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José Berríos struggled, the bullpen struggled, the lineup struggled, but other than that, this one went great!

Box score
José Berríos: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB (1 HBP), 1 K
Home Runs: Donaldson (3)
Bottom 3 WPA: Duffey -.295, Rortvedt -.202, Sano -.146
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs😞

ccs-12465-0-83310700-1620517285.png

 

It’s often difficult to find words to describe déjà vu and déjà vu-like experiences.

Sometimes it’s a nagging feeling in the back of the mind. Sometimes it takes the form of a word on the tip of the tongue that simply refuses to be uttered. Sometimes still it’s an unexplained, yet ominous, pit resting comfortably in the stomach.

The Minnesota Twins are not causing their fans to experience déjà vu. They’re trapping them in a real-life manifestation of Groundhog Day.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Minnesota Twins fell to the Detroit Tigers Saturday afternoon thanks to an offense that struggled to cash in runners when they were in scoring position and a bullpen that caved in on itself.

We are Bill Murray.

 

Berríos struggles with command

José Berríos - who ultimately did see his ERA drop slightly — was unusually dull on the mound. He clearly did not have his best stuff working and struggled with locating his pitches, resulting in him not earning his strikeout until his 104th — and last — pitch of the game.

His start on Saturday would have been the longest of his career without recording a strikeout had he not gotten Jake Rogers to chase an off-speed pitch out of the zone in the bottom of the sixth inning. Had Berríos not done so, it would have been his first start since 2018 without registering a punchout.

However, if there is a bright side to look on, it’s that Berríos was largely able to battle through his struggles and keep the Twins within reach. As intrepid co-founder of Twins Daily John Bonnes pointed on Twitter, doing so consistently is perhaps the greatest hurdle Berríos has yet to climb en route to developing into a true ace-level starter.

Unfortunately for the Twins, relievers Tyler Duffey and Derek Law didn’t have their best stuff either. The two combined to pitch the final two innings of the game, striking out two, walking four and allowing five runs to cross the plate. As a staff, the Twins struck out three and walked nine, which is not conducive for winning baseball.

Offensive woes continue

Josh Donaldson — who also doubled — hit his third home run of the season, while Jorge Polanco, Jake Cave and Kyle Garlick doubled, however, that was largely the extent of the team’s offensive output.

The Twins stranded 16 runners on base and were a combined 1-for-14 as a team with runners in scoring position. Again, not exactly a performance that will lead to many victories.

Larnach makes his MLB debut

On a more positive note, Trevor Larnach — who recently spoke with Twins Daily — made his Major League debut Saturday afternoon, going 0-for-4 — three of which had runners in scoring position, hence the -.143 WPA — with a HBP. However, as was often the case with Alex Kirilloff during his first handful of games, the numbers are a little misleading.

Larnach hit one ball that registered an exit velocity of 107.4 mph with a .420 xBA, according to Baseball Savant; a diving Jonathan Schoop at first base was the lone force that prevented it from being an RBI double.

Up next

The Twins will look to win the series Sunday afternoon in the rubber match with the Tigers. First pitch is scheduled for 12:10 p.m. CT and will feature Kenta Maeda (2-2, 5.02 ERA) going up against Matt Boyd (2-3, 2.27 ERA).

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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I want to hear from Wes Johnson. Why are even our good relievers breaking down every game? I don’t think betting on Taylor Rogers and Tyler Duffey being reliable late was a terrible decision. If you think it was, go ahead and tell me. How about Stashak? Was 2020 just a fluke? Or has he completely lost his control? Colome needs no introduction.

 

Edgar Varela (the hitting coach) NEEDS TO GO after this season. Ever since he took over, we have seen nothing but relentless underachieving and bad performance from the hitters. Not having a bench coach could cause a start like this, so I’d hire a bench coach too this offseason.

 

This is frustrating. If we were serious about getting back in this thing, we needed to sweep Detroit. And instead we’re making them look competitive.

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Count me in also regarding hearing from Wes Johnson regarding the continued implosion of this bullpen as well as the far too frequent struggles of Berrios.  I really wonder with Berrios is it a "I'm good Wes, I'm gonna do it MY WAY"--a reluctance to accept coaching/ tweaks to his game.

