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Article: CLE 9, MIN 7: Bullpen Crumbles on Night Kimbrel Signs With Cubs


Of course this would happen.

 

On the day Craig Kimbrel reportedly reached an agreement to sign with the Cubs, the Twins bullpen blows a two-run lead in the seventh inning. This is pretty much the most Minnesota Sports way this day could have possibly gone.Box Score

Perez: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 60.9% strikes (56 of 92 pitches)

Home Runs: Buxton (7), Cruz (8), Polanco (10)

Multi-Hit Games: Polanco (2-for-4, HR)

WPA of +0.1: Buxton .191, Polanco .156

WPA of -0.1: Sano -.137, Perez -.218, Parker -.500

Download attachment: Win65.png

(chart via FanGraphs)

 

The Twins held a 6-5 lead through six innings, but rain caused this game to be delayed more than an hour and a half. The Twins scratched across an insurance run once play resumed, but Blake Parker was ready to play his role in throwing gasoline on what was already a hot talking point across Twins Territory.

 

I don’t know that you’ll find a Twins fan or baseball analyst who believes the Twins bullpen is fine as it’s currently constructed. So for Kimbrel to sign and Parker to give up three runs to blow the lead within a matter of hours is only going to increase the attention paid to that storyline.

 

Parker gave up a two-run homer to Jordan Luplow and a solo shot to Roberto Perez. Just for good measure, Tyler Duffey gave up a solo homer to Francisco Lindor in the eighth.

 

It’s worth mentioning that the Twins came into tonight 34-2 when holding a lead entering the seventh inning. Things like this haven’t happened all that often this year, it’s just that we’ve all been expecting doom for so long that it feels like they have.

 

Perez Struggles Again

Martin Perez entered this start having posted a 5.59 ERA over his previous four outings. His last time out against Tampa Bay was particularly ugly, as he gave up six earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.

 

Perez opened his evening by walking the leadoff man, Francisco Lindor, on four pitches. The Twins lineup was making noise again tonight, creating plenty of breathing room, but Perez wasn’t sharp once again tonight.

 

There were a few bad-luck, seeing-eye singles mixed in, but Perez struggled to find the strike zone. When he did, he didn’t miss many bats. He threw only 60.9 percent of his pitches for strikes and got just four swinging strikes on his 92 pitches. That’s the fewest swings and misses he’s had in an outing this season, which is particularly striking because he had four appearances of fewer than four innings coming into tonight (he started the year in the bullpen, remember?).

 

It was a bit of a sloppy game for the Twins. Perez and Jason Castro had some troubles, accounting for both a wild pitch and a passed ball. Also, Miguel Sano committed his second error of the season. Only two of the five runs Perez gave up were earned. Still, he was given a 5-1 lead at one point and could not seal the deal.

 

Cleveland Pen Battles Through Trying Times

This appeared to be a tough matchup for Cleveland from the get-go. Carlos Carrasco was placed in the IL due to a blood condition, resulting in the team being forced to go with a bullpen game.

 

As if that wasn’t a challenge enough, I imagine the rain delay didn’t help things. They used seven pitchers tonight. Momentum isn’t something that can be quantified, but for Cleveland to win this game under these circumstances has to have injected some swagger into that clubhouse.

 

The Good Stuff

It wasn’t all bad. The Twins lineup was out there hitting bombas again. Byron Buxton absolutely obliterated an 0-2 pitch for a three-run homer.

 

 

The lineup also combined to go 3-for-6 with runners in scoring position and five of the Twins’ run were scored with two outs.

 

Trevor May made things interesting in the sixth, but he got out of it unscathed and struck out a pair of batters. He was averaging 96.1 mph with his four seamer tonight. He had been sitting at 94.8 mph with that pitch coming into this evening.

 

But who am I kidding? You’re a Minnesota sports fan. You’re only here to cry in your beer (or coffee, depending on when you’re reading this) and lament about not being able to have nice things. That’s OK, we’re all here for you, lol.

 

Postgame With Baldelli

 

Bullpen Usage

Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:

Download attachment: Pen65.png

Next Game

Thu at CLE, 6:10 pm CT (Berrios-Bauer)

 

Last Game

CLE 5, MIN 2: Twins Can’t Figure Out Bieber, Lindor Lifts Cleveland

 

More from Twins Daily

Will Minnesota Be a Fit for Craig Kimbrel or Dallas Keuchel?

2019 MLB Draft Day 2 Thread

MLB Draft Day 3 Thread

 

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All of my secret fears about Parker came true in the matter of a few minutes. Uggggh...

 

For quite a long time now, of all of the present relievers, I have felt that it was Parker who was the shakiest and pitching on borrowed time. The repo men (Indians) came to extract their repayment.

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probably a bit more concerned about Perez myself. Wondering if the league is figuring him out. 

 

I was thinking that too. Perez has looked more like his career average these days - a #5 starter with a 4.56 career ERA. He's been pretty bad his last 2 starts. He works SO SLOWLY that it's hard for me, even as a Twins fan, to watch him pitch. The league's stopped swinging at that inside cutter. Just one strikeout?

 

Pineda, Perez, and Gibson make up over half the starting rotation. I don't know how much longer the Twins can just roll the dice with these three guys. I like Pineda and Gibby more than Perez at this point but I've had concerns about all 3 this season.

 

Regardless of this loss, it was nice to see Buxton and Polanco both go yard. And Cruz is back! Looks like the offense is going to have to carry this team and it appears they're capable. Hopefully they can stay relaxed and not feel too much pressure today. Just relax, grab a win, everything will be just fine.

