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MIN 6, BAL 2: Jake Cave Is the Hero We Deserve

It was clear from the very first pitch of this ballgame that it was going to be the Twins’ night. Tim Beckham sent a shot to center but Jake Cave robbed him of a homer. The Twins tallied three runs in the bottom of the first and Lance Lynn settled in to lead the Twins to a relatively stress-free win.
Image courtesy of © Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs)
Lance Lynn: 60 Game Score, 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 K, 2 BB, 59.0% strikes
Bullpen: 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 K, 0 BB
Lineup: 3-for-7 w/RISP, 5 LOB
WPA of 0.1 or higher: Lynn .209, Dozier .135
WPA of -0.1 or lower: None
Attached Image: WinEx76.png
Jake Cave is the hero we deserve.

What a catch! It’s great to see the Twins giving Cave an opportunity for regular playing time. Hopefully we see the club continue to provide players like him a platform to put their skills on display. Players like, I dunno, Mitch Garver. He was 2-for-2 with a walk, called a good game and looked good behind the plate.

The Twins had two runs on the board before they even recorded an out. Joe Mauer, Eddie Rosario and Brian Dozier opened things up with consecutive singles and Jorge Polanco added an RBI single of his own later in the inning.

Lynn got a home run-saving catch, and three runs from his offense in the first frame. That’s a pitcher’s dream, right? Lynn delivered six innings of one-run ball. He gave up six hits and walked a pair of batters while striking out three.

The Twins actually led this one 6-0 after four innings. Max Kepler hammered a two-run homer and Mauer tallied an RBI single in the fourth.

Playing the Orioles, who are now 24-63 on the season (a pace for 117 losses), so any Twins positivity from these last two games has to come with a grain of salt. OK, maybe an entire block of salt. Still, this lineup looks a lot more capable with Jorge Polanco back, Jake Cave rolling and Mitch Garver being not Bobby Wilson.

Poor opponent or not, it’s just been really nice to see the Twins do some things well the past couple contests. Even the one moment there was a bit of tension, when the O’s had two men on and one out with Manny Machado at the plate in the seventh, Eddie Rosario gunned down Beckham trying to score from second on a single.

If you happen to see Tim Beckham around, give that dude a hug. He needs one.

Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Attached Image: Bullpen76.png
AL Central Standings
CLE 49-27
MIN 37-48 (-11.5)
DET 39-51 (-12)
CHW 30-57 (-19.5)
KC 25-61 (-24)

Next Three Games
Sat vs. BAL, 1:10 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Kevin Gausman
Sun vs. BAL, 1:10 pm CT: Jake Odorizzi vs. Alex Cobb
Mon vs. KC, 7:10 pm CT: TBD

Last Three Games
MIN 5, BAL 2: Slegers, Cave Lift Twins Out of Slump
MIL 3, MIN 2: Pushing Against a Stone
MIL 2, MIN 0: Strikeouts Galore

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30 Comments

Photo
Carole Keller
Jul 06 2018 10:17 PM
After seeing that catch I thought, ‘Buxton who?’ I also thought he must’ve been channeling Kirby for all those robbed shots to center during his era with the Twins. His leaps were always so perfectly timed.
    • Jerr and MN_ExPat like this
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Kelly Vance
Jul 06 2018 10:26 PM

I am thinking,

 

new slogan

 

 

"Nothing falls but raindrops, and not even mucha them.

 

Jake is not gonna cave. He's here to play

    • Jerr and MN_ExPat like this

Jake Cave will be Aaron Hicks in reverse.

    • Danchat and tarheeltwinsfan like this
Breaking it down in the most simple terms, you are short sighted and downright stupid if you don't play guys like Garver and Cave daily. Garver has a strong arm and calls a good game, and might actually gain enough polish defensively to be OK while providing a quality bat. Cave may prove he can play quality ML defense and hit a bit with some power and decent speed to, I don't know, supplant Grossman? I don't care if it's Baltimore. More games like this PLEASE!
    • Mike Sixel, jokin, h2oface and 11 others like this
Glad they are giving Cave a shot as some here wanted. Now let's hope they give us Garver people, who are really mostly people that think he can maybe be decent someday, what we want too.

And wow, Baltimore is bad.
    • Carole Keller, big dog, Sconnie and 2 others like this

Another great catch by Cave. Good to see him getting some love from the fans. And how about that "laser throw" by Rosario to nail a runner trying to score? Good stuff! At least we seem to be able to catch and throw the ball well lately.

    • Carole Keller, luckylager, mikelink45 and 3 others like this

I've had enough of the Vet's.Move Polaco and Kepler to 3-5 and move Dozier and Morrison down.Why Morrison is still in the Lineup is enough reason to fire Molitor!!!!He's had his shot (Molitor and Morrison) The F.O. added Lots of Vets, was it just for this year or is it something they are planning on doing in the off season too.This team has a solid core, even with Buxton and Sano failing.We have some young starting pitchers at AAA, I've got to believe we can use 2 or 3 of them full time next year.That leaves us needing a closer and a DH.Plus, I'm OK with Garver, I'm not OK with Castro.

