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Guardians 11, Twins 10: Another Bullpen Meltdown Wastes a Great Offensive Night


Thiéres Rabelo
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I don't follow MLB TradeRumors closely enough to know if there are relief pitchers out there who have been waived, available as Rule 5, or whatever, but to have two relief pitchers available in the top of the ninth in a game where your offense has kept coming back (and the night before, as well) is not to be allowed.  I was glad Duffy wasn't a choice, but why is he still on the team?  Someone in the Northern League, if it still exists, would be happy to throw an inning.  If you cannot play everyone on your roster, someone is doing something wrong.  Celestino should have caught that fly ball, and what are we doing playing Gordon?  He makes a mental error every game he is in.  If Correa is keeping a pros and cons list of resigning with the Twins, the cons are getting a lot of weight on their side.

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IMO the Twins were always going to get reeled in at some point.  I thought it was going to be Chicago that caught them but this Cleveland team looks very Piranha like. The Twins had that big winning streak early and were gifted some games by Chicago and Detroit.  The rest has been pretty mediocre.  They just are not very consistent and the pen has been a thorn in their side since the first game of the season.  Starting pitching has been duct tape patch work.  The offense can shine one game and get easily shut out the next.  The team is kind of a house of horrors in some regards. 

To me it looks like Cleveland finally found the offense they have been missing for the last 3 years.  Instead of losing close games due to lack of offense they are winning close games.  They have a better starting staff and a deeper bullpen honestly barring injury they look like the better team to me.

I still think the Twins are a good team but my dream that they somehow might steal the division is pretty much gone at this point.  After they get swept today there should be no looking back for Cleveland unless the injury bug bites them.

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1 hour ago, Otto von Ballpark said:

#1 Sonny Gray:  Coming out for the 5th inning with a 5-1 lead facing the BOTTOM of the order, you'd think Gray would be able to execute his pitches--even with a climbing pitch count---to save the bullpen. That was soon lost as Gray served up a HR to Hedges (hitting in .160s) which was followed by 3 straight singles.  Gray has GOT TO BE BETTER.  Plain and simple.

But they still had the lead and he should have been given the opportunity to get out of the mess.  Pulling your "#1"  to go to the Twins BP is a fatal error in a game they could have easily won!

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8 hours ago, Dan O. said:

The bullpen was a disaster but don’t overlook the lack of fielding in the 9th.  Kirilloff’s failure to  field the sharp grounder pretty much right at him was a huge factor in the inning spinning out of control — as was Celestino’s not catching the fly to center.  A champion caliber team makes the tough plays.

Yep. The odds of crooked numbers increase dramatically with each extra out provided to the opposing team. 

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9 hours ago, Vanimal46 said:

The highs and lows during this game was crazy. Really disappointing that 10 runs wasn’t enough to win. Even more disappointing that the bullpen gave up 7 runs from the 7th inning on. 

I still hold the belief that Cleveland is playing extremely lucky baseball and it’s not going to last throughout the summer. It will all even out. The question is, can we cobble together a bullpen internally and keep the ship from sinking over the next month? 

The answer to your question is, no. If they could, it would look a lot different than it does now.

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Not sure how people at least in part, cannot blame Rocco for many miscues.  He has been totally out managed by Franconia these last two games.  Plus I agree that if you are afraid to use Duffey with a two or three run lead, then why is he even on the roster taking up space?  We should not be surprised by Cotton.  The Twins have already DFA d him TWICE this year and no other team wanted him.  I was dissappointed that Gray couldn't hold on to a 5-1 lead in the fourth inning.  He needed to pitch better to get team into the 6 the inning.  The comment by Dyoung Park about the home run is absurd.  It doesn't matter one but if the exit velocity was 90 or 115.  It doesn't matter if it landed in the first row or the third deck.  It's still a home run!!  But that's right.  The twins never hit any "cheap" home runs or bloop singles.  Just our opponents.  So tired of all the excuses.  The fact is evident that this team is just average or below average with a terrible pitching staff.  They've been lucky to be in first place as long as they were.  The inability of starters to consistently go 6 or 7 innings has worn out a mediocre bullpen.  This lands on Baldelli and the FO

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I was at the game. It was the most disheartening loss I can remember, and I remember a LOT of them. It's about time to admit the front office got completely fleeced in the Rogers trade. They've got to step-up, make it right and get us some bullpen help before it's too late. Rocco makes some absolutely god-awful decisions, but he's not responsible for the quality of arms available and the terrible execution. I'm just so depressed about this one that I don't see a realistic playoff push with this roster.

