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Article: MIN 3, TOR 2: Buxton Blasts Walk-Off HR

byron buxton trevor hildenberger jose berrios matt belisle jorge polanco
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#1 Tom Froemming

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 10:37 PM

Good teams find a way to prevail. Good players do, too. Byron Buxton hit a walk-off homer in the 10th inning, giving the Twins walk-off wins on consecutive nights. Matt Belisle blew the save in the ninth inning, giving up a solo homer, and Paul Molitor made some curious decisions in the eighth but luckily at the end of the day none of that matters much.Snapshot (chart via Fangraphs)
Download attachment: Snapshot914.png
Might as well get right to it, here’s video of the walk-off homer:

I think these guys are going to need some more Dubble Bubble. What a moment for Buxton. This is exactly the kind of stuff that makes being a fan so much fun. We’ve watched this young man endure a lot of difficulties and make countless adjustments. All those struggles make a moment like that all the more sweet.

Jorge Polanco drove in the Twins first two runs with a bases-loaded single in the fifth inning. Jose Berrios held the Blue Jays to one run on five hits over 5.2 innings. He walked four batters and had five strikeouts. Buddy Boshers (0.1 IP), Alan Busenitz (0.1), Trevor Hildenberger (1.0 IP) and Taylor Rogers (0.2 IP) combined for 2.1 shutout innings. Hildy struck out all three men he faced.

Here’s where we get to the daily "complain about bunting" section of the recap. Seems like I can’t get through one of these things without bringing up the “b” word.

With the Twins leading 2-1, Buxton opened the eighth inning by drawing a walk. Eddie Rosario laid down a sac bunt, but Toronto committed a throwing error that allowed Rosie to reach safely. With two on and nobody out, Kennys Vargas was due up.

Given that Rosario bunted with a runner on first and no out, this seemed like a gimme that Paul Molitor would be bunting with two on and no outs. Zack Granite, among others, was available off the bench if needed. Instead, Vargas hit into a double play.

If you’ve been keeping up with the game recaps, you know I’m not a fan of bunting. But there definitely are situations in which it makes more sense than others. Having an opportunity to get a man on third base with one out in the eighth inning of a one-run game is probably among the strongest arguments one could make for bunting. And we know Molitor LOVES bunting, so it’s especially odd that wasn’t the play there.

It almost feels like Molitor is managing just by his gut, because there doesn’t seem to be any logic to why you’d have Rosario bunt, but not the next batter. There's also an argument to be made that they should’ve just had Buxton attempt to steal second in the first place. He is 25-for-26 on stolen base attempts this year.

Anyway, the Twins did not score that inning. Belisle blew the save in the next half inning and it was feeling like that was huge blunder. Thank goodness Buxton delivered and just made that whole fiasco something we can have fun bantering about as opposed to having a discussion that would give the excellent moderators here (thanks for everything, by the way) a whole lotta cleanup work.

AL Wild Card Standings
Cleveland will never lose a game ever again. I don’t wanna talk about it.

WC1: Yankees 80-66 (+3.0)
WC2: Twins 77-69
Angels 74-72 (-3.0)
Seattle 74-73 (-3.5)

Postgame With Buxton

Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Download attachment: Bullpen914.png
Looking Ahead
Fri: Twins (Bartolo Colon) vs. Blue Jays (J.A. Happ), 7:10 pm CT
Sat: Twins (Adalberto Mejia) vs. Blue Jays (Marco Estrada), 6:10 pm CT
Sun: Twins (Kyle Gibson) vs. Blue Jays (Joe Biagini), 1:10 pm CT

Looking Back
MIN 3, SDP 1: Rosario Hits Walk-Off HR in 10th Inning
MIN 16, SDP 0: MIN 16, SDP 0: Twins Hit 7 HRs, Set New Record
KC 11, MIN 3: Big Dud from Big Sexy & Co.

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#2 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 10:43 PM

Tom, these are amazing. Every day. I used to flip over to MLB.com for the game recap every morning but I now come to my own friggin' site to do it and that's all you.

 

You're the best thing to happen to Twins Daily this season and I hope you realize it.

