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DET 4, MIN 3: Twins Fail to Execute in Extras


Nelson Cruz and Byron Buxton both hit their third home runs of the season but the Twins fell to the Tigers 4-3 in extra innings Tuesday afternoon in Detroit in a game marred by poor execution. Read more about the game in today’s recap.Box Score

Happ: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K

Home Runs: Cruz (3), Buxton (3)

Bottom 3 WPA: Robles -.350, Arraez -.210, Stashak -.196

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):

Download attachment: chart.png

 

Happ Solid, Stretched Out

J.A. Happ joined the Twins’ spring camp late due to a positive COVID test. Previously, Happ had only been stretched out to 73 pitches. In his first start of the season, Happ was solid, if not spectacular, striking out four in four innings of one-run ball. Happ managed 89 pitches, with a very mediocre Twins infield behind him.

 

 

Mize Strong Early

Casey Mize looked strong early for the Tigers. The 2018 No. 1 pick worked around scattered hits and walks in the first few innings, before struggling significantly in the fourth. In 2020, Mize typically got into messy innings, limiting his ability to get into later innings, the same was true today.

 

Arraez and Buxton Return to Lineup

Both Luis Arraez and Byron Buxton returned to the Twins lineup after exiting previous games with illness. Arraez started the game at second base, Buxton entered for Brent Rooker in the fifth.

 

Squandered Opportunities

The majority of the game felt like a frustrating 2020 offensive performance, full of missed opportunities.

 

 

In the top of the seventh inning however, Nelson Cruz again took matters into his own hands, sending his third HR in two days to right center field.

 

 

After replacing a struggling Brent Rooker, Byron Buxton deposited a pitch from José Cisnero deep into the left center field seats, emphatically tying the game in the top of the eighth after missing the previous two games with gastrointestinal discomfort.

 

 

Bullpen Battle

Happ’s relatively short start thrust the Twins bullpen into six innings of work. Cody Stashak entered the game in the fifth and struggled significantly. Stashak, who normally models impeccable control and command, needed 28 pitches (18 strikes) to see out his inning of work, giving up three hits, a walk and two runs in the process, ballooning his early 2021 ERA to 9.00.

 

2020 most surprising Twin Caleb Thielbar made his first appearance of 2021 in the seventh inning after missing some time in spring training with a back strain. Thielbar looked impressive in his outing, striking out five in two innings of work, showing sharp command of his curveball, and reaching an improved 93 mph with his fastball.

 

After Tyler Duffey pitched his best inning of the year, allowing just a walk in the eighth, Taylor Rogers found trouble in the ninth. Rogers induced a double play from Miguel Cabrera to end the inning.

 

In the top of the 10th, with Jorge Polanco beginning the inning at second base, Nelson Cruz immediately shot an opposite field single through the gap, sending Polanco to third base. Byron Buxton ground out, leading to Jorge Polanco being thrown out at the plate for the second time in the game before Andrelton Simmons struck out to end another empty Twins threat.

 

In the bottom of the 10th, Jeimer Candelario grounded out, moving Harold Castro to third base. Wilson Ramos struck out swinging. Hansel Robles deliberately walked Robbie Grossman before Akil Baddoo continued his torrid start to his first month in MLB, stroking the game winning single to right field to put the final nail in the coffin of a game the Twins will feel they should have won.

 

Mauer Joins Broadcast

Lastly, in a treat for home team fans, Twins great and future Hall of Famer joined the broadcast in the sixth inning, joining Dick Bremer and Justin Morneau to preview a charity home run derby being held at Target Field.

 

 

What were your thoughts on today's game? Who impressed? Who left you frustrated?

 

Postgame with Baldelli

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

Download attachment: Screenshot 2021-04-06 at 4.11.31 PM.png

 

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Tomorrow we will see what this offense is (inconsistency-wise). I’m not concerned about the ‘pen ultimately losing the game today. 
 

We obviously did not get it done with RISP today. That led to a pathetic offensive performance. And it’s not like Casey Mize or Fulmer or Soto are great pitchers or anything. 
 

Last year, we were inconsistent AF offensively, and there were stretches of 4 or 5 games where our offense would just be dead. This is one game. If we see a bad performance offensively once (one game) in a while that’s not a problem. That’s normal.

 

I’m not concerned about the ‘pen losing the game. That was (once again) a product of the awful extra innings rule. Happ didn’t last long...that’s concerning, especially against Detroit.

 

Look for the offense to bounce back tomorrow or not.

