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The Twins looked as if they would continue their hot streak Tuesday, until another harrowing bullpen performance cost the team yet another winnable game. J.A. Happ delivered another strong performance against old friend Kyle Gibson.Box Score

Happ: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 K

Home Runs: Buxton (9), Astudillo (3)

Bottom 3 WPA: Waddell -.293, Rogers -.245, Polanco -.218

Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)

Download attachment: Rangers.png

 

Arraez to IL, Kirilloff Scratched

Luis Arraez was placed on the 7 day concussion IL after a home plate collision on Monday, with Nick Gordon being recalled on MiLB opening night (what does he have to do to get an at bat?) Elsewhere, hot hitting Alex Kirilloff was a late scratch from the lineup after experiencing wrist soreness which is likely to cause significant anxiety for Twins Territory until the extent of the injury is known.

Dueling Aces?

Elsewhere, the battle of the mound consisted of the Twins most effective pitcher this season against an old friend, as J.A. Happ took on Kyle Gibson. After getting rocked on opening day, Gibson has been excellent for Texas, dominating for an ERA in the low twos, in addition to not allowing a home run. That changed early Tuesday, as Byron Buxton continued his torrid season, launching a 433 foot home run into the bullpen on a sinker left up by Gibson.

Gibson then settled in, retiring nine straight Twins hitters before Mitch Garver ripped a 100 mph single to right field, continuing his encouraging trend of squaring up the ball with more consistency in recent games. Happ meanwhile, was giving up plenty of hard contact, with batted ball events with xBA of .650, .970, .930, and .500.

Tortuga Adds On

In spite of Gibson’s excellence, the Twins managed to add on in the bottom of the fifth inning. Gibson hung a slider to Willians Astudillo, who deposited it into the left field seats for his third home run of the year.

Despite not making it through the sixth inning, Happ again gave the Twins an excellent chance to win the game, lowering his ERA in 2021 to 1.91. Hansel Robles replaced Happ with a man on base and Joey Gallo at the plate. Gallo grounded out to first before Willie Calhoun struck out looking to end the inning. While Happ is due for some regression, his 3.75 xERA is an excellent return on the Twins investment so far in 2021, a product of his ability to generate consistently soft contact.

Over to the Pen

With the Twins bullpen remaining one of the biggest issues with the team currently, Robles came back out for seventh. David Dahl crushed a 103 mph line drive after a strong at bat at the top of the 7th, but made the mistake of hitting it to the area of the field covered by Byron Buxton.

Baldelli faced an interesting bullpen decision in the top of the eighth, inserting Tyler Duffey in the top of the inning, despite having thrown 24 pitchers Monday night.

Despite giving up a ground rule double, Duffey struck out Adolis Garcia before turning the ball over to Joey Gallo, who had taken Taylor Rogers deep for a two run home run on Monday night. Rogers won round two, getting Gallo to strike out swinging to end the eighth.

Rogers took the top of the ninth, and immediately served up a home run to Willie Calhoun, cutting the lead to one. Donaldson was then unable to play a Culberson ground ball to third. Culberson came around to score on a sac fly to shallow center field which Andrelton Simmons did incredibly well to snag. Solak flew out to end the inning with the score tied at three heading to the bottom of the ninth.

Extra Innings? Familiar Outcome

Joely Rodríguez entered in the bottom of the ninth for Texas, easily dispatching the heart of the Twins lineup, before Rocco Baldelli brought in Brandon Waddell for the 10th. A taxed Twins bullpen produced an outcome all too familiar and pitiful in close and late situations in 2021. Waddell served up a two run home run to Adolis Garcia. It’s telling that with almost no relievers available, Baldelli preferred Waddell to Alexander Colome. Wednesday’s game with spot starter Lewis Thorpe promises to be challenging if Thorpe struggles.

Garver singled Polanco to third to lead off the bottom of the 10th. Jake Cave then struck out, before Astudillo ground into a double play to end another late game meltdown.

What is your take on the Twins performances over the last week? How do you think the team will absorb new injuries and manage a taxed bullpen throughout the rest of the week?

Bullpen Usage Chart

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 Lewis Thorpe to the hill for a spot start against Rangers lefty Hyeon-Jong Yang. First pitch is at 6:40 CT.

