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Twins Game Recap (9/15): Bad Defense Costs Twins in Series Finale

The Twins lost the series finale to the Indians 7-5 after taking both games of the doubleheader the day before. Leaving Cleveland with a 4.5-game lead in the division was the goal and that is exactly what was done. In a game with Randy Dobnak starting, Kyle Gibson coming from the bullpen and a better lineup sitting on the bench, the Twins did a fine job.
Image courtesy of FanGraphs
Box Score
Donnak: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 61% strikes (45 of 74 pitches)
Bullpen: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K

Home Runs: Sano (29), Rosario (30, 31), Wade jr (1)
Multi-Hit Games: Sano (2-for-5), Cave (2-for-5), Rosario (3-for-5)

Top 3 WPA: Rosario (.207), Wade Jr.. (.182), Harper (.060)
Bottom 3 WPA: Gibson (-.402), Romero (-.245), Sano (-.099)

Randy Dobnak out duels Shane Bieber

The Twins pulled Jose Berrios and replaced him with Randy Dobnak to pitch the third game of this extremely important series ... and it worked! Dobnak went five innings and gave up two runs (one earned) while Bieber went 5 2/3 innings giving up four runs.

This was the third straight game for the Twins that was started by someone who shouldn’t be starting important potential season-deciding games in September but here we are with a strong division lead. Rocco also decided to roll out the strangest lineup because what the hell, the division is locked up.

Twins and Indians exchange offensive blows

The Indians started the game off rolling by loading the bases and running a Kipnis grounder into a fielders choice that scored two runs. This was largely due to a throwing error by Ronald Torreyes. Who woulda thought we’d be missing Polanco on defense, am I right?

The Twins would answer with three home runs to no one’s surprise. A solid shot from Sano and a solo from Rosario was followed by a two-run bomb from LaMonte Wade Jr. for his first career home run. He ditched his usually patient approach and jumped early on Bieber for the bomb.


The Indians answered in the sixth with a three-run home run off the bat of Roberto Perez. For some reason this was off of starting pitcher Kyle Gibson. He came in to replace Fernando Romero after he let a couple guys on, so obviously the Twins did not intend on using their best weapons. The Twins were down 6-4 heading to the seventh inning.

Eddie Rosario didn’t like that so he hit another home run to cut the lead to one and he certainly is heating up after taking a lot of heat from the fans. Hopefully he is entering one of his hot streaks heading into October.


The jabs continued as Mike Freeman pushed the lead to 7-5 on an RBI single against Kyle Gibson. It is safe to say the Gibson bullpen experiment did not work today.

Indians bullpen finishes off the game

After the dust settled it was the Indians who came out on top after many offensive hits from each team in the middle innings of the game. James Hoyt had a clean eighth inning and then Hoyt came back out for the ninth. He started with a walk to Luis Arraez, but he was able to strike out Sano and Cave swinging. The lefty Oliver Perez came in to face Eddie Rosario for the final out and got him to pop out.

Twins lead falls to 4.5 games over the Indians

The Twins basically just had to go 3-3 over these last six against the Nationals and Indians and they did exactly that. Now moving on to thirteen games against the White Sox, Royals and Tigers, a 4.5-game lead looks like the division has been won (don’t kill me in the comments). The Twins stepped up this series despite a loss in the final game. Leaving Cleveland after helping end the Indians' season was a lot of fun.

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.

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76 Comments

 

I'm not sure why Rocco turned to Gibby? 

 

My only assumption is after nearly every bullpen arm throwing the day before... he looked at his options and said "I trust Gibby the most". 

 

Future questions to be answered. 

 

Is Gibby still in the rotation?

With his illness.. Are they going to try to manage his innings? 

 

Do we still have a rotation?:)

I wouldn't have suggested Berrios except he was the expected starter and we had a two run advantage with 4 to go. Seems like a good bet though of course could have gone all wrong. We have a rotation of sorts.Berrios, Odorizzi, Gibson, Perez and Dobnak/Thorpe/Smelzer. I would not mind seeing the last three listed replace Perez and Gibson if they don't do well in their next return. I'm not down on either necessarily but am concerned about Gibson's health and Perez seems to be at replacement level. Get to the playoffs first.Then Berrios becomes our poor man's 87 Viola, Odorizzi becomes our 87 rich man's Blyleven and take your pick for 87 Straker. Bullpen was probably already the equal of the 87 pen before Romo and the emergence of Duffey, May, Littel and Graterol.Fun times ahead hopefully.

