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Game Recap: Mariners 4, Twins 3


Maeda’s command played peek-a-boo as he made his return from the IL, the young outfielders provided the offense, but it wasn’t enough as the Twins lost to the Mariners.

Box Score
Starter: Kenta Maeda 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K
Home Runs: Alex Kirilloff (5), Gilberto Celestiono (1)
Bottom 3 WPA: Robles (-.241), Farrell (-.226), Donaldson (-.163)

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

chart-8.png.81ea84bf7e62f1254342128b7ae71aaa.png

It had been 20 games since we last saw Kenta Maeda take the mound for the Minnesota Twins. His return was made up of several shifts from moments of “Old Maeda” showing some great command and then “2021 Maeda” losing command and back again. 

While it wasn’t the most comfortable of rides, Maeda gave the Twins 4 good innings and held the Mariners to one run on 76 pitches. The flashes of command were very encouraging even if not as consistent as one would like. Thankfully, Maeda had Jeffers behind the plate who also did his thing in helping his starter get every strike that he could. 

Young Outfield Trio Provides Offensive Spark

This weekend caused a lot of attention to shift to trade deadline deals and what Twins should make up the core of the next playoff team. Monday night, the outfield full of rookies gave us a potential glimpse into the future as Alex Kirilloff, Gilberto Celestino, and Trevor Larnach provided the offense for the Twins. 

The Twins first inning was full of weak singles that were capped off by Larnach’s RBI single to start off his 2-for-3 night. It was then Kirilloff’s turn as he did the opposite of hit a Gonzales pitch weakly, launching his 5th homer of the season. 

Celestino would quickly follow suit and hit his first career homer to put the Twins up 3-1 over the Mariners. 

While Maeda’s start was encouraging, it still left 5 innings for the Twins bullpen to be able to navigate. Luke Farrell got the 5th inning and immediately allowed the Mariners to tie the game up 3-3. 

Jorge Alcala and Tyler Duffey followed and were able to hold the game at a tie score as the Twins offense just couldn’t get another hit to come through. Hansel Robles’ name was called on for the 8th. His outing started out well as he struck out Dylan Moore, but in the next at-bat, Jake Bauers took Robles deep for his third home run of the season to put the Mariners up 4-3. 

The Twins had one more chance in the 9th as the top of the lineup came to the plate. While that is the exact situation any team would want to try and win the game, the Mariners Steckenrider was able to close the door on the Twins. 

For another time in this disappointing 2021, the Twins seemed just one more pitcher or one more good at-bat away from being able to claim a win. Tuesday night the Twins will send J.A. Happ to the mound to try and find a win in Seattle. 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

  WED THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT
Shoemaker 0 0 35 0 43 0 78
Duffey 0 20 22 0 0 10 52
Jax 51 0 0 0 0 0 51
Colomé 25 0 0 0 24 0 49
Farrell 0 23 0 0 0 24 47
Robles 0 11 0 15 0 17 43
Alcalá 0 7 15 0 0 19 41
Rogers 0 0 3 9 0 0 12
Dobnak 87 0 0 0 40 0


 


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1 hour ago, SoDakTwinsFan4 said:

3 runs isn't a great offensive display, but if Byron Buxton is in Center Field we win that game 3-2

Maybe not, because it would be 2-2 because of his homer. Celestino is supposed to be a very good defensive true centerfielder, but he plays too shallow and it continues to cost us runs, as it did again tonight. His routes are terrible, and his throws are worse, as is his judgement. I would rather see Gordon in center, and he never played center until the last couple of games! I keep reading about his Prospect value, but I'm not buying. Try to sell it all you like, sportswriters. I don't see Celestino as a plus in any way.

This bullpen. So painful. I can't imagine what it is like being on this team and having to watch them lose your games late. The hitters must hate them.

And now we get Happ tomorrow, the 1 year gift from the FO. Thanks.

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50 minutes ago, h2oface said:

Maybe not, because it would be 2-2 because of his homer. Celestino is supposed to be a very good defensive true centerfielder, but he plays too shallow and it continues to cost us runs, as it did again tonight. His routes are terrible, and his throws are worse, as is his judgement. I would rather see Gordon in center, and he never played center until the last couple of games! I keep reading about his Prospect value, but I'm not buying. Try to sell it all you like, sportswriters. I don't see Celestino as a plus in any way.

This bullpen. So painful. I can't imagine what it is like being on this team and having to watch them lose your games late. The hitters must hate them.

And now we get Happ tomorrow, the 1 year gift from the FO. Thanks.

Celestino is called up early because of injuries. Not a good time to make a long term valuation of him. 

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3 hours ago, theBOMisthebomb said:

With Texas nipping at their heels one game back of the Twins. Thank goodness for Baltimore. In the NL, only Pittsburgh, Colorado, and Arizona have worse winning percentages than the Twins. 

