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Article: TB 8, MIN 6: Twins Swept on Gomez Walk-off Homer

phil hughes brian dozier addison reed alan busenitz eduardo escobar
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#1 Tom Froemming

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 03:13 PM

The Twins were haunted by a couple of their old friends this weekend. Denard Span wore out the Twins all weekend, and Carlos Gomez finished the sweep with a walk-off home run on Sunday afternoon. Phil Hughes made his first start of the season and gave up a two-run homer in the first inning. The Twins kept coming back, but the bullpen kept letting this one slip away. Addison Reed is human after all.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs)
Download attachment: Snapshot422.png Download attachment: WinEx422.png
Hughes was making his first MLB appearance of the year after a couple rehab outings in Fort Myers. He took Gabriel Moya’s spot on the 25-man roster. Per Baseball Savant, Hughes’ four-seam fastball averaged 90.1 mph and topped out at 91.7. He got six swinging strikes on his 70 pitches, (8.6 percent). For context, Hughes averaged 90.3 mph on the fourseamer and and a 6.9 percent whiff rate last season.

Hughes lasted just 3 1/3 innings and gave up two runs on five hits and two walks. He exited the game with runners on the corners, but Ryan Pressly was able to work out of the jam. Pressly was perfect over 1 2/3 innings and struck out four batters.

The rest of the bullpen didn’t perform as well. Taylor Rogers gave up a run and left runners at second and third with two outs. Alan Busenitz came in and gave up a three-run homer to the first batter he faced. Trevor Hildenberger recorded the last out of the seventh before Reed took over.

The eighth inning started with a single and then a hit by pitch, but Reed got a massive strikeout before inducing an inning-ending double play.

Things didn’t work out so well in the ninth. Reed gave up a leadoff single and then Gomez ended in on a pitch he absolutely destroyed. That gave the Rays a walk-off win to sweep the series and set the Twins down to .500.

The Twins held a 3-2 lead in the sixth and managed to tie the game up at 6-6 in the eighth inning, so it’s not like the bats didn’t do their job.

Brian Dozier extended his team-record hitting streak to open a season to 16 games with a single in the third inning. He added a game-tying, two-run single in the eighth. Eduardo Escobar hit his second home run of the season. Joe Mauer was 1-for-2 with three walks.

Postgame With Molitor

Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Download attachment: Bullpen422.png
Next Three Games
Mon at NYY, 6:05 pm CT
Tue at NYY 5:35 pm CT
Wed at NYY 5:35 pm CT

Last Three Games
TB 10, MIN 1: Snell Stifles Twins Bats
TB 8, MIN 7: Playing The Wrong Notes
MIN 2, CLE 1: Berrios Stars, LaMarre Plays Hero as Twins Survive 16-Inning Duel

More From Twins Daily
Twins Minor League Report (4/22): Romero Strikes Out 10, Buxton Rehabs
The Twins Almanac for April 22–29
Max Kepler Improving His Approach in 2018

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#2 Aggies7

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 03:23 PM

Can we go back in time and not trade Kintzler?

#3 slash129

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 03:35 PM

Gonna be a long season

#4 KirbyDome89

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 04:17 PM

Meh, a split in NY followed by a very winnable series vs. Cincy can change the outlook quite a bit.

 

That said I do find it a little concerning that some individual performers who floundered to start the year have continued to struggle into late April. IMO we're approaching the point where the problems are becoming trends and not simply slow starts, small samples, or slumps.  

 

 

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#5 Danchat

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 04:21 PM

 

Can we go back in time and not trade Kintzler?

He was a free agent, they easily could have signed him and chose not to. 

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#6 sloopjont

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 04:33 PM

SSS, but the Twins weaknesses arebeing exposed.Hitting at the catcher position, backup outfielder, DH, 5th starter and bullpen.  

 

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#7 Platoon

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 04:38 PM

Weekends like this when the entire BP sucks, there really isn't a lot a manager can do. And I am not anywhere near a Molitor fan, so I don't say that lightly. But I will say this. When you bat Robbie G. in the 3 & 4 spots, any other moves you make become open to speculation. I referred to his lineups as "dartboard" inspired in the past. That hasn't changed. I doubt he can be blamed for the Phil Hughes Experiment, that would really be spread amongst Ryan, Falvine and Pohlad. While the weather hasn't done the team any favors, there are a lot of underperformers on the field right now. A lot will have to change for us to be anymore than a contender for that coveted #2 WC spot. /(
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#8 slash129

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 05:21 PM

A lot will have to change to actually be a contender for wild card #2. Houston, Anaheim, Boston, New York, Cleveland, Toronto, Seattle ... Twins not in that league

#9 Vanimal46

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 05:47 PM

Rough weekend for pitching in general. I still think the bullpen will be a strength of this team once they cycle through some guys. The Kinley experiment needs to end, and IMO should have never started. Hildenberger needs a tune up in AAA to get back on track.

