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Article: MIN 6, TB 4: Cruz Bails Out Another Bunting Blunder

nelson cruz jonathan schoop jake odorizzi taylor rogers eddie rosario
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#1 Tom Froemming

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 09:18 PM

Messages from the team’s marketing department are apparently being lost in translation on their way to the club’s manager. Instead of the Bomba Squad, Rocco Baldelli appears to believe he’s managing the Bunting Squad.

Nelson Cruz hit a massive bases-clearing double in the seventh inning that not only put the Twins on top for good, but also bailed out his team after another questionable bunting decision.Box Score
Odorizzi: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 60.4% strikes (55 of 91 pitches)
Bullpen: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Home Runs: None
Multi-Hit Games: Cruz (3-for-4, 2B), Arraez (2-for-3, BB), Rosario (2-for-2)

WPA of +0.1: Cruz .491, Arraez .151, Rosario .141, Rogers .115
WPA of -0.1: May -.129, Schoop -.145, Polanco -.236
Download attachment: Win626.png
(chart via FanGraphs)

Nelson Cruz provides a solid presence in the lineup, veteran leadership and will even apparently bail out his manager after making a poor decision. What a guy.

The Twins were provided an excellent scoring chance in the seventh inning, and nearly returned the gift. A double-play ball was botched, resulting in the Twins getting runners at first and second with no outs.

Jonthan Schoop was coming to the plate. The Twins were still trailing by a run. It was still only the seventh inning. Still, Schoop was up there trying to bunt. He missed twice, looking absolutely horrible in the process, and ended up striking out.

Unlike when this happened last time with Jorge Polanco, I cannot imagine Schoop was doing this on his own. This is a guy who came into tonight with 13 homers and a .480 slugging percentage.

Luis Arraez followed with a single to load the bases. The next batter, Polanco, popped out, meaning Cruz was the team’s final hope of capitalizing on Tampa Bay’s big error. Cruz ripped a bases-clearing go-ahead double to center field.



Rocco Baldelli should have gone straight into his office and just submitted All-Star votes for Cruz from that moment to the final out.

Odorizzi Struggles With Command
Over his last three starts now, Odorizzi has given up 11 earned runs on 19 hits and five walks. All that damage was done in 15 1/3 innings, giving Odorizzi a 6.46 ERA and 1.57 WHIP over this recent downturn.

What’s going on? Well, tonight Odorizzi struggled with his command. His strike rate was just a shade over 60% and seemed to constantly be pitching from behind in the count. On the plus side, he did still strike out seven batters and got 12 swinging strikes on his 91 pitches.

Odorizzi left with the game tied 3-3, but the Rays completed their comeback with a Willy Adames go-ahead solo homer in the seventh, their third homer of the evening.

Rosie Exits Early
In the bottom of the third inning, Eddie Rosario pulled up while running the bases. It was later reported that he suffered an ankle injury and was day-to-day.



With both Byron Buxton and Marwin Gonzalez on the IL and Max Kepler nursing a sore elbow, courtesy of a 95 mph fastball, the Twins already had a very unconventional outfield to start this game.

In the fourth inning, the defensive alignment was Luis Arraez in left field, Jake Cave in center and Willians Astudillo in right. Arraez has a grand total of two starts in the outfield while down on the farm the past two seasons.

Kepler would later enter this game in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement.

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: Pen626.png

Click here to view the article
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#2 Monkeypaws

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 09:22 PM

When some players bat or pitch, they call it "must see" tv.

 

When Parker pitches, it's "go make a sandwich" tv.

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#3 Hawkeye12

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 09:24 PM

Parker didn't give up any runs, it was 6-4 when he came into the game.

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#4 Tom Froemming

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 09:27 PM

 

Parker didn't give up any runs, it was 6-4 when he came into the game.

Thank you. I got so pissed off about the bunting I couldn't see straight there for awhile. That's right, it was May who gave up the solo homer for the last Tampa run.

