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Front Page: Twins at Risk of Sinking to New Low with October Woes


Nick Nelson
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I agree. Never will they have this kind of offensive output going forward. They just won't and those that are expecting it to be THIS good are probably going to be disappointed next season. 

 

They should have gone all in. Should have brought in a better bullpen piece at the deadline, should have signed Keuchel and should have traded for Grienke or someone of that caliber. All it would have cost was one of our top 3 guys(prospects), some money and the same kind of prospects we dealt to get Romo and Dyson. 

 

You could see it coming, too. They were never going to trade for Grienke, or Syndergaard, or Stroman, or MadBum. Why? Because that is something the Twins have NEVER done under the ownership of the Pohlads. So anyone to expect something different, you were fooled. And we will continue to be fooled every single time the Twins have an opportunity to do something.

 

Instead, this ownership would rather go for someone on the cheap who may provide a month or two worth of good output, only to watch the team go down in flames come October. The whole "we will strike when the window is open" is such a crock. The window opened back in April & May, and this ownership sat on their hands and put their faith in Martin Perez, Kyle Gibson, and others.

 

Shame. On. Them.

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The Twins were overthinking this.

 

This seems to apply to several decisions.

 

Odorizzi will make his one and only series start with what LDS history tells us is only a 9.7% chance of the Twins advancing, in deference to a rookie with 5 more MLB starts than the average Twins Daily poster.

 

The bullpen was utilized in roughly inverse order of ability, which is contrary to both conventional playoff wisdom and sanity.

 

In a situation that would have maximized Schoop's skill set, the Twins started a rookie whose ankle was such a concern 3 days prior to Game 1 that there was still doubt about his making the roster, let alone the starting lineup.

 

Individually there are counterarguments to be made for each, but taken as a whole it looks like not only overthinking, but even a bit contrarian.

 

It's almost as if Baldelli were so keenly aware of the Twins' awful postseason history vs the Yankees that his goal was to do everything differently from those teams, even to the point of being counterproductive.

 

 

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Did you watch the game? That popup absolutely should have been caught by the second baseman, with ease. Arraez sort of gingerly drifted back, and it still went off his glove.

I did watch it, and I watched it again before I made that post. It was a "looper" more than a high pop-up, and it landed pretty far into the outfield as you can see in the spray chart graphic. The second baseman has to face the infield enough to track it, which sort of limits the speed at which he can go after it. I wouldn't call it routine or easy.

 

Arraez almost made the play. It's quite possible that Schoop would have made the play. If it had been hit just a little higher or further, it's Rosario's play. To me, the outcome of that play hardly invalidates starting Arraez over Schoop.

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This seems to apply to several decisions.
 
Odorizzi will make his one and only series start with what LDS history tells us is only a 9.7% chance of the Twins advancing, in deference to a rookie with 5 more MLB starts than the average Twins Daily poster.
 

 

But there's really no difference if the team wins Game 2 or Game 3 when you still need to win three games to advance. If the Twins go with Odorizzi in NY and Dobnak at home, I don't like their odds of winning either game. If they go with Dobnak in NY and Odorizzi at home, I at least give them reasonable odds of winning Game 3.

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CJ Cron has had a nice year, but I wonder how things might have worked out differently if he had not been signed and instead the Twins used a mish mash of Garver, Sano, Gonzalez and even Kepler there instead.

 

The point of said non-signing would be to reallocate that money into pitching.

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In a situation that would have maximized Schoop's skill set, the Twins started a rookie whose ankle was such a concern 3 days prior to Game 1 that there was still doubt about his making the roster, let alone the starting lineup.

I don't think there was any *real* doubt about Arraez's ankle, after the first couple days. I think they were just staying tight-lipped to impact the Yankees planning. (Just like the Yankees were tight-lipped about a few of their bubble guys.)

 

Arraez is a rookie, but one with a pretty impressive skill set of his own that seems to complement the rest of the Twins lineup more than Schoop's.

 

And I feel like we're massively overrating Schoop to claim this as a questionable move. Schoop can be a useful MLB player, but keep in mind, within the last 15 months, he has recently been salary dumped, benched by another playoff team, and non-tendered. He had a career postseason OPS of .346 coming into this series, over 36 PA.

 

Again, I'm not trying to pick on Schoop too much -- I think the Schoop/Arraez decision could have gone either way. The Odorizzi/Dobnak decision, a little less so, and the Duffey game 2 decision, after Stashak's and Gibson's innings in game 1 -- I still don't understand it. That's all.

