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Front Page: Twins Game Recap (9/14): Bullpen, Polanco Move the Needle in Win


The Twins defeated the Indians 2-0 in the first game of their doubleheader Saturday. Devin Smeltzer set the tone with three scoreless innings and the rest of the bullpen continued to shut out Cleveland. Jorge Polanco provided the big blow, hitting a two-run homer in the third inning.Box Score

Smeltzer: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 59% strikes (29 of 49 pitches)

Bullpen: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K

 

Home Runs: Polanco (22)

Multi-Hit Games: Kepler (2-for-4), Arraez (2-for-4)

 

Top 3 WPA: Rogers (.209), Smeltzer (.162), Littell (.135)

 

Devin Smeltzer entered this start with 14 2/3 innings pitched against Cleveland. Smeltzer had allowed 17 hits, 13 runs and six homers, including three from Francisco Lindor. Smeltzer’s success against Lindor on Saturday was a reflection of his outing. He held the All-Star to two foul pop-outs and the Indians to just one hit and no runs in three innings.

 

Mike Clevinger started with his 11-2 record and 2.49 FIP. Luckily for the Twins, Jorge Polanco was not fazed. His two-run shot and dazzling diving stop in the third were decisive. Hitting home runs is vital in beating dominant pitchers, and Minnesota proved that on Saturday. Clevinger struck out 10 in eight strong innings.

 

The Twins were planning on one bullpen game Saturday, but not two. After Jake Odorizzi’s start was washed away, Minnesota knew they would need 18 innings from the second-best bullpen in the American League since Aug. 1. They did not disappoint in game one. Zack Littell made his case to be a primary set-up man down the stretch with two scoreless innings. Littell could fill in for Sam Dyson after the former Giant was shut down and will undergo evaluation on his right arm.

 

Taylor Rogers is seemingly unavailable for tonight's game after completing the five-out save. Rogers was huge once again, and is further submitting himself as one of the best relievers in baseball.

 

This win means Minnesota will lead the AL Central by at least 2.5 games heading into the final 13-game stretch with the White Sox, Royals, and Tigers. The Twins can smell the ALDS. The magic number is 11.

 

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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Huge win. Huge sigh of relief. Polanco's game has been great lately. Nice way to cobble together a bunch of zeros with all the pitchers. Give credit where it's due: Rocco did a nice job managing this bullpen game.

 

Would be a heckuva deal if the Twins swept the DH today. Why not?

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Great win.   That took care of the 3rd most likely result which was getting swept.   It also flips the likelihood of who wins 2 of 3 since two games between good teams is generally a split.   Also keeps what was the least likely result which was a sweep of the Indians in play.  Great job bullpen including Smelzer.   

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One hell of a game.  And was that the most important game of the year?  Win one and we leave Cleveland in good shape for the championship.  That's in the books.  Win one of the next two and we leave in great shape.  Win both and Happy Days are Hear Again!

 

They were all very good, but was Littell the best pitcher the Twins threw out there today?  Bullpen is going to be in great shape in the playoffs and next year.  And even better if Dyson gets back to being the pitcher in 2020 that he was earlier this year.

 

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Great win.   That took care of the 3rd most likely result which was getting swept.   It also flips the likelihood of who wins 2 of 3 since two games between good teams is generally a split.   Also keeps what was the least likely result which was a sweep of the Indians in play.  Great job bullpen including Smelzer.   

 

Just curious why you think it was more likely the Indians would sweep the Twins vs. the opposite.

 

I love this team.  So resilient.  Hard to believe Kepler and Polanco were able to recreate last night today.

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Wow, a 5-hit, 9 SO, 1 BB shutout.  Even in the 6th of today's second game, there's plenty of fine horseflesh to appreciate in the Twins stables.   

 

We just pushed our division opposition to 5 losses back. A 10 - 5 record against a mess of cupcakes for the rest of the month gets us to 100 wins.  Once we've clinched, there will be plenty of time to sort out a playoff rotation.

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Like i said b4 lets mimic last years brew crew with a bullpen game plan to take pineda's spit in the rotation. We can use the parts to take advantage of advantage of any teams splits. We have a good balance a left and right handed pitchers keeping Smeltzer and perez and i would argue Thorpe on post season roster. Sweep this team away and demand they change their name to the cleveland wasps.

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Just curious why you think it was more likely the Indians would sweep the Twins vs. the opposite.

 

I love this team.  So resilient.  Hard to believe Kepler and Polanco were able to recreate last night today.

Home field, trending, starting pitching, injuries.    Sweeps were the two least likely occurrences but the same reasons the Indians were favored to take two of three would give them the sweep edge as well.   Given that many here would have been happy to win one of three and a minority but not super small thought being swept was likely I am fairly confident in my odds.  Now Twins taking 2 of 3 is just slightly better odds than us sweeping them.    Good place to be.  

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