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  • Game Recap: Twins 7, Reds 5


    Nate Palmer

    On an already emotional night, the Twins and Reds played a 12-inning game before Miguel Sano smashed a walk-off home run for the win

    Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson

    Box Score
    Starter: J.A. Happ 4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 4 K
    Home Runs: Nelson Cruz (16), Nelson Cruz 
    Top 3 WPA: Matt Shoemaker (.969), Miguel Sano (.384), Caleb Thielbar (.232)
    Bottom 3 WPA: (if they lose)Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    chart-9.png.932bf3b8f074a16ef238c77b419d72e9.png

    Before Monday night’s game even saw the first pitch tossed it was a big night. First, on Cancer Awareness Night the Twins remembered bench coach Mike Bell who passed away during Spring Training after his own fight with cancer. If you missed the tribute it is a must-watch. 

    Also, Monday marked the day that MLB’s new foreign substance went into effect as well. As much as substances used by pitchers have been the storyline over the last month-plus of baseball, how these guidelines are enforced and affect the game will be the story the rest of the way for 2021. 

    The Twins started off the game's offense with a big 2nd inning. It started with a Nelson Cruz bomb for 424 feet at a pace of 116.5 mph to put the Twins up 1-0. The table was then set by more of that core the Twins have relied on for years with Kepler walking and Polanco hitting a single to put runners on the corners. A Kirilloff RBI single added to the Twins lead and a later Arraez sacrifice fly would let the Twins end the inning up 3-0. 

    Even though the Twins were in the lead, it was another case of the Twins missing a chance to bust a game open. They left the bases loaded with plenty of opportunities to practically put the game out of reach early. Only time would tell if that would come back to hurt them later in the evening. 

    Happ Good Enough Early, Then…

    Happ had plenty of rocky stretches early on, but through 3 innings had held the Reds scoreless. The 4th inning took a turn for the worse. Happ issued a walk to Tyler Stephenson who would later advance to 2nd on a wild pitch. While Happ had worked around base runners in earlier innings, this time Eugenio Suarez got on a Happ fastball and sent it into the seats for a 2-run home run. 

    Aristedes Aquino would then hit a solo shot into the left-field bleachers. A home run that many (including this writer) would bring an end to Happ’s evening. The Twins did bring him back in the 5th where he was able to get two more outs before being lifted for Luke Farrell. 

    Another Scare from Buxton

    Once again it seems that Byron Buxton just cannot avoid the freak injuries. This time it was a stray pitch from Reds starter Mahle that hit Buxton on the hand. Buxton did his best to stay in the game initially. After catching a fly-ball to end the Twins defensive side of the 5th inning. Buxton was 1-for-2 with an infield hit when he was forced from the game. 

    After the game the update was that Buxton has a boxer's fracture.

     

     
    The Twins seemingly played all their chips to try and secure a win in the 8th inning. One spot of the lineup saw many more players shuffle through it as Josh Donaldson pinch hit for Nick Gordon who earlier replaced Buxton. Donaldson was intentionally walked to load the bases to bring Larnach to bat. With Donaldson still not fit to run, Miguel Sano came on as a pinch-runner. 

    Larnach couldn’t get the hit the Twins needed. That left the Twins with the 9th inning to try and get the job done before extra innings. They couldn’t leave another chance with the bases loaded pass them by, right? This time with Kepler, Polanco, and Kirilloff on with 1-out the Twins saw Jeffers take an incredibly painted pitch for a strike-out and Simmons ground out to send the game to extras. 

    Extra-Inning Magic

    Extra-innings began with the Reds and Twins exchanging 2-run innings. And as the 11th inning began, former starter Matt Shoemaker took the mound for the Twins. Twins fans have become used to Shoemaker’s unfortunate results as a starter but that wasn’t the case Monday night as he pitched a great 11th and 12th inning. 

    That got Miguel Sano to the plate in the Twins half of the 12th, after Arraez had helped move Simmons over from 2nd to 3rd. It didn’t matter where Simmons was standing in the end as Sano blasted a home run over the entire Reds defense for the walk-off win. 

    It was a firework-worthy ending for the longest game in the MLB this season! Also 5 in a row for the Twins! 

    Postgame Interview

     

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

     

      TUE WED FRI SAT SUN MON TOT
    Thielbar 0 38 0 12 0 19 69
    Alcalá 0 10 18 0 18 20 66
    Rogers 0 15 12 13 0 16 56
    Colomé 0 20 0 15 0 7 42
    Duffey 0 0 20 0 21 0 41
    Robles 0 0 20 14 0 0 34
    Shoemaker 0 0 0 0 0 32 32
    Farrell 0 0 0 0 0 19 19
    Dobnak 0 0 0 start 0 0 0


     


     

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    Happy for Shoemaker tonight, without his stellar 2 innings, Twins don't win. Absolutely sick to my stomach for Byron Buxton. I mean, the guys mental health has got to be a huge concern after everything he has been through. I was really looking forward to finally being able to see him play when I go to the White Sox series in a couple weeks ☹

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    OK. I am totally against childish retaliation for HBPs to other batters, but would love to see the pitchers have to suffer similar inflicted pain. But for Buxton, I am hearing the call to the dark side. I am sick and tired of the Reds pitchers that can't control where they throw the ball getting by with no consequences. First, it was Lucas Sims beaning Buxton and taking him out as we approached the playoffs in 2019, and now it is Mahle that can't control his pitches and breaks his hand! I say TIME FOR REVENGE! I know the guilty pitchers can't bat in American League parks, and since Sims is a reliever, the chance to make him accountable in the National League park is very low. But Mahle is a starter. So what to do, and how to do it. They both need to suffer, and not mentally, physically. This is sickening. This is not just a Ho-Hum Oh Well That's Baseball. This is Buxton in a massive breakout coming of age arrived year. Something has to be done. The pain and torture they have inflicted upon Buxton is cruel and unusal punishment. And this fan (others?) feeeeels it. They didn't mean to, eh? So what. Actions have consequences. 

    Just kidding.

     

     

    No I'm not.

     

     

     

    Yes I am......

     

     

     

    I can't help it......

     

     

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    Nice to see the 5th straight win. Good for Sano, that his 2nd walkoff homer this year?

    Alas, the major headline here for me is that Buxton appears to be out for at least a month or so. Just brutal. He won't get an All-Star bid, a gold glove, or qualify in any major categories this year - finally, the year where he was clearly a Top 5 player in baseball.

     

     

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    Like all the rest of you, I feel just terrible about Buxton.  What an unfortunate event on a string of terrible injuries that have marred his career.  I know he must feel frustration shifting to depression.   I cannot fault the pitcher, in this game of high speed pitching the batters have a dangerous job.  We the substance issue rearing its head there are going to be a lot more uncontrolled pitches.  I just wish it did not have to start with Byron.  

    Like most of you I had to look this up - "A boxer's fracture is a fracture (broken bone) of the hand. More specifically, it is a fracture of the neck of the fifth metacarpal (a bone in the “pinky finger") (Figure 1). It is referred to as a boxer's fracture because, most commonly, it occurs when people punch something."  Boxer 

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    While it's great that they've been able to string some wins together, the joy is completely squashed by the Buxton news.  It's just incredible how bad his luck really is.  Doubled down on by the fact that he finally appears to be putting everything together and being the player we had hoped he'd be.  Very frustrating for player and fans alike.

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    55 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

    Like all the rest of you, I feel just terrible about Buxton.  What an unfortunate event on a string of terrible injuries that have marred his career.  I know he must feel frustration shifting to depression.   I cannot fault the pitcher, in this game of high speed pitching the batters have a dangerous job.  We the substance issue rearing its head there are going to be a lot more uncontrolled pitches.  I just wish it did not have to start with Byron.  

    Like most of you I had to look this up - "A boxer's fracture is a fracture (broken bone) of the hand. More specifically, it is a fracture of the neck of the fifth metacarpal (a bone in the “pinky finger") (Figure 1). It is referred to as a boxer's fracture because, most commonly, it occurs when people punch something."  Boxer 

    I am no MLB player, but mine was pain free and back to normal in about 3 weeks.  Lesson for all, do not spar with a tree 

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    Guys and gals- VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! for Cruz for DH in the All-Star game. Time is running out. He's the best and only real DH that should be there. I know Ohtani is popular but he's not a DH. 

    Good win last night. Happ was a bit wild which cost him a possible win but the bullpen held the tough Reds at bay then we come back before winning it.

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    6 hours ago, Nate Palmer said:

    Just updated the recap. Sounds like a boxer’s fracture. Sounds like “weeks to months” 

    And the beatings will continue until moral improves... 😣

    In addition to replacing Buxton, one would anticipate the Twins calling up another arm or two given significant usage of the bullpen over the past week.

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    5 minutes ago, puckstopper1 said:

    In addition to replacing Buxton, one would anticipate the Twins calling up another arm or two given significant usage of the bullpen over the past week.

    The Twins don’t really have a pitcher they can send out at the moment, though. I guess they could replace Buxton with a pitcher, or Gordon, but that makes it a little tougher to deal with the Buxton and Donaldson situations. They do have an open spot on the 40-man.

    FWIW, Duffey and Robles weren’t used last night, and the team has an off day Wednesday. It should be interesting to see how they handle the Ober start today, but they might be able to hold off on an additional pitcher for a bit.

