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OAK 6, MIN 2: Gonsalves Gets Burned on Mistake Pitch

Stephen Gonsalves had a much better go of things his second time around with the Twins, but I’m sure really wishes he could have one pitch back. The end result wasn’t great but as it turned out, Gonsalves would have had to have been close to perfect tonight for the Twins to have a chance. The bats could only muster a pair of runs against the A’s.
Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs)
Gonsalves: 32 Game Score, 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 K, 4 BB, 53.3% strikes (48 of 90 pitches)
Home Runs: Sano (12), Austin (12)
Multi-Hit Games: Mauer (2-for-5), Austin (2-for-4, HR)
WPA of 0.1 or higher: None
WPA of -0.1 or lower: Kepler -.106, Gonsalves -.148, Rosario -.186
Attached Image: WinChart825.png
Even when things are going well for Gonsalves, he has a tendency to struggle with his control. He’s still been effective, however, because he very rarely makes true mistake pitches. It’s one thing to throw non-competitive pitches out of the zone and another to serve up meatballs over the plate.

Gonsalves ran into some trouble in the fourth inning, and got further into a jam due to some of those control problems. With two outs and a runner on first, he issued a five-pitch walk to fellow rookie Ramon Laureano, who had only drawn one base on balls in 45 MLB plate appearances coming into tonight.

A two-out walk, well that’s no big deal as long as you just get the next guy, right?

Gonsalves left a rare cookie over the heart of the plate on his first pitch to Jonathan Lucroy, who blasted the changeup into the seats for a three-run homer.

Manager Paul Molitor called it the biggest pitch of the game. "Gonsalves was a little bit better. He had some command issues at times. The changeup that Lucroy hit was obviously a missed spot, and that was probably the biggest swing of the game."

Pitching coach Garvin Alston had just come out to the mound to discuss Lucroy with Gonsalves and Willians Astudillo. Gonsalves said they knew he would swing at the first pitch. Gonsalves said after the game, "Garvin came out and said ‘Hey, he’s swinging 0-0. So what do you want to throw -- a changeup or a fastball?’ I was locating my changeup pretty well the first couple innings, so I said let’s throw a changeup and hopefully we’d get him to pop out. It was the only changeup that cut on me. Unfortunately, it came back over the plate and caught his barrel."

Oakland did Gonsalves some favors in that fourth inning, running into two outs on the bases, but you still can’t help but wonder how things may have turned out if he had that one pitch back. As it was, Gonsalves gave up four earned runs on seven hits and four walks in five innings pitched.

Both of the Twins’ runs tonight came on solo home runs, as Miguel Sano and Tyler Austin both went deep. Sano’s blast had an exit velocity of 113.8 mph.

Molitor was impressed with the Sano homer. "I didn’t lose that fact that honoring Jim the way we did and then having the mammoth blast from Miggy. It was a good atbat too. He had gotten him out on a 3-1 changeup the first time, and it looked like he had him set up for maybe the fastball after showing him a couple more off-speed pitches in that particular at bat. Yeah, he quick snatched it and it kind of went to a place where not many men can go, as they say."

The lineup combined to go just 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and struck out 10 times. Eddie Rosario was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and left five men on base. Jake Cave, playing right field tonight, had two outfield assists.

Out of the bullpen, Alan Busenitz delivered two scoreless innings before Gabriel Moya gave up three runs in his inning of work. Trevor May finished things off with a scoreless eighth that included three strikeouts. Since his return from Tommy John surgery, May has given up three runs in 11 ⅔ innings (2.31 ERA) and has 16 strikeouts against just two walks.

Before the game, the Twins recognized Jim Thome, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this year. While Thome only played roughly seven percent of his big league career with Minnesota, tonight’s ceremony was proof that he left quite an impression on Twins Territory.


Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Attached Image: Bullpen825.png
Next Three Games
Sun vs. OAK, 1:10 pm CT: Jose Berrios vs. Brett Anderson
Mon: OFF
Tue at CLE, 6:10 pm CT: TBD
Wed at CLE, 6:10 pm CT: TBD

Last Three Games
OAK 7, MIN 1: Puckett 2,304, Mauer 2,086, Carew 2,085
MIN 6, OAK 4: Twins Top Red-Hot A’s
CHW 7, MIN 3: Sox Get to Gibby

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20 Comments

Added a few quotes from Molitor and Gonsalves from after the game in the clubhouse... 

    • glunn, bighat and MN_ExPat like this
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Tom Froemming
Aug 25 2018 09:43 PM

 

Added a few quotes from Molitor and Gonsalves from after the game in the clubhouse... 

