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GAME THREAD 8/9/2020: Minnesota Twins @ Kansas City Royal...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:18 AM
Is it time to panic yet?   Of course not! Honestly, after the last three games, I am just as confident in this team being a contende...
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2020 Twins Transactions

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 03:16 PM
There haven't been many yet, but I'll start this today...   The Twins just announced that Zack Littell (hamstring) has been placed o...
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Where are they now? Ex-Twins in 2020

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 03:16 PM
I said in the 2019 thread that I would start this forum thread...    Let's start populating it. How many former Twins are on ro...
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Option C(astellanos)

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 02:33 PM
We missed out on our big money aces. A big impact 3B will either cost age/money (Donaldson) or top prospects and money (Arenado/Bryant)....
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Future Roster Transactions

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:41 AM
Jake Odorizzi gets activated today to face the Royals, filling out the 28-man active roster which will include 16 (!) pitchers. The way t...
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The Show Must Go On: ALDS Preview - Twins vs. Rays

After edging Cleveland in the AL Central tiebreaker, the Twins are moving on to an ALDS matchup against Tampa Bay in our interactive 2020 simulation. Read on for a look at the lineups and pitching matchups, and to weigh in on our playoff rotation.
Image courtesy of MLB The Show 20, Sony
To get caught up on what we're doing here, you can check out the introductory post in the series for an explanation of the premise and setup. But the quick version is this: We're playing a progressive simulated Twins season on MLB The Show 20 on PS4, and y'all are helping guide the ship. In each installment I'll update you on what's happened since the last, and put at least one key decision up for vote.

THE PLAYOFF PICTURE

Our Twins (95-68) won the Central with a 10th-inning walk-off win against Cleveland (94-69) in Game 163. That means the Indians will host Boston (91-72) in the Wild Card Round. The winner of that contest will go on to face the No. 1 seed Angels (103-59). Meanwhile, our Twins hold home-field advantage against the Tampa Bay Rays (92-71), who themselves won the East by edging the Red Sox in a Game 163 tiebreaker. All kinds of dramatics in the American League here in 2020.

Elsewhere, things have played out in fairly expected fashion. Nats (96-66) won the East, Cubs (92-70) won the Central, Dodgers (105-57) led all of baseball in victories. The Braves (90-72) and Rockies (94-68) will battle in the NL WC Game.


Attached Image: playoffbracket929.jpeg


ALDS SERIES OVERVIEW

So, our Twins end up facing the very same team we pulled off a blockbuster trade with at the deadline. As it turns out, that splashy transaction – sending Eddie Rosario and Jordan Balazovic to Tampa in exchange for Blake Snell – is the rare of example of an in-season deal between two contenders, and it worked out swell for both sides. Snell led the Twins to a victory over Cleveland in Game 163, while Rosario is Tampa's cleanup hitter and Balazovic is lined up to start Game 2 of the ALDS as a 22-year-old rookie (!).

The Twins scored more runs than Tampa Bay (799 to 726) but the Rays allowed fewer (611 to 669). In fact, no American League team gave up fewer runs than Tampa, which finished first in the AL in ERA (3.61) ahead of second-place Minnesota (3.76). Both teams feature strong, deep rotations backed by high-caliber bullpens. Rays closer Nick Anderson ranked third in the AL in saves (46); Twins closer Taylor Rogers ranked seventh (43).

Even after sending Rosario to Tampa, the Twins appear to have a clear offensive advantage over the Rays. We'll see if it shows through.

TWINS LINEUP
  • Luis Arraez, 2B (.331/.419/.483, 14 HR, 78 RBI)
  • Jorge Polanco, SS (.270/.352/.437, 18 HR, 64 RBI)
  • Mitch Garver, C (.266/.362/.444, 20 HR, 46 RBI)
  • Miguel Sano, 1B (.254/.359/.485, 36 HR, 100 RBI)
  • Josh Donaldson, 3B (.259/.369/.475, 35 HR, 98 RBI)
  • Max Kepler, RF (.285/.379/.464, 21 HR, 82 RBI)
  • Nelson Cruz, DH (.267/.342/.473, 28 HR, 99 RBI)
  • Marwin Gonzalez, LF (.281/.342/.480, 17 HR, 48 RBI)
  • Byron Buxton, CF (.222/.294/.327, 6 HR, 26 RBI)
RAYS LINEUP
  • Kevin Kiermaier, CF (.274/.351/.474, 23 HR, 68 RBI)
  • Jose Martinez, RF (.281/.344/.429, 20 HR, 72 RBI)
  • Rafael Devers, 3B (.259/.341/.437, 29 HR, 77 RBI)
  • Eddie Rosario, LF (.280..331/.489, 27 HR, 94 RBI)
  • Ji-Man Choi, 1B (.293/.361/.546, 34 HR, 87 RBI)
  • Willy Adames, SS (.289/.368/.457, 9 HR, 40 RBI)
  • Brandon Lowe, 2B (.270/.338/.526, 33 HR, 102 RBI)
  • Hunter Renfroe, DH (.226/.302/.427,18 HR, 50 RBI)
  • Mike Zunino, C (.195/.281/.309, 12 HR, 35 RBI)
And now, here is my very rational analysis of the pitching matchups, given from the perspective of a Twins fan who is admittedly traumatized by past postseason memories.

