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Twins Game Recap (7/12): Late Rally, Bullpen Power Stunning Comeback Win

The first of four remaining series against current three-time AL Central champions Cleveland Indians began this Friday at Progressive Field and the Twins prevailed with a late rally and took the first game, 5-3. Minnesota maintains recent success playing in Cleveland and overcome Kyle Gibson’s shortest start in almost two years.
Image courtesy of FanGraphs
Box Score
Gibson: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 57.5% strikes (46 of 80 pitches)
Bullpen: 5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K

Home Runs: Cruz (17), Garver (14)
Multi-Hit Games: none

Top 3 WPA: Polanco .363, Rogers .200, Sanó .150
Bottom 3 WPA: Buxton -.176, Gibson -.166, Kepler -.055

Despite ruling the division in recent years, Cleveland hasn't quite dominated the Twins. Since the start of 2015, they have a 45-44 record overall against Minnesota. When it comes down to games played in Ohio during that period, the Twins actually have the advantage, holding a 23-21 record after this game.

Gibson was removed from the game early, but the bullpen shut out the Indians in over five innings of work. For nearly a month now (since Jun. 14), Minnesota relievers are having an impressive run and now hold a 2.91 ERA in that span. They were again led by Taylor Rogers, who once again pitched a six-out save and is still having a historical season. This was also the first time since 1990 that a Twins reliever pitches back-to-back six-out or more saves.

Starters off to a rough start
Mike Clevinger was on his way to a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the first, but Nelson Cruz had other plans. He smashed a two-out solo home run to center field, on a low four-seamer, to put the Twins on the board. Although he allowed only the one run in the first half of the game, the Tribe starter had a hard time getting outs. The Twins lineup rode him to nearly 70 pitches to complete the first four innings.



Gibson also had to work up a sweat early. He actually cruised through the Indians lineup the first time through the order, retiring eight of them, only giving up a single in the first to Oscar Mercado. The trouble came the second time through, when he gave up a game-tying home run to lead off the fourth and then pitched himself into a jam. Cleveland claimed its first lead with a two-out, two-run single by Roberto Pérez. Both those runs scored were unearned, because of a throwing error by Ehire Adrianza.

After hitting number nine hitter Greg Allen, reaching 80 pitches, Gibson was done for the night one out shy of four innings pitched. Not counting his “opener” start against the Rangers last Sunday nor his relief appearance against the Rays on June 27th, this was Gibson’s shortest start since September 29th of 2017.

Clevinger pitched around a leadoff single by Luis Arráez, followed by a double from Miguel Sanó. Even though the Twins didn’t score, the long fifth inning was sufficient to get the Indians starter out of the game before he could record an out in the sixth.

Offense snaps its struggles with a rally
With those runners stranded by Clevinger in the fifth, the Twins fell to .233 with men in scoring position since the start of July, which would rank seventh worst in the majors. The numbers didn’t get any better after Cruz and Marwin Gonzalez reached safely in the sixth with one out and then Mitch Garver grounded into a double play against reliever Adam Cimber.

But Max Kepler started the Twins rally in the seventh in exciting fashion. With two men on and two outs, the greatest German in the world hit a grounder towards right field and was originally called out at first. But Rocco Baldelli challenged it and the call was overruled, allowing Sanó to score from third. Immediately after that at-bat, Jorge Polanco hit a clutch, bases-clearing double and the Twins retook the lead.



It didn’t stop there. Cleveland bullpen couldn’t stop the Bomba Squad... Garver hit his 14th of the year to leadoff the eighth, adding one more insurance run and giving the game its final numbers.



With the win, the Twins improve to 57-33 and are now six and a half game ahead of the Indians on top of the division. They will bring Jake Odorizzi to face Jake Bauers tomorrow.

Postgame With Baldelli


Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.

  • birdwatcher, IndianaTwin and MN_ExPat like this

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54 Comments

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terrydactyls1947
Jul 12 2019 09:10 PM

Today is Friday, July 12, it was the 90th game of the year and the Twins hit 2 home runs.The Twins are now 56% of the way through the season.Out of 59 years, the current team ranks 10th on the all-time list of Twins' home runs in one season and are on a pace to hit 302 home runs this season.They are now 99 homeruns behind the single season MLB record.

    • USAFChief, birdwatcher, Blake and 11 others like this
Best win of the season so far.

Rogers!

Side note: Will Smith blew his first save of the season for the Giants tonight...get him while his value has cratered!!1!

