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Game Score: Cubs 3, Twins 1


A great pitching performance was not enough. The Twins offense wasted too many opportunities to score, despite producing a lot of baserunners. The Cubs, making their first trip to Target Field in six years, take game one of the interleague series.

Box Score
John Gant: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K (64% strikes)
Home Runs: None
Bottom 3 WPA: Kepler -.209, Buxton -.148, Simmons -.144
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
26575513_chart(1).png.673de39ed602242259663495b043887c.png

Each team scored a run in the first inning. John Gant, who’s trying to make a case for himself to be a part of the 2022 starting rotation, nearly had an uneventful top of the first. Standing in the way was Frank Schwindel, who jumped on the first pitch he saw to make it 1-0 Cubs. But that lead didn’t last long. Luis Arraez opened up the bottom of the inning with a leadoff double, snapping an 0-for-16 slump. Byron Buxton followed up with a single to move Arraez to third, and Jorge Polanco pushed him across with a sac-fly, tying the game.

Since we mentioned Buxton, get a load of what he did during the second inning:

The Cubs still managed to score their leadoff runner that same inning, after Robinson Chirinos hit a blast to center field and Brent Rooker couldn’t field it at the warning track. The ball apparently hit him on the leg and rolled away from Buxton. Matt Duffy scored, and Chirinos reached third very easily, giving Chicago back the lead. Minnesota threatened again, in the bottom half, with men in the corners with no outs. But this time, they ended up empty-handed.

After a busy first couple of innings, both pitchers settled down and dominated opposing pitchers. Gant finished off his start with a perfect second time through the order – three consecutive 1-2-3 innings. He didn’t walk a single batter all night. Unfortunately for the Twins, Cubs starter Zach Davies also put away nine batters in a row, starting in the second inning. It was not until the fifth that the Twins would have baserunners again. Both of them ended up being stranded.

Juan Minaya came in relief of Gant and faced the minimum in the sixth. However, he couldn’t keep up the good work during the seventh when he loaded the bases with no outs, forcing Rocco Baldelli to pull him from the game. Tyler Duffey took the mound and did a fantastic job, striking out the side on 16 pitches. This was the first time since May 29 (third overall) that Duffey pitched at least one scoreless inning with three strikeouts. With his outing tonight, he posted a 2.25 ERA in August.

Meanwhile, the offense kept struggling against Cubs pitching. They stranded a pair of runners in the bottom of the seventh, at which point they had accumulated five men left on base and were 1-for-7 with men in scoring position. Chicago’s offense, on the other hand, extended their lead in the eighth, with Ian Happ hitting a monstrous third deck home run to left, which gave the Cubs a two-run lead, 3-1.

The Twins tried to start a rally during the eighth, loading the bases with singles by Arraez and Polanco, and a walk by Donaldson. With only one out, Max Kepler hit a bloop to shallow right, and Arraez decided to tag up, but Duffy made a perfect throw home to get him, giving Chicago an inning-ending double play. Ralph Garza Jr. kept Minnesota’s hopes alive by pitching a scoreless ninth, but the offense went down in order in the bottom half.

Despite losing tonight, the Twins still end up August with a winning record (14-13), the first time this has happened this season. They face the games again this Wednesday (9/1), at 7:10 pm CT, with Joe Ryan set to make his big-league debut.

Check out Tom Froemming's video recap of tonight's Twins action!

Postgame Interview

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

  FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT
Albers 88 0 0 0 0 88
Colomé 13 13 0 23 0 49
Thielbar 0 23 0 0 26 49
Minaya 0 17 0 0 24 41
Alcalá 12 0 0 25 0 37
Gibaut 0 0 33 0 0 33
Garza Jr. 0 0 11 0 17 28
Duffey 6 0 0 0 16 22
Coulombe 20 0 0 0 0 20

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I want to thank the Minnesota Twins team for standing out in the field and letting us see their uniforms of the day! This was better than a fashion show as the plays could stay stationary once they got to a base with no need to go full circle!

