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2017-2018 Vikings Regular Season

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MIN 4, KC 2: Comeback Complete

The Twins have been resilient all year, but they had been making a habit of coming *this* close to mounting comebacks lately. Well, they broke through Thursday night. Entering the ninth down a run, the Twins scored three in the final frame and Matt Belisle locked it down for the save.
Image courtesy of Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Snapshot (chart via Fangraphs)
Attached Image: Snapshot97.png
Jorge Polanco … the team’s No. 3 hitter tonight … the guy who has an OPS over 1.000 since the start of August … was asked to bunt with no outs in the eighth. The Twins would end up not scoring.

The very next inning, however, Polanco was given a chance to hit and delivered the go-ahead two-run single after Brian Dozier tied things up with a sac fly. All’s well that ends well.

Kyle Gibson had another strong start, though it was in an unconventional way. He went 7.0 innings and held the Royals to two runs despite not striking out a single batter. Nobody in the bullpen recorded a strikeout, either. The Royals, who are still notorious for their ability to put the ball in play, hit into four double plays.

It’s easy for late-season hot streaks to go unappreciated. Gibby still has a 5.19 ERA on the year, but coming into tonight he had been among the better starting pitchers in the AL since the All-Star break. It’s true.

In his previous seven starts, Gibson had a 3.29 ERA, was 10th in FIP (3.11) among all pitchers and 11th in WAR (1.3) among AL pitchers (min. 40 IP). After watching Kyle throw more than 700 innings with the Twins now, I think we can safely say we know who he is, but there’s no denying the guy is on a great hot streak right now. It’s coming at a great time.

Belisle has also had quite the turnaround, but he had actually given up four earned runs over his previous six innings pitched prior to tonight’s game. Even with the expanded bullpen, he’s such a pivotal guy. It was great to see him turn in a 1-2-3 ninth.

Joe Mauer was on base five times tonight. He had a double, two singles and a pair of walks. Robbie Grossman hit his ninth homer of the season, Max Kepler stole his sixth base and Trevor Hildenberger picked up his third win.

Standings
This victory put the Twins back in the second wild card spot. They lead the Angels, who were off today, by one game. Baltimore is two back after losing to the Yankees and Texas trails by 2.5 games. Cleveland won its 15th-straight game. Wow. They’ve really run away with the division.

Postgame With Gibson

Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Attached Image: Bullpen97.png
Looking Ahead
Fri: Twins (Ervin Santana) at Kansas City (Ian Kennedy), 7:15 pm CT
Sat: Twins (Jose Berrios) at Kansas City (Jake Junis), 6:15 pm CT
Sun: Twins (Bartolo Colon) at Kansas City (Jason Vargas), 1:15 pm CT

Looking Back
Wed: MIN 10, TB 6: Twins Prevail Thanks to Big Error
Tue: TB 2, MIN 0: Too Little, Too Late
Mon: TB 11, MIN 4: Bullpen Lets Game Get Out of Hand


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68 Comments

Nice win, Twins need more in KC. Knock them out of the race.

    • birdwatcher, gunnarthor, bighat and 1 other like this

Glad to see them  finish off one of these 9th inning come-backs for once. 

    • USAFChief, birdwatcher, gunnarthor and 2 others like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Sep 08 2017 03:07 AM

Take two out of three in KC and then get the hell back home for what should be a comfortable seven game home stand against the Padres and Jays.

    • bighat and Original Whizzinator like this

Take two out of three in KC and then get the hell back home for what should be a comfortable seven game home stand against the Padres and Jays.


I hope they take 3 of the 4. Hell, why not be greedy? May as well sweep the 4 game series!
    • gunnarthor and bighat like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Sep 08 2017 03:43 AM

 

I hope they take 3 of the 4. Hell, why not be greedy? May as well sweep the 4 game series!

I meant win two of the three remaining games.

 

A sweep would be great but just win three out of four and go home. That will be enough to stick a fork in KC's postseason chances.

Huge win that came in a big time of need.

Gotta say I hated Polanco bunting in the 8th inning after Mauer's lead off single. ESPECIALLY given how dangerous Polanco has been lately. Hate giving away one of the six outs you have left, hate trying to only TIE the game, just hate everything about it.

Now you have essentially the same situation in the 9th inning. Kepler leads off with a single, bringing up Esco. If you chose to bunt in the 8th inning, why wouldn't you choose the same thing an inning later?

I'm not 100% adverse to bunting. I just didn't like bunting in that spot last night.
    • USAFChief, birdwatcher, gunnarthor and 6 others like this
On Gibson- IF he can put up 3-4 more effective starts the rest of the way here, do we truly know what he is? May be worth a deep- dive to analyze what has made Gibson successful over his last several starts. May also be worth trying to determine if it is in any way remotely possible that it's sustainable?
    • birdwatcher, Dantes929, Oldgoat_MN and 6 others like this

 

Huge win that came in a big time of need.

