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Game Thread Twins @ Cubs 9 /20/2020 6:00 PM CDT

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CHW 3, MIN 1: Twins Leave 15 Runners On Base

The Twins combined for eight hits and 10 walks, but managed to scratch across just one run. They were 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position and left 15 runners on base. The White Sox, who left 12 men on themselves, but got to Taylor Rogers for two runs in the eighth.
Box Score
Berríos: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Home Runs: None
Bottom 3 WPA: Cruz -.392, Rogers -.351, Astudillo -.196
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):
Attached Image: Winchart.png

It was early on that a theme developed to Monday night’s game. Stop me when you pick up on that theme.

1st inning: Lead off single, no runs.

2nd inning: Lead off double, no runs.

3rd inning: Lead off double, no runs.

4th inning: Lead off walk, no runs.

Four straight innings with the lead off batter reaching and nothing but a goose egg to show for it. Not exactly the start to a series against the team you are chasing for the division title who has an equally potent lineup to your own.

Berrios shaky, but still shuts down top offense

Meanwhile, Jose Berrios took the mound for the Twins. The results of Berrios’ start weren't bad, but it was the journey to that result that was nerve wracking. The second inning especially caused Twins Territory to worry about where the game was headed.

Berrios was able to get the White Sox to 2 outs relatively well with Yoan Moncada on second base. From there Berrios gave up a bloop single to Nick Madrigal which brought Moncada home to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. From there Berrios gave up a line drive single to Tim Anderson and hit Yasmani Grandal with a pitch to load the bases. Nearly heroically, Berrios induced a grounder off the bat of MVP candidate Jose Abreu to end the inning.

Berrios would make it 5 innings for the Twins. It wasn’t the most dominant of starts for the right-hander, but the results put the Twins in a position to win the game after only allowing one run and issuing one walk. Maybe most impressively, Berrios ended his start with a 1-2-3 5th while facing the White Sox 3-4-5 batters.

The Theme Continues

As the Twins began the top of the 5th inning Ehire Adrianza took a walk. Five innings, five straight times the lead off batter reaches base. This time the Twins fortune would change. While the inning was one that should have netted a few more runs, Jorge Polanco came through with a bloop single that drove in Adrianza to tie the game 1-1.

6th inning, another lead off batter reached. This time it was a Jake Cave double. This time the Twins would eventually load the bases and with 2 outs bring Nelson Cruz to the plate. The exact guy they would want right? Maybe not, this time Cruz would strike out and bring the Twins left on base total to 11 through 6 innings.

Another loss with Rogers on the mound

Taylor Rogers came in to get the bottom of the White Sox lineup out and keep the score tied going into the 9th so the Twins could try to take the lead then. Instead, Rogers opened the inning by walking two batters and eventually giving up a single to Adam Engel through a vacated shortstop position due to a defensive shift to score a White Sox run. Tim Anderson then followed up with a well hit double off the wall to put the White Sox up 3-1.

That caused Rocco Baldelli to come out and pull Rogers from the game in favor of Jorge Alcala. It has been said many times before and I will say it again here. Rogers isn’t exactly getting dominated, but he is missing that shut down ability we became used to so the question has to be asked: What’s next with Rogers?

Tonight may have been set up for a struggle for the Twins from the get go. No Miguel Sano, no Marwin Gonzalez, no Eddie Rosario, and of course still no Luis Arraez. While a lot of firepower was missing, the team still put a lot of guys on base for the bats in the line up to do some damage. Ehire Adrianza alone reached base four times out of the nine hole and came around to score the team’s only run.

The Twins also battled Angel Hernandez behind home plate just as much as they battled the White Sox all night long. And somehow in the top of the 9th they were still in this game. Byron Buxton landed on second base after the most confusing reactions to a ground rule/inside the park on field reaction ever from Eloy Jimenez.

In the end, Jake Cave would strike out and Alex Colome closed out the win for the White Sox. Tough loss to start the series. It will be interesting to see how the team rebounds for the rest of the series.
Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
Attached Image: Bullpen.png

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72 Comments

Cruz was not worth his paycheck today. Also I don't know why Rocco continues to use Rogers in high leverage situations this year. It seems like he blows it every time

    • jun, Dman, hybridbear and 1 other like this

"The Twins also battled Angel Hernandez behind home plate just as much as they battled the White Sox all night long" I didn't see much of the game but bad 1st strike pitch calls to Turtle and Cruz with bases loaded were pretty crucial.Its not just the difference between an 0-1 count vs a 1-0 count which is huge its also enough to make the batter wonder what the strike zone is. Again, I didn't watch more than a couple innings but I noticed Berrios wasn't getting the same calls..

