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


 

 

In a controversial move, Baldelli opted to remove Pineda from the game before the eighth inning

On Sunday Baldelli was roundly criticized on this board (including by me) for leaving Shoemaker in too long even though he had sailed through five innings. Today he's being roundly criticized for yanking Pineda even though he had sailed through seven. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. It's a no-win situation.

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Everyone needs to just enjoy the one or two good things that they are watching. We certainly hope that warmer weather will bring our favorite nine to improve in many areas.

Might I suggest something to watch or consider concerning the catchers? I only umpired about 100 games where few threw much harder than mid to high 80s, but I did pitch a few hundred games and caught about 100 games. The catcher stealing strikes, as a concept, always confused me. The umpire pays zero attention to the mitt, except on foul tips which (as we saw the last two days) are difficult to see. When the catcher struggles to catch the ball and moves all over the place an umpire can be distracted in a negative fashion just as when a catcher rises up in front of an umpire, which rarely happens in mlb. When Jeffers is quiet he is a great target but I cannot understand the snatches and exaggerated glove movement. It makes no difference to an umpire, except his downward jerk with his glove cost a caught foul tip today. I would be interested in how umpires (likely by necessity off the record) view this trend. I watch way too much baseball but this is one current trend that does not make any sense to me. Good catchers have always received the ball in a quiet position and left umpires in a their favored position to call balls and strikes. The movement of the glove by many catchers in today's game is more for TV than the umpire. 

I don't bring this up as a discussion point unless someone has very specific information from an umpire, but thought it might be worth it for people to watch.

A prime example is when a catcher sets up a target 3-6 inches off the plate with the umpire set over the catcher's left shoulder on the corner. The pitch hits the glove perfectly which the catcher holds and the umpire call a ball. The pitch was outside.

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On Sunday Baldelli was roundly criticized on this board (including by me) for leaving Shoemaker in too long even though he had sailed through five innings. Today he's being roundly criticized for yanking Pineda even though he had sailed through seven. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. It's a no-win situation.

except Shoemaker was clearly done, well prior to giving up the 3 run jack to a LH hitter. That was an awful decision, and many said so before the HR.

 

Personally, I would have sent Pineda out for the 8th today, with a short leash, but I have no problem with starting the inning with Robles. No problem at all.

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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 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.

STOP counting 2020 as a valid season. Its not, and will never be. It worked for 1 season! 1 regular season. Its not a good mantra for play off caliber baseball. And it wont be until proven otherwise. Im not holding my breath. 

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Everyone needs to just enjoy the one or two good things that they are watching. We certainly hope that warmer weather will bring our favorite nine to improve in many areas.

Might I suggest something to watch or consider concerning the catchers? I only umpired about 100 games where few threw much harder than mid to high 80s, but I did pitch a few hundred games and caught about 100 games. The catcher stealing strikes, as a concept, always confused me. The umpire pays zero attention to the mitt, except on foul tips which (as we saw the last two days) are difficult to see. When the catcher struggles to catch the ball and moves all over the place an umpire can be distracted in a negative fashion just as when a catcher rises up in front of an umpire, which rarely happens in mlb. When Jeffers is quiet he is a great target but I cannot understand the snatches and exaggerated glove movement. It makes no difference to an umpire, except his downward jerk with his glove cost a caught foul tip today. I would be interested in how umpires (likely by necessity off the record) view this trend. I watch way too much baseball but this is one current trend that does not make any sense to me. Good catchers have always received the ball in a quiet position and left umpires in a their favored position to call balls and strikes. The movement of the glove by many catchers in today's game is more for TV than the umpire. 

I don't bring this up as a discussion point unless someone has very specific information from an umpire, but thought it might be worth it for people to watch.

A prime example is when a catcher sets up a target 3-6 inches off the plate with the umpire set over the catcher's left shoulder on the corner. The pitch hits the glove perfectly which the catcher holds and the umpire call a ball. The pitch was outside.

