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MIN 4, BOS 3: Twins Snap Losing Streak Despite Another Blown Lead


Max Kepler ended an ugly homestand on a high note by delivering a walk-off hit to snap the Twins' five-game skid. Read more about the game in today’s recap.Box Score

Pineda: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K

Home Runs: Sanó (2)

Top 3 WPA: Pineda .392, Arraez .280, Kepler .231

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):

Download attachment: chart.png

 

After a string of miserable performances with runners in scoring position, the Minnesota Twins got the scoring started with a key bases loaded, two out hit from Luis Arraez in the second inning to give the Minnesota Twins a 2-0 lead in the second inning.

 

 

Then, after the Twins’ offense failed to get anything going in the next three innings, Miguel Sanó tacked on another run for the Twins with a much-needed solo shot into the upper deck of left field in the bottom of the sixth inning to push the Twins lead to three runs.

 

 

On the mound, Michael Pineda had arguably his best start as a member of the Minnesota Twins. Pineda pitched seven innings, allowing just two hits, zero runs and striking out six. Pineda allowed a leadoff hit in the first inning, not allowing another hit in the game until the top of the seventh inning. Pineda was solid throughout the game, never sensing any trouble and cruising through seven innings while only throwing 88 pitches.

 

In a controversial move, Baldelli opted to remove Pineda from the game before the eighth inning to prevent his starter from facing the Red Sox lineup for a third time, and instead turn the game over to Hansel Robles. Robles, who had been nearly perfect for the Minnesota Twins over his first two weeks on the team couldn’t find the strike zone at all and proceeded to load the bases on two walks and a hit batter. With two outs, the bases loaded and left hander Alex Verdugo at the plate, Rocco called on southpaw Taylor Rogers who was unsuccessful, allowing Verdugo to smack a bases-clearing double to tie the game.

 

After Alexander Colomé navigated his way through the top of the ninth inning, the Minnesota Twins moved into the bottom of the ninth, where their offense has been completely non-existent over the first two weeks of the season. Today, though, the Twins offense produced in a clutch spot, with Arraez hitting a leadoff single, followed by a Polanco HBP, before Max Kepler walked off the Boston Red Sox for the third time in his young career with a single that scored Luis Arraez, avoiding a sweep and and ending the Twins’ five-game losing skid.

 

Miguel Sanó is Finding His Groove

 

It was a miserable first two weeks of the season for Miguel Sanó, who prior to this game was slashing .079/.271/.158, but the first baseman showed some real signs today that he might be turning things around. Sanó showed excellent patience and discipline today, walking twice as well as hitting his second home run of the season, a 107.3 MPH missile. Sanó’s on-base percentage is now up to .308 and trending towards his average mark of .331.

 

Arraez’s Big Day

 

Luis Arraez had another monster day at the ballpark, going 4-for-5 with two RBI and scoring the winning run, all the while playing three different positions in the field. The Twins got a good one.

 

What’s Next

 

After a 2-5 homestand for the Minnesota Twins, the team will head out west for a six-game west coast road trip where they will play three games against the Angels (7-5) and three against the Athletics (5-7).

 

After the game, manager Rocco Baldelli announced that RP Shaun Anderson has been optioned to the alternate site and Lewis Thorpe has been recalled and will start for the Minnesota Twins on Friday in Los Angeles.

 

Postgame With Baldelli

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

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

 

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Pluses---We won, finally. We scored a run in the 9th, Sano hit a HR and didn't strike out today. Pineda was  magnificent.

Minuses- Another blown lead late. Rogers was awful. Real awful. the bullpen is a major concern for the Twins right now. No Buxton again.

 

But--a win is a win and sometimes a win like this will jump start the team....as well as hitting the road.

We'll soon see.

