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Article: Astros 5, Twins 3: Defensive Shortcomings Spoil Solid Start From Gibson

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#1 Tom Froemming

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 03:57 PM

Kyle Gibson against the Houston Astros looked like a nightmare matchup for the Twins on paper, but against all odds Gibby delivered what was honestly a pretty solid start. The Twins also slugged a pair of homers off Houston starter Mike Fiers, but a series of suboptimal defensive plays cost the Twins dearly in this one.Win Expectancy & Top 5 Plays Per WPA (via Fangraphs)
Download attachment: WinEx716.png
Download attachment: TopPlays716.png
Gibson’s line of six innings pitched and four earned runs doesn’t look very impressive, but the biggest hit he gave up was on a ball that Byron Buxton catches in his sleep. With Buxton on the DL and Zack Granite on the bench, it was Eddie Rosario manning center field. It’s not like Eddie made an error, and to be fair he’s accustomed to judging balls off the bat in left field, but he did not take the best route to the ball on Nori Aoki’s big two-run double.

The fastest way from Point A to Point B is a straight line, right? Well, Rosario’s first few steps were more straight toward right field than back to toward the wall, costing him an opportunity to possibly make the catch.

Download attachment: AokiDouble.png
Paul Molitor also probably got a bit greedy with Gibson, sending him out to start the seventh despite all the information in the world indicating that he gets much, much worse each subsequent time through a lineup.

Gibby walked the only batter he faced in the seventh, Jake Marisnick, in an 11-pitch at-bat. The Astros were up 3-2 at the time, but they added two runs in the seventh by basically embarrassing the Twins with aggressive base running.

Marisnick stole second base off Trevor Hildenberger, and when George Springer grounded out to third baseman Eduardo Escobar he broke to third on the throw. Kennys Vargas, playing first base with Joe Mauer out of the lineup, airmailed his return throw to third, allowing Marisnick to score from second base on a ground out. That’s how Gibson was saddled with his fourth earned run.

Jose Altuve followed that up with a ground-rule double. It was a ball he ripped down the third base line that was eventually touched by a fan. Buddy Boshers replaced Hildenberger, and on his second pitch Altuve swiped third base off him. Why bother? He was already at second base with less than two outs anyway, right? Well that would come up huge.

Josh Reddick struck out swinging on a ball in the dirt. On Chris Gimenez's throw down to first to retire Reddick, Altuve broke toward home. The Twins, depending once again on the arm of Vargas, could not catch the speedy Altuve and the Astros added on another insurance run.

The first two runs of the game for the Twins came on solo homers from Vargas and Ehire Adrianza. For as bad a defensive game Vargas had, he sure did destroy the ball on his homer.

Adrianza’s homer was his first as a Twin, and he was the only guy on the team with a multi-hit game. Mike Fiers racked up 11 strikeouts without issuing a single walk. The Twins managed to scratch across a run in the ninth of closer Ken Giles, but the comeback attempt fell short.

Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Download attachment: Pen716.png
Monday
Twins (Adalberto Mejia) vs. Yankees (TBA), 7:10 pm CT

The Yankees had a doubleheader Sunday in Boston, so this may be a good time to catch the Bronx Bombers. Those games were started by CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka. Luis Severino pitched Saturday.

In five starts since getting destroyed by Seattle, Mejia has a 2.79 ERA over 29 innings. He’s pitched into the sixth inning three-straight starts. The big lefty has struggled at Target Field this season, posting a 5.62 home ERA vs. 2.31 on the road.

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#2 yarnivek1972

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 04:16 PM

Not only did the Yankees play two today, they played 16 innings Saturday. Their bullpen has to be pretty gassed.
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#3 h2oface

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 07:16 PM

Castro can be easily played. First the Angels double steal, and then about 10 days later, Houston. Physical errors I get. But today's run on a throw to first after a strikeout. Inexcusable. At least in my book, and for a pro that is supposed to be so good and smart. Buxton is already mixed. That double that Rosario couldn't get to, sure seemed like made for Buxton. Two runs there. Those three runs are the ball game today. Great observation on Gibson being sent out for the 7th. 

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#4 Dantes929

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 07:41 PM

Plays you pointed out today. Error by Polanco that led to 8 runs on Friday and Santana's throw to center on a double play ball in his last start before the break make  all 3 of our last 3 losses winnable if we simply make the plays that we are supposed to. It happens but you can see how Buxton can be a pitcher's best friend.

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#5 USAFChief

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 08:01 PM

Castro can be easily played. First the Angels double steal, and then about 10 days later, Houston. Physical errors I get. But today's run on a throw to first after a strikeout. Inexcusable. At least in my book, and for a pro that is supposed to be so good and smart. Buxton is already mixed. That double that Rosario couldn't get to, sure seemed like made for Buxton. Two runs there. Those three runs are the ball game today. Great observation on Gibson being sent out for the 7th.

