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MIN 8, DET 2: Gonsalves Stymies Tigers

Stephen Gonsalves pitched the best game of his young major league career Wednesday afternoon, holding the Tigers scoreless over six one-hit innings. It was also a strong effort from the offense today, as four Twins had multi-hit games. This gave Minnesota a four-game winning streak, just one shy of tying its season high.
Image courtesy of © Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs)
Gonsalves: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 69.2% strikes (54 of 78 pitches)
Home Runs: None
Multi-Hit Games: Grossman (3-for-5), Adrianza (3-for-4, 2 2B), Austin (2-for-3, SF), Astudillo (2-for-4, 2B)
WPA of 0.1 or higher: Austin .164, Gonsalves .157
WPA of -0.1 or lower: None
Attached Image: chart.png
The Twins used an opener again today, it worked out great, but I still think it’s curious how they’re implementing the strategy.

Gabriel Moya made his fourth start of the season and Gonsalves served as the primary pitcher. I don’t really get stacking lefties in this case. Why not go with a right-hander in front of Gonsalves? Also, the only dangerous hitter in Detroit’s lineup right now is Nicholas Castellanos, who hit third today. He’s a right-handed hitter who has an .857 career OPS vs. lefties and a .753 mark against same-sided pitchers. Since that’s the guy you’re most worried about beating you, why not open with a right-hander?

All’s well that ends well, I suppose.

Moya pitched a scoreless first inning. He hit the No. 2 batter Christin Stewart with a pitch before giving up a single to Castellanos, but then managed to induce an inning-ending double play. The Twins tallied four runs in the top of the second, meaning Gonsalves inherited a 4-0 lead.

The most impressive part of Gonsalves’ performance, especially considering how things have gone to this point, is how he went right after Detroit hitters. He walked only one batter and threw nearly 70 percent of his pitches for strikes.

Gonsalves leaned a little bit more on his fastball, throwing that pitch 64 percent of the time. He averaged 89.9 mph on that pitch, but maxed out at 94. He also went with the curveball a little bit more over his slider today. That’s a fun pitch, a big looping curve that he throws at 73 mph. He got three swinging strikes on the 10 curveballs he threw, and Detroit hitters were able to put that pitch into play only once, and even that had a wimpy exit velocity of 62.8 mph.

Through three and a half innings, the Twins had already built a 6-0 lead in an impressive display of offensive efficiency. They managed to score those six runs on just six hits and a walk, and even did so without the luxury of a home run.

Robbie Grossman collected three more hits. He’s 10-for-23 over his last six games (.435 average). Ehire Adrianza also had three hits and living legend Willians Astudillo drove in three runs today. Tyler Austin followed a three-RBI game by driving in two more runs today.

Addison Reed, pitching for just the fifth time this month, worked a scoreless eighth. The only downer from this one is that Alan Busentiz surrendered two runs in the ninth. Over his last seven appearances, Busenitz has given up 11 earned runs over just 4 1/3 innings pitched. He gave up only 11 earned runs in his 40 innings with Rochester this year.

Next Three Games
Thu: Off
Fri at OAK, 9:05 pm CT: TBD
Sat at OAK, 8:05 pm CT: TBD
Sun at OAK, 3:05 pm CT: TBD

Last Three Games
MIN 5, DET 3: Odorizzi Turns In Another Quality Start
MIN 6, DET 1: Stewart Impresses, Rosario Exits Due to Injury
MIN 9, KC 6: Twins Swat Four Homers, Avoid Sweep

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31 Comments

I like the Tigers.

    • Circus Boy likes this

Great job by Gonsalves! And some of the hitters I want back too.....

    • MN_ExPat likes this
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mickeymental
Sep 19 2018 03:29 PM

 

Gabriel Moya made his fourth start of the season and Gonsalves served as the primary pitcher. I don’t really get stacking lefties in this case. Why not go with a right-hander in front of Gonsalves? Also, the only dangerous hitter in Detroit’s lineup right now is Nicholas Castellanos, who hit third today. He’s a right-handed hitter who has an .857 career OPS vs. lefties and a .753 mark against same-sided pitchers. Since that’s the guy you’re most worried about beating you, why not open with a right-hander?

i'm guessing that, at least in theory, it's so the primary pitcher delays seeing the top of the order for a third time. in other words, in a perfect game, he'd only see the 1, 2 and 3 hitters two times.

