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Twins Game Recap (7/20): Twins Offense and Bullpen Can’t Do Enough to Secure the Win

In a game full of excitement and heartbreak, the Twins once again lose to Liam Hendricks and the Oakland Athletics by a score of 5-4. Also, everyone is mad at the bullpen.
Image courtesy of FanGraphs
Box Score
Berrios: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 65.4% strikes (74 of 113 pitches)
Bullpen: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

Home Runs: Garver (17), Cruz (19), Sano (14)
Multi-Hit Games: Sano (2-3), Kepler (2-4)

Top 3 WPA: Schoop (0.37), Berrios (0.28), Sano (0.24)
Bottom 3 WPA: Rogers (-0.62), Garver (-0.43), Littell (-0.43)

Hot start with the bats

The Twins began the third game of the series about as well as you could have hoped. Jose Berrios worked out of an error, bunt single and hit by pitch to strike out the side and it looked like he was well on his way to another quality start at the least. The bats also started off great, with a Mitch Garver home run, followed by a Cruz home run and then a Sano double that the Twins couldn’t cash in but it was 2-0 Twins after one.

Mitch Garver is now batting .289/.357/.684 (1.041) with five home runs when he has hit leadoff (10 games this season).



Offense slows down and Berrios navigates through trouble

After the first inning, the Twins offense took a nose dive back down to Earth and couldn’t buy a hit against Anderson. There was an 0-for-14 stretch where everything was hit on the ground and there were only two balls hit with a 90 mph exit velocity or better. In the midst of these rough innings, Berrios seemed to be struggling and doing well at the same time. He got all the way into the sixth inning with spotty command but he showed just how good he is even without his best stuff.

Bullpen struggles and Sano has a big day

Berrios was taken out after 5 2/3 innings and was replaced by Tyler Duffey who did a good job of striking out the first guy he faced. He went back out for the seventh, walked the leadoff guy and got a pop out before he was removed for Zack Littell. It was not a good day for Littell after the front office showed how much they trusted him by letting other pitchers go. He immediately gave up a crushing two run home run to Mark Canha and then a solo shot to Ramon Laureano to give Oakland the lead 3-2.

The next inning began with a Miguel Sano moonshot to left center that had an exit velocity of 113.8 mph and traveled 443 feet. The fans were back in it and the game was tied. The Twins offense rode that wave and C.J. Cron later scored on a sac fly from Jonathan Schoop. 4-3 Twins.



Rogers blows the save and comeback falls short

The ninth inning began just as everyone expected with the ever reliable Taylor Rogers in for the save, with a groundout and strikeout. Things got messy from there as the next batter was hit, then Laureano doubled and that was followed by a two-RBI single from Khris Davis off the glove of Adrianza at first. Eventually Rogers got out of the inning but it was 5-4 Athletics.

The game appeared to be over, but the Twins refused to quit. Kepler singled, followed by a Schoop double and then Eddie Rosario was intentionally walked to bring up the greatest catcher of all time with the bases loaded and a chance to win it. Facing Liam Hendricks, Garver hit the first pitch right to shortstop for a crushing double play to end the game and the Twins fell 5-4.

Bullpen woes hard to ignore

The outcry from the fans for another bullpen arm or two to be added was never louder than throughout the game tonight. When Zack Littell is the guy you turn to in a big seventh inning, you may want to add. After the second home run it was apparent the fans at Target Field were upset as they rained down the boo’s from all over.

The overuse of Rogers was also apparent tonight. He is the only reliever anyone can trust out there and he just didn’t have it tonight. If that is linked to fatigue then making a trade is much more necessary.

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.

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25 Comments

Seller clubs are expecting sky high returns, and the selling market is smaller than expected.Many of the in between clubs are holding until they can sort out what course to take.  

Twins need the help now, we will see if the FO answers.