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I didn't see the at bat but I did see the hit on replay and the announcer said it was a 10 pitch at bat.    I wouldn't go so far as to say awful that he gave up one hit in a 10 pitch at bat.    Sometimes you give some credit to the hitter and a bit unlucky for the Twins that it was in a spot that netted 3 runs.   Also, he then struck out the next guy which I give him credit for.    My high school coach preached battling because you never know how many you are going to need or give up to come out on top.   Even if it was after the big hit he did get out of the inning without letting the guy on 2nd score which turned out to be exactly enough.   Lets give some credit to Colome and big props to Arraez.

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A win is a win. Hopefully this jump starts the team. They could actually score a run past the 6th. Granted, against 8.10 ERA Ottavino (speaking of, what happened to him, wwasn't he one of the best relievers in baseball a couple years ago?).

 

BUT...Rocco almost cost us this one. There was no reason to pull Pineda there. None. He was at 80 pitches. He could've gone out for at least the 8th. I can't blame him for putting Robles out there, he's been one of our best relievers so far. He had a bad day and so did Rogers. (Starting to wonder if Rogers is a choking hazard). Colome out in the 9th was a disaster waiting to happen, but we got through it.

 

But holy crap, the pen in general has been awful. Can it fix itself? Maybe. Pitchers are fixable. Moreso than hitters.

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So glad we won. A long losing streak gets to everyone, including the players. Arraez is such a good hitter. I feel confident every time he’s at the plate. Big mike was so good today, and has been his entire twin tenure. Rocco makes some questioning decision again, and the bullpen struggles, but colome looked the best he has all year.

 

 

Interesting that thorpe is getting the start tomorrow. Few moves that they could make to get him onto the roster, assuming there is no IL move to correspond. Guessing it’s dobnak or Shaun Anderson out, although willians being DFA’d is certainly possible.

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Arraez and Kepler take Baldelli off the hook for an atrociously managed game. Atrocious. If his excuse for sending Jeffers (and his 53% K-rate to the plate in the bottom of the 8th with one out and runners on 2nd and 3rd) was because he didn’t want to leave only one catcher available...then I’d use a different word: stupid. It’s the 8th inning and the extra-inning rule practically eliminates the possibility of anything close to a marathon. The things he’s good at have value. But he’s been pretty bad from the start on in-game management and doesn’t seem to be showing much improvement, IMO.

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Rocco needs counseling.  It is okay for pitchers to continue pitching when they are going well.  That is what SP do or at least they used to.  With a lock down BP we might err on the side of RP, but that is not what we have and I cannot see the reason to continue a pattern that is not working.  Maybe later in the season we can revisit it, but right now we need that hot pitcher going as far as he can.  

 

Let's hope Sano has turned a corner, but I am not ready to concede that with one big bomb.

 

Arraez came back from a bad luck day and was great.  Polanco needs to be batting 7 or 8 but with Sano, Cave, Jeffers, Riddle in funks where do you put him.  205 Max got a good hit - I am glad.  We had 4 of 10 batters hitting 300+ and the other 6 all below 205!

 

Rogers has a 0.00 era, but how does that measure one hit and one walk in 0.1 innings? And Robles and Colome are both over 5!  Something is wrong and let's see a lot of fixing soon. 

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Rocco needs to go.  It is okay for pitchers to continue pitching when they are going well.  That is what SP do or at least they used to.  With a lock down BP we might err on the side of RP, but that is not what we have and I cannot see the reason to continue a pattern that is not working.  Maybe later in the season we can revisit it, but right now we need that hot pitcher going as far as he can.  

 

Let's hope Sano has turned a corner, but I am not ready to concede that with one big bomb.

 

Arraez came back from a bad luck day and was great.  Polanco needs to be batting 7 or 8 but with Sano, Cave, Jeffers, Riddle in funks where do you put him.  205 Max got a good hit - I am glad.  We had 4 of 10 batters hitting 300+ and the other 6 all below 205!

 

Rogers has a 0.00 era, but how does that measure one hit and one walk in 0.1 innings? And Robles and Colome are both over 5!  Something is wrong and let's see a lot of fixing soon. 

