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Article: MIN 4, KC 2: Comeback Complete

jorge polanco kyle gibson joe mauer matt belisle robbie grossman
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#1 Tom Froemming

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 09:55 PM

The Twins have been resilient all year, but they had been making a habit of coming *this* close to mounting comebacks lately. Well, they broke through Thursday night. Entering the ninth down a run, the Twins scored three in the final frame and Matt Belisle locked it down for the save.Snapshot (chart via Fangraphs)
Download attachment: Snapshot97.png
Jorge Polanco … the team’s No. 3 hitter tonight … the guy who has an OPS over 1.000 since the start of August … was asked to bunt with no outs in the eighth. The Twins would end up not scoring.

The very next inning, however, Polanco was given a chance to hit and delivered the go-ahead two-run single after Brian Dozier tied things up with a sac fly. All’s well that ends well.

Kyle Gibson had another strong start, though it was in an unconventional way. He went 7.0 innings and held the Royals to two runs despite not striking out a single batter. Nobody in the bullpen recorded a strikeout, either. The Royals, who are still notorious for their ability to put the ball in play, hit into four double plays.

It’s easy for late-season hot streaks to go unappreciated. Gibby still has a 5.19 ERA on the year, but coming into tonight he had been among the better starting pitchers in the AL since the All-Star break. It’s true.

In his previous seven starts, Gibson had a 3.29 ERA, was 10th in FIP (3.11) among all pitchers and 11th in WAR (1.3) among AL pitchers (min. 40 IP). After watching Kyle throw more than 700 innings with the Twins now, I think we can safely say we know who he is, but there’s no denying the guy is on a great hot streak right now. It’s coming at a great time.

Belisle has also had quite the turnaround, but he had actually given up four earned runs over his previous six innings pitched prior to tonight’s game. Even with the expanded bullpen, he’s such a pivotal guy. It was great to see him turn in a 1-2-3 ninth.

Joe Mauer was on base five times tonight. He had a double, two singles and a pair of walks. Robbie Grossman hit his ninth homer of the season, Max Kepler stole his sixth base and Trevor Hildenberger picked up his third win.

Standings
This victory put the Twins back in the second wild card spot. They lead the Angels, who were off today, by one game. Baltimore is two back after losing to the Yankees and Texas trails by 2.5 games. Cleveland won its 15th-straight game. Wow. They’ve really run away with the division.

Postgame With Gibson

Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Download attachment: Bullpen97.png
Looking Ahead
Fri: Twins (Ervin Santana) at Kansas City (Ian Kennedy), 7:15 pm CT
Sat: Twins (Jose Berrios) at Kansas City (Jake Junis), 6:15 pm CT
Sun: Twins (Bartolo Colon) at Kansas City (Jason Vargas), 1:15 pm CT

Looking Back
Wed: MIN 10, TB 6: Twins Prevail Thanks to Big Error
Tue: TB 2, MIN 0: Too Little, Too Late
Mon: TB 11, MIN 4: Bullpen Lets Game Get Out of Hand

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#2 beckmt

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 10:39 PM

Nice win, Twins need more in KC. Knock them out of the race.

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#3 howeda7

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 12:14 AM

Glad to see them  finish off one of these 9th inning come-backs for once. 

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#4 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 03:07 AM

Take two out of three in KC and then get the hell back home for what should be a comfortable seven game home stand against the Padres and Jays.

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#5 h2oface

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 03:18 AM

Take two out of three in KC and then get the hell back home for what should be a comfortable seven game home stand against the Padres and Jays.


I hope they take 3 of the 4. Hell, why not be greedy? May as well sweep the 4 game series!

Edited by h2oface, 08 September 2017 - 03:21 AM.

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#6 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 03:43 AM

 

I hope they take 3 of the 4. Hell, why not be greedy? May as well sweep the 4 game series!

I meant win two of the three remaining games.

 

A sweep would be great but just win three out of four and go home. That will be enough to stick a fork in KC's postseason chances.


#7 Doubles

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 05:29 AM

Huge win that came in a big time of need.

Gotta say I hated Polanco bunting in the 8th inning after Mauer's lead off single. ESPECIALLY given how dangerous Polanco has been lately. Hate giving away one of the six outs you have left, hate trying to only TIE the game, just hate everything about it.

Now you have essentially the same situation in the 9th inning. Kepler leads off with a single, bringing up Esco. If you chose to bunt in the 8th inning, why wouldn't you choose the same thing an inning later?

I'm not 100% adverse to bunting. I just didn't like bunting in that spot last night.
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#8 Doubles

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 05:34 AM

On Gibson- IF he can put up 3-4 more effective starts the rest of the way here, do we truly know what he is? May be worth a deep- dive to analyze what has made Gibson successful over his last several starts. May also be worth trying to determine if it is in any way remotely possible that it's sustainable?
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#9 ThejacKmp

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 06:26 AM

 

Huge win that came in a big time of need.

