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  • Game Recap: Twins 3, Rangers 2


    Lucas Seehafer PT

    The Minnesota Twins have won three games in a row. We're looking into whether or not that is legal. 

    Image courtesy of © Jerome Miron | 2021 Jun 19

    Box Score

    Randy Dobnak: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

    Home Runs: Nelson Cruz (15)

    Top 3 WPA: Max Kepler .167, Hansel Robles .144, Alex Colome .109

    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    chart.png.fa6b3c822f5225455ab32d64f68b1271.png

    The Minnesota Twins picked up their third win in a row and sealed a series victory after taking down the Texas Rangers by a score of 3-2 Saturday afternoon.

    Byron Buxton made his triumphant return after being sidelined with a hip flexor strain, going 1-for-4 at the plate and scoring one of the team’s three runs. His lone hit was an infield single in which he didn’t display a single hitch in his giddy-up.

    One batter later, Nelson Cruz tied the game at 2-2 with a long home run.

    While Cruz hasn’t exactly been the NELSON CRUZ the Twins and their faithful have come to expect over the last few seasons, he has still been remarkably good for a player north of his...experience. Should the team decide to pull the trigger on shipping out anyone with one year remaining on their deal, something that is almost guaranteed to happen, Cruz will be one of the more sought after bats on the market. His departure from the Twins will be sad, but he will go down as a true fan favorite and one of the more fun players to watch in team history.

    Randy Dobnak started on the mound and although he allowed a home run, his start was encouraging compared to his previous appearances. Saturday’s start represents pretty much exactly what the Twins want to see from Dobnak; control the zone and induce double plays. The biggest quibble one can have with Dobnak’s start is that he only picked up one strikeout, but at this point, the Twins will take any positives they can get when he takes the mound.

    Speaking about taking any positives they can get, how about the Twins bullpen? Caleb Theilbar, Alexander Colome, Hansel Robles and Taylor Rogers combined to throw four innings of scoreless baseball, striking out five and allowing only three runners to reach base. Saturday’s performance is exactly what the Twins’ front office envisioned over the offseason. Unfortunately, it’s a little too late for the Twins to make a run, but if the bullpen strings a couple of games like this together, perhaps they can recoup some value on the trade market.

    The Twins will turn to Kenta Maeda (2-2, 5.01 ERA) on Sunday as they look to sweep the Rangers. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. CT.

    Postgame Interviews

     

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

      SUN MON TUE WED FRI SAT TOT
    Colomé 24 0 0 20 0 15 59
    Robles 0 17 0 0 20 14 51
    Thielbar 0 0 0 38 0 12 50
    Alcalá 0 19 0 10 18 0 47
    Shoemaker 43 0 0 0 0 0 43
    Dobnak 40 0 0 0 0 start 40
    Rogers 0 0 0 15 12 13 40
    Duffey 0 10 0 0 20 0 30
    Farrell 0 24 0 0 0 0 24


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    "Paging Mr. Serling,  Mr. Rod Serling...you're wanted in the Twlight Room."

    The Twins have won 3 In a row and have generally been playing much better the past few weeks, even with a few bad losses. They're also get healthy again. Now, it's far too late for any 2/3 of a season "back in contention" miracle, but what a possible .500 finish while building confidence and momentum for 2022? And how about continuing to get experience for Jefffers, Rotvedt, Kirilloff, Larnach, Gordon, Alcala, Dobber, Ober and anyone else we haven't seen yet but will?

    Three quick thoughts:

    1] Despite some HR issues, including the one he gave up Friday night, Alcala is gaining trust and growing up right in front of us as a legitimate BP option. 

    2] I think you are either a believer in Dobnak that he can be a reliable back of the rotation bulldog who will always take the ball every 5th day and give you a solid chance...eventually...OR, you just aren't a fan. Service time-wise, I believe he just lost rookie status. But he still only has around 120IP in his young career and has shown stretches/games of being quite good. He gets a little more consistent I like him at the back of the rotation. 

    3] Except for 2020 and a few appearances early this year, Robles has been a fine RP. And he's still 30yo until August 13th. What is his future worth to the Twins? Is he more valuable being traded for an A level prospect or re-signed for 2022? Personally, I'm in favor of keeping him for next season.

    FINAL NOTE: I have really enjoyed listening to Perkins in the booth the past couple of games and would enjoy hearing him more.

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    23 minutes ago, DocBauer said:

    "Paging Mr. Serling,  Mr. Rod Serling...you're wanted in the Twlight Room."

