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DET 12, MIN 11: Twins Lose Crazy Game On Walk-Off HR

The Twins fell behind 5-0 in the first inning Saturday, but stormed back to eventually build an 11-6 advantage. Then the wheels finally came falling off the bullpen. Twin relievers had been on an incredible roll, but they gave up six runs over the final three innings, including a Justin Upton walk-off homer.
Image courtesy of Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Win Expectancy (via Fangraphs)
Attached Image: WinEx812.png
Thanks in large part to a James McCann grand slam, the Tigers jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning. This game appeared to be headed toward another one of those ugly, one-sided losses we were accustomed to seeing earlier this season, but a monster third inning put the Twins right back in it.

Joe Mauer cleared the bases with a double to get the Twins on the board and Eddie Rosario crushed a game-tying homer.

The Twins offense continued to roll, as they built an 11-6 lead by the sixth inning. Things would tilt back in the Tigers favor from there. Detroit scratched across a run off Dillon Gee in the seventh inning before tallying three more in the eighth, as Trevor Hildenberger allowed two runners he inherited from Gee to score and let in a run of his own to make it 11-10.

The Twins managed to load the bases in the top of the ninth, but Miguel Sano struck out swinging for the third out. You could feel the momentum shift at Comerica Park.

Matt Belisle, who bailed out Hildy by getting the final out of the eighth inning, opened up the the ninth by giving up a leadoff single to Mikie Mahtook. Belisle then fell behind Upton and surrendered the walk-off homer.

It was too bad the pitching couldn’t hold it together, because this was a banner night for the Twins bats. Everybody in the starting lineup had a multi-hit game other than Jorge Polanco, which was pretty ironic, since Polanco entered the night with five-straight multi-hit games. Jorge still managed to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.

Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Joe Mauer all homered, and Joe drove in five runs for the first time since 2010. Jason Castro was 3-for-4 with a walk. Brian Dozier also had three hits.

As impressive as it’s been to watch Polanco, Dozier and now Mauer break out over the past couple weeks, Rosario deserves a ton of credit for being such a consistent contributor. After getting off to a bit of a slow start, Rosie had at least an .800 OPS in May, June and July. That mark is up over 1.000 so far in August.
Attached Image: RosarioGraph.png
But, again, as exciting an offensive output it was, the end result was pretty depressing thanks to a horrific night for the pitching staff.

Jose Berrios gave up a grand slam in the first inning and left this one after just 3.1 innings pitched. He gave up six runs on six hits and two walks. He didn’t strike anybody out, either. Ryan Pressly entered with the Twins up 7-6, but Detroit had runners on first and second base. He retired both batters he faced to protect the lead. Gee shut out Detroit over the fifth and sixth innings before everything fell apart over those final three frames.

The inning that really hurt the Twins was the eighth, and you can’t help but wonder if things may have ended up differently had they have been able to turn this double play:

Postgame With Molitor

Twins W-L Record
Overall: 58-57 (.504)
Last 10: 7-3 (.700)
Last 20: 10-10 (.500)
Last 40: 19-21 (.475)
Last 80: 39-41 (.488)

AL Central Standings
Cleveland 62-52
Minnesota 58-57 (-4.5)
Kansas City 58-58 (-5.0)

Wild Card Standings
WC1: Yankees 61-54
WC2: Minnesota 58-57, Angels 59-58*, Seattle 59-58* (all tied)
Tampa Bay 59-59 (-0.5)
Kansas City 58-58 (-0.5)
*Saturday game still in progress. The Angels and Mariners are playing each other, so by the end of the night one of them will jump above the Twins.

Defensive Lineups
Here’s a look at the starting lineups from the past seven games:
Attached Image: Lineups812.png
Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Attached Image: Bullpen812.png
Looking Ahead
Sunday: Twins (Ervin Santana) at Detroit (Matthew Boyd), 12:10 pm CT
Monday: OFF
Tuesday: Twins (TBD) vs. Cleveland (Danny Salazar), 7:10 pm CT


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24 Comments

Both Hildenberger and Belisle did not have anything. Gee might have done better.

Tough one.  But...we all knew the bullpen didn't go from liability to strength over night, they were due a for a dud.  The bats are hot and we have Santana going tomorrow.  Go out and get the win and take the series.

