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Front Page: Twins Game Recap (9/21): Twins Blow Lead, Imp...

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Twins Game Recap (8/19): Twins Unable to Mount Comeback, Drop Series Opener 6-4

After completing a four-game sweep in Texas, the Twins returned home to start a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox. With the Cleveland Indians off for a day before starting a three-game series in New York against the Mets, the Twins had an opportunity to expand their division lead another half game to three. Nelson Cruz was back in the lineup and Luis Arraez hit leadoff for the first time in his career but the Twins fell to Chicago by a final score of 6-4.
Image courtesy of FanGraphs
Box Score
Gibson: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 66.7% strikes (66 of 99 pitches)
Bullpen: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

Home Runs: Polanco (18)
Multi-Hit Games: Arraez (3-for-5, 2B), Rosario (3-for-5), Polanco (2-for-5, 2B, HR), Cruz (2-for-5), Sano (2-for-5), Cave (2-for-4, 2B)

Bottom 3 WPA: Gibson -.223, Cron -.180, Gonzalez -.130

Twins strike early
White Sox starter Ivan Nova was red hot coming into today’s game as he was 4-0 with a 0.49 ERA and two complete games in his last five starts. After giving up only two earned runs in his last 37 innings, the Twins were able to get two runs off of Nova in the first inning. Luis Arraez and Jorge Polanco started the game off with back-to-back doubles and Nelson Cruz knocked in Polanco with a single. Unfortunately, an Eddie Rosario rocket was picked by Yolmer Sanchez and turned into a double play or the Twins might have put additional runs on the board. Nova threw 48 pitches through two innings (16 to Arraez in two ABs).

White Sox strike back
Gibson has traditionally pitched very well against the Sox and it looked like that trend would continue as Gibson cruised through two innings with great command. However, the Sox got to Gibson for four runs in the third.

After three singles, the White Sox had runners on second and third (thanks to an errant throw to home from Eddie Rosario) and first base open. Gibson gave up a three-run blast to Jose Abreu on a first-pitch fastball right down the heart of the plate. With light-hitting Jon Jay on-deck, Gibson probably would have liked to pitch Abreu a little more carefully.

Both starters get on a roll
Nova was able to turn things around after the two-run first, putting up zeros through the fifth. However, in the sixth the Twins were able to knock Nova out of the game after long at-bats by both Marwin Gonzalez (strike out) and Jake Cave. Miguel Sano led off the inning with a single and with one out, Cave hit another single. Sano and Cave were able to advance an extra base due to the Sox being unable to cleanly field the ball and Nova was done for the night. Following Nova’s exit, C.J. Cron hit a ground ball to third and Ryan Goins made a perfect throw to home to get a sliding Miguel Sano. Jason Castro struck out to end the Twins threat.

Gibson was also able to bounce back nicely after his four-run third. He didn’t allow any base runners in the fourth, fifth, or sixth innings, but he did run into trouble in the seventh. With one out and runners on first and third the Sox perfectly executed a suicide-squeeze bunt on an 0-2 count with Sanchez at the plate and Tim Anderson coming home. Ryne Harper came in for Gibson and got the final out of the inning with the Twins trailing 5-2.

Twins unable to mount a comeback
Trailing 5-2 in the seventh, Polanco hit a solo home run to pull the Twins to within two. Rosario would go on to single with two outs, bringing Miguel Sano to the plate as the tying run. Sano struck out on a check swing to end the inning.

Lewis Thorpe came in to pitch the final two innings for the Twins. He got plenty of swings and misses and struck out three, but he did give up an additional run in the eighth.

Arraez got on base with a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth and Cruz hit a two-out single to get Rosario to the plate as the tying run. Rosario singled to bring the Twins within two with Sano coming to the plate but Alex Colome was able to strike out Sano and end the game.

