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DET 10, MIN 8: Bullpen Finally Breaks


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The Twins have relied heavily upon their bullpen this season, and the relievers have mostly been up to the challenge. Things fell apart this afternoon at Target Field, as the Tigers scored seven runs in four innings against the Twins’ pen.Box Score

Hill: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K

Home Runs: Rosario (9)

Bottom 3 WPA: May -.214, Smeltzer -.193, Romo -.186

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):

Download attachment: Winchart.png

Can’t Expect Perfection

During the team’s five-game winning streak they carried into today, Twins relievers gave up just two earned runs over 20 innings pitched (0.90 ERA). *I’m including Matt Wisler’s “start” in Friday’s bullpen game in that total.

 

Today, unfortunately, was a struggle. Trevor May gave up three runs on four hits while recording just a pair of outs. Tyler Duffey gave up two more runs in his inning and a third of work. Sergio Romo gave up a solo home run in the eighth inning, then Devin Smeltzer allowed two more runs to score.

 

Eddie Being Eddie

Third base coach Tony Diaz can only do so much.

 

 

This is season six of The Eddie Rosario Experience, so we know what to expect. He’s one of the most aggressive players in the game, and that means he’s going to get burned on a somewhat regular basis.

 

This was a nice two-run double from Brent Rooker, but Rosie got greedy. His decision to try to score resulted in the first out of the inning. Rooker later scored on a Jake Cave single, so it’s safe to say Eddie’s decision to go for it cost the Twins a run.

 

As contradictory as this sounds, the Twins were also burnt by Rosario’s lack of aggression. In the eighth inning, he didn’t finish a play in which he was expecting a ground rule double to be called. It was not.

 

 

Eddie also had a chance to rob a home run while Romo was pitching, but the ball bounced out of his glove. That would have been a great play, so can’t really fault him there, but what a strange day at the office for Rosario.

 

Oh, and Rosario would have nailed another runner at the plate in the second inning had Willians Astudillo made a clean catch and tag, and, to cap it all off, Rosie hit his ninth home run of the year in the bottom of the eighth.

 

Never a dull moment.

 

Hill Wiggles Through Five Innings

Rich Hill threw just 12 of his 21 pitches in the first inning for strikes. He fell behind 2-0 to three of the four batters he faced, but managed to strand Detroit’s only runner to reach base at third. The Tigers had a run expectancy of 0.99 before Miguel Cabrera and Jeimer Candelario struck out to end the inning.

 

The Tigers managed to tally a single run in both the second and third innings, but Hill actually looked more sharp in those frames than the first.

 

The Twins scored two runs in the bottom of the third to tie things up, giving Hill an opportunity at a fresh start. He managed to pitch around a leadoff double to keep Detroit off the board in the fourth inning. The Tigers had a run expectancy of 1.20 that inning before Hill shut them down once again, striking out Jorge Bonifacio when there was only one out and a runner at third base.

 

It wasn’t an especially encouraging outing by Hill, but he did a great job getting outs when he had to. After struggling to find the plate in the first inning, Hill threw 41 of his 56 pitches for strikes from there forward (73.2%). He also did not issue a walk for the first time this season, though he did hit a batter.

 

Beyond the Boxscore: Wade’s Day

LaMonte Wade Jr. rejoined the Twins this weekend and recorded a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning Saturday. He had a good game today, even better than the box score indicates.

 

Wade was maddeningly pesky at the plate, seeing 39 total pitches while fouling off 16 of them. He was so tough that the Tigers needed an assist from home plate umpire Ron Kulpa to get him out in a big spot. Wade was batting with two outs in the sixth inning and runners at first and second when this happened:

 

 

Wade started in right field this afternoon, and made a great throw to nail a runner at third base.

 

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

Download attachment: Bullpen.png

 

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Personally, I would not be sad to see a different every day left fielder next year.  

 

Just too many really, really indefensible decisions. 

 

Poor day from the bullpen, too, but none of that was intentional. Running through a stop sign, and not knowing the ground rules and giving up on a ball in play...those are intentional.

 

Pretty bad loss, all in all.

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Ugly, just plain ugly.

 

Did Trevor May have the best and worst games of his entire career this weekend?