Gotta say I hated Polanco bunting in the 8th inning after Mauer's lead off single. ESPECIALLY given how dangerous Polanco has been lately. Hate giving away one of the six outs you have left, hate trying to only TIE the game, just hate everything about it.

Now you have essentially the same situation in the 9th inning. Kepler leads off with a single, bringing up Esco. If you chose to bunt in the 8th inning, why wouldn't you choose the same thing an inning later?

I'm not 100% adverse to bunting. I just didn't like bunting in that spot last night.

 

I have no problems with Molitor other than the bunting but Jesus Christ, the bunting. It's so stupid and regimented.

 

I'm not against bunting altogether but it should be used incredibly sparingly. Tie game, late innings, runner on 2B with no outs, weak hitter at plate. And if the pitcher goes 2-0 trying to avoid the bunt, we're swinging away again.

 

Also, Buxton can bunt whenever he pleases.

 

But enough with the bunting.

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#10 jimmer

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 06:30 AM

Since Aug 1st, Polanco and Mauer are 1, 2 in AL BA.

 

Mauer is now 6th in AL BA and 3rd in AL OBP while playing GG defense.

Edited by jimmer, 08 September 2017 - 06:50 AM.

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#11 Miles Tones

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 06:31 AM

Tom,THANKS MUCH for these daily write-ups!I look forward to reading them every day.

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#12 ThejacKmp

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 06:38 AM

I get that it isn't an error on that Castro drop at the plate but it should have been an easy out. Can't get the ball in your glove and not hold onto it on a swipe tag. Gibson really only had one earned run this outing.

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#13 jimmer

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 06:41 AM

 

I get that it isn't an error on that Castro drop at the plate but it should have been an easy out. Can't get the ball in your glove and not hold onto it on a swipe tag. Gibson really only had one earned run this outing.

I wish I got why that isn't an error.  Ball went in and out of his glove.  But there are a lot of scoring decisions (in regards to what is an isn't an error) that baffle me. Back in the 80s and before, I believe that's scored an error.

Edited by jimmer, 08 September 2017 - 06:43 AM.

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#14 mikelink45

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 07:07 AM

I feel like the scorers really do not give out the errors they should.  I do not know if it is pressure from players or managers that want to keep errors to the minimum, but dropping a ball is an error. 

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#15 Halsey Hall

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 07:12 AM

Did Polanco bunt on his own or was it called?

he gone!


#16 jimmer

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 07:15 AM

 

I feel like the scorers really do not give out the errors they should.  I do not know if it is pressure from players or managers that want to keep errors to the minimum, but dropping a ball is an error. 

It's like fielders are being held to high school fielding standards nowadays.  

 

Think about this.  Ozzie Smith is the best fielding shortstop of all time (no offense to Omar V), and yet he had 5 seasons in his career where he had 20 or more errors.  

 

In fact, in his first 6 seasons, he averaged about 20 errors a season.

 

Last year only two shortstops had more than 18 errors.

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#17 FunnyPenguin

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 07:15 AM

Even if the Twins hold on to the 2nd WC spot and lose the WC game, this season has been a great storyline.  What other team gets the white flag from the front office and trades away some chips at the deadline, only to roar back and play much better ball afterwards. These guys are a vicious little bunch and I love following them!

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#18 jimmer

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 07:17 AM

 

Even if the Twins hold on to the 2nd WC spot and lose the WC game, this season has been a great storyline.  What other team gets the white flag from the front office and trades away some chips at the deadline, only to roar back and play much better ball afterwards. These guys are a vicious little bunch and I love following them!

All of this.  I'd go so far as to say the same thing even if they barely miss getting the 2nd wild card.

Edited by jimmer, 08 September 2017 - 07:18 AM.

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#19 JaleelWhite FanClub

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 07:22 AM

 

Did Polanco bunt on his own or was it called?

 

Living in Omaha, I watched the game on Fox Sports KC via their team broadcast. Their crew thought Polanco may have bunted on his own. I thought they were right considering Polanco took a big rip on the first pitch of the AB right before he bunted.


#20 Dantes929

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 07:30 AM

 

I have no problems with Molitor other than the bunting but Jesus Christ, the bunting. It's so stupid and regimented.

 

I'm not against bunting altogether but it should be used incredibly sparingly. Tie game, late innings, runner on 2B with no outs, weak hitter at plate. And if the pitcher goes 2-0 trying to avoid the bunt, we're swinging away again.

 

Also, Buxton can bunt whenever he pleases.

 

But enough with the bunting.

I am more tolerant of bunting than you are and really like the bunt as an attempt to get a base hit. I didn't see the game. Was it definitely a sacrifice? Your 3rd sentence I agree with completely. Buxton is 1 for his last 16.  To me bunting is his hedge against slumps. Its a great weapon for him so even when he is hot I like to see him lay one down every once in a while. He's not hot at the moment.

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