Gotta say I hated Polanco bunting in the 8th inning after Mauer's lead off single. ESPECIALLY given how dangerous Polanco has been lately. Hate giving away one of the six outs you have left, hate trying to only TIE the game, just hate everything about it.

Now you have essentially the same situation in the 9th inning. Kepler leads off with a single, bringing up Esco. If you chose to bunt in the 8th inning, why wouldn't you choose the same thing an inning later?

I'm not 100% adverse to bunting. I just didn't like bunting in that spot last night.

 

I have no problems with Molitor other than the bunting but Jesus Christ, the bunting. It's so stupid and regimented.

 

I'm not against bunting altogether but it should be used incredibly sparingly. Tie game, late innings, runner on 2B with no outs, weak hitter at plate. And if the pitcher goes 2-0 trying to avoid the bunt, we're swinging away again.

 

Also, Buxton can bunt whenever he pleases.

 

But enough with the bunting.

    • birdwatcher, gunnarthor, Tom Froemming and 1 other like this

Since Aug 1st, Polanco and Mauer are 1, 2 in AL BA.

 

Mauer is now 6th in AL BA and 3rd in AL OBP while playing GG defense.

    • Seth Stohs, birdwatcher, Dantes929 and 12 others like this
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Miles Tones
Sep 08 2017 06:31 AM

Tom,THANKS MUCH for these daily write-ups!I look forward to reading them every day.

    • Seth Stohs, Dantes929, D. Hocking and 5 others like this

I get that it isn't an error on that Castro drop at the plate but it should have been an easy out. Can't get the ball in your glove and not hold onto it on a swipe tag. Gibson really only had one earned run this outing.

    • Dantes929, Hosken Bombo Disco, jimmer and 2 others like this

 

I get that it isn't an error on that Castro drop at the plate but it should have been an easy out. Can't get the ball in your glove and not hold onto it on a swipe tag. Gibson really only had one earned run this outing.

I wish I got why that isn't an error.  Ball went in and out of his glove.  But there are a lot of scoring decisions (in regards to what is an isn't an error) that baffle me. Back in the 80s and before, I believe that's scored an error.

    • Dantes929, mikelink45, Hosken Bombo Disco and 2 others like this

I feel like the scorers really do not give out the errors they should.  I do not know if it is pressure from players or managers that want to keep errors to the minimum, but dropping a ball is an error. 

    • Hosken Bombo Disco, Doomtints, jimmer and 1 other like this
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Halsey Hall
Sep 08 2017 07:12 AM

Did Polanco bunt on his own or was it called?

 

I feel like the scorers really do not give out the errors they should.  I do not know if it is pressure from players or managers that want to keep errors to the minimum, but dropping a ball is an error. 

It's like fielders are being held to high school fielding standards nowadays.  

 

Think about this.  Ozzie Smith is the best fielding shortstop of all time (no offense to Omar V), and yet he had 5 seasons in his career where he had 20 or more errors.  

 

In fact, in his first 6 seasons, he averaged about 20 errors a season.

 

Last year only two shortstops had more than 18 errors.

    • birdwatcher, Dantes929, mikelink45 and 2 others like this
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FunnyPenguin
Sep 08 2017 07:15 AM

Even if the Twins hold on to the 2nd WC spot and lose the WC game, this season has been a great storyline.  What other team gets the white flag from the front office and trades away some chips at the deadline, only to roar back and play much better ball afterwards. These guys are a vicious little bunch and I love following them!

    • birdwatcher, brvama, Dantes929 and 10 others like this

 

Even if the Twins hold on to the 2nd WC spot and lose the WC game, this season has been a great storyline.  What other team gets the white flag from the front office and trades away some chips at the deadline, only to roar back and play much better ball afterwards. These guys are a vicious little bunch and I love following them!

All of this.  I'd go so far as to say the same thing even if they barely miss getting the 2nd wild card.

    • birdwatcher, Dantes929, DocBauer and 2 others like this
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JaleelWhite FanClub
Sep 08 2017 07:22 AM

 

Did Polanco bunt on his own or was it called?

 

Living in Omaha, I watched the game on Fox Sports KC via their team broadcast. Their crew thought Polanco may have bunted on his own. I thought they were right considering Polanco took a big rip on the first pitch of the AB right before he bunted.

 

I have no problems with Molitor other than the bunting but Jesus Christ, the bunting. It's so stupid and regimented.