    • Riverbrian likes this

I wouldn't have suggested Berrios except he was the expected starter and we had a two run advantage with 4 to go. Seems like a good bet though of course could have gone all wrong. We have a rotation of sorts. Berrios, Odorizzi, Gibson, Perez and Dobnak/Thorpe/Smelzer. I would not mind seeing the last three listed replace Perez and Gibson if they don't do well in their next return. I'm not down on either necessarily but am concerned about Gibson's health and Perez seems to be at replacement level. Get to the playoffs first. Then Berrios becomes our poor man's 87 Viola, Odorizzi becomes our 87 rich man's Blyleven and take your pick for 87 Straker. Bullpen was probably already the equal of the 87 pen before Romo and the emergence of Duffey, May, Littel and Graterol. Fun times ahead hopefully.


I’ve stated multiple times that I wish the Twins would have already had more MLB info on Dobnak and Smeltzer.

I don’t buy any assumption that Perez is better. He might be but his bar isn’t hard to clear. He has an ERA over 5 since June. Those are not numbers to lock into and say we have no need for improvement.

With Gibson being a question mark and Pineda out. Perez has gone from 5th best to 3rd best by default.

We could have prepped for this better.

Bullpen games will be what we do now for at least one spot in the rotation and I’m Ok with this because of current team context. But with Gibson throwing yesterday... I’m wondering if we don’t bullpen two spots in the rotation.
    • Mike Sixel, Dantes929 and Tomj14 like this

 

I’ve stated multiple times that I wish the Twins would have already had more MLB info on Dobnak and Smeltzer.

I don’t buy any assumption that Perez is better. He might be but his bar isn’t hard to clear. He has an ERA over 5 since June. Those are not numbers to lock into and say we have no need for improvement.

With Gibson being a question mark and Pineda out. Perez has gone from 5th best to 3rd best by default.

We could have prepped for this better.

Bullpen games will be what we do now for at least one spot in the rotation and I’m Ok with this because of current team context. But with Gibson throwing yesterday... I’m wondering if we don’t bullpen two spots in the rotation.

With Rogers, Graterol, Littell, May, Duffey, Romo, Smeltzer, Dobnak and Stashak all throwing well it would seem in our best interests to have a bullpen for one spot and a short leash on Perez and Gibson going forward. Have we ever had a bullpen this deep?I know some of these guys are unproven but I have no qualms about any of these guys getting innings. I have no idea how Romo does it with an 84 mph fastball and 90% sliders. I feel a little bad for Romero because it seems some bad luck haunts him in the form of fluke singles, errors, etc. but it seems like he always compounds the bad breaks with a walk or two and wild pitches so he still owns it.Calling them bullpen games seems a little disingenuous since Dobnak, Smeltzer and Thorpe can all go 4 or 5 innings.

Why not play to clinch the division as quickly as possible and then rest players? Sounds like a better plan. Baldelli's approach is very curious.

some players needed rest immediately. Kepler for one, resting Berrios is okay too, the Twins are down to two starters, bullpen games in the playoffs are inevitable. There goal was to win the series. They did that, They are in good shape, they will win the division easily if they can get healthy
    • Oldgoat_MN and SwainZag like this
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Don Walcott
Sep 16 2019 09:32 AM

 

I'm guessing that Romero's and Gibson's appearances were because we don't get any more chances to evaluate them against good lineups fighting for their lives.So this may have been to see if Romero can be considered for the playoff roster, and if Gibson could be a bullpen option.

Was Romero still an option for the playoff roster? Given how well our bullpen has been pitching, I can't imagine that Romero could have done anything to get himself on the playoff roster. I think it was a huge mistake putting him out there in our last game against our only competitors in the division -- a game we were winning!

 

I also think it was not a good time to experiment with Gibson as a reliever. There is absolutely no reason to believe Gibson was up to the task, after his poor start on Thursday. Rather than screw around with his schedule, I'd have preferred to see the Twins try to get Gibson back on a normal schedule for starting, and have a short leash for him starting a playoff game (rather than just start the game off as a bullpen game, just prepare for the possibility when Gibson starts). Now, we may have screwed him up as a starter as well.

 

And, most importantly, we could have won that game. Putting Romero and Gibson out there to protect a lead were not our best options for winning that game.

