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Article: CLE 9, MIN 7: Bullpen Crumbles on Night Kimbrel Signs With Cubs

blake parker byron buxton martin perez nelson cruz jorge polanco
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#1 Tom Froemming

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 10:28 PM

Of course this would happen.

On the day Craig Kimbrel reportedly reached an agreement to sign with the Cubs, the Twins bullpen blows a two-run lead in the seventh inning. This is pretty much the most Minnesota Sports way this day could have possibly gone.Box Score
Perez: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 60.9% strikes (56 of 92 pitches)
Home Runs: Buxton (7), Cruz (8), Polanco (10)
Multi-Hit Games: Polanco (2-for-4, HR)
WPA of +0.1: Buxton .191, Polanco .156
WPA of -0.1: Sano -.137, Perez -.218, Parker -.500
Download attachment: Win65.png
(chart via FanGraphs)

The Twins held a 6-5 lead through six innings, but rain caused this game to be delayed more than an hour and a half. The Twins scratched across an insurance run once play resumed, but Blake Parker was ready to play his role in throwing gasoline on what was already a hot talking point across Twins Territory.

I don’t know that you’ll find a Twins fan or baseball analyst who believes the Twins bullpen is fine as it’s currently constructed. So for Kimbrel to sign and Parker to give up three runs to blow the lead within a matter of hours is only going to increase the attention paid to that storyline.

Parker gave up a two-run homer to Jordan Luplow and a solo shot to Roberto Perez. Just for good measure, Tyler Duffey gave up a solo homer to Francisco Lindor in the eighth.

It’s worth mentioning that the Twins came into tonight 34-2 when holding a lead entering the seventh inning. Things like this haven’t happened all that often this year, it’s just that we’ve all been expecting doom for so long that it feels like they have.

Perez Struggles Again
Martin Perez entered this start having posted a 5.59 ERA over his previous four outings. His last time out against Tampa Bay was particularly ugly, as he gave up six earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.

Perez opened his evening by walking the leadoff man, Francisco Lindor, on four pitches. The Twins lineup was making noise again tonight, creating plenty of breathing room, but Perez wasn’t sharp once again tonight.

There were a few bad-luck, seeing-eye singles mixed in, but Perez struggled to find the strike zone. When he did, he didn’t miss many bats. He threw only 60.9 percent of his pitches for strikes and got just four swinging strikes on his 92 pitches. That’s the fewest swings and misses he’s had in an outing this season, which is particularly striking because he had four appearances of fewer than four innings coming into tonight (he started the year in the bullpen, remember?).

It was a bit of a sloppy game for the Twins. Perez and Jason Castro had some troubles, accounting for both a wild pitch and a passed ball. Also, Miguel Sano committed his second error of the season. Only two of the five runs Perez gave up were earned. Still, he was given a 5-1 lead at one point and could not seal the deal.

Cleveland Pen Battles Through Trying Times
This appeared to be a tough matchup for Cleveland from the get-go. Carlos Carrasco was placed in the IL due to a blood condition, resulting in the team being forced to go with a bullpen game.

As if that wasn’t a challenge enough, I imagine the rain delay didn’t help things. They used seven pitchers tonight. Momentum isn’t something that can be quantified, but for Cleveland to win this game under these circumstances has to have injected some swagger into that clubhouse.

The Good Stuff
It wasn’t all bad. The Twins lineup was out there hitting bombas again. Byron Buxton absolutely obliterated an 0-2 pitch for a three-run homer.



The lineup also combined to go 3-for-6 with runners in scoring position and five of the Twins’ run were scored with two outs.

Trevor May made things interesting in the sixth, but he got out of it unscathed and struck out a pair of batters. He was averaging 96.1 mph with his four seamer tonight. He had been sitting at 94.8 mph with that pitch coming into this evening.

But who am I kidding? You’re a Minnesota sports fan. You’re only here to cry in your beer (or coffee, depending on when you’re reading this) and lament about not being able to have nice things. That’s OK, we’re all here for you, lol.

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: Pen65.png
Next Game
Thu at CLE, 6:10 pm CT (Berrios-Bauer)

Last Game
CLE 5, MIN 2: Twins Can’t Figure Out Bieber, Lindor Lifts Cleveland

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#2 Aerodeliria

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 10:31 PM

All of my secret fears about Parker came true in the matter of a few minutes. Uggggh...

 

For quite a long time now, of all of the present relievers, I have felt that it was Parker who was the shakiest and pitching on borrowed time. The repo men (Indians) came to extract their repayment.


