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Kepler Apologizes for wearing mask

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:26 PM
Yahoo: https://sports.yahoo...-230841299.html     Max Kepler apologized for posting a photo of himself wearing a Blue Live...
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Virtual Twins Baseball Megathread

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:42 AM
Moving forward this will house every game-thread in the comments below until real baseball hopefully comes back. I should have done this...
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Recent Proposal

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 12:00 PM
https://theathletic....=freedailyemail   The players have rejected the owners last proposal, the players have proposed a longer seas...
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Zulgad: Is MLB really making return about dollars and cents?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 08:45 AM
https://www.skornort...lars-and-cents/   The owners have made their proposal to the players. The players association will now have t...
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2020 MINOR LEAGUE SEASON

Twins Minor League Talk 29 May 2020
Baseball America takes a look at what is happening in the minors, a season that would now have been a couple of weeks old.   https:/...
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Recent Blogs

The Show Must Go On: Drafting and Dropping

As our interactive simulated marches into mid-June, we've acquired an exciting new talent in the draft but the big-league team is falling as its offense slumps.

Persisting struggles from a veteran lineup fixture prompt a difficult decision, and I need your help making it.
Image courtesy of MLB The Show 20, Sony
To get caught up on what we're doing here, you can check out the introductory post in the series for an explanation of the premise and setup. But the quick version is this: We're playing a progressive simulated Twins season on MLB The Show 20 on PS4, and y'all are helping guide the ship. In each installment I'll update you on what's happened since the last, and put at least one key decision up for vote.

Date In Game: 6/12
Team Record: 38-32
Leading OPS: Mitch Garver (.918 in 187 AB)
Leading ERA (SP): Jake Odorizzi (2.60 in 93.1 IP)
Leading ERA (RP): Tyler Duffey (1.69 in 32.0 IP)

LATEST RESULTS (4-6)

Gm 61 vs TB: L 5-1 (Cruz/Sano/Garver 0-for-10)
Gm 62 vs TB: L 5-0 (Maeda 5 IP, 5 ER, L)
Gm 63 vs TB: L 7-5 (Bailey 3 ER, 5 R, 1 ER, L)
Gm 64 vs LAA: L 3-0 (MIN offense: 5 singles)
Gm 65 vs LAA: W 6-4 (Kepler 2-4, HR, 3B, 3 RBI)
Gm 66 vs LAA: W 5-4 (Buxton 3-4, 2 2B, SB)
Gm 67 vs LAA: L 5-4 (Maeda, 5.2 IP, 5 ER, L)
Gm 68 @ BAL: W 4-3 (Bailey 8 IP, 2 ER, W)
Gm 69 @ BAL: L 6-5 (Kepler 5-7, HR)
Gm 70 @ BAL: W 6-2 (Berrios 8.2 IP, 2 ER, W)

AL CENTRAL STANDINGS

Attached Image: alcstandings6_12.jpeg


THE RUNDOWN

We have drafted! When the 27th pick came up in the first round and it was our turn to select, several appealing names were available.

We could've gone with Elvis Bernstein, the well rounded 22-year-old right fielder out of Kansas. Or with John Ludwick, the 21-year-old strong-armed catcher out of Wisconsin. But with the directive to aim for young upside (per last edition's vote), we instead selected Jose Lopez, a 19-year-old center fielder born in the Dominican Republic (but presumably now living in the U.S., unless MLB The Show has unilaterally decided to allow international players into the Rule 4 draft, which I wouldn't hate).

At 6'1" and 197 lbs, Lopez has elite speed and strong baserunning skills. Our scouts seem to believe he's going to grow offensively from his current limited profile.



Attached Image: lopezprofile.jpeg


We'll keep tabs on Lopez as he acclimates to the pros. Exciting stuff. Less exciting was our team's latest 10-game stretch, which saw the Twins drop from a first-place tie in the Central to 3 1/2 out, as we went 4-6 while Cleveland bounced back from its slump with a 7-3 run.

We opened by getting swept at home by the Rays, in a series where the bats went totally silent.

The first two contests saw Minnesota outscored 10-1 while grounding into five double plays. A pair of errors by Miguel Sano in the third game proved costly, with four unearned runs crossing against starter Homer Bailey.

The Rays were followed into town by the Angels, who themselves bulldozed Twins hitters in the series opener, winning 3-0 behind Jaime Barria. We did finally manage to get on track a little at this point, taking four of the next six against Los Angeles and Baltimore.

With the All-Star break about a month away, and the Indians finding their groove again, our Twins need to start getting on a roll. That might mean shaking things up in the suddenly sluggish lineup. We'll discuss shortly.