    • ToddlerHarmon likes this

With Rogers, Graterol, Littell, May, Duffey, Romo, Smeltzer, Dobnak and Stashak all throwing well it would seem in our best interests to have a bullpen for one spot and a short leash on Perez and Gibson going forward. Have we ever had a bullpen this deep? I know some of these guys are unproven but I have no qualms about any of these guys getting innings. I have no idea how Romo does it with an 84 mph fastball and 90% sliders. I feel a little bad for Romero because it seems some bad luck haunts him in the form of fluke singles, errors, etc. but it seems like he always compounds the bad breaks with a walk or two and wild pitches so he still owns it. Calling them bullpen games seems a little disingenuous since Dobnak, Smeltzer and Thorpe can all go 4 or 5 innings.


The bullpen is deep for the moment.

Once the playoff roster gets set it’ll be a little different. Do they keep Stashak or Smeltzer or Littell. More data is necessary to make that decision. Until they hand the ball to Smeltzer or Dobnak and allow them to pitch as many innings as they allow Perez to throw. Bullpenning seems like an accurate term. 😀
    • Dantes929 likes this

Frustrating game to watch, because the Twins didn't pitch too badly (other than Gibson's meatball) and the hitting was there, but oh my the D was ugly. Schoop's concentration was just not there, the dropped ball on what should have been a fairly routine double play was just a killer. Rosario's bizzarro route on the fly ball he failed to corral was, shall we say, Delmon-esque. (Yuck)

 

Still and all, a good series overall. Let's just finish off the division and get everyone healthy (in that order).

 

The Twins may get the record for 30+ guys, but they won't get or tie the record for 40+ guys because record is three not two. The Rockies in 1997 did it and finished 3rd in their division. The Braves did it 1973 as well...they finished second to last!

Right you are. My bad...I didn't look far enough down the list of 2's! In fact it says the Rockies did it in 1997 and 1998 as well as the 1973 Braves. So no, Twins won't equal that record this year...but I'm pretty sure Sano will get one more before its all over to give us 5 30+ HR hitters.

 

All this talk about Schoop (his value vs no value) reminds me of the Expos final season when they had Tony Batista. He led them in HR's and RBI but had a pretty low BA. And the stat hounds were quick to point out he had more chances to drive in runs than just about any other player in the league...conclusion....he failed a lot despite his seemingly decent numbers. And the debate raged on for months. So many ways to evaluate a player. And I still maintain that a component of how one spins the evaluation has something to do with whether you just flat out like or dislike that player.

I could have someone throw bouquets of stats in my face about how good Albert Belle was, but I disliked him so much I (irrationally perhaps) didn't care. As an Oriole fan, I could never cheer for him. Granted Belle was pretty much universally considered a real jerk...I don't think Schoop has that tag on him...but sometimes there are just players you don't like.

Not scientific....but still very true.

    • Aerodeliria likes this
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stringer bell
Sep 16 2019 11:01 AM

I don't get the Gibson thing either. Perhaps because of his illness, the brain trust doesn't think he has the stamina to go even five innings, so they want to see what he can do in the bullpen? For a batter and a half, Romero looked like the real deal and Eddie probably should have caught Kipnis' drive to left. 

 

 

 

I don't get the Gibson thing either. Perhaps because of his illness, the brain trust doesn't think he has the stamina to go even five innings, so they want to see what he can do in the bullpen? For a batter and a half, Romero looked like the real deal and Eddie probably should have caught Kipnis' drive to left. 

 

Even so it seems weird just 3 days after he threw 93 pitches.I could see if he hadn't pitched in 6+ days or something, but it seems like an odd decision with as many arms are up.

    • Dantes929 and h2oface like this
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puckstopper1
Sep 16 2019 11:40 AM

 

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.

Dobnek's 74 pitches need to be added to the bullpen chart.

 

 

I didn't like the backing off of the sweep and the choices made before the game, and in the 6th it just blew my mind. After we take the lead at 4-2 in the top of the 6th, it seemed no adjustments were made to reflect that we are still very much in a pennant race, and have a chance to bury Cleveland. It was a 2 game decision. To go up 6.5 games, or to drop to 4.5 games up. The choices have been well discussed here. The team, from management to players in the field and pitching, seemed to enter lackadaisical mode. None of the decisons of pitchers made any sense to me. To watch them play to get lucky instead of making the best choices of pitchers and players to win..... I don't like it at all. I realize there is a "no big deal, we already accomplished the goal and won two" club. I am not in it. 12 outs! They were so lucky, with Beiber on the mound, to be in the position to win. And it was there to take. I really hate to see my team back off, and not play to win in September. Bad habit to get into. I thought it was disgusting.

