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Twins 8, Cleveland 4: Return of the Bomba Squad

The Twins’ lineup has been a sleeping giant for much of this season, but the Bomba Squad combined to blast five home runs against Cleveland tonight as they clinched the season series with a victory. Marwin Gonzalez, Willians Astudillo, Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sanó all went deep in this one.
Image courtesy of © Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Box Score
Hill: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
Home Runs: Gonzalez (4), Astudillo (1), Buxton (8), Rosario (10), Sano (11)
Top 3 WPA: Gonzalez .157, Buxton .109, Rosario .087
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):
Attached Image: Winchart.png

Minnesota scored three runs in the second. First, a slumping Marwin González broke a five-game hitless streak, smashing a second decker to center right, also scoring Brent Rooker, who doubled before him. A couple of innings later, he picked up his second hit of the night, making it his first multi-hit game since Aug. 23. This was only the second game with a hit for MarGo this month. Also, coming into tonight’s game, González was slashing .061/.158/.061 in the previous 12 games. What a nice way to snap a slump.

Willians Astudillo is living a completely opposite moment. He didn’t make his season debut until earlier this month, with tonight’s being only his sixth game of the season. Fortunately, he’s been scorching hot in that span and he hit his first home run of the season, giving the Twins back-to-back home runs and a 3-0 lead. It was a curious one, too. The ball came off his bat at 107.6 mph, the hardest hit ball of his career, but only with a 16 degree launch angle, the lowest of his career and tied for the lowest in baseball this season.

Meanwhile, Rich Hill had no trouble pitching three scoreless innings to start the game, including an impressive performance in the second, in which he struck out the side, even though he fell behind in the count three times against the two batters he faced. But he pitched himself into a jam in the fourth, giving up a leadoff home run to José Ramírez that put Cleveland on the board, and then allowing Carlos Santana and Jordan Luplow to reach. The Indians came even closer with an Oscar Mercado sac fly that scored their second run, but “Dick Mountain” struck out the next batter to end the inning.

Byron Buxton gave him a little breathing room in the bottom half of the inning, hitting a two-run bomb to center, his eighth of the year, pushing the lead back to three.


Hill came back for a final inning and pitched a scoreless fifth, making this arguably his best start of the season. He struck out a season best seven batters and had his highest single game WPA in the year, at .083, per Fangraphs. His curveball was outstanding tonight, as it produced seven swings and misses and allowed only one hit.

Mistakes lead to some drama
Cleveland came back to score a couple of runs more, with the help of some sloppy defense. In the sixth, Matt Wisler gave up a leadoff walk to Santana, who advanced to second on a passed ball. Luplow then hit a ball well into deep center, but not long enough to become a homer. Buxton got under it to make a not so hard catch, but he lost track of the wall, this time expecting to hit it before he actually did, instead of crashing into it. While still in the air, he caught the ball, but dropped it, allowing Luplow to reach third and Santana to score.

Tyler Clippard was pitching in the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Ramírez, who later stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Tyler Duffey took over for his first outing in six days, to try and finish it, but a bad pitch led to a passed ball that allowed Ramírez to cut Minnesota’s lead to only one run.

Eddie and Sanó to the rescue!
Things didn’t look great to start the bottom half of the eighth, as the Indians got two quick outs against the top of the order. Home plate umpire Mark Carlson played a huge role in Josh Donaldson’s strikeout, with a terrible third strike call. But Nelson Cruz drew a vital four-pitch walk to keep the inning alive, allowing Eddie Rosario to jump on the first pitch and give the Twins some key run support.


Still hitless on the night at that point, Miguel Sanó followed Rosie’s homer with a solo shot of his own, making it a four run lead for Minnesota. Miggy’s homer was the fifth in the game, a season high for the Twins. The previous high came on the first week of the season, when they hit four against the White Sox on July 26. Taylor Rogers closed out the game with an uneventful ninth, to secure the series win.

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
Attached Image: bullpen.png

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  • tarheeltwinsfan, dbminn, nclahammer and 1 other like this

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25 Comments

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IndianaTwin
Sep 12 2020 09:30 PM

Regarding Rooker getting hit — with Kepler expected back tomorrow, likely either Rooker or Wade were going to get sent down. This probably makes the decision. 