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Rooker should just get out of the way if he is just going to run up to the fence. Not looking and the ball, not trying to  catch it with his glove, and then it even hit him and bounced away after it hit the wall. Just get out of the way and let Buxton handle it if that is all you got. If this team gets to 10 under .500 I will be surprised. 

Detroit will, probably, stay under 10 under, and I bet KC even gets there. Donaldson with another error that they actually scored an error today. Duffey was pretty pro coming in with the bases sacked and no out and striking out 3 in a row swinging, eh? Arraez running/tagging with one out and the bases loaded when we needed 2 runs.... and getting tossed out easily, not so pro. This team is in need of a leader. 

This was the CUBS...... who basically sold their whole team,..... that beat us.

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7 hours ago, h2oface said:

Rooker should just get out of the way if he is just going to run up to the fence. Not looking and the ball, not trying to  catch it with his glove, and then it even hit him and bounced away after it hit the wall. Just get out of the way and let Buxton handle it if that is all you got. If this team gets to 10 under .500 I will be surprised. 

Detroit will, probably, stay under 10 under, and I bet KC even gets there. Donaldson with another error that they actually scored an error today. Duffey was pretty pro coming in with the bases sacked and no out and striking out 3 in a row swinging, eh? Arraez running/tagging with one out and the bases loaded when we needed 2 runs.... and getting tossed out easily, not so pro. This team is in need of a leader. 

This was the CUBS...... who basically sold their whole team,..... that beat us.

The most significant comment in a good post is the last line.  Beating up the Cubs is like facing the Orioles refight now.   So please explain - we beat the first place teams, we suck against the bad?

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7 hours ago, h2oface said:

Rooker should just get out of the way if he is just going to run up to the fence. Not looking and the ball, not trying to  catch it with his glove, and then it even hit him and bounced away after it hit the wall. Just get out of the way and let Buxton handle it if that is all you got. If this team gets to 10 under .500 I will be surprised. 

Detroit will, probably, stay under 10 under, and I bet KC even gets there. Donaldson with another error that they actually scored an error today. Duffey was pretty pro coming in with the bases sacked and no out and striking out 3 in a row swinging, eh? Arraez running/tagging with one out and the bases loaded when we needed 2 runs.... and getting tossed out easily, not so pro. This team is in need of a leader. 

This was the CUBS...... who basically sold their whole team,..... that beat us.

I don't know.   8th inning.   Going into the 9th down by 1 instead of two is a pretty big thing.   Duffy made a great catch, a pretty quick turn around and a great throw.       If Arraez doesn't tag and the next guy strikes out are you going to criticize Arraez for not being more aggressive by not tagging?   If the throw had been off target and Arraez scores are you going to say he shouldn't have gone?     If the play had started with no outs I'm right with you.  As it stands I give him a pass.

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1 hour ago, Dantes929 said:

I don't know.   8th inning.   Going into the 9th down by 1 instead of two is a pretty big thing.   Duffy made a great catch, a pretty quick turn around and a great throw.       If Arraez doesn't tag and the next guy strikes out are you going to criticize Arraez for not being more aggressive by not tagging?   If the throw had been off target and Arraez scores are you going to say he shouldn't have gone?     If the play had started with no outs I'm right with you.  As it stands I give him a pass.

Arraez made stupid move, period; all -- well if, well if, well if -- to excuse it do not work.

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33 minutes ago, Dodecahedron said:

When your lineup has 4.5 hitters, this will be the usual result.

"We didn't execute in the big moments."  This is because the manager didn't execute when filling out the lineup card.

He can only play the guys on the roster....

Does anyone think Rooker should be on the 40 man at the end of the year? Terrible draft pick. This FO needs to draft better, but I'm not seeing it......

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I was actually at this game last night. My first one of the season. The Twins pitching did alright last night. Player of the game for me, goes to Tyler Duffey. Rocco put him into an "unwinnable" position and he looked fantastic just dominating the three hitters he faced to strike them out. 

I thought to myself after him getting us out of that jam, "we have to win this one now". But our offense couldn't get anything going. Lots of big stupid swings up there when we need a single or even just a baserunner and popping the ball up. 

 

Oh well, great night for a game.

