Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Photo

Front Page: Series Preview: I Know Who I Want To Take Me Home

jorge soler hunter dozier mike montgomery alex gordon whit merrifield
  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 Matt Braun

Matt Braun

    Cedar Rapids Kernels

  • Twins Daily Contributor
  • 85 posts

Posted 19 September 2019 - 07:30 AM

This is now the third-to-last series before the season is officially over and it also is the final home series and that, my friends, is a pretty sad thing to type out. The not sad thing is that the Kansas City Royals are bad and have no reservations regarding their awfulness. It makes for a good opportunity for the Twins to stack some wins but it also makes it really hard for yours truly to think of something interesting to say about a team that has almost nothing. Oh, I have also decided to break my self-imposed and non-existent rules regarding my title names because good lord, there is almost no good music from Missouri. My options were basically Chuck Berry and Scott Joplin and I don’t feel like listening to ragtime for the better part of an hour so I went with Semisonic because it’s a series in Minnesota, they're from Minnesota, and that’s good enough for me.Brief Overview:

Let's start with a number: 97. Is that the amount of passing yards Kirk Cousins had last Sunday or the amount of losses the 2019 Royals have already suffered? It feels like the former but it is actually the latter as KC continues to lose without a care in the world. With two teams already at 100 losses on the season, the Royals look to make the prestigious club just a bit bigger as their tank continues to run throughout the Central.

What They Do Well:

As with most teams that are bad, they must be good in some way that makes them actually pretty annoying to play against. The Royals do this by being fourth in MLB in stolen bases with 110 swiped bags. Along with this, they have four players with steal totals in the double digits so their speed comes from a variety of players. Although, Billy Hamilton is no longer on the team so their total speed is weakened a touch but still remains a potent threat.

What else is really annoying? Playing good defense. Can you guess what the Royals do well? Yep, their UZR/150 is ninth in MLB so expect a well-rounded group that won’t give away many free outs. A lot of their great defense comes from their middle infield duo of Nicky Lopez and Adalberto Mondesi, both grading out well along with some good outfield defense from a number of players who could make hitting fly balls a less fun adventure than it usually is.

What They Do Not Do Well:

I’ll make this quick because I don’t have the time to write a proper thesis here. Probably the most immediately egregious aspect of the Royals is their starting pitching, as currently they are fifth to last in MLB for starting pitching fWAR. That by itself is terrible but also consider that both of their top two starters, Brad Keller and Jakob Junis, have been shut down for the rest of the year. This leaves Danny Duffy as their best remaining starter and a trail of sadness follows him down the list of KC starters. It will be interesting to see how they string together innings during this series given this deficit.

Alright, well, they can’t pitch, but can they hit?

No! Their team wRC+ of 83 is third to last in MLB and also tied for Tim Laudner’s career mark. They have an interesting core of Hunter Dozier, Jorge Soler, Whit Merrifield, and Adalberto Mondesi, but the drop-off after those players is immediate and quite frightening. Alex Gordon is just below the average mark at 93 but it gets uglier than the color palette in Solo: A Star Wars Story after that. So much so that I’ll leave it up to the imagination of the reader in order to make this article more pleasant.

Individuals Of Note:

Take a gander at the home run leaderboard for 2019 and you’ll see a lot of names like Pete Alonso, Eugenio Suárez, Mike Trout … Jorge Soler??? Yes, the once uber-prospect for the Cubs has figured it out in 2019 and is mashing baseballs like they owe him money. He’s been especially spicy recently as his wRC+ in August was 173 and in September it has been 172 so he is swinging a bat made of pure lava.

Hunter Dozier is another one of the players that make up the interesting hitting core of the Royals and he has had a peculiar season in 2019. His wRC+ on a month-to-month basis resembles an upside down pyramid as he cratered fairly hard in June but has since recovered. His overall wRC+ is 129 but he has also struck out more and walked less in the second half compared to the first half, possibly a sign of decline.

Flip over to the reliever section of FanGraphs and do a little scrolling down the K% list and you’ll find Scott Barlow there at 37th among qualified relievers by K%. That total would be the third highest in the Twins’ bullpen (behind Tyler Duffey and Taylor Rogers), but Barlow is a random reliever who has been a better strikeout artist than guys like Roberto Osuna and Joe Kelly in 2019 and he deserves some credit because being a middle reliever on the 2019 Royals is a worse fate than being a cartel leader in Breaking Bad.

