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Twins 3, Royals 7: The Twins Lose That Loving Feeling...and to the Royals


Twins Daily Contributor

Top Gun Day at Target field brought a need for speed, and a win, but the Royals got on the board early, while the Twins struggled to find a rhythm. 

Box Score
SP:Chris Archer 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (78 pitches, 50 strikes (64.1%))
Home Runs:  Trevor Larnach (2)

Top 3 WPA: Trevor Larnach (.153), Ryan Jeffers (.104), Byron Buxton (.08)
Bottom 3 WPA: Chris Archer (-.334), Jorge Polanco (-.109), Gio Urshela (-.103)

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
image.png.36314211adeb366fae071cdb5147ffd7.png

He Was Inverted
Chris Archer started out the first inning by attacking the strike zone and the Royals took advantage of that and got the first run of the game. Archer’s control has continued to trend upward as he settles into the club. Archer, who has been limited on innings because of having no spring training and pitching very little overall the past two seasons, has really continued to improve as he’s stretched out.

He had an ERA of 3.86 prior to today’s game, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Archer has kept his pitching consistent with each performance and the only thing hurting his ERA up until now is his only registered loss, which came against Houston, but all of the Twins' pitchers struggled that series.

Archer has not been allowed to go past four innings all season and today we saw why. By the fourth inning, Archer seemed to lose a little of the command he had in the second and third innings and gave up a run before Wes Johnson made a visit to the mound. After the visit, Archer gave up another two runs before getting the third out which was the 28th pitch of the inning. A Jorge Polanco error could have been the third out. Instead, it was followed by a two-run double. 

Dick Bremer and LaTroy Hawkins both talked about how Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has been taking his time with the RHP who has spent a lot of time in the past three years injured and only pitched 19 ¾ innings last season.  As much as Archer wants to go out and bring the heat full send, the plan that Rocco has him on to help him stretch out and work on his command has proven that not only does Baldelli know what his team needs, but what it is going to take to be competitive. 

"Remember, Boys, no points for Second Place"

The Twins may have lost the game, but they still have the chance to tie the series on Sunday. The first hit of the game looked promising as Byron Buxton ran out a double with his first at-bat of the day as he poked a ball out to right field. Frustratingly Luis Arraez and Carlos Correa left him stranded, but Trevor Larnach answered the Royals with a home run deep to center field. Larnach has had two home runs for the season, both within the past two series and since returning from the IL.  It seemed like every time there was a glimmer of hope, there was a sigh of frustration. 

The Twins have only started out behind in 17 of the 46 games they have played so far this season. In the other 29 games, they scored first and in 24 of those, they won. The Twins certainly did have quiet bats Saturday against Kansas City’s pitchers. There have been a lot of moves lately with injuries, COVID and giving players rest. Baldelli mentioned prior to the game today that even with all the moves lately, the guys continue to stay ready, work hard and show up when they need to. 

A lot of the guys have not had much rest so far this season. Max Kepler, who has been amazing this season both in the field and at the plate, seemed to gingerly run to first base and left the game with right leg tightness. Kyle Garlick came in for Kepler. While the bats seemed to pick up a small amount in the sixth inning with a hit from Arraez and Garlick following up with a single advancing Arraez to third, the Royals pulled Brady Singer to preserve their lead.

Larnach continued to battle at every at-bat and drew a walk against pitcher Dylan Coleman, helping to load the bases for Ryan Jeffers, who came in for Gary Sanchez, who left the game with a heat-related illness in between innings. Jeffers wasted no time in helping get the guys back on the board and hit a line drive up the middle scoring Arraez and Garlick before ending the inning bringing the Twins to only a two-run deficit with plenty of game left. 

The Twins looked like they were making a comeback in the ninth inning with Luis Arraez getting his third hit of the day, followed by Correa getting on base. Polanco came up to bat, hitless the entire game made Josh Staumont work his count, and drew a walk bringing Garlick up to hit with bases loaded and two outs and the fans to their feet. Garlick hit a beautiful fly ball to centerfield but was just short, ending the game 7-3. 

What’s Next? 
The Twins finish out their series with the Royals tomorrow at 1:10pm before flying off to play in Detroit.

Pitching matchup tomorrow: 

  • Sunday 1:10 pm CST: Sonny Gray (21-1, 2.60 ERA) vs RHP Zack Grienke (0-3, 4.53 ERA) 

Postgame Interviews 

 

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

  TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT
             
Minaya 41 0 0 0 31 72
Moran 31 0 0 0 34 65
Duffey 12 0 31 0 20 63
Megill 0 8 0 26 0 34
Duran 14 0 0 19 0 33
Thielbar 0 30 0 1 0 31
Pagán 0 21 0 3 0 24
Jax 0 23 0 0 0 23
Smith 0 3 0 18 0 21

 


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Archer, who has been limited on innings because of having no spring training and pitching very little overall the past two seasons, has really continued to improve as he’s stretched out.

 

I'm not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your police work there, Sherry.

images (3).jpeg

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I cannot find much to be happy with here.  Archer has had enough time to become a 5+ starter, but maybe he just does not have it and should be a RP.  Not impressed with him or the plan.

