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Twins 5, Tigers 4: Wild Final Play Extends Win Streak to 5


Twins Daily Contributor

The Twins extended their win streak to five games on a chilly Tuesday night, beating the Tigers 5-4 in bizarre fashion in the series opener on a final play you have to see to believe.

Box Score
Starting Pitcher: Paddack 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO
Homeruns: Kepler (1)
Top 3 WPA: Sano .624, Larnach .243, Paddack .192
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
80825856_chart(6).png.a99778210f5306623193f188bcb39981.png
Here’s how the Twins lined up to open their three-game series against the Tigers.

Today, Twins' Twitter was already astir, with reports that Carlos Correa would be open to finding a long-term deal in Minnesota, courtesy of Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. On the field, Chris Paddack looked to continue his upward trend in his third start since joining the Twins. In his first start against the Dodgers, Paddack struggled to find the strike zone and got clobbered by a lineup that frequently saw him in the NL West.

Paddack struggled to find the zone in chilly game-time temperatures in the first inning. He made it through a scoreless inning despite issuing an uncharacteristic walk to Javy Baez. From there, Paddack didn’t look back. The Tigers managed just two hits in Paddack’s first five frames, in which he struck out six Tigers hitters.

Meanwhile, Eduardo Rodriguez had a solid start for Detroit. In the second inning, the Twins got on the board after a Max Kepler double scored Kyle Garlick. The Twins added to their lead in the fourth via a two-run home run from Kepler. Kepler’s performance against a left-handed pitcher is of note. Perhaps even more significant is a Twins' hitter not named Byron Buxton or Luis Arraez stepping up and having a strong offensive performance. More of this, please...

Paddack finally ran into trouble in the sixth inning. A bunt hit from Derek Hill was followed by a bloop single from Robbie Grossman. Austin Meadows grounded into a huge double play before Javy Baez got the Tigers on the board with a loud double to right field. Tyler Duffey replaced Paddack and induced a ground out from Miguel Cabrera to end the threat, the Twins taking a 3-1 lead into the seventh inning. Paddack’s development and performance in his first three starts have to be viewed as an incredibly encouraging sign for the Twins. His velocity was up, he pounded the zone, and he looks like a confident starting pitcher. Long may it continue.

Duffey and Caleb Thielbar combined for a relatively comfortable seventh inning, a welcome turn given their early struggles this season.

Thielbar returned in the eighth and immediately struggled, giving up a single to Derek Hill before walking Robbie Grossman. Thielbar managed to get Austin Meadows to fly out but left the game with runners at first and second and one out. Emilio Pagan relieved Thielbar and immediately surrendered the lead as Baez hit a three-run home run. Miguel Cabrera lined out before Spencer Torkelson walked. Pagan eventually struck out Schoop, but looked all over the place, throwing just 10 strikes in 23 pitches.

Griffin Jax looked brilliant in the top of the ninth, striking out two and retiring the side on just 10 pitches. One nagging question for the Twins, in addition to the inconsistent offense, is the bullpen. Whether the complaint is relevant or grounded in recency bias, it feels like the Twins are struggling in some early season games trying to figure out who can do what in their bullpen. Surely an investment of $5-7 million more could have stabilized the back end of the bullpen before the start of the season?

The bottom of the ninth was bizarre. Gregory Soto walked Trevor Larnach and Gio Urshela. Miguel Sano singled on a line drive to right field, Larnach held at third, Urshela kept running when Sano continued to second. Tigers catcher Eric Haase threw the ball over third base into left-field, allowing two runners to score and the Twins walked off in bizarre, and extremely fortunate fashion.

Bullpen Usage Chart

  FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT
             
Winder 0 0 61 0 0 61
Pagán 34 0 0 0 23 57
Thielbar 0 22 0 0 27 49
Jax 29 0 0 0 10 39
Duffey 13 0 0 0 19 32
Coulombe 0 28 0 0 0 28
Stashak 0 22 0 0 0 22
Duran 0 0 18 0 0 18
Smith 0 0 13 0 0 13
Romero 0 IL IL IL IL 0

Next Up

On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against the Tigers. Joe Ryan starts for Minnesota against old friend Michael Pineda. First pitch is at 6:40 CT.

