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MIN 3, CLE 2: Bullpen Bends, Does Not Break


The Twins relief corps was in a tough spot after Sunday’s bullpen game, but they came right back to hold a lead over the final four innings Monday night. Caleb Thielbar, Trevor May, Sergio Romo and Taylor Rogers combined to give up seven hits, but executed when they had to, surrendering just one run.Box Score

Maeda: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K

Home Runs: Cruz (11), Sanó (6)

Top 3 WPA: Rogers .234, Maeda .193, Romo .157

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):

Download attachment: Winchart.png

 

Kenta Maeda continues to look like the Minnesota Twins staff ace as Miguel Sano shows us once again that his early season slump is over. Maeda didn’t have to pitch with the pressure of a potential no-hitter as the Indians were the ones to strike first with a first inning home run by Cesar Hernandez.

 

That didn’t stop Maeda from having another very good outing. He would go 5 innings in Monday night’s game and throw 83 pitches, but still was able to set the Twins up for success. The righty struck out seven batters while only allowing a single walk before turning the game over to the bullpen.

 

The Twins offense had the challenge of facing off against Aaron Civale who came into the game having only issued three walks all season long. While Civale still limited walks issuing only one more and striking out eight Twins batters, the Twins were still able to get to him for two home runs.

 

Those home runs came off the bats of none other than the duo of Sano and Nelson Cruz. Cruz tied the game up in the fourth inning with a solo shot. In the sixth inning, Sano put the Twins up by two by driving Eddie Rosario home on an opposite field shot that landed in a similar place to Cruz’s earlier in the game.

 

This was a game where it certainly felt like the Twins were playing with fire most of the later innings. The pitching staff allowed 11 hits and each reliever besides Rogers had to reach back and fight their own little fire with a strikeout to get out of innings without giving up a run, or in the case of May any more runs. Certainly we would like to see some clean shutdown innings from the Twins bullpen, but they got the job done and that is what matters.

 

In the ninth inning, all eyes shifted to Taylor Rogers as he was called on to get the save after a recent stretch struggling to be the shutdown closer we have become accustomed to. Rogers was able to redeem himself as he closed out the game against the top of the Indians lineup. He did allow a Francisco Lindor single, but struck out one and forced two pop ups to get the Twins the win.

 

Tonight lands the Twins at the halfway point of their shortened 2020 season. The team sits at 20-10 and 2.5 games up of Clevaland and Chicago who are tied for second in the Central division. It seems strange that we would critique this team too much, but there are still concerns surrounding the Twins offense.

 

Maybe it is just because we were so spoiled by 2019, but it feels like another game that was simply fueled by Cruz and Sano. Even though seven of the nine spots of the Twins produced hits leaving Marwin Gonzalez, Alex Avila, and Ehire Adrianza being the Twins not recording a hit. It is also important to remember that the Twins are playing a lot of bench players with the injuries they are dealing with.

 

It doesn’t get any easier for the bats tomorrow night as the Twins get to shift their attention to Shane Bieber. The Twins will counter with Rich Hill who will look to rebound after a rough start his last time out.

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

Download attachment: Bullpen.png

 

Postgame Pint

Following last night's game, John Bonnes, Seth Stohs and Jeremy Nygaard discussed the Twins 3-2 win over Cleveland while slipping in a dozen baseball movie title references.

 

 

Download The Postgame Pint Podcast

You can also listen to the Postgame Pint and never miss another one. Just head over to our iTunes page and subscribe. Every morning you'll have a new episode waiting for you. Or listen wherever you download your favorite podcasts.

 

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Does anyone know when Pineda comes back?  The Twins have now played 30 games, so he has to be getting close.  Has he been able to pitch with the rest of the minor league team?

 

My understanding is that the three playoff games last year counted toward his suspension, so he is eligible after six more games. That is next Monday. He has thrown enough pitches in simulated games to step into the rotation.

 

I look for: 

 

25th: Hill (Cle)

26th: Berrios (Cle)

27th: Dobnak (Det)

28th: Bullpen (Det)

29th: Maeda (Det)

30th: Hill (Det) 

31st: Berrios (CWS)

1st: Dobnak (CWS)

2nd: Pineda (CWS)

3rd: Off

4th: Maeda (Det)

5th: Hill (Det)

6th: Berrios (Det)

7th: Dobnak (Det)

8th: Pineda/Odo (or bullpen, if Odo not yet ready) (St.L)

9th: Off

10th: Off

11th: Maeda (Cle)

12th: Berrios (Cle) (skip Hill, unless he’s pitched well)

13th: Dobnak (Cle)

14th, following: Continue with two or three of Hill, Pineda and Odo, in either a five- or six-man rotation as health allows.

While using Pineda could be used on the 31st, holding him off until the 2nd allows for lining up Maeda/Berrios/Dobnak for the remaining Cleveland series.

 

That assumes no more line drives up the middle or other injuries to pitchers, but it’s good to flesh things out for a couple weeks in the best-case scenario. 

