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Twins Game Recap (9/28): Cruz Homers, Arraez Injured, Twins Top KC 4-3

With the AL Central clinched and the 100-win total already eclipsed, the Twins have very little left to play for in Kansas City. They did come into today’s game with a two-home run deficit to the New York Yankees for the single-season record and a chance to get one win closer to tying the team record of 102 wins. Cody Shashak auditioned as opener and Minnesota’s bullpen got the job done, as the Twins topped the Royals 4-3 with a late home run from Nelson Cruz, but it came at a potentially huge cost with Luis Arraez being helped off of the field
Image courtesy of FanGraphs
Box Score
Stashak (Opener): 2IP, 2H, 1ER, 2K, 79.17% strikes (19 of 24 pitches)
Bullpen: 7IP, 5H, 2ER, 3BB, 11K

Home Runs: Cruz (41)
Multi-Hit Games: Cruz (2-for-4, HR, 2B), Garver (2-for-3, 2 2B, BB), Austudillo (2-for-4), Schoop (2-for-4)
Top 3 WPA: Cruz (.243), Rogers (.209), Austudillo (.166)

Arraez Hurt
In an essentially meaningless game at the tail end of the year, the last thing Minnesota needed was for a key cog in the lineup to be injured, but that is exactly what happened. Rookie sensation Luis Arraez collided with Austudillo while the two converged to catch an infield fly off the bat of Hunter Dozier for the last out of the seventh. Arraez’s right leg appeared to buckle while he was coming down off the mound and he was down for several minutes. A cart was brought out but Arraez was able to walk off with help. Obviously, losing Arraez for the postseason would be a huge detriment to the Twins.



Garver and Austudillo Bring the Bats and Cruz Hits a Huge Bomba
Mitch Garver certainly helped ease any concerns Twins fans may have harbored about his recent hip injury. He drilled two doubles and drew a walk. After both doubles he would come home on two Willians Austudillo RBI singles. The Twins finally got a home run off of the bat of Nelson Cruz in the eighth inning, his 41st of the year. It couldn’t have come at a bigger time as Tyler Duffey had just allowed Kansas City to tie the game at three with Jorge Soler’s second home run on the day, a two-run shot. Cruz put the Twins up 4-3.

The Bullpen Gets the Job Done
Cody Staschak got the opportunity to audition as the opener today and outside of allowing a bomb to Jorge Soler he pitched pretty well. Shashak allowed two hits and struck out two Kansas City batters in two innings of work.

Next up was Kyle Gibson. Gibson managed to escape his one inning without any damage but he labored heavily. It took Gibson over 30 pitches to end the third and he loaded the bases with a single and two walks. Gibson did strike out two batters including the final out of the inning to keep the game tied, but he didn’t exactly bolster his case for inclusion on the postseason roster.

After Gibson, the bullpen shined through the middle innings. Zack Littell, Lewis Thorpe, and Trevor May combined for five strikeouts in three scoreless innings. Tyler Duffey was the next man up and the inning started well, but with two outs Whit Merrifield singled on weak ground ball and Soler followed with his league-leading 47th dinger.

After Cruz gave the lead back to Minnesota, Sergio Romo came in and pitched a clean eighth inning. Taylor Rogers would come in to protect the one-run lead, picking up his 30th save on the year and giving the Twins win number 101.

Going for 102
Tomorrow’s season finale will give Minnesota a chance to tie the franchise record for wins set in 1965. 2019 has been a truly remarkable year for the Twins and losing tomorrow will take nothing away from that, but it would be nice to see this team get Rocco Baldelli a share of the record in his first season as a manager.

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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38 Comments

Maybe he's just banged up, some R & R and good to go.
    • DocBauer and JDubs like this
Schoop John B better get ready.
    • IndianaTwin and rkevin like this

Twins site says Arraez has a sprained ankle, and is going to have further testing.

 

All fingers crossed at this time...

    • Danchat, Sconnie, DocBauer and 5 others like this

Twins site says Arraez has a sprained ankle, and is going to have further testing.

All fingers crossed at this time...

and toes!
    • DocBauer, MN_ExPat and rkevin like this

I didn't see Arraez walk off with help. I saw him put on a cart and wheeled off. Isn't that what happened?

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ScrapTheNickname
Sep 28 2019 04:51 PM

 

and toes!

ankles too, don't forget the ankles.

    • Sconnie likes this

Bad news, but this team has great depth.

 

It's why they are where they are today.

    • Jerr likes this

If Arraez cannot go come Friday, I expect we will see Astudillo on the roster. I am going out on a "not really that far off the tree" limb to say he will deliver some clutch hits for this team. :)

    • Jerr, DocBauer, tarheeltwinsfan and 3 others like this

I agree about Astudillo, And I also hope that Adrianza can go. If he's healthy enough, he will contribute.

