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MIN 9, TOR 1: Twins Steamroll Toronto

The bats stayed hot and the pitching continued to dominate as the Minnesota Twins rolled through Trent Thornton, the bullpen, and the Toronto Blue Jays in the series finale. The offense got going and Kyle Gibson was dealing as the Twins picked up the series sweep.
Image courtesy of © Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Box Score
Gibson: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 70.5% strikes (62 of 88 pitches)
Home Runs: Polanco (7), Cron (7), Schoop (6), Rosario (13)
Multi-Hit Games: Polanco (5-for-5, 2B, HR), Cron (4-for-5, HR), Kepler (2-for-5, BB), Rosario (2-for-4, HR), Schoop (2-for-5, HR)
WPA of +0.1: Polanco .274, Gibson .131, Cron .117
WPA of -0.1: None
Attached Image: Win58.png
(chart via FanGraphs)

The Twins have now scored in the first inning in three straight games against the Blue Jays to give their starting pitchers an early cushion. They were able to run Thornton out of the game after just two innings when he gave up seven hits and five runs.

After losing a home series to the Blue Jays earlier in the year, the team came together and combined for a totally opposite result.

Offense Runs Away
The bats got going right away in the first and continued into the third as seven different Twins’ batters combined for 11 hits, three home runs, and seven runs. Jorge Polanco and C.J. Cron led with three hits each in the first three innings including two of the Twins first three home runs.

Polanco has been the most consistent hitter for the Twins this season, and was able to add to his success tonight. He finished with five hits, which is the second time in his career doing this, and got his average up to .344. Polanco exited the game, a triple short of a cycle, after his fifth hit of the game when Ehire Adrianza pinch ran for him.

Cron was also able to have a night at the plate with a four-hit performance of his own, which was the sixth time of his career, to hopefully get him out of his hitting slump. Eddie Rosario was able to extend his American League lead in home runs with a two-run, sixth inning smack.

The Twins continued their impressively powerful season as they combined for 18 hits and four home runs tonight. They now have 64 home runs this season, which is the number they were at on June 7th of last season.

Pitching Dominates
Twins starting pitchers have been very hot of late, and that didn’t stop this series. Kyle Gibson got the start in tonight’s game and was feeling it. Through the first four innings, he had eight strikeouts and had thrown a first pitch strike to 11 out of his first 12 batters. By the fifth inning, Gibson had already tied his career high in strikeouts with 10.

Gibson was able to set a new record for himself, which wasn’t a surprise with how he was pitching tonight. He picked up his career high in strikeouts with 11, thanks to nine whiffs on his changeup and slider, as well as his third win of the season to improve to 3-1 with a 4.19 ERA.

Gibson showed a bit of his former self from the second half of last season tonight, and what Twins fans were looking for. Obviously asking this from Gibson every night is a little out of the question, but it is what is needed if the Twins want to make a deep run in the playoffs. They already have a solid top three pitchers in Berrios, Perez, and Odorizzi, but adding Gibson to this list will help separate the Twins from first and second round exit teams.

The bullpen came in after the sixth, with a huge cushion, to complete the series sweep and win 9-1. Ryne Harper made easy work in the seventh, Mike Morin came in for the eighth and Blake Parker was given the ninth. Here's the bullpen's combined line: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 R, and 3 Ks.

The Twins picked up an easy sweep against the Blue Jays to extend their record to 23-12 as well as getting back into the top spot in the MLB standings. They finally go back to division play when they face the Detroit Tigers starting on Friday, after an offday on Thursday.

Postgame With Baldelli

Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Attached Image: Bullpen58.png
Next Three Games
Thu OFF
Fri vs. DET, 7:10 pm CT (Odorizzi-Ross)
Sat vs. DET, 1:10 pm CT (TBD)
Sat vs. DET, 7:10 pm CT (TBD-Turnbull)

Last Game
MIN 3, TOR 0: Berrios Hurls Gem, Twins Get Second Straight Shutout

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52 Comments

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MMMordabito
May 09 2019 07:30 AM

 

I want to say Toronto is a 'bad team' but they did just take 3 of 4 from us.  