    • USAFChief, jimbo92107, Craig Arko and 3 others like this
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Tommygun921
Aug 13 2017 05:16 AM
Could've used this bullpen dud on a date they don't score 11 runs.
    • IaFan1 likes this

Could've used this bullpen dud on a date they don't score 11 runs.

to be fair, during the 6 game winning streak, only Erv went 6 innings. 5 of 6 were 5 inning starts or fewer. That's a ton of over exposure. The bullpen was due for a dud. Here's hoping it's only one.
    • Tibs, hugelycat, RaymondLuxuryYacht and 1 other like this
The Twins need ya today, Erv.
    • USAFChief and Tibs like this

to be fair, during the 6 game winning streak, only Erv went 6 innings. 5 of 6 were 5 inning starts or fewer. That's a ton of over exposure. The bullpen was due for a dud. Here's hoping it's only one.


You forget Big Sexy's 7 shutout innings so easily?

But your point is right, the starters have strained the bullpen this week. It's not nearly good enough to hold on for an extended time.
    • wsnydes likes this
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Old Twins Cap
Aug 13 2017 07:35 AM

Sano takes more blame than Belisle, IMHO.He is not laying off the low outside sliders, strking out half the time.Should have turned the DP in the 8th.

 

Twins will only go as far as Miggy Jr takes them.

    • Seth Stohs, benchwarmerjim, KGB and 1 other like this
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milldaddy35
Aug 13 2017 08:06 AM
Yep. This one is on sano. He has been pathetic at the plate lately. Looks like the prior version of Eddie Rosario. Think sano might need a mental break. I'd rest him today and then he has an off day tomorrow. He swings through everything below his knees.
    • blindeke likes this

Tough loss. The last time Belisle gave up a run was June 27, so I'm not going to put this one on him.

 

The bullpen has definitely been overexposed. A good start from Erv today would go a long way!

Getting real tired of watching Sano strike out.

Yeah Sano has cooled off considerably since May, but lets remember he is just barely 24 years old yet.
I truly believe that someday, soon, we are going to see the slumps become fewer and shorter.

We talk often about how the bullpen needs the starters to do their part, and when the starters go three straight starts without completing 5 innings, the bullpen gets extended. If worked for a couple of games, but in time, it'll always cost them.

 

The offense was good, but yeah, Sano is pretty clueless at the plate now.  

    • DJSim22 and KGB like this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Aug 13 2017 10:26 AM
It's second guessing but too bad Molitor didn't pinch run for Sano at some point last night for the purpose of getting his bat out of the lineup. I don't see anything wrong with that double play; Sano looked home but threw to first in the same motion. There was a millisecond delay but maybe Sano was just getting a good grip. The guy on the radio made it sound like Sano was frozen undecided about where to throw while runners circled the bases behind him. Wasted opportunity in the 9th, no doubt. Game felt over after that strikeout.

Interesting call by Molitor Sunday to judge that Mauer needs a day off today more than Sano does.

Also, what did Jason Castro say to Berrios on that trip to the mound in the first inning? The next pitch was the grand slam!

 

Also, what did Jason Castro say to Berrios on that trip to the mound in the first inning? The next pitch was the grand slam!

"Just throw it over the plate, kid. What's the worst that can happen?"

    • Hosken Bombo Disco and hybridbear like this

It seemed odd, but I had a bad feeling around the 7th inning that the Tigers were getting ready to rally. They actually do have a very dangerous batting lineup, and that 4-run lead did not look safe. 

 

The problem with not having a legitimate closer is that really good hitters like Justin Upton can do their heroics much easier on low-90's stuff than on high-90's stuff. Kintzler survived because he had developed a cutter/2-seamer combo that he could spot reliably on the corners from 92 to 94 mph. Belisle doesn't have any special pitch, just a down-plane fastball going about 90 that he throws low in the zone. His curve also tends low, but it's not a hard break.

 

Going forward, the team must find somebody other than Belisle to close. I nominate Busenitz, or get somebody up from AAA or AA. 

I've been impressed with how he's taken the bit between his teeth-  but come on, admit it, you had to wonder when Bad Belisle would show up again.

It's second guessing but too bad Molitor didn't pinch run for Sano at some point last night for the purpose of getting his bat out of the lineup. I don't see anything wrong with that double play; Sano looked home but threw to first in the same motion. There was a millisecond delay but maybe Sano was just getting a good grip. The guy on the radio made it sound like Sano was frozen undecided about where to throw while runners circled the bases behind him. Wasted opportunity in the 9th, no doubt. Game felt over after that strikeout.

