 records and pitched well in their last starts. Canning has an overall ERA of 4.78 after some rough outings in April, but he's notched a 1.59 ERA over his last three games. Berrios leads the Twins with 49 strikeouts and his ERA sits at 3.74 on the season.
It seems the statfreak mentality has taken hold among some in the media and the prophets of doom are already casting their gaze to the trade deadline and speculating on what the Twins could get for looming free agents like Nelson Cruz and J.A. Happ and Big Mike Pineda. They may be right, maybe this is a lost season and the front office should look beyond this year already, but then again a lot of people lost good money betting against the New York Giants when they were down by 13 games in August of 1951. Now I'll always have to wonder what they could have gotten in return for Bobby Thompson if only Chub Feeney had been a little more aggressive with his roster moves.