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Twins Game Recap (9/4): Berrios Continues Rough Stretch, Rodriguez Sails

Jose Berrios was given an extra day of rest after the Twins went with a bullpen day in a 6-5 win over the Red Sox last night. Things didn’t work out as planned, as the Twins fell to Boston 6-2 tonight. The Twins’ offense struggled against Eduardo Rodriguez and failed to come through with runners on as he sailed through the lineup picking up eight strikeouts. The Indians got into a close game in the ninth but their bull pen stranded bases loaded, and with a Twins loss, are now five and a half games back.
Image courtesy of FanGraphs
Box Score
Berrios: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 64.4% strikes (65 of 101 pitches)
Bullpen: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

Home Runs: Rosario (28)
Multi-Hit Games: Rosario (2-for-4, HR), Sano (2-for-3, BB), Cron (2-for-3, BB)

Bottom 3 WPA: Polanco -.106, Cave -.157, Berrios -.228

Extra Day Doesn’t Help Berrios

The hope was that Berrios could use the extra day of rest to get back to his dominant self we saw earlier this season, and not the Berrios we saw last month, when he had his worst month of his career since his rookie year in … August. Since his start at the end of July when he threw seven shutout innings, he has given up 23 runs in just 27 innings coming into tonight.

Berrios is usually pretty good at keeping the ball in the ballpark, in fact he’s giving up just 1.2 home runs per nine innings. This season, the first three innings is where he has surrendered the most with 13. Today, he again struggled early as he gave up two home runs to Mookie Betts in his first two at-bats, in the first two innings, on just two pitches. This year, he has also now given up 10 home runs on the first pitch of an at-bat.

After a rough start to the game, Berrios was able to turn things around for a few innings. After the second home run by Betts, Berrios retired 11 of the next 13 batters, which was capped off by a very athletic play by Berrios himself.



Something that Berrios was able to use an extra rest day to his favor was getting his velocity back up. Recently, Berrios’ velocity has been consistently in the low 90s, but tonight it looked back to normal as he topped out at about 95 mph and was normally hanging around 94 mph on his fastball.

That was about it for good things from Berrios, as he left the game without even recording an out in the sixth inning. Berrios gave up a leadoff single that was followed by a walk and a double to score another run as he left with runners on second and third.

Eduardo Rodriguez Quiets Twins

Rodriguez came into tonight's start having given up just three runs in his last 17 1/3 innings, and tonight he continued his success shutting out the Twins offense for seven innings. Rodriguez gave up just five hits while striking out eight batters. Though Rodriguez wasn’t giving up many hits, he issued four walks, but the Twins just couldn’t come through in times of need.

Rodriguez struck out the side in the top of the first, and picked up his fifth strikeout in the second inning stranding two runners. In the fourth, the Twins got back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, but Cave grounded into a double play. The inning wasn’t over quite yet as Rodriguez walked the next two batters to fill the bases. He got Willians Astudillo to fly out to end the threat with no runs being scored, but four guys reaching base safely.

In the final three innings, he faced just 11 batters while recording nine outs including two more strikeouts, the final coming against Max Kepler to end the inning, and Rodriguez’s start.

Bullpen

Once the Twins' bullpen came into the game, they quieted down the Sox offense. Ryne Harper came in for the first time since being recalled and pitched just two pitches and recorded an out with runners on second and third. Cody Stashak came in with hopes of keeping the runners on the bases. Mookie Betts picked up another RBI with a single scoring the Sox sixth and last run of the game. Stashak picked up the final two outs to end the inning and strand two runners. Stashak picked up a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh before giving way to Brusdar Graterol for his second career outing. After giving up a leadoff walk, Graterol got three straight lineouts to end the inning.

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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28 Comments

I think serious talks need to be had about stretching out Dobnak, Thorpe or Smeltzer into a starter to take Berrios potential playoff spot in the rotation if this continues. I don't know how Rocco could trust Berrios in a big game with the stuff he's shown the past month. 

    • Oldgoat_MN and KFEY93 like this

Kind of stinks that Cleveland has an afternoon game on Thursday while the Twins have to finish up their series with Boston in the evening.The Indians will be all tucked away in their hotel rooms getting some rest while the Twins have to take the overnight flight back to the Twin Cites.For such an important series too....

When you throw your pitch right down the middle to Mookie Betts, and then do it again the next at bat... you are not going to be a succesful pitcher. It is sad what has happened to Berrios the second half of this, and every season of his career.

    • Vanimal46 likes this
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Tom Froemming
Sep 04 2019 10:22 PM

Jose Berrios had his velocity back. His command? Well ...

    • Jerr, Mike Frasier Law and VivaBomboRivera! like this
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terrydactyls1947
Sep 05 2019 12:46 AM

Yesterday was Wednesday, September 4. It was the 139th game of the year putting the Twins 86% of the way through the season. The Twins hit 1 home run upping their MLB record-breaking season total to 272 home runs.

 

    • Jerr and Oldgoat_MN like this
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VivaBomboRivera!
Sep 05 2019 01:26 AM

 

Jose Berrios had his velocity back. His command? Well ...

