The Minnesota Twins Rebound and Win Their Final Series of the Road Trip in Milwaukee

Photo credit: Michael McLoone (USA TODAY Sports)

The Minnesota Twins are back in action and are not panicking about their recent four-game losing streak.

Rebounding from a sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals, Minnesota needed to get back on track in a continuation of the road trip, this time in Wisconsin against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Twins got the best of the Brewers in that three-game series, taking two of three games.

How did Minnesota get back on track for these few games? Take a look below.

Rotational Security

Minnesota has had its fair share of options for starting pitching this season. Whether those starters have been properly effective has been left for debate, depending on who it is. Thankfully for the Twins, the Milwaukee series lined up to showcase their two best starters in 2020.

Randy Dobnak threw another gem on Monday in the team’s 4-2 victory over the Brewers. He threw five innings, allowed four hits and one run on 79 pitches. With that victory, Dobnak’s record improved to 3-1, where he sits with an ERA of 0.90. That is currently the lowest ERA among qualified pitchers in all of Major League Baseball.

Joining Dobnak in the three-win club was the series finale starter, Kenta Maeda. Maeda had the longest appearance for a Twins pitcher all season with 6.2 innings on 85 pitches. He allowed five hits and gave up two runs while throwing five strikeouts. It certainly helped him that the Twins’ offense gave him 12 runs of support while he blanked the Brewers through his first five innings on the mound.

Much Ado About Byron Buxton

While the Twins’ centerfielder struck out three times in the opening game against Milwaukee, the last two games of the series he got six hits, including two home runs in the rubber match on Wednesday.

The continuing surge in his performance at the plate has brought his season-long batting average to .298 and his slugging percentage to .638. Over the last seven days, he’s hitting .393 and has an OPS of 1.321.

While both Mitch Garver and Miguel Sano both got on track to getting out of their slumps in Wednesday’s blowout, Buxton will need to continue to perform this way while others in the order are still finding their way this season. Also, now that Buxton is performing well in the field and at the plate, Twins’ fans are privileged to see the player that was touted for so many years healthy and figuring it out at the plate.

Bullpen Stalwarts

Thankfully for Minnesota’s bullpen, Maeda kept Milwaukee from driving in runs, and the offense set up a large lead in Wednesday’s game. It gave Twins manager Rocco Baldelli a chance to sit his best relievers another day, and give Caleb Thielbar and Lewis Thorpe chances to pitch some clean innings and bring down their ERAs that blew up in recent outings.

Thorpe specifically pitched the final two innings and allowed two hits, no runs while tossing two strikeouts.

Tuesday’s 6-4 loss was a bullpen game, with Tyler Clippard used as the opener once again for the second time this season. Of the six pitchers that threw that day, four allowed at least one run, with those same pitchers each giving up a home run as well. Cody Stashak got an opportunity to redeem his shaky outing last week with a clean inning, and Tyler Duffey was able to continue throwing clean innings, preserving his 0.00 ERA.

Taylor Rogers came into a tie game in the ninth and gave up a two-run, walk-off shot to seal the loss for the Twins.

The day before, though, Rogers was part of an efficient bullpen machine following Dobnak’s one-run outing on the mound. After Dobnak, the list went Trevor May, Duffey, Sergio Romo and Rogers each with an inning of work. Only Romo gave up a run: a home run in the eighth inning.

If Minnesota had a one-game playoff right now to continue the season, that pitching list is most likely the best the Twins have to offer. Those three late-inning relievers have been mostly brilliant for the Twins, and Rogers, despite a couple bad outings lately, remains one of the best closers in the game.

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