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Game Score (Game 2): Tigers 5, Twins 4


The Twins managed to come back from a two-run deficit and led by one in extra innings, but with an unbelievable play that ended the game, the Tigers won the nightcap and swept the split doubleheader with a walk-off.

Box Score
Maeda: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K (68.8% strikes)
Home Runs: Donaldson (14)
Bottom 3 WPA: Rogers -.542, Jeffers -.366, Kirilloff -.192

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

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Bats show up early, Baddoo overpowers them

In game one of the doubleheader, Minnesota’s lineup couldn’t figure out how to get to the Tigers pitching. They managed to get only two total hits the Twins were shut out. But in game two, things were different and it didn’t take long this time. Nelson Cruz hit a two-out double off Tyler Alexander shortly before Josh Donaldson brought him home with a liner to center. It was a rocket, too, leaving his bat at 108 MPH.

Minnesota surpassed its hits total from the first game during the second inning when Miguel Sanó hit a double, but that threat was short-lived. Detroit, however, made the most of their opportunity in that same inning.

A ghost from Kenta Maeda’s last start came back to haunt him, as he failed to retire the leadoff hitter, issuing a walk. Despite retiring his next two batters, he loaded the bases on a single and a hit-by-pitch. Akil Badoo made him pay and, on the next at-bat, the former Twins prospect tripled to clear the bases, putting the Tigers ahead, 3-1.

Donaldson brings the rain, puts the rally in motion

The Twins were far from done. While Maeda settled in and delivered back-to-back 1-2-3 innings, Minnesota tied it up, scoring a run in two consecutive innings. First, Donaldson got his second hit and run batted in of the game, with a leadoff home run in the fourth, to put the Twins within one. Oh, and potential Donaldson buyers at the trade deadline are going to be happy to know that this was an even stronger blast, leaving his bat at 113 MPH.

Digging into their bullpen, the Tigers couldn’t avoid the Twins’ comeback. Minnesota loaded them up early in the fifth, after Andrelton Simmons and Jorge Polanco hit back-to-back singles, prompting Detroit’s second pitching change of the night, and Trevor Larnach drew a walk. Cruz hit a 107 MPH chopper that was understandably bobbled by second baseman Harold Castro, allowing Simmons to score and tied the game.

After giving up that triple against Baddoo in the second, Maeda never allowed another Tiger to reach, retiring the final ten batters he saw. In fact, minus the second inning, he allowed only one baserunner to reach in this game, a single in the first inning. It was the third consecutive start in which he induced at least 15 swings and misses.

Both bullpens didn’t allow any further scoring during regulation. Hansel Robles, topping at 99.6 MPH, pitched two scoreless innings. The only Tiger to reach against him was Eric Haase, who got hit by a pitch on the helmet by a 95 MPH four-seamer. Scary stuff. But fortunately, he seemed fine, as he stood up. Detroit medical staff did decide to remove him from the game.

Ghost runners will haunt

The 8th inning, which was also an extra-inning (2021 baseball, right?), was very peculiar, and I’m not talking about the ghost runner. Let’s begin with the fact that, after being hit by a pitch, Cruz stole another base. For the first time since 2015, Nelly has at least three stolen bases in the same season!

But in all seriousness. Cruz’s presence at second put a lot of pressure on Tigers’ reliever Joe Jiménez, who now had two runners in scoring position, with Nick Gordon, the ghost runner, advancing to third on a sac-fly. Facing Ryan Jeffers, Jiménez threw a wild pitch, allowing both runners to move up and Gordon to score. Minnesota was back on top and headed to the bottom of the inning with a 4-3 lead.

Then disaster struck.

Jonathan Schoop tied the game against Taylor Rogers with a one-out single, scoring Derek Hill from third base. Rogers struck out Baddoo to open the inning and then did the same to Robbie Grossman. When facing Miguel Cabrera, the All-Star reliever managed to induce weak contact from Miggy, who popped up to center. But neither Gordon and Simmons could get to the ball. It dropped and Schoop was rewarded, scoring the winning run all the way from first base, in heartbreaking fashion (from the Twins' perspective).

