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MIN 5, CHW 1: Bullpen Shines as Twins Beat Giolito

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#1 John Kelsey

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 09:23 PM

After a frustrating first two games in Chicago, the Twins managed to take a victory thanks to bombas and the bullpen. Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sanó all hit home runs while the bullpen combined to throw 5 1/3 perfect innings after Jake Odorizzi’s early exit.Box Score
Odorizzi: 3.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Home Runs: Rosario (11), Buxton (10), Sanó (12)
Top 3 WPA: Stashak .159, Buxton .125, Odorizzi .120
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):
Download attachment: Winchart.png

Roster Shuffling
Before the game, the Twins optioned Randy Dobnak and Travis Blankenhorn in order to activate Jake Odorizzi and Alex Avila. The two newly-activated Twins served as the pitching battery in a game that pitted Odorizzi vs. Lucas Giolito. On top of being an enticing pitching matchup, “Odorizzi vs. Giolito” sounds like it could have been a scene in the Five Families War portion of “The Godfather'', but I digress. An untimely finger injury ultimately forced Odorizzi out of the game after allowing just one run in 3 2/3 innings.

Twins Get to Giolito Again
Coming into the game, the Twins had hit Lucas Giolito better than any other team, having scored 11 runs in just 8 2/3 innings against the Chicago ace, while other teams had combined for 15 runs in 51 2/3 innings. Giolio pitched better this evening than in his previous two outings against The Twins, but Minnesota continued to make solid contact when it counted, mashing two home runs against the big righty. Of the seven home runs Giolito has allowed this year, five have been hit by the Twins. Byron Buxton, whose homer gave the Twins a 3-0 lead has now slugged five home runs in his last eight games.

Bullpen Perfection
The Twins got much-needed, flawless outings from three members of their bullpen following the abbreviated start from Odorizzi. Cody Stashak and Tyler Duffey turned in shutout, multi-inning performances, combining for 4 1/3 innings pitched with four strikeouts and no baserunners allowed. Trevor May was handed the ninth inning and in an effort to one-up his teammates, struck out the side to close out the win.

Have a Game, Ump
I don’t think I’ve ever written this when recapping a baseball game before, but I have to give kudos to home plate umpire Nic Lentz who delivered one of the best umpired games I can remember watching. It may have only stood out because it was following his colleague Will Little’s horror show from the night before, but better late than never. Tip of the cap to you, Mr. Lentz.

Little last night:
Lentz tonight:
Download attachment: Ump0916.png

Division Race Tightens
With the victory, the Twins trimmed Chicago’s division lead to two games and improved their chances of winning the division to 33%, according to FiveThirtyEight. With Kenta Maeda taking the ball tomorrow afternoon, a series split is looking feasible and a week that began with some ominous signs is looking like it could turn around in a hurry.

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
Download attachment: Bullpen.png

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#2 JadenPoint


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Posted 16 September 2020 - 09:36 PM

Prob the best BP performance I've seen this season. It's very concerning that they cannot score without home runs.
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#3 GNess


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Posted 16 September 2020 - 09:39 PM

Twins remain in chase for division. 9 games remain - in terms of division huge game tomorrow v Sox. If get a w in that one it will still likely require 6-7 wins of. last eight to win it.


Winning the division is an accomplishment on it's own, but it also sets up a likely more favorable wildcard round opponent.

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#4 Monticore


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Posted 16 September 2020 - 09:51 PM

Big win. Why can't the bullpen deliver like this more often? Buxton's a force in the lineup now.
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#5 adjacent


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Posted 16 September 2020 - 09:59 PM


Big win. Why can't the bullpen deliver like this more often? Buxton's a force in the lineup now.

Because being perfect is very difficult

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#6 twinbythebay


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Posted 16 September 2020 - 10:03 PM


Big win. Why can't the bullpen deliver like this more often? Buxton's a force in the lineup now.

I mean, they largely have delivered this season, haven't they? I think they're top 5 in the AL in innings pitched, ERA, and WAR, and that's not even counting the openers in the many bullpen games, which mostly went well...

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#7 Sielk


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Posted 16 September 2020 - 10:08 PM

Great win tonight.


You know what the best thing is? Tomorrow's starter for the Sox is not Keuchel. Instead the Twins get to play against Reynaldo Lopez again.

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#8 twinbythebay


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Posted 16 September 2020 - 10:17 PM

Odorizzi can't catch a break this season. He was looking pretty damn good tonight! If he can make another effective start or two this season and stay healthy, I think he should make the postseason roster as a long reliever, for whatever that's worth. I also think the Twins should try to bring him back next season on a reasonable contract, since I doubt he's going to command much on the open market at this point.

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#9 railmarshalljon


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Posted 16 September 2020 - 10:34 PM

Wow, Buxton has looked incredible at the plate recently. Really, really hoping this is the start of his superstardom. 


Maeda pitching against Lopez on paper looks like an easy W. Would certainly feel good to split the series.

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#10 waltomeal


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Posted 16 September 2020 - 11:02 PM

Let's hear it for professional umpires.Hip, Hip...

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#11 jimbo92107


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Posted 17 September 2020 - 12:43 AM

Odo's fingernail looked completely detached, almost like he'd tried to superglue it down to see if it would last. I don't expect to see him again anytime soon.