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JoshDungan1
Sep 12 2020 09:43 PM

Tough to lose Rooker with how composed and powerful he was at the plate to start his career. Hopefully he makes a good enough impression to start with the team next season!

    • Dman, tarheeltwinsfan, dbminn and 4 others like this

Hopefully Rooker is fine and Wade is sent down.Twins need to package some of the AAAA prospects for lower prospects that have a chance from another system.  

This could be close to the end for Rosario here if Twins get a decent offer offseason.

Dan Hayes is reporting Rooker's forearm is fractured, season over.

That's a shame.

https://www.mlbtrade...ed-forearm.html
    • dbminn, bighat, arby58 and 1 other like this

Wow, it just seems that this team plays better against the Indians and White Sox. It's a good thing that they won't be facing the Tigers or Royals in the postseason, since we seem to play our worst baseball against them!

    • mikelink45, Dman, DocBauer and 5 others like this
Rosario getting picked off first cuz he's not paying attention and then hitting the dinger. Classic combo.
    • Dman, tarheeltwinsfan, JoshDungan1 and 3 others like this

Twins haven't played all that well this year - and even so, they're right at the top.This team is GOOD. They were built for a marathon, not a sprint though. A shame we never got a full season to see them gel.Twins seem to be hitting their stride right now. Good timing. I hope Rocco doesn't start resting guys now, it would be like pulling the key out of the ignition while in 5th gear.

 

Turn 'em loose, Rocco.

    • mikelink45 and BeatTheRich like this

Go Twins! It's fun to watch Rooker at the plate. I hope to get quite a few more chances. Really sorry he got injured on an inside pitch.

 

On a related note, maybe someone could make Jose Ramirez move his feet a little bit at the plate. He looks way too comfortable up there.

    • AceWrigley likes this

I hope they keep Tortuga around.A lot of writers are saying that Buxton is the spark, but I think the turtle is igniting this team as well.

    • USNMCPO, mikelink45, Dman and 2 others like this

That's a real shame about Rooker: he was off to a really nice start and was really taking advantage of his opportunity. He's got a serious power bat and if he's able to control the strike zone like this, he's going to be a nice player. Very unlucky.

 

Very much felt like regular baseball to me today: players who have been taking a little heat busted out today, lol. Time for Blankenhorn? Marwin get a multi-hit game with a dinger. Ready to move on from Rosario? He clubs a dinger. I swear, that happens all the time in a normal season. :)

 

Rich Hill pitched pretty well, but I still have more faith in other starters right now. Cleveland has a bad offense, it's just bad. So while I'm pleased to see the K's and happy he got through 5 innings, he's not looking like a top 3 starter on the staff.

 

I hope the team signs Buxton to a long-term deal in the offseason. Even with the injuries, he's such a dynamic player and the team just works differently with him in the lineup. He's an energizer and he's producing.

    • mikelink45 and Dman like this

Rich Hill seems to turn into Poor Valley in the 4th or 5th inning. Maybe an opener or a long reliever?

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TheLeviathan
Sep 13 2020 08:30 AM

Buxton is heating up and getting in a groove!Awesome!

 

*Watches Luplow triple where Buxton needlessly overruns a ball and crashes awkwardly into a wall*

 

There it is.Buxton in a nutshell.

Huge win last night, Huge. Win or lose today, we have put a little distance between us and the Tribe. But wouldn't it be so nice to sweep?

 

Really crappy that Rooker's season ended last night. Even though he spent most of his summer over in St. Paul, he made enough of an impression to be counted on going forward.

 

Assume we will see them activate Kepler to take Rooker's spot on the roster. With Rooker injured, can they now add another player to the 60-man roster and bring him to St. Paul? Maybe another catcher named Rortvedt?

 

 

Byron Wallbanger is going to ruin his career if he can't figure this out. Pete Reiser v2.

Did anyone else notice that on most of those HR's the ball was right down the middle of the plate?I guess the Indians pitchers have so much confidence in their Breaking stuff that they don't think it matters where they place it?I was a little surprised Plesac didn't work the corners a bit more than he did.It seems like pitchers seem to guess when to throw a fastball down the middle on the first pitch and doing that to Rosario generally isn't a good idea when you can generally get him out with stuff off the plate and yet they tempted fate anyway and lost.