Recent History:

The Twins and Royals last played a three-game series at Target Field in early August and the Twins swept the Royals. Overall, the Twins are 9-3 against the Royals this season.

Recent Trajectories:

The Twins are 8-7 over their last five series while the Royals are 7-8 over their last five series.

Pitching Matchups:

Thursday: Gibson vs Montgomery
Friday: TBD vs Skoglund
Saturday: Berríos vs Sparkman
Sunday: Pérez vs López

Ending Thoughts:

Kansas City is a movable object and while the Twins haven’t quite been an unstoppable force recently, this is still a series they should win. Don’t be fooled by the Royals’ recent record as most of their wins have come from the likes of Detroit, Miami, and Chicago, although they just played a respectable series against Oakland to their credit. I still don’t see this series getting out of hand unless some series shenanigans ensue so I’ll call for the Twins to take three of four and then be on my way.

Click here to view the article
  • Jerr likes this

#2 insagt1

insagt1

    Ft Myers Miracle

  • Member
  • 287 posts

Posted 19 September 2019 - 07:53 AM

don't know about everyone else but the 'nervous nelson' in me is still concerned. One more reversal like yesterday and this is a race again. Since Detroit is totally incapable of beating Cleveland this year, lets just assume the Indians win again. That means Twins really can't afford to blow games to these division foes below us. If we win, we take care of our own business. But games like last night, where Twins hitters just went up hacking with no results just can't happen anymore. Bad enough that we just don't often bring our 'A' game at home, the energy level last night was right on 'E' for empty.

 

the division is right there for them, but man alive are they making it a chore to get there, even with this 'favorable' schedule. So, a 4 game lead with 9 to play would make us all sleep better than a 3 game lead with 9 to play. Indians are still playing realistically for a WC berth...but they also know that they could still steal the division if the Twins tank.

 

Winning this series with KC is in the 'must win' category. We can't be worried about what Cleveland does. When we get runners on 2nd and 3rd we can't be striking out on 3 pitches out of the zone. A double with 2 outs in the 8th can't result in being thrown out at 3rd.

 

Come on Twins...suck it up win a few games the way you won them in May and June!

  • Dman, bighat, Jacks02 and 1 other like this

#3 stringer bell

stringer bell

    In the Twilight of a Mediocre Career

  • Moderator
  • 9,245 posts
  • LocationElgin, MN

Posted 19 September 2019 - 08:17 AM

KC, like Chicago, has some talent at the top of their order and then a big dropoff. Don't let Soler, Dozier, Merrifield and Mondesi beat you if you can help it. 

  • SQUIRREL, VATwinsFan, JW24 and 1 other like this

#4 SQUIRREL

SQUIRREL

    Rally SQUIRREL!!!!

  • Moderator
  • 24,661 posts

Posted 19 September 2019 - 08:29 AM

I'm somewhat surprised Gibson is pitching? Is he healthy? Or rather healthy enough? It seemed that his last appearance out of the BP kind of told us he wasn't healthy. I hope they have a short leash with him, but I guess they need to see where he's at and if he will be an option in the post-season. I have my doubts, but am hoping for a good showing tonight.

  • Danchat, DocBauer, PDX Twin and 1 other like this

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But a skunkweed will always be a skunkweed and instantly recognizable. 


#5 IndianaTwin

IndianaTwin

    Junior Member

  • Member
  • 1,356 posts

Posted 19 September 2019 - 09:15 AM

 

I'm somewhat surprised Gibson is pitching? Is he healthy? Or rather healthy enough? It seemed that his last appearance out of the BP kind of told us he wasn't healthy. I hope they have a short leash with him, but I guess they need to see where he's at and if he will be an option in the off-season. I have my doubts, but am hoping for a good showing tonight.

 

I suspect that the "Gibson" tonight and the "TBD" for tomorrow night are very related. Given his health, I'd feel great about a 4-inning, 65-70 pitch night.

 

  • bighat likes this

#6 Dantes929

Dantes929

    Senior Member

  • Member
  • 2,654 posts

Posted 19 September 2019 - 09:29 AM

 

 

 

Winning this series with KC is in the 'must win' category. We can't be worried about what Cleveland does. When we get runners on 2nd and 3rd we can't be striking out on 3 pitches out of the zone. A double with 2 outs in the 8th can't result in being thrown out at 3rd.

