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Diamondbacks 7, Twins 1: Twins Punished by the Long Ball, Drop Rubber Game


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Seven fantastic innings from Diamondbacks’ starter Merrill Kelly, combined with a bad outing by the Twins’ bullpen, resulted in a tough loss for Minnesota in the rubber game of the series. The Twins conclude their West Coast trip with three wins out of six games.

Box Score
Starting Pitcher: Chris Archer, 4.0 IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 3 K (61 pitches, 38 strikes, 62.2%)
Home Runs: none
Bottom 3 WPA: Caleb Thielbar (-.140), Carlos Correa (-.133), Griffin Jax (-.069)
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
chart.png.05b3a8c961c13d5a443c0ada77db9c20.png

No team in baseball has had better productivity from the top of their order this season. Coming into this game, Minnesota’s batters one, two, and three ranked first in the majors in both OPS (.854) and wRC+ (147), according to Fangraphs. They also led the American League in runs scored, with 142. This fact became evident right out of the gate this afternoon.

Very early in this game, the Twins’ A-B-C trio (Luis Arraez, Byron Buxton, and Carlos Correa ) were already threatening the Diamondbacks. Arráez fell behind in the count but managed to smack a double to left that was barely fair shortly before being sent to third by a Buxton single next. With men on the corners and no outs, Correa couldn’t get a base hit of his own, but his double play grounder was enough to bring Arráez home, scoring the game’s first run.

But that hot start was met by a cold stretch. After the single by Buxton in the first, the Twins' offense went 1-for-15, entirely dominated by D-Backs starter Merrill Kelly. Jose Miranda started the sixth inning with a leadoff single, but Kelly went on to retire the next three batters to end the threat.

Chris Archer, on the other hand, didn’t have a brilliant start, but it wasn’t bad at all. The Twins starter, who flew in his father to watch him pitch, tossed four innings and allowed two runs on a couple of solo home runs, both by Christian Walker, one in the second and one in the fourth. This was the first time this month Archer allowed more than one run in a game. Rocco Baldelli decided not to bring him back for the fifth inning, sticking to the club’s conservative approach with him this year. At 61 pitches, today’s start is tied for his second-shortest of the season.

The Twins bullpen gets wrecked
Archer’s start wasn’t long, but it kept the Twins in the game. Unfortunately for Minnesota, their bullpen wasn’t on a good day.

Griffin Jax took over in the fifth and immediately allowed a leadoff home run to Pavin Smith. He retired the next three batters on ten pitches and kept this a two-run game.

As the offense once again couldn’t figure out Kelly and didn’t take advantage of the leadoff single by Miranda in the sixth, the Arizona offense punished Caleb Thielbar hard. Facing batters two, three, and four to begin the inning, he loaded the bases with only one out. With Thielbar struggling to throw strikes, Buddy Kennedy swung on a 3-0 four-seamer for a grand slam, giving the D-Backs a 7-1 lead. After an excellent month of May and four solid appearances this month, Thielbar allowed more than two runs in a game for the first time since April 26.

Tyler Duffey took over when Thielbar gave up his second walk of the inning, and he got the final out of the sixth, besides tossing a couple of scoreless frames afterward. He now has 5 1/3 innings in his last three appearances, allowing only one run in that span.

Kelly had one more inning of dominance in him, and he tossed a scoreless seventh. He departed the game after that, keeping the Twins offense to a 3-for-23 since the Buxton single in the first inning. Sadly for the Twins, Kelly’s departure from the game didn’t make things any easier. D-Backs reliever Joe Mantiply pitched a scoreless eighth and Noe Ramirez got the first two outs in the ninth. He did give up two walks, prompting Arizona's manager Torey Lovullo to bring Ian Kennedy to get the final out and secure the win.

What’s Next?
After a six-game road trip to the West Coast, the Twins head back home for a six-game homestand. They take the day off tomorrow, then host the Guardians for a three-game series starting on Tuesday. Joe Ryan (2.81 ERA) is set to start in game one, while Cleveland’s starter has yet to be determined. The first pitch of the first game is scheduled for 6:40 pm CDT.

Postgame interviews

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

  WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT
             
Thielbar 4 0 0 0 31 35
Duffey 0 0 9 0 25 34
Thornburg 0 0 33 0 0 33
Jax 11 0 0 0 16 27
Cotton 16 0 0 10 0 26
Smith 15 0 0 0 0 15
Duran 13 0 0 0 0 13
Pagán 0 0 0 0 0 0

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1 hour ago, Aggies7 said:

“the bullpen needed work” because they finally had a couple nights of non-abuse is an all time great excuse 

Would it have mattered?  Twins were down when the bullpen came in and never scored again.  Not sure how the 1 run would have held up if Archer would have thrown a CG.