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This seems to apply to several decisions.
 
Odorizzi will make his one and only series start with what LDS history tells us is only a 9.7% chance of the Twins advancing, in deference to a rookie with 5 more MLB starts than the average Twins Daily poster.
 
The bullpen was utilized in roughly inverse order of ability, which is contrary to both conventional playoff wisdom and sanity.
 
In a situation that would have maximized Schoop's skill set, the Twins started a rookie whose ankle was such a concern 3 days prior to Game 1 that there was still doubt about his making the roster, let alone the starting lineup.
 
Individually there are counterarguments to be made for each, but taken as a whole it looks like not only overthinking, but even a bit contrarian.
 
It's almost as if Baldelli were so keenly aware of the Twins' awful postseason history vs the Yankees that his goal was to do everything differently from those teams, even to the point of being counterproductive.
 
 

five more MLB starts than above average TD posters, too.

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Grienke really showing how necessary trading for aces is right now...I mean if only the Twins had him and his huge contract giving up bombs instead of the cheap guys they have giving up bombs instead.

 

Astros may very well come back and win this game. Just getting sick and tired of the same old complaining about how the Twins need to get high priced guys to ever have a shot. The Nats run out 3 high priced studs and they're at risk of elimination today. Grienke makes a ton and has given up 4 in 3 so far today. Clayton Kershaw has terrible numbers in the postseason. 

 

Tampa had the second lowest ERA in baseball this season and their whole team has a $60 mil payroll. Washington was 13th and have $60 mil invested in just 3 of their starters alone. It's time to get over the obsession with big name guys and start to realize that isn't how pitching staffs have to be built.

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But there's really no difference if the team wins Game 2 or Game 3 when you still need to win three games to advance. If the Twins go with Odorizzi in NY and Dobnak at home, I don't like their odds of winning either game. If they go with Dobnak in NY and Odorizzi at home, I at least give them reasonable odds of winning Game 3.

How so? Is this the ground-ball-vs-fly-ball thing? Odorizzi's previous starts vs NYY this season point to the futility of relying too much on that when forecasting a single game.

 

Whatever edge it might provide, it doesn't seem worth it if it increases your risk of going down 0-2 in the series, and not having Odorizzi available on full rest for a potential game 5.

 

And even if you do go with the Dobnak-in-game-2 strategy, don't you have to go to someone other than Duffey again as your first guy out of the pen?

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I did watch it, and I watched it again before I made that post. It was a "looper" more than a high pop-up, and it landed pretty far into the outfield as you can see in the spray chart graphic. The second baseman has to face the infield enough to track it, which sort of limits the speed at which he can go after it. I wouldn't call it routine or easy.

 

Arraez almost made the play. It's quite possible that Schoop would have made the play. If it had been hit just a little higher or further, it's Rosario's play. To me, the outcome of that play hardly invalidates starting Arraez over Schoop.

 

I agree the play wasn't routine. Probably a ball that you hope a MLB player catches but certainly not routine. 

 

I think you are spot on in your assessment of the play. 

 

Also... I have no idea what went into the front office decision making but I'm reasonably sure that with the presence of Schoop on the roster... the fact that Arraez was in the lineup makes an assumption pretty easy that his ankle was tested and came out OK. 

 

Putting an injured player in the lineup, is working way too hard to keep a decent player out of the lineup against a left-handed starter. I really don't think the Twins are that down on Schoop to do that type of thing. 

 

 

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Grienke really showing how necessary trading for aces is right now...I mean if only the Twins had him and his huge contract giving up bombs instead of the cheap guys they have giving up bombs instead.

 

Astros may very well come back and win this game. Just getting sick and tired of the same old complaining about how the Twins need to get high priced guys to ever have a shot. The Nats run out 3 high priced studs and they're at risk of elimination today. Grienke makes a ton and has given up 4 in 3 so far today. Clayton Kershaw has terrible numbers in the postseason.

 

Tampa had the second lowest ERA in baseball this season and their whole team has a $60 mil payroll. Washington was 13th and have $60 mil invested in just 3 of their starters alone. It's time to get over the obsession with big name guys and start to realize that isn't how pitching staffs have to be built.