 

With that said, I have to call you out for not getting "Dubble Bubble" right. :D

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#3 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 10:49 PM

On the topic of bunting, that entire inning irritated the **** out of me.

 

First, Buxton is something like 26 for 25 in stolen base attempts. Yes, he's better than humanly possible. The official scorer gave him an extra stolen base on May 31st because what the hell, the guy's just that fast and the scorer was a little bit drunk.

 

So you have the fastest man on the planet, a guy who recently outran SpaceX because he got bored watching one of their satellite launches and wanted to show them what's up, and the hottest hitter on the Twins at the plate.

 

You send that guy and let Rosario hit the baseball, something he is frighteningly good at lately.

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#4 Tom Froemming

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 10:57 PM

 

Tom, these are amazing. Every day. I used to flip over to MLB.com for the game recap every morning but I now come to my own friggin' site to do it and that's all you.

 

You're the best thing to happen to Twins Daily this season and I hope you realize it.

 

With that said, I have to call you out for not getting "Dubble Bubble" right. :D

Fixed :) Thanks Brock, I appreciate it. Being able to contribute to Twins Daily for me is kinda like if your favorite band asked you to join them on tour or something like that. This has been a ton of fun.

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#5 Otwins

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 10:58 PM

I thought they might bunt until I saw Vargas in the batters box. He did not have a good game. Besides hitting into the double play he dropped a throw at first base in the 8th that should have been a double play. Twins got out of the inning but Smoak would not have batted in the 9th had Vargas caught that throw in the 8th.

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#6 70charger

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 11:02 PM

Yeah, these recaps are awesome. They have kept me away from ESPN (aka the LeBron Channel), and that can only be a good thing.

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#7 ThejacKmp

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 11:26 PM

 

You send that guy and let Rosario hit the baseball, something he is frighteningly good at lately.

 

Or you steal first two pitches and then have Rosario bunt him to 3B if the count is in his favor.

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#8 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 11:33 PM

 

Or you steal first two pitches and then have Rosario bunt him to 3B if the count is in his favor.

Also an option but honestly, you just let Eddie swing away in that situation. His K% is down to 18% this season. That's not Mauer-esque but it's damned respectable, one of the lower rates on the team.

 

And even if he makes an out, Rosario is a LHB. If he puts wood on the ball, it's likely going to the right side of the infield or RF. Buxton advances anyway.

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#9 DocBauer

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 12:09 AM

I am already missing the milb recaps with serious withdrawal. How do we live without Tom's daily recap when the season, inevitably, draws to a final close?

Thank you again Tom, for all you have brought to the already best fan website on the planet!

Back to the game!

I actually like hunting, when it's used properly. I don't hate Molitor for using it, I just want it taught better and executed better! And absolutely, no disrespect to Vargas, but in that situation, why in hell, with an expanded roster, wouldn't you use someone like Granite to come up and do that very thing? I really think Molitor has grown as a manager, and is growing along with his young team, and has been much better the second half of the season than he was the first half. But I think he missed an opportunity there.

Secondly, Polanco knocked in the first 2 runs. If you've actually followed his career, as I have, you would know that after his first couple of rookie ball season's, his bat started to really come around. When it did, he began the next few season's as a #1 or #2 hitter. Sooner or later, he was slotted in the 3 hole as his team's best overall hitter. And he was productive there. So to see him productive in that spot is no surprise to me.

Third, the only thing that "stunk" about Buxton's walk off HR...other than for the second night in a row the SP deserved the win...was that he trotted instead of sprinting. Lol! Kid deserved his moment to be sure. But am I the only one who would have loved to watch him sprint the bases?
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"Nice catch Hayes...don't ever f*****g do it again."

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#10 DocBauer

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 12:14 AM

Yeah, these recaps are awesome. They have kept me away from ESPN (aka the LeBron Channel), and that can only be a good thing.


Used to love the Mothership. And they have done so much to advance sports, especially college sports, which I actually enjoy more than most pro sports. But they became so wrapped up in themselves that they lost touch with everything that made them unique and special. And now they are cancelling programming, laying off talent, and counting on the Fed government to bail them out. Don't know if that's a shame or what they deserve.

