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Tigers 4, Twins 2: Detroit Avoids the Sweep Against Cold Offense, Shaky Bullpen


Twins Daily Contributor

Minnesota got a solid start from Dylan Bundy, who pitched into the sixth. But lack of productivity from the offense and a shaky display by the bullpen cost the Twins the game and ended their winning streak.

 

Box Score
Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (85 pitches, 63 strikes, 74.1%)
Home Runs: Trevor Larnach (1)
Bottom 3 WPA: Trevor Megill (-.315), Gary Sánchez (-.265), Max Kepler (-.222)
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
chart.png.2876d07026d979f068e751f8adca9d47.png

Dylan Bundy and Rony García pitched really well to begin this game, shutting out both offenses for three innings. Making his second start since being reinstated from the injured list, Bundy gave up three hits in those three innings, but he had excellent command and never pitched himself into jams.

The Twins caught a break in the third inning when Derek Hill tried to score from third on a pitch that got away from Gary Sánchez. Home plate umpire Charlie Ramos called him out and the Tigers challenged the play, but it was upheld. Was the tag really applied?

The first runs of the game came in the bottom of the fourth inning. García was on a roll, having retired six Twins in a row. Then, Sánchez drew a walk against him and that came back to haunt García. On the next at-bat, Trevor Larnach obliterated a four-seamer, crushing it for a two-run home run, his first of the season.

With such a mammoth shot, Larnach continues to feast on fastballs. Coming into this game, ha was slugging .459 against fastballs, with also a .500 xSLG, per Statcast. This home run came off his bat at 112.4 MPH, his hardest-hit ball of the season.

Bundy, now with some run support, continued his solid effort, pitching into the sixth inning. He gave up a leadoff single in the fifth but went on to strike out the next three batters on 11 pitches. Returning for the sixth, he gave up a leadoff home run to Harold Castro, bringing the Tigers within one run.

If it wasn’t for a fielding error that allowed Javier Báez to reach, Bundy would likely finish another inning and possibly complete a quality start, but after striking out Jeimer Candelario for his second punchout of the inning, Rocco Baldelli decided to bring take him out of the game at 85 pitches.

After a couple of rough starts before hitting the IL, Bundy has given up one run through 8 2/3  innings since rejoining the team.

A shaky bullpen allows Detroit to tie the game
After Larnach’s home run in the fourth, the Twins offense went 2-for-13, failing to provide the bullpen some insurance runs. Griffin Jax and Joe Smith kept the shutout going until the end of the seventh, but then Emilio Pagán gave up a leadoff home run to the same Castro in the eighth, tying the game at 2-2.

With a hit and a walk given up today, Pagán has now allowed hitters to reach safely against him in 11 of his last 12 outings. His season WHIP now sits at 1.47, a career-worst for him, despite the excellent 2.30 season ERA thus far, a career-best. Should we be at all worried about him?

Caleb Thielbar came flew pitch the top of the ninth and he also struggled, despite facing the bottom of the Tiger lineup. After retiring the leadoff hitter, he allowed the next three batters to reach on a single and a couple of walks, loading the bases. Detroit brought in Miguel Cabrera to pinch-hit for Castro, but Thielbar caught a break when a ball four was called a strikeout for the second out of the inning.

It was up for the cold offense to avoid extra innings and secure the sweep. Sánchez flied out to lead off the ninth, making it eight straight Twins retired in a row, but then things nearly shifted the Twins' way. Kyle Garlick, pinch-hitting for Larnach, got hit by a pitch and then reached third on a Nick Gordon two-out single. But Minnesota couldn’t capitalize, as Gilberto Celestino grounded out and the game headed for extras.

Detroit snatches the lead in the 10th, Twins rally falls short
Trevor Megill took the mound to pitch the 10th inning, with former Twin Jonathan Schoop as the ghost runner at second. After striking out Báez to lead off the inning, Megill hung a four-seamer in the heart of the plate, which got crushed by Candelario for a two-run homer. Celestino was inches away from robbing him of the dinger.

