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Gamethread: Twins vs. Tribe 1:10pm cdt 8/2/2020ad

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MIN 4, BOS 3: Twins Win in 17th Inning, Get First Walk-Off

For the first time this season the Twins win on a walk-off hit from (who else?) Max Kepler. It was the longest game of the season for both teams tonight and both bullpens were lights out, but one had to blow it. Kepler also hit a game-tying single in the eighth inning and a game-tying homer in the 13th.
Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Box Score
Pineda: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 73.8% strikes (59 of 80 pitches)
Bullpen: 11 IP, 12 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 12 K

Home Runs: Max Kepler (18)
Multi-Hit Games: Cron (2-5), Kepler (3-5 HR), Rosario (4-8, 3 2B), Schoop (2-7)

WPA of +0.1: Kepler .847, Littell .288, Magill .288, Duffey .288, Rosario .263, Pineda .235, Rogers .144, Parker .144
WPA of -0.1: Harper -.129, Schoop -.161, Cave -.165, Cron -.228, Garver -.240, Morin -.289, Polanco -.294, Sano -.433

Attached Image: Win619.png
(chart via FanGraphs)

Clutch Kepler
After not being in the starting lineup, Kepler pitch-hit for Gonzalez in the sixth inning. He drew a walk in his first plate appearance, then came up clutch in the eighth with a two-out single to tie the game at 2-2. In the 13th inning, with the game on the line, Kepler led off the inning with a solo shot, again to tie the game.

Who better to get the first walk-off hit for the Twins than the guy who tied the game twice earlier. With one out in the 17th inning, and bases loaded, Kepler delivered for the Twins to keep the streak going without losing three games in a row.

Bullpens Dominate
Both bullpens did an excellent job following the starters’ strong starts. David Price gave the Sox five innings and Michael Pineda gave the Twins six innings, and each allowed just one run. The bullpens came into work after that were very good through 12 innings. Ultimately, one of them was going to blow this game though.

The Twins’ bullpen was the first one to surrender a run, and it came off a leadoff home run in the seventh. Trevor May, Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, and Blake Parker were able to keep the game going into the 12th with six shutout innings giving up only four hits with seven strikeouts.

The Sox bullpen had a little more work to do, but had the same results. They gave up the tying run in the eighth inning with a pair of walks and a two-out hit. They combined for seven innings giving up only five hits and striking out 11, but gave up four walks.

Both bullpens surrendered a run in the 13th inning which kept the game going. Both runs came from a lead-off home run. For the Sox it was Mookie Betts, and for the Twins, it was Kepler.

After the 14th inning, it was back to the stalemate. In the bottom of the 15th, Velazquez gave up a lead-off double, but C.J. Cron hit a hard line drive straight to first that ended in a double play when Eddie Rosario was caught drifting too far from second base. In the top of the 17th, Littell got out of a big jam with zero outs and a runner on third.

Familiar Foe
Pineda has faced the Red Sox 12 other times in his career and had a great outing tonight. In 12 games against the Sox, he is 5-5 and has a career 4.23 ERA and 1.2 WHIP in 66 innings. Pineda was with the Yankees for 11 of those starts and with Seattle for the other.

Coming off probably his best start of the season, Pineda followed up Berrios’ gem last night with a solid outing of his own, and arguably his best outing of the season. He faced 22 batters and got 15 first-pitch strikes. He faced the minimum number of batters in the first three innings thanks to a double play in the first. He had two double plays turned behind him tonight.

Unfortunately, the offenses failed to give these starters much aid and neither was able to pick up the win.

Here’s a great article on how Pineda has been a huge upgrade as the Twins’ fifth starter.

Postgame With Baldelli

Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Attached Image: Pen619.png

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Jake Reed

not on the 40 man, is he?
Jun 19 2019 08:26 AM

Stayed up for the whole thing, thankfully I'm in central time. Littell might be an intriguing piece, came in throwing 97. I did not know he was capable of that even out of the pen. 

    • pbrezeasap likes this
Jun 19 2019 08:27 AM


Sano with five strikeouts last night. One off the Major League record.


Tied with JD "How Do I Have More AS Votes Than Cruz" Martinez

    • pbrezeasap and Cap'n Piranha like this
The STrib recap says Kepler pinch hit for a "banged up" Gonzalez. I was wondering last night why he pinch hit.

Hopefully nothing serious.
Brock Beauchamp
Jun 19 2019 08:29 AM


The STrib recap says Kepler pinch hit for a "banged up" Gonzalez. I was wondering last night why he pinch hit.

Hopefully nothing serious.

Yikes. Even given the team's depth, they kinda need Gonzalez right now with Adrianza out and Sano windmilling at the plate like a drunken ballerina.

    • pbrezeasap and MVP Nick Punto like this
Jun 19 2019 08:30 AM

It obviously worked out, but why have Kepler hit for Gonzales when he could have subbed in for Sano?
Then on the center fielder's "catch", why did "Richard" keep saying he made such a great catch when it was obvious he bobbled it off the wall?It wasn't a catch at all!