You need to “get high priced guys” if you can’t develop your own low priced guys. The Twins are HOPEFULLY starting to improve this, but their record under the previous regime in this area was beyond atrocious. The result is an offense ready to contend and a pitching staff ready to be below .500.

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All this good team needs is an Exorcism. Is their a priest in the house?

 

They do seem to be approaching the point where supernatural intervention is their best shot, don't they?

 

This series has been a disaster, but all the more painfully disappointing because of Twins media coverage aggressively talking up the idea that This Team Is Different! The Twins' recent past postseason history vs the Yanks means nothing to them, and they're poised to charge the hill!

 

And yet somehow not only are they not erasing history... the Twins look like a historical reenactment society, wearing the uniforms and going through the motions, following a script to a predetermined outcome.

 

All that's missing is the smell of black powder and Baldelli riding up to sign away the series on the steps of the Hennepin County courthouse.

 

Yes, it was an unexpectedly successful and fun season, and would've been wonderful surprise even if it didn't come at the end of an ugly decade for the franchise.

 

But here's the bottom line: a 100 win team can't get steamrolled in the playoffs... ever ...without there being justifiable concerns about how that team was managed.

 

I think Baldelli's a good manager who will learn from this defeat. And he'd better, because the Yankees aren't going away any time soon.

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How so? Is this the ground-ball-vs-fly-ball thing? Odorizzi's previous starts vs NYY this season point to the futility of relying too much on that when forecasting a single game.

 

Whatever edge it might provide, it doesn't seem worth it if it increases your risk of going down 0-2 in the series, and not having Odorizzi available on full rest for a potential game 5.

 

And even if you do go with the Dobnak-in-game-2 strategy, don't you have to go to someone other than Duffey again as your first guy out of the pen?

 

Well the flyball thing certainly can be a factor, but it's more about setting the table for the best odds to win. I like the Twins odds at home with Odorizzi, I don't like the Twins odds at home with Dobnak. I don't like the Twins odds in NY with Odorizzi. There's only one of those three scenarios I feel reasonably comfortable with so I'll take that one.

 

Reusing Duffey is a different issue, which I did not agree with. I'd have liked to done a straight bullpen game for that anyway. If the Twins somehow make it to Game 5 I hope that's the strategy. In a vacuum without knowing the innings these guys will pitch between now and then, I'd open with Romo for an inning, Graterol for two, Rogers for two, Duffey for two and run May out there to finish it off.

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You need to “get high priced guys” if you can’t develop your own low priced guys. The Twins are HOPEFULLY starting to improve this, but their record under the previous regime in this area was beyond atrocious. The result is an offense ready to contend and a pitching staff ready to be below .500.

Totally agree. But under this regime they are showing they can develop their own guys. It just takes time to change your minor league systems to start improving what they're able to call up. They've had 3 seasons to put their plans in place and the current playoff pitching staff is mostly homegrown guys. The ones that were in the majors before this FO are experiencing career years and look like completely different guys and the ones who have been called up this year look drastically better than anything the previous FO ever were able to call up. 

 

In a previous rant I mentioned that I think the team is a year ahead of schedule. I think the FO was looking at the next couple years as the time they hit this mark and their young arms would be closer to the level of the offense.

 

At the end of the day people need to get over the idea that getting big name guys isn't the way this team will likely ever build their staff. It doesn't make sense with the budget the owners give the FO. And losing game 1 with Grienke on the mound and losing game 2 with Berrios on the mound still puts us in the same position we're in today.

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Well the flyball thing certainly can be a factor, but it's more about setting the table for the best odds to win. I like the Twins odds at home with Odorizzi, I don't like the Twins odds at home with Dobnak. I don't like the Twins odds in NY with Odorizzi. There's only one of those three scenarios I feel reasonably comfortable with so I'll take that one.

Is Odorizzi a notably worse pitcher on the road? Or Dobnak notably worse at home? I guess I don't see it as a factor worth swapping them over.

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I agree. Never will they have this kind of offensive output going forward. They just won't and those that are expecting it to be THIS good are probably going to be disappointed next season. 

 

They should have gone all in. Should have brought in a better bullpen piece at the deadline, should have signed Keuchel and should have traded for Grienke or someone of that caliber. All it would have cost was one of our top 3 guys(prospects), some money and the same kind of prospects we dealt to get Romo and Dyson. 

