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Guardians 7, Twins 6: Another Bullpen Meltdown in Extra Innings Loss


Twins Daily Contributor

Another bullpen implosion in extra innings gives Twins their worst loss of the season. 

 

Box Score
SP: Dylan Bundy: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (83 pitches, 58 strikes (70%))
Home Runs:  Alex Kirilloff (1), Gio Urshela (7). Max Kepler (7)
Top 3 WPA: Alex Kirilloff (.20), Carlos Correa (.14), Gio Urshela (.13), 
Bottom 3 WPA: Jharel Cotton (-.72), Emilio Pagan (-.19), Ryan Jeffers (-.19)
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

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Bundy, who had a rough first inning against the Guardians calmed down, looking sharper and more controlled, gave another four innings to the team. The Guardians drove up his pitch count and tried to wear him down, but Bundy battled through the innings not imploding and keeping the runs at three. The defense stayed strong behind him through the five innings not allowing any more runs on the board. 

The defense was different with both Jorge Polanco at shortstop and Luis Arraez at second base filling in for Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa who were both out of the starting lineup. After Bundy loaded up the bases with singles and no outs in the first frame, Franmil Reyes got out on a fielder’s choice to Polanco, who tossed the ball to Arraez getting out Jose Ramirez. Arraez attempted to throw the ball to first for a double play but an errant throw allowed Amed Rosario to score. 

A sloppy first inning for the Twins defensively allowed the Guardians a two-run lead early. The Twins seemed to struggle offensively as much as they were defensively early in the game. They were getting hits and getting on base but couldn’t capitalize with runs when it mattered. 

The Guardians got an early lead in the game thanks to the help of Steven Kwan who stole his fifth base with Amed Rosario at the plate. Rosario poked a ball to right field over Max Kepler's head which allowed Kwan to advance to third. Kwan scored on a sacrifice fly from Josh Naylor to give Cleveland a 3-0 lead. 

As slow as the offense started for the Twins, the defense had some notable plays that saved the bottom of innings and more runs from scoring. Gilberto Celestino chased down a fly ball to the warning track in center field off the bat of Andres Gimenez. Jose Miranda dove to catch a line drive hit by Jose Ramirez and tagged out Reyes who took a large lead off first and got tagged trying to scramble back. The out closed out the inning leaving players stranded for the Guardians. 

In true Twins fashion, the fun started late in the game when Alex Kirilloff hit a heater off of Quantrill, his first home run of the season. It was a two-run shot in the top of the sixth. Gio Urshela followed with a solo home run to tie the game! Quantrill was now under threat of his first loss. Quantrill had not lost a game against the Twins at Progressive Field. 

Jhoan Duran held the Guardians in the eighth and ninth innings and just like that the Twins were in another extra-inning game. Byron Buxton, who came on to pinch-hit in the eighth inning, He gave the fans a scare when he took off toward third base on a foul ball off the bat of Luis Arraez. Richie Palacios made a great catch against the netting. Buxton got up and appeared fine and Twins Territory sighed a breath of relief (I'm sure).  

Carlos Correa, who came into to pinch hit for Jose Miranda in the 10th inning, took advantage of having the first part of the evening off and through the reluctant loud “Boos” of the stadium, worked up a full count before poking a ball into right, scoring Buxton giving the Twins their first lead of the night and landing on first. 

The Twins piled on in the tenth with a home run from Max Kepler bringing the lead 6-3 before ending the inning. 

The Twins went into the bottom of the tenth inning with a three-run lead, but again, the bullpen imploded, Emilio Pagan came on to start the inning, and he got the first batter that he faced out. But, he issued a walk and a run-scoring single to Amed Rosario. Jharel Cotton was summoned, and he got Jose Ramirez on a pop out to center. Unfortunately after a passed ball, the Guardians got within one run of a tie. Unfortunately, after working Josh Naylor with fastballs up in the zone, Cotton served up a fastball down in the zone, and Naylor hit a bomb to left field for a two-run, walk-off homer. Another very frustrating end to looked like a solid win and just like that the Twins are in the losing bracket of extra-innings going 1-and-4 for the season.

What’s Next? 

The Twins finish out the five-game series with a chance to take the series win with the Guardians tomorrow afternoon.  Pitching matchups for the series include: 

Postgame Interview 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

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The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.... or more simply....

Pitching Pagan in relief

Trading Rogers at the outset of the season has turned out to be every bit as devastating as some on this site predicted at the time. 

Taylor Roger's WARP (Wins Above Replacement of Pagan) would be about 8 already! 

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If you can't trust a pitcher with a 3-run leda, why is Thornbvurg on the staff? 

