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KC 5, MIN 2: Molitor Pushes All the Wrong Buttons in Loss

The Twins gave away a pair of outs by bunting and ran into a couple of more outs trying to steal bases, but this was still a tied ballgame heading into the bottom of the eighth. There, Paul Molitor decided to put the game into the hands of the struggling Buddy Boshers. The game wasn’t tied for much longer after that.
Image courtesy of Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Snapshot (chart via Fangraphs)
Attached Image: Snapshot99.png
Eduardo Escobar led off the third inning with a homer, which was followed by a Jason Castro single. Robbie Grossman, who was 6-for-13 with two homers in his first four games back from the DL, laid down a sac bunt to advance Castro to second. Yes, that same Robbie Grossman who has a .379 on-base percentage since joining the Twins.

“Thank you,” replied the Royals.

Brian Dozier struck out and Joe Mauer grounded out to end the inning. The next inning, the Twins got burned again, but this time for trying to be too aggressive. Eddie Rosario was thrown out trying to steal second base with one out. That burned, as it was followed by back-to-back singles by Byron Buxton and Max Kepler.

The really weird thing was it happened again.

In the sixth inning, Rosie got another one-out single, and again got thrown out trying to steal second base. Buxton, the very next batter, hit a homer. Ouch.

Oh, and there was more bunting, too. With the score tied at 2-2 in the top of the eighth, Mauer hit a leadoff single. Jorge Polanco bunted him over. Yes, that same Polanco who is hitting third, has been hotter than the sun … wait ... I feel like I’ve done this bit before. Predictably, the Twins would not score that inning.

Pretty much all you need to know about the bottom of the eighth inning was that the Twins used five pitchers. I feel like with that information you can pretty much conclude how well things went, but here are the gory details:

Ryan Pressly was the first man out of the bullpen, and gave up an 0-2 single to Lorenzo Cain to lead off the inning. He walked the next batter on four pitches. In came Boshers. He threw one pitch, giving up the go-ahead single to Eric Hosmer. Tyler Duffey was up next. He gave up an RBI double to Salvy Perez. He then intentionally walked Mike Moustakas to load the bases. There were still no outs at that point.

The next man in was Taylor Rogers, which was pretty confusing. Boshers had been on a terrible slide heading into tonight's game, having given up six earned runs over his previous four innings. Opponents had a 1.154 OPS against Buddy over that stretch. With that given, it was assumed Rogers must not have been available to face Hosmer earlier in the inning, yet here he was, entering the game after things had gotten a bit out of hand.

Rogers got Brandon Moss to line out. One pitch and his night was done. Ah, September baseball. Alan Busenitz became the fifth pitcher of the inning, and gave up a sac fly before striking out Alex Gordon to end the inning.

Sometimes a manager pushes all the right buttons and pulls all the right levers and things still just don’t work out. This doesn’t feel like one of those times, at least not to me. Is hindsight 20/20? Am I way off base? You’ll have to let me know.

Jose Berrios did a nice job of limiting damage over his 7.0 innings tonight. He only stuck out one batter, gave up eight hits and walked two batters, but the Royals were only able to score two runs off him. Rosario, Buxton and Castro each had two hits. Buxton also drew a walk.

Standings
The Yankees won, so the Twins trail the top Wild Card by 2.5 games. At the time this published the Angels were 1.5 games behind the Twins, but were also losing 8-0. Cleveland won its 17th-straight game and has now tied Houston with the most wins in the AL with 86.

Postgame With Molitor

Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Attached Image: Bullpen99.png
Looking Ahead
Sun: Twins (Bartolo Colon) at Kansas City (Jason Vargas), 1:15 pm CT
Mon: Off
Tue: Twins (Aaron Slegers) vs. Padres (Travis Wood), 7:10 pm CT

Looking Back
MIN 8, KC 5: Rosario Drives in 4, Hildenberger Holds it Together
MIN 4, KC 2: Comeback Complete
MIN 10, TB 6: Twins Prevail Thanks to Big Error

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54 Comments

The wasting of outs is just terrible.

The Twins gave KC 4 free outs, and playing the infield back in the 1st with 1 out gave KC their first run.

And that's not even mentioning using Boshers before Rogers.

Terrible managing from a poor manager.
    • Jerr, Mike Sixel, diehardtwinsfan and 6 others like this

 

.

Terrible managing from a poor mediocre manager. FIFM(e)

 

I like the alliteration and the slightest benefit of the doubt for a local boy HOFer, better.

 

But agreed, Falvine have to be taking copious notes of self-incrimination on nights like this to add to the ever-growing Molitor Discard Review file for season's end.

I really hope Molitor would manage elsewhere next season. Sometimes his decision does not make any baseball sense.