 

I'm not against bunting altogether but it should be used incredibly sparingly. Tie game, late innings, runner on 2B with no outs, weak hitter at plate. And if the pitcher goes 2-0 trying to avoid the bunt, we're swinging away again.

 

Also, Buxton can bunt whenever he pleases.

 

But enough with the bunting.

I am more tolerant of bunting than you are and really like the bunt as an attempt to get a base hit. I didn't see the game. Was it definitely a sacrifice? Your 3rd sentence I agree with completely. Buxton is 1 for his last 16.  To me bunting is his hedge against slumps. Its a great weapon for him so even when he is hot I like to see him lay one down every once in a while. He's not hot at the moment.

    • LA VIkes Fan and bighat like this
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Tom Froemming
Sep 08 2017 07:34 AM

 

On Gibson- IF he can put up 3-4 more effective starts the rest of the way here, do we truly know what he is? May be worth a deep- dive to analyze what has made Gibson successful over his last several starts. May also be worth trying to determine if it is in any way remotely possible that it's sustainable?

Nick did a nice review of his turnaround late last month. Gibby's made some adjustments, and from the sound of his postgame interview he's trying a different mental approach. I wouldn't be opposed to tendering him a contract for next year, but I also wouldn't expect him to be anything more than a fourth or fifth starter over the course of a full season. Nothing wrong with that, though. That's a much different opinion than I'd have offered up a couple months ago.

 

 

Tom,THANKS MUCH for these daily write-ups!I look forward to reading them every day.

Stuff like this is music to my ears, thanks for reading. 

 

I get that it isn't an error on that Castro drop at the plate but it should have been an easy out. Can't get the ball in your glove and not hold onto it on a swipe tag. Gibson really only had one earned run this outing.

A catcher's mitt is a tough tool to work with sometimes, but I'm sure even Castro would agree with that assessment. You can see that play starting a the 0:20 mark on the MLB highlight package here. I'd love to be able to just embed these highlight packages on each article, but MLB doesn't allow playback on other websites.

 

That really bugs me, especially when using a mobile device, but I guess just even getting that link in on each of these may be more valuable than nothing at all.

 

All of this.  I'd go so far as to say the same thing even if they barely miss getting the 2nd wild card.

For me its more about the journey so I agree with this. If it were all about the destination I wouldn't tune in until late September.  Football is different for me.  If the Vikings are in the hunt with two games to go in the season that is when I become a fan.  Twins have been fun this year.

    • Circus Boy, Hosken Bombo Disco and jimmer like this

Living in Omaha, I watched the game on Fox Sports KC via their team broadcast. Their crew thought Polanco may have bunted on his own. I thought they were right considering Polanco took a big rip on the first pitch of the AB right before he bunted.


I had the same impression, he did it on his own. I still hate the play...Polanco should know better (as should Molitor if it came from the dugout). All he did was leave it up to a struggling Rosario against a LHer and then Buxton with two out.

Nice win though.
    • Doubles likes this
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Tom Froemming
Sep 08 2017 07:53 AM

 

Living in Omaha, I watched the game on Fox Sports KC via their team broadcast. Their crew thought Polanco may have bunted on his own. I thought they were right considering Polanco took a big rip on the first pitch of the AB right before he bunted.

You know, that hadn't even occurred to me. My guess was they were letting Jorge either take a rip at "his pitch" if it came or seeing if Minor was going to fall behind, tipping the scales in Polanco's favor. I just re-watched that play, it's certainly possible that was Jorge bunting on his own.

 

The only guy I could find who has the Almighty Access who bothered to even write about it was Phil Miller of the Strib, but he just noted how rare it was for a third hitter to sac bunt. Nothing on where the decision came from. Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com even wrote an article all about Polanco's ninth inning heroics, but nothing on the bunt.

 

If anybody comes across something elsewhere, please share it. Thank you.

    • Hosken Bombo Disco likes this

If I did my math correct, since May 28th, Gibson's ERA is 4.29 in 18 starts.

1 game with 7 runs allowed

1 game with 6 runs allowed

1 game with 4 runs allowed

6 games with 3 runs allowed

5 games with 2 runs allowed

3 games with 1 runs allowed

1 game with 0 runs allowed

 

I will take that from my 5th starter every year.

    • brvama, Dantes929, ThejacKmp and 5 others like this

 

Tom,THANKS MUCH for these daily write-ups!I look forward to reading them every day.

 

Late to the party here, but totally agree.  I look forward to these each morning, and the interesting convos that ensue.  That's a fun part about baseball to me-  bantering and second-guessing.  Baseball was made for that.

    • USAFChief, birdwatcher, Circus Boy and 3 others like this

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