Plenty of culprits doomed the Twins on Tuesday as a 3-0 lead turned into a 4-3 defeat.
The offense tallied just six hits and failed to produce a run after the fifth inning. Starter Sonny Gray and two relievers lost control in the sixth, as two runs walked in to cut the lead to 3-2.
But the deciding blow came in the seventh, when reliever Jorge López — largely effective for the Twins this season — gave up a two-run homer.
It was another in a line of recent rough outings for the Twins bullpen, which sports a respectable 3.80 overall ERA (No. 12 in MLB) but has been tagged with 13 losses, the most in the American League. I talked about those struggles on Wednesday's Daily Delivery podcast.
The timing of López's poor performance was magnified by those other recent bullpen struggles and also by this: ESPN posted a story early Wednesday under this headline: "How Yennier Canó became baseball's best reliever right now."
Canó was awful for the Twins last season and was included as one of four pitchers in the deal to get López in the middle of last season as the Twins tried to bolster their bullpen.
López was mediocre in 2022 but good this year. Canó was terrible for Baltimore after the trade. This year, he's been a revelation just as Twins fans have become more accustomed to complaining about the Luis Arraez for Pablo López trade.
Entering Wednesday, Canó has pitched 25⅔ innings and allowed only 10 hits and one run. More amazingly, he hasn't walked a single batter while striking out 28 for the Orioles, who at 31-17 are one of baseball's best and most improbable stories.
Canó's success is just as improbable considering he gave up 23 runs in 18 innings last season, but the ESPN piece describes a pitcher who is leaning into a good sinking fastball while smoothing out his delivery to achieve better control — all the while gaining confidence.
This is far from a second-guess of the Twins, given that not even the Orioles could have seen this coming. Canó wasn't even on the MLB roster to start this season.
But it goes without saying that the Twins bullpen could use a dominant reliever who hasn't allowed a single walk or home run all season.
Here are four more things to know today:
*File away a recent report that Diamond Sports could very well walk away from its contract with the Padres at the end of this month. The Twins are tangled up in the same mess, and a bankruptcy hearing next week will tell us a lot about the near-term future of their broadcast rights.
*If anyone is looking for a 38-year-old running back, they should hit up Adrian Peterson.
*Aaron Rodgers tweaked his calf Tuesday with the Jets, but you wouldn't really know it from the upbeat coverage.
*One of the big stories of the NFL offseason is Brock Purdy's recovery, which sounds like it is going well. The number of updates on his condition also says a lot about the future of Trey Lance.