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Front Page: Twins Game Recap (8/15): Pineda Solid While Offense Provides Plenty


The Twins offense was due. It had been over a week since the Twins put up double -digit runs, and with Pedro Payano on the mound for the Rangers, tonight's result was somewhat predictable. Michael Pineda provided five solid innings and despite a rough outing from Devin Smeltzer out of the bullpen the Twins came out on top 13-6.Box Score

Pineda: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 63.9% strikes (55 of 86 pitches)

Bullpen (Smeltzer): 4.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K

 

Home Runs: Arraez (3), Sano (22), Rosario (27)

Multi-Hit Games: Arraez (3-for-5), Cave (2-for-3), Gonzalez (4-for-5), Polanco (2-for-6)

 

Top 3 WPA: Arraez (.170), Pineda (.115), Cave (.111)

 

Twins Offense Strikes Early and Often

The scouting report on right-handed pitcher Payano showed two things: 1) He has reverse splits with more success against left-handed batters, and 2) He struggles commanding the strike zone. That explains Sano batting second for the first time in his career as well as the five-run second inning where he was missing his spots badly after a quick first inning.

 

Luis Arraez started the party with a home run, which seemed about as likely as Kenny Wu joining the Bash Brothers, what with Payano’s success against lefties. All Mighty Duck references aside, Arraez got it started again in the third with a two-out double down the right field line followed by a Marwin Gonzalez single to drive him in. After two full-count walks in the fourth, Payano’s night was over after just 3 1/3 innings although that didn’t mean much to the Twins hitters. The offense would go on to score 13 runs on 14 hits including three home runs.

 

 

Pineda Looks Good in Return to Rotation

Michael Pineda’s didn’t miss a beat after suffering a triceps strain during his August 1 start against the Marlins. If you haven’t been tracking him closely Pineda has been the Twins best pitcher (in terms of fWAR) since June 1 and he looked all the part tonight. It wasn’t until the fourth inning with two outs that the Rangers were able to get their first hit and at that point they were down by 10, which definitely made things easier for Pineda. With a home run to start the inning by Willie Calhoun followed by back-to-back singles, the Rangers scored their second run of the game on Jorge Polanco’s fourth error in his last three games.

 

After a total of five hits, two earned runs, and 30 pitches Pineda would get through the fifth and give way to Devin Smeltzer out of the Twins bullpen. Throughout the night, Pineda was pinpointing his fastball and slider to the tune of six strikeouts and just one walk.

 

The Twins will look to stay hot tomorrow against Mike Minor who’s having the best year of his career. Meanwhile, Odorizzi will take the bump for the Twins and look to continue pitching well after he’s given up one run or less in his last three starts.

 

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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Yesterday was Thursday, August 15.  It was the 121st game of the year putting the Twins 75% of the way through the season.  The Twins hit 3 home runs upping their record-breaking season total to 236 home runs.  They are now only 31 home runs behind the single-season MLB record.

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This unwritten rule stuff is just tiresome.   Why not swing on 3-0?   Still likely to make an out which would speed up the ending to a lopsided game.  If I was the pitcher I would want him to swing on 3-0 rather than throw more pitches to walk him.    Maybe a very little tacky but hardly worth a retaliation bean ball pitch which I don't care where it is placed has the potential to seriously injure someone.   .   I didn't see the game but don't know if I would call Smelzer's outing a rough one.   He pitched one fewer innings than Pineda and gave up the same number of runs but with a pretty big lead.   He walked one guy but otherwise threw strikes which is what I want from a long relief guy with a large lead.

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Jake Cave might be buying Max Kepler lunch and carrying his bags around tomorrow.

Shawn Kelley should be embarrassed by hitting Kepler. Nothing about that makes him look tough. I would be willing to bet no one in the Rangers dugout was impressed with that.

 

Even if Cave knew it was 3-0 (which, based on the video, he didn't), he should be swinging away. The guy is playing for a roster spot on a big league team next year, either with the Twins or elsewhere. Show off what you can do, help your numbers in the chances you get.

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Shawn Kelley should be embarrassed by hitting Kepler. Nothing about that makes him look tough. I would be willing to bet no one in the Rangers dugout was impressed with that.

 

Even if Cave knew it was 3-0 (which, based on the video, he didn't), he should be swinging away. The guy is playing for a roster spot on a big league team next year, either with the Twins or elsewhere. Show off what you can do, help your numbers in the chances you get.

