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MIN 5, KC 4 : Bullpen Steps Up Again

miguel sano eddie rosario taylor rogers matt wisler nelson cruz
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#1 Matthew Taylor

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 03:51 PM

The Twins jumped out to an early lead again on Sunday, and they had plenty of opportunities to add on. Nelson Cruz added some insurance in the ninth, but things got interesting again in the bottom of the ninth inning. However, Taylor Rogers got the save and the Twins evened their season series with the Royals.Box Score
Wisler: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Home Runs: Cruz (10)
Bottom 3 WPA:
Top 3 WPA: Tyler Clippard 0.153, Nelson Cruz 0.142, Sean Poppen 0.129

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):

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The Minnesota Twins kicked off the scoring in Sunday’s afternoon affair with a couple of 2-out hits in the first inning. The first, a 107 MPH double off the bat of Miguel Sanó to drive in Max Kepler, followed by a RBI single off the bat of Eddie Rosario to give the Twins a 2-0 lead to begin the game. The 2 first inning runs continued the Minnesota Twins’ strength of first inning scoring, as they have now scored 27 first inning runs in 29 games this season.



The Twins then built on their lead in the 3rd inning in what was one of the more exciting innings you’ll see from the Minnesota Twins. The 3rd inning rally began with a rare infield single by Nelson Cruz. Following the Cruz single, the Twins got another single from Miguel Sanó, who has been on fire since shaking off his initial rust after a late start to the 2020 season. With runners on first and second, Eddie Rosario laid down a drag bunt for a single to load the bases for Marwin Gonzalez. Marwin wasted no time to tack onto the Twins lead, knocking a 2-run double on the first pitch to put the Twins up 4-0.



The Royals quickly began to chip away at Minnesota’s lead, though, as they strung together a hit by pitch, a Hunter Dozier double, and a 2-run Jorge Soler double in the bottom of the third inning to immediately cut the Twins lead in half.

In the bottom of the 7th inning, the Royals trimmed their deficit again after getting a 2-out RBI single from third baseman, Maikel Franco, cutting the Twins’ lead to just one run.

In what became a much closer game than it had any business becoming, the Minnesota Twins needed some insurance and like a good neighbor, Nelson Cruz was there. In the top of the 9th inning in a one-run game, Nelson Cruz went yard off of the extremely tough Trevor Rosenthal, blasting a 107 MPH shot to center field to give the Twins a 2 run lead heading into the bottom of the 9th inning.



Taylor Rogers allowed for some 9th inning drama to creep in as he allowed one run and two hits (one double) and had the Royals with the winning run on 1st base with 2 outs. Rogers was able to escape from the jam, though, and get the Minnesota Twins a 2-1 series win. Should Taylor Rogers remain the team’s closer?

Some additional notes:

Bullpen Game Produces Another Win
Because of all of the injuries to Minnesota’s starting rotation, the Twins have needed to turn to bullpen games throughout this shortened 2020 season. These bullpen games, however, have produced good results for the Twins, as they are now 3-1 in bullpen games this season. While Devin Smeltzer struggled a bit in innings 3-4 with taming Kansas City’s bats, the Twins got excellent appearances from each of the other relievers they turned to today, with Matt Wisler, Trevor May, Sean Poppen, Sergio Romo, Tyler Clippard and Taylor Rogers allowing a combined 2 earned runs in 8 innings pitched.

Sanó Está En Fuego
Miguel Sanó continued his absolute tear at the plate in today’s game, going 3-for-4 with a walk, 2 doubles, and an RBI. The big guy is now 15 for his last 38 (.395) with 10 extra base hits over his last 12 games. Miguel Sanó clearly had some rust to knock off after getting a late start to the season with his COVID-19 diagnosis, and has clearly knocked off that rust. For the season he now boasts a .879 OPS, second on the Minnesota Twins and only trailing Nelson Cruz for best on the team.

Missed Opportunities
In a game in which the Minnesota Twins chased the starting pitcher in 3.1 innings, posted 13 hits, and an expected batting average of .358, putting up just 5 runs is a disappointment. The story of the offense today was missed opportunities and leaving runners on base. The Twins left 11 runners on base in today’s game and were just 3-17 with runners in scoring position. Against a team like the Royals, you can survive without converting opportunities, but when fiercer competition comes their way, the Twins will have to convert on the opportunities that come their way.

