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Twins Notebook 9/30: Rebound or Retire

minnesota twins jose berrios houston astros jose urquidy
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#1 Ted Schwerzler

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 06:00 AM

Despite being the favorite in the opening game of the Wild Card round against the Houston Astros, Minnesota dropped their 17th straight Postseason contest. Now up against two straight elimination games, it’s time to rebound or call it a season for the Twins.Yesterday’s Game Recap
HOU 4, MIN 1: Defensive Lapses, Lack of Offense Lead to Another Twins Loss

Today
Twins vs. Astros 12:08pm CDT
TV Broadcast: ESPN2
Betting Lines: MIN -149, O/U 8.0

Twins Starter: Jose Berrios, RHP 4.00 ERA

In game one Rocco Baldelli went with the guy who emerged as the Twins staff ace. That was intended to be Jose Berrios, but Kenta Maeda came over from the Los Angeles Dodgers and ate his lunch in year one. This was the first season of his career in which the Puerto Rican has taken a step backwards, but as a traditional streaky starter, 12 games of runway were tough to work with.

Going into his final start of the season Berrios had strung together six outings of mastery. Minnesota went 4-2 in that stretch while Berrios worked to a 4-0 record. He posted a 2.14 ERA and allowed just a .547 OPS against. Looking to ride that momentum into the Postseason, the Cincinnati Reds gave him a bit of a fit in his final outing. Lasting just five innings, he allowed four runs on five hits. The whiffs were there as he punched out seven, but dominance was nowhere to be found.

Download attachment: Berrios.PNG

There’s been a bit of everything this season from Berrios. We’ve seen increased fastball velocity, but command has not been as sharp. Stuff has looked great at times, but missing bats has been less frequent. Minnesota got the pitching in game one and the lineup failed. In game two, they’ll need a complete effort if Houston is going to be pushed to game three.

Astros Starter: Jose Urquidy, RHP 2.73 ERA

Still working in what amounts to his rookie season, Urquidy has some flashy numbers that aren’t back by anything overpowering. He made just five starts and worked one out shy of 30 innings this season. The ERA is a glowing 2.73, but the FIP is a less positive 4.71. He struck out just 5.2 per nine and limited damage by avoiding free passes.

It was up in the air as to what Houston would do in game two, also deciding on lefty Framber Valdez. The southpaw piggybacked Greinke in game one however, leaving Urquidy to take the ball. The Twins have struggled mightily against lefties this season, but the expected potency of the group has been missing against righties too.

Download attachment: Urquidy.PNG

Urquidy resides just outside of Houston’s top 10 prospects, and it’s because the sum of all parts is better than any one aspect. He’s not a hard thrower, doesn’t miss many bats, and spinning the ball isn’t his thing. He does a good job making you beat him however, and working around trouble isn’t something that phases him. Look for Houston’s Jose to make Minnesota capitalize rather than playing into any of their strengths.

Twins Lineup



News & Notes

- Prior to game one Rocco Baldelli noted he wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Alex Kirilloff make an appearance in this series. As a bopping left-handed bat, that may come into play today against Houston.

- The matchup in Cleveland turned out to be more bats than pitching as both aces gave up a run. Unfortunately for the Indians it was expected AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber that was beat around a bit, and New York jumped ahead in that series.
- As the only lower seed favored in their matchup, the White Sox held serve as expected. Moving to 15-0 against lefties this season, Chicago dispersed of rookie Jesus Luzardo. Adam Engel started the scoring and Jose Abreu kept up his hot hitting in 2020.

See Also
5 Overreactions to the Twins Game 1 Loss
4 Head Scratchers for Baldelli Against Astros

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- Ted Schwerzler
Off The Baggy
@tlschwerz

#2 insagt1

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 06:59 AM

Today we will see what the Twins are made of. Forget the regular season. Forget everything that has come before. Our team should be better than their opponents but our team has this awful propensity to beat themselves.

Yesterday's game was one of the worst played, worst executed games of the year...maybe THE worst.Our hitters didn't hit; our bullpen didn't shut the door..our 'd' let us down at the very worst time of the game. A routine toss to 2nd in the 9th would have gotten us to the bottom of the 9th still tied.

Byron Buxton, mired in a batting slump that has seen him swing at most pitches outside the zone did not utilize his speed to bunt over runners at 1st and 2nd and instead stuck out looking bad doing it.

Garver, pinch hits for Jeffers and never takes the bat off his shoulders....Garver's season has been one complete epic fail.

Houston removes their ace after 4 and replaces him with another lefty ace...and he pitches the rest of the game. One wonders if Jake O should have come in after Maeda...to give our gassed bullpen a bit of a break.

While Polanco's error was death dealing (he isn't hitting and now he also blows a game deciding play) Romo couldn't throw strikes to an equally struggling Altuve. You just don't walk in the go ahead run in the 9th, no matter what. Romo has become useless.

 

Can the Twins win today? Yeah, they could but the way they are playing doesn't recommend it at all...does it honestly? If this team wants to advance against a team that they should be eating for breakfast,m they will need to wake up fast and start playing fundamentally sound baseball. With hands tightly gripping around their necks, Berrios will have a ton of pressure on him today....possibly to be mostly perfect to give our crumbling offense a chance to steal the game.

