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Game Thread: Twins vs KC 4:40 PM PST (6:40 PM CDT) 9/19/19

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:32 PM
The Twins took two steps forward toward the goal of winning the division during the series of games against the Sox. Unfortunately, after...
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Acuna Matata: Braves Give Ronald Acuna $100 Million

Other Baseball Today, 07:24 PM
Reports this morning are indicating that the Atlanta Braves and Ronald Acuna have agreed to an 8 year deal guaranteeing him $100 million....
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Front Page: Should Eddie Rosario Be Benched for Not Hustl...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:25 PM
Eddie Rosario is one of five Twins hitters to hit 30 home runs or more this season to help the team set a new standard at the big-league...
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Front Page: Arizona Fall League Preview: Royce Lewis Head...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 05:12 PM
As of your reading of this article, the Arizona Fall League season has gotten underway for the 2019 season. If you’re thinking that seems...
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Front Page: Mission Accomplished: An Elite Twins Bullpen

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:12 PM
As the month of July came to an end, Minnesota Twins fans watched with anticipation hoping that their club was going to make the necessar...
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Michael Pineda Will Play a Huge Role During This Division Race

Earlier this month, the Twins had a few key players land on the IL, the most notable being Byron Buxton. Losing him definitely hurts more than anyone else on the team. But a key member of the rotation also went down around the same time but has since returned. How good has that pitcher been recently? Do the Twins have the depth to take the blow of him going down? How much can he do to help win the division? Keep reading to find out.
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
In case you haven’t noticed, the Twins starting rotation has been a huge area of concern since August began. Jose Berrios has dropped off a bit, Jake Odorizzi and Kyle Gibson struggle with consistency and then the number five spot is a fight between Martin Perez and Devin Smeltzer with neither of them doing enough to secure a job. The most consistent and reliable starter recently is Michael Pineda, but he hit the IL as August began and since then the Twins rotation holds a 5.55 ERA, 5.16 FIP, 1.61 HR/9, and 3.94 BB/9.

Ironically, the Twins lost a key starting pitcher just a couple days after they did not add a starting pitcher at the deadline. That was controversial to some, but that is for a different day. So the Twins came into August fighting for a division, needing all hands on deck, and a few key players, including Pineda, landed on the IL at the worst time.

People seem to forget this, but Big Mike began the season with four excellent starts before he started to slow down in his first season back from TJ surgery. There was talk about a long term extension before fans wanted to DFA him during his bad period of starts. He was eventually placed on the IL for the first time as a sort of break/precaution to get him some rest. Since his return he had been lights out, holding a 2.95 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 4.4 K/BB, and .662 OPS against. The funny thing is that nobody really started talking about how good he has been until the start before the most recent, his second, IL stint. Michael Pineda had quietly been putting up ace numbers since the start of June.

A lot of this success has come from his ability to limit walks. He is fourth in the American League with just a 4.4 BB% so keeping guys off the bases has been key for his success. This BB% isn’t even a career high, so maybe he can get even better in that area, which would certainly be impressive.

With Cleveland steamrolling through every opponent they face at like a .900 winning percentage, the Twins will need Pineda to return from his stint on the IL and get back into the role he had. It seems as if he stabilizes the rotation every fifth day with a guaranteed quality start. He actually has the second most quality starts on the Twins, trailing only Berrios, so he is definitely reliable.

If the playoffs began today, Pineda would likely be the number two starter for the Twins, taking on Gerrit Cole of the Astros ... that’s scary, but it’s the truth. A playoff rotation of Berrios/Pineda/Odorizzi isn’t flashy but hopefully it could get the job done.

Overall, the weight on this entire starting staff has only gotten much heavier with the Indians catching the team and no help for the starting staff being added at the deadline. The front office showed they have confidence in this group to get it done in big games this year so let’s see Big Mike step in and prove the Twins are here to stay. The Indians didn’t have to face him in the most recent series, but if they really want to take the division from the Twins then they have to beat the healthy version of the Twins.

