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Game Score: Tigers 6, Twins 5


The Twins capitulated late to lose 6-5 to the Tigers on Tuesday. Mitch Garver continued his torrid form since returning from paternity leave while Kenta Maeda produced another solid outing in his improving 2021 season.

Box Score
Starting Pitcher: Maeda 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
Homeruns: Garver (11), Astudillo (5)
Bottom 3 WPA: Sano -.390, Robles -.376, Polanco -.258
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

1872069225_chart(18).png.cc4670a716ee4793c2d74a0380b4caf6.png

One of the Twins’ best trade chips was placed on the IL Tuesday. Taylor Rogers suffered a middle finger sprain in Monday night’s walk-off win against Detroit. Rogers was replaced in the bullpen by Beau Burrows. Rogers is apparently set for a second and possibly third opinion on his finger, which will likely significantly diminish his chances of being dealt by Friday’s deadline. The Twins lined up like this for their tilt against the Tigers.

Kenta Maeda appears to have turned a corner, sporting a 3.69 ERA in his last seven starts, with 44Ks in his last 39 innings (13 swings and misses tonight). Tuesday continued this trend. Maeda was effective and efficient in 6 1/3 innings against the Tigers, allowing only four hits and striking out five in his outing. Indeed, Maeda’s turnaround has been so stark, he is reported to be generating trade interest. Either way, he looks to be back on track as a consistent piece of the Twins rotation which promises to be one of their greatest question marks heading into 2022.

After Maeda induced a double play to counteract Akil Baddoo’s leadoff double in the top of the first, the Twins (unusually) took the game by the scruff of the neck in the bottom of the opening frame. Tyler Alexander gave up singles to Jorge Polanco and Brent Rooker, before walking Josh Donaldson. Mitch Garver greeted the Tigers starter with this grand slam into the bullpen.

Garver has not only silenced his doubters, but he has also calmed concerns over his future with the team with his return to 2019 form. He is, arguably, the most welcome and pleasant surprise of a disastrous 2021 (along with Jorge Polanco).

Detroit pulled a run back in the third inning from an Akil Baddoo solo home run, his tenth of the season. This was erased in the bottom of the fourth by Willians Astudillo’s fifth home run of the season, a laser down the left-field line.

Another notable Twins offensive performance came from Brent Rooker. A night after obliterating a home run into the third deck, Rooker delivered another three hits, giving him six in his last four games. Rooker’s early returns from an everyday role in the wake of the Nelson Cruz trade have been promising. Twins fans will be anxious to see if he can continue to deliver in the remaining 60 or so games of the 2021 season.

Tyler Duffey and Danny Coloumbe pitched scoreless seventh and eighth innings for the Twins. Hansel Robles decided that a comfortable win wouldn’t do. Robles gave up a single, double, walk, and a grand slam to Eric Haase to tie the game at 5-5, a mirror image of last night’s bullpen capitulation. Robles left the game soon after with an injury. Two nights, two ninth-inning blown leads, two injuries to relievers likely to be traded before Friday afternoon. The Twins made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth, putting two men aboard before a Jorge Polanco pop-out sent the game to extra innings.

Monday night’s hero Caleb Thielbar took the top of the tenth for Minnesota. Detroit bunted Victor Reyes to third base before Thielbar struck out Baddoo looking at a beautifully painted fastball on the outside corner of the strike zone. Jorge Alcala relieved Thielbar and induced a Jonathan Scoop groundout to shortstop to end the threat. 

Jake Cave, who entered the game as a defensive-replacement for Brent Rooker in the late innings, batted in the bottom of the tenth with Jorge Polanco beginning the inning at second base. A first-pitch groundout moved Polanco to third. After Cisnero intentionally walked Josh Donaldson, he nailed Mitch Garver on the right wrist, loading the bases for the Twins with Max Kepler up to bat. Garver was replaced by Ryan Jeffers. Max Kepler struck out on a fastball right down broadway, leaving the Twins hopes to Miguel Sano, Sano struck out on three pitches to send the game to the eleventh.

Alcala continued in he top of the eleventh. Miguel Cabrera promptly singled home a run to give the Tigers a 6-5 lead. In the bottom of the eleventh, Miguel Sano inexplicably took off for third base on a ground ball hit straight to short, getting Willians Astudillo to second, but sacrificing an out unnecessarily. Two quick outs and the Tigers comeback was complete. The Twins continue to find was to lose eminently winnable games, an all too familiar theme in 2021.

Bullpen Usage Chart

  THU FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT
Coulombe 32 0 0 18 0 10 60
Thielbar 0 0 16 0 13 16 45
Alcala 0 0 10 24 0 11 45
Robles 0 0 0 0 13 29 42
Colomé 0 11 0 10 16 0 37
Minaya 0 20 0 0 0 0 20
Duffey 0 0 0 0 11 7 18
Burrows 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Postgame Interview

 

Next Up

The Twins send J.A. Happ to the mound on Wednesday to face Wily Peralta. First pitch is at 12:10 CT.

 


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I'm sure the idea was to showcase Robles one last time - maybe a good outing would have netted the Twins a low-A prospect instead of just cash considerations. Like almost all Twins moves this year, it backfired as Robles imploded and got injured. Oh and lost the game for the team while he was it it. So now the Twins get nothing for him.

And Rogers goes on the IL, one more trade piece down the tubes.

This bullpen really is the worst. Sigh.