Another Injured Pitcher
After throwing another scoreless inning in Sunday’s ballgame, the appearance for Tyler Clippard ended in scary fashion. On the final out of the bottom of the 8th inning, Clippard was drilled on the elbow with a 100 MPH liner from Whit Merrifield. Following the liner, Clippard slowly made his way back to the dugout with the type of body language that induces fear into a fanbase that has been able to rely on the right hander all season. In Rocco Baldelli's press conference, the managers said that initial imaging from Clippard didn't show anything serious but that he "doesn't anticipate (Clippard) throwing a baseball anytime in the very near future". To date, Clippard has a 1.42 ERA in 13.2 innings with the Twins

Today marked the final game of the Minnesota Twins 10-game slate versus the Kansas City Royals in 2020. The Royals posed a much stiffer competition to the Twins than anyone anticipated, as the two teams split the season series 5-5, with the Twins scoring 36 runs over the 10 games compared to 38 for the Royals.

The Minnesota Twins are now 19-10 on the season and lead the American League Central by 1.5 games. The Twins will continue their road trip Monday evening in a matchup against the second place Cleveland Indians — Minnesota will trout Kenta Maeda out on the hill to face Indians starter Aaron Civale.
Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

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What were your takeaways from Sunday’s victory over the Kansas City Royals? Who would you say was the player of the game? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!

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#2 mikelink45

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 04:21 PM

Rogers still needs to pick it up.BP games drain the BP and we should be able to find someone to start - I do not care what level Duran has been at - if he can throw five use him.We have four BP pitchers who did not pitch and are available and now we face Cleveland.

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#3 USAFChief

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 04:23 PM

Rogers left way too many sliders in the middle of the zone. Again.

Still, goes in the W column.

Shame to use virtually the entire bullpen going into Cleveland.
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#4 Danchat

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 04:25 PM

Good news on Clippard:

 

 

 

Initial imaging on Tyler Clippard's right elbow turned up negative for any structural damage.
Clippard took a comebacker off his pitching elbow while making an appearance Sunday afternoon against the Royals. He'll be rested for a couple of days but should avoid the injured list.

 

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#5 bighat

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 05:06 PM

 


Shame to use virtually the entire bullpen going into Cleveland.

 

It's okay, we have Mr. Maeda going in the first game, he'll give us at least six!
 

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#6 VivaBomboRivera!

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 05:14 PM

Good news on Clippard:

Sure hope so. The guy's a contributor.Cleveland is going to regret letting him go.

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#7 Twins_Fan_For_Life

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 05:29 PM

The twin should have scored a lot more runs that game. Left a lot of men on base. KC isn't that far away from being a good ballclub. If those young arms pan out, they should be pretty good for a while
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#8 DocBauer

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 05:50 PM

The Royals always play us tough. I don't always know wny, but they just do. I'll be glad when we are done with them.

Despite being one of the best teams with runners in scoring position, it still feels like we are not taking full advantage of opportunities presented. Of course like everyone else it seems, there are guys slumping or out with injury. I keep wondering how good we could be with a healthy team, but again, I think most teams would say the same.

Nice to see Sano heating up. Easy to say we need him...but...we need him.

I simply can't say enough about the pen, it's depth, and what it has done. And the expanded roster and our tremendous pen has allowed for our record and these bullpen games. But at some point, we have to find another SP to mix in with Dobnak, Maeda and the seemingly re-vitaljzed Berrios. We need Hill to be healthy, even at 5IP per start. We need Oddo to rebound after this last set back. We need Pineda back in a couple weeks, rumor has it he is healthy and being stretched out.

Still a half season to go, but still can't argue with the results at this point.
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#9 Monticore

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 06:43 PM

Not a pretty win, but I'll take it When is Donaldson coming back?

