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Game Recap: Twins 6, Rangers 5


Kirilloff brought his bat. Donaldson and Simmons brought their gloves. Bullpen gave up runs but the Twins still win.Box Score

Starter: Kenta Maeda 5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K

Home Runs: None

Top 3 WPA: Maeda .303, Polanco .142, Kirilloff .090

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):

 

Download attachment: chart-4.png

 

Maeda had to Grind, Punches Out 8

 

As has been the theme for Maeda this season, he once again seemed to be fighting his control throughout the game. At least for tonight he was able to find a way to exit the game with a “0” next to the Rangers name on the scoreboard. It took some timely strikeouts to help the Twins starter get there.

 

Maeda fought his way through a big at-bat in the second as he faced Joey Gallo. After falling behind 3-0, Maeda was able to work back to strike Gallo out. It took another big strikeout to get Maeda out of a third inning that left two runners in scoring position.

 

What was especially encouraging about Maeda’s start was after a long bottom of the third offensively for the Twins, the righty seemed to come back with a different sense of control. He turned in a big 1-2-3 fourth inning and a good fifth inning as well. Maeda’s control still needs work, but it was valuable for Maeda to give the Twins a start in which he put the team in position to work towards a win.

 

Kirilloff Drives the Offense

 

It wasn’t only Kirilloff who had his bat going Monday night, but his bat did seem to be the catalyst on a night when the Twins scored five runs. The rookie paired a second inning double with aggressive base running on a Gallo errant throw to score the Twins first run of the game.

 

Kirilloff also helped spark the three-run sixth inning with another double hit to left field off of left-handed reliever Kolby Allard.

 

 

Arraez Goes 1st to Shin Guard

 

In a pivotal but strange moment of the third inning, Donaldson lined a double down the left field line. Arraez got going hard from first to score and ended up having Rangers catcher Trevino catch the ball right above him as he began his slide into home. If you didn’t see it you simply need to watch it below. After initially being called out the call was overturned as Trevino never actually placed a tag on Arraez.

 

 

Donaldson, Simmons flash their leather

 

As Maeda struggled with his control, there were plenty of instances where a grounder through a hole or a defensive miscue could have seen the Rangers plate several runs. Instead of that, Donaldson and Simmons (outside of the ninth inning throw) showed us exactly why the Twins wanted to upgrade the infield defense the past two offseasons. Both turned in some excellent plays.

 

 

Bullpen Makes it Interesting

 

At this point it just doesn’t seem like a Twins game without some bullpen shenanigans. In fairness the Twins needed to try and see Waddell in a game and it unfortunately just did not go well for him as the Rangers scored three in the inning he started. Rogers needs to be able to get batters like Gallo out, but he is one of the more powerful bats in the league.

 

In the end, Rogers got the final out and the Twins got the win. We as fans will continue to wonder how the Twins can avoid these sort of bullpen outings in the future.

 

 

Postgame Interview

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

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

 

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When Simmons's throw bounced under Kirilloff's glove, I thought, "Herbie would have got that." So would Justin Morneau, or Mauer. Time for K to field a thousand more jugs balls fired at the ground around 1st base. Gotta keep that bat in the lineup.

 

I feel a little bad for Jake Cave. He's got the look of a guy that's soon to be replaced by Garlick or somebody else. 

 

Anybody else think Arraez battle at home plate looked familiar? 

 

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Good news... No Colome!!!!  (so that's a start)....

 

Bad news....YIKES! the bullpen could certainly torpedo the entire season, and fast

 

More bad news... The delay in MiLB start has also probably delayed our ability to assess for emergency substitutions in house. I'm sure there will be a 'hot hand' or two down there but by the time we find them the season could be over!

 

Awesome News: Buxton and Kirilloff alone will make this a worthwhile team to follow. If Cruz and Donaldson healthy....and Arraez....in support...FUN!

 

It is a horrible realization though, that even a fully clicking line up would  not be able to make up for THAT bullpen.

 

 

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Well hopefully tonight is a blip in the radar for the pen going forward...

 

Waddell is not a major league pitcher. He has little to no control, and throws 85. Enough said.

 

When you only have four decent relievers it’s hard to get around. Perhaps Thorpe could be a long reliever. Caleb Thielbar is also not a major league pitcher, I think that’s been said enough.

 

Glad the offense is clicking though.

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For those keeping score, Eddie Rosario is costing the Indians $8M this year.  He currently has a .603 OPS on a .267 OBP and .337 SLG, with a 68 wRC+.  He makes hard contact less than a third of the time, and is still swinging at 42% of pitches outside of the zone, all while being a negative defensively.  I think we made the right decision to go to Kiriloff/Arraez.

