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5 things to think about... 1. I got a friend who closed on a house earlier this week. So please forgive me if i have a one track mind. 2....
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Front Page: Randy Dobnak Should Be the Twins Game 2 Starter

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:28 PM
I know what you are probably thinking “Whoa whoa whoa, hold on, if there is one thing that is set about the Minnesota Twins starting rota...
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Front Page: Twins Game Recap (9/21): Twins Blow Lead, Imp...

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With Cleveland losing to the Philadelphia Phillies, the Minnesota Twins looked to do their part in lowering the magic number in game thre...
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Collapse?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:05 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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Magic Number Thread

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:39 AM
Why no magic number thread?     Why can't I post pictures?      BYTO was fun.    
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Twins Game Recap (8/20): Cruz Leads Twins Offensive Explosion

Monday night was a bit of a come down to earth for the Minnesota Twins, who cruised their way to a four-game sweep against the Texas Rangers over the weekend. However, the Twins jumped right back on the gas pedal last night again, putting up 14 runs on 10 extra-base hits against the Chicago White Sox. In New York, the Mets took care of business, beating the Cleveland Indians by a score of 9 to 2, which helped the Twins extend their lead in the division back up to three games.
Image courtesy of FanGraphs
Box Score
Pineda: 7 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 79.5% strikes (70 of 88 pitches)
Home Runs: Kepler (34), Cruz (33), Polanco (19)
Multi-Hit Games: Kepler (2 for 5, 2B, HR), Cruz (4 for 5, 3 2B, HR), Rosario (2 for 5)
WPA of +0.1: Cruz .347, Kepler .176
WPA of -0.1: None

The pitchers were in control of this game in its early stages, as they both breezed through the first couple of innings, facing just one more batter than the minimum between the two pitchers. However, that narrative took a 180 in the third inning, when both teams found their bats. In the top of the third, Michael Pineda was one out away from another quick inning, leaving just a runner on first. That all changed when Tim Anderson roped a double down the first-base line that ricocheted off the side wall, and away from Jake Cave, allowing Yolmer Sanchez to score from first. Jose Abreu followed that up with another third-inning home run, putting the White Sox 3-0.

Mitch Garver led off the bottom of the third with a double into the right-center field gap, for the Twins first baserunner of the game. Garver advanced to third on a Marwin Gonzalez groundout, but was still standing there with two outs, after Jake Cave struck out. No worries though, as Max Kepler, who was back in the lineup after missing last night’s game as a result of the heat exhaustion he suffered over the weekend in Texas, came through with a two-out, two-run home run to cut the White Sox lead down to one.



After a strong showing in his return from the injured list last night, Nelson Cruz showed everyone that the ruptured tendon in his left wrist wasn’t going to slow him down, as he took Reynaldo Lopez deep to left field, to tie the game at three.



After tying the game up in the bottom of the fourth, Nelson Cruz gave the Twins their first lead of the game, just an inning later. A lead they would not look back from. The inning didn’t look like it was going to be anything much after Mitch Garver and Marwin Gonzalez both grounded out to leadoff the inning. Jake Cave then followed that up with an opposite field single, extending his modest hit streak to eight games. Max Kepler then nubbed the ball two feet in front of home plate, but the inning was kept alive when Jose Abreu inexplicably missed the catch on the throw to first. Jorge Polanco kept the inning going when he was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Nelson Cruz, who promptly delivered with a two-run double off the wall in right. On the very next pitch, Eddie Rosario followed that up with a base hit, bringing in both Polanco and Cruz to extend the Twins lead to four.

Tim Anderson led off the top of the sixth inning with a home run, which was the fourth earned run allowed by Michael Pineda on the night. That marks just the second start for Pineda since the beginning of May, when he has allowed more than three earned runs.

The Twins busted the game wide open with a seven-run inning in the bottom of the eighth. The inning was highlighted by two doubles from Nelson Cruz, a bases clearing double from C.J. Cron, RBI-doubles from both Miguel Sano and Max Kepler, and a two-run home run by Jorge Polanco.





Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:

Next Three Games
Wed vs CHW, 12:10 pm CT (Giolito-Odorizzi)
Fri vs DET, 7:10 pm CT (TBD-TBD)
Sat vs DET, 6:10 pm CT (TBD-TBD)

Last Game
Twins Game Recap (8/19): Twins Unable to Mount Comeback, Drop Series Opener 6-4

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87 Comments

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terrydactyls1947
Aug 20 2019 09:13 PM

Yesterday was Tuesday, August 20.It was the 126th game of the year putting the Twins 78% of the way through the season.The Twins hit 3 home runs upping their record-breaking season total to 244 home runs.They are now only 24 home runs short of setting a new single-season MLB record.

