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  • Game Recap: Astros 14, Twins 3


    Matthew Lenz

    The Twins fell in a blowout to the Astros 14-3, losing the series two games to one, and falling to 26-39 on the season. Read about the game in today’s recap.

    Image courtesy of © Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

    Box Score

    Michael Pineda: 4 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (60.9% strikes)

    Homeruns: Jeffers (3), Cruz (13)

    Bottom 3 WPA: Dobnak (-.161), Pineda (-.117), Larnach (-.074)

    Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)

    670476818_chart(1).png.e3bbdaffafd33995f0ca6960146c3c80.png

    Twins too Aggressive Early, Never Put Together a Threat

    Framber Valdez is a very good pitcher for the Astros, but shouldn’t have been as effective as his box score looked over his seven innings. The first indication is the three walks he surrendered in just three-and-a-third innings when he averages less than two walks per nine innings, but look a little closer and it’s clear the Twins were really helping him out.

    He’d follow up the first two innings with a four pitch walk of Andrelton Simmons which lowered his strike percentage to just 37% on the day, but really settled in after that with the only real scathe on his record being an absolute moon shot from Ryan Jeffers in the fifth inning.

    In all, Jeffers had a good day at the plate hitting all three of his balls-in-play harder than 96 miles per hour and having a .510 xBA despite only one hit. In continued good news, Jorge Polanco and Nelson Cruz also continued stinging the ball today, including Cruz hitting his 13th home run of the season in the 8th inning with the game far out of reach.

    Twins Pitching Staff Gets Rocked from Start to Finish

    In short, this might be all you need to know about today’s team pitching performance for your favorite boys of summer…

    In length, after allowing back-to-back hits to start the game, Pineda was able to sit down 11 consecutive Astros hitters although the metrics behind those at-bats may suggest that the fourth inning two-out rally was inevitable.

    kQPWF9Fq-do3Rs9A-2hDtVr91S-XMhRzKWbedIzN0B8F53MYdNJPEiFRI5ISShovAibL4gQnw6OBx9ZSOfHk2VuzQJ4gj3eclPtugEft0qQMSKF0RQg0YLljMTw1b9wTl1Mb33sf

    The Astros had been tagging balls off of Pineda all afternoon and sported an xBA of .281 heading into the fourth inning. Regardless, Pineda was one Donaldson diving grab from a 1-2-3 fourth inning, even still had only given up three earned runs, and thrown just 64 pitches before being pulled for the “bullpen”. I put that in quotes because in his place, Rocco Baldelli went with starter, turned reliever, turned starter, turned reliever Randy Dobnak who had started just four days prior.

    It didn’t take long for the Astros to assert their dominance over Dobnak, including 41st percentile sprint speedster Yordan Alvarez swiping his first Major League base and hitting a no-doubt 425 foot shot in the next inning. In just two innings of work, Dobnak was responsible for eight baserunners and six earned runs which has increased his season ERA to 8.38. What was really interesting, and maybe telling, to me (and Ted) was how Baldelli and/or Wes Anderson handled Dobnak getting shelled

    Pineda and Dobnak weren’t the only two to get stung by the Astros. Alex Colomé came on in the 7th and gave up two runs, Shoemaker entered in the 8th giving up two runs including a 420 foot blast to Chas McCormick on his third pitch of the inning and an additional run in the 9th.

      TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT
    Shoemaker 0 0 0 35 0 43 78
    Jax 23 51 0 0 0 0 74
    Colomé 9 25 0 0 0 24 58
    Alcalá 21 0 7 15 0 0 43
    Duffey 0 0 20 22 0 0 42
    Farrell 19 0 23 0 0 0 42
    Rogers 20 0 0 3 9 0 32
    Robles 0 0 11 0 15 0 26
    Dobnak 0 87 0 0 0 40  

    I don’t know how much to read into the bullpen usage in this game. All three relievers have struggled mightily this year, but specifically using Dobnak and Shoemakers as relievers and leaving them out there when they were clearly struggling to get outs was interesting. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a move or two before the Twins leave for their six-game road trip against Seattle and Texas.


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    As little as there was to criticize yesterday, there is equally little to celebrate today.  Houston pitcher Framber Valdez was up to his old tricks from last year’s opening game of the playoffs.  He’s a Jedi Master on the hill at Target Field.

    “These are not the pitches you’re looking for“ . . . Strike 1, 2, Groundout, Groundout, Groundout, 3!

    Anyways, and this may come as a surprise to Indiana Twin seeing as I’m much more of a “feel” guy than a “math” guy, but my K-12 and college education taught me well enough to know how to do equations.  So here are a few.

