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Article: CWS 5, MIN 1: Twins Drop Ugly Game, Series to White Sox

jose berrios byron buxton eddie rosario alan busenitz ryan pressly
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#1 Tom Froemming

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 09:55 PM

It’s a good thing we know this Twins team has the ability to pick itself up off the mat. They mustered very little offense and made some costly defensive mistakes Thursday night as they lost a five-game series 3-2 against the worst team in the American League.Win Expectancy (via Fangraphs)
Download attachment: WinEx824.png
Top 3 Twins per WPA: Escobar .055 | Rosario .037 | Mauer .032

It’s almost hard to believe the White Sox managed to score five runs off Berrios, given how nasty he was. Jose only gave up four hits and struck out nine batters over 5.1 innings, but he also walked three and the Twins made a pair of costly errors (one of which was committed by Berrios).

The fourth inning was particularly painful. Berrios walked the leadoff hitter, rookie Yoan Moncada, on four pitches. After retiring Jose Abreu, first baseman Mitch Garver committed a fielding error on a groundball in the hole. Moncada, who had stolen second base, hustled around to score, putting the Sox up 2-0.

Berrios then gave up back-to-back singles to load the bases with one out. Next, Tim Anderson hit an RBI ground out to put the White Sox up 3-0. With the two outs and runners at the corners, Berrios' pickoff throw went passed third baseman Ehire Adrianza, allowing the White Sox to score their fourth run.

It was a high-risk, low-reward move. I get that these guys are professionals and practice and prepare for everything, but how many pickoff throws has Adrianza fielded at third base in his life? And how many times has Berrios even ever attempted a pickoff at third?

Either way, that mistake was far from the reason the Twins lost this one. For the second-straight night the bats went ice cold. After making 2017 James Shields look like vintage James Shields Wednesday evening, the Twins gave the same treatment to Derek Holland. The longtime former Ranger entered the night with a 6.28 ERA, but he was able to hold the Twins to one run over 6.0 innings.

The Twins managed just five hits, with their only run coming on Byron Buxton’s 10th homer of the year. Buxton has now hit 19 home runs for the Twins over the last 365 days. He actually homered exactly a year ago today … for the Rochester Red Wings.

Eddie Rosario drew two walks, and is up to 28 in 118 games this season. He entered this year with 27 walks in 214 career games. Brian Dozier was 0-for-3 with a walk. The team really needs him to provide some offense against lefties, especially now that Miguel Sano is out. The Twins face another southpaw tomorrow. Jason Castro was placed on the seven-day concussion DL, which allowed the club to bring Zack Granite back up. He was 0-for-2 with a walk.

The bullpen was solid, as Ryan Pressly and Alan Busenitz each pitched 1.1 scoreless innings. Pressly has now given up just two earned runs in 13.0 innings (1.38 ERA) this month. Busenitz gave up runs in each of his first two appearances with the Twins, but since then he’s given up only two earned runs over 18.1 innings (0.98 ERA).

Postgame With Molitor

Twins W-L Record
Overall: 65-62
Last 10: 6-4
Last 20: 13-7
Last 40: 20-20
Last 80: 39-41

AL Central Standings
Cleveland 70-56
Minnesota 65-62 (-5.5)
Kansas City 64-62 (-6.0)

AL Wild Card Standings
WC1: Yankees 68-58 (+3.5)
WC2: Minnesota 65-62
Angles 65-63 (-0.5)
Kansas City 64-62 (-0.5)
Seattle 65-63 (-0.5)
Texas 64-63 (-1.0)

Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Download attachment: Bullpen824.png
Looking Ahead
FRI: Twins (Bartolo Colon) at Toronto (J.A. Happ), 6:07 pm CT
SAT: Twins (Dillon Gee) at Toronto (Marco Estrada), 12:07 pm CT
SUN: Twins (Kyle Gibson) at Toronto (TBD), 12:07 pm CT

Question of the Day
Are we to the point where Joe Mauer (.256/.344/.293 vs. LHP) needs to be in the lineup against lefties just for his defense?

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#2 AlwaysinModeration

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 03:36 AM

Are we to the point where Joe Mauer (.256/.344/.293 vs. LHP) needs to be in the lineup against lefties just for his defense?

Yes, and his OBP.
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#3 Han Joelo

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 06:29 AM

I don't want get all hyperbolic here, but this is the end of the world. Game over man! We just got our asses kicked. If the Twins can't beat the worst team in a five game series, how will they beat the best?

Okay, enough with the hyperbolic facetiousness. Great to see Buxton with another hit. Watching on game day, my feeble baseball mind was vexed as to why Berrios was messing with pickoffs when all he needed was a strikeout. Nice bullpen work.

Remember, when you need to stop a bad run, try throwing your Colon.