 

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Bad loss. Said it in the game thread, probably 3rd worst of the year behind the shoemaker Mariners game and the game in Oakland where we scored 12 runs. The bullpen is so, so bad. It’s equally on the front office and Rocco. The options are poor, and the deployment of some of the arms (Waddell in the 10th) are inexcusable. Lineup was pretty bad tonight as well, but Gibson had his stuff today.

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One thing not being talked about enough, IMO, is just how sneakily bad the STARTING pitching has become. Heading into tonight’s game, 3rd-worse in Baseball by bWAR. We’ve entered a pattern where starts are either bad or ‘good’, but WOEFULLY short.

 

It’s the opposite of what we need...and what we thought we had going into the season.

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Waddell needs to be gone. He is not a major league pitcher.

 

And Rocco deserves that “ovation” given to him. His managerial decisions have contributed to an 11-17 start to what should’ve been a series we were supposed to compete for a world championship. He needs to right the ship, and now. Not convinced he’s capable of doing it.

 

From the game thread, any sort of relief help is a must. Shane Greene and Oliver Perez might be able to help. Call up Derek Law and NO. MORE. WADDELL.

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Even a casual Twins fan knows that Rodgers has struggled pitching two days in a row even when he was at his best..... but Ruminating Rocco you ask?

 

No...no he does not know that

 

It seems obvious to give Alaca the ball in the 10th (who did not pitch yesterday) instead of Waddell (who did and got shelled).

 

This is not hind sight being 20/20; there were people who time stamped this opinion on the game thread live time.

 

Yes the FO should have done better with the bullpen and the lineup should hit more, but Rocco simply not a good manager. He's just not. A nice man and a smart person I'm sure, but that alone does not make a good manager.

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Another bullpen loss.  They are horrible.  Well I said I wanted Waddle and they gave me Waddle in the 10th but same result as Colome so I don't know what to wish for anymore.  Our best bullpen arm blows it in the 9th.  I don't think we can survive this season with a bullpen that is this bad.  It is a shame.  We have a pretty good team but maybe this the wake up call the FO needs.  Maybe this will get the FO to look at K9 guys for the pen and stop with this goofy boot strap bullpen building.  Maybe a wasted year can get them to move this team toward dominance instead of just enough to get the job done.

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Bad loss. Said it in the game thread, probably 3rd worst of the year behind the shoemaker Mariners game and the game in Oakland where we scored 12 runs. The bullpen is so, so bad. It’s equally on the front office and Rocco. The options are poor, and the deployment of some of the arms (Waddell in the 10th) are inexcusable. Lineup was pretty bad tonight as well, but Gibson had his stuff today.

 

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Everyone saw this result coming once Rogers blew the save and they showed Waddell leaving the bullpen for the 10th. We can't afford to have two relievers in the doghouse (Colome and Alcala (despite looking better lately)) plus having the AAA project in the pen. And that's with Rogers, Duffey, Thielbar, and Stashak having their own issues. They've got to at least try to fix the pen and not pretend everything is fine. Call up Law and sign Shane Greene, and if they fail, well, I will give them credit for trying.

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Even a casual Twins fan knows that Rodgers has struggled pitching two days in a row even when he was at his best..... but Ruminating Rocco you ask?

 

No...no he does not know that

 

It seems obvious to give Alaca the ball in the 10th (who did not pitch yesterday) instead of Waddell (who did and got shelled).

 

This is not hind sight being 20/20; there were people who time stamped this opinion on the game thread live time.

 

Yes the FO should have done better with the bullpen and the lineup should hit more, but Rocco simply not a good manager. He's just not. A nice man and a smart person I'm sure, but that alone does not make a good manager.

I could not agree anymore with this post. For submitting to the so-called data-driven approach, well, we all know already that Rogers get tagged when he goes consecutive nights. That being said, bringing in Waddell in the 10th with Alcala available is really beyond my understanding. I said, "No!" twice in this game. Rogers to start the 9th and Waddell to start the 10th.

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Agree 100% with all of your comments.  After 45+ years of following this team day to day, I'm at the point, I can't/won't invest my time into this group. 