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I am probably alone in seeing more positives here.   Twins can't win all their games by 5 or more.    They haven't just been losing games late because of bad relief pitching.  They have also lost because of bad fielding and not adding runs on late.      I had a great high school coach that used to say you don't learn much in blow out wins and blowout losses.   Its the close games, win or lose, that test you and help you figure out how to play in those games.  .   The Twins need to have close games to figure out how to win close games.    Give credit to Duffy for limiting one run in the 8th.  Give credit to Rogers for closing out the game despite the error and despite bending with the two run homer.  Give credit to Polanco for driving in the much needed insurance run.  I've seen the Twins fans be down on the pen before many times and then certain guys step up and right the ship.     Winning a close game is more important to this team right now than winning a game by 5.  Just my opinion.  

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I can finally comment as we saw the game here in Japan. (This was my first complete game watched.)

 

Maeken struggled a little with his control--especially the slider, but he had very good movement on his pitches. I told my wife before the game that I thought he would pitch much better in the game. It is great to have Simmons, Buxton and Donaldson in the field. Polanco is still an incredible liability in the field and is the reason Simmons got the error. Polanco was slow to cover the bag so Simmons had to rush to the bag and throw it off balance. He also dropped the pop-up. Arraez may be slower but personally, I'd feel more comfortable with him at second.

 

Rogers looked fine to me. His fastball had 'pop,' which was something that was missing last year. Sure he gave up a homerun to Gallo, but it was actually a pretty good pitch (not even a strike). Long is the list of those who have coughed up a homer to Gallo. Sometimes you just have to bow and say 'Well done.' On the other hand, Thielbar and Stashak were not impressive to me at all. I never felt safe with either of them in the game. Thielbar had decent movement, but he left many pitches up in the strike zone. Stashak just looks like a mediocre pitcher with decent control. (I withhold my comments on Waddell. It looked like he had decent stuff. The pitch to Garcia was in exactly the same place as the previous pitch. I don't know if this was the catcher's call or his poor location.)

 

The Rangers have a very slow outfield and the Twins took advantage of their sloppy play.

 

Kirilloff looked great at the plate (just as comfortable against southpaws as righties) and Polanco/Kepler seem to be swinging the bat better as well.

 

It's good to watch a win. I never doubted after the Twins tacked on an insurance run.

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For those keeping score, Eddie Rosario is costing the Indians $8M this year.  He currently has a .603 OPS on a .267 OBP and .337 SLG, with a 68 wRC+.  He makes hard contact less than a third of the time, and is still swinging at 42% of pitches outside of the zone, all while being a negative defensively.  I think we made the right decision to go to Kiriloff/Arraez.

Few posters have been more negative than me during the early going, but I never got the “miss rosario yet?” stuff. It was way beyond time to move on from him, regardless of how poorly some of his replacements have been doing. The errant swings, the unpredictable and very sloppy defense, the lollygagging...Seemed like a nice guy but I was over it as some other posters were

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 .

When you only have four decent relievers it’s hard to get around. Perhaps Thorpe could be a long reliever. Caleb Thielbar is also not a major league pitcher, I think that’s been said enough.
 

Who has said that and why I wonder.   8.5 SO/9.   2.73 ERA in his career in 129 innings..  Tonight he gave up a walk and a double but didn't let them score.     I'm not saying he's great but major leaguers do give up runs.   This year he has 1 bad outing in a blow out loss.   That's it, against 8 good outings.   

 

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Well hopefully tonight is a blip in the radar for the pen going forward...

Waddell is not a major league pitcher. He has little to no control, and throws 85. Enough said.

When you only have four decent relievers it’s hard to get around. Perhaps Thorpe could be a long reliever. Caleb Thielbar is also not a major league pitcher, I think that’s been said enough.

Glad the offense is clicking though.

His fastball actually touched 94, but he mostly threw his slider for some reason. Gameday says 4 of his 15 pitches were fastballs ranging from 92 to 94.

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Tough to comment, after a win.  But...Rangers are bad.  Duffey not the same.  Rogers not the same since 2018.  Holding out for Alcala, well he's way too inconsistent. Even with the emphasis on defense this year, it has been nothing short of terrible. Kirilloff does not inspire at first, but at least he's hitting.

