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Potential rule change: require different DH for each pitcher

Other Baseball Today, 03:01 PM
I just read this potential rule change on Twitter and I am intrigued:   https://twitter.com/...4091739136?s=20     For th...
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White Sox make changes

Other Baseball Today, 02:58 PM
Both Manager Rick Rentaria and pitching coach Don Cooper were let go.     Was a bit surprised by this, because the White S...
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Nelson Cruz wants 2 years

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:31 AM
https://www.mlbtrade...-year-deal.html
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Target Field Tax Status

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:35 AM
Been reading about all the losses (alleged or not) that MLB has (and maybe will again) taken with the pandemic, and wondered how the tax...
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What to do with Lewis Thorpe?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:58 PM
Lewis Thorpe is out of options. The Twins either need to keep him on the MLB team as their 5th starter or as a reliever out of the bullpe...
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MIN 7, CIN 3: Arráez and Shine

In his first game in more than two weeks, Luis Arráez recorded four hits, three of them doubles. His performance helped spark a victory that kept the Twins atop the American League Central. Home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs has also been secured.
Image courtesy of Chart by FanGraphs
Box Score
Pineda: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
Home Runs: None
Top 3 WPA: Arráez .238, Gonzalez .094, Kepler .074

Rocco Baldelli said earlier this week that Michael Pineda was going to be the Twins starting pitcher in an eventual Game 3 of the Wild Card series, whomever they face. Even though there’s still no official announcement, he also said that this decision is unlikely to change. Naturally, Big Mike’s last regular season start would be his ‘final exam’ for the playoffs, even if he was not going to go the distance.

However, he got off on the wrong foot, as it took him 34 pitches to end the first inning, nearly half of the total pitches he would throw in this game. He lacked command, throwing only two called strikes and giving up two walks, while also giving up a couple of hits that helped Cincinnati jump to a 2-0 lead right away.

But that was all the struggle Pineda would go through in the night, as he smoothly pitched three scoreless innings next, allowing only two baserunners. Had he continued in the game, he was in good shape to near a quality start. It wasn’t an optimal outing, sure, but not a bad one either.

Welcome back, Arráez!
After missing 13 games due to a left knee tendinitis that had him placed on the 10-day Injured List, he was activated earlier today to resume his season and also get looked at for postseason purposes. Fortunately, he didn’t even come close to disappointing.

The Twins would score five runs in the first five innings to take the lead and Arráez was directly involved in four of them. He hit a double in each of his first three at bats, setting a career high. He doubled in the first and was scored by a Nelson Cruz single; doubled in the third to score Max Kepler and scored on an Eddie Rosario single; and doubled again in the fifth, scoring Kepler once again.

Kepler (twice) and Marwin González also joined the doubles party making it six overall for Minnesota. After his double, MarGo moved up on a sac-fly and scored on a rare wild pitch by Reds starter Luis Castillo.



The bullpen was also tested
With the early departure of Pineda, the Twins bullpen would go through another tough test to prepare for the playoffs. They had been kind of struggling as of late, having allowed three runs in each of the past three games. Granted, in one of those they had to pitch seven innings in relief of Homer Bailey on Tuesday, but still, some fans had their confidence shaken.

Tyler Clippard and Cody Stashak delivered two perfect innings in the fifth and sixth, but Stashak ran into trouble to start the seventh, when he opened the inning by giving up back-to-back singles. Taylor Rogers took over and immediately gave up an RBI single and hit a batter, loading the bases with only one out, under a somewhat heavy rain. He put himself together and retired the final two batters of the inning and keep the Twins’ two-run lead.

He came back to pitch the eighth and got two quick outs, making it the first time this season he pitched more than one inning in a game, ending his outing with 1 1/3 inning and not allowing an earned run. Tyler Duffey came in and concluded the top of the eighth with no problems.

More doubles, more run support and more Arráez
The offense showed up again in the bottom of the seventh, after the Reds shortened the distances. Ehire Adrianza led off the inning with another double, the eighth from Minnesota in the game (the club record, set last year, is nine). Kepler drew a walk after him and then Arráez got his fourth hit of the game and scored his countryman. Eddie Rosario flied out to center, but hit the ball deep enough to score Kepler and push the lead to four runs, 7-3 Twins, which ended up being the final score.



After getting the last out in the eighth, Duffey came back and pitched an outstanding ninth, striking out the side in 13 pitches. The Twins even up the series and are still in control of their own destiny, with the magic number now at one. If they win the rubber game tomorrow, they’re going to be back-to-back AL Central champions for the first time in 10 years. But even if they end up losing first place, they have secured home-field advantage in the Wild Card Series earlier tonight, with the Indians’ 8-0 loss against Pittsburgh.