 

I will only blame Eddie for running thru the stop sign. Yes, that may have led to a big inning, or not. The ball off the end of his glove was a great attempt that didn't happen. And that weird ground rule is just plain stupid. No way should a ball that hits off something not in the field of play be in play. Hopefully, that rule will be changed asap. 

 

Unfortunately, the entire bullpen seemed to wear out in the same game. Gotta wonder if all these bullpen games is starting to take its toll. And while speaking of the bullpen, am wondering what Smeltzer's role is with this team going forward? If any? Expect he will be the next man assigned to St. Paul when the next pitcher is ready....Odorizzi on Tuesday maybe?

 

Can't tell you how happy I am that Balazovic, Canterino and Barnes have been added to the St. Paul group. Should the Twins be so fortunate to play well into October, this trio should get a month and a half work in what is otherwise a wasted summer. Now lets get Rortvedt to CHS Field also.

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Another game where Rosario shows it all - the bad and the good. To me, the bad outweighs the good. Running into the first out at home; not fielding the (non-) ground rule double; overthrowing the cutoff man once or (I think) twice.

 

I think that having Willians behind the plate was also costly, in terms of balls getting past him (however those were scored) and stopping base stealers. The expressions on the faces of Rich Hill and Trevor May said a lot. This led to one or two extra runs for Detroit. I know that Jeffers can't play every day, but he sure has shown himself to be a more reliable backstop.

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Astudillo is not a catcher. He's a baseball player who can fill in behind the plate if need be. He took an outfield assist away from Rosario by not handling the excellent throw in the second inning and he let at least two wild pitches get past him that he should have stopped. I guess it's OK for him to be the fourth-string catcher but as today showed we would benefit from having another real catcher available.

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I know this sounds "old school," but after Rosario's blatant disregard to stop at 3B on double by Rooker, Baldelli should've benched him.  Yeah, I know he got 2 hits in his last 2 ABs that produced 2 runs, but this kind of "I'm gonna do what I want attitude" is not putting the TEAM first.  Eddie wants to be put Eddie first.  It shows not only in his ABs---wild 1st pitch swings trying to yank the ball 600 ft., but in his defense/throws. Although it didn't cost Twins a base after Greiner's single to bring DET within 1 run, but he had NO CHANCE to throw runner out at home.  This was a perfect example of Eddie putting Eddie first.  Pretty much any other runner would've taken 2B on his wild throw home.  Say what you want about Rosario's hitting, but prior to his last 2 hits, he was in a 5-30 slump with 1 HR and 2 RBI over his last 11 games.  The time has come for Falvey to TRADE Rosario in offseason for additional bullpen help or and more importantly a RH bat that can play a corner OF position.  As for the last 18 games of the season, our veterans--Cruz and Donaldson--need to show some leadership and pull Rosario aside and remind him his SELFISH play will not be tolerated.  This needs to be done "asap" as its pretty apparent that Rocco doesn't have the cajones to do it himself.

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Fine Eddie ten grand for running through his coach and getting thrown out at home. For the second time in less than a week. Extra baserunning practice. Maybe a speech to the team about the importance of having your head in the game. This is just stupid. He's a talented ball player but then all of a sudden it's T-ball.

 

Time to get a psychologist for the bullpen, I think. But not the guy that worked with Ron Davis.

 

Hey, at least we scored more than 4 runs! Get 'em tomorrow. And let's see LaMonte on the field and Eddie on the bench. Or maybe watching a game from the stands.

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One more item---I'm NOT assuming anything about making the playoffs until a spot is locked up.  With the inconsistencies of our hitters and recent leaks in our bullpen, I'm not sure of anything.  But, for argument sake, lets say Twins do make it in, but fail to secure either either of the two higher seeded spots for teams from the AL Central.  That drops the Twins into the 7-seed, which would result in a 1st round matchup vs. Oakland, with I think, all 3 games on the road.  Well, we all know, what that result will be.  Should that happen and I hope it doesnt, Twins only have THEMSELVES to BLAME as evidenced by their collective 8-9 record (so far) vs. the 2 worst teams in the division--KC and DET.  Twins finished 5-5 vs. KC and now stand 3-4 vs. Tigers with 3 games (at home) left.  The fact is you have to beat/dominate the BAD TEAMS in your division.  I don't care what others say, but KC and DET are BAD teams, which the Twins have, to put it mildly have struggled against.  For factual purposes, take a look at White Sox record (so far) vs. those same 2 teams.  Sox finished 9-1 vs. sad sack Royals and hold a 6-1 advantage over DET.  Thats 15-2!! A .882 winning percentage.  Cleveland--smaller sample size, only 12 games so far vs. KC and DET are 8-4 (.667%).  Im sure CLE will improve on that as they still have 8 games left vs. Royals and Tigers.  They also have 3 home games to end season vs. the hapless Bucs.  Twins have dug themselves this hole, no excuses but to look in the mirror if ANOTHER 1st round playoff exit is the result.

