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Gardy announces retirement

Other Baseball Today, 09:15 PM
This is an AP article lifted from the StarTribune web site.DETROIT — Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire announced his immediate retirement bar...
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Game Thread Twins @ Cubs 9 /20/2020 6:00 PM CDT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:50 PM
The Twins conclude their week in Chicago with a Sunday night game against the Cubs. The Twins have won two of the first six games against...
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The Defense And Reality of Dobnak

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:43 PM
I almost posted this in a front page thread but decided it needed it's own. I know we are in a playoff push with mixtures of optimism and...
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LT contracts for current star position players

Other Baseball Today, 09:13 AM
I see that Yelich is still effected by a broken kneecap from last year and has a longterm contract now through 2028. It always raised an...
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How does this scoring get the win?

Other Baseball Today, 09:35 AM
Here is the pitching box Grateral 1.1 innings one run Kolarek 0.2 innings no runs Dodgers take lead May 5.1 innings 3 runs Gonzalez 1 inn...
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CHW 6, MIN 2: White-Hot White Sox

Another quiet night for the bats ended in a Twins loss Tuesday. Rookie Dane Dunning helped keep the White Sox rolling, surrendering two runs (one earned) over seven innings. Since dropping back-to-back games to the Twins to open September, the White Sox have gone 10-1.
Image courtesy of © Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
Box Score
Dobnak: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
Home Runs: Buxton (9)
Bottom 3 WPA: Dobnak -.259, Sanó -.103, Jeffers -.079
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):
Attached Image: Winchart.png

The Twins got another look at one of the strong young AL Central arms in Dane Dunning. Dunning was an often-overlooked secondary piece in the Adam Eaton and Lucas Giolito trade back in 2016. Dunning went seven strong innings for the White Sox tonight, allowing just two runs (one earned) on just three hits, while striking out seven. With the way Dunning has pitched in his first five starts, he is making a bid for a spot in the White Sox Postseason starting rotation.

After having his inside-the-park home run in last night’s game taken away, Byron Buxton got redemption leading off the third inning of tonight’s ballgame. This time, there was no doubt as Buxton circled the bases with his usual lightning fast speed.



That wasn’t the only time Buxton trotted around the basepaths tonight. In the fifth, Buxton reached base with a leadoff single on a liner over the shortstop’s head into centerfield. Buxton was then able to advance all the way to third during the next at-bat, thanks to both a wild pitch followed up by a passed ball. He then came in to score the Twins second run of the game on Ryan Jeffers RBI groundout.

Randy Dobnak had another rough outing tonight, marking his third rough start in his last four outings. In the first, Dobnak allowed a run on three groundball singles, two of which come with two outs in the inning. He then allowed a couple more baserunners in the second but was able to pitch his way out of the inning without allowing another run to score.

Dobnak wasn’t as fortunate in the third inning as he was in the second. He began the inning by issuing a walk to Yasmani Grandal before giving up another groundball base hit to Jose Abreu. Jorge Polanco made a nice diving play on the ball, but his rushed throw to second was errant, and allowed Grandal to advance to third. Dobnak was able to strikeout Eloy Jimenez for the first out of the inning, but then gave up a double to James McCann, followed by Luis Robert, and before you know it the White Sox had opened up a 4-1 lead.

Tyler Clippard came on with one out in the fifth to relieve Randy Dobnak. After pitching out of yet another jam, Clippard came out to pitch the sixth and proceeded to give up a solo home run to Tim Anderson, that extended the White Sox lead to a score of 5-2.

A big story of tonight’s game was the strike zone that umpire Will Little had behind the plate. It seemed to be all over the place, and more often than not it went against the favor of the Minnesota Twins. After yet another missed call from Little, where he rung up Ryan Jeffers to end the Twins half of the seventh. This led to some unkind words from the Twins dugout that resulted in the ejections of both Rocco Baldelli and Nelson Cruz. If you were unable to watch the game, here is a chart that illustrates the called strikes that the White Sox pitchers received tonight, as you can tell, it was pretty bad.

Attached Image: 4353C84C-E26E-4E33-847D-91DF7CC3F2BB.png

Jorge Alcala came in to pitch the seventh and eighth innings for the Twins, and aside from a solo home run that he gave up to James McCann in the seventh, it was another impressive outing for Alcala, who is making a strong case for being added to the Twins Postseason roster with his performance of late.

Lost in everything, Travis Blankenhorn made his MLB debut tonight. After recording outs in his first two at-bats of the evening, he was hit by a pitch in the seventh, before picking up his first career MLB hit with a two-out double in the ninth.