And, Pagan, when all you have to do is throw strikes and put the ball in play, avoid the walk.....stop being wild pitch cute.

Can the Twins start using Jax for more than 1 inning, please?

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Rocco: "There have been times where Emilio Pagán is one of the best relievers in baseball, he knows what that feels like. Right now his stuff is actually good, the execution is not good."

Translation: "Pagan is pitching terribly... but my excel spreadsheet says that he should be pitching good, so I need to keep sending him out there in high leverage situations... (oh my excel spreadsheet... my precious...)" 

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50 minutes ago, D.C Twins said:

Rocco: "There have been times where Emilio Pagán is one of the best relievers in baseball, he knows what that feels like. Right now his stuff is actually good

Then I'm sure he will fetch a fine return in trade. Rocco, implore your bosses to pull the trigger now on whatever best offer is on the table.  :)

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Pagan's last four outings v Cleveland. 2 and 1/3 innings, 7 hits, 3 walks and 10 runs given up. Rocco often shows loyalty to his players which in itself is abmirable, but this recent display is becoming beyond ridiculous at this point. It's flashbacks to Alex Colome in 2021. Rocco...end the 2.0 version of the great 'ball man' experiment now before you begin your career as a townball manager.

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The bullpen implosion was a disaster - unfortunately, not that unexpected of this club. I mean, we are kinda getting used to it, right?  Pagan is, like, 9/15 in save situations.  The thread will focus on this I’m sure.

However, the little things from the position players once again bit this team in the rear.  Arraez’s throwing error in the first was unnecessary and led to a run.  Celestino not picking up the 3rd base coach and stopping at second likely cost the Twins another run. That’s a net two runs, proving costly. No need to even mention the passed ball. We need to clean up these little things because they are having a big impact. Our relief corp isn’t strong enough to overcome these mental mistakes in the field, at the plate, and on the base paths. 

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Another bullpen meltdown? It’s been pagan every damn time. Twins more interested in making friends and being a safe place than winning actual games. 
Rocco promotes analytics but ignores them every time they don’t fit his narrative. He’s a horrible manager and holding this team back. Falvey relishes on the opportunity to do more with less even though he’s failed more often than not. He just won’t admit when it’s time to re-evaluate and re-tool. Bullpen is so cheap to upgrade and he is stubborn. 

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Although the hour is late---------A few things to mention after the latest edition of "Groundhog Day" from our bullpen.

Go ahead and bring the criticism but the BLAME for these recent losses, imo, falls 95% at the hands of our front office......Falvey & Levine.

They are the ones that built this bullpen--------NOT........ Rocco Baldelli.

Baldelli continues to be hamstrung by a GM/front office that ignored and continues to ignore the glaring need for bullpen improvements.

Saying that, the only "blame" that I could hand out to Baldelli tonight would be his choice to start Pagan in the 10th inning instead of Cotton.   That is a fair argument.  Pagan has been nothing more a complete train wreck this month----ERA over 9-------with before tonight---------3 horrible outings against CLE within the past week.

Reverting back to my original point--------Falvey/Levine are RESPONSIBLE for this mess.  This bullpen has only 3 reliable/consistent pitchers:   Duran, Jax and to a lesser extent Thielbar.  That's it.

The other 5"not ready for prime team" RPs that Falvey has given us are:  

1.  Tyler Duffey:  Not much to say here.  Basically unusable in late game/high leverage situations.

2.  Jovanni Moran:  Rookie.  Pitched most of 2021 at AA.  Has been average in time at AAA.  

3.   Tyler Thornburg:  Career journeyman. Signed on June 12 as free agent.  Your #8 RP

4.   The aforementioned Pagan:  No further info needed

5.   Jharel Cotton:  Super rough ending for him tonight due to Pagan's issues, but lets not forget his short history with Twins:

Signed to minor league FA deal in offseason.  No other team wanted him.

DFA'ed by Twins on April 13th. Cleared waivers and (I think) was assigned to AAA-SP

DFA'ed a second time on May 17th.  Cleared waivers and assigned to SP on May 19th

Called up to Twins on June 3

Optioned back to AAA/SP on June 6

Called back to active roster on June 7th

* Also:  Don't want to forget Falvey's only bullpen add in off season:  38-year old Joe Smith.  Was outstanding in April, but as outings/usage increased into May and June his effectiveness waned.  Currently on IL.

and finally--------as many have noted-------Our best RP---Taylor Rogers was traded away by Falvey for Paddack (out for season/doubtful readiness by start of 2023 season) and....u know who....the Pagan Sacrifice.