But back to baseball!
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#11 Don Walcott

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 04:18 AM

Do we know that Molly called for the bunt? It looked like Rosario doing it on his own to get a hit. Bad decision either way.

Houston took care of business, and were now up 3!
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#12 Darius

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 04:52 AM

Its scary to think of how good Buxton could be right now if he were healthy.

What a gamer for gutting through a very painful injury.

So, is there a reason why Sano can't DH and do the same? Sounds like he's got a sore shin. No structural damage that could be furthered by playing through it down the stretch? How badly does he really want to be out there?

All honest questions, not casting stones (as I don't know what's actually going on).

I heard Richard say on the telecast recently something to the effect of, "they will evaluate him, and if they're convinced he's ready....or more like convince him that he's ready...he'll resume blah blah blah." It was a little curious to me that he went out of his way to correct the wording to indicate it's Sano that has to be convinced and not the training staff/team management.

Something about that whole situation just seems a little off to me. Anyone have any insight?

#13 Han Joelo

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 05:24 AM

Seems like the last two games have shown how a good team picks each other up. Busenitz bailed out (I forgot) and the Hildenberger covers for Busenitz and the Rosario picks them all up. This time it ended with Buxton picking up old man Zbelidle. (I'll just leave that mistyping.)
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#14 jimmer

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 05:27 AM

 

On the topic of bunting, that entire inning irritated the **** out of me.

 

First, Buxton is something like 26 for 25 in stolen base attempts. Yes, he's better than humanly possible. The official scorer gave him an extra stolen base on May 31st because what the hell, the guy's just that fast and the scorer was a little bit drunk.

 

So you have the fastest man on the planet, a guy who recently outran SpaceX because he got bored watching one of their satellite launches and wanted to show them what's up, and the hottest hitter on the Twins at the plate.

 

You send that guy and let Rosario hit the baseball, something he is frighteningly good at lately.

Great post!


#15 big dog

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 05:54 AM

And my Buxton mancrush now threatens the sanctity of my married life.

 

On a different note, all those thoughts I had about how we might be able to get Vargas in the lineup have pretty much gone away.  His last home run was dismissed by my brain as meaningless, since it was the seventh of the game.  He has not shined in the meaningful moments.

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#16 spinowner

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 05:56 AM

One point that should be made: John Gibbons may have lost this game for his team. In the 5th inning when his starting pitcher suddenly lost his control it was obvious that something was going on with him physically. Anderson kept looking at his fingers and Dicknbert mentioned that he has had blister issues in the past. Gibbons should have gone out and removed him on the spot and since it would have been due to injury a reliever could have completely warmed.

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#17 wsnydes

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 06:48 AM

Also an option but honestly, you just let Eddie swing away in that situation. His K% is down to 18% this season. That's not Mauer-esque but it's damned respectable, one of the lower rates on the team.

And even if he makes an out, Rosario is a LHB. If he puts wood on the ball, it's likely going to the right side of the infield or RF. Buxton advances anyway.

Rosario still drives me nuts with some bonehead base running and defensive decisions, but I've got to hand it to him when it comes to his at bats. He's impressed me in that area this season. Hopefully he keeps that up and he'll have a very nice career.
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#18 Blake

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 07:00 AM

 

Also an option but honestly, you just let Eddie swing away in that situation. His K% is down to 18% this season. That's not Mauer-esque but it's damned respectable, one of the lower rates on the team.

 

And even if he makes an out, Rosario is a LHB. If he puts wood on the ball, it's likely going to the right side of the infield or RF. Buxton advances anyway.

Or, maybe a little bit of the old hit and run? 

 

Depending on who's turn to cover could create a gap Rosario can put the ball through and then where's Buxton? 


#19 Doctor Wu

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 07:19 AM

Very fun to see back-to-back walkoff homers this week. Both Rosario and Buxton seem to be playing with a lot of confidence down the stretch. Let's hope it continues!


#20 USAFChief

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 07:21 AM

I believe I saw somewhere it's the first back to back extra inning walkoffs since 1970.
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