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1 hour ago, prouster said:

Who was on the bench that should have been playing?

Larnach is in the minors, but he has more potential than Cave, Rooker, Gordon, or Refsnyder.  There's one.

Cut Simmons and put Gordon there.  The bat is the same, let's see if Gordon can play defense where the Twins intended him to play in the first place.  Use literally anybody from the Saints to replace that roster spot.  Now's the time to roll some dice.  Bring up Mark Contreras and see what he can do.  There's two.

Still not quite a full team, but that's better than half a team.

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5 minutes ago, Dodecahedron said:

Larnach is in the minors, but he has more potential than Cave, Rooker, Gordon, or Refsnyder.  There's one.

Cut Simmons and put Gordon there.  The bat is the same, let's see if Gordon can play defense where the Twins intended him to play in the first place.  Use literally anybody from the Saints to replace that roster spot.  Now's the time to roll some dice.  Bring up Mark Contreras and see what he can do.  There's two.

Still not quite a full team, but that's better than half a team.

You ripped the manager.....he has no say over that first line. I mean, really, your complaint for why they lost was how Baldelli filled out the lineup, and those are your two examples?

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6 minutes ago, Dodecahedron said:

Larnach is in the minors, but he has more potential than Cave, Rooker, Gordon, or Refsnyder.  There's one.

Cut Simmons and put Gordon there.  The bat is the same, let's see if Gordon can play defense where the Twins intended him to play in the first place.  Use literally anybody from the Saints to replace that roster spot.  Now's the time to roll some dice.  Bring up Mark Contreras and see what he can do.  There's two.

Still not quite a full team, but that's better than half a team.

Larnach is in the minors because his play skills put him there;  Gordon is no better than Larnach and should be sent down unless they need some base path speed but they never use the one thing he has.

Simmons plays short stop because the Twins do still want to win games.

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7 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

You ripped the manager.....he has no say over that first line. I mean, really, your complaint for why they lost was how Baldelli filled out the lineup, and those are your two examples?

Hm, not sure.  Let me double-check.  *looks up*  Yes, that appears to be what I wrote for my two examples.

It is Baldelli's responsibility to speak up.  I'm sure if he did speak up, he'd have Larnach instead of Larry, Moe, Curly, and Shemp.  Larnach may not be great at the moment, but "experience matters" as Baldelli said a day or two ago.  Larnach is the future, those other guys.......

Are you saying my suggestions are not good suggestions, or is this more meta?

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20 minutes ago, Dodecahedron said:

Hm, not sure.  Let me double-check.  *looks up*  Yes, that appears to be what I wrote for my two examples.

It is Baldelli's responsibility to speak up.  I'm sure if he did speak up, he'd have Larnach instead of Larry, Moe, Curly, and Shemp.  Larnach may not be great at the moment, but "experience matters" as Baldelli said a day or two ago.  Larnach is the future, those other guys.......

Are you saying my suggestions are not good suggestions, or is this more meta?

I'm suggesting he can only put players on the roster in the lineup. So, yes, I have no idea how you ripped him for something he doesn't control.

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3 hours ago, prouster said:

Who was on the bench that should have been playing?

Refsnyder and Astudillo are both hitting considerably higher than Rooker and Rortvedt, and Astudillo can catch.  Should have is a matter of opinion and so is could have, but the batting averages aren't. 

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23 minutes ago, Mark G said:

Refsnyder and Astudillo are both hitting considerably higher than Rooker and Rortvedt, and Astudillo can catch.  Should have is a matter of opinion and so is could have, but the batting averages aren't. 

So, just stop playing Rooker for the rest of the year? And Rortverdt? 

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53 minutes ago, Mark G said:

Refsnyder and Astudillo are both hitting considerably higher than Rooker and Rortvedt, and Astudillo can catch.  Should have is a matter of opinion and so is could have, but the batting averages aren't. 

Rortvedt went 1-2 last night. I don’t think he was the problem. Refsnyder got in the game as a pinch hitter (for Rortvedt, so that may have made you happy). Would a couple extra at bats from him have alleviated the toll of stranding 19 runners? I doubt it. Who should Austudillo have replaced? The point is that Baldelli is playing the guys he has. There was no one on the bench obviously better than anyone who started. Baldelli can’t unilaterally call players up from the minors. I think people are complaining for the sake of complaining, because they don’t like when the team loses. 