At this point it's looking like last year was the fluke for Morrison. Castro also can't hit the broad side of a barn right now.
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#10 Vanimal46

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 05:49 PM

Re: Hughes

An expected outcome from him. A bad starting lineup was squaring up on most of his pitches. The first inning was trending to be 4+ runs until Miller from the Rays gave him a gift.

I'm most optimistic about Molitor having a quick hook with him. That indicates to me he doesn't trust him now or going forward.
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#11 jtkoupal

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 06:05 PM

I put some of this series on Molitor. Not for all of it, certainly. But he had some head scratchers. Here is a quick summary:

1. Grossman batting 3rd AND Kepler batting 7th. 

2. Grossman in RF with a fly ball pitcher on the mound.

3. Leaving Lynn in the game to start the 7th on Friday. (Too long of a hook for a guy who has shown a lot of inconsistency this year and was shaky that night.

4. Letting Moya try to get an important out to keep the game close.

 

Besides that though. Let's look at each game individually and what they showed.

  

Friday: Battled back, but lost on two flukey plays in the late innings (ball hitting the mound and pitcher missing the bag are two unlikely events that happened in the same game.)

 

Saturday: Twins continue to take a dump against left-handed pitching. Gibson keeps it close, but mismanagement of the pitching staff helps the Rays blow it wide open.

 

Sunday: Phil Hughes wastes more of his $13M+ salary that Terry Ryan thought was a good idea to hand him. (In fairness to TR, $13M per year is a bargain for a pitcher with the numbers Hughes had in 2014)

 

Bottom line: Molitor needs to reflect on these games and improve. The offense is streaky, but I do expect them to get better. The back end of the rotation can be good for 18-21 batters, nothing more. The bullpen has some talent, but guys like Duke and Rodney are taking up spots that Duffey or Curtiss could occupy. Also, Hughes is probably a long reliever.

 

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#12 jtkoupal

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 06:11 PM

 

Weekends like this when the entire BP sucks, there really isn't a lot a manager can do. And I am not anywhere near a Molitor fan, so I don't say that lightly. But I will say this. When you bat Robbie G. in the 3 & 4 spots, any other moves you make become open to speculation. I referred to his lineups as "dartboard" inspired in the past. That hasn't changed. I doubt he can be blamed for the Phil Hughes Experiment, that would really be spread amongst Ryan, Falvine and Pohlad. While the weather hasn't done the team any favors, there are a lot of underperformers on the field right now. A lot will have to change for us to be anymore than a contender for that coveted #2 WC spot. /(

The problem with Molitor's lineups seem to be that he wants to keep everyone in their "designated spots." Why is Kepler batting 7th and Grossman 3rd? I don't know, maybe it's because Molitor wants to keep everyone where they usually hit... who knows.

 

Hughes is not Falvine's fault. They have to do something with him. You can't keep a veteran in the minors, especially one with an 8-figure salary. Unless he's injured, you have to make room for him somewhere.

 

The WC #2 spot is highly unlikely for the Twins given the top-heavy AL includes the Angels, Blue Jays, and whoever doesn't win the AL East between the Red Sox and Yankees. The best hope for the Twins is that Cleveland underperforms and they can catch them (which I DO believe is possible)

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#13 wsnydes

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 06:32 PM

Meh, a split in NY followed by a very winnable series vs. Cincy can change the outlook quite a bit.

That said I do find it a little concerning that some individual performers who floundered to start the year have continued to struggle into late April. IMO we're approaching the point where the problems are becoming trends and not simply slow starts, small samples, or slumps.

The problem with your first paragraph is that this was a winnable series and they pissed two of the games away and got slaughtered in the other. You're right that assuming a split in NYC and a good series against the Reds and the outlook is different. However, if they play like they did this weekend in NY, a split is a pipe dream. They need to pitch competently in that band box to have a chance.
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#14 KirbyDome89

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 07:00 PM

 

The problem with your first paragraph is that this was a winnable series and they pissed two of the games away and got slaughtered in the other. You're right that assuming a split in NYC and a good series against the Reds and the outlook is different. However, if they play like they did this weekend in NY, a split is a pipe dream. They need to pitch competently in that band box to have a chance.

