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Astros 5, Twins 0, Lack of Luck, Runners Left on Base


Twins Daily Contributor

Last night's thunderstorms in the Twin Cities couldn't bring any electricity to the Twins' bats on Thursday afternoon. Read up on all the action from the second game of Thursday's pseudo-double-header. 

 

Box Score
Starting Pitcher: Josh Winder, 3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3BB, 2 K (77 pitches, 45 strikes, 58%)
Home Runs: none
Bottom Three WPA: Josh Winder (-.209), Byron Buxton (-.105), Jose Miranda (-.097), 
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
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After a rocky finish to last night's weather-delayed game, the Twins finished up a 'less than pretty' series against the Astros with a 5-0 shutout loss on Thursday afternoon. Despite garnering seven hits (to Houston's eight), the Twins were unable to convert any rallies and left 16 runners on base throughout the game. 

First Foe for Winder
After two incredible starts to kick off his MLB campaign Josh Winder had his first sub-par start on Tuesday afternoon. The highly-touted prospect lasted just 3 1/3 innings, giving up six hits while walking three batters. Twins trainer Abe Masa accompanied skipper Rocco Baldelli to the mound to check on Winder towards the end of his outing. Winder continued to pitch and appeared fine. Hopefully, the young talent is healthy and will rebound for another great start next week!

Bullpen
After a rough outing in the first game of the day, the Twins' bullpen was adequate through 5 2/3 innings. Caleb Thielbar followed Josh Winder in relief and was scoreless through 1 2/3 innings. Tyler Duffey followed suit with two innings of scoreless ball. The highlight of the bullpen experience came from Cole Sands in the top of the eighth inning. Called up to the 40-man roster after last night's delay, Sands struck out the side, providing the only 1-2-3 inning on the day for the Twins' pitching staff. Sands wasn't as lucky in the ninth, giving up a homer to Yordan Alvarez

Arraez and Rocco Return
Despite the gloom of the box score, Luiz Arraez and Rocco Baldelli returned from the COVID protocol on Thursday. Baldelli managed both games today and Arraez made his debut in the second game of the pseudo-double-header, going 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. 

Nick Gordon is a Renaissance Man
The Twins may have lost, but Nick Gordon won over the hearts of Twins fans between the two games on Thursday. After pitching a scoreless ninth inning of a blowout loss, Gordon made one of the most spectacular catches across the league in the second inning of the second game. 

Gordon had an impressive day at the plate as well, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles in the fifth and seventh innings. The former first-round pick has been a joy to watch for the Twins this season both in the field and at the plate. The Avon Park, Florida native has hit .294 in his last seven games, and Thursday afternoon's game was his first multi-hit game since April 21 against Kansas City.  

Bullpen Usage Chart
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What’s Next?
After a disappointing sweep, the Twins will look to regain momentum tomorrow night with a home series against the Cleveland Guardians. RHP Sonny Gray (0-1, 3.48 ERA) will face off against Aaron Civale (1-2, 9.45 ERA) in a battle of two of the AL Central's top teams. First pitch at Target Field is scheduled for 7:10 pm CST. 

 


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Verified Member

Obviously disappointed in losing all 3 games. I would have been OK with some sort of split. But 3 losses against a very good team even at home, doesn't spell doom and gloom going forward. It's baseball. Stuff happens. We weren't supposed to win in Tampa, remember?

I didn't get to watch today, still, a few personal thoughts:

1] Ryan wasn't as sharp in the opener as he has been. Personally, while it was atrocious, I felt he got squeezed a lot by the ump. Disappointed in Winder today, but I have faith in him and a rebound. Bad games happen even for seasoned pitchers. You're going to, obviously, have a few bumps in the road here and there with rookie/young pitchers. 

2] More disappointed in Archer Wednesday night. He just seemed tight or pressing and seemed to overthrow or miss constantly. I don't know if it was the weather or just a very bad day. I've been surprised and encouraged before that game and how the Twins have been handling him. But he's got to rebound next start in a big way.