But the Twins weren’t done. Hitless for his previous 23 at-bats, Byron Buxton reached safely for the first time in three games on a throwing error by shortstop Willi Castro. Luis Arráez followed that with a liner to center, loading the bases with no outs for Minnesota’s batters three, four, and five.

Michael Fulmer struck out Carlos Correa, then A.J. Hinch brought in lefty Andrew Chafin to try and get the final two outs. He did so on eight pitches, striking out Max Kepler and getting Sánchez to pop out.

What’s Next?
The Twins remain home, where they start a four-game series tomorrow against the Kansas City Royals. The first game is scheduled for tomorrow at 6:40 pm CDT, and, up until now, Minnesota’s starting pitcher is still to be determined. The Royals will have lefty Daniel Lynch (4.01 ERA) on the mound.

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

  SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT
             
Jax 0 0 33 0 23 56
Thielbar 18 0 3 0 30 51
Pagán 0 0 28 0 21 49
Smith 21 0 17 0 3 41
Megill 0 31 0 0 8 39
Cano 0 38 0 0 0 38
Duran 0 17 0 14 0 31
Duffey 0 14 0 12 0 26
Stashak 18 0 0 0 0 18


 

 


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I gave praise to the 3rd base coach and Twins baserunning earlier this week.

 

Today, although it might not have mattered, I really feel like Celestino has to score on Arraez's single in the 10th, even with no out. The ball was obviously down, a little into right center, fairly deep when fielded, and there wouldn't have even been a throw. With Buxton on first, not being held, I think there's a decent chance he then goes 1st to 3rd. Now the tying run is on 3rd with no outs. 

It ended up maybe not mattering, but that really bugged me.

 

Also, we need better pen options. We've gotten by to date, but it can't last as constructed. 

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Another tough game by Detroit, I wouldn't doubt that they've got the best BP in MLB. They are so deep in very good BP arms. As a lazyboy manager, I would have manage this game differently. I won't bore you with every detail but the main point I'd like to point out is only that in the 9th inning I'd pinch hit Celestino w/ the bases loaded for Polanco. #1 Polanco is a better clutch hitter and #2 produces righty / lefty match up. If that wouldn't win the game, defensively I'd place Polanco at 2B, Gordon in LF and Buxton in CF. Celestino made valiant effort at that HR but believe Buxton would've made that catch,

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9 minutes ago, Doctor Gast said:

Another tough game by Detroit, I wouldn't doubt that they've got the best BP in MLB. They are so deep in very good BP arms. As a lazyboy manager, I would have manage this game differently. I won't bore you with every detail but the main point I'd like to point out is only that in the 9th inning I'd pinch hit Celestino w/ the bases loaded for Polanco. #1 Polanco is a better clutch hitter and #2 produces righty / lefty match up. If that wouldn't win the game, defensively I'd place Polanco at 2B, Gordon in LF and Buxton in CF. Celestino made valiant effort at that HR but believe Buxton would've made that catch,

Polanco is hurt.

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Tough game to lose.  Very, very winnable.  And this team should win when the pitching allows only 3 earned runs over 10.  The bats need to get going.  It's late May now and they're struggling against teams they should clobber.

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Although KC & DET are on the bottom, they always play us tough. That's how it goes, even very good teams lose to them once in awhile. Just because we didn't sweep the Tigers doesn't mean it time to roll over and start trading away our players. Tigers have one the best if not the best BP in MLB.

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35 minutes ago, Doctor Gast said:

didn't know, what happened to him?

Sore right ankle.  Sounds like Rocco thinks he'll be back by Friday.

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Bundy got another lease on life today, pitching smart, the way he did his first couple starts. Trevor Megill may have lost the game, but I still like him, because he is... tALlllll...

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I never look at ERA for a BP arm - too misleading for the innings and circumstances.  They can come in give up some runs and still have an era of zero if the runs are charged to the previous pitcher.  I would like to see the runs divided between RP and the previous pitcher.  WHIP is so much more of a true judgment for RP and Pagan plays with fire and gasoline.  

