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Front Page: Twins Game Recap (8/2): Cruz Powers Twins to Another Close Win Over the Royals

nelson cruz max kepler jorge polanco martin perez sergio romo
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#1 Thiéres Rabelo

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 09:44 PM

Like usual, the Royals didn’t sell this one cheap, but also like usual, the Twins prevailed and took the series opener at Target Field, 11-9. Nelson Cruz raked, with his third five-RBI game of the season and Sergio Romo earned his first save in a Twins uniform. This was the seventh win for Minnesota in ten games against Kansas City this year. The Twins have now won six of their last eight games and keep a three-game lead over the Indians, atop of the Central.Box Score
Pérez: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 60.2% strikes (41 of 68 pitches)
Bullpen: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K

Home Runs: Cruz (27)
Multi-Hit Games: Cruz (3-for-4, HR, 5 RBI, BB), Kepler (2-for-3, 2 BB, RBI), Polanco (2-for-5), Rosario (2-for-5, RBI)

Top 3 WPA: Cruz .394, Kepler .231, Polanco .211
Bottom 3 WPA: Pérez -.289, Dyson -.081, Gonzalez -.066

The Twins got five innings out of starting pitcher Martín Pérez, who also had a very low pitch count. But he couldn’t keep the Royals off the scoreboard, giving up three home runs and a total of five earned runs. That was the sixth time he allowed five or more runs in his last eleven starts. The bats continue their recent out-of-this-world run, as they have now scored an MLB-best 79 runs since the start of the Yankees series, on July 22.

This offense has no chill
Both teams exchanged punches early in this game. The Royals manufactured a run after All-Star outfielder Whit Merrifield singled on the third pitch he saw, stole second and was brought home by a two-out single by Jorge Soler. I’m sure you know that didn’t last long.

Minnesota responded immediately, with identical aggressiveness - but more power. Max Kepler jumped on the second pitch he saw and hustled for a double. One batter later, Nelson Cruz made it clear that not starting during the Marlins series made no difference whatsoever. He blasted his 27th home run of the year into the second deck of left field.

The bats kept pounding and pounding. A couple more runs scored in the second, but, this time, with a more scarce resource. The destructive Twins offense has the 22nd walk rate in the majors, walking only 8% of the time. But Luis Arráez and Jason Castro drew two of them and both of them ended up haunting Royal starter Glenn Sparkman. The wonderkid scored on a sac fly from Ehire Adrianza, while Castro took advantage of a rare mistake by Alex Gordon, who couldn’t hold on to the ball after a sliding charge.

Royals strike back
Pérez’ first time through the order couldn’t have gone more smoothly. Second and third could hardly have been rougher. Kansas City had back-to-back two-run innings in the fourth and fifth. Hunter Dozier hit a leadoff home run and then the visitors started their own small-ball party, hitting two consecutive singles, a sac bunt and Soler scored on a balk.

The Twins starter couldn’t regroup properly and gave up two solo home runs in the fifth (Cam Gallagher and Dozier, with his second), giving the Royals their second lead of the game. That was enough to end Pérez’ night at only 68 pitches. With yet another poor start, he now has a 5.53 ERA since the beginning of June, after posting 3.10 as a starter in April and May. Is there a reason to worry? Possibly, we’re not going to see much from him as a starter in October.

The seesaw continues
Once again it was time for the offense to rescue this game. And they got their end of the job done. After Kepler walked and Jorge Polanco singled, mighty Cruz doubled to center field (inches short of a homer!), scoring Max. On the following at-bat, Eddie Rosario scored Jorge on a sac fly, regaining the lead for the Twins.

Lewis Thorpe came in to pitch the sixth and he didn’t have the best of starts. He gave up a leadoff double to Cheslor Cuthbert, who was brought home by a Humberto Arteaga double, tying the game. But the Aussie managed to cool down and finished pitching 1 2/3 innings. As a reliever in the majors this year, he’s now posting a 2.84 ERA, making his case for a playoff spot each day stronger.

Is Cruz ever going to come back to Earth?
Being named the AL Player of the Week on Monday might have inspired Cruz. Kepler and Polanco (who else?) reached safely on back-to-back plate appearances again and the Boomstick took care of business yet one more time. He doubled off the center field wall for his third hit of the night and fifth run batted in. There aren’t many more words left to describe what this man has been doing for the Twins this year. It’s astonishing. Miguel Sanó (single), Arráez (groundout) and Castro (single) also joined the party, each of them driving in a run, making it a five-run seventh.

Dyson still not sharp, Romo saves it
Sam Dyson made his second game in a Twins uniform, one day after his debut. Just like the game in Miami, he wasn’t even close to what he was in San Francisco and gave up three earned runs. Obviously that’s not ideal, but he did retired two batters (as opposed to none on Thursday) and threw 75% strikes (as opposed to 42.8% the day before).

Rocco Baldelli brought in Sergio Romo to get the last out of the eighth in relief of Dyson, his third game of the week, and he earned his first save as a Twin, his eighteenth of the year. Romo, as usual, was fired up, displaying a lot of emotion every out he got. He struck out two batters in 1 1/3 inning of work, but also had the help of an amazing leaping grab by Polanco at short in the ninth.

Postgame With Baldelli

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.

Click here to view the article
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#2 MMMordabito


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Posted 02 August 2019 - 09:59 PM

The postgame Romo interview made me happy. Cruz and Romo will be invaluable during a playoff push.
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#3 Mike Sixel

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 10:16 PM

He's one of two starters signed for next year..... So ya, we should worry.

This is not a very good pitching staff,imo.
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It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins. 

#4 nater79a


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Posted 02 August 2019 - 10:30 PM

Uh oh....