#4 laloesch

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 07:21 AM

Ugly Ugly Ugly!  This team is a mirage.  This was a good ole ass kicking by the White Sox.  My hat off to them.  They made this team look like a bunch of schmucks.


#5 Doubles

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 07:45 AM

Anybody else disappointed Mauer wasn't in the lineup? Easy to pile on given the error at first base, but come on, Joe. Team is fighting for a playoff spot. No idea what Mauer's numbers are vs Holland, but it's not like he's Randy Johnson out there.

This should be a time of year when a manager has to drag a guy out of the lineup, kicking & screaming. That's not the feeling I get from Mauer.
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#6 twinsnorth49

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 08:12 AM

 

Anybody else disappointed Mauer wasn't in the lineup? Easy to pile on given the error at first base, but come on, Joe. Team is fighting for a playoff spot. No idea what Mauer's numbers are vs Holland, but it's not like he's Randy Johnson out there.

This should be a time of year when a manager has to drag a guy out of the lineup, kicking & screaming. That's not the feeling I get from Mauer.

But in reality you really have no idea, like the rest of us.

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#7 twinsnorth49

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 08:17 AM

 

Ugly Ugly Ugly!  This team is a mirage.  This was a good ole ass kicking by the White Sox.  My hat off to them.  They made this team look like a bunch of schmucks.

A 5 hit ass kicking, aided by 2 errors.......ok then.

 

What's the mirage, the injury depleted team that couldn't get it going against the White Sox the last two nights? Or, the one that completely dismantled a very good D-Backs team last week?

 

They're  a young team with obvious holes, missing their biggest offensive threat......enjoy the ride.

 

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#8 Tibs

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 08:22 AM

 

Anybody else disappointed Mauer wasn't in the lineup? Easy to pile on given the error at first base, but come on, Joe. Team is fighting for a playoff spot. No idea what Mauer's numbers are vs Holland, but it's not like he's Randy Johnson out there.

This should be a time of year when a manager has to drag a guy out of the lineup, kicking & screaming. That's not the feeling I get from Mauer.

That's an awful lot of speculation in your post.

 

Yeah we get it. He makes $23 million a year and he's not an MVP caliber player anymore.

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#9 Cory Engelhardt

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 08:28 AM

Small sample size, but since July 1st (32 plate appearances) Joe Mauer has hit 308/438/346 for a 784 OPS against lefties. Yes, small sample size obviously, but his defense is so good anyway (and Vargas or Garver is so far below average at this point) that I think for now you need to have Mauer in the lineup as often as possible.

That said, if they Twins were facing Sale/Duffy etc, I'd sit him.


#10 USAFChief

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 08:44 AM

 

But in reality you really have no idea, like the rest of us.

It's fair to question who's at fault...Mauer, Molitor, or both.

 

It's also fair to wonder why, in a game where the lineup features Garver, Gimenez, Adrianza, and Granite, Mauer is on the bench.

 

 

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#11 wavedog

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 08:49 AM

Certainly disappointing to have Santana and Berrios pitching against the worst team (also hurts to not blast Shields, Holland and that White Sox bullpen) and lose both those games but in the words of Ron Washington - That's how baseball go. As I look at the standings we are still in 2nd place in the wild card race. Let's get a win today.   

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#12 Craig Arko

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 08:51 AM

 

It's fair to question who's at fault...Mauer, Molitor, or both.

 

It's also fair to wonder why, in a game where the lineup features Garver, Gimenez, Adrianza, and Granite, Mauer is on the bench.

I blame Calvin Griffith.

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#13 Tom Froemming

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 08:57 AM

The question isn't whether or not Joe wants days off. Mauer wants to play everyday. He said so this spring. Here's the link to an old thread Seth posted about it (which includes a link to an article by Derek Wetmore).

 

Then why is he not playing?

 

1) Paul Molitor wants to keep him healthy. Mauer hit .111/.245/.222 and played just 12 games last Sept./Oct. He's also 34 now, so it makes a lot of sense to try to rest him and keep him strong through the entire season.

 

2) Joe has had a tough time against lefties for awhile now. Over the past three seasons, he's hit .252/.320/.350 off same-sided pitchers (429 PAs). 

 

So the question is would you risk wearing him down and accept the decreased production in order to keep his glove on the field?

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#14 Doubles

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 09:06 AM

 

That's an awful lot of speculation in your post.

 

Yeah we get it. He makes $23 million a year and he's not an MVP caliber player anymore.

 

Yes, it is speculation on my part.  As I'm not on the inside, it's what I do.  

 

I made zero mention of Mauer's contract, but thanks for adding that in there.

 

From Berardino's gamer:

 

"After Yoan Moncada drew a four-pitch walk and stole second one out later in the fourth, first baseman Mitch Garver booted Nick Delmonico’s soft grounder to his right for a run-scoring error. Garver was playing first for the third time since being called up last Friday, but before that the natural catcher hadn’t played there since June 9 at Triple-A Rochester.