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
Attached Image: Bullpen.png


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31 Comments

The 7 or 8 seed is looking better and better. The yankees are getting healthy and mashing. Is Wes Johnson doing anything? The pitching staff is really regressing
    • KFEY93 likes this

The ball is not lodged until he grabs it and cannot easily removes it!

Really poor display the first two games. Kiss the division bye bye if we don’t salvage one of the next two

    • bighat and KFEY93 like this

I dunno folks, I think the White Sox are a better team. It's hard to accept that, especially considering the comments on the White Sox preview article about how they weren't going to be better than us or Cleveland... but the Twins lineup gets too cold too quickly and our pitching has some holes. 

    • birdwatcher, jbissell, jun and 4 others like this

I have a few observations - why is Kepler Leading off?Should Donaldson be hitting second?Put Buxton first, Polanco second, Cruz third and pressure the pitcher and defense.Kepler has been a big disappointment, even before the injury.  

 

Is Dobnak really doing poorly or do we have a defense that cannot support a ground ball pitcher?Has he lost his position for the off season rotation?

 

The big story for the year is the BATS - where are they? 

 

Finally - can we get the electronic strike zone?I know it is not perfect, but compared to the umpires we have seen it is from heaven.

    • denarded, Dantes929, adjacent and 5 others like this

 

I have a few observations - why is Kepler Leading off?Should Donaldson be hitting second?Put Buxton first, Polanco second, Cruz third and pressure the pitcher and defense.Kepler has been a big disappointment, even before the injury.  

 

Is Dobnak really doing poorly or do we have a defense that cannot support a ground ball pitcher?Has he lost his position for the off season rotation?

 

The big story for the year is the BATS - where are they? 

 

Finally - can we get the electronic strike zone?I know it is not perfect, but compared to the umpires we have seen it is from heaven.

 

Yeah I don't know why Rocco is so in love with Kepler batting leadoff. He's batting .215 with an OPS barely above .700. When he was injured the Twins were 9-2 with Polanco and Wade sharing leadoff duties. I think Kepler needs to get booted out of that spot. I 100% agree with Buxton batting first. He has a better AVG than Kepler, an OPS almost .1 higher, blazing speed, and he'll average more plate appearances, which gives the Twins more chances for him to create havoc on the base paths. 

 

Also the Twins need to fire the hitting coach after this year. It's mind blowing for an offense to go from one of the best offenses of all time to barely being able to score more than 2 runs a game. Bring back James Rowson. 

    • mikelink45 and Dman like this
Photo
twinbythebay
Sep 15 2020 10:47 PM

Yeah I don't know why Rocco is so in love with Kepler batting leadoff. He's batting .215 with an OPS barely above .700. I 100% agree with Buxton batting first. He has a better AVG than Kepler, an OPS almost .1 higher, blazing speed, and he'll average more plate appearances, which gives the Twins more chances for him to create havoc on the base paths. 
 
Also the Twins need to fire the hitting coach after this year. It's mind blowing for an offense to go from one of the best offenses of all time to barely being able to score more than 2 runs a game. Bring back James Rowson.


I think the Twins wanted to keep Rowson around, and I believe they would've promoted him to bench coach had Shelton been hired away by the Pirates before Rowson was hired away by the Marlins. I don't think there would be any way to get him back at this point short of offering him the manager position. Personally, I would be very hesitant about making any personnel decisions based solely on the results this short, bastardized season.
    • birdwatcher, jbissell, Dman and 1 other like this

Pathetic. One run off Cease, and a grand total of two off Dunning?

 

The only question I have left is whether or not Giolito or Keuchel are going to give up a hit, because it's almost guaranteed the Twins won't sniff the scoreboard in the next two games.

 

Dobnak's toast, cute story but the guy appears to have just been getting lucky for about 4-5 starts there early on. He is who everyone thought he is.

 

Twins will make the playoffs, but the division at this point is a pipe dream.

 

Buxton is so fun to watch. Just imagine if there had been fans in the stands to gawk, yell, boo, or just stare in amazement at his inside-the-parker. A big game in late September, the division on the line, I'm sure it would have been packed to the gills with 40,000....

    • h2oface, mikelink45 and KFEY93 like this

 

I have a few observations - why is Kepler Leading off?Should Donaldson be hitting second?Put Buxton first, Polanco second, Cruz third and pressure the pitcher and defense.Kepler has been a big disappointment, even before the injury.  

 

Is Dobnak really doing poorly or do we have a defense that cannot support a ground ball pitcher?Has he lost his position for the off season rotation?

 

The big story for the year is the BATS - where are they? 

 

Finally - can we get the electronic strike zone?I know it is not perfect, but compared to the umpires we have seen it is from heaven.

