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Article: TEX 4, MIN 1: Quiet Bats Can’t Back Up Great Pitching


A stellar pitching performance - which included using Kyle Gibson as the opener - was derailed by an unusual off game by the offense. After holding Texas offense to only one run through ten innings, Twins bats never showed up and a three-run homer off the bat of Rougned Odor in the 11th prevented the Twins from sweeping the Rangers.Box Score

Smeltzer: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 64.6% strikes (42 of 59 pitches)

Rest of Staff: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 12 K

 

Home Runs: None

Multi-Hit Games: Garver (2-5), Sanó (2-3, R)

 

Top 3 WPA: May .288, Harper .170, Smeltzer .117

Bottom 3 WPA: Mejia -.462, Kepler -.194, Gonzalez -.169

 

After scoring a total of 23 runs in the first two games of this series, the Twins really struggled to put runs on the board Sunday, before a crowd of 35,495. They were unable to score more than one run against a Ranger pitching staff which didn’t have a single pitcher with more than three innings of work in the game. Texas out-hit Minnesota 10-8 and the Twins went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

 

The Openers and Smeltzer

Gibson pitched only one inning and didn't have the smoothest of starts. He had a long, 26-pitch inning (only 14 strikes), struggling with his command. He pitched to the top five Rangers batters, as Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Gallo reached safely, but he managed to strand both. José Leclerc, the Rangers opener, also allowed to men to reach, but he managed to close the inning with 15 pitches. He came back to pitch the second, but didn’t last long.

 

Smeltzer took advantage of Gibson’s outing and cruised past the bottom half of the Texas lineup in the second with only twelve pitches. He went on to have an uneventful game, pitching into the sixth. He never pitched himself into any jams, as the Rangers never had more than one man on at any point of his outing. They did tie the game in the fourth, with Joey Gallo leading off the inning with a double and then being scored by former Twin Danny Santana a couple of batters later.

 

Sanó, Buxton Definitely Back on Track

Not too long ago we were all discussing what was wrong with Miguel Sanó, as he was slumping really hard. He then he decided he was through with that and decided to catch on fire. He came into this game slashing .348/.423/.739 (1.162) in the past seven games and he did not slow down. After smacking a single in the second inning he scored the first run of the game, crossing the plate on a Byron Buxtton triple

 

 

Similar to Miggy, Buxton went through a rough funk since coming back from the IL. In the first five games back he went 1-for-16. But he started to regain confidence in the first game of this Texas series and came into the game hitting 3-for-9 with three runs batted in. He started this game reaching safely twice, once with the RBI-triple in the second and one on a fielder’s choice in the fourth. On that play, he nearly scored Sanó again after Miggy had walked to reach for the second time, but he (Sano) was thrown out at home.

 

The Twins bullpen continued its impressive recent stretch, in spite of the loss. Adalberto Mejía gave up the winning home run to Odor in the 11th, but Minnesota relievers still hold a 3.08 ERA since June 14, which ranks third best in the majors. That is, of course, considering that technically all innings pitched after Gibson’s departure will count as bullpen stats.

 

The Twins get to the All-Star break with a 56-33 record. That’s the most wins the Twins have gotten before the All-Star break since 1969. They now hold a five-and-a- half game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central, but the Indians won their sixth in a row today, as they swept the Reds, reaching the 50-win mark.

 

Postgame With Baldelli

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.

 

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Game was lost on Buxton base running error which cost them at least one run. This team gets itself in trouble when players try to be stars in winning a game they need to work on getting important at bats to score runs in close game. If they make playoffs this will be there downfall.

The general lack of clutch hitting has caused many of the recent losses - you don't deserve to win a game you score just one run in. Not to mention they had a golden opportunity in the 10th and couldn't get it done.

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Today is Sunday, July 7, it was the 89th game of the year and the Twins hit 0 home runs.  The Twins are now 55%  of the way through the season.  Out of 59 years, the current team ranks 12th on the all-time list of Twins' home runs in one season and are on a pace to hit 302 home runs this season.  Happy All-Star break!