    None of this is new to y’all, the Twinkies being early exiters from the playoff hunt and sellers on the deadline market, but just to put some numbers behind it.  I had to do something to get me through the end of the game after Colome and Shoemaker were, well, Colome and Shoemaker (I’m a Dobnak fan even if, contract extension or no contract extension, his MLB days may be numbered . . . I like his story off the field).

    Division Champs

    Assumption: CWS or CLE win 100 games (more likely CWS).

    MIN: 97 games remaining.  26-39 (.400) current record.

    To get to 101 wins, 75 wins needed, a winning percentage of .773.  Not statistically impossible, technically speaking, but realistically impossible, in every other way speaking.

    Wild Card

    Assumption: two non-division champs win 90 games (perhaps CLE, TB, BOS, TOR, NYY, HOU, OAK, LAA).

    MIN: 97 games remaining, 26-39 (.400) current record.

    To get to 91 wins, 65 wins needed, a winning percentage of .670.  More likely than .773, but I have a better chance of becoming a Jedi Master (I did once break a board with a roundhouse kick in 4th grade after-school karate).

    Anyways, this is just catharsis after a dreadful afternoon.  And again, I’m sure y’all are perfectly familiar with all of this.  I just wanted to put some numbers into the mix.

    As for what to do with the rest of the season, I trust collective wisdom better than my own, but I suppose I’d start playing the young guys, DFA Colome and Shoemaker to open up two bullpen roster spots, and start figuring out EXACTLY what and how much Nellie Cruz is worth to a contending team.  I’d hold on to Berrios.  I like the idea of him being an anchor for the staff.

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    20 minutes ago, TwinsChupacabra said:

    I still think 100 loss season is possible.

    If that's what it will take to get rid of Rocco, I'm OK with it.

    The Twins are A LONG distance away from winning a playoff game.  And if you keep Rocco, that long distance becomes NEVER.

    Lighten up. We've been to the playoffs the 2 years he's been here. Granted, we're not going this year, but I'd rather have a team that has post season potential more often than not. Baldelli deserves heat, but he should not be fired for what a mess the bullpen has been and the injuries that are head shaking and the aging of Donaldson and Cruz and the lack of pitch recognition of Sano and the number of rookies forced into playing ahead of schedule and having played 7DIFFERENT guys in CF (has to be a record 65 games into a season) Baldelli is doing the best he can with the cards he's dealt. Has he made some bad decisions? Yes. Calling for his head the first year we finish below .500 is a bit knee jerky. And not to be to 'homery' we'll clear .500. Or lose 110

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    I think release of Shoemaker makes sense. Creating a 40-man roster spot would be helpful and he's not going to fetch anything in a trade. DFA for Dobnak wouldn't be a bad idea either, again opening a spot on the 40-man and I doubt he'd be claimed so he could be outrighted to perhaps get right in the minors. Or maybe he'll go on the IL with his fingernail issue. I'm guessing Pineda goes back on the IL with his forearm stiffness and Columé continues to work in low leverage situations hoping to rebuild value. 

    If the Twins open 40-man spots they may be able to come up with someone serviceable who get DFAed or make space to promote someone not on the roster (or both). The pitching staff is a total mess right now and prospect for improvement aren't very good.

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    13 minutes ago, stringer bell said:

    I think release of Shoemaker makes sense. Creating a 40-man roster spot would be helpful and he's not going to fetch anything in a trade. DFA for Dobnak wouldn't be a bad idea either, again opening a spot on the 40-man and I doubt he'd be claimed so he could be outrighted to perhaps get right in the minors. Or maybe he'll go on the IL with his fingernail issue. I'm guessing Pineda goes back on the IL with his forearm stiffness and Columé continues to work in low leverage situations hoping to rebuild value. 

    If the Twins open 40-man spots they may be able to come up with someone serviceable who get DFAed or make space to promote someone not on the roster (or both). The pitching staff is a total mess right now and prospect for improvement aren't very good.

    Rocco predicted Pineda would get a long rest, so an IL stint seems imminent. I do think many teams would claim Dobnak but who knows, roster situations seem kind of wonky in 2021. 

    I wouldn’t rush Duran and a couple of these other guys just because to save this season. They’re the seed corn and need to stay on their own timetable. We probably do see Duran in 2021 anyway. That will be fun. However I would consider accelerating some other guys in preparation for 2022. I will throw out two names: Villamont and Faucher. They are in AA now and in a normal year wouldn’t have a shot at all, but, let’s take a look. Others on this board might have other names the would like to see. 

    As you say, it’s a total mess.

