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MIN 9, DET 4: WE COMIN’!!!

Make it six straight victories. The Twins crushed the Tigers Friday night, scoring nine runs on 16 hits. At the conclusion of the game, Minnesota was tied with Seattle for the second wild card. It’s happening!
Image courtesy of Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Win Expectancy (via Fangraphs)
Attached Image: WinEx811.png
The Twins lineup is suddenly a finely-tuned machine. Over their six-game winning streak they’ve scored 42 runs, an average of seven per game. The big blows tonight were home runs from Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler, who both had three hits. Joe Mauer also had three hits for the second consecutive game. And, of course, Brian Dozier and Jorge Polanco had two hits each.

I suspect Polanco won’t actually hit .500 for the rest of the season, but he’s now 16-for-32 this month, has a nine-game hitting streak and multiple hits in five-straight games. He was hitting .213 at the beginning of the month, that mark is already up to .242.

Along with a stellar night offensively, the Twins also had a couple nice defensive highlights. Byron Buxton made a great diving catch on the warning track in the fourth inning.

Rhett (a.k.a. Wet Blanket) Bollinger pointed out that Buxton didn’t take the most efficient route, but that ball was smoked. It came off the bat at 109.2 mph, and Baseball Savant had the hit probability at 86 percent.

Later on in the eighth inning, Kepler made a nice leaping catch at the wall that resulted in a double play.

Kyle Gibson was rolling right along until BAM, his start was derailed, as so often seems to be the case. In the fifth inning, he walked two batters, gave up two hits and uncorked a wild pitch. Gibby was pulled with runners on first and second with two outs and Miguel Cabrera due up. Ryan Pressly came in and got Cabrera to fly out to end the inning. Pressly also pitched a perfect sixth inning, finishing the night with his sixth-straight scoreless appearance.

The bullpen did give up a run tonight, it was Trevor Hildenberger in the seventh, but it was after the Twins already built a four-run lead. Taylor Rogers pitched a scoreless eighth for his MLB-best 26th hold. Tyler Duffey turned in a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Gibson has been the beneficiary of some strong run support and help from the bullpen, but it’s worth noting that the Twins are now 10-10 in games he has started.

Postgame With Buxton

Twins W-L Record
Overall: 58-56 (.509)
Last 10: 8-2 (.800)
Last 20: 10-10 (.500)
Last 40: 19-21 (.475)
Last 80: 39-41 (.488)

AL Central Standings
Cleveland 61-52
Minnesota 58-56 (-3.5)

Wild Card Standings
WC1: Yankees 60-53
WC2: Minnesota 58-56, Seattle 59-57 (tied, Mariners game still in progress)

Defensive Lineups
Here’s a look at the starting lineups from the past seven games:
Attached Image: Lineups811.png
Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Attached Image: Bullpen811.png
Looking Ahead
Saturday: Twins (Jose Berrios) at Detroit (Jordan Zimmermann), 5:10 pm CT
Sunday: Twins (Ervin Santana) at Detroit (Matthew Boyd), 12:10 pm CT
Next Series: vs. Cleveland Tues, Weds, Thurs.

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23 Comments

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Willihammer
Aug 11 2017 09:14 PM

Hit probability is a function of exit velo and launch angle correct? Seems to be missing a third variable: horizontal angle. Balls hit right at you are harder to gauge depth wise than ones hit to either side. That was a damn tough catch.

 

edit: Kepler's too. Same issue. What was Statcast's hit probability on that one?

    • USAFChief, glunn, Cory Engelhardt and 3 others like this
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IndianaTwin
Aug 11 2017 09:20 PM
Tied for the second wild card nuthin'. The Twins are at .50877, whereas the Mariners are at .50862. That's clearly Advantage Twins!
    • glunn, jimbo92107, Cory Engelhardt and 5 others like this
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IndianaTwin
Aug 11 2017 09:29 PM
I'll also add that this is the first 8-2 stretch of the season.
    • glunn, Blake and bluechipper like this
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Tom Froemming
Aug 11 2017 09:46 PM

 

Hit probability is a function of exit velo and launch angle correct? Seems to be missing a third variable: horizontal angle. Balls hit right at you are harder to gauge depth wise than ones hit to either side. That was a damn tough catch.

 

edit: Kepler's too. Same issue. What was Statcast's hit probability on that one?

I could be wrong, but I think if you have the exit velocity and the launch angle, you can pretty much calculate the horizontal angle, as well. But, either way, hit probability doesn't factor in the defender at all, and unfortunately catch probability numbers aren't available on a play-by-play basis to us common folk. You can see leader boards of who has the most five-star catches and fun stuff like that, but there's not like a game feed that has that info for all plays, unlike the hit probability. 

 

The hit probability on Kepler's double play was 49 percent.