After this season Pineda will become a free agent and you should not be surprised if he returns to the Twins on a short two-year deal. He has become a solid pitcher and with the Twins having only Berrios and Perez under control, expect the team to make a noticeable effort to keep Pineda around.

Before Pineda was put on the IL the second time, it seemed as if he was getting better with every start. It will be crucial for the Twins division chances if he can come back on that same wave he had been riding. On that note, I wonder what he would look like surfing... back to baseball. Keep in mind this is still his first season after TJ surgery so his innings could be limited. The Twins definitely seem to have a plan in place to keep him around for the long haul this season with scheduled breaks or IL stints for him to rest his arm so hopefully fatigue or major injury do not become concerns.

He should be returning to this rotation this week so hopefully he can make the group a whole lot more reliable than they have been lately. All five starters will need to contribute if the Twins want to take the division for the first time since 2010, and I expect Michael Pineda to be leading the rotation.

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41 Comments

You could argue Big Mike should be the game 1 starter... He's been the best in the rotation since June.

He's my #1 priority to resign out of the 3 pending free agents in the rotation.
    • JW24, SF Twins Fan, the_brute_squad and 1 other like this

We need him badly.  

 

The pitching staff is almost a daily litany of frustration and we still have a lot of games left before the playoffsThe problem with Pineda is health, just like Buxton.Can he hold up the rest of the season and if we extend him, can he hold up beyond this season. 

 

Quality starts is not a high enough standard, but it is a start - Twins starts and Quality starts

 

Berrios 24 - 17

Pineda 21 - 11

Gibson 25 - 9

Perez24 - 9 

Odorizzi 23 - 7

Smeltzer4 - 2

Stewart2- 1

 

That is a total of only 56 QS in 120 games!That does say something!

    • woolywoolhouse, SF Twins Fan and Cooper Carlson like this
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Channing1964
Aug 14 2019 06:12 PM
Yeah I am on board with the signing. He looks great as a #3 or #4 guy. It's a lot earlier than I thought he would step up but he certainly has. The problems we have are not him or the starters. They are not the offense. They are not Rogers. The problem is the bridge from the 6th to 9th innings. Unfortunately this was crystal clear as early as November 2018. It's Unbelievable that a front office with unlimited spending potential(by their own admission) and a deep and talent rich farm system cannot in 9 months fortify a bullpen that was an obvious weakness since they took over this team. I am tired if hearing how brilliant our 2 "boy wonders"are. To never be in the race is one thing, but to lead all year and stand by blindly and watch the train wreck is maddening. Next we are gonna hear some excuse about how Syndergaard for Buxton was a dumb proposal. Last I checked Syndergaard hadn't missed a start this year. I sure didn't see BB in the lineup today? I'm 55 years old. I don't have time to watch this 5 year plan develop when all year we played almost .700 ball. what more window of opportunity did you expect. I'm gonna be sick if I have to watch that sorry ass
Cleveland team ever represent the AL Central in the playoffs again!

 

You could argue Big Mike should be the game 1 starter... He's been the best in the rotation since June.

He's my #1 priority to resign out of the 3 pending free agents in the rotation.

I would look into re-signing Odorizzi and Pineda - I think both can be a bit underrated, and Pineda might improve in his second year after TJ surgery. Odorizzi is pretty darn effective through 4-5 innings, which is a surprisingly uncommon thing these days.

 

I'm done with Gibson, I've seen enough. He can go get overpaid elsewhere.