Pressly and Duffey should not pitch in any close game. Perkins, Boshers and Turley should not be on any major league roster. Tonkin and Curtiss can not be trusted. This bullpen is probably the worst in the league right now.
    • nytwinsfan likes this

"Sometimes a manager pushes all the right buttons and pulls all the right levers and things still just don’t work out. This doesn’t feel like one of those times, at least not to me. Is hindsight 20/20? Am I way off base? You’ll have to let me know."

 

Not way off base. Maybe blamed Boshers too much and Pressley not enough. Apparently Pressley has occasionally been good because I have read about it but have never seen it. Maybe I need to turn away when he comes in.  

Some of it is luck. Catro 3 at bats and only one mattered. In the two that didn't matter he got hits and popped up in the one that did. Maybe a little bad luck but more a bad slide that got Rosario out stealing the first time.  If base hits had scored the runners that were sacrificed over and Pressley had done his job maybe we would feel differently about it so some of it is on the players and some of it is hindsight but I think enough TD fans were saying No! at Molitor's moves before they happened to rule it all to hindsight.

    • Jerr likes this

 

 

And that's not even mentioning using Boshers before Rogers.

 

 

Boshers in 18 AAA games this year:

 

WHIP: 1.64

BB/9: 5

H/9: 10

 

The only pitcher less effective and with worst stats in these cats at Rochester was Chris Heston.

 

Mike Freakin' Tonkin and Dietrich Enns look like lights-out AAA- even factoring LHB- relief aces by comparison.

    • Mike Sixel and Oldgoat_MN like this
Photo
Hosken Bombo Disco
Sep 09 2017 10:54 PM
My hot take from the game thread:

Mauer led off the top of the 8th with a single, and Molitor asked our hottest hitter to sacrifice bunt. From second base, Mauer is not necessarily a safe bet to score on a single to the outfield.

Cain led off the bottom of the 8th with a single, and he has been hobbled and not running well. KC saved the out and sent in their pinch runner. Runner later scored from second on a single to the outfield.

Also, Grossman sacrificing early in the game like what was said in the OP. Grossman is what 6-13 since his return with an extra base hit in all four of those games. Molitor cannot call on Grossman to sacrifice there. Just can't.
    • USAFChief, Jerr, Mike Sixel and 6 others like this
Can't blame Molitor for the bullpen. It's absolutely terrible, save Belisle (lately), Rogers (maybe), and Hildenberger. As much as it seems like he has, he can't use those two guys every night.

Can't defend some of this guy's decisions to bunt Polanco. It's getting a little ridiculous.
    • USAFChief and gagu like this
Add Busenitz to that list above
    • Oldgoat_MN and bluechipper like this
Photo
diehardtwinsfan
Sep 10 2017 05:39 AM

 

The wasting of outs is just terrible.

The Twins gave KC 4 free outs, and playing the infield back in the 1st with 1 out gave KC their first run.

And that's not even mentioning using Boshers before Rogers.

Terrible managing from a poor manager.

 

I really do think that a good manager can contribute to a team's WAR just as a bad manager can put his team in position to lose. Molitor clearly didn't have his best game today, which is unfortunate.

    • USAFChief and brvama like this
Considering we had a self inflicted and self described burnt out BP, I don't think I ever saw anyone manage? an inning in a more bizzare fashion? There are a lot of games left, sometimes when things go south you just let them go and move on to tomorrow. Lastly, some have pointed to his "dartboard" lineups as his embracement of analytics, but Molitors bunt phobia begs to differ.
At least the Angels lost to the Twins sleeper agent Andrew Albers. :)
    • ashburyjohn, snepp, bluechipper and 3 others like this
All these bunts are terrible. Just baffling.

I am infintely more tolerant of Rosario trying to steal. Sometimes it doesn't work.
    • Jerr, ThejacKmp, spycake and 3 others like this

I really hope Molitor would manage elsewhere next season. Sometimes his decision does not make any baseball sense.Pressly and Duffey should not pitch in any close game. Perkins, Boshers and Turley should not be on any major league roster. Tonkin and Curtiss can not be trusted. This bullpen is probably the worst in the league right now.


I have zero issue with anyone unsatisfied with the in-game managing, but the comments above read like more of a critique of bullpen composition. That ain't on the manager.
    • USAFChief, Jerr, adjacent and 1 other like this
Didn't catch much of the game last night, but fro what I did see...

What a terrible slide by Rosario when he got nabbed by Perez just prior to Buck's dinger. Jeezus H, keep contact with the base. Really, it's not difficult.

That CS may have been one of the best I've ever seen on one of the toughest pitches to handle. Man, Perez is some kinda catcher.
    • Dantes929 and ThejacKmp like this
Photo
Old Twins Cap
Sep 10 2017 07:04 AM

The bunting is just plain dumb.Playing for one run in the early innings?Baffled.

