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Game Score: Twins 12, Rays 0


Kenta Maeda continued his hot streak and the bats provided him with plenty of run support as the Minnesota Twins topped the Tampa Bay Rays.

Box Score
Kenta Maeda:
 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (76 pitches)
Home Runs: Max Kepler (15), Luis Arraez (2), Rooker (6), Ryan Jeffers (10)
Top 3 WPA: Maeda .153, Luis Arraez .108, Mitch Garver .097

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

chart.png.24a257eacec78c2d8cc0878906a17a54.png

Saturday's win for the Twins was one of those games where seemingly everything went according to plan, an exceedingly rare occurrence in the lost season that is Minnesota's 2021 campaign. 

Kenta Maeda started on the hill and gave the Twins six shutout innings more akin to his 2020 self than what he has put on display for the majority of the season. That said, Maeda has been dominant over his last eight starts, putting up All-Star caliber numbers.

Minnesota's bats were hot from the jump as Max Kepler led off the charge with his 15th home run of the season on the game's second pitch. Luis Arraez, Brent Rooker, and Ryan Jeffers would later launch no-doubters of their own to add to the team's score. 

In all, the Twins registered an exit velocity of at least 100 mph on 12 balls that were put in play, which went for a combined 9-for-12 with four home runs and three doubles. Every member of the Twins lineup picked up at least one hit, save for Jorge Polanco — though he did reach base on a hit-by-pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning — and Willians Astudillo, who entered the game in the eighth inning as a pinch hitter.

Since the trade deadline, the Twins have logged an 8-5 record against the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays. While it means little in the grander scheme of the season, it's encouraging to see the Twins perform as well as they have lately against quality opponents. In some ways, this stretch puts on display what the Twins could look like in 2022 if they're able to secure quality pitching to supplement their offense during the offseason. 

Remembering 1991

Prior to the start of the game, the Twins held a ceremony to honor the 1991 World Series champion team. It was a moving presentation that brought back great memories for Twins fans (and probably some not so great ones for Ron Gant). Below are some videos from the ceremony courtesy Bally Sports North.

 

 

 

Postgame Interviews

Coming soon

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT
Barnes 68 0 0 0 0 0 68
García 32 0 0 0 27 0 59
Gant 0 11 0 0 41 0 52
Vincent 0 0 0 0 37 0 37
Colomé 0 10 14 0 0 0 24
Thielbar 0 0 20 0 0 0 20
Garza Jr. 0 0 0 0 0 16 16
Duffey 0 15 0 0 0 0 15
Minaya 0 0 15 0 0 0 15
Coulombe 0 0 0 0 0 10 10

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7 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

That was an incredibly fun game.

So at this point the Twins have faced the three division leaders of the AL in consecutive series: Houston, Chicago, Tampa.

The Twins have gone 6-3 in those games.

As we all predicted, of course.

Taking away pressure and expectations can do that sometimes.

Even better, maybe they have a chip on their shoulders.

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A perfect win on a celebration night! It couldn't have gone better.

Two quick comments:

1] Don't dismiss Maeda for 2022. He's probably not a Cy Young runner up, and maybe not the equally amazing pitcher he was in ST this year before the entire season went to crap. But don't think he isn't/can't be a top of the order pitcher next year. 

2] Is there a chance Rooker is starting to look like a real force as a DH and fill in OF/1B bat who can make a difference? I'm starting to lean that way.

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Jack Morris was awesome in that Game 7, but lest we forget, he owes an assist to Greg Gagne and Chuck Knoblauch for pulling that Little League stunt of pretending to start a double play on the drive that Pendleton hit to left field for a double. Just for a half second, Lonnie Smith stopped and looked at the infielders and ended up at 3rd instead of scoring. It was just one more reason the game was a true classic and that team had something special.

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BTW, yes I'm obviously a homer, but 30yrs the memory fades a bit until reminded of some things. I remember 7 games and Puckett and Morris and Larkin, etc, with a little prodding I remember more. I don't know if history will mark this as the best WS ever...but it has to be in the conversation. It was incredible!

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Nice to see Rooker getting going again. He's going to need some more performances like this to contend for a role on next year's team; he had a terrific July when he came back up (after a brutal start) and has been a bit up & down in August. The power plays, but I'd like to see him do a bit better drawing walks/getting on base. It's interesting how much like Sano he's been this season: not as good against lefties as you might have thought he'd be, great at home, bad on the road...splits are interesting things.

Really surprised to see Maeda get pulled after 6 and only 76 pitches. Must have thought has was fighting something after starting that excellent double play and decided not to risk him aggravating it? He pitched very well, really enjoyable. D stood up behind him as well.

Wacha was brutal for the Rays, IMHO. Amazed they left him in there so long to get beat around.

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6 hours ago, DocBauer said:

 I don't know if history will mark this as the best WS ever...but it has to be in the conversation. It was incredible!

I think I remember that The Sporting News, back when it was the definitive baseball Bible before the Internet took over, ranked 1991 as the best of the first 100 World Series. Does someone else remember this? Anything I'm too lazy to look up online?

