KCR 4, MIN 2: Bad Day for Berríos, Bats
Image courtesy of © Peter Aiken-USA TODAY SportsBox Score
Berrios: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
Home Runs: None
Bottom 3 WPA: Berríos -.161, Gonzalez -.150, Sanó -.114
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):
The first inning of Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Royals set the tone for what was another difficult day at the ballpark for the Minnesota Twins. Rather than racing out of the gates, the Twins started the top of the first inning in 1-2-3 fashion, the third straight game they have started in that manner. Kansas City followed that up with a tough bottom half of the inning where the Royals worked Berríos to the tune of 23 pitches, 3 hits and 2 runs.
The Minnesota Twins got on the scoreboard themselves in the 3rd inning where they went single-walk-double with Buxton, Avila and Kepler to mount their first rally of the game. Following a RBI groundout by Polonco, the Twins managed to give Berríos some support and tie the game at 2.
Berríos quickly gave the lead back to the Royals, though, when Kansas City pushed across another run in the 3rd with a sacrifice fly.
After struggling his way through a 22-pitch inning in the 5th, Rocco Baldelli made the curious decision to bring out Berríos again for the 6th inning. The decision quickly backfired, as Berríos served up a 414 foot bomb to Royals’ third baseman, Maikel Franco, to increase their lead to 4-2, which ultimately ended up being the final score.
Berríos Struggles Again
After taking a step forward in his last start against Pittsburgh, today was another step back for the Twins pitcher as Berríos struggled through 5⅓ innings today. In total, Berríos threw 96 pitches (62 strikes), allowing 8 hits, 3 walks, and 4 earned runs, while striking out 4. Berríos never seemed in control of the game, as he allowed a runner to reach at least second base in every inning except for the bottom of the 2nd. In particular, Berríos struggled mightily with his fastball today, against which the Royals produced an average exit velocity of 96.7 MPH. His velocity on the pitch was between 93-95 MPH all day, but he wasn’t commanding it the way he wanted, which impacted his ability to use the rest of his arsenal. Berríos will get his next shot at revenge next weekend though, when he’ll be lined up to face the Royals at Target Field.
Curious Decisions by Baldelli
Aside from the peculiar decision to bring back José Berríos for the 6th inning, Baldelli once again made some head scratching decisions with his bullpen management. In what was just a 2 run game in the bottom of the 7th inning, Rocco opted to go with newly promoted Cory Gearrin. Gearrin managed to get out of the inning without surrendering a run, however he did have a runner get to 3rd base.
What made the Gearrin move especially strange was that Baldelli had his full arsenal of bullpen arms at his disposal. Trevor May had only thrown 5 pitches in the past week, and Romo, Duffey and Rogers were all sporting multiple days of rest. Trusting Rocco is a must at this point, but his bullpen decisions as of late have certainly been eyebrow-raising.
Bats Stay Quiet
It was another tough day for the Minnesota Twins bats. After hitting multiple bombas on Saturday, Minnesota only hit one extra base hit today and didn’t get a runner past 1st base after the 5th inning. It was an abysmal series for Twins’ first baseman, Miguel Sanó, who went 0-for-4 today, and finished the 3-game set against the Royals 0-for-11 with 6 strikeouts. Sanó’s season-long batting average is now down to .111.
Overall it was a tough end to a tough series for the Minnesota Twins, who are now sporting a 4-game losing streak against two of the worst teams in baseball. The Twins won’t have any time to drown in their sorrows, though, as their next series begins Monday night against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Twins will trot out the red-hot Randy Dobnak to try and stop the bleeding against a similarly hot Brewers pitcher in Adrian Houser.
Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet