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  • Game Recap: Rangers 4, Twins 3


    Matthew Taylor

    They did it again. The Minnesota Twins once again blew an early lead and once again lost in extra innings. The Minnesota Twins dropped three out of four in their home series against the Texas Rangers.

    Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

    Box Score

    Pineda: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

    Home Runs: Kepler (1)

    Bottom 3 WPA: Sanó -.276, Donaldson -.138, Robles -.107

    Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)

     

    ccs-12268-0-43050600-1620335161.png

     

    The Minnesota Twins wasted no time getting on the scoreboard today as Max Kepler finally broke through with his first home run of the season on a middle-middle fastball from Jordan Lyles. The leadoff home run marked the 10th leadoff homer of his career and it was a no-doubter:

     

    https://twitter.com/BallySportsNOR/status/1390356012541022214?s=20

     

    The Minnesota Twins quickly allowed the Rangers to tie the game back up, though, when Michael Pineda served up a solo home run to Joey Gallo, his second home run and fourth RBI in the four-game series.

     

    After Texas tacked on another run later in the second inning, La Tortuga put the Minnesota Twins back in front with a two-run single to give the Twins a 3-2 lead.

     

    https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1390377236688220162?s=20

     

    Michael Pineda finished his day after six innings pitched, logging his third quality start of the season. Pineda finished his day allowing two earned runs on six hits, with two walks and five strikeouts.

     

    After Pineda called it a day, the Minnesota Twins’ bullpen struggles continued, as reliever Hansel Robles surrendered a tying home run to Rangers’ backup catcher, Jonah Heim, just the second home run of his career.

     

    Staying deadlocked through the high leverage innings, the Minnesota Twins found themselves in an all-too-familiar position, extra innings. Entering today’s game the Minnesota Twins were 0-6 in extra innings.

     

    It didn’t take long for things to work themselves out how they usually do. The Texas Rangers scored the go-ahead run on the first at-bat of the 10th inning, a RBI single from Willie Calhoun off of Tyler Duffey, to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead.

     

    In typical 2021 Twins fashion, the Minnesota Twins came up empty handed in the bottom of the 10th inning, not even putting up any fight whatsoever. The Twins went down 1-2-3 in the 10th with consecutive strikeouts from Astudillo and a pinch-hitting Donaldson, before Joey Gallo made a diving catch off the bat of Miguel Sanó and the game was over.

     

    The Minnesota Twins are now 0-7 in extra inning games. They are 11-19 and on pace for a 103-loss season. Oh yeah, and Byron Buxton looks to have injured his leg late in Thursday's game. Things are bad.

     

    Nick Gordon's Unforgettable Debut

     

    To not ruin your entire afternoon on the sourest of notes, let’s end this article with the best part of Thursday’s ballgame, Nick Gordon.

     

    After being drafted fourth overall by the Minnesota Twins seven years ago, Nick Gordon finally made his MLB debut and boy did he show out! Gordon drew a walk in his first plate appearance, later connected for a single, and stole two bases along the way. It was a day to remember for a prospect who has not had many things go his way. Congratulations to Nick on an unforgettable debut!

     

    https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1390376466018361347?s=20

     

    Byron Buxton Update

     

     

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

    Click here to see the bullpen usage over the past five days (link opens a Google Sheet).

     

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    I said it in the game thread, but this team simply isn't a contender. I know they're battling injuries, but the core group of young players made an appearance today. Max Kepler provided a homer, but has been bad nearly all year, and is unusable against left handers. Buxton is very, very good, but often injures. I'm not sure you can hold that against anyone in particular, but when two of your best three hitters (Donaldson and Buxton) are not durable, you're taking a huge risk. Willians is a fun player, but he's nothing more than league average. Miguel Sano's timing is absolutely atrocious, and Jorge Polanco and Mitch Garver have both taken steps back. The bullpen that many had questions about appears to be one of the worst groups in baseball, and the former manager of the year looks like a deer in headlights when his team isn't smashing the MLB home run record. I'm not going to be done watching this team, but it's time for many of us, myself included, to reevaluate are expectations. This team isn't going to make the playoffs, nor are they going to push for a playoff spot, barring a drastic turnaround, which is honestly just optimism with nothing to back it up. The Twins are likely going to have some tough decisions to make come July, and I tried to rank who we could see go, following a 1-3 series against a bottom three team in the league. 