    • ashbury, mini_tb, USAFChief and 10 others like this

Interesting that tonight's 14 hits in a 14-4 blowout.......... was one less than the 15 hits last night in the 6-4 loss.

    • ashbury, glunn, SwainZag and 9 others like this
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VivaBomboRivera!
Aug 20 2019 09:27 PM

Holy flying squirrels, Batman!Nelson Cruz doubles twice in bottom of the eighth!

    • SQUIRREL, ashbury, glunn and 8 others like this
Cruz deserves MVP consideration.
    • SQUIRREL, glunn, Jerr and 7 others like this

Couple of notes ...

 

During the broadcast (I was listening to the Sox broadcast), the broadcasters were having fun with the squirrel. Then the Twins started scoring and they said, "I didn't know that was a rally squirrel." And, of course, the squirrel had a prominent place in the Sox post-game report.

 

Also in the post-game report, they put up some numbers. Cruz and Kepler have combined for 8hr and 20 rbi against the Sox so far this year. That's amazing, but I guess when you are putting up the hits you are against a team, and score the runs you are against a team, that's expected. From just two players. 

    • glunn, SwainZag, MN_ExPat and 1 other like this

Cruz is pretty good at hitting

    • ashbury, glunn, CUtomorrownight and 5 others like this
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ScooterDance
Aug 20 2019 09:46 PM
If you had told me Kep was going to hit 34HR this year I’d have shat myself.

If you’d have followed it up by saying “with 6 weeks left in the season” I would have flung my poo at you, figuring we were all just in the looney bin so might as well act the part.
    • Mike Frasier Law, 70charger, SwainZag and 6 others like this
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Tom Froemming
Aug 20 2019 09:56 PM

I came up with a potential long-term feature to add to these things, and the only way to find out if it works was to just start doing them. Here's a pitching-focused review of tonight's game. Still very much working on both the idea and execution.

    • glunn, Jerr, h2oface and 5 others like this
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FlauerPauer
Aug 20 2019 10:04 PM

When's the last time the Twins had two players with 40 home runs?

When's the last time the Twins had two players with 40 home runs?


Off the top of my head, I don’t think it has ever happened.
    • FlauerPauer likes this
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Andrew Thares
Aug 20 2019 10:10 PM

When's the last time the Twins had two players with 40 home runs?

Never

The Twins have only had 8 seasons of a player hitting 40 home runs, and 7 of them were Harmon Killebrew. The other was Brian Dozier.
    • Mike Frasier Law, SwainZag, PseudoSABR and 11 others like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Aug 20 2019 10:12 PM

 

Cruz deserves MVP consideration.

Um, no.

 

https://www.fangraph...155&position=OF

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FlauerPauer
Aug 20 2019 10:24 PM

 

 

It's most valuable, not best player. Clearly Trout is the best player in the game, but is he the most valuable to his team? Morneau wasn't the best player in the league, nor was Mauer.

    • Jerr, SF Twins Fan, Dozier's Glorious Hair and 1 other like this
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FlauerPauer
Aug 20 2019 10:24 PM

 

Never The Twins have only had 8 seasons of a player hitting 40 home runs, and 7 of them were Harmon Killebrew. The other was Brian Dozier.

 

Good lookin'. I looked on baseball-reference, but couldn't find anything.

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Andrew Thares
Aug 20 2019 10:30 PM

Good lookin'. I looked on baseball-reference, but couldn't find anything.

I was able to find it on Fangraphs pretty easy. If you don’t have access to the Play Index, that could be hard to find on baseball reference.
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Brock Beauchamp
Aug 20 2019 10:31 PM

 

It's most valuable, not best player. Clearly Trout is the best player in the game, but is he the most valuable to his team? Morneau wasn't the best player in the league, nor was Mauer.

Oy. Mauer was close to the leader in WAR that season and probably got a bump because he's a catcher and catchers aren't supposed to do what he did that season. Joe was within a single win of being the league leader, while also catching most of his games (pretty hard to complain about a catcher worth eight wins taking the MVP award).

 

Meanwhile, Trout is on his merry way to a 10 win season (again) and we're talking about Cruz maybe crossing four wins.

 

Totally the same argument.