    The Twins have won 3 In a row and have generally been playing much better the past few weeks, even with a few bad losses. They're also get healthy again. Now, it's far too late for any 2/3 of a season "back in contention" miracle, but what a possible .500 finish while building confidence and momentum for 2022? And how about continuing to get experience for Jefffers, Rotvedt, Kirilloff, Larnach, Gordon, Alcala, Dobber, Ober and anyone else we haven't seen yet but will?

    Three quick thoughts:

    1] Despite some HR issues, including the one he gave up Friday night, Alcala is gaining trust and growing up right in front of us as a legitimate BP option. 

    2] I think you are either a believer in Dobnak that he can be a reliable back of the rotation bulldog who will always take the ball every 5th day and give you a solid chance...eventually...OR, you just aren't a fan. Service time-wise, I believe he just lost rookie status. But he still only has around 120IP in his young career and has shown stretches/games of being quite good. He gets a little more consistent I like him at the back of the rotation. 

    3] Except for 2020 and a few appearances early this year, Robles has been a fine RP. And he's still 30yo until August 13th. What is his future worth to the Twins? Is he more valuable being traded for an A level prospect or re-signed for 2022? Personally, I'm in favor of keeping him for next season.

    FINAL NOTE: I have really enjoyed listening to Perkins in the booth the past couple of games and would enjoy hearing him more.

    Doc:  Other than your final note ( I didn't watch game on FSN) so I have no opinion on Perkins, I agree with your comments.  I really believe that Alcala has a strong future as a late inning option in our bullpen.  To me, he has the demeanor/disposition you need from a closer. What he doesn't have at this point to be trusted in that role is an effective 3rd pitch, namely a changeup.  Other than some command issues, I like what I've seen from Robles as he's shown he's much more like the effective pitcher he was in 2019 rather than the gas can he was with Halos last year.  As for Dobnak, I'm somewhere in the middle on him.  I think he's most effective as a starter.  Seems to me his poor performance this season may be attributed to the fact that he's been yanked around without having any defined role.  Saying that, I can understand those that argue Dobnak must make that mental adjustment as well as showing he can effectively command his pitches.  When he does what he did today, he can be a viable option for next season---joining Berrios and Maeda.  Count me NOT in the crowd that is ready to trade Berrios. That doesn't mean you don't listen to offers at the trade deadline, but he's shown BY FAR he's the most reliable SP we've had over the past 3 seasons.  Where many may disagree with me is filling out the remainder of the starting rotation next season.  Im DONE with dumpster dives for the likes of Shoemaker, Happ and countless others over the past many years.  Time to take the kid gloves off and give Duran, Winder and Balazovic the chance to compete in ST for 2 rotation slots for 2022.  I can't believe Winder has anything left to prove at AA Wichita.  Another excellent outing last night.  Balazovic will take some more time to gain strength as he's only made 3 starts. His outing this week, which I witnessed in person, was quite impressive.  Don't have as much to offer about Duran, but from comments I've seen----he just needs to get consistency with his command.  Will be interesting to see what trades FO will make over the next 6 weeks.  Got to believe that Cruz and Pineda (if healthy) are at top of list, which could bring some value back.  If Donaldson can get back into lineup and show production he could also be moved if mgmt is willing to kick in some $$$.  Appears that SF and Milwaukee could be possible sights for JD.  

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    Dobnak is more on an in-play pitcher. If he strikes out as many as he walks, I'm happy.

     

    Robles could be a decent trade-chip. And like Pineda, let them enter free agency and see what you he'll sign for then. I'm sure he is happily looking at his work so far getting him a modest multi-year deal.

     

    Jackson is still in the bullpen mix. If the Twins can just jettison Shoemaker right now and get someone better in his place. And then you have to start getting at least five or more innings from Maeda, Happ, Dobnak. I wish we could push Over, but I can understand that risk. But at least I hope that means that if we move on from a couple of aging starters, we WILL SEE Duran And Balazovic for a half dozen starts each this season. Which would make me very happy going towards 2022.

     

    Gonna be interesting to see how the Twins play Kirilloff, Larnach, Buxton, Kepler, Sano, Cruz going forth! And as long as Simmons is around, Gordon is going to be sitting on the bench. At least work the guy into a late inning appearance. I want to see him steal bases...and continue to get hits! I am comfortable with a return to shortstop for Polancho, for now. Just think of the opportunity Royce Lewis is missing this season!

