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Article: KC 5, MIN 2: Molitor Pushes All the Wrong Buttons in Loss

byron buxton jose berrios eddie rosario eduardo escobar buddy boshers
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#21 drjim

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 07:28 AM

One might argue that if that second paragraph is all true, then Molitor should probably be manager of the year for getting a team with that big of an issue late in games to a point where on September 10th they have a 2-game lead for the 2nd wild card and are 6-7 games over .500.


I generally agree with the sentiment here. That Molitor got the team to this point with this bullpen (not to mention rotation) is truly remarkable.

If only he would stop bunting.
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#22 jokin

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 07:44 AM

 

At least the Angels lost to the Twins sleeper agent Andrew Albers. :)

 

Using Pressly over Busenitz is not the B Squad. Molitor would have no reason to hold back Busenitz.

Using Boshers for one LH batter, as has been often requested here, is using him correctly. Perhaps Rogerd should have been used instead, I'll grant that, but if Boshers can't get 1 LH hitter out, the Twins truly have no second lefty.

 

Enns? (and by proxy, Albers :) )

Edited by jokin, 10 September 2017 - 07:45 AM.

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#23 Comrade Bork

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 07:50 AM

Is this one of those things where good managing goes unnoticed, but bad managing sticks out like a sore thumb. It's easy to point at one game and throw Molly under the bus, but I'm rarely thinking, 'wow, what a great move'in any of his games.

How much credit can we give to Molitor for our young players development? Is he pushing the right buttons or is it just our young guys figuring it out? If you can credit Molly for any of the turn around it would be tough to fire him.
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#24 jokin

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 07:54 AM

 

I have zero issue with anyone unsatisfied with the in-game managing, but the comments above read like more of a critique of bullpen composition. That ain't on the manager.

 

Partially, it still is.. Addition by subtraction is one way to mitigate a bad bullpen. (SP threw only 94 ptichers, pretty easy to see scenarios where the Twins win the game, with only one or two RPs used to finish off the game- Rogers and/or Busenitz).

Edited by jokin, 10 September 2017 - 08:02 AM.

 

Joyous, fact-based and tireless Twins fan for 40+ years, who unfortunately has been characterized as-

 

"forcing Twins fans to endure more bitter, baseless, and tiresome cheap shots about the Twins FO."


#25 spycake

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 07:56 AM

How much credit can we give to Molitor for our young players development? Is he pushing the right buttons or is it just our young guys figuring it out? If you can credit Molly for any of the turn around it would be tough to fire him.


But how much of the 2017 improvement is only improvement coming after the 2016 regression? Multi-year, Molitor might only be neutral at best.
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#26 jokin

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 08:05 AM

 

But how much of the 2017 improvement is only improvement coming after the 2016 regression? Multi-year, Molitor might only be neutral at best.

 

Yep. I'm convinced, short of a World Serious run, Molitor has already been determined by Falvine to be a dead man(ager) walking.

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Joyous, fact-based and tireless Twins fan for 40+ years, who unfortunately has been characterized as-

 

"forcing Twins fans to endure more bitter, baseless, and tiresome cheap shots about the Twins FO."


#27 ThejacKmp

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 08:27 AM

No issue with the pen management. It's September and he was chasing matchups. That's what you should do in a tight game when your best two options are unavailable. I also think going to Boshers makes sense if you're thinking it's only for one batter - you save Rogers for a situation where you want a lefty who can pitch more than one batter.

 

But the bunting. Enough with the bunting.

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#28 Blake

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 08:29 AM

 

One might argue that if that second paragraph is all true, then Molitor should probably be manager of the year for getting a team with that big of an issue late in games to a point where on September 10th they have a 2-game lead for the 2nd wild card and are 6-7 games over .500.

Seth, Molitor, if I remember correctly, was brought in because Gardenhire was to "old school" and not keeping up with the changes in the way the game is managed. 

 

Yet, I can point to more than a few games where Molitor did old-school managing rather than doing something a little different.

 

For instance, in a couple of games, Molitor could have given up the DH, late in the game, so he had the best defensive alignment available in the field. Moves that, had Molitor made them, could very well have been the difference between winning and losing.

 

And the constant bunting thing, especially with some of the hottest hitters the Twins have, is ridiculous.

 

Bill James online did a study on bunting and came to the conclusion the chances of scoring from 1st or 2nd is about the same, percentage wise and sacrificing the runner over is a waste of a very precious commodity, outs.

