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Romero not in camp?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:33 AM
As a post note on the Hardy article, Do-Hyoung Park mentions that Fernando Romero is not in camp.   "He is stuck in the Dominic...
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Minor Leaguers to get a Raise

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 11:25 PM
https://apnews.com/1...a2641244e0c00fd     Players at rookie and short-season levels will see their minimum weekly pay raised...
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Astros, Bauer, Pohlad's, Twins, Future of MLB

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:01 PM
BIG title right? But I think MLB is sitting at a unique precipice right now, and we, as baseball fans, should be concerned about everythi...
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Astros Being Investigated for Using Tech to Steal Pitchin...

Other Baseball Yesterday, 07:54 PM
I can no longer say I want the Twins to emulate the Astros. Bush league maneuver to use cameras in order to steal signs.
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Target Field Ranked #7 in MLB in Craft Beer Offerings

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 06:53 PM
Great article in the Athletic:   https://theathletic....beer-offerings/   Even at #7, we're only 4th in our division.Tigers are...
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HOU 5, MIN 2: Rough Opener, Strong Stewart Homecoming

When facing an opposing pitcher such as Justin Verlander, falling behind early is not an ideal strategy. For the second time this week (and ever), the Twins employed the “Opener” concept in Tuesday night’s game. This time, it was Trevor May who started and was replaced in the second inning by the “primary” pitcher, Kohl Stewart, who went to high school at St. Pius X high school, a ten mile commute from Minute Maid Park.
Image courtesy of Troy Taormina, USA Today
Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs)
May: 18 Game Score, 1.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 K, 0 BB, 69.2% strikes (18 of 26 pitches)
Home Runs: Polanco (4)
Multi-Hit Games: Grossman (2-for-3)
WPA of 0.1 or higher: Grossman (.154), Stewart (.101)
WPA of -0.1 or lower: May -0.302

Posted Image

The Sample Size is just two, so making any grand statements about the Opener concept at this point would be silly. The “Openers” have been non-good, but the young pitchers who have come after them have been pretty solid.



Gabriel Moya gave up two, first-inning runs on Sunday. In this game, Trevor May gave up four runs in the first inning. Littell performed pretty well on Sunday, and Stewart was terrific for five innings and twice through the Astros lineup. He gave up just three hits and one walk and didn’t allow a run. He struck out three batters.

So, did they do better because of the “opener” or did they do better because when they came on in the second inning, the team was already behind and there was, at least theoretically, less pressure. Did Stewart pitch better because he now has three prior starts to learn from? Did Stewart pitch well because he was pitching at home, in front of many friends and family members? How much did pitching to Chris Gimenez help him?

Doesn’t really matter why he pitched better, if you ask me (and you probably won’t). The coaches and Stewart will sift through the data tonight and tomorrow. What matters is that he pitched really well. In those five innings, he was more economical than he has been, throwing just 73 pitches (44 strikes, 60%, still not ideal). But as much as young pitchers can learn from their rough outings, it can be equally important for them to experience some success.


YouTube video by Mike Berardino, Pioneer Press

If nothing else, there is no reason to give up on the Opener concept yet.

Aside from Stewart, the only other real positive was Robbie Grossman had a couple of hits including an RBI double. In 13 games since returning from the disabled list, Grossman has hit .342 (13-for-38). In seven games on this current road trip, he has hit .429 (9-for-21). As much as it may make sense for the Twins to move on from Grossman with newer options, he continues to be a reliable guy in taking quality at- bats. He works the counts well, and he is capable of these types of streaks. While he isn’t a great outfielder, he does make nearly all of the plays that he gets to. He is making $2 million in 2018. My guess for what he might make in 2019 would be in the $3-4 million range. For a part-time DH, part-time OF, pinch-hitting option on a team with a lot of young, inexperienced hitters in need of playing time, it might not be out of the realm of possibility to bring him back again. (Though I would still think it’s not terribly likely.)

Jorge Polanco added his fourth homer of the season in the ninth, though it was too little, too late.

On a roster that includes the reigning AL MVP (Jose Altuve), the reigning World Series MVP (George Springer) and a likely future MVP in Carlos Correa, the Astros best player this year has been third baseman Alex Bregman. In this game, he took over the MLB doubles lead from Eduardo Escobar. With three in this game, Bregman now has 46 two-baggers on the season.

Maybe the best news to come out of Houston for the Twins on Tuesday night is that Miguel Sano appears to “only” have a leg bruise. So I don’t have to type out the play-by-play, here is a view of when Sano got injured and Twins fans all over gasped, wondering aloud why we can’t have nice things (again).