 

The only way to stop this hope to cheat the call .... called pitch framing.... is to use the cameras and call more accurate and consistent strike zones. As long as it is in the plate umpires domain, this needless movement of the glove will continue, and the actual job of the catcher - to catch the ball - will be muddled by trying to fool the umpire, or to just hope the pitch isn't one of the 15% they will call wrong. It really is ridiculous that this continues. When the change finally happens, and it will happen, we will see other talents be refined that make the game better, such as pick off throws of all kinds. Until then, the "cheat the call" MO will continue, and some will call it a talent.

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Already calling for Baldelli's head, are we? At 6-7 after two division titles... I mean, I don't particularly care for him, as I am a subscriber to the belief that impact a manager has on the team is minimal. But it seems whenever this team is winning, the narrative is "our hitters and pitchers are great!" and whenever they are losing it becomes "Rocco made all the wrong decisions!", when many times it's due to poor execution. Putting in Robles, our best reliever so far, when Pineda was at 88 pitches is not an egregious decision. Pineda just as well could have walked the first two guys to start the 8th, and then the bullpen would ruin the rest. Rogers was in the perfect situation and had Verdugo dead to rights and served him up a couple meatballs. And the clutch hitting has been mostly terrible, and it doesn't matter how much "fire" Rocco shows, that's not going to help. Having a good hitting coach could, but plug in any other fiery manager like Gardy in his prime and they'd be having the same things happening.

 

Shaun Anderson was optioned for Thorpe? When was Anderson brought up?

 

Also, if Buxton's hamstring is "fine", why the heck has he been unable to pinch hit for 3 games? I know our coaching staff loves to coddle our injured guys, but to me this reeks of "Buxton pulled a hammy in practice but we don't want to admit that". Put him on the IL if he can't pinch hit!

 

 

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Hindsight is always 20-20. Consider three less-than-great outcomes in the homestand. Shoemaker breezed through five innings allowing no runs and holding a six-run lead, but then gave up four runs without getting an out and the bullpen gave up the lead and the game. Dobnak breezed through two innings, but got nicked for back-to-back doubles in his third inning, allowing the winning run and finally Pineda was pulled after seven outstanding innings and the bullpen gave up the lead.

 

Common thread? All three didn't work out. Is there a magic bullet (or 8-ball) that says when to pull a pitcher? I do know that Pineda hasn't gone over seven innings in years. 

 

If I'm going to criticize the manager, it is probably that he is too patient with veterans. A lot of guys aren't hitting their weight and a lot of pitchers (especially the bullpen) haven't been reliable and no major role changes have yet occurred. It is said that patience is a virtue, but sometimes it is maddening. 

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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.

I agree, at 80 pitches there's absolutely no reason Pineda can't at least start the eight inning. Facing the lineup a third time is overrated that late in the game IMO.

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Much needed win - that said, it was another painful game to watch for Twins fans. Even Kepler's ducksnort single in the 9th felt like this team got plum lucky and didn't deserve this one. A shame to see the bullpen in shambles. Everyone looks terrible: Duffey, Stashak, Rogers, Colome, and now Robles. If the Twins didn't have good starting pitching they'd be 1-12.

 

Buxton. Cruz. Donaldson (good grief). This is the team's 2-3-4 part of the lineup and none of these players have played in more than half the team's games! We're fricking 13 games in and they're "resting" Donaldson right after he returns?

 

Baldelli always seems to be saving bullets in the chamber for the next game, or the next series. Thinking about ways he can get away with using guys like Astudillo, Cave, and Riddle and sneak out wins so that he can play his "big guns" next time and give everyone a rest. Again, we're 13 games in! Play your stars! You think Ken Griffey Junior was "resting" and just playing in 10 of his team's first 13 games? No! The dude was a stud and he was playing in 157, 156, 161, 160 games PER YEAR.

 

Good lord Rocco, get these guys on the freakn' field.

 

By the way, I like Rocco as a manager! Just hate this particular aspect of his philosophy.

 

Wonder how Thorpe's going to do against Mike Trout tonight?

 

 

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Much needed win - that said, it was another painful game to watch for Twins fans. Even Kepler's ducksnort single in the 9th felt like this team got plum lucky and didn't deserve this one. A shame to see the bullpen in shambles. Everyone looks terrible: Duffey, Stashak, Rogers, Colome, and now Robles. If the Twins didn't have good starting pitching they'd be 1-12.