So, I will end my rant with what I've called for in multiple other posts:

Falvey/Levine:  What are you doing TONIGHT to upgrade this bullpen???  NOW is the time!!  Not next week.  Not 2 weeks from now.  Not waiting till the trade deadline.  You constructed this bullpen---not your manager. 

Do you want to be playing meaningful games in September?  Do you want big crowds and excited fans in the stands at Target Field the next 3 months? Do you want to convince Correa that what you're building here is enough reason to convince him to stay for 2023?  Do you want to have the opportunity to break an 18 game losing streak in the playoffs?  Do you want to be the GM that see's the Twins win their 1st playoff series in 20 years?

Assuming your answer is "YES" to every question posed above-----------the LEAST you can do is to DO YOUR J-O-B!  Don't want to hear excuses.  Get this corrected NOW!!!!!

 

 

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I have to think it’s a little hard for Rocco to look 25 guys in the face tonight.  Going into tonight, the Twins had played Cleveland 6 times in the last 8 days.  They were 3-3, with all 3 losses directly attributable to Emilio Pagan.  Rocco’s decision to put him in was utter lunacy.

Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  Fool me thrice, GoT level shame on me.  Fool me four times?  “Hi, my name’s Rocco Baldelli”.

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4 minutes ago, Squirrel said:

Uh, Rocco isn't the one who makes these trades

I made a slight tweak right away to my comment to include mention of those higher up in the organization.  It does show up in the text you quoted, so I guess it was just one of those TD weirdnesses in the user interface.

 

4 minutes ago, Squirrel said:

or is that the joke?

But yeah, it was in jest.  Zero trade value.

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These Cleveland games' brutal loses have all been after offensive heroics. Late inning rallies with clutch homers and runs, Just a great high for the team and fans...... and then Baldelli puts in Pagan, again, and again, and again. Crushing. A couple of them with multiple run leads provided with only 3 outs to get. The whole fandom is screaming Noooooooooooo. And it happens again. And the heroics are wasted and made unimportant. And they were really clutch and noteworthy. All for naught. Demoralizing.

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Pitcher A — 6.5 H/9, 1.9 HR/9, 5.1 BB/9, 7.4 SO/9

Pitcher B — 7.5 H/9, 2.1 HR/9, 5.0 BB/9, 12.1 SO/9

Pitcher C — 9.5 H/9, 1.7 HR/9, 2.9 BB/9, 8.0 SO/9

Pitcher D — 7.3 H/9, 0.0 HR/9, 4.2 BB/9, 7.3 SO/9

You’re Rocco Baldeli, who do you go to with a three run lead in the 10th?

People need to stop pretending like there was an obviously better alternative. The problem is that they are all bad. That includes Cotton, whose underlying numbers are really not discernibly better than Pagán’s, he’s just been luckier so people have fooled themselves into thinking he’s better.

Look at the options above and tell me who you would’ve chosen.

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4 hours ago, USAFChief said:

I know we're not allowed to question Baldelli here, and I was willing to overlook not using Duran for a 2 inning save in game one of the doubleheader, but..

Then why was he available for 2 innings in a tie game today?

I don't get it.

Many of Rocco's decisions make 0 sense. The day he cleans out his office I will celebrate by popping open a bottle of wine... and I haven't had a drink in 17 years. 

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4 hours ago, Alex Schieferdecker said:

Pitcher A — 6.5 H/9, 1.9 HR/9, 5.1 BB/9, 7.4 SO/9

Pitcher B — 7.5 H/9, 2.1 HR/9, 5.0 BB/9, 12.1 SO/9

Pitcher C — 9.5 H/9, 1.7 HR/9, 2.9 BB/9, 8.0 SO/9

Pitcher D — 7.3 H/9, 0.0 HR/9, 4.2 BB/9, 7.3 SO/9

You’re Rocco Baldeli, who do you go to with a three run lead in the 10th?

People need to stop pretending like there was an obviously better alternative. The problem is that they are all bad. That includes Cotton, whose underlying numbers are really not discernibly better than Pagán’s, he’s just been luckier so people have fooled themselves into thinking he’s better.

Totally agree. What's he supposed to do? He can't run Ryan out there every day followed by Jax for 2 innings and Duran for 2 innings. MLB teams have to use all of the arms in their bullpen. Those arms have to be capable of getting MLB players out! You don't pay Pagan 2 million dollars to warm the bench out there, he's supposed to be able to get the job done, and if he can't the guy has to be cut from the team. Rocco can't cut guys from the team, nor can he switch out the tools from his tool box.

Rocco has put the ball in the FO's court. I'm not saying he's playing 5-D chess or anything like that, but he is taking a very direct approach. Let's hope last night was the last we saw of Pagan, the guy's nothing but toxic for this team.

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