DET 5, MIN 3: We Have a Problem
Image courtesy of © Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY SportsBox Score
Perez: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 63.4% strikes (59 of 93 pitches)
Home Runs: Adrianza (2)
Multi-Hit Games: Buxton (3-for-3, 2B, BB), Gonzalez (2-for-4, BB), Adrianza (2-for-3, HR, BB), Cave (2-for-4, 2B)
WPA of +0.1: Buxton .189, Gonzalez .115
WPA of -0.1: Perez -.116, Astudillo -.160, Polanco -.215, Cron -.252
(chart via FanGraphs)
The Twins entered this afternoon’s game with an impressive .831 OPS, nearly 100 points above the league average. With two outs and runners in scoring position, however, they’ve been pretty putrid. In 158 plate appearances in those situations, the Twins had a .185/.304/.296 line (.600 OPS) coming into today, 140 points below league average. They’ve also been dreadful with the bases loaded. Here’s a look at some of the numbers:
I’ll stop short of saying the Twins are hitting too many home runs, but this is becoming a cause for concern. You’d expect things to start evening out, but we’re nearly a month and a half into the season now.
The Twins had a difficult time getting anything going against Detroit’s Daniel Norris this afternoon, but they threatened to score in the fifth inning. Ehire Adrianza and Jake Cave hit back-to-back two-out singles. Byron Buxton did a nice job of drawing a walk to load the bases, but Willians Astudillo popped out to squander the rally.
The Twins finally got on the board in the seventh when Adrianza hit a solo home run and Buxton drove in Cave on a single. Astudillo followed with a double, putting runners at second and third base. Jorge Polanco popped out, creating another two out, runners in scoring position opportunity.
Pinch hitter Mitch Garver nearly hit a three-run homer, but it sailed foul. He drew a walk to load the bases, then Marwin Gonzalez drew another free pass to drive in a run. That brought the Twins within two runs of Detroit. A base hit to the outfield would have tied it up, but C.J. Cron struck out.
In the bottom of the eighth, Adrianza walked and Buxton hit a two-out double to put runners at second and third. Astudillo popped out to end the inning.
The Twins left three men in scoring position Friday night, six Saturday afternoon, seven more Saturday evening and another six today. That makes a grand total of 22 runners they stranded in scoring position in this four-game series against the Tigers.
I’m not usually one to nitpick lineup construction, but the way Rocco Baldelli filled things out had me scratching my head. This was Astudillo’s first game since April 27, but he was the leadoff man. He ended up leaving six men on base today. I get that Buxton has looked very comfortable in the No. 9 spot, but having him behind Adrianza and Cave against a left-handed starter was odd to see.
It seems silly to gripe about anything in regard to this team’s offense, especially the way Baldelli has gone about his business, but I do feel like this is an element to keep an eye on going forward. The players have to execute, obviously, but that big gap between overall production and performance with two outs and runners in scoring position seems to be something that may be corrected by an adjustment to the batting order.
Back to this game, Martin Perez gave up a two-run home run to Nicholas Castellanos in the first inning and then a solo shot to Brandon Dixon in the second. He got rolling from there forward, but was removed in the sixth inning after the leadoff batter hit a single off his ankle. Perez was at 93 pitches and Trevor May was already warming in the bullpen, so it was probably an appropriate time to bring out the hook regardless.
May pitched a scoreless sixth inning before Trevor Hildenberger came in and sunk this game for the Twins. He gave up two runs on three hits and also hit a batter. He’s up to 10 earned runs over his last six innings pitched.
That put the Tigers up 5-0, and while the Twins had their chances at coming back, it would have been really nice to have those two runs back. Blake Parker held Detroit scoreless over the final two innings. Taylor Rogers hasn’t pitched since May 7.
Nelson Cruz exited this game with a left wrist injury. Perez was diagnosed with a left foot contusion.
Postgame With Baldelli
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Next Three Games
Mon vs. LAA, 6:40 pm (Berrios-Skaggs)
Tue vs. LAA, 6:40 pm (Gibson-Pena)
Wed vs. LAA, 12:10 pm (Odorizzi-Cahill)
MIN 8, DET 3: Now Witness the Firepower
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