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#5 corey

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 09:27 PM

Parker actually pitched pretty well tonight. He struck out two of the three batters he faced, and the hit he gave up to Meadows was a well worked, 10-pitch at bat. On that one you've just got to tip your hat to the batter.

(Edited since the quoted error was fixed before my post posted)

Edited by corey, 26 June 2019 - 09:35 PM.

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#6 Blake

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 09:28 PM

As I mentioned in the game thread, a depleted lineup found a way to get a lead then win the game.

 

This is a team that isn't quitting. 

 

I still cannot fathom this team could win 100 games this year.

 

I'd have been thrilled with the possibility of 90.

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#7 MNT1996

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 09:39 PM

Arraez needs to stay up. He's arguably our second best contact hitter on the team right now.

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#8 Dantes929

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 09:52 PM

Well Tom, I was annoyed with the bunting as well but in a whole different way.  He let a strike go by and then jabbed at a pitch foul. He didn't advance the runners but if he had then Arraez base hit scores both of them.  To me Cruz didn't bail out the decision but rather the lack of execution. Nice job once again by the bullpen. One run in 3 and 2/3 innings in a close win....I was really lamenting the Rosario injury. Not only did his out prevent at least one run from scoring but it put a lousy defensive outfield out there.  Of course the first guy hits one that Rosario probably catches fairly easily, but Odorizzi did a great job getting out of it.  Man, that is a lot of outfielders that have gone down in a short period of time.  Anyone know the likely order of the return of players on the IL?

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#9 USAFChief

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 10:00 PM

I just about lost my mind in the game thread over that stupid sac bunt decision.

Oh, and Nelly Cruz was a really, really nice addition to this team. Exactly the kind of hitter that this team needed. Powerful, professional, well respected. The proverbial "tough out."
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#10 jz7233

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 10:11 PM

 

Arraez needs to stay up. He's arguably our second best contact hitter on the team right now.

I would say he is the best contact hitter on the team. Astudillo often makes weak contact.

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#11 MNT1996

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 10:16 PM

 

I would say he is the best contact hitter on the team. Astudillo often makes weak contact.

 

Well I was thinking Polanco being the best contact hitter on the team. Polanco has more ABs and thus a more proven hitter than Astudillo or Arraez.

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#12 rghrbek

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 10:25 PM

 

Parker actually pitched pretty well tonight. He struck out two of the three batters he faced, and the hit he gave up to Meadows was a well worked, 10-pitch at bat. On that one you've just got to tip your hat to the batter.

(Edited since the quoted error was fixed before my post posted)

 

But for gods sake do not send him out there tomorrow...his career stats if I recall on pitching consecutive days are really bad on that 2nd consecutive day.

 

Cruz is a professional.  He was our biggest off season acquisition, and we have had good ones.  When we were rumored to be in on him I was excited.  A latino, who can rake and provide stability in the clubhouse?  Awesome.

 

Good to see Kep come in as a defensive replacement...

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#13 Monticore

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 11:56 PM

They won this one on grit. Kudos to Cruz. Glad to see Kepler back in there and nice work by Harper.
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#14 DocBauer

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 12:31 AM


Twins win!!

Twins win!!

Best part of things!

I didn't see the game, so I missed the whole bunt situation. So I will only comment in general BB terms. The bunt is going away in MLB, as is the SB, based on everything from BP usage to shifts and launch angles and HR production. But there is a place for all things. And all things are cyclical. There is still a time and place for a bunt in this game. Perhaps Rocco needs to perform a "Kelly" and have the team work on a few fundamentals for when it's needed.

Also frustrates me that a team with so many good athletes available can't steal a base. I get having such a powerful lineup you don't want to risk giving up an out. And this team really hustles for the extra base and generally runs the bases well. But there is nothing wrong with the occasional bunt or SB to put the pressure on the opposing team. Especially when today's game is not looking for those things.

Crazy about the pen! We need help, internally or externally. But crazy how bad they looked for a few games, and yet have rebounded.