Sano left the game on a cart. Fortunately, x-rays were negative, which is positive for Sano and Twins fans. Instead of likely being done for the year, he could be back in the lineup in the not-too-distant future, though they will certainly be cautious.

This is likely the first time that Sano has felt any sort of pain through his left leg, the titanium rod-filled one. Molitor noted after the game that he felt pain up and down his leg, down even to his ankle. He probably got a bit scared, I know I would, and wisely stayed off of it as a precaution. Looking at the video, his leg and knee just stopped at the bag, so if it’s truly just a bruise, it is very lucky.



While Tom has stopped doing the daily reliever pitch count chart, I figured that I would at least update you on the Twins who pitched on Tuesday. In the “Opener” role, Trevor May threw 26 pitches. Oliver Drake came in for the seventh inning and needed 19 pitches. Tyler Duffey had a very nice, tidy, nine-pitch eighth inning.

By the way, Ryan Pressly was really good for the Astros. He was throwing hard, spinning it well, and putting up numbers. But he struck out the side against the Twins in the eighth inning. He struck out the pinch-hitting Mitch Garver, Joe Mauer and Logan Forsythe. While the radar gun looked the same, Pressly appeared so much more confident on the mound. He looked smoother, more in control. In his time with the Astros, he has 22 strikeouts without issuing a walk.


Next Three Games
Wed at HOU, 7:10 pm CT: Jake Odorizzi vs. Framber Valdez
Thu: Off
Fri vs. KC, 7:10 pm CT: TBD (meaning, Opener to go with “primary” Stephen Gonsalves)
Sat vs KC, 6:10 pm CT: Jose Berrios vs Somebody


Last Three Games
TEX 18, MIN 4: Speechless
TEX 7, MIN 4: Is Jose OK?
MIN 10, TEX 7: Tex-plosion!
HOU 4, MIN 1: Astros Take Advantage of Pivotal Polanco Error

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56 Comments

More interesting was the way that Houston used Pressly. He used the fastball to set up the slider and curve. He threw strikes, throwing 12 pitches and 9 of them strikes. HE NEVER THREW A CHANGE. Too bad the Twins: Manager, Pitching Coach, Bullpen Coach and assorted catchers could NEVER figure out how to properly use him. Check his stats since going over to Houston.
    • glunn, Jerr, h2oface and 4 others like this
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clutterheart
Sep 05 2018 04:56 AM
?
Pressly was pretty good with the Twins this year. I think Houston is just using him less. Molly rode him hard in June.
    • Seth Stohs, gunnarthor, SwainZag and 8 others like this

That was one horrible slide by Sano.

 

Just because our guys choked in the first inning doesn't mean the game play of an opener is a bad evolution. Other than the ninth, or perhaps in a tie game in extras, an inning is an inning is an inning. Especially if they enter the game at the beginning of the inning. May just blew it. 

 

Trading Pressly was ill-advised. Prospects. A dime a dozen. Stories littered with hopes and dreams, when you already have what you want.

    • Minny505 and bighat like this
Why limit it to an inning? Go ahead and go through the order once, then go on to the next pitcher,
    • Tomj14 likes this
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Nine of twelve
Sep 05 2018 06:21 AM

I didn't watch any of either opener games, but here's what I like about it in the Twins' current situation. As is true with most teams at this time of year, we are in fall training. Out of fairness to the game, teams need to try to win when facing an opponent that is in the running for the postseason. But the rest of the games should be devoted to player development. When it comes to pitchers, it's a lot like spring training. The decision about who pitches should be made in large part based on whom the manager, coaches, and front office want to evaluate and prepare for the future. That means shorter appearances by some pitchers so that others get a chance to get in to games.

    • LA VIkes Fan, mikelink45, Minny505 and 1 other like this
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Bill Brown69
Sep 05 2018 06:24 AM

I agree with both of the above posts. 

 

I can't believe how many of MLB players can't run the bases or slide properly!

 

If you are going to use the opener concept it should be for 2 innings. I get the part about giving the "primary" a clean inning but the opener has to give you 2 for me to think it works.

    • LA VIkes Fan likes this

As a person who thinks the Opener stinks, I want to thank the Twins for demonstrating why I do not like it.The Opener has the same issue that the Starter would - facing the best bats first.It is not like our Opener options are lights out, nor that BP pitchers are used to the starter routine.For my enjoyment I think we should start with Belisle and call it our fireworks opener - might draw a crowd.