Duran is the one piece that is dependable and something to build around.  I wish Alcala was here - he would add the second piece.  Thielbar and Duffey have lost a lot of their dependability.  Cano has not shown what I think he can do.  Joe Smith has been great and I hope he can keep going.  I am still not sold on Jax and Megill is just another pickup that we rotate in to fill the pen.  With that set of arms I am not confident.  But I am liking the SP going deeper.

I do not worry about this particular game - all teams - good and bad - wins some games during the year.  I mean the Orioles beat the Yankees one game this week.

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Yes a very winnable game.  But these things happen in MLB.  I've been wondering for several weeks how this bullpen can hold up.  They are pitching way too many innings on a nightly basis.  I just can't see how they can be expected to hold up throughout the summer.  They haven't had to deal with too many good teams thus far.  Just thinking that the much tougher schedule in June will highlight many of the teams weaknesses.  Byron Buxton?  Where is he? 

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1. The entire game turned on the foul ball off the knob of Correa’s bat. If that is a ball or HBP, I think the Twins win. But the upside is Correa wasn’t hurt.

2, Max’s K in the bottom of the 9th was an abysmal AB. What was it - 5 sliders, none were in the zone, he swung at all 5 with two weak fouls and three misses? I love Max, but that was a poor mental effort by a seasoned pro.

3.We’ve won way more than our share of games we shoulda/coulda lost this year. So one went the other way this time. No biggie - see you tomorrow,

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I'm not putting this loss on the bullpen. No, they weren't great and couldn't hold it down late, but at the end of the day the offense only scored 2 runs. That's not good enough even against Detroit. (And if we'd gotten one more measly run in regulation, we would have had those last two get tacked on to the bullpen)

We won the series, so I'm not going to panic, but this was not a strong series performance by the offense and they need to step it up in order to keep things rolling. Bases loaded and no one out with Correa, Kepler, and Sanchez coming up and we get nothing? Oof.

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58 minutes ago, jmlease1 said:

I'm not putting this loss on the bullpen. No, they weren't great and couldn't hold it down late, but at the end of the day the offense only scored 2 runs. That's not good enough even against Detroit. (And if we'd gotten one more measly run in regulation, we would have had those last two get tacked on to the bullpen)

We won the series, so I'm not going to panic, but this was not a strong series performance by the offense and they need to step it up in order to keep things rolling. Bases loaded and no one out with Correa, Kepler, and Sanchez coming up and we get nothing? Oof.

I'm always surprised at how much sentiment shifts, even subtly, based on one or two games. 

Twins offense has been fine this year; they're 11 in MLB in OPS. Keep in mind that scoring & offense in general is way down in the MLB this year; it's all compared to what. 

Pitching has been great; 6th lowest ERA in MLB. 

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27 minutes ago, Possumlad said:

I'm always surprised at how much sentiment shifts, even subtly, based on one or two games. 

Twins offense has been fine this year; they're 11 in MLB in OPS. Keep in mind that scoring & offense in general is way down in the MLB this year; it's all compared to what. 

Pitching has been great; 6th lowest ERA in MLB. 

11th in OPS, but only 15th in runs scored. They're just above league average in offense for a team where the offense was seen as a strength, so it's a little concerning. Yes, there have been some injuries...but everyone has injuries. The pitching has been significantly better than expected, which is great: the 6th lowest ERA is awesome. But their FIP isn't nearly as good, which could signal that they've been catching some breaks. And if they revert back to the mean a little on the pitching side, they're going to be in trouble if the offense doesn't pick up. (admittedly, they also might be missing some breaks on the offensive side in the way the OPS and actual runs scored is matching up)

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His season WHIP now sits at 1.47, a career-worst for him, despite the excellent 2.30 season ERA thus far, a career-best. Should we be at all worried about him?

We should've started worrying a while back. The guy has a FIP 3x his ERA and is getting hit almost as hard as he was last season. Tick tick tick.....

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