 

The chaff (Mejia) has been separated since then.

Awesome series. Let's sweep the Tigers

    • Nine of twelve likes this
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tarheeltwinsfan
May 09 2019 08:20 AM

 

 

 

Wait, why am I even discussing this!?!?!?

 

The Twins just got a sweep at Toronto in which they outscored the Blue Jays 20-1. The Twins are 23-12. The Twins have the best record in baseball!!!

 

If managerial decisions at the tail end of a blowout victory are the nitpicking points, then we're in a beautiful situation my friend. Might as well let King Midas push whatever buttons he wants from the dugout.

This is the most baseball fun I have had during April and May. When the Twins were last really winning, I didn't have TD. Then when I found TD the Twins were constantly losing badly. Now I have the best of both worlds. The Twins are winning and here in North Carolina Ihave my TD "family" with whom I can discuss these fun times. Thanks Twins' players, staff and FO and thanks Twins Daily and all the writers and contributors. Life is good.

    • USAFChief, birdwatcher, USNMCPO and 8 others like this

 

Hard to be upset over this team right now, they're playing great. A couple things bugged me in this game, though: 

 

Why take Polanco out of the game after his fifth hit? He had a good chance at that point to either get the second cycle or a sixth hit (his turn in the order did end up coming around in the ninth). Off day tomorrow, just...why? 

 

And why did we need four pitchers to get through an 8-run win? Gibson had 88 pitches through 6 and was coasting along. Now it's "we need to get the bullpen work," where early in the year it's "we need to rest guys who pitched 1/3 of an inning in back-to-back games." I hope the analytics nerds will someday put the proper weight back on the starters; all we hear now is of how bad pitchers are when they face the order the third time, yada yada...The more bullpens are relied on, the less starters are used (look at the playoffs). Seems to me the best way to rest your bullpen, and hence maximize the utility of your bullpen, is to have your starters pitch deep into games. When you're up 8 runs and your starter has thrown 88 pitches, I don't know, have Gibson go out another inning or two. It strikes me as the perfect situation to stretch out a starter.

 

I realize this makes me sound like a fuddy-dud/Jack Morris type, so let me have it, but it just bugs me. 

I love your starter rant - I am in complete agreement.This year the articles have been about how the bullpens have a poorer performance across MLB.Of course - whether BP or SP you can only throw so many times and it is frequency of use, not length of use that I see as an issue.Bring back Jack Morris rant any time - I will enjoy them.

    • PDX Twin and Tomj14 like this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
May 09 2019 08:36 AM
This game wasn’t as close as the score indicated :)

Four home runs, and at least four near-misses, including the first two batters of the game. Keep this up and Target Field will be rockin this summer!
    • Nine of twelve likes this

 

Keep this up and Target Field will be rockin this summer!

https://www.songkick...at-target-field

 

Indeed.

 

Did anyone catch that moonshot Buxton hit that went just foul? 5th deck.

 

 

 

Yes! Wow he has some sneaky pop in the bat. I am expecting a bunch of HRs later in the year.

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MMMordabito
May 09 2019 09:11 AM

Polanco now leading the league in AVG, Total Bases, Offensive WAR, and Situational WPA ... Be sure to stuff those ballot boxes, so we can get him in there for All-Star Election Day!It will be tough going against Mondesi, Bogaerts, Correa, and Lindor.

    • nokomismod and Dozier's Glorious Hair like this

It looks like the Jays are going to be one of the 100 loss teams when this year is in the books. No hitting, no pitching. They are hitting rock bottom with a loud thud.

 

...and they are still drawing more fans at home than the Twins.