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    As far as roster predictions, swapping Pineda for Maeda and Celestino for Buxton both seem pretty obvious.

    The question is, who goes down to make room for Arraez?

    • Astudillo could be optioned
    • Kirilloff (ankle) could get 10 days of rest on the IL, maybe a AAA rehab tuneup
    • Dobnak could be optioned
    • Shoemaker could be released

    They could bring in a new pitcher too, although Jax is rested so they could wait to do that until he is used again.

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    "I don’t know how much to read into the bullpen usage in this game. All three relievers have struggled mightily this year, but specifically using Dobnak and Shoemakers as relievers and leaving them out there when they were clearly struggling to get outs was interesting. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a move or two before the Twins leave for their six-game road trip against Seattle and Texas."

    Of course there is no surprise.  What moves are left"  This team just stinks.  But what is left?  Do we just DFA the team and start with minor leaguers?  How the Hell did we win the last two years?

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    18 minutes ago, spycake said:

    As far as roster predictions, swapping Pineda for Maeda and Celestino for Buxton both seem pretty obvious.

    The question is, who goes down to make room for Arraez?

    • Astudillo could be optioned
    • Kirilloff (ankle) could get 10 days of rest on the IL, maybe a AAA rehab tuneup
    • Dobnak could be optioned
    • Shoemaker could be released

    They could bring in a new pitcher too, although Jax is rested so they could wait to do that until he is used again.

    The only one that does not make sense is Astudillo.  Everyone has complained about him in one post after another, but ne fills in, he hits, he is a bright spot and if he is one our best that might mean we are not very good, but at this point he is the one I would keep.

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    Astudillo may just come down to the game of numbers. Same can be said for eventual destination of Garlick and Rfsynder. 

     

    Trevor and Alex should be here to stay. Alex can play first. Kepler and Buxton aren't going anywheres.

     

    Gordon is an interesting choice. Can also play short. He ahs given the Twins a potential running game. Question is, can he get at bats as long as Simmons is on the team. Him and Arraez can also fill in the outfield.

     

    Sano is not going anywhere.

     

    The question is, can they (should they) trade if an offer comes Simmons, and even Cruz.


    And you have to ask WHO from the whole mix you expect to see on the roster in 2022, which is either a rebuilding year around a new crop of players, thus plugging in B-level free agents, of you do make a splash keeping Buxton and Berrios on the team, move Sano to DH and make Alex the 1B. Would you trust
    Polanco and Gordon at shortstop and Arraez and Gordon at second?

     

    Gotta make a big splash with pitchers. Dobnak, I guess, is worthwhile sending back to AAA to start as regular as possible. Everyone else who pitched today should not be on the roadtrip. Sorry. Colombe, Shoemaker, Pineada. You have to make a couple of 40-man spots.

     

    And I would give Jax a couple of starts in the scheme of things.

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    I'm not shocked this team lost 14-3 today. I'm frankly much more shocked this team took 2-6 from the Yanks/Astros.

    Like Tigers, Orioles, Diamondbacks and Rockies fans, we should expect this team to be beaten to a bloody pulp every single night. And we should be delightfully surprised any time the Twins steal a "W". 

     

     

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    There has been a couple of times this season where Smalley has said what he thought they should do for pitch selection for a specific at bat and it made some sense and the Twins don't do it and get burned.  Today for example Dobnak is pitching to Yordan Alvarez and Dobnak is behind 2-0 and grooves one that gets hammered for a HR.  Smalley notes that Bregman, a right hander, is up next.  He is also a good hitter but Smalley's point is the % is better righty/righty and with how Alvarez is hitting the ball if you're behind already don't give him anything to hit.  To me it didn't look like the catcher was setup outside, if anything the catcher was sitting low but in the middle.  The point to all of this is I've been wondering about pitch selection all season, this isn't the first time they've called a head scratching series of pitches.  Yes, pitchers need to execute but ya gotta work with what you have and this season it isn't much.  Catchers look into the dugout but how much of the game is their call?  

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    3 hours ago, denarded said:

    Lighten up. We've been to the playoffs the 2 years he's been here. Granted, we're not going this year, but I'd rather have a team that has post season potential more often than not. Baldelli deserves heat, but he should not be fired for what a mess the bullpen has been and the injuries that are head shaking and the aging of Donaldson and Cruz and the lack of pitch recognition of Sano and the number of rookies forced into playing ahead of schedule and having played 7DIFFERENT guys in CF (has to be a record 65 games into a season) Baldelli is doing the best he can with the cards he's dealt. Has he made some bad decisions? Yes. Calling for his head the first year we finish below .500 is a bit knee jerky. And not to be to 'homery' we'll clear .500. Or lose 110

    I agree, except for one thought I have.  Let's cut bait and not wait this out for another several years.