Thanks Seth!

    • bighat likes this
Can I just say I really like Tyler Austin?! I think he's going to be a surprise next year when he's getting most of the starts at 1B. Paired up with Rooker and Sano; it's going to be fun to watch those dudes bang baseballs into the upper decks for years to come! Not to mention Kepler, Kiriloff, and (dare I say) Jake Cave! Wow! I think k it's going to be exciting!
    • glunn, Twins33, Dman and 3 others like this

The game really changes on the Eddie Rosario fly out in the bottom of the 7th. He came up with two on and two outs and crushed a Familia fastball fastball. Some (ok me) thought it was gone, but it was caught at the wall... Instead of being up 5-4 going to the 8th inning, they remained down 4-2 and the A's scored two right in the top of the 8th. 

    • ashbury, glunn, bighat and 2 others like this
Thanks as usual for the write-up, Tom.

7 hits and 4 walks in 5 innings probably meant a few mistake pitches. And probably a few mistakes by Oakland batters in not getting more runs, earlier.
    • mikelink45, adorduan, puckstopper1 and 2 others like this
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108Stitches
Aug 26 2018 07:27 AM
Oakland also happens to be pretty damn good this year.

Glad to see these young pitchers getting their inning in when the games (wins-Losses) are not that important.Of late non of the young pitchers including Berrios, that have come up have had much success right from the start.It took Berrios some time, so I hope these guys can figure it out before the end of the year.Glad to see Molitor left Gonsalves in to face Lucroy, its a learning experience.Better now then next May.The jump from AAA to the bigs takes time for both pitchers and hitters, so the more these young guys get to play the better. 

    • Dman, DocBauer, howieramone2 and 2 others like this

The game really changes on the Eddie Rosario fly out in the bottom of the 7th. He came up with two on and two outs and crushed a Familia fastball fastball. Some (ok me) thought it was gone, but it was caught at the wall... Instead of being up 5-4 going to the 8th inning, they remained down 4-2 and the A's scored two right in the top of the 8th. 

Game of inches.

    • MN_ExPat likes this

The most disappointing aspect of Gonsalves second failure is your description of the visit by Alston - they knew he would swing at the first pitch! Okay, another loss against a good team, when do we get back to our own division? Ah yes, the next series, but it is the Cleveland team, so what do we expect?

So now that the games don't count Molly is operating the pen quite nicely. When the games count it's damn the torpedoes. I would've like to see this approach and these players all year.
    • DocBauer and bighat like this

 

The game really changes on the Eddie Rosario fly out in the bottom of the 7th. He came up with two on and two outs and crushed a Familia fastball fastball. Some (ok me) thought it was gone, but it was caught at the wall... Instead of being up 5-4 going to the 8th inning, they remained down 4-2 and the A's scored two right in the top of the 8th. 

 

Yeah, I had just tuned into that at bat. I said to myself, Eddie's struck out 3 times, he's going to try and hit a HR here and make up for it...just missed!

 

Watching Gonsalves, I didn't really think he was that sharp. A few of the outs were screaming line drives, or well-hit grounders speared by infielders. He allowed baserunners in every inning and was once again walking guys with 2 outs. Certainly an improvement but to say "He just made one mistake pitch" is giving him a bit more credit than is due. He was much better than his first outing, but he made plenty of mistake pitches.

 

Positives: nice to see a rookie get through 5 innings. I like Gonsalves' demeanor/body language as well. He might not be pitching great but the kid seems to have a little more confidence than, say, Stewart right now. I hope the Twins keep him in the rotation.

 

Austin may hit 35 HR next year playing every day. The Twins may have found an every-day starter and a legit #4 or #5 hitter in this guy. For Lance Lynn!

    • Dman, DannySD and BJames like this

Positives: nice to see a rookie get through 5 innings. I like Gonsalves' demeanor/body language as well. He might not be pitching great but the kid seems to have a little more confidence than, say, Stewart right now. I hope the Twins keep him in the rotation.

What did you think of his demeanor in his fifth inning? Chewing his lip, rolling his eyes, I don't remember exactly what. As I said in the game thread, I don't usually go much for mind-reading, but I thought he was throwing a "Skip, come and get me" vibe right around then. :)

    • bighat likes this
I didn’t see much to be encouraged about with Gonsalves, honestly. To play in the majors, His stuff is going to require great command. And he has the opposite of great command. Was incredibly lucky last night for as long as you can expect to be lucky. Still glad he’s getting a taste...and who knows. Reports were his command has improved, especially this year, so we could be seeing nerves playing a factor.
    • Riverbrian and puckstopper1 like this
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puckstopper1
Aug 26 2018 10:16 AM

 

Thanks as usual for the write-up, Tom.