 

Again agreed 100%. The should have signed Dallas Keuchel assuming he was willing to come to the Twins Cities for one season and or traded for Zach Greinke or Marcus Stroman. The Pineda suspension is all on Michael and he screwed over his teammates royally, although it's hard to imagine it would have put them over the top against the Yankees by himself. 

 

I feel your sentiment. We'll probably never see such an offensive outburst from this particular franchise again our lifetime.  What a shame to have squandered it like this.

Edited by laloesch
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Again agreed 100%. The should have signed Dallas Keuchel assuming he was willing to come to the Twins Cities for one season and or traded for Zach Greinke or Marcus Stroman. The Pineda suspension is all on Michael and he screwed over his teammates royally, although it's hard to imagine it would have put them over the top against the Yankees by himself. 

 

I feel your sentiment. We'll probably never see such an offensive outburst from this particular franchise again our lifetime.  What a shame to have squandered it like this.

Squandered 6 runs in 2 games? The offense hasn't been historic this post season.

 

Keuchel gave up 1 run in 4.2 innings in his first start this post season. Has given up 2 in 2 innings so far today. Berrios gave up 1 earned run in 4 innings in game 1.

 

Grienke got absolutely blasted by the Rays today. 6 earned in 3.2 innings.

 

And those guys are throwing against the #18 and #19 offenses in baseball this year. Teams that scored 174 and 179 fewer runs than the Yanks. How exactly do those performances make it so we didn't squander this? The offense hasn't lit the world on fire in the series. This has been an almost complete team collapse.

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I don't disagree with the Dobnak game 2, Odo game 3 decision.    The "decision" was made by the FO in July, when they already knew that Big Mike was going to be suspended (barring a miracle), saw that we were (most likely, and if they didn't foresee it because the Indians were catching up, shame on them) headed for the post-season, and didn't do anything to bolster the starting rotation.

 

I can take some losing.    I just implode when they play so poorly.    I'm old enough that I was an adult in '87 and '91, so that takes some of the sting out of the post-season losses.  But not much.    Not much.   

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The "decision" was made by the FO in July, when they already knew that Big Mike was going to be suspended (barring a miracle),

FWIW, Pineda may have known of his pending suspension back then (although that's not clear either), but the team most definitely did not. Teams aren't notified until just before it becomes official, after the appeal. (Which makes sense, as a player who successfully appeals may not want the suspicion to impact his relationship with his employer, future contracts, etc. Although it does make planning more difficult for the team.)

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I'm somewhat surprised by the first two games, but not that surprised the Twins are 0-2 at this point...and it has nothing to do with curses or the Yankees 'being in the Twins heads'.

 

It has to do with the 2019 Yankees being better than the 2019 Twins. I thought the gap was relatively narrow, but maybe not. After all, the historic weakness of the Twins 2019 schedule warps perceptions. Fact is, there has probably never been a 100-win team in the history of MLB with a worse record against +500 teams than the Twins had in 2019. Over 40% of the total wins were recorded against Det, KC, and the White Sox. The schedule probably didn't just skew the win totals, but individual and team stats as well. Match-ups that look even, really aren't.

 

Doesn't mean the Twins aren't good...or good enough to win a post-season game or two. Just not THAT good...and not nearly as good as the super-teams that exist in 2019. Gotta get top-end pitching in 2020.

 

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Odorizzi has been absolutely awful in Yankees stadium for his career. Yes, I feel much better about him at home.

Personally, I wouldn't put too much stock in a ~46 inning sample spread out over 7 years. At least not enough to flip Odo and Dobnak in the rotation, potentially put us in an 0-2 hole, and make Odo on short rest for a potential game 5.

 

FWIW, Odo's only made 3 starts there over the last 3 years, and two were "quality starts". I would hope he's improved since he first couple years in the league...

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I'm just sick of it.

 

And I'm old. '65 World Series is my first baseball memory. I grew up with those power-hitting and power-pitching Twins of the mid-60's, suffered through the 70's and especially early 80's, before our brief moments in the sun. Then, those 2000's, where we bent over for the Yanks and others every dang first round, save once. 

 

This season took me, and lots of others, pleasantly by surprise. What a wonderful ride, even through the tight days of late Aug- early September. But just playing meaningful games that late in the year was such a gas!

 

And now, we're one step away from tarnishing that whole year. Having it rendered meaningless. 