 

Thanks, Tom.Two things that impressed and offer hope:

  • You pointed out the welcome return of velocity
  • The diving stop and throw to first on Benintendi's grounder demonstrate that the hunger and will are there

He and the coaches have 23 games/four starts to figure the mechanics out.Godspeed.

    • Jerr, Mike Frasier Law, Oldgoat_MN and 1 other like this
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SoDakTwinsFan4
Sep 05 2019 01:56 AM

I think serious talks need to be had about stretching out Dobnak, Thorpe or Smeltzer into a starter to take Berrios potential playoff spot in the rotation if this continues. I don't know how Rocco could trust Berrios in a big game with the stuff he's shown the past month.


Seems a little extreme. From what I've seen Jose has had some poorly located breaking balls that have really hurt him in big, key spots. I think his location and situational awareness are things he will get better at.
    • Jerr, Mike Frasier Law, 70charger and 6 others like this

 

I think serious talks need to be had about stretching out Dobnak, Thorpe or Smeltzer into a starter to take Berrios potential playoff spot in the rotation if this continues. I don't know how Rocco could trust Berrios in a big game with the stuff he's shown the past month. 

 

Absolute overreaction. He's in a slump. The only guys we have are Big Mike and Odorizzi. The Twins are going to need Berrios in the playoffs (if they make the playoffs) and you'll be watching him start a game if you're lucky.

    • Mike Frasier Law and BBAM like this

What a puzzle and challenge - Berrios - no longer our ACE and annually doing an August Swoon.What happens?Tired?Tipping pitches?Too predictable?Where are all the analytics?We really have to have Berrios in the playoffs.Pineda and Odorizzi will pitch, but they will each go five innings, we need one pitcher to rest the BP with just one or two more innings and Berrios was that guy.

    • Mike Frasier Law likes this
I don't understand why they aren't shutting Berrios down for 2-3 weeks. Get his mind and mechanics back on track with simulated games... Then give him a tune up start before the playoffs. Not much is gained by continuing to throw him out there every 5-6 days.
    • Cap'n Piranha, Oldgoat_MN, Sssuperdave and 2 others like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Sep 05 2019 08:04 AM

I really think they need to skip the next couple Berrios starts... Let his arm rest for a week or two. We need him on firing on all cylinders and right now he's a liability each start. I cannot imagine that Thorpe or Smeltzer would be worse right now. 

    • Oldgoat_MN, Sssuperdave, Hosken Bombo Disco and 2 others like this

 

Yesterday was Wednesday, September 4. It was the 139th game of the year putting the Twins 86% of the way through the season. The Twins hit 1 home run upping their MLB record-breaking season total to 272 home runs.

You should include the Yankees in these.They hit 2 and are now 9 behind us. Lets get a McGwire/Sosa vibe going.

    • Mike Frasier Law likes this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Sep 05 2019 08:23 AM
Yesterday was the first time since August 11 that the Twins have lost a game on the same day Cleveland won. Despite the hiccup last night, the Twins are still taking care of business.
    • Mike Frasier Law and howieramone2 like this

If they win tonight, they win the series and anyone who complains about winning a road series needs to check themselves. 

 

It's disappointing that Berrios is continuing to struggle, and a little too bad that the offense couldn't pick him up, but it happens. I'm not sure shutting him down for an extended period will make a real difference, but skipping him the next time through might not be out of line, just to get him some extra rest and time to work on mechanics. Unless he's got an injury, sitting him for an extended period probably doesn't help.

 

Here's what I really don't love about last night's game: Mitch Garver not catching. I understand getting him and Castro plenty of rest, i understand getting Astudillo out there...but until we've clinched, Garver should be getting in the lineup more.

    • bighat likes this

 

If they win tonight, they win the series and anyone who complains about winning a road series needs to check themselves. 

 

It's disappointing that Berrios is continuing to struggle, and a little too bad that the offense couldn't pick him up, but it happens. I'm not sure shutting him down for an extended period will make a real difference, but skipping him the next time through might not be out of line, just to get him some extra rest and time to work on mechanics. Unless he's got an injury, sitting him for an extended period probably doesn't help.

 

Here's what I really don't love about last night's game: Mitch Garver not catching. I understand getting him and Castro plenty of rest, i understand getting Astudillo out there...but until we've clinched, Garver should be getting in the lineup more.

Pretty sure he's still dealing with the effects of a foul tip off the mask.

    • bighat likes this
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Don Walcott
Sep 05 2019 10:34 AM

 

Pretty sure he's still dealing with the effects of a foul tip off the mask.

Agree. They should seriously consider moving him to 1st base as soon as possible. Even if that means letting Cron walk.

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puckstopper1
Sep 05 2019 10:46 AM

The bad news - Berrios is still not quite right.

 

The good news - the Twins will finish a 10 game road trip with either an excellent 8-2 or 7-3 record.  

 

More good news - arguable the Twins best two starting pitchers - Big Mike and Odo are lined up to face the Indians.