3]I know we're playing a little short and banged up at the moment, but the offense was starting to click. And I know the Astros are a quality team with some good arms, but the offense has suddenly disappeared the past 6 games. Come on guys!

4] Arraez could fall out of bed every day and hit .300. He's an important part of this team and I'm glad he's still with us..

5] Gordon's draft status will probably always mark him as some sort of "disappointment" no matter his career going forward. But he's starting to hit. His speed is a valuable asset. He can cover 6 positions at least "comfortably" defensively. That catch in CF today was OUTSTANDING and I just marvel at how quickly he has adapted to the OF, on the fly, pun intended, since being thrown out there in 2021.

6] In baseball, there is always tomorrow and the next series. Time to move on, get back in the saddle, and get back in the WIN column starting tomorrow. 

LET'S GO TWINS!

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I wanted to say that the strikes vs. balls ration seemed so different in these games. But it was about even in the double-day game, and Verlander gave a lesson in pitching in the first game by going for contact vs. working the corners.The walks hurt with Ryan & Co. Probably didn't help Winder either.

Pitchers throw stikes. Set their pace. Try to control the game. The minute first-class hitters see "the nibble" they can wait it out. First pitch strikes put the pitchers in front. If you can get a secon pitch strike, then you can start the nuibbling. The six pitch inning by Verlander is one ALL pitchers should study.

That being said, were the Twins hitters just overmatched? Again, getting a runner on base SHOULD also change the pitcher work ethic. It should make them worry (as every Twins pitcher seemed to when a Astros was on base) that the runner was going to advance. So you throw strikes, which the Astros seemed prepared to attack, too...especially in that over-sealous inning for Cano/Stashak.

The Dodgers and the Astros have showed the weaknesses of the Twins. Hey, even the Orioles and A's, in their own way (as well as The Royals) did hold their own.

Don't start buying a season ticket package to get preferential treatment for the post season yet.

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I want to be positive but that was an......Whoping start to finish...Gonna have to find another gear if we want any series wins...in the play offs....

 

 

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I find that the twins havent ever seemed to play with any urgency or action under Rocco. Just seems like an overall overly cautious, laissez faire approach lacking in action.
 

Some of these better teams, like Houston, come in and they’re working counts, not giving away at bats, being aggressive on the bases. Constantly keeping you on edge. Seems like rocco’s chill guy approach translates into butt whoopings against the better clubs. “It’s a long season”. Yeah, but how about competing more? Rocco even came out to check on winder with the trainer and he wasn’t even hurt. Just seems super overly cautious and lacking urgency.

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50 minutes ago, DocBauer said:

 

3]I know we're playing a little short and banged up at the moment, but the offense was starting to click. And I know the Astros are a quality team with some good arms, but the offense has suddenly disappeared the past 6 games. Come on guys!

4] Arraez could fall out of bed every day and hit .300. He's an important part of this team and I'm glad he's still with us..

 

If only Arraez had Gordon's speed; Buxton's drop seems rather odd but then no one is doing much except Celestino.

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It was just one series, an abysmal display, but only three games.

More worrisome, the Twins looked intimidated on a number of instances. Their bats were pretty weak overall. One can only hope that the expectation within the clubhouse was less fearful than what we saw from the action and managing.

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Houston is playing very well. At the top of their game they are superior to the Twins. The thing is that no one goes through an entire season on the top of their game. Even at the top of their game, the Twins have some gaps. They definitely don't have much team speed they are strikeout prone. They're reliant on homers to fuel their offense. This would seem to be a formula where there are slumps and the past week has shown an offense that just doesn't measure up. 

Over the course of a long season, the offense will have peaks and valleys. Guys like Arraez who make contact and work counts tend to have fewer slumps and dry spells. Guys like Buxton are a bit of the opposite. 

I am worried about the rotation and the back end of the bullpen still needs at least one reinforcement. I do think the Twins are better than they showed against Houston and they will play better ball. I'm not sure they have enough talent to make up for their shortcomings.