 

Come on Twins...suck it up win a few games the way you won them in May and June!

I have said all along that I will be comfortable when we have X game lead with X-1 games to go but there is no such thing as a must win series when you have a 4 game lead.Twins can have 3 more dogs like last night and still win the division outright no matter what Cleveland does.I don't want the Twins playing like they already have this thing won but don't want them pressing or panicking either if they lose a couple.Its a fine line.Twins might have a must win series or game coming up but this isn't one of them. Probably not a good ideato get swept though.

  • Riverbrian and twinbythebay like this
If you build a man a fire, he'll be warm for a day.
If you set a man on fire, he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

#7 SomeGuy

SomeGuy

    Ft Myers Miracle

  • Member
  • 382 posts

Posted 19 September 2019 - 11:13 AM

If we only manage to go 5-5 against these 2 terrible teams, Cleveland needs to go 9-1 to win the division.

 

Cleveland is 23-35 against teams over .500 like Philadelphia and Washington.


#8 MMMordabito

MMMordabito

    Formerly nasu1970

  • Member
  • 1,011 posts

Posted 19 September 2019 - 11:14 AM

 

Bad enough that we just don't often bring our 'A' game at home, the energy level last night was right on 'E' for empty.

 

It would help if a playoff destined team could come closer to selling out a stadium this close to the end of the season. 14K empty seats doesn't help the energy.

 

It was $1 dog night.

 

Of course, $9-12 beers and $6 average tasting kiddie cones doesn't help. St. Peter has the wrong formula.Even he thinks his prices are ridiculous.

 

Also, the S-show that is the LRT after a game is over doesn't help either.I use it regularly and know what to expect, but I also overheard a couple decent sized groups of people saying stuff like "this was a bad idea" or "we're never doing this again".I see lots of "Out of Service" trains running the tracks and jamming up the flow during this time.You would think the Twins and Metro Transit would be able to come up with a better plan on game days.The lines have been running for years.They should have the data to improve it.


#9 PDX Twin

PDX Twin

    Portland Beavers

  • Member
  • 1,351 posts
  • LocationPortland, Oregon

Posted 19 September 2019 - 11:36 AM

 

This is now the third-to-last series before the season is officially over

 

Believe it or not, there is actually a word for this: the antepenultimate series!

  • SQUIRREL, Riverbrian, Dantes929 and 4 others like this

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


#10 IndianaTwin

IndianaTwin

    Junior Member

  • Member
  • 1,356 posts

Posted 19 September 2019 - 12:01 PM

 

Believe it or not, there is actually a word for this: the antepenultimate series!

 

Which is preceded by preantepenultimate. (White Sox series) 

 

Which is preceded by propreantepenultimate. (Cleveland series)

  • Dantes929, PDX Twin and bighat like this

#11 insagt1

insagt1

    Ft Myers Miracle

  • Member
  • 287 posts

Posted 19 September 2019 - 01:00 PM

its semantics I know. I don't wish to get into a war of words here. When I say 'must win'..it is in the spirit that Twins really have to get their act together against these teams. The math says sure we can lose 3 of them while Cleveland wins 3 and still have a lead. Is that what we really want? Do we really want to lose a series to a team on the verge of 100 losses? Is it acceptable to play more games like last night?

 

I believe its 'must win' in the sense that we don't play well at home; our starting pitching is down to two reliable arms; our hitters are out of synch and perhaps they feel a 4 game lead is 'comfortable enough'. I don't think it is. Are the fans not totally all in because of the way they play at home? Don't know.

 

What I do know is it would be advisable to end the week with a 5 or 6 game lead and be playing solid baseball. Looking at a series against NY (who we can't beat to save our lives) or Houston, with perhaps most well rounded solid team in MLB is not for a team playing the way we are right now. Ah, but who knows....


#12 rdehring

rdehring

    Rochester Red Wings

  • Member
  • 1,466 posts

Posted 19 September 2019 - 01:43 PM

Don't know Matt if you were talking about music in general, or musicians.But let's remember Sheryl Crowe is from Missouri, although Southeastern MO.  

 

The one great thing I have found in both Kansas City and St. Louis is great food.Although I haven't been back in many years (they were on summer vacation when I went to a Twins series there several years ago) my favorite restaurant in the country was Al's in St. Louis.