    • SF Twins Fan likes this
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Cooper Carlson
Aug 14 2019 06:23 PM

 

Yeah I am on board with the signing. He looks great as a #3 or #4 guy. It's a lot earlier than I thought he would step up but he certainly has. The problems we have are not him or the starters. They are not the offense. They are not Rogers. The problem is the bridge from the 6th to 9th innings. Unfortunately this was crystal clear as early as November 2018. It's Unbelievable that a front office with unlimited spending potential(by their own admission) and a deep and talent rich farm system cannot in 9 months fortify a bullpen that was an obvious weakness since they took over this team. I am tired if hearing how brilliant our 2 "boy wonders"are. To never be in the race is one thing, but to lead all year and stand by blindly and watch the train wreck is maddening. Next we are gonna hear some excuse about how Syndergaard for Buxton was a dumb proposal. Last I checked Syndergaard hadn't missed a start this year. I sure didn't see BB in the lineup today? I'm 55 years old. I don't have time to watch this 5 year plan develop when all year we played almost .700 ball. what more window of opportunity did you expect. I'm gonna be sick if I have to watch that sorry ass
Cleveland team ever represent the AL Central in the playoffs again!

A lot to unpack here. You are correct that one of the main problems with this team is the middle relief pitchers, but you can't say this front office didn't do anything to fix that after they went and acquired Romo and Dyson. Romo has had one bad game (today) and Dyson should definitely be trusted down the road. I have no problem with them not spending big dollars on relievers because almost none of them worked out (not even Kimbrel). The Twins addressed this problem at the deadline and they just have not seen the results yet. Also, very few teams have a quality bullpen. The Twins have one of the better ones and the results will show soon.

    • DocBauer and Original Whizzinator like this
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Cooper Carlson
Aug 14 2019 06:24 PM

 

We need him badly.  

 

The pitching staff is almost a daily litany of frustration and we still have a lot of games left before the playoffsThe problem with Pineda is health, just like Buxton.Can he hold up the rest of the season and if we extend him, can he hold up beyond this season. 

 

Quality starts is not a high enough standard, but it is a start - Twins starts and Quality starts

 

Berrios 24 - 17

Pineda 21 - 11

Gibson 25 - 9

Perez24 - 9 

Odorizzi 23 - 7

Smeltzer4 - 2

Stewart2- 1

 

That is a total of only 56 QS in 120 games!That does say something!

I expect Pineda has a good chance of holding up just because these IL stins seem more scheduled or precautionary than anything serious.

    • mikelink45 and DocBauer like this
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Cooper Carlson
Aug 14 2019 06:26 PM

 

You could argue Big Mike should be the game 1 starter... He's been the best in the rotation since June.

He's my #1 priority to resign out of the 3 pending free agents in the rotation.

I would love to see Pineda get a deal around 2 years for $25 million. I would expect we re-sign Gibson as well.

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Richard Swerdlick
Aug 14 2019 06:27 PM

I agree about signing Pineda and Odo. Gibson is a great person, but a mediocre pitcher. Time for a youth movement and some free agents. 

    • lukeduke1980 likes this
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Cooper Carlson
Aug 14 2019 06:28 PM

 

I would look into re-signing Odorizzi and Pineda - I think both can be a bit underrated, and Pineda might improve in his second year after TJ surgery. Odorizzi is pretty darn effective through 4-5 innings, which is a surprisingly uncommon thing these days.

 

I'm done with Gibson, I've seen enough. He can go get overpaid elsewhere.

Odorizzi is going to get a big deal this winter, likely something around 4-5 years and I would rather see the Twins go acquire someone else of his caliber via trade (like they did when they got Odo in the first place).

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Cooper Carlson
Aug 14 2019 06:29 PM

 

I agree about signing Pineda and Odo. Gibson is a great person, but a mediocre pitcher. Time for a youth movement and some free agents. 

They will re-sign Pineda and Gibson for 2-3 years but Odo will get a much larger deal than the Twins will be willing to pay.