Today was Gimenez, not Castro.

And both infield flubs today trace back to the manager not having his team prepared to play a major league game. That's part of his job description.
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#6 Kwak

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 09:08 PM

We knew that Rosario doesn't belong in CF--so why is he there?  Nonsense if you say Granite is fatigued and needs a day off.  Then there the shift on a spray hitter with limited power--guys like Aoki are played "straight".  Stop trying to impress people with "new style (over)-managing.  Vanilla can work just fine plenty of times--need to know when to shift and when not to shift.  Despite the "defensive lapses", the Twins need more than 2 runs.

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#7 h2oface

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 02:07 AM

Today was Gimenez, not Castro.


Ahhh, so it was. Castro didn't come in until the 8th!. Does that now mean they BOTH can be easily played?

#8 Deduno Abides

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 07:48 AM

Grossman and Vargas - two DHs playing in the field, both making bad plays. With Rosario in center instead of Granite, it seems like Molitor followed the getaway day lineup formula instead of having his best defensive team behind Gibson, the most hittable pitcher, instead of thinking ahead and giving people a break on Saturday, if one was needed after having most of the week off.
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#9 Tomj14

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 07:57 AM

 

Grossman and Vargas - two DHs playing in the field, both making bad plays. With Rosario in center instead of Granite, it seems like Molitor followed the getaway day lineup formula instead of having his best defensive team behind Gibson, the most hittable pitcher, instead of thinking ahead and giving people a break on Saturday, if one was needed after having most of the week off.

It does seem Molitor sets Gibson up to fail, and Gibson doesn't need any more help on that.

Gibson has 96 pitches at the end of the 6th, that is pretty much where he has pulled him all year regardless of situation and for some reason Sunday was the day he was going to let him go out another inning? against the best hitting team in the league with the Twins C defense behind him?

Edited by Tomj14, 17 July 2017 - 08:01 AM.


#10 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:49 AM

I hate when outfielders play shallow like that. Maybe the coaches positioned Rosario there based on batted ball data. If not, someone in the dugout should have told him to back up.

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#11 Deduno Abides

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:24 AM

Tom, thanks again for doing a great job on these recaps.
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#12 Tom Froemming

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:48 AM

RHP Bryan Mitchell will be starting for the Yankees today. He has 5.06 ERA over 12 games with the Yankees this year, all of them out of the bullpen.

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#13 bluechipper

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:55 AM

Why does Rosario get CF instead of Kepler? Kepler has way more range in my opinion.

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#14 bizaff

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:40 AM

I don't think sending Gibson out for the 7th was a bad decision.He was dealing in the 5th and 6th. 


#15 MN_ExPat

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:53 AM

I'd have to agree with you. Rosario is an athletic outfielder and a fairly decent left fielder, but he seems just a little bit uncomfortable with center. Kepler has seemed, at least IMHO, to have a better "feel" for the center pasture.

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#16 bluechipper

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 12:00 PM

 

I don't think sending Gibson out for the 7th was a bad decision.He was dealing in the 5th and 6th. 

But it's Kyle Gibson.

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#17 Taildragger8791

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 12:18 PM

I didn't see the game so I'm having a hard time understanding reports that Gibson pitched really well when he was at 96 pitches with 6 hits, 3 walks, and 3 runs after 6 innings. Not bad for a back-end starter but still seems inefficient and the WHIP is again too high. If we're grading on a scale then I suppose I understand the faint praise a little more, but even for a 5th starter that line should be more the norm than the exception.


#18 Tom Froemming

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 12:58 PM

 

I didn't see the game so I'm having a hard time understanding reports that Gibson pitched really well when he was at 96 pitches with 6 hits, 3 walks, and 3 runs after 6 innings. Not bad for a back-end starter but still seems inefficient and the WHIP is again too high. If we're grading on a scale then I suppose I understand the faint praise a little more, but even for a 5th starter that line should be more the norm than the exception.

Turn Aoki's two-run double into an out. Whether it was a poor jump by Rosario, poor positioning from the coaching staff or a little bit of both, that ball needs to be an out. The hit probability on a ball like that is only 35 percent, per Baseball Savant.

 

After the inning was extended, Gibson walked a guy after what should've been the third out. Also, Marisnick had no business coming around to score in the seventh. He scored from second base on a ground out to third.

 

So that minuses out a hit, a walk and three runs from Gibson's line. Leaves him with this: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K. Pretty great performance against by far and away the best offense in baseball.

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#19 bluechipper

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 01:11 PM

Also, Grossman let a ball drop in front of him in the 2nd inning, part of 3 straight hits with 2 outs to score the first Houston run.

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