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Royals 5, Twins 4: An Early Three-Run Lead Goes to Waste, Playoff Hopes Diminish


Twins Daily Contributor

The Twins built an early lead but couldn’t hold on to it nor take advantage of the opportunities they created on offense, going 3-for-13 from scoring position. They drop the series opener in Kansas City and are now one step closer to mathematical elimination from playoff contention.

Image courtesy of Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Box Score
Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 4 2/3 IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, 1BB, 2K (65 pitches, 42 strikes, 64.6%)
Home Runs: none
Bottom 3 WPA: Luis Arraez (-.197), Mark Contreras (-.195), Jose Miranda (-.171)
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
chart.png.c045206c29ab7007275a1abac2f0508c.png

For the second time in the past seven days, the Twins’ offense got the upper hand against Royals’ starting pitcher Zack Greinke in the early going and managed to build a nice three-run lead. When these two teams met last week, said three-run lead came right in the first inning, whereas tonight, it took Minnesota a little longer.

Despite stranding a couple of runners in the first inning, after José Miranda and Nick Gordon hit back-to-back two-out singles, Minnesota’s lineup didn’t slow down. In the second inning, they were back at it with back-to-back singles from Jake Cave and Gilberto Celestino. Matt Wallner then made it three hits in a row with a long double to the right field corner to score Cave. Celestino showed have scored on a Luis Arráez flyout, but somehow he decided not to tag up.

No worries there because Carlos Correa did some two-out damage before the inning was over. He jumped on a 2-1 four-seamer to find the gap at short and score both runners. He continues to have his best month on the season, by far, slashing .361/.425/.667 (1.092) before tonight’s game. Too bad we most likely won’t be able to see if that hot streak would’ve extended into October…

Bundy is solid at first, can’t hold on to the lead, and the game goes back and forth
Meanwhile, Dylan Bundy delivered two perfect innings to open the game, but his shutout wouldn’t last long. After a leadoff double by Gordon went to waste in the top of the third, Bundy also allowed a leadoff double in the home half to Edward Olivares. He did strike out a pair after that, but he couldn’t shut the door on the inning, allowing a two-run home run to MJ Melendez that cut the Twins’ lead to one.

Bundy settled in in the fourth but couldn’t deliver another scoreless frame in the fifth. Hunter Dozier tied the game with a one-out solo home run to left, shortly before Nate Eaton followed that with a single of his own. Eaton moved to third on a wild pitch by Bundy, and after the starter departed the game, he scored on a Bobby Witt Jr single off Griffin Jax that gave Kansas City their first lead of the night, 4-3.

After the shaky start, Greinke found a way to keep the Twins offense on a leash for most of the time, despite allowing a few hits. It was only during the sixth inning that the bats were able to capitalize again: Urshela led off the inning with a double, and Greinke was done for the night after striking out Gary Sanchez. Against reliever Amir Garrett, doubled himself and scored Urshela to tie the game. The Twins also took the lead briefly when Wallner hit a ground ball that was initially called safe at first, scoring Cave from third. But Kansas City challenged the play, and it got overturned, ending the inning.

Caleb Thielbar tossed a scoreless bottom of the sixth, but Michael Fulmer couldn’t keep the game tied in the seventh. He gave up back-to-back one-out doubles that nearly scored the go-ahead run for the Royals. Correa’s arm prevented Melendez from scoring with a phenomenal throw home. However, on the very next at-bat, Salvador Perez hit a flare to shallow right, scoring Witt Jr from second to put the Royals back on top.

The Twins had a golden opportunity during the eighth inning when Urshela and Sánchez both reached after getting hit by pitches with only one out. Then both moved into scoring position on a Cave fly out but ended up stranded when Mark Contreras struck out. Despite having the top of their lineup back in the ninth, the Twins went down in order to end the game.

What’s Next?
The series continues on Wednesday night, with game two scheduled to start at 7:10 pm CDT. Minnesota will bring Bailey Ober (3.49 ERA) to the mound to square off Daniel Lynch (5.15 ERA).