 

See here: http://www.billjames...ne.com/stats33/

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#29 brvama

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 08:43 AM

Sometimes one can over manage and Mollie sure did this time. It looks like he saw a tight game and went into small ball mode early ignoring the fact that this is not a small ball team, per se. Performance from the BP was not there so I won't fault him too much there, but taking the bats out of the "producers" is, IMO, is really inexcusable. Putting it kindly, he lost the game last night on a very poor night of managing. It happens and let's hope he can see the error of his ways.
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#30 USAFChief

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 08:52 AM

I wish someone "with access" would ask Molitor about all the sac bunting.
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#31 Dantes929

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 09:25 AM

 

Going into the eighth inning, game tied and what Molitor had available in the bullpen, did he really think one run would be enough to win the game? Did he think his bullpen could get six outs without giving up a run? Everyone on this forum knew they answer to that , except for Molitor. The question I have is, are the Twins doing this well despite Molitor? What is in the bullpen is not his fault, but he needs to think outside the box sometimes and stop reading from a script. I just wish he would stop with all of the bunting.

The bullpen has held countless leads this year for which they generally do not get much credit. No one ever knows if one run is enough but it is reasonable to play for 1 run in the 8th inning.  The issue many have on here is that playing for 1 run, based on statistics and probability, is not enhanced by sacrificing an out by your #3 hitter to get the guy to second.  In Molitor's defense, if he gets his run in the 8th perhaps he uses hit bullpen differently in the bottom of the inning.  I would give the bullpen decent grades in holding leads late in games.  In a tie game you still have to imagine that it will go extra innings . Of course using 5 guys in one inning doesn't further that theory.

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#32 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 09:25 AM

 

Sometimes one can over manage and Mollie sure did this time. It looks like he saw a tight game and went into small ball mode early ignoring the fact that this is not a small ball team, per se. Performance from the BP was not there so I won't fault him too much there, but taking the bats out of the "producers" is, IMO, is really inexcusable. Putting it kindly, he lost the game last night on a very poor night of managing. It happens and let's hope he can see the error of his ways.

But he doesn't see 'the error of his ways'. This is not the first game he has done this. Time and again, even early in a game he will play for one run, when with a bullpen like ours you want to put up crooked numbers.

The Twins have one of the best offenses in the AL. Why would you give away outs? If the Twins win the World Series I would still want a different manager next year. ALL the stats show that bunting is usually a mistake. Especially when he has our hottest hitters doing it. I'm sorry, but that is just dumb.

 

And continuing to steal against a guy who has twice led the league in throwing out those attempting to steal is not terribly wise, especially when you have hot hitters coming to the plate. Perez had at least one game I remember from last year where he threw out at least two attempting to steal.

 

Molitor knows way more about baseball than I ever will, but could he read The Book, or at least the article that Blake refers to above?

 

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#33 the blade

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 09:26 AM

On the podcast Effectively Wild they sometimes say a line about closers that goes, "the closer is the closer because he's the closer" and i feel like this logic applies to Molitor and bunting.  Close game, man on first?  Bunt. Becuase you should bunt in order to bunt....  

 

How about hit a 2 run homer...it's not a sin.  This lineup seems to do best when they're required to take intelligent at bats, yet allowed to be themselves and swing.  

 

Also, Grossman should not bat 9th.  He's in the top 10 in OBP. 

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#34 gunnarthor

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 09:34 AM

I won't miss Molitor at all. Besides the bunting, he doesn't stand up for his players so we've seen guys end up ejected after they complain to the umps. Last year he was yanking young guys in and out all the time. I suspect Pickler in the dugout has stopped some of that this year.

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#35 Han Joelo

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 09:52 AM

Maybe Molitor had the big picture in mind. Knew he had to somehow NOT use Hildy and Belly. Maybe he even factored the score of the Angels game into the equation. If this team had a bullpen full of elite pitchers, this team would have a better record.

Molitor is rolling with the hand he's been dealt. Hopefully Duffy and Presley at least have a few good games left to help average out the sucky ones.

No comment on the bunting though. He does know the ball is juiced, right?
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#36 mickeymental

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 10:01 AM

where's mejia? maybe try sticking him in the bullpen and let the rotation roll as is.

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#37 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 10:39 AM

All these bunts are terrible. Just baffling.

I am infintely more tolerant of Rosario trying to steal. Sometimes it doesn't work.


Why are you tolerant of Rosario trying to steal?
Is it because he has decent speed so he must automatically be able to steal?

He's 8/16 on the season. Those 8 caught stealing, BTW, lead all of baseball!
And for his career he's 24/40, just awful.
Him trying to steal, not once but twice, against Perez, is inexcusable.
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#38 Doubles

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 10:47 AM

Thursday's 9th inning comeback may be looming even larger now. Otherwise Twins would be at risk of losing 3 out of 4 in KC, a team they should be mostly whooping up on at this point.

Edited by Doubles, 10 September 2017 - 10:47 AM.

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#39 IndianaTwin

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 10:48 AM

Too much bunting -- I get the complaints, especially Grossman early in the game.