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yarnivek1972
Aug 14 2019 06:33 PM
If I’m Pineda I would be looking for something longer than 2 years and given the dearth of quality starting pitching, someone will give it to him even with his injury history. It might be rather heavily IP incentive laden or maybe it kicks up higher if he meets an IP threshold, maybe a 4th year is guaranteed with an IP threshold, but I think the last thing he would want is another short deal and to be hitting FA again at 33.
    • Vanimal46 likes this

 

I would look into re-signing Odorizzi and Pineda - I think both can be a bit underrated, and Pineda might improve in his second year after TJ surgery. Odorizzi is pretty darn effective through 4-5 innings, which is a surprisingly uncommon thing these days.

 

I'm done with Gibson, I've seen enough. He can go get overpaid elsewhere.

 

Per above, Odorizzi has 7 quality starts in 23 tries. He's not underrated and there's no way he's good for 5 innings as you say.

Gibson is better, but he's practically geriatric considering his ability. May as well find a younger option than Gibson and let Odorizzi walk too.

    • mikelink45 likes this

We need him badly.


The pitching staff is almost a daily litany of frustration and we still have a lot of games left before the playoffs The problem with Pineda is health, just like Buxton. Can he hold up the rest of the season and if we extend him, can he hold up beyond this season.

Quality starts is not a high enough standard, but it is a start - Twins starts and Quality starts

Berrios 24 - 17
Pineda 21 - 11
Gibson 25 - 9
Perez 24 - 9
Odorizzi 23 - 7
Smeltzer 4 - 2
Stewart 2 - 1

That is a total of only 56 QS in 120 games! That does say something!

Agreed, Pineda is critical and my number two starter of the rotation. For 2020 they must improve on that, but should still bring him back if they can.

I take issue with the quality start stat. Relative to the MLB, Twins are second in Starter Innings pitches to Cleveland and fourth in earned run average. 5th in whip, 9th in K/9. While I prefer k rate and FIP over k/9 and ERA, and I’m too lazy to dig harder, it appears the Twins rotation is still well above average compared to the other 30.

It’s the bullpen! Yeah I’d prefer a stronger number 2 starter than Pineda, and do not trust Gibson or Perez. I’m still real worried about that bullpen.

In that hunt for October, the best bullpens make the most waves. Hopefully Graterol and Thorpe can be internal options to solidify a shakey pen
    • ashbury, mikelink45 and DocBauer like this
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Cooper Carlson
Aug 14 2019 06:45 PM

 

Agreed, Pineda is critical and my number two starter of the rotation. For 2020 they must improve on that, but should still bring him back if they can.

I take issue with the quality start stat. Relative to the MLB, Twins are second in Starter Innings pitches to Cleveland and fourth in earned run average. 5th in whip, 9th in K/9. While I prefer k rate and FIP over k/9 and ERA, and I’m too lazy to dig harder, it appears the Twins rotation is still well above average compared to the other 30.

It’s the bullpen! Yeah I’d prefer a stronger number 2 starter than Pineda, and do not trust Gibson or Perez. I’m still real worried about that bullpen.

The bullpen will be fine. A back end trio of Rogers-Romo-Dyson with a mid tier of May-Duffey-Littell is not bad. The starters have to get to the sixth inning and beyond for the bullpen to succeed.

    • brvama and DocBauer like this
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Cooper Carlson
Aug 14 2019 06:46 PM

 

If I’m Pineda I would be looking for something longer than 2 years and given the dearth of quality starting pitching, someone will give it to him even with his injury history. It might be rather heavily IP incentive laden or maybe it kicks up higher if he meets an IP threshold, maybe a 4th year is guaranteed with an IP threshold, but I think the last thing he would want is another short deal and to be hitting FA again at 33.

I wonder if the Twins would be willing to go 3 years $42 million or something around there. It'll be interesting.

    • DocBauer likes this
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yarnivek1972
Aug 14 2019 06:53 PM
The Twins guaranteed Pineda $10 mil without knowing if he would ever really be healthy enough to pitch at all let alone pitch well.