 

I do not understand why people refuse to accept that Mike Trout should win every MVP award until he stops being Mike Trout at the plate and on the field. He's literally the best baseball player that has ever stepped onto a diamond.

 

Appreciate greatness when you see it, folks. It doesn't come along that often.

    • alarp33, diehardtwinsfan, Mike Frasier Law and 11 others like this

 

Cruz deserves MVP consideration.

 

Twins MVP consideration definitely

    • alarp33, PseudoSABR, bighat and 3 others like this
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VivaBomboRivera!
Aug 20 2019 10:42 PM

 

 ...

 

During the broadcast (I was listening to the Sox broadcast), the broadcasters were having fun with the squirrel. Then the Twins started scoring and they said, "I didn't know that was a rally squirrel." And, of course, the squirrel had a prominent place in the Sox post-game report....

 

Where there is squirrel, Boris, there must also be moose!

 

Mandatory baseball content:

Pineda's pitching line tonight (esp. _no_ walks 80% strike ratio) should be pinned above the locker of every other member of the staff.The team is not getting enough of that.

    • SQUIRREL, Jerr, 70charger and 4 others like this
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Aerodeliria
Aug 20 2019 10:47 PM

Let's not give Anderson too much credit. The double was a handle shot down the right field line that plopped down about an inch inside the line and then because of the spin (I imagine) made a weird carom of the wall--more like a yarn rather than a rope IMHO. Even on the home run Anderson was fooled, but he was able to slow his bat speed and kind of barreled it down the left field line. It hung just a little so he could keep the barrel on the ball long enough to generate a fly ball. It carried very well.

 

I thought Pineda pitched well. Even the home run by Abreu was a decent pitch. Abreu just clocked it. You sometimes have to tip your hat to your opponent.

 

Cruz may not be the league MVP but he is probably the team MVP at the moment. His presence in the batting order has an effect up and down the lineup.

 

 

    • Dantes929 and MN_ExPat like this
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LA VIkes Fan
Aug 20 2019 10:53 PM

Oy. Mauer was close to the leader in WAR that season and probably got a bump because he's a catcher and catchers aren't supposed to do what he did that season. Joe was within a single win of being the league leader, while also catching most of his games (pretty hard to complain about a catcher worth eight wins taking the MVP award).
 
Meanwhile, Trout is on his merry way to a 10 win season (again) and we're talking about Cruz maybe crossing four wins.
 
Totally the same argument.
 
I do not understand why people refuse to accept that Mike Trout should win every MVP award until he stops being Mike Trout at the plate and on the field. He's literally the best baseball player that has ever stepped onto a diamond.
 
Appreciate greatness when you see it, folks. It doesn't come along that often.


Bravo. Trout is the best player most of us will EVER see. I live in LA and I go to the Angels 2-3 times a year just to see him play. I just hope the Angels someday build a real team around him. When the Twins are having a down year anyway, of course.
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Aerodeliria
Aug 20 2019 11:01 PM

 

I came up with a potential long-term feature to add to these things, and the only way to find out if it works was to just start doing them. Here's a pitching-focused review of tonight's game. Still very much working on both the idea and execution.

Yes, it's very cool! Thanks!!!

    • Tom Froemming likes this

 

^Love this tweet from Dustin Morse. Really admire the work ethic from Cruz. Proving to be one of the best FA signings in Twins history

    • Jerr, SwainZag, PDX Twin and 10 others like this
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Aerodeliria
Aug 20 2019 11:13 PM

It might be a bit closer than one would think, however. This also from FanGraphs:(And before anyone carps about sample size. He also talked about it extensively. I just didn't want this to be any longer than it needed to.) 

 

The other day I wrote about Shin-Soo Choo and the way he’s hitting the ball really hard despite being a 37-year-old who has never garnered much of a reputation as a power hitter. In that piece, I included a chart that showed Choo was having the second-best season in terms of hard-hit percentage by a player 35 years of age or older since we started gathering such data in 2002. Choo was deserving of the digital ink used on him, but as impressed as I was with his placement on that chart, the most remarkable player listed was the one directly above him. The hard-hit rate that Choo had put together that ranked second on that list was 46.7%. No. 1 on that list was 2019 Nelson Cruz, whose hard contact rate currently rests at a whopping 55%. He’s 39 years old, and he’s hitting the ball hard more often than anyone else in baseball. He also just wrapped up one of the hottest two-week stretches you’ll ever see.