 

I was amazed that Astudillo would turn his head away and not even follow the ball if it was in the dirt, and not once, but several times. That can't happen at any level above little league. Romero didn't look like the real deal on the 5 pitch walk to Reyes followed by a Wild Pitch, regardless of Eddie's Delmon Young play in left field. And Gibson in the game to pitch there? When you need your fireman as the game is now there to be saved, and certainly NOT an EXPERIMENT! Gibson? It only took 2 pitches............. 

    • Huskertwin likes this

 

The bullpen is deep for the moment.

Once the playoff roster gets set it’ll be a little different. Do they keep Stashak or Smeltzer or Littell. More data is necessary to make that decision. Until they hand the ball to Smeltzer or Dobnak and allow them to pitch as many innings as they allow Perez to throw. Bullpenning seems like an accurate term.

Unless he blows up in the next two weeks I don't know how you can keep Littell off the postseason roster. Gave up 8 runs in two appearances in May. Since then he has been absolutely lights out in his last 22 appearances. I could imagine a playoff roster without Gibson or Perez.   

    • Riverbrian likes this
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Only Here in Negative
Sep 16 2019 08:57 PM

 

I have little faith in Schoop especially in playoff. He has proven time and again that he is a negative force in crucial situation.

 

Schoop has a .768 OPS in high leverage situations. That's not bad. 

 

He also has a .965 OPS against LHP and those stats are higher against LH relievers. He's ideal for a late inning PH appearance, especially if a team brings in a lefty to face Arraez. 

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Aerodeliria
Sep 16 2019 09:21 PM

 

Right you are. My bad...I didn't look far enough down the list of 2's! In fact it says the Rockies did it in 1997 and 1998 as well as the 1973 Braves. So no, Twins won't equal that record this year...but I'm pretty sure Sano will get one more before its all over to give us 5 30+ HR hitters.

 

All this talk about Schoop (his value vs no value) reminds me of the Expos final season when they had Tony Batista. He led them in HR's and RBI but had a pretty low BA. And the stat hounds were quick to point out he had more chances to drive in runs than just about any other player in the league...conclusion....he failed a lot despite his seemingly decent numbers. And the debate raged on for months. So many ways to evaluate a player. And I still maintain that a component of how one spins the evaluation has something to do with whether you just flat out like or dislike that player.

I could have someone throw bouquets of stats in my face about how good Albert Belle was, but I disliked him so much I (irrationally perhaps) didn't care. As an Oriole fan, I could never cheer for him. Granted Belle was pretty much universally considered a real jerk...I don't think Schoop has that tag on him...but sometimes there are just players you don't like.

Not scientific....but still very true.

I remember Mr. Batista coming to Japan. He played some decent baseball here, but was kind of of disinterested in being a team player. (Something Japanese players and managers/coaches really cannot relate to.) In the off-season, he really let himself go, so by the time he got to the Twins front door, he was kind of useless. He hit the occasional home run, but his bat speed had really fallen by the wayside and his defense was horrifyingly bad.

 

Unless he blows up in the next two weeks I don't know how you can keep Littell off the postseason roster. Gave up 8 runs in two appearances in May. Since then he has been absolutely lights out in his last 22 appearances. I could imagine a playoff roster without Gibson or Perez.   

 

We are agreed on Littell. I'd like to see him get some higher leverage appearances so I know that Baldelli agrees with us. 

 

On Gibson and Perez... I can't see it. I wouldn't be opposed to it but I can't see it because it would be a 180 from how the team has treated them. 

 

The club ran right up to the wire with these guys throwing significant innings. A 5 man rotation with those two representing 40% of that rotation. I can't see them just changing course on a dime. 

 

Gibson and Perez were given every opportunity no matter the results... The club is trying to make them succeed. It would actually bother me now, if they pulled the plug on Gibson and Perez at this late stage, even if I think it should be considered.:)

 

Littell bounced between the minors and majors and was almost always the last option for high leverage. Even during the dark days of July when we sent 4 relievers away for nothing. 

 

The club has just shown me different by action. 