 

The "stat" that goes a long way into showing how BAD this team is with their bullpen and offense was mentioned by Bremer after Rogers coughed up the lead in the 9th. The Twins have been outscored 17-1 in the 9th inning this year.  Not a misprint. 17-1.  Making things even worse-------like we need that-------when you factor in the 6 extra inning losses with the Twins being outscored 11-2 (just in the 10th inning) they've now been outscored in the 9th and 10th inning 28-3.  Yes, 28-3.

 

Where is Falvey's accountability in this fiasco?  His decision to bring Colome in.  His decision to do NOTHING to upgrade bullpen by bringing in a quality LH RP.  Please don't tell me Thielbar and Thorpe are the answer.  Other than the dumpster dive signing of Robles, who's had his ups and downs, Falvey's offseason work is worthy of a FAILING grade.

 

 

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On a brighter note...........we need that don't we after ANOTHER blown game, other than the Saints loss at Omaha our other 3 affiliates all won tonight!!

 

Wichita (AA) beat Springfield (STL) 2-0------scoring 2 runs in 8th.  Josh Winder with 4.2 shutout IP with 6K's and only 1 BB allowed.   Headed to Springfield tomorrow morning to see the next 2 games for the Wind Surge.  Hoping to see Cole Sands and Dakota Chalmers pitch the next 2 nights.

 

Our CR Kernels broke out the bats with some early runs and coasted to a 7-0 win over the Peoria (STL) Chiefs.

 

And finally...... our low A- Fort Myers Mussells came back with a 4-run 9th inning (imagine that...it is allowed to score in the 9th inning!!)  to overcome a 3-2 deficit to beat Bradenton 6-3.  

 

At this point-------this is where my attention and investment will be.

 

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I cannot comment on the BP - that has been covered - but isn't it time to say thanks for the memories and bid Jake Cave adios?  Couldn't Larnach, Rooker...do as well or better than cave?

 

And I have seen  snippy comments - yes I said snippy - about Astudillo, but look at what he has done this year.  He is actually one of our bright spots!  

 

Lets hope Arraez is better quickly, that Polanco is moved to Utility, that Cave is sent down, that Kiriloff starts every day - some where.

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Someone didn't read that Rogers can't pitch back-to-back. Be glad he got the one out and move on.

 

But to whom? You got a friggin' closer you are afraid to use. Gotta blame the front office on this one.

 

The Twins have no bullpen arms that can stand having a runnenr at second. Why the lefty? Who pitched horribly the night before? Well, okay, because your choices aren't all that great beyond Alcala who may be the closest the Twins have in a future closer in a rebuilding team.

 

They need a closer. They left the gate open and Trevor May moved onto the Mets. This guy might've turned the corner if he had stayed a Twin. Only hope is Duffey stops screwing around and uses the arsenal he did last year.

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Worst possible denouement. Rogers is hopeless, and as soon as I saw *Wadell - I turned off the game. Falvey and Levine failed all of us, and I have no faith that Baldelli will ever make a smart move, do something inventive, motivate the team emotionally. I don't hate the guy like I did Gardenhire, but, they should fire him - he's an incompetent.

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Waddell needs to be gone. He is not a major league pitcher.

And Rocco deserves that “ovation” given to him. His managerial decisions have contributed to an 11-17 start to what should’ve been a series we were supposed to compete for a world championship. He needs to right the ship, and now. Not convinced he’s capable of doing it.

From the game thread, any sort of relief help is a must. Shane Greene and Oliver Perez might be able to help. Call up Derek Law and NO. MORE. WADDELL.

 

Yep..and Rocco's decision tonight tells me he's the same manager from the 2019 post season. I don't trust him.

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I said 2 months ago the bullpen wasn't going to be good enough, and I got quite a bit of pushback.

 

Well? What say youse guys now?

 

As to this game, plenty of blame to go around, as has been all too common, but I'll point a finger at Rocco for sending Rogers out for the 9th. Not only back to back games, but a second inning as well. Stupid, although I admit the alternatives aren't that attractive.

 

I'm afraid it's probably too late. You can't rebuild a bullpen in April/May from outside the organization, and there's no help in St Paul.

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