Arraez leads off
The Twins moved Luis Arraez up in the lineup to hit leadoff for the first time in his young MLB career. Having Arraez hit leadoff makes a lot of sense as Arraez gets on base at a team-leading .412 clip. He has also had some of the team’s best at-bats this season and that continued against the Sox. Arraez led off the game with a 10-pitch battle that ended with a double and he singled in his second at-bat. He finished the game with three hits. With Max Kepler getting the day off, it will be interesting to see what the Twins will do with Kepler back in the lineup. Kepler has had a great year hitting leadoff and the Twins might not want to mess with that, but it would be nice to have Arraez on base in front of some of Kepler’s team-leading home runs.

Cruz returns, Littell optioned
The Twins will try to get by with a 12-man bullpen for the time being as reliever Zack Littell was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Nelson Cruz. After hitting oranges during his time on the IL, Cruz had to deal with a squirrel in his first at-bat of the game. The rodent was no match for Cruz as he singled in Polanco for the second Twins run. Cruz finished the game 2-for-5, singling twice and picking up an RBI.

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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96 Comments

That Cron at bat when he didn't come through was especially disappointing. No one stepped up tonight, not really.
    • Aerodeliria likes this
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Aerodeliria
Aug 19 2019 10:20 PM

Meh...games almost always turn on one or two pitches. We'll see what happens next time Gibson goes out. He's been disappointing fairly consistently lately.

 

I also like Arraez in the leadoff spot. He did what we wanted him to and had a nice two-out swing with runners on. It was a pity it didn't fall in.

 

It's nice to have Cruz back.

    • Original Whizzinator likes this
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Aerodeliria
Aug 19 2019 10:26 PM

 

That Cron at bat when he didn't come through was especially disappointing. No one stepped up tonight, not really.

That was certainly the low-point...although Gonzales also whiffed in the same inning. Cron really hasn't been the hitter he was earlier in the season. Getting one run in that 6th inning was critical.

    • Minny505 likes this

Twins pitching has been tagged for a big inning in way too many games. In recent games the opponent has had an inning with 3+ runs in 8 of the last 10 games (5 of those were 4+ run innings).

    • birdwatcher, KidBro and rkevin like this

Starting pitching has mostly been bad lately, we really need that to change.  Another guy thrown out at home, was that a contact play, I did not get to watch the game?

 

Worried about all the outs we have been having at home plate...

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Patrick Wozniak
Aug 19 2019 10:53 PM

 

Starting pitching has mostly been bad lately, we really need that to change.  Another guy thrown out at home, was that a contact play, I did not get to watch the game?

 

Worried about all the outs we have been having at home plate...

Yeah, Sano went on contact and it was a pretty close play.

The Twins again blew a replay call. The play at home in the 6th, the catcher blocked the plate before he had the ball. I've never actually seen a call overturned, but they had to at least try. It's too big of a play in the game not to. I don't get it.

 

Also, Arreaz should lead off going forward. Period. Getting a pitcher to 20 + pitches in the 1st is huge. 

    • gocgo and Original Whizzinator like this
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VivaBomboRivera!
Aug 20 2019 05:52 AM

 

Yeah, Sano went on contact and it was a pretty close play.

 

He should have slid feet first.

    • rkevin likes this
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GetToKnowEm
Aug 20 2019 05:54 AM
Only 4 runs on 15 hits. Wow.
    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this
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VivaBomboRivera!
Aug 20 2019 06:27 AM

Interesting development:

  • Jake Cave, ML batting stats after this game:.261 / .358 / .374
  • Byron Buxton, 2019 to date:.262 / .314 / .513
  • Eddie Rosario:.282 / .307 / .519
  • Max Kepler:.255 / .336 / .529

Defensively there's no comparison between Cave and Buxton or Kepler.However, if Cave keeps increasing the gap in his on base numbers and closing in SLG. there is a case for platooning him with Buxton and Rosario, with Buxton getting the call in late innings of tight games.

Just once I would like to hear Gibson say something along the lines of "I stunk and I need to step up in games like this." It's always "I think I pitched well outside of one or two pitches." 

 

This loss was not on Gibson, but I just don't think he has the swagger/mental toughness to take that big step forward to be a #2/#3 starter in the league. He will always be a #4/#5. 