Speaking of which: both Texas and Pittsburgh took 2-of-3 from the Twins. In Minneapolis, no less.

 

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5 minutes ago, bighat said:

Speaking of which: both Texas and Pittsburgh took 2-of-3 from the Twins. In Minneapolis, no less.

 

Actually Texas took 3 of 4 from us in Minneapolis. Although sadly it doesn’t stand out as particularly memorable among the many disappointing moments of this season so far...

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3 hours ago, h2oface said:

Maybe not, because it would be 2-2 because of his homer. Celestino is supposed to be a very good defensive true centerfielder, but he plays too shallow and it continues to cost us runs, as it did again tonight. His routes are terrible, and his throws are worse, as is his judgement. I would rather see Gordon in center, and he never played center until the last couple of games! I keep reading about his Prospect value, but I'm not buying. Try to sell it all you like, sportswriters. I don't see Celestino as a plus in any way.

This bullpen. So painful. I can't imagine what it is like being on this team and having to watch them lose your games late. The hitters must hate them.

And now we get Happ tomorrow, the 1 year gift from the FO. Thanks.

Maybe the hitters should be more concerned about making less errors/poor plays in the field and inability to hit in the clutch or situationally, than the bullpen needing to throw 5 shutout innings every night….

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Fine line sometimes between being a good team versus a bad team.  It's the ability to learn from mistakes and don't make them again.  Twins are too consistent in making the same mistakes and decisions over and over.  I know a lot of posters will disagree with me on this point, but I'm a believer in designating players in specific field positions, and a batting order with a semblance of consistency.  Our outfielders are constantly challenged just in playing in new ballparks, i.e. left field plays a lot differently than right field and so on.  Soften the anxiety of playing a new position every other day and still needing to provide offense.  Too many times have I seen managers set players up to fail.

Now, with that said, players do need to be flexible and an occasional start here and there is beneficial.

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Good to see Kiriloff go deep with his wrist issues and Maeda gave us about what was expected. The defense could have saved a run and the relievers were shaky at times but the offense didn't produce enough to win. Solo shots were nice but not enough. We tried and hopefully Happ can give us 6 good innings tonight.

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I am sorry to say I stayed up to the end of the game.   Disappointing.  Somehow the idea of a relief pitcher coming into the game gives me no relief.  I cringe and expect what we usually get - the worst.  

No criticism of the rookie OF - all three contributed mightily at bat - more than the old vets and learning the different OFs. all the travails of being a rookie are difficult.  I like all three and Celestino getting up a year or two early is really learning on the fly and getting better each series.

Isn't it time to start moving some more minor leaguers into the pen and rotation?

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1 hour ago, wsnydes said:

Amazing to see the effect that the ability to hit with RISP has on the game's outcome.  One team does it, and the other doesn't.  The team that does, won.  

Twins were 1-for-7 with RISP; Seattle, 2-for-9 (the extra hit perhaps offset by a GIDP).

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14 minutes ago, Dodecahedron said:

Gleeman's pitch framing tweet does not mean much without seeing the called strikes for the other pitchers in the game.  This might that umpire's strike zone on the night.

Here's the called strike chart for each team:

image.png.2176bf5d017fc52c5123bdecf40daef7.pngimage.png.8317bd1c413242984c31eb1bf88bbc88.png

 

Seems like the Twins got a few more strikes off that side of the plate, although it's possible the Twins pitchers were just attacking that spot more often. Here's the called balls chart for each team:

image.png.97653c6cd988ef33805f3dbc0fe553bd.pngimage.png.d74ee3bc9d2a0f56fb638566c9774d74.png

 

Link (you have to click "Illustrator" under the score box to toggle the pitch charts):

https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/gamefeed?date=6/14/2021&gamePk=633716&chartType=pitch&legendType=pitchName&playerType=pitcher&inning=&count=&pitchHand=&batSide=&descFilter=Ball&ptFilter=&resultFilter=&hf=

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29 minutes ago, spycake said:

Twins were 1-for-7 with RISP; Seattle, 2-for-9 (the extra hit perhaps offset by a GIDP).

I noticed that, but that one additional hit with RISP was the difference in the game.  I know there isn't a huge disparity, but the difference was a deciding factor.

Couple that with a bullpen that actually shut down the opponent versus one that ultimately gave up the winning run.  

To your point, I could have phrased that a bit differently, for sure.

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9 minutes ago, spycake said:

Here's the called strike chart for each team:

image.png.2176bf5d017fc52c5123bdecf40daef7.pngimage.png.8317bd1c413242984c31eb1bf88bbc88.png

 

Seems like the Twins got a few more strikes off that side of the plate, although it's possible the Twins pitchers were just attacking that spot more often. Here's the called balls chart for each team:

I count 8 pitches on that side of the plate for Seattle, v. 6 for the Twins.

