Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account

CIN 5, MIN 3: Twins Lose In Extras, Win Division


Tom Froemming
 Share

It came down to the final day of the regular season, the Twins didn’t even finish things off with a victory, but regardless, they are the 2020 American League Central champions. Bring on the Astros.Box Score

Hill: 5 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K

Home Runs: None

Bottom 3 WPA: Romo -.394, Cruz -.230, Rosario -.202

 

Chicago Drama

No matter what the Twins did, a White Sox loss guaranteed them the division. So when the Cubs took a 6-0 lead over the Sox in the second inning of their game this afternoon, it was starting to appear the Twins had things locked up. The Cubbies extended that lead to 10-1 by the middle of the seventh inning.

 

The White Sox stormed back to score five in the eighth and two in the bottom of the ninth inning. The tying run came to the plate, but Cubs pitcher Andrew Chafin managed to finish the job, giving the Twins back-to-back American League Central titles.

 

The loss coupled with a Cleveland win resulted in the White Sox finishing third in the division.

 

Staying Atop the Mountain

Rich Hill is going to have an opportunity to pitch a 17th major league season if he so chooses. He held the Reds scoreless for 5 2/3 innings today, though Matt Wisler allowed an inherited runner to score. Hill ended the regular season with a 3.03 ERA over 38 2/3 innings.

 

Hill gave up just a pair of hits, both singles. He issued three walks, two to Joey Votto, and struck out four batters.

 

Balk Talk

How’s this for manufacturing a run? Jake Cave led off the fifth inning with a walk, advanced to second on a groundout, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a balk.

 

 

The Reds appeared to have tried to argue that this shouldn’t have been considered a pitch because Sonny Gray stepped back off the rubber, but he had already started his delivery by then. There was some confusion, a delay and a review, but the original call was eventually upheld.

 

Arráez Rolling

After a successful return to the lineup in which he went 4-for-4 with three doubles, Luis Arráez had two of the Twins’ five hits on the day, one of them being another double. This brief but triumphant return boosted Arráez’s batting average from .288 to .321.

 

Romo’s Ugly Outing

Sergio Romo faced four batters in the top of the 10th inning and didn’t retire a single one of them. Curt Casali and Tucker Barnhart both singled before Nick Castellanos and Joey Votto both walked off Romo.

 

Romo really struggled to find the zone, throwing just seven of his 18 pitches for strikes. The Twins used seven pitchers today.

 

Playoff Picture Develops

Here’s how things ended up working out for the playoffs below. There will be plenty more discussion and analysis regarding the Twins Wild Card matchup against the Astros here at Twins Daily.

 

And the Twins are getting put in the afternoon time slot for both of their first two games.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

Twins enter the playoffs at low tide. They are banged up and far too many hitters are in dreadful slumps. I wonder if Cruz is hurt. When he can't even get fly balls to the outfield anymore and he takes tentative swings, something is wrong. Sano is just plain out of confidence. It would be addition by subtraction if he sat out the first round. What would we lose? Simply 9 or 10 unproductive outs.

Garver can't hit a lick this season. Polanco suddenly looks terrible at the plate. Buxton was our sparkplug but before he was beaned he had fanned 7 of his last 12 AB's. Donaldson so far has not earned his big contract. He has good leather but his hitting has been inconsistent and his temper tamtrum maybe cost his team a win last week. The fact that he justifies what he did is more troublesome.

 

The bullpen has not been sharp. Romo and Rogers in particular really don't need to be pitching. Wisler had a bad week. The starters have saved the day for the most part. They have looked strong...save Berrios, who had a poor outing on Friday.

 

Its nice to be playing a different opponent in this short series, but I wouldn't be giving the Twins, right now, much of an advantage. They were going thru the motions today once they saw the 6-0 score in the Sox game. From that point, they were listless and not fun to watch. Can half of this slumbering offense flip the switch? As Twins fans, starved for a playoff win, we hope so. Will the k's stop? Will these guys recognize that often the best pitch they will get to hit is the first one, especially when pitchers know the hitters are swinging outside the zone.

 

Should the Twins be able to beat the cheaters from Houston? Of course. Will they? Not if they continue to ignore the fundamentals. Not if the bullpen can't pitch shutdown innings when it matters.