    • birdwatcher, LA VIkes Fan, Original Whizzinator and 3 others like this

I've watched it over and over again. I fixate with the best of them.:)

 

He is safe if the plate is not blocked. 

 

The plate was blocked by a foot/leg that is extended away from the catcher's body before the ball arrives. 

 

Before the Posey Rule Change... I would have said great play. 

 

After the Posey Rule Change... it is a violation. 

 

The call should have been challenged. It was a run and a favorable situation for a 2nd run. 

 

The call was huge. 

 

As it stands... the play was huge... hats off to the White Sox because they made it. 

 

It should have been challenged. 

 

 

 

    • SQUIRREL, gocgo, Rigby and 3 others like this

Interesting development:

  • Jake Cave, ML batting stats after this game: .261 / .358 / .374
  • Byron Buxton, 2019 to date: .262 / .314 / .513
  • Eddie Rosario: .282 / .307 / .519
  • Max Kepler: .255 / .336 / .529
Defensively there's no comparison between Cave and Buxton or Kepler. However, if Cave keeps increasing the gap in his on base numbers and closing in SLG. there is a case for platooning him with Buxton and Rosario, with Buxton getting the call in late innings of tight games.

Cave has a kinda-flukey 7 HBP in 134 PA this season. He had only 7 in 559 PA all of last year, and similar or lower rates previously in his career. So unless it is a new skill, he should only have 1-2 HBP at this point in 2019. Taking those HBP out of the equation, his OBP would only be .322 for the season.

Also, that stat line relies heavily on a .389 BABIP too, compared to a league rate of .300. He did manage a .363 mark in MLB last year but I am not sure I want to count on either going forward.

On a fully healthy roster, there is no regular/platoon starting spot for Cave in this outfield.
    • Mike Sixel, Dantes929, Original Whizzinator and 1 other like this

I hope Falvey & Levine are scouting starting pitchers to acquire this coming off-season. Gibson should not be re-signed.

    • birdwatcher, puckstopper1, Vanimal46 and 3 others like this

 

Interesting development:

  • Jake Cave, ML batting stats after this game:.261 / .358 / .374
  • Byron Buxton, 2019 to date:.262 / .314 / .513
  • Eddie Rosario:.282 / .307 / .519
  • Max Kepler:.255 / .336 / .529

Defensively there's no comparison between Cave and Buxton or Kepler.However, if Cave keeps increasing the gap in his on base numbers and closing in SLG. there is a case for platooning him with Buxton and Rosario, with Buxton getting the call in late innings of tight games.

 

I assume this is a bit? Can't be real

    • bighat and Battle ur tail off like this

Kyle Gibson and Jose Berrios in August; 

 

7 Starts, Twins record 2-5

 

38.2 Innings

36 runs

30 earned runs

 

Big time performances down the stretch from the 2 guys who are supposed to be your best starters. 

    • Original Whizzinator likes this

 

I've watched it over and over again. I fixate with the best of them.:)

 

He is safe if the plate is not blocked. 

 

The plate was blocked by a foot/leg that is extended away from the catcher's body before the ball arrives. 

 

Before the Posey Rule Change... I would have said great play. 

 

After the Posey Rule Change... it is a violation. 

 

The call should have been challenged. It was a run and a favorable situation for a 2nd run. 

 

The call was huge. 

 

As it stands... the play was huge... hats off to the White Sox because they made it. 

 

It should have been challenged. 

 

Perhaps it should have been challenged, but I'm not sure I agree with your conclusion that it was a violation.

 

Below is the exact moment where the ball enters the catcher's glove (and presumably the catcher gains the full right to place his foot wherever he wants). As you can see, Sano's hand has not yet reached the foot, thus he hasn't been blocked by it yet.

 

Attached Image: ec550ecd-e83921a7-732e3242-csvm-diamondx64-asset_1280x720_59_4000K-.jpg

    • Minny505, Original Whizzinator, rkevin and 1 other like this

I hope Falvey & Levine are scouting starting pitchers to acquire this coming off-season. Gibson should not be re-signed.


Concur... He should only be re-signed if it's not possible to sign Big Mike or Odorizzi first.

