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In a game that went back and forth several times, the Twins hit three home runs including a two-run blast by Miguel Sano to take a 5-4 lead. The bullpen came on and got the job done, even if fans were on the edge of their seats right until that last out was recorded. 

Box Score
Starter: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Home Runs: Ryan Jeffers (2nd), Kyle Garlick (5th), Miguel Sano (11th)

Top 3 WPA: Miguel Sano (.226), Hansel Robles (.208), Ryan Jeffers (.153)

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

chart.png

Nothing has come easy for the Twins, and that was very much true on Saturday afternoon at Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City. However, they used power and pitching to eek out a win. 

The Power

Ryan Jeffers certainly looks different at the plate since his return to the Twins lineup this week after Mitch Garver went on the Injured List. He hit his second home run since his return and continues to hit nearly everything hard. He gave the Twins a 2-0 lead in the top of the 2nd inning. After the game, Jeffers talked about getting more comfortable since returning. 

In the top of the third inning, Kyle Garlick added a long ball, a deep fly to left-center on a 3-2 changeup to put the Twins back ahead by a score of 3-2. 

The Twins fell behind 4-3, but in the top of the sixth frame, Miguel Sano came to the plate with a runner on and crushed a long home run off the Royals Hall of Fame beyond the left field fence to give the Twins the 5-4 lead. 

The Pitching

Jose Berrios wasn't at his best on Saturday, but he gave the Twins two things that they really needed on Saturday. First, he gave them a chance to win by keeping the game close. But maybe just as important, he gave them six innings. One night after Matt Shoemaker recorded just one out, the Twins really needed Berrios to give them some length. Sure, Griffin Jax had been called up in case there was a short start, but with the news pregame that Michael Pineda would not be starting on Sunday, it was even more important. 

Jose Berrios improved to 6-2 with a 3.58 ERA and a 1.11 ERA. On a team with a 23-35 record, Berrios has certainly been a positive. 

Pop! Pop! Fizz! Fizz! Oh what a performance by the Twins relief pitchers on Saturday. With a 5-4 lead, the Twins turned to their top three relievers and they got the job done. 

  • Tyler Duffey needed just seven pitches to complete the 7th inning. 
  • Taylor Rogers struck out two batters in a perfect 8th inning. He needed just 12 pitches. 
  • Hansel Robles needed a little help from his friends, but he was able to get out of a runner-on-second, nobody-out situation in the bottom of the ninth inning to secure the Twins win. Sure, it took a crazy play and a line-drive rocket to Simmons to end it, but he recorded his fifth save. Hey, Eddie Guardado and Rick Aguilera and even Joe Nathan kept us nervous sometimes!! Oh, and he needed just ten pitches. 

Just as important, those three pitchers should be available to pitch if needed on Sunday because of their low pitch counts this afternoon. 

Postgame Interview

 

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

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Next Up

The Twins send RHP Bailey Ober to the mound for his second MLB start on Sunday when they finish this series against the Royals. First pitch is at 1:10 CT.


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15 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

Is that like...jumbo shrimp?

I'm not hungry enough for that.  Make it just a small jumbo shrimp for me.

Rocco thinks they played a well-played game?  Grammar/style quibbles aside, I would prefer a higher standard than to call it that.

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Rocco asks rhetorically, "how many guys at this age have stolen a base?"

A metric butt-ton, Rocco.  Names like Cobb and Musial and Henderson and Bonds ring a bell?  Dozens, anyway - 411 such games since 1901, though I didn't sift down to unique players.  Heck, I just looked it up, and 19 games have been played where a player at Cruz's age (40 years 338 days) or older hit a HR and also stole a base.  Tell Nelly that Davey Lopes is sitting at his home near Providence laughing at your punch-and-judy 2-for-3 this afternoon.

https://stathead.com/tiny/oMZaH   (I think this link should work for any/everybody, Please tell me if you try and it doesn't)

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We won! You can say "small victory" but it's still a win. But to me, what I saw, was what this team is SUPPOSED to do. 

We can lament the season, and we can poo-poo wins against the Orioles and the Royalsm and I get that. But despite some really bad gaffes here and there and a couple really bad performances, and despite massive injuries, the team has generally played better the past few weeks. They haven't given up.

