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Article: DET 5, MIN 3: We Have a Problem

martin perez byron buxton willians astudillo ehire adrianza rocco baldelli
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#1 Tom Froemming

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 03:26 PM

The Twins have been getting plenty of big flies, but the big hits have been tough to come by. Despite having one of the best lineups in baseball so far in 2019, the Twins actually rank near the bottom both in hitting with two outs and runners in scoring position and hitting with the bases loaded. They left six more men in scoring position today, leaving a total of 11 runners on, and it cost them.Box Score
Perez: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 63.4% strikes (59 of 93 pitches)
Home Runs: Adrianza (2)
Multi-Hit Games: Buxton (3-for-3, 2B, BB), Gonzalez (2-for-4, BB), Adrianza (2-for-3, HR, BB), Cave (2-for-4, 2B)
WPA of +0.1: Buxton .189, Gonzalez .115
WPA of -0.1: Perez -.116, Astudillo -.160, Polanco -.215, Cron -.252
Download attachment: Win512.png
(chart via FanGraphs)

The Twins entered this afternoon’s game with an impressive .831 OPS, nearly 100 points above the league average. With two outs and runners in scoring position, however, they’ve been pretty putrid. In 158 plate appearances in those situations, the Twins had a .185/.304/.296 line (.600 OPS) coming into today, 140 points below league average. They’ve also been dreadful with the bases loaded. Here’s a look at some of the numbers:
Download attachment: Chart.png
I’ll stop short of saying the Twins are hitting too many home runs, but this is becoming a cause for concern. You’d expect things to start evening out, but we’re nearly a month and a half into the season now.

The Twins had a difficult time getting anything going against Detroit’s Daniel Norris this afternoon, but they threatened to score in the fifth inning. Ehire Adrianza and Jake Cave hit back-to-back two-out singles. Byron Buxton did a nice job of drawing a walk to load the bases, but Willians Astudillo popped out to squander the rally.

The Twins finally got on the board in the seventh when Adrianza hit a solo home run and Buxton drove in Cave on a single. Astudillo followed with a double, putting runners at second and third base. Jorge Polanco popped out, creating another two out, runners in scoring position opportunity.

Pinch hitter Mitch Garver nearly hit a three-run homer, but it sailed foul. He drew a walk to load the bases, then Marwin Gonzalez drew another free pass to drive in a run. That brought the Twins within two runs of Detroit. A base hit to the outfield would have tied it up, but C.J. Cron struck out.

In the bottom of the eighth, Adrianza walked and Buxton hit a two-out double to put runners at second and third. Astudillo popped out to end the inning.

The Twins left three men in scoring position Friday night, six Saturday afternoon, seven more Saturday evening and another six today. That makes a grand total of 22 runners they stranded in scoring position in this four-game series against the Tigers.

I’m not usually one to nitpick lineup construction, but the way Rocco Baldelli filled things out had me scratching my head. This was Astudillo’s first game since April 27, but he was the leadoff man. He ended up leaving six men on base today. I get that Buxton has looked very comfortable in the No. 9 spot, but having him behind Adrianza and Cave against a left-handed starter was odd to see.

It seems silly to gripe about anything in regard to this team’s offense, especially the way Baldelli has gone about his business, but I do feel like this is an element to keep an eye on going forward. The players have to execute, obviously, but that big gap between overall production and performance with two outs and runners in scoring position seems to be something that may be corrected by an adjustment to the batting order.

Back to this game, Martin Perez gave up a two-run home run to Nicholas Castellanos in the first inning and then a solo shot to Brandon Dixon in the second. He got rolling from there forward, but was removed in the sixth inning after the leadoff batter hit a single off his ankle. Perez was at 93 pitches and Trevor May was already warming in the bullpen, so it was probably an appropriate time to bring out the hook regardless.

May pitched a scoreless sixth inning before Trevor Hildenberger came in and sunk this game for the Twins. He gave up two runs on three hits and also hit a batter. He’s up to 10 earned runs over his last six innings pitched.