 

The steals -- sometimes they don't work. At the same, they've been showing themselves to be more aggressive on the basepaths recently, and I think that all-in-all that's a good thing.

 

The bullpen composition -- some of us think it's horrible, but the front office has incrementally worked to improve it, never sacrificing the long-term view in the process.

 

But I'm not sure I disagree with Molitor's bullpen management, given the context, including the last several days. To think back...

  • He managed Thursday well, following 7 strong innings from Gibson with an inning from Hildy and an inning from his closer. He got that win in the bag.
  • He managed Friday well. Santana was struggling and had given up three runs in his last two innings. Needing to get four innings, he went to Duffey, one of the better candidates for multiple innings, even though he has struggled recently. Duffey got him an inning and then let the first batter reach. In a higher-leverage situation, he went to Rogers, hoping to finish the 7th with him. Unfortunately the next two guys got on, so he went to Hildenberger in what was now an even-higher leverage situation. Hildy pitched great and got out of the jam on a few pitches -- a huge performance. The Twins scored twice in the top of the 8th to make it 8-5. Rather than let this one get away, Molitor ran Hildy back out for the 8th and got him through the two innings on just 18 pitches. Then he used Belisle in the closer situation, according to the book. (We can argue about whether the book was right in this situation with a 3-run lead, but we would have excoriated him if he'd gone to someone else in either the 8th or 9th and blown it. And if the Twins score another run in the 9th, he saves Belisle.).  

For Saturday, then, that left him with:

  • Two wins in the bag (three if you count Wednesday against Toronto)
  • His two best relievers -- Hildy and Belisle -- unavailable after pitching three straight days. That's the price you sometimes pay to win three straight.
  • His third best reliever -- Rogers -- likely not available for more than 1-2 batters after pitching three of the last four days (and 41 pitches in the process, plus warmups).

That sounds like a formula for "roll the dice and hope for the best" on Saturday night. So, Berrios gets through 7 innings on 94 pitches and a 2-2 tie. I kinda hoped he'd bring Berrios back out, but I can understand the logic of not. Basically, three things can happen and two of them are not good:

  • Berrios sails through the eight on a dozen pitches or less, leaving with a pitch count just into the 100s. That's the best case.
  • Berrios struggles a bit. He gets through the inning unscathed, but it took him 20+ pitches, pushing 120 him to pitches in the process.
  • Berrios gets into trouble, and Molitor has to go to guys he doesn't trust, with runners on base. 

Here's where the dice rolling comes in.

  • Pressley has pitched well at times and can maybe get through the inning, so he rolls the dice with him. Unfortunately Pressley gave up two baserunners.
  • Still tied, the ineffective Pressley has to leave. Next up is a lefty, and the choices are Boshers or Rogers. But you're not going to Rogers for more than two batters. That means he would get a lefty and a righty, so this is for all practical purposes a LOOGY situation, because Yost isn't going to PH for Perez. Waiting a couple batters later are back-to-back lefties in Moustakis and Moss. So, does he want Boshers facing one batter and Rogers two, or vice versa? He wants Rogers facing two, so he rolls the dice with Boshers here. Unfortunately, Boshers gives up a hit, which scores the first run.
  • So then, which righty do you go to? We might have liked Busenitz, but Molitor still has more confidence in Duffey. He also knew it was a one-batter situation, so I'd like to think that he was using Duffey here and saving Busenitz for the 9th if the Twins should get fortunate enough to have a lead. Unfortunately, Perez doubles and drives in the second run.
  • If any of Pressley, Boshers, or Duffey had gotten even one out, Molitor is sitting with Rogers to face the two lefties in Moustakis and Moss. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and Perez compounded the problem by doubling, so the logical move is to intentionally walk Moustakis to set up the double play. Molitor lets Duffey take responsibility for the four-finger salute does before he exits.
  • And then Rogers comes in and gets his out against the remaining lefty, and it's still a two-run game. So you roll the dice with Busenitz and hope for a rally.
  • Busenitz gets the two outs, but unfortunately, one of them scores a third run.

And the Twins don't rally.

 

The Twins lost the game, but Molitor got them through to Sunday with a generally available bullpen and an off-day Monday. Rogers may not be available today after pitching in 4 out of 5 games, but it was only 11 pitches in the last three days, so he might again be available for 1-2 batters. Similarly, Duffey may not be available after pitching back-to-back days, but it was only 11 pitches.

But everyone else is available, though I'm sure he'd love a blowout to give Belisle, Hildy and others an extra day before taking on the Padres. Going to KC, I think the goal was to win 3 of 4, and they are in position to do it thanks at least in part to how Molitor handled the bullpen. 

 

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#40 FattCrapps

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 11:54 AM

 

 the Twins truly have no second lefty.

I was hoping Jay would have filled that role by this time when the Twins drafted him.   

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