 

But the bullpen....

 

It's a close game.You have a chance to win, a very good chance.

 

You could tell he didn't want to use Rogers/Busenitz/Hildenberger, so he brings in the B-squad. 

 

Problem is, he had to use Rogers and Busenitz anyway. 

 

Much rather start the inning with those guys and have a chance to win than use them after the game has already been lost.

    • Jerr and Oldgoat_MN like this

The bunting is just plain dumb. Playing for one run in the early innings? Baffled.

But the bullpen....

It's a close game. You have a chance to win, a very good chance.

You could tell he didn't want to use Rogers/Busenitz/Hildenberger, so he brings in the B-squad.

Problem is, he had to use Rogers and Busenitz anyway.

Much rather start the inning with those guys and have a chance to win than use them after the game has already been lost.


Using Pressly over Busenitz is not the B Squad. Molitor would have no reason to hold back Busenitz.

Using Boshers for one LH batter, as has been often requested here, is using him correctly. Perhaps Rogerd should have been used instead, I'll grant that, but if Boshers can't get 1 LH hitter out, the Twins truly have no second lefty.
Going into the eighth inning, game tied and what Molitor had available in the bullpen, did he really think one run would be enough to win the game? Did he think his bullpen could get six outs without giving up a run? Everyone on this forum knew they answer to that , except for Molitor. The question I have is, are the Twins doing this well despite Molitor? What is in the bullpen is not his fault, but he needs to think outside the box sometimes and stop reading from a script. I just wish he would stop with all of the bunting.
    • USAFChief and jokin like this

 

I really hope Molitor would manage elsewhere next season. Sometimes his decision does not make any baseball sense.

Pressly and Duffey should not pitch in any close game. Perkins, Boshers and Turley should not be on any major league roster. Tonkin and Curtiss can not be trusted. This bullpen is probably the worst in the league right now.

 

One might argue that if that second paragraph is all true, then Molitor should probably be manager of the year for getting a team with that big of an issue late in games to a point where on September 10th they have a 2-game lead for the 2nd wild card and are 6-7 games over .500.

    • Dantes929, chpettit19 and gagu like this
I will say I imagine Busenitz gets the next crack at that situation over Pressly.
    • adorduan likes this

One might argue that if that second paragraph is all true, then Molitor should probably be manager of the year for getting a team with that big of an issue late in games to a point where on September 10th they have a 2-game lead for the 2nd wild card and are 6-7 games over .500.


I generally agree with the sentiment here. That Molitor got the team to this point with this bullpen (not to mention rotation) is truly remarkable.

If only he would stop bunting.
    • Jerr, ThejacKmp, jokin and 2 others like this

 

At least the Angels lost to the Twins sleeper agent Andrew Albers. :)

 

Using Pressly over Busenitz is not the B Squad. Molitor would have no reason to hold back Busenitz.

Using Boshers for one LH batter, as has been often requested here, is using him correctly. Perhaps Rogerd should have been used instead, I'll grant that, but if Boshers can't get 1 LH hitter out, the Twins truly have no second lefty.

 

Enns? (and by proxy, Albers :) )

    • drjim likes this
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Comrade Bork
Sep 10 2017 07:50 AM
Is this one of those things where good managing goes unnoticed, but bad managing sticks out like a sore thumb. It's easy to point at one game and throw Molly under the bus, but I'm rarely thinking, 'wow, what a great move'in any of his games.

How much credit can we give to Molitor for our young players development? Is he pushing the right buttons or is it just our young guys figuring it out? If you can credit Molly for any of the turn around it would be tough to fire him.
    • Seth Stohs, chpettit19 and gagu like this

 

I have zero issue with anyone unsatisfied with the in-game managing, but the comments above read like more of a critique of bullpen composition. That ain't on the manager.

 

Partially, it still is.. Addition by subtraction is one way to mitigate a bad bullpen. (SP threw only 94 ptichers, pretty easy to see scenarios where the Twins win the game, with only one or two RPs used to finish off the game- Rogers and/or Busenitz).

How much credit can we give to Molitor for our young players development? Is he pushing the right buttons or is it just our young guys figuring it out? If you can credit Molly for any of the turn around it would be tough to fire him.


But how much of the 2017 improvement is only improvement coming after the 2016 regression? Multi-year, Molitor might only be neutral at best.
    • USAFChief, Blake, Jerr and 1 other like this

 

But how much of the 2017 improvement is only improvement coming after the 2016 regression? Multi-year, Molitor might only be neutral at best.

 

Yep. I'm convinced, short of a World Serious run, Molitor has already been determined by Falvine to be a dead man(ager) walking.

    • ChiTownTwinsFan, Jerr, gunnarthor and 1 other like this

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