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Well, Cleveland has clawed back into this. Didn't want that to be true, but that double digit lead has now halved... Hopefully, that's an impetus on the FO to slam the door on the Indians.

that is the silver lining. If the lead was still double digits over the Indians, Falvine might not be so inclined to improve the team before the trade deadline
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that is the silver lining. If the lead was still double digits over the Indians, Falvine might not be so inclined to improve the team before the trade deadline

...you do realize we need to win games in the playoffs, right? I understand we need to stay ahead of the Indians, but I'm not afraid of them - I'm afraid of facing the Yankees in a playoff series. Even if the Twins still had a double digit lead they would still need to add more pieces if they are serious about going on a playoff run.

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...you do realize we need to win games in the playoffs, right? I understand we need to stay ahead of the Indians, but I'm not afraid of them - I'm afraid of facing the Yankees in a playoff series. Even if the Twins still had a double digit lead they would still need to add more pieces if they are serious about going on a playoff run.

clearly what I think doesn’t matter. Falvey and Levine have both said things to the effect of “we’ll supplement when the time is right, but we won’t spend for the sake of spending”

 

In other words, “if we don’t have to spend, we won’t”. If they can coast into the post season, they will.

 

Making it competitive makes it more likely the team gets improved for a post season run.

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Yikes. Not a great way to head into the all star break. Indians gained 4.5 games in less than two weeks. I have an awful feeling that the Twins will be playing in the Wild Card game, if that at all. Come on, boys! Gotta come out swinging in that series against the Indians coming out of the break. I feel like this is a must win series. Can't lose anymore games in the standings.

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So long time twins fan from North Dakota now living in Utah and first time commenter but long time reader of these forum and love it! The thing that has scared me about this team all year and it still scares me is the inability or unwillingness to play for 1 run when the situation calls for it. I love the 3 run homer but those come and go to make it through the second half of the season when teams are chasing you down I just feel you are going to have to find ways to score first and if that means giving up an out for a run then so be it I hope Rocco starts to implore some of the Tampa way of playing second half of season otherwise we may live or die by the bomba and lately I feel it maybe die. Just my thoughts still think this is a solid team that can go a long ways and have surpassed my wildest expectations!

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clearly what I think doesn’t matter. Falvey and Levine have both said things to the effect of “we’ll supplement when the time is right, but we won’t spend for the sake of spending”

In other words, “if we don’t have to spend, we won’t”. If they can coast into the post season, they will.

Making it competitive makes it more likely the team gets improved for a post season run.

Alright, we'll have to agree to disagree - I'm thinking Falvey and Levine are going to wait until the week before the trade deadline ends when they'll get the cheaper prices on the guys they like. I fully expect multiple trades to happen, but the FO is waiting for the markets to develop. 

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Buxton is safe at third 9 times out of 10 on that play...but it cost them the winning run, unfortunately. Incredible throw, bounced right into the glove on his shoulder. Good play and incredibly lucky were the only way it results in a double play with no run scoring.

Buxton should be safe 10 of 10 times on that play, because he shouldn't tag up 10 of 10 times.

 

That was a really, really bad baseball mistake. Really bad, and a mental error which I find difficult to ignore. I'm pretty confident Buxton would agree.

 

That it cost a game is beside the point, almost. Hopefully that won't ever happen again.

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Buxton's play, I was at the game, surprised he went for it.  Ball wasn't that deep.

 

More often than an out, I think the ball would get by the 3B and he would score because the pitcher was backing up home.

 

I like the aggressiveness. Who knew that would be their last chance at a run?

 

Hilarious at the end of the 6th(?), when a strike 'em out throw 'em out on a check swing resulted in a DP and no one on the Twins realized there were three outs. Like little league -- "c'mon to the dugout boys, the inning is over".

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Since the other thread got locked for some reason Laudner is the worst color commentator I’ve heard. He has to be gone. Good news is that Smeltzer and Thorpe look like two potential effective lefties for the future

 

Sadly, I agree - worst color commentator I've heard in the Twins booth in a long time. Maybe when pickings are slim, the Twins should just bring in Smalley again. Roy seems to be on the "B Team" of color guys but he can fill in well.

