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Twins 6, Guardians 7: Twins Late Rally Not Enough to Get Past Guardians


Twins Daily Contributor

After a late night arrival from the East Coast and a rain delay, the Twins and Guardians started their three game series; emotions were high, bats were on fire, coaches were heated and it’s only game one.

Image courtesy of Vincent Carchietta, USA Today

 

Box Score
SP: Dylan Bundy 4.2 IP, 12 H, 7 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (94 pitches, 64 strikes (68%))
Home Runs: Carlos Correa (19)
Top 3 WPA:  Carlos Correa (.224), Jose Miranda (.35), Jovani Moran (.33)
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
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Dylan Bundy started out facing off against Steven Kwan. Kwan hit a high fly ball towards left and Nick Gordon, tracking the ball, slid on his back as he crossed the third base line to catch the ball and get the energy rocking in Target Field to start the game. With such an electric start, the remainder of the first inning proved that the game was going to be contentious, as well as, most likely the rest of the series.  

As Bundy tried to work around a one-out start, Amed Rosario and Jose Ramirez got on base and a rip from Josh Naylor to left field got Rosario waved around to home to get the Guardians on the board first. The Guardians quickly showed Bundy and the Twins that they were ready to play and did not care that the Twins were running on fumes from the four-game series and a long night traveling home from New York. The seriousness of the game set in immediately as the Guardians went up 4-0 with a three-run homerun Oscar Gonzalez before the end of the inning and again in the fifth, pushing the score 0-7. 

With the bar being set by the Guardians early in the game, pitcher Cal Quantrill matched his offense's energy and the Guardians managed to dominate the Twins in both offense and defense. Mishaps from the Guardians and an overturned call in the second almost sucked the wind out of the team's sails, but they fought back and rebounded. In the fifth inning, the Twins were on a roll starting with a great hit from Correa who has been relentless in his pursuit of getting on base all night. 

Correa hit his third homerun in three days and his 900th hit tonight keeping the team in contention. 

The entirety of the Twins line-up took turns making magic happen tonight. Sandy Leon had a phenomenal night. Leon ended up being a huge part in the Twins getting runs on the board tonight in both opportunities in both the fifth and the sixth innings. Leon started the game with a strikeout and ended up with a single and a walk, and got home both times thanks to Correa’s hits.

The Twins did not make this win easy on the Guardians, even with all the murky start to the game. The Starting pitching has been struggling to keep the runs down in the last few series and tonight was no exception. 

Starting Pitching Woes
Dylan Bundy gave up a career-high 12 hits and seven earned runs. This far into the season, the starting pitching can not afford situations like they have had. In the past 13 games the Twins have only averaged 3.1 runs a game and through the past eight games when Twins Starters have given up runs first, they were unable to fight back and get the win. Last time we had a seven-run comeback was against Cleveland in 2009. 

Bundy was pulled after only 4 ⅓ innings, replaced by Aaron Sanchez who stayed in through the eighth inning, and didn’t allow another Guardians run before turning the game over to Jovani Moran. 

The bullpen got a much-needed break to continue to the battle this weekend and the offense has the momentum to still claim the division, if they want it badly enough. 

Injuries cost on and off the field
The series comes down to who really wants it more. There are of course injuries to take into account. The Twins have 17 players on the IL as of today, most of those being day one guys on the 40-man. The 17 players have an accumulative 1,411 days of missed games and the cost of those players not being played is $11, 745, 225. The Twins are tied with the Reds for the most players currently on the IL, but the salaries are a $2 mill difference. 

When looking at September baseball, those numbers not only cost a lot on the books, but also in the standings. The one asset the Twins have is that they have a deep farm system and the players that have been brought up from AAA have really held their own, but are they going to be able to be what we need to get into the postseason?  