Postgame Pint
Check out tonight’s episode of Twins Daily’s Postgame Pint live stream on YouTube or Facebook.



Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
Attached Image: Bullpen.png

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15 Comments

Wow did I miss Arraez and obviously the Twins did too.How nice to have a player get hits instead of Ks.

    • DocBauer, tarheeltwinsfan, PDX Twin and 1 other like this
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IndianaTwin
Sep 26 2020 09:18 PM

In a different thread, I've been tracking how the seeds look. I think this is accurate:

 

 

Tampa Bay (39-20):

  • Locked into the No. 1 seed.

Minnesota (36-23)

  • No. 2 seed with a win OR a loss and losses by Oakland and Chicago
  • No. 3 seed with a loss, a win by Oakland, and a loss by Chicago
  • No. 4 seed with a loss and a win by Chicago.

Oakland (35-24)

  • No. 2 seed with a win and a loss by Minnesota
  • No. 3 seed with a loss or a win by Minnesota 

Chicago (35-24)

  • No. 2 with a win and losses by Minnesota and Oakland.
  • No. 3 with a win, a loss by Minnesota, and a win by Oakland.
  • No. 4 with a loss or a win by Minnesota.
  • No. 7 with a loss and a Cleveland win

New York (33-26)

  • No. 5 seed with a win or a Toronto loss.
  • No. 8 seed with a loss and a Toronto win.

Houston (29-30)

  • Locked into the No. 6 seed.

Cleveland (34-25)

  • No. 4 with a win and Chicago loss.
  • No. 7 with a loss or a Chicago win.

Toronto (32-27)

  • No. 5 seed with a win and a New York loss
  • No. 8 seed with a loss or a New York win
    • Otwins, JCinNWMN, mikelink45 and 5 others like this
No HRs tonight, but a lot of runs and great ABs. Very encouraging sign! Houston as the 6th seed at 29-30 just seems dumb. I understand rewarding a division winner with a top 3 seed, but 2nd place in the worst division in the AL??
    • wabene and arby58 like this
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VivaBomboRivera!
Sep 27 2020 02:39 AM
Nothing beats hot bats in September!


'cept mebbe hot pitchin'!

 

 

In a different thread, I've been tracking how the seeds look. I think this is accurate:

 

 

Tampa Bay (39-20):

  • Locked into the No. 1 seed.

Minnesota (36-23)

  • No. 2 seed with a win OR a loss and losses by Oakland and Chicago
  • No. 3 seed with a loss, a win by Oakland, and a loss by Chicago
  • No. 4 seed with a loss and a win by Chicago.

Oakland (35-24)

  • No. 2 seed with a win and a loss by Minnesota
  • No. 3 seed with a loss or a win by Minnesota 

Chicago (35-24)

  • No. 2 with a win and losses by Minnesota and Oakland.
  • No. 3 with a win, a loss by Minnesota, and a win by Oakland.
  • No. 4 with a loss or a win by Minnesota.
  • No. 7 with a loss and a Cleveland win

New York (33-26)

  • No. 5 seed with a win or a Toronto loss.
  • No. 8 seed with a loss and a Toronto win.

Houston (29-30)

  • Locked into the No. 6 seed.

Cleveland (34-25)

  • No. 4 with a win and Chicago loss.
  • No. 7 with a loss or a Chicago win.

Toronto (32-27)

  • No. 5 seed with a win and a New York loss
  • No. 8 seed with a loss or a New York win

 

Thanks for taking the time to lay this out--it's very clear. It's a shame we will likely end up with 3/4 AL matchups being interdivisional. The higher seeds should be able to choose their opponents--that way the Twins would get the Astros or Jays.

    • Joey P likes this

 

Thanks for taking the time to lay this out--it's very clear. It's a shame we will likely end up with 3/4 AL matchups being interdivisional. The higher seeds should be able to choose their opponents--that way the Twins would get the Astros or Jays.

I get the impression this Twins team (and management) have sights set higher than winning the first round of the play-offs. In that case, it doesn't much matter what order you play them.

    • DocBauer, wabene, Joey P and 1 other like this
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Nine of twelve
Sep 27 2020 07:14 AM

 

No HRs tonight, but a lot of runs and great ABs. Very encouraging sign! Houston as the 6th seed at 29-30 just seems dumb. I understand rewarding a division winner with a top 3 seed, but 2nd place in the worst division in the AL??

We don't know if the AL West is the worst division in the AL. If the NL West is the best division in the majors and if the AL West is average the result would be a losing record for the AL west. I suspect that's the reason that the decision was made to have second place finisher in each division receive a higher seed than the two wild card teams.