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9 hours ago, darwin22 said:

Well........I stated last nights loss was a gut punch.  It absolutely was.  

This final result was the equivalent to a Sean Michael's "sweet chin music" kick delivered to the groin.

Easy to place blame on the main culprits....Cotton & Pagan, but I instead will focus my thoughts on 2 others:

#1 Sonny Gray:  Coming out for the 5th inning with a 5-1 lead facing the BOTTOM of the order, you'd think Gray would be able to execute his pitches--even with a climbing pitch count---to save the bullpen. That was soon lost as Gray served up a HR to Hedges (hitting in .160s) which was followed by 3 straight singles.  Gray has GOT TO BE BETTER.  Plain and simple.

#2  Falvey/Levine:  Know this is about baseball, but have to invoke the Bill Parcells line from years ago:

"If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they should let you shop for some of the groceries"

As much as I've placed A LOT of BLAME (deservedly so) on Baldelli for his questionable bullpen decisions this year, I can't fault him tonight for bringing Pagan back for the 9th as he struck out the side in the 8th.

Who else was available?  Not Duran after throwing 2 innings last night and 27 pitches.  Not Thornburg, And for sure---NOT Duffey.

So Thad and Derrick----what are you WAITING for???   This team,,,,,your coaches and your manager are BEGGING for help.  This bullpen---especially earlier in the season------did quite well when (a long time ago) they were fresh.  They are running on fumes now.  Don't you see that?  Other than the addition of Joe Smith in the offseason you did NOTHING do improve this pen.  Now is the TIME ---not waiting till August 2nd----to upgrade this bullpen!!!  A minimum of 2 RPs---1 LH...1 RH are needed now!  

Yes, the price might some prospects, but this team has demonstrated the aptitude and guts to be play meaningful games in September,  

Its time for you two to STEP UP and show Rocco, your coaches, and your players that you have their back.  There are RPs throughout the league on BAD teams (PIT-TX-AZ-OAK and others) that can help this team immediately.  Its your responsibility to everyone listed above as well as your loyal fans to get this done NOW!!  Failing to act is nothing more than a complete dereliction of your duties.

Why wasn't Thornburg available? He had not pitched since last Friday.

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Well I hope Falvey and Levine noticed that we had 2 relievers that were rested but the manager doesn't even want to use them because he thinks any other pitcher even though over used would be better than them. so we are really 2 relief pitchers short. So go ahead and make a trade or two I think we can find room for a couple of major league level pitchers. NOW

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6 hours ago, USAFChief said:

Who could have predicted not addressing the bullpen over the winter was a very risky strategy? Trading your best reliever a terrible idea?

 

These outcomes are at least partially the result of front office decisions. 

 

In the future I hope the front office changes tactics. A weak bullpen is difficult to maneuver around, ends up throwing away games, and erodes confidence everywhere. 

Especially when your rotation is a guess at best too. 1.Ober, a 1 year wonder, wonder if he'll be anything like last year. 2.Ryan, a rookie with no proven track record. 3.Gray, a veteran that has not been at the top of his game for years. 4.Bundy, same as Gray but with even less of a top side. 5.Paddock, who had injury issues that we now know the FO knew about and traded for him anyway. 6.Winder, another rookie. 

Seriously, did Falvey or Levine really think that the bullpen wasn't going to be used heavily? If not they should be fired.

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11 minutes ago, rv78 said:

Especially when your rotation is a guess at best too. 1.Ober, a 1 year wonder, wonder if he'll be anything like last year. 2.Ryan, a rookie with no proven track record. 3.Gray, a veteran that has not been at the top of his game for years. 4.Bundy, same as Gray but with even less of a top side. 5.Paddock, who had injury issues that we now know the FO knew about and traded for him anyway. 6.Winder, another rookie. 

