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Game Thread: Twins vs Red Sox, 6/18/19, 7:10 PM

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:44 PM
The Twins have lost back-to-back games!! Oh my gosh, the world must be coming to an end. On a less extreme note, the Twins are still in f...
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Article: Potential Prospect Cost in Twins Trades

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:43 PM
As we move closer to July, we also push towards the looming Major League Baseball trade deadline. With the waiver period being removed in...
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Article: Minnesota Twins 2019 MLB Draft Signing Tracker

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 05:55 PM
Now that the 2019 MLB Draft is behind us, it is time to sit back and wait for news on when each of the 41 picks will either sign or decid...
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Article: BOS 2, MIN 0: Offense Squanders Berrios’ Gem

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:39 PM
Tonight’s game featured incredible starts by Jose Berrios and Boston’s Rick Procello. The only runs of the game came in the first inning...
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Report From The Fort: Looking For A Bounceback (Part 1)

FORT MYERS - SanoBuxton. BuxtonSano. To hear the coverage of the 2018 Twins season, one might think they were the only Twins that struggled, and they’re the only bounceback seasons that matter. That is far from the truth. Over the next two couple days, we’ll examine a few other Twins that faced unexpected challenges, and we’ll hear from them about how they plan to turn their struggles around.
Image courtesy of © Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jake Odorizzi
Almost exactly a year ago, the Minnesota Twins traded for Jake Odorizzi, coming off (for him) a substandard year for the Tampa Bay Rays. Mind you, that meant a 4.14 ERA, which looked pretty good for a pitching-starved Twins franchise. I was especially optimistic about him given that his struggles appeared to be injury-related.

That optimism faded fairly fast. Odorizzi had an even worse year, posting a 4.49 ERA, though he did stay healthy and eat up 164.1 innings. So if the problem in 2017 was injuries, what was the issue in 2018? “I was just fighting mechanics and stuff all of last year,” Odorizzi says matter-of-factly.

Getting that corrected was the focus of the offseason. “Just tried to smooth, do more range of motion. I started doing some more mobility stuff this offseason.” The struggles that he experience became a motivating factor, a recurring theme in the players I talked to. “I want to do well for the Twins because I didn’t do well for them last year.”

A look at his numbers as he faced batters repeatedly were especially jarring. The first two times through an order, opponents posted only a .627 and .659 OPS against him. But the third time they saw him that OPS exploded to 1.159. He had similar struggles in 2017, though not nearly as pronounced. However, he didn’t have that problem in his first three years in the majors. He says that kind of struggle is the case for all pitchers, and it is, though not usually as pronounced.

It remains to be seen if he’ll run into a similar issue this year, and what the team will do about it. As of the time we talked, he had not heard any talk about the Twins using an “Opener” role and thinks with the veteran starters the Twins have, he thinks they might not need one.

It is a key year for him, not just because he wants to redeem himself. The 29-year-old also needs to show the market that he’s the same guys who posted a 3.72 ERA and average 175 inning between 2014 and 2016. He’s a free agent at the end of this year. But to him, that’s not a distraction. “You have to focus on now,” he says. “Take care of a season right now and let everything fall into place after that.”

Michael Pineda
Unlike Odorizzi, Pineda wasn’t expected to contribute much last year. He had Tommy John surgery in July of 2017, so the Twins signed him to a 2-year deal for $10 million. He got $2 million while he rehabbed from surgery and will make $8 million this year.

Pineda has always been perceived as a high upside pitcher who struggles with injuries. He strikes out more than a batter per inning, and his walk rate is low. But he’s struggled with home run (which is not unusual in Yankee Stadium) which has led to a career 4.05 ERA, which seems high for his pedigree. But the big know against him has been his durability; the 6’ 7” 30-year-old has never pitched more than 175.2 innings in a season.

So it was seen as a good sign last year the he recovered quickly enough that the organization considered bringing him up to the majors in a bullpen role late in the season. Cue injury. He tore the meniscus in his knee and had to undergo surgery. Should that be a concern?

It’s not to Pineda. In fact, he is quick to point out that not only does he feel fine, but that the late season surgery didn’t impact his preparation at all. “It’s like a normal offseason,” he says. “I had six weeks for my [meniscus tear] recovery and then started working out.”