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24 minutes ago, prouster said:

Rortvedt went 1-2 last night. I don’t think he was the problem. Refsnyder got in the game as a pinch hitter (for Rortvedt, so that may have made you happy). Would a couple extra at bats from him have alleviated the toll of stranding 19 runners? I doubt it. Who should Austudillo have replaced? The point is that Baldelli is playing the guys he has. There was no one on the bench obviously better than anyone who started. Baldelli can’t unilaterally call players up from the minors. I think people are complaining for the sake of complaining, because they don’t like when the team loses. 

Actually, the pinch hit at bat by Refsnyder didn't make any sense at all, as it made Rocco use 2 players for one pinch hit (Jeffers had to go in and catch).  If Austudillo had pinch hit, he could have replaced Rortvedt and still had a pinch hitter with some power available in Jeffers and a higher average pinch hitter in Refsnyder still on the bench.  I also happen to believe that Rooker is in the lineup ever because they are using 2021 as a tryout for 2022 with him.  Refsnyder is hitting over 60 points higher and can play the field as good or better.  And, for some reason, someone (Rocco? the FO?) has decided not to catch Austudillo again; they would rather have a .140ish hitter instead (another player on a tryout?).  So, again, we can debate who is better than who, but I tend to go with the batting averages and the two on the bench are simply hitting higher than the two on the field that I was using as examples.  Thanks for the discourse.  

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15 minutes ago, Mark G said:

Actually, the pinch hit at bat by Refsnyder didn't make any sense at all, as it made Rocco use 2 players for one pinch hit (Jeffers had to go in and catch).  If Austudillo had pinch hit, he could have replaced Rortvedt and still had a pinch hitter with some power available in Jeffers and a higher average pinch hitter in Refsnyder still on the bench.  I also happen to believe that Rooker is in the lineup ever because they are using 2021 as a tryout for 2022 with him.  Refsnyder is hitting over 60 points higher and can play the field as good or better.  And, for some reason, someone (Rocco? the FO?) has decided not to catch Austudillo again; they would rather have a .140ish hitter instead (another player on a tryout?).  So, again, we can debate who is better than who, but I tend to go with the batting averages and the two on the bench are simply hitting higher than the two on the field that I was using as examples.  Thanks for the discourse.  

Austudillo doesn’t catch anymore because he’s an awful catcher. Defense counts, you know. 

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50 minutes ago, prouster said:

Austudillo doesn’t catch anymore because he’s an awful catcher. Defense counts, you know. 

I know; that is why I have been in favor of Simmons continuing to play, yet I seem to be a minority there, too.  

But .140?  Even I don't like defense that much. :)  

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2 hours ago, Mike Sixel said:

So, just stop playing Rooker for the rest of the year? And Rortverdt? 

Ah, there in lies the debate.  I have never been a fan of using August and September as an early and extended spring training, so I would say play your better players but that argument and 7 bucks will get me a cup of coffee at Starbucks.  I have always believed winter ball and spring training is where you try players out; that is above and beyond AAA.  Major league games should be played by players who have the better chance of succeeding day in and day out, not players we want to "take a look at".  But, again, that is not the prevailing view of the modern day folks in charge, so I grudgingly cede to them.  I just offer my extremely humble opinion and take the heat.  :)  

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On 9/1/2021 at 9:50 AM, RpR said:

Arraez made stupid move, period; all -- well if, well if, well if -- to excuse it do not work.

You have the right to your opinion I guess.    Baseball doesn't really work like that though.   There are plenty smart moves that don't work and plenty of dumb moves that do work.   My if's are valid.    If he didn't try to score and ends up stranded would you be saying it would have been dumb for him to try to score earlier?   If he did actually score on that play would you be saying it was a dumb move?    If the answer to either of these is no, then your comment is nothing more than hindsight?   If yes to either than it is just a difference of opinion.

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