    • glunn, Willihammer and Circus Boy like this

Great win. Going to need a lengthy start from the former J.O. tomorrow though because of the last couple of days. Here's hoping!

    • glunn and Dozier's Glorious Hair like this
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Taildragger8791
Aug 11 2017 10:37 PM

I could be wrong, but I think if you have the exit velocity and the launch angle, you can pretty much calculate the horizontal angle, as well. But, either way, hit probability doesn't factor in the defender at all, and unfortunately catch probability numbers aren't available on a play-by-play basis to us common folk. You can see leader boards of who has the most five-star catches and fun stuff like that, but there's not like a game feed that has that info for all plays, unlike the hit probability. 
 
The hit probability on Kepler's double play was 49 percent.


Can you explain how horizontal angle would come from that? I'm not seeing it. Also, the slicing nature seems like it would add to the catch difficulty but not be reflected by the probability metrics. That ball started out to Buxton's right then crossed way back over him. Definitely not just a 3 star catch in my book.
    • Seth Stohs, Blake, Willihammer and 3 others like this

 

Hit probability is a function of exit velo and launch angle correct? Seems to be missing a third variable: horizontal angle. Balls hit right at you are harder to gauge depth wise than ones hit to either side. That was a damn tough catch.

 

edit: Kepler's too. Same issue. What was Statcast's hit probability on that one?

 

No question, that was an incredible catch by Buxton... When it's hit that hard, it moves different, and when it's over your head and tailing, you just kind of have to turn and then figure out what it does after the fact. Such a great catch. 

    • Willihammer likes this
This is just crazy fun! And I don't mean the weekend you can barely remember or the psyco person you "dated" for three months kind of fun. I mean this is a team that won't quit, that is brimming with young talent still developing and growing and showing itself off. I honestly don't care if we win the second WC spot or finish one game out. I don't care about run differential because a few games or series lead to a negative result. I mean, really, you get the scrap kicked out of you in 3 games but win 7 more out of ten, what matters? Run differential or winning 7 out of 10? That's simplistic, I know. But there is just so much to like about this team, it's development, and what the future holds.
    • Blake, pbrezeasap, Kevin and 10 others like this
Mariners lost!!
    • USNMCPO, Willihammer, bluechipper and 5 others like this

 

This is just crazy fun! And I don't mean the weekend you can barely remember or the psyco person you "dated" for three months kind of fun. I mean this is a team that won't quit, that is brimming with young talent still developing and growing and showing itself off. I honestly don't care if we win the second WC spot or finish one game out. I don't care about run differential because a few games or series lead to a negative result. I mean, really, you get the scrap kicked out of you in 3 games but win 7 more out of ten, what matters? Run differential or winning 7 out of 10? That's simplistic, I know. But there is just so much to like about this team, it's development, and what the future holds.

Dunno. Those first two examples of crazy fun were quite memorable.

    • DocBauer likes this

Watch the body language. Twins players are pumped and alert and on top of every play. The Tigers are playing out the string. Fun to see us as the better team for a change.

    • benchwarmerjim and mikelink45 like this

Regarding Buxton's catch, can someone explain to me how it had an 86% hit probability, but a 65% catch percentage instead of ~14% (100-86=14)?

    • Dman and CUtomorrownight like this
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ScooterDance
Aug 12 2017 06:34 AM
2 game lead in loss column over every team in the WC hunt.

Let's go!
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Tom Froemming
Aug 12 2017 06:45 AM

 

Can you explain how horizontal angle would come from that? I'm not seeing it. Also, the slicing nature seems like it would add to the catch difficulty but not be reflected by the probability metrics. That ball started out to Buxton's right then crossed way back over him. Definitely not just a 3 star catch in my book.

I don't think I understood your first question, but no, the amount the ball is slicing or hooking is not factored into catch probability. The only things factored into that are the distance the fielder had to travel and the amount of time they had to get to the ball. So really, that almost does a better job at measuring a player's speed and route efficiency than anything. Calling it catch probability is a bit misleading (and there's a reason why MLB won't allow this stuff to be brought up in arbitration cases).

 

And you're right, while Byron may have played that into a more difficult catch by getting turned around, the TrackMan map Rhett shared shows some curvature in the path the ball traveled from home plate. I'm guessing even that little amount slice is very uncommon on a ball hit to center field. Toss in the fact it was hit nearly 110 mph, and you have a very difficult read/adjustment. It's also possible the wind could've had an impact on the ball, and that's not tracked, either. So it is far from a perfect system. 