Interesting call by Molitor Sunday to judge that Mauer needs a day off today more than Sano does.

Also, what did Jason Castro say to Berrios on that trip to the mound in the first inning? The next pitch was the grand slam!


Didn't Sano just return from a bunch of days off?
Not every slump can be solved by a day off. Sometimes the remedy is to play through it.
    • Hosken Bombo Disco likes this

 

It seemed odd, but I had a bad feeling around the 7th inning that the Tigers were getting ready to rally. They actually do have a very dangerous batting lineup, and that 4-run lead did not look safe. 

 

The problem with not having a legitimate closer is that really good hitters like Justin Upton can do their heroics much easier on low-90's stuff than on high-90's stuff. Kintzler survived because he had developed a cutter/2-seamer combo that he could spot reliably on the corners from 92 to 94 mph. Belisle doesn't have any special pitch, just a down-plane fastball going about 90 that he throws low in the zone. His curve also tends low, but it's not a hard break.

 

Going forward, the team must find somebody other than Belisle to close. I nominate Busenitz, or get somebody up from AAA or AA. 

I think Pressly should get the chance to close games, he's been dynamite as of late. I'd love to see Busenitz get save opportunities, but I don't think Molitor is close to letting him try those. He hasn't earned high leverage outings yet, though that's not really his fault as he's barely been used the past few weeks.

    • jimbo92107 likes this

You forget Big Sexy's 7 shutout innings so easily?

But your point is right, the starters have strained the bullpen this week. It's not nearly good enough to hold on for an extended time.

i did forget!

 

I think Pressly should get the chance to close games, he's been dynamite as of late. I'd love to see Busenitz get save opportunities, but I don't think Molitor is close to letting him try those. He hasn't earned high leverage outings yet, though that's not really his fault as he's barely been used the past few weeks.

I see your point, though both men might serve better as middle relievers, if the Twins can just find somebody else to close. I'm not saying bring Perkins back, either. Until Perk is throwing in the mid-90's, I don't see him being much better than Belisle. Chargois would have been my first pick, but he's gone for the year. Maybe John Curtiss or Randy Rosario. Point is, it's got to be somebody that can bring serious heat. Or a knuckleball. 

Cooler heads are prevailing in this thread. I like it. I'm was incredibly irked by this performance and I still am, but everyone's temperance here has rubbed off on me.  

 

I see your point, though both men might serve better as middle relievers, if the Twins can just find somebody else to close. I'm not saying bring Perkins back, either. Until Perk is throwing in the mid-90's, I don't see him being much better than Belisle. Chargois would have been my first pick, but he's gone for the year. Maybe John Curtiss or Randy Rosario. Point is, it's got to be somebody that can bring serious heat. Or a knuckleball. 

Perkins is going to be back soon even though he's barely going to throw 90. I'd rather keep all 8 guys we have in the bullpen than have Perkins back. 

 

On a similar note, Santiago's going to be back soon and he admitted in an interview over the radio today that he can't even throw 90! He'd probably be better than Enns but yikes, I don't think he need him on this team anymore.

 

Perkins is going to be back soon even though he's barely going to throw 90. I'd rather keep all 8 guys we have in the bullpen than have Perkins back. 

 

On a similar note, Santiago's going to be back soon and he admitted in an interview over the radio today that he can't even throw 90! He'd probably be better than Enns but yikes, I don't think he need him on this team anymore.

The Twins have several young pitchers in AAA and AA that should now get their cup of coffee rather than bringing up more guys (veteran or not) that can't break the 90 mph barrier without max effort. 

 

The team has rebounded from its late July / early August swoon. Let's keep in mind what caused that swoon in the first place: playing the best teams in the league, Astros and Dodgers, then getting pounded by Detroit because the pitching staff can barely hold them at bay for more than a few innings. This tells us that the Twins are definitely NOT ready to make a serious run at a ring. Knowing that, the team needs to keep that coffee urn full, and a stack of little plastic cups ready. Moar callups, moar tryouts!

    • Danchat likes this

I was expecting the Tigers to play the Twins hard, that's how they have played the Twins all year. 

 

For whatever reason, the Tigers players do not want to lose to the Twins and this year have been putting in extra effort when they play each other. The Twins were a little flat-footed and complacent in the lost game, but shut things down in the series finale (as best they could).


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