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Even if Robles had a decent outing, it is hard to believe any club would have traded anything for him. He has just been awful. He throws 97 mph, but he has had an awful season. There are better reliever trade options on other clubs with losing records. 
 

By the way, I agree with Chief: there was nothing unusual about tonight’s loss. 
 

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Great comments all!  I don't even get surprised anymore when they lose.  I've come to expect it.  What a miserable excuse for a bullpen.  Combine that with a manager who totally mismanages the pitching staff.  Why was Robles in there so long?  Let's hope Robles is ok so we can ship him to the Yankees for their batboy.  Hurry up and trade before anyone else gets hurt.

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If my old memory is correct, Sano has struck out in a potential game winning, late inning game three times in this series.  No wonder Astudillo is playing 1B.  

Who do I trust in the twins BP?  Duffey most of the time, Rogers most of the time and let the starter pitch until his arm falls off all the time.  

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4 minutes ago, Swing Batter-Batter said:

I couldn't help but notice Sano, striking out with the bases loaded, with 2 outs and on 3 pitches, in the 10th. Pretty standard stuff for him. Then, he has a base running blunder in the 11th inning.  How can this man possibly have a future with the team?

True, but frankly he shouldn't even have had to bat in the 10th or run in the 11th inning. The Twins had a 5-1 lead in the 9th and just needed 3 easy outs to finish off what was mostly a laugher.

Sano was awful, but he's probably not the one we should be angry at. In fact, I'm done being angry with Sano - I more just feel sorry for the guy at this point. It's like watching an old boxer still trying to fight. It's ugly to see this happen in front of a crowd, on TV, and his failures only invite pity and sympathy. At least from me.

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25 minutes ago, Swing Batter-Batter said:

I couldn't help but notice Sano, striking out with the bases loaded, with 2 outs and on 3 pitches, in the 10th. Pretty standard stuff for him. Then, he has a base running blunder in the 11th inning.  How can this man possibly have a future with the team?

As bad as Sano has been and there were definitely things last night that had me shaking my head in disgust, we should not have even been in the 10th or 11th, at all. Sano should not have been up to strike out in the 10th, let alone blunder in the 11th. The number one problem with this game last night, the number one problem with this season, is the bullpen ... tyvm, FO

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Bullpen blowing a 9th inning lead 2 nights in a row is such a 2021 Twins move.   Both unbelievable but very believable at the same time    At this point Robles and Colome just need to be let go and give some tryouts to prospects.    I was also frustrated by the 10th inning at-bats of Kepler and Sano.  Sano was swinging to hit a grand slam when all we needed was a soft single.    Is anyone counseling the players on strategy or are they just not listening? In either case that is an issue that needs to be corrected.    I also would have kept Gordon in the game rather than pinch-hitting Larnach - although both are struggling of late Gordon can make something happen with his speed.   

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29 minutes ago, wsnydes said:

I think my coping strategy for the rest of the season is to watch/listen solely for the purpose of seeing what asinine ways this team finds to lose.  It's almost entertaining in its own right, sadly.

With a well-timed shot of whiskey it can be entertaining, in a historical sense. Or should I say in a hysterical sense?

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Robles started out the season great, then settled in as a decent bullpen option. He's been flammable in July, which happens to coincide with the period where the team is trash and has had very few bullpen options so he's getting run out there maybe a bit more than he should. (does it make sense for him to appear in 44% of the Twins games?) But the acquisition was fine. Don't let recency bias and the groupthink that "the FO is trash and can't do anything right"  overrule reality: Robles shouldn't be going out on back-to-back nights right now; it isn't going well.

Hope Garver is ok. 

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30 minutes ago, MMMordabito said:

Let's stop being mean to Hansel. It was hot and his tummy was upset.  It's all OK now, because Uncle Rocco tucked him in and read him a story.

I don't think any of us non-professional athlete keyboard warriors should be taunting players going through heat exhaustion. Something about glass houses... 

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58 minutes ago, jmlease1 said:

Robles started out the season great, then settled in as a decent bullpen option. He's been flammable in July, which happens to coincide with the period where the team is trash and has had very few bullpen options so he's getting run out there maybe a bit more than he should. (does it make sense for him to appear in 44% of the Twins games?) But the acquisition was fine. Don't let recency bias and the groupthink that "the FO is trash and can't do anything right"  overrule reality: Robles shouldn't be going out on back-to-back nights right now; it isn't going well.

Hope Garver is ok. 

Some people around here, and I was not one of them, were able to see Robles as a smoke and mirrors guy all season.

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Robles season long poor peripherals have been hidden much of the season by an ERA that gave the impression that he was a better option among the bullpen.

While ERA does tell the story of what has happened it is a horrible predictor of future performance outside of multiyear samples for relievers. A better predictor is xFIP and Robles xFIP has been the poorest among Rogers, Alcala, Thielbar, Duffey and Colome for much of the season. While his monthly ERAs vary wildly his xFIP monthly has been pretty stable in the 4s and 5s. He has one season in the last five with an xFIP below 4. He has not had a month this season with a xFIP below 4. He is the same pitcher he was in the winter when there was little interest. I would have been surprised if there was much interest at the deadline.

 

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Not to be a Sano apologist whatsoever but the Twins still ended up with the same  situation, man on second two outs, IIRC? The Turtle kept running to second, good base running. This doesn’t negate Sano’s grade school base running though. The other team inexplicably ran Sano to the forward base, not the back one. Basically something taught to infielders in Jr. high school. I had to check to see whether it was Detroit or the Twins who committed that bungling mistake?

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