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Eddie is a player. Simple as that. He does things and sometimes those things don't work out. In his Twins tenure he has shown up day in and day out. Fans don't know what injuries players play through or incapacitate them for a trip to the IL. Rosario (and Polanco too) play through, seemingly. Last year, it was obvious that Eddie was injured but there just wasn't anyone else to put out there. I don't remember the quote, but Paul Molitor spoke to Rosario's fire to play baseball. If one of the most intelligent and knowledgable players of the last half century speaks on your behalf, it's worth noting. It seems pretty bold to question his character and attitude when he routinely goes to the post. He just makes mistakes sometimes.

Rosario may be moved this winter and when I saw Kirilloff swing the bat I thought that he has a bright future in baseball and wondered how he would get his chance with the Twins. I'm excited to see Kirilloff and others in the future. In the meantime I look forward to every at bat that Eddie Rosario takes, even though I groan and curse on many occasions. He is the best outfielder we have right now, despite the great game by Wade today. The Twins' bullpen got lit up today, pure and simple. That's not on Rosario.

 

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I know they will make the post season, but passing either chicago or Cleveland is big. Along with getting everyone healthy and locked in, playing a 3 game series at target field should be the goal.

 

There won't be any games at Target Field. AL postseason will all be in California.

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The time has come for Falvey to TRADE Rosario in offseason for additional bullpen help or and more importantly a RH bat that can play a corner OF position.  As for the last 18 games of the season, our veterans--Cruz and Donaldson--need to show some leadership and pull Rosario aside and remind him his SELFISH play will not be tolerated.  This needs to be done "asap" as its pretty apparent that Rocco doesn't have the cajones to do it himself.

 

Won't get much for him, expensive and average...

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I watched part of the game and listened to what I didn't see. (Deck project).

 

Going to again toss my $.02 worth in comments:

 

1] The pen lost this game. That stinks! But sometimes, a guy just had a bad day. But EVERYONE had a bad day at once? Dick even made a comment on the broadcast that sometimes a guy has a bad day, but you expect SOMEONE to stop the bleeding. I'm not going to blame the bullpen games at this point as the pen not only won most of those games, but have continued to excel otherwise, even with a little juggling. And I think the rotation is starting to be healthy and settle in.

 

The pen lost the game but I won't blast them. Sigh...baseball.

 

2] Encouraged by Hill. But unless he shows more, I'm thinking piggyback SP or long RP when crunch time hits. But he encouraged me a ton today.

 

3] I am a HUGE Eddie fan and supporter. I love his passion, his instincts, his arm his production, etc. And I accept that for every great 10 plays he makes there will be a couple bad ones. But his blatant base running mistake is unforgivable. I want to forgive him for the defensive mistake he made on the ball that bounced out of play and kicked back in off the wall. At that point, I was listening to the radio. Dan and Corey were both sure it was a ground rule double. Pretty sure when I switched back over to TV Justin was also surprised. Seemed the umps were the only ones who knew this weird rule.

 

Should Rosario have known that rule, even as obscure as it is? Did Rocco? I want to forgive Eddie for that play, but I don't know if I can. Maybe he should have known. Maybe he should have continued the play regardless.

 

I'm still blaming the pen for this loss, with no beat down, as ANYONE pitching effectively leads to a win. But it was a BAD DAY for Eddie even if you can forgive him for that one play.

 

4] From what I heard...didnt see...I was really disappointed in Astudillo today. I've watched him a lot behind the plate the last couple of seasons and found him solid back there. The other night he made some good stops. But I'm not going to blame the loss on the team's 3/4 catcher.