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    25 minutes ago, darwin22 said:

    Doc:  Other than your final note ( I didn't watch game on FSN) so I have no opinion on Perkins, I agree with your comments.  I really believe that Alcala has a strong future as a late inning option in our bullpen.  To me, he has the demeanor/disposition you need from a closer. What he doesn't have at this point to be trusted in that role is an effective 3rd pitch, namely a changeup.  Other than some command issues, I like what I've seen from Robles as he's shown he's much more like the effective pitcher he was in 2019 rather than the gas can he was with Halos last year.  As for Dobnak, I'm somewhere in the middle on him.  I think he's most effective as a starter.  Seems to me his poor performance this season may be attributed to the fact that he's been yanked around without having any defined role.  Saying that, I can understand those that argue Dobnak must make that mental adjustment as well as showing he can effectively command his pitches.  When he does what he did today, he can be a viable option for next season---joining Berrios and Maeda.  Count me NOT in the crowd that is ready to trade Berrios. That doesn't mean you don't listen to offers at the trade deadline, but he's shown BY FAR he's the most reliable SP we've had over the past 3 seasons.  Where many may disagree with me is filling out the remainder of the starting rotation next season.  Im DONE with dumpster dives for the likes of Shoemaker, Happ and countless others over the past many years.  Time to take the kid gloves off and give Duran, Winder and Balazovic the chance to compete in ST for 2 rotation slots for 2022.  I can't believe Winder has anything left to prove at AA Wichita.  Another excellent outing last night.  Balazovic will take some more time to gain strength as he's only made 3 starts. His outing this week, which I witnessed in person, was quite impressive.  Don't have as much to offer about Duran, but from comments I've seen----he just needs to get consistency with his command.  Will be interesting to see what trades FO will make over the next 6 weeks.  Got to believe that Cruz and Pineda (if healthy) are at top of list, which could bring some value back.  If Donaldson can get back into lineup and show production he could also be moved if mgmt is willing to kick in some $$$.  Appears that SF and Milwaukee could be possible sights for JD.  

    Thank you for a quality post and kind words. Of course, it seems we're mostly on the same page too, LOL.

    I also don't want "dumpster dives" for the rotation, though I really don't like that term. I have ZERO inside information as to the workings of the FO. But I like to think I'm pretty intelligent. (Some would agree...some might argue, lol). To me the pitching staff was put together in a very intelligent way, despite the results. We all have to remember  that Happ has been pretty good for his career and was coming off a very solid 2020 despite being a LH in Yankees stadium. He was, it appeared, a smart 1yr replacement for Odorizzi to compete for the 3rd/4th spot. Shoemaker was a cheap flier 5th spot arm who has been good/very good when healthy. Clearly, the FO saw depth options available in a handful of guys while buying more time for Duran, Balazovic, Winder, Sands, Canterino and others. Not a bad plan/idea. In fact, though it's hard to remember when wearing glasses colored with disappointment hues, Happ looked pretty good early. There was even a little optimism from Shoemaker initially.

    But a funny thing happened on the way to the Forum. The old nursery rhyme talks about the wheels on the bus going "round and round". Well that bus, carrying our 2021 Twins, hit a number of post-winter potholes the size of sinks and bathtubs to not only flatten a few tires but also break an axel. I'm pretty sure there's even a tire down in the ditch somewhere.

    And I'm ONLY talking about the pitching right now. 

    Totally agree Dobnak is a SP and needs to be left in the rotation to develop and work. What's he going to do, be worse than Happ or Shoemaker? I hate but understand protecting Ober while also making sure he gets a regular turn and stretches out and builds himself up. Just being 100% honest, he's been far better and shown far more potential than I ever thought. We still have 2/3 of a season to play and work toward. 500 and 2022. But for those who want the Twins to jump-start careers, just remember the milb season started a month later than normal. They have already been very aggressive with Ober. As bad luck would have it,  both Duran and Balazovic began their seasons late due to nagging but limited injury. Just give them a little time. Again, we have 2/3 of the season to play and audition yet. And Winder will be at St Paul very soon. He may be joined by Sands. 

    I think the Twins will sign a quality FA SP next off-season or pull off a Madea/Odorizzi type of trade and HOPEFULLY feel good about the development of both Ober and Dobber the rest of the season. And whether 40 man adds or non-roster invites, they are going to have another 4-6 live/decent/good arms from the system to compete. And at least a couple of those arms should at least get their feet wet before this season is done.

    I firmly believe this team is in re-tool mode and not break down and re-build mode. The talent on hand tells me this. Just sucks the original plan of re-tooling on the fly turned in to a massive bus accident where even AAA is shaking their heads.

