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Game Score: Twins 4, Mariners 0, Bundy Cruises to a 1-hit Outing, Bats Play Small-Ball


Twins Daily Contributor

Dylan Bundy gave quiet to some of the skepticism surrounding his addition this offseason. The bats were not as explosive as they were over the weekend, but three straight RBI singles was enough to comfortably put the Mariners away Monday evening. 

Box Score
SP: Dylan Bundy: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (67 pitches, 47 strikes (70.1%))
Home Runs: None
Top 3 WPA: Dylan Bundy (.288), Jorge Polanco (.223), Luis Arraez (.118)

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

image.png.319c9129cfbc38a268916507b76f283e.png

Cy-Bundy?

Ok, so no one is going Cy-Young award yet on Dylan Bundy. His outing Monday night was very encouraging and clean. Considering the question marks surrounding Bundy and how he might step into the Twins rotation. For at least one turn, the answer was very good. 

Bundy was very efficient as he made it through 5 innings while only throwing 67 pitches of one-hit ball. 5-6 innings each time out of anything close to Monday night would be an excellent outcome for the Twins' free-agent addition. 

Everyone gets an RBI-Single

The Twins got their first run in the first inning on an RBI double. In the 5th inning, the offense got going with three straight RBI singles and put the Twins up 4-0. Byron Buxton provided the fireworks as he almost hit his 4th home run of the season. Instead, the ball hit the top of the wall, letting Buxton cruise into second with a double. 

Then, Luis Arraez into Jorge Polanco into Gio Urshela gave the Twins those three straight singles and three more runs on the board. After a weekend that provided a heavy diet of long home runs, the Twins went the route of stringing hits together to get runs on the board.  

Did Rocco Go to the Wrong Guys in the Pen?

After the Twins went up 4 in the fifth inning, Rocco still chose to run out many of his key arms. Caleb Thielbar took the sixth, Tyler Duffey the seventh, and Joe Smith the eighth. It seemed like a game situation where the Twins could have worked some of their lower leverage arms into the game and saved the higher leverage arms for the Dodgers as they come to town tomorrow. 

If you refer to the bullpen chart at the bottom of the game recap, it seems there is a potential pattern Rocco is following, at least early on. The relievers have been bunched into groups that allow days rest between outings for each reliever. That is true for all the relievers outside of Josh Winder, who has yet to pitch through this opening series. Tonight’s game felt like an excellent opportunity for Winder to have gotten at least an inning or two. 

We did get to see Jhoan Duran in the ninth and Wow...

 

Base Running Woes

Twins fans are not immune from feeling the woes of bad base running. Monday night was a flashback of that. The home team saw two base runners thrown out at home plate. The first was Miguel Sano in the second inning, and the second Alex Kirilloff who was thrown out just ahead of the RBI single parade in the fifth. Those two missed runs may have been enough to add to leaving Winder in the bullpen and not on the mound.  

What’s Next? 

The Twins will welcome the Los Angeles Dodgers to town along with their powerhouse of a lineup. Chris Archer is set to make the start for the Twins in a game that is scheduled to begin at 6:40 p.m. The Dodgers will look to send Andrew Heaney to the mound. 

Postgame Interviews 

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

  THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT
Coulombe 0 27 0 15 0 42
Duran 0 31 0 0 11 42
Alcalá 0 13 0 27 0 40
Smith 0 0 20 0 19 39
Thielbar 0 0 18 0 19 37
Duffey 0 0 18 0 14 32
Cotton 0 0 20 0 0 20
Romero 0 0 0 15 0 15
Pagán 0 0 0 10 0 10
Winder 0 0 0 0 0 0


 


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Pretty good series overall.  Definitely out-played the Mariners despite the split.

I was pretty skeptical of the way the front office approached the pitching this offseason, but of course so far it looks like Wes Johnson and co. are back to their wizarding ways after last season's mixed results.  We'll have to see how they fare against the better Dodger's lineup.

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5 minutes ago, 2wins87 said:

Pretty good series overall.  Definitely out-played the Mariners despite the split.