    • RaymondLuxuryYacht likes this

Nice to see Gonsalves showing, coming on the heels of Stewart's improvement.  While I don't hold out hope they are aces in the making, I do hope they turn out to be more useful than they'd been up to now.

 

On the other side, same thing--Austin and Astudillo and Adrianza might have a place next year.  Anyway, winning four in a row is nice.

    • mikelink45 and MN_ExPat like this
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yarnivek1972
Sep 19 2018 05:15 PM
Just in case there was any doubt about how bad the Tigers are.
Great to see a good performance by Gonsalves, regardless of the opposition.
Hopefully it provides him some confidence.
    • MN_ExPat, bobs and mngopherguy like this
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108Stitches
Sep 19 2018 06:10 PM
I hate the opener strategy.
    • mikelink45, PDX Twin, D.C Twins and 1 other like this
Methinks Detroit is gunning for a top-3 pick next June -- they are only 1.5 games out of that spot now:

http://www.tankathon.com/mlb
    • mikelink45 and D.C Twins like this

 

I hate the opener strategy.

 

I don't like it in principle but it's kinda an interesting way to get young pitchers feet wet at the major league level.If it works heck why not.  

    • Minny505 and Original Whizzinator like this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Sep 19 2018 07:22 PM

Please compare Gonsalves WPA of .157 with last night's WPA of Ordorizi (.240) and then compare the innings pitched, hits, BB, SO, earned runs, etc. and explain to me why Ordorizi's WPA was so much higher than Gonsalves' WPA today.

We know Gonsalves and Stewart could handle AAA batters, the Tigers being, maybe AAAA are a step up and a good proving grounds, but there is a long way to go for too much optimism.Hate to be a downer, but the Twins do not deserve a lot of leeway at this point.Just keep putting the young guys out there. 

    • Dman and D.C Twins like this
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yarnivek1972
Sep 19 2018 07:28 PM

Please compare Gonsalves WPA of .157 with last night's WPA of Ordorizi (.240) and then compare the innings pitched, hits, BB, SO, earned runs, etc. and explain to me why Ordorizi's WPA was so much higher than Gonsalves' WPA today.


Gonsalves had a 4-0 lead before he threw a pitch. Odorizzi pitched 5 innings in a 0-0 tie. Higher leverage = higher WPA. That’s simply how that stat works.
    • Otwins, Tom Froemming, Minny505 and 1 other like this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Sep 19 2018 07:36 PM

 

Gonsalves had a 4-0 lead before he threw a pitch. Odorizzi pitched 5 innings in a 0-0 tie. Higher leverage = higher WPA. That’s simply how that stat works.

Please explain more. This seems to give a pitcher credit for something he has no control over, i.e. his team's lack of ability to score runs/ The less his team scores, the more credit the pitcher gets. What am I missing?

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tarheeltwinsfan
Sep 19 2018 07:45 PM

OK, OK. I have now read Fan Graphs' definition of and explanation for WPA.In my previous comments I have successfully exhibited my ignorance of WPA to all the readers of TD. Perfect! I will now change my name and join the ignorant posters protection plan.

    • USAFChief, Han Joelo, LimestoneBaggy and 8 others like this

OK, OK. I have now read Fan Graphs' definition of and explanation for WPA.In my previous comments I have successfully exhibited my ignorance of WPA to all the readers of TD. Perfect! I will now change my name and join the ignorant posters protection plan.


Welcome. I saved you a seat. It’s getting crowded in here.
    • jorgenswest, Han Joelo, rukavina and 13 others like this

 

I hate the opener strategy.

 

I actually kind of dig it.I just think it's so interesting.  

    • tarheeltwinsfan and Minny505 like this

 

I actually kind of dig it.I just think it's so interesting.  

Now that Moya has successfully started a couple without pooping all over himself, I'm kind of okay with it--as a sort of training wheels type of thing for young pitchers.  I prefer a set, one inning deal--let the main starter be assured he will be starting the second, to give a semblance of normalcy to it all.  I would think the certainty would help, rather than stewing for another inning while the opener is cruising through some "easy outs" that could have been his.

