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Twins Game Recap (9/19): Nelson Cruz Crushes 2 Homers in 8-5 Win

That’s more like it. The Twins averaged nearly six runs a game through August, but entered Thursday averaging just 4.4 runs per game so far in September. Instead of bombas, they were registering mere blips. They busted out tonight, however, beating Kansas City 8-5.
Image courtesy of FanGraphs
Box Score
Gibson: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 48.1% strikes (25 of 52 pitches)
Bullpen: 7.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K

Home Runs: Cruz 2 (39), Sano (31), Garver (31)
Multi-Hit Games: Cruz (2-for-4, 2 HR), Sano (2-for-3, 2B, HR, BB), Garver (2-for-3, HR, 2 BB), Rosario (2-for-4)

Top 3 WPA: Cruz .313, Sano .245, Garver .183
Bottom 3 WPA: Gibson -.237, Gonzalez -.080, Schoop -.080

The Royals jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in this game (more on that in a moment) but the Twins bomba’d their way back in it. Nelson Cruz hit a three-run shot to the opposite field in the third inning to tie the game.



Later that frame, Miguel Sano hit a majestic blast into the upper deck. The Royals fought back, but the bombas kept being blasted. Mitch Garver crushed one to center in the fifth inning that tied the game at 5-5. Cruz added a two-run homer in the seventh inning.

The lineup, which was still missing Max Kepler and C.J. Cron, combined for eight runs on 10 hits and five walks. It was nice to see them making some serious noise at Target Field again.

What Even is Kyle Gibson Right Now?
From the 2017 All-Star break through the first half of this season, a stretch of 368 innings, Kyle Gibson pitched to a 3.77 ERA. In his 62 innings since, Gibson has limped to a 6.10 ERA. What awful timing.

This 2019 club is by far the best Gibson’s ever been a part of. The soon-to-be 32-year-old is also slated to become a free agent for the first time this winter. His weight is down due to his ulcerative colitis, and it’s showing on the mound.

Gibson was the Twins starter tonight, but recorded just five outs and was removed from the game after surrendering three runs on three hits and four walks. He threw 52 pitches, just 25 of them for strikes. And it could have been worse. Luis Arraez threw a runner out at home plate.



Gibson has been reduced to a complete question mark in his current condition. Could he be helpful as simply an opener? A long reliever? I don’t know, but it appears unlikely he’ll be dependable in a traditional starting pitcher’s role.

For more on Gibson’s legacy as Twin, check out this piece Nick wrote earlier tonight.

Thor(pe)’s Hammer
After Zack Littell got a big out to strand the bases loaded in the second inning, Lewis Thorpe took over. He gave up a pair of runs on six hits over his four innings of work, but also flashed some encouraging signs.

Thorpe induced 12 swinging strikes on his 72 pitches and struck out four batters. He managed to throw his curveball, which averaged 73.3 mph, for strikes 14 of the 19 times he went to that offering.

The bullpen A-team took over from there, as Tyler Duffey, Trevor May, Sergio Romo and Taylor Rogers combined to throw three shutout innings of one-hit ball, striking out four while issuing one walk.

Postgame With Baldelli


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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24 Comments

It is sad, but Gibson has pitched himself off the post game roster as far as I am concerned.There is no sentiment in the post season.

    • nokomismod, Dantes929, Circus Boy and 7 others like this
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ScooterDance
Sep 19 2019 10:16 PM
Yesterday I went to the game with my best friend from my childhood. I hadn’t been to a game since the game I called garvers first MLB bomba (I live up north these days). What an awful game to go. Sat lower bowl above the first base bag. Not a whiff of a foul ball.

My buddy went back tonight with his dad. Sat second deck above the bag. Saw a bunch of bombas. The pitch before Sanos Bomba Dick commented on a fan who couldn’t grab sanos foul ball with both hands, but was able to snag it with one as it was falling back down to the lower deck.

That was my buddy Brian. Four bombas. Two Cruz bombas. AND he caught his first ever foul ball. What a game.
    • Blake, Jerr, nokomismod and 6 others like this

Gibson is FUBAR. Nice power display and some good defense. I don't see how they scored Sano's hit to CF that was not a difficult play, hit the CF'r squarely in the glove and drops it . . . for a double. What? It must have made a klank sound hitting the glove and they thought it was off the wall. Nice job by Thorpe for the win. Rogers lights out in the ninth, again. The Indians win tonite to finish off their games vs the Tigers, going 18-1. Sheez, thanks Gardy.