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    Remember the 2020 Twins team that was 36-24, playing all their games in the Central?

     

    Was that team really an above-average team? This year the club will play less than half their schedule against the Central. They’re 5-4 against the Central, and 6-15 against everyone else.

     

    Good for Gordon, it’s been a long, slow journey. But, he did himself, and the family, proud today.

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    What..!? Are you telling me hard hit rate and barrel ball pct, and exit velocity don't matter with a runner on 2nd and no outs? I thought it was a contest to hit the hardest ball? I'm shocked that moving a runner over or hitting to the gap works. I thought for sure swinging for a 3 run Homer with nobody on was the way to go. Launch angle must need adjusted. Sarcasm. RBI is so meaningless. Why would anyone want to bat in a run. Smh

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    What..!? Are you telling me hard hit rate and barrel ball pct, and exit velocity don't matter with a runner on 2nd and no outs? I thought it was a contest to hit the hardest ball? I'm shocked that moving a runner over or hitting to the gap works. I thought for sure swinging for a 3 run Homer with nobody on was the way to go. Launch angle must need adjusted. Sarcasm. RBI is so meaningless. Why would anyone want to bat in a run. Smh

    Absolutely. While many here panicked about the team's bullpen and run production early on, they were shouted down by the spreadsheet geeks: "Stop worrying. The BABIP is incredibly low, barrel % rate is high, and the avg. MPH exit velocity is in the top 10% of the league". Who the heck cares if they don't get hits with men on base? You can't create a team based on advanced stats alone.

     

    Meanwhile, Eddie Rosario is delivering clutch hits for Cleveland. He won them a ballgame a couple nights ago in extras. I don't care what his OPBS+ is, I know the guy got clutch hits when needed. No, I'm not pining to get Eddie back, I'm not going down that dark hallway. What I am saying is that we have zero clutch performers now that he's gone, and it doesn't matter what their stats are because they are not hitting when they need to. None of 'em.

     

    Twins have now lost home series to Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Texas. They are getting absolutely smoked by just about everyone and are absolutely the laughing stock of MLB right now. This is worse than the worst case scenario anyone could have imagined going into the year.

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    I apologize. Just upset at our team. I've never been to Minnesota. I played for the Twins in teeball at the age of 5, and the Vikings in peewee football. My dad showed me how to read the sports page at that point, and I've been diehard since. This was 45 years ago, and 90 percent of my wardrobe references the Twins or Vikings. Just very dissapointed.

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    I said it in the game thread, but this team simply isn't a contender. I know they're battling injuries, but the core group of young players made an appearance today. Max Kepler provided a homer, but has been bad nearly all year, and is unusable against left handers. Buxton is very, very good, but often injures. I'm not sure you can hold that against anyone in particular, but when two of your best three hitters (Donaldson and Buxton) are not durable, you're taking a huge risk. Willians is a fun player, but he's nothing more than league average. Miguel Sano's timing is absolutely atrocious, and Jorge Polanco and Mitch Garver have both taken steps back. The bullpen that many had questions about appears to be one of the worst groups in baseball, and the former manager of the year looks like a deer in headlights when his team isn't smashing the MLB home run record. I'm not going to be done watching this team, but it's time for many of us, myself included, to reevaluate are expectations. This team isn't going to make the playoffs, nor are they going to push for a playoff spot, barring a drastic turnaround, which is honestly just optimism with nothing to back it up. The Twins are likely going to have some tough decisions to make come July, and I tried to rank who we could see go, following a 1-3 series against a bottom three team in the league. 

    I agree with everything but Astudillo.  All year writers seem to want to say something derogatory about him.   But he is a bench player and a utility man.  If we want to jump on a bench player - take Cave.  Astudillo has 0.4 WAR as a bench player. He is 288 with a 758 OPS.  As a bench player who is number 6 in WAR on the team he is contributing and has spirit.  When someone is better they can take his place, but I am happy to have him on the team. 

