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Game Recap: Cleveland 7, Twins 4


The Twins showed signs of early offensive life Tuesday before slumping to another lifeless defeat, characterized by the poor play which has encapsulated their 2021 season.Box Score

Maeda: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 K

Home Runs: Buxton (7)

Bottom 3 WPA: Maeda -.180, Garver -.154, Arraez -.117

Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)

Download attachment: chart (4).png

 

Buxton Returns to Strengthened Lineup

Byron Buxton returned to the lineup Tuesday, after a bout of patellar tendinitis. Kyle Garlick and Max Kepler cleared COVID protocols, promising further reinforcements later in the week. Rocco Baldelli also reported that Miguel Sanó’s hamstring is close to one hundred percent, meaning the Twins could be at full strength by the weekend.

 

Twins Bats Come Out Strong

The Twins bats came out strong against CBT starter Aaron Civale, who had excelled early in the 2021 season.

 

A Byron Buxton infield single in which he reached 30.9 ft/s was followed up by a Nelson Cruz triple (yes, you read that right).

 

Kirilloff then followed up with an RBI single but was thrown out by Cleveland left fielder Eddie Rosario attempting to turn a single into a double.

 

Maeda Still Out of Command

Kenta Maeda gave a run back immediately in the bottom of the first, as Jose Ramirez deposited a center cut fastball into the right field seats. In the bottom of the third, Franmil Reyes followed up with this.

 

The Twins surrendered the lead in the bottom of the 3rd inning. Alex Kirilloff took a bad route to a fly ball to left field, fumbling the ball off his glove leading to a double on a batted ball which had an xBA of .090.

 

The Twins evened up the game in the 4th, stringing together a single from Cruz, another from Astudillo, and a double from Cave. In a stretch where the offense has been so ineffective, it was at least encouraging that the Twins had five batted balls over 100 mph by the end of the 4th inning. Little did we know that would be almost the end of the Twins offensive threat.

 

Cleveland Takes the Lead for Good

Cleveland took the lead again in the bottom of the 6th, Franmil Reyes swatting a Maeda fastball over the left field wall for his second home run of the night. A Josh Naylor double spelled the end of the night for Maeda. In a Twins season marred by poor execution and underperformance, Maeda continues to be a microcosm of the problem, again failing to muster the command his stuff requires. A Jake Bauers double off Caleb Thielbar’s curveball made it 5-3 Cleveland at the end of six innings.

 

A two run lead would prove enough for Cleveland. Byron Buxton crushed his 7th home run of the season in the 8th, off an Aaron Civale curveball, cutting the lead to one.

 

Once again, the Twins needed someone to come up in a big spot for them. Once again Nelson Cruz and Byron Buxton answered the call. One again, no one else did. Buxton’s solo home run in the 8th inning was the Twins lone hit after the 4th inning.

 

Rocco Baldelli brought in he embattled reliever Alexander Colomé in the bottom of the 8th. Colomé promptly hit Josh Naylor and walked three batters before being pulled by Jorge Alcala. Alcala hit a batter, scoring another run, before striking out Jose Ramirez to end a miserable inning of Twins pitching.

 

Another game, another pitiful performance by a team expected to be one of the best in baseball. After a positive start to the season, the Twins have lost 13 of their last 15 games. You have to imagine Twins fans may transition from passionate and upset at the performance of their team, to tired and apathetic in short order. And who can blame them? Night after night of poor baseball and failed execution is tough to watch.

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

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

 

What’s Next?

On Wednesday, the Twins will send J.A. Happ to the hill against Logan Allen. First pitch is at 12:10 CT.

 

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Among the many, many things that could be said, or asked, about this game, one stands head and shoulders above all else:

 

"What the **** was that 8th inning about?"

 

Edit: I guess it was too much to ask a beat writer to question Rocco on the monumentally stupid decision to let Colome struggle through a hit batter followed by three walks (and it should have been four walks if not for a gift K) in the 8th inning of a 1 run game: no mention in the Strib game story. Nothing.

 

I mean, come on!

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2-13...2-13!!

 

Maeda can't throw first pitch strikes and Stashak can't throw strikes when he needs to? They're supposedly control pitchers.

 

We keep using Colomé in close games? Our 'closer' now has an ERA of +8.00. Why not try something different instead of continuing to bang the same broken drum?

 

We had Civale on the ropes a number of times but couldn't get it done again? This is like a scratched record for this iteration of the Twins.