This may be the dumbest unwritten rule I've seen in a long time. Jake Cave, or any other player in baseball, shouldn't have to apologize for putting the ball in play. No matter the count, no matter the score. These are professional players fighting for playing time.

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despite a rough outing from Devin Smeltzer

 

 

I dunno, he was handed a gigantic lead and most likely told it was his job to finish the game. He could have given up several more runs and it would be fine by me -- he did his job giving the rest of the bullpen a night off while still making the game enough of a laugher that no one else had to get up and none of us had to sit on the edge of our seats. I'd say that's a good outing for what he was asked to do.

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Jake Cave might be buying Max Kepler lunch and carrying his bags around tomorrow.

 

Honestly man, what kind of BS is that? The Twins have been struggling, Cave has been struggling....what's he supposed to do in a 3-0 count? Take a strike? Why? The pitcher should have thrown strikes earlier in the count and he wouldn't be in that situation.

 

Just moments before Cave's AB, Bryce Harper had just homered to complete a 6-run 9th inning comeback by the Phillies to beat the Cubs. With the Twins pitching staff, no lead is safe. I see nothing wrong with Jake padding his stats there, nor is there anything wrong with the Twins running up the score.

 

That beaning of Kepler was really bush league.

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Jake Cave might be buying Max Kepler lunch and carrying his bags around tomorrow.

I was watching the Rangers broadcast and they did not mention anything so I totally missed this but did think Kepler getting hit was a little strange.    I wasn't aware swinging on a 3-0 pitch was an offense - some of these unwritten rules seem like they were made up by 8 year olds.   I wonder what the combination of runs your behind and inning violates the "rule" .   Maybe like the no pitch intentional walk - baseball can come up with a  "you violated an unwritten rule and offended our team" indication or sign so the batter can just take first base without taking one in the ribs or shoulder.    

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I was watching the Rangers broadcast and they did not mention anything so I totally missed this but did think Kepler getting hit was a little strange.    I wasn't aware swinging on a 3-0 pitch was an offense - some of these unwritten rules seem like they were made up by 8 year olds.   I wonder what the combination of runs your behind and inning violates the "rule" .   Maybe like the no pitch intentional walk - baseball can come up with a  "you violated an unwritten rule and offended our team" indication or sign so the batter can just take first base without taking one in the ribs or shoulder.    

 

I think swinging 3-0 is fine - unless you're up by 7 runs in the 9th inning (or so the rule goes).

 

That said, as I mentioned, the Phillies dropped 6 runs in the 9th against the Cubs and beat them. In today's game, no lead is safe.

Edited by bighat
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The article author needs to check the box score for this game at MLB.com. Twins players listed with multi hit games in this article are wrong other than Arraez. 

Thank you for catching that.  I'm not sure how I screwed that up so badly!

 

 

I dunno, he was handed a gigantic lead and most likely told it was his job to finish the game. He could have given up several more runs and it would be fine by me -- he did his job giving the rest of the bullpen a night off while still making the game enough of a laugher that no one else had to get up and none of us had to sit on the edge of our seats. I'd say that's a good outing for what he was asked to do.

IMO, you can do your job and still not do it well, especially when you're handed a 9-run lead.  Also, keep in mind, the Rangers made all three outs on the basepaths in the bottom of the 6th.  That inning would have been a lot worse had they not helped him out there. 

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Honestly man, what kind of BS is that? The Twins have been struggling, Cave has been struggling....what's he supposed to do in a 3-0 count? Take a strike? Why? The pitcher should have thrown strikes earlier in the count and he wouldn't be in that situation.

 

You could certainly say that Cave was struggling earlier in the year, but lately he's been hitting very well. In his 19 AB so far in August he is batting .421. Not bad at all!

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Arraez just keeps on rolling, huh? The dinger may have been a surprise but it's a pleasant one: if he can be a guy who hits 8-10 HRs along with 30+ doubles and a handful of triples he's going to be a much more complete player. He doesn't need a SLG% that's over .450 to be a terrific starting 2B, but he does need to keep it over .400 IMHO. A little extra pop on those occasional HRs helps a lot.

 

He's just become a really tough out. His BABiP is high, but not ludicrously so. The BB% is excellent for a guy who gets so many damn hits. he's doing a terrific job of controlling the strike zone: you can't strike him out often and you can't get him to chase much either. It's a really effective approach and he could be a terrific leadoff guy in the future.

 

I'm a little worried about Polanco right now. Maybe he's taking the slump at the plate out in the field with him? He's got to get those throws ironed out, because those free outs he's yielding can really haunt you. He probably needs a day or two off, and we've got the infielders up right now to do it, so hopefully Rocco gives him a day off and some infield instruction.

