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MIL 6, MIN 5: Twins Blow 3-Run Lead in 9th Inning


The Minnesota Twins blew a 5-2 lead in the ninth inning and lost in extras. The game got off to an ominous start, as Josh Donaldson suffered a hamstring injury in the top of the first inning. Read all about it in today’s game recap.Box Score

Maeda: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

Home Runs: Buxton (1)

Bottom 3 WPA: Colome -.455, Dobnak -.355, Garver -.104

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):

Download attachment: chart.png

 

In an emotional roller coaster of an opener for Minnesota Twins fans, the coaster ended in a valley as the Minnesota Twins blew a three-run ninth inning lead and lost in extra innings to their border rivals. Let’s take a ride:

 

Kenta Maeda had a solid, yet not spectacular start for the Minnesota Twins as the Opening Day starter. While he only allowed one earned run, Maeda was only able to go 4 1/3 innings and allowed six hits, two walks and a hit batter over his start. Maeda flirted with trouble throughout his start, stranding a total of seven batters in the four complete innings that he pitched. The right hander did show increased velocity, tossing his fastball at an average of 92.8 MPH, 1.2 MPH above his average in 2020.

 

At the plate, the Minnesota Twins kicked off the scoring with two runs in the third inning on a Woodruff wild pitch and a Max Kepler RBI single. After trading runs in the middle innings, the game seemed like it was sealed in the seventh inning when Byron Buxton blasted a 114 MPH two-run home run into left-center field. This gave the Minnesota Twins a three-run lead with Rogers, Robles and Colomé set to close out the game.

 

 

After two perfect innings from Taylor Rogers and Hansel Robles in the seventh and eighth innings, newly acquired Alex Colomé gifted the game away by allowing two hits, a hit batter and three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to force extra innings where the Brewers walked off the Twins on a walk-off single by Avisail Garcia to give the Brewers a 6-5 victory.

 

Donaldson Injury

 

While a loss is never fun, the most important development from Opening Day was the injury to Josh Donaldson. Donaldson injured his leg in the top of the first inning running to second base on a double.

 

 

At first glance, it appeared that Josh Donaldson re-injured the calf that has plagued him throughout his career. As more information came out, though, it was revealed that the injury was a hamstring pull. We still don’t know the severity of the injury or how much (if any) time Donaldson will miss, but after an injury-riddled 2020, this is just about the worst way to begin the 2021 season for the former MVP.

 

Rocco Baldelli indicated that the team would re-evaluate Josh Donaldson tomorrow on the team’s off day.

 

 

Poor Defense

 

While defense was a priority in the offseason for the Minnesota Twins, Opening Day was not the best showcase of their gloves. The Minnesota Twins made two official errors with a third error not being officially called as such. The first error came in the fifth inning from newly-acquired shortstop, Andrelton Simmons. Simmons dropped a Miguel Sanó throw that should have been a double play. That runner later went on to score in the inning.

 

The second error of the game came from Alex Colomé when he tried throwing out the lead runner at second base rather than taking the easy out at first in the ninth inning.

 

Additionally in the ninth inning, Max Kepler dropped a fly ball off the bat of Christian Yelich in right field that should have been out number two, but instead turned into a run-scoring single.

 

 

Better days will surely be ahead for the Minnesota Twins defense, but it was disappointing watching a unit that was supposed to be a strength struggle so much.

 

Big Day for Max Kepler

 

After a miserable Spring Training in which he went 3-for-43, Kepler matched his Spring hit total in today’s opener, going 3-for-5 and just a home run short of hitting for the cycle. Kepler is in a prove-it year in 2021 after a down season in 2020 and is already showing that his Spring struggles are behind him and he is primed for a bounce-back season this year.

 

Up Next

 

The Minnesota Twins have an off-day tomorrow before facing off against Milwaukee again on Saturday where José Berríos will make his season debut.

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

Download attachment: Bullpen.png

 

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At bats were okay considering that Woodruff is a great pitcher. Twins have to add on when they get to the middle guys, which I guess you can say they did with the Buxton homer, but it has to be more than 2 runs if you're getting them for 5 innings. Maeda didn't seem real sharp, but the bullpen was very good (outside of Colome). Guess we'll only go 161-1 now. 