If they play like Saturday....different story. Is Rocco gutsy enough to bench some of his slump ridden players, even for one game? Put sentimentality aside. Give them the eye test. And then be brave.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm excited for a reset. As miserable as I have felt at various points this season, they played .600 ball in a much tougher division than predicted- 3 playoff teams and Detroit had a strong stretch there for a while. I've lived through a lot worse than this.

 

I hope everyone gets healthy fast- hey, there's a whole off-day! I hope I see a lot more Duffey and less Romo/Rogers. I hope whatever catcher plays can hit a few balls hard. I hope Nelson naps in that robe and comes out refreshed.

 

Go Twins!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK so after the Twins lost that series in Chicago I was kind of hoping they would give up and drop down for draft position.  The way Chicago was playing it seemed like there was no way we would have a chance at the division.  I mean Chicago was going to have to almost lose out for us to win it.  

 

I guess that is baseball, where the near impossible ends up being possible.  This has been a frustrating season watching this offense regress to mediocrity or worse.  The Bombas were still there but fewer with a ton of strike outs.  While my confidence is low for the playoffs they are in the best spot they can be for the post season.  Here's hoping for a some playoff wins to get that monkey off of our back.  Go Twins.  Thanks for never giving up and another division win.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Best outcome matchup wise for the twins, outside of maybe Toronto. However, the tortured minnesota fan in me sees a team under .500 qualify for the playoffs for the first time ever and gets awfully nervous. We haven’t been favored in a postseason in a while. Need to break the long losing streak. Thankfully avoided the yankees

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not a big deal in the scheme of things, but it sure seemed unjust to me to hang the loss on Thielbar.  He faced 4 batters and got them all.  A "perfect performance".   How can that be a losing effort?  It's not his fault that the rules put a runner on second to start the inning.   In this situation, it seems to me that the pitcher who allows the runner to score should be responsible, since there was no pitcher that put the runner on base.

 

I'm sure he's not losing any sleep over it, though.  :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not a big deal in the scheme of things, but it sure seemed unjust to me to hang the loss on Thielbar. He faced 4 batters and got them all. A "perfect performance". How can that be a losing effort? It's not his fault that the rules put a runner on second to start the inning. In this situation, it seems to me that the pitcher who allows the runner to score should be responsible, since there was no pitcher that put the runner on base.

 

I'm sure he's not losing any sleep over it, though. :)

FWIW, it counts as an unearned run.

 

But if they want to continue this rule, this might be a worthy scoring tweak.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Baseball is a game of cycles.   White Sox have been terrible but maybe they are due to get hot.   Who knows what sparks a team.   I have always only wanted meaningful games in September.  Playoffs are   a bonus.    I have always said the Twins had a decent shot in playoffs past and losing a record in a row does nothing to diminish that.   The fact that they lost all those games does not mean that they could not have won them.   Heck, we had the 2nd best reliever in baseball with the lead in a couple of those games.    That said, I can live with losing the series to the Astros but getting swept would be a hard pill to swallow.  Maeda our best shot for sure.   Can we all just agree now that if the Twins win it all, it counts but if the Yankees or White Sox win it all, it is just exhibition?  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Twins enter the playoffs at low tide. They are banged up and far too many hitters are in dreadful slumps. I wonder if Cruz is hurt. When he can't even get fly balls to the outfield anymore and he takes tentative swings, something is wrong. Sano is just plain out of confidence. It would be addition by subtraction if he sat out the first round. What would we lose? Simply 9 or 10 unproductive outs.

Garver can't hit a lick this season. Polanco suddenly looks terrible at the plate. Buxton was our sparkplug but before he was beaned he had fanned 7 of his last 12 AB's. Donaldson so far has not earned his big contract. He has good leather but his hitting has been inconsistent and his temper tamtrum maybe cost his team a win last week. The fact that he justifies what he did is more troublesome.

 

The bullpen has not been sharp. Romo and Rogers in particular really don't need to be pitching. Wisler had a bad week. The starters have saved the day for the most part. They have looked strong...save Berrios, who had a poor outing on Friday.

 

Its nice to be playing a different opponent in this short series, but I wouldn't be giving the Twins, right now, much of an advantage. They were going thru the motions today once they saw the 6-0 score in the Sox game. From that point, they were listless and not fun to watch. Can half of this slumbering offense flip the switch? As Twins fans, starved for a playoff win, we hope so. Will the k's stop? Will these guys recognize that often the best pitch they will get to hit is the first one, especially when pitchers know the hitters are swinging outside the zone.

