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Game Score: Twins 3, Tigers 2


Bailey Ober’s solid start and Josh Donaldson’s 2-run home run secures a Twins win over the Tigers in a game that came down to the wire. 

Box Score
Starter: Bailey Ober 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
Home Runs: Josh Donaldson (21)
Top 3 WPA: Alcala (.259), Colome (.214), Donaldson (.191)
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

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Monday was a day the Twins were initially scheduled to have a day off but instead spent the afternoon making up a game against division foe Detroit before heading home for a series against the Cubs. While it had all the makings of a “throw-away” game, with two below .500 teams facing off, it gave us a good starting pitching matchup. 

The Tigers sent former top draft pick Casey Mize to the mound, who entered the game with 24 starts and a 3.55 ERA. The Twins counter with their hottest starter in Bailey Ober. In his 4 August starts, Ober holds a 2.11 ERA, .265 batting average against, and a .697 OPS. 

The majority of the first three innings produced quick three up, three down baseball. That is until the end of the third inning when Ober needed to get one more out to start the game with nine straight batters retired. Instead, Derek Hill smashed an up and in 92.7 mph fastball for his second home run of the season to put the Tigers up 1-0. 

The Twins would answer immediately in the 4th. Buxton collected the Twins first hit with a 1-out double down the left-field line. With Polanco up to bat, a Mize pitch would find the backstop, allowing Buxton to move to third and easily be singled home by Polanco to tie the game up 1-1. With Polanco on first base, Josh Donaldson took a Mize slider to center field for his 21st home run and a Twins 3-1 lead. 

 

The Tigers would get one back in the 5th. Harold Perez was standing on second after a lead-off double. He scored on a bloop single from Zack Short that landed beyond a diving Simmons who played in a bit on the infield. While the hit wasn’t the most impressive of hits, it was enough to bring Perez around to score. 

Down to the Wire

Once again, an Alex Colome outing turned interesting. This time it wasn't necessarily because of his pitching but because of his fielding.  Two fielding miscues put Colome in a position where he needed to get out of a 2-out, runners on the corners jam. He thankfully popped up old friend Robbie Grossman to end the game and get the team on the road back to the Twin Cities. 

Bailey Ober Solid Again

As the Twins will be looking to fill rotation spots for 2022, Ober again makes a good case that he will need to be in the mix for one of those spots. He put his team in a spot to win and himself in a place to earn a win. Didn’t give up any free passes and collected a good number of whiffs as well. He continues to be one of the exciting players to follow down the stretch of a lost season. 

 

When it comes to the development of Ober, there are encouraging signs surrounding his fastball, as pointed out by Nash Walker.

 

Josh Donaldson Showing His Worth

Donaldson’s aforementioned 21st home run of the season also was his 5th of the month. While the Twins may continue to look to offload his contract because of the injury risk, if he sticks around for 2022, the Twins will look forward to penciling his bat into the lineup every day he is healthy. Monday showed again how valuable Donaldson could be as he can change a game quickly with one at-bat, one swing.

Here is a breakdown of Donaldson's home run swing by our own Nash Walker:

Tomorrow the Twins kick off their series with the Chicago Cubs. It should be a fun mid-week series even if neither team is looking at the playoffs. Don't forget Wednesday night you could order a drink from John Bonnes if you are at the game! 

Postgame Interview 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

 

  THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT
Albers 0 88 0 0 0 88
Colomé 0 13 13 0 23 49
Alcalá 0 12 0 0 25 37
Gibaut 0 0 0 33 0 33
Thielbar 0 0 23 0 0 23
Coulombe 0 20 0 0 0 20
Minaya 0 0 17 0 0 17
Garza Jr. 4 0 0 11 0 15
Duffey 0 6 0 0 0 6



 


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Donaldson's worth is all about his play in the field and his bat. Just gotta keep healthy.

 

Colome almost threw away the game, literally when you watch him bounce balls around the plate. I guess the Twins want him to get a BIG contract in 2022, and it will probably be from them.

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Rosterman said:

Colome almost threw away the game, literally when you watch him bounce balls around the plate. I guess the Twins want him to get a BIG contract in 2022, and it will probably be from them.

 

 

And after doing everything he could to lose the game in the 9th, he ends up with a +0.214 WPA?