 

We scored enough and played well enough to win, despite some mistakes.

 

5] I feel sorta sorry for Wade. It's up to him to prove he belongs. But he's been lost a bit in the shuffle of opportunity. The kid can play defense and he knows how to take a professional AB. He has decent speed, some pop, a great arm, good defense, but has yet to take that certain step forward. Is he about ready to? I hope so. He's had some great AB and that 3rd strike today was RIDICULOUS!

 

6] Rooker has impressed me thus far. He looks "ready" and has produced in SSS. I am cautiously optimistic. But his history is initial struggle at a new level and then figuring stuff out and adapting before raking. At worst, his time at the other complex and with the Twins now should be setting him up for 2021.

 

My thoughts.

 

It's still one game. Need to win Monday!

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One more item---I'm NOT assuming anything about making the playoffs until a spot is locked up.  With the inconsistencies of our hitters and recent leaks in our bullpen, I'm not sure of anything.  But, for argument sake, lets say Twins do make it in, but fail to secure either either of the two higher seeded spots for teams from the AL Central.  That drops the Twins into the 7-seed, which would result in a 1st round matchup vs. Oakland, with I think, all 3 games on the road.  Well, we all know, what that result will be.  Should that happen and I hope it doesnt, Twins only have THEMSELVES to BLAME as evidenced by their collective 8-9 record (so far) vs. the 2 worst teams in the division--KC and DET.  Twins finished 5-5 vs. KC and now stand 3-4 vs. Tigers with 3 games (at home) left.  The fact is you have to beat/dominate the BAD TEAMS in your division.  I don't care what others say, but KC and DET are BAD teams, which the Twins have, to put it mildly have struggled against.  For factual purposes, take a look at White Sox record (so far) vs. those same 2 teams.  Sox finished 9-1 vs. sad sack Royals and hold a 6-1 advantage over DET.  Thats 15-2!! A .882 winning percentage.  Cleveland--smaller sample size, only 12 games so far vs. KC and DET are 8-4 (.667%).  Im sure CLE will improve on that as they still have 8 games left vs. Royals and Tigers.  They also have 3 home games to end season vs. the hapless Bucs.  Twins have dug themselves this hole, no excuses but to look in the mirror if ANOTHER 1st round playoff exit is the result.

I wish Baldelli would read your post above because he seems to be managing the team like he doesn't realize how the teams are being "seeded" in the playoffs and that the higher your seed is benefits your team in the playoffs. The Twins aren't being "given" a playoff spot just because they show up. I don't like all the days off he gives the players. We had all kinds of injuries at the end of last season and even more this year. So the resting of the players doesn't seem to be helping slow down the injuries. I think the best players want to play on an everyday basis and should play most days, especially with the short 60 game season. 

I hope we make the playoffs, but we might be setting ourselves up for a two and out playoffs if we don't start taking the regular season seriously.

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I love watching these games after a long summer without baseball, but I can't help feeling some empathy for the teams. Yes, they make money and eat well and sleep in 5 star hotels but the confinement and protocols must get to some of these guys. I think I read that they have to make appointments to meet teammates in a lobby or are expected to stay in their rooms and have a host of strict rules. Play, take a bus to the hotel, hang out, eat, go to room, sleep, get up, bus to field and repeat. When a few guys decided to meet up with lifetime friends they got sent out, traded, and roasted. Maybe they deserved it, I don't know.

Man, sometimes I look at Kepler and wonder if he just wants to hop on his bicycle and take a little ride around the city for some mental release ...nope ... not part of the protocol. I get that this is what is needed to accomplish a season, even one only 60 games in length, but I do wonder how difficult this is for young people full of energy and ready to enjoy life when their work day is done. I remember when I was 20, 30, 40, 50 and so forth and even now the restrictions get to me. I wear a mask and social distance and try to do my part but when I watch these guys play in empty stadiums I sense a loss on their parts even as they manage to compete at a high level and manufacture all of their own adrenaline. I'm watching the games interested and critically thinking along with the pitcher and catcher and manager but my criticisms are really muted by the present circumstances; I'm just feeling lucky to be watching baseball again. 