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18 minutes ago, PDX Twin said:

I think I remember that The Sporting News, back when it was the definitive baseball Bible before the Internet took over, ranked 1991 as the best of the first 100 World Series. Does someone else remember this? Anything I'm too lazy to look up online?

Last year ESPN had it as #2 behind the 1975 Reds/Red Sox.

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/29104085/ranking-every-world-series-mlb-history#17

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11 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

That was an incredibly fun game.

So at this point the Twins have faced the three division leaders of the AL in consecutive series: Houston, Chicago, Tampa.

The Twins have gone 6-3 in those games.

As we all predicted, of course.

This team has so much potential with even an average pitching staff. I wonder how different our season would look if Happ, Shoemaker, Robles and Colome had league-average ERAs.

I think an argument could be made that replacing Berrios, Happ, Shoemaker and Robles with Jax, Gant, Juan Minaya and Edgar Garcia is a net plus, which is laughable.

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12 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

That was an incredibly fun game.

So at this point the Twins have faced the three division leaders of the AL in consecutive series: Houston, Chicago, Tampa.

The Twins have gone 6-3 in those games.

As we all predicted before the start of the season, of course.

FTFY, removing the sarcasm in the process. (And we also didn't predict Chicago being a division leader.)

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2 hours ago, jmlease1 said:

 

Wacha was brutal for the Rays, IMHO. Amazed they left him in there so long to get beat around.

This game was an example of how a competent manager approaches such games. The goal of the regular season is to win enough games to qualify for the postseason. This means the manager must avoid doing everything possible to try to win the game currently being played if that would run counter to the goal. Had Cash pulled Wacha early it would have totally messed up his bullpen, decreasing the Rays' chances of winning the next two or three games while not significantly increasing the chances of winning last night.

This also shows why Pete Rose was rightfully vilified for gambling on his team to win games he managed. Having money riding on his team to win a game makes it very likely that a manager would sacrifice two or three future games while making an all-out effort to win that one.

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16 minutes ago, Nine of twelve said:

FTFY, removing the sarcasm in the process. (And we also didn't predict Chicago being a division leader.)

Just a quibble, but not sure the White Sox were discounted, either. I think some writers ranked them 1st in the division prior to the season

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20 hours ago, DocBauer said:

A perfect win on a celebration night! It couldn't have gone better.

Two quick comments:

1] Don't dismiss Maeda for 2022. He's probably not a Cy Young runner up, and maybe not the equally amazing pitcher he was in ST this year before the entire season went to crap. But don't think he isn't/can't be a top of the order pitcher next year. 

2] Is there a chance Rooker is starting to look like a real force as a DH and fill in OF/1B bat who can make a difference? I'm starting to lean that way.

For two games, NO!

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21 hours ago, DocBauer said:

1] Don't dismiss Maeda for 2022. He's probably not a Cy Young runner up, and maybe not the equally amazing pitcher he was in ST this year before the entire season went to crap. But don't think he isn't/can't be a top of the order pitcher next year. 

I'm not really sure what to think of Maeda for 2022 but it's pretty obvious something weird was going on with him before he ultimately went on the IL. Here are his stats before the IL:

Date Tm G GS GF CG Rslt Dec DR IP H R ER BB SO HR HBP ERA BF BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip Pit Str StL StS GB FB LD PU Unk GSc IR IS SB CS PO AB 2B 3B IBB GDP SF ROE aLI WPA acLI cWPA RE24 DFS(DK) DFS(FD)
Apr 1 to May 22, 2021 MIN 9 9 0 0 2-7 W-L:2-2 5.4 42.2 52 30 25 11 39 9 3 5.27 190 .299 .351 .517 .868 .341 718 65% 15% 13% 0.79   26% 7% 0 45   ---% 2 0 0 174 9 1 0 2 0 1 1.06 -0.801 .85 -0.42% -5.44 92.40 194.00
per 162 games 35 35 0 0     21 162 197 114 95 42 148 35 12   718           2713             27 0       8 0 0 658 35 4 0 8 0 4   -3.0   -1.5% -20.5 350 733

And after the IL:

Date Tm G GS GF CG Rslt Dec DR IP H R ER BB SO HR HBP ERA BF BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip Pit Str StL StS GB FB LD PU Unk GSc IR IS SB CS PO AB 2B 3B IBB GDP SF ROE aLI WPA acLI cWPA RE24 DFS(DK) DFS(FD)
Jun 14 to Aug 14, 2021 MIN 11 11 0 0 6-5 W-L:4-2 5.1 59.1 50 25 25 20 69 7 2 3.79 242 .228 .298 .379 .677 .299 969 65% 15% 15% 0.62   23% 11% 0 55   ---% 0 1 0 219 10 1 1 7 1 1 1.03 0.286 .09 -0.01% 5.70 194.30 358.00
per 162 games 35 35 0 0     16 184 155 78 78 62 214 22 7   749           2996             35 0       0 4 0 677 31 4 4 22 4 4   0.9   0.0% 17.7 601 1107
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