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Doubleheader Recap: Twins Swept by Red Sox, Slip Deeper Into Slump


The Minnesota Twins scratched across just three total runs as they were swept in today’s doubleheader against Boston. Their losing streak extends to five, all of which have been at home. Read more about the games in today’s recap.Game 1: BOS 3, MIN 2

Box Score

Maeda: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

Home Runs: None

 

Game 2: BOS 7, MIN 1

Box Score

Berríos: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K

Home Runs: None

 

Twins continue to struggle with RISP

 

The theme of the Twins four-game losing streak has been their inability to come up with hits when they need them most. In those four games, the Twins are a paltry 3-for-35 with runners in scoring position, which included 1-for-9 in the first game of Wednesday’s double-header. When you consider that the Twins have lost those four games by a combined total of six runs, it becomes even more painful to realize how winnable each of those games were.

 

Maeda’s rough 2nd inning

 

The game got away from Kenta Maeda in the second inning, something we have not seen much of in his time in a Twins uniform. The inning started with three straight singles to left field, before the wheels fell off on a sac bunt attempt.

 

 

This was followed by yet another single to left field, giving the Red Sox a three-run lead with still nobody out. Maeda then settled down and was able to get out of the inning without allowing another run. This was big, as it kept the Twins within reasonable striking distance early in the game, as opposed to allowing the Red Sox to blow the game open right then and there.

 

Polanco’s big hit in the 3rd

 

As mentioned previously, the Twins went just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position in game one. That one hit came off the bat of Jorge Polanco, when he hit a perfectly placed ground ball single up the middle to drive in both of the Twins runs in the game.

 

The inning got started with a couple of singles from the Ryan Jeffers and JT Riddle at the bottom of the order. Luis Arraez followed that up with a sharp line drive, but unfortunately it went right to left fielder Franchy Cordero. A wild pitch during Polanco’s at-bat allowed both runners to advance a base, which Polanco capitalized on a couple pitches later.

 

The Twins had a chance for more, as Nelson Cruz kept the chain moving after he was hit by a pitch. However, Max Kepler and Willians Astudillo failed to come up with a big hit that likely would have tied the ball game.

 

Brandon Waddell Houdinied his way to two shutout innings

 

In just his second appearance of the season, Brandon Waddell kept the Red Sox off the scoreboard in the sixth and seventh innings to keep the Twins deficit at just one run. However, those innings were far from clean. In the sixth, Waddell got an easy pop out to start the inning, before being hit sharply by each of the next three Red Sox batters. Fortunately for Waddell, Alex Kirilloff made a nice catch on the second one.

 

With two on and two outs, Waddell got J.D. Martinez to flyout to end the threat.

Waddell decided to turn the stress level up another notch in seventh, after giving up a leadoff double to Xander Bogaerts, followed by a ground ball single to Rafael Devers to give the Red Sox runners on first and third with nobody out. Devers advanced to second on a groundout by Marwin Gonzalez, before Waddell loaded the bases by walking Hunter Renfroe. With the Twins chances of a comeback very much on the line, Waddell buckled down and got two pop ups to escape a second consecutive inning without allowing a run.

 

Twins 7th inning threat

 

Despite coming up short, the Twins did not go down quietly in this game. Jake Cave got things started with a leadoff walk. Then, after a Ryan Jeffers strikeout, Cave stole second during Miguel Sano’s at-bat, who was pinch-hitting for JT Riddle. Later in the at-bat, Sano made a bid to tie the game, but his sharp liner down the left-field line hooked just far enough and landed foul by about a foot. Sano would ultimately strikeout in that at-bat.

 

There was still hope, with a runner on second and Luis Arraez at the plate. rraez had hit the ball hard all game, but had nothing to show for it. That trend continued in his last at-bat who made a great bid for a game tying single, but was robbed by Alex Verdugo (who had moved over from center to left as part of a defensive switch) on this great game ending catch.

 

 

Per Baseball Savant, Arraez’s batted ball had an expected batting average of .710. In total, Arraez’s four batted balls had an average expected batting average of .438, yet he was unable to get credit for a single hit, going 0-for-4.

 

Donaldson’s hamstring is tested early in his return

 

After injuring his hamstring in the first inning of the first game of the season, Josh Donaldson made his return to the Twins lineup in game two of the double-header, and that injury was immediately put to the test. Donaldson reached based with a one out single, keeping his batting average at a perfect 1.000 to start the season. Nelson Cruz followed that with a single to right, putting the pressure on Donaldson who had to run all out to just reach third safely on a bang-bang play.

 

Donaldson then had to give it one more full gas sprint, as he tagged up from third on a not very deep flyball from Kyle Garlick, giving the Twins an early one to nothing lead. While I’m sure the Twins did not care to see Donaldson’s injury tested right away, it was encouraging to see him round the bases in this manner without even the slightest sign of a lingering injury.