With regards to Kepler, he probably shouldn't be leading off at this point. If he can't hit lefties at all (all signs say he can't) he's a .220 hitter with minimal on base skills. Polanco shouldn't be in the top half of the lineup. He appears to have made the decision to avoid striking out at all costs this year, and that includes refusing to walk or hit for any power whatsoever. He can be 2-0 and take a half swing at a middle-middle pitch to try and sneak it up the middle and it makes no sense.Those two by themselves regressing are where the offense has gone. 

 

It's not the defense's fault that Dobnak is doing poorly either. The shift hurt him last night, but his whiffs keep dropping and his walks and hit batters keep going up. If he doesn't have the control and command he showed to start his career, he's not a pitcher that can survive in the MLB.

    • mikelink45 and Dman like this

As a Twins fan conditioned to think\say that pitching has let us down this offense stinks.They cannot string anything together.I thought that maybe after the HR bats came out in Cleveland that maybe things were starting to gel but after only get 1 run off of Cease this team has problems.Still time to get it together but they need to start picking each other up.

 

You look at the averages and OPS of this Chicago team and you have to admire that lineup.Their pitching is certainly equal to ours as well.So not too surprised at the results as these games can go either way but the White Sox are going to be this good for a looong time.I hope out guys can bounce back.

    • mikelink45 and bighat like this

Turned it off last night after the 7th. Only reason I lasted that long was I wanted to see Alcala.

 

Spring training began with a lot of talk out of Fort Myers about the Twins focusing on winning the World Series. As this crazy season plays out, all I hear from the team is how concerned they are for keeping everyone healthy and fresh for the playoffs. While everyone on the team assumes they will be in, it is looking more like they could open their 3-game series in New York. We all know how that is going to end.

 

What I am seeing since the first day of spring training is a team that talks about winning a World Series but has lost that hunger of last year. How many big comebacks have we seen this year like the many of last year? There may be one, but I don't remember it. 

 

And while they talk about keeping everyone healthy and fresh, the IL is filled to the brim and the lineup is filled with guys who aren't ready for a run to the playoffs.

 

As for performance, who on this team is playing to the maximum of what we should expect other than Maeda, possibly Cruz and Buxton and a couple of the Rookies who we didn't expect to see?

 

That leaves me asking two questions. Is this team hungry? And a bigger question is have they become soft and pampered? Where is the fight from this team? I sure as heck don't see it. 

    • mikelink45, Dman, DocBauer and 2 others like this

That leaves me asking two questions. Is this team hungry? And a bigger question is have they become soft and pampered? Where is the fight from this team? I sure as heck don't see it.

 

It is always tough to judge intangibles such as "hunger" but the Twins have been outplayed by a wide margin in the first two games of the biggest series of the season so far.

    • rdehring likes this

 

That leaves me asking two questions. Is this team hungry? And a bigger question is have they become soft and pampered? Where is the fight from this team? I sure as heck don't see it.

 

It is always tough to judge intangibles such as "hunger" but the Twins have been outplayed by a wide margin in the first two games of the biggest series of the season so far.

I share your concern - the just get healthy, we have it made, don't worry we will be in the playoffs theme is getting tiring.The listless play, the lack of urgency is part of the malaise that not playing for a title can bring.The challenge will be trying to turn on the urgency when the playoffs do come.I love the energy that the White Sox are playing with. 

    • Dman, rdehring, BBAM and 1 other like this

I am not surprised by Dobnak's recent struggles, I was always hoping he would be the exception, but seems like his pitch to contact approach has started to fail him.As more hitters see him for multiple times they are being fooled less and fouling off many pitches.Also, one risk you have with the shift, as shown last night and recently, is that you leave giant holes that soft contact will get through.If you are hoping for soft contact ground balls the need for the shift is reduced.Also, if hitters are not expected to hit HR due to downward movements of the pitch they know hitting other way even weak will produce hits.If you are going to **** you need to pitch to it as well and have the pitches come inside more often.  

 

I am getting annoyed with Dick talking about how Dobnak is not getting beat around, well no, but he is hitting guys, walking guys and giving up hits to giant holes in the field.You do not need to give up hard contact to get beat.Those weak ground balls to giant holes was not bad luck, it was good hitting. 

    • jun, Dman and rdehring like this
Photo
terrydactyls1947
Sep 16 2020 09:19 AM
Looking at the pitch chart, I only see two pitches that are clearly outside the zone (and three that may or may not be touching the edge). I don't think this qualifies as "all over the place.". I don't think the umpire was the problem.
    • birdwatcher, spycake and wsnydes like this

 

A big story of tonight’s game was the strike zone that umpire Will Little had behind the plate. It seemed to be all over the place, and more often than not it went against the favor of the Minnesota Twins. After yet another missed call from Little, where he rung up Ryan Jeffers to end the Twins half of the seventh. This led to some unkind words from the Twins dugout that resulted in the ejections of both Rocco Baldelli and Nelson Cruz. If you were unable to watch the game, here is a chart that illustrates the called strikes that the White Sox pitchers received tonight, as you can tell, it was pretty bad.