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Overall not a very good day. Got Mize out of the game early, but let him off the hook and let a taxed bullpen give up only 2R over 6 innings. I know it's a SSS, but Rooker has not looked good thus far. Hopefully AK is making strides in St. Paul. MMQB, but have to send Polo on the Cruz single if you're going to turn around and send him on a contact play. It's baseball, it happens. Have to win tomorrow. 

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Yeah definitely a tough lose again, but that is baseball.  No team wins every game.  Most games are a struggle.

 

Some quick thoughts.  Happ didn't look that great to me.  Getting 4 inning's of 1 run ball was a huge victory.  Not sure what is up with Stashak and the sudden lose of control?  The walks hurt us again so hopefully he gets that under control soon.  Thielbar was dealing today.  I guess my doubting him was a bad idea.  He gave us two scoreless inning's and it looked like guys were having trouble hitting him.  

 

Arraez with a rough game and unclutch Kepler left four runners on base and K'd 3 times.  Cruz was consistent Cruz and did his best to single handedly win the game but fell short.  Buxton Wow, just wow I don't know what to say but he didn't exactly come through in the tenth.  Sano gets some of the toughest strike calls I have ever seen.  Someone needs to call the commissioner and find out what the deal is.  Despite that he didn't look that great today.  He can swing through a pitch like no one I have ever seen.

 

Baddoo comes through again.  This kid has such a sweet swing.  He came up in the tenth and like a veteran didn't try to do too much just stayed within himself and pulled a solid single to right to win the game.  This guy is the Tigers best hitter IMO.  I think he will be winning games for them for a looong time.

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A couple thoughts:

 

Why do you let Rooker hit in an RBI spot, then sub in Buxton for him in the same inning? If Buxton's going in, why not PH him?

 

I don't understand how Polanco doesn't score from second on Cruz's ground single to right. Really poor decision from Diaz.

 

Nothing has changed my opinion this bullpen isn't equipped to win anything meaningful.

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Overall not a very good day. Got Mize out of the game early, but let him off the hook and let a taxed bullpen give up only 2R over 6 innings. I know it's a SSS, but Rooker has not looked good thus far. Hopefully AK is making strides in St. Paul. MMQB, but have to send Polo on the Cruz single if you're going to turn around and send him on a contact play. It's baseball, it happens. Have to win tomorrow. 

 

I know I am going to get scorched for SSS but man do I wish I could take back my start Rooker comments from this spring.  I really don't like his approach at the plate right now and I know he needs time to figure "it" out but would rather he do that in AAA.  Give me Garlick give me anybody but him right now.  He is too easy for pitchers to fool and K it is getting ridiculous. 

 

Cave hasn't been anything special either but at least he has taken some good at bats and battled the pitcher at times.  Left field needs some help right now.  Is this the curse of Rosario?

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This extra innings rule is absolute garbage.

 

Maybe start it in the 12th inning (someone else suggested this on another thread) but having it start immediately in the 10th is just a slap in the face to the game of baseball. Absolute joke. This team should easily be 5-0, terrible to see how the bullpen and this extra innings rule have stolen victories. These games count, when the Twins are 1 game out of first in September remember that.

 

Rooker shouldn't be getting playing time unless Garlick is sick or injured. Bullpen has some real shaky pieces.

 

Buxton, Cruz, and Arraez are as locked in as possible right now. Must see TV every time those guys are at bat.

 

 

 

 

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As others have noted already, just a completely FRUSTRATING loss as our hitters failed produce with RISP.  I do realize we're only 5 games into the season, BUT the following 3 hitters have been absolutely brutal:  Polanco: 2-22/ .091.  No way should he be hitting in top of order. He needs to sit.  Sano: 2-19/.105 with 10 whiffs.  Needs to ride pine with Polanco.  I'm past the point of having patience with Sano. SOS with no adjustments.  Benching those 2 for at least a couple of games would force Cave into playing 1B, but he could handle it even though his bat has been less than productive. Rooker: 1-11/.091-----looks totally LOST at the plate.  He can join Sano and Polanco on the bench.  Right now, I'd go with the following lineup:

 

Arraez-2B

Astudillo-3B

Cruz-DH

Kepler-RF

Buxton-CF

Garlick-LF

Cave-1B

Jeffers/Garver-C

Simmons-SS

 

Sour grapes, I realize, but this extra inning rule------needs to change-------IMO, it shouldnt start until the 12th inning.

 

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Having a runner start at second has to be a different strategy for a bullpen arm. You like it if you have a chance to match or tie in your bottom half. You hate it if you can't get that runner home.

 

Stashak was all over the place, but still struck out the side. Go figure.

 

Twins batters are still swinging too freely (or not at all). 

