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Jake Odorizzi turned in an excellent start in his Twins debut, throwing six shutout innings. Unfortunately, he got no run support and fellow new Twins Zach Duke and Fernando Rodney couldn’t hold down the Orioles. The only scoring from the Twins came in the form of a Robbie Grossman two-run pinch-hit single.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs)

Download attachment: Snapshot329.png

Duke is a left-handed specialist, not a setup man. Over the past four seasons, he’s averaged less than an inning per outing and only averaged 10.2 pitches per appearance last season and 12.5 the year before that.

 

Paul Molitor decided to give Duke the seventh inning today. Already 16 pitches into his outing, Duke was left in the game to face the right-handed hitting Caleb Joseph with runners on first and second base.

 

Two-run triple. Not the best way to start things off with your shiney new bullpen, Mr. Molitor.

 

To be fair, Duke also racked up four strikeouts in the inning. The leadoff man swung through a wild pitch for strike three, Jason Castro couldn’t keep the ball in front of him and the batter reached safely.

 

The hallmark of the 2017 Minnesota Twins was that they never died. No matter how bad things got, they always bounced back. If Opening Day is any indication, that attribute has carried over to this year’s club.

 

The Twins entered the bottom of the ninth trailing 2-0 and Miguel Sano opened the inning with a strikeout. Eddie Rosario singled and advanced to second base thanks to a passed ball leading to a Logan Morrison walk. Eduardo Escobar struck out, continuing a trend of the Twins struggling to deliver with men on base.

 

It all came down to Max Kepler. With the game on the line, Kepler fell behind 0-2. Over the next nine pitches, he put on about as good a display of professional, tough-as-nails hitting as you’re going to see all season.

 

Max fouled off five pitches and ended up working a walk. That 11-pitch battle had to have worn down Baltimore reliever Brad Brach. Robbie Grossman pinch hit for Byron Buxton and delivered a game-tying bloop single.

In the bottom of the 10th inning, the Orioles had the bases loaded with one out. Rodney induced a double play. It was looking like the never say die Twins were going to find a way to pull out a W.

 

Things didn’t go so well in the 11th. Adam Jones slugged a walk-off homer.

Odorizzi pitched six scoreless innings, had seven strikeouts and only gave up two hits and a pair of walks. He worked slow and low, high and hot. Here’s a look at his zone profile via Baseball Savant, notice all the green up high in the zone:

Download attachment: OdorizziChart.png

Addison Reed pitched two perfect innings in his Twins debut. Logan Morrison was 0-for-3 with a walk in his first official game with the club.

 

Postgame With Molitor

Bullpen Usage

Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days (includes the exhibition at WAS):

Download attachment: Bullpen329.png

 

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We were told that Rodney would be exciting - truth in advertising. But Molitor seems to have gone back in time and demonstrated very poor bullpen judgment.  Interesting game, but we need Molitor to figure things out or his bench coach (what the hell does a bench coach do?) needs to earn his keep. 

 

The other hidden message for me is the fact that Sano striking out does nothing to move the game along - hopes of a home run are not always a good strategy.

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Odorizzi was terrific.

 

Duke was actually fine. He actually had reverse splits last year. I just would have liked to see him go to Reed to face Joseph mainly because Duke was already at 20+ pitches in the inning. 

 

Reed was fantastic.

 

Rodney got an unlikely job done in the 10th, and honestly, I have no problem with him throwing a first-pitch strike in the 11th... Jones was just ready for it. 

 

I truly don't have much problem with the game. Frankly, the offense just didn't show up until the 9th inning. Rosario looked good. Got robbed. Kepler had the one really good PA (walk) and a single. But the offense will be fine. 

 

Nothing really to worry about based on this game. 

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 Interesting game, but we need Molitor to figure things out or his bench coach (what the hell does a bench coach do?) needs to earn his keep. 

I actually though PH Grossman for Buxton was a good call. Was looking for the walk, but he even surpassed that.

 

Don't want that play in August, but today, I thought it made sense with a wild pitcher on the mound.

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We were told that Rodney would be exciting - truth in advertising. But Molitor seems to have gone back in time and demonstrated very poor bullpen judgment.  Interesting game, but we need Molitor to figure things out or his bench coach (what the hell does a bench coach do?) needs to earn his keep. 

 

The other hidden message for me is the fact that Sano striking out does nothing to move the game along - hopes of a home run are not always a good strategy.

 

It really felt like Molitor turned a corner last year with the bullpen. He was on the record stating he wanted pitchers to finish out an inning, but down the stretch he started playing matchups and watching how the pitchers were doing (pulling them in a timely manner) and it worked out very well.

 

Maybe today we just saw a bit of his idealism again and next time he'll be back to reality. There is zero value in wanting to change pitchers only at the start of inning.  Even without looking it up, I feel confident saying this was never a winning strategy for anyone. Meltdowns are usually happening BEFORE the runners score.

Edited by Doomtints
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Don't want to do the math, but I'm skeptical that scoring 2 runs is going to get you anywhere near .500.

 

It's just one game, so it means nothing, but they need to play a lot better than that IMO.

I believe the idea is that you won’t go 1-for-9 with RISP every time, which means you score more than two.
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Odorizzi was terrific.

 

Duke was actually fine. He actually had reverse splits last year. I just would have liked to see him go to Reed to face Joseph mainly because Duke was already at 20+ pitches in the inning.

 

Reed was fantastic.

 

Rodney got an unlikely job done in the 10th, and honestly, I have no problem with him throwing a first-pitch strike in the 11th... Jones was just ready for it.

 

I truly don't have much problem with the game. Frankly, the offense just didn't show up until the 9th inning. Rosario looked good. Got robbed. Kepler had the one really good PA (walk) and a single. But the offense will be fine.

 

Nothing really to worry about based on this game.

5 hits against a rather pedestrian starting pitcher is a little concerning.

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Uh. No mention of Rosario still not being all that baseball smart? To me, that was the lowlight. He got himself out. I don't blame the hitters for struggling against Bundy, that is going to happen. But at this point in his career.... You'd think he would learn.

Edited by Mike Sixel
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Rodney: shouldn’t be closer or in high leverage. Wasn’t even a 1.0 WAR pitcher last year. Needs to be a middle innings guy until h proves himself at age 41. 0-1 so far this year.

molitor : still makes a lot of bad decisions by not managing based on situation or deviating from his plan.

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Uh. No mention of Rosario still not being all that baseball smart? To me, that was the lowlight. He got himself out. I don't blame the hitters for struggling against Bundy, that is going to happen. But at this point in his career.... You'd think he would learn.

Rosario is a frustrating player to watch at times. I hope he steps up this year in a big way.

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Uh. No mention of Rosario still not being all that baseball smart? To me, that was the lowlight. He got himself out. I don't blame the hitters for struggling against Bundy, that is going to happen. But at this point in his career.... You'd think he would learn.

What are you talking about with Rosario? He had a good game, or I must be forgetting something.

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