I enjoyed your write up.Celebrating with your fingers crossed behind your back because "so any Twins positivity from these last two games has to come with a grain of salt. OK, maybe an entire block of salt."Great line. 

 

Let's hope Cave is as good as he has looked, because we need another good outfielder not named Grossman.I want Buxton back, but only if he is ready and Cave is giving him time.Then if Buxton is back in center and Cave is still looking good Mr Kepler better start upping his game.

 

I am amazed that teams are still challenging Rosario's arm!He really is our all-star.

    • tarheeltwinsfan, Tom Froemming and MN_ExPat like this
Hmmm needs more salt
Attached Image: 45E4EC16-8D27-44C3-A43E-38295F370C8F.jpeg
There we go
Attached Image: 9180C65A-A47D-4937-852D-3DFC56AD467F.jpeg
    • Jerr, Dantes929, Vanimal46 and 2 others like this
Nice to see the Twins win against teams they should beat. Baltimore is very bad, and about to get worse when they trade Machado, Britton, and Adam Jones.
    • Danchat, Sconnie and MN_ExPat like this
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LA VIkes Fan
Jul 07 2018 08:38 AM

I would love to see the Twins trot out this lineup every day for the rest of the year. cave and Garver have to play as much as possible. I also would like ot see them try Adrianza at SS and Polanco at 2B some with Dozier as a DH or on the bench. That very well may be the middle infield next year if Dozier isn't re-signed.Same with Polanco at SS and Escobar at 2B as a combo if Sano gets back this year. Gotta figure that part out; really a key to next year. IF the middle IF works without Dozier and doesn't need Escobar (who can then play 3B with Sano in a 3B/1B/DH rotation with Escobar and Mauer), there are a lot of possibilities.If not, we may need Dozier back.

    • tarheeltwinsfan, MN_ExPat and BJames like this
Photo
LA VIkes Fan
Jul 07 2018 08:50 AM

Polanco's been back for 5 games, looks ready. He's another guy who needs to be evaluated.Last year is the only year he's played in more than 70 games (133 last year) or had more than 250 ABS (488 last year). Let's put him in the 1 hole or 3 hole the rest of the season. Lineup I'd like to see most days:

 

Against RH pitching:

 

Mauer

Rosario

Polanco

Escobar

Kepler/Cave

Dozier/Adrianza

Cave/Kepler

Garver

Astudillo/Morrison/Grossman/Wade/Buxton

 

Against LH Pitching:

 

Polanco

Rosario

Escobar

Mauer

Garver

Kepler

Dozier

Cave

Buxton/Grossman/Adrianza

 

When Buxton is ready, he comes up and the 4 OFs play every day with one of them the DH. Mauer gets a little more time off and that's goodfor him and for evaluating next year when Mauer will be 36 and should only be playing 75% of the time. If Sano comes back on August 1, he takes the spot of Escobar or Dozier, which ever one is traded and Morrison or Grossman is DFA'd or traded - most likely a DFA for Grossman.  

    • BJames likes this

I would love to see the Twins trot out this lineup every day for the rest of the year. cave and Garver have to play as much as possible. I also would like ot see them try Adrianza at SS and Polanco at 2B some with Dozier as a DH or on the bench. That very well may be the middle infield next year if Dozier isn't re-signed. Same with Polanco at SS and Escobar at 2B as a combo if Sano gets back this year. Gotta figure that part out; really a key to next year. IF the middle IF works without Dozier and doesn't need Escobar (who can then play 3B with Sano in a 3B/1B/DH rotation with Escobar and Mauer), there are a lot of possibilities. If not, we may need Dozier back.

As this season goes on, I have my doubts Escobar will be back because he may get traded at the deadline and a larger contract offer from somewhere else.

Similarly, I think the FO non-tenders both Mauer and Dozier.

I think the FO may re-sign Adrianza, but who knows?

Agreed, it would be nice to know what you have in the tandem of Polanco and Gordon, but three issues.

1) Gordon hasn’t yet shown readiness.
2) Gordon, Polanco, Sano in 2b/SS/3b scares the daylights outta me.
3) Dozier, Polanco, Sano scares me worse
Photo
LA VIkes Fan
Jul 07 2018 09:33 AM

I agree and that's why I think you have to keep Adrianza. He showed he could be a decent quality every day SS when he started consistently for a month. That may be a SSS, but if it's real it gives you some depth and options in the middle IF. I don't think Escobar is an every day middle infielder; he's next year's starting 3B (if we keep/re-sign him) with Sano moving to a 1B/DH tandem with Mauer. I also agree that we haven't seen anything that suggests Gordon is ready to be on the MLB club next year even in a UTL role. I do think there are a couple decent options for next year among these choices:

 

1) Polanco 2B, Adrianza SS and bring in UTL free agent - best choice in my view.