 

I keep thinking e would be better served with Arraez at second and Polanco as the all-around guy.

 

Willians is a force. You gotta run with the guy until the other other teams catch up on watching film of his at bats.

 

Sano...can be bat ninth?

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Good start for the Twins. There isn't much use in microanalyzing their few failures so far, there will be plenty of time for that when the team has a few actual systemic failures.

 

I was looking at the bullpen's metrics on baseball-reference before today's game. Most of the bullpen had 11+ innings of zero-run baseball, only two pitchers had allowed runs. I'll take that.

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The title of this thread seems to indicate that the Twins didn't execute in extra innings (the 10th) but the reality is that they failed to advance runners throughout the game. I know that in today's strikeout heavy era, getting a runner on second and none out is an automatic run, but the Twins failed every time. IMHO, the Tigers stole one today--the Twins had more and better chances and hit two balls out of the park and still lost.

 

Stashak was unimpressive again and given that he has options, he would seem to be the first pitcher sent out. Astudillo keeps hitting and despite not making the play on a slow roller, he appears to be pretty comfortable at third. 

 

I think Rooker's SSS so far this year has negated his good performance from last year. He did make a really nice catch yesterday, but he is in the big leagues to hit and he doesn't look like he is going to make enough contact to be an offensive asset.

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Slow pace to game with some credit to hitters for being tough outs. Kepler looked bad all day and had to get the ball in the air for a SF at least once. When Buxton hit his dribbler I thought Polanco should have held because the only play was at home. Detroit should be credited with two flawless plays at home though (poor JP).

It's a long season and playing .600 baseball is a good thing. An unusual outing for Stashek, which will happen from time to time, but he is a cool customer; I like him in our bullpen. He throws darts most of the time. Eventually, leftfield will need to sort itself out as either a platoon or someone stepping forward. Rooker and Garlick look out of sorts right now, although it is really early in the year.

I listened to the Tigers' feed on MLB.com. Kirk Gibson cracks me up.

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Rewind the clock 6 months.

 

Do the Twins leave Baddoo unprotected again if they got a do over?

It's eight plate appearances so I don't think the past three days change anything.

 

I think the better question is "Do they dangle Baddoo in the Rule V if they know Detroit will draft him?"

 

That one is harder to answer, I think. They didn't want to lose Baddoo (they don't really "want" to lose any player) but I think they left him unprotected because of the high risk of taking him (little play in the past two seasons, hasn't played in high minors, struggled a bit, etc).

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The extra inning rule is stupid. S basically there's no overtime in baseball anymore. If they want to limit the amount of extra innings, then make the runner come for the 12th inning. At least that's how the Twins have lost; via some stupid rule.

It's my understanding the Twins also start the 10th with a runner on second.

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Despite another tough, late loss, the Twins are in position to win their first two series and have a winning road trip with a win tomorrow. Projecting doom and calling for players to be benched or sent down is just silly at this point.

 

It is silly but it is just how passionate fans feel.  It is hard to play the long game all the time and we wouldn't have much to talk about then either.  However I do see your point the sample is way, way to small to predict anything at this point but I still want to rant about my take on the team and enjoy hearing what either people think as well even if it is a little early to predict much based on the data.

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It's eight plate appearances so I don't think the past three days change anything.

 

I think the better question is "Do they dangle Baddoo in the Rule V if they know Detroit will draft him?"

 

That one is harder to answer, I think. They didn't want to lose Baddoo (they don't really "want" to lose any player) but I think they left him unprotected because of the high risk of taking him (little play in the past two seasons, hasn't played in high minors, struggled a bit, etc).

 

My personal opinion is they wouldn't have left him off if they thought someone would take him.  I could be wrong though as they do have a lot of outfielders in the pipeline and their two top prospects are outfielders. 

 

Here is the thing how many players can move from or have moved from A ball to the majors?  I honestly can't think of any.  They had to believe the odds were on their side in a major way.  It is hard enough for players to make it from AAA to the majors and while several have made the jump from AA I can't think of anyone making it straight from A ball.  Some college players have moved pretty fast especially relief pitchers but position players usually take time.

 

The FO knew Baddoo was good there just wasn't really much president for a player making that large of a jump and making it.

 

I think if Baddoo had played last season and there wasn't a Covid season they could have seen the improvement and protected him.  They never got that chance.  Some scout must have seen Baddoo or had some information passed to him and it was enough for the Tigers to take a chance.  That is my theory.

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It's my understanding the Twins also start the 10th with a runner on second.

 

Exactly. It’s the offense’s fault they couldn’t do squat with runners at the corners and nobody out.

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