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Glad I didn't stay up for this, but unfortunately, I wasn't all that surprised when I saw what happened. Our pen needing help is a known quantity and Perez hasn't looked good lately. Maybe our guys were feeling themselves a little too much heading into Cleveland, or maybe our pitching was just due for a statistical correction. Either way, we should be turning over every rock possible to improve our pitching as we approach the trading deadline. Our lineup top to bottom is as good as I've ever seen (including 87 & 91) and there's no reason this can't be our year, so let's not let it go to waste! 

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Pineda, Perez, and Gibson make up over half the starting rotation. I don't know how much longer the Twins can just roll the dice with these three guys. I like Pineda and Gibby more than Perez at this point but I've had concerns about all 3 this season.

 

 

You're concerned about Gibson? I'm honestly more concerned about Odorizzi turning back into a pumpkin.

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While I don't disagree getting different, perhaps better players might help, I'm more inclined to see if they can also get these guys back on track.  Perez and Parker, particularly.

 

For some perspective or whatever:  The Yankees and Dodgers both got walked off, with Expensive Offseason Bullpen Acquisition Zack Britton the goat in the former.

 

Elsewhere, the Astros got obliterated 14-1 by Seattle, as Mike Leake threw an 89 pitch complete game.  

 

Good teams lose, in a variety of ways.

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Of course this would happen.

On the day Craig Kimbrel reportedly reached an agreement to sign with the Cubs, the Twins bullpen blows a two-run lead in the seventh inning. This is pretty much the most Minnesota Sports way this day could have possibly gone. 

Stealing my stuff, Tom?  :)

 

From last night's game thread:

 

Posted by USAFChief on Yesterday, 07:48 PM in Minnesota Twins Talk

Sort of karma for the bullpen to implode on the same night Kimbrel signs with the Cubs, no?

 

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While I don't disagree getting different, perhaps better players might help, I'm more inclined to see if they can also get these guys back on track.  Perez and Parker, particularly.

 

For some perspective or whatever:  The Yankees and Dodgers both got walked off, with Expensive Offseason Bullpen Acquisition Zack Britton the goat in the former.

 

Elsewhere, the Astros got obliterated 14-1 by Seattle, as Mike Leake threw an 89 pitch complete game.  

 

Good teams lose, in a variety of ways.

 

And Miami - the worst team in the NL; 4th worst team in MLB - has outscored Milwaukee 24-3 in taking the first two games of their series. Maybe this is the statistical week MLB is punishing the good teams and rewarding the meek?

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Sure, the Twins are 34-2 after leading after 7, but having big leads has masked the bullpens shortcomings at least a little.  They gave up 7 runs to Tampa bay and 6 or 7 to the Angels not too long ago besides last night's meltdown. Seriously, besides Rogers and Harper, who do you feel confident in to come in and get the job done? And there doesn't appear to be any help available in the minors. Many of us wanted an upgrade to the bullpen in the off season.

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Pure speculation...Twins say hey Craig we can do 2/30...15/yr. how does that sound?  No, I want a 3 year deal please....hey Craig how does 30 over 2 years sound?  No, I want a 3 year deal for real.  Cubs say hey Craig how does a 3 year deal for 43 sound?  Great lets do it!  If this is the case for the Twins to say they can't commit an extra $13 mill to make a quality run that is sad.  A deep run in the playoffs easily pays that extra year.  Instances like this are why ownership gets the stigma attached of not wanting to go the extra mile to win.  Hopefully Derek/Thad have a viable plan B in their hip pocket.  From purely a 'business' standpoint they made a poor decision for the rest of 2019.  This would have really ignited more interest in the season this team is having. 

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Sure, the Twins are 34-2 after leading after 7, but having big leads has masked the bullpens shortcomings at least a little.  They gave up 7 runs to Tampa bay and 6 or 7 to the Angels not too long ago besides last night's meltdown. Seriously, besides Rogers and Harper, who do you feel confident in to come in and get the job done? And there doesn't appear to be any help available in the minors. Many of us wanted an upgrade to the bullpen in the off season.

They need to upgrade the bullpen, nobody is going to dispute that. 

 

Yes, my main frustration with the bullpen building was over the offseason too. I'm not going to be too upset the Twins won't commit $40+ million to a reliever, but there were a lot of attractive options that signed for two or even one-year deals. Taking a quick look through how those guys are doing, however, you see that a ton of them have been poor investments.

 

Joakim Soria was my favorite bargain bin guy. He has a 5.16 ERA. Kelvin Herrera has a 7.36 ERA, Jeurys Familia has a 6.56 ERA, Joe Kelly a 7.91 ERA, Andrew Miller a 3.98 ERA, David Robertson a 5.40 ERA, Cody Allen a 4.50 ERA. Some of those guys are also hurt.

 

What I'm trying to say is bullpens are stupid :) Wrap up your victories in the first six innings. Get your starting rotation pitching well and your lineup socking bombas so you don't need to rely too much on the pen.

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Much as this loss grinds on me, there were a few things working against the Twins:

 

1. Hits that found holes and bled through.

2. Perez seeming to have forgotten everything that got him where he currently is.

3. Shaky fielding. Sano's error cost the Twins in a big way.

4. Ump getting an attitude.

 

The Twins do have some arms, but, those arms need to step up and get the job done.

 

I never really thought Parker was much more than a stop-gap, much as I approve of the name, until someone currently in the organization got their act together

 

May obviously has the fastball and if he can get his curve ball working, should be good to go.

 

Fernando Romero has the stuff, but, does he have the confidence needed to anchor the bullpen?

 

Then, Hildenburger fell apart for whatever reason.

 

Hopefully, some answers will appear over the next few weeks and they will come from within rather than spending a ton of money on an FA acquisition.

 

I say this as a fan who's not a numbers guy like a lot of you scary big brains on this site.

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