 

I know this is rant-like, but come on. That is some very pathetic baseball being played and I'm not seeing any glimmers of shimmering samite from the players or staff to lift our spirits based on the games we've played recently. This team is very bad; it is being managed badly, and it doesn't seem to display any sort of grit. Can it be turned around? Maybe, but as Yogi Berra once said, "It's getting late early."

 

****Ranting now finished***** (at least until tomorrow)

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If the 8th inning was supposed to be a low leverage situation for Colome to start regaining his confidence I don't think it worked.

Clearly there was some miscommunication from Dan Hayes’ Twitter update earlier today. Colome is going to be used to get to low leverage situations from now on.

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Man, Colomé is basically unusable right now. I came across a stat from Aaron Gleeman saying that his WPA before tonight was the worst ever after a pitcher's first eight appearances for a new team. He's apparently the only pitcher in MLB history to be under -2.0 WPA in that span. I'm sure it's even worse after tonight.

 

I don't know what you even do with him. I guess stash him away and only use him for mop up duty. Honestly some of the worst relief pitching I've seen watching the team for 25+ years.

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Man, Colomé is basically unusable right now. I came across a stat from Aaron Gleeman saying that his WPA before tonight was the worst ever after a pitcher's first eight appearances for a new team. He's apparently the only pitcher in MLB history to be under -2.0 WPA in that span. I'm sure it's even worse after tonight.

 

I don't know what you even do with him. I guess stash him away and only use him for mop up duty. Honestly some of the worst relief pitching I've seen watching the team for 25+ years.

Shouldn’t be anywhere near a crucial situation. Problem is we already have a couple guys like that. Thank GOD we’re getting at least somewhat competent outings from the starters. But if that falters, look out.

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The Twins at full strength this weekend?

 

Well, first off.......

 

Catcher. We need one. Not only someone who can hit, but also call a game. Maybe Astudillo needs to be our go to guy. Anyone on the market> Jeffers needs time at AAA.

 

I would rather see Kirilloff at first everyday than Sano. What to do with Sano.

 

I can live with Arraex Simmons and Donaldson everyday in the infield. Polanco is the reserve. No need to go out of the way to find him playing time.

 

Can Buxton play in three straight games? What to do with Kepler, but he is better than most anyone else. Are we really excited about the return of Klye Garlick and has Jake Cave kept himself on the roster? Rooker is going back to AAA.

 

Drobnak needs to start at AAA. Bring back Smeltzer if you need a long man, and decide if you want to make Thorpe a bullpen arm or stretch him out as a starter.

 

Berrios is it. Pineda is here for the year. So is Shoemaker and Happ. If any of the three pitch well, they can be traded. Maeda needs to lower his pitches...fast.

 

The bullpen.

Who can strike out batters. Stashak, Alcala.

Who should be striking out batters. Duffy.

Who strikes out batter but allows inherited runners to score: Thielbar and everyone.

Can anyone get a ground-ball out (Kintzler, but he's elsewhere).

 

The Twins need one or two guys to pitch as openers.

 

Who do they jettison to make room on the 40-man and potentially on the 25-man. Colombe? Garlick? Cave? You can't bring guys up unless you have roster spots for them, or people getting COVID.

 

What to do with Sano? Garver? 

 

I end by asking: who on the current 40-man roster do you want to see in a Twins uniform in 2022. We should start with that thought in mind and do moves accordingly!

 

 

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It so easy to manage when your club is hitting 307 home runs. Beginning last year, Rocco actually had to start the process of learning how to manage in the majors. It hasn’t really gone well. He’s gone from anything works to nothing works. Most of this predicament is on the players (and FO). But, Rocco...oh my!

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Breaking News!!  In an effort to get Colome "going" in a less stressful high leverage situation......trusted sources are reporting that Bal-dummy has chosen Colome to be our opener tomorrow!!  

 

In some parallel universe Seinfeld world-------this would be called, "the Costanza"---just to do the opposite!!  If every instinct Baldelli has had has proved wrong, then doing the OPPOSITE has to be the answer...right? 

 

Well, at least his spreadsheet support this move.

 

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The Twins at full strength this weekend?

 

Well, first off.......

 

Catcher. We need one. Not only someone who can hit, but also call a game. Maybe Astudillo needs to be our go to guy. Anyone on the market> Jeffers needs time at AAA.

 

I would rather see Kirilloff at first everyday than Sano. What to do with Sano.