That put the Tigers up 5-0, and while the Twins had their chances at coming back, it would have been really nice to have those two runs back. Blake Parker held Detroit scoreless over the final two innings. Taylor Rogers hasn’t pitched since May 7.

Nelson Cruz exited this game with a left wrist injury. Perez was diagnosed with a left foot contusion.

Postgame With Baldelli

Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Download attachment: Bullpen512.png
Next Three Games
Mon vs. LAA, 6:40 pm (Berrios-Skaggs)
Tue vs. LAA, 6:40 pm (Gibson-Pena)
Wed vs. LAA, 12:10 pm (Odorizzi-Cahill)

Last Game
MIN 8, DET 3: Now Witness the Firepower

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#2 jz7233

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 03:50 PM

Hildenberg is also a problem in the bullpen right now. I wonder how many games he needs to blow up before getting demoted while guys like Duffey are not getting much of a chance to stay.

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#3 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 04:18 PM

This Twins team has been very good. But they will have to face some adversity sooner or later. No time like the present, with good weather ahead and a good Angels team coming in.
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#4 bighat

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 04:30 PM

Perez hurt. Cruz hurt. Hildenberger bad!

 

This team pops out like crazy. Turned the game on in the 7th only to watch several pop-ups that didn't leave the infield. Nobody's immune, seems to be just about every player on the Twins does this at least once per game.

 

Easy to be bitter and over-complain when the Twins lose, I guess. Still very happy with this team. Tigers seemed to have some fire. That closer for Detroit is money, wish the Twins had a guy like that in the pen. Seems hard to imagine this team going deep into October without at least two legit shutdown guys in the 'pen. Are Rogers and Parker really going to carry this team all season? I am sure the Twins will trade for someone in July, that'll be interesting for sure.

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#5 PDX Twin

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 04:58 PM

Must be "regression-to-the-mean" day (as well as Mother's Day). Slumping Gonzalez and the bottom three in the order went 9-for-14. The rest of the team---the guys who have all the gaudy stats so far---went 1-for-23.

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It's great to get out of the cellar ... as long as you bring something with you.


#6 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 05:02 PM

It's baseball. You win some you lose some. Not every game goes your way. Splitting the series is less than what you would want, but still they were in every game and didn't surrender. This is an extremely good ball club. My hope is after the draft they make a push for Kimbrel for 50m for 3 years. That would fortify what I think is a good, but not great bullpen. Game changer kind of signing. The books are pretty clean for the Twins... not much of a risk.

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#7 jtkoupal

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 05:15 PM

This was a tough game to lose. The Twins had their chances, but it is becoming more evident that the Twins need to get a lead early and add to it in order to win games.

 

However, let's look on the bright side:

 

FiveThirtyEight's projections had the Twins winning 4.1 games this week and the Indians winning 4.18. In reality, the Twins won 5/7 and the Indians won 3/7 (They split a 4-gamer with the White Sox and lost 2/3 in Oakland)

 

The Twins lead was shrunk to 4 games today, but that is still a sizable lead and one that the Twins should take advantage of. All told, the Twins exceeded expectations this week while the Indians underperformed (again).

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#8 ashbury

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 05:19 PM

Perez hurt. Cruz hurt. Hildenberger bad!

Besides that, Mrs Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

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So, in conclusion, what was your question again?


#9 jkcarew

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 05:49 PM

Oh, well. Detroit’s results since we saw them early had indicated that they might not be terrible. And seeing them up close now, I’d say that’s true. Or at least not as bad as I thought they’d be. The health of Perez and Cruz is more important than the outcome of one game. So, I hope they’re healthy and available very soon.

#10 Thrylos

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 05:51 PM

 

We have a problem.

 

Yes indeed.He is about 6'2", throws underhanded, has an 87 mph fastball and cost the Twins 2 games in 2 days.

