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Article: TOR 5, MIN 3: About That Bullpen ...

martin perez byron buxton c.j. cron ryne harper adalberto mejia
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#1 Tom Froemming

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 08:56 PM

Martin Perez looked good in his first start as a Twin, but Adalberto Mejia gave up the lead in what was a four-run eighth inning for Toronto. This Twins team has had a knack for battling back so far in 2019, but their comeback attempts fell short tonight.Box Score
Perez: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 66.3% strikes (57 of 86 pitches)
Home Runs: Cron (2)
Multi-Hit Games: Polanco (3-for-3, BB, R)
WPA of +0.1: Cron .223, Perez .221, Polanco .115
WPA of -0.1: Cruz -.120, Mejia -.666
Download attachment: Win415.png
(chart via FanGraphs)

There’s only so much a manager can do about a top-heavy bullpen. Rocco Baldelli, much like his predecessor, seems to be taking the approach that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. He’s opted to use his top guys to secure a win at hand and worry about the two games in the bush later. Or, something like that.

I understand that strategy, why risk losing a game in hand just to try to plan for something that may not happen later? Make sense, but it can also lead to trouble.

With Taylor Rogers, Trevor Hildenberger and Blake Parker having all pitched both of the previous two games, it figured that Rocco was going to have to dip a little deeper into the pen tonight.

Perez did everything he could to help, needing only 86 pitches to get through six innings. Baldelli decided that was enough for Perez, who had only thrown 44 pitches in his most recent appearance. Ryne Harper pitched a perfect seventh inning (more on that in a moment) before Mejia took over in the eighth.

Single, double, RBI single, three-run home run. Also, those were all hit by right-handed batters (and Mejia is, of course, a lefty).

Perez’s First Start
Perez looked good in what was kind of his second Twins debut. He entered this season with just 13 career bullpen appearances, but he was forced to pitch out of relief due to the extra off days. He didn’t look especially good in those outings.

An important thing to remember is that Perez was brought in to be the fifth starter. He’s not expected to be the savior of the rotation. The front office didn’t commit an exorbitant amount of money to him. He just needs to be competent. Anything extra would be a bonus.

The especially encouraging part of Perez’s outing tonight wasn’t his increased velocity, but that he was throwing strikes. If he can get into pitcher’s counts and limit walks, he’s going to be an asset.

Perez has always had good velocity, but it’s never translated into missing bats. Tonight, he got five strikeouts and eight swinging strikes. Another encouraging sign. It would be fair to point out this Toronto lineup has been among the worst in baseball, but remember, all Perez really needs to do is be a fifth starter.

Sire of Fort Myers Still Rolling
Ryne Harper pitched, which means I got all sorts of warm fuzzies. He pitched a perfect inning and struck out two batters. He threw 15 pitches, 10 of which were curveballs. That pitch ranged from 72.6 mph to 67.5 mph.

It’s a little like watching a knuckleballer in that anything he throws outside of that signature pitch is a surprise. The 30-year-old rookie has given up zero earned runs, two hits, two walks and has five strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. I don’t know how long this ride is going to last, but I’m going to enjoy every last bit of it while it does. The guy is really fun to watch and it’s a great story.

Buxton Does it Again
Byron was doing his thing again, making an outstanding catch in the first inning.

Cron Crushes Another One
After hitting a laser line drive for a homer yesterday, Cron blasted a majestic, towering shot for another home run tonight.

Rocco Gets Tossed
Baldelli got ejected for the first time in his managing career. It was maybe the least entertaining ejection I’ve ever seen. He spoke on the issue during his postgame interview.

Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Download attachment: Bullpen415.png
Next Three Games
Tue vs. TOR, 6:40 pm CT (Gibson-Sanchez)
Wed vs. TOR, 6:40 pm CT (Odorizzi-Thornton)
Thu v. TOR, 12:10 pm CT (Pineda-Buchholz)

Last Game
MIN 6, DET 4: Berrios Figures It Out, Bullpen Barely Hangs On

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#2 Jacksson


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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:16 PM

Hang this loss on:


Wrong guy (Mejia) at the wrong time.
Got stale waiting to be used.
What's Vasquez doing? Knitting a sweater?

#3 bighat


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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:18 PM

Missed the game as I was watching the Game of Thrones episode recorded last night....but reading the summary, it appers the walkers from beyond the north wall got to the Twins bullpen?


Twins haven't had too many games where everything is working. In both wins and losses there have been some poor performances (starters, bullpen, or offense).


The good news: if it all comes together, this team can be really good.


Is the shine coming off Astudillo a bit? 0 for his last 10 or something? His last hit was against de Grom if I recall correctly.

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#4 Dantes929


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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:19 PM

I kind of liked that he left Mijares in. Never quite understood taking guys out right after the damage is done.  At least he saved the pen an inning.  Next three guys were all righties and went down in order with two strikeouts.  Timing.  Anyway, all relieers give up runs. Tough one to lose but we were out hit 11 to 5.  All or nothing swinging is great when its all. Not so great when it is nothing. Get em tomorrow.

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#5 Danchat


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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:20 PM

Buxton is not going to last if he keeps doing that every day. He's going to get CTE from hitting his head on the wall that many times.