 

What worries me is that we have 7 games left with KC and they have played us tough all year.Let's hope that the bullpen game we faced last night isn't a formula for the Royale's to follow these next ten games.

 

My feeling is we need to win 3 of 4 this weekend.I am hopeful that the Tribe will lose at least one.That would take the magic number down to 3 when we go on the road with 6 games to go.That should put the Twins in great shape to take care of their business and not worry about Cleveland.To be honest, I want to clinch the first part of next week in Detroit, just to make Gardy's night!


#13 singlesoverwalks

singlesoverwalks

    Junior Member

  • Member
  • 8 posts

Posted 19 September 2019 - 01:48 PM

*Chuck Berry is not ragtime. You could have gone with No Particular Place to Go. Downbound Train. Try harder next time.


#14 singlesoverwalks

singlesoverwalks

    Junior Member

  • Member
  • 8 posts

Posted 19 September 2019 - 01:49 PM

 

 

*Chuck Berry is not ragtime. You could have gone with No Particular Place to Go. Downbound Train. Try harder next time.

 

(To be clear, just kidding.)


#15 Dantes929

Dantes929

    Senior Member

  • Member
  • 2,654 posts

Posted 19 September 2019 - 02:49 PM

 

its semantics I know. I don't wish to get into a war of words here. When I say 'must win'..it is in the spirit that Twins really have to get their act together against these teams. The math says sure we can lose 3 of them while Cleveland wins 3 and still have a lead. Is that what we really want? Do we really want to lose a series to a team on the verge of 100 losses? Is it acceptable to play more games like last night?

 

I believe its 'must win' in the sense that we don't play well at home; our starting pitching is down to two reliable arms; our hitters are out of synch and perhaps they feel a 4 game lead is 'comfortable enough'. I don't think it is. Are the fans not totally all in because of the way they play at home? Don't know.

 

What I do know is it would be advisable to end the week with a 5 or 6 game lead and be playing solid baseball. Looking at a series against NY (who we can't beat to save our lives) or Houston, with perhaps most well rounded solid team in MLB is not for a team playing the way we are right now. Ah, but who knows....

After the Twins lose to any of these teams you are going to think the Twins are not sharp or not playing well but that is only ever half the story. Statistically,the White Sox are supposed to and do win at least one out of every three. They are 9-7 against the Indians, 4-3 against the Astros and 4-3 against the Yankees.I was very happy that the Twins won 2 of 3.If they only drop one in each of the next three series I will be very happy.You think its a lack of sharpness or focus. I just think its baseball. As far as how they are playing going into the playoffs that's also not a big concern to me.Its been kind of a mantra of mine over the season to respond to those either too optimistic or too pessimistic to say wait 7 to 10 days and the picture will likely be entirely different.You can't win October games in September so not being sharp now is not an indicator that they won't be sharp in two weeks.87 Twins lost their last 5 games of the regular season. Yeah, they had the division wrapped up so how about the 2006 Tigers. They only needed to win 1 game out of three at home against a Royals team that had already lost 100 games but instead got swept allowing the Twins to steal the title. I don';t think you can end a season any worse that that but they ended up in the World Series.The high flying and strong finishing Twins on the other hand got swept by a team they manhandled during the season.I share your concern about not getting too complacent and that they have been banged up but they have earned the position that they can survive a couple clunkers.The sentence I agree with you the most is your last one.Ah, but who knows..... Answer is no one and that is what makes it fun.

  • Riverbrian likes this
If you build a man a fire, he'll be warm for a day.
If you set a man on fire, he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

#16 Riverbrian

Riverbrian

    Goofy Moderator

  • Moderator
  • 22,206 posts
  • LocationGrand Forks, ND

Posted 19 September 2019 - 08:22 PM

I have been equal parts:

 

A. Excited about the playoffs

B. Nervous about making the playoffs

 

All Year Long and I'm not changing now. 

A Skeleton walks into a bar and says... "Give me a beer... And a mop".

 

President of the "Baseball Player Positional Flexibility" Club 

Founded 4-23-16 

 

Strike Zone Automation Advocate

 

I'm not a starting 9 guy!!!


#17 yarnivek1972

yarnivek1972

    Cooperstown

  • Member
  • 6,531 posts

Posted 20 September 2019 - 11:48 AM

Is the answer to the subject question Phil Collins?



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: jorge soler, hunter dozier, mike montgomery, alex gordon, whit merrifield