 

Other than that... I agree with you.:)

 

 

 

 

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Only Here in Negative
Sep 17 2019 06:57 AM

 

Schoop started the game winning rally in game 2 Saturday, and made 2 really nice defensive plays that were pretty important in that game.

Schoop isnt a great player, and Mike's probably right about spending his money elsewhere next year, but he's contributed many times to this year's team.

 

Yeah, at this point you kind of wish that the Twins had tacked on an option year with Schoop (if he'd have been down for it). Not because you'd keep him but because he'd be a trade chip this offseason. Not a huge one but you'd get something for him. Its too bad the only reward the Twins get for making a nice call on him when he was down is a part-time 2Bman for one year - no one could have predicted Arraez would take his job so completely.

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Only Here in Negative
Sep 17 2019 06:59 AM

 

Schoop has a .768 OPS in high leverage situations. That's not bad. 

 

He also has a .965 OPS against LHP and those stats are higher against LH relievers. He's ideal for a late inning PH appearance, especially if a team brings in a lefty to face Arraez. 

 

In fact, though it worked yesterday because Arraez's ball scooted by third base all on its own, Schoop really should've been pinch hitting with a lefty reliever. I hope that's the plan come playoff time.

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stringer bell
Sep 17 2019 07:04 AM

 

In fact, though it worked yesterday because Arraez's ball scooted by third base all on its own, Schoop really should've been pinch hitting with a lefty reliever. I hope that's the plan come playoff time.

Actually, I still let Arraez hit with the team already ahead and a runner or third and less than two outs. He is so much more likely to make contact and get that insurance run home. Yes, if you are looking for an extra-base hit there, you probably hit for Arraez, not when a single or productive out is needed.

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Only Here in Negative
Sep 17 2019 07:17 AM

 

Actually, I still let Arraez hit with the team already ahead and a runner or third and less than two outs. He is so much more likely to make contact and get that insurance run home. Yes, if you are looking for an extra-base hit there, you probably hit for Arraez, not when a single or productive out is needed.

 

See I think I'd be more interested in the contact if it was tied or they were down one. At that point, the one run via contact is useful. But up one in the 7th, two guys on and only one out, I think Schoop makes more sense. He's the most likely to blow open the game, which is what you should be looking for there.

 

It would obviously also depend on how good that lefty was against righties. Not all lefties are the same.

See I think I'd be more interested in the contact if it was tied or they were down one. At that point, the one run via contact is useful. But up one in the 7th, two guys on and only one out, I think Schoop makes more sense. He's the most likely to blow open the game, which is what you should be looking for there.

It would obviously also depend on how good that lefty was against righties. Not all lefties are the same.


I think you make a decent point.

Personally I’d just have a hard time pinch hitting for Arraez ever.
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Only Here in Negative
Sep 17 2019 07:40 AM

 

I think you make a decent point.

Personally I’d just have a hard time pinch hitting for Arraez ever.

 

It does feel weird doesn't it? Like all the stats show it's smart to PH and there's a part of you that just thinks, "Go with the magic!" 

 

I do worry for next year that we're going to expect too much of Arraez like we did with Danny Santana and Astudillo. He can't possible live up to this season. Enjoying it while the ride is in motion but hoping we can let him suffer some growing pains at some point.

    • Riverbrian likes this

Schoop has a .768 OPS in high leverage situations. That's not bad.

He also has a .965 OPS against LHP and those stats are higher against LH relievers. He's ideal for a late inning PH appearance, especially if a team brings in a lefty to face Arraez.


He pretty much has a negative WPA every year of his career....

It does feel weird doesn't it? Like all the stats show it's smart to PH and there's a part of you that just thinks, "Go with the magic!"

I do worry for next year that we're going to expect too much of Arraez like we did with Danny Santana and Astudillo. He can't possible live up to this season. Enjoying it while the ride is in motion but hoping we can let him suffer some growing pains at some point.


I’ve stated it many times so it’ll come to no surprise. I have same worry about every player next year.

I say hedge your bets with depth just in case.
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DesertTwinsFan
Sep 19 2019 05:09 AM

The bad fielding concerns me. This team is in the lower half of the league in fielding, an aspect of the game that used to be a strength. With their pitching staff, the Twins don't have a lot of room for error when (if) they get to the playoffs. Don't give the opposition more outs!

 

With 10 games remaining, I think they still need to win 5 or 6 to make the playoffs.