Download attachment: 4353C84C-E26E-4E33-847D-91DF7CC3F2BB.png

 

Where's the evidence that "more often than not it went against the favor of the Minnesota Twins"? I'm not claiming it didn't, but wouldn't you also need to show the zone the Twins pitchers received to make that claim?

 

EDIT: Found it! Select "All Away Pitchers" in the first drop down (or "All Home Pitchers" if that is what you want), then "Pitch Description" in the last drop-down, and then in the unlabeled box next to that, you can type/select "Called Strike". Can't get the "Save as Image" function to work, but here's the link:

https://baseballsava...ring=Pitch Type

 

(And before anyone jumps down my throat, no, this is not a defense of the umpire or human umpiring in general. Just a response to the author's statement that the umpiring favored the White Sox.)

    • birdwatcher, mikelink45 and wsnydes like this

 

Looking at the pitch chart, I only see two pitches that are clearly outside the zone (and three that may or may not be touching the edge). I don't think this qualifies as "all over the place.". I don't think the umpire was the problem.

Yeah, it's easy to look at those pitches right up against the box and conclude the ump was wrong, but that's maybe millimeters? Probably within the margin of error of any pitch tracking system. The ump may have still been "wrong" but Twins batters likely can't discern strikes/balls on that edge any better -- and indeed, they've never played under a system with a hard edge like that either.

 

(Disclaimer again: not a defense of the ump or human umpiring in general. I'm intrigued by robo-umps and would be very interested to see them, assuming the calls are made instantly.)

    • wsnydes likes this

 

Turned it off last night after the 7th. Only reason I lasted that long was I wanted to see Alcala.

 

Spring training began with a lot of talk out of Fort Myers about the Twins focusing on winning the World Series. As this crazy season plays out, all I hear from the team is how concerned they are for keeping everyone healthy and fresh for the playoffs. While everyone on the team assumes they will be in, it is looking more like they could open their 3-game series in New York. We all know how that is going to end.

 

What I am seeing since the first day of spring training is a team that talks about winning a World Series but has lost that hunger of last year. How many big comebacks have we seen this year like the many of last year? There may be one, but I don't remember it. 

 

And while they talk about keeping everyone healthy and fresh, the IL is filled to the brim and the lineup is filled with guys who aren't ready for a run to the playoffs.

 

As for performance, who on this team is playing to the maximum of what we should expect other than Maeda, possibly Cruz and Buxton and a couple of the Rookies who we didn't expect to see?

 

That leaves me asking two questions. Is this team hungry? And a bigger question is have they become soft and pampered? Where is the fight from this team? I sure as heck don't see it. 

I turned it off in the 4th lol. Knew the game was over by the 3rd. Surprised you lasted that long. 

    • rdehring likes this

If the strike zone calls seemed to favor the White Sox pitchers over the Twins pitchers, I wonder how the approaches of each team's batters affect that?

 

If the White Sox were a bit more free swingers, they are more likely swinging at pitches close to the zone anyway, while if the Twins are more patient, they are taking more of those. 

 

Yet again, not a defense of the ump or human umpiring in general, but under the current system of human umpiring, a known risk of a patient approach is putting more calls at the umpire's discretion.

The strike zone used in the graphic here is not the same strike zone used on the tv monitors we watch the game on which stop at the high belt. Which the umps cannot see. So who is to say what was missed or not.

 

Looking at the pitch chart, I only see two pitches that are clearly outside the zone (and three that may or may not be touching the edge). I don't think this qualifies as "all over the place.". I don't think the umpire was the problem.

This was my thought too. Those calls didn't look particularly egregious. Room for improvement, sure. But he was consistent in calling those as well.

 

Chalk this up to the human element in my book.  

The inconsistency of pitch calling last night seemed to be an issue, would like to see called strike/ball chart when Twins pitching to compare.

Congrats to Travis Blankenhorn who made his major league debut, turned a DP and got his 1st major league hit.

    • mikelink45 likes this

Okay, here are the called strike comparisons:

 

NjqPoXW.png

 

VhYRWtw.png

I tuned in late, and only briefly, and did not see Buxton's round-tripper. Just now I watched the video. I swear, the man wasn't even going at his hardest*, just the long-legged stride, for most of the way, until after he rounded second! Incredible. At his best he makes the game seem easy.

 

 

* Don't misconstrue - that long stride involves a lot of effort, and he was still reading the defense's play on the ball. Reread my last sentence.

    • rdehring likes this

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