This game made me sick, only Game I’ve been able to attend. Spent good money on tickets/hotel/food. Just a punch to the guy that really leaves a sour taste. Team just feels flat and walking out of target field felt like leaving game 2 of the ALDS in 2010 just a fan base that always comes back only to get knocked down time and time again. I’ve been very optimistic all year even with the division lead shrinking but tonight might of knocked me back to reality, twins fans just can’t have nice things.
    • h2oface, bighat and Tarken10 like this

When you shift on every batter, and then have Adrianza at first with runners on second and third........ It is not a mystery to me why reliable Rogers gives up a game winning hit that should have been the third out if you didn't try to run the team so cute.

 

I wish Baldelli would explain why he used Rosario in the 9th to be walked... because with 1 out and runners on second and third and the game on the line, whoever batted would have been walked to set up the double play. Why was Rosario on the bench, anyway?

 

The offense needs to score runs. The pitching would look a lot better if the bats would score some runs, and get some hits with RISP.

    • mikelink45, bighat and rkevin like this
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Cooper Carlson
Jul 20 2019 10:08 PM

 

When you shift on every batter, and then have Adrianza at first with runners on second and third........ It is not a mystery to me why reliable Rogers gives up a game winning hit that should have been the third out if you didn't try to run the team so cute.

 

I wish Baldelli would explain why he used Rosario in the 9th to be walked... because with 1 out and runners on second and third and the game on the line, whoever batted would have been walked to set up the double play. Why was Rosario on the bench, anyway?

 

The offense needs to score runs. The pitching would look a lot better if the bats would score some runs, and get some hits with RISP.

Shifting is not a bad thing and it works much more than it doesn't. Davis is a pure pull hitter and him hitting it to first was a surprise. On Rosario, he didn't start because he was feeling under the weather.

 

This game made me sick, only Game I’ve been able to attend. Spent good money on tickets/hotel/food. Just a punch to the guy that really leaves a sour taste. Team just feels flat and walking out of target field felt like leaving game 2 of the ALDS in 2010 just a fan base that always comes back only to get knocked down time and time again. I’ve been very optimistic all year even with the division lead shrinking but tonight might of knocked me back to reality, twins fans just can’t have nice things.

 

I feel for you. That's the thing with sports. Spend that kind of money and time on a concert of your favorite musician.... and you 99% of the time go away happy. At least it wasn't a game that they just gave up and let Adrianza pitch. That would have been even worse. This game...... the shift cost the game in the 9th. It could have been a happy walk to the parking lot.

 

In regard to the Carlson claim that the shift works more than it doesn't.... I don't see any concrete proof of that. Many times, the shift is considered to work, but the fact is, if the infield was just in position with a normal slightly adjusted alignment, it would have also worked on the same play. That isn't considered in the mix. Hard to really make the stat work when the other option can't be known.

 

There was also a base open. The Twins didn't have to pitch to Davis, who has been resurgent. Could have walked him. Grossman would have still probably been pulled, though, as he is hitting .154 against lefties. But that is neither here or there at this point.

    • mikelink45, OldTimeTwinkie and terrydactyls1947 like this

I really think batting practice performance of Littell was the real turning point of the game. He should never be trusted at all. I wouldn't want to see him anymore this season. He should be back to AAA in no time.

    • Jerr likes this

I would love for the rules to be changed that there must be two infielders on each side of second base. This shift thing is so utterly stupid. When you are two inches from second base and you're called a third baseman? Goofy.

    • bluechipper likes this

Garver hits a homer in the game, and he gets a WPA of -0.43. Now that is an advanced stat.

    • mikelink45 likes this

Brutal loss. I'll be shocked if we're still in 1st on 7/31. I'd take 1-3 over the next four at this point. 

    • bighat and jz7233 like this

I feel for you. That's the thing with sports. Spend that kind of money and time on a concert of your favorite musician.... and you 99% of the time go away happy. At least it wasn't a game that they just gave up and let Adrianza pitch. That would have been even worse. This game...... the shift cost the game in the 9th. It could have been a happy walk to the parking lot.