 

Then, some day, Gonsalves and Stewart could look forward to being full-fledged members of the rotation--the day when they get to start the first.  Just another carrot.

My first take on yesterday's game is to remember that we were playing the Tigers.They are not a good team, plus they were without Niko Goodrum.

 

I like the energy Willians Astudillo brings to the game.Not only is he a decent hitter, he can play several positions while also being a capable catcher.The Twins need to find a way to have 13 position players next year with Astudillo a leading candidate for #13.If not, he certainly should remain on the 40-man roster and be in Rochester to fill in when/if one of their catchers is injured.He does have options available, doesn't he?

 

Also liked Gonsalves performance yesterday.This September has been an excellent opportunity for him, Stewart, DeJong and Littell, to get their feet wet.This month should give the Twins FO enough information to assist in their planning for 2019.Is it realistic to expect that they can find a #5 starter from this group, including Romero, Mejia and Slegers?Has one performed well enough that they may interest another team so they can be a part of a bigger off-season trade?With Thorpe and Graterol also on the horizon, maybe the Twins put together a package to bring in a young quality starter who can improve the #3 spot in their rotation next year and beyond.[I am not suggesting they trade Thorpe or Graterol.]It is likely that 7 players vying for one starting spot is too many and some type of move is necessary.

    • mikelink45 and tarheeltwinsfan like this

Twins have averted a bad September finish by winning 4 straight but are still 8-10 for the month.Only 10 to go with last 7 at home v Tigers and White Sox. I think how they finish will say a lot about how they do next year. How about at least 1 in Oakland and then 5-2 on the final home stand. Not too much to ask.

Glorified AAA lineup for Tigers yesterday, but Gonsalves still looked much better.He and Stewart both seem to be improving with their command.At this point, we'll take any signs of positivity we can get!

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108Stitches
Sep 20 2018 09:24 AM

I don't like it in principle but it's kinda an interesting way to get young pitchers feet wet at the major league level. If it works heck why not.

>oh look Gonsalves had a great game, let me look at his game score.
>hmm 45
>oh that’s the opener guy, no score for Gonsalves

The opener skews stats, ruins the feel of the game for me (and millions of others I’m sure)
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strumdatjaguar
Sep 20 2018 10:15 AM

Gonsalves is a potential longterm good, crafty lefty (rather than a fireballer) in MLB. I hope the Twins don't muck things up by signing Lance Lynn-types in FA.Let the younger pitchers fight it out for a spot in the rotation. 

    • IaFan1 likes this

Do wins matter at this time of year?I am more interested in the young arms and wishing we had some young players at bat and in the field.What am I missing.Does it matter how far we are from 500 or that we can beat Detroit and the White Sox?The only reason I do not care about the opener now is that at least we see another pitcher, but why not some other guys.I really do not want the opener to care over to next year, but I am okay with it now.  

 

As the season winds down I am even more mystified with the lack of call ups - Reed and Anderson in the pen, Wade and Gordon in the field.I do not care about the minor league stats, they need to be seen and given some exposure to the Twins.  

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yarnivek1972
Sep 20 2018 10:37 AM

Do wins matter at this time of year? I am more interested in the young arms and wishing we had some young players at bat and in the field. What am I missing. Does it matter how far we are from 500 or that we can beat Detroit and the White Sox? The only reason I do not care about the opener now is that at least we see another pitcher, but why not some other guys. I really do not want the opener to care over to next year, but I am okay with it now.

As the season winds down I am even more mystified with the lack of call ups - Reed and Anderson in the pen, Wade and Gordon in the field. I do not care about the minor league stats, they need to be seen and given some exposure to the Twins.


Gonsalves and Busenitz dominated AAA. The results at the MLB level are mediocre to poor. What does that say about the chance for success for a guy that did poorly at AAA (Wade and Gordon)?

What is the point of giving someone at bats who will clearly be overmatched? Not to mention starting their service time clocks.

What is the point of giving someone at bats who will clearly be overmatched? Not to mention starting their service time clocks.


You've got a point about being overmatched, but service time wouldn't really be an issue. They are both pretty much guaranteed to be added to the 40-man by November, and neither one is likely to open 2019 in the majors, which would "pause" their service time clock and render any service time accrued in September 2018 mostly irrelevant.
    • mikelink45 likes this

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