There were two outs and a runner in scoring position when Kepler pinch hit for Gonzalez. Maybe if Garver doesn’t get picked earlier and there is one out with Gonzalez up he pinch hits for Sano.
Brock Beauchamp
Jun 19 2019 08:31 AM

WPA of -0.1: Sano -.433


By the way, it should be noted that this is really hard to do as a position player. That's starting pitcher disaster start kind of WPA.

    • pbrezeasap, snepp, Danchat and 3 others like this

"WPA of +0.1: Kepler .847, Littell .288, Magill .288, Duffey .288, Rosario .263, Pineda .235, Rogers .144, Parker .144


"WPA of -0.1: Harper -.129, Schoop -.161, Cave -.165, Cron -.228, Garver -.240, Morin -.289, Polanco -.294, Sano -.433"


Wow! Kepler (et al.) giveth and Sano (et al.) taketh away!


Here's a question for someone with more energy than I: The WPA for the whole team (in a win) adds up to 0.5, increasing from an initial 0.5 to 1.0.


Adding up the absolute values of just these players yields 4.142! Adding in the other players not shown here gives 4.349. This must be close to a record, but does anyone know what the record is?

    • pbrezeasap likes this

I am sad to say I gave up at the top of the 13th and told my wife "The Twins lost." and went to bed. Little did I know they would get their ffirst walkoff win, probably an hour later!


Kudos to Garver behind-the-plate. Yes, getting picked off third was a rookie mistake (or can a coach also get some blame). Nevertheless, a wonderful game.


Two things, though:

Miguel Sano. All the talent in the world, but he just swings, and pitchers know where to throw the ball to get him to swing. What would happen if management forced him to NOT swing at the first two pitches...no matter what? Well, he would, at worst, be in the same hole he seems to put himself in, or he may be staring at a two ball count forcing the opposing starter to throw a real strike.

Blake Parker. Not sure how much more I can stand watching him twitch and pump. He escaped last night. But from a wonderkind, to making me wish for the return fast of Hildenberger. The Twins have a bunch of glasses waiting to break: Morin is pure situational matchup. Duffey is still a scare. Magill is not who I stand-up-and-cheer when he enters a game.


Kudos to Littell. Now who takes the shuttle back to Rochester, or are the Twins hoping for a GREAT start from Gibson and could use May and Harper and possibly Rogers tonight.


A real battle of a game. Glad the Twins won this one and the Indians are still 10 games back. I start to shake when I think of it being a 9 game lead, or 8, or 7, or 6.


Hey, we got a home run! Streak starts over!


Bench for Thursday: Garver, Schoop, Sano (or maybe one of those three switches out with Cruz).

Jun 19 2019 08:34 AM

Twenty four hour moratorium on making fun of the bullpen, folks.
Reliever trust ranking:


Basically Trust

Somewhat Trust
Duffey, May

Don’t Trust, Has Been Good So Far

Don’t Trust, Has Been Iffy

Don’t Trust, Has Been Bad
Hildenberger, Magill, Mejia

Want To Trust, But Too New
Littell, Eades

Never Want To See Pitch Ever Again
De Jong, Vasquez

Thanks. I really did laugh out loud. My wife said,"What????" I said, 'I just read something funny."
Jun 19 2019 08:34 AM


Apparently Eddie didn't actually break any rules on that bunt. Cora says he's sorry for whining



Cora's a punk ... Even if you don't agree with a call, you don't attempt to assault the umpires after the game .... He should be suspended .... Apology is a cop out ... Learn the rules .... I can guarantee Baldelli would never behave that way

    • Dozier's Glorious Hair likes this


What a great win. Kepler. Wow. Regarding Garver, I am sure he isn't giving himself a break for being a bonehead, and in the 6th, or whatever inning it was, there was no 17 innings in the picture. No need to baby him. He knows, and so does everybody that watched it. That cannot happen. By not pretending it is ok, he will get better for it. Garver is a stud, but no reason to diminish what happened because he played the whole game that he loves. He is a big boy. He can own it, and so can we. One could say it is his own fault the game couldn't be decided in 9.

Would be nice to see the bats wake up tomorrow.

First of all huge props to Magill and Littell along with the entire pen since the entire pen pitched.Regardless of all the criticism this is a pen that often bends but rarely breaks so far (knock on wood).. In further review I give Garver a bit of a break on this one. The release was really quick, and the throw was a rocket right where it needed to be. Garver was too close to dive back and wasn't very far off the bag at all which made the element of surprise more effective.I think that throw picks off a lot of major leaguers and that contention is supported by the audio on mlb.The Boston announcers said the Sox are making it a thing this year to pick guys off third which makes me think they have done it several times already. Kind of reminds me of a Jazz play that worked for a while. Stockton would cut through the lane and his defender was all over him. Since he was completely blanketed there was no reason to think the wing would pass to him but the defenders back was to the ball so the pass only needed to miss the defender to get through.It was a set play because Stockton was expecting it and would get the layup.This like the pickoff can only work so long before players get wise to it but I have revised my opinion and give Boston more credit and Garver a little less blame.