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The bullpen, which many of us have been harping on for months. blows a 3 run lead in the first game. Can’t make it up. That’s a wonderful tone setter.

 

That record breaking Donaldson signing is sure going well.

 

No grace period for the wonder boys in the front office seeing their errors on center stage. Game 1.

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Starting an inning with a runner on 2nd - not baseball

 

I think Morneau pointed out this benefits the home team much more than the visitors. Makes a huge difference if you know you only need to plate that one runner to win the game. 

 

That said, defense was horrible. Twins deserved to lose this one. 

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Complete SLOP. Get some attention to detail.It looked like amateur baseball on opening day.The Twins are a 70-92 baseball team. Gonna be a long season. Well, at least we won’t lose a playoff game this year.

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Complete SLOP. Get some attention to detail.It looked like amateur baseball on opening day.The Twins are a 70-92 baseball team. Gonna be a long season. Well, at least we won’t lose a playoff game this year.

The Twins went from a 90+ win team to a 70 win team because they lost OD? I understand this game has more "importance" in the eyes of the fan, but its < 1% of the season. We looked sloppy at times, yes, but this should be one of the best defenses in baseball. Also, don't forget the Brewers are favored to win the NLC. A game we should've won, no doubt.

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The bullpen, which many of us have been harping on for months. blows a 3 run lead in the first game. Can’t make it up. That’s a wonderful tone setter.

That record breaking Donaldson signing is sure going well.

No grace period for the wonder boys in the front office seeing their errors on center stage. Game 1.

 

 

It's one game

 

Colome gave up all the runs. Should've known he would implode, though, I guess. Even though, especially considering he's been really good reliever the last three years. Surely he will continue to be this awful. Shame on the FO for signing him.

 

If this keeps happening it is a problem - but this is one game.

 

Also - Clayton Kershaw gave up 5 runs today. Does this mean that he will suck? Of course not.

 

I don't blame you for not trusting the FO - I don't either - but we cannot jump to conclusions after one game. Concluding that our pen is and will be weak after this one bad showing (and it was pretty much all on one reliever) is somewhat premature.

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I think Morneau pointed out this benefits the home team much more than the visitors. Makes a huge difference if you know you only need to plate that one runner to win the game. 

Perhaps, but I don't know how big the advantage is.

 

1. The home team only gets that advantage if they stop the visiting team from plating the same runner in the top of the inning. So it's not a neutral advantage in that scenario.

 

2. If it happens, the visiting team can tune their strategy 100% toward preventing that one run. Bring in the best strikeout pitcher, adjust defensive positioning, and even intentionally walking a batter to put the double play in order -- things the home team can't or won't necessarily do in the top of the inning.

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this should be one of the best defenses in baseball.

 

I agree, it should be. They looked disinterested today. Even the best players have bad plays, or bad games. Multiple players looked like they thought they were still in spring training. 

 

I can't imagine Tom Kelly putting up with this for long. 

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Twins starters will need to get past the FIFTH inning (can’t believe the bar is that low) or this team will struggle immensely. The bullpen is not trash but it will be gassed completely if they have to get 12+ outs every night. People complaining about depth but very few teams have 4-5 studs coming out of the pen. Very similar stuff happened last year in the shortened season. This is a modern problem across all of baseball, starters not lasting long enough. I assume maeda, Pineda and berrios could be guys that routinely go longer than 5, but happ and shoemaker? Oh boy.

 

We did enough to win this game but not with the horrendous defense. I simply can’t fathom how a big league vet doesn’t know what base to throw to. Unreal.

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1. The home team only gets that advantage if they stop the visiting team from plating the same runner in the top of the inning. So it's not a neutral advantage in that scenario.

 

Well, yes. But your strategy for plating that runner changes when you may need more than one run to win the game. Are you going to bunt that player to third and give up an out if it's not a sure win? Maybe, maybe not. If you know that single run wins it's much easier to give up the out to put your runner on third. 

