NYY 5, MIN 2: Tough Night For Berrios, Twins
Image courtesy of Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsSnapshot (chart via Fangraphs)
Jose Berrios didn’t have his best game tonight. I doubt he’ll make excuses, but I’ll offer some up on his behalf. First off, the Yankees are always a tough team to pitch against. They’re so patient. Second, this was Jose’s first time pitching in Yankee Stadium. That’s a pretty big moment for any ballplayer. Third, this was his first start since his wife gave birth to their third child. And fourth, Hurricane Maria was on the verge of hitting his home country of Puerto Rico as this game got underway.
That’s a whole lot for a 23-year-old to handle.
I would assume he was able to block most of that out while he was actually on the mound, or else he wouldn’t have even lasted as long as he did. But, those things had to have had an impact on his preparation for this start. And, as we all know thanks to Yogi Berra, baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical, so that stuff is important.
Berrios only lasted 3.1 innings, but when he exited the game was tied 2-2. He gave up five hits, walked four and was charged with three earned runs. The Twins got hits from their first three batters of this game (more on that in a moment), but managed just five more hits the entire rest of the contest.
A couple of weird things happened in this one. Joe Mauer committed a fielding error. On the plus side Max Kepler hit a homer off a left-handed pitcher.
Dillon Gee only threw 19 pitches, but somehow home plate umpire Gabe Morales blew the call on four of them. Below is a chart from Baseball Savant that shows all the pitches that were called balls when Gee was on the mound.
That is just … wow. There were other bad calls for both teams, but Gee really got the worst of it.
OK, onto the nightly bunting segment of the recap ...
I’ve been quick to point out what I’ve thought were strategic missteps in concern to Paul Molitor deploying sacrifice bunts. But I gotta say, the Twins bunted twice in the first inning tonight … and it was genius. Credit to Molitor for taking advantage of an opponent’s weakness, I’m sure this was something he went over with his club prior to the game.
Earlier this month, the Red Sox bunted on Sabathia in the first inning. He was not pleased, to put it lightly. Here’s a link to a story about that game from the New York Daily News.
I don’t necessarily have a problem with bunting for a hit, especially if the defense is playing back. Giving up precious outs to advance somebody to second base? No thanks. But bunting to piss off your opponent? I love it.
After Brian Dozier opened the game with a single, the Twins got back-to-back bunt hits from Joe Mauer and Jorge Polanco, and I’m sure Sabathia was fuming. But the 17-year veteran managed to induce a double play and escaped the first inning having given up just one run.
Postgame With Molitor
AL Wild Card Standings
WC1: Yankees 84-67 (+6.0)
WC2: Twins 78-73
Angels 76-74 (-1.5)
Rangers 74-76 (-3.5)
Mariners 74-77 (-4.0)
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Wed: Twins (Bartolo Colon) at Yankees (Luis Severino), 12:08 pm CT
Thu: Twins (Adalberto Mejia) at Tigers (Jordan Zimmermann), 6:10 pm ET
Fri: Twins (Kyle Gibson) at Tigers (Matt Boyd), 6:10 pm ET
NYY 2, MIN 1: Garcia, Yankees Bullpen Dominate Twins
MIN 13, TOR 7: Mauer Grand Slam Among 4 Twins Homers In Comeback Victory
TOR 7, MIN 2: Pub Crawlers Have Best Night Ever Despite Twins Loss