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1 minute ago, Dodecahedron said:

I count 8 pitches on that side of the plate for Seattle, v. 6 for the Twins.

The Seattle strikes are mostly touching the zone though. I count 5 Twins strikes off the zone on that side, vs only 2 for Seattle.

But Seattle got a low strike too, and the Twins may have lost a few strikes high or on the other side according to the balls chart.

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21 minutes ago, wsnydes said:

I noticed that, but that one additional hit with RISP was the difference in the game.  I know there isn't a huge disparity, but the difference was a deciding factor.

Couple that with a bullpen that actually shut down the opponent versus one that ultimately gave up the winning run.  

To your point, I could have phrased that a bit differently, for sure.

That's all fair, I didn't mean to nitpick. I guess I read it from the perspective of a hypothetical Seattle fan, surprised that their team's offense received a compliment. :)

But you're right -- as bad as Seattle's hitters have been overall this season (.210/.288/.368, .656 OPS, 87 wRC+), they are .257/.328/.462, .790 OPS and 118 wRC+ with runners in scoring position, when they manage to get in that situation (23.0% of their PA).

Twins are .244/.316/.433, .749 OPS and 106 wRC+ overall, but only .229/.318/.393, .712 OPS and 95 wRC+ with RISP (24.5% of our PA).

League is .250/.339/.412, .751 OPS and 105 wRC+ with RISP (25.0% of PA).

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7 hours ago, h2oface said:

Maybe not, because it would be 2-2 because of his homer. Celestino is supposed to be a very good defensive true centerfielder, but he plays too shallow and it continues to cost us runs, as it did again tonight. His routes are terrible, and his throws are worse, as is his judgement. I would rather see Gordon in center, and he never played center until the last couple of games! I keep reading about his Prospect value, but I'm not buying. Try to sell it all you like, sportswriters. I don't see Celestino as a plus in any way.

This bullpen. So painful. I can't imagine what it is like being on this team and having to watch them lose your games late. The hitters must hate them.

And now we get Happ tomorrow, the 1 year gift from the FO. Thanks.

Thank you for explaining exactly why "Just call up the kids and see what you have" is an awful strategy. Celestino isn't terribly far off from being MLB ready, but he was called up way before they would have liked, and well before he was ready. And you've now pegged him as having basically no value.

Players aren't drafted as completed products in baseball. They need time to learn and adjust. Celestino is, and will be, a very good defensive centerfielder, but he's in a league over his head and you're seeing mistakes because of it. This is why the minor leagues exist and exactly why you don't just call up prospects to see what you have. It's entirely predictable that almost all of them will get battered by far more advanced players.

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Twins can't string together a significant winning streak...so they continue to march in place, falling backward gently every week. The lineup changes every night. Usually when that happens, you are a bottom feeder.

So have the Twins noticed something with Buxton that makes them reluctant to bring him back up? thats their call of course. But eventually, he is going to have to try playing with the big boys again. I don't think there is a person here who honestly believes he won't be back on the IL before too long.

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1 hour ago, Dodecahedron said:

Gleeman's pitch framing tweet does not mean much without seeing the called strikes for the other pitchers in the game.  This might that umpire's strike zone on the night.

I agree. The ump’s zone was consistently expanded for both teams. It’s a fallacy to assume that a ball outside the strike zone that gets called a strike is always or only the result of the catcher. Framing metrics assume a causal A —> B relationship, where A = catcher framing and B = called strike. The problem is that one might not actually have to do with the other. This is the problem I’ve always had with framing metrics: they assume a causal relationship that has not been rigorously proven. But it’s now baked into the conventional wisdom that this relationship exists with reliable consistency. No one ever questions it for some reason. 

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36 minutes ago, spycake said:

That's all fair, I didn't mean to nitpick. I guess I read it from the perspective of a hypothetical Seattle fan, surprised that their team's offense received a compliment. :)

But you're right -- as bad as Seattle's hitters have been overall this season (.210/.288/.368, .656 OPS, 87 wRC+), they are .257/.328/.462, .790 OPS and 118 wRC+ with runners in scoring position, when they manage to get in that situation (23.0% of their PA).

Twins are .244/.316/.433, .749 OPS and 106 wRC+ overall, but only .229/.318/.393, .712 OPS and 95 wRC+ with RISP (24.5% of our PA).

League is .250/.339/.412, .751 OPS and 105 wRC+ with RISP (25.0% of PA).

No worries.  I didn't really think you were nitpicking.  I phrased it as if Seattle went 7-9, which they didn't.

It's amazing how bad Seattle's offense is generally speaking, yet they're only two games below .500.  That really goes to show how crucial hitting is when opportunity knocks.  I don't know how sustainable that efficiency is for them, but they've certainly made good use of it thus far.

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