WHO'S HOT

It's been nice to see Jose Berrios finally shake off the early-season struggles and look like the guy we expected. He came up big in his latest two starts, both victories, allowing two earned runs over 16 1/3 innings. In the first he played stopper, helping the team end a four-game losing streak while pitching into the eighth. In his second start Berrios nearly completed a shutout in Baltimore, but I had to pull him after he gave up two solo shots in the ninth.

Attached Image: berrioscloseup.jpeg


As manager, it's been tough not to turn to the bullpen whenever signs of trouble surface for the starters, because the relievers are so damn good. These five are consistently getting the job done:
  • Taylor Rogers - 1.89 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 8.6 K/9
  • Tyler Duffey - 1.69 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 9.8 K/9
  • Tyler Clippard - 2.63 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 6.6 K/9
  • Trevor May - 2.73 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 12.1 K/9
  • Sergio Romo - 3.07 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 8.6 K/9
Meanwhile, Zack Littell (4.13 ERA) and Randy Dobnak (4.60 ERA) have been serviceable. Fernando Romero (5.25 ERA) hasn't been too effective since his call-up, but he's only thrown 12 innings.

Offensively, Mitch Garver continues to bring the sauce, batting .323 in the latest slate. With a .918 OPS and 11 homers through 50 games, Garver's second in the All-Star voting at catcher behind Kansas City's Salvador Perez. Max Kepler, now slashing .313/.389/.512 after a 13-for-37 stretch, leads all AL right fielders.

WHO'S NOT

Pretty much everyone on the offense other than Garver and Kepler. Our once-mighty lineup now finds itself sputtering more often than not. Josh Donaldson, Miguel Sano and Nelson Cruz, who were driving forces early on, went a combined 15-for-92 (.163) with one home run (by Donaldson) over the past 10 games.

Cruz in particular is worrisome. He's been cited in this section three straight weeks now, as his cold spell lingers indefinitely. He's now slashing just .260/.344/.439 on the season, with a .783 OPS that ranks eighth among Twins hitters. So...

DECISION TIME: SHOULD WE BENCH NELSON CRUZ?

He saw a reduction in playing time over the past 10 games, starting only six, but still looked meager at the plate with four singles in 22 at-bats. Something is clearly amiss with the aging slugger and it's taking a toll on our team's production.

A benching would entail the relegation of Cruz to a role of pinch-hitter and occasional starter. To replace his reps we could rotate various other starters through the DH spot – with Marwin Gonzalez filling in defensively – while also giving more playing time to young Brent Rooker, slashing just .217/.280/.283 over 50 plate appearances in sporadic action.

Vote your choice in the comments section below.

COMING UP

6/12: @ KC
6/13: @ KC
6/14: @ KC
6/16: vs MIL
6/17: vs MIL
6/18: vs NYY
6/19: vs NYY
6/20: vs NYY
6/21: vs NYY

PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS

Part 1: We Can Build This Thing Together (0-0)
Part 2: 10 Games In, 6 Games Back (4-6)
Part 3: Roaring Back (11-9)
Part 4: Over the Hill (17-13)
Part 5: Checking In at the Quarter Point (23-17)
Part 6: Rising Power (30-20)
Part 7: First Place! (Barely) (36-24)

MORE FROM TWINS DAILY

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4 Comments

Photo
Nick Nelson
Apr 23 2020 08:41 PM

Option 1: Press "Like This" on this comment (or voice your support below) if you want us to stick with Nelson Cruz as a regular, hoping he can break out of his prolonged offensive slump and help rejuvenate the sagging lineup.

    • John Bonnes, denarded, SgtSchmidt11 and 2 others like this
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Nick Nelson
Apr 23 2020 08:41 PM

Option 2: Press "Like This" on this comment (or voice your support below) if you want us to reduce Cruz to 1 or 2 starts per week at DH, in turn helping keep other regulars fresher and giving Brent Rooker more opportunity to establish himself.

    • Wookiee of the Year and Doctor Gast like this
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TwinsFan268
Apr 24 2020 06:15 AM

Nononononononononononono! Just because a player is having a slump doesn't mean you should bench them. Maybe take some playing time away, just to see if they improve with less time. Maybe if it was a player who was recently called up to the majors, but not an established veteran like Cruz.

Just give him a series or two off and let him PH here and there.He did the same thing for me in OOTP21 and in the show. I did however bench Sano for Gonzalez because i was tired of watching Sano strike out every single AB. Donaldson is literally the worst batter i have on both game platforms.I just started to play Adrianza since he can actually get a hit or hit it out of the infield. 

    • lecroy24fan likes this