In regard to the Carlson claim that the shift works more than it doesn't.... I don't see any concrete proof of that. Many times, the shift is considered to work, but the fact is, if the infield was just in position with a normal slightly adjusted alignment, it would have also worked on the same play. That isn't considered in the mix. Hard to really make the stat work when the other option can't be known.

There was also a base open. The Twins didn't have to pitch to Davis, who has been resurgent. Could have walked him. Grossman would have still probably been pulled, though, as he is hitting .154 against lefties. But that is neither here or there at this point.

I definitely wouldn't have thrown Davis a strike. See if he'll chase, if not, first is open.
    • Jerr, h2oface, Platoon and 2 others like this
But I cant lay much blame on Rogers. One man bullpen.
    • Blake, Jerr, Madisonsdad and 6 others like this

 

I really think batting practice performance of Littell was the real turning point of the game. He should never be trusted at all. I wouldn't want to see him anymore this season. He should be back to AAA in no time.

Littell pitched 11 straight scoreless innings before giving up those two HRs tonight...

    • SwainZag, h2oface, Jaykay and 5 others like this
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Tom Froemming
Jul 20 2019 11:06 PM

 

When you shift on every batter, and then have Adrianza at first with runners on second and third........ It is not a mystery to me why reliable Rogers gives up a game winning hit that should have been the third out if you didn't try to run the team so cute.

Are you talking about the go-ahead hit by Khris Davis? That was basically hit right at Ehire. They had him standing almost exactly where the ball was hit. It came off the bat 106 mph, so I'm pretty confident if that was a traditional infield alignment that ball is going between the first and second basemen and into the outfield.

    • Danchat, wsnydes, Aerodeliria and 1 other like this

 

Garver hits a homer in the game, and he gets a WPA of -0.43. Now that is an advanced stat.

He also hit into a game ending DP. He could have made Hendriks work harder at least.

    • Aerodeliria likes this

On Joe Mauer day, 6/15, the Twins won to go 25 over .500 for the first time since 2010. Since then, they are 12-16. 

    • h2oface likes this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Jul 20 2019 11:30 PM

Garver hits a homer in the game, and he gets a WPA of -0.43. Now that is an advanced stat.

A solo homer in the first inning of a scoreless game is not high leverage. Last inning, bases loaded, tying run on third, is a situation quite a bit more critical. But I get what you’re saying.
    • jz7233 likes this

Rocco's no manager. No baseball manager; human resources maybe; but for a major league baseball team, no way!The dynamic duo done messed up!

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Pius Jefferson
Jul 21 2019 03:02 AM

Sucks that any trades are going to feel like ones of desperation instead of additions to a strong team,

    • jz7233 likes this
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VivaBomboRivera!
Jul 21 2019 04:24 AM

OAK hitters were not looking fooled much at all.Is something in Berrios' delivery giving away his breaking ball?Only Hermann and Laureano went down swinging at it, and they came back later for much better at-bats.Every other A's batter was laying off the breaking stuff and working long counts.

 

Sano works a full count into a bomba and goes 2 for 3.Much improved swing and overall hitting approach.Never seen a hitter mature so much in a month. 

 

Kepler is a big talent but today receives the Darrell Evans Award for his inning-killing base running error.A potential run lost that could have left the game tied, or maybe just made the Athletics lie down a little more in the top of the 9th. 

 

I feel like Steve McQueen:"I was home!What the hell happened?!?!"

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terrydactyls1947
Jul 21 2019 05:30 AM

Yesterday was Friday, July 19, it was the 96th game of the year and the Twins hit 1 home run.The Twins are now 59% of the way through the season.Out of 59 years, the current team ranks 9th on the all-time list of Twins' home runs in one season and are on a pace to hit 300 home runs this season.They are now 89 home runs behind the single season MLB record.The next Twins team to pass is the 1962 team that hit 185 home runs.

