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MIL 6, MIN 4: Another Loss for Rogers, Additional Missed Opportunities for Offense

Rocco Baldelli was managing his way through another bullpen game and decided to deploy closer Taylor Rogers in the eighth inning to face the middle of Milwaukee’s lineup. The aggressive move didn’t work out, as Jedd Gyorko hit a go-ahead two-run homer that proved to be the difference in the game.
Image courtesy of © Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Box Score
Home Runs: Polanco (2), Rosario 2 (6)
Bottom 3 WPA: Rogers -.310, May -200, Arráez -.079
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):
Attached Image: Winchart811.png

It was the long ball that set the tone early for the Twins offense again tonight. Jorge Polanco took Brewers starter Josh Lindblom deep in the second at-bat of the ballgame. It was Polanco’s second home run of the season and gave the Twins a quick 1-0 lead.



Eddie Rosario then answered Polanco’s home run with one of his own just a couple batters later, which was his second home run in as many nights. This home run clocked in with a launch angle of 41 degrees, which was just Rosario’s fifth career home run with a launch angle above 40 degrees.



That wasn’t the only noise Rosario made tonight, as in his very next at-bat he went deep again, this time it was a two-run home run that extended the Twins lead to 4-1. Unlike his first home run, that barely made it out, this one was an absolute no doubter right off the bat.



Again the story for the Twins bats was more of the same. A few runs early scored on home runs, but after that the bats seemed to all but disappear. Outside of Polanco and Rosario, the lone bright spot this evening offensivly for the Twins was Byron Buxton, who went 3-for-4 with a stolen base.
With the Twins starting rotation still not back to full strength, Rocco Baldelli put the game in the hands of the bullpen for the second time this season. Tyler Clippard started the game by giving up a leadoff home run to Avisail Garcia, but then retired the next three Brewers hitters that he faced. In the second, Baldelli turned to Cody Stashak, who had an excellent bounce back performance, striking out all three batters that he faced.

Matt Wisler got some extended work to try and eat up some innings to bridge the game over the back end of the bullpen. After two excellent innings in the 3rd and 4th, Wisler gave up a solo shot to Brewers catcher Manny Pina, which cut the Twins lead down to two. After giving up a two-out single, Trevor May came in to get the Twins out of the inning. May then returned to the mound to work the 6th inning, where he promptly gave up a two-run home run, again hit by Manny Pina, which erased the Twins lead.

Tyler Duffey came in to pitch the 7th and did what he has made a habit of, pitching a scoreless 1-2-3 inning. So far this year, Duffey has pitched 7 scoreless innings, while only allowing 2 hits with 0 walks and 10 strikeouts. Dating back to July 28th of last season, Duffey has had a scoreless outing in 33 of his 34 appearances.

With the heart of the Brewers order due up in the bottom of the 8th, Baldelli made the move to Taylor Rogers. Christian Yelich proceeded to doubled off of Rogers before Jedd Gyorko took him deep, giving the Brewers a 6-4 lead. While this move did not pan out, it is one I completely agree with, as the game was very much on the line with the heart of the Brewers order up, it just didn’t work out this time.

Josh Hader came in and closed the door for the Brewers in the 9th, and was his usual impressive self in doing so, getting a strikeout for all three of his outs. With the loss, the Twins record drops to 11-7, but they still maintained a 0.5 game lead in the AL Central, as the second place Detroit Tigers lost to the Chicago White Sox earlier this evening.

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
Attached Image: Bullpen811.png

Postgame Pint
Twins Daily's community and writers gathered immediately following the 6-4 loss to the Brewers to discuss what went wrong.



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44 Comments

Twins were 1 swing away from losing 6 straight. Offense lives and dies by the homerun ball. They need a spark in the worse way.

    • mikelink45, Dman, PDX Twin and 4 others like this

It was sad to see this one slip away. This team has to find a way to keep taking quality at bats like it did earlier this season and last year. 

The Brew Crew bugs!

    • bighat likes this

I am so frustrated - we score early and coast.We do bullpen games instead of using the 60 man roster and start Duran or Chalmbers.And where is Balazovic?

    • PDX Twin, KFEY93 and TwinPeaks like this
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milldaddy35
Aug 11 2020 09:55 PM
This loss really hurts. Bullpen game we were in position to win. Rogers, Duffey, wisler, and May almost certainly unavailable tomorrow. Need Maeda to give 6 innings at a minimum and piece it together with Clippard, Stashak, and Romo.
    • 70charger and bighat like this
Let’s not forget the ump calling three balls, not even really close, strikes to ring up Kepler with 2 on and 1 out.

The game changed right then. It should’ve been bases loaded with 1 out and Polanco up, to 2 down with runners on first and second. That was the worst called AB I’ve seen from an ump in my life.