Seriously, did Falvey or Levine really think that the bullpen wasn't going to be used heavily? If not they should be fired.

I would submit they not only thought it would be, but think along the lines of Rocco and believe in the pen being used the way it is.  Rocco and Falvine are one in the same, just in different offices.  

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1 hour ago, Riverbrian said:

While I remain OK with the Paddack/Rogers deal.

I continue to wait for the front office to get bullpen serious.

In order to be bullpen serious, they need to replace the members of the bullpen that are not trusted. 

Either Duffey is hurt or Rocco doesn't trust Duffey right now. I don't blame the team for not trusting Duffey,  However... if there isn't trust and he remains in the bullpen. They are not bullpen serious. 

Duffey was fresh and Rocco went back to a 2nd inning of Pagan instead. 

Not replacing arms that you don't trust leads to moments of no other options like last night. The bullpen is used too much these days to hide liabilities. It is entirely possible to build a bullpen with stuff up and down the line. Not only possible but necessary.

We are not bullpen serious yet. 

I think it's time to get Moran back up and see if he can be a real piece. Hopefully Alcala is back soon. Then they need to make a move or 2 (or 5) in July when other teams are more serious about making trades. I'm never going to be a proponent of spending tons on the pen as relief arms are just such a crap shoot, but they need to jump on the velo/stuff bandwagon and quit trying to rely on Duffey types for prominent bullpen roles. I think it's time to move Canterino to the pen, too. Just like Duran, it'd be ideal if he could be a starter, but his arm just doesn't seem to be up to the workload. A Duran/Alcala/Canterino/Moran (I'm still really not sure why a guy with 15 Ks in 10 innings with only 2 runs allowed was sent back to AAA) pen could have the makings of something legit. Then you can leave the Duffey/Pagan/Thielbar types for the lower leverage spots. 

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10 hours ago, jimbo92107 said:

...Remember Samuel Deduno? Incredibly live arm, his heater would bend two-and a half feet. Hitters could barely touch him but Deduno could barely find the strike zone, and if he had to throw a "get it over" pitch, they tended to sail over the fence...

Deduno had no control at all over his pitches. It was literally dangerous to the health and safety of players to have him on the mound. Averaged 1 hit batter per 9innings or so pretty much his whole career despite opponents being constantly ready for "in your ear" For every HBP, there were about 5 dust ups... Gardy said Deduno was a guy that put a little fear into opponents. Yeah... fear their career would be ended, fear they'd take a trip to a hospital. Not a good kinda baseball game fear.

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20 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

I was at the game, and hearing it and seeing it off the bat I thought it was a routine fly to the left field corner. I'm still shocked that ball got out.

I was at the game, and in the left field bleachers, and even I thought that was going to be an out. When Larnach didn't come trotting out of the corner I thought.... "really???"

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OMG my second posting today.  That game has me upset I guess.  Yes I would have been one to rip Duffey if he had been in there and given up the lead.  My contention is that if you aren't going to use him because you don't trust his abilities, why is he on the team.  At that point he is taking up space.  That is the issue I have with Duffey.  He should be traded or DFA if you cannot trust him enough to use him.  I knew the bullpen was being overworked and it's just a matter of time before it caves.  It also goes back to the starters inability to pitch longer.  My god the season is almost half over.  Most of your starting pitchers should be stretched out by now.  This should have been foreseen a long time ago by the FO.

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7 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

People begging the team to cut Duffey are mad they didn't use Duffey last night?

This loss sucks. But I'm baffled at the logic of many people. 

I'm not sure if my comments are part of the people you refer to but just in case.

To clarify. I don't believe they should have used Duffey last night. My trust in Duffey is pretty limited at the moment. But... I do believe that because he wasn't used last night it signifies that the Twins also have a lack of trust in Duffey and I don't blame them.  

I do blame them for rostering someone they don't trust though.

Teams can't afford this type of thing. Roster spots can't be wasted with players that can't be trusted... especially in the bullpen. If Duffey and Thornburg can't be trusted with a three run lead. They must be removed from the roster. 

Going back to Pagan on Wednesday after he coughed up the lead on Tuesday indicates a lack of options and is more of an indictment on Duffey and Thornburg than it is on Pagan because as bad as Pagan was last night. Duffey and Thornburg are viewed as worse options.  