    • Jerr likes this
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Tom Froemming
Jul 21 2019 06:18 AM

Here's some video of last night's loss. The bullpen was the obvious point of focus, but I ended it by showing every pitch Miguel Sano saw in his four plate appearances. 

 

 

As VivaBombo alluded to, this looks like a completely different guy. To change a swing is one thing, but he's gone from looking lost to above average in terms of pitch recognition. Weird theory, but it honestly makes me wonder if there was something going on with his vision. Whatever it is, it's been a very welcome change.

    • Jerr, D.C Twins, jz7233 and 1 other like this

I am not a fan of WPA but do not mind it being listed here.However I would like to have errors added to the list of call outs.  

 

Thank goodness Cleveland had its streak end.I remember there 20 game winning streak and when they start a streak I worry it will not end.Francona must do magic because his lineup does not seem good enough to win as often as they do.The Twins should be worried.One more with As and then the Yankees.Only three game lead!

 

How do they rest Rogers when the race is this tight?But they have to because we need him to be fresh for the stretch run.  

While the Twins are trying their mightiest, I can't see this team advancing to the WS with the Yankees and Astros having both starting and bullpen advantages in a series.Our bullpen can't hold up and we'll continue to lose numerous late-inning leads which demoralize a team both in the long haul in a divisional battle with Cleveland and in a pressure-packed playoff series.  

 

I'm tempering my expectations and instead looking at a long-term sustainment approach and hoping that not too many attempts at a quick fix for a WS run are in the plans for this season.Keep the assets we have as trades can take place after the season as well.We may get more for our assets in the offseason as teams hoping to deal their players expect too much as we approach the deadline.Don't give the Mets two arms and a leg for a guy who may not return to his promised form.Ditto for Bumgarner who has logged a ton of miles and is a rental.He won't be the difference-maker this year with this bullpen.We need more than one upgrade to the bullpen anyway.  

 

Stay the course to build a team worthy of long-term success like Houston and the Cubs built.Don't panic and stray from the patient approach that got you here quicker than expected.Can we go after a player?Sure.But don't mortgage the farm simply to get one crack at it all when continuing the path can lead to many years of serious contending.This is a good year for getting a taste of contending which is new for most on this roster.Learning to improve their craft through manufacturing runs when needed and hanging in longer on pitch counts to reach bullpens sooner are all part of learning to contend.  

    • jz7233 likes this
Rogers is a fine reliever. But, his stuff isn’t overpowering by any means.

Did everyone see what Liam Hendriks did in game 2 I’d ther series? That’s what a late inning reliever ona World Series contender looks like.

Being overworked is a contributor, sure. But, things were going to catch up to Rogers eventually. I’m still not totally convinced he’s the caliber of relieve to be used in a scenario like Game 7 of the ALCS against a RHer like Judge, Springer, etc.

At this point, not only is it hurting the team that they have refused to address the bullpen for so long, but it’s becoming a PR nightmare as well. Fans are pissed. They’ll stop coming (and they should). It makes it even worse when you see guys like Presley, Hendriks, etc, dominating in late inning roles for teams that make us look like the bad news bears.

We’re not even going to make playoffs. I think everyone is starting to see the writing on the wall. And, honestly, after the start we’ve had and the amount of time they’ve spent idly watching this spiral around the drain, someone should be accountable.

What I want to know is, have they presented trades to ownership and have been turned down? Or, are they just chalking the first couple of months up to statistical fluke and are banking in the future. The latter I could stomach, the former would make me a Brewers fan. The 00s would be tough to live through again.
    • ruralTWINS rube likes this
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bluechipper
Jul 21 2019 10:45 AM

At least Cleveland got shutout by Jacob Junis, who had an ERA over 5 going into the game, so it could be worse, right?

    • Danchat and EPEZRider like this

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