 

FTFY

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most competently managed teams would have let pineda start and have a guy ready going in to the inning in case something goes wrong. shoemaker was left in for what, 4 batters? a 3 run lead, one guy gets on and you yank him. he was cruising. he earned a shot instead of losing his win.

 

then defensive placement. check where our third baseman was positioned on the game tying double. bases loaded, 3 run lead, 2 outs. WHY was he playing halfway to second base and not guarding the line? because analytics said so? a LH pitcher with a slider, and the LH batter goes the other way with the pitch. had he been playing where he should have, thats a liner caught for the third out.

 

then the already mentioned 8th inning batting debacle. I don't trust rocco's in game decision making.

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Arraez and Kepler take Baldelli off the hook for an atrociously managed game. Atrocious. If his excuse for sending Jeffers (and his 53% K-rate to the plate in the bottom of the 8th with one out and runners on 2nd and 3rd) was because he didn’t want to leave only one catcher available...then I’d use a different word: stupid. It’s the 8th inning and the extra-inning rule practically eliminates the possibility of anything close to a marathon. The things he’s good at have value. But he’s been pretty bad from the start on in-game management and doesn’t seem to be showing much improvement, IMO.

Garver hit for Riddle, directly after Jeffers's at-bat. I don't know about you, but I would much rather have Garver hit for Riddle than for Jeffers, and I don't think there was anyone else available on the bench at that point, assuming he was determined not to use Buxton or Donaldson at all. I do think it's questionable that neither of those guys were available for just a pinch hit and an inning or two in the field, but I'm guessing he didn't want to risk anything with those guys in the last cold weather game for awhile. The weather in Anaheim should be little kinder...

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And his ERA over 10 in 18 appearances last year?

 

Let’s play a game.

 

In 4.2 IP so far (SSS, but it isn’t nothing), Robles has given up one walk and one single. No ER.

 

If you were Rocco and you were looking for which reliever to go to, and you think Robles, which would you consider more important: This year’s success (when you have data) or last year’s (with a different ball club in SoCal) failure?

 

 

It’s also worth mentioning that relievers are dime a dozen. They can be power arms in one place and flaming hot trash elsewhere. When looking at relievers on the market, we don’t just look at ERA. Pitchers, as you know, are far more fixable than hitters. We look at the pitcher’s stuff. This isn’t like Sergio Romo. It was obvious what he was when we got him - a one pitch junkballer. Robles throws fastballs that average 95 MPH. Romo throws sliders that average 75 MPH. Big difference. That being said, Robles does have control issues. So a reliever with a high-velo fastball with control issues...sounds familiar (Trevor May). Robles had the tools, different coaching will make a difference in results.

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most competently managed teams would have let pineda start and have a guy ready going in to the inning in case something goes wrong. shoemaker was left in for what, 4 batters? a 3 run lead, one guy gets on and you yank him. he was cruising. he earned a shot instead of losing his win.

 

then defensive placement. check where our third baseman was positioned on the game tying double. bases loaded, 3 run lead, 2 outs. WHY was he playing halfway to second base and not guarding the line? because analytics said so? a LH pitcher with a slider, and the LH batter goes the other way with the pitch. had he been playing where he should have, thats a liner caught for the third out.

 

then the already mentioned 8th inning batting debacle. I don't trust rocco's in game decision making.

 

This.  This is the problem with Rocco, who I think is good, except for anything that happens at the ballpark on the day a game is played.  He seems to lack a feel for the game, as well as the attribute of anticipation.  As Aggies said, why not tell Robles to start warming as soon as the Twins make the third out in the bottom of the 7th, but do so leisurely?  If Pineda cruises in the 8th, you can sit him down, and treat it like a side session.  If Pineda gives up a hit, you go have a conference at the mound for a minute while Robles accelerates his warm up, and then bring him in after chatting about the weather until the ump forces you to make a move.