 

I guess the Indians plan was to pitch aggressively and make the Twins earn getting on base and it did allow their pitcher to go 7 innings but I don't think that plan allowed for the 5 HR's they gave up last night.

 

Nice to see the Twins finally bust out the Bomba bats.Let's hope the bats are here to stay as they head to the post season.

 

With Rooker injured, can they now add another player to the 60-man roster and bring him to St. Paul? Maybe another catcher named Rortvedt?

No. Unlike the 40-man roster, the 60-man pool includes players on the injured lists. The only way to add a player to the 60-man pool is to trade, release, or waive a player currently in the 60-man pool.

 

They could put Rooker on the 45-day IL, and take a player from the 60-man pool and add him to the 40-man roster in Rooker's place. But they probably just leave the spot open until they need it (i.e. for an emergency catcher).

    • rdehring likes this

 

Dan Hayes is reporting Rooker's forearm is fractured, season over.

That's a shame.

https://www.mlbtrade...ed-forearm.html

Hard to put a like on your post - but thanks for the update.I am really disappointed. I imagine Kepler will replace him, but I would love to have Kiriloff as an extra hitter.

    • bighat likes this

 

I would love to have Kiriloff as an extra hitter.

They could put Rooker on the 45-day IL and add Kirilloff to the 40-man in his place -- Kirilloff has to be added to the 40-man this offseason anyway, and he can't burn an option year anymore.

 

Although that could leave them with slightly less flexibility to add another player later -- say, if they want a spot for an emergency catcher. (Especially if Nick Gordon starts counting against the 40-man again at some point.)

    • mikelink45 likes this
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IndianaTwin
Sep 13 2020 10:25 AM

 

They could put Rooker on the 45-day IL and add Kirilloff to the 40-man in his place -- Kirilloff has to be added to the 40-man this offseason anyway, and he can't burn an option year anymore.

 

Although that could leave them with slightly less flexibility to add another player later -- say, if they want a spot for an emergency catcher. (Especially if Nick Gordon starts counting against the 40-man again at some point.)

 

And putting Rooker on the 45-day IL would only gain them two weeks of wiggle room, right? They'd have to take him back off near the beginning of the off season. 

 

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Doctor Gast
Sep 13 2020 10:27 AM

 

I hope they keep Tortuga around.A lot of writers are saying that Buxton is the spark, but I think the turtle is igniting this team as well.

Astudillo missed the training & a lot of time, it should be expected for him to be rusty. Many teams don`t have a decent back up catcher, Astudillo is our #4 catcher. We are very fortunate to have him as a #4 utility catcher plus his great hitting & the spark he adds to the team. 

It`s too bad about Rooker, he has proven himself

    • bighat likes this

 

And putting Rooker on the 45-day IL would only gain them two weeks of wiggle room, right? They'd have to take him back off near the beginning of the off season. 

Nope! 45-day IL (normally 60-day IL) guys don't have to be activated until after the World Series.

(Only 10/15 day IL guys are activated at the end of the regular season.)

 

BUT, you can't place a guy on the 45/60 day IL during the postseason.

Astudillo is a plus and buoys the team.

 

Astudillo is a plus and buoys the team.

Turtles can float!

    • Aichiman likes this
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IndianaTwin
Sep 13 2020 12:26 PM

 

Nope! 45-day IL (normally 60-day IL) guys don't have to be activated until after the World Series.

(Only 10/15 day IL guys are activated at the end of the regular season.)

 

BUT, you can't place a guy on the 45/60 day IL during the postseason.

 

Right — my point is that there isn’t really that much to gain by putting someone on the 45-man compared to the 10-day at this point in the season.

Right — my point is that there isn’t really that much to gain by putting someone on the 45-man compared to the 10-day at this point in the season.


Sure there is. Rooker to the 45-day IL could let us activate Bailey without cutting anyone from the 40-man, if he is ready and we want to get a look at him. Or if Garver has a setback this week, we could add another catcher for insurance. In other years, a team might use it to add a fireballing prospect to the 40-man a couple months early and see if they can catch lightning in bottle. Maybe if another outfielder gets hurt this week, we could add Kirilloff in a similar fashion?