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Twins 3, Cleveland 1: Bullpen Dominates as Twins Take Series

With Homer Bailey placed on the Injured List due to a bicep injury, Rocco Baldelli was forced to go with a bullpen game Sunday against Cleveland. Six Twins pitchers combined to hold Cleveland to just one run, as Minnesota took the game and the series, 3-1.
Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Box Score
Home Runs: Garver (1)
Top 3 WPA: Clippard .105, Wisler .084, Smeltzer/May/Romo .083
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):
Attached Image: Winchart.png

It was more of the same in the final game of the series against Cleveland. Just like we saw happening several times this week, the offense provided the early lead and the pitching held on to it brilliantly during the whole game. This is the first 7-2 start for the Twins since 2001.

Tyler Clippard said after the game, "Obviously, they're definitely going to be one of the teams that will be at the top of our division. So it was really nice to win three out of four from them."

The Twins announced on Saturday night that Homer Bailey, the starter who was supposed to pitch on Sunday, was pushed for the Monday series opener against the Pirates. With that, the club decided to use the “opener” strategy, choosing Tyler Clippard to start the game. Moments before the first pitch, the team announced that Bailey was being placed on 10-day injured list, with Sean Poppen being recalled to replace him.

Clippard made the most of this opportunity, providing Minnesota with two perfect innings. Inducing a lot of weak contact, he managed to retire all batters he faced with only 21 pitches. In his support, the Twins’ new trademark early offense provided him with one run in each of his innings.

After Max Kepler hit a leadoff triple (which upon challenge was turned into a ground-rule double), he was later brought home by a weak, opposite-field single by Polanco. The exit velocity of that single was 56.6 MPH. In the second inning, Mitch Garver broke his curse and hit his first home run of the year, a solo leadoff shot to center left.



Devin Smeltzer took over in the third inning and had a solid outing, bouncing back from his first rough first appearance in Chicago. He was one out away from completing three innings of one-run ball, giving up two hits and a walk. He also had some run support. After Kepler doubled to leadoff the third, Nelson Cruz hit a ground ball up the middle to bring him home, making it 3-0 Twins. Smeltzer allowed a leadoff double from César Hernández to score in the fourth, when Francisco Lindor hit a hard single. However, he was caught trying to stretch it into a double by a laser throw from Eddie Rosario. Rocco Baldelli took him off the game after back-to-back strikeouts in the fifth, on nine pitches.



Is the offense still cold?
Wins are coming and that’s obviously the most important thing. But is the Twins offense going through a bit of a slump? After the RBI-single from Cruz in the third, the following 13 Minnesota batters were retired consecutively, before Marwin Gonzalez his a leadoff single in the eighth. If you consider the lineup that started today’s game your best one (maybe replacing Gonzáles with Josh Donaldson), it is now combining for a team OPS of roughly .644. How worried should we be?

Matt Wisler, Tyler Duffey and Trevor May went on to pitch three scoreless innings, not allowing a single hit and striking out six, compensating for the offense slow afternoon. Wisler took over in relief of Smeltzer in the fifth and managed to face the top of Cleveland’s order in the sixth. He gave up a walk to Hernández, but retired the remaining Indian batters, including a strikeout against José Ramírez. Both him and Duffey have yet to allow a run in the season.

Sergio Romo was chosen to close the game in a save situation and after a lenghty at-bat against Ramírez, he managed to retire Lindor and Carlos Santana without much trouble.

MItch Garver said after the game, "We have a really good back end of the bullpen. Like today, we can go to Romo if we need a save situation and we're all very comfortable with him having the ball."

The bullpen new it had a big job to do on Sunday. Clippard said, "We really take pride in games like this as a bullpen, getting the job done and helping our team win by putting up zeroes. It's a good feeling, and it's nice to be a part of it."

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
Attached Image: Bullpen.png


Seth Stohs contributed the quotes to this story.

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19 Comments

Just gotta replay that final pitch that ended the game ... it was a beauty!

    • MN_ExPat likes this
10 runs over 4 games? Sounds like three of four to me!
    • Danchat, mikelink45, tarheeltwinsfan and 4 others like this

They're gonna need another bullpen arm up, I think... Who else we got?

sorry to hear Bailey is on IL - I sure hope it is not covid related.Dobnak is remains in the rotation.If Odorizzi is back we are set, if not who takes the extra start?Poppen, Thorpe or Smeltzer?I hope Thorpe. 

    • dbminn likes this

Great series win, many contributions by many players. Hitting still spotty,but if pitching holds up, watch out when bats heat up.

Our pitchers gave up 4 total runs over this 4 game series, and 4 over the past 5 games. That's incredible! The bullpen has been simply phenomenal so far.