I would guarantee $33 mil for 3 years, $500 K incentives every 10 IP starting at 150 (which he has this year) and guarantee a 4th year at $12 mil if he hits 350 IP in 2021-2022 combined.
    • DocBauer and KidBro like this
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Cooper Carlson
Aug 14 2019 06:55 PM

 

The Twins guaranteed Pineda $10 mil without knowing if he would ever really be healthy enough to pitch at all let alone pitch well.

I would guarantee $33 mil for 3 years, $500 K incentives every 10 IP starting at 150 (which he has this year) and guarantee a 4th year at $12 mil if he hits 350 IP in 2021-2022 combined.

I like it. That seems fair for both sides, I just wonder if the Twins would be willing to go more than two years.

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yarnivek1972
Aug 14 2019 07:18 PM

I like it. That seems fair for both sides, I just wonder if the Twins would be willing to go more than two years.


If the Twins want starting pitchers next year, they are going to have to offer at least one of them (Gibson, Odorizzi, Pineda) three years.
    • ashbury, DocBauer, Vanimal46 and 1 other like this

The bullpen will be fine. A back end trio of Rogers-Romo-Dyson with a mid tier of May-Duffey-Littell is not bad. The starters have to get to the sixth inning and beyond for the bullpen to succeed.

all the starters have to do, is do something even the best rotation in baseball doesn’t do. Cleveland averages 5.75 innnings per start and they haven’t worn down yet in the post season. Twins are second 5.68 ip/start and Houston is number 3 at 5.6 ip/start.

Bullpens win championships.

This is a better bp than before the deadline, and is OK, not good enough, but maybe they can find internal reinforcements.

Rotation wise, Berrios, Pineda, and Odorizzi are it. Best to pray for health!
    • ashbury likes this
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Cooper Carlson
Aug 14 2019 07:49 PM

 

all the starters have to do, is do something even the best rotation in baseball doesn’t do. Cleveland averages 5.75 innnings per start and they haven’t worn down yet in the post season. Twins are second 5.68 ip/start and Houston is number 3 at 5.6 ip/start.

Bullpens win championships.

This is a better bp than before the deadline, and is OK, not good enough, but maybe they can find internal reinforcements.

Rotation wise, Berrios, Pineda, and Odorizzi are it. Best to pray for health!

Ok I don't mean get six innings every time, but recently it has just not been happening at all. Also, the Red Sox had an one of the worst playoff bullpens last year that had a couple guys step up in a big way and won the world series. Bullpens don't win championships. Starting pitching and offense do.

    • Sconnie likes this

If the Twins want starting pitchers next year, they are going to have to offer at least one of them (Gibson, Odorizzi, Pineda) three years.


3 at least, probably 4... They'll need to outbid the usual suspects too.
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Patrick Wozniak
Aug 14 2019 08:07 PM

"I wonder what he would look like surfing...?"

I'm pretty sure his face would be exactly the same as it is in the article's photo. What a gem!

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yarnivek1972
Aug 14 2019 08:07 PM

3 at least, probably 4... They'll need to outbid the usual suspects too.


I don’t believe any starting pitcher over 30 signed for more than 3 years last year. And I think only 2-3 were longer than 3 years at all, headlined by Patrick Corbin.
    • mikelink45 likes this

It's amazing how I went from the beginning of the season thinking "Oh crap Pineda is pitching today" to now thinking "Thank god Pineda is pitching today"

    • ashbury, LA VIkes Fan, Sconnie and 1 other like this

 

I would look into re-signing Odorizzi and Pineda - I think both can be a bit underrated, and Pineda might improve in his second year after TJ surgery. Odorizzi is pretty darn effective through 4-5 innings, which is a surprisingly uncommon thing these days.

 

I'm done with Gibson, I've seen enough. He can go get overpaid elsewhere.

 

Agreed on both accounts. Though I question if Pineda can stay healthy. Even before TJ, that was his issue.

 

I'd offer Odo a qualifying offer. It's overpaying, but they have room in the books next year and he'd be foolish not to take it given the FA market the past 2 years.

    • DocBauer and Doctor Wu like this

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