 

 

All season long, Trout, Cody Bellinger, and Christian Yelich have separated themselves from the rest of baseball in terms of offensive prowess. On July 21, 31 points separated Bellinger’s third-place wRC+ (183) from Anthony Rendon’s fourth-place wRC+ (152). Just over two weeks later, Cruz has nearly caught the top three, with his wRC+ of 168 now just eight points back of Bellinger.

 

This may have the looks of a player simply hitting out of his mind for two weeks, and indeed it is. Statcast data, however, suggests that this past week has simply been Cruz quickly catching up to what his batted ball data said his numbers should have looked like all season long. His xSLG of .666 this year is the highest in the majors, and his xwOBA of .440 is third in the majors. He is also second in exit velocity and third in hard-hit percentage.

 

All of this adds up to what suddenly looks like a career-best season for Cruz at the plate, which is an absurd thing to say about a 39-year-old who’s already put together a long list of impressive seasons, the majority of which have come in the second half of his career. His wRC+ is 10 points better than any other season he’s ever put up, but he’s also tying his career-high in walk rate while blowing past his career-high ISO by nearly 100 points. 

    • Minny505, MN_ExPat, Original Whizzinator and 3 others like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Aug 20 2019 11:23 PM

 

It might be a bit closer than one would think, however. This also from FanGraphs:(And before anyone carps about sample size. He also talked about it extensively. I just didn't want this to be any longer than it needed to.) 

 

The other day I wrote about Shin-Soo Choo and the way he’s hitting the ball really hard despite being a 37-year-old who has never garnered much of a reputation as a power hitter. In that piece, I included a chart that showed Choo was having the second-best season in terms of hard-hit percentage by a player 35 years of age or older since we started gathering such data in 2002. Choo was deserving of the digital ink used on him, but as impressed as I was with his placement on that chart, the most remarkable player listed was the one directly above him. The hard-hit rate that Choo had put together that ranked second on that list was 46.7%. No. 1 on that list was 2019 Nelson Cruz, whose hard contact rate currently rests at a whopping 55%. He’s 39 years old, and he’s hitting the ball hard more often than anyone else in baseball. He also just wrapped up one of the hottest two-week stretches you’ll ever see.

 

 

All season long, Trout, Cody Bellinger, and Christian Yelich have separated themselves from the rest of baseball in terms of offensive prowess. On July 21, 31 points separated Bellinger’s third-place wRC+ (183) from Anthony Rendon’s fourth-place wRC+ (152). Just over two weeks later, Cruz has nearly caught the top three, with his wRC+ of 168 now just eight points back of Bellinger.

 

This may have the looks of a player simply hitting out of his mind for two weeks, and indeed it is. Statcast data, however, suggests that this past week has simply been Cruz quickly catching up to what his batted ball data said his numbers should have looked like all season long. His xSLG of .666 this year is the highest in the majors, and his xwOBA of .440 is third in the majors. He is also second in exit velocity and third in hard-hit percentage.

 

All of this adds up to what suddenly looks like a career-best season for Cruz at the plate, which is an absurd thing to say about a 39-year-old who’s already put together a long list of impressive seasons, the majority of which have come in the second half of his career. His wRC+ is 10 points better than any other season he’s ever put up, but he’s also tying his career-high in walk rate while blowing past his career-high ISO by nearly 100 points. 

While I appreciate the very well thought out and intelligent post, your point basically boils down to:

Nelson Cruz has a lower wRC+ than Mike Trout, except Trout also plays one of the most important positions on the diamond very well.

    • MN_ExPat, DannySD and Aerodeliria like this
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Aerodeliria
Aug 20 2019 11:41 PM

 

When's the last time the Twins had two players with 40 home runs?

This post piqued my interest and I went searching. The Bash Brothers never clubbed 40 home runs in any one year that I could find. The Colorado Rockies in 1997 had three players reach 40 home runs in one season (the only time it's been done??).

 

Walker 49 (130 RBIs)

Galarraga 41 (140 RBIs)

Castilla 40 (113 RBIs)

 

Interestingly, that team also included Dante Bichette who hit only 26 home runs but drove in 118 runs as well as Ellis Burks who clubbed 32 (82 RBIs).

 

The other weird discovery was that in 1920 Babe Ruth hit 54 home runs, but his total was more than the total home runs for every other team in the league (maybe I rediscovered this...I think I had read it once before).

 

    • SwainZag, SF Twins Fan, Original Whizzinator and 1 other like this

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