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Front Page: A Three-Step Plan to Drastically Improve the...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:56 PM
In 2019 the Twins finished in the bottom third in Major League Baseball in errors, fielding percentage, DRS and UZR. Poor infield defense...
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Front Page: Millennial Moxie: Reviewing Rocco's Rooki...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:46 PM
Last weekend, as University of Minnesota football coach P.J. Fleck surfed across a sea of rejoicing players in the locker room following...
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Astros Being Investigated for Using Tech to Steal Pitchin...

Other Baseball Today, 05:46 PM
I can no longer say I want the Twins to emulate the Astros. Bush league maneuver to use cameras in order to steal signs.
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Front Page: Bumgarner V. Wheeler: Who Should the Twins Pu...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:56 PM
Madison Bumgarner and Zack Wheeler headline the second tier of the starting pitching free agent class, representing realistic Twins targe...
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Front Page: Rocco Baldelli Wins Manager of the Year

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:36 PM
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli was named the 2019 American League Manager of the Year.He received 13 of 30 first-place votes, and 13 of 30...
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Twins Blogosphere


ALDS Takeaways, Part 4: Sluggers Go Close Together

Baseball writer Joe Sheehan has been onto the importance of what he calls “short-sequence offense” in the postseason for much longer than most of the baseball world. Years ago, he coined a phrase that sounds troglodytic but holds up pretty well, for the best way to reliably score runs in October: “Ball go far, team go far.” Slugging wins in October, because even great pitchers make mistakes a bopper can hit over the fence, but it’s very rare that great pitchers make enough mistakes for a lineup to (say) string together four straight hits and score twice.
Image courtesy of © David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
 Three games should hardly form the basis of a team’s offseason mentality, but this five-part series will explore five takeaways from the ALDS series that seem both clearer and more important now than they did a week ago. Here are links to Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.  

That was certainly on display during this series. The Twins may have hit more homers than the Yankees did during the regular season, but by the time the curtain came up for the ALDS, New York had a more powerful lineup, and they got lucky a few times, too, knocking homers on balls hit no better than ones that went for doubles or outs off the bats of the Twins.

No one can fix bad luck, or reverse whatever wind patterns make the ball carry so much better to left field than to right at Target Field, but consider the Twins’ failed rally in the bottom of the second inning in Game 3. Eddie Rosario slammed a leadoff double, and Mitch Garver walked, and Luis Arraez singled. Rosario couldn’t score on that hit, though, and the bottom third of the Minnesota order then squandered the scoring chance. Luis Severino made just a couple of small mistakes in that sequence, and while the Twins took full advantage of them, they weren’t enough to facilitate even one tally.

For most of the season, Baldelli and the Twins steadfastly lined up their batting order to resist platoon manipulation. After switch-hitting second hitter Jorge Polanco, the team would alternate lefties and righties almost perfectly down the rest of the lineup card. As a result, however, the team’s three dominant right-handed sluggers (and probably the three best hitters on the team, overall: Nelson Cruz, Garver, and Sanó) nearly always were separated from one another by two lefty bats, including low-OBP Rosario and low-SLG Arraez.

For 2020, that’s probably a fine formulation to repeat, although some of the particulars will undoubtedly change. If and when the team gets back to October, however, maybe they need to do away with that mentality, and stack their power at the top of the order, the better to get the guys who can exploit mistakes extra chances to hit. Given the diminished forms of Garver and Kepler who played this entire series, it might not have mattered, but next year, they should at least consider batting Sanó, Cruz, and Garver (or the equivalent best trio of power hitters on the roster) second, third, and fourth.


 Here are links to Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3 of this series. Or comment below after you register. 

  • birdwatcher, mikelink45, nclahammer and 1 other like this

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4 Comments

It will be interesting to see what the "3 batter minimum" rule to be implemented in 2020 will do to lineup makeups. One would think a lineup changing back and forth between lefty's and righty'smight be the way to go, to at least get one favorable hitting match-up per relief pitcher. 

 

This could also force the Twins to get another lefty relief pitcher or two or they may be facing lots of left handed batters in a row in some innings. 

    • birdwatcher, Platoon and bighat like this
Putting your top three hitters in a bunch near the top of the order is something I wish the 1965 Twins had thought of. :). I always see mentions of where players hit in the order makes no difference? But actually it does. Which is why playing the regular season in one manner and the playoff batting order in another is puzzling. There will be two other factors in place next year. The afore posted three hitter minimum somewhat mitigates the need for LRLR. And of course which baseball will MLB dig out of the closet next year. In principle I don't disagree with the OP, but I would prefer two OB guys up first. Say Averrez (sp) and Polanco. Then probably Cruz, Garver, and Sano. Or switch Garver and Cruz. Sano IMHO remains the power hitter I would most like to oppose in a big situation. He is 5 times more likely to SO than homer. And he still has not been able to calm himself in big situations. A 5 run HR often seems his thought process. Those are odds I can work with. The Twins didn't lose only because the wind blew more into LF, or the RF porch in Yankee stadium is ridiculously close to home plate. They lost because the Yankees had a better pen, one better SP at least and a far superior defense. The defensive gap alone was enough to turn the series their way.
    • birdwatcher, mikelink45, tarheeltwinsfan and 3 others like this

It seems like having the pitcher out there for three batters would make it *more* important to alternate LRLR, not less. If Cruz, Garver, and Sano are coming up in that order, a right-hander can come in and pitch to all three.

    • birdwatcher, Kelly Vance, Otwins and 3 others like this
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VivaBomboRivera!
Oct 16 2019 08:10 AM

Trade 100 or 150 points of SLG for batters with 50 more points of OBP.What matters more than an extra base hit is not making an out - there are only 27 of those in a game and they can never be recovered.While clearing the bases can be emotionally satisfying, keeping the rally alive for the next batter matters more.After all, the pitcher and the defense have only three bases on which to put runners.