    Colome is probably done no matter what happens. But he was signed for a very good reason, and earned an option year for the same. But even if he suddenly finds himself again...and their have been recent glimpses...sometimes you have to move on for the sake of doing so.  Rogers has found himself again, Duffey is looking more like his old self. We are seeing Alcala grow. Again, is a low level prospect better than keeping Robles? There is at least a foundation to build on with the pen. A few weeks ago, we weren't so sure.

    Pitching wise, I don't think we need a new bus, I think we need repairs and a few new tires to keep those wheels going "round and round" for next year. Fortunately, we have some new tread to try out over the next few months. 

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    I believe the Twins are a good ballclub playing poorly. The talent is there but between all the off years and injuries, they can't get their engine started. Still lots of talent underperforming on a regular basis. It would be fun to see this team with their strongest lineup playing for a month...just to see what they may be capable of.

    Do they have to trade Cruz? His recent hot streak may indicate he will be showcased to an AL team in the playoff hunt. I would hate to see that team by Cleveland or Chicago. But maybe he should just finish it out here. The return we would get won't come close to his value to the team. OTOH, would be a kindness to let him finish up his career with a shot at post season. So who knows? The pitching has really been miserable overall...but the position players are decent enough to be competitive...when healthy.. Give this team some pitching and they could be fun to watch second half.

    I would try and give Gordon a long look and see if he has what it takes. Kirilloff I fear is hurt and may not make it thru the season. I wonder if Kepler has anything left. His bat has really disappeared. Not sold on Simmons, Arraez I think should be given a regular position and like Gordon, should be out there everyday.

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    1 hour ago, DocBauer said:

    To me the pitching staff was put together in a very intelligent way, despite the results...

    I was glad to see Dobnak had a nice outing today! However, I still think Dobnak is a long reliever / 5th or spot starter, at best.

    Ever play Yahtzee? Building the pitching staff around the Dobnak extension is, to me, kind of like using the 1s, 2s, or Chance category on the first roll. Not too bad maybe, but you still haven’t done the hard stuff yet. :)

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    8 hours ago, h2oface said:

    3 in a row. Now when we win the 15th in a row on July 2 in KC we will be at .500 with 9 games to go before the all-star break!

    I mean yeah, that's the attitude the Twins and their fans need to have. Why not us and why not now? I will cling to any glimmer of hope. 

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    10 hours ago, insagt1 said:

    I believe the Twins are a good ballclub playing poorly. The talent is there but between all the off years and injuries, they can't get their engine started. Still lots of talent underperforming on a regular basis. It would be fun to see this team with their strongest lineup playing for a month...just to see what they may be capable of.

    Do they have to trade Cruz? His recent hot streak may indicate he will be showcased to an AL team in the playoff hunt. I would hate to see that team by Cleveland or Chicago. But maybe he should just finish it out here. The return we would get won't come close to his value to the team. OTOH, would be a kindness to let him finish up his career with a shot at post season. So who knows? The pitching has really been miserable overall...but the position players are decent enough to be competitive...when healthy.. Give this team some pitching and they could be fun to watch second half.

    I would try and give Gordon a long look and see if he has what it takes. Kirilloff I fear is hurt and may not make it thru the season. I wonder if Kepler has anything left. His bat has really disappeared. Not sold on Simmons, Arraez I think should be given a regular position and like Gordon, should be out there everyday.

    What do we gain by keeping Cruz at this point? Let him get a chance with a contender and let the team work towards a top 5 pick. 

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    10 hours ago, D.C Twins said:

    We beat broken down Texas by a run who out imploded us with two wild pitches.... just sayin'

    And got just 4 hits (4-31 on the game is a .129 batting average). Overall another unwatchable game, but the Twins will take wins like these if they can get them. Very similar to the games that Baltimore gave them a couple weeks ago.

    2 hours ago, HrbieFan said:

    What do we gain by keeping Cruz at this point? Let him get a chance with a contender and let the team work towards a top 5 pick. 

    There's no question about Cruz being traded - he's as good as gone. Right now he's just auditioning for Oakland and Tampa, and he's doing a great job. Here's hoping the Twins have opened up discussions and are kicking the tires on those organizations' top pitching prospects.

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    13 hours ago, VivaBomboRivera! said:

    Hold the trade phones just a few more days. Second City's South Side club has just dropped three in a row.  102 games left and there's just the teensiest crack of daylight peeking through.

    Okay, they lost a game yesterday. If they lose today, it's called "two in a row". And if they lose again tomorrow, it's called a "losing streak"... It has happened before.

