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Game Thread Twins @ Cubs 9 /20/2020 6:00 PM CDT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:50 PM
The Twins conclude their week in Chicago with a Sunday night game against the Cubs. The Twins have won two of the first six games against...
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Gardy announces retirement

Other Baseball Today, 03:39 PM
This is an AP article lifted from the StarTribune web site.DETROIT — Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire announced his immediate retirement bar...
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The Defense And Reality of Dobnak

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:43 PM
I almost posted this in a front page thread but decided it needed it's own. I know we are in a playoff push with mixtures of optimism and...
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LT contracts for current star position players

Other Baseball Today, 09:13 AM
I see that Yelich is still effected by a broken kneecap from last year and has a longterm contract now through 2028. It always raised an...
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How does this scoring get the win?

Other Baseball Today, 09:35 AM
Here is the pitching box Grateral 1.1 innings one run Kolarek 0.2 innings no runs Dodgers take lead May 5.1 innings 3 runs Gonzalez 1 inn...
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Recent Blogs


MIN 7, PIT 3: José Berríos Overcomes Command, Drone

Despite struggling with command, José Berríos held the Pirates to one run over six innings of work to help lead the Twins to victory Tuesday afternoon. In the middle of the fifth inning, Berríos and the Twins had to vacate the field because a drone was flying above Target Field. Only in 2020.
Image courtesy of © Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Box Score
Berrios: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
Home Runs: None
Top 3 WPA: Berríos .176, Cruz .128, Kepler .068
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):
Attached Image: Winchart.png

The Minnesota Twins took down the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-3 Tuesday afternoon to secure the two game sweep and advance to 9-2 overall on the young season; the team’s hot start is tied with the 2001 squad for the best record to begin a season. The teams will now travel to Pittsburgh to play another two.

Berrios Better, But Command Issues Continue

Jose Berrios made the start today for the Twins and went six innings, striking out six and allowing only a single run; his ERA now stands at 4.80. However, the Twins’ ace continues to struggle with command, particularly - as pointed out by fellow Twins Daily writer Matt Trueblood - with fastballs and sinkers on the third base side of the plate.

Berrios’ fastball velocity hovered around 94 mph all afternoon and accounted for approximately 60% of his total pitches thrown, however, only 38 were either called strikes, swung on and missed, fouled off, or put in play, meaning 22 were balls. The key to Berrios regaining his All-Star form is regaining the command of his fastball as well as generating more whiffs - he produced a 28% whiff rate today - so this will continue to be something to monitor in his starts moving forward.

Drone Delay?

Right when Berrios seemed to be getting into his groove, the game was delayed for nine minutes in the top of the fifthing inning...because someone thought it would be a good idea to fly a drone over the field during the middle of a game?



In a year where supposedly nothing could surprise us anymore, this definitely did.

Cruz, Gonzalez Stay Hot

Twins’ slugger Nelson Cruz continued his hot streak Tuesday afternoon going 3-for-4 with a league-leading 15th RBI to increase his batting average to .395 and OPS to 1.109. Quite a bit of virtual ink was spilled in the build up to the start of the 2020 season wondering if Luis Arraez could be the first player since Ted Williams in 1941 to hit .400 for an entire season. Maybe we should start wondering if the Twin to do it may actually be the ageless Cruz?

While Marwin Gonzalez had only one-third the amount of hits as Cruz in today’s contest, he produced twice as many hard hit balls. Gonzalez went 1-for-4, but all four at bats produced balls with an exit velocity above 95 mph and an xBA above .340 (coming into the game his average exit velocity and xBA was 88.9 and .235, respectively). Gonzalez hot start at the plate as well as his defensive versatility has been an utter boon for the Twins so far this season.

Thielbar Makes His Return

Relief pitcher Caleb Thielbar returned to an MLB mound this afternoon for the first time since 2015, a season that he also spent with the Twins; he played for the St. Paul Saints in 2016 and 2017 before pitching in the Detroit and Atlanta minor league systems in 2018 and 2019. Thielbar went 2 1/3 innings in relief, giving up two runs and striking out three.

Miscellaneous Notes
  • The Twins did not hit a single home run against the Pirates; the only other game this season in which this has happened was the 2-0 loss to Cleveland and Shane Bieber.
  • Today’s official game time was 3 hours and 40 minutes, which beat out the 14-2 win over the White Sox for the longest game of the season by two minutes.
Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
Attached Image: Bullpen.png

Postgame Pint
The Twins start early, Berrios finds his way, a drone delays the game and the team gets an easy win. Listen to the live virtual audience drive the discussion with Nick Nelson, Nash Walker and Andrew Thares.