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Attitude reflects leadership.  Point being, despite being named MOY in 2019, I'm beyond preturbed by Baldelli's passive nature and (non) reaction to players who appear to care more about THEMSELVES than the welfare of the team.  This goes today for Rosario and I'll even call him out for not putting Sano in his place for pimping his HR yesterday.  Although Sano may have cause for past actions of Jimenez, what ever happened to shutting your cakehole and letting your actions speak for you?  I know this may be considered too much of an "old school concept," but I NEVER saw Twin regular hitters or pitchers from their WS teams in 87 or 91 (other than Juan Berenguer) act in ways to berate and disrespect their opponents.  

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Ugly, just plain ugly.

 

Did Trevor May have the best and worst games of his entire career this weekend?

 

I will only blame Eddie for running thru the stop sign. Yes, that may have led to a big inning, or not. The ball off the end of his glove was a great attempt that didn't happen. And that weird ground rule is just plain stupid. No way should a ball that hits off something not in the field of play be in play. Hopefully, that rule will be changed asap. 

 

Unfortunately, the entire bullpen seemed to wear out in the same game. Gotta wonder if all these bullpen games is starting to take its toll. And while speaking of the bullpen, am wondering what Smeltzer's role is with this team going forward? If any? Expect he will be the next man assigned to St. Paul when the next pitcher is ready....Odorizzi on Tuesday maybe?

 

Can't tell you how happy I am that Balazovic, Canterino and Barnes have been added to the St. Paul group. Should the Twins be so fortunate to play well into October, this trio should get a month and a half work in what is otherwise a wasted summer. Now lets get Rortvedt to CHS Field also.

 

Can you provide additional information on Balazovic, Canterino and Barnes being added? I'd heard rumors MLB might allow additions to the reserve list but haven't heard a word of anything substantial.

 

If this is true, very excited Balazovic gets a potential 2 month still, at least, in 2020. Little confused by adding Canterino unless they expect to fast track him in 2021. Barnes surprises me. He's done OK and has moved but seems to be a soft tossed curveball type. They must see something we don't as of yet.

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Can you provide additional information on Balazovic, Canterino and Barnes being added? I'd heard rumors MLB might allow additions to the reserve list but haven't heard a word of anything substantial.

If you lose a player from your 60 man pool (by trade, waivers, or release), you can replace them.

 

https://m.startribune.com/alex-avila-goes-on-injured-list-as-twins-face-tigers-again/572329502/

 

The Twins also beefed up their player pool in St. Paul on Saturday by adding two top pitching prospects, righthanders Jordan Balazovic and Matt Canterino, along with lefthander Charlie Barnes.

 

Infielder Jack Reinheimer and pitcher Ryan Garton, both former big leaguers, were released. The Twins also lost infielder Ildemaro Vargas on waivers to the Cubs.

 

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Eddie didn't cost the Twins the game here, fellas. Trevor May cost us the game. Tyler Duffey cost us the game. Sergio Romo cost us the game. Devin Smeltzer cost us the game.

 

Eddie just....poured a little gas on the fire they started. He's an easy scapegoat but this one's on the bullpen, just like the headline says.

 

Trevor May and his 5.74 ERA is right around his career average, BTW. He ranks only above Zack Littell, Devin Smeltzer, and Lewis Thorpe in that category right now. I'm consistently blown away by the chatter on this board about how great May is, and how much $$$ he's going to make in free agency. The guy's a career 5+ ERA reliever - would you want to bring in a guy like that on your team? Sure, strikeouts are sexy but outs are much more attractive to GMs.

 

Giving passes to May, Romo, and Duffey here: but I think the Smeltzer experiment has to end. Can we find another lefty in St. Paul? Devin's stuff doesn't play at the MLB level right now, he's going to need a hard reboot and it's gonna take years and a new uniform for this kid to ever be serviceable IMO.

 

A win today makes Sunday's dumpster fire obsolete. Go Twins!

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To be fair, neither bullpen did great. It's not like the Tigers bullpen did outstanding, shutting out the Twins or something. They allowed six runs. The Twins bullpen just allowed... more than six runs.

I would hope that comparing our BP to the Detroit BP is only for this game because our RP are supposed to be superb while Detroit is expected to be lousy. 

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