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2 minutes ago, Doctor Gast said:

I'd like to know what's the Twin's record is when Jeffers is catching compared to when Sanchez is, Also look at the pitchers ERA are at with Jeffers compared to Sanchez. Although Sanchez has improved his defense and Jeffers isn't perfect, there is a great gap in how Jeffers handle pitchers compared to Sanchez. 

IMO these stats are crucial and others are superficial. If we are losing games with Sanchez catching and the pitchers are doing so much better w/o him, Sanchez should be restricted from catching duties. IDK if Sanchez can hit better.

Hmm, a pitcher is only as good as his catcher, well then if we trade for a pitcher we will have to trade for a catcher also, brilliant.

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Don't look now but Cleveland is on the cusp of taking over first place in the division. 

Don't look now but Rocco once again sticks with a reliever (Thielbar) too long and the game gets blown open giving them little to no chance to make a comeback. 

Don't look now but if the Twins are playing a sub .500 team they play like it as well. Not a recipe for success. 

Team is too inconsistant. Don't get consistant starts from the rotation, don't get consistant performance from the bullpen, don't get consistant run production from the lineup. Maybe they need a manager that can be consistant as well instead of changing lineups and bullpen roles every game.

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If I was to listen to Rocco's post game recap ( which i never do or his pregame either  ) ...

Rocco might say we played hard and we never gave up  ...

My assessment is the twins took the field but didn't come to play  ...

A team we should beat and we only win 1 game in the series 

 

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1 hour ago, rv78 said:

 

Don't look now but if the Twins are playing a sub .500 team they play like it as well. Not a recipe for success. 

Arizona plays in a division with 3 teams that have a better record than the Twins (LAD, SD, and SF). It is possible they are a better team than their record indicates. 
 

Teams generally don’t win many games giving up 7 runs or scoring less than two runs as the Twins did in the 1st and 3rd games of the series 

 


 

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It is hard to make a positive comment on a game like this. I just know that in the old days none of us ever wanted to rely on our bullpen it was about our starters, our quality arms and not the guys who failed as starters but we're just trying to hang on with one inning. But I know it's a new era so I give up just like the twins did when they turn to the bullpen tonight. 

As someone else said, this is not a championship team we were playing and we are supposed to beat teams like this. Another commenter said that maybe they're better than we thought because they have all these other good teams in their conference, but then does that mean that we are the last place team in every other conference?

 

It's time to get back on track as we move back into our own division. Let's sweep those damn guardians

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2 hours ago, SwainZag said:

Would it have mattered?  Twins were down when the bullpen came in and never scored again.  Not sure how the 1 run would have held up if Archer would have thrown a CG.

Who knows if it would have mattered, but it’s a bit deflating when that one run deficit turns into 6 in two at bats. Still have to place the majority of blame on the offense who seems to come and go as it pleases, but didn’t like the move removing archer early and it certainly didn’t work out for us.

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9 hours ago, Eris said:

Arizona plays in a division with 3 teams that have a better record than the Twins (LAD, SD, and SF). It is possible they are a better team than their record indicates. 
 

Teams generally don’t win many games giving up 7 runs or scoring less than two runs as the Twins did in the 1st and 3rd games of the series 

 


 

Not sure what you are implying other than the same thing I was. So better teams like LAD, SD, and SF can beat the DBacks ............... and since the Twins struggled against them then the Twins aren't as good as LAD, SD and SF.  That's kind of my point. It also isn't just the DBacks they have had trouble against. They didn't fare too well against the Tigers and Royals in their last series with them either. Teams they should be beating up on... they aren't. Kind of tells a person how good they really are, which looks like it isn't good enough.

 

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11 hours ago, rv78 said:

Don't look now but Cleveland is on the cusp of taking over first place in the division. 

Don't look now but Rocco once again sticks with a reliever (Thielbar) too long and the game gets blown open giving them little to no chance to make a comeback. 

Don't look now but if the Twins are playing a sub .500 team they play like it as well. Not a recipe for success. 

Team is too inconsistant. Don't get consistant starts from the rotation, don't get consistant performance from the bullpen, don't get consistant run production from the lineup. Maybe they need a manager that can be consistant as well instead of changing lineups and bullpen roles every game.

I would be surprised if the Twins are leading the division by July 1. 

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1 hour ago, rwilfong86 said:

I would be surprised if the Twins are leading the division by July 1. 

Eh ... I hardly care by July 1, especially if they are only a game or two out ... I care if they are by Sept. 1, though. If the standings right now would determine which teams were in the playoffs there'd be 3 from the east, 2 from the central and 1 from the west. That's not nothing, imo. That said, I've always been lukewarm about this team ... I've had them in the 80-84 win category ... looks like they might be a bit higher than that when all is said and done, but I'll still stay a bit tempered. However, what they've done with all the injuries and covid, and how decimated their roster has been, and they are still where they are? That, to me, is impressive and is not something to complain about, honestly. It's just not. But, as for yesterday's game ... ugh. They do need better bp help. And the offense needs to find consistency. That's about all I have to say about yesterday's game. It's better than where we were last year, but ... I'll stay tempered. And if we are handing out blame cards, the only one I put this on is the FO. 