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Houston just played better baseball than us for these 3 games, no other way to put it. Houston worked counts and didn't waste any AB's, they were aggressive on the basepaths, and their pitchers went right at hitters. This is a great series to learn from, how we need to be more aggressive if we want to have a real chance against some good teams. Not saying it is going to happen overnight, but Houston looked miles ahead of us in almost every aspect of the game.

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I should be more upset about a nasty sweep like this, but I'm not. Overmatched and outgunned. Just like when LA came to town, now they know how they stack up against the top squads - at least when not at full strength. 

Make adjustments, keep the ship pointed at .500 by July 1 and see what happens. 

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I was there today, and watching the conclusion of last night’s suspended game as Houston pounded us silly was especially painful. Putting the two games together, it seemed like the Twins were patching together lineups with duct tape and spit.

Our defense stayed pretty strong - Lewis made a great run to catch a foul pop fly in front of the left field tarp, and both Gordon and Celestino looked quite decent. Contreras looked tentative in left field and had a couple of late breaks on fly balls.

On offense we didn’t perform well in the clutch. Some here call this timidity, or lacking urgency, or bad luck. In the box the hitters seemed intent but unable to string together consecutive hits. 

Luis Garcia’s extreme herky-jerky windup was annoying to watch and apparently confused a lot of batters (apparently the home plate umpire, too).

Arraez was exactly who we have come to expect: working long counts, getting his hits, looking a bit lost in the field, but catching a tricky pop foul, still figuring out his footwork around first base.

Karmarsuk’s (sp?) polish sausage was the high point of those 6 or was it 7 hours! 😏😎⚾

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Well, the Twins we’re doing great until the bigger, better, and more experienced kids got out of school.

Seriously, the Twins were badly outhit, outpitched, outran, outfielded, and, yes, outcoached. (They were even outumped).

Was it just me, or did there just seem to be such a lack of fire in the belly from this team?  

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With all the Houston's RHPs, why didn't Gordon play more? With many LH hitters hurt there was no need to put so many RH hitters in the line up and not play Gordon.

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10 minutes ago, Nashvilletwin said:

Well, the Twins we’re doing great until the bigger, better, and more experienced kids got out of school.

Seriously, the Twins were badly outhit, outpitched, outran, outfielded, and, yes, outcoached. (They were even outumped).

Was it just me, or did there just seem to be such a lack of fire in the belly from this team?  

You have to ask yourself, is there any team in the league right now who would be at all intimidated playing the twins? The players reflect the personality of the manager. Unfortunately, in our case

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No faith in Archer. Maybe it's just the results, but there seems to be something wrong with his mental approach. Like he has other things on his mind besides pitching well.

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3 hours ago, USAFChief said:

 Nitpic, but the Twins did not leave 16 men on base

 They left 9.

Either way, it's yet another demonstration of why RBI are an incredibly important offensive stat, despite what you read.

Twins today amassed 7 hits in 34 AB.  Not going to win many games hitting like that - a .206 batting average.  It's yet another demonstration of why BA is an incredibly important offensive stat.

I can do one of these by hand for OBP too, or even OPS, if you like.  I'm not versed enough to eyeball WOBA or WPA, but they probably are poor looking numbers as well.

This was a bad, bad game.  Any reasonable form of analysis is going to confirm that.

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5 hours ago, USAFChief said:

 Nitpic, but the Twins did not leave 16 men on base

 They left 9.

Either way, it's yet another demonstration of why RBI are an incredibly important offensive stat, despite what you read.

YES!

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I have heard so much about the starting staff and how it is right up there with the best so far this season.  They have done well within the leash they are on, but is it possible that Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, KC, and Oakland would make a lot of staffs look good?  Three straight bad starts in three days suddenly?  And go back to the Dodgers.  It will be interesting to watch the next month or two to see if the pattern continues.  

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I have heard so much about the starting staff and how it is right up there with the best so far this season.  They have done well within the leash they are on, but is it possible that Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, KC, and Oakland would make a lot of staffs look good?  Three straight bad starts in three days suddenly?  And go back to the Dodgers.  It will be interesting to watch the next month or two to see if the pattern continues.  

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