I would say something cheeky about the bullpen, but I think we have already done enough of that. The FO has reaped what was sown by adding just a single new arm to the 'pen. 

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#6 KirbyDome89


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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:34 PM

It's hard to blame coaches/usage when Mejia was handed a 2 run lead and a clean inning. 

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#7 Miggy's Little Helper

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:40 PM

The problem with tonight is clearly that WE DID have the bullpen to close it out.It didn't take a genius to figure out how to get the last nine outs from some combination of Perez, Harper, May, and Hildy. 


If Perez, May, and Hildy were considered off limits tonight, it's going to be a long year and perhaps the FO should've have thought about signing one of the four hundred thousand 7/8/9 relievers available.  

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#8 Dantes929


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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:41 PM

Harper was fun to watch. I wonder who will have staying power. Harper or the Turtle.Both? Neither?

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#9 Azviking101


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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:42 PM

Two warning track flies and a lineout for Astudillo with a phenomenal defensive play. Astudillo is fine.
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#10 Azviking101


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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:45 PM

Pretty worrisome that Rocco thinks the bullpen is overworked on day 3 of nearly 39 straight games when the starters all had quality starts. Extremely worrisome for the future. Neither may nor Hildenberger had pitched much but it looked like he was saving Hildenberger and that he’s already lost faith in May.
If my count is correct he only has faith in two relievers now 13 games into the season.
We’ll likely be seeing 10 of these blown saves the next 40 games.
Why do I feel like Tyler Duffey will be making his 965th trip back to the majors soon?
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#11 blindeke



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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:47 PM

Hm. The bullpen is gonna be an issue. We need some reinforcements.

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#12 blindeke



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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:48 PM

Also, they shoudl paint roadrunner/WilECoyote-style outlines on the outfield wall for every time Buxton has slammed into that thing.


Also, they should get some 3M engineers working on padding it to the maximum extent legally possible. 

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#13 beckmt


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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:51 PM

I would have used Vasquez, but that is nitpicking.I also understand you cannot use the same pitchers all the time.It is one game, but I wonder why Mejia is still on this club as he does not seem to be a fit.

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#14 The Mask of Zoilo

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 10:22 PM

Mejia not having options is going to mean that they keep throwing him out there. Hes got another 3 or 4 weeks of this before he shows he can be effective out of the bullpen or test waivers. Meanwhile, Nick Anderson and Nick Burdi are killing it for other teams. How about trying Eades and Reed before you lose them for nothing.
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#15 jimbo92107


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Posted 15 April 2019 - 10:54 PM


Buxton is not going to last if he keeps doing that every day. He's going to get CTE from hitting his head on the wall that many times.


I would say something cheeky about the bullpen, but I think we have already done enough of that. The FO has reaped what was sown by adding just a single new arm to the 'pen. 

Instructions: After running headlong into a wall, take two aspirin. Repeat if needed.


Wait...Byron, that doesn't mean run into the wall again!

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#16 Aerodeliria


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Posted 15 April 2019 - 11:28 PM

That is a sublime curveball that Harper has been throwing. I wonder why Harper couldn't throw two innings in such a case. He hardly got warmed up and was finished with the side.

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#17 Yawn Gardenhose

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 11:59 PM

Game was managed as if they can afford to lose this game. You've had, what, eight off days in the first two weeks, and you're already got your key bullpen guys on ice? Don't know if this is Baldelli or Falvine, but it's frustrating that there was the need to dump a potentially helpful bench/part time bat (Austin) in order to get another reliever to get them through a first-week-of-the-season road trip (a seven-gamer with three off days), then have both of those "extra insurance" relievers pitch precisely like minor leaguers. Relying on Blake Parker as your ninth inning guy? I've already had it with him. Then you bring in a lefty to face all righties?? These moves make no sense individually and less sense big-picture-wise. 


I understand not wanting Kimbrel, and maybe they really wanted a Soria/Robertson type and just got turned down, but relying on the current group isn't exactly what contending teams do, what with the uber-importance of bullpens in today's game.


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#18 Azviking101


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Posted 16 April 2019 - 12:02 AM

The top thing I was worried about was Rocco’s injury history as a player and it seems to be playing out exactly as I feared.
He is deathly afraid of overworking anyone because his career was derailed by injuries so he is babying everyone, giving them days off when it’s not needed when they’ve all had plenty of days off already.
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#19 3balls2strikes


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Posted 16 April 2019 - 12:52 AM

I never understand why when a reliever is dealing it like Harper was tonight, why the manager doesn't let him just keep dealing. He only threw 15 pitches and hasn't pitched forever and could have easily gone another inning. Ride the relievers that are doing well while they're doing well. 

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#20 Penthang


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Posted 16 April 2019 - 04:46 AM

I understand everyone’s frustration with the bullpen, but I’d remind you all that Mejia is a starter that they moved to the bullpen because the rotation was full and he was out of options. His is a pitcher that the organization values and does not want to loose. As such he is a guy who should be able to get out both leftie and rightie batters. Also, Baldelli saving arms is not something people should be complaining about, killing the reliable bullpen arms is part of what got Molitor fired. I do have to agree with those wondering why they didn’t let Harper come back in the 8th. I am wondering about Vasquez vs. Reed or Eades though.
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