EDIT: too late. SF scored 4 in the top of the 10th, Smith will get the W, and his value will SKYROCKET!!1
    • ashbury, Blake, Jerr and 15 others like this
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yarnivek1972
Jul 12 2019 09:15 PM
Presumably Littell goes down to make room for Odorizzi.
    • Sconnie likes this
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IndianaTwin
Jul 12 2019 09:18 PM

Today is Friday, July 12, it was the 90th game of the year and the Twins hit 2 home runs.The Twins are now 56% of the way through the season.Out of 59 years, the current team ranks 10th on the all-time list of Twins' home runs in one season and are on a pace to hit 302 home runs this season.They are now 99 homeruns behind the single season MLB record.


Every time I read this, I think it’s going to get boring. But every time I read this, I think, “Holy crap, this is incredible.” Thanks for doing these.

I’m curious (and too lazy to look it up). What are the teams they are trailing? If it’s easy, how about adding a “next up is the ______ team at ____”?
    • Seth Stohs, Blake, Jerr and 7 others like this

That was a pretty impressive win. Listened on the radio and for a while it seemed we were going to beat ourselves.

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IndianaTwin
Jul 12 2019 09:21 PM
Thieres, did you really have this posted seven minutes after the final pitch? Wow!
    • mickeymental likes this

 

Presumably Littell goes down to make room for Odorizzi.

Smeltzer was already sent down over the brake for Odorizzi. Plus, with how well Littell has pitched, I wouldn't want to send him down.

    • Blake, CUtomorrownight, bighat and 2 others like this
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terrydactyls1947
Jul 12 2019 09:24 PM

 

Every time I read this, I think it’s going to get boring. But every time I read this, I think, “Holy crap, this is incredible.” Thanks for doing these. I’m curious (and too lazy to look it up). What are the teams they are trailing? If it’s easy, how about adding a “next up is the ______ team at ____”?

 

i'm going out of town for a week (going to Minneapolis and then Rice Lake Wisconsin to play golf) and I'm not sure how much updating I'll be doing until next weekend.But here are the remaining nine teams (seasons) still ahead of the current squad.When I get back (or maybe before I leave if I find some time), I'll try to incorporate the "next up" phrase into the formulas.

 

Year HRs Rank
2009 172 9
1962 185 8
2004 191 7
1987 196 5
1986 196 5
2016 200 4
2017 206 3
1964 221 2
1963 225 1

    • USAFChief, Jerr, Riverbrian and 6 others like this
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Aerodeliria
Jul 12 2019 09:25 PM

 

Best win of the season so far.

Rogers!

Side note: Will Smith blew his first save of the season for the Giants tonight...get him while his value has cratered!!1!

I want to 'heart' this instead of 'like' it. As we can see now, the confidence in the bullpen is Harper and Rogers; everyone else is only brought in when the Twins have a cushion or are getting trounced.

I'm pretty sure Trevor Bauer is the starting pitcher for the Indians tomorrow and not Jake Bauers. Although that would be very entertaining.

    • ashbury, IndianaTwin, mickeymental and 3 others like this
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yarnivek1972
Jul 12 2019 09:32 PM

Smeltzer was already sent down over the brake for Odorizzi. Plus, with how well Littell has pitched, I wouldn't want to send him down.

Smeltzer was replaced by Parker.

Didn’t say I want Littell out, but I don’t think the Twins are ready to cut bait on Mejia yet.
    • bighat and wabene like this
Rogers is an MVP candidate
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Halsey Hall
Jul 12 2019 09:36 PM
Big win tonight, I was afraid we gave it away.

 

Thieres, did you really have this posted seven minutes after the final pitch? Wow!

 

That's the goal!! Well done!

    • SQUIRREL, IndianaTwin, mickeymental and 3 others like this
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IndianaTwin
Jul 12 2019 09:41 PM

I want to 'heart' this instead of 'like' it. As we can see now, the confidence in the bullpen is Harper and Rogers; everyone else is only brought in when the Twins have a cushion or are getting trounced.


Bringing in May when it’s 3-1 and there are two runners on seems like confidence in his ability to get out of the inning.