 

Disappointed? You bet. I did not expect what I saw yesterday. It was just totally unacceptable at every level. The fat lady is standing and warming up her vocal chords Twins.....please make her sit down!!!

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#3 Joey P

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 08:50 AM

I do think our chances are much improved today. They used their best starters and they only have one good bullpen arm. We just need to get to their starter early, then have a lead late, so we don't see their closer.

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#4 umterp23

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 08:57 AM

Fundamental baseball from both sides (offense/defense).  Playoff baseball can be a one run games, but execution is key.  Team baseball vs Hero ball usually wins.  


#5 ashbury

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 08:58 AM

One wonders if Jake O should have come in after Maeda...to give our gassed bullpen a bit of a break.

I don't buy the premise that the bullpen is overworked. And bringing in Odo would have been playing a bigger hunch than pinch-hitting the Turtle - Jake's not been right all season, so hoping for multiple innings of shutdown ball out of the blue like that would be odds-against.
 

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#6 TouchEmAllGuy

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 09:07 AM

Kirilloff starting?! Holy cow.

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#7 Vanimal46

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 09:11 AM

Buxton on the bench? Wow.
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#8 USAFChief

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 09:13 AM

Kirillof starting?! Holy cow.

PANIC!!1!
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#9 Sielk

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 09:16 AM

Let's hope that Kirilloff's nerves are made of something stronger than steel. He'll need it.

Buxton on the bench has to be concussion related, right?
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#10 insagt1

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 09:16 AM

Disagree about Jake...our pen IS overworked. I'm sure you are watching the games like all of us. I doubt Jake would have been any worse than the guys who have failed lately...assuming his finger is OK. But we'll never know.

 

What is likely today is that the Twins are not going to be loosy-goosy. No matter how much music was played in the lockerroom...no matter what the manager and/or players are saying publicly...these guys are feeling extreme pressure to win a playoff game. It is weighing on them and it can't be denied..and it may affect their play. What they need to do is get an early big lead and then not take feet off the gas. Too many more bases loaded, or men in scoring position with no runs will sink them.


#11 TouchEmAllGuy

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 09:17 AM

Buck will come in for Kirillof after the starter comes out of the game. Just guessing

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#12 Loops

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 09:17 AM

I guess it shows it isn't just the Yankees that beat us up in the playoffs. Plus we now own the record in all of major league sports for the longest playoff losing streak. We're #1??? Not sure if these are positives ... :(

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#13 insagt1

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 09:18 AM

Buck on the bench might be concussion related...clearly his AB's yesterday were awful. The hit he got was being lucky connecting with a pitch way out of the strike zone. We did his 'd' though, so I suspect not playing him in the most important game of the season has to be health related.


#14 Twodogs

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 09:19 AM

So are they just giving up? Buxton on the bench? I mean cruz has been slumping too, he didn't get benched? Buxton is the most dynamic player on the team speed wise and defensively. IDK, doesn't make much sense to me to start a guy who hasn't played in a real game all year?

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#15 insagt1

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 09:20 AM

...meant to type 'we need his 'd'...stupid keyboard...


#16 mikelink45

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 09:22 AM

There is nothing to lose by trying anything, but removing Buxton's defense in CF is questionable.And please no more ROMO!!!This has been a terrible year in all aspects for Polanco, but to put Adrianza at short is like having the pitcher hit in the NL.  

 

I do not want to go into the off season with a hopeless feeling again.It has happened to often.I am hoping the great odds maker in the sky, dirt, dugout says the Twins have to win someday - why not now?


#17 twinbythebay

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 09:23 AM

 

Disagree about Jake...our pen IS overworked. I'm sure you are watching the games like all of us. I doubt Jake would have been any worse than the guys who have failed lately...assuming his finger is OK. But we'll never know.

 

What is likely today is that the Twins are not going to be loosy-goosy. No matter how much music was played in the lockerroom...no matter what the manager and/or players are saying publicly...these guys are feeling extreme pressure to win a playoff game. It is weighing on them and it can't be denied..and it may affect their play. What they need to do is get an early big lead and then not take feet off the gas. Too many more bases loaded, or men in scoring position with no runs will sink them.

Which of our relief pitchers have been "overworked"? I understand that there is a narrative that a certain segment of fans like to push that because our starters don't pitch as deep into games as they would like, it means that the bullpen is being overworked. There's just no evidence to support this. Strategies change over time, and the days when starters pitch 7-8 innings and teams only have 2-3 reliable relievers are largely gone.


#18 USAFChief

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 09:25 AM

Someone tell Rocco this isn't the middle of May, and there's no more long game to play.
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#19 Vanimal46

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 09:34 AM

Someone tell Rocco this isn't the middle of May, and there's no more long game to play.


I wonder if any reporter is going to press him for more than just “Buxton isn’t 100% today.” ?

Who’s feeling 100% this late in the season?

#20 ashbury

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 10:00 AM

Unless it's a concussion issue, if benching Buxton in a must-win playoff game is a solution worth trying, the problem is pretty close to intractable for anyone to solve.

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