Pitching Preview Match-Up Cleveland Series: 
Saturday 6:15pm CST: Chris Archer (2-7, 4.47 ERA) vs. RHP Tristan McKenzie (9-11, 3.18 ERA)
Sunday 1:10pm CST: TBD vs. RHP Shane Bieber (9-8, 2.96 ERA)

 

Postgame Interview

Coming soon.

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
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Where was our manager when Bundy was getting blasted?  He has now left Ryan in for 10 runs and looks the other way when Bundy is getting blasted in a game we need.  Does his spreadsheet say that starters can't go six, but they have to go 4 or more?  Sanchez did great,  Bundy did not.  The bats and team really fought for this one, but the hole was too deep. 

On the total standings list, we are now 16 - the top of the bottom half of teams.  Lucky for us the Guardians and White Sox are 14 and 15 - the bottom of the top half!  What a division.

The Guardians were a mess in the field, it was like playing the no-glove white sox. 

Miranda looks better and better as the season goes on.  He has star potential and Correa has heated up at the right time.  If only Arraez could get out of his second half funk.  I worry that his launch angle adjustment to get power in his game is lifting his dink and dunk flies too much and allowing them to be caught.

Cave - 205/267/397 is not someone we should be starting - how about giving Wallner the spot and maybe he can crank a couple out.  

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Sox are hot now too and overtook us last night. We are in third place. Even if we were to win the next couple games, we will still likely be in 3rd. 

Bundy just can't do that, he can't. And Rocco continues to have no brain when it comes to the pitching staff leaving Bundy in to get shelled like that. Honestly, at this point, I would be OK with Correa just making pitching changes. We would get better results.

If they don't win these next 2 games, it's going to be hard to come back and win this division. Now we are fighting more than Cleveland. 

 

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I was at the park for two hours before the game even started. (Photo attached from our perch under the roof in section 308.


Top of the first was a rude wake-up call after Gordon made his great sliding catch along the left field stands.

The starting pitching matchups for this series have me rather gloomy.

2C000E27-B0A6-49FD-B78F-A5EA64BD453E.jpeg

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I was in attendance.  It’s. Hard to put up more runs with Sanchez as DH and Cave starting.   It was a game I so much wanted to see the Twins win for two reasons: 

1. To punish all of the fans who left way too early.  I saw a group leaving after 3 innings (apparently worried about getting a kid who looked 12 years old to bed on time - they could have taught that kid a good lesson - IF YOU ALWAYS LEAVE EARLY, YOU GUARANTEE THAT YOU WILL MISS THE MOST EXCITING GAME YOU WILL EVER SEE.  In fact, that almost happened last night  

2   To punish the Guardians for the crappiest defense.   It was t just the errors   

 

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I think it is becoming more clear that the Twins are going to come up short this season. The comeback was nice, but in September there definitely are no moral losses. You get nothing when you lose and right now it just seems like both Cleve and Chi are better (as most thought from the beginning) Maybe if the core Twins were all healthy and playing well it would be different, but they aren't and it isn't. When you dig that big a hole, a 7 run comeback stops one run short and you lose a very key game.

Its frustrating. Obviously we all want to love this team. But it isn't very lovable. There always seems to be something missing when it counts. If they don't win the next two, the rest of the schedule isn't going to be pretty.

Still hope, but its flickering.

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The Twins front office needs to make some attempts at finding players within their system that may find more success than those currently on the roster. Yes, I know this is a dire situation but I'm thinking that rolling out these same lineups are causing regular and casual fans to lose all interest. The Hamiltons, Palacios, Cave, and Kepler if he cannot walk or swing a bat are five spots to consider. Megill and Pagan and possibly Archer are three pitching spots to replace. When attendance falls below 20,000 like last night, with your team is still ostensibly in a pennant race, there are dark clouds gathering around the franchise. The malaise is real right now. Old diehard fans will still be there even when the Twins lose 100 games and are hopeless but when the team drops to low levels of viewers and attendance there are expected consequences in player acquisition that follow. While I'm not suggesting that any players called up from Wichita or St. Paul will be an improvement, there has to be some attempt to fix the massive decline in play. Doing nothing is a white flag. 

