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Game Score: Twins 7, Astros 5


The Twins beat the Astros and took the four game set to improve to 48-64 on the season. Twins starter, Kenta Maeda, battled through five innings and second basemen Jorge Polanco had himself a day at the plate. That and more in today's recap!

Box Score
Kenta Maeda: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K (63-percent strikes)
Homeruns: Sano (18), Polanco 2 (19, 20)
Top 3 WPA: Polanco (.259), Colome (.086), Kepler (.055)
Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)
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Kenta Maeda Provides Five Solid Innings
At one point, it looked like Maeda was locked in and cruising to provide the Twins with some much needed innings after the bullpen was taxed on Friday night.

Unfortunately, back-to-back innings of 25 plus pitches ended his day after the fifth inning in what ended up being a good not great start for the right-handed starter.
Right away in the bottom of the first the Astros put a threat together with some bloop base hits and shoddy Twins defense, but Maeda struckout Yordan Alvarez and Carlos Correa to end the inning and limit the damage to one run. Shutting down that threat lead to the aforementioned run of Maeda retiring the next nine (tweet was wrong) Astros hitters with the help of a nice defensive play by Luis Arraez on a ball that had an xBA of .380 off the bat of Kyle Tucker. The Astros would put together threats in the fourth and fifth innings, and although he needed a total of 56 pitches to battle through, he was able to limit the damage to just one run in each inning on some unfortunate heads up..misplays…?
We would have loved to see Maeda get past the fifth inning, especially considering the state of the bullpen, but his box score doesn’t give him the credit he deserves against the best offense in baseball. Out of the 23 batters faced he started 16 of them with first-pitch strikes. Moreover, he was dotting the edges of the zone with his slider which generated 12 whiffs of the 16 whiffs he forced on the day.
1699808857_MaedaSldierLocation.jpg.9ccd9985c421fab3fa6dfa3088b9fb6e.jpg

Polanco Leads Offensive Charge with Two Home Runs
The Twins Daily Hitter of the Month for July is continuing his torrid hitting streak into August as he entered today with an OPS of 901, three homeruns, and six RBI’s in 26 at-bats over six games. After Sunday’s contest, he has now hit five homeruns while getting at least one hit in all but one of seven August games.
The Twins went down quietly in the first inning, but otherwise had baserunners in nearly every inning, including the 2nd when Trevor Larnach punched a two-out  single to the opposite field, scoring Jake Cave.

The two-runs in the fourth inning came on this absolute moonshot from Miguel Sanó, his 18th of the season, that landed on the railroad tracks.

The Twins only mustered up one-run in the fifth inning thanks to a lead off homerun from Polanco, his first of the day and 19th of the year, but chased starter Lance McCuller Jr out of the game by loading the bases after a 5-pitch walk by Larnach. To nobody's surprise, Andrelton Simmons swung at two terrible pitches before lining out to left field.

Polanco came back up in the sixth, this time against righty Phil Maton, but ended the at-bat with the same result from the fifth inning.

In all, the Twins had five hitters with multi-hit games: Max Kepler (3), Polanco (2), Arraez (2), Sanó (2), and Larnach (2) while all of those hitters but Kepler also added a walk to their day at the plate. Of course Polanco was the player of the game, but what was more encouraging was the two singles from Larnach on inside pitches that he punched to the opposite field. The rookie is trying to recover from the month of July where he had an OPS of .518 by posting an August OPS of .900 coming into today and having really productive at-bats.

Bullpen Usage

Juan Minaya, who started warming in the fifth inning, came on in the sixth where he went 1-2-3 thanks to a 6-4-3 double play. Tyler Duffey came on in the seventh but was pulled mid-inning after a walk, which was erased by another 6-4-3 double play, and back-to-back doubles that lead to an Astros run. Duffey was followed by Danny Coulombe who ended the inning with a Yordan Alvarez groundout. Jorge Alcala needed 29 pitches in the eighth but ultimately was able to hold the Astros while striking out Tucker and former Twins catcher Jason Castro. Alex Colome earned the save in the 9th shutting down the Astros 1-2-3.

  TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT
Minaya 0 44 0 17 0 12 73
Gant 22 0 0 17 13 0 52
Thielbar 0 22 8 0 20 0 50
Colomé 20 0 7 17 0 18 62
Coulombe 13 0 17 14 0 7 51
Duffey 0 0 21 20 0 15 56
Alcala 0 0 14 14 0 29 57
Burrows 0 13 0 0 0 0 13

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Well Larnach did not join Rooker and Cave in being the worst new guy and kinda-sorta newer guy but his fielding ability and speed just is not what the Twins need.  Trade him for a competent veteran.

Rooker should be sent back to the Minors unless the Twins want to pull a Billy Bean on him and have destroyed by Major League pitching to the point he never recovers.

Cave -- trade him to Detroit for Grossman.

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They judged Rooker and Larnach to be ahead of Baddoo in the depth chart. Baddoo became expendable to them. Big mistake. We have a whole set of new players that are not so young, but still strike out about 50% of the time. When hitting (not strikeouts) is their calling card, and they can't hit, and they suck in the field...... it will not make for a better team. I hope they all get it together. We don't need a team of poor fielding striking out .200 (if we are lucky) batters. But that is what we are looking at.

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3 minutes ago, h2oface said:

They judged Rooker and Larnach to be ahead of Baddoo in the depth chart. Baddoo became expendable to them. Big mistake. We have a whole set of new players that are not so young, but still strike out about 50% of the time. When hitting (not strikeouts) is their calling card, and they can't hit, and they suck in the field...... it will not make for a better team. I hope they all get it together. We don't need a team of poor fielding striking out .200 (if we are lucky) batters. But that is what we are looking at.