    • Dman and rdehring like this

 

Cruz was not worth his paycheck today. Also I don't know why Rocco continues to use Rogers in high leverage situations this year. It seems like he blows it every time

Rogers is actually 9 for 11 in save situations, but this is his 4th loss and BBref has him at a -0.5 WAR (not even including this game). 

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Dennesey55347
Sep 14 2020 10:32 PM

I've been following only one scenario religiously since the first week of last season: HITS with 2+ OB (minus HR's). Stringing base hits together, especially with multiple base runners is virtually impossible with this lineup. The Twins have performed like thee bottom-tier team in this aspect game after game. The Chicago game was just the absolute extreme of the norm. The previous Cleveland series produced 18 Twins runs- The first 17 by HR and a finishing sac fly. Zero RBI singles, dubs, trips, HBP's, etc.

 

Since I already knew this was likely going to be an even bigger issue in 2020, I have only followed box scores up to this point while spending more time admiring the young projected stars of other clubs shine bright. Impossible to believe that 6 top-100 prospects that came up around the same time will never be a Tatis, Robert, Acuna, Soto, Kyle Lewis, Bo Bichette, Bellinger, or take your pick from the Astro's lineup. This post-season is going to be brutal. Again.

    • jun likes this

Rogers cannot be the closer going forward this season. I have zero confidence in him getting outs in the play-offs.

 

And yes the HP ump cost us dearly tonight, but so did Cruz.

    • jun, mikelink45, Dman and 1 other like this
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twinbythebay
Sep 14 2020 10:52 PM
Ugly game, but those will happen from time to time. Cruz had about as bad of a game as a hitter can have, but it's tough to complain too much about a guy who's having the season that he's having.

I think Rogers built a lot of trust over the past couple of seasons with how he's handled high leverage situations, and in a normal year I think you keep putting him out there to hopefully work through this rough patch, but this is very bad timing for that... I think this bad streak started with some bad luck, but now it seems to have gotten in his head. He was just plain bad tonight. He hardly ever gives up walks, and he was throwing far too many non-competitive pitches. The good news is that there's still two weeks to get him right before the playoffs, but time is running out quickly.
    • jun, Dman and AceWrigley like this

Some thoughts:

 

Angel Hernandez had very little to do with the outcome of tonight's ball game. That's just lazy excuse making, IYAM. He might have missed a vew close pitches, if you believe in the little box on the TV, but missed for both sides, and didn't seriously affect any ABs.

 

It's been obvious for quite some time, Rogers is not the same pitcher he was last year. He hasn't got the same command of the fastball, and the slider often just rolls up there with very little bite and ends up a very hittable pitch. He seems to know that, and pitches defensively.

 

I wish the Twins had added a shutdown reliever or two at the deadline. Very little I really trust out there, particularly against good lineups.

 

I often read that RBI are not a good measure of offensive contribution. I do not agree, and offer tonight as exhibit 1 million. OBP is worthless without someone bringing those runners home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

    • mikelink45, DocBauer, Rigby and 4 others like this
Is it too late for Rogers to opt out of this season? Seems like mentally he already has. He's been dominant in the past but now there's no fire or urgency in his game. Kind of like Rocco
    • hybridbear, rdehring and Aichiman like this

It is clear the number one focus is to be as healthy as possible when the playoffs start. While it may not include winning the central and a better seed (and it still might), it is a smart thing to do in this shortened season. That is why I wish we see no more bullpen games. With starters only going 5 mostly..... the bullpen gets plenty of work. The Twins have probably blown the division title by their performance against KC and Detroit. For this lineup tonight to be competitive was impressive. The folks that let us down were the highest paid on the team.... Donaldson and Cruz. The table was constantly set for them. Hopefully they can step up in October.

 

I will never understand how an umpire missing close pitches, the ones the pitchers or batters earn the most and deserve the most, and missing them for both sides makes it OK. To me, it just means he guessed more wrong, and that is even worse, and certainly always affects the at bat and the game. 

 

RBI always are important, and always will be. One can spout that one can't control the opportunities they get for RBI, and therefore it is not a good judge of the hitter, but today is a grand example of just how important those guys that can drive the runners in are. And walks rarely drive in runs, just ask Donaldson today.

 

I always am amazed that a batter will not guard the plate better, and watch a called third strike to end the game. Just stand there and watch it, especially since the swung at so many that were way out of the zone, and this pitch is right on the edge. You just can't stand there. You just can't.

