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Front Page: Week in Review: Closing In

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:47 AM
The Minnesota Twins charged toward 300 home runs and became the sixth-winningest team in franchise history during a milestone-filled week...
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Front Page: 2019 Killebrew Award Winner - Jake Reed (Roch...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 04:21 AM
Harmon Killebrew hit 573 home runs in his Hall of Fame career. Most people who had the opportunity to meet the slugger talk more about th...
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Magic Number Thread

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:58 AM
Why no magic number thread?     Why can't I post pictures?      BYTO was fun.    
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Front Page: Twins Game Recap (9/22): Twins Offense Erupts...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:55 AM
The magic number is three! In a game where more questions about the strating pitching were surfaced rather than answered, the Twins were...
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Collapse?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:13 PM
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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Series Preview: Looking for a Sign of Life

This is now like the third or fourth time I’ve had the pleasure of writing a series preview for Cleveland and combining that with the current frustrations that ache the Twins might have resulted in the most sarcastic preview I have written so far. Not to say that all my articles aren’t already attempts at out-doing myself as far as that goes, but you get the idea. Luckily for me, Dave Grohl was apparently born in Ohio so that opens up the door to like 18 bands to reference and somehow I think I chose the objectively worst one, which isn’t an insult but more of an observation
Image courtesy of © Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Brief Overview:

Like a bad case of the flu, the Indians just refuse to go away as they continue to fight tooth and nail until the end of the season for the AL Central crown. The Twins still continue to occupy the throne, but chinks in their armor have been revealed lately in the form of the Pineda suspension and the Buxton injury that will knock him out for the rest of 2019. Throw in all of the injuries to, uhhh, gestures broadly, and the armor is so non-existent that everyone can see the Hello Kitty underwear underneath it.

What They Do Well:

At times, credit needs to be given where it is due and the Indians deserve a lot of credit for how they have played the Twins this season. The season record is 9-7 in favor of Cleveland as they have outscored the Twins by four runs. Is this a good indicator of whether a team is good or not? Not necessarily, keep in mind that the Rockies actually lead the season series against the Dodgers and the Dodgers ended up in the World Series while the Rockies ended in the not-World Series.

The Indians are also an excellent team as far as fielding goes as their UZR/150 is the highest in MLB. I don’t have the time to explain what UZR is (you can read about it here if you so please), but even given the generally large room for error in advanced fielding metrics, I can easily buy that they are an elite fielding team. Because of this, the Twins will likely find themselves having balls be caught that might have been hits in other scenarios which will most certainly be frustrating to watch.

What They Do Not Do Well:

I’m not sure what to make of this, but the Indians’ pitching staff gives up the least amount of ground balls in the AL as their 39.9 GB% is only higher than the Marlins among all of MLB. To the extent of my understanding, having a high or low GB% isn’t inherently a bad or good thing as much as it is an indication of how that staff pitches. There are good pitching staffs who get a low amount of ground balls and there are bad pitching staffs that get a lot of them, just expect a lot of fly balls as this Cleveland pitching goes up against the offense that hits more fly balls than anyone else in baseball.

I mentioned it last week but their bullpen since the start of August still has not been good. Their bullpen has been worth just .1 fWAR since then and part of their issues has stemmed from the 12th worst BB/9 rate among other MLB bullpens over that time. Specifically, only one of their relievers has been worth more than .1 fWAR (Óliver Pérez) and multiple members who were once key cogs have since fallen off the metaphorical cliff. Seriously, walk around Cleveland and you’ll see multiple “Have you seen this man?” posters plastered around with Brad Hand’s face on them.

Individuals Of Note:

The Indians recently called up a reliever named James Karinchak who is perfectly normal besides his cartoonishly high K percent of 59.2%. For context, the highest recorded K% for a qualified reliever is Aroldis Chapman’s 2014 season in which he struck out 52.5% of all batters he faced, meaning that Karinchak is in uncharted territory with his strikeouts. Keep an eye out if he comes into a game this series because the whiffs may be strong enough to cool the first few rows of fans.

It appears that the Twins will get to face both Shane Bieber and Mike Clevinger in this series. I’ve talked about Mike Clevinger and his wanna-be Steven Tyler act, but let’s focus on the Biebs for this one. Bieber was a top prospect for a bit as he made his name as a strike-throwing machine with refined mechanics. As usual, the Indians worked their magic on suga-Shane over here and the result in 2019 has been an elite starter of the old-school variety as the 24-year-old is third in the majors in innings pitched in 2019. Beyond just soaking up innings like a rather large sponge, Bieber has upped his strikeouts to an impressive level as his K% is eighth among all qualified starters in MLB.