It makes no sense to find a replacement option for Pagan while leaving Duffey and Thornburg on the staff.

Pull the weeds.       

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19 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

I think it's time to get Moran back up and see if he can be a real piece. Hopefully Alcala is back soon. Then they need to make a move or 2 (or 5) in July when other teams are more serious about making trades. I'm never going to be a proponent of spending tons on the pen as relief arms are just such a crap shoot, but they need to jump on the velo/stuff bandwagon and quit trying to rely on Duffey types for prominent bullpen roles. I think it's time to move Canterino to the pen, too. Just like Duran, it'd be ideal if he could be a starter, but his arm just doesn't seem to be up to the workload. A Duran/Alcala/Canterino/Moran (I'm still really not sure why a guy with 15 Ks in 10 innings with only 2 runs allowed was sent back to AAA) pen could have the makings of something legit. Then you can leave the Duffey/Pagan/Thielbar types for the lower leverage spots. 

Agreed

Moran Up and Thornburg down right now seems necessary and time sensitive. We absolutely need to know if Moran can be trusted. He has certainly out performed existing options this year. 

Tyler Duffey will not be here next year. If he can't be trusted in his final year... he should not be allowed to take us down with him.

There is nothing to develop with Duffey... He's gone.

He doesn't have to directly cough up leads on the mound to take us down with him. Not being trusted to pitch which in turn reduces the options available can indirectly take us down and it quite possibly did last night.  

    

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it's hard to stay positive but i remain so. however, the managing of byron's work load is a problem. he's fragile and he plays hard so there's going to be issues and long term can the twins have a guy that, when in the line up is great but misses so much time out of it. he should be in this entire series. he should be in against all the games against plus .500 teams. period - unless he's actually hurt. at the very least at DH. the bullpen is a disaster. seven runs from the seventh inning onwards? come on.

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3 hours ago, Mark G said:

"I can't believe anyone is still blaming Rocco. It's not like he has a choice between a putting in Mariano Rivera and a bus driver and keeps making the wrong moves. These are grown men, major league baseball players. If the manager doesn't trust Duffey enough to put him into a 2-run game in the 9th inning, what the hell is he even doing on this team? If Kirilloff and Celestino and Larnach can't make major league plays in the OF, why are they all on the roster?"

Agree with quite a bit, but this paragraph made me pause.  

The manager plays just an important part of the game as any player, maybe more of one.  He decides which pitcher starts and what order they start in.  He decides how long they stay in the game, and which pitcher(s) follow him and how long they stay, etc.  He decides who plays what positions that day, where they bat in the lineup, pinch hitters, if any, if bunt signs are put on (or not), steals (or not)............and so on.  Who he trusts (or doesn't) to put in what situations can decide more games than we think about, both in pitching and in lineups; who he sits against which pitchers, and what pitchers he uses against match ups, etc.  Their decisions play an important part in a lot of games during the season and they have to take the heat when things go bad; it's part of the job.  Rocco hasn't made the best decisions at times, and folks say so in different ways.  

The manager looks like a genius when their guys come through and a dork when they don't; I get it.  But Rocco in particular just doesn't seem to have a feel for some things other managers do.  He is like a piano player.  Many can play the correct keys in the correct time, but a true player has a FEEL for it and makes it sound good.  Rocco plays it by how the computers tell him the best odds are and makes the right decisions often based on that, but doesn't have the FEEL necessary to buck his spreadsheets when the time calls for it and it is noticeable at times.  He has the brains, and knows the game, but sometimes folks question his gut when calls have to be made.  That is when the arrows come out and they can be deserved.  Anyway, that is my sermon for the day; not picking on you.  :)  

Amen to that. There has to be an ability to manage with your "gut" at times, and either Rocco is afraid to or just doesn't have that feel.

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37 minutes ago, Riverbrian said:

I'm not sure if my comments are part of the people you refer to but just in case.

To clarify. I don't believe they should have used Duffey last night. My trust in Duffey is pretty limited at the moment. But... I do believe that because he wasn't used last night it signifies that the Twins also have a lack of trust in Duffey and I don't blame them.  

I do blame them for rostering someone they don't trust though.