    • Circus Boy, Taildragger8791 and Bill Tanner like this

I don't think I understood your first question, but no, the amount the ball is slicing or hooking is not factored into catch probability. The only things factored into that are the distance the fielder had to travel and the amount of time they had to get to the ball. So really, that almost does a better job at measuring a player's speed and route efficiency than anything. Calling it catch probability is a bit misleading (and there's a reason why MLB won't allow this stuff to be brought up in arbitration cases).

And you're right, while Byron may have played that into a more difficult catch by getting turned around, the TrackMan map Rhett shared shows some curvature in the path the ball traveled from home plate. I'm guessing even that little amount slice is very uncommon on a ball hit to center field. Toss in the fact it was hit nearly 110 mph, and you have a very difficult read/adjustment. It's also possible the wind could've had an impact on the ball, and that's not tracked, either. So it is far from a perfect system.


I don't think this is an uncommon trajectory for a batted ball. Buxton didn't get turned around as much as he followed the path of the ball.
    • Willihammer and Hosken Bombo Disco like this

This is fun baseball and I wonder if some of this doesn't relate to frustration the players had with the trades and events that took place after their losing week at LA.  I feel like they put a chip on their shoulder towards the FO and they are going to show the world that they are not in the sellers division.  

 

I love it  They seem united and are winning even with Gibson who has to be replaced in the rotation - maybe he can be in the pen.  He has 1 - 3 inning ability.  

    • Willihammer likes this

Really glad to see Mauer busting out of his slump (I still think he needs more time off and that he's getting ground down; he's played 6 straight and what, 9 of the last 10?). Also good to see them step on Detroit's throat here; play like this in the last series might have changed how the FO saw the rest of the season and kept them from selling (which I still think was the right move at the time).

 

But dammit, this was another Gibson tease. Looks good, looks efficient, and then can't hold it together. I know he's pitched better overall lately, but I still don't see him as being a factor on a contending team.

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Brock Beauchamp
Aug 12 2017 07:40 AM

 

But dammit, this was another Gibson tease. Looks good, looks efficient, and then can't hold it together. I know he's pitched better overall lately, but I still don't see him as being a factor on a contending team.

I've basically given up hope on Gibson. If he can flail around on the mound like he did last night for the rest of the season and the Twins prop up his starts with run support, I'd be thrilled with a .500 record with him on the mound.

 

But what I'd really prefer to see is Mejia get healthy and Enns to have a promising start or two. Get Gibson out of the rotation entirely and see what you have in Enns through the end of the season.

 

Hell, you don't even have to make it that long. Rosters expand in less than 20 days, at which point you can fill the fifth rotation spot with bullpen games.

    • Danchat, bluechipper and LA VIkes Fan like this
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Tom Froemming
Aug 12 2017 11:11 AM

I know I poked fun at Rhett in the article (which was all tongue in cheek, if that wasn't obvious), but he did a really nice job going in depth on that Buxton catch. His article over at MLB.com is definitely worth your time. 

    • dbminn likes this

 

I know I poked fun at Rhett in the article (which was all tongue and cheek, if that wasn't obvious), but he did a rally nice job going in depth on that Buxton catch. His article over at MLB.com is definitely worth your time. 

I read the article and it was pretty good. Then I made the mistake of reading the comments.

 

Yeesh.

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IndianaTwin
Aug 12 2017 12:15 PM

I read the article and it was pretty good. Then I made the mistake of reading the comments.

Yeesh.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again. The overwhelming sense of civility here is what keeps me taking part in Twins Daily and not the other sites.

Thanks again, moderators and other posters.
    • USAFChief, Blake, pbrezeasap and 6 others like this

Buxton actually started in the right direction on Cabrera's blast, if you look at the initial line off the bat, which would have had the ball headed towards the left-center corner of the fence. However, the side spin from Miggy's slashing swing made the ball curve something like 30 to 40 feet to the right of the initial launch, and if you look at the final angle the ball was flying at, you can see why Buxton had to make that final stab farther to the right. Amazing adjustments by Buxton, tho it would have been a lot easier if he had read the spin off the bat. His initial move was to play the ball dead straight. 

 

I've basically given up hope on Gibson. If he can flail around on the mound like he did last night for the rest of the season and the Twins prop up his starts with run support, I'd be thrilled with a .500 record with him on the mound.

 

But what I'd really prefer to see is Mejia get healthy and Enns to have a promising start or two. Get Gibson out of the rotation entirely and see what you have in Enns through the end of the season.

 

Hell, you don't even have to make it that long. Rosters expand in less than 20 days, at which point you can fill the fifth rotation spot with bullpen games.

 

Yeah, I've given up on Gibson too. I can live with him being the 5th starter for the rest of the season, but otherwise it's time to move on. I hope Meija gets healthy soon and we can get some more starts out of him this season. He's shown promise, but needs to learn how to get deeper into a game. Wouldn't mind seeing Enns get a couple of additional starts too.


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