I was pretty skeptical of the way the front office approached the pitching this offseason, but of course so far it looks like Wes Johnson and co. are back to their wizarding ways after last season's mixed results.  We'll have to see how they fare against the better Dodger's lineup.

They're never going to spend on top starting pitchers or 8-figures on relievers, so I've been OK with their pitching decisions. Not exciting, but it's about to be exciting. Ryan and Ober are already there. Winder is very close and will go back and get himself ready to start. Duran is ready now and we see what he can do. Sands. Balazovic. Varland. Woods Richardson. Povich. Hajjar. Gipson-Long. Mooney. Legumina. There is a plan and a process and I'm excited to see the process of bringing them in over the next couple of years

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When the shortstop has already caught the throw from the outfielder and you have a 260-pound behemoth just touching third base, why does the third base coach think it might be fun to send the runner??  Sano was motoring pretty good but he didn't stand a chance in hell of beating the throw.  Maybe the third base coach thought the catcher would run away??  I did see that actually happen.  I was umpiring an intermural softball game between the law school and a frat house.  Alan Page was a runner on second when the batter hit a single to the outfield.  The throw to home was clearly going to nail him by a wide margin.  The catcher saw Page barreling down the third base line, turned to me and said "f#ck this sh#t, and went back to the backstop and waited until after Page crossed home plate.

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First, let me get this out of the way: Dylan Bundy was boring. All he did was toss the ball in there, lower half, bending left and right, and a fastball spotted pretty well down low. No drama, and the players behind him kept it boring for Seattle the whole game, except a couple exciting goofs by Arraez and Kirilloff. Come on guys! Keep it boring!

Second, I hate to see Jhoan Duran get pigeon-holed into the closer position. I know, he threw a bunch of pitches over 100 mph, and he literally blew away three Seattle hitters. I'd still rather see him pitch more than one inning. I respect his desire to eventually graduate from the bullpen to the starting rotation. On the other hand... woof! That was a lot of hondos! This guy is definitely better than Graterol. Duran throws his heater with a more efficient motion, and much better command.

Third, if you're looking for excitement, nothing this season will match watching Gary Sanchez try to field Tyler Duffey's bouncing curve balls. I have literally seen little league catchers do a better job trapping balls in the dirt. Dick Bremmer wins the unintentional comedy award for saying, "Nice stop by Sanchez," after a Duffey curve bounced off his pads, hit the batter in the leg, then bounced back to Sanchez. 

One sign of a good team is that they can win efficiently. That's exactly what we saw today. 

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1 hour ago, SwainZag said:

With the Dodgers tomorrow and Archer on the mound, I can see the appeal of not using Winder in case things go south quickly.

Yeah, I figured that Winder was held in reserve all weekend to go long relief for whichever starter, if any, faltered.  But, so far, starting pitching has been okay.  All four of those games were winnable.

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2 hours ago, Monticore said:

Bad defense and bad base running but a W, so I'll shut up. All the pitchers bore down after the errors. How does Joe Smith get away with an 85 mph fastball?

2 hours ago, SwainZag said:

Similiar to how Romo gets away with it as well.

Yep there will always be a place for frisbee guys in my book.  I honestly think every pen should have one so they can just give a wildly different look, the changeup of pitchers.  Pat Neshek is still my favorite non star Twin ever.

Imagine facing a starter throwing 95+ then this funky weird side arm/ submariner comes in throwing bowling balls at 85 or sweeping frisbee breaking stuff in the 70s, then its right back to Alacala or Duran throwing 100+.  They might not strike you out but there is going to be a ton of soft contact and its going to screw with the hitters timing for the next ab as well.

 

 

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1 hour ago, jimbo92107 said:

First, let me get this out of the way: Dylan Bundy was boring. All he did was toss the ball in there, lower half, bending left and right, and a fastball spotted pretty well down low. No drama, and the players behind him kept it boring for Seattle the whole game, except a couple exciting goofs by Arraez and Kirilloff. Come on guys! Keep it boring!