 

A win is a win, but this is not how we drew this up.  Win Twins

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Not the prettiest ending, but a win is a win that is 4 out of 5!  Really nice to see Jorge hitting the ball hard and Alex continuing to smash.  Very nice to know that Buck can have an off night at the plate and they can still pull out wins.

 

A little worried about Arraez, hoping the concussion symptoms go away.  They will surely miss his bat atop the lineup if he has to miss any extended period. 

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I am probably alone in seeing more positives here.   Twins can't win all their games by 5 or more.    They haven't just been losing games late because of bad relief pitching.  They have also lost because of bad fielding and not adding runs on late.      I had a great high school coach that used to say you don't learn much in blow out wins and blowout losses.   Its the close games, win or lose, that test you and help you figure out how to play in those games.  .   The Twins need to have close games to figure out how to win close games.    Give credit to Duffy for limiting one run in the 8th.  Give credit to Rogers for closing out the game despite the error and despite bending with the two run homer.  Give credit to Polanco for driving in the much needed insurance run.  I've seen the Twins fans be down on the pen before many times and then certain guys step up and right the ship.     Winning a close game is more important to this team right now than winning a game by 5.  Just my opinion.  

 

 

I would like to give credit, but Duffey came in the game with a runner on first and 1 out, and gave up a double on a meaty 75 mph knuckle curve on the third pitch. He gifted Waddell a run. And Rogers? Getting the easiest closing opportunity ... a 3 run lead to start the 9th...... These guys made it a close game. It wasn't a close game until Duffey and Rogers made it a close game. I will give them credit when the come in the game and shut it down, not when they turn the faucet up.

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Official score is a Simmons error, and it was, but it is Kirilloff's fault, eh? I'm not saying that official scoring is great (outfielders can literally drop a fly ball that they get to in stride, it even hits the base of the glove and not the tip, and it is scored a hit instead of an error just because they have to run a long way, as we see pretty often now - and twice today). Kirilloff saved Simmons from a second throwing error in this game. when he couldn't decide to run to second or throw it to first. Both of the Simmons' throws in question he made on the run.... both were his responsibility.

 

"Donaldson and Simmons brought their gloves."

I would hope Simmons shows us arm that matches his glove. He has 3 errors already this season. Could have had four. I would much rather see Kirilloff at first than Sano. I guess those that think Kirilloff sucks defensively didn't see him pick that throw that put the finishing touch on Donaldson's play and made it a highlight instead of a Donaldson throwing error.

 

Sure was a relief to squeak this one out.

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Rogers is awful. Still. And so is most the pen. Yeah, a win, but how many times will we have a 'closer' get a 3 run lead in the 9th and still make it a nail biter?

Kirilloff over Sano? Wouldn't make me sad at all. Until Kirilloff goes into a major slump at the plate, you ride that horse every game. I believe Sano is expendable...maybe Twins could get an arm to two for him?

 

Sano fans say its just about time for him to go on a tear. And that could be true, except throughout his career, the 'tears' don't last long. But thats why I'm not the GM. Only a fan! Right now though, the pen is the major headache. Nearly no one is doing the job, when it matters. 5-0 lead late and a final score of 6-5 just won't do, if this team is to compete.

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When Simmons's throw bounced under Kirilloff's glove, I thought, "Herbie would have got that." So would Justin Morneau, or Mauer.

 

Yikes, you are being pretty hard on an outfielder who's only played a handful of games at 1B in the major leagues. I watched most of the game and Kirilloff made 3 scoops on throws from Donaldson, Simmons and Polanco. I thought he looked really good defensively and so far I like the offense we are finally getting from 1st base. Offense, yeah, that's something we have not seen from that position on a regular basis since Herbie, Morneau or Mauer.

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I usually feel relieved and happy when the Twins win. This was one of those games that, despite the win, I didn't feel too great.

 

Rangers awful defense gave this game away - a team with even middling speed in the OF would have caught or cut off many of those balls. Even with Texas giving this team every advantage, the bullpen nearly blew it.

 

There seem to be no arms in the bullpen that can get this done. They look awful from top to bottom. Rocco needs to realize that a 5-0 lead right now is the same as a 1-0 lead: it's precarious.

 

Here's hoping Kirilloff stays hot. Great to see Donaldson heating up. Remember, he's the highest paid guy on the team and he is supposed to be our best player. Think about that: we've been talking about Cruz and Buxton for the last couple years, meanwhile Donaldson is the guy who's supposed to be our superstar. We really need him to keep this up if the Twins are going to have a chance to stay in these ballgames.

 

Maeda looked decent, can't complain about zero runs and 8K over 5+.

 

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