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    1 hour ago, spycake said:

    As far as roster predictions, swapping Pineda for Maeda and Celestino for Buxton both seem pretty obvious.

    The question is, who goes down to make room for Arraez?

    • Astudillo could be optioned
    • Kirilloff (ankle) could get 10 days of rest on the IL, maybe a AAA rehab tuneup
    • Dobnak could be optioned
    • Shoemaker could be released

    They could bring in a new pitcher too, although Jax is rested so they could wait to do that until he is used again.

    Although he doesn't deserve it, I think the swap is probably Arraez for Gordon. I would like to see Rortvedt stay on the roster over Astudillo though.

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    1 hour ago, mikelink45 said:

    The only one that does not make sense is Astudillo.  Everyone has complained about him in one post after another, but ne fills in, he hits, he is a bright spot and if he is one our best that might mean we are not very good, but at this point he is the one I would keep.

    I'm sorry but this just isn't factual. Over his last 47 at-bats he has an OPS of .418. We are not very good and he is one of our worst. Rortvedt hasn't been great at the plate either but he has been defensively. Until Garver is healthy, I'll take Jeffers and Rortvedt as my catchers.

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    “All three relievers have struggled mightily this year, but specifically using Dobnak and Shoemakers as relievers and leaving them out there when they were clearly struggling to get outs was interesting. “

    Because the bullpen is burned up. The only way the Twins will have a respectable record at seasons ends is if every pitcher starts contributing. Yes, that means when a pitcher is expected to throw 2 or 3 innings he needs to throw 2 or 3 innings even if the results aren’t there. 

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    And you have to ask WHO from the whole mix you expect to see on the roster in 2022, which is either a rebuilding year around a new crop of players, thus plugging in B-level free agents, of you do make a splash keeping Buxton and Berrios on the team, move Sano to DH and make Alex the 1B.

    Berrios contract status is the straw that stirs the roster make-up for 22 and beyond. I dont favor trading him now, but if he cant be extended, then he should go before ST. Extended or not, they will have to commit to finding front end SP's  through the FA's, and hope a couple of the farm kids can fill 4-5. Berrios is not a #1, but he is the best we have for dependable, decent SP.

    https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2021/06/twins-havent-recently-initiated-extension-talks-with-jose-berrios.html

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    2 hours ago, Eris said:

    “All three relievers have struggled mightily this year, but specifically using Dobnak and Shoemakers as relievers and leaving them out there when they were clearly struggling to get outs was interesting. “

    Because the bullpen is burned up. The only way the Twins will have a respectable record at seasons ends is if every pitcher starts contributing. Yes, that means when a pitcher is expected to throw 2 or 3 innings he needs to throw 2 or 3 innings even if the results aren’t there. 

    Look at the bullpen spreadsheet. It was not burned up. Regardless, to not even go out to the mound and give them a breather was just odd.

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    Not a fan of Sano, regardless of his bomb potential.  Move Cruz to say thanks for your service, here is a contender for your ride off to the sunset.  Start Kiriloff at 1B and let Sano be the backup (DH) at times. Buxton will be back but how long can we depend on the guy to stay healthy?  Gordon has been really good as a backup, need to play him more, wouldn't send him down.  Kepler will be interesting to see come back and what happens.  Garlick sent down along with Refsnyder, would rather have Ref stay here.  Rortvedt is interesting, not hitting the ball very well, but better defensively than Astudillo.  Garver time frame has us keeping Rort here for a couple more weeks.  Interesting move would be to send him down, let him play everyday AAA and bring up Telis to be your backup to Jeffers. If Jeffers continues to hit ball hard, give him a day off at catcher to save legs but DH him vs Whiff King Sano isn't out of question for me if Astudillo is still around (you have another catcher body to help ease concern you could lose the DH if you had to make a player switch)

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    I know it was a tough lefty,  but I wanted to see Gordon back out there after his speed clearly affected the game on Saturday.   Maybe he gets a bunt hit or draws a walk, even if he gets on by forcing the runner ahead of him he's on base as a threat to steal.  

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    when shoemaker came in i said to my wife, "watch this"... and it seemed my sentence had barely finished when he gave up the home run. he and dobnak are quite a duo. i am more surprised, maybe because i wasn't paying enough attention, how bad simmons has been at the plate - i expected more from him. sure this team is beat up with so many regulars out of the fold with injuries but it shows that this team has no depth.

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