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    Remember the 2020 Twins team that was 36-24, playing all their games in the Central?

     

    Was that team really an above-average team? This year the club will play less than half their schedule against the Central. They’re 5-4 against the Central, and 6-15 against everyone else.

     

    Good for Gordon, it’s been a long, slow journey. But, he did himself, and the family, proud today.

    Could be.  Though they were 12 games over .500 against the NL Central last year.   White Sox and Indians have winning records against teams out of the division but the other three all have losing records this year..   0-7 in extras and other blown games have been a team effort.   I think the Twins are capable of scoring more in the late innings, especially with a runner on second.  They are capable of playing better defense and they are capable of pitching better.     I haven't given up on them but playing better is up to them.

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    first time, long time.

    as a guy that fell in love with the city and the team it's been a tough go watching what's been going on with the team this year.

    i have faith but i can't tell you why with the bullpen being what it is this year and the lack of run support. the bats have to come alive.

    and i know it's not current but if you think sano is an albatross - and i really like him overall - donaldson is going to become the car wreck you can't look away from.

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    Beautiful day at Target Field today. Very happy for Gordon and he made several nice plays in the field. It was interesting that Big Mike was pounding the zone and the game was moving along nicely. It ground to a halt when Robles came in.

     

    Some genius in their analytics department needs to tell Rocco that when your bullpen sucks running 3-4 relievers out there every game is not a recipe for success.

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    I apologize. Just upset at our team. I've never been to Minnesota. I played for the Twins in teeball at the age of 5, and the Vikings in peewee football. My dad showed me how to read the sports page at that point, and I've been diehard since. This was 45 years ago, and 90 percent of my wardrobe references the Twins or Vikings. Just very dissapointed.

    So, you were about 17 when your club won a World Series, and about 21 when they won another? Not bad. That’ll make a loyal fan out of many a non-resident follower!

     

    On behalf of the entire state of Minnesota, I’d like to sincerely apologize for the rest of your 20’s, your 30’s, and your 40’s. And looking at the current landscape, preemptively for your 50’s. Hang in there, friend.

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    Some things just keep repeating and repeating:

    Twins bullpen blows another save

    Twins bullpen loses its 7th extra inning game

    Byron Buxton is injured

    Miggy Sano strikes out again,,,and again

    Twins hitters can't hit with RISP

    and finally...

    KKKKKKKKKKKKKKK

     

    Thats all this team does now....strike out, strike out and strike out some more. Double digits just about every night. While the pen is just awful, just about every game, the hitters have become the equally as lousy culprits.

    All of them. Donaldson suddenly is as lost as all the rest of the them. His stats over the past couple weeks are putrid.

    And of course, its always nice when you are 0-6 in extra innings to start out with a wild pitch. Twins have scored in only 1 of the 7 games...with a runner at 2nd and no outs. thats almost not possible.

     

    Its no longer early. All the analytics in your computers can't change 11-19 (6-17 over the last 23) The team is broken...just about every aspect. Unless they are ahead by 10 with 2 innings to go, no win is a lock with these guys.

    Sad

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    I listened to bits and pieces of this game. When Buxton pulled up in the 9th and his obvious replacement would be Cave and then I saw the final score, I thought this is a stick a fork in it type of game. With Arraez out, Kiriloff out, Sano presumably out of shape and closing in on a 50% SO rate, Thielbar pitching in a close game (Waddell pitching in a close game two days ago) and Buxton pulling up with something and Cave is his replacement...it does feel like it is not in the cards this year. Reusse is describing the AAA pitching staff as mostly never were veterans and you can't help but think there needs to be profound reset on the roster. Give us something to hope for.

     

    And let some of these guys pitch 6 - 7 innings please.

     

    There's nothing quite like an oldish, not very good team to make you think about going to the driving range and Gophers football and start speculating about unrealistic trades for young, affordable aces. Sano, Cave, and Astudillo for Glasnow?

     

    I'd say they shoud sign Berrios, sign Buxton, sign Arraez and create some mild optimism and Big Mike, Nellie, Happ, and maybe one of our new relievers can get back on track for a few weeks and send them out to someone who has a chance.

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