I’m sure this opinion isn’t popular, but Baldelli needs to get after the ump there. A mistake every now and then is understandable....but that ump has no business being out there.
    • denarded, wavedog, beckmt and 7 others like this
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mnsporto1584
Aug 11 2020 10:19 PM

Way too many strikeouts. Total of 28 the last two games. Need more discipline at the plate.

    • 70charger, jun, mikelink45 and 5 others like this

Let’s not forget the ump calling three balls, not even really close, strikes to ring up Kepler with 2 on and 1 out.

The game changed right then. It should’ve been bases loaded with 1 out and Polanco up, to 2 down with runners on first and second. That was the worst called AB I’ve seen from an ump in my life.

I’m sure this opinion isn’t popular, but Baldelli needs to get after the ump there. A mistake every now and then is understandable....but that ump has no business being out there.


There were no outs when Kepler got rung up.

I hate the idea of an automated strike zone, but MLB has to do its part too. Jerry Meals can't be an umpire. His umpiring that inning, including missing an easy K in the bottom of the inning, completely changed the game.

I also do not understand the Twins refusing to call up starting pitching. They're in a stretch of like, 34 games in 35 days or something. They get precious few innings from the starters they DO have. Why are the intentionally doing bullpen games? Just unnecessary stress on your best relievers.
    • wavedog, mikelink45, Dman and 7 others like this

Offense has looked so bad. I'm quickly losing patience with Arraez, Sano, and Garver. 

    • jun and Dman like this
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Tom Froemming
Aug 12 2020 05:37 AM

Robots now.

    • denarded, 70charger, h2oface and 7 others like this

Badelli's bullpen management is horrible!! Look at the chart above, the two bullpen pitchers who struggled, May & Rogers, were pitching in back-to-back games. There was an excellent article here on TD last season about the ineffectiveness of Twins relievers when pitching on back-to-back days. The fact that Baldelli can't figure that out is ridiculous!

 

I also didn't like the decision to pull Stashak so quickly & then leave Wisler in so long.

    • h2oface and mikelink45 like this

Let’s not forget the ump calling three balls, not even really close, strikes to ring up Kepler with 2 on and 1 out.

The game changed right then. It should’ve been bases loaded with 1 out and Polanco up, to 2 down with runners on first and second. That was the worst called AB I’ve seen from an ump in my life.

While I sympathize with your feelings about the ump in that situation, I don’t think we can infer that it should have been a walk. The pitcher may not have continued throwing it off the plate if he wasn’t getting the calls there. Correctly down 2-0, the pitcher likely tries to come into the zone — he came into the zone on 5 of 7 pitches to non-Kepler batters that inning, so it’s not like he was completely lost.

As a rough barometer, last year Kepler was 10-41 with 34 BB in 77 PA which started 2-0, including 5 2B, 2 HR, and 7 Ks. So about a 60% chance of reaching base, but still 40% chance of an out (or two, like Polanco’s DP following).

Not that I am defending the ump, just clarifying the probabilities! :)
    • 70charger, Dman, Major League Ready and 3 others like this

Where was Alacia tonight.If you are going to do this, let's use some of the younger studs.  

What this game proves is you have to get rid of Thorpe and certainly Smeltzer if all they are is mops, you only need one mop.  

Rocco did not manage this game well. Hope it doesn't bite us later.  

Still the umpire calls on Kepler where horrible.Umps should not change the game or maybe we really need the robots considering the calls the Twins seem to get compared to the rest of the league.Also because the Yankees seem to make umps not want to ring them up.

    • mikelink45 likes this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Aug 12 2020 06:16 AM

 

Robots now.

Whoa. That is terrible.

 

There were no outs when Kepler got rung up.

I hate the idea of an automated strike zone, but MLB has to do its part too. Jerry Meals can't be an umpire. His umpiring that inning, including missing an easy K in the bottom of the inning, completely changed the game.

I also do not understand the Twins refusing to call up starting pitching. They're in a stretch of like, 34 games in 35 days or something. They get precious few innings from the starters they DO have. Why are the intentionally doing bullpen games? Just unnecessary stress on your best relievers.
 

So are the Twins sitting on their prospects because the players clock will start ticking? Ticking in a season which is already an aberration, and may not come to conclusion? I am not advocating that concept but it would be in tune with the rationale many pro sports decisions, which is, follow the money! 

    • mikelink45 likes this

 

Robots now.

Looks like all of the really bad strikes were when the Twins were at bat. And the three on Kepler weren't even close. That was the inning the Twins just might have made hay and the damn ump took it away from us.