 

Saying that, Berrios is far from our biggest concern.

 

I will take my responsibility for wanting to see what Derek Law had to offer after a good ST.  After today, ughh!  Next man up, but who??

 

This takes me back to the man ultimately responsible for this mess of a bullpen-----Derrick Falvey.   Living out of Twin Cities area so I need to ask-----have I missed the media surrounding this team QUESTIONING Falvey on this topic?  Knowing how things operate as a fan for 40+ years, I'd guess its a combination of 2 things:

1.  The "Minnesota Nice" approach--Never question the team leaders regardless of how awful things have become.

2.  Maybe more likely----------when things turn sour, our mgmt/GM "ghosts out"-----Away from team. Unavailable for comment.  Fill in the blank____________.

 

As mentioned, this "Groundhog Day" season justs keeps running on a loop.  Not surprised at all to see Twins have 16 LOB today.  A 1-14 effort by our overvalued and overrated hitters with RISP used to make my blood boil and chairs flipped over.  Not anymore.  Not worth the investment.  

 

Bummer to see Larnach have a rough MLB debut, but I believe much better days are ahead for this young man.  Only positive was seeing Donaldson have a good day with 2 extra base hits.  

 

My life has been a lot better since I "separated myself" from this team 2+ weeks ago--the MELTDOWN against Oakland in extra innings.  No longer do I tune in the game on FSN on a daily basis to invest 3+ hours of my life.  I check a score here and there or maybe flip over to see what score is, but no MORE time and faith commitment to this team this season.  

 

Spending a lot more time paying attention to prospects in minors.  Just returned from 2 days this past week watching Wichita Wind Surge play at Springfield.  Nice to see the Surge off to a 3-1 start as seeing our high A team--CR Kernels play well.  Life ...and my blood pressure.....is much better.

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Count me in also regarding hearing from Wes Johnson regarding the continued implosion of this bullpen as well as the far too frequent struggles of Berrios.  I really wonder with Berrios is it a "I'm good Wes, I'm gonna do it MY WAY"--a reluctance to accept coaching/ tweaks to his game.

 

Saying that, Berrios is far from our biggest concern.

 

I will take my responsibility for wanting to see what Derek Law had to offer after a good ST.  After today, ughh!  Next man up, but who??

 

This takes me back to the man ultimately responsible for this mess of a bullpen-----Derrick Falvey.   Living out of Twin Cities area so I need to ask-----have I missed the media surrounding this team QUESTIONING Falvey on this topic?  Knowing how things operate as a fan for 40+ years, I'd guess its a combination of 2 things:

1.  The "Minnesota Nice" approach--Never question the team leaders regardless of how awful things have become.

2.  Maybe more likely----------when things turn sour, our mgmt/GM "ghosts out"-----Away from team. Unavailable for comment.  Fill in the blank____________.

 

I wasn’t just referring to Berrios with Johnson. I don’t think Falvey did a good job but I don’t think he gets 100% of the blame for the pen. It seems like Johnson broke pretty much every reliever.

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Sad and bad loss. The hitters hit the ball hard and had plenty of opportunities against some very poor pitchers and never came through. Nice to see Polo getting hot once again, as a positive. Larnach hit the ball hard a few times as well. Sano is so lost right now and is easily the least confident at bat no matter the lineup as a fan. I think you have to give willians a few chances while AK is gone, he gets a bad rap from some, but his numbers are much better than Miggys. Berrios certainly wasn’t right today, but he battled and did enough to win. Duffey has been such a disappointment. Law was set up for failure coming into that situation. The bats can heat up and the pitchers can start going deeper into games, but with this collection of bullpen arms right now, no lead feels comfortable even against the Tigers.

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The way to fix this.  Fire Rocco, bring in Rowson as manager.  he has a chance of fixing the hitting.  That will take care of many issues.  These current hitting coaches are a joke.

 

If you're talking about fixing the hitting, Varela is the guy to fire. He took over Rowson's spot in 2020.

 

 

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The Twins seem like losers.