Teams can't afford this type of thing. Roster spots can't be wasted with players that can't be trusted... especially in the bullpen. If Duffey and Thornburg can't be trusted with a three run lead. They must be removed from the roster. 

Going back to Pagan on Wednesday after he coughed up the lead on Tuesday indicates a lack of options and is more of an indictment on Duffey and Thornburg than it is on Pagan because as bad as Pagan was last night. Duffey and Thornburg are viewed as worse options.  

It makes no sense to find a replacement option for Pagan while leaving Duffey and Thornburg on the staff.

Pull the weeds.       

The Duffey/Thornburg situation is only a problem, in my opinion, because of how they run/manage the pen. If your strategy is "Fireman, 7th inning guy, 8th inning guy, Closer" then you want the Duffey/Thornburg types as cheap arms you use during blowouts. But the Twins use a situational/matchup/all hands on deck pen and you can't have multiple guys that don't fit in any situation/matchup.

I generally like the FO, and think Rocco is an average manager, but they've all combined to put themselves in an awful place with the pitching staff. It's time to pick a strategy and build the team to fit it. If the plan is to have 8 guys who can all be thrown at anytime they need to get 8 guys capable of throwing at any time. If they don't want to/can't get 8 guys who can throw at anytime then they need to change how they use the pen. No using Duran, Pagan, or Jax (assuming those are the 3 guys they really trust based on how they've been using them lately) for multiple innings ever. You need to be able to use them in back to back games to finish wins. I've defended Rocco's bullpen use in the past, but he's got to change his strategies if he's no longer willing to use a number of guys in the pen in close games. Need the 3 guys you trust to be available as many games as possible if that's the strategy.

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6 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

The Duffey/Thornburg situation is only a problem, in my opinion, because of how they run/manage the pen. If your strategy is "Fireman, 7th inning guy, 8th inning guy, Closer" then you want the Duffey/Thornburg types as cheap arms you use during blowouts. But the Twins use a situational/matchup/all hands on deck pen and you can't have multiple guys that don't fit in any situation/matchup.

I generally like the FO, and think Rocco is an average manager, but they've all combined to put themselves in an awful place with the pitching staff. It's time to pick a strategy and build the team to fit it. If the plan is to have 8 guys who can all be thrown at anytime they need to get 8 guys capable of throwing at any time. If they don't want to/can't get 8 guys who can throw at anytime then they need to change how they use the pen. No using Duran, Pagan, or Jax (assuming those are the 3 guys they really trust based on how they've been using them lately) for multiple innings ever. You need to be able to use them in back to back games to finish wins. I've defended Rocco's bullpen use in the past, but he's got to change his strategies if he's no longer willing to use a number of guys in the pen in close games. Need the 3 guys you trust to be available as many games as possible if that's the strategy.

The traditional strategy of closer/set up/set up only really works if your starting pitching gets you 6 innings fairly often. 

They have too many young arms that need innings management and they are too adherent to the 1st time/2nd time/3rd time through the order data to even think about the traditional strategy. 

Gonna need a bullpen full of arms that they trust. 

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3 hours ago, Riverbrian said:

While I remain OK with the Paddack/Rogers deal.

I continue to wait for the front office to get bullpen serious.

As we evaluate the Paddack/Rogers deal should we consider the prospect cost of replacing Rogers to that evaluation? If they end up needing to trade a good prospect or two in order to get a few months of a Rogers level reliever is it still a deal you like?

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2 minutes ago, jorgenswest said:

As we evaluate the Paddack/Rogers deal should we consider the prospect cost of replacing Rogers to that evaluation? If they end up needing to trade a good prospect or two in order to get a few months of a Rogers level reliever is it still a deal you like?

Absolutely fair consideration and a great point. I don't know... it all depends on the cost of the necessary acquisition.  

I do have the assumption (right or wrong) that decent effective rental relievers won't come with the type of price tag to move the needle past my personal comfortableness but it clearly depends on what we have to give up to fix it.   

Even in consideration of the Paddack injury. Paddack was significant enough value at the time of the deal to justify the potential chain reaction replacement cost for Rogers but yeah... let's see. 

Regardless... Great point. Deals like this are never zero sum considerations.   

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