Recent History:

The Twins and Indians last played at Target field just a few days ago and theIndians took the series 2-1. The Indians also own the season series at 9-7.

Recent Trajectories:

The Twins are 10-6 over their last five series while the Indians are also 10-6 over their last five series.

Pitching Match-ups:

Friday: Odorizzi vs Civale
Saturday: TBD vs Clevinger
Sunday: Berríos vs Bieber

Ending Thoughts:

This is the final chance for the Twins to exert their status on the Indians as well as it the Indians final chance to knock the Twins down a few pegs. Yes, the Twins are banged up pretty well right now, but no one is going to feel bad for them, especially the team that is getting ready to host them. No matter what, the Twins will be guaranteed to have a lead in the division after the series, but some things will need to change quickly for their division leader status to match up with how they have played over the last two series. At least one win is mandatory and anything more than that pretty solidly sets the Twins up to take the division heading into the Charmin ultra-soft part of the schedule. What do I predict? Hmmm, you know, this is a tough one to get a read on because nothing would be more hilariously baseball than the C-list Twins going into Cleveland and sweeping. I’ll just say that they take two games and head on my way.

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27 Comments

Things are always darkest when the lights go out or when Kohl Stewart comes in to pitch in a relatively close game.

 

As I understand it, Sano, Cave, and Kepler should all be available this weekend to one extent or another, and the big guns in the BP are rested and raring to go.Arraez and Garver continue to hit and Cruz looks like he shook off whatever was bothering him.These are good things.

 

Berrios and/or Odorizzi will come through big which means the Twins win at least one game.

 

We all know that for some reason the Twins are a much better team on the road than not.

 

Keep the faith Twins Land!!!

    • Jerr, DocBauer and Bomba2026 like this

With TBD starting the second game of the series I am shocked that you did not go for a sweep.

 

With TBD starting the second game of the series I am shocked that you did not go for a sweep.

I didn't want to push it.

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LA VIkes Fan
Sep 13 2019 09:48 AM

I'd be thrilled with winning one game. Need the one tonight. 

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SpicyGarvSauce
Sep 13 2019 10:02 AM

 

I'd be thrilled with winning one game. Need the one tonight. 

Agreed - Saturday is very likely going to be an L with Clevinger on the mound.

i would prefer to win outright but a game 163 with loser going to wild card would be a lot of fun also.Fangraphs has us at 94% chance to win the division. Any one else feel like the real odds are a little more than half that? A win tonight would make us all happy.

    • howeda7 and LA VIkes Fan like this
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theBOMisthebomb
Sep 13 2019 10:33 AM

I'd be thrilled with winning one game. Need the one tonight.

Yes, I would be thrilled with one W this weekend and getting out of Cleveland with a 2 1/2 games lead.
    • bighat likes this
As TK always said - momentum is the next games starting pitcher. Let’s go Odo.
    • Jerr, DocBauer and PDX Twin like this

On September 7 the Twins had a 6.5 game lead in the AL central with 20 games to go and winning the division seemed like a sure bet. It's amazing that a week later the team is on life support due to injuries and the division lead no longer feels particularly safe.

    • bighat and Bomba2026 like this

 

i would prefer to win outright but a game 163 with loser going to wild card would be a lot of fun also.Fangraphs has us at 94% chance to win the division. Any one else feel like the real odds are a little more than half that? A win tonight would make us all happy.

94% is ridiculous. 60/40 at best.

    • Dantes929, lukeduke1980 and bighat like this

I am not in panic mode yet, but preparing myself for a let down.We go through this in MN every year with at least one or all of our teams.

    • bighat and Bomba2026 like this

I feel only despair and the certainty of gloom.

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Halsey Hall
Sep 13 2019 11:41 AM

Throw Thorpe out there Saturday and see what happens.

I don't know if I buy 94% but would buy 80% odds of winning the division.If you look at the rest of the schedule (3 with the White Sox, 7 with the Royals, and 3 with the Tigers) the Twins get a team that might be good in a few years and two teams that just plain stink.These three are a combined 162-276 on the season, a whopping 0.370 win percentage.I think the Twins could take nine or ten games in that stretch fairly easily.Cleveland still has the Philies (who are at least respectable) and the Nats (we just saw them) left on their schedule.If the Twins come out of the weekend 1.5 up (1-2 over the weekend), they are probably going to win the division.

Curious to see the bullpen game. Thorpe and Smeltzer are both lefties looking for use. I actually would love to see Graterol as the opener.

 

You can bet that Cleveland will see these as the most important games of the seson and will do everything possible to win. The Twins need to do the same.