 

Berrios was cruising, until he wasn’t …

 

Building off his first two starts of the season, Jose Berrios was cruising his way through the first part of this game. Through four innings, Berrios had faced just one more than the minimum and looked like he was on his way to a seven-inning shutout. However, things quickly unraveled on his command, as he walked in the tying run, after loading the bases with one out.

 

Tyler Duffey came in to relieve Berrios, and after striking out Enrique Hernandez, he was just one strike away from getting out of the jam with the game still tied. Unfortunately, that is not what happened as the Red Sox were able to bring five more runs across the plate before Caleb Thielbar was finally able to record the third out of the inning.

 

It’s still early, but this start is concerning

 

In the grand scheme of things, 5-7 is not a season killing start, especially when nobody in the rest of the division has more that six wins. However, it is hard not to be concerned when watching this team. They are making countless mistakes, failing to come through when the game is on the line, and have received questionable at best managing from Rocco Baldelli. It would be one thing if the Twins were getting beat by teams that are having great games, but that is not the case. Almost all of these loses can be pinned on mistakes and poor play by the Twins. There is still plenty time to fix it, but it is definitely something that needs to be fixed.

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

Click here to see the bullpen usage over the past five days (link opens a Google Sheet).

 

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Being someone who has been critical of Sano, I have made a decision about how I think about him.

 

I find myself falling in to this "I told you so" funk. To the point where I almost enjoy his failures. I've been almost wanting him to fail so I can be right in the eyes of my Twins Daily peers.

 

I'm not going to do that any more. It's no fun to not pull for a member of our team.

 

He has not been good lately. That is an understatement. The sample size in not tiny.

 

However, he is on this team. I think it would be better to protect him around quality hitters in the meat of the order as opposed to requiring him to somehow kick start while surrounded by hitters who are sort of less established.

 

I've also been a proponent of a more consistent lineup because as a coach I believe in continuity, rhythm and flow.

 

So, here is my every day lineup.

 

Buxton

Arrias

Cruz

Sano

Donaldson

Kiriloff

Kepler

Garver

Simmons

 

Thoughts?

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I know everyone's talking about the BP. And it is a problem, don't get me wrong. But everything else has been awful the last few games. No offense or clutch hitting? Starters getting knocked out early, and the BP has been a disgrace.

 

I don't believe the BP is constructed as badly as it looked. It's been fueled by terrible defense when it matters. But Falvine did not do a good job addressing it this offseason. What is wrong with Duffey? Same with Stashak? Haven't those guys been solid for us the past few years?

 

Holy cow. The offense. It's painful to watch. No team loads up the bases and hits into DPs more. The Red Sox pitching is so bad the ORIOLES crushed it. And it's kept us to 5 runs in 3 games? What??

 

IDK about the SP. It's been fine. Yeah, Berrios had an ugly start today. But that happens. 

 

It's early. Let's keep this civil. Let's not attack anyone. But this team better right the ship. We were supposed to be pushing for a WS and, if the ship isn't righted, we could be competing for a top draft pick.

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The Twins look pretty rough right now. Temperatures below 55 degrees are rugged but 30s is woof. We can relax until it is June 1. Stuff happens. If the team is 10-15 games below .500 ball after they play on Memorial Day, then it will be time to make some drastic changes.

The Twins should be able to find their identity in the next six weeks. There is enough talent to put together a few strong positive streaks.

Buxton and Cruz are the only consistent hitters right now, but that will change soon.

It doesn't seem possible that all of Garver, Jeffers, Sano, Polanco, Kepler, and Cave have reached the end of their careers as productive hitters at the mlb level. I'm of the belief that this team has the talent to bounce back.

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We can relax until it is June 1. Stuff happens. If the team is 10-15 games below .500 ball after they play on Memorial Day, then it will be time to make some drastic changes.

 

That isn't how baseball works. 

 

Split the difference and say they're 12 games under .500 by May 31st. Their record is 21-33. We'll say 94 wins captures the division. The Twins would have to play at essentially a 110 win pace for the next four months to reach that number. 

 

I'm ok with some patience; we're two weeks into the season. Digging a huge hole for the first couple months and expecting to flip a switch and climb out isn't likely to end well. There are plenty of loses baked into the schedule for even the best teams. 

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Dearest Rocco,

 

Great job finally realizing that Sano needed to go further down in the batting order!

 

BUT.... now let's make sure that we are on the same page about 'pinch hitting.'

 

I checked the most advanced of advanced analytics and it turns out that -- while very difficult for the average fan to understand---.

 

you do need the 'HITTING' part to be a successful 'pinch hitter'....

 

So... Sano probably does not qualify for that so much right now.

 

Don't worry champ, you got this!