    R21hg5.gif

     

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    11 hours ago, D.C Twins said:

    We beat broken down Texas by a run who out imploded us with two wild pitches.... just sayin'

    The big take away that Cruz is maintaining maximum trade value!

     

     

    I don't think the Twins will get much for Cruz. Draft picks in baseball are mostly crap shoots. A minor leaguer or two? Probably not. Perhaps a team in the AL that needs a DH to put them over the top could bite...but they won't offer much. All trading Cruz will do is do him the courtesy of maybe having another shot at post season. Also it could give Twins a chance to use rotating DH's second half. I guess that could make sense.

    Me, I think I would still like to see what this team could do second half with their complete lineup...selfishly maybe. Trading Cruz will not yield a good return. Wonder how he feels about all of this?

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    Buxton plays.........Twins win!

    I don't want to think about what has been written in the Strib, here and elsewhere.  Yes, I understand moving him if he really has no interest in an extension.  Same for Berrios.  But I continue to believe that the two B's could/should be the foundation around which the next winning Twins team is build around.  And a lot of the parts for that team are either here or a short distance away, so it doesn't have to be a real long rebuild.

    Yes, they may have to overpay a bit and yes, Buxton is gonna miss a bunch of games.  Please get it done!

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    3 hours ago, HrbieFan said:

    What do we gain by keeping Cruz at this point? Let him get a chance with a contender and let the team work towards a top 5 pick. 

    I totally understand the trade Cruz thoughts. And big picture, probably the correct thing. But what I don't agree with is the return. No team is going to offer much for a 40 year old DH to rent for 3 months max. It will amount to Twins mostly giving him away. I do have a very jaundiced view of things like 'top 5 picks' in baseball. Over the years, it almost seems like the budding superstars were very low picks, who just happened to blossom. Many of the top picks never really panned out. Hockey and football place a huge premium on draft picks. I just don't see it in baseball.

    All I'm clumsily trying to say is don't expect much for saying goodbye to Nelson. It will be a charity move....and if I'm wrong I will happily eat crow....because you never know about these things. Fun to discuss.

     

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    14 hours ago, VivaBomboRivera! said:

    Hold the trade phones just a few more days. Second City's South Side club has just dropped three in a row.  102 games left and there's just the teensiest crack of daylight peeking through.

    Nope

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    57 minutes ago, insagt1 said:

    I don't think the Twins will get much for Cruz. Draft picks in baseball are mostly crap shoots. A minor leaguer or two? Probably not. Perhaps a team in the AL that needs a DH to put them over the top could bite...but they won't offer much. All trading Cruz will do is do him the courtesy of maybe having another shot at post season. Also it could give Twins a chance to use rotating DH's second half. I guess that could make sense.

    Me, I think I would still like to see what this team could do second half with their complete lineup...selfishly maybe. Trading Cruz will not yield a good return. Wonder how he feels about all of this?

    My guess is that he feels like "YES PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE TRADE ME!"

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    1 hour ago, D.C Twins said:

    My guess is that he feels like "YES PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE TRADE ME!"

    A lot can happen in the next 30+ days.  Does Cruz stay healthy and continues hitting as he has the first 2+ months.  Does an AL team that has a serious chance of being in the playoffs, probably one of six or seven teams, have an injury or disappointment and can legitimately believe that bringing on Cruz WILL give them that bit of nudge to make the playoffs and be able to take a real run at the Series.  In that case, the Twins should move him for his sake as much as what they can get in prospects.  He just may be the best option out there and should there be two teams that meet this description...the return might be better than we think, maybe a lot better.

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    23 hours ago, roger said:

    A lot can happen in the next 30+ days.  Does Cruz stay healthy and continues hitting as he has the first 2+ months.  Does an AL team that has a serious chance of being in the playoffs, probably one of six or seven teams, have an injury or disappointment and can legitimately believe that bringing on Cruz WILL give them that bit of nudge to make the playoffs and be able to take a real run at the Series.  In that case, the Twins should move him for his sake as much as what they can get in prospects.  He just may be the best option out there and should there be two teams that meet this description...the return might be better than we think, maybe a lot better.

    He is a 40 year old DH. What team will give us value for him. He may be more valuable to us in reality. And if. (huge IF) its the Twins that make that run second half...he could be a big help. the most any contender would give up is a single A 'suspect' that may never make it past AAA. While that sounds like negative Nellie, there is a dose of reality there.  If Twins simply want to do the charity thing, thats a different matter. but a decent return for Cruz....wishful thinking.

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