 

Speaking of filling in, the Twins need someone to step up. I think with Mejia, there's nothing more they can do with him and he'll be placed on waivers. I just don't know how you keep him on the active roster when you bring in other arms to help out.

 

I'm both thrilled to be up 5.5 games on the Indians and also disappointed to be up 5.5 games on the Indians. Anyone else kinda torn on how to feel about this team right now? I think they basically played out of their minds for 2 months and have come back to earth. Cleveland is feasting off Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit and Cincy. And they get Kluber back in a month, right?

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Buxton should be safe 10 of 10 times on that play, because he shouldn't tag up 10 of 10 times.

That was a really, really bad baseball mistake. Really bad, and a mental error which I find difficult to ignore. I'm pretty confident Buxton would agree.

That it cost a game is beside the point, almost. Hopefully that won't ever happen again.

 

Joey Gallo almost threw a ball into the press box from CF the game before. It took a perfect throw to get Buxton and he delivered. I don't think it was a mental mistake by Buxton; he is at his best when he is aggressive running the bases and creating mayhem. Gallo's throw could have easily hit him and ricocheted into no-man's land and Buxton could have scored on that.

 

It is obvious in hindsight he shouldn't have tagged, but I think Buxton deserves the benefit of the doubt for putting that pressure on the defense.

 

One other item of note here; Max Kepler had a terrible series at the plate. Buxton's best chance to score that inning might have been getting himself to third and having the pitcher throw a wild pitch. The fact the Twins only needed 2 runs to win the game yesterday makes Buxton's out at 3rd that much more egregious.

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Joey Gallo almost threw a ball into the press box from CF the game before. It took a perfect throw to get Buxton and he delivered. I don't think it was a mental mistake by Buxton; he is at his best when he is aggressive running the bases and creating mayhem. Gallo's throw could have easily hit him and ricocheted into no-man's land and Buxton could have scored on that.

 

It is obvious in hindsight he shouldn't have tagged, but I think Buxton deserves the benefit of the doubt for putting that pressure on the defense.

 

One other item of note here; Max Kepler had a terrible series at the plate. Buxton's best chance to score that inning might have been getting himself to third and having the pitcher throw a wild pitch. The fact the Twins only needed 2 runs to win the game yesterday makes Buxton's out at 3rd that much more egregious.

Sorry, but IMO it's not even debatable. It was a terribly bad decision, one that simply isn't done. 

 

For the record, it didn't take a perfect throw, the play wasn't even particularly close. But that's not important, it would have been the absolute wrong decision even IF he had made it.

 

Consider this: when is the last time this situation came into play? I bet you haven't seen it in ... forever. That's because nobody makes that mistake. It's something that's completely intuitive, and if not, learned early in a player's baseball career. You simply can't get thrown out in any situation like that, so players don't try it....because it might cost a run, and there's little to be gained anyway.

 

This was a Baseball-101 level mistake. And I'm absolutely positive Buxton would say the same thing.

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Buxton should be safe 10 of 10 times on that play, because he shouldn't tag up 10 of 10 times.

 

That was a really, really bad baseball mistake. Really bad, and a mental error which I find difficult to ignore. I'm pretty confident Buxton would agree.

 

That it cost a game is beside the point, almost. Hopefully that won't ever happen again.

 

One of the Cardinal rules of baseball. Do not make the 1st or 3rd outs at 3rd base. He just didn't need to advance as he can't score on another sac as there are now 2 outs anyway and he can still score on a base hit as he was standing on 2nd? I also get it that most people will say that the Twins just haven't hit in clutch situations very well but even when someone is going good they are going to get out 7 out of 10 times so they need to take advantage of productive out when they can and getting thrown out at 3rd for the last out which nullified Schoops run was really bad. By the way Buxton has overall been doing a fantastic job this year, that was just a bad play that cost the team a win.

 

 

So does something like that reduce his WAR?

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There is not much to complain about, it was a baseball game that was tight and could have gone either way. The only real disappointment is Mejia who had a lot to gain by a good outing.

Mejia nibbled too much. Then he got himself in trouble and had to bring it and it got crushed. I would have rather seen him give up a solo shot or two rather than two walks and a three run bomb.

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