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I've been saying for a long time:. The Twins are a mediocre team in a mediocre division. The are way too inconsistent in all phases of the game.  If they are lucky enough to win the division there is no way they advance in playoff round.  Add into it that we have maybe the worst manager in baseball spells disaster.  It appeared they signed Archer to be a starter but they limit his innings to four again.  Four inning Archer strikes again.

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Very bullish on this Twins team - sell, sell, sell. Starting pitching isn't great, bullpen is full of holes and oh yeah they can't hit. They're incredibly lucky to have the record they do. Here's hoping they don't trade away any farm talent at the deadline, it would be a complete waste.

Been shut out 9 times in just over 60 games, that's putting up a goose-egg once a week. Most days they score 1 or 2 runs, and then once a week they'll blow up for 11 which inflates the stats.

Guardians should win 2-of-3 this week and 4-5 next against this team, I can't see them finishing higher than 3rd in the division once the dust settles. 80 wins would be a huge accomplishment with what they're working with.

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14 hours ago, rv78 said:

Team is too inconsistant. Don't get consistant starts from the rotation, don't get consistant performance from the bullpen, don't get consistant run production from the lineup. 

Maybe that's what a truly good team is: one that is consistently good, not just good on their best days.

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17 minutes ago, bighat said:

Very bullish on this Twins team - sell, sell, sell. Starting pitching isn't great, bullpen is full of holes and oh yeah they can't hit. They're incredibly lucky to have the record they do. Here's hoping they don't trade away any farm talent at the deadline, it would be a complete waste.

Been shut out 9 times in just over 60 games, that's putting up a goose-egg once a week. Most days they score 1 or 2 runs, and then once a week they'll blow up for 11 which inflates the stats.

Guardians should win 2-of-3 this week and 4-5 next against this team, I can't see them finishing higher than 3rd in the division once the dust settles. 80 wins would be a huge accomplishment with what they're working with.

Seriously? I can't tell if you are being overly sarcastic for drama's sake or if this is really what you think?

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13 minutes ago, Squirrel said:

Seriously? I can't tell if you are being overly sarcastic for drama's sake or if this is really what you think?

Admittedly being a bit overdramatic with the "sell sell sell" nonsense. BUT frankly I'm really am having a hard time getting excited about this team. It's hard to devote an entire evening to watching the game because they score between 0-2 runs way too often, and that's an unwatchable product.

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The Guardians did what the Twins couldn't, beat generally weaker competition. They are 16-6 in their last 22 games, in which they played Detroit, KC, Baltimore, Oakland, Colorado and the slumping Dodgers (9-11 in their last 20). They actually lost 2 of 3 to Detroit to start this stretch.

The Twins actually won 2 of 3 the last time Cleveland came to town, the loss coming in extra innings, with Gray, Smeltzer and Ryan giving the team decent starts.

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34 minutes ago, bighat said:

Admittedly being a bit overdramatic with the "sell sell sell" nonsense. BUT frankly I'm really am having a hard time getting excited about this team. It's hard to devote an entire evening to watching the game because they score between 0-2 runs way too often, and that's an unwatchable product.

I mean, okay ... I get frustrating play, and the inconsistent offense ... and I've been very tempered by the team from the start ... but I think this team has been surprisingly good more times than not over the season so far. I mean ... would you rather have last year's team? (Okay, so that's a low bar, but perspective can help you through.) And the fact that we've had such a decimated roster so far and are still here, and the young players have really been a part of that which speaks to a hopeful future, these are all good things. Yeah, okay, weak division, blah blah blah ... but there are also a lot of good things to watch, too. They aren't going to win every game ... not even close. But they are going to win more than they lose (probably ... although I had them at .500 or not quite to start the season). If everyone can ever be healthy at the same time come September/October and the team adds a couple of good bp arms ... I think we can maybe get past the first round. We aren't the Yankees, never will be the Yankees ... and if that is your bar, well, I'd give up altogether and find another team. Am I happy with getting to the playoffs only to lose? No. I want to win it all, but, tempered expectations and all that. But, I think selling would be a huge mistake.

For me, I guess I just don't put that much energy into it. I like to watch the game. I don't like to lose, and you've seen me curse a few times in game threads, and I certainly have opinions on what should/shouldn't be done and have been disappointed with decisions not done and games dropped, and certainly like to read and talk about it all, but in the end, it really does not matter because it's just a game and tomorrow is another day. But that's me and how I work my perspective on it.

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