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    Way to get up a well written article up efficiently after a loooong game, Nate! I thought that was a terrific baseball game! Wonderful to see Shoemaker finding a possible role, a comeback in bottom of 10 and Sano’s HR. Also, I feel like Rocco Baldelli is handling his bullpen a lot better now, being a little more aggressive and not leaving pitchers in too long.

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    Stayed up and watched the entire game yesterday, first time in over a month. Very entertaining action. Shoemaker really looked dominant those last two innings. Is it a splitter that he throws? Nasty. 

    Buxton just can't catch a break... hoping for a speedy recovery. 

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    7 hours ago, h2oface said:

    OK. I am totally against childish retaliation for HBPs to other batters, but would love to see the pitchers have to suffer similar inflicted pain. But for Buxton, I am hearing the call to the dark side. I am sick and tired of the Reds pitchers that can't control where they throw the ball getting by with no consequences. First, it was Lucas Sims beaning Buxton and taking him out as we approached the playoffs in 2019, and now it is Mahle that can't control his pitches and breaks his hand! I say TIME FOR REVENGE! I know the guilty pitchers can't bat in American League parks, and since Sims is a reliever, the chance to make him accountable in the National League park is very low. But Mahle is a starter. So what to do, and how to do it. They both need to suffer, and not mentally, physically. This is sickening. This is not just a Ho-Hum Oh Well That's Baseball. This is Buxton in a massive breakout coming of age arrived year. Something has to be done. The pain and torture they have inflicted upon Buxton is cruel and unusal punishment. And this fan (others?) feeeeels it. They didn't mean to, eh? So what. Actions have consequences. 

    Just kidding.

     

     

    No I'm not.

     

     

     

    Yes I am......

     

     

     

    I can't help it......

     

     

    Don't worry, you aren't the only one who's played mental toy soldiers about this.  It's probably best for it to play out in our minds and stay off the field though. 👿

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    Well, I guess we will never know if they were considering trading him by the deadline.  It will make for an interesting off season, because you either sign him long term or trade him while he still has value, and that value just dropped with that pitch.  And with his injury history, is Pohlad going to commit to the amount of money it would take?  Considering he has Berrios in the same situation, probably costing even more money to sign long term.  And Rogers.  And Duffey........all of them free agents after 2022 season and pretty big parts of the current team.  Where is the money coming from?  Dropping other parts?  This may very well alter whatever long term plans they had, and we will probably never know what they were.  But it sure will be fun speculating.   Get well soon, Bux!

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    When I heard about Buxton, just shook my head before getting an ache in my stomach.  I don't know the words to describe what I expect he must be going through.  Hopefully, he will be back by early August, but his going back on the IL removes the slightest of hope this team had to turn their season around.

    Now would be a great time for management to sit down with Byron and his agent and work out a nice 3-4 year extension.  A nice base with incentives based on games played could work for everyone, while giving this young man some peace of mind. 

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    Just when you think there's a POSSIBILITY that this team might start to resemble the team that many predicted in the offseason----you get squarely kicked right in the cajones.  Didn't see the pitch that injured Bux, but the result is just devastating for him.  As many may know,...I heard this on FSN the other day------over the last 3 years when Buxton is in the lineup--the Twins are 45 games...yes 45 games OVER.500!  When out of the lineup over that time period.....Twins are 5 games UNDER .500.  Just really p*ssed off right now.  Hopefully, Bux can recover and be back with the team soon after the All-Star break.  Until then, it appears Baldelli will have to continue to shuffle his lineup to cover CF.  IMO, that coverage should be a combination of Kepler, Gordon and possibly Refsnyder whenever he come off IL.  In no way should Celestino be called back up!  His bat is obviously NOT ready to contribute as evidenced by his .125 avg (4-32), 7K/1BB with an abysmal .152 OBP and .402 OPS.  

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    What a horrible way to blunt a real nice extra inning win. The comment on MLB.com fits perfectly....'its just not fair'. How bad things tail Buxton like a bloodhound is simply....'not fair'. Maybe for once, the injury will heal quickly and he will miss the minimum of time rather than the longest recover.

    Meantime, two very unlikely heros last night. Shoe certainly wasn't the guy I expected to be nails in the 11th and 12th. Wow. And Sano...getting hits twice with 2 strikes....and the game winning HR was the cherry on top. 1st 8 extra inning games...losses. Next 4 have been wins. I think Twins will be a lot better with both Arraez and Kepler back. Arraez in particular needs to be playing everyday.

    Let's go for 6 in a row.

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    3 hours ago, Mark G said:

    .... and that value just dropped with that pitch.  

    It's just a broken bone in his hand that was the result of a freak play.  His value will be fine.

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    8 hours ago, HrbieFan said:

    I am no MLB player, but mine was pain free and back to normal in about 3 weeks.  Lesson for all, do not spar with a tree 

    I have added that to my life notes!

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