Postgame Interview

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

  TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT
Burrows 0 0 0 0 32 32
Rogers 0 0 0 0 21 21
Robles 0 0 0 0 18 18
Thielbar 0 0 0 0 0 0
Duffey 0 0 0 0 0 0
Colomé 0 0 0 0 0 0
Coulombe 0 0 0 0 0 0
Alcala 0 0 0 0 0 0

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Couldn't help noticing that all our hits in game 2 were from guys who might be gone by the end of the month, with the exception of Polanco, while all the o-fers were guys discussed to be the future/young core, with the exception of Kepler.  Going with the kids could be rough the rest of the way.

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9 minutes ago, ashbury said:

Couldn't help noticing that all our hits in game 2 were from guys who might be gone by the end of the month, with the exception of Polanco, while all the o-fers were guys discussed to be the future core, with the exception of Kepler.  Going with the kids could be rough the rest of the way.

It is going to be rough the rest of the way no matter who we put in the lineup

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The get rid of the veterans and it will be an insult to those who buy/bought tickets.

I wonder if any team has been held hitless for two games in a row, if they bring up the wonderless kids from AAA the Twins may be the first.

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When you are losing, you find new ways to lose and vice-versa. Despite a good period just before the All-Star game, the Twins reverted back to losing to a seemingly inferior team. Maeda struggled with command but only gave up 1 key hit- to someone we let go. Then Rogers gives up a game tying hit- to someone we let go. Then the weird hit ending the game. Taking Sano out made no sense IMHO because he was leading off an inning. Yuck!

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23 minutes ago, wsnydes said:

...and this team finds yet another ridiculous way to lose a game.  You can't make this stuff up.

If there's any optimism left out there.....can't believe anyone has that at this point, but please don't reply that things "can't get any worse,"------because it will and thats just the sad state of affairs for this inept franchise.  Hate saying that as I've been a fan since the mid 1970s.....but this organization (with the exception of our 2 WS titles) from top to bottom is riddled with such an abundance of problems with no solutions anywhere in sight.  Sad.

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"A ghost from Kenta Maeda’s last start came back to haunt him, as he failed to retire the leadoff hitter, issuing a walk."

A walk that was a missed called strike three. A perfect pitch. One that the batter can't make himself swing at, and was right on the bottom corner of the zone. That would have been 3 outs before the hit, HBP, and the triple. That would have changed quite a bit. 

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At least the Twins gave their fans an on-brand performance. Two games in a row that most teams would have won, the Twins lost 'em both by 1 run. Are they still leading the league in 1-run losses? Briefly caught Morneau talking about how bad the bullpen has been, I believe it's been 2x as bad as the league average, worst in the league, and how that more than anything has led to this disasterous season.

I'd be happy if Rogers was traded, the guy is still OK but not even close to dominant, his 2019 year is getting further and further back in the rear view mirror.

For fans like me who were at least hoping to watch the team play quality baseball in the 2nd half, this was a dose of harsh reality. Nothing really to look forward to except for analyzing the trade hauls.

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10 minutes ago, yeahyabetcha said:

It was good hustle by Schoop.  But I do think that almost all center fielders make that catch.

Yup.  This was a case of an infielder playing outfield.  Still should have been caught, but perhaps a bit more understandable.

That really doesn't make it any less irritating though.

Kudos for Schoop running that ball out.  Goes to show that you never really know what will happen, so play hard until the end.

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25 minutes ago, wsnydes said:

Yup.  This was a case of an infielder playing outfield.  Still should have been caught, but perhaps a bit more understandable.

That really doesn't make it any less irritating though.

Kudos for Schoop running that ball out.  Goes to show that you never really know what will happen, so play hard until the end.

