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Article: SEA 7, MIN 4: Sweepless in Seattle

kyle gibson byron buxton jorge polanco
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#1 Andrew Gebo

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 05:37 PM

Going into Sunday’s action, the Twins were looking to accomplish two things: Stretch their season-long win streak to six games and complete a four-game road sweep of Seattle for the first time in franchise history. Unfortunately, they were denied both and they boarded a plane to Los Angeles looking to begin a new winning streak.Box Score
Gibson: 6.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 64.8% strikes (59 of 91 pitches)
Home Runs: None
Multi-Hit Games: Polanco (4-for-5)
WPA of +0.1: Polanco .252
WPA of -0.1: Cron -.168, May -.171, Gibson -.301
Download attachment: Win519.png
(chart via FanGraphs)

Buxton Hitting 9th
There is not much to gripe about when a team is playing this well. The early season success indicates Rocco Baldelli has pushed all the right buttons. However, having Buxton continue to hit ninth, especially in a matchup like today's, is perplexing.

Slightly more than a quarter of the way through the season, Buxton is leading all ninth-place hitters in hits (39) and home runs (4). Byron has also been the Twins' second-best hitter when facing left-handed pitching. Going into the game, he was hitting .400/.444/.640 with a 1.089 OPS, second only to CJ Cron, who has crushed lefties to the tune of .393/.438/.964 and a 1.402 OPS.

Those numbers alone are not indicative of a number nine hitter. It becomes even more perplexing when considering today’s lineup featured Ehire Adrianza, and Luis Arraez making his first big league start. Both of who were slotted higher than Buxton in the lineup. Byron has been enjoying the breakout season we have all been waiting for, so this very well could be a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Buxton went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts, but also drew a walk and scored a run. There wasn't much offense to speak of for the Twins. Lead off man Jorge Polanco had four of the team's seven hits, all of which were singles.

Trading Zeros Early
While the Saturday night game featured a lot of early offense, Sunday proved to be quite the opposite. Neither team pushed a run across through the first three innings. The only real threat came in the top of the third, when the Twins had the bases loaded and two outs with C.J. Cron at the plate. He was unable to drive in a run, adding to the Twins struggles with two outs and runners in scoring position.

Offense Wakes Up
Finally, in the bottom of the fourth, the Mariners drew first blood. With back-to-back doubles from Edwin Encarnacion and Domingo Santana, they took an early 1-0 lead. Much like they have done all year, the Twins responded immediately.

Following back-to-back walks to open the fifth, Polanco dropped down a beautiful bunt and a throwing error by the pitcher allowed a run to score, tying the game at 1-1. Like we’ve come to expect, the Twins did not stop there. Buxton scored on a weak chopper back to the pitcher off the bat of Jonathan Schoop and the Twins added a third run of the inning thanks to an error by the Mariners shortstop, J.P. Crawford. Perhaps most impressively, they scored three runs in one inning without hitting a home run.

Much like they did to Berrios on Saturday, the Mariners feasted on Kyle Gibson in the fifth inning. After surrendering a leadoff double, it looked like Gibson was about to wiggle out of the jam with two quick outs. Mitch Haniger had other ideas, however, as he blasted a two-run home run to tie the game at three. The very next batter, Daniel Vogelbach, launched a solo home run, giving the Mariners a 4-3 lead.

7th-Inning Stretch
The Mariners were able to stretch their lead to 7-3 in the bottom of the seventh. Trevor May retired the first two batters he faced, but then appeared to lose control of the zone. He issued a pair of two-out walks, fell behind Edwin Encarnacion and gave up a three-run blast.

Closing It Out
The Twins offense showed a little life in the ninth. They managed to get two runners on and a one-out single from Polanco drove in a run. With Schoop representing the tying run, he flew out to deep right field and that was the ballgame.

A sweep would have been ideal, but it’s hard to imagine anyone being upset with a 3-1 record in a four-game road series. The flight to Los Angeles will likely still be a happy one.