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

  TUE FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT
               
Henriquez 0 0 0 0 73 0 73
López 0 0 32 0 34 0 66
Moran 40 0 15 5 0 0 60
Fulmer 0 11 17 0 0 23 51
Sanchez 0 0 49 0 0 0 49
Pagán 0 0 31 0 15 0 46
Jax 0 22 13 0 0 4 39
Thielbar 0 15 0 0 0 23 38
Duran 0 16 0 17 0 0 33
Megill 0 0 0 0 0 17 17
 

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Wait a minute - What happened to the KC aspirin?  They are supposed to cure out headache and bring joy to the Twin Fans.

 

Why do we start Bundy - 

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Dylan Bundy delivered two perfect innings to open the game

 

Big deal - he is a starter not a RP - two innings!  Let's start pitchers who might be with us next year - I do not want or expect Bundy and Archer to be here so their time on the mound is a wasted opportunity to see a young player who might be.

 

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The same song. Score early and then forget where home plate resides. This team has some very good players lacking the support of a quality coaching group. 

Can the entire coaching staff in the off-season! Oh, and get a conditioning coach.

Hopefully Professor Baldelli rides off into the sunset.

Next year comes early! Go Twins! Twins Geezer.........out!

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Twins were out of contention a long time ago.  And of course now we have people tell us we should be happy with a 500 club.  I agree the whole coaching staff should be replaced.  An organizational look into the vast amount of injuries and their length.  Lack of transparency between said injuries from management.  Buxton?  Twins got just what they planned for.  A part time player on a $100 million contract that the only thing you can count on with him is being injured.  Correa?  Same thing.  Just an average to below average season until September when it's important for HIM to improve his stats for another run at free agency.  What was frustrating for this fan was the division was there for the taking and they couldn't do it.  The lack of fire or urgency especially since the all star game is tragic.  Very poor base running and hitting and pitching and a total laid back, I don't care if we lose as long as we stick to the plan philosophy by Baldelli.  Handwriting was on the wall this spring when they told us all those blown bullpen games didn't matter because it was only one game.

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1 hour ago, Whitey333 said:

Btw.  You didn't mention the flareup of sorts between Baldelli and Cellistino.  I'm not a Rocco fan but was elated to see him bench Cellistino when his head was clearly NOT in the game AGAIN!!  He clearly should not be on this team

Yea I missed this as I turned it off after Gordon’s bonehead running play. Glad to see it although it’s about 3 months late. I’m thinking Celestino might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer.   

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I said yesterday Bundy should never pitch for the Twins again, they should thank him and pay him his remaining salary and say good luck next year. There is ZERO reason to have him on the Twins any longer. (FYI I would have said this even if he pitched a perfect 6 innings yesterday this season is over and he has no future with the team, or at least shouldn't.

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2 hours ago, Whitey333 said:

Twins were out of contention a long time ago.  And of course now we have people tell us we should be happy with a 500 club.  I agree the whole coaching staff should be replaced.  An organizational look into the vast amount of injuries and their length.  Lack of transparency between said injuries from management.  Buxton?  Twins got just what they planned for.  A part time player on a $100 million contract that the only thing you can count on with him is being injured.  Correa?  Same thing.  Just an average to below average season until September when it's important for HIM to improve his stats for another run at free agency.  What was frustrating for this fan was the division was there for the taking and they couldn't do it.  The lack of fire or urgency especially since the all star game is tragic.  Very poor base running and hitting and pitching and a total laid back, I don't care if we lose as long as we stick to the plan philosophy by Baldelli.  Handwriting was on the wall this spring when they told us all those blown bullpen games didn't matter because it was only one game.

I agree with most of your post. However, I don't agree with your view of Correa. IMHO he played quite well, and the leadership and attitude he brings are superb. With the current coaching staff it seems they are lacking in leadership which is never a good thing. 

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31 minutes ago, Karbo said:

and the leadership and attitude he brings are superb.

I don't necessarily disagree about him, but do you have specific instances in mind where this trait shows up?  Eh, even at that, on-field rah-rah may or may not carry over to the clubhouse, or for that matter result in improved play from teammates.  I don't deny that clubhouse chemistry is important but how are fans really to know where it concerns a particular player?