 

I am not in panic mode yet, but preparing myself for a let down.We go through this in MN every year with at least one or all of our teams.

Well guess what is left for the Twins. An NFL schedule of 16 games. What NFL team wouldn't love to start the season with a 3.5 game lead and most of the schedule against 2nd tier teams? Its the Twins title (Central) to lose so lets just watch and see what happens. If they want it enough its there for the taking.

 

Well guess what is left for the Twins. An NFL schedule of 16 games. What NFL team wouldn't love to start the season with a 3.5 game lead and most of the schedule against 2nd tier teams? Its the Twins title (Central) to lose so lets just watch and see what happens. If they want it enough its there for the taking.

It's only the Twins to lose if the Twins get back their starters. There are too many guys playing that have no businessplaying for an MLB team let alone one that is fighting to make the playoffs. And no, I'm not knocking the Twins, they've really gotten hit hard with the injury bug and it's forced them to use less than ideal players in critical games.

Run of just rotten luck as of late. But we are expecting better health for the weekend, we are on the road, it's a big series and we are due.

I'm going to say we take 2!

Brandish that Hello Kitty underwear boys and let the bombas fly!!

(Really curious to see how the staff stacks up on Saturday)

hope we get a o.f. of Eddie- Max-Cave at least, .Wade and Lamarrehave no reason to be seen again,maybe Wade ?and Sano at 1b,would help,Dont wanna see Cron either

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Sssuperdave
Sep 13 2019 01:42 PM

I know there's a lot of pessimism right now, but I'm optimistic the Twins could take 2 of 3. The high leverage guys in the bullpen are well rested, so all you need today is 5 good innings from Odorizzi then parade in Duffey, May, Romo, and Rogers. Rest those 4 relievers tomorrow and then do the same thing on Sunday - 5 good innings from Berrios followed by the reliever train. Yes the lineup is rough right now but just between Cruz and Garver you could get a couple of dingers.

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msukirbycarew
Sep 13 2019 01:56 PM

Try setting up a bullpen game Saturday like the 2018 Brewers did in playoffs and see how that plays out.(Assuming we win tonight).

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twinbythebay
Sep 13 2019 02:13 PM

 

i would prefer to win outright but a game 163 with loser going to wild card would be a lot of fun also.Fangraphs has us at 94% chance to win the division. Any one else feel like the real odds are a little more than half that? A win tonight would make us all happy.

 

Can you show your work? I prefer my odds to be backed up with cold, hard data.

 

I think a sweep by either team is unlikely. Obviously, TBD vs. Clevinger doesn't look too promising, but I'm comforted by the fact that both Odo and Berrios are pitching this series. I think they take at least one of those games, maybe both.

My A team would be:
1st - Garver
2nd - Arraez
3rd- Sano
SS- Polanco
LF- Rosario
CF - Kepler
RF- Gonzales
DH - Cruz
Catcher- The Turtle or the Squirrel
Now put them in an order to maximize hits and power! I'm hoping...

 

As TK always said - momentum is the next games starting pitcher. Let’s go Odo.

 

On September 7 the Twins had a 6.5 game lead in the AL central with 20 games to go and winning the division seemed like a sure bet. It's amazing that a week later the team is on life support due to injuries and the division lead no longer feels particularly safe.

When we were 11 games up I said wait a week to 10 days and the picture might look a lot different. When we were down .5 games I said wait a week to 10 days and the picture might look a lot different.  If we are up .5 games and bumming on Monday wait a week to 10 days and the picture might look a lot different.162 games is a roller coaster with heavy optimism or heavy pessimism carrying the day.  For some that rollercoaster is experienced in a 1 game window rather than a week to 10 days.  

 

 

Can you show your work? I prefer my odds to be backed up with cold, hard data.

 

I think a sweep by either team is unlikely. Obviously, TBD vs. Clevinger doesn't look too promising, but I'm comforted by the fact that both Odo and Berrios are pitching this series. I think they take at least one of those games, maybe both.

The most likely result is Cleveland taking 2 of 3.Next most likely is Twins taking 2 of 3.3rd most likely is Indians taking 3 and 4th most likely is Twins taking 3.  I will not show my work. It is all about feel. Fangraphs and BR say Twins are 98% to make the playoffs.  Proper odds on that would be a payoff of 50-1 if the Twins do not make the playoffs. I agree that the true odds are between 60-80% that they make the playoffs so if offered the chance I would bet $100 at a 50-1 (98%) payoff that the Twins do not make the playoffs. I would not bet $100 for 1.5 payout (60%) but would consider it at 5-1 payout (80%).

    • ashbury likes this

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