    • Han Joelo, 70charger, MN_ExPat and 1 other like this


I'm not gonna get down on Garver at all for this game. Not one iota. 17 innings behind the plate, and our pitchers did what? Garver deserves praise, even if he did get picked off third.

I still want to know why the 3rd base coach didn't notice the 3rd base getting in behind Garver.


I didn't notice the Red Sox broadcasters taking quite that POV. We're still the upstarts and are excited by being in contention.


Yeah, but as insecure as we are with a 10 game lead and the best record in baseball this game was way bigger for the Red Sox who are in 3rd place and 6.5 games back. As long as this game was, whenever the camera panned the Boston dugout you could tell the players and coaches were really into this game and wanted the win badly.

    • SQUIRREL, Dman and MN_ExPat like this
Jun 19 2019 08:46 AM
From Boston

Vazquez -.474
Martinez -.423

I don’t know if Vazquez or the pitcher get credit for the pick of Garver. It should be Vazquez but I wonder if it is the pitcher.

I know that Sano does not get WPA credit for his game saving play at 3B in the 10th inning. I don’t think Gonzalez makes that play.
    • Don Walcott, DannySD and MMMordabito like this
Has been a long time since I went to bed with the Twins playing a power team in extras, only to wake up and fully expect a win. Where was this pen against the bad teams the past few weeks? A little more focus because of the opponent?
Jun 19 2019 08:51 AM

Yesterday was Tuesday, June 18 and it was the 72nd game of the year.The Twins are now 44%of the way through the season.Out of 59 years, the current team ranks 28th on the all-time list of Twins' home runs in one season and are on a pace to hit 311 home runs this season.


On a side note, I live in Maine so I have to watch the game with the Red Sox announcers.Cruel punishment.Lots of bitching about the "out of the batter's box" non-call in the 17th.But here is my note:I set my DVR to record six hours last night and I finished watching this morning.The game ended at 5 hours and 56 minutes.Thank you Max.

    • 70charger, Don Walcott, MMMordabito and 1 other like this
Jun 19 2019 08:52 AM

Any video on Cora's "out-of-character" tirade after the game?

I saw it on MLB.com but at the time I didn't know what happened to cause him to go ballistic. I also saw Eddie's bunt attempt. He wasn't even close to stepping out of the box, and as play had occurred earlier, I couldn't figure out why he was running around screaming. I thought he was claiming Kepler's hit was foul or something, but he was still harping on Rosie's bunt.
Alex Schieferdecker
Jun 19 2019 08:52 AM


Thanks. I really did laugh out loud. My wife said,"What????" I said, 'I just read something funny."

I'll take it.

Jun 19 2019 08:54 AM

Put Parker on the DL, and call up Smeltzer.

Jun 19 2019 09:05 AM


Nice job by the 'pen - but they did give up 12 hits in 10 innings of work. Out of 8 relievers, only Rogers didn't give up a hit. They were tightroping it - Red Sox are a great hitting team though. Glad they got it done!


Also 12 Ks to 1 BB .... I still want some moves to shore it up, but there are some promising options .... Duffey and Littell definitely need longer looks

When Baldelli sees a shift where the entire infield is on one side and playing deep, why isn't he calling for a bunt?

Brock Beauchamp
Jun 19 2019 09:12 AM


When Baldelli sees a shift where the entire infield is on one side and playing deep, why isn't he calling for a bunt?

I've been screaming for this to happen for years now. A standup double. From a bunt. I knew it would happen but MLB players are irrationally resistant to trying it.


It's kind of infuriating, really. This is perhaps the easiest bunt in the world to attempt. All you need to do is keep the ball fair and bunt as hard as you frickin' can. No soft hands needed; in fact, you want the opposite. Doesn't matter if it's on the ground or in the air, just get the damned ball 100+ feet and you're standing on second base.


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stringer bell
Jun 19 2019 09:16 AM


My assumption was that they would need to call up someone, but as I look at it, I’m not sure they need to. Everyone pitched, but no one more than 30 innings. Parker is the only guy who pitched on the last two days, and that was only a total of 34 pitches. There’s really not anyone who isn’t available for at least a couple batters. Now if several guys get used for a good number of pitches tonight...

They do have an off day tomorrow. Perhaps they can slide by today, especially if Gibson gives them more than 6 innings. The fact is that Duffey and Littell both pitched well and shouldn't be sent out on merit, but sometimes merit doesn't have anything to do with transactions.

Brock Beauchamp
Jun 19 2019 09:21 AM


They do have an off day tomorrow. Perhaps they can slide by today, especially if Gibson gives them more than 6 innings. The fact is that Duffey and Littell both pitched well and shouldn't be sent out on merit, but sometimes merit doesn't have anything to do with transactions.

They head to KC tomorrow, actually.




No, you're right. While they technically play the Royals tomorrow, that can and should be considered a day off.

    • jorgenswest, IndianaTwin and james2334 like this

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