 

Another reason why the W-L 'stat' is kinda useless. Twins used 8 pitchers today. The least effective was Duffey. He blew the save...gave up a two run HR to tie the game....but he got the 'W' because Cruz homered immediately after Duffey's inning was over.Crazy huh!

However those runs were the first he gave up in many many weeks...so its OK.

    • brvama likes this

Did we see a dress run today for a planned bullpen game in the playoffs?

    • brvama likes this
Crazy how we had injuries during the season but nothing really bad and nothing we couldn't overcome with depth.

And then suddenly suspension and bad injuries at the end! Who ticked off the baseball gods?

Someone grab a bucket of KFC please!
    • brvama and rkevin like this

If anyone had to get hurt on that collision, it should've been the one that they don't need for the playoff roster.

 

If Arraez and Adrianza both can't go in the ALDS, does that mean Torreyes makes the roster so they have an emergency SS?

 

If the bench is Torreyes, Castro, Astudillo, and Cave, I'm not real pumped about that at all.

    • David HK likes this
This would be a huge loss. Not a series ender but a big loss if Arraez is out against the Yanks.

Why arent people pointing out the obvious again with Rocco when it comes to the point of playing people that are going to be starters in the playoffs? This game was completely meaninless.

Mlb network just spent 10 min going over what should of been done on that play , saying it was Arraez ball all the way -they slowed it down to where Arraez was waving and calling, and theres a practiced rotation that went ALL wrong,, broke it down real well, bottom line to them Duffey looked lost on standing there, and turtle also wasent paying attention , Arraez ball according to the way its all practiced in spring training and ??.didnt matter what area of the mound which surprised me. And even said Duffey should of been moving Tortuga out of the way,neat seeing how Harold and them spent alot of time on it,Arraezhope ur not hurt , 

    • Sconnie, 3balls2strikes and rkevin like this

 

This would be a huge loss. Not a series ender but a big loss if Arraez is out against the Yanks.

Why arent people pointing out the obvious again with Rocco when it comes to the point of playing people that are going to be starters in the playoffs? This game was completely meaninless.

Okay ... I can buy that ... what is your lineup then, with no starters in it?

 

Castro C

Torreyes SS

Schoop 2B (I guess, since you consider Arraez a starter)

Wade, Miller and LaMarre in the outfield

Um ... okay ... who else is on the bench that can play infield? Hmm ... okay, move Wade to 1B and put Cave in the outfield.

Almost there ... Astudillo 3B

 

Looks like a winner to me.

 

Wait, who's the DH? Can't play Cruz, he's a starter.

 

Seriously ... you can't sit ALL the starters. Unless your plan is to play a couple pitchers in position roles.

 

I guess Rocco should have just forfeited all these games against KC and the 3rd game against Detroit. Because, can't play any starters until the playoffs.

 

Yeah, most definitely Rocco's fault for writing Arraez into the lineup.

    • brvama, DocBauer, JLease and 5 others like this

 

Okay ... I can buy that ... what is your lineup then, with no starters in it?

 

Castro C

Torreyes SS

Schoop 2B (I guess, since you consider Arraez a starter)

Wade, Miller and LaMarre in the outfield

Um ... okay ... who else is on the bench that can play infield? Hmm ... okay, move Wade to 1B and put Cave in the outfield.

Almost there ... Astudillo 3B

 

Looks like a winner to me.

 

Wait, who's the DH? Can't play Cruz, he's a starter.

 

Seriously ... you can't sit ALL the starters. Unless your plan is to play a couple pitchers in position roles.

 

I guess Rocco should have just forfeited all these games against KC and the 3rd game against Detroit. Because, can't play any starters until the playoffs.

 

Yeah, most definitely Rocco's fault for writing Arraez into the lineup.

:banghead:

Photo
Kelly Vance
Sep 28 2019 06:52 PM

 

Mlb network just spent 10 min going over what should of been done on that play , saying it was Arraez ball all the way -they slowed it down to where Arraez was waving and calling, and theres a practiced rotation that went ALL wrong,, broke it down real well, bottom line to them Duffey looked lost on standing there, and turtle also wasent paying attention , Arraez ball according to the way its all practiced in spring training and ??.didnt matter what area of the mound which surprised me. And even said Duffey should of been moving Tortuga out of the way,neat seeing how Harold and them spent alot of time on it,Arraezhope ur not hurt , 

Well maybe all the talk about post season rosters on TD made the Turtle think he had to knock someone out in order to make the 25.

 

JK

 

 

    • DannySD and 3balls2strikes like this
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Kelly Vance
Sep 28 2019 06:55 PM

 

Well maybe all the talk about post season rosters on TD made the Turtle think he had to knock someone out in order to make the 25.