#10 jkcarew

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 08:55 PM

I actually thought the bullpen looked shakey...other than Poppen and Clippard. Smeltzer, May, Romo and Rogers not so much. Romo inherited the only base runner allowed in six batters faced by Poppen...on first with two out...and made a mess of it. And Wisler was solid in the opener role. Expensive win, though. But it wasn’t far from being a mega-frustrating loss...so I’ll take it.
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#11 Aerodeliria

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 10:12 PM

It's a win and it goes in the "W" column, but these are the Royals so...

 

Concerning Rogers. Shaky again. This has not been a one-off that pops up, which happens to most closers. This is like the fourth or fifth straight time that he hasn't had shutdown stuff. It's not like he has been facing Murderers Row either, and, fortunately for him, this fact may have contributed to his escape as the Royals are a few years away from being a good team. Once we start facing some tougher lineups, things will get that much more difficult. Time for a change. I'd go with Romo as I prefer Duffey in those high leverage situations that arise prior to the ninth.

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#12 GNess

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 10:22 PM

Not to continue to beat the same drum, but these BP games strain the BP for days at a time. I agree with MikeLink45 why not throw Duran? I get there are some service time implications or so is typically pointed out. Yet, a team with a legit shot at big post season success, including World Series. aspirations, should have more of a win now mentality. Other clubs in same situation likely would have a pitcher with Duran's profile up with the big club already. (Caveat - don't know if there are other reasons not to promote Duran now.)

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#13 ToddlerHarmon

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 10:27 PM

Assuming Pineda will be back in the rotation next week, we only need to fill one start. I'd rather that be Duran on a short leash than another bullpen game.

 

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#14 wabene

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 02:44 AM

Duran, Duran that's all anybody wants to talk about

https://youtu.be/rhvVYFMOBsw

#15 Major League Ready

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 06:23 AM

 

Rogers still needs to pick it up.BP games drain the BP and we should be able to find someone to start - I do not care what level Duran has been at - if he can throw five use him.We have four BP pitchers who did not pitch and are available and now we face Cleveland.

If you recall, many beat this same drum with Berrios and Burdi.Some even said they would be our best pitchers.Berrios had an ERA of 8 his first season and Burdi was no where near ready. Many great pitching prospects struggle at first even if its just their first few games. The Twins are electing to avoid that risk when every game is critical.

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#16 Shaitan

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 10:14 AM

Bullpen games are the reality of a 28-man roster.


#17 JoshDungan1

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 10:48 AM

Also noticeable was, after four decent games to begin his starting Twins days, Vargas was 0-fer today and singlehandedly either started the killing or finished the killing of four different rallies, leaving him responsible for something like half to two-thirds of our runners left on base.

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#18 mikelink45

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 11:40 AM

 

If you recall, many beat this same drum with Berrios and Burdi.Some even said they would be our best pitchers.Berrios had an ERA of 8 his first season and Burdi was no where near ready. Many great pitching prospects struggle at first even if its just their first few games. The Twins are electing to avoid that risk when every game is critical.

That seems like a sound idea, but we are relying on Poppen and Alcala in crucial places - aren't they rookies?Look around the league at the young players coming in and there are some great success stories as well as failures.Do we limit ourselves because of Berrios and Burdi?Burdi did not lack talent, he was just the injury equivalent of Buxton.

 


#19 mikelink45

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 11:41 AM

 

Duran, Duran that's all anybody wants to talk about

https://youtu.be/rhvVYFMOBsw

And why not - I would also talk Balazovic but he was not put on the 30 man extra team.Just keep trying arms.Judgment without trying does nothing for me.

 

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#20 Major League Ready

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 01:13 PM

 

That seems like a sound idea, but we are relying on Poppen and Alcala in crucial places - aren't they rookies?Look around the league at the young players coming in and there are some great success stories as well as failures.Do we limit ourselves because of Berrios and Burdi?Burdi did not lack talent, he was just the injury equivalent of Buxton.

 

I share your desire to get a look at Duran but I understand the team not relying on a rookie SP. Yes, there are success stories but I want to F/O to play the odds. Specific to SPs, the percentage that come up and have immediate success is quite low. Most of the immediate successes are top 30 type prospects and even then many fail at first. Duran is intriguing but not quite that level. It would also be a different story if Pineada was not a week away from returning. Again, I would like to see Duran too but it's not hard to understand why the FO is not taking the path.




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