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

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KCR 3, MIN 2: No Cruz, No Donaldson, No Arráez, No Offense

A Twins lineup lacking some of its key pieces tallied just two runs, both on solo homers, in a 3-2 loss at Kansas City Friday night. The bats mustered just five hits and had only two at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Image courtesy of © Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Box Score
Smeltzer: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Home Runs: Buxton (2), Gonzalez (2)
Bottom 3 WPA: Rosario -.139, Cave -.111, Adrianza -.103
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):
Attached Image: Winchart.png

While the Twins offense has been somewhat productive so far this year, ranking fifth in runs scored (68) and fourth in home runs (20) coming into this game, they have also produced some unimpressive stats, such as a .236 AVG, .731 OPS, .265 BABIP, .319 wOBA and 106 wRC+. Tonight, even with a solid performance from the mound, the bats didn’t show up when needed.

Byron Buxton homered to lead off the third inning, hitting a 442-feet bomb to left center. It was the fourth longest home run of his career and this was the first time he went yard in back-to-back games since May 16 of last year. Momentarily, Buxton’s OPS improved from .548 to .731 with that dinger, which may be an indicator that his slow start might be behind him sooner than most of us imagined.



After completing the first two innings rather quickly, Smeltzer put on a sweat to pitch throughout the third. Royals third baseman Maikel Franco hit a leadoff double and was later brought home by a single from center fielder Nick Heath. Smeltzer managed to limit the damage to the one run, not allowing any other base runner. Minnesota got back on top immediately afterwards, in the top of the fourth, with yet another home run. Marwin González hit his second of the year.



Smeltzer rained out
The game was halted by a rain delay in the bottom of the fifth, which fortunately lasted only a few minutes. However, it was long enough to end the night for Smeltzer, who had given up a leadoff single to Alex Gordon, later scored by a one-out single from Nicky Lopez, in the very last pitch before the umpires decided to pause the game, tying the game. Smeltzer’s pitch count still looked good, with 62 pitches to complete 4 1/3 innings.

Matt Wisler came into the game in his relief, after the tarp was rolled up, to try to get the final two outs of the fifth inning. He walked the first batter he saw, but then got bailed out by an amazing catch from Jake Cave, preventing the Royals from taking the lead.



Wisler is having a really nice start of his Twins career, but he made a mistake in the sixth inning, as a hanging slider in the middle of the zone was crushed by first baseman Ryan McBroom, making it 3-2 Royals. It was the first run allowed by Wisler in the season.

Bullpen keeps Minnesota alive, but the offense doesn’t deliver
Once Wisler departed from the game after the sixth inning, Caleb Thielbar and Sean Poppen (making his season debut) pitched a couple of scoreless frames to keep the Twins alive. However, the offense couldn’t come through for them. After Miguel Sanó was intentionally walked in the fifth inning, Twins batters went 0-for-13 with a walk to finish the game. Nelson Cruz, who originally got the night off, came into the game to pinch-hit for Ehire Adrianza in the very last out of the game. In spite of the good eight-pitch battle against reliever Trevor Rosenthal, he ended up striking out.

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
Attached Image: Bullpen.png


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12 Comments

Shouldn't lose to K.C. Not good ABs.
    • mikelink45 and hybridbear like this
The offense has had trouble putting anything together since the opening weekend.
    • stringer bell, mikelink45, hybridbear and 4 others like this

Not taking BP isn't working out too well this year. 

    • mikelink45 likes this

Twins pitched Smelzter, Theilbar, Wisler and Poppen. Read that again. Smeltzer, Theilbar, Wisler and Poppen....and they somehow held a team to 3 runs! And the Twins LOST because they couldn't score off Jake Junis and Greg Holland. Yuck.

 

Donaldson going to the IL and won't be back for probably 2 more weeks. Completely disappointing, no sugar-coating it. This is why other teams wouldn't give him 4 years, and it didn't even take 2 weeks for the Twins to get stung by this guy. Sure he's a good guy, a great player, and a solid veteran presence. Doesn't mean we can't be disappointed in what's happened so far with him.

 

Sano is striking out 50% of the time and he's hitting .135 now. I know some people like to save this kind of comment and wait until he hits a home run and say "are you bashing him NOW?" - well, no, I wouldn't be. I would be cheering like any Twins fan. But his numbers speak for themselves, they're frankly among the worst in the entire league at this time.

 

These giveaway games are annoying. But hey, half the league is going to make the playoffs, and there's really nothing major to gain from having the best record. The Twins may not win the division and it's going to be Chicago, not Cleveland, that finishes in 1st....

 

Good news: Hey how about Byron Buxton, folks! He's trying to carry this offense the past few games, at least someone's out there hitting.

 

    • mikelink45, hybridbear and PDX Twin like this
Photo
VivaBomboRivera!
Aug 08 2020 06:19 AM

This loss was easier to take than the blown save in Pittburgh.

No offense, but... we have no offense.

 

Statistically, most home runs are solo shots, league-wide in any season. Right now, though, the Twins' ratio is more than 2:1. Maybe it's just small sample, or maybe the other teams are pitching smart to a team built around homers.

    • bighat likes this
To quote Mike Tice "ok, everyone...calm down"
Photo
terrydactyls1947
Aug 08 2020 07:52 AM
Has anyone else noticed that Buxton's home run "trot" seems faster than most of the league trying for a triple?

 

To quote Mike Tice "ok, everyone...calm down"

That is why Mike Tice was fired 

    • bighat likes this

I know that Rocco is big on days off, but if Cruz is going to PH is it a day off?Somehow we have to have a way of keeping some of the better bats in the line up every day.We have not lost to Pittsburgh and KC - when the schedule came out those were soft games we should win.But the team is playing lackluster ball.Smeltzer survived, but this is KC.Our bats have been in a collective slump but this is KC and we just finished at Pittsburgh which should have been batting practice for the team. 

 

If this is just slumber until the playoffs I can shut them off like I do regular season NBA.  

Losing two, one-run games on the road is far from a crisis. 

    • adorduan likes this

4-10 coming into this series.....