 

As concerns Shoemaker, I think people's issue was that Shoemaker seemingly got a longer leash than Maeda and Berrios had earlier in the season, despite not pitching more than 80 innings since 2016.  That's the kind of guy where once you're past the fourth, you act immediately at the first sign of trouble.

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I know I am going to sound like a condescending A but here goes.    The idea that there exists  a person who could be manager of the Twins that would not get ripped on here for his decision making is as absurd to me and less likely to appear than a unicorn.    Twins have had 4 managers of the year that I can think of in Kelly, Gardy, Molitor and Baldelli.    Every one of them was ripped on by Minnesota fans.  I know how bad many of you think Baldelli is but just think about how bad all the other managers in the major leagues would have to be to be considered worse.   I'm not really defending him but I would love to see the comments of a different universe where Pineda stayed in for the 8th and got shelled or if Robles came in and was great and shut them down.   I know with some it is not 2nd guessing and I often say out loud what I think the moves should be just to keep from falling into the hindsight game.   Of course its hard to judge some outcomes because if I think a guy should stay in and he is pulled there is no telling what my guy would have done and all sorts of scenarios like that.    Needless to say, though that if I were the manager it wouldn't take long for fans to be calling for my head.

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most competently managed teams would have let pineda start and have a guy ready going in to the inning in case something goes wrong. shoemaker was left in for what, 4 batters? a 3 run lead, one guy gets on and you yank him. he was cruising. he earned a shot instead of losing his win.

 

then defensive placement. check where our third baseman was positioned on the game tying double. bases loaded, 3 run lead, 2 outs. WHY was he playing halfway to second base and not guarding the line? because analytics said so? a LH pitcher with a slider, and the LH batter goes the other way with the pitch. had he been playing where he should have, thats a liner caught for the third out.

 

then the already mentioned 8th inning batting debacle. I don't trust rocco's in game decision making.

This is just more outcome-dependent criticism, and that ball was over Arráez's head anyway. Rocco has his faults, but you can tell he has a process and he sticks with it. The players seem to like the consistency, and it's only lead to one of the best records in the AL over the past 2+ seasons.

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This is just more outcome-dependent criticism, and that ball was over Arráez's head anyway. Rocco has his faults, but you can tell he has a process and he sticks with it. The players seem to like the consistency, and it's only lead to one of the best records in the AL over the past 2+ seasons.

not really outcome dependent. the pitch count was fine. the bullpen isn't great. again, not asking him to let him finish the game, but 2 hits in 7 innings warrants a shot at starting the 8th. but the mysterious arbitrary line was apparently crossed and pineda was out. and i disagree that that ball was over his head. it defies 100 years of baseball strategy to not guard the lines in that situation

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Disbelief that somebody got a hit in the 9th and they pulled this out. Pineda is a good pitcher. Been one since Day 1. Last week I asked what it was gonna take for Sano to focus, clear out the cobwebs from his brain and get into a relaxed state of mind. Maybe somebody gave him an Apache prayer rug and some sage to inhale, because he looked focused.

 

It wouldn't surprise me if Rogers has some kind of mental block too. How can he look so awesome one day and so pitiful the next?

 

***** Arreaz.

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Garver hit for Riddle, directly after Jeffers's at-bat. I don't know about you, but I would much rather have Garver hit for Riddle than for Jeffers, and I don't think there was anyone else available on the bench at that point, assuming he was determined not to use Buxton or Donaldson at all. I do think it's questionable that neither of those guys were available for just a pinch hit and an inning or two in the field, but I'm guessing he didn't want to risk anything with those guys in the last cold weather game for awhile. The weather in Anaheim should be little kinder...

You’re way more likely to win the game with the one-out at-bat than the two-out at bat. You can’t bat Jeffers there. Period. He’s K’ing in over 50% of his PA...that’s an actual statistic, not hyperbole...and he’s a rookie. If you’re not going to be aggressive with your bench in that one-out scenario...2nd and 3rd bottom of 8, one out, tie game, 5-game losing streak...when are you ever going to be? Even if they elect to walk Garver and you feel you HAVE to bat Riddle (lord knows why!) it’s still a one-out situation and Riddle has 800 career PA and MUCH lower K tendencies. At this point in time, even JT Riddle is an infinitely better option than Jeffers when you need a ball in play to win.