So two members of the Twins rotation are hoping to regain the form they showed back in 2016. Odorizzi hopes his range-of-motion training helps him be more consistent with his mechanics, while Pineda hopes that 20 months of recovery and a full offseason will bring back his effectiveness. Tomorrow we’ll talk to two other bounceback candidates, both of whom started the year strong but were ambushed by … well, you’ll see.

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12 Comments

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LylesCrocodiles
Feb 19 2019 01:47 AM
If the Twins don’t get 50 starts from these two at their career norms I can’t see 2019 being a succesful season for the Twins. That means Jake MUST be better and Pineda MUST stay healthy.
    • birdwatcher, Twins33, woolywoolhouse and 3 others like this

Im like a goldfish when it comes to Pineda being on this team. I read or hear something about him, then immediately forget hes on the roster 3 seconds later. Im excited to see him pitch this year

 

 

    • birdwatcher, Twins33, raindog and 8 others like this
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RatherBeGolfing
Feb 19 2019 08:41 AM

 

That means Jake MUST be better and Pineda MUST stay healthy.

 

Sadly, the position we've put ourselves in is relying on these two to accomplish these tasks, color me skeptical

    • birdwatcher, Twins33, Sconnie and 1 other like this
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Post-Concussive Blues
Feb 19 2019 08:43 AM
I think his full name is ‘AL Comeback Player of the Year’ Michael Pineda.
    • Twins33, raindog, Dman and 3 others like this
This could be a 12 part series... Lots of bounce backs needed for the team to be successful.
    • birdwatcher, Monkeypaws, Sconnie and 7 others like this

A year ago at this time I was the most optimistic I've been regarding the Twins in a decade, and my kids always tell me I expect way too much of the Twins. I really believed we would challenge the Indians with the additions we had made. Needless to say, the optimism changed very quickly into major disappointment and frustration. Sano and Buxton were culprits #1 and 1A though as John points out in the article, it was a much larger letdown than 2/25ths of the roster. Rosario and Escobar were the only players coming close to their potential. Berrios had his exciting days, but I hope for much better consistency this year.

 

Odorizzi and Pineda having great seasons would be huge going forward, but if John touches on all who let us down last season, this article could take a while.

    • birdwatcher, DocBauer, Minny505 and 1 other like this
Yay! Question marks for at least 40% of our starting rotation. I’m pessimistic. Hopefully the offense can average 6 runs / game!
    • birdwatcher likes this
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lukeduke1980
Feb 19 2019 09:42 AM

I hope Odorizzi figures something out.He looked frustrated and confused during each of his painful 5 inning/100 pitch outings last year.

    • birdwatcher likes this

Name me 3 teams in MLB that don't have question marks on 40% of their rotation?  The Indians might be the only team that you can look at as being 4 deep.  But the nice thing about the Indians is that as great as their rotation is that's how bad the rest of their team is minus Lindor and Ramirez.  Their entire outfield, right side of their infield and catcher are all below average and could be terrible.  Thru the top 6 players, the Indians are as talented as any team in baseball.  The only problem with that is what happens if just one of those guys gets hurt and misses a substantial part of the season?

    • howieramone2, Minny505 and MN_ExPat like this
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birdwatcher
Feb 19 2019 10:49 AM

 

Sadly, the position we've put ourselves in is relying on these two to accomplish these tasks, color me skeptical

 

Your skepticism is warranted. But mine is tempered because I feel better about the probabilities of at least two or three starters with question marks coming through. It could be that they ALL suck, but the odds don't favor this. We need to get first division contributions out of the 3-4-5 spots to compete, that's a given, and it's a given IMO that if Berrios or Gibson falter, the odds for this team get much much longer in 2019.

 

But let's count the ways we could possibly get that 3-4-5 production in 2019, and this is in order of the probability I would ignorantly assign to the candidates: Pineda, Stewart, Perez, Odorizzi, De Jong, Mejia, Gonsalves, Thorpe, Littell. And lastly, trade deadline acquisition.

 

That's ten options and we need three success stories, maybe more. So here's my hot take: the Twins unload Odorizzi at the deadline to make room in the rotation for an en fuego Kohl Stewart. Mejia fumes at being passed over despite his 19 2/3 consecutive shutout innings as the first arm out of the pen every third day.

 

 

    • howieramone2, MN_ExPat and Original Whizzinator like this
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sampleSizeOfOne
Feb 19 2019 03:29 PM
Bounce-back...

What happens after an elastic collision with a wall, right?
    • ashbury and Sconnie like this
Dont deny me of my hope. It's all I have any more.
Go T'ins.

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