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50 minutes ago, terrydactyls said:

Rocco tries to save his bullpen for the next two games and gets criticized.  If Rocco had pulled Bundy, he would have been blasted for overusing his bullpen.

He just can't please the Rocco haters.

I think it's fair to question letting Bundy give up 12 hits and 7 runs in 4 and a third in the opener of the most important series of the season. They have a 14 man staff, ferpetesakes. What is he saving for? Next year?

And let's stop referring to other posters as "Rocco haters." 

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19 minutes ago, tony&rodney said:

The Twins front office needs to make some attempts at finding players within their system that may find more success than those currently on the roster.

They traded one of them away for Tyler Mahle. There is a reason the Twins minor league system is ranked in the bottom 3rd.

Most teams do not have enough minor league depth to survive this many injuries, especially to the pitching staff.

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10 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

I think it's fair to question letting Bundy give up 12 hits and 7 runs in 4 and a third in the opener of the most important series of the season. They have a 14 man staff, ferpetesakes. What is he saving for? Next year?

And let's stop referring to other posters as "Rocco haters." 

And let’s stop referring to Rocco as ‘giving up’ or ‘has no brain’. All around this is just not good, on both sides

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58 minutes ago, terrydactyls said:

Rocco tries to save his bullpen for the next two games and gets criticized.  If Rocco had pulled Bundy, he would have been blasted for overusing his bullpen.

He just can't please the Rocco haters.

This doesn't hold water last night when he had Sanchez able to come in and save the bullpen either way. Bundy just didn't have it. 

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The manager is put in a bad position whenever a starter gives up a four-spot in the top of the first inning.  Every analysis seems to assume someone fresh will come in and put zeroes on the scoreboard the rest of the way, but that isn't how even the best bullpens function.  Rocco made a choice or two as the game progressed, after the first home run (nobody's saying to pull Bundy before that, are they?), and the result was 8 2/3 innings of 3-run baseball.  Kudos to Aaron Sanchez of course for a lot of that.

A 3.12 ERA is better than the Twins' season average.  Twins woulda won if Bundy had limited the damage to 1 run in the first (4.00 team ERA for the team/game) instead of what he did (7.00 ERA for the team/game).

Blame for this loss goes to Bundy, 100%.  Well, 50% to him for not doing better, 50% to the FO for picking him and thinking they had accomplished much.

 

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I'd add Celestino to the list of players who shouldn't be here. He can't hit and his mental lapses are aggravating. He is perhaps a prototype AAAA player. Shouldn't be an everyday player with the Twins, but of necessity he has been. Cave and Garlick try hard, but they too are a cut below. I give Cave high marks for defense, and energy. I just wish he could hit more.

Twins pitching is in dire staits. Starters are not good and the pen is all over the place. The Lopez deal has been a bust.

Guards and Sox are better and by season's end we will be seeing that....save a total turn-around by the floundering Twins. Losing a crucial home game to the team you are trying to catch is never good...no matter how many runs they tried to come back from. It was still a loss and it was costly.

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1 hour ago, terrydactyls said:

Rocco tries to save his bullpen for the next two games and gets criticized.  If Rocco had pulled Bundy, he would have been blasted for overusing his bullpen.

He just can't please the Rocco haters.

I disagree - this is not about pulling pitchers when they are going well, this is about the end of a pennant race where you cannot allow a pitcher who is failing to stay in and give up more runs.  

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It is September and every option and strategy needs an opportunity. Last night Sandy Leon took off for 2nd base but a foul ball ensued. This was refreshing no matter who initiated his running. Injuries have Celestino in the lineup every night and he looks mentally fatigued and makes so many odd mistakes, yet he is the guy who can catch a ball in CF. Did anyone else notice Leon score on a single from second base when Celestino cannot. The Twins should play for a run whenever they get a chance. Cave was at the plate with two on, no outs in the 2nd inning. He should bunt those guys over, but the team likes home runs so he attempts to lift and launch with the expected result. Cave really works hard but it has been difficult to see him struggle. The Twins need to use every option available now because the season is slipping away. November will be the time for reflection and sorting through what is needed next year. 