Game 1: Rays @ Twins


Charlie Morton, RHP (14-8, 3.15) vs. Jose Berrios, RHP (20-5, 2.96)


Morton turned in a fine season that was very much in line with his norm. He's excellent. Berrios also had a phenomenal season, and hasn't been tagged with a loss since May. But that's almost starting to feel ominous at this point, isn't it? Liriano was of a similar mold in 2010. Santana in 2006, as well. Oh man, I'm feeling nauseous.

Game 2: Rays @ Twins


Jordan Balazovic, RHP (4-6, 4.73) vs. Kenta Maeda, RHP (18-8, 3.39)


Maeda was an All-Star. He had 12 wins at the break. He went 5-0 record with a 2.11 ERA in September. He had an incredible first season with the Twins and would be worthy of the ace billing in many rotations not inhabited by Berrios. Maeda will be going against the top prospect we traded away at the deadline – a 22-year-old whose numbers aren't all that great, but whose upside on any given day is immense. It would only make sense for us to get buried in this game, wouldn't it?

Game 3: Twins @ Rays


Blake Snell, LHP (12-10, 3.75) vs. Ryan Yarbrough, LHP (13-8, 3.78)


This feels like a good time to point out that Tampa does not have Yonny Chirinos lined up to start any of its first three ALDS games. And here's why that's strange: he went 19-7 with a 2.77 ERA in 205 innings this year. He is in the Cy Young conversation. And yet for Game 2 they're running out a rookie and for Game 3, the Rays have penciled in Yarbrough, a solid yet ordinary southpaw.

Then again, I've learned better than to ever doubt this sophisticated organization's ways. Did the Rays trade Snell to us knowing that they'd end up facing him in a playoff matchup at the Trop? Does Yarbrough have some unknown advantage against our lineup? Is this all part of their strategy?

Game 4 (if necessary): Twins @ Rays


Jake Odorizzi, RHP or Alex Wood, LHP vs. Yonny Chirinos, RHP (19-7, 2.77)


Here Chirinos is finally scheduled to get his first postseason nod. And here the Rays figure to have their first clear pitching matchup advantage ... if they haven't swept us already. (Sorry, sorry! Force of habit.) On our end, it's an open question which pitcher should get the nod, because both Odorizzi and Wood have good cases. We'll discuss that shortly.

Game 5 (if necessary): Rays @ Twins


Charlie Morton, RHP (14-8, 3.15) vs. Jose Berrios, RHP (20-5, 2.96)


Presumably if we get to a Game 5, the rotations will flip because both Game 1 starters will be back at full rest. But, many variables in play.

DECISION TIME: PLANNING FOR GAME 4

I feel like we're pretty well set for the first three games. Our lineup is locked in, and Berrios, Maeda and Snell are clearly our three best starters. Game 4 is a bit of a tough call, though. Odorizzi's been very solid throughout the season, totaling 192 innings with a 3.65 ERA and 15-10 record.

Attached Image: odorizziprofile.jpeg


Meanwhile, Wood – a fellow deadline addition along with Snell – has the rotation's lowest ERA (2.77). In fact that mark tied with Tampa Bay's Chirinos for third-best in the AL in the regular season (behind Hyun-Jin Ryu and Mike Minor).

Attached Image: woodprofile.jpeg


Whichever starter we opt for, I'll have the other one ready to step in at early signs of trouble. In Wood's favor, the Rays have a pretty lefty-heavy lineup, with Rosario, Kiermaier, Devers, Choi, and Lowe all swinging from the left side.

There is a third option: We could start Berrios on short rest in Game 4. This would give us the ability to start Maeda on full rest in Game 5.

I'll follow your cue. Vote your preference in the comments section.

PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS

Part 1: We Can Build This Thing Together (0-0)
Part 2: 10 Games In, 6 Games Back (4-6)
Part 3: Roaring Back (11-9)
Part 4: Over the Hill (17-13)
Part 5: Checking In at the Quarter Point (23-17)
Part 6: Rising Power (30-20)
Part 7: First Place! (Barely) (34-26)
Part 8: Drafting and Dropping (38-32)
Part 9: Cruz Control (45-35)
Part 10: Pulling Ahead (52-38)
Part 11: Bashing into the All-Star Break (58-40)
Part 12: Deadline Decisions (62-46)
Part 13: Inauspicious Debuts (66-52)
Part 14: Treading Water as the Clock Ticks (71-57)
Part 15: Stretch Race & September Call-Ups (78-59)
Part 16: Dancing for the Division (84-63)
Part 17: Down to the Wire (90-66)
Part 18: Game 163 (94-68)
Part 19: Twins Walk Off Game 163 (95-68)

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10 Comments

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Nick Nelson
Jul 01 2020 08:18 PM

Option 1: Press "Like This" on this comment (or voice your support below) if you want us to go with Jake Odorizzi in Game 4 (if necessary).

    • ashbury, Sconnie, DocBauer and 4 others like this
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Nick Nelson
Jul 01 2020 08:18 PM

Option 2: Press "Like This" on this comment (or voice your support below) if you want us to go with Alex Wood in Game 4 (if necessary).

    • Wookiee of the Year, JoshDungan1 and Doctor Gast like this
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Nick Nelson
Jul 01 2020 08:18 PM

Option 3: Press "Like This" on this comment (or voice your support below) if you want us to go with Jose Berrios on short rest in Game 4 (if necessary).

    • Joey P likes this

Odo for Game 4 if needed. So use Wood liberally in situations where stamina will be called for in any of the games - hopefully never!

    • Nick Nelson, DocBauer and Joey P like this
Nick...jaded, pessimistic Minnesota fandom creeping in or what? Sheesh! And I thought I was bad! (Though my greatest angst is with the Vikings and remains so). I'm voting status quo for now as I just really see no reason to change what brought you this far. However, I haven't taken time to look up previous results for Oddo or "handedness" of the Rays lineup. Perhaps that would make Wood a better choice in a potential game 4? Regardless, with our lineup and bullpen, and a piggyback ootion like Oddo or Wood, I stick with what works and don't pitch anyone on short rest. You have to win today to play tomorrow when then playoffs come around...but...you can't be short-sighted. You want a strong and rested Berrios for the 2nd round unless the train comes off the rails.
    • Nick Nelson and Doctor Gast like this
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Doctor Gast
Jul 02 2020 06:41 AM

Oddo has pitched 192 innings this year which is by far the most he has ever pitched so I assume according to history his tank is near empty. So I`d go w/ Wood especially being left handed, pitched fewer innings & his efficiency, I`d bring in Oddo later if the situation calls for it. Berrios would come in fully rested for game 5 if need be. The next series Oddo could deservingly start a game

What did the Rays give up for Devers? Seems like an unreasonable trade within division
Holy crap, the Rays already have Balazovic in their rotation, and in the playoffs? He ain’t even on our 60 man roster in real life.
    • Doctor Gast and Joey P like this
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Doctor Gast
Jul 02 2020 02:36 PM

TB starting Balazovic, Yarbrough or even Morton before Chirinos doesn`t make sense. Looks like Chirinos had a better season but maybe there is some underlining situation that I don`t see 

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Nick Nelson
Jul 02 2020 05:16 PM

 

What did the Rays give up for Devers? Seems like an unreasonable trade within division

Good question. I was curious so I went back and looked through their transaction history. They had quite a busy spell in June – in the same week they:

 

  • Acquired Devers from Boston for Austin Meadows & Yandy Diaz.
  • Acquired Aledmys Diaz from Houston for a pitching prospect.
  • Traded Tyler Glasnow to the Cubs for top SS prospect Nico Hoerner.

 

Between that and Snell-to-Twins at the deadline, they're kinda like rebuilding and contending at the same time I guess? Sounds like the Rays.

 

 

TB starting Balazovic, Yarbrough or even Morton before Chirinos doesn`t make sense. Looks like Chirinos had a better season but maybe there is some underlining situation that I don`t see 

Yeah, it's weird. For suspension of disbelief, I'm choosing to assume/imagine that he has some sort of minor injury that makes him unavailable for the next few days.