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Article: Recap: Doubleheader Sweep Puts Cleveland Atop Division

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#1 Tom Froemming

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 10:49 PM

The Twins held onto first place longer than anyone could have expected, but after getting swept by Cleveland in a doubleheader Saturday, they’re looking up in the division for the first time since May 9.Game 1: Cleveland 9, Twins 3
Box Score

Win Expectancy (via Fangraphs)
Download attachment: WE617G1.png
Game 2: Cleveland 6, Twins 2
Box Score

Win Expectancy (via Fangraphs)
Download attachment: WE617G2.png
Adam Wilk was terrible in the first game, to the surprise of basically no one. What has been surprising is how well the Twins have bounced back from adversity this year.

They started the season off by winning their first four games, but quickly fell to 8-10. At the time, it seemed likely we’d never see the Twins above .500 again in 2017, but they turned things around to win 17 of their next 25 games. There have been several times since when it appeared the Twins might have faded. They haven’t.

They got absolutely destroyed at home by the Astros right before a big West Coast road swing. Stick a fork in ’em? Not so fast. The Twins responded by taking three of four in Anaheim.

In Seattle, they got crushed in Game 1 and lost a heartbreaker in Game 2. Write ‘em off? Nope, the Twins followed that up with a three game-winning streak.

They lost their next two games in fairly embarrassing fashion, giving up 27 total runs in the process. Well clearly that led to a tailspin, right? Nope, the Twins scored 20 runs the next night.

Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader was another one of those moments that made you feel like you were watching the beginning of the end. Wilk gave up six runs and lasted just 3.1 innings. It appeared clear as day that Cleveland was a team in a class above the Twins. They cruised to a 9-3 victory despite not having one of their main horses on the mound, either. Ryan Merritt made his 2017 debut, and lasted just four innings.

Game 2 got off to a much better start for the Twins, but they lost Adalberto Mejia after 4.2 innings due to a rain delay that lasted over an hour. Maybe he should’ve started the first game.

The contest resumed with Cleveland up 2-1. Tyler Duffey got the final out of the top of the fifth, Jorge Polanco led off the bottom of the inning with a nine-pitch walk and it appeared the scrappy Twins might just pull off another momentum switch.

But the next batter, Jason Castro, grounded into a double play. Then Duffey gave up a three-run homer in the top of the inning. Cleveland sweeps.

This is it, isn’t it? This doubleheader sweep is the knockout blow. Here’s where the Twins finally fade away, right?

Well, they’ve gotten up off the mat every time they’ve been knocked down so far this season. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Alan Busenitz made his major league debut and struck out the first batter he faced, the red-hot Jose Ramirez. Busenitz gave up a run on a Francisco Lindor solo homer over two innings pitched. He topped out at 97 mph.

Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days. This has been updated so that instead of having the most recent games on the left side, they're now on the right.
Download attachment: Pen617.png
Alex Wimmers was the 26th man, so he’ll be headed back to Rochester. The bullpen combined to throw 177 pitches Saturday. The Twins have a much-needed off day coming Monday.

Sunday
Twins (Kyle Gibson 6.79 ERA) vs. Cleveland (Trevor Bauer, 5.85 ERA), 1:10 pm CT

Gibson has a 4.58 ERA and 1.59 WHIP in June, much more palatable numbers than his 2017 season totals. Current Cleveland hitters have teed off on Gibson to the tune of a 1.028 OPS. Bauer’s strikeout rate is at a career high 10.8 K/9, but that’s come with a 5.85 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. He has given Miguel Sano fits, striking him out 10 times over 23 plate appearances.

AL Central Standings
Cleveland 35-31
Twins 34-32 (-1)
Detroit 32-35 (-3.5)
Kansas City 32-35 (-3.5)
Chicago 31-36 (-4.5)

Be sure to check out today’s Minor League Report, which includes some great video of Travis Blankenhorn’s game-winning steal of home.

Click here to view the article
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#2 Brandon

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 10:59 PM

Its a good thing we are not doing anything to improve the pitching staff. We might win more games if we do and stay in contention if we did.
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#3 jun

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 11:03 PM

Turley and Wilk are not major league pitchers period.
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#4 jun

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 11:36 PM

I certainly would not want Duffey to be the 9th inning guy

#5 MCary

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 01:21 AM

Sure could have used Alex Meyer today... That trade looks worse each and every day.


#6 yarnivek1972

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 03:25 AM

If Mejia had started game one, Busenitz would have had to have been sent down after game one to make room for Wilk.

#7 akmanak

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 03:55 AM

This team will not be in first place again this year unless we pick up some pitchers.