7 hits and 4 walks in 5 innings probably meant a few mistake pitches. And probably a few mistakes by Oakland batters in not getting more runs, earlier.

 

Agreed!Gonsalves was VERY fortunate to have given up only one run prior to Lucroy's bomb.I know we want to be positive, but he has not looked good thus far.He really needs to fine tune his command if he is going to be successful at this level.

 

The good news is Berrios was dreadful in his first several starts and he has turned it around.Hopefully "Stove" can as well.

    • Danchat likes this
Obviously way too early to make any determinations but after two starts. I like Kohl Stewart’s stuff and I am concerned about Gonsalves’s stuff.

Plenty of time for my mind to be changed. Keep giving them opportunity.
    • BJames likes this

Obviously way too early to make any determinations but after two starts. I like Kohl Stewart’s stuff and I am concerned about Gonsalves’s stuff.

Plenty of time for my mind to be changed. Keep giving them opportunity.

Command is the problem, not stuff, in my book for Gonsalves. His fastball is good enough if he's careful, and his other stuff plays, I think, but he can't put it where the catcher places the mitt, pitch after pitch. It needs to be a high percentage of the time, not here and there, now and then. That doesn't make him unique, by a long shot, but then there's plenty of guys who never make it.

 

I didn't get around to asking, during last night's game thread, whether you'd prefer a guy with great stuff but questionable command, or great command but questionable stuff. I think I'd go for the latter. I'm not quite sure Gonsalves's stuff is "great" enough to make up for his command, which is kind of why I didn't bother asking the question. :)

    • Riverbrian and MN_ExPat like this

 

Command is the problem, not stuff, in my book for Gonsalves. His fastball is good enough if he's careful, and his other stuff plays, I think, but he can't put it where the catcher places the mitt, pitch after pitch. It needs to be a high percentage of the time, not here and there, now and then. That doesn't make him unique, by a long shot, but then there's plenty of guys who never make it.

 

I didn't get around to asking, during last night's game thread, whether you'd prefer a guy with great stuff but questionable command, or great command but questionable stuff. I think I'd go for the latter. I'm not quite sure Gonsalves's stuff is "great" enough to make up for his command, which is kind of why I didn't bother asking the question. :)

 

I'll take command every time but a guy with stuff can work on command and improve it with better mechanics. I think it's much harder to improve your stuff. So I always look for the guy with stuff first. 

 

Gonsalves doesn't seem to have a lot of room for error if he doesn't hit his spots. 

 

If Stewart doesn't hit his spots... his stuff can still turn it into a weak grounder. He has a lot of movement on that fastball.  

    • howieramone2 and MN_ExPat like this
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howieramone2
Aug 26 2018 02:43 PM

Gibson was so-so in 7 starts in 2013. Same with May in 8 starts in 2014. I don't want to talk about Berrios' 14 starts in 2016. I was at 2 of his 5 home starts and it was like batting practice.

 

80-90% of all rookie starting pitchers go thru the same process. If they can pitch okay every other game or so, I'm fine with it. That said, I'm kind of enjoying watching the two of them. 

 

Let me make a prediction. We will package 2 of Stewart, Gonsalves, Mejia, Romero, Thorpe, or Odorizzi for a #2 starter. I think there is some showcasing going on.

 

I didn’t see much to be encouraged about with Gonsalves, honestly. To play in the majors, His stuff is going to require great command. And he has the opposite of great command. Was incredibly lucky last night for as long as you can expect to be lucky. Still glad he’s getting a taste...and who knows. Reports were his command has improved, especially this year, so we could be seeing nerves playing a factor.

 

My thoughts exactly.I'm glad the Twins are FINALLY giving some of the kids a shot at showcasing their stuff but i'm not really impressed with Gonsalves. He seems to be a nibbler and strictly control type pitcher.And so far he also seems to be a two pitch pitcher which is not good either. Fastball and change. 

 

I'll take command every time but a guy with stuff can work on command and improve it with better mechanics. I think it's much harder to improve your stuff. So I always look for the guy with stuff first. 

 

Gonsalves doesn't seem to have a lot of room for error if he doesn't hit his spots. 

 

If Stewart doesn't hit his spots... his stuff can still turn it into a weak grounder. He has a lot of movement on that fastball.  

 

Both pitchers have issues.Stewart seems to be all fastball with weak secondary offerings.Gonsalves seems like more of a control pitcher with that iffy fastball and change.I like that they are giving these two a look, but i'm not optimistic at the moment.  


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