 

Should the Twins be able to beat the cheaters from Houston? Of course. Will they? Not if they continue to ignore the fundamentals. Not if the bullpen can't pitch shutdown innings when it matters.

If they play like Saturday....different story. Is Rocco gutsy enough to bench some of his slump ridden players, even for one game? Put sentimentality aside. Give them the eye test. And then be brave.

Alternate view, from a lifelong Minnesota sports fan with a penchant for pessimism:

 

1. Today's outcome was the best possible outcome in my mind: winning the division, securing a home series, and playing the Astros, who finish the season below .500 and are without their ace starting pitcher and at least one of their best hitters.

 

2. Kepler, Arraez, and Rosario, three of our most important hitters, are all hot coming into the postseason. Sure, I'll admit, the recent performances of Sano and Cruz, along with Garver's season long slump, have me worried. As do Donaldon's and Buxton's injuries. But there's just as much reason for optimism as pessimism in the lineup in my mind. All that being said, I'm not a big believer in "momentum" in baseball. How many times have we seen Sano seemingly flick a switch and suddenly turn back into a baseball-mashing god? I'm not especially worried about the lineup, and Houston's pitching doesn't look too scary to me.

 

3. Are the Twins really entering the postseason at "low tide" just because they lost the last series of the season? They were 3-2 in their last week, 5-3 over the past three series, and 16-7 in the month of September, which is tied with the Dodgers for the best September record in MLB. They finished the season with 36 wins, which is more than Vegas, Fangraphs, or any other preseason projection that I saw predicted. What more did you want?

 

Look, it's entirely possible that the Twins lose their next two games and get swept out of the playoffs, but I wouldn't be that surprised if that happened to the Dodgers either. It's baseball, and it's a three game series. But is there any real basis for this level of pessimism, besides trying to ward off jinxes and appease the vengeful baseball gods? Maybe I'm an idiot, but I don't think things could have played out any better for the Twins today. Looking forward to the postseason!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alternate view, from a lifelong Minnesota sports fan with a penchant for pessimism:

 

1. Today's outcome was the best possible outcome in my mind: winning the division, securing a home series, and playing the Astros, who finish the season below .500 and are without their ace starting pitcher and at least one of their best hitters.

 

2. Kepler, Arraez, and Rosario, three of our most important hitters, are all hot coming into the postseason. Sure, I'll admit, the recent performances of Sano and Cruz, along with Garver's season long slump, have me worried. As do Donaldon's and Buxton's injuries. But there's just as much reason for optimism as pessimism in the lineup in my mind. All that being said, I'm not a big believer in "momentum" in baseball. How many times have we seen Sano seemingly flick a switch and suddenly turn back into a baseball-mashing god? I'm not especially worried about the lineup, and Houston's pitching doesn't look too scary to me.

 

3. Are the Twins really entering the postseason at "low tide" just because they lost the last series of the season? They were 3-2 in their last week, 5-3 over the past three series, and 16-7 in the month of September, which is tied with the Dodgers for the best September record in MLB. They finished the season with 36 wins, which is more than Vegas, Fangraphs, or any other preseason projection that I saw predicted. What more did you want?

 

Look, it's entirely possible that the Twins lose their next two games and get swept out of the playoffs, but I wouldn't be that surprised if that happened to the Dodgers either. It's baseball, and it's a three game series. But is there any real basis for this level of pessimism, besides trying to ward off jinxes and appease the vengeful baseball gods? Maybe I'm an idiot, but I don't think things could have played out any better for the Twins today. Looking forward to the postseason!

Thanks! I do not get the negativity, sorry but it's just ridiculous. 36 wins c'mon get over it. To be honest I do not like the mindset. What is the value of the thought process? Remember worry is a debt paid on a purchase not yet made. I came to this page wanting to celebrate a second consecutive division title. SMH. Anyway thanks again TBTB for trying to lighten this **** up.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I'm excited for a reset. As miserable as I have felt at various points this season, they played .600 ball in a much tougher division than predicted- 3 playoff teams and Detroit had a strong stretch there for a while. I've lived through a lot worse than this.

 

I hope everyone gets healthy fast- hey, there's a whole off-day! I hope I see a lot more Duffey and less Romo/Rogers. I hope whatever catcher plays can hit a few balls hard. I hope Nelson naps in that robe and comes out refreshed.