Postgame Interviews

 


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All three Twins runners in the 9th screwed up. Why was Larnach standing on 2nd on a liner over the right fielder's head? If had been halfway, he would have scored easily, but he ended up held at third. Sano then forced the issue by heading toward an occupied 2nd base. He could have retreated because no fielder was at first. Instead, Urshela headed toward occupied third. Of course a horrific lob from the catcher allowed the baserunners off the hook.

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Just now, Obie said:

All three Twins runners in the 9th screwed up. Why was Larnach standing on 2nd on a liner over the right fielder's head? If had been halfway, he would have scored easily, but he ended up held at third. Sano then forced the issue by heading toward an occupied 2nd base. He could have retreated because no fielder was at first. Instead, Urshela headed toward occupied third. Of course a horrific lob from the catcher allowed the baserunners off the hook.

Larnach - He was going back because if that ball would have been caught (and it probably should have), he tags and goes to third on Grossman's arm. Agree on Sano and for sure Urshela... but oh well. 

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Little League stuff. Peak Gardenhire teams won a bunch of games like this too, so take that as a good sign I guess. With seemingly no one in the division interested in playing quality baseball, the Twins might as well take advantage. Still, I've seen less all-around, both-teams ineptitude in a t-ball game than that final play.  

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Old-Timey Member

The only baserunner who has an excuse in that situation was larnach. That ball looked like it was going to be caught. Watkins held him up. I think Sano spooked urshela when he ran to second. Urshela should have stayed put, but sano was probably so shocked to actually be running bases, he almost blew The whole thing up

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Glad that I didn't pay money to buy a ticket to watch what is being sold as big league professional baseball.  Little League pitching, Little League fielding and Little League base running.  I played a ton of games like this when I was seven years old and watched my kids do the same.  I am tired of watching this kind of baseball . . . especially twice in one week.  Good grief!

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41 minutes ago, Monticore said:

Lucky win, no thanks to Baldelli. Starting Thielbar in the 8th was asking for trouble. 

As soon as I saw Thielbar was returning to pitch in the 8th, I had to find alternative programming as I could see trouble looming. Yes, Pagan served up the 3-run jack to Baez, but Thielbar's ineffectiveness, imo, begs for a change.  As I've stated before on this site, Thielbar's age, limited velocity and lack of command doesn't warrant being used in high leverage late game situations.  I know Baldelli's options--at this time----- are limited by a variety of factors, but that can be solved by Falvey./front office by making a deal for a LH RP.  There are arms available.  This might sacrifice a decent/above average prospect, but the potential reward is worth the risk.

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8 hours ago, Clare said:

Glad that I didn't pay money to buy a ticket to watch what is being sold as big league professional baseball.  Little League pitching, Little League fielding and Little League base running.  I played a ton of games like this when I was seven years old and watched my kids do the same.  I am tired of watching this kind of baseball . . . especially twice in one week.  Good grief!

You could choose not to watch if it's so upsetting to you.

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Robbie Grossman is the gift that keeps on giving to the Twins.  He makes a better read on a very catchable flyball and none of the hilarity on the basepaths even takes place.  He needs to buy Haase a nice dinner to make up for even putting him in the position to make a poor throw under pressure - there was no pressure on Grossman's attempt to begin with, he just needed to be competent.

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38 minutes ago, Squirrel said:

Wow … we win, granted, not in the greatest of fashions, thanks to the Tigers’ error, but sheesh, guess there is nothing good to be said about the game

Although not charged with an error, Robbie Grossman's waffle iron for a glove played a pivotal role to the start of this comical/awful result for Detroit.  Thanks for the gift Robbie. 

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4 minutes ago, ashbury said:

Robbie Grossman is the gift that keeps on giving to the Twins.  He makes a better read on a very catchable flyball and none of the hilarity on the basepaths even takes place.  He needs to buy Haase a nice dinner to make up for even putting him in the position to make a poor throw under pressure - there was no pressure on Grossman's attempt to begin with, he just needed to be competent.

Grossman def made a poor read on the ball but Sano sent a screamer to right field, the catcher throwing to third was the gift. 

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14 minutes ago, darwin22 said:

  I know Baldelli's options--at this time----- are limited by a variety of factors, but that can be solved by Falvey./front office by making a deal for a LH RP.  

i'd love to hear more about your apparent insight into these deals that the front office can swing to fix the pitching. as we all know, late april/early may trades are HUGE in baseball. they happen so often, i can hardly keep up with it all.  please share your insights into which organization is going to trade high level, effective left handed relievers less than 20 games into the season, i'm sure all the other teams in the league would also be interested in knowing

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