See more of the story

Pablo López, amid what he calls the roughest stretch of his career, doesn't want to make excuses or downplay his season-long inconsistency.

He doesn't seek out "expected" stats — statistics designed to remove luck, specific ballpark factors and things out of a pitcher's control — but teammates will mention them to him occasionally.

"I appreciate it because I'm sure they are telling me not to go insane," López said.

After giving up five runs in four innings during Tuesday night's 7-6 win over Tampa Bay, López's "expected" ERA is 3.56, well below his actual 5.63 ERA. His "expected" Fielding Independent Pitching is 3.47, which ranks 13th in the American League, while his actual FIP is 4.37.

A couple of reasons for the discrepancies include the fact he still strikes out more than a batter per inning, and he has done well at limiting walks. His home run-to-fly ball ratio is the fifth-highest mark (16.7%) in the majors among starters who have thrown at least 50 innings.

In theory, he's pitching better than what his ERA indicates, according to some of these advanced stats teams frequently use in the offseason.

"Runs are still scoring," said Pete Maki, the Twins' pitching coach. "The ball is leaving the park too much. Our job right now is looking at what pitch types, what locations, what counts are we seeing the damage. We've got a pretty good handle on what locations, pitch types via hitter-handedness are not serving him well in terms of the long ball. We feel like we have a pretty good plan to limit the damage moving forward, but it's something he needs to do a better job at."

Sign up for our Twins Update newsletter

Home runs have never been this much of an issue for López in his career. He yielded 24 homers in 194 innings last year and 21 homers in 180 innings in 2022. He has already permitted a majors-worst 16 homers in 80 innings this season.

"I don't think there's a magic answer out there," López said. "It's just a matter of trying to not let anything disrupt my routine and not get to the point where I'm going to overreact and throw everything away. The temptation's there because you feel the need to change something so drastic, but at the same time you just try to limit outings like this."

López admits he's frustrated, and this season has been a hit to his confidence. For every step forward, he says, he has taken two or three steps back. He allowed a three-run homer to Randy Arozarena in the first inning Tuesday on a down-the-middle changeup, the first homer on his changeup this year.

"Most of [the homers] are not head-scratching why they are hit well," Maki said. "We're looking at certain pitch types and the counts to see if there are any trends here or is there anything standing out. We have a decent idea of how to attack it moving forward."

Etc.

• Officers from the Minneapolis Police Department lined up with the Twins and Rays along the base lines for the national anthem Wednesday in honor of Jamal Mitchell, a 36-year-old police officer who was killed in the line of duty May 30. The Twins played a video tribute to Mitchell before the anthem.

Brooks Lee hit three doubles and Jair Camargo bashed a three-run home run as the St. Paul Saints won their eighth consecutive game with an 8-7 victory over the Toledo Mud Hens on Wednesday at CHS Field. It matches their franchise-longest winning streak set in 2022. Lee has totaled 16 hits in 47 at-bats with 10 RBI and nine runs since returning from a back injury.

• Twins manager Rocco Baldelli on Willie Mays, the Hall of Famer and 24-time All-Star who died Tuesday: "There are very few players who are one of a kind. There are very few players that bring certain moments and memories of the game into people's minds and that touched people the way he did. We'll all be thinking of him today and going forward. It's a sad day for baseball, but he brought a lot of joy to a lot of people, too. It's important to remember that."