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Reusse: Modern Game Unkind to Dozier, Plouffe

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 08:58 PM
I thought thatPatrick Reusse wrote an interesting article, something I know I have been thinking for the last few years.    htt...
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Twins Bench in 2021--Youth or Experience?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:18 PM
With the exception of left field, there are no real contests for starting positions for the 2021 Twins. If he doesn't start as the most f...
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Spring Training Games Thread 2021

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 07:36 PM
One thread to rule them all...   Er. Sorry. Got a bit ahead of myself. (Power does tend to go to one's head.)   Anyway, seein'...
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Cord cutters dilema 2021

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 05:17 PM
So I hate to be this guy every year, but once again the MLB makes it a huge pain to watch the Twins if you're in a blackout market. In 20...
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Hopefully Simmons "issues" are not like Romero...

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 03:36 PM
Per multiple sources, new Minnesota Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons has been delayed to the team's camp by visa issues. The exact detai...
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Recent Blogs


4 Head Scratchers for Baldelli Against Astros

The Minnesota Twins came into their Wild Card series against the Houston Astros as the series favorite. Despite an early lead, they coughed up the game due to defensive miscues. With Rocco Baldelli’s job defined by positioning for optimal outcomes, he too should shoulder blame.
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
A season ago Baldelli was named American League Manager of the Year. It was warranted. The former star player guided the Twins to a record setting home run total and one of the most successful seasons in Twins history. Often times the award is handed to a guy leading a surprising organization to new heights. In 2020 expectations were lifted, but Baldelli created plenty of confusion.

The vaunted lineup on paper failed to perform plenty of nights and drawing the infield in during early stretches of games became commonplace. In the biggest game of the season however, four decisions struck me as poor.

Kenta Maeda is lifted after 5 innings and 91 pitches

Minnesota had a 1-0 lead at the time, but the only thing going for the Twins in this contest was Maeda. Despite forcing Zack Greinke to work in the 1st inning, no runs were scored with the bases loaded and just one out. The Astros starter then settled in, and Framber Valdez dominated after a shaky first inning of relief. It seemed questionable to assume that one run would be enough to win this one and hoping the bullpen could lock things down for nearly half the game was a big ask.

After getting both Matt Wisler and Trevor May warm previously, it’d have been nice to see Maeda return for the 6th and at least go one batter at a time. He could’ve been lifted at any point then. Instead the horses of the pen have no all been used while Houston didn’t trot out a single reliever.

Mitch Garver pinch hits for Ryan Jeffers to start the 7th inning

It was maybe an aggressive move to start rookie Ryan Jeffers in game one despite just 26 games of action. His .791 OPS and they way he worked behind the plate had earned it, however. Combine that with Garver slumping massively since his IL return and there was nothing about the decision that needed defending. In response to a lefty being on the mound though, Baldelli became convinced that 2019 Garver was who he was calling off the bench. Instead four straight curveballs, each one looked at, was all it too to get Minnesota’s pinch hitter.

Letting Jeffers hit in that spot was the right move. You started him because of what he’d shown thus far, and he put up exit velocities of 105 and 109 mph earlier in this one. It was a second guessing that was unfounded and made no sense. From here, we get two more problems.

Alex Avila replaces Mitch Garver defensively in the 8th inning

Immediately following a poor at bat, Garver is lifted prior to taking the field. Despite being arguably a better receiver than Avila, Baldelli decided the veteran backstop was the play. Of course, there was still another catcher on the roster thanks to the Twins rostering four in this series, but it never was going to make sense for the position to become a revolving door.

Garver could’ve caught the 8th inning and been more likely to steal strikes. Avila remains on the bench and represents your last true catcher behind the plate.

Willians Astudillo pinch hits for Alex Avila in the 9th inning

Now we get to the third cascading effect of the original choice to lift Jeffers. Trailing by three runs in a momentum setting first game, the Twins responded with Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco singling to right field. The batter would represent the tying run with a single out and runners on first and second. The right-handed bats left were Ehire Adrianza and Astudillo. Neither ideal, and the latter had just 16 big league at bats this season. On the very first pitch Astudillo lunged at a bender and hit a routine ground ball to third for the double play.

The entirety of this move was necessitated because of Rocco’s initial mistake to lift Jeffers. It was in this at bat though that highlighting Astudillo’s negative impact is so simple. He’s not Luis Arraez, and his ability to make contact is quite literally a negative. His chase rate is not good, and neither is the hard-hit percentage. By putting the ball in play, which is his sole intention, you’re more likely to experience a negative result.

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52 Comments

TWO long relief options? In a 3 game series?? Both of which were either ineffective or hurt?

If that's the case, that's just incredibly stupid.

I had assumed there must be something wrong with Alcala.


With a 28 man roster, and a best of 3 series, there are undoubtedly going to be a few spots that you won’t — and shouldn’t — need, even with a well-curated roster.

But yeah, like in most things the past few days, the Twins clearly didn’t help themselves with their roster decisions.
3 hits?
Then 4 hits.
Hard to score if you don't hit

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