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Article: MIN 4, TOR 1: Pitching Staff Redemption Night

jake odorizzi adalberto mejia blake parker neslon cruz
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#1 Tom Froemming

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 09:44 PM

It’s amazing how much easier things seem when you get an early lead. Toronto scored a run in the top of the first, but the Twins answered with two runs of their own and never looked back. Jake Odorizzi picked up his first win of the year after holding the Blue Jays to one run over 5 2/3 innings and the bullpen got back on track.Box Score
Odorizzi: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 63.3% strikes (64 of 101 pitches)
Home Runs: None
Multi-Hit Games: Polanco (2-for-3, 2B, BB), Cruz (2-for-3, 2B, BB), Gonzalez (2-for-3, BB)
WPA of +0.1: Odorizzi .211, Cruz .175
WPA of -0.1: Rosario -.120
Download attachment: Win417.png
(chart via FanGraphs)

Odorizzi had an encouraging outing after back-to-back poor starts, Adalberto Mejia recovered from his most recent poor performance with a scoreless outing and Blake Parker, who looked pretty lost over the weekend, got the save in a scoreless ninth inning. Oh, and in between all that Taylor Rogers did his thing in the eighth, turning in a scoreless frame with a pair of strikeouts.

Nelson Cruz returned to the lineup and provided a pair of run-scoring hits. He drove in the Twins’ first run with a single in the first, then hit an RBI double in the third inning. Jorge Polanco had yet another excellent game. His OPS is up to 1.242.

If you want to put a number on how much more relaxed tonight’s game was compared to the first two of this series (which, of course I’m going to want to do that), Leverage Index would be a good place to look. Tonight, the LI maxed out at 1.95. Last night, 18 plate appearances exceeded that mark with that max at 5.40. There were five plate appearances topped that mark on Monday night, the highest being at 3.41.

Postgame With Parker

Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Download attachment: Bullpen417.png
Next Three Games
Thu vs. TOR, 12:10 pm CT (Pineda-Buchholz)
Fri vs. TOR, 6:05 pm CT (TBD-Cobb)
Sat vs. TOR, 6:05 pm CT (TBD-TBD)

Last Game
TOR 6, MIN 5: Gut Punch

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#2 jimbo92107

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 10:40 PM

The good news is, this team isn't doomed to a season of futility. Two or three savvy moves, and the Twins could be very competitive. 

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#3 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 10:47 PM

Man, it’s so frustrating this front office didn’t pick up one good reliever. The cascading nature of bullpens would turn it from a negative to neutral.

And with this offense, you just need neutral at this point.
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#4 DocBauer

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 10:53 PM

This is the way it's supposed to work! It's the way the last 2 previous nights were supposed to go! Look, your lineup, your starter, your pen are all going to fail at times. It happens. But this team has the loom of being fun and interesting and being competitive. We have a winning record despite letting a few games slip away. As Jumbo stated above, it just feels like we are a couple savvy moves away from really realizing full potential.
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#5 DocBauer

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 10:57 PM

Man, it’s so frustrating this front office didn’t pick up one good reliever. The cascading nature of bullpens would turn it from a negative to neutral.
And with this offense, you just need neutral at this point.


Agreed!

I still believe in May, despite a rough start. I like Mejia's arm, despite a hot/cold start to the season. I could go on and on but won't. Doesn't it just feel like we're a couple arms away from being a reaĺy good team?
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#6 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 11:05 PM

This is the way it's supposed to work! It's the way the last 2 previous nights were supposed to go!Look, your lineup, your starter, your pen are all going to fail at times. It happens. But this team has the loom of being fun and interesting and being competitive. We have a winning record despite letting a few games slip away. As Jumbo stated above, it just feels like we are a couple savvy moves away from really realizing full potential.

This team is 9-6 and they’ve been whooped once. They’ve whooped other teams twice.

This is a solid team off to a good start.
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#7 twins_89

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 11:44 PM

 

Man, it’s so frustrating this front office didn’t pick up one good reliever. The cascading nature of bullpens would turn it from a negative to neutral.

And with this offense, you just need neutral at this point.

 

Adding even one solid 9th inning arm to the bullpen (Kimbrel maybe?) would have a huge impact. As you said, the improvement would have a cascade effect in that everyone currently in the bullpen could move to a slightly lower leverage role. One addition could basically make everyone a bit more effective.

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#8 Yawn Gardenhose

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 12:33 AM

Didn't catch all of the game but what I saw I liked. I don't mind Kepler in the lead-off spot, but I'd rather see Polanco there. He's good. 

 

Have they worn these blue retro-esque unis before? I can't watch every game (though usually can at least listen), so this was my first view of them. Not bad. 


#9 Aerodeliria

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 03:13 AM

Nice to get that win and to see Cruz right in the middle of the line-up, which always puts pressure on the pitchers. He's the difference in this team right now (IMHO). He makes everyone in the line-up a better hitter--especially before and after him. It's one of the reasons that Polanco is getting a lot of good looks (although he's becoming a force in his own right).

 

It was great to let Mejia finish an inning and then start the next. If someone is pitching well, let's take advantage. If he hadn't pitched two days ago, I would have said let him throw one more inning. One thing I really don't like is switching pitchers just because they have completed their 'one' inning of relief. (They do let relievers pitch a few innings in the minor leagues--even three innings to earn a save.)