 

I agree with the notes on Grossman too.He has truly been the most steady bat for us the past week.That says a lot about Grossman, but it also says a lot about the rest of the lineup.

    • Jerr, LA VIkes Fan, Doomtints and 6 others like this
There's plenty of reason to give up on the opener this season. The Twins don't have good enough pitchers to make it work.

While the Twins are putzing around with this gimmick, good teams like the Astros rely on work horse SPs to get the job done.
    • Jerr, gunnarthor, mikelink45 and 7 others like this

Hey if baseball wants to continue to drive fans away, by all mean continue using the opener strategy.

I can understand in the Twins and other terrible teams case of wanting to see what they have in young pitchers, butI am not sure this does that.

 

I agree with Bill above, why limit it to one inning.

    • gunnarthor, bluechipper, mikelink45 and 1 other like this

IMO almost nobody goes to a game to see a particular starting pitcher, unless it's someone who has just won a Cy Young or is on a crazy streak or something. Given the way that pitching is evolving to be such an irregular cluster, the opener seems worth a try. Probably takes some getting used to for somoene like May

    • Minny505 likes this
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lukeduke1980
Sep 05 2018 07:41 AM

I'm annoyed by the Opener concept because it's emulating a team that's trying to be different because of obvious fiscal constraints in Tampa, especially relative to their divisional competition.It's like we're saying 'ooh we want to be really cheap too because that's how we baseball'.

 

Make it relevant to your talent if you're going to do it - use Odorizzi and Stewart for 3 inning starts, and have a unique strategy to follow him - build up May and Magill as 3 inning middle men or something

    • gunnarthor, mikelink45, Tomj14 and 1 other like this

Ignoring the opener bull****, Stewart really looked goodyesterday. He had some periods where he was just dealing. There certainly is talent there. I'm not sure the Twins will be able to get all of it out of him but he's had flashes. 

 

For those old enough to remember Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey, Stewart seems like he has better stuff but doesn't yet know how to pitch like they did when they were on. 

    • SQUIRREL, Seth Stohs, mikelink45 and 2 others like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Sep 05 2018 07:47 AM

when the Twins do the opener idea, can we use the game score from the real starter, not the reliever starting the 1st?

IMO almost nobody goes to a game to see a particular starting pitcher, unless it's someone who has just won a Cy Young or is on a crazy streak or something. Given the way that pitching is evolving to be such an irregular cluster, the opener seems worth a try. Probably takes some getting used to for somoene like May


I disagree. In my experience I watch games specifically for the starting pitcher. Jose Berrios is appointment TV for me. When I lived in Minnesota I'd look to see who was pitching that day and buy cheap tickets if Chris Sale was on the mound.
    • ashbury, gunnarthor, pbrezeasap and 3 others like this

Small ball, Power ball, Closer, Opener, Pitch to miss bats, Pitch to contact. Take nearly any approach you want and if you do it well you will likely succeed.In this case, May did not do his part and it failed. If he throws a good 1st inning maybe we win 2-1. Its like being green side in golf. You can putt it, you can chip it, you can pitch it, you can flop it but if you choose any of those options and chunk it or shank it you fail. Now I know odds are involved in all of it but the execution is still the key. 

    • ashbury, Blackjack, h2oface and 4 others like this

 

IMO almost nobody goes to a game to see a particular starting pitcher, unless it's someone who has just won a Cy Young or is on a crazy streak or something. Given the way that pitching is evolving to be such an irregular cluster, the opener seems worth a try. Probably takes some getting used to for somoene like May

I disagree, I was at that Tampa game that lasted 5+ hours in heat with my Son (10).

Everybody around us was annoyed with the pitching changes, not knowing who was even pitching.

I won't go to another game that is has that strategy.

    • mikelink45 and Doomtints like this
I’m fine with letting this experiment run its course to the end of this season, but I just think it’s not ... right ... to all of a sudden make your relievers starters. While I know that all relievers were basically failed starters, they are relievers now. They are accustomed, both physically and mentally, to relieve, not start. Yes, let’s just drop the ‘opener’ name; you are asking these relief pitchers to start. It doesn’t matter if it’s only an inning or two. And doesn’t the ‘need’ for this strategy send a message to your actual starters, that they aren’t good enough to get through Innings like they should? Or, if you need an ‘opener’, shouldn’t that be an indication to you that maybe you need better starting pitching? Or is this baseball evolving to have entire games pitched by relievers? Or maybe this is the strategy trying to compete when you don’t have a Kershaw or a Verlander? Or maybe I just don’t fully grasp the concept? (Which, to be honest, is probably the most likely.) So many questions which is why I am uncomfortably okay with riding out this experiment.
    • mikelink45, Vanimal46 and Tomj14 like this

 

I disagree. In my experience I watch games specifically for the starting pitcher. Jose Berrios is appointment TV for me. When I lived in Minnesota I'd look to see who was pitching that day and buy cheap tickets if Chris Sale was on the mound.