 

And why did we need four pitchers to get through an 8-run win? Gibson had 88 pitches through 6 and was coasting along. Now it's "we need to get the bullpen work," where early in the year it's "we need to rest guys who pitched 1/3 of an inning in back-to-back games." I hope the analytics nerds will someday put the proper weight back on the starters; all we hear now is of how bad pitchers are when they face the order the third time, yada yada...The more bullpens are relied on, the less starters are used (look at the playoffs). Seems to me the best way to rest your bullpen, and hence maximize the utility of your bullpen, is to have your starters pitch deep into games. When you're up 8 runs and your starter has thrown 88 pitches, I don't know, have Gibson go out another inning or two. It strikes me as the perfect situation to stretch out a starter.

 

I realize this makes me sound like a fuddy-dud/Jack Morris type, so let me have it, but it just bugs me. 

 

If we'd had a game where the bullpen had been used hard, Gibson would have gone out for the 7th I'm sure. But we're carrying 13 freakin' pitchers right now and 2 of the guys who went out there hadn't pitched in a while and the game was out of reach. It's very appropriate bullpen management...when you carry too many pitchers. I'm still an advocate for getting back down to 12 when Sano comes back.

 

The Polanco extension just looks better all the time, huh?

 

I'm feeling better about Gibson with every start. It looks like he's gotten his stamina back up after that awful e.Coli issue (that was a LOT of weight loss in a short time; I'm glad he's ok and worked his way back). He's a really important pitcher for us; last year he was almost as valuable as Berrios.

    • birdwatcher, Dman and MN_ExPat like this

From a Jay's blog ("BlueBirdBanter") in discussing the Twin's 7 runs in the first three innings:

 

"Suffice to say that y=2^x-1 (where y is the other team’s runs and x is the innings) is not a winning formula, even if it it’s it doesn’t extend to the fourth inning."

 

I guess math isn't banned on their site! :)

    • diehardtwinsfan, Danchat and MN_ExPat like this
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Cap'n Piranha
May 09 2019 09:38 AM

I'm cautiously optimistic that Odorizzi, Perez, and Gibson are all going to be good options going forward.That being said, they probably are not all going to spend the rest of the year pitching like all-stars.

 

For me, the bullpen issue is less about Gibson "only" throwing 88 pitches and 6 innings (keeping starters rested is a good idea too), but rather the use of 3 pitchers to do the final 3 innings in an 8 run game.I'd rather in situations like that Baldelli only use 1-2 pitchers, and keep more of the pen rested.It's very easy to have a guy who "needs work" throw a bullpen session before or after a game.For me, the rule of bullpens is always assume you'll need them in the future.After all, it only takes an early injury to a starter, and a bit of ineffectiveness for this bullpen to go from well-rested to in need of rest.

    • Tomj14 likes this
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Aerodeliria
May 09 2019 09:40 AM
I told myself Gibson would have his best game of the year so far. He's pitched well against the Jays in the past, but it was sure nice to see. Of course the hitters made it a lot easier.

I was happy to see Cron awake from his slump.

I'll be sorry to see Cave shuttled back Rochester, but he's not getting many ABs. (I won't comment on the other player, but will say that it will be great to have La Tortuga back again.)

Like bighat, I did see Byron Buxton's titanic foul ball to the 5th deck.

Is the gravity slightly weaker in Canada?

Was there an updraft from a nearby mountain? 

Consider that at some point, this man is going to straighten one of those out. Betcha that'll be on the highlight shows...

Watching the game last nite, it hit me that the Jays are looking like the Twins team we suffered through watching last year. Had expectations that never really got off the ground. What a difference it is to watch a team that is winning and having fun. Whod - a - thunkit!

 

Keep it rolling Guys!

    • birdwatcher likes this

 

It looks like the Jays are going to be one of the 100 loss teams when this year is in the books. No hitting, no pitching. They are hitting rock bottom with a loud thud.

 

...and they are still drawing more fans at home than the Twins.

Not after you factor in the exchange rate.