 

Go Twins!

Add to four NL Central teams in the playoffs and our division was the best, no questions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Watched the game yesterday at my son's home in Columbus, Ohio. Was fun listening to the Cincinnati crew do the game. Found it interesting when they were raving about Arraez with comparison's to Pete Rose. Isn't it great that he ended the season hitting for a .321 average? I think this season confirms that he is going to be special for a long time.  

 

Had a feeling late in the game that Baldelli wasn't going all-in to get the win. 

 

As for the pessimism above, think a lot is based on the poor performance of several hitters who did unbelievably well last year. This year, not so good. Yet, as I look around the league many of the big name hitters are also doing poorly. Just look at the Cubs, Brewers, etc. Gotta believe the short summer training, schedule and conditions players are living with have a lot to do with it.

 

Now on to victory versus the Stro's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

 

As for the pessimism above, think a lot is based on the poor performance of several hitters who did unbelievably well last year. This year, not so good. Yet, as I look around the league many of the big name hitters are also doing poorly. Just look at the Cubs, Brewers, etc. Gotta believe the short summer training, schedule and conditions players are living with have a lot to do with it.

 

For whatever reason offense was way down in the regular season. Here's two good examples: Nelson Cruz had an OPS this year of .992 this year versus 1.031 last season. Eddie Rosario's OPS this year was .792 versus .802 last year and both actually had higher OPS+ numbers this year.

 

As a team, the Twins dipped from elite offensively to middle-of-the-road and were even more dependent on home runs to fuel their offense. Saturday's offensive performance was so different from the great majority of games--no homers, but steady pressure on the opponent, lots of doubles and good hitting with runners in scoring position. 

 

Run prevention improved almost as much as run production diminished and the Twins managed to win 60% of their games. They have a chance to advance deep in the playoffs, but some who were disappointing in the regular season need to be better.

 

The American League playoff is a tournament where all the participants have significant strengths and weaknesses. I truly believe anyone can win and anyone could lose in the first round. The Twins have a huge monkey on their backs and winning both a game and series is the minimum for saying that progress was made this year (IMHO).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Twins enter the playoffs at low tide. They are banged up and far too many hitters are in dreadful slumps. I wonder if Cruz is hurt. When he can't even get fly balls to the outfield anymore and he takes tentative swings, something is wrong. Sano is just plain out of confidence. It would be addition by subtraction if he sat out the first round. What would we lose? Simply 9 or 10 unproductive outs.

Garver can't hit a lick this season. Polanco suddenly looks terrible at the plate. Buxton was our sparkplug but before he was beaned he had fanned 7 of his last 12 AB's. Donaldson so far has not earned his big contract. He has good leather but his hitting has been inconsistent and his temper tamtrum maybe cost his team a win last week. The fact that he justifies what he did is more troublesome.

 

The bullpen has not been sharp. Romo and Rogers in particular really don't need to be pitching. Wisler had a bad week. The starters have saved the day for the most part. They have looked strong...save Berrios, who had a poor outing on Friday.

 

Its nice to be playing a different opponent in this short series, but I wouldn't be giving the Twins, right now, much of an advantage. They were going thru the motions today once they saw the 6-0 score in the Sox game. From that point, they were listless and not fun to watch. Can half of this slumbering offense flip the switch? As Twins fans, starved for a playoff win, we hope so. Will the k's stop? Will these guys recognize that often the best pitch they will get to hit is the first one, especially when pitchers know the hitters are swinging outside the zone.

 

Should the Twins be able to beat the cheaters from Houston? Of course. Will they? Not if they continue to ignore the fundamentals. Not if the bullpen can't pitch shutdown innings when it matters.

If they play like Saturday....different story. Is Rocco gutsy enough to bench some of his slump ridden players, even for one game? Put sentimentality aside. Give them the eye test. And then be brave.

Wow, may as well not tune in for the series then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear fwins friends, I expected these kind of responses. Thats fine. I have watched baseball for over 6 decades. I like you have probably watched all their games. I stand by every word I posted...not to be 'negative' for negatives sake but to be realistic. Can anyone honestly say that the Twins are playing at their best right now? Until they can prove or earn gold stars they must finally be able to win a game or two in post season. this 'slump' hasn't lasted a just a couple of series against the hated Yankees...it has gone on for many years.

Comments like 'wow may as well not watch the series ' are self serving and foolish.

