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Game Score: Cardinals 7, Twins 3


The Twins looked towards taking the series against the Cardinals after a dazzling offensive performance the night before. However, once again, the errors and pitching couldn’t keep the bottom of the Cardinals’ order at bay. 

Box Score:
Michael Pineda:
4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (68 pitches, 52 strikes)
Home Runs: Jorge Polanco (16)

Win Probability Chart:

chart.png.f54ff0b33886b5e3b5555e3e213578ed.png

Top 3 WPA: 

  1. Trevor Larnach (.077)
  2. Jorge Polanco (.068)
  3. Miguel Sanó (.065)

Bottom 3 WPA:

  1. Michael Pineda (-.179)
  2. Max Kepler (-.125)
  3. Luis Arraez (-.082)

 

No Offense, The Defense 

For the second game in a row, Michael Pineda gave up two earned runs. If there is one thing that can be said about Pineda, it’s his consistency. All year, Pineda has hovered around a couple of earned runs and 5 strikeouts, and today was no exception. The brightest spot of his performance today is his high strike percentage of 76.5%. According to Team Rankings, Pineda’s strike percentage in his last 10 games is 67.6%, putting him above the likes of Jose Berrios and Kenta Maeda. Despite the eventual loss, his improved performance and general consistency is a silver lining for Pineda. 

The bullpen is another story. Once again, the Twins’ relievers were responsible for the ultimate demise, despite the L being placed under Pineda’s name. In his Twins’ debut, John Gant helped the Cardinals add to their lead. To add insult to injury, the Cardinals seem to have already forgotten who he is. 

Danny Coulombe surrendered one more after Gant, and Beau Burrows closed out the game with the final two Cardinals runs. 

 

Marco, Polo! 

The Twins’ offense were partly to blame for the loss, as they barely made a splash after the two-run second inning. However, in the sixth inning, Jorge Polanco hit his 16th home run from the left side of the plate off of salsa-king Adam Wainwright. He is only six away from his career high from 2019, his All-Star season. He only has one home run less than Miguel Sanó at the moment. 

Polanco had a monstrous July, only going seven games without a hit recorded, most of which were in the first half of the month. He’s showing no sign of stopping. Without Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson, and Byron Buxton in the lineup, the offense has struggled to push runs across the plate. Polanco has picked up their load and more. 

 

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane. No, It’s Miguel Sanó on Base

The departure of mentor Nelson Cruz hasn’t slowed down Sanó. Despite only hitting slightly above the Mendoza Line on paper, Sanó has continued to heat up nicely. His double today increases his OPS has to .746, two hundred points higher than where he started the season. Lately, Sanó seems to be spending more time on base than the dugout. 

While there are mixed feelings among fans on Sanó as an everyday player, additional playing time has proven to be beneficial for Sanó so far. With Alex Kirilloff on the IL, the Twins need his continued improvement.

 

Bullpen Usage

  WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT
Coulombe 0 0 23 0 21 44
Thielbar 0 0 0 14 0 14
Alcala 0 0 0 21 0 21
Gant 24 0 0 0 16 40
Colomé 0 0 0 16 0 16
Minaya 45 0 0 18 0 63
Duffey 0 0 32 0 0 32
Burrows 63 0 0 0 45 108 

 

Around the Bases

Andrelton Simmons batted in the first two runs of August after hitting .163 with 4 RBI in the month of July. Josh Donaldson’s hamstring kept him out of action once again. Luis Arraez made a seemingly costly error that didn’t end up as the game decision maker. He also did not make up for it offensively, going 0-4. Trevor Larnach hit his 10th double of the year, tying him with the aforementioned Arraez and Mitch Garver. Garver continues to hit, scoring one of the Twins’ runs.

 

Screen Shot 2021-08-01 at 5.26.29 PM.png


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Another "ho-hum"/ groundhog day loss in this train wreck of a season.  A few thoughts:

1.  Pineda deserved better.  Pitched well enough, but his inability to get Wainwright out (see next item) by having to throw waaaayyy too many pitches led to his early exit.   

2.  Arraez is NOT a 3B!   Not that his error was pivotal in loss, but it sure didn't help.

3.  Kepler:  What can you say, but ughh.  His short hot spell has sure turned into a horrendous slump. Looks overmatched against low 90s fastballs.  Not good.

4.  Beau Burrows:  Double UGGHH!!  Can we just move forward and DFA ol' Beua and his 11.25 ERA.  Next man up!  How much longer do we have to wait to get Ian Hamilton called up?  Same with Moran.  

5.  I know Gant didn't look anywhere near great in his 1st appearance, but since the rest of this season SHOULD BE ABOUT EVALUATION FOR 2022-----what's the downside to getting him stretched out for a slot in the rotation?  I know his walks are a HUGE issue  (56 before today), but there's sure not much behind Maeda and Pineda at this point.

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I am puzzled about what to say.  Welcome to the Twins Mr Gant you fit right in with the BP.  Pineda this is why no one made the trade for you.  

Where are the positives?  I don't know.   The record says all that is needed -  44 - 62 .415  18 GB

Since 1922 the Senator/Twins have three times had worse percentages than this for the season. 