I didn't get to see the game, but looking at the box score and game log, it seemed Jose did a decent job with everyone outside of Betts....then ran out of steam in the 6th.Am I off on that?I guess if you get beat it's better it's an MVP caliber player than a scrub.

 

Either way, take the series tonight!

    • bighat likes this
I’d be fine with them just shutting down Berrios for for a turn or two during the rotation. Let him get some real rest. Then, give him one start before the playoffs in a way that lines up with game 1. If he looks like he’s back , give him game 1. If he’s still struggling, give Pineda game 1. I’m not sure what else you can really do at this point. I think it’s kind of foolish to keep running him out there when he’s clearly not right (whether due to some minor injury or exhaustion).

During the game, a buddy and I were discussing whether we would have Berrios or Eduardo Rodriguez long term. Two months ago, it was clearly Berrios. But, after unraveling down the stretch again, I may take Rodriguez. He’s 26, he’s a lefty, good K guy, playoff/World Series experience, and he’s really turning it on down the stretch (44 IP and a 2.86 ERA over his last 7 starts). Really impressive young pitcher. Sure would be nice to have that going into the playoffs instead of the nuclear meltdown we’re seeing with Berrios for the third consecutive year.
    • wabene likes this

The folks at Fenway gave Berrios a nice hand for his play on the slow grounder. I always feel that I'm among baseball fans, and not just home-town rooters, when I'm there.

 

But they do love their Mookie, too. :)

Absolute overreaction. He's in a slump. The only guys we have are Big Mike and Odorizzi. The Twins are going to need Berrios in the playoffs (if they make the playoffs) and you'll be watching him start a game if you're lucky.

This is not an “absolute overreaction.” This is the third year in a row this guy has absolutely imploded down the stretch. He didn’t exactly shine in his only playoff appearance against the Yankees either. I’d think the concern was a little misguided if he had looked amazing when the bright lights were on in October.

It’s absolutely not an overreaction to wonder if Berrios can even help you in the playoffs at this point.

I get your sentiment, though. I agree that you have to use him in the playoffs despite the legitimate concern. He has the kind of upside that can take over a game and win it for you. He can go 7-8 shutout innings and K 10 guys. If I’m Baldelli, I just can’t sit that down for guys who, with all due respect, stink. We already know Dobnak, Smeltzer, etc have zero shot at locking down the Yankees or Astros for 7 inning on the road and stealing one for you.

Whether it’s likely to happen or not, you still have to give him the opportunity. He could totally swing a series with two shut down performances in game 1 and 4.

The difference between Berrios at the top of his game and Smeltzer is massive. I hate to sound so negative towards them, but if Smeltzer or Dobnak start a game in any other role than an opener, the guys can start making tee times for the following week.
    • Platoon and bighat like this

 


Either way, take the series tonight!

 

White Sox up on Cleveland 6-1 in the 7th inning. How sweet it would be to waltz into tonight's game seeing that big "L" on the scoreboard from the Indians already booked.

 

 

    • SwainZag and wabene like this

 

Kind of stinks that Cleveland has an afternoon game on Thursday while the Twins have to finish up their series with Boston in the evening.The Indians will be all tucked away in their hotel rooms getting some rest while the Twins have to take the overnight flight back to the Twin Cites.For such an important series too....

They can think about losing 2-3 to the sox, and without a great catch they get SWEPT

    • wabene likes this

... before giving way to Brusdar Graterol for his second career outing. After giving up a leadoff walk, Graterol got three straight lineouts to end the inning.

Yeah, that glosses over the absolute rocket that was directed right to his own midsection, which luckily he got his glove up in time to make a "look what I got!" catch. Ball went in at 99 MPH, came back at probably 120. Good for him, for making that play, the only out recorded against Betts last night, perhaps the only way an out COULD be recorded on that guy.

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yarnivek1972
Sep 05 2019 02:06 PM

This is not an “absolute overreaction.” This is the third year in a row this guy has absolutely imploded down the stretch. He didn’t exactly shine in his only playoff appearance against the Yankees either. I’d think the concern was a little misguided if he had looked amazing when the bright lights were on in October.

It’s absolutely not an overreaction to wonder if Berrios can even help you in the playoffs at this point.

I get your sentiment, though. I agree that you have to use him in the playoffs despite the legitimate concern. He has the kind of upside that can take over a game and win it for you. He can go 7-8 shutout innings and K 10 guys. If I’m Baldelli, I just can’t sit that down for guys who, with all due respect, stink. We already know Dobnak, Smeltzer, etc have zero shot at locking down the Yankees or Astros for 7 inning on the road and stealing one for you.

Whether it’s likely to happen or not, you still have to give him the opportunity. He could totally swing a series with two shut down performances in game 1 and 4.

The difference between Berrios at the top of his game and Smeltzer is massive. I hate to sound so negative towards them, but if Smeltzer or Dobnak start a game in any other role than an opener, the guys can start making tee times for the following week.


If the decision needed to be made today there is no way Berrios starts game one. Game 3 is most likely as of today.

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