Minnesota Twins: Grading the Return of Byron Buxton and Michael Pineda

The Minnesota Twins snapped a six-game losing streak behind the return of two key players. We grade how Buxton and Pineda did in their return to action.

The Minnesota Twins had lost six straight games and were looking out of sync (at best). The offense was sputtering, pitching needed help, and the Twins didn’t make any moves at the deadline, instead choosing to wait for talent to return from injury (or suspension).

I wrote about how this was a good move, as the team has seven important contributors on their way back. It took exactly one day for the Twins to prove me right, as the first wave of reinforcements was even better than advertised.

Byron Buxton and Michael Pineda returned with two very good outings in a very important 3-2 Twins win over the division-leading Chicago White Sox. Josh Donaldson will return (hopefully) tonight, but it’s time to grade the first two returning Twins’ major immediate impact.

 

Minnesota Twins

Michael Pineda of the Minnesota Twins delivers a pitch against the Chicago White Sox. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Michael Pineda

Game Stat Line: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 81 Pitches-57 Strikes

I don’t know that the Minnesota Twins could have asked for a better start from Michael Pineda than this one. Pineda went six innings and only threw 81 pitches, with 57 of them going for strikes. That’s just over 70% of his pitches. He attacked the zone, and got outs when needed.

He only had four strikeouts, which is solid for a first start back after nearly a full year away, but he only walked one batter and the two runs came in the first inning (questionable defense was involved). His one game FIP is 2.31, and the Twins look to have second-half 2019 Big Mike back in action. Grade: A-.

Minnesota Twins

Eddie Rosario of the Minnesota Twins looks on as teammate Byron Buxton robs a potential home run. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Byron Buxton

Game Stat Line: 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 Show-stopping Grab

The Minnesota Twins would not have one this game without Byron Buxton. Seriously. Buxton came up clutch in the biggest ways possible, including singling in the game winning run and making an incredible catch to keep it from being 3-2 White Sox. Check out this grab:

On top of that, he added another single for a really solid 2-4 night (he didn’t strikeout either). The game would have literally been a 3-2 loss if Buxton isn’t in center field, and for that, he gets a really good grade. Grade: A.

Hopefully when Josh Donaldson, Jake Odorizzi, and Mitch Garver return, the Minnesota Twins can have more successful returns and keep the team in contention for the American League Central Division title.