Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.

Front Page: Now Entering Second Guess Season

rocco baldelli jake odorizzi jose berrios taylor rogers trevor may
  • Please log in to reply
56 replies to this topic

#1 Cody Christie

Cody Christie

    Twins Contributor

  • Twins Daily Staff
  • 1,551 posts

Posted 08 October 2019 - 08:31 PM

Minnesota’s dreams of postseason glory were cut brutally short on Monday night. Target Field was poised to exploded at the first sign of life from the Twins, but that moment would never come. Instead, fans saw the Twins set many dubious records. Minnesota became the first 100-win team to be swept out of the first round of the playoffs and the club has lost an MLB record 16-straight postseason games.

As the dust starts to settle, where should the blame be placed? Fans begin to move from the postseason to a time of second-guessing choices made by the coaching staff and the front office.Starting Pitchers
After watching Jake Odorizzi on Monday night, plenty of fans were questioning the decision to hold him off until game three. As the series started, Minnesota’s logic was to use Odorizzi, a fly-ball pitcher, at Target Field, which is a less-prone fly-ball park than Yankee Stadium. Randy Dobnak had been a good story for the Twins, but he was a rookie with few MLB appearances.

Odorizzi had been named an All-Star and he might have been Minnesota’s best pitcher down the stretch. While Jose Berrios struggled in the second half (4.64 ERA, 1.38 WHIP), Odorizzi posted a 2.86 ERA in August and a 3.27 ERA in September. In a shorter five-game series, Odorizzi might have been the better choice in the second game of the series.

Kepler’s Injury
Minnesota, like a lot of teams, deal with injuries down the stretch. Luis Arraez suffered what looked like a season-ending injury in the Twins’ last series of the year as he had to be carted off the field. He came back to hit 5-for-11 against the Yankees and he became the first to record to record four doubles in an ALDS. Max Kepler also missed time at the end of the year, but he didn’t fare nearly as well against New York.

Kepler did not record a hit in 13 plate appearances and he officially finished the postseason going 0-for-10 with three strikeouts and three walks. Some might question if Kepler was healthy enough to play in the post-season, but the second guessing could come in the team’s decision not to play him in the season’s final series against Kansas City. It’s hard to know if Kepler was healthy enough to play. However, standing in for at-bats against the Royals might have helped him to get some of his timing back after being injured.

Taylor Rogers didn’t pitch until the third game of the ALDS and Trevor May was limited to one pitch in the entire series. Some might question whether Kyle Gibson should have even been on the roster. In Game 1, Minnesota turned to Zack Littell after only four innings out of Jose Berrios. From there the Twins turned to the likes of Cody Stashak and the aforementioned Gibson. This wasn’t exactly the power bullpen Minnesota had used the final weeks of the season.

The results from Game 2 weren’t much better as Dobnak recorded six outs before Duffey struggled in his 2/3 of an inning. By the middle of the second game of the series, Duffey was the lone key relief option to make multiple appearances and the team’s two best relievers (Sergio Romo and Taylor Rogers) had yet to appear. Rocco Baldelli made plenty of good decisions throughout the season, but his bullpen usage in October is something to be questioned.

If you are second guessing the Twins, what decision would you change? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

Click here to view the article
  • Jerr likes this
Cody Christie

#2 ashbury


    Visalia Oaks

  • Moderator
  • 25,332 posts
  • LocationNatick, MA

Posted 08 October 2019 - 08:38 PM

Both my second-guesses concern Game 1, and I don't really consider either a second-guess since it would have been my approach from the start. I've stated them elsewhere already.


#1, Schoop at 2B instead of Arraez. Facing a lefty, with Arraez still hobbled (as the field staff knew even if we didn't), and with better defense, Schoop is the "book" starter. Rocco went with a hunch, I guess, and the third inning proved pivotal.


#2, in the fifth inning, treat this as a winnable game and pull out all the stops where pitching is concerned. To advance, you have to win 3 games, and you only get 5 chances. Not every game might be winnable - so the winnable ones are precious. Leave Berrios in for another inning (especially if that third inning played out differently, then he's got fewer pitches under his belt), and then replace him with no one but your best.


Steal Game 1 if it's possible, lose Game 2 and 3 as we did, and then see what happens. That's my second-guess.

  • Blake, Jerr, Sconnie and 7 others like this

If you judge people, you have no time to love them. -- Mother Teresa

#3 mdawg888


    Junior Member

  • Member
  • 35 posts

Posted 08 October 2019 - 08:47 PM

The Game 1 Bullpen usage was baffling...I don't know what else can be said on that front.