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It was a pretty good game until the 9th/10th innings. Can't believe Donaldson hurt himself on the first AB of the season. Looks like Arraez will be playing a lot of 3B now. I was surprised Robles was the guy to go in the 8th inning, but they clearly like him. Hopefully we'll see more Alcala in the high leverage spots eventually. 

 

I totally forgot that runners would stay on 2B to start extra innings again. It was basically over once it was Hader vs Dobnak... and it looks like this time Hader was able to K Tortuga. Not many pitchers can do that!

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Overweight soft tosser to close with a 3 run lead in the bottom of the ninth. Someone tell Colome that the season started. ST is over. I mean really, that cutter to Shaw at 89 was right down the pipe and no cut. Batting practice. And, for me, if the pitcher makes his own error, the runs are earned. He throws the ball away and gets a 0 for earned runs, when he is the problem. Hated the signing then, hate it more now. And Dobnak with a runner on second in the 10th. Wow. No Hader and 3 Ks for us. No no no. Gotta sign the spinner. That was truly a pathetic last two innings. And don't you just love the versatility of our out of position defense? But is it versatile, if they just are put on the field in a spot that they can't really play well?

 

I know it is only one game. But what a bummer. Gonna be a long season.

 

How about that Buxton homer?

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Both teams get a chance but this is a bull**** rule that does not belong in MLB. Yes, it shortens the extra inning games and reduce the time of game and number of pitches thrown by pitchers  but it is an unnecessary rule. I do agree that managers have not adjusted. Bottom of 10th calls for an intentional walk to open a DP opportunity as suggested by a previous post. The rule was due to Covid control and this is not needed this season. MLB has a ton of problems with rules and decisions. The leadership by MLB is easily the worst of major professional sports, almost akin to the wasted work by the NCAA executives.

As far as the game goes, it is just one game. Buxton and Sano looked good.

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Both teams get a chance but this is a bull**** rule that does not belong in MLB. Yes, it shortens the extra inning games and reduce the time of game and number of pitches thrown by pitchers  but it is an unnecessary rule. I do agree that managers have not adjusted. Bottom of 10th calls for an intentional walk to open a DP opportunity as suggested by a previous post. The rule was due to Covid control and this is not needed this season. MLB has a ton of problems with rules and decisions. The leadership by MLB is easily the worst of major professional sports, almost akin to the wasted work by the NCAA executives.

As far as the game goes, it is just one game. Buxton and Sano looked good.

How did Sano Look good> He struck out 3 times... Is it because he didn't strike out every time?

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Use Dobnak in regulation rather than in extra innings. He can cover multiple innings, and may be less at a disadvantage than a fireballer when the courtesy runner is not placed at second.

Yeah honestly not a big fan of “use your best pitcher at any time you have a lead”. That’s how you end up with one of your weaker relievers in extra innings

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17 Strikeouts shows you have a pathetic offense and 4 miss plays in the field show you are not playing good defense. Maeda pitched good enough to win but the starters need to go more than 4 2/3 innings. Why did they give Dobnak a 5 year extension? He hasn't proven he can get anyone out when it matters. Has Donaldson fleeced the Twins for every dime they have him signed for? Good thing they have Friday off so they can get rested for Saturday's game. As a Manager, I'd have them taking double or triple batting and fielding practice after todays showing. It was embarrassing!

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Had some good things happened. Kepler showed that he was faking it in ST, just to say April Fool's. Simmons had a good day hitting against a great pitcher Woodruff.

Bad news Donaldson got hurt (hamstring is bad enough) after looking good at the plate. I don't understand why Baldelli blew the whole wad, using Duffy, Taylor, Robles and Colume' all up to the 9th. Having to put poor Dobnak in waters he's never been in.

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The bullpen, which many of us have been harping on for months. blows a 3 run lead in the first game. Can’t make it up. That’s a wonderful tone setter.

That record breaking Donaldson signing is sure going well.

No grace period for the wonder boys in the front office seeing their errors on center stage. Game 1.

 

The bullpen was fine outside of Colome. 

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