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  • Game Recap: White Sox 4, Twins 2


    Matthew Taylor

    The Minnesota Twins fell once again on Thursday night, capping off another sweep and pushