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Front Page: Twins Game Recap (9/14): Sano Grand Slam Over...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:38 AM
The second contest of Saturday's doubleheader provided another bullpen game, but that is about where the similarities ended. Things didn’...
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Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:06 AM
That nice 6.5 game lead is down to 4 and the Twins face good pitching in their next four scheduled games. I do believe it is very possibl...
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Front Page: Twins Game Recap (9/14): Bullpen, Polanco Mov...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:25 AM
The Twins defeated the Indians 2-0 in the first game of their doubleheader Saturday. Devin Smeltzer set the tone with three scoreless inn...
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Game Thread: Twins vs Indians 9/14/19 12:10 CDT & 6:...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:08 AM
The Cleveland Falcon         I was holding down a barstool in a cheap dive just down the street from what used...
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Front Page: Get to Know Jorge Alcala

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:54 PM
Minnesota called up Jorge Alcala on Saturday to help with the homestretch of the season. A two-game day on Saturday means the club will n...
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Series Preview: Gold on the Ceiling

WHAT A THROW! Still very high off the end of that game, I, your humble writer and guide, will attempt to put together a sufficient preview laced with as much snark as I am feeling at the moment. I know it has been said about every series so far, but this series actually will be the biggest one (so far) of the year as the Twins get a shot at the team chasing them in the standings. The band this week is The Black Keys who are from Akron, not Cleveland, but all of Ohio is the same to me so I don’t care.
Image courtesy of © David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Brief Overview:

The ride of the season has brought these two teams back to face off against each other in the penultimate regular season series between them. The Twins are riding high after climbing higher in their division lead while the Indians have scuffled recently. Ever since the Indians took over sole possession of the division for exactly one entire day, it has been rough sailing for them as they have gone 9-13 while losing a few key pieces to injury.

What They Do Well:

Hey, the Indians have great starting pitching, shocker, isn’t it? Despite Corey Kluber being out for most of the year, Carlos Carrasco being out after being diagnosed with leukemia (but he has since returned as a reliever, which is amazing to see), and Trevor Bauer being traded, the Indians have the fifth-best starting pitching in all of baseball by fWAR. The secret sauce’s ingredients has been the development of Shane Bieber and Mike Clevinger into aces along with impacts from Zach Plesac and Aaron Civale. Although, peripherals suggest some regression for both of the latter arms. Nevertheless, the Indians’ starting rotation remains a force that will certainly test the Twins’ offense.

They not only can pitch, but the lumber in Cleveland is well brought as well. Ever since August (basically when they acquired Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes), they have been the ninth-best offense by wRC+ with a respectable 105 mark. I’m sure you want a frame of reference for that, so be aware that Doug Mientkiewicz held a wRC+ of 104 when he was with the Twins. The Indians have cleaned up one of the aspects of their game that was once a negative and the result has been a well-rounded team that can hold its own.

What They Do Not Do Well:

For months, I said that I didn’t think the Indians’ bullpen was that good and for months, I looked like a crazy man yelling conspiracies with a megaphone in downtown Seattle (it happens). BUT, since the start of August, the Indians have the 20th best bullpen by fWAR and their 4.86 FIP is the 13th worst in baseball over that time period. What happened? Well, the once reliable Brad Hand has a ghastly 7.15 ERA over that time period as his peripherals have also went down the toilet. Both Nick Wittgren and Tyler Clippard have great ERAs but they also both have peripherals that would make anyone blush (that is, in a bad way). Really, beyond them, there isn’t much in the form of a quality reliever that can be trusted for an inning no matter who the batters are, Tyler Duffey might be the best reliever on the Indians if he were there (thank goodness he isn’t).

This is going to be a strange one, but they really don’t play well against good teams at all. Take this stat from Andrew Simon:



Now, beating up on bad teams is pretty much the meta for the AL as a whole as there are many, many teams who would rather lose than win, but it is telling to see that they are bloated on the end of beating teams of poor caliber. The Indians are just 20-32 against teams at or above .500 which is the 19th best mark in baseball. The Twins are 28-32 under the same stipulation and the question for them is whether they can beat teams that are actually good, so the question remains even harsher on the Indians.