    • jun, mikelink45, Dman and 1 other like this

 

Some thoughts:

 

Angel Hernandez had very little to do with the outcome of tonight's ball game. That's just lazy excuse making, IYAM. He might have missed a vew close pitches, if you believe in the little box on the TV, but missed for both sides, and didn't seriously affect any ABs.

 

It's been obvious for quite some time, Rogers is not the same pitcher he was last year. He hasn't got the same command of the fastball, and the slider often just rolls up there with very little bite and ends up a very hittable pitch. He seems to know that, and pitches defensively.

 

I wish the Twins had added a shutdown reliever or two at the deadline. Very little I really trust out there, particularly against good lineups.

 

I often read that RBI are not a good measure of offensive contribution. I do not agree, and offer tonight as exhibit 1 million. OBP is worthless without someone bringing those runners home.

If you look at stats for different counts you will see being ahead in counts vs behind in counts seriously affects at bats.Having someone to bring runners home is worthless without actually having runners on. I offer exhibit every RBI in history that is not a home run.Just being snarky. I do believe RBI are one of the good measures of offensive contribution.

    • Dman likes this
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twinbythebay
Sep 15 2020 12:08 AM

I often read that RBI are not a good measure of offensive contribution. I do not agree, and offer tonight as exhibit 1 million. OBP is worthless without someone bringing those runners home.


I don't think it's necessarily bad to consider RBI as an important piece of offensive contribution, it's just that RBIs are dependent on a lot of factors and provide an incomplete picture of a player's offensive skill. There are a lot of other stats that tell a more complete story of a hitter's contribution and are more predictive of future success. But RBIs are still an important part of the story, as was painfully illustrated tonight.
    • Dman and DocBauer like this
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Nine of twelve
Sep 15 2020 05:20 AM

Sometimes the team that scores more runs in a series loses the series. Sometimes the team that has more baserunners loses the game. Sometimes the pitcher who throws more strikes gives up more hits and/or runs. Sometimes good hitters don't have success in individual games or plate appearances. That's the nature of baseball. Last night was something that happens all the time. **** happens.

The way I look at it is this: the White Sox played with fire last night but didn't get burned. But that doesn't mean they won't wind up fried to a crisp next time. 

    • Dman, DocBauer, dbminn and 3 others like this
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Nine of twelve
Sep 15 2020 05:25 AM

And whether or not Angel Hernandez affected the outcome of the game, I don't know. But he's still a lousy umpire.

    • denarded, h2oface, DocBauer and 3 others like this

Unforgiveable situational baseball by the Twins hitters last night. When you have those stats of leadoff double, leadoff single, leadoff double, leadoff walk, bases loaded and 1-out, etc, etc.....AND BTW ITS A BIG GAME TOO!

 

You gotta score runs. Period. You gotta move guys over. You gotta hit sac flies.

 

But Rocco sits out there with his face buried in his stat books and tells his guys "Close your eyes and swing as hard as you can, because in theory, moving guys over to 3rd base is just a wasted out" or whatever the heck it says on the back of his Sabermetrics card.And it's god-awful to watch.

 

Rocco doesn't change the way he manages in big games. At first I thought that was a good thing but now I'm starting to think it's a problem.

    • jun, mikelink45, Aichiman and 2 others like this

Time to send Rogers down to the alternative site until he figures out how to pitch again. Does he have options left?

    • bighat likes this
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stringer bell
Sep 15 2020 06:06 AM

One of those games? It seemed like it to me, when Madrigal's blooper fell in just inside the line about 120 ft. from home plate. The Sox tempted fate a bunch of times with Cruz up and he failed each time. Most days that isn't going to happen. Abreu didn't have a big impact either (one of those games). 

 

I like Taylor Rogers a lot, but as Chief said, his pitches haven't been as effective. It doesn't look like there's anything wrong with his arm, the velocity is there, but the command isn't what it was last year or the year before that and he's facing far fewer teams. I don't know who would be a replacement--I've seen slippage from Duffey and May and I'd hate to count Clippard or Romo closing games with the <90 mph fastballs. 

 

It's interesting to see the Twins resting guys through this crucial stretch of the season while Chicago and before that Cleveland send out the virtually the same lineup every day. I really wanted the Twins to take 3 of 4 from the White Sox (and take the division lead) and now that means they'll have to win the next three.

    • Dman likes this
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stringer bell
Sep 15 2020 06:17 AM

 

Unforgiveable situational baseball by the Twins hitters last night. When you have those stats of leadoff double, leadoff single, leadoff double, leadoff walk, bases loaded and 1-out, etc, etc.....AND BTW ITS A BIG GAME TOO!