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27 minutes ago, insagt1 said:

I'd add Celestino to the list of players who shouldn't be here. He can't hit and his mental lapses are aggravating.

Celestino is a 23 year old rookie. He's their best fielding option in CF.

Do people think the Twins have some sort of bumper crop of All-Stars in the minors just waiting to be promoted?

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58 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

I think it's fair to question letting Bundy give up 12 hits and 7 runs in 4 and a third in the opener of the most important series of the season. They have a 14 man staff, ferpetesakes. What is he saving for? Next year?

And let's stop referring to other posters as "Rocco haters." 

We have people calling him names over and over. We have multiple threads saying he's stupid, doesn't care, only follows spreadsheets. What, exactly, would you like the shorthand to be?

The team didn't quit, despite what we read on this site about them not having heart.

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6 minutes ago, DJL44 said:

Celestino is a 23 year old rookie. He's their best fielding option in CF.

Do people think the Twins have here think some sort of bumper crop of All-Stars in the minors just waiting to be promoted?

Yes, yes people think a team should have seven MLB quality OFers in their system. At least that's what the posts read like. 

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12 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

Yes, yes people think a team should have seven MLB quality OFers in their system. At least that's what the posts read like. 

Buxton, Kepler, Larnach, Kirilloff, Celestino, Gordon, Garlick

The Twins actually do have 7 MLB-quality outfielders on the roster but 3 are out injured and one is walking wounded so we're left with Jake Cave as option #8. He's actually a really good 8th guy on the depth chart. 

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Jorge Polanco is eligible to come off the IL today.

I’ve been hearing for what seems like weeks that Trevor Larnach is doing baseball activities at full speed and is near ready, but then, where is he? 

They demote Louie Varland after Varland’s start in New York, even though his turn was to come up against KC at home on Tuesday. (Demote the local kid after a good debut and when he’s lined up to make his second start at home—questionable decision-making at best.)

Max Kepler just kind of lingers around in the dugout, at least those are the camera shots that I see, and then enters the game to take a half-hearted at bat now and then. 

Byron Buxton has vanished, despite explicit efforts to monitor his health and manage his load so that he would not vanish. Gilberto Celestino, Buxton’s replacement, makes more mistakes than… I don’t know. 

Sonny Gray takes the mound every fifth game, though I still chuckle that they traded their first round pick for him. The Taylor Rogers trade was a bust. Duffey probably should have been traded instead. Process, or something.

We all have our own storylines that we notice; those are some of mine.

But there are players to be excited about.

Jhoan Duran’s shoulder has held up. Caleb Thielbar has been great—huge strikeout of Stanton Thursday. Bundy and Archer have frankly done better than expected, in my opinion. Arraez and Miranda have been good—but even those two guys were inherited from the previous Ryan regime. 

if the Twins find a way to win this division, it will be because of those players above and Correa. A few more gritty pitching performances will also be needed. I think a lot of us are keeping our expectations very, very low, but hope to be surprised. Those of us who visit this site have enough fan equity that we can come back and reclaim our rightful seat aboard the bandwagon and go 100% in for this team in the postseason, should the Twins surprise us and pull it out. 

 



 

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2 hours ago, Rosterman said:

I almost felt the manager gave up but the players didn’t, and then there just isn’t really the offense to keep things happening (we need Polanco and Buxton and even Jeffers). If Kepler is hurt, stop sending him out. Bring up Wallner. 

Hmmm, most likely Wallner would be another Palacios and the Twins cannot afford to be a AAA learning team at this point.

Cave  had a bad game but the best arm of any who play the field, Garlick got a hit when it counted,; to think some rookie is going to come up and be magic is a plug nickel.

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