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22 Comments

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milldaddy35
Aug 04 2020 03:59 PM
Wasnt the most exciting game but I am never going to complain about a win. Berrios seemed to struggle early, but settled down nicely after the 7th. The velocity staying at 95-96 into the 6th is an encouraging sign. Cruz is still really good, and Rosario had a few nice (and not nice) at bats. Arraez hit the ball hard but Is getting unlucky. Buxton defense still outweighs his lack of hitting. Nice job by thielbar to save a majority of the bullpen.
    • Dman, bighat and wabene like this
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operation mindcrime
Aug 04 2020 04:06 PM
I was worried that Skynet was taking over during the drone delay!

Congrats to Caleb Thielbar for a decent comeback appearance. Not sure how sustainable it will be if he keeps hanging those loopy curves to right handers. Some of those could have been tape measure home runs. I think Pirates hitters were shocked by how many of them he threw. Next opponent may be ready to cash in on those giant cookies.

 

Congrats to Caleb Thielbar for a decent comeback appearance. Not sure how sustainable it will be if he keeps hanging those loopy curves to right handers. Some of those could have been tape measure home runs. I think Pirates hitters were shocked by how many of them he threw. Next opponent may be ready to cash in on those giant cookies.

 

That reminds me: how is Ryne Harper doing this year?

    • h2oface, JoshDungan1 and wabene like this
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FlauerPauer
Aug 04 2020 06:10 PM

I will be very worried if Caleb Theilbar is used in any sort of non-save-the-bullpen role. I don't care what Rocco says about his stuff... there's a reason he hasn't played in five years... Now is not the time for reclamation projects.

    • birdwatcher, h2oface, Dman and 6 others like this

Happy to get the win today but things didn't go as well as I had hoped against a hittable pitcher.For as great as Berrios's line was (only 1 earned through 6 innings)He was getting close to 50 pitches after two innings. For a while there it looked like he might only go 4 innings 5 max and these were the pirates not the Yankee's.It feels like he has a lot of things to work out.In the end he made it 6 innings so I guess I can't complain too much but it was pretty brutal to watch IMO.

 

It was nice they got 2.1 innings out of Thielbar so the pen could rest a day.He doesn't look like someone to rely on just yet but a guy who could eat innings when games are out of hand.He looked OK out there to me but not overly dominant.At least he doesn't walk guys like Poppen does, but that is the only reliever I would say Thielbar might be better than in our current pen.

 

Where would this team be at the start of this season without Cruz?Probably in about the same place as the Indians and Chicago.He has been a true difference maker early and yet teams keep challenging him.I see a fair number of walks and hit by pitch in Cruz's future.

 

4 walks for Kepler bodes well. Pitchers will have to give stuff to hit or put him on 1st for free.Good to see that good eye at the plate and solid contact.He should be a tough out if he keeps this up.

 

Also nice to see Rosario beat the shift taking the ball to left.Beat it a few more times and they might have to play him more straight up again.

 

We don't seem to have the homer magic we had last year but with the improved pitching we are still a tough team to beat.Here's hoping for a few more HR's in the next few games.Go Twins!

    • 70charger and wabene like this
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Twins_Fan_For_Life
Aug 04 2020 07:45 PM
Now was absolutely the time for the Thielbar reclamation project. With 3/5 of the rotation on the IL, and the bullpen overused lately - thank goodness Thielbar gutted out nearly 3 innings to everyone else a rest day.
    • MN_ExPat and jkcarew like this
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FlauerPauer
Aug 04 2020 07:50 PM

 

Now was absolutely the time for the Thielbar reclamation project. With 3/5 of the rotation on the IL, and the bullpen overused lately - thank goodness Thielbar gutted out nearly 3 innings to everyone else a rest day.

 

Not at all, dude. You don't need to add anything to team salary by pitching Poppen. These games are twice as important as any other game in a normal season. Regardless of saving the bullpen, which he did, he was close to blowing the lead today. Still would have liked to see Poppen in there for the ninth. 

    • Danchat likes this
I thought about Trevor Bauer and his long-toss when I heard guys were throwing at a drone from the bullpen. He would be a serious anti-aircraft weapon.

But, seriously, police(local/state/federal) and stadium security have a plan for a potentially dangerous drone(s) at the stadium. It’s interesting that it made it that far.

Anyway, another good game. Kepler and Cruz are animals.
First Rally Squirrel. Now...Rally Drone?
    • 70charger, Danchat and TouchEmAllGuy like this

"Thielbar went 2 1/3 innings in relief, giving up three runs and striking out three."