 

In five games (four starts) at first for the Red Wings this year, Garver had been charged with one error.

“I think it was a broken bat,” Garver said. “I knew I had to get over there and try to make a play on the ball. I think it hit off the heel of my glove and I ended up slipping.”

The ball kicked away far enough for Moncada to score from second.

“He’s going out there and he’s working on his defense,” Molitor said of Garver. “We’re trying to make him as versatile as we can. We don’t have a lot of options against left-handed pitching right now. He’s made some plays.”

 

So you're saying you're okay with running a guy out to an infield spot- who has a lot of learning to do about the position- over a guy many people feel is playing defense at a Gold Glove level?  Sorry, but I'm not.  And unless Joe is dealing with some sort of malady that makes it impossible for him to strap it on- then yeah, I'm demanding more.  

 

I'm not blaming Garver at all.  I'm questioning why a guy with only a handful of games played at first base this season is being asked to learn an extremely difficult position on the fly at the major league level.  Meanwhile, Mauer, and his remarkably good glove- sits two games & DH's another in the last week.

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#15 spycake

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 09:20 AM

While I probably would have preferred Mauer to Garver at 1B last night -- why didn't Vargas start?  He's no Mauer but he seems like a fair glove at 1B -- he's certainly no novice like Garver -- and he's got pretty even splits for his career.  3 career PA against Holland, with a walk, strikeout, and 3 run HR (talk about three true outcomes!).

 

That would have improved the 1B defense and probably improved the lineup offensively too, given Garver's inexperience.  And since we pinch-hit for Garver with Mauer late in the game anyway, starting Vargas instead would have kept Garver on the bench and allowed Mauer to pinch-hit for someone else, possibly even Gimenez if necessary.

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#16 Doubles

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 09:25 AM

 

The question isn't whether or not Joe wants days off. Mauer wants to play everyday. He said so this spring. Here's the link to an old thread Seth posted about it (which includes a link to an article by Derek Wetmore).

 

Then why is he not playing?

 

1) Paul Molitor wants to keep him healthy. Mauer hit .111/.245/.222 and played just 12 games last Sept./Oct. He's also 34 now, so it makes a lot of sense to try to rest him and keep him strong through the entire season.

 

2) Joe has had a tough time against lefties for awhile now. Over the past three seasons, he's hit .252/.320/.350 off same-sided pitchers (429 PAs). 

 

So the question is would you risk wearing him down and accept the decreased production in order to keep his glove on the field?

 

Thanks for posting this, Tom.  Also, props to you for your work on the TD Gamers.  Great stuff, especially for somebody who isn't on the inside.  Thanks for all the time & thought you put into these write-ups.

 

Didn't Joe get hurt down the stretch last season?  And for a season as dismal as last year was, there was no urgency to get back into the lineup.  Yes, I get and believe there is something to keeping a 34-year old guy as healthy & fresh as possible.  I just question throwing an inexperienced player- especially one with such little time spent at the position- to the wolves.  Not really much fair to the player- in this case Garver- as much as anything else.

 

 

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#17 Doubles

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 09:40 AM

Just watched Molitor's post-game presser from last night.  He seemed to bristle a bit when Berardino asked about being able to trust Garver at first base.  Interesting reaction.


#18 rghrbek

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 09:42 AM

My biggest complaint was just who was playing.  You really needed to have this win last night to win the series against a terrible, terrible team.

 

Molly has Gardy's fear of catchers getting hurt, so I was shocked to see both in at the same time.

Why bring Garver up if you are afraid to play him at catcher?  As we've seen from Gimenez, he is not very good behind the plate (not to mention his bat).  Apparently his leadership is off the charts I guess.  If Garver plays catcher, then Vargas can play first or Mauer.  If Mauer plays then Vargas can DH.

 

Also as much as I like Granite, it would be nice to have a real 4th outfielder, who can bat right handed.  Playing a utility man in the outfield is not ideal (in multiple games no less).

 

Not throwing out our best against a Toronto team that usually crushes us.  This could be ugly.  Of course every time I have thought this before this Twins team has bounced back.

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#19 Kwak

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 09:44 AM

Garver at 1B dovetails nicely with decisions like:  D, Santana, Escobar, or Sano in the OF, and  Gimenez at P.  "Flexibility."  Oh, I forgot (probably because no TD poster has mentioned it for awhile...) Mauer at 3B.

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#20 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 10:25 AM

Vargas is not the answer, he can't hit LH pitching.  Like at all - .163/.236/.265 (.501) for the season. I don't know what happened but if you watch him this year hitting from the right side he really doesn't have much of a chance. You can't put him in against LH pitching.  He's just an easy out at this point.

 

We desperately need a RH Dh or IB batto have a chance to compete. I was hoping Garver might be the answer but it isn't looking good. Is there anyone available in trade that won't cost a lot in prospects? 

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