By next Saturday we could very well be 6 games back.
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#8 Tom Froemming

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 05:31 AM

 

If Mejia had started game one, Busenitz would have had to have been sent down after game one to make room for Wilk.

I'd have made one extra move. For Game 1, I'd have called up Melotakis. I'd have optioned him back to Rochester to add Wilk for Game 2. Then I'd have DFA'd Wilk to add Busenitz for today.

 

This allows you to start Mejia the first game and gets you an extra fresh arm for today at the expense of ... nothing. Melotakis is burning an option year just by being on the 40-man roster, so it's not like that's an issue.

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#9 dogsday

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 06:22 AM

Of course, they've only scored 6 runs so far, also. But the Indians have pitched Kluber twice and Carrasco once...so maybe it was to be expected. ;-)  Turley, Wilk, Meija, Gibson...I thought we were set up perfectly. Who knew? :-(

 

Anyway, the Twins are a lot more fun to follow this year. But they aren't contenders. The problems are obvious. We'll see if they will take the next steps to get there, or not.

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#10 bighat

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 06:26 AM

 

This team will not be in first place again this year unless we pick up some pitchers.

By next Saturday we could very well be 6 games back.

 

I'm pretty down on the Twins too. I'm not sure they'll be SIX games back - remember, the Indians have had their fair share of problems as well.

 

What bothers me is the pitching the Twins rolled out for this HUGE series. We're in the thick of the race, the heart of the season, and we have a 4 game series against our biggest rival. AT HOME. It's Father's Day weekend, the big Prince Night, the whole she-bang. And we lead off the series with Turley and Wilk? It's almost like the Twins forfeited and rolled over. And it's not just the pitching. Aside from Carrasco, the Twins haven't faced a tough pitcher and they've been kept in check easily.

 

As a fan, when you get the feeling that your team isn't trying, it can be irksome. The cupboard looks bare right now. Is it time to just wait for the trading deadline and see who we get?

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#11 Darius

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 07:18 AM

Sure could have used Alex Meyer today... That trade looks worse each and every day.


Meyer's ERA is down under 3.5, and he's striking out nearly 11 per 9.

They could have used Ricky Nolasco today, also. Even he's got better numbers than Santiago....and is actually pitching.

But, hey, at least they're saving that money. Priorities.

Trading two starters for one in a pitching starved organization to save some cash....brilliant.

#12 spycake

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 07:25 AM

If Mejia had started game one, Busenitz would have had to have been sent down after game one to make room for Wilk.


Not necessarily. Wilk could have been the 26th man instead of Wimmers.
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#13 Jerr

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 07:35 AM

I enjoy your posting these game wraps, but ouch, after looking at those "win expectancy" graphs...double ouch!!

Edited by Jerr, 18 June 2017 - 07:36 AM.

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#14 terrydactyls1947

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 07:42 AM

With the starting pitchers the Twins used yesterday, I expected the "win expectancy" graph to start a downward trend at "got out of bed and made coffee."
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#15 Old Twins Cap

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 08:21 AM

Twins don't have a lot of bullets right now, but Molitor is not exactly making the right moves at the right time either. 

 

Once a pitcher shows they are not able to keep runners off base, and not generating swings and misses, and not controlling the ball in the strike zone, even when the game is 1-0 -- OR ESPECIALLY when the game is 1-0, sometimes you have to make a move.

 

As it is, poor pitching, poor managing combined with poor hitting is taking the Twins down.

 

When you play big games and big series, there is no substitute for playing well, being aggressive and taking it to the other team.

 

Twins ain't there right now.

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#16 notoriousgod71

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 12:04 PM

I was telling my buddy yesterday when the Twins were still in first place that there's likely never been as much apathy, disgust, and outrage over a first place team this late in the season.

 

 

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#17 KirbyDome89

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 12:19 PM

 

Meyer's ERA is down under 3.5, and he's striking out nearly 11 per 9.

They could have used Ricky Nolasco today, also. Even he's got better numbers than Santiago....and is actually pitching.

But, hey, at least they're saving that money. Priorities.

Trading two starters for one in a pitching starved organization to save some cash....brilliant.

They actually aren't saving any money either. They're paying LA $4 million of Nolasco's salary and when you add that to the $8 million contract they tendered to Santiago the two are basically a wash. 

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#18 ashbury

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 12:40 PM

I was telling my buddy yesterday when the Twins were still in first place that there's likely never been as much apathy, disgust, and outrage over a first place team this late in the season.

Never visited Philly, I take it? :)

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