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Twins 4, Cleveland 1: Dobnak Delivers 5 Shutout Innings

Randy Dobnak pitched his way through five shutout innings to help lead the Minnesota Twins to a 4-1 victory over Cleveland Friday night. The 25-year-old right-hander lowered his career ERA to a miniscule 1.45 with this outing.
Image courtesy of © Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Box Score
Starter: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Home Runs: Kepler (3), Avila (1)
Top 3 WPA: Dobnak .213, Rosario .106, Kepler .078
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):
Attached Image: Winchart.png

Bats back up Dobnak’s solid start early
Minnesota sent out a lefty-filled lineup to try to get to Indians starter Mike Clevinger and it worked perfectly early on. Max Kepler started things off by once again hitting a leadoff home run, like he did a week ago in Chicago. Since homering twice that evening, he slumped pretty hard, going 2-for-17 in the following four games. Eddie Rosario smacked a two-RBI double later on, after Josh Donaldson and Nelson Cruz reached. He went way up to get that four-seamer and give the Twins a 3-0 lead.



Another lefty took Clevinger deep to leadoff an inning, as Alex Avila pounded a fastball inside to hit a 405-feet no doubter in the second, his first in a Twins uniform. The early push from the offense was in tune with Dobnak great performance. The rookie cruised through the first couple of innings, including a nine-pitch second. He did put a lot of work into getting through Francisco Lindor in the first, throwing eleven pitches before recording the out.

While Twins batters didn’t produce runs in the following two innings, they did manage to wear out Clevinger. The Indians starter was done after concluding the fourth, inning in which Minnesota drew three walks, two of them after two outs. Meanwhile, Dobnak did a great job keeping Cleveland scoreless through five, despite allowing some strong contact (his average exit velocity was 94.5 MPH). In fact, only three out of the thirteen balls in play he allow actually materialized into hits.

Indians relievers cool off Twins offense
The Twins failed to score in a couple of key moments in the middle of the game, against the Cleveland bullpen. They opened the fifth inning with back-to-back hits, including a leadoff double by Jorge Polanco, which were pitched around by Indians reliever Phil Maton. In the following inning Avila reached on a hit by pitch and was later advanced to third by a two-out double from Ehire Adrianza. However, Polanco flied out against Oliver Pérez.

Cam Hill pitched an easy 1-2-3 seventh for Cleveland, against the heart of Minnesota’s lineup, and Dominic Leone pitched around a walk from Luis Arráez in the eighth, completing the four-inning shutout by Cleveland bullpen.

Fortunately, the Twins bullpen responded accordingly. Tyler Clippard allowed an RBI-double from Franmil Reyes in the sixth, after a but he was followed up by a lights out 1-2-3 seventh from Tyler Duffey and a similarly great outing from Sergio Romo in the eighth, striking out two batters. Taylor Rogers came in and easily earned the save with five pitches.

Donaldson left the game early
Donaldson hit a single and scored a run in the first inning, but when he was supposed to bat again in the second, Adrianza was replacing him. Turns out he was pulled from the game for precautionary reasons, after presenting right calf tightness. While this doesn’t immediately sound like a serious problem, it’s important to remember that calf issues were the most serious injuries he had to face in his career.

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
Attached Image: Bullpen.png

Postgame Pint
AS the Twins bounce back versus Clevinger, Twins Daily's writers celebrated. Watch it below, or download the podcast to be a part of the action You can also find Saturday night's gathering a PostgamePint.com.


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19 Comments

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milldaddy35
Jul 31 2020 09:30 PM

Good victory. The offense jumped on early and Dobnak gave us 5 solid innings. Clippard has really impressed thus far, and Duffey is one of the most underrated relievers in the game. Romo is as cool as the other side of the pillow, and Rogers is a certified closer. The offense did a nice job getting on base, but the timely hitting has not been there thus far. When we are rolling this is a game we put away in the mid-innings. All in all, I will take a split facing Bieber and Clevinger. 

    • glunn, DocBauer, wabene and 2 others like this
Awesome response to last night.

Dobnak just keeps getting outs. How impressive/valuable is Adrianza? Can play anywhere, solid switch hitter, etc. Duffey and Rogers (unknown to most baseball fans outside of the AL Central) continue to dominate. It’s been really fun to watch these guys emerging from relative obscurity.

The bad news is that losing Donaldson for a significant period of time is a possibility. That would be a killer. His presence and professional approach are taking this offense to another level.
    • glunn likes this

Randy Dobnak did a pretty good Carl Willis impersonation against Cleveland, the team for which Willis is pitching coach. Like Willis, Dobnak zips sinkers low in the zone to get strikeouts and lots of ground balls. Unlike Willis, Dobbs appears pretty comfortable going 5 innings, and might stretch out for more. 

 

The key for Dobbsie going more innings is a very nuanced change to his sinker. Right now certain hitters are able to foul off his current offerings, rather than whiffing or hitting a ground ball. Counter-intuitively, the solution is to sink the ball slightly less, thus allowing more weak ground balls from players that currently are just barely ticking the top of the ball. If Randers can vary the sink just a little, he can prevent those 17-pitch at-bats that keep him from going into late innings. 

 

Meanwhile, I do believe that Randy Dobnak is the young stud horse that I thought he was. Good to be right, now and then...