    • birdwatcher, Cap'n Piranha, h2oface and 1 other like this
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birdwatcher
May 09 2019 10:41 AM

 

 

 

Good Gawd. Gimme a choice between a Matt Belisle relief appearance, a triple root canal and a Cheap Trick concert and I'm catching an Uber to the dentist. Cheap Trick comes in third.

    • USAFChief and h2oface like this

 

Good Gawd. Gimme a choice between a Matt Belisle relief appearance, a triple root canal and a Cheap Trick concert and I'm catching an Uber to the dentist. Cheap Trick comes in third.

Ain't that a shame.

    • birdwatcher, h2oface and Nine of twelve like this
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birdwatcher
May 09 2019 11:58 AM

 

Ain't that a shame.

 

 

I will concede that Cheap Trick was good but not great at the same time Roger Erickson was good but not great. In 1977. 42 years ago.

    • WLFINN and Nine of twelve like this

 

I will concede that Cheap Trick was good but not great at the same time Roger Erickson was good but not great. In 1977. 42 years ago.

OK, but what if we stipulate the triple root canal is without novocaine?

 

That'd make you think long and hard about your choice, I wager.

    • birdwatcher and MN_ExPat like this

 

I love your starter rant - I am in complete agreement.This year the articles have been about how the bullpens have a poorer performance across MLB.Of course - whether BP or SP you can only throw so many times and it is frequency of use, not length of use that I see as an issue.Bring back Jack Morris rant any time - I will enjoy them.

I agree on the starter rant. Somebody said if the game was closer or we had used more relief pitchers recently Gibson would have went out for the 7th. To me we are asking our starters to give us between 80 - 90 pitches. So my logic says when they send them out there after that they are not going to be as good because they haven't been given the chance.

Plus at the end of the year when the decision to sign Gibson comes up, the could look at innings pitched and say we can't give that much money to a pitcher that averages X innings or pitched Y innings, or ERA is Z when he might not have been given a chance to increase/decrease those numbers.

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Yawn Gardenhose
May 09 2019 12:31 PM

 

 

Plus at the end of the year when the decision to sign Gibson comes up, the could look at innings pitched and say we can't give that much money to a pitcher that averages X innings or pitched Y innings, or ERA is Z when he might not have been given a chance to increase/decrease those numbers.

 

I absolutely think that money is a big reason for lessening starter workload. The "opener" is a way to game the arbitration system - it should be no surprise that the Rays introduced the opener, that the A's used one in the playoffs, and that the Twins were one of the teams that used the opener most prominently last September; they're all teams that have historically pinched pennies. I read an article about the Rays' pitcher (Yarbrough I think) who vultured a bunch of wins due to the fortune of being the ostensible "long man" after the opener, and he had an arbitration battle over the winter because his stat line was all goofy - a lot of wins, but very few starts and not enough innings to qualify as a starter. 

 

It's frustrating how seriously it's being taken as a strategy. It's less of an analytics innovation than it is a way to keep your payroll down. The more 5 innings (two trips through the lineup) becomes the norm for starters, the more likely that a full season for a starter will approach closer to 150 innings (under the qualifying threshold), thus muddying the arbitration game and ultimately keeping salaries down. And we wonder why Kuechel is still sitting at home? Why pay $18M for one year when you can just have three bullpen pitchers combine for his workload for a tenth of that contract? And as a bonus, by doing so you can be viewed as "smart" and "innovative" by the spreadsheet crowd? Cal Griffith was just born too early.

 

    • WLFINN and Tomj14 like this
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birdwatcher
May 09 2019 12:34 PM

 

OK, but what if we stipulate the triple root canal is without novocaine?

 

That'd make you think long and hard about your choice, I wager.

 

 

Belisle it is.

    • USAFChief and MN_ExPat like this

 

Belisle it is.

 

Surrender!

    • USAFChief, birdwatcher and MN_ExPat like this

 

Belisle it is.

Post Of The Year.


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