    • USAFChief, spycake and wabene like this
In defense of Houston, remember that teams played zero games against the other AL divisions. You can't compare records from one division to the next; they might as well have been in different leagues. Taking the top two from each division plus two wild cards only fair. If Houston made it instead of Cleveland or Chicago, I might say that was unfair, but that didn't happen, because of the wild cards. If the second best team in the west got bumped by the fourth place team in the East or Central, however, that would not be fair. They literally didn't play ANY of the same teams, so their records are not comparable. If you have to pick 8 teams, I think this is a good solution.

Whether taking 8 teams from each league is a good idea, however, is another question entirely.

In a short season with no interdivisional play, it makes sense, because the results haven't reliably filtered out the best teams. If Minnesota could still finish from 1st to 7th on the last day, the rankings are still too volatile to mean much. Abs dive we never played most other teams,rankings based on records are dubious anyway.

But if they do this next year, I think it would be terrible. It would make both the regular season and the playoffs virtually meaningless.

Take the AL Central race for instance. Three really good teams battling it out till the final day should have been incredibly dramatic! Instead, it was irrelevant, and felt that way. We've all known for months that all three would make the playoffs. If you have to have a losing record not to make the playoffs, it turns the regular season into a snooze.

This was okay during a pandemic--I had plenty of stress already and didn't mind not having to worry about whether the Twins wouk make the playoffs. But during a normal year, it would be like watching spring training for 162 games. Six months is a long time to wait for meaningful competition to begin!

Worse yet, when the playoffs finally do start, half the teams get eliminated before the real first round even starts, in a virtual coin flip!

Subjecting the best team in baseball to a 3 game series against some rando that shouldn't even be in the playoffs makes a mockery of both the regular season, and the playoffs. You haven't winnowed out the best teams in either.

That's not all bad, if it keeps a team like the Giants or Mariners from bailing on the season halfway through, trading away their best players, and leaving their fans a hollow shell of a team to root for. It definitely makes the season more exciting for teams like that, and could reduce tanking. And as a midmarket team ourselves, we would probably benefit from that more often than we would be hurt by it.

But I still don't like it. Maybe it is just because we have finally put together a legitimate contender; but after waiting so long to see a team that can go toe to toe with anybody, would we want to watch them lose in 2 to a third place team and never get a crack at ending the Yankees curse? That would be horrible.

And while it was nice for Giants fans that they weren't eliminated until the final week, whay if they had made it, and the Dodgers lost in 2 to a Giants team with a losing record in the play-in round? Would anyone really feel like winning a world series meant you were the best team anymore? Would anyone really care who won a joke of a tournament like that, except the two finalists? It reduces every playoff game to instantly forgettable instant gratification.

What is uniquely great about baseball is the vast mental construct of meaning hovering around every event. Each pitch is a battle between pitcher and batter. But that battle is much more dramatic when seen in context of the full at-bat. A borderline pitch is much more exciting with 2 strikes, or 3 balls. The courage, and potential cost, of a pitcher throwing a 3-2 slider that drops out of the strike zone, knowing the batter has to protect the plate, is what makes it so interesting. And the drama of each at-bat in turn depends on knowing where you are in the inning, whether there are men on base, and how many outs there are. And that, in turn, depends on what inning it is, and the score. And knowing it is just one game in a 3 game series adds further narrative context.

But the tension and meaning of all these games within a game get ramped up exponentially by a pennant race. The excitement of two teams that have been dogging each other for months finally facing off in September adds another whole layer of meaning and drama. Which the long wait only increases. And the context guess well beyond the season. A September game against Cleveland is much more meaningful knowing they are the defending champs, here been for years. Rivalries can extend for decades. When the Twins finally beat the Yankees in the playoffs it will be the culmination of a 20 year struggle. And we will feel the weight of all this history and context on every single pitch! That is what makes baseball so special. People complain that not much happens. But in no other sport is so much happening in your head.

That is what MLB is throwing away for a few extra days of playoff excitement. By expanding the playoffs so much, they are trivializing the meaning of both the regular season AND the playoffs.

I would happily trade the "excitement" of a three game playoff series against a team with a losing record -- a series that has a very real chance if costing us our chance at redemption against the Yankees, and our first shot at a title since 1991. I would much prefer the actual, ongoing excitement of a tension-filled, season-long race against Cleveland and Chicago, which could have provided months of gripping entertainment, precisely because one or more of these proud and deserving teams would NOT make the playoffs! That's what it means for a game to mean something.

And if it can take years to build a team capable of playing meaningful games in September, that's what makes it mean so much when they finally do. That is what was lost this year, and quite possibly forever, if they expand the playoffs permanently.
    • USAFChief, IndianaTwin, Nine of twelve and 1 other like this

This man speaks truth!