 

Perhaps it should have been challenged, but I'm not sure I agree with your conclusion that it was a violation.

 

Below is the exact moment where the ball enters the catcher's glove (and presumably the catcher gains the full right to place his foot wherever he wants). As you can see, Sano's hand has not yet reached the foot, thus he hasn't been blocked by it yet.

 

attachicon.gifec550ecd-e83921a7-732e3242-csvm-diamondx64-asset_1280x720_59_4000K-.jpg

 

I could be mistaken, but does it matter Sano has not physically reached the catcher or the plate yet? His pathway was blocked even though he is yet to be there. 

From the recap: "Arraez (3-for-5, 2B), Rosario (3-for-5), Polanco (2-for-5, 2B, HR), Cruz (2-for-5), Sano (2-for-5), Cave (2-for-4, 2B)"

 

By those stats alone, I'd have guessed the Twins would have won 11-6. Twins offense continues to put up ridiculous numbers - guess they just couldn't push the runs across the plate last night.

 

Gibson is nothing more than an innings-eater at this point. He's topped out as a Kevin Correia clone, and should be nothing more than a 4th starter on a rebuilding club at this point. I can see Gibson and Perez holding down the 4-5 spots in Detroit, Miami, or Baltimore next year. This starting rotation is just killing this team.

From the recap: "Arraez (3-for-5, 2B), Rosario (3-for-5), Polanco (2-for-5, 2B, HR), Cruz (2-for-5), Sano (2-for-5), Cave (2-for-4, 2B)"

By those stats alone, I'd have guessed the Twins would have won 11-6. Twins offense continues to put up ridiculous numbers - guess they just couldn't push the runs across the plate last night.

Gibson is nothing more than an innings-eater at this point. He's topped out as a Kevin Correia clone, and should be nothing more than a 4th starter on a rebuilding club at this point. I can see Gibson and Perez holding down the 4-5 spots in Detroit, Miami, or Baltimore next year. This starting rotation is just killing this team.


Wouldn't an average pitcher, by definition, be a #3 on an average team?

Gibson is 13% better than an average pitcher, by ERA, since the beginning of last year.
    • SQUIRREL, Mike Sixel, Riverbrian and 2 others like this

Perhaps it should have been challenged, but I'm not sure I agree with your conclusion that it was a violation.

Below is the exact moment where the ball enters the catcher's glove (and presumably the catcher gains the full right to place his foot wherever he wants). As you can see, Sano's hand has not yet reached the foot, thus he hasn't been blocked by it yet.

ec550ecd-e83921a7-732e3242-csvm-diamondx64-asset_1280x720_59_4000K-.jpg


Thanks for the photo. In my opinion. Sano would have been safe if not blocked. That I’m convinced of.

If he can’t apply a tag in time. He certainly can’t move his foot in time to block the plate.

The only way he is able to block the plate is if it was pre-blocked prior to the ball arriving and that is against the rules.

The only question should be. Did he need to block the plate in order to catch the ball? I believe the answer to that is no. He had an unnecessary wide stance, which blocked the plate.

It was a great play by the Sox but the Posey rule is in the books and this appears to be the definition of what you can’t do.

In the end. Brand new game today.
    • Tomj14 likes this

 

Wouldn't an average pitcher, by definition, be a #3 on an average team?

Gibson is 13% better than an average pitcher, by ERA, since the beginning of last year.

 

At what point does last year become the outlier for Gibson? He had a career low BABIP and career high LOB%. 

 

Theres 28 AL pitchers with enough innings pitched to qualify, he's 20th in ERA this season 

    • bighat and Original Whizzinator like this

 

I hope Falvey & Levine are scouting starting pitchers to acquire this coming off-season. Gibson should not be re-signed.

They have scouts diving through the league's dumpsters as we speak! 

    • Bomba2026 and VivaBomboRivera! like this

RLISP story of game. Win the series and all is well.

As far as Gibson goes, he takes the ball when its his turn, goes out and gives a predictable performance. 4 runs is not enough to win the great majority of games. No more complicated than that.

    • Dantes929 and Original Whizzinator like this

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