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Twins 4, Astros 2: Reliable Rogers Escapes Bases-Loaded Jam

The Twins managed to pull out a win at Houston despite Ervin Santana not being at his sharpest. Brian Dozier hit another leadoff homer, but Eddie Rosario had the big hit of the night, getting a two-run double on a batted ball that would result in an out 86% of the time.

Taylor Rogers got his league-leading 22nd hold to set up for Brandon Kintzler, who recorded his 25th save.
Image courtesy of Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Win Expectancy & Top 5 Plays Per WPA (via Fangraphs)
Attached Image: WinEx715.png
Attached Image: TopPlays715.png
Rogers has quietly established himself as one of the best setup men in all of baseball, and he came up huge tonight for the Twins. Tyler Duffey was called upon to handle the seventh inning. He retired the first two batters he faced, but eventually loaded the bases.

Just when it was starting to feel like another bullpen implosion, Paul Molitor turned to Rogers, who escaped the jam by getting right-handed hitter Yuli Gurriel to ground out to Dozier. Rogers staying in for the eighth and set the Astros down in order.

Brian Dozier slugged a home run on the very first pitch of this game, hitting a leadoff homer for the second-straight night. If the first two games are any indication, we could see Dozier have another special second half.

Santana walked five batters, but he limited the damage to two runs over his six innings of work. Combined with his Memorial Day start, Ervin has now surrendered just three earned runs over 13 innings pitched against the deadly Astros lineup this season.

Houston left the bases loaded in the second, fourth and seventh innings. Santana got a lot of help from his defense as Joe Mauer made a couple of nice plays in his first game back from the DL and Miguel Sano made an outstanding, run-saving catch in the fourth inning.

Ervin's night ended on a very nice play by Jorge Polanco.

The Twins trailed 2-1 heading into the fifth inning, but they managed to scratch across a run on a Zack Granite bases-loaded ground ball double play. Granite, who has been presented with a great opportunity with Byron Buxton on the DL, was hitting second again tonight and went 0-for-5, leaving seven men left on base.

In the top of the sixth, Rosario delivered what ended up being the game-winning hit. Lady luck was certainly on his side, as Baseball Savant had the hit probability at just 14% , but we’ll take it.


Postgame With Dozier


Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Attached Image: Pen715.png
Sunday
Twins (Kyle Gibson) at Houston (Mike Fiers), 1:10 pm CT

Fiers is on a nice roll, registering a 2.65 ERA while holding opponents to a .636 OPS over his last 10 starts. He gave up multiple homers in five of his first seven starts of the season, since then he’s only served up three long balls in 10 starts. Dozier has a pair of homers off Fiers.

In 10 starts since being called back up from Rochester, Gibson has a 5.40 ERA, has given up 10 homers and has 35 strikeouts against 25 walks. It’s only a sample of 63 plate appearances, but current Houston hitters have combined to hit just .179/.254/.286 (.540 OPS) off Gibson.


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25 Comments

So we can hang with the astros....
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stringer bell
Jul 16 2017 04:50 AM
I was going to start a thread saying that Rogers is the most underappreciated Twin. He has been very good, but under the radar.
    • USAFChief, brvama, Halsey Hall and 7 others like this

"...current Houston hitters have combined to hit just .179/.254/.286 (.540 OPS) off Gibson."

 

Kyle Gibson: Rastro killer.

    • Jerr and Hosken Bombo Disco like this

I am concerned about Duffey.  His line shows no runs allowed, but in reality he was set up for disaster and he has now had a long period of ineffective pitching.  I had hoped the rest over the all star break might help, but it did not.  Can any of your analytic team see what has happened to him?  

 

Santana continues to be our ace, but tonight he was a lucky Ace.  Had the fielders blown one of the many special plays that are illustrated here all the based loaded jams could have given him a line like Berrios had the night before. 

    • Hosken Bombo Disco and Tom Froemming like this

I share the concern about Duffy, but watching on gameday, it wasn't horrible.  Two quick outs before he loaded them.

 

Good to see Santana illustrate trust in his defense, and I'm glad Polanco was out there and not benched...good managing.  

 

    • Tom Froemming likes this

Mauer cutting Rosario's throw off 15 feet from a play at home is a real head scratcher. Santana was hopping around with the same "what is he doing?" vibe, and Castro was covering his amazement up well. Was there a play? Certainly. Could he have been out? We will never know. Color me perplexed.

 

http://m.mlb.com/vid...le-off-the-wall

    • USAFChief, Jerr, Halsey Hall and 1 other like this
Granite hasn't been very impressive with all his ground ball outs. Definitely a 4th outfielder.
    • LA VIkes Fan likes this

I think Duffy will be fine. He didn't look too bad last night, just nibbled a little bit, missed a couple of spots, and lost a few ABs to some pretty good hitters. But there's a reason that Rogers is the preferred setup guy to get the team to Kintzler.

 

Still ready to just move on from Belisle. We need to find some additional options in close games beyond Duffy, Rogers, and Kintzler and he ain't it.

 

Glad to see Rosario continuing to hit out of the allstar break. Maybe he's found something, we'll see.

For the moment, I would replace Duffy in his role with Hidenberger, and let Duffy figure it out under less pressure. Yes, he had 2 quick outs, but were 2 hard hit fly balls. 

    • jun likes this

Praying to the baseball gods for Kyle Gibson today

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Halsey Hall
Jul 16 2017 08:54 AM

Santana clearly hasn't been sharp for quite awhile.Granite just doesn't seem to be able to hit up here.He's been hitting balls down in the zone for grounders to 2nd.I'd like to see him square up on the ball down the middle he seems to take. 