Baseball is a business...and as such they will do whatever it takes to make more $$..and that means more teams in postseason...making the 2nd half of any season more exciting for more teams and their fans. So, we'll have to see what changes they keep and which ones they don't.

 

Last nights game was a good as Friday's game was bad. Two completely different 'looks' for sure. What I liked last night was we had a lineup that didn't put two runners on with no outs and then watch 3 players swing from the heels, and striking out...stranding the runners. The number of k's the Twins have amassed lately is both aggravating and death-dealing when it comes to post season success.

Arraez was certainly a breath of fresh air. Kepler seems to have shed his miseries both at bat and in the field. Eddie is contributing. Even Adrianza is doing some good things.

What the Twins must do to stop the post season miseries that have lasted many years too long is to swallow hard and field a lineup that will produce based on how the players are performing now. If that means sitting Sano or Garver or maybe even Cruz...so be it. One could add Donaldson as well...except his 'd' is superior to anyone else they could put out there. But batting him 2nd....uh, no.

 

this should be done at least in the short series that is upcoming. There just aren't enough innings to compensate for a Sano or Garver not being able to put the ball in play. Last nights lineup worked. I'd like to see it duplicated today as the Twins go for the Central Crown. I feel the same about Rogers and Romo too. They can no longer live on their past laurels. Neither has proved to be what we need come the 8th inning of a close game. Rogers won't have the luxury of allowing a run right away...maybe two before figuring things out.

 

The mantra...we're going with the ones who got us here...only works in theory...not in a best of 3 series. You go with the ones who are getting you there now, and Twins have a few guys who just can't put the ball in play right now. Can't have that.

 

I suspect Buxton won't play until Tuesday at the earliest...let's hope he passes thru concussion protocol and play at all. (caution...even he had a pretty unproductive week before the beaning)

 

Finally, since I want to win...not try and exorcise demons, it would be nice to play a different opponent in the playoffs for a change. Prediction...Twins will win the Central...not by backing in with a Sox loss, but with a Twins win!!!

 

Houston as the 6th seed at 29-30 just seems dumb. I understand rewarding a division winner with a top 3 seed, but 2nd place in the worst division in the AL??

In addition to the above posts about the extremely unbalanced schedules (Houston played 7 games, 5 on the road, against NL West teams with better records than any Twins opponent), also note that incentive to win impacts a team's overall W-L record. Houston hasn't had much incentive to push to 32-33 wins -- they weren't likely to catch Oakland or the top 2nd place team in the AL, and they didn't have a strong threat pushing them from behind either. So their decisions -- pitcher usage, IL placements, even trades before the deadline -- have been made under different criteria. That's not likely to swing a team's record too much, but it could easily impact a smaller gap.

 

HOU and TOR were both 28-27 just a few days ago. With different incentives, maybe HOU approaches the last 5 games differently.

 

I'm definitely open to the argument that Houston is a worse club than the others this year, but I don't particularly mind if they are the 6th seed -- the 7th and 8th seeds knew the rules going in and each had numerous chances to defeat the 2nd place teams in their divisions head-to-head.

 

Whether taking 8 teams from each league is a good idea, however, is another question entirely.

FWIW, I doubt we will see this exact playoff format applied to a 162 game season. Manfred has suggested some form of expanded playoffs will continue, but I suspect it may not be 16 teams, and/or there will be stronger incentives for winning divisions (like byes or getting to start a series up 1-0).

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Nine of twelve
Sep 27 2020 11:02 AM

I'm not going to quote jiminy's post because it would take up a lot of space here, but I have to say it's rare that I completely agree with such a long post and this is one such time. Very well done!

 

And while it was nice for Giants fans that they weren't eliminated until the final week, whay if they had made it, and the Dodgers lost in 2 to a Giants team with a losing record in the play-in round? Would anyone really feel like winning a world series meant you were the best team anymore? 

To be fair, I'm guessing similar sentiments were once expressed about the 1987 Twins (and later the 2006 Cardinals, etc.). Baseball survived!

 

Also, while baseball is inherently more underdog-friendly, I don't think it's necessarily bad to challenge the better teams to "put up or shut up" so to speak in the postseason. The Dodgers may lose 2 random games in a row to the Giants in July with nothing on the line, but if they know elimination is at stake, they should be able to step up in October and get it done. And it would be compelling baseball -- lose the first game, and now all of a sudden we see a very good team in the Dodgers pulling out all the stops to win game 2 -- all their best pitchers available at any point in the game, situational hitting instead of just swinging for the fences, etc.

 

Agree that we wouldn't want to put teams through that gauntlet all the time, and like I said I don't think the 2020 format will continue exactly the same going forward.

Good points on the seedings and divisional records here by my fellow TD readers. I probably just hate the Astros so much that it's made me bias