Second, I hate to see Jhoan Duran get pigeon-holed into the closer position. I know, he threw a bunch of pitches over 100 mph, and he literally blew away three Seattle hitters. I'd still rather see him pitch more than one inning. I respect his desire to eventually graduate from the bullpen to the starting rotation. On the other hand... woof! That was a lot of hondos! This guy is definitely better than Graterol. Duran throws his heater with a more efficient motion, and much better command.

Third, if you're looking for excitement, nothing this season will match watching Gary Sanchez try to field Tyler Duffey's bouncing curve balls. I have literally seen little league catchers do a better job trapping balls in the dirt. Dick Bremmer wins the unintentional comedy award for saying, "Nice stop by Sanchez," after a Duffey curve bounced off his pads, hit the batter in the leg, then bounced back to Sanchez. 

One sign of a good team is that they can win efficiently. That's exactly what we saw today. 

I think Duran is here to stay, meaning his starting days are over.  I don't want to see him pigeon holed into the 9th either, but I also don't want to see him get to many multiple inning appearances. 

Duran looks like he is going to be an awesome reliever and I want him used as bullpen ace to get the biggest outs be it the 7th, 8th, or 9th.  That being said this year is going to be tough to not overuse him, 19 something innings last year, covid year, and an injury history on a power arm. 

Let Pagan/ Duffey/ Alcala "close" and be the work horses.  Limit Duran getting back to back days or multiple inning stints to keep him healthy and build him up.  I want next year to be when he is truly unleashed instead of dealing with arm problems.

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3rd base coach owns two mistakes. Should have sent Arreaz in the 1st. Should never have sent Sano. One downside of batting Buxton 1st is that even when there's guys on for him, they are running with bears on their back.

 

Also, how long is Sano's leash? Another brutal start. At some point it's just time to cut bait. 

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3 hours ago, howeda7 said:

Also, how long is Sano's leash? Another brutal start. At some point it's just time to cut bait. 

Way too early to be cutting bait on anyone. Baseball is a game of ups and downs. Sano has traditionally had streaks more on the month-long cycle, not series cycle. They're paying him $10 million or so and he's put up better than average WAR by the end of the season. So, unless others burst onto the scene such as Larnach taking over LF, Kirilloff moving to 1B, and Sanchez (or maybe Arraez) taking over DH, all three having career years...I doubt we'll see Sano out of the lineup much. It is easy to see that we were all expecting more from Sano being a top prospect and breaking into the majors with a 149 OPS+ which he hasn't achieved again in his career. 

From Baseball Reference

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards
8 Yrs 678 2804 2455 385 580 123 6 161 415 4 3 327 1023 .236 .328 .488 .816 118 1198 52 12 0 10 10    
162 Game Avg. 162 670 587 92 139 29 1 38 99 1 1 78 244 .236 .328 .488 .816 118 286 12 3 0 2 2  
2015 22 MIN AL 80 335 279 46 75 17 1 18 52 1 1 53 119 .269 .385 .530 .916 149 148 4 1 0 2 1 D/53H RoY-3
2016 23 MIN AL 116 495 437 57 103 22 1 25 66 1 0 54 178 .236 .319 .462 .781 108 202 8 1 0 3 1 59D/H  
2017 24 MIN AL 114 483 424 75 112 15 2 28 77 0 0 54 173 .264 .352 .507 .859 126 215 12 4 0 1 5 5D/3H AS
2018 25 MIN AL 71 299 266 32 53 14 0 13 41 0 0 31 115 .199 .281 .398 .679 83 106 7 0 0 2 0 53/DH  
2019 26 MIN AL 105 439 380 76 94 19 2 34 79 0 1 55 159 .247 .346 .576 .923 139 219 5 3 0 1 0 5/3DH  
2020 27 MIN AL 53 205 186 31 38 12 0 13 25 0 0 18 90 .204 .278 .478 .757 105 89 3 1 0 0 1 *3/D  
2021 28 MIN AL 135 532 470 68 105 24 0 30 75 2 1 59 183 .223 .312 .466 .778 112 219 13 2 0 1 2 *3D/5H  
2022 29 MIN AL 4 16 13 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 6 .000 .188 .000 .188 -39 0 0 0 0 0 0 */3  
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3 hours ago, Twins_Fan_For_Life said:

It's official.  Four games into the season brings the first "cut bait with Sano" post (unless I missed an earlier one)

People have been saying that since spring training, so yes you missed more than one. You blew it big time.