 

I can live with Arraex Simmons and Donaldson everyday in the infield. Polanco is the reserve. No need to go out of the way to find him playing time.

 

Can Buxton play in three straight games? What to do with Kepler, but he is better than most anyone else. Are we really excited about the return of Klye Garlick and has Jake Cave kept himself on the roster? Rooker is going back to AAA.

 

Drobnak needs to start at AAA. Bring back Smeltzer if you need a long man, and decide if you want to make Thorpe a bullpen arm or stretch him out as a starter.

 

Berrios is it. Pineda is here for the year. So is Shoemaker and Happ. If any of the three pitch well, they can be traded. Maeda needs to lower his pitches...fast.

 

The bullpen.

Who can strike out batters. Stashak, Alcala.

Who should be striking out batters. Duffy.

Who strikes out batter but allows inherited runners to score: Thielbar and everyone.

Can anyone get a ground-ball out (Kintzler, but he's elsewhere).

 

The Twins need one or two guys to pitch as openers.

 

Who do they jettison to make room on the 40-man and potentially on the 25-man. Colombe? Garlick? Cave? You can't bring guys up unless you have roster spots for them, or people getting COVID.

 

What to do with Sano? Garver? 

 

I end by asking: who on the current 40-man roster do you want to see in a Twins uniform in 2022. We should start with that thought in mind and do moves accordingly!

 

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This is more the Maeda that you will see. But 6 homers in 2 games? I hope not that. Last year was a lucky hot streak. Still can't believe how people were anointing him ace and even how the management took away Berrios' opening day start for 2 hot months from the new guy.

 

Relief. Both Thielbar and Alcala come in and can't get the first batter out. Thielbar just throws it right down the middle and it only took one pitch. 

 

Free Colome. Release him immediately. Can you imagine being a teammate and having to look at him everyday? Torture. I'm not a bandwagon guy. I hated the signing.

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Maeda didn’t have a horrible game, but not a great one either. He doesn’t seem to be nearly the same guy he was last season. Location is off leading to an increase in long balls

I still like Maeda as a starter, but last year's 60 game sample was an aberration, not something that was likely to be repeated.

 

I think he'll be fine going forward...an above average starter on a great contract.

 

But not someone likely to be in any CY conversation again.

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Will need to put some more time into researching this, but for tonight I'll tackle this by listing the players on the current 40-man roster, I don't want to see for 2022:

 

C:  Garver:  Only making $1.875m this year and ARB 1 eligible next year.  He's proved that his 2019 productive season was a complete aberration.

 

Infielders:

SS- Nick Gordon:  No explanation needed

Lin & Riddle:  see comment on Gordon

 

OFers

Cave:  Like Garver, not making much, but ARB 1 eligible.  He's proved why he's nothing more than a below average 4th OFer with his abysmal season:  .182 avg with only 2 RBI in 66 ABs with an awful OPS of .538.  

Garlick:  Looking more and more like a ST wonder.  Waffle iron for a glove

Rooker:  Unless Twins find a buyer for Sano in offseason, which is highly unlikely as he's due $9.25m next year, I don't see where he fits.  His glove and arm are worse than Garlick

 

SPs

Shoemaker and Happ:  Pretty easy decision.  Making $10m this season combined. Got to think $10m could be used to find 2 veteran bullpen arms that have some life left in their arms

 

RPs

DFA tomorrow------Colome.  Pohlad won't enjoy eating his $5.6mill due for next season, but this needs to be done now!

Thielbar:  Nice story of his comeback, but he's shown the jig is up.

Shaun Anderson:  Won't be missed.  Really wonder why he was added to 40 man roster to start with.

Smeltzer:  Seems to need a change of scenery.  Respect his tenacity and fight back from cancer, but he's been given opportunities and seems to be no better than a AAAA pitcher.

 

By my count that's 13 players who could/should be gone off 40man roster heading into 2022.  Others sure to depart-----Cruz and Simmons------both unrestricted FA's next season.

 

A lot of work to do for Falvey-Levine, but hopeful that several on the current 40 man roster, namely-----Balazovic, Chalmers, Colina, Duran and Ober--------show enough in minors this season to be key pieces in 2022 or 2023.  Others on 40-man that I hope to see enough improvement from this season to contribute next year would be Ben Rortvedt © and Gilbert Celestino-OF.  Kind of surprised that Trevor Larnach isn't on current 40, but hope that he'll show enough to be in line for starting LF slot to start next year.

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