 

I've always felt that if a pitcher is rolling, keep him in until he's thrown his max amount. This was my primary beef about Monday's game. Harper had a very good curveball and threw only 15 pitches but he had to come out because he completed his 'one' inning. Mejia came in and didn't have anything. In Tuesday's game, Harper came in but this time he wasn't sharp. This has always been one of my pet vexations.

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#10 sloopjont

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 06:02 AM

about wpa: seems strange that Polanco has the same exact stat line as Cruz but Cruz is at .175 and Polanco isn't listed as being .1 or over?


#11 wsnydes

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 06:05 AM

Good to see a solid all around game from the squad. My hope is that once they get on a more regular schedule and Rocco settles in to his new role that the team stabilizes. While the bullpen still scares the hell out of me (in a bad way), I'm hoping that there is some organic improvement once Rocco knows what he's got and where they excel. Even then though, I foresee plenty more of what's played out over the last couple of games.

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#12 Riverbrian

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 06:20 AM

 

Didn't catch all of the game but what I saw I liked. I don't mind Kepler in the lead-off spot, but I'd rather see Polanco there. He's good. 

 

Have they worn these blue retro-esque unis before? I can't watch every game (though usually can at least listen), so this was my first view of them. Not bad. 

 

They are new this year and they have won them multiple times this year at home.  

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#13 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 06:45 AM

 

Good to see a solid all around game from the squad. My hope is that once they get on a more regular schedule and Rocco settles in to his new role that the team stabilizes. While the bullpen still scares the hell out of me (in a bad way), I'm hoping that there is some organic improvement once Rocco knows what he's got and where they excel. Even then though, I foresee plenty more of what's played out over the last couple of games.

 

yeah... have to agree here. You can argue that the pen has cost us 2 or 3 games already too. Granted, having Kimbrel or someone similar wouldn't have affected all of those games, but it certainly would have helped. 

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#14 Tom Froemming

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 06:49 AM

 

about wpa: seems strange that Polanco has the same exact stat line as Cruz but Cruz is at .175 and Polanco isn't listed as being .1 or over?

WPA is all about context. FanGraphs has a nice write up of it in their Sabermetrics Library if you're interested in learning more. Here's another link if you want to go really deep.

 

I think it's a pretty good snapshot stat more often than not for individual games like this, but it most definitely has it's weaknesses.

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#15 Original Whizzinator

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 06:52 AM

The only way to win with this pen is to use em. That's how they will get confidence and be sharp . That was my beef with Molitor and why I liked brining Mejia in last night. If it had been done sooner and he hadn't sat for a week we might have gotten another w. Of course you got to pick your spots and put guys in position where they can succeed.
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#16 mikelink45

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 06:53 AM

My issue with Rocco is when he sits Cruz.Down the line maybe Cruz will need a day off, but his job is simply to swing the bat and at this point in the season Cruz should always be in the mix.Somehow he had a day off and we lost, we pinch hit Ehire and not Cruz and we lost.Coincidence?He is the big bopper and we should not be using his spot to give other players a start. 

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#17 Number3

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 07:33 AM

Need to do it again today. The series is still at stake and 10-6 sounds a lot better than 9-7. As far as the bull pen goes, name one team that is completely happy with their pitching. The name of the game is runs and most games it takes at least 5 to win. Familia, supposedly one of the better relievers had no idea where the strike zone was the other night and that is what is frustrating about major league pitching in general many times; when the best at their craft can't or are afraid to throw the ball over the plate.

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#18 Don't Feed the Greed Guy

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 07:51 AM

I wholeheartedly agree with the "cascading" nature of a longer bullpen, (also known as a "cascade effect" although that phrase is usually used negatively). Bringing up Duffey may already be the first trigger in a positive cascade. The Kimbrel Effect could be another.

To reference a negative example of a cascade, I don't believe that signing Kimbrel would mess up the Twins current payroll flexibility. There will still be room to go get an ace around the trade deadline.

However, if the bullpen continues to blow three or four games out of the fifteen already played, how does that "cascade" out over thirty or sixty games? Bert's "California Math" and my "Minnesota Math" arrive at similar sum at the bottom of May or June. No matter the equation, the sum is to be feared.

#19 USAFChief

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 08:02 AM

Mejia got pretty lucky in his full inning, giving up a hit and then a screaming line drive that turned into a DP....but hey, we'll take it. 

 

Pretty nice job from Odorizzi.

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#20 Dantes929

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 08:20 AM

 

yeah... have to agree here. You can argue that the pen has cost us 2 or 3 games already too. Granted, having Kimbrel or someone similar wouldn't have affected all of those games, but it certainly would have helped. 

If anyone watches PTI on ESPN you will hear Tony complain about the Nats bullpen and Mike complain about the Cubs bullpen on a weekly basis.They have been doing it for years.The Twins pen came in and saved a win in the opener.1st game against KC they came in to a tie game and went 3 innings to win in extra innings. The next day they came in gave up 0 earned runs over 4+ innings allowing the Twins to come back and win 7-6. 1st game against Philly the pen came in with a 3-2 lead and didn't give up a run over 4 innings. Against Detroit they came in with a 3-2 lead and held it for 3 scoreless to win 3-2.They did another nice job last night. You may think they have cost us a few games but how does that stack up against the rest of the league? Yes, Kimbrel would be an upgrade but he blew 5 saves last year and was a whisker away from blowing several in the playoffs.You can say they blew 2-3 games. I can say they did better than league average in 5-6 games to get us wins. Hurts to lose a couple in a row the way they did but a few games have been on the offense in not scoring runs and several on the starters. Overall, I am pretty happy to be 9-6.  

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