2) Polanco SS, Dozier 2B and Adrianza UTL - could work unless this year's Dozier is next year's Dozier. If that happens, complete disaster because Dozier has to become the UTL and that sounds like trouble in the clubhouse.Besides, I think Dozier's gone trade or not.He doesn't want to come back unless he's paid the big bucks and the FO doesn't particularly want him back. 

3) Polanco, Adrianza and Gordon -disaster waiting to happen with one injury, PED suspension, or Adrianza not being able to hit.

4) Polanco, Gordon and ?- God, no unless the ? is an established MLBer.

5) Dozier, Polanco and Sano - sorry pitchers, no help for you. Please no. 

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Cap'n Piranha
Jul 07 2018 10:04 AM
This game would appear to be a prime example of the shortcomings of wpa. What kind of credit does Cave get for that catch? The difference between 0-0, 1 out top of the first and 0-0, 0 outs? Or 0-0, 0 outs, and 0-1, 0 outs?
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Tom Froemming
Jul 07 2018 10:20 AM

 

This game would appear to be a prime example of the shortcomings of wpa. What kind of credit does Cave get for that catch? The difference between 0-0, 1 out top of the first and 0-0, 0 outs? Or 0-0, 0 outs, and 0-1, 0 outs?

Defense doesn't factor into WPA at all. All the "credit" for outs goes to the pitcher. 

    • ashburyjohn and MN_ExPat like this

I know lots of us have been down on Garver much of this year.But he played very little last fall, so this is his rookie season.The improvements I am seeing tell me he can be a serviceable member of a good MLB team.Probably can hit relatively well with a bit of power.Hopefully, a year or two down the road he will also give us average defense.Perhaps he splits time with Castro next year, then plays two-thirds of the games in 2020 when Rortvedt is breaking into the league.

 

Also like what I am seeing from Cave.Another good pick up by the front office this spring. 

 

This year has been more than disappointing, yet, it appears they are doing a lot to strengthen the organization.Long term moves like improving scouting, minor league coaching, off the field issues like diet and training, and most of all organizational depth.What's the saying, "Rome wasn't built in a day."Maybe it is the same with a major league organization.  

    • MN_ExPat likes this

 

Defense doesn't factor into WPA at all. All the "credit" for outs goes to the pitcher. 

often a shortcoming of a stat comes from someone not reading up on and/or understanding the stat :-)

 

I've had enough of the Vet's.Move Polaco and Kepler to 3-5 and move Dozier and Morrison down.Why Morrison is still in the Lineup is enough reason to fire Molitor!!!!He's had his shot (Molitor and Morrison) The F.O. added Lots of Vets, was it just for this year or is it something they are planning on doing in the off season too.This team has a solid core, even with Buxton and Sano failing.We have some young starting pitchers at AAA, I've got to believe we can use 2 or 3 of them full time next year.That leaves us needing a closer and a DH.Plus, I'm OK with Garver, I'm not OK with Castro.

They've obviously learned how to pitch to Morrison. Overpower him with high fastballs for two strikes then get him on a breaking ball in the dirt when he tries to cheat. Over and over and over.

    • BJames likes this
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ashburyjohn
Jul 07 2018 11:14 AM

Defense doesn't factor into WPA at all.

Probably we are not far from an extended WPA which does. We now have percentages reflecting the chance of any given fly ball being caught. Take the WPA that would have been added, if that fly ball had been a leadoff homer, apply the percentage chance as a multiplier (subtracted from 100%), and that's the defensive WPA for that play.

 

We Can Rebuild It. We Have The Technology. :)

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ChrisKnutson
Jul 07 2018 11:20 AM
This may be stupidly optimistic, but what if we manage to sweep our way to the all star break with a 46-48 record? Would trading Gordon and Gonsalves for a legit game changer like Manny Machado be worth it? Playing him at SS (while moving Polanco to 2nd, Dozier to DH, and cutting Morrison) would only increase our chances of catching Cleveland and convincing him to stay. While I don’t see this happening, I do expect Falvine to pursue Machado over the winter.
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ashburyjohn
Jul 07 2018 11:27 AM

This may be stupidly optimistic, but what if we manage to sweep our way to the all star break with a 46-48 record?

Forgotten what a 2-game winning streak feels like? Good, isn't it?

 

:) I keed, I keed...

    • ChrisKnutson likes this

Forgotten what a 2-game winning streak feels like? Good, isn't it?

:) I keed, I keed...


The Orioles have probably raised the hopes of many teams this year...
    • ashburyjohn and MN_ExPat like this
Will there soon be a Cave vs Kepler discussion? Both are 25, athletic, can play corner and some center and seem to hit similarly.

Will there soon be a Cave vs Kepler discussion? Both are 25, athletic, can play corner and some center and seem to hit similarly.


Cave K's a lot more than Kepler. Kepler should have the productivity advantage, if he can ever manage a league average BABIP.

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