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I just hope this team to be good in 2023. I honestly prefer if Correa left, I don’t wanna lock up a SS for 10 years if your top 2 prospects are both shortstops that can mash and Will both be up around 2024. If The Twins don’t sign back Bundy, Archer, Sano, or Correa and can Trade away Kepler you’ve got a good $60m or so in FA money, don’t go and play the same game as last year and try to “manufacture” a pitching staff. Get an Ace in the rotation (COUGH COUGH CARLOS RODON) and a high-tier CF so we don’t have to see the Celestino-Gordon show for half the season, fill patches in the reliever core and find a good Catcher. Oh yeah and fix the management altogether. Let’s see how Falvey fares.

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1 hour ago, Linus said:

Yea I missed this as I turned it off after Gordon’s bonehead running play. Glad to see it although it’s about 3 months late. I’m thinking Celestino might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer.   

The Twins have a number of players that might fit that description.

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If Jake Cave can get his batting average up to .250 he will be on the 40 man next year, he is the best left fielder they have; his perfect relay to Correa and then Correa to home is what the twins need, not bouncing throws.

IF,, a big IF, Wallner can improve his fielding he may be around a long time, he has a cannon arm.

The pitchers have figured out Miranda and now he is in a race to catch Urshela for most hits into a double play.; if he can improve his still shaky fielding skills, he will be around for awhile, at DH if nothing else.

Celestino is turning into another Willie May Hays Gordon but Gordon has a good bat.

If they lose Correa they will have a big hole at SS, and lose games because of it; they have had two of the best fielding SS for two years and there is nothing to replace that skill set.

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"If they lose Correa they will have a big hole at SS, and lose games because of it; they have had two of the best fielding SS for two years and there is nothing to replace that skill set."

And what did that get us? I'd rather spend that money on a top-notch starting pitcher; someone who can take the ball every five days, pitch 6-7 innings and keep the Twins in the game without spending every other month on the IL.

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1 minute ago, Dave The Dastardly said:

"If they lose Correa they will have a big hole at SS, and lose games because of it; they have had two of the best fielding SS for two years and there is nothing to replace that skill set."

And what did that get us? I'd rather spend that money on a top-notch starting pitcher; someone who can take the ball every five days, pitch 6-7 innings and keep the Twins in the game without spending every other month on the IL.

If you can see into the future and see which pitchers are going to avoid the IL, there's a lot of money to be made out there.

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3 hours ago, RpR said:

If Jake Cave can get his batting average up to .250 he will be on the 40 man next year, he is the best left fielder they have

Out of all of the terrible things that have happened this season, this sentence stands out as the worst. And it's not that you're wrong, either. Ugh, what a sign of a dismal franchise, when Jake Cave seems worth keeping.

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2 minutes ago, SwainZag said:

If you can see into the future and see which pitchers are going to avoid the IL, there's a lot of money to be made out there.

Does the pitcher have a history of injuries? Does his medical report (necessary for a trade) reveal current "minor" injury problems? Does he have a history of going 6-7 innings each time he takes the mound, or is he pulled after 3 or 4 innings? How much time has he spent on the IL in the past? What for? Chronic-type injuries a la Buxton, Donaldson, Kirilloff etc. or single fluke-type injuries like taking a line-drive off the shin, or the hand, etc.

Not a perfect window into the future but better than snapping up someone who's already proven to be damaged goods, at the end of his career, or ineffective just because he's cheap, which seems to be the Twins preferred yardstick of late.

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On 9/21/2022 at 10:30 AM, ashbury said:

I don't necessarily disagree about him, but do you have specific instances in mind where this trait shows up?  Eh, even at that, on-field rah-rah may or may not carry over to the clubhouse, or for that matter result in improved play from teammates.  I don't deny that clubhouse chemistry is important but how are fans really to know where it concerns a particular player?

just going by what a few of the younger players have said, and the way he kind of took Miranda under his wing

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