Individuals Of Note:

Mike Clevinger in 2019 so far has made the great decision to strike out more batters while walking a hair fewer, a pretty smart combo I must admit. The result has been an incredible 12.77 K/9 which would be the third-highest mark in MLB among qualified starters if he had the innings to qualify. On top of that (or more accurately, something that feeds into that), his average fastball velocity is up two ticks from 93.6 MPH to 95.8 MPH and his swinging strike % is in the stratosphere at a 15.5% rate. Basically, this is a long way of saying that he good, real good. Oh, and he is scheduled to start on Sunday.

I previously mentioned the Puig and Reyes deal in which they dealt from a position of strength to help a part of the team that was very weak, but Puig and Reyes have been sufficiently meh since the deal. Since the start of August, Puig holds a below-average 92 wRC+ and Reyes is at 111. Reyes’ defense (or lack thereof) knocks his value down and both players have been worth just .1 fWAR over that time period which spans over 120 plate appearances for both players. Baseball is naturally a streaky sport, but it seems like the Indians didn’t get the boost they were hoping for from both guys when they acquired them.

Recent History:

The Twins and Indians last played at Target field in early August. The Indians won that 3-1 and the Indians hold the season series by a tally of 7-6.

Recent Trajectories:

The Twins are 11-5 over their last five series while the Indians are 7-9 over their last five series.

Pitching Matchups:

Friday: Pineda vs Plutko
Saturday: Odorizzi vs Civale
Sunday: TBD vs Clevinger

Ending Thoughts:

The magic number for the Twins is currently 16 and this series will be a great opportunity to knock that number down a few pegs as each win counts as two towards the magic number. The pitching match-ups fall pretty decently in the Twins’ favor as they get their ace against the Indians’ worst starter and they get their All-Star starter against a rookie as well. The Sunday game may be interesting but now is the chance to show the Indians why you are the top team in the division. I’m feeling a 2-1 series in favor of the Twins and my mojo may be slightly regained after correctly calling the previous series, so watch out if you are an aspiring fortune-teller out there.

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31 Comments

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John Buckeye
Sep 06 2019 07:46 AM

I hope you're right. It would be fun to kind of put this whole thing to bed this weekend. No matter what happened leading up to this, it was going to be a big one, but you'd have to say the way things have shaped up since we last saw Cleveland (or at least since the series after) have been about best-case scenario for the Twins. Going to hope our 'pen can keep up their recent run, too. And let's start hitting #Bombas again!

    • glunn, Oldgoat_MN and Don Walcott like this
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ToddlerHarmon
Sep 06 2019 07:57 AM
Liked for proper use of "penultimate"
    • glunn, IndianaTwin, PDX Twin and 1 other like this

I find it interesting the Twins have played 8 more games against teams with above .500 record.The remaining schedules have Cleveland only playing 3 more games against above .500 teams, that Twins do not play as well.Cleveland plays 3 games against Philly.So why the 5 game difference by end of season, who did we play Cleveland did not, or is that stat based on where they were when played them?  

 

I do not take much stock in that stat anyways though.The reason is logic would dictate no team has huge success against above .500 teams, because if team A is crushing those teams, then the other teams are less likely they will be above .500 by end of season.Now the Cleveland stat that they crushed 3 teams and have losing record overall against all others is very telling to me. Those are three of worst teams in league.Sure Twins feasted on bottom feeders overall too, but have held own against top teams, even most losses have been close games, from what I remember. 

    • glunn and Original Whizzinator like this

Puig was an absolute menace during the 4 game series back in August. The fact he has only been worth .1 fWAR since he was acquired is incredible since it felt like he was worth about 1 win just during that 4 games.

 

Jose Ramirez was another guy who had a great series back in August. I wish he was healthy and able to play, but it bodes well for the Twins that they won't have to worry about his bat this series.

