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The Twins exploded in the third inning and tacked on more in the sixth to take the three-game set against the division leading Royals. Check out today’s game recap for a dive into the days events.Box Score

Berríos: 6.0 IP,6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 9 K

Home Runs: Simmons (1), Garver (5), Kirlloff (4)

Top 3 WPA: Simmons .195, Berríos .132, Arraez .097

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):

Download attachment: chart (1).png

 

Berríos Struggles through Six

I’m being tough on Berríos but considering the expectations we have for him and having a seven-run cushion in the third inning, I’d call today a disappointment. Berríos was cruising through three, as he had set down five consecutive Royals with strikeouts and needed only 34 pitches (80% strike percentage) to do so. Then came the extended delay thanks to an offensive explosion by the Twins and Berríos was not able to regain the efficiency and rhythm he had.

Twins Daily’s own John Bonnes and Nick Nelson hit the nail on the head with their comments regarding the 26-year old rightie and, in my opinion, this is what keeps his ceiling below that of an “ace” or even a true #1 starter on a team that’s supposed to be contending for a World Series. Specifically in innings four and five, where he gave up four earned runs, he was consistently getting behind hitters and running two and three ball counts by throwing strikes at just a 56% clip.

 

Twins Offense Takes Advantage of Royals Miscues

Good things happen when you hit the ball hard and the Twins did PLENTY of that today owning 10 of the top 12 hardest hit balls on the day.

 

On top of Hunter Dozier’s back-to-back errors in the third inning, the Twins had multiple line drives to the outfield that are not technically errors but were misjudged and landed for extra bases. Even on Dozier’s first error, Josh Donaldson’s exit velocity was 96.7 mph on the batted ball which made it very difficult to handle despite being hit right at the third basemen.

 

Arguably the best development of the day (and weekend), is that Mitch Garver is starting to “heat up” as Twins Daily’s own Andrew Gebo put it.

On top of hitting his 5th home run of the season today, he had exit velocities of 97.3, 107.2, and 108.5 today going 2-for-4.

 

Okay maybe this is the best development of the weekend ... KIRILLOFF HAS ARRIVED. The rookie smashed another no-doubt home run in the bottom of the 8th inning. He ended the weekend with four home runs and nine RBI’s.

 

Twins Win their First Series Since April 5-7 in Detroit

It’s been a rough month for the Twins, especially considering the World Series expectations that the organization, fans, local, and national media had for the club when the season started. Despite getting rocked on Saturday, it’s encouraging to see the offense start to click with 84% of the season still ahead of them.

 

Postgame Interview

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

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

 

Click here to view the article

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I wish they would stop the BS about exit velocity. Much of that comes from the pitcher anyway. A sports group that I zoom with was talking about how boring baseball has become and all the wasted stats that cause many good hitters to swing for the fences, strike out way more than they need to, and fail to do the little things anymore by trying to hit over a shift. We also exchanged ideas about how to make baseball exciting- pitch clock, move the mound back, have a designated runner and eliminate the shift among other ideas tossed around.

 

Lets keep up the good offense.

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Kirilloff may present the Twins with some food for thought. While he also strikes out a lot, could he be the new regular 1B..relegating Sano to spot starting or even to being traded? Will be interesting to see what develops over the next couple of weeks. I feel the Twins will be starting Kirilloff everyday to see what he's got. He just might make Sano a spare part. I suppose its a nice problem to have.

 

I'd like to see Donaldson produce more runs, but not complaining. Is Garver finally putting it together? Time will tell. Agree on the assessment of Barrios. This has been his issue throughout his career...even down in Rochester, it was the same thing. He's lights out for several innings but then completely loses it.

(remember when he had to be taken out after 4 2/3 innings when the Twins were up something like 14-0 and he just couldn't get the outs needed to get the easy win)

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Kirilloff may present the Twins with some food for thought. While he also strikes out a lot, could he be the new regular 1B..relegating Sano to spot starting or even to being traded? Will be interesting to see what develops over the next couple of weeks. I feel the Twins will be starting Kirilloff everyday to see what he's got. He just might make Sano a spare part. I suppose its a nice problem to have.

 

I'd like to see Donaldson produce more runs, but not complaining. Is Garver finally putting it together? Time will tell. Agree on the assessment of Barrios. This has been his issue throughout his career...even down in Rochester, it was the same thing. He's lights out for several innings but then completely loses it.

(remember when he had to be taken out after 4 2/3 innings when the Twins were up something like 14-0 and he just couldn't get the outs needed to get the easy win)

For now, Kirilloff is going to be in LF while Sano returns to 1B. I think in the future Alex will become the full-time 1B, but they're going to give Sano every chance they can.

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Unrelated, but I wanted to check on how Akil "The next Babe Ruth" Baddoo was doing for the Tigers. He's hitting .203 with a .750 OPS.

Yeah, .750 OPS in the big leagues is really good - especially since he'd be starting in AA this week. He's slugging .545 against the best pitchers in the world. 

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I wish they would stop the BS about exit velocity. Much of that comes from the pitcher anyway.