Can;t take a bit of reality?

I could just as well say something equally as silly...like if you can't take a bit of negativity, why watch sports at all, because nobody wins all the time.

 

We want to beat Houston in the worst way. I agree that most the baseball world is pulling for us to eliminate Houston, for obvious reasons. But it goes deeper than that for us. WE have to finally learn how to win a post season game. The stakes are high and several of the Twins players are not performing at their best when we need them most. Thats not 'negativity'..thats just the way it is and there is litttle time to fix it.

 

Can they? Of course they can and we all want them to. But the highs and lows of the players have been expressed all across these boards and thats OK.If you don't like a discouraging word, you can pretty easily ignore my posts and I won't be offended. When they win you can bet the  house I'll be the trumpet in the cheering section. I am pretty heavily invested in the Twins successes, as they have been the parent of my Red Wings for several years and I have watched with pride as many have graduated from the Wings to the Twins successfully.

While I cheer for them, I can also be objective.

 

When I said we were entering the playoffs at low tide, it was an observation of recent games...win and lose. The team doesn't have the swagger I want to see and too many players are struggling. But the thing about tides (I am an 8 year veteran of the navy) is that they rise and fall daily. So the tide may turn and we hope it does. I hate losing...unrealistic as it is, I want to win them all. Thats why we are called fans (for 'fanatics') What I won't do however if boo their failures. I know they are trying their best and sometimes it isn't good enough. I want to win as bad as all of  you...I will express things differently sometimes but the goal is still the same.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yesterday's game was hard to watch. The Twins were not aggressive enough when hitting -- ya gotta swing to hit the ball -- and the pitchers were dinking around the edges of the strike zone way too much.

 

Baldelli made pitching moves which were questionable, but I can see what he was trying to do.

 

Hopefully this was just some jitters and they got this out of their system. This felt like a playoff game in that the Twins were way too far in their own heads as they tend to be in the playoffs.

 

Still have to give credit to the Reds for making the Twins doubt themselves, I suppose. To make the playoffs with such a poor hitting staff calls out how great the Reds pitching is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Low tide or high tide doesn't really mean squat for the playoffs.   You can't come in higher than we did in 2006 or 2009.   Came in well last year and averaged 2 runs a game.   We limped in to the 1987 playoffs.   There is anecdotal evidence to the skies for success in the playoffs after slumping at the end and for coming in hot only to get swept and everything in between.    There is nothing realistic about predicting results based on how they come into the playoffs, good or bad. .     I have been a fan over 6 decades as well and don't know how getting swept 15 years ago affects any of these guys that were around 10 years old at the time.       Realistic is knowing the odds are the Twins win 2 of 3 followed closely by the odds of the Astros winning 2 of 3 followed by the Twins winning both followed by the Astros winning both.   Realistic says its baseball and any of those things can happen.   Realistically optimistic would be focusing on the path for success while acknowledging the possibility of failure.   Realistically pessimistic would be the opposite.   One isn't more realistic than the other.   If you want reality for historical viewpoint you can point out that the Twins are the only team that lost 16 playoff games in a row or you can take heart from the fact that no team in history has lost 17 playoff games in a row.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah I get it. Look, some don't like any kind of pessimism or negativity no matter what so any kind of talk like that will engender what you are reading. OTOH, some don't mind it as long as it can be tempered with 'the good stuff'. Thats what makes a fan a fan. Different viewpoints. this isn't a sermon from the pulpit. Its just sports conversation.

Sano strikes out a lot. so does Garver. Cruz isn't hitting at all. So lets not talk about it right? Afterall the Twins won 36 games.

Kepler and Arraez are hot. Acknowledged. And appreciated.

Maeda and Hill are very good. Romo is very bad. Rogers isn't the same pitcher he was. Don't talk about it.

Polanco suddenly can't hit. But Eddie can still get those clutch hits sometimes. Buxton needs to play. Please. Donaldson to me hasn't impressed that much, but it is small sample size.

Gotta love Duffey and sometimes May and Wisler. Pineda and Berrios could do well..or maybe not. Hopefully the former.

 

There...some good some bad. Bottom line....BEAT THE CHEATERS. Break the losing streak. Move ahead and get to the WS. THAT would be.....(fill in any superlative that floats your boat)

 

BTW...anyone know if we can get Wade back on the roster?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

Featured Video

×
×
  • Create New...