There is no way barring a historical comeback that this team contends in any way. My goodness, we're behind Detroit right now! But with health and just playing better, I think we have a shot at .500 while developing and audition some valuable young talent the second half of the season.

Moral victories aside, isn't that something to shoot for to help get prepared for next year?

Eager to see Ober again, but surprised. I thought Jax was next man up. Looks like I missed something.

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28 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

Also, Dan Gladden is awesome..

 

Today's broadcasting excellence:

 

"Sano hits this one deep to left...this could be a no doubter..."

 

Could be a no doubter?

In fairness to Gladden, they are still broadcasting road games remotely, and given the limitations of their monitor feeds, there is understandably some doubt involved when they try to call "no doubters" :)

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15 minutes ago, spycake said:

How do you like Stathead? I think it might be fun sometimes but the price seems kind of steep to me.

I like it enough to have been a paying user for several years now, even when they increased the price (and added functionality and I guess changed the name) for 2021.  I probably don't use it enough to justify the cost to Mrs Ash, so don't bring it up at the next TD gathering, but probably I use it at least once a week, just to answer a casual question like Rocco raised.  I'm not even real good at database queries, and so I feel I only scratch the surface of what this tool can do.

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1 hour ago, DocBauer said:

We won! You can say "small victory" but it's still a win. But to me, what I saw, was what this team is SUPPOSED to do. 

We can lament the season, and we can poo-poo wins against the Orioles and the Royalsm and I get that. But despite some really bad gaffes here and there and a couple really bad performances, and despite massive injuries, the team has generally played better the past few weeks. They haven't given up.

There is no way barring a historical comeback that this team contends in any way. My goodness, we're behind Detroit right now! But with health and just playing better, I think we have a shot at .500 while developing and audition some valuable young talent the second half of the season.

Moral victories aside, isn't that something to shoot for to help get prepared for next year?

Eager to see Ober again, but surprised. I thought Jax was next man up. Looks like I missed something.

Jax was here in case today's start went short, as we went through several guys in yesterday's catastrophe. He should fill the long reliever role, and could start some games down the road. If he's going to have a role in the majors, it's probably going to be as a long reliever IMO.

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Consistent hitting remains an issue - just 7 for 33 and a walk today. To score the same number of runs in yesterday's disaster took 11 H and 3BB in 37 ABs.  Stronger pitching, two for three RISP (2 LOB) and the fact that the Royals hit just as poorly made the difference.

The broken-and-then-almost double play, followed by the bang-bang-game over double play together made this one well worth the price of admission.

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Games like this from Sano give me fleeting hope.  Now I’m buckled up for him to stink for a week.  Some consistency would be great from him.  Limit the strikeouts, please!  I like how his plays 1st base too.

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Nice to see the HRs - honestly though, that last play was pretty damn lucky. On a ball hit like that, I'm guessing the hit % is pretty high and we've got a tie game. Robles hasn't had tons of chances as the closer, but he's been extremely shaky. I think the job should belong to Rogers. Not that it matters much at this point.

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14 hours ago, spycake said:

In fairness to Gladden, they are still broadcasting road games remotely, and given the limitations of their monitor feeds, there is understandably some doubt involved when they try to call "no doubters" :)

Good of you to point this out, and you have a good point. But... Gladden took a series off a couple weeks ago so Provus and Atteberry were the broadcast team for the weekend, and those games were SO pleasant and relaxing to listen to.

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It says something about this team that right now I see them give up a hit in the 9th and I'm immediately convinced they're gonna blow the lead. Not a lot of confidence in the bullpen these days...which I thought for sure was going to be solid going into the year.

Hope the dinger from Sano is the start of another hot run for him.

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2 hours ago, bighat said:

Nice to see the HRs - honestly though, that last play was pretty damn lucky. On a ball hit like that, I'm guessing the hit % is pretty high and we've got a tie game. Robles hasn't had tons of chances as the closer, but he's been extremely shaky. I think the job should belong to Rogers. Not that it matters much at this point.

Expected batting average was .650

the Baseball Savant site has its own free game recap pages which you can access. Yesterday's game is here:

https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/gamefeed?gamePk=633799

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