 

The stars that they have brought in for veteran leadership (e.g., Cruz and Donaldson) haven't really had a record of ever winning championships. The youngsters don't seem to play at their best under pressure. The team always seems to find a way to lose despite sometimes having great statistics and advanced metrics.

 

Contrasts: Jack Morris. He never had gaudy statistics and I'd bet that his advanced metrics were poor. But he was a winner. He dominated in the pressure situations and had a winning personality that made his teammates into winners. I don't think that the Twins have anyone like that right now. Puckett and Hrbek: They found a way to win. Kirby put the team on his shoulders in 1991 and Hrbek put Ron Gant on his shoulders in order to win. Gagne faked out Lonnie Smith coming around second and probably saved a game.

 

Who on this club is a winner or inspires a winning attitude in his teammates?

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The way to fix this. Fire Rocco, bring in Rowson as manager. he has a chance of fixing the hitting. That will take care of many issues. These current hitting coaches are a joke.

None of those things will fix the bullpen though.
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This bullpen, collectively, has got to be one of the WORST in Twins history through 32 games.  This would include the group (my high schools days) when the legendary, RD, was our closer.

 

Saying that, this squirt gun of an offense (yes I know Kirilloff, Arraez and Buxton are on IL) continues to give us nearly no chance to WIN as our 3 runs today---was the 19th time in 32 games (59.4% of games played) that our collection of "hitters" (using that term very loosely) scored 3 runs (or less) this season.

 

Realize its true for most all MLB teams........the winning % soars when scoring 4+ runs, but its even more true for Twins as they are 9-4 when scoring 4+ runs.  Record should be 12-1-------as 3 of those losses------Opening Day Colome meltdown in 9th, bullpen meltdown vs. SEA a few weeks ago (leading 6-0) in 6th and the never to be forgotten 13-12 loss to Oakland---were all games that can be blamed on Rocco and our gas can of a bullpen.

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Focusing on the "positives for the day":

 

SP Saints were crushind Omaha 8-1 before game suspended in 5th inning. 

#24 prospect, Bailey Ober, had a decent start going 3 IP allowing only 1 ER while recording 3 K's.  Ryan Jeffers went 1-2 with 2 RBI and a walk.  Keon Broxton---time to get him up to play CF with Buxton's extended time on IL-----is hitting well so far, .333 avg with .845 OPS

 

Wichita Wind Surge keep rolling!  9-3 winner over Springfield to improve to 4-1.  Although not a good night for Dakota Chalmers, hitters throughout lineup continue to rake!  Jose Miranda (3-6) to raise average to .391; Aaron Whitefield went 2-5 to raise average to .455.  Even more encouraging, Gilberto Celestino finally broke out of his slump going 2-4 with an RBI.

 

Surge batters with RISP:  8-24........not a great %, but considering what the "big boys" did today in Detroit---quite impressive.

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The Twins seem like losers.

 

The stars that they have brought in for veteran leadership (e.g., Cruz and Donaldson) haven't really had a record of ever winning championships. The youngsters don't seem to play at their best under pressure. The team always seems to find a way to lose despite sometimes having great statistics and advanced metrics.

 

Contrasts: Jack Morris. He never had gaudy statistics and I'd bet that his advanced metrics were poor. But he was a winner. He dominated in the pressure situations and had a winning personality that made his teammates into winners. I don't think that the Twins have anyone like that right now. Puckett and Hrbek: They found a way to win. Kirby put the team on his shoulders in 1991 and Hrbek put Ron Gant on his shoulders in order to win. Gagne faked out Lonnie Smith coming around second and probably saved a game.

 

Who on this club is a winner or inspires a winning attitude in his teammates?

I've felt the same way (in the back of my mind I thought it) since they laid an egg in the 2019 playoffs. It's a bitter pill to swallow.

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Derek Falvey got a deserved pass this off season regarding the bullpen, considering how they had done in 2020. It looks like they tried to say some money by not bringing back Wisler,,Clippard, and May. Well, sometimes you get what you pay for. Maybe time by midseason, if the team is not doing better, to bring up some of our young guns and give them mlb experience. 

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