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27 minutes ago, darwin22 said:

5.  I know Gant didn't look anywhere near great in his 1st appearance, but since the rest of this season SHOULD BE ABOUT EVALUATION FOR 2022-----what's the downside to getting him stretched out for a slot in the rotation?  I know his walks are a HUGE issue  (56 before today), but there's sure not much behind Maeda and Pineda at this point.

Gant already had chances in the Cardinals' rotation and botched them. I'd keep him in the pen, and if he doesn't turn things around, DFA him once the season is over. I'd rather give starts to Jax and Barnes to see if they are worthy of being depth starters in 2022.

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Saw the highlights. Arraez's throw was definitely off, but the fact he got a glove on that ball was pretty impressive. Arraez has a pretty solid glove overall, but it doesn't help when he's played 3B about 10 games a year since 2018.

Gant spiked the ball hard 6" outside of and in front of the plate, 2 feet away from where Garver's spot was. Based on the stance, and the high bounce, Garver had virtually no chance to block that ball. 

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4 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

Since 1922 the Senator/Twins have three times had worse percentages than this for the season. 

Not that this affects your point (2021 Twins are bad), but I count 17 other seasons where the franchise had a winning percentage below .415 since 1922, including the 100-loss team of 2016.  They have turned in some real clunkers.

The First-in-War First-in-Peace Last-in-the-AL Senators were known for putrid showings before 1922, also. :)

 

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7 hours ago, ashbury said:

Not that this affects your point (2021 Twins are bad), but I count 17 other seasons where the franchise had a winning percentage below .415 since 1922, including the 100-loss team of 2016.  They have turned in some real clunkers.

The First-in-War First-in-Peace Last-in-the-AL Senators were known for putrid showings before 1922, also. :)

 

Thank you - I was blinded with my tears for the bad baseball we are enduring.

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13 hours ago, Hosken Bombo Disco said:

The Cardinals pitcher came to bat twice in bunting situations. Laid down two sacrifice bunts. 

The Twins pitcher also came to bat twice in bunting situations. Grounded into double play in the first one, and then was lifted for a pinch hitter.

Bunts dont improve launch angles on HRs, sorry. Thats not the Twins way. 

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5 hours ago, KFEY93 said:

Bunts dont improve launch angles on HRs, sorry. Thats not the Twins way. 

Broadcasters like Bremer always gush over "productive outs" even when the outs are made by power hitters. 

So then, not sure why, in an N.L. game, the Twins cannot plan ahead and ask a pitcher to make a productive out by sacrificing (Mentorship opportunity lost!)

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16 hours ago, MN_ExPat said:

His name is Adam 😉

Thanks for noticing! instead of naming the pitchers i tried to use a parallel construction to highlight how different the pitcher plate appearances were.

Adam Wainwright's other plate appearance was in the 4th inning. Pineda couldn't put him away. The at bat extended to 10 pitches, required a mound visit by Garver, and resulted in a 108-mph exit velocity to Arraez which he grabbed but threw for an error. That hit by Wainwright was the second hardest hit ball of the game. 

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22 hours ago, Hosken Bombo Disco said:

The Cardinals pitcher came to bat twice in bunting situations. Laid down two sacrifice bunts. 

The Twins pitcher also came to bat twice in bunting situations. Grounded into double play in the first one, and then was lifted for a pinch hitter.

Factually you're 100% correct.  I would mention...also a FACT......that Wainwright has 719 career MLB ABs as a life long SP in the NL.  That does factor into the equation doesn't it?

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47 minutes ago, darwin22 said:

Factually you're 100% correct.  I would mention...also a FACT......that Wainwright has 719 career MLB ABs as a life long SP in the NL.  That does factor into the equation doesn't it?

Wainwright is definitely one of the better hitting pitchers.

I'm just trying to add something interesting to the conversation.

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17 hours ago, Hosken Bombo Disco said:

Thanks for noticing! instead of naming the pitchers i tried to use a parallel construction to highlight how different the pitcher plate appearances were.

Adam Wainwright's other plate appearance was in the 4th inning. Pineda couldn't put him away. The at bat extended to 10 pitches, required a mound visit by Garver, and resulted in a 108-mph exit velocity to Arraez which he grabbed but threw for an error. That hit by Wainwright was the second hardest hit ball of the game. 

It's a good analogy :)

Sorry, I was also teasing just a little bit... couldn't resist.  I've known Adam for a little while now, and to be honest he's an even better person than he is a player (which is saying something as he's had a heck of a career).  He's also an alumni of my son's high school and works out there a lot during the off season.

...and Yes, I will admit, it is a mild case of man-crush. 😆

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13 minutes ago, MN_ExPat said:

It's a good analogy :)

Sorry, I was also teasing just a little bit... couldn't resist.  I've known Adam for a little while now, and to be honest he's an even better person than he is a player (which is saying something as he's had a heck of a career).  He's also an alumni of my son's high school and works out there a lot during the off season.

...and Yes, I will admit, it is a mild case of man-crush. 😆

Very cool!

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