 

JK

Kel, don't kid about stuff like that...

 

Yeah, I know, but I would ratherlaugh than cry. Which I feel like doing. 

 

I expected Luis to have 2 hit games all playoffs. Man, I'm bummed

    • DocBauer likes this
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Dozier's Glorious Hair
Sep 28 2019 07:01 PM

 

This would be a huge loss. Not a series ender but a big loss if Arraez is out against the Yanks.

Why arent people pointing out the obvious again with Rocco when it comes to the point of playing people that are going to be starters in the playoffs? This game was completely meaninless.

 

Keeping your starting players sharp certainly isn't meaningless. I can't think of any manager who would sit his starters for over a week in preparation for the playoffs. It'd be nuts. Heck, the Dodgers have been playing meaningless games for a while now, yet Bellinger and Seager are still out there playing.

 

It's a bummer what happened to Arraez, but that's baseball. Wrapping him in bubble wrap until October 4th was never an option.

    • SQUIRREL, Jerr, brvama and 10 others like this
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yarnivek1972
Sep 28 2019 07:43 PM

Mlb network just spent 10 min going over what should of been done on that play , saying it was Arraez ball all the way - they slowed it down to where Arraez was waving and calling, and theres a practiced rotation that went ALL wrong,, broke it down real well, bottom line to them Duffey looked lost on standing there, and turtle also wasent paying attention , Arraez ball according to the way its all practiced in spring training and ??.didnt matter what area of the mound which surprised me. And even said Duffey should of been moving Tortuga out of the way, neat seeing how Harold and them spent alot of time on it, Arraez hope ur not hurt ,


That’s what happens when you have guys playing positions they aren’t accustomed to playing.
    • mrtwinsfan likes this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Sep 28 2019 08:11 PM
I’d rather have Arraez and hope he heals up quickly, but Schoop has power and probably provides better defense.
    • SQUIRREL, DocBauer, Dozier's Glorious Hair and 2 others like this

I'm not totally buying what mlb says. I rather agree with what Kaat used to do...the pitcher is the QB on these plays. He calls who takes it and in Kaat's case he used to push anyone else out of the way. Doesn't look like Duffey did that so instincts took over. Its easy to sit an watch a monitor and a replay over an over and say...this is how it should have been done. It was an unfortunate accident and I'm sure everyone is very bummed about it.

    • SQUIRREL, Jerr, Hosken Bombo Disco and 3 others like this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Sep 28 2019 08:45 PM

I'm not totally buying what mlb says. I rather agree with what Kaat used to do...the pitcher is the QB on these plays. He calls who takes it and in Kaat's case he used to push anyone else out of the way. Doesn't look like Duffey did that so instincts took over. Its easy to sit an watch a monitor and a replay over an over and say...this is how it should have been done. It was an unfortunate accident and I'm sure everyone is very bummed about it.

You could even go one further, and say the center fielder had the best look at it, and should have called it for the infielders. But who was in center? Did he have the pipes to be heard? :)
    • SQUIRREL likes this

Here's an innovative idea: Just let the darn pitcher catch the ball. We're treating them like babies out there. These guys have been catching pop-ups since they were little kids. The pitching mound is not an obstacle course from American Ninja. Baldelli can solve this problem pretty easily. Just tell them that pop-ups in front of the rubber are the pitcher's call. Behind the rubber, it's the shortstop's call, and he's not going to give it to the pitcher. This particular pop-up would have been an easy catch for Duffey, but he's not going to stand there and get sandwiched by Torts and Arraez, so I don't blame him for bailing out. 

    • Jerr, Hosken Bombo Disco and brockbesler like this

Keeping your starting players sharp certainly isn't meaningless. I can't think of any manager who would sit his starters for over a week in preparation for the playoffs. It'd be nuts. Heck, the Dodgers have been playing meaningless games for a while now, yet Bellinger and Seager are still out there playing.
 
It's a bummer what happened to Arraez, but that's baseball. Wrapping him in bubble wrap until October 4th was never an option.


Stupid, unfortunate crap happens. As you say, and Carol stated, you have to put players on the field to play the game. Someone could have caught a spike somewhere and the same thing could have happened. It's just tragic and unfortunate, especially with all that has transpired the past 30-40 days.

Let us all hope a few days of rest and therapy will make this a "no big deal" event. Attrition sucks, but is part of a season in any sport. Just stinks we've had a ton of it so late in the season. Still, you don't win over a 100 games by being a weak team without depth and resolve. And this is not the first time we've had to adapt to a wounded player this season.

A healthy Marwin and Kepler will go a long way. And IF, Arraez is hurt worse than we hope, how great is it to have a guy like Schoop to step In? Never had that depth before.
    • Jerr, Dozier's Glorious Hair and 3balls2strikes like this

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