KC 5, MIN 2: Molitor Pushes All the Wrong Buttons in Loss
Image courtesy of Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY SportsSnapshot (chart via Fangraphs)
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.
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
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Sun: Twins (Bartolo Colon) at Kansas City (Jason Vargas), 1:15 pm CT
Tue: Twins (Aaron Slegers) vs. Padres (Travis Wood), 7:10 pm CT
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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