 

....

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The offense is obviously a problem.  3 runs in 2 games?  5 in 3 games?  Granted, the Red Sox have been playing better, but still - that's bad.

 

But . . . . 

 

Berrios is supposed to be a #1, and yet, when presented with the situation where a true #1 slams the door, he spit the bit; the game unraveled because he lit the fuse.

 

There's no indication this team has the heart to "win something meaningful."   

 

I'd love to be surprised, and I'll gladly - eagerly, even - eat crow if they prove me wrong.

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Listened to the pre-game show on the radio and Corey Provus was interviewing Rocco. When asked about the hitting so far this season Rocco said the team is hitting the ball very well and he was pleased with it so far. Evidently his expectations aren't very high or he isn't watching the same team as the rest of us. 

FYI, the Wild scored 5 goals today in 1 hockey game ...... how many runs did the Twins score in 2 games? (Yeah, I know they were only 7 innings but you get my point).

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Maeda and Berrios and we got swept. This is real depressing. This Boston team is a team that couldn't beat Baltimore, in fact, got slaughtered by Baltimore, in the first three games of the season. This is depressing.

 

Cold excuses, eh? Both teams are playing on the same field. To watch Maeda throw it away to third, ala Colome, was jaw dropping. 

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I banged this drum repeatedly last year.  I know it's only a dozen games but I'm gonna bang it again....these hitters miss James Rowson.

 

..... and Derek Shelton. It may be the the 2 that supported the manager, made the manager, and without them in support, it is exposed. I can't believe some of Baldelli's decisions this year. Line ups, pitching, running...... lots to be disappointed with, and not just the performance of the players.

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Brandon Waddell Houdinied his way to two shutout innings

In just his second appearance of the season, Brandon Waddell kept the Red Sox off the scoreboard in the sixth and seventh innings to keep the Twins deficit at just one run. However, those innings were far from clean. In the sixth, Waddell got an easy pop out to start the inning, before being hit sharply by each of the next three Red Sox batters. Fortunately for Waddell, Alex Kirilloff made a nice catch on the second one.

With two on and two outs, Waddell got J.D. Martinez to flyout to end the threat.
Waddell decided to turn the stress level up another notch in seventh, after giving up a leadoff double to Xander Bogaerts, followed by a ground ball single to Rafael Devers to give the Red Sox runners on first and third with nobody out. Devers advanced to second on a groundout by Marwin Gonzalez, before Waddell loaded the bases by walking Hunter Renfroe. With the Twins chances of a comeback very much on the line, Waddell buckled down and got two pop ups to escape a second consecutive inning without allowing a run.


 

 

I know the greater topic at hand is the twins lack of hitting, especially w/ risp, but I wish I could've watched just to see this. I feel like these are just the types of innings we watch the twins drop, in the playoffs or in slumps like this, where run probability is ridiculous and we get nothing. just think it would be awesome to watch from the other side for once lol

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Yes, this streak of poor play is grim. Yes, a team can dig a deep enough hole in the opening months of a season so as to be a major problem. But the Twins are 5-7 not 5-17. A little bit of patience here Twins faithful...

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There is just way too much talent and depth on this roster to be this bad and make these many mistakes over this stretch. Has anyone informed the baseball gods it's NOT 2020 any more and things are SUPPOSED to "normalize" now?

 

Roughly 2 weeks until May 1st. Things had better "normalize" by then or some serious changes will have to be addressed. I'm not one to panic or knee-jerk, but this team is too good to be playing this poorly.

 

On top of that, they are ruining the mood of my vacation.

 

Go Twins!

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It’s nice to have that 8-man bullpen for 7-inning games, though...right?

 

Our top two starters did their best to make this look rational. But it isn’t. It’s a joke and an embarrassment to the 150 years of Major League Baseball that preceded this.

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Twins will be fine when the weather warms up.  

Don't have a prediction for tomorrow afternoon, but won't be shocked when 'bats come alive' this weekend in SoCal.  Yes, I know the other team has to play in it also....

 

Twins and a few others should start the season on the road for the first 4 series every year.  As much as I miss going to live sports, would not have wanted to sit thu that 6hrs today

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I am concerned with the offense.

On the other hand (going into today)...

 

Polanco’s BABiP: 147...he’s likely to turn back into 2018 Polanco at some point.
Garver’s BABiP: 143
Sano’s BABiP: 111...meanwhile, his SO% is exactly the same as 2019, BB% higher
Twins OPS is 3rd overall in the AL; they lead the AL in OBP (you read that correctly)
Twins team SO% is exactly league average and their BB% is better than league ave.

 

It warps the mind, but this is what baseball looks like now.
What the Twins haven’t done is make the big pitch, or the big play, or the big hit to turn close games. That will probably turn at some point.

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