 

Buxton. Cruz. Donaldson (good grief). This is the team's 2-3-4 part of the lineup and none of these players have played in more than half the team's games! We're fricking 13 games in and they're "resting" Donaldson right after he returns?

 

Baldelli always seems to be saving bullets in the chamber for the next game, or the next series. Thinking about ways he can get away with using guys like Astudillo, Cave, and Riddle and sneak out wins so that he can play his "big guns" next time and give everyone a rest. Again, we're 13 games in! Play your stars! You think Ken Griffey Junior was "resting" and just playing in 10 of his team's first 13 games? No! The dude was a stud and he was playing in 157, 156, 161, 160 games PER YEAR.

 

Good lord Rocco, get these guys on the freakn' field.

 

By the way, I like Rocco as a manager! Just hate this particular aspect of his philosophy.

 

Wonder how Thorpe's going to do against Mike Trout tonight?

I agree with everything you said here. Thanks for saving me having to bang out a paragraph

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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

Just watched the replay.   Really hard to tell if it was over his head but quite possible that if he were traditionally guarding the line it would have been high and to his left rather than high and to his right.   If it had been right at him would you acknowledge that it was analytics that saved the runs?   Either way the ball was misplayed  in left field which might have cost the third run.   Analytics might have said guard the line in the same situation in the 9th inning but not the 8th.  Analytics often defy 100 years of baseball strategy.   100 years of that strategy might well not have existed if they had the technology back then to know better.   

The problem with analytics is probably mainly with the viewer and the fact that the percentages are too thin.   

The viewer problem is that it is human nature to notice when a hit like that beats you and you remember it because of the emotional response.   When a shift works you might notice it, you might not, but it doesn't trigger the same emotion so you maybe forget about it even if you do notice it. 

The percentage problem is easier to illustrate than explain.   Sorry if this sounds like mansplaining but it is all based on odds and I am pulling them out of the air.   If one manager goes old school for a season he is likely to win 3 games the analytics driven manager would lose but the analytics manager wins 5 games the old school guy would lose.    It comes out to about a 1% over all difference.         If applied over the course of a season the analytics approach wins two more games which might be the difference in playoffs or sitting at home.  The percentages are probably greater than that but you get my drift.    

Now you might say the best approach is a combination of the two and in some aspects of the game I would agree with you but mostly I would refer you back to the viewer problem.  

 

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Buxton. Cruz. Donaldson (good grief). This is the team's 2-3-4 part of the lineup and none of these players have played in more than half the team's games! We're fricking 13 games in and they're "resting" Donaldson right after he returns?

Huh? Buxton has played in 9 games and Cruz has played in 12...

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Huh? Buxton has played in 9 games and Cruz has played in 12...

Cruz has appeared in 12 games, but he essentially missed the entire Milwaukee series. Buxton has played in 9 games but is going in the wrong direction.

 

We're 2 weeks in and Buxton, Donaldson, and Cruz have all been "rested for precautions". Gimme a break.

 

Donaldson and Buxton could absolutely have played yesterday. Both have missed more games than Ken Griffey Jr. would have in an entire season during his run.

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Cruz has appeared in 12 games, but he essentially missed the entire Milwaukee series. Buxton has played in 9 games but is going in the wrong direction.

 

We're 2 weeks in and Buxton, Donaldson, and Cruz have all been "rested for precautions". Gimme a break.

 

Donaldson and Buxton could absolutely have played yesterday. Both have missed more games than Ken Griffey Jr. would have in an entire season during his run.

Cruz not starting in Milwaukee was entirely due to the NL not having a DH, so I don't think that's relevant to your point. I was just confused because you used a demonstrably false statement in your criticism, but I do get your point.

 

Counterpoint: For every Ken Griffey Jr. or Cal Ripken Jr., you can probably find a former superstar player that had their career cut short due to playing through injuries, such as Tony Oliva. Perhaps Baldelli is too liberal about resting his players throughout the season, but I don't think it's being done without any basis. They have a strategy (which isn't terribly different from how most other teams operate these days), and it's very possible that this strategy leads to higher overall player performance, along with longer careers. It's tough to say for sure either way.

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