 

Will agree however, that using Rogers in back-to-back games should be a no-no. Especially after pitching 20+ pitches the first night. Also, correct me if I am not remembering right, but wasn't one of the guys on base for the last two 2-run homers struck out before getting on base...by a missed strike by the ump.

This is like what, the Twins' 3rd bullpen game of the year? Hill and Bailey, were encouraging in their only outings but c'mon, WTF already.

 

I'm not panicking, with half the teams making the playoffs and every team getting a 3-game series right out of the gate in the playoffs, the Twins have as good of a chance as anyone of getting hot at the right time.

 

But this team is far from dominant. Lots of holes.

    • mikelink45, Dman and KFEY93 like this

Why do we have 30 players at St Paul when all they do is play each other and we go out and find waiver wire guys to bring in.Let's see some of their pitchers and hitters.We are playing horrible baseball right now.Get Kiriloff and Rooker on the team.Bring in Chalmers and Duran.Send out Cave, Thorpe, Smeltzer.Put some spark back in with a some young guys.

 

I would also rather have Blankenhorn than the new pick up from AZ.We have this highly rated list of prospects and I want to see them. 

Robots now.

You need to show the chart you tweeted of the pitches which were called balls, too.


It wasn't that he had an unusually wide strike zone. The close calls look random, except not that randomly distributed between the two teams.

    • 70charger likes this

Bad umps don't excuse bad hitting and pitching.Adjustment is part of the professionals repertoire.We are only good for one early bat eruption, we do not have enough starters even though we have 60 men to choose from.No excuses - the Twins have to do better and so does Rocco. 

    • Dman, Platoon and rghrbek like this

 

It wasn't that he had an unusually wide strike zone. The close calls look random, except not that randomly distributed between the two teams.

Not all random events will be distributed evenly over any given sample, though. I don't think Meals was intentionally favoring the Brewers over the Twins.

 

Could have still been random, but there are other factors which could have contributed. The Twins had 5 lefties or switch-hitters in the lineup vs. the Brewers 2, which means ump positioning would have varied. The Brewers catcher could have been framing differently than the Twins catcher, and the pitchers may had different angles/movement which could have influenced it too. Note the pitcher to Kepler was a side-armer.

Looking at the video, I've got to say -- the pitcher Yardley was hitting his spots, and the catcher Pina did some excellent framing. The first and last strikes are maybe a quarter of a ball's width outside the box, so other factors like that could definitely come into play.

 

The second strike was the biggest outlier. Looks like Meals was set up more behind Kepler, which must have impacted his sense of the outside edge of the zone. Then the pitch came in straight, the catcher didn't have to move, and he gently pulled his glove over the edge of the plate while receiving the pitch.

 

I'm not excusing it or anything, but it's definitely easier to understand on video than on Gameday.

 

    • Hosken Bombo Disco likes this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Aug 12 2020 09:42 AM
Bad calls, but not as egregious as I was expecting.

Much worse to me are pitches in the strike zone called balls.

We are still in first, but have been struggling on the road so far.The biggest worry I have is our lack of consistent offense.Last year we managed to put up runs early and late, and not just by HR.This year HR is our only offense it would seem, at least the last week or so.No clutch hitting by anyone.It feels like if we get a lead the pitchers need to be perfect because that will be all we get.  

 

So many of guys we were counting on have struggled.Kepler, Polonco, Cruz, and Eddie have been good overall.Buxton heating up.Gonzalez has been as expected.Beyond that not much to be excited about.Hopefully they turn it on.They will most likely make playoffs so not too worried on that front. 

 

Way too many strikeouts. Total of 28 the last two games. Need more discipline at the plate  Our players don't want to take a walk. You can see it whenever we have a 3-2 count. The pitchers don't give in to our hitters and throw 3-2 pitches well off the plate - and we swing nearly every time. 

 

Well it certainly wasn’t the greatest series of balls strikes in recorded history. Nor am I in a position to evaluate Meals as a MLB umpire based on this game. But, and there is always a but. The second pitch was the epitome of what we have been calling for Twins catchers to do for years. Framing, pulling, or stealing a pitch to influence a strike. And the third wasn’t much different. Just turned out their catcher was a little more adept at it. The other is that if Meals zone was large, then what is a left handed hitter doing taking a low 0-2 floater? Finally umpires have bad days, just like players. Some days the strike zone is as easy to read as Anne of Green Gables, some days it’s War and Peace and the game takes just as long as the book, or seems to. Finally, the Twins aren’t what? 1-5 recently because of the umpiring. They are either hitting HR’s or nothing. And that’s not a sustainable approach, despite last years euphoria over Bombas. Throw in a rotation that’s a flaming mess, and you have identified the issues.  But it wasn’t Meals strike zone, or Keplers AB.