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#11 Seth Stohs

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 06:10 PM

 

Hildenberg is also a problem in the bullpen right now. I wonder how many games he needs to blow up before getting demoted while guys like Duffey are not getting much of a chance to stay.

 

It's interesting how Duffey, who has had chance after chance the last three years is suddenly a guy that so many want to come up because he had one absolutely dominant outing in a blowout on Saturday night...

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#12 Seth Stohs

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 06:12 PM

I guess to me, that's encouraging. The Twins have one of the best offenses in baseball. If they aren't good in those situations, that's going to progress to the mean, and if that's the case, they are going to score a ton of runs. 

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#13 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 06:20 PM

Hitting with RISP isn’t a “problem” anymore than having a bad BaseRuns or Pythag record is a “problem” six weeks into a season.

Teams run into bouts of bad luck in a variety of ways. The Twins happen to be neutral in both Pythag and BaseRuns but are “unlucky” with RISP.

So are they neutral or unlucky?

It doesn’t matter. The games have been played. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
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#14 jz7233

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 06:28 PM

 

It's interesting how Duffey, who has had chance after chance the last three years is suddenly a guy that so many want to come up because he had one absolutely dominant outing in a blowout on Saturday night...

I believe Duffey is a better option than Hildenberg right now. Duffey is the only logical option for the Twins at this moment. In order to win more games, Hildenberg needs to be sent down since he is not doing his job. He can certainly get plenty of innings in AAA like Romero. Duffey is just a temporary fix. This team still needs to acquire one or two bullpen arms soon in order to keep up with the Indians.

Edited by jz7233, 12 May 2019 - 06:36 PM.

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#15 jorgenswest

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 06:34 PM

It's interesting how Duffey, who has had chance after chance the last three years is suddenly a guy that so many want to come up because he had one absolutely dominant outing in a blowout on Saturday night...


That isn’t true for me.

I have always had hope in Duffey. His career xFIP has been solid as a result of solid strike out and walk numbers. I think it was Brandon Warne who had the tunneling article that I found very intriguing. I think the Twins have a major league talent in Duffey.

I believe a Hildenberger is a major league talent also. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Twins utilize an option and give him a chance to reset. They sent out Gibson a few years back. Some interpreted as the end and a demotion because they had given up. I think instead they believed in him and his talent.
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#16 Thrylos

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 06:43 PM

 

It's interesting how Duffey, who has had chance after chance the last three years is suddenly a guy that so many want to come up because he had one absolutely dominant outing in a blowout on Saturday night...

 

If you sub "Pressly" with "Duffey", you might end up with the same conclusion, unless you saw Pressly blossom with pitching coaches other than the ones Duffey got his "chances" with.And some of those "chances" were as an ill-placed starter. 

 

The last 2 spots in the pen should be rotating among players who have the hottest arms now.And I'd argue that Duffey is hotter than Hildenberger, so he should replace him.If he cools off and someone else is better, replace him.This team is a contender.Cannot afford to carry people who are hurting it, esp. if they have options.

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#17 Kelly Vance

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 06:57 PM

Day game after a double header (same for Detroit, I know) so i don't put too much stock in one loss.They were so close to pulling it out.

 

We'll be fine

 

 

Hildy, on the other hand......

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#18 Shaitan

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 07:03 PM

The offense doesn't do well in cool weather so far. I hope that changes in October.

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#19 Tom Froemming

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 07:13 PM

 

I guess to me, that's encouraging. The Twins have one of the best offenses in baseball. If they aren't good in those situations, that's going to progress to the mean, and if that's the case, they are going to score a ton of runs. 

I would certainly expect things to even out, but sometimes they don't. The Dodgers had the third-best OPS in baseball last year (.774) but somehow maintained the third-worst OPS with two outs and RISP (.640). They also still won 92 games and went to the World Series, so ya know, things worked out OK for them. Still, what a weird thing to happen.

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#20 bighat

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 07:25 PM

Cruz to have MRI it appears. Hope he's okay, this team needs him big time.
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