 

Also, really like this quote from the article: The pitching match-ups fall pretty decently in the Twins’ favor as they get their ace against the Indians’ worst starter. 

 

Big Mike is absolutely our #1. I look forward to him starting game 1 of the ALDS.

 

Edit: I previously called Pineda the Twins ace, meaning their #1. Not trying to start a debate on what does or does not constitute an ace. Just that he is the best starter on the staff.

    • glunn, nicksaviking, nokomismod and 4 others like this

As long as it's close going into the late innings, Brad Hand is good for at least one win...for the Twins. :)

    • glunn, nicksaviking and Original Whizzinator like this

 

I find it interesting the Twins have played 8 more games against teams with above .500 record.The remaining schedules have Cleveland only playing 3 more games against above .500 teams, that Twins do not play as well.Cleveland plays 3 games against Philly.So why the 5 game difference by end of season, who did we play Cleveland did not, or is that stat based on where they were when played them?  

 

 

 

Twins play 4 against Milwaukee.

Tribe play 4 against Cincinnati.

    • glunn, Oldgoat_MN, KidBro and 1 other like this

The Twins must take one game in each series against Cleveland. They do that, and the lead is 4-1/2 games. Anything better than that is gravy (delicious homemade, Thanksgiving turkey gravy - not the gooey, store-bought kind). Anything less - if Cleveland were to sweep either or both series - I'm not sure they could survive that salvo as they did the earlier passing.

    • glunn likes this
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nicksaviking
Sep 06 2019 09:48 AM

 

Twins play 4 against Milwaukee.

Tribe play 4 against Cincinnati.

 

Milwaukee is starting to look like they may find themselves on the wrong side of that equation by the end of the season. Heck, maybe even some time next week.

    • glunn likes this
I think the record against >.500 teams is a stat that is not calculated correctly. It does not represent the records at game time. A team could enter a 4 game series against a team 3 games above .500, sweep them, and not get recognized as beating a team with a record above .500. The stat changes as the opposing team's record changes. It would be more representative of what actually happened if it is based on the results of the records when the game was played.
    • Brock Beauchamp, USAFChief, glunn and 1 other like this

This team wants an ace. All teams do. Most don't have one. Like this team. Pineda is absolutely NOT an ace in my book. Neither is Berrios. A pitcher earns that title, and it is not one that is earned with a hot spell.... or a hot half season.

mod note: we aren’t making this a debate about defining “ace” again.
    • SQUIRREL and glunn like this

I think the record against >.500 teams is a stat that is not calculated correctly. It does not represent the records at game time. A team could enter a 4 game series against a team 3 games above .500, sweep them, and not get recognized as beating a team with a record above .500. The stat changes as the opposing team's record changes. It would be more representative of what actually happened if it is based on the results of the records when the game was played.

There’s two ways to calculate it - record against currently winning teams, and record against winning teams by their latest record / final record. I think most use the latter option as it’s far easier to calculate.
    • glunn and Original Whizzinator like this

Time has come to deliver the death blow to Cleveland

    • Oldgoat_MN, TNTwinsFan and Sconnie like this

 

Twins play 4 against Milwaukee.

Tribe play 4 against Cincinnati.

 

Twins also played one extra game vs the Mets (2 home/2 road) while Indians only played 3 on the road.Twins went only 1-3, but Indians went 0-3 so actually gained a half game out of that.

    • glunn likes this

 

There’s two ways to calculate it - record against currently winning teams, and record against winning teams by their latest record / final record. I think most use the latter option as it’s far easier to calculate.

 

Well, we all know that people generally gravitate to the easiest way, regardless whether it represents what is acutally happening when the teams play(ed).

