Friday, August 16, 2019

Pineda, Smeltzer, Polanco

Michael Pineda came off the injured list and threw five innings Thursday. His first four innings were really good. His fifth was better than it looked. He was charged with three earned runs, but that's because the scoring rules say you can't assume the double play.

Jorge Polanco's throwing error, on that basis, cost the Twins bases but not an out. The reality is, if he makes an on-target throw, Pineda gets out of the fifth allowing just the lead off homer. Maybe he would have gotten the ball to at least start the sixth in that case, maybe not. He struggled to get his fourth out of the fifth and there wasn't any question that he was done after five.

That makes four errors in three games for Polanco -- two muffed catches, two errant throws. At least three of them have come on potential double plays. He really needs to clean it up.

Devin Smeltzer mopped up -- four innings, three earned runs and a save in a game in which he never had less than a six or seven run lead. The scoring rules say a pitcher who finishes a win with three or more innings holding a lead of any size gets a save. That sounds goofy, but Smeltzer at least saved the rest of the bullpen.

He becomes, incidentally, the eighth Twin credited with a save this season. I tried off the top of my head to list the eight during my midnight walk home after work and missed one. The eight: Taylor Rogers (18), Blake Parker (10), Sergio Romo (2), Ryne Harper (1), Mike Morin (1), Trevor May (1), Trevor Hildenberger (1), and Smeltzer (1).

Parker and Morin are both with the Phillies now, and Hildenberger and Smeltzer, with his immediate demotion after throwing 68 pitches, are in the minors.

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