I'm not defending how they played this weekend. There's no way a team that expects to contend for a WC/division title should drop 3 games to TB, but I'm also not going to lose perspective. I don't think taking 2 of 3 from Houston means the Twins are at the Astros level and I don't think dropping 3 games to TB means the Twins are that bad either. It's cliche, but 162 games is a lot, and they're going to have some ups and downs. A split and a series win, or even sweep of the Reds puts them a few games over .500 to end April. Given the choice this offseason, I think everybody would've taken a +.500 record heading into May.

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#15 Dantes929

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 07:52 PM

Houston got swept by Oakland and by the White Sox last year. Dodgers lost 11 straight.  Almost every pennant winner gets swept by a lower division team and loses a couple others. Twins were just a break or two from winning the series.    Twins are good enough that they don't have to back off to any team but not good enough to assume wins over anyone. Ok maybe a little more of the latter than the former. They've got to play well to win and I don't think they played well this series. On the other hand Tampa played pretty well with respect to their talent.  Many teams that win pennants play .500 for most of the season with a couple stretches of good ball. We need Buxton back and maybe a little reshuffling of the pen.   

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#16 Mike Sixel

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 09:32 PM

They aren't close to Houston or the dodgers in talent. Not close. They have a lot less room for error.

There's always next year, or the next, or maybe by the time I'm Chief's age, I guess....


#17 rghrbek

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 09:58 PM

Lefty's are going to continue to punish the twins until Buck is back, and becomes better at the plate.  Sano's 50% K rate does not help.  It doesn't look like he has a plan up there.  I would never throw him a fastball.

 

Bad series with some predictable outfield struggles with Robby and our center fielder missing the cutoffs.

 

We are going to have to ask Berrios and Ordorizzi to get us back on track.


#18 Dantes929

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 11:29 PM

 

They aren't close to Houston or the dodgers in talent. Not close. They have a lot less room for error.

Well yeah.... but if teams that win 100 games lose or get swept by lower division teams through the course of the season isn't it kind of absurd to think the Twins won't go through those stretches as well? I think we have a better team than last year.If they play well I don't know why they shouldn't be in the mix. If they don't play well they won't be but it is a marathon.  

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#19 wsnydes

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Posted 23 April 2018 - 05:27 AM

 

I'm not defending how they played this weekend. There's no way a team that expects to contend for a WC/division title should drop 3 games to TB, but I'm also not going to lose perspective. I don't think taking 2 of 3 from Houston means the Twins are at the Astros level and I don't think dropping 3 games to TB means the Twins are that bad either. It's cliche, but 162 games is a lot, and they're going to have some ups and downs. A split and a series win, or even sweep of the Reds puts them a few games over .500 to end April. Given the choice this offseason, I think everybody would've taken a +.500 record heading into May.

No doubt that most, myself included, would take a +.500 record heading into May.I'm not even trying to suggest that this team is bad.I certainly didn't expect an ugly sweep at the hands of the Rays, that is for sure.But I also don't expect to go into NY and split a series against the Yankees either.Just as I did prior to spring training, I think this team will generally beat up on bad teams and mostly flounder against true playoff contenders.Over the long haul, this team is as bad as what we saw over the weekend, but they're not as good as they were against Houston either.It's still April, I'm not panicking.I am wanting to see the team start to sort itself out though.

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#20 wsnydes

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Posted 23 April 2018 - 05:31 AM

 

Well yeah.... but if teams that win 100 games lose or get swept by lower division teams through the course of the season isn't it kind of absurd to think the Twins won't go through those stretches as well? I think we have a better team than last year.If they play well I don't know why they shouldn't be in the mix. If they don't play well they won't be but it is a marathon.  

I agree that they're a better team than last year.However, I think they're still firmly in the "beat up the bad teams, flounder against true playoff teams" camp like they were last year.I'd love to be wrong and I think the roster has the potential to make a big jump, but that'll take some pretty big jumps by individual players like Kepler and Buxton and a full season of Sano's first half of last year.Berrios appears to be making that jump, I'm not convinced that the other three are.I do like what I'm seeing from Kepler though.

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