 

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We are getting spoiled with this embarassment of bullpen riches in my opinion. I am having fun watching Cleveland spin their wheels and lose ground because they dont have high quality guys that are good teammates with good character and unselfishness. Not having Clevenger and Plesac is going to ruin their season. And just today I heard they are keeping Clevenger down to screw him out of service time. So there you have it. They are what I knew they were. Every time someone in the media rants and raves about how GREAT the Cleveland Indians are I just want to throw up. They are a bunch of clowns. To be forever known as the team that finally let the Chicago Scrubs win a championship.

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Sergio Romo
@SergioRomo54
If only all the cameras and mics could catch everything going on at all times during the games... then just maybe ppl would understand and know who r the ppl that really bring and start the negativity... #istillknowbetterthantoreactlikethat

 

What's that all about?

Sounds like the Cleveland dugout had some issues with Romo's antics on the mound after the 8th inning. 

 

The Indians announcers alluded to it during the broadcast.

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I'm not going to give Taylor Rogers any grief about giving up a single to Lindor. That dude is fantastic and I really hope Cleveland is dumb enough to trade him. Watching him battle Maeda for a walk was a fantastic battle of a really smart pitcher against a really smart hitter and it was fun to watch even if the enemy drew the walk...because he freakin' earned it. How he managed to hold off on some of those splitters is just the sign of a great hitter. Lindor is a great, great player.

 

Maeda continues to just pitch. Not many hitters ever look comfortable against him, and he's just fun to watch. Interesting decision on pulling him after the 5th; I think it was the right decision (and it panned out fine) but I guess I would have minded seeing him take another inning. I guess Rocco & Co didn't want to stress him the first start after throwing 115 pitches against a good team in a game you really want to win. I do think he can go 6, though and he should be allowed to throw more than 90 pitches.

 

Sano keeps on mashing, and with all the injuries and struggles going on...we need it.

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Why did Maeda go only 5 innings?  The BP is overused and a starter picking up one or two more innings would mean a lot.  The BP games are really pushing the relievers and the chart for BP use is very enlightening. Thanks for putting that up each day. 

 

Coloume and Duffey are the only two really rested for Hill's game tonight. 

 

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Why did Maeda go only 5 innings?  The BP is overused and a starter picking up one or two more innings would mean a lot.  The BP games are really pushing the relievers and the chart for BP use is very enlightening. Thanks for putting that up each day. 

 

Coloume and Duffey are the only two really rested for Hill's game tonight. 

Alcala has had several days and there are a few guys that pitched  on Sunday and should be just fine.     I also believe Maeda can go more innings but probably makes sense to raise that gradually.    He was averaging 84 pitches a start and then jumped up to 115 his last start as Jlease mentioned.   That is a pretty big jump and in this case I am fine with erring on the cautious side.    The design of this bullpen is to be very deep and it is always a balancing act when you have a lot of guys to pitch them enough to be sharp without being overworked.    If Hill gives us 5 quality innings I will be happy.     Feels like sacrificing a gimme win to the Indians and Bieber tonight to focus on the series win but  you never know.

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Sergio Romo
@SergioRomo54
If only all the cameras and mics could catch everything going on at all times during the games... then just maybe ppl would understand and know who r the ppl that really bring and start the negativity... #istillknowbetterthantoreactlikethat

 

Sounds like the Cleveland dugout had some issues with Romo's antics on the mound after the 8th inning. 

 

The Indians announcers alluded to it during the broadcast.

And this is why we can't have nice things. Romo should just wear a t-shirt that says "At Least I Didn't Break Protocol". Just to say eff-em

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For tonight, Romo, Clippard, Rogers and May are out, Thielbar, Wisler and Poppen, along with Alcala should be good to go. Duffey hasn't pitched in two days either. If Dick Mountain gives the Twins five innings, they should be good to get through the game. Columbe and Smeltzer also should be available, so having all of the pitchers seems to be the right thing to do. 

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I haven't looked at Adrianza's splits, and maybe there's reason to think he's a good right-handed pinch-hitting option even as he's having a weak offensive year. However, I thought it was curious that he was the choice to pinch-hit for Avila against a lefty—considering that Jeffers hits righty, was going to come into the game anyway, and hasn't been obviously overmatched so far.

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Also interesting, on that bloop in the ninth from Lindor.  Is it me, or could Kepler caught that (will out diving probably)?  He laid up on it and it bounced at his feet.  Cave was backing him up, so I am not sure why he just didn't go all out on that?  Unnecessary drama caused my laying up on that.

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I sure hope Hill can go deep today.  My guess Duffy will be saved for last inning with both Romo and Rodgers pitching last 2 days.  I wonder how long they will wait to put Clippard on IL if he cannot go.  Sounds like he may have nasty welt on forearm for a few days not allowing him to do much.

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Why did Maeda go only 5 innings?  The BP is overused and a starter picking up one or two more innings would mean a lot.  The BP games are really pushing the relievers and the chart for BP use is very enlightening. Thanks for putting that up each day. 

 

Coloume and Duffey are the only two really rested for Hill's game tonight. 

I assumed Maeda only went 5 because of his close to 120 pitches in his no hit bid.  Glad to see Rogers get the save but thought he was still in the zone too much, thought May would've gotten the 9th instead of Rogers back to back.  Really liked Thielbar's inning.

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