 

I'm also a massive rugby fan, and still and active player. Right now, the Rugby World Cup is going on, and the USA is once again a 'guest.' Cup after Cup, the US has been involved, but on the receiving end of horrid beatings that would make the Yanks' dominance seem mild. This year, I thought, they've been coming on since the last Cup, have a pro league now in the US, and tons of players overseas in prestigious leagues- this year, maybe we won't be beaten like a drum by everyone.

 

Nope. Blasted away by England, torched by France, about to be smacked down by Argentina, then Tonga, probably, because we get them on a short turnaround. Just like the Twins, a long road of bright play and good results all thrown away under the hot lights. It's like all that progress over the past years didn't even happen. When the time comes to show what you can do, too many guys show what they can't do.

 

Yes, this season will be a good memory. But unless we make a massive sucking-up and come out on a mission from God, it's just another remake of the same crappy movie.

And that is what is so sad about this series. We did NOT have to win this series for this season to be a gigantic success. We just had to play our butts off in this series. Instead, if this series continues this way it absolutely will destroy the meaning of this season because we would have disgraced baseball. Even those elite teams of the past, like the Big Red Machine or the outstanding 70s Oakland teams, or the dominating Orioles of the 60s did not destroy teams like the Yankees are doing in this series. It's almost unheard of. Sad. 

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 But here's the bottom line: a 100 win team can't get steamrolled in the playoffs... ever ...without there being justifiable concerns about how that team was managed.
 
I think Baldelli's a good manager who will learn from this defeat. And he'd better, because the Yankees aren't going away any time soon.

Anyone who thinks the Twins were a legitimate "100-win" team this year....in the historic sense of what it has meant to be a 100-win team...might be susceptible to unrealistic expectations for this post-season. The Twins were 5-games under 500 against teams with winning records. 10 teams were better than that, but the Twins got to play an AL Central schedule

 

Having said that, I do think there are a number of Twins struggling under the harsh lights, making the match-up worse than it needs to be...Rocco is probably one.

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And that is what is so sad about this series. We did NOT have to win this series for this season to be a gigantic success. We just had to play our butts off in this series. Instead, if this series continues this way it absolutely will destroy the meaning of this season because we would have disgraced baseball. Even those elite teams of the past, like the Big Red Machine or the outstanding 70s Oakland teams, or the dominating Orioles of the 60s did not destroy teams like the Yankees are doing in this series. It's almost unheard of. Sad. 

Disgrace baseball? No. Embarrass their fans, maybe...although I don't know why. Sometimes the other team is better. Sometimes you play poorly, and make things worse.

 

And the Orioles of the late 60's beat the Twins in back-to-back series 6 games to 0...total runs were 43 to 15. 

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I’m curious why almost no one has suggested that perhaps Odorizzi should have started game one.

It’s what I would have done. Odorizzi has pitched considerably better since the break than Berrios. Also, I just feel Berrios would have fed off the home crowd more than Odorizzi will.

I mentioned that during the final week. There was a lot ot buzz about him getting game one and Berrios game 3. but its all hindsight now. Nothing they have done has worked so all we can do is go forward.

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Disgrace baseball? No. Embarrass their fans, maybe...although I don't know why. Sometimes the other team is better. Sometimes you play poorly, and make things worse.

 

And the Orioles of the late 60's beat the Twins in back-to-back series 6 games to 0...total runs were 43 to 15. 

The Yanks ARE better and we HAVE compounded it by playing a lot worse that we have played in a long time, at the worst time. We can make a few amends tonite.

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Anyone who thinks the Twins were a legitimate "100-win" team this year....in the historic sense of what it has meant to be a 100-win team...might be susceptible to unrealistic expectations for this post-season. The Twins were 5-games under 500 against teams with winning records. 10 teams were better than that, but the Twins got to play an AL Central schedule

 

Having said that, I do think there are a number of Twins struggling under the harsh lights, making the match-up worse than it needs to be...Rocco is probably one.

 

You're trying to refine the regular season record as an indicator of the Twins' odds of winning a postseason series. That's fine, and I don't disagree with you that they're less imposing than some other 100 win teams.

 

But that has very little to do the part of the Twins' regular/post season disparity that I'm talking about, which comes down to two things:

 

1. The Twins are listed in the ESPN final season standings as having a 100% chance of appearing in the postseason, and yet are potentially only 3 hours away from failing to do so.

 

2. A team that is good in the regular season but unbearably bad in the postseason is struggling with more than just a talent differential. There's more at work here than  regular season opponent win pct. and small sample size.

 

 

 

 

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