May now has given up one run in his last 10.1 innings, and three in the last 16.1, with an opponents’ OPS around .550 during that time (almost two months).
    • luckylager, Dantes929, Monkeypaws and 8 others like this
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AlwaysinModeration
Jul 12 2019 09:54 PM
Twins season by tens:

6-4
7-3
6-4
6-4
9-1
6-4
7-3
5-5
5-5

Still haven’t managed a losing ten-game stretch. .633 win percentage, third best record in baseball.
    • Riverbrian, Dantes929, Monkeypaws and 6 others like this
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AlwaysinModeration
Jul 12 2019 09:54 PM
Another ten starts tomorrow.

I'm liking May. And really liking Littell in his role. I don't see the need to keep Mejia. Really don't. Think he would pass thru waivers and can work it out at Rochester and free up a roster spot.

    • mikelink45, adorduan, MN_ExPat and 1 other like this

Bringing in May when it’s 3-1 and there are two runners on seems like confidence in his ability to get out of the inning.

May now has given up one run in his last 10.1 innings, and three in the last 16.1, with an opponents’ OPS around .550 during that time (almost two months).

Lurch may be finally getting it together this year just like we expected after his strong finish last year. Hitting 98? I'm in
    • Monkeypaws, DocBauer, IndianaTwin and 2 others like this

 

I want to 'heart' this instead of 'like' it. As we can see now, the confidence in the bullpen is Harper and Rogers; everyone else is only brought in when the Twins have a cushion or are getting trounced.

Not agreeing with that. Of course you want your best guys in the highest leverage spots but Duffey, May, Littell and Harper have pitched in a lot of close games and done just fine.  Starters have not done as well in the last month and the relievers have really picked up the slack, IMO. If you believe the Twins have a lousy pen that is ok, but they have not pitched lousy to this point.  

    • mikelink45, DocBauer, IndianaTwin and 3 others like this

After watching the highlights of this game, an odd thought popped into my head:

 

The Twins are going to win the World Series.

 

Hey now, stop right there, fellah! You can't smoke that in here, take it outside in the parking lot! 

 

I'll admit I've developed a taste for a bit of wacky weed now and then, but I'm sober right this moment. That thought isn't the product of cannabinoid compounds. It's a gut feeling from watching this team become kind of a bully. That was the feeling I got from watching the Twins come back and hold the lead. They applied enough pressure from enough directions to make a win happen. Against Cleveland, a team that has been a bit of a bully in this division for the last few years. 

 

The Twins are going to win the World Series.

 

Oops, I did it again. Did I say that out loud? 

 

Let's just pretend I'm the crazy uncle. I'm okay with that. I am in fact an uncle, and yeah, I'm pretty out there. 

    • Han Joelo, Dantes929, IndianaTwin and 2 others like this
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psturnbloom
Jul 13 2019 12:52 AM

 

I'm liking May. And really liking Littell in his role. I don't see the need to keep Mejia. Really don't. Think he would pass thru waivers and can work it out at Rochester and free up a roster spot.

 

Pass through waivers? I doubt it, honestly. With the glimpses of brilliance he has had in the past, I think there's a club out there who would take a chance on him.

    • DocBauer and railmarshalljon like this

This is how good teams win ball games. Your starting pitching is okay..., but your bullpen holds and your bats are clutch enough to beat a division rival.You win close games, your bullpen shuts the opponent down.These are the games that are between the the "you win win 60 and lose 60......the other 42 are what decide the season." This is a big one.

    • Han Joelo, birdwatcher, DocBauer and 1 other like this

 


 

 

 

. It's a gut feeling from watching this team become kind of a bully. That was the feeling I got from watching the Twins come back and hold the lead. They applied enough pressure from enough directions to make a win happen.        Against Cleveland, a team that has been a bit of a bully in this division for the last few years. 

 

The Twins are going to win the World Series.

 

 

The Indians have been a bit of bully over the last 29 games, going 21-8, as they came out of the break.

 

The Twins typically found ways to lose games like this one. Last night, they found ways to win one against a hard-charging AL Central division power.

 

I don't know about the Series, but I think tonight's gutty effort and outcome proved that the boys are making it incumbent upon FalVine to bolster BOTH the SP and RP staff by the end of the month to ensure a legitimate run can be made in order to secure home field advantage going into the playoffs.

    • SQUIRREL and birdwatcher like this
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AlwaysinModeration
Jul 13 2019 03:32 AM
The folks at IndiansDaily must be really thrilled with the Mercado read on Polanco’s double. I can’t imagine the pitchforks that would be out on TD if, let’s say, Marwin or Arraez had made a mistake like that. (I was going to say Buxton, but who are we kidding?)
    • SwainZag, mikelink45, adorduan and 1 other like this

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