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I thought the Twins were done for (again) when they failed to score in the 8th and then Cruz Ks with two on and nobody out in the 9th - only to be saved by Kepler's walk-off.

 

Interesting that Thorpe gets the start on Friday. 

 

I guess that is OK since it allows Maeda to go on his normal 5th day, while Shoemaker, Happ, Berrios and Pineda all get an extra days rest.

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You’re way more likely to win the game with the one-out at-bat than the two-out at bat. You can’t bat Jeffers there. Period. He’s K’ing in over 50% of his PA...that’s an actual statistic, not hyperbole...and he’s a rookie. If you’re not going to be aggressive with you bench in that one-out scenario...2nd and 3rd bottom of 8, one out, tie game, 5-game losing streak...when are ever going to be.

Garver's K-rate is around 40% as well, and his OBP is 50 points lower than Jeffers so far this year. Neither of them are great options at the plate right now, and I still think it made more sense to pinch hit for Riddle than Jeffers.

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I thought the Twins were done for (again) when they failed to score in the 8th and then Cruz Ks with two on and nobody out in the 9th - only to be saved by Kepler's walk-off.

 

Interesting that Thorpe gets the start on Friday.

 

I guess that is OK since it allows Maeda to go on his normal 5th day, while Shoemaker, Happ, Berrios and Pineda all get an extra days rest.

I thought it odd they didn't start Thorp (or someone) in the doubleheader.

 

Seemed like a more workable plan. Extra player and all. That also would have let Maeda and Berrios stay one behind the other in terms of rest days.

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1.Wish Dobnak was at the alternate site to begin the season stretched out to start (which is what he does) and coming to start on Friday

 

2.Wish Donaldson or Buck pinch hit

 

2a. Wish that Donaldson and Buck were not healthy scratches in the same game

 

3. Wish Baldi realized that every pitcher does not turn into a pumpkin if they pass 90 pitches. They even have large variance within themselves from start to start!

 

4. Wish they would focus more on mechanics and velocity and pitcher performance within an inning later in the game to make changes.

 

5. Wish for world peace and an end to the pandemic while I'm at it (in case anyone of consequence is listening :)

 

 

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I know I am going to sound like a condescending A but here goes.    The idea that there exists  a person who could be manager of the Twins that would not get ripped on here for his decision making is as absurd to me and less likely to appear than a unicorn.    Twins have had 4 managers of the year that I can think of in Kelly, Gardy, Molitor and Baldelli.    Every one of them was ripped on by Minnesota fans.  I know how bad many of you think Baldelli is but just think about how bad all the other managers in the major leagues would have to be to be considered worse.   I'm not really defending him but I would love to see the comments of a different universe where Pineda stayed in for the 8th and got shelled or if Robles came in and was great and shut them down.   I know with some it is not 2nd guessing and I often say out loud what I think the moves should be just to keep from falling into the hindsight game.   Of course its hard to judge some outcomes because if I think a guy should stay in and he is pulled there is no telling what my guy would have done and all sorts of scenarios like that.    Needless to say, though that if I were the manager it wouldn't take long for fans to be calling for my head.

IMO, all recent managers have had their strengths...even when the team has failed. And also weaknesses even when they were winning awards. Rocco’s no exception. Since the mid-80’s, the Twins have done overall better than most in the manager category. Rocco’s still learning IMO...and that’s probably the good news, as he’s already established some strengths.

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1.Wish Dobnak was at the alternate site to begin the season stretched out to start (which is what he does) and coming to start on Friday

The moment Dobnak signed that contract, the Twins were able to use him as the “whatever” player because they basically control him until the end of the world.

 

I’m sure he’ll make it into the rotation at some point but in the meantime, he gives the roster some flexibility.

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