  • birdwatcher, Jerr, Platoon and 5 others like this

#4 David HK

David HK

    Minnesota Twins

  • Member
  • 3,526 posts
  • LocationHong Kong

Posted 08 October 2019 - 08:49 PM

Well, sure is illuminating to see Tampa employing a BP game ON THEIR HOME FIELD, with their season on the line.


Including Minnesota's own, the sublime Nick Anderson (he of the 17Ks/9 innings) shutting Houston down for 2+ innings.


Gee, wish we had a guy like that to come in and put out fires.


Oh, wait....

  • mdawg888, tarheeltwinsfan, Platoon and 3 others like this

#5 jdoffing11


    Elizabethton Twins

  • Member
  • 36 posts

Posted 08 October 2019 - 08:56 PM

"Trevor May was limited to one pitch in the entire series"


I was at game 3 and I do recall Trevor May coming in during the 9th inning and throwing more than one pitch to get a couple of outs, unless it wasn't him and the scoreboards had it wrong. 

#6 mdawg888


    Junior Member

  • Member
  • 35 posts

Posted 08 October 2019 - 09:07 PM


Well, sure is illuminating to see Tampa employing a BP game ON THEIR HOME FIELD, with their season on the line.


Including Minnesota's own, the sublime Nick Anderson (he of the 17Ks/9 innings) shutting Houston down for 2+ innings.


Gee, wish we had a guy like that to come in and put out fires.


Oh, wait....

Him and Pressly would've looked real good in this pen...Liked all their moves at the deadline last year, but that Pressly one was a head scratcher, especially with another cheap year before they had to make a decision on him. 

  • birdwatcher, tarheeltwinsfan and David HK like this

#7 h2oface


    Lifelong since '61

  • Member
  • 4,849 posts
  • LocationTralfamadore

Posted 08 October 2019 - 09:20 PM

Berrios would have come out for the 5th inning in Game 1. Would have gone to top relievers with the game tied or close instead of the minor league guys. Gibson would not have been in the game even trailing 7-4. Gibson wouldn't have been in any game. Definitely would have started Odorizzi in game 2. The Uber driver decision was misguided in so many ways. I am so sick of so called "great stories". This is the story that matters. Swept in 3. Nothing cute about it.


Yup. Or "pitching identifiers" and "developers" let Nick Anderson go, too.


It is official. As the other 3 series are all tied at 2-2, our Twins are the only team that performed in the playoffs like they shouldn't have been there. Truly embarassing for the team and the fans. I noticed a discussion about how the Twins outplayed the Yankees with hard hit balls, etc in game 3. The only thing that matters is that you score more runs than the other team in the playoffs. Close doesn't count. Stats don't matter. You lose a game 5-1 and outplayed them????? The Cardinals won game 4 in the late innings with 2 hits with exit velocities in the 60's. When you score, you are outplaying the other team. No spin needed. I hate the excessive shifts. Several cost us big time. And they will continue to do so. Hits even go through the shift on the side that is packed, because even where the player would have been, they are not now, and the ball pulled goes right through that hole, because even with 3 on that side, the normal spot is now vacant. We are so smart we weren't even competitive. Embarrassing.

  • wavedog, David HK, bighat and 2 others like this

#8 Jham


    Junior Member

  • Member
  • 2,281 posts

Posted 08 October 2019 - 09:57 PM

Uhhh we've questioned this for a while, but why Margo at first and Sano at third? Both have strong arms but Margo has much better hands and range. Sano let two gettable balls get by him in absolute huge spots. Gardner caught him off guard, and the bases loaded double of his glove in Yankee stadium. To me that was obvious during the season and it finally caught up with us at the worst time.
  • birdwatcher, ken and Huskertwin like this

#9 Jham


    Junior Member

  • Member
  • 2,281 posts

Posted 08 October 2019 - 10:02 PM

Also, pitch selection. Yankees weren't swinging down in the zone. We were so worried about HR we forgot to elevate fastballs for swinging strikes, pop outs and just to change hand and eye levels. Gibson reinvented himself with the high 4 seamer then came un and threw almost all sinkers at the bottom of the zone. He'd fall behind and no one would respect the slider which he was actually rolling off the table. He threw 1 pitch up and in to DJ and got a swinging strike then hung a slider middle in. Dobnak did the same thing.
  • birdwatcher and Huskertwin like this

#10 rghrbek


    Pensacola Blue Wahoos

  • Member
  • 695 posts

Posted 08 October 2019 - 10:03 PM

Agree with most of these 2nd guesses.  Arraez could play game two but not game one.  Silly.  Schoop not as valuable, especially in 2nd half but far superior in the field and had over an 800 OPS against lefties.