Baseball is a crazy game!
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#15 twinsfanstreif

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 01:38 AM

Not sure if anyone mentioned it but Polanco broke his on base streak. I think it was 38 games being on base, something like that
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#16 REPETE

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 03:04 AM

 

Twins win!! Twins win!! Best part of things! I didn't see the game, so I missed the whole bunt situation. So I will only comment in general BB terms. The bunt is going away in MLB, as is the SB, based on everything from BP usage to shifts and launch angles and HR production. But there is a place for all things. And all things are cyclical. There is still a time and place for a bunt in this game. Perhaps Rocco needs to perform a "Kelly" and have the team work on a few fundamentals for when it's needed. Also frustrates me that a team with so many good athletes available can't steal a base. I get having such a powerful lineup you don't want to risk giving up an out. And this team really hustles for the extra base and generally runs the bases well. But there is nothing wrong with the occasional bunt or SB to put the pressure on the opposing team. Especially when today's game is not looking for those things. Crazy about the pen! We need help, internally or externally. But crazy how bad they looked for a few games, and yet have rebounded. Baseball is a crazy game!

I concur, there is a place for bunting & SBs.However, the lack of execution is obvious.These guys just don't practice it anymore.How many times did we see Joe Mauer try to lay down a bunt for an easy hit, and could never get it done?And that's a guy with a great eye!Asking guys to bunt in this era, unless they're NL pitchers or little fast guys that have to hit it twice to get it out of the park, is futile...and frustrating!

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#17 the_brute_squad

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 06:17 AM

Schoop needs to get the bunt down. Guys in scoring position with the top of the lineup at bat is exactly where you want to be in late innings. Baseball is more than modern metrics and data. Sometimes old school baseball that's worked for over 100 years is still the way to go.

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#18 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 06:23 AM

 

Schoop needs to get the bunt down. Guys in scoring position with the top of the lineup at bat is exactly where you want to be in late innings. Baseball is more than modern metrics and data. Sometimes old school baseball that's worked for over 100 years is still the way to go.

It was the seventh inning and the Twins have the highest-scoring offense in baseball.

 

You don't play for a run in that situation. You try to take the lead, not tie the game. It's not the ninth inning.

 

And despite giving away an out, what did the Twins do in that situation?

 

They took the lead because Cruz hammering the effing ball, just like the rest of this lineup does on a near-nightly basis.

 

Play for one run when you need one run to keep the game alive. Outside of that specific situation, you play for as many runs as possible.

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#19 bighat

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 06:35 AM

Elias Sports Bureau has a stat called "Productive Outs" - basically shows when batters succeed when they have an opportunity to make a productive out.

 

Schoop's 9.5% rate is the lowest on the team - Sano's the next lowest at 14.3%. Schoop has been up in 21 such situations and has only made a productive out twice. Bunting or not last night, we shouldn't be surprised he struck out on 3 pitches in that situation.

 

Schoop's found his way down to the bottom of the order for a reason. I think taking cheap shots at Rocco for Schoop's ineptitude is passing the buck. He's a decent defender and he'll suffice, but I've been souring on Schoop for a while now and that bat AB last night is on him.

 

Great to see Cruz come through! What an addition he's been. Odorizzi's shaky, not worried yet. May once again shows why he doesn't belong in close games. Rogers was money once again! Rosario had been on absolute fire and his absence will hurt. Hope he gets well soon.

 

 

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#20 Bavarian

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 06:44 AM

You know, at some point in the late season and especially the playoffs when they need to manufacture runs against elite pitching, they will need to execute bunts or they may go home. Free-swinging will result in killed rallies and lots of K's against opponent's top 3 starters and rested bullpens.

 

There's absolutely no reason a professional hitter can't work on his craft to include bunting which can be a hugely essential play in a tight game in late/extra innings or even as an element of surprise.Look how effective KC is because NO ONE does this anymore.I think it's the right call (am I the ONLY one?) in the 7th trying to get the tie run to 3rd with one out and the lead run to 2nd.Why does everyone dismiss this as bad strategy?It's worked for millennia.Please refrain from analytics explanations.  Not buying it.

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