Not going to talk about Gibson as there is a whole new thread about that, along with one I posted, and a 3rd about being done with him. Enough! Bombas are great! But Thorpe's 4 IP were solid. Not great, but solid. His ERA doesn't show it, but if you have actually watched him pitch, this kid has stuff and potential. He could help in the post season, potentially, and I'd bet he could be a great RP for 2020. But it would be so much smarter to have him as a rotation candidate for next year.
    • Blake, Dantes929, Circus Boy and 4 others like this

Baldelli finally manages like we are in a pennant race, and doesn't let the starter give up 7-9 runs before he takes him out when they just don't have it. That's more like it! Odorizzi and Berrios and Perez would have appreciated the same in games past, but at least it is happening now.

    • beckmt, bighat, Huskertwin and 1 other like this

May and Romo scare the hell out of me. Duffy and Rogers are calming.
    • h2oface, lukeduke1980, bighat and 1 other like this

 

May and Romo scare the hell out of me. Duffy and Rogers are calming.

 

Hey.... they both got through a game without giving up a home run! That is something.

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Tom Froemming
Sep 20 2019 05:41 AM

Here's Twins Pitch for last night's game:

 

    • denarded, Jerr, h2oface and 2 others like this

What a game, one that I thought the Twins had little to no chance once they fell behind 3-0.No faith, eh?

 

I will second DocBauer's comments about Thorpe.Yes, he gave up a couple runs.But I see a young man who is going thru his first year jitters while learning how to be a major league pitcher.He has an amazing ability to fill the zone with strikes, perhaps too many at some part of the game.There have been a lot of very good pitchers who struggled their first year on the mound.I believe there is a real chance Thorpe could be one of them. 

 

As for Gibby, I see him getting one start late next week after the Twins have clinched.I have to believe that the toll his physical problems have taken on his body make it almost certain he cannot get the job done once we get to the playoffs.When nothing matters, take one last look and if it is more of the same shut him down for the rest of the year.As for next year, would not be opposed to signing him to some type of one year contract.He is a quality person who has done much for the organization over the past whatever years, both on and off the field.But he would have to come back healthy and earn his spot in the rotation.

    • pbrezeasap, USNMCPO, Circus Boy and 3 others like this

I think Thorpe is starting material long term.In some ways its a blessing in disguise that guys like Smeltzer, Thorpe, Dobnak, and even Graterol are getting experience down the stretch here.

    • Dantes929, Sconnie, twinssouth and 3 others like this
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John Buckeye
Sep 20 2019 06:31 AM

 

May and Romo scare the hell out of me. Duffy and Rogers are calming.

Why Romo? He's fine- even that game he "blew the save" against Cleveland recently, it was more because Wade made a total meal out of a really bloop hit. And I just can't see him ever getting completely lit up.

    • wabene likes this
I agree Romo has been there done that and I count on him and his three rings coming through. This was the first time I detected a slight critique from Baldelli. He seemed to question whether Gibby was even trying to throw strikes and said unequivocally that you have to throw strikes to have a chance.
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terrydactyls1947
Sep 20 2019 07:56 AM

Yesterday was Thursday, September 19.It was the 153rd game of the year putting the Twins 94% of the way through the season.The Twins hit 4 home runs for a season total of 293 home runs.The Twins are now 1 home run ahead of the Yankees for the new MLB single-season home run record.

    • Jerr and h2oface like this

I have to admit that it sure would be sweet if we finished the season with 1 more homer than the Yankees.

    • h2oface, Danchat, Dman and 1 other like this
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SpicyGarvSauce
Sep 20 2019 09:48 AM

 

I have to admit that it sure would be sweet if we finished the season with 1 more homer than the Yankees.

What is a homer?

 

They're Bombas around here, pal.

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Alex Schieferdecker
Sep 20 2019 10:12 AM

Maybe it would be best for both Gibson and the Twins if he didn't pitch again this year. It's clear he's not at his best as he battles his illness.

 

At this point, the Twins might want to just bring two starting pitchers to the playoffs, and instead bring a whole crop of guys who will be expected to go three to four innings, nothing more than two trips around the order. Perez, Smeltzer, Thorpe, and Dobnak. 