Also, all players out for close to a month get some type of rehab to face live pitching.  If Kep wasn't healthy enough, then he shouldn't have played.  Wade is an on base machine.  Play him, especially over the vastly outmatched Cave (especially in the field).


Agree on game one, empty the chamber with your bullpen to win game one.  Then, if you do win, improvise...


Oh well.  Also it's ok to not acknowledge what a meltdown this was in general, but it's hard to hear that right after the game from the head coach.  At least admit you did not play as you did most of the year.  Fall on the sword while your team and your entire fan base are mortified.  Then a day or two later talk about the amazing year we had.

  • h2oface and Huskertwin like this

#11 Rosterman


    Senior Member

  • Member
  • 3,554 posts

Posted 08 October 2019 - 10:32 PM

I would have grabbed a starter, even if his last name was Lynn, at the trade deadline (although I would have preferred Grienke). I would have overpaid and got Smith from the Giants as a closer.


Instead of at bats to Wade/LaMarre/Miller I would have put Kiriloff in the lineup for September.


100% only players for round one of playoffs.


And Odorizzi should have started Game One!

  • tarheeltwinsfan likes this
Joel Thingvall
rosterman at www.twinscards.com

#12 Lasorda_This_Out


    Cedar Rapids Kernels

  • Member
  • 71 posts

Posted 08 October 2019 - 11:02 PM

Full Disclosure...watched zero nanoseconds of all three games. And I was at the 2-0 win at Target Field on Opening Day-28Mar2019 when Marwin's 2-RBI double off Kluber won game one of the 101 wins. Somehow knew any series (single game or a 3 of 5) against the most IMPORTANT CITY ON PLANET EARTH would not end well? Analysis: True

The MLB experts who rarely EVER highlighted the Twins during the Regular Season and blatantly dismissed their chances in Post-season were correct...we don't belong to the anointed Elite yet, ie NY, Bos, Hou, LA....and not even Tier Two's, CLE, SEA,DCA,OAK and Mets? We're "Fargo"? Get it? Laughable. 

Now FalVine have to make bold off-season moves...even it means trading current favorites on the 25 man roster (looking at Rosario and Buxton as a start?) and high prospects ( except Lewis and Kiriloff).

Now or never?



#13 Aerodeliria


    Pensacola Blue Wahoos

  • Member
  • 691 posts

Posted 08 October 2019 - 11:29 PM

I disagree about Arraez, he had one bad play that arguably could have been caught by Rosario coming in on the bloop, but he also came up with some clutch hitting. On the throw to first, it was low but it wasn't even in the dirt, so that was completely on Cron. You have to catch that!!!!!


On the remainder of the complaints, I agree.


I was worried by Cron's inability to catch non-perfect throws to first and wanted Gonzales on the infield instead. Use Cron as a pinch-hitter against lefties, but his defense is just not good enough for playoff baseball to be on the field for the whole game IMHO.


I've already ranted long enough about pulling Berrios out, so I'll just leave it at that.

  • spycake and nclahammer like this

#14 nclahammer


    Cedar Rapids Kernels

  • Member
  • 128 posts

Posted 09 October 2019 - 03:54 AM

In hindsight, I would have liked to see the approach to the bullpen use that was used in game #3, used in games #1 and #2.More of a sense of urgency, and not saving your studs for the later innings, which it turned out, the games were already out of reach by then.

#15 bighat


    Sombrero Grande

  • Member
  • 3,227 posts
  • LocationGuatemala

Posted 09 October 2019 - 06:27 AM

Agree with the Kepler 2nd-guess and I posted something about it earlier as well.


Game 1 of the ALDS in Yankee Stadium against James Paxon isn't the place to get your first at-bat in over a month. Ridiculous. Kepler should have played during the KC series and if he wasn't good enough to go, he should not have been on the playoff roster. Astudillo could have taken his spot.


Waving the white flag in Game 1, in hindsight, looks absolutely terrible. Pulling Berrios. Then having Gibson on the playoff roster and then using him as an innings-eater in a 3-run game still has me scratching my head.