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VivaBomboRivera!
Aug 01 2020 01:40 AM

You heard it here first.

    • birdwatcher likes this
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Doctor Gast
Aug 01 2020 05:30 AM

Dobnak has proved to me that he`s the Twins top pitcher, right now. It was great that he got the run support & Baldelli finally pulled out the big guns in the BP to secure his victory. Dobnak is like a pitbull, he`s tenacious. Go Twins, hope Donaldson a speedy recovery, we need him

So the risk of bringing Donaldson on board was due to calf injury problems, and he exited last night because of a calf injury. Yeesh. The Twins have a deep lineup and they also have a history of really shutting guys down at the slightest hint of injury (see: Buxton, Byron). I'd imagine we won't see Josh in the lineup for at least a week if not more.

 

Great job Dobnak, what a luxury having this guy as the 6th starter who can fill in for anyone. The Twins may lose a couple pitchers to free agency and he's looking like he could be a real part of the rotation in the future.

 

Avila outplaying Garver so far and it's not even close.

 

 

 

Avila outplaying Garver so far and it's not even close.

I've been really impressed with Avila's defense and pitch calling as well. He's a good framer back there. 

    • bighat and Melissa like this

After Baldelli's comments after the game, if I am Homer Bailey, I am worried about my spot here when Pineda comes back. Or ever Odorizzi.Twins may be starting to turn into the pitching factory that Cleveland is.That would be a great thing for this decade.

    • glunn likes this

First of all, I need to eat some crow about a comment I made a few days ago worrying about Marwin Gonzalez at first base. He was really solid last night in all respects: going to his right and feeding the pitcher; heading back blind to catch a tricky low pop fly to right field; snaring throws form the other infielders.

 

Secondly, I'm as much a fan of Dobnak as the next person here. What I hope is that he and Wes Johnson can figure out a way to find some sort of out pitch to cut down on all those lengthy at-bats with so many offerings being fouled off.

    • ashbury, glunn and DocBauer like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Aug 01 2020 07:51 AM

 

So the risk of bringing Donaldson on board was due to calf injury problems, and he exited last night because of a calf injury. Yeesh. The Twins have a deep lineup and they also have a history of really shutting guys down at the slightest hint of injury (see: Buxton, Byron). I'd imagine we won't see Josh in the lineup for at least a week if not more.

 

 

 

Seems to me that the value of a deep lineup is being able to let those injuries heal instead of playing a player at 90% and possibly making it worse... If you see a rash of these things, I'd be worried. 

    • Dantes929 and bighat like this
Dobnak is quoted after the game as saying he pitches to contact. That grinding sound you here is the gnashing of teeth on these boards.
    • beckmt and bighat like this

Dobnak didn't get a lot of favors from the inconsistent strike zone last night; when he hits his spots and doesn't get the call he's going to rack up a high pitch count. I was impressed how well he hung in there and didn't let it get in his head.

 

Hopefully Donaldson's removal was just precautionary and he doesn't miss significant time.

I was generally impressed by Dobnak, even with some extended AB with numerous fouls. And 90 pitches for 5 innings isn't exactly ideal. But I think it's obvious most pitchers are still ramping up.

But really, how can you complain at his results? He did his job for those 5 IP and should only get better. Guy is a grinder and very solid.
    • Thiéres Rabelo, AceWrigley, Weave and 1 other like this
And BTW, any else impressed by the defense we've seen from Polanco this far?
    • glunn, Thiéres Rabelo, bighat and 2 others like this

Dobnak didn't get a lot of favors from the inconsistent strike zone last night; when he hits his spots and doesn't get the call he's going to rack up a high pitch count. I was impressed how well he hung in there and didn't let it get in his head.

Hopefully Donaldson's removal was just precautionary and he doesn't miss significant time.

Huh? The strike zone last night was incredibly good, and consistent. There were less than 5 possible missed calls, by my count. One would have been a called 3rd strike for Dobnak, but resulted in only one more pitch, a ground ball out.

Umpiring was not a factor at all.
    • ashbury, stringer bell and VivaBomboRivera! like this
Photo
Hosken Bombo Disco
Aug 01 2020 09:46 AM
The “Dobnak in Game 2” strategy is finally working!

He looked great last night.
Photo
stringer bell
Aug 01 2020 10:08 AM

 

Dobnak didn't get a lot of favors from the inconsistent strike zone last night; when he hits his spots and doesn't get the call he's going to rack up a high pitch count. I was impressed how well he hung in there and didn't let it get in his head.

 

Hopefully Donaldson's removal was just precautionary and he doesn't miss significant time.

I commented about the home plate ump in the game thread and there were others that saw what I saw--the home plate ump was excellent. He missed a strike that Dobnak threw and maybe gave Romo a strike in the eighth, but other than that, I thought he was terrific.

My best look at Dobby last night. Great movement and weak swings with weak contact. Impressive. I hope the bats get going. Solid bullpen game. A WIN

 

I commented about the home plate ump in the game thread and there were others that saw what I saw--the home plate ump was excellent. He missed a strike that Dobnak threw and maybe gave Romo a strike in the eighth, but other than that, I thought he was terrific.

 

Guess I must have been influenced by Smalley talking about a missed pitch...