    • Seth Stohs, Dman, tarheeltwinsfan and 7 others like this
Photo
milldaddy35
Aug 02 2020 03:51 PM
Twins win. The arms were pretty dominant on both sides, but especially ours. 4 runs in 4 games, 2 of which were on one swing, and another was miscommunication by our left side. I’ll take it!! Just wait until this offense gets going and things will get scary for opponents. Facing Pittsburg for 4 games can’t hurt. Hopefully Thorpe is prepared to throw strikes, they arent an offense that is known for much firepower.
    • MN_ExPat and wabene like this

I am just not used to us pitching this well and having virtually no weak links in the rotation or the pen.The way they have pitched this year gives me hope that this team can do great things.

 

Very happy we took 3 out of 4 from Cleveland as they are a very god team and I don't see them losing a series or much at all with the pitching they are getting.Essentially shutting our lineup down which is one of the deepest in Baseball is no easy task so other teams will likely have a difficult time scoring runs against them as well.  

 

Great series and am happy we came out on top and didn't split it. Really excited about this team.Go Twins!

    • MN_ExPat and wabene like this
After feeling a little demoralized by Mr Bieber this is just unbelievable. The depth this regime has established is like nothing any Twins team has ever had. I sure hope this year continues but even if not fun time are ahead for the squad. The FO leadership will have to look hard for detractors.
    • Dman, tarheeltwinsfan, MN_ExPat and 1 other like this
So we are 7 and 2 after one of our toughest stretches in our schedule. I feel good about our chances.
    • Danchat, Dozier's Glorious Hair, wabene and 1 other like this
Also is there video if Polanco's 56mph exit velo single. Would like to see it for context.

 

sorry to hear Bailey is on IL - I sure hope it is not covid related.Dobnak is remains in the rotation.If Odorizzi is back we are set, if not who takes the extra start?Poppen, Thorpe or Smeltzer?I hope Thorpe. 

 

They said biceps tendinitis right away on Bailey... so, unless they're just making stuff up to protect him in some way, it's biceps tendinitis. Rocco didn't seem too concerned. 

    • glunn, JoshDungan1, SF Twins Fan and 1 other like this
After the Adrianza error, May closes out the inning with 2 KS.
    • Dman, tarheeltwinsfan and wabene like this

15 pitches from Romo to close out the game, all of them between 77-80 mph. Sliders and...changeups? Is it still a changeup if it's the fastest pitch you've thrown? He's unbelievable.

    • tarheeltwinsfan and wabene like this
Photo
tarheeltwinsfan
Aug 02 2020 05:51 PM

May and Duffy are each averaging 2 SO's per inning. That's impressive. Thank you to them and thank you to Wes.

    • glunn, SF Twins Fan and wabene like this

15 pitches from Romo to close out the game, all of them between 77-80 mph. Sliders and...changeups? Is it still a changeup if it's the fastest pitch you've thrown? He's unbelievable.

He throws both the rising four-seam changeup and the heavy two-seamer. :)
 

    • tarheeltwinsfan, JLease and Nine of twelve like this
Duffey, Stashak, Romo, and Rogers combined thus far: 15 IP, 1 BB, 4 H, 0 R, 23 K.

Not bad.
    • Dman, tarheeltwinsfan, SF Twins Fan and 2 others like this

 

They're gonna need another bullpen arm up, I think... Who else we got?

Even with a 30-man roster this is the approach (as shown by putting both Bailey and Littel on the IL for "minor" injuries). Sigh. Modern baseball: where 15 pitchers still isn't enough.

Photo
FritzDahmus
Aug 03 2020 03:42 PM

 

I am just not used to us pitching this well and having virtually no weak links in the rotation or the pen.The way they have pitched this year gives me hope that this team can do great things.

 

Very happy we took 3 out of 4 from Cleveland as they are a very god team and I don't see them losing a series or much at all with the pitching they are getting.Essentially shutting our lineup down which is one of the deepest in Baseball is no easy task so other teams will likely have a difficult time scoring runs against them as well.  

 

Great series and am happy we came out on top and didn't split it. Really excited about this team.Go Twins!

 

 

Dman,

 

I'm not so sure Cleveland is "a very good team"...as you say. Everyone in baseball certainly thought that coming into this series with the Twins. I assumed that as well. But they can't hit!!

 

They need to pick up 2 or 3 big boppers [as Gladden likes to say]. Trade deadline is the end of August. If they get rid of Lindor and don't pick up 2 or 3 big hitters....they are toast.

 

Twins win running away with the division [if we finish the season at all...better chance of that not happening]....or maybe Detroit or the White Sox give us a little challenge.