Not a fan of the Thielbar move, at all, but he only gave up 2 runs. But 5 hits and 2 walks and only 7 outs is a more complete story...... Perhaps Baldelli should have pulled him after the 8th, and not sent him out for another inning.

 

May gets a save with a 4 run lead and only needing 2 outs and 5 pitches. That doesn't happen often. Kinda scary at the end. May does tend to give up the dinger.....

 

9-2 sure is a great place to be. I can't wait for the "fearsome offense" to be fearsome. 

I couldn't watch the whole game, but what I did see of it, every pitch that Berrios threw that was getting touched, and batters were making contact. Even the fly outs were getting tagged. It is a weird season. I hope that it isn't just August, and it doesn't matter if it is the beginning of an unprecidented short season or the dog days of a long season. 

 

My favorite plays of the whole game are in this video, and it didn't even make a recap mention. Especially the catch. Outfielders just don't get to this ball. And he doesn't even have to dive, just glide.

 

https://www.mlb.com/...play?t=statcast

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diehardtwinsfan
Aug 05 2020 07:01 AM

We're 9-2 and already have a decent lead after playing one of our harder stretches... I'mliking the way this season is shaping up... Hopefully, we can get Buxton, Sano, Garver, and Donaldson on track... 

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puckstopper1
Aug 05 2020 08:56 AM

 

That reminds me: how is Ryne Harper doing this year?

Harper is doing quite well, thank you.

 

He has made 5 appearances with 6Ks in 5.1 innings and a 0.00 ERA for the Nats, and some of those outings have been in "high leverage" situations (not just mop-up time).

 

I'm sure the Nats are glad to have him!

    • Dman, Shaitan, Minny505 and 3 others like this
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birdwatcher
Aug 05 2020 08:59 AM

 

That reminds me: how is Ryne Harper doing this year?

 

 

Five games and 5.1 innings for the Nats so far, 3 hits allowed, no runs, and a win under his belt.

 

Thanks for asking. ;)

    • Shaitan and TouchEmAllGuy like this
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puckstopper1
Aug 05 2020 09:08 AM

 

 

 

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birdwatcher
Aug 05 2020 09:10 AM

 

I will be very worried if Caleb Theilbar is used in any sort of non-save-the-bullpen role. I don't care what Rocco says about his stuff... there's a reason he hasn't played in five years... Now is not the time for reclamation projects.

 

Yeah, I'm with you. I wonder if Falvey isn't trying to be strategic by showing tons of relief pitchers a few opportunistic low leverage innings here early with the hopes that he can deal a surplus arm or two to teams desperate to stay in the hunt for a minor league return. Similar to what he has done before.

 

Fernando Rodney got us Dakota Chalmers Ryne himself netted us this future star Hunter McMahon. ;)

 

On the flip side, they got nothin' for Nik Turley and only $25,000 for Nick Burdi.:)

 

    • Dman likes this

But 5 hits and 2 walks and only 7 outs is a more complete story......

That comes out to a tasty 1.000 OPS. Tasty for batters, that is.

 

OTOH, the batting average against him on balls in play, typically around .300 for a full season, is .556 at this point. It's only small sample size, of course, which is my point. Maybe a little more normal "luck" with the at-em balls will reveal him to be a useful contributor still.
 

    • birdwatcher, Minny505 and jkcarew like this

I have to say that Berrios still does not look good.These are the Pirates.I need to see much more from him after these three starts.He not bad, but he is pitching like a number 3 for me.

    • h2oface, puckstopper1 and Minny505 like this
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Ebby Calvin Laloosh
Aug 05 2020 01:24 PM

Was that an Astro's drone? 

    • birdwatcher likes this

I feel like Berrios is really nibbling once he gets to 2 strikes. He is trying so hard to make the perfect pitch in that situation to get the K recorded and missing his spot far more often than not.

It's easier said than done, but he needs to just keep attacking once he is there. Hope he can make that mental adjustment.

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launchingthrees
Aug 05 2020 07:36 PM

 

That comes out to a tasty 1.000 OPS. Tasty for batters, that is.

 

OTOH, the batting average against him on balls in play, typically around .300 for a full season, is .556 at this point. It's only small sample size, of course, which is my point. Maybe a little more normal "luck" with the at-em balls will reveal him to be a useful contributor still.
 

There's never been 2.2 innings of meaningful data. 

 

There's never been 2.2 innings of meaningful data. What did you think of his stuff?