 

You gotta score runs. Period. You gotta move guys over. You gotta hit sac flies.

In today's Three True Outcomes era, ABC baseball isn't the way to go. Witness the series against the Cleveland club. Cleveland took extra bases, advanced runners, got sacrifice flies and lost every game because the other guys (the Twins) slugged the ball. 

 

Both teams last night struggled to hit with runners in scoring position. The key AB was the fake bunt/swing away single the scored the eventual winning run. Chicago defied the odds by getting the heart of the Twins order out when the game was on the line (multiple times).

 

Actually, I wish that the Twins would be better at small ball. In my mind they are at a bit of a disadvantage when playing a low-scoring game because they are so dependent on scoring via the home run. Winning the game on someone's legs (like the Buxton walkoff infield single) is so rare.

    • LA VIkes Fan, jun, mikelink45 and 2 others like this

That game surprisingly knocked the wind out of me.I know that game could have gone either way but it feels like the baseball gods are against us this year.It feels like it has been forever since Chicago has won the division and that baseball gods will give them the edge this year and maybe beyond.

 

I am not too wrapped up in the Twins winning the division as they are coming off that crazy wonderful 101 win season where almost everything went right.They are still a very good team and will have a chance to get hot and win it all.It just doesn't look good for winning the division IMO.

hero ball last night and very poor plate discipline.  Bighat stated it perfectly.  My biggest concern and/or complaint is relying on the old Earl Weaver philosophy with the Orioles was the 3-run homer concept.  Chicks dig the long ball but there are other ways to score.  White Sox are error prone but we didn't put any pressure on them defensively.  Swinging at multiple 1st pitches with runners on base instead of working the count, hitting inside out to move runners over, hell lay down an bunt once in awhile.  Fundamental at bats didn't exist.  Deserved to lose this one last night

    • wavedog, jun, mikelink45 and 3 others like this

I tuned in only briefly, the fourth inning I think. Berrios's stuff and command looked so sharp. Every pitch had movement, and they went to good locations. I figured the one run scored against him must have been a fluke. Seeing this writeup corrects that impression.

 

Seems like Jose often has trouble harnessing his ability, early in the game. That hardly makes him unique. But are there measures that can be taken, to improve the warmup process?

Is there a site to see pitch-by-pitch? I'm pretty sure Berrios did not throw back-to-back strikes last night and would like to see if that was true

Great recap of a disappointing game. Did last night take away any chance of the Twins winning the Division? Don't know, but sure as heck made their task more difficult.

 

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but did Cruz come to the plate three times with 2 outs and the bases loaded? And he didn't get the ball out of the infield on any of them, correct? Has anyone else noted that Cruz' difficulty with low outside breaking balls has been seen throughout the league and he hasn't been the same hitter the last week or two?

 

Have seem comments in the Strib of late about Rogers making comments about the chaos surrounding scheduling the playoffs and where. As the player rep, is this affecting his performance on the mound? I sure as heck don't know, but if it is it would be good for him to clear his mind and concentrate on what he is getting paid to do...close out games.

 

I also want to make a prediction. Alcala should be and will be the Twins closer at some point in 2021.

 

To leave Chicago in first place the Twins needed to win 3 of 4. Well, that now means they need to sweep. Time to get to work guys.

 

 

 

Is there a site to see pitch-by-pitch? I'm pretty sure Berrios did not throw back-to-back strikes last night and would like to see if that was true

 

This should do the trick. From Baseball Savant.

 

Scroll down and click on "Jose Berrios", just below "Search Results".

    • Vanimal46 likes this

Berrios needs the coaches to work with him on his approach to big games.He came away with a good line, but his work was so erratic and it seems to get that way when he his hyped up about a game.

 

Do not rest your players in a key series.Do not experiment with Rogers in a key game when he has not shown any ability to get it done in the last month.I hate to see a player have such a difficult year, but the manager has to prevent the issue from being a team issue.If Rocco wants to experiment, let's see what Alcala does in a tough situation because he might become out closer.

    • jun and rdehring like this

 

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but did Cruz come to the plate three times with 2 outs and the bases loaded? And he didn't get the ball out of the infield on any of them, correct?

Only twice -- his last two PAs. In the 6th, he struck out, in the 8th, he grounded out.

 

He also K'd in the 1st with a runner on 1st and 1 out, and he DP'd with runners at the corners and 1 out in the 3rd. But an intentional walk in the 5th!

    • rdehring likes this