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Honestly man, what kind of BS is that? The Twins have been struggling, Cave has been struggling....what's he supposed to do in a 3-0 count? Take a strike? Why? The pitcher should have thrown strikes earlier in the count and he wouldn't be in that situation.

 

Just moments before Cave's AB, Bryce Harper had just homered to complete a 6-run 9th inning comeback by the Phillies to beat the Cubs. With the Twins pitching staff, no lead is safe. I see nothing wrong with Jake padding his stats there, nor is there anything wrong with the Twins running up the score.

 

That beaning of Kepler was really bush league.

I didn't say I endorsed the beaning, but the only reason Kepler got hit was because of Cave. I'm sure he feels awful about it.

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I'm amused by the outrage over Kepler getting hit.

Every player on both teams knew exactly what happened, and why, and none of them had a problem with it.

There are "unwritten rules" ("norms" if you prefer) in every job.

 

I don't know that outrage is the right word here.  I think annoyance is a better term.  If that ball slips a little bit when the pitcher throws it, maybe it hits Kepler in the head.  Maybe it hits him in the wrist, breaks a bone, and Kepler is done for the year.  Neither of those are implausible, and both would be ridiculous, given that the beaning was in retaliation for a hitter attempting to hit.  If the Rangers don't want the Twins to try up 8 in the 9th, then forfeit.  Otherwise shut up and play the damn game.

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I always thought guys weren't supposed to swing at 3-0 pitches because the pitcher was showing they can't throw strikes and to just take the free base. Is it really because you're supposed to take at least one strike in order to make it more fair or something? Thats the first I've ever heard that, and pretty sad that these professional competitors agree thats the norm. Should teams roll out the b squad lineup when their ace is on the mound as well?

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I'm amused by the outrage over Kepler getting hit.

Every player on both teams knew exactly what happened, and why, and none of them had a problem with it.

There are "unwritten rules" ("norms" if you prefer) in every job.

There might have been more of a reaction by both teams had Kepler taken offense to getting hit and made a scene. At that point the dugouts have to clear and guys have to hold each other back and then return to their own dugouts.

 

Pitchers hitting batters purposefully is the absolute worst part of baseball because of some unwritten rule that was broken (or because the pitcher has thin skin), and quite frankly is something the commissioner should hand out more extreme punishments for to get rid of it. It is not tough, it is pathetic.

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I always thought guys weren't supposed to swing at 3-0 pitches because the pitcher was showing they can't throw strikes and to just take the free base. Is it really because you're supposed to take at least one strike in order to make it more fair or something? Thats the first I've ever heard that, and pretty sad that these professional competitors agree thats the norm. Should teams roll out the b squad lineup when their ace is on the mound as well?

 

Across MLB this year, in 3-0 counts, players are hitting .385/.935/.756 (1.692 OPS), which is the highest OPS of any count by nearly .300. 3-1 counts have resulted in a 1.427 OPS.

 

Every hitter goes to the plate with the intent of hitting the best pitch they see as hard as they can. Sometimes that is the first pitch of the at bat. Sometimes it comes with a 3-0 count, and guys are crushing the ball in this count.

 

Absolutely no issue with a hitter, regardless of game scenario, swinging away 3-0. None at all. It is a professional hitter up at the plate, and it is also a professional pitcher standing on the mound. Make better pitches.

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Yesterday was Thursday, August 15.  It was the 121st game of the year putting the Twins 75% of the way through the season.  The Twins hit 3 home runs upping their record-breaking season total to 236 home runs.  They are now only 31 home runs behind the single-season MLB record.

 

Terry - THANK YOU so much for doing this.  It has been an interesting "side effect" of a fantastic season for the Twins.

 

I do have a request.  Might it be possible to track this teams HR total against who is next for them to pass all time?  For example, this team now has a team record 236 home runs.  The next team ahead of them are the 1975 Reds whose 241 home runs rank 6th all time for home runs by a team in a season.

 

Thanks again!

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Across MLB this year, in 3-0 counts, players are hitting .385/.935/.756 (1.692 OPS), which is the highest OPS of any count by nearly .300. 3-1 counts have resulted in a 1.427 OPS.

Jake Cave is batting 1.000 this year.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.fcgi?id=caveja01&year=2019&t=b#all_count

 

If I'm Jake, I'm giving myself the red light on 3-0 for the rest of the season, to maintain this outstanding stat. :)

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