 

This is simply not true. It has been studied by physicists, and one study I read said that only about 15% of the exit velocity is dependent on the speed of the pitch, with the remaining 85% coming from the batter. A good example is home run derbies, where most of the pitches come in at 70mph or less, yet they produce some of the furthest hit balls you'll see. Exit velocity helps us see how squarely a ball was hit, and it's a pretty good indicator of power. It's why we all knew Kirilloff was about to break out of his slump even though he started off 0-15.

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For now, Kirilloff is going to be in LF while Sano returns to 1B. I think in the future Alex will become the full-time 1B, but they're going to give Sano every chance they can.

 

I've said this before, but Sano needs to do on a LLLLLLLLOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGG rehab assignment before he returns.

 

Give AK, Arraez, and Polanco (with a little bit of Tortuga tossed in) the at bats while manning LF, 2B and 1B for a while.

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I may be the only one, but I feel like the Twins have already given Sano too many chances.

 

Sanó has been more valuable at the plate than Polanco over his career and since the beginning of 2019 as well. I would like to see Sanó replace Polanco in the lineup when he returns. I think Polanco's best role at the moment would be as the super-utility guy that starts 3-4 times a week at 2B/3B/SS. I certainly don't want him getting more starts than Arraez at this point.

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I've said this before, but Sano needs to do on a LLLLLLLLOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGG rehab assignment before he returns.

 

Give AK, Arraez, and Polanco (with a little bit of Tortuga tossed in) the at bats while manning LF, 2B and 1B for a while.

You'd give Astudillo at-bats over Sano? Really??

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Yeah, .750 OPS in the big leagues is really good - especially since he'd be starting in AA this week. He's slugging .545 against the best pitchers in the world. 

A closer look shows that Baddoo has 4 hits in his last 39 at bats, for an average of .102. No home runs, 2 doubles, and 23 strike outs.

 

To say he's plummeted back to earth is an understatement.

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For now, Kirilloff is going to be in LF while Sano returns to 1B. I think in the future Alex will become the full-time 1B, but they're going to give Sano every chance they can.

I think you're right about this. Is it too much to dream that Sano and/or Polanco come back strong and are traded for serious prospect capital at the deadline? That's my aspiration were I the GM.

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I don't think it's a coincidence that they are getting healthy and suddenly putting up runs again. Couple that with Garver and Kirilloff coming alive and suddenly the offense looks about like what we expected it'd be.

 

It's only one series, but a good early and important test for both clubs. Good to see our squad come out on top.

 

Hopefully, they can build on it and get the bullpen figured out.

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I like this recap much better, thank you. First, about the Sano situation. Ain't no way Sano is bumping Kirilloff from the batting order. K's bat has made that decision already. At this point I could see the Twins cutting Cave (still a good 4th OF) to keep Kirilloff or Garlick in LF when Sano gets back, with plenty of time off for the big guy to play DH or spell Donaldson at 3rd. The bats I saw today were terrifying, and would have been even more so with Garlick in LF instead of Cave. 

 

I had no idea Andrelton Simmons could hit a baseball that far. I wonder if Max Kepler could learn a few things about power hitting by watching Alex Kirilloff in the batting cage. When you compare the two, Kepler's style looks downright dainty compared to the manly rips Kirilloff takes. 

 

Relief pitching: This game provided some much-needed low leverage relief pitching. Hansel Robles took advantage to flash some good stuff, but the real winner was Jorge Alcala, who looks like he's starting to believe in himself. Alcala has the stuff to be a lights-out closer, and he showed that stuff today. Bank this experience for future, tighter games. 

 

Prediction: Ben Rortvedt is going to develop into one hell of a good catcher, including a good hitter. That kid looks like a dominant athlete. However, his hit tool will take a long time to develop. Luckily, he can now watch an entire team full of baseball mashers, and decide which ones to model his swing after. I recommend Kirilloff.

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Loving Kirilloff's emergence like everyone else.

 

But since everyone is also talking about Baddoo, let's remember his hot start. The league made adjustments. Sano has had streaks like Kirilloff is having now in his rookie year. The league made adjustments.

 

Before we ditch Polanco and Sano and whoever else because Kirilloff is now good enough to replace them, let's remember that pitching coaches and scouts all over MLB are looking for weaknesses in his swing.

 

He's impressed but it won't be this easy for him moving forward.

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I wish they would stop the BS about exit velocity. Much of that comes from the pitcher anyway. A sports group that I zoom with was talking about how boring baseball has become and all the wasted stats that cause many good hitters to swing for the fences, strike out way more than they need to, and fail to do the little things anymore by trying to hit over a shift. We also exchanged ideas about how to make baseball exciting- pitch clock, move the mound back, have a designated runner and eliminate the shift among other ideas tossed around.

 

Lets keep up the good offense.

According to the data, little exit velocity comes from the pitcher. You can find studies on line if you want.

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I think you're right about this. Is it too much to dream that Sano and/or Polanco come back strong and are traded for serious prospect capital at the deadline? That's my aspiration were I the GM.

 

That is too much to dream.

 

Because in a dream scenario where the Twins have too many good players (not such thing, btw), other teams will lowball because it's perceived that the Twins have to get rid of somebody. 

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