Buxton's home run swing had such a sweet wrist flip, it looked effortless.


Duffey's fastball seems to be coming around again. Throw that heater, Bender!


May's heater looks a lot like a good closer's. Switch Rodgers back to setup for a while.


Twins are gonna need Duran very soon. Odo's out, and Dobbs is flailing.

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#12 MNT1996


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Posted 17 September 2020 - 01:30 AM

Kepler needs to be brought down in the lineup. A leadoff hitting shouldn't be batting .210 with a .700 OPS

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#13 umterp23


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Posted 17 September 2020 - 05:56 AM

Plate discipline is still lacking about this offense in general.  Small ball a bad defensive team and see what happens.  Pride gets in the way of some these guys looking to hit bombs what appears to be all the time.  Times last night we could have moved a runner over and either popped up or struck out.  No inclination to bunt a guy over.  Call me old or old school.  Kepler batting leadoff shouldn't be the spot for him.  Spread speed and power throughout the lineup.

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#14 bighat


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Posted 17 September 2020 - 06:16 AM

Housekeeping: "Home Runs: Rosario (11), Buxton (10)" - you missed Sano's there.


For those who keep arguing AGAINST small-ball, the Twins hit 3 HR last night....and scored just 5 runs. That's not unusual for this team. Hitting a few singles and moving runners over, especially when the opposing pitcher is in a good groove would be helpful IMO. Twins could have won the first two games also had they done that.


Nice win last night, much needed. Is Buxton taking the reins and becoming the team leader right now?

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#15 AceWrigley


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Posted 17 September 2020 - 07:14 AM

Trevor May - nice 9th inning 1-2-3, K-K-K. That last pitch to Abreu was at 99 mph. He was throwin' gas. I think I roll with May as the closer to finish the year. Clippard and Duffy are just too good in the middle of the game. Serge is good at dishin' slop, but May has been groomin' for the closer roll for a few years now. Let him loose.

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#16 woolywoolhouse


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Posted 17 September 2020 - 07:27 AM


Let's hear it for professional umpires.Hip, Hip...



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#17 rdehring


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Posted 17 September 2020 - 07:27 AM

Totally agree, John, that the home plate ump was as good as I have seen this year. Maybe it was more noticeable because so many have been very, very bad.


Ditto on Odorizzi having miserable luck within a crazy season. He is a good pitcher and would be very helpful in that five game series should the Twins be so fortunate to get there. His problems this year may be setting him up for a one year contract with incentives back with the Twins in 2021.


Said to the tv when Eddie came up to bat, the Twins need you to get on one of your streaks these last ten games and the first round of the playoffs. You know, one of those streaks where he carries the team. A couple pitches later he hit it out and later worked a walk to be on base for Buxton's dinger. If they can get the Luis we know back and just one of the big early bats heat up along with Eddie and Buck, this team can be dangerous.


Also thought May was perfect again last night. If he can just eliminate half of his off nights, he could be a huge part of any bullpen, this year and next.

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#18 Trov


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Posted 17 September 2020 - 08:03 AM

First, I feel real bad for Odo this year.He was hoping to build off of what he did last year and show he is worth a 3-5 year deal.Instead, he has not pitched a single game to 5 innings.He has had different stints on DL.He was gutting out last night but when you are throwing a biohazard up there hard to stay in the game.  


For the people upset the Twins are not hitting singles and advancing runners.I am pretty sure the opposing pitchers are trying to stop those exact things from happening as well.Hitting MLB pitching is one of the hardest things to do in sports, when average player is only successful between 25% to 28% of the time.Then if you are just hitting singles theplayers hear, "we need more extra base hits, singles won't cut it."So they then change approach to increase extra base hits, knowing that lower overall average but higher slugging produces more runs, which is what you need to win.Now they do that and people are upset that they are not hitting more singles but trying to hit extra base hits.Guess unless they are the best hitters in the game that can make that switch easy no one will be happy.


Think about it.If a hitter is told to change approach to hit a certain way, how can you expect the player to just say hey this may be a good spot to change everything I have been working on to advance this runner to third base, in hopes that the next guy will drive him in.Screw trying to get a double or a HR like I have been training to do.Lets hit a weak grounder to right side, possibly something I have never tried to do in years, or ever, and see how that turns out.Basically, if you are being asked to do something you never practice it is unlikely you will be successful in doing it.  


The team is built the way it is, they will not change that now.They are not a small ball team that will look to steal bases, bunt runners over, and hit sac flies.They want to hit extra base hits.Yes, it can be frustrating when they fail to score runs when they are walking a ton like the other night, but it is who they are.

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#19 mnfireman


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Posted 17 September 2020 - 08:25 AM

The only time I think they should have used small ball last night was when Adrianza hit into a DP. I felt Baldelli should have had him bunting in that situation, even though it would have been lefty-lefty with Avila against Detwiler.

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#20 mikelink45


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Posted 17 September 2020 - 08:33 AM

the top of the lineup has to change.Is Baldelli really so stubborn that Kepler will be lead off no matter what he hits?Put Buxton up there. Josh Donaldson in not worthy of the second place in the lineup either.A few bombs does not make him the hitter we want him to be.Buxton, Polanco, Cruz, Rosario, Donaldson, Sano, Jeffers, Blankenhorn ((I know he is gone, but he should be at 2B), Kepler in the former Buxton position.