 

Something like...

 

Game One: Berrios

Game Two: Bullpen (Dobnak/Thrope)

Game Three: Odorizzi

Game Four: Bullpen (Smeltzer/Perez)

    • Circus Boy and cmoss84 like this
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puckstopper1
Sep 20 2019 10:38 AM

Hard to believe that one MLB team can beat another 17 straight times during a season\, but that is what Cleveland has done to Detroit.

 

Maybe Gardy had his boys tanking against the Tribe in order to "get back" at the team that fired him...

 

Here's Twins Pitch for last night's game:

 

Really enjoyed this video, especially highlighting Thorpe's usage of his curveball. Thorpe feels like a Rich Hill disciple with how he has that big sweeping curveball and then a sneaky fast heater to back it up with. I really like the way Thorpe has pitched this season.

I've been an off/on fan of Kyle Gibson for a while. At his best, he is a dominant starter with good command of his heater and his 1 to 7 curve, which is a legitimate whiff pitch. Unfortunately, Gibson has had just one season where he was healthy and his mechanics were in good shape. Today Gibson is battling a chronic illness that has literally left him emaciated and weak. I would much prefer that this man stop pitching until his illness is gone and his full physical strength is back. The world will get by without Kyle Gibson's pitching. He needs to get well before he gets back on the mound. 

 

Otherwise, Bomba city, y'all! Thorpedo again showed why he intrigues the team. Thorpe's command issues really come down to old Bert's mantra: Stay back, stay tall, and work out front. Mainly Thorpe is blowing the Stay Back part, releasing his drive foot too soon.

 

The other thing he needs to refine is his balance point. As I've said before, a pitcher's balance is like an imaginary broom stick planted on the front of the rubber, runningup through the pitcher's center of mass. For a pitcher to have good command, that stick must fall in a direct line towards home plate. If it falls to the left, the pitch will go left, and vice versa. Hitters watch for body lean during a pitcher's delivery to predict which side of the plate to cover. 

 

Anyway, Thorpe is one of a few Twins pitchers whosestick doesn't fall towards home plate consistently enough. May has that problem when he's missing. Perez has that problem. Duffey used to have that problem, but I think Wes Johnson fixed it. Romero has it a little, but mainly he needs to stay back and stay tall. 

 

Good news is, most Twins pitchers work from a very good foundation. Dobnak and Littell look really solid. Smeltzer has great balance. Stashak is almost perfect. Odorizzi is perfect. Perhaps coolest of all, Graterol looks almost perfectly on balance. This bodes well for their k/b ratios.

    • h2oface likes this

 

Maybe it would be best for both Gibson and the Twins if he didn't pitch again this year. It's clear he's not at his best as he battles his illness.

 

At this point, the Twins might want to just bring two starting pitchers to the playoffs, and instead bring a whole crop of guys who will be expected to go three to four innings, nothing more than two trips around the order. Perez, Smeltzer, Thorpe, and Dobnak. 

 

Something like...

 

Game One: Berrios

Game Two: Bullpen (Dobnak/Thrope)

Game Three: Odorizzi

Game Four: Bullpen (Smeltzer/Perez)

I like most of this, but for game 4, back to Berrios. 

 

What is a homer?

 

They're Bombas around here, pal.

I stand corrected Sir. Bombas they are, and Bombas they will be. May it rain Twin's Bombas all over the faithful Target Field outfield patrons. I wonder, if it just clears the fence is it a Bombacita? And an inside the park job, is it a Bomba en la casa or does it not even acquire Bomba status?

    • cmoss84 likes this

 

Yesterday was Thursday, September 19.It was the 153rd game of the year putting the Twins 94% of the way through the season.The Twins hit 4 home runs for a season total of 293 home runs.The Twins are now 1 home run ahead of the Yankees for the new MLB single-season home run record.

 

....and..... have played one game less, so have an extra game to hit more than than those Yankees!

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Alex Schieferdecker
Sep 20 2019 06:31 PM

 

I like most of this, but for game 4, back to Berrios. 

Pretty clear by now that he performs far better with extra rest.

Pretty clear by now that he performs far better with extra rest.


He actually has better career numbers on normal rest than he does with an extra day of rest.
He does have better numbers with 2 or more extra days of rest, so I'm not sure anything is "clear" yet.

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