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: Pen519.png
Next Three Games
Mon at LAA, 9:07 pm CT (Odorizzi-Pena)
Tue at LAA, 9:07 pm CT (Pineda-Cahill)
Wed at LAA, 8:07 pm CT (Perez-Harvey)

Last Game
MIN 18, SEA 4: Sharks Eat Mariners

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#2 jz7233

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 06:14 PM

Twins really need to be creative with Gibson. Since he's only going to be effective in 5 innings, he should be the primary pitcher and someone else should be the opener. May might be a good candidate for the opener position.

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#3 Nine of twelve

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 07:20 PM

 

Twins really need to be creative with Gibson. Since he's only going to be effective in 5 innings, he should be the primary pitcher and someone else should be the opener. May might be a good candidate for the opener position.

This might be a worthwhile strategy but I don't think I'd jump to it just yet. Let's see how things go the next few starts.


#4 mikelink45

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 07:46 PM

May is so inconsistent that as an opener he might throw away the whole game.I do not have faith in him, he is too inconsistent.

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#5 Aerodeliria

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 08:09 PM

Today's game was just gravy, but they gave themselves a chance to win, but the dam eventually started leaking water. It was strange that May reverted back to the mystery man after recording two outs, but that's the way it goes.

 

Again, I think Rocco will move Buxton to leadoff when he thinks he's ready. It starts with consistency. The leadoff hitter needs to get on base consistently. The definition may be different among various contributors here, but the reality is that from April 21 through May 3, Buxton hit .182 with only (2) extra base hits, to go along with (9) strikeouts and only (2) BBs. For me, that is too long a stretch of inconsistent plate appearances to warrant the leadoff spot.

 

I still think he should start bunting. He could probably corral the leadoff spot if he occasionally dropped one down. Polanco did it today with great effect. (Puckett used to do it quite often as well.) If the bases were empty, it would almost be like wacking a double.


#6 USAFChief

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 08:13 PM

The contrast between Gibson pitching ahead in the count often, and pitching behind in the count often, is incredible.

I also dont remember a single change up today.
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Cutting my carbs...with a pizza slicer.


#7 Sconnie

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 09:12 PM

The contrast between Gibson pitching ahead in the count often, and pitching behind in the count often, is incredible.

I also dont remember a single change up today.


https://m.youtube.co...h?v=PdtaThCpyPM
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#8 Taildragger8791

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 09:33 PM

Today's game was just gravy, but they gave themselves a chance to win, but the dam eventually started leaking water. It was strange that May reverted back to the mystery man after recording two outs, but that's the way it goes.
 
Again, I think Rocco will move Buxton to leadoff when he thinks he's ready. It starts with consistency. The leadoff hitter needs to get on base consistently. The definition may be different among various contributors here, but the reality is that from April 21 through May 3, Buxton hit .182 with only (2) extra base hits, to go along with (9) strikeouts and only (2) BBs. For me, that is too long a stretch of inconsistent plate appearances to warrant the leadoff spot.
 
I still think he should start bunting. He could probably corral the leadoff spot if he occasionally dropped one down. Polanco did it today with great effect. (Puckett used to do it quite often as well.) If the bases were empty, it would almost be like wacking a double.


You’ll have a hard time being happy with anyone’s consistency when your measuring stick is an arbitrary week and a half out of a 6 month season. And even that stretch of performance for Buxton wasn’t in the unplayable territory we’ve seen before.

#9 glunn

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 02:35 AM

Great title for this article.

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#10 Aerodeliria

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 03:16 AM

 

You’ll have a hard time being happy with anyone’s consistency when your measuring stick is an arbitrary week and a half out of a 6 month season. And even that stretch of performance for Buxton wasn’t in the unplayable territory we’ve seen before.

 

Maybe, but that slices both ways. Buxton has been hot for about 10 days, so now he should be leadoff?


#11 bighat

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 05:56 AM

We are a fickle bunch. This team is going to lose more games. Probably games just like this. Gibson wasn't great. May wasn't good. Offense was snoozing.

 

I heard Baldelli told the team not to bother coming to early warmups. Just show up before game time, screw batting practice, you've earned a day to relax. This stuff will happen. It's a shame Cleveland won and got closer, but they'll have much tougher opponents moving forward than the Twins do, schedule-wise.