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#5 jimbo92107


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Posted 02 August 2019 - 10:35 PM

Not worried about Dyson. Look at his stuff, it's dominant. He just needs to figure out where to buy groceries or something. Doesn't look quite settled. 

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#6 Monticore


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Posted 02 August 2019 - 10:57 PM

Keep Romo. Junk Dyson.

#7 corey


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Posted 02 August 2019 - 11:06 PM


Uh oh....


 I would take that with an enormous grain of salt. He has an identical K-rate both home and away. His LOB% is 30% higher at home right now, which won't keep happening. He's given up 3 homers all year and while they were not in San Francisco and that makes sense, that hasn't been his issue for the Twins.


All that to say, the sample size is too small and all this is just noise anyway.

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#8 3balls2strikes


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Posted 02 August 2019 - 11:49 PM

May threw one pitch to end the 7th and hasn't pitched for a long time. With a 5 run lead there was no reason to pull him for the 8th inning. Keep May in the frigging game! Dyson is still getting settled, his head is rattling around trying to get familiar with his new team. He flew from Philly to Miami to Minneapolis in less than 12 hours. His mind and body are in different time zones. There was ZERO reason to have Dyson pitch today. Rocco's bullpen usage lately is beyond bizarre and he's showing that he's a rookie manager. 

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#9 Florida Loggerman

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Posted 03 August 2019 - 01:01 AM

Amen, spot on input 3balls, May, amazilgly pitched 1 total pitch, ended up getting the dang win? what??and just as 3 balls stated matter a factly above, May threw one pitch, had not pitched for a quite a while, rested to say the least, there was nothing but another rookie mgr mistake. Leave the vet arm in, if he flops, fine, try who ever, but pulling May after 1 pitch to end the 7th inning. same with the 1st insert of Dyson, totally stupid on Roco's part, the man flew 12 fricking hrs. talk about serious jet lag, big time. Dyson should have been held back until this weekend, give him time to settle in, where that is being he just arrived in Minny on Thursday I believe.but, concern over Dyson, heck yes, if he was so good at san Fran, what's the deal, simple tired and not sure where he or his head is at. totally justified.

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#10 Florida Loggerman

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Posted 03 August 2019 - 01:04 AM

Plus, in total agreement that it's proving out that over all, this entire pitching staff is truly not very good at all. The early splash with huge success with both Perez and Jake, have totally flipped to the not so good quickly, and Berrios is for sure been the most consistent, but he too, when he's a little off, he truly struggles no matter who he faces. still he is only what, 25 years old, I think I lot of it is between his ears, and time and experience will be the only teacher to get him to be the possible stud he is physically capable of, if he don't get his mind right, he could struggle for a long time coming, hope not, but we all have seen it happen before.

#11 wabene



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Posted 03 August 2019 - 01:11 AM

I thought bringing Dyson in in a low leverage situation like tonight was a good idea. That way he wouldn't have to stew so long after his poor first outing. So there you have it two totally different takes on Rocco's management prowess tonight.
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#12 wabene



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Posted 03 August 2019 - 01:23 AM

What is not to like about Mr Cruz? At his age you had to wonder how this year would go, then he gets a wrist injury and it's like oh **** he's falling apart. Guess not, geez, amazing. Talk about a late bloomer. I know Carole's got dibs with her Cruz crush but man I'm growing fond of the man.
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#13 Only Here in Negative

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Posted 03 August 2019 - 01:42 AM

Uh oh....


I'll counter with this:

Dyson at Oracle last year:
39.1 IP, 3.66 ERA, .709 OPS

Dyson away last year
31 IP, 1.45 ERA, .577 OPS

Your sample is small. If you add the two together he's pretty much the same home and away.
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#14 AlwaysinModeration


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Posted 03 August 2019 - 02:58 AM

II'll counter with this: Dyson at Oracle last year:39.1 IP, 3.66 ERA, .709 OPS Dyson away last year31 IP, 1.45 ERA, .577 OPS Your sample is small. If you add the two together he's pretty much the same home and away.

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#15 yarnivek1972



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Posted 03 August 2019 - 03:24 AM

How long does Dyson get to use the trade as an excuse? Romo hasn’t been with the team that much longer and already has 3 effective outings. Sure, I think he’s throwing too many pitches out of the strike zone, but that is who he is.

#16 David HK

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Posted 03 August 2019 - 03:25 AM

Dyson's first couple of outings- not great, to say the least.


Meanwhile, Jaylin Davis 1st game with his new mates?


3 for 3, 2 doubles, 3 RBI.


**Edit** Just checked the box score for Sacramento- 1-run game, closed out the last 2 innings by a tall, skinny kid named T. Rogers...:lol:

Edited by David HK, 03 August 2019 - 03:32 AM.

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#17 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 03 August 2019 - 04:46 AM

It's amazing the excuses that Dyson continues to get.
So they are supposed to just play shorthanded for a week while Dyson gets settled?
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#18 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 03 August 2019 - 04:47 AM

Dyson's first couple of outings- not great, to say the least.

Meanwhile, Jaylin Davis 1st game with his new mates?

3 for 3, 2 doubles, 3 RBI.

**Edit** Just checked the box score for Sacramento- 1-run game, closed out the last 2 innings by a tall, skinny kid named T. Rogers... :lol:

That can't be right. Davis hasn't had time to get settled yet.
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#19 twinssporto


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Posted 03 August 2019 - 04:57 AM

I'm not too worried about Dyson. He's got dominate stuff and should rebound. I'm enjoying the enthusiasm of Romo as well. That attitude will help us in October.

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#20 twinsnorth49


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Posted 03 August 2019 - 05:35 AM

Not sure what people think the Twins should do with Dyson. Complain away, but he's going to keep getting opportunities to be effective, which I'm sure he will be.
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