    • LA VIkes Fan likes this
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Tom Froemming
Jul 16 2017 09:38 AM

 

I am concerned about Duffey.  His line shows no runs allowed, but in reality he was set up for disaster and he has now had a long period of ineffective pitching.  I had hoped the rest over the all star break might help, but it did not.  Can any of your analytic team see what has happened to him? 

His main issue has been a rising hard contact rate. That number has increased from 26.6% to 33.6% to 41.9% over the past three seasons. That is the sixth-worst hard contact rate among all relievers this year (Pressly is second at 45.6 and Breslow is fourth at 42.6, yay Twins!!!). 

 

Duffey's fastball averages 91 mph, so it's not like he's going to overpower hitters. His K:BB ratio is solid, 3.50, so it's all about contact management. He actually has had reverse platoon splits the last two years, which is really weird for a guy known for a great curve and a subpar changeup. For his career, RHB have an .899 OPS off him compared to just .694 for LHB.

 

Looking at his zone profiles over at Brooks Baseball, it looks like RHBs are killing him anytime he pitches inside. My guess is that batters are just laying off most anything that looks like it's going to the outer half, basically eliminating that curve ball, and sitting on a fastballs on the inner half. 

 

Long story short: He's gotta find a better way to keep hitters off balance.

 

Mauer cutting Rosario's throw off 15 feet from a play at home is a real head scratcher. Santana was hopping around with the same "what is he doing?" vibe, and Castro was covering his amazement up well. Was there a play? Certainly. Could he have been out? We will never know. Color me perplexed.

 

http://m.mlb.com/vid...le-off-the-wall

This was really strange. My initial reaction was that somebody -- Castro or maybe Santana -- should've been shouting to Mauer to let the throw come through, but the play was basically right in front of him. He should have been able to tell there was going to be a close play. My guess is Mauer just lost awareness of where he was in the field and was under the impression he was closer to the mound. I think the runner would've been out, but thank goodness at the end of the day it didn't matter.

 

Granite hasn't been very impressive with all his ground ball outs. Definitely a 4th outfielder.

That's most likely his end role, but it's pretty difficult to make a definitive judgement on a guy after 15 plate appearances, especially his first 15 PAs as a big leaguer.

 

Santana clearly hasn't been sharp for quite awhile.Granite just doesn't seem to be able to hit up here.He's been hitting balls down in the zone for grounders to 2nd.I'd like to see him square up on the ball down the middle he seems to take. 

The five walks definitely stand out, but Ervin has pitched to a 3.08 ERA over his last four starts (26.1 IP). Again, I wouldn't put too much stock into Granite's first 15 plate appearances. While there have been plenty of complaints about his lack of good contact, at least he's putting the ball in play. He has yet to strikeout.

    • Shaitan and Dozier's Glorious Hair like this

I'm concerned that Molitor keeps throwing Duffey out there in leverage situations when he clearly has issues he needs to work out. 

    • jun likes this

 

Granite hasn't been very impressive with all his ground ball outs. Definitely a 4th outfielder.

Less than 20 plate appearances and you can make that determination? 

    • Dozier's Glorious Hair likes this
Yeah he looks like a slap hitter. Think Billy Burns or maybe Juan Pierre. Decent players in a backup role.

Mauer cutting Rosario's throw off 15 feet from a play at home is a real head scratcher. Santana was hopping around with the same "what is he doing?" vibe, and Castro was covering his amazement up well. Was there a play? Certainly. Could he have been out? We will never know. Color me perplexed.

http://m.mlb.com/vid...le-off-the-wall


Unless Castro drops the ball, he's out, IMO.
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Dozier's Glorious Hair
Jul 16 2017 12:11 PM

 

Yeah he looks like a slap hitter. Think Billy Burns or maybe Juan Pierre. Decent players in a backup role.

 

Juan Pierre had over 2,200 career hits and over 600 SB. If that's Zack Granite's future, I'll take it. 

    • Mike Sixel, Riverbrian and Tomj14 like this

Less than 20 plate appearances and you can make that determination?


It is astounding.

 

Less than 20 plate appearances and you can make that determination? 

 

I'm not all that high on Granite, and 4th/5th OF is probably his fate, but gave the man a chance!

I'm impressed by Granite and willing to give him a few more at-bats. 

 

Good discipline at the plate. He's closer to ready than most prospects I've seen arrive... He just needs to see a few more MLB Talent pitches to adjust to. 

 

 

 

    • Dozier's Glorious Hair likes this
I think he's a fourth OF, but judging him already is funny, from the crowd that wants Buxton not to be judged yet..
    • Tomj14 likes this

 

I think he's a fourth OF, but judging him already is funny, from the crowd that wants Buxton not to be judged yet..

 

Same crowd, eh?

Same crowd, eh?


Hard to say with certainty, it was a generalization on a message board, not a PHD paper.

I was at this game... so when we play Houston, we're 1-0 when I attend and 0-5 when I don't.  Clearly on to something here.

 

Also, was fairly surprised to see a few hundreds Twins fans at Minute Maid. I received many friendly (and some unfriendly) jabs from the Houston crowd as I strutted around in my red Killebrew jersey.

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ashburyjohn
Jul 17 2017 01:24 PM

Very heads-up baserunning by Rosario (and/or basecoaching by Smith) on that double. Although, Altuve was pretty slow getting up after that dive - I won't take anything away from him on that, since it might have shaken him up for a little moment, but had he popped to his feet faster he would have given Eddie a little more to think (legitmately or not) about when rounding first.


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