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#12 Old Twins Cap

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 06:16 AM

Gibson's fastball to Haniger in the 5th was a huge mistake. Right down the middle. Never kick a sleeping bear.

 

But, May, his curve ball was not looking sharp yesterday and he should have stuck with the heater on Encarnacion.

 

You wonder if Astudillo knows what he's doing back there. People love him to death, but does that make him a great game-calling catcher?


#13 Number3

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 07:31 AM

Buxton should stay where he is in the lineup and the theory that the 9 hitter becomes leadoff is valid minus 1 ab and removes the stigma of actually being the leadoff hitter. Buxton is still in the development/comeback stage so leave well enough alone.

 

Don't understand why Berrios was removed in game 3 one third of an inning away from a W still with a nice lead unless he had tweaked something.

 

A local high school coach said about his team that they are better collectively than they are individually and, so far, that is the story of the 2019 Minnesota Twins. Keep it up.

Edited by Number3, 20 May 2019 - 07:32 AM.

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#14 Taildragger8791

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 07:53 AM

 

Maybe, but that slices both ways. Buxton has been hot for about 10 days, so now he should be leadoff?

 

I didn't push for that either. I'm pretty clearly against making any decision on short sample sizes, and would rather look at a larger window of performance as well as the process that led to the results. The results will ebb and flow over short stretches because it's baseball, but as long as the process/approach are solid it should self-correct.

 

He's in a comfortable spot and producing, so I'd let him continue to mature and establish himself for a while before yanking him up and down the order. I'd also want to see that OBP stay up before putting him at leadoff. Over the first several weeks he's shown that it's finally clicking and he's found an approach/process that works for him. I'd say the fact that he experienced a mini-slump and dug out of it without it snowballing on him shows that he's growing and maturing as a professional hitter.

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#15 USNMCPO

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 07:57 AM

 

Gibson's fastball to Haniger in the 5th was a huge mistake. Right down the middle. Never kick a sleeping bear.

 

But, May, his curve ball was not looking sharp yesterday and he should have stuck with the heater on Encarnacion.

 

You wonder if Astudillo knows what he's doing back there. People love him to death, but does that make him a great game-calling catcher?

Tortuga's hitting has seemed to cool off lately, as well. I wonder if he could be sent down when Garver comes back.


#16 blindeke

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 08:19 AM

 

I still think he should start bunting. He could probably corral the leadoff spot if he occasionally dropped one down. Polanco did it today with great effect. (Puckett used to do it quite often as well.) If the bases were empty, it would almost be like wacking a double.

 

Coaches were telling Buxton to bunt since he was first called up. It did NOT work out well.


#17 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 08:50 AM

Buxton should stay where he is in the lineup and the theory that the 9 hitter becomes leadoff is valid minus 1 ab and removes the stigma of actually being the leadoff hitter. Buxton is still in the development/comeback stage so leave well enough alone.

Don't understand why Berrios was removed in game 3 one third of an inning away from a W still with a nice lead unless he had tweaked something.

A local high school coach said about his team that they are better collectively than they are individually and, so far, that is the story of the 2019 Minnesota Twins. Keep it up.


The team shouldn't make decisions for no other reason than padding a player's personal stats. It matters if the team wins. Which pitcher gets that W on his baseball card is meaningless.
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#18 Aerodeliria

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 09:06 AM

Kikuchi is starting to get in his groove. He's a tough pitcher. I've seen him pitch a number of times in Japan--a couple of those times, he was virtually unhittable.

#19 MMMordabito

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 10:02 AM

Impressed by Arraez at the plate .... He's gotten on base four times in 1.5 games and could have had a 5th time on that judgement call obstruction call.He seems to have good control of the strike zone.

 

In the field, he made a couple nice plays, but also goofed on that throw from Duffey on Saturday.I also wonder if his arm was a bit lacking on that potential double-play turn in the 2nd inning.It was a nice turn, but I might just be spoiled by Schoop's gun.

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#20 Twins_Fan_For_Life

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 11:21 AM

Buxton should bat leadoff, but only the games where he's going to be productive at the plate. In all other games he should bat 9th
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