 

Definitely, I'm headed to Minnesota on Saturday for the Vikings game and the first couple Twins-Yankees games and was planning on going to the Gophers football game on Saturday night, but now that Berrios is pitching I'll be going to the Twins game instead.

    • mikelink45 likes this

 

I disagree. In my experience I watch games specifically for the starting pitcher. Jose Berrios is appointment TV for me. When I lived in Minnesota I'd look to see who was pitching that day and buy cheap tickets if Chris Sale was on the mound.

Concur. I'm certainly more interested if there's a good pitching matchup. Even better if I have tickets for said matchup or even if a guy is on the bump for a team we don't see often from an NL team. I rarely go to games to see individual players, but a good starting pitcher is a bit different in my mind.

    • mikelink45, Doomtints and Vanimal46 like this

Ignoring the opener bull****, Stewart really looked goodyesterday. He had some periods where he was just dealing. There certainly is talent there. I'm not sure the Twins will be able to get all of it out of him but he's had flashes. 
 
For those old enough to remember Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey, Stewart seems like he has better stuff but doesn't yet know how to pitch like they did when they were on.


Yes. Even though I can’t say for sure where he’ll end up in the org, I’ve liked the progress I’ve seen so far. It’s very good to see, and against a true, MLB lineup.
    • bighat and MN_ExPat like this

Even if you are going to a game to see a certain pitcher, why does it matter if that pitcher pitches innings 2-7 instead of 1-6?You still are seeing them the same amount.The opener strategy shouldn't have any effect on whether you watch a game based on the pitcher.

 

Also, while ideally your opener would do well, I don't think that's the focus of this experiment.The result I'm sure they are most interested in is the effect it has on the primary pitcher, especially in their last one or two innings.Does it improve their numbers in those innings?If so, then the strategy might have some merit, and you just need to find the right guys to be the openers.

 

As the article said, two games with bad results from the openers (which isn't the focus of the experiment) isn't nearly enough to scrap the idea.

    • SwainZag, MN_ExPat and DannySD like this
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108Stitches
Sep 05 2018 09:26 AM
The opener sucks. Period. It ruins the game. It ruins stats. It ruins the star pitcher/fan relationship. People like to see their stars play, not a platoon. Tampa is getting lucky. It’s not the opener doing it.
    • Doomtints likes this

I don't mind them playing around with the "opener" concept. It's an opportunity in a lost season to try out some new concepts, try some people in some different roles and see how they react. It may not be a keeper, but I actually like the idea of pushing relievers& starters to do things outside of the regimented and hyper-defined roles they have been formed into over the last 30 years.

 

Glad to see Kohl Stewart have a good outing. Not sure what his future is yet, but if he can throw strikes and finish off ABs with some efficiency he could be a good innings-eater with the weak contact he induces.

    • Blackjack and MN_ExPat like this
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108Stitches
Sep 05 2018 09:43 AM
This opener crap makes it where I can’t even check Stewart’s game score. Instead I have to see May’s stinkshow 18 game score. I’m telling you, fans come out to see their favorite players. And develop relationships with their favorite players. They do not want to see Joe blow come out and stink at the place up for two innings, followed by the guy they wanted to see for 4 innings, then another guy for 1 inning then lefty specialist for one inning then maybe a closer if the first guy didn’t already blow it in the first inning. Meanwhile the other side has a Chris Sale or Kluber in for 8 innings and their fans are happy. Get better pitching. And there’s no need for this stupid experiment invented by academic nerds who likely never even played the damn game.
    • Doomtints likes this
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clutterheart
Sep 05 2018 09:48 AM

The opener sucks. Period. It ruins the game. It ruins stats. It ruins the star pitcher/fan relationship. People like to see their stars play, not a platoon. Tampa is getting lucky. It’s not the opener doing it.


People said similar things when Oakland was getting all the good OB% guys.
Time will tell. Baseball is a long season. Its hard to be lucky over the course of the season. And its really hard to be lucky 2 years in a row.
In a few years openers might have their own opening music and be just as overhyped as closers.

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