Overall it's easy to be a Monday Morning QB. And sure, there were some questionable decisions from the lineup standpoint.


But this team lost this series because the players got out-pitched and out-hit. The team faltered under pressure, looked as bad as they did all season. Hard to blame the terrible play of just about everyone on Rocco Baldelli. This embarrassing series loss is on the players, in my opinion.


  • Jerr, Dantes929, h2oface and 1 other like this

#16 twinfan


    Cedar Rapids Kernels

  • Member
  • 94 posts

Posted 09 October 2019 - 06:57 AM

Woulda, coulda, shoulda. We simply did not hit. My biggest concern was the lineup. Arraez should have batted leadoff and Kepler down in the lineup. As far as Odorizzi, I would have used him in Game 1 or 2 but he had to pitch somewhere anyway so maybe the strategy of waiting til Target field was a wise move.The lack of use of our 3 best relievers was puzzling as well. Finally, we should have had a bodyguard on Pineda to stop him from taking something that would get him suspended.

  • SwainZag, bighat and Huskertwin like this

#17 spycake


    Senior Member

  • Moderator
  • 17,693 posts

Posted 09 October 2019 - 07:11 AM


"Trevor May was limited to one pitch in the entire series"


I was at game 3 and I do recall Trevor May coming in during the 9th inning and throwing more than one pitch to get a couple of outs, unless it wasn't him and the scoreboards had it wrong. 

I'm pretty sure Rocco checked out before the 9th inning of game 3 (hence how Romo was inexplicably left in for a second inning and a season-high pitch count). So maybe May's appearance beyond that point doesn't count somehow? :)

#18 one_eyed_jack


    Senior Member

  • Member
  • 674 posts

Posted 09 October 2019 - 07:17 AM

There were a few dubious decisions to be sure but this series was so one-sided that it's hard to imagine a different outcome had different decisions been made.


It was such a frustrating series, made even more so by the fact that every other DS is competitive - we're the only team that got so easily sent home.


I'm so sick of the condescending pats on the head, the "plucky midwestern overachievers who get routinely stomped by the big bad bullies from the Bronx" narrative.Open the vaults, get a couple of shutdown starters and lockdown bullpen guys and flip the effing script.I don't want to hear about how proud you are of your regular season.I want to hear about how you're not satisfied with being playoff punching bags.



  • Hosken Bombo Disco, David HK, Battle ur tail off and 1 other like this

#19 Twodogs


    Rochester Red Wings

  • Member
  • 1,207 posts

Posted 09 October 2019 - 07:47 AM

Well your best pitcher all season is Berrios. There is no one in the bullpen who is better. Now I can see pulling him in mid June with 80 pitches and a 3 - 3 tie game where only one of his runs were earned, buy not in October!!! I ride that horse for 7 innings, if mechanics look good 110 - 120 pitches. Let's say he gives up another 2 runs and it's 5 - 4 going into the 8th inning, I give the Twins offense a better than 50% chance of winning in that situation. I give them a 70% chance of at least tying the game up. But not down 10 - 4. What were they saving him for, the end is here!!

Then I definitely start Odorizzi in game 2, that at least gives you the possibility of using him in game 5 if need be, why wouldn't you use your best two pitchers the most??? Hell Washington has used their best two pitchers as starters and out of the bullpen, I mean they haven't won anything yet, but at least they have a shot at it now. It's like I get saving these guys a little in June and July so as to get to October, but once in October pull out all of the stops and go for it. I mean Dobnak is a great story but game 2 in Yankee stadium?? And even if the Twins were still in it now Odorizzi is unavailable in game 5.
  • Jerr, Hosken Bombo Disco and Huskertwin like this

You cannot succeed without hate for your enemy

#20 spycake


    Senior Member

  • Moderator
  • 17,693 posts

Posted 09 October 2019 - 07:49 AM

I don't quite understand the Berrios criticism. I guess he set down the bottom of their order in the 4th, but he didn't look particularly good before that, and he was already at 88 pitches with the heart of the Yankee order (Judge-Gardner-Encarnacion-etc.) coming up for a third time. Those 3 batters in particular were already 3-for-5 with a walk in the game (including two doubles from Encarnacion).


The regular season move might be to try to milk another inning out of Berrios, but pulling him in favor of your fully rested pen seems like a solid postseason move.

  • diehardtwinsfan, SwainZag and twinbythebay like this

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: rocco baldelli, jake odorizzi, jose berrios, taylor rogers, trevor may