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Arraez looks to be a guy that Rocco can't afford to sit, those ABs were incredible.

Buxton is as locked in as he's ever been, it's can't-miss baseball when he's at the plate.

Cy Bundy looked as good as we can expect, nice work on the mound.

Sano's baserunning mishap wasn't exactly his fault, he was waved home after all. Kirilloff's, not sure. Either way frankly I don't mind the aggressive baserunning. Half the time those throws home miss the mark or the catcher can't handle them.

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Good game from the Twins, never seemed to really be in trouble. Not surprised that they could win a game without dingers, but nice to see one pop in there. The bombs will keep flowing with this lineup, though.

There's a few guys off to a slow start, but it's only 4 games. Not going to panic after one series, and there's enough guys who hit the ground running that it balances out. We were a little unlucky this series; probably should have won 3 out of 4. But that's baseball.

It will be interesting to see how they do against the Dodgers, who are a really good team. Honestly, my biggest problem so far this season is how they're (not) using Winder. I don't see much point to having him on the roster if they're not going to use him, and he needs to pitch. If he's just the long man/mop up guy, I'd rather see him in AAA starting. If they planned to piggyback him with a starter, I don't see why they couldn't run him out there in the 6th and let him try and get the last 4 and save the bullpen for day as opposed to letting him gather splinters. But if that's the biggest beef...we're doing ok.

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7 hours ago, jimbo92107 said:

 

Second, I hate to see Jhoan Duran get pigeon-holed into the closer position. I know, he threw a bunch of pitches over 100 mph, and he literally blew away three Seattle hitters. I'd still rather see him pitch more than one inning.

Amen

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Worth noting  that they get paid for how they approach things in the off season and we don't. 

8 hours ago, 2wins87 said:

Pretty good series overall.  Definitely out-played the Mariners despite the split.

I was pretty skeptical of the way the front office approached the pitching this offseason, but of course so far it looks like Wes Johnson and co. are back to their wizarding ways after last season's mixed results.  We'll have to see how they fare against the better Dodger's lineup.

 

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Everyone likes to gripe about Sano, but you know exactly what you've got with him. He take ridiculously poor AB's, strikes out a ton, leaves guys on base...and then every once in a while, he hits one or two rockets into the third deck. Ok. What is the story with Kep? He can't hit the broad side of a barn anymore. Looks completely lost at the plate. It's been that way for a couple years.  Both of those guys are huge holes right now. Make things very tough at times. When we win, it's usually despite them, not because of them. 

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Nice smooth win last night.  Too bad there was only 12,000 in the stands.  Attendance around the league in general is down so far.  Very few opening day sellouts which was always a gimme on opening day.  But that's a discussion for another time.  Nice win.  Solid pitching.  We survived 3 errors and two guys thrown out at home.  Strange sending Sano to score when he had no chance.  And we had our 35 million dollar superstar ss scheduled to bat next.  But nice to win.  Go Twins.  Dodgers and Red Sox next.

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31 minutes ago, Riverbrian said:
8 hours ago, jimbo92107 said:

 

Second, I hate to see Jhoan Duran get pigeon-holed into the closer position. I know, he threw a bunch of pitches over 100 mph, and he literally blew away three Seattle hitters. I'd still rather see him pitch more than one inning.

Amen

I agree, but with 16 innings pitched last year they are checking all my boxes on how to handle him. Use him in the bullpen this year to limit innings. Use him right away to not waste any of those super ballistic bullets. Most importantly, don't lock yourself into thinking of him as a reliever only. This last point is my hope but we have no way of knowing what their plans are. Of course they might not either. It is not his arsenal that would hold Duran back from a starter role, only stamina/durability. It will be fun to see how he responds.

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