    • Danchat likes this
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ScrapTheNickname
Sep 06 2019 01:12 PM

The teams with the best record against over .500 teams happen to also be the teams to beat in the playoffs:

 

1) Dodgers, .583

2) Yankees, .580

3) Astros, .576

4) Braves, .557

5) A's, .551

 

    • glunn, birdwatcher, Oldgoat_MN and 1 other like this

I love this board and most of the threads but I do get a kick out all the micro analysis. Baseball is still baseball and the fact that the Twins won a game with 2 hits and a great throw to home plate as a result of the Fenway Monster bouncing a home run in any other park that would have been a walk off for the Red Sox into a throw to the plate that was a walk off for the Twins is the classic example of why you play the games and toss the micro analysis out the window as this is a classic example of a run on sentence.

Just go out and play the games and start with beating the Indians tonight.

    • Oldgoat_MN and Longdistancetwins like this

The last three Twins victories have been by one run (4-3, 6-5, 2-1).

 

On the one hand you could complain that it's not like the thumpings they were handing out in April, May, and June.

 

On the other hand you could say it's rather encouraging, knowaddamean?

    • denarded, h2oface, Danchat and 1 other like this

 

I love this board and most of the threads but I do get a kick out all the micro analysis. Baseball is still baseball and the fact that the Twins won a game with 2 hits and a great throw to home plate as a result of the Fenway Monster bouncing a home run in any other park that would have been a walk off for the Red Sox into a throw to the plate that was a walk off for the Twins is the classic example of why you play the games and toss the micro analysis out the window as this is a classic example of a run on sentence.

Just go out and play the games and start with beating the Indians tonight.

 

It looked like to me, as to how the ball was clearly on the way down and hit the wall at about halfway up..... that in any other ballpark that would have been a routine fly ball ..... maybe to the warning track, but probably not even that deep, the outfield would have been playing deep to normal, a routine catch right to the left fielder and three outs and the end of the game right there. We still would have been robbed of the fantastic play and throw and put out at home with the bounce off the shallow left field green monster, though.

    • ashbury, jokin, USNMCPO and 2 others like this

Well, I hope the bats can do soemthing against Cleveland. That would be Job #1.

 

I hope the Twins can pitch ALL of their pitchers in the games. Use the opener route in Game 3. The Twins need to give these new guys an inning each, at least, and see if the Indian players can rememebr the scouting reports.'

 

Cleveland is going to be pretty motivated; they don’t even hold a wildcard spot right now.
    • ashbury, Oldgoat_MN and Danchat like this

Win tonight and a lot of pressure will be relieved. What's the saying "Momentum is the next day's starter"?

    • ashbury likes this
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IndianaTwin
Sep 06 2019 05:12 PM

Liked for proper use of "penultimate"


I like antepenultimate.

Or even better, preantepenultimate.

But my favorite is propreantepenultimate. As in, this is the propreantepenultimate series of the regular season.
    • ashbury likes this

 

It looked like to me, as to how the ball was clearly on the way down and hit the wall at about halfway up..... that in any other ballpark that would have been a routine fly ball ..... maybe to the warning track, but probably not even that deep, the outfield would have been playing deep to normal, a routine catch right to the left fielder and three outs and the end of the game right there. We still would have been robbed of the fantastic play and throw and put out at home with the bounce off the shallow left field green monster, though.

Not to mention the Red Sox only other run was on a ball that is a routine foul ball in any other stadium.

    • Original Whizzinator likes this
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Original Whizzinator
Sep 06 2019 05:15 PM

I think the record against >.500 teams is a stat that is not calculated correctly. It does not represent the records at game time. A team could enter a 4 game series against a team 3 games above .500, sweep them, and not get recognized as beating a team with a record above .500. The stat changes as the opposing team's record changes. It would be more representative of what actually happened if it is based on the results of the records when the game was played.


The reason the way they do it now is the right way is by the end of the season all teams have played a full season and you have the most complete estimation of a team's worth available. Yes there are fluctuations in each teams level of play during the season but there are too many variables dictating that level of play that would obscure an accurate assessment of their play. Huh?

I like antepenultimate. Or even better, preantepenultimate. But my favorite is propreantepenultimate. As in, this is the propreantepenultimate series of the regular season.

Seems like imminent peril of getting ahead our ourselves here.

    • Danchat, Sconnie, IndianaTwin and 1 other like this

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