But, but numbers don't lie....🥶 🥸

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35 minutes ago, RpR said:

I know what the Twins did through an entire decade with rookies that were at best mediocre. -- It may be a great degree they have not had a major league caliber manager since Melee, Martin or  Kelly but when they brought in a LOT of veteran in 2019 the record speaks for itself.

You want to turn the Twins into another AAA team; rookies should be big show ready,  not get paid more money to show they should still be in the minors.  There is nothing in the minors now that are more than a guessing game, Rookers collapse speaks for itself.

Fans in the stands is what owner need or they would not have given a darn about last years cluster-f.  Twins as another AAA team will drive them from the stands faster than this years snafu.

All the rookie Pie-in-the-Sky babble here makes me want to be in a poker game with some of you,  playing the cards in a -- well maybe this will....

With all do respect, this roster was loaded with established veterans at C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, CF, RF, DH, 4/5 of the starting rotation and most of the bullpen.  That's gotten them to where they currently reside; the bottom of the AL Central.  Time to reset.  Let the kids have their growing pains now, not next season.  Signing a veteran to block the glut of corner types in the farm system won't help anything.

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1 minute ago, wsnydes said:

With all do respect, this roster was loaded with established veterans at C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, CF, RF, DH, 4/5 of the starting rotation and most of the bullpen.  That's gotten them to where they currently reside; the bottom of the AL Central.  Time to reset.  Let the kids have their growing pains now, not next season.  Signing a veteran to block the glut of corner types in the farm system won't help anything.

Pitching was/is a disaster, most any thing is better than what they created.

Outfielders -- Buxton, Garlick, Refsnyder all OK, even the  veteran rookies, AAA boys not ready for big show -- Celestino, Gordon, Larnach, Rooker -- it seems they kept Cave because his first year was not bad but since then he has played like a AAA rookie.

Catchers -- Rortvedt,  not ready for Majors, although Jeffers is doing  better than Suzuki the former Twins veteran who blossomed after the Twins let him go.

Even the worst of the vets are above .200 , do not know why Simmons is in such a slump but his fielding is 500 percent better than any one else on the team at his position.

1st, 2nd and 3rd have not been a problem when veterans played, hopeful exception Kirilloff;  Arraez can hit but is a lousy fielder and Gordon as I have said is like watching Willie Mays Hays from the movie.

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2 minutes ago, RpR said:

Pitching was/is a disaster, most any thing is better than what they created.

Outfielders -- Buxton, Garlick, Refsnyder all OK, even the  veteran rookies, AAA boys not ready for big show -- Celestino, Gordon, Larnach, Rooker -- it seems they kept Cave because his first year was not bad but since then he has played like a AAA rookie.

Catchers -- Rortvedt,  not ready for Majors, although Jeffers is doing  better than Suzuki the former Twins veteran who blossomed after the Twins let him go.

Even the worst of the vets are above .200 , do not know why Simmons is in such a slump but his fielding is 500 percent better than any one else on the team at his position.

1st, 2nd and 3rd have not been a problem when veterans played, hopeful exception Kirilloff;  Arraez can hit but is a lousy fielder and Gordon as I have said is like watching Willie Mays Hays from the movie.

Larnach doesn't pitch, catch, or play infield, so that's all irrelevant.  Buxton, Garlick, Cave, Kepler, Kirilloff and Refsnyder have all been hurt.  Someone has to play the outfield, ready or not.  It's been a long season, I get it.  A veteran doesn't change any of that.

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2 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

I am still sad when looking at Alcala and the lack of progress.  Minaya is looking good, Burrows can go back to Detroit. And what has happened to Duffey?

Alcala is not ready for pressure work. He has a great fastball and slider. He doesn't have pinpoint control, but I'm giving up on him yet. I'm sure the Trevor haters think Alcala should be in high A 

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Right away in the bottom of the first the Astros put a threat together with some bloop base hits and shoddy Twins defense, but Maeda struckout Yordan Alvarez and Carlos Correa to end the inning and limit the damage.

 

Nitpick: Maeda didn't K Alvarez and Correa. The 'stros had one in, two on with none out when Maeda got Alvarez to hit into a DP. He then K'd Correa. 

 

Like I said, nitpick, but it is the game writeup. 

 

If nothing else, rest assured someone actually reads these. :)

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Just sayin' Oakland owes us some cookies. Love playing spoiler on the Astros hahaha.

Side note, does it look like Kepler was assembled with two different arms in that game photo? Hmmm... left arm looks much, much bigger than the right. Come to think of it, he is left handed... hahaha

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The way some people on here talk about rookies, and Larnach's current struggles, they would've cut Trout, or traded him for a vet, after his rookie season. Not at all predicting Larnach is going to become Trout with the bat, or even be an above average MLB player (although I do think he'll be an above average bat for many years), but lets get a little perspective here. He's a rookie forced into MLB time earlier than they would've liked because of injuries to vets. And, as others have pointed out, the Twins WON THIS GAME. To each their own, but why choose to be negative when you could be positive?

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Larnach is slow footed. But he thinks he is fast. Does not run the bases well. Makes poor choices. He does not set himself up for throws after the catch is made. He throws to the wrong base. Nothing impressive about his arm. Holes in his swing that are being exploited over and over. It's been a while since I have seen him barrel one up.

Way more to criticize than to be hopeful for. He shows little sign of progressing or learning. 

And I am being patient.

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