Joe Ryan pitched six innings of scoreless baseball, earned his 13th win of the season and set a new single-season strikeout record for a Twins rookie with 151 strikeouts, eight of them in Friday’s 7-0 win over the Detroit Tigers.
It appears this was Ryan’s last start of the season so he finishes the 2022 campaign at 13-8 with a 3.55 ERA. As for the rookie strikeout total, he breaks a record that was previously held by Francisco Liriano, and before him, Bert Blyleven.
Blyleven struck out 135 batters as a 19-year-old in 1970. He would go on to strike out 200 or more batters a season for the next six seasons.
Dylan Bundy gets the ball Saturday.
-The only thing missing from Ryan’s pitching resume in 2022 is a no-hitter, although he almost had one on Sept. 13 versus the Kansas City Royals. Ryan pitched seven no-hit innings before Twins manager Rocco Baldelli made the controversial decision to pull him from the game.
-From the “what might have been” category: Starting catcher Ryan Jeffers, now back in the lineup after a long absence due to injury, had two hits on Friday, including a triple.
-Infielder Jermaine Palacios, who has been filling in for the injured Jorge Polanco, finally broke out of an 0-for-34 slump with three hits.
-There’s been a lot of hand-wringing about the state of attendance for Twins games at Target Field, which was 1.8 million fans this year, or 20th out of 30 major league teams. I can’t say I’m surprised. They lost 89 games in 2021 and were a disappointment in 2022.
-After seven seasons with the Twins, Blyleven, frustrated with cheapskate owner Calvin Griffith, finally orchestrated his own trade to the Texas Rangers in 1976. The Twins got four players in return, including Roy Smalley.
Blyleven made his final start for the Twins on May 31, 1976, before only 8,300 fans at The Met. His opponent, the California Angels, or perhaps it was the home fans he was battling because of an obscene gesture. It’s one of the many games included in a new book I’m reading, titled, “Metropolitan Stadium: Memorable Games at Minnesota’s Diamond on the Prairie.”
Blyleven battled Frank Tanana for nine innings, finally losing 3-2. As he left the mound, the fans, who had been riding him all game for his exit out of Minnesota, finally booed him one last time.
Bert responded with an obscene gesture, or what Minneapolis Star columnist Jim Klobuchar called an “arm signal that will never appear in the Boy Scouts’ manual.”