I am redundant, but bring up Lewis!  This is nonsense, we need his bat and energy. 

(I do have to say I continue to be happy with Arraez and have real hope that Larnach is for real now.)

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1 hour ago, USAFChief said:

Archer, who has been limited on innings because of having no spring training and pitching very little overall the past two seasons, has really continued to improve as he’s stretched out.

 

I'm not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your police work there, Sherry.

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It's not even close. He struggles to get through a lineup the second time. It's basically June; he can't go at least 5 innings because he isn't good enough to get there.

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I was frustrated with this game, the team had only one error but there were a lot of plays  that should have happened that didn't, that cost us quite a few runs. Sanchez is better than advertized but still doesn't make the plays and I don't like how he calls the games. IMO Archer wasn't sharp and still can't make it to 5 innings.

Although we matched KC as far as hits. Yet they couldn't do it when it counted on the most part which is equally frustrating. Totally different game than yesterday. I'd rather have Jeffers starting the games and bring Sanchez in to PH in key spots instead of vise versa but I have to hand it to Jeffers when he got that key single. I was hoping that the line up could put it together after Singer was taken out but it was too little and not able string hits together.

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Polanco batting .231 and Buxton down to .202. Archer and Bundy coming back to earth rapidly. 2nd year guys Ober, Kirilloff, Gordon and Larnach all experiencing challenges, injuries, setbacks.

The fact that this team is sitting in 1st place at 28-19 is unbelievable. But when you remember all the lucky/gift wins they've received, plus the fact they've spent the entire season playing KC, DET, Baltimore and Oakland....it starts to make sense.

I think it would be best to lower our expectations immediately as to not be shocked when these guys drop 8-of-9 to the Jays, Yanks, and Rays (the lone win being a 2-1 nail-biter) before heading on a long flight to get swept by the Mariners in Seattle.

If something doesn't change this team is under .500 by mid-June and "What happened to the Twins?" is the trending topic of the week in MLB before the rest of the league forgets about 'em.

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49 minutes ago, bighat said:

Polanco batting .231 and Buxton down to .202. Archer and Bundy coming back to earth rapidly. 2nd year guys Ober, Kirilloff, Gordon and Larnach all experiencing challenges, injuries, setbacks.

The fact that this team is sitting in 1st place at 28-19 is unbelievable. But when you remember all the lucky/gift wins they've received, plus the fact they've spent the entire season playing KC, DET, Baltimore and Oakland....it starts to make sense.

I think it would be best to lower our expectations immediately as to not be shocked when these guys drop 8-of-9 to the Jays, Yanks, and Rays (the lone win being a 2-1 nail-biter) before heading on a long flight to get swept by the Mariners in Seattle.

If something doesn't change this team is under .500 by mid-June and "What happened to the Twins?" is the trending topic of the week in MLB before the rest of the league forgets about 'em.

I think you are absolutely right. They overachieved and got lucky with an easy schedule and now we may be seeing who the real Twins are, which could very well be the team we saw last season.

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The way it feels is that the Twins have one (Ryan), maybe two(Gray) starters, and the rest have been treated as middle inning releif making every game a bull pen game. So no wonder the bullpen success starts to wane. I'm all for health and build up. But if we're a quarter way in, and healthy "starters" can only make it 3-4 innings, somthing needs to change. Maybe asking a healthy starter go 6-7 innings when their pitch counts are reasonable instead of yanking him just because the lineup turned over a second time. A third time through the order for Archer has to be just as bad as a completely taxed bullpen.

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I'm thinking it might be time to move Archer into a middle relief role. Let him go out an let it loose for 1 or 2 innings every 3 or 4 days. The plan they have him on now is hurting taxing the pen and thus hurting the team. Its one thing to nurse a guy along for the 1st few weeks but we're almost 2 months in now. If he isn't stretched out yet, it should either be getting done in the pen or in the minors IMO.

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57 minutes ago, roger said:

Question:  Who will lose his starters spot when Ryan returns, Archer or Smeltzer?  I know how I would answer, but it is Rocco’s decision.

Do we even know if that’s Rocco’s call? Last I’ve heard, Rocco doesn’t have much power over the roster (it’s more of a collab with Falvey and Levine).

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4 hours ago, Danchat said:

Do we even know if that’s Rocco’s call? Last I’ve heard, Rocco doesn’t have much power over the roster (it’s more of a collab with Falvey and Levine).

True.  And I don ‘t know, but have to believe he decides who plays.  Although I suspect the FO and he communicate on how players will be used.

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On 5/28/2022 at 7:11 PM, KirbyDome89 said:

It's not even close. He struggles to get through a lineup the second time. It's basically June; he can't go at least 5 innings because he isn't good enough to get there.

One could argue, he has been one of the worst Twins relief pitchers this year. A guy that can't pitch 5 innings shouldn't ever be considered a starter. (He can start games, but when the guy starting has no chance of getting the win, he is IMO a relief pitcher, and sadly one of the worst on this Twins this year)

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