It is understandable that Gordon doesn’t make the play due to his lack of experience in CF.  Less understandable is that the Twins feel he was the best option to be out there in the first place.

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I agree with running it out by the Tigers.  The Twins have many times this year dogged it on the baserunning.  Twins don't seem to have any pride at all.  It should be a privilege to put on a Twins uniform.  It's going to be a very long second half of the season.

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13 minutes ago, yeahyabetcha said:

It is understandable that Gordon doesn’t make the play due to his lack of experience in CF.  Less understandable is that the Twins feel he was the best option to be out there in the first place.

I'm all for getting Gordon reps, even in CF, but with Celestino on the bench and the 2 spot not up for another couple of innings, it's certainly a questionable decision in that spot.

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The Twins need to be more like the Yankees, White Sox, and Astros ---- cheat and sign expensive free agents.

Evidence - World Series Championships, Lance Lynn, Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson, Ryan Pressley, and other free agents from someplace other than the Twins brilliant front office duo [as influenced by Pohlad's missing check book].

On a real topic: Gordon was playing a deep CF and Simmons knew that. Simmons played that like it was his ball until the very last. In the end it looked like it was his ball [as it landed closer to Simmons]. But, really it was just bad communication from Gordon....I guess. Tigers didn't look much better. 

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I didn’t see the shift prior to Miggy’s at bat. Gordon had to have been playing next to the fence to not get that pop up. The team in extra innings is the equivalent of my putting game right now. Totally lost and full of yips. 

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18 minutes ago, FritzDahmus said:

On a real topic: Gordon was playing a deep CF and Simmons knew that. Simmons played that like it was his ball until the very last. In the end it looked like it was his ball [as it landed closer to Simmons]. But, really it was just bad communication from Gordon....I guess. Tigers didn't look much better. 

It seemed to me, watching Simmons pat his chest as he walked in with Gordon, that the communication was made and that Simmons bailed or felt that Gordon wasn't going to stop and bailed. Simmons was owning the horror of what had just happened. Without hearing from Simmons and Gordon, all is just supposition on what happened as it was apparent that either could have caught the fly if the other wasn't there. Gordon was playing deep, and got a horrible jump, but the fly was in the sky for plenty of time. The Baldelli assumption that they both lost the ball ...... seems conjured up by Baldelli for the press conference, as he had to say something that could be sold. “It’s obviously a hard way to lose a ballgame; a game that we played pretty hard in,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It’s a tough time to be in the field and have to go get some kinds of fly balls. Obviously, Nick lost that one in the sky.” One would think that Simmons would speak out about it, as the veteran. They both made the decision to not hit the other. Probably the right decision, considering the season. No need to take each other out for with no stakes on the line in this dreadful season.

 

“We are challenging our guys and we are sending them out there in unfamiliar spots and seeing what they can do,” Baldelli said. “And this is going to happen. It’s not something you ever want to deal with or you want to see, but when it does happen, you understand why it happened.”

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16 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

It is going to be rough the rest of the way no matter who we put in the lineup

There's rough and then there's rough.

It's one thing to say that once contention for the post-season is out the window, it doesn't matter how many losses there are. But finishing strong versus finishing in abject failure could be the difference in millions of dollars of season-ticket sales during the coming off-season.  The FO has to take many things into account besides just roster management to avoid a death-spiral on a par with Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

Finishing with 90 losses is rough but finishing with 100+ is rougher.

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While Rocco walks around like the guy pulling the "Bring out your dead" cart, Met's manager Luis Rojas blows a cork in the Pirate's weird swinging dribbler turned into a 3-run infield single and Taijuan Walker error play and gets tossed in a lively manner. The key here is this: "Walker said Rojas' passionate defense helped the team get back into the game after a lackluster start. "He was fired up for, sure, and I think that got the whole team fired up, to have our backs,'' Walker said."

Michael Conforto hit a 2 run homer in the 9th and Trevor May locked it down for the save and a Met's 7-6 comeback win.

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