#3 MNT1996

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 10:34 PM

And we're up against Bauer tomorrow. I have a feeling this is a series the Twins will want to quickly forget about. 

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#4 Monticore

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 10:57 PM

Maybe Baldelli can light a fire under them for tomorrow. But, I doubt it.

#5 Knuckleball9

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 11:21 PM

Looks like Jim needs a new hobby.


#6 Knuckleball9

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 11:34 PM

I guess the window is NOW open too wide... we need no improvements. 

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#7 terrydactyls1947

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 04:50 AM

Yesterday was Wednesday, June 5 and it was the 60th game of the year.The Twins are now 37%of the way through the season.Out of 59 years, the current team ranks 44th on the all-time list of Twins' home runs in one season and are on a pace to hit 308 home runs this season.

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#8 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 05:24 AM

probably a bit more concerned about Perez myself. Wondering if the league is figuring him out. 

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#9 USAFChief

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 05:29 AM

probably a bit more concerned about Perez myself. Wondering if the league is figuring him out.


I think its more likely a case of Perez remembering who he is.
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Cutting my carbs...with a pizza slicer.


#10 akmanak

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 05:39 AM

The Twins are looking like the old Twins.
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#11 akmanak

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 05:39 AM

The Twins are looking like the old Twins.

#12 Jham

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 05:43 AM

The Twins are looking like the old Twins.


You can say that again...
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#13 carewser

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 05:53 AM

No reasons to fret if the goal is to win the division. Plenty of reasons to fret if the goal is to be a serious contender in the playoffs.
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#14 bighat

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 05:58 AM

 

probably a bit more concerned about Perez myself. Wondering if the league is figuring him out. 

 

I was thinking that too. Perez has looked more like his career average these days - a #5 starter with a 4.56 career ERA. He's been pretty bad his last 2 starts. He works SO SLOWLY that it's hard for me, even as a Twins fan, to watch him pitch. The league's stopped swinging at that inside cutter. Just one strikeout?

 

Pineda, Perez, and Gibson make up over half the starting rotation. I don't know how much longer the Twins can just roll the dice with these three guys. I like Pineda and Gibby more than Perez at this point but I've had concerns about all 3 this season.

 

Regardless of this loss, it was nice to see Buxton and Polanco both go yard. And Cruz is back! Looks like the offense is going to have to carry this team and it appears they're capable. Hopefully they can stay relaxed and not feel too much pressure today. Just relax, grab a win, everything will be just fine.


#15 bunt_vs_the_shift

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 06:05 AM

Glad I didn't stay up for this, but unfortunately, I wasn't all that surprised when I saw what happened. Our pen needing help is a known quantity and Perez hasn't looked good lately. Maybe our guys were feeling themselves a little too much heading into Cleveland, or maybe our pitching was just due for a statistical correction. Either way, we should be turning over every rock possible to improve our pitching as we approach the trading deadline. Our lineup top to bottom is as good as I've ever seen (including 87 & 91) and there's no reason this can't be our year, so let's not let it go to waste! 

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#16 jud6312

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 06:26 AM

Glad I'm not the only one with concerns about Perez. I obviously didn't expect him to continue that way throughout the year, but I was hopeful that he wasn't getting back to his old self. At this point I'd settle for something right in the middle.

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#17 jud6312

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 06:28 AM

 

Pineda, Perez, and Gibson make up over half the starting rotation. I don't know how much longer the Twins can just roll the dice with these three guys. I like Pineda and Gibby more than Perez at this point but I've had concerns about all 3 this season.

 

 

You're concerned about Gibson? I'm honestly more concerned about Odorizzi turning back into a pumpkin.

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#18 Han Joelo

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 06:30 AM

While I don't disagree getting different, perhaps better players might help, I'm more inclined to see if they can also get these guys back on track.  Perez and Parker, particularly.

 

For some perspective or whatever:  The Yankees and Dodgers both got walked off, with Expensive Offseason Bullpen Acquisition Zack Britton the goat in the former.

 

Elsewhere, the Astros got obliterated 14-1 by Seattle, as Mike Leake threw an 89 pitch complete game.  

 

Good teams lose, in a variety of ways.

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#19 puckstopper1

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 06:31 AM

IMO losing the game is less painful for Twins fans than losing Carrasco is for Indians fans.His ailment might explain why he has struggled this season.

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That Twins 2nd baseman - #29 - he doesn't run, he "ca-rew-zes" - Earl Weaver


#20 Einheri

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 06:40 AM

Speedy recovery to Carrasco, hopefully.

As for the Twins, trade for some quality arms.

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