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9 minutes ago, PDX Twin said:

And after doing everything he could to lose the game in the 9th, he ends up with a +0.214 WPA?

I felt myself gag back some vomit as I had to type that out. Seems so strange that he will end up with a positive stat out of that performance. I understand why, but it shows that there are times we do need to look a bit further than just the number itself to get the full picture. 

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Man Ober sure looks like the real deal.  I did not think he would be this good this year.  I thought he would be more up and down than he has been but he started a bit rough and has consistently improved from there.  I haven't been on the uber Ober bandwagon as I was waiting for him to fall back down but I guess the wagon looks good enough right now for me to jump on it.

Ok I admit I have been on Donaldson's case pretty much all year but recently he and Sano have looked pretty darn good in this lineup.  I can see why teams were interested in trading for Donaldson at the deadline as when healthy he is a difference maker.  His HR essentially won the game for the Twins today.  Here's hoping he stays healthy.

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Despite real reservations initially, and a real surprise he was protected and brought up so early, I've been impressed since his first start. Now, that first start wasn't a very successful one, but you could see potential.

And he's only gotten better. And the last month or so, he's performed well against top competition. He's also been making some adjustments on the fly with his slider. I commented a few weeks ago that Ober has been the most impressive rookie SP I've seen in years. Someone reminded me about Dobnak. And yes, Dobnak showed promise at the end of 2019 and had a great start to 2020. And I'm not dismissing the flash a healthy Dobnak has shown....and I still think he has a shot as a solid back end SP...but Ober has shown more, in as many or more IP.  

The league will adjust. And Ober will need to do the same. The good news is he's already shown that ability so far. 

Despite a much, much better season since June on, I just don't see a place for Colome. Thank him but send him on his way.

Just great to see Donaldson have another big moment. I think there is a real chance the Twins will shop him this offseason. But while not his biggest fan, I don't want to trade him for next to nothing for only a few $M saved. He's still a big and productive bat and solid defender even though we're probably talking about a part-time 3B and part-time DH. And I'm OK with the value he still offers if a trade just doesn't offer enough relief/return.

Tough to run to Detroit for a win, then run back home for another series and lose that day off. They've shown a lot of fortitude this past month. Time to take care of the Cubs.

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That was a gosh awful 9th inning. Almost couldn't watch it finish. Its very nice to see Donaldson and Sano both starting to play to potential. While one might say, well no pressure so big deal. But actually these guys are playing for a spot on the 2022 team, perhaps...a team management feels will be able to compete again.

Twins seem to be hovering around 15 under .500. That's probably where they will land, and from a W-L point of view, thats not very good at all. However there is much more to be gained over the last month. I really want to see some spirited baseball from the guys. And a healthy Buxton...who is a bit rusty at the moment.

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12 hours ago, DocBauer said:

They've shown a lot of fortitude this past month.

I have been VERY grumpy about this season, and about the miscues of the FO. But I have to agree with this. It's a lost season, but they are not currently playing like losers (outside of NY). That matters. 

I don't know if it's Donaldson's impact in the clubhouse, or Rocco's renewed emphasis on fundamentals, or something else. But it's a welcome change, and I hope resilience/grit becomes a team ethos in 2022, despite that they'll likely be rebuilding for a 2024 window of contention.

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Nicely done by Ober again. He's having a fine season and looking like someone to pencil in to the rotation for next season. there's a lot to like about how his season has gone: he's gotten better every month, so despite the league getting tape on him he's been able to make adjustments to keep up rather than get torched once MLB hitters see his stuff. He's still got some things to work on: getting lefties out consistently, staying effective later in games (the 5th inning has been tough on him as he starts seeing guys that 3rd time through), etc. but for a guy getting his first shot in the big leagues? He's doing very well.

Hopefully he doesn't need to get shut down early because of workload. He's already at a personal best for IP as a professional, made more starts than he's ever done going back through his college days, but it would be a good sign for his development if he can pitch through September and wind up with 110+ IP and 24 starts.

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I will be honest, I have not watched a ton of games of late for the Twins.  However, the little I have seen of Ober he has looked decent.  His FB is not super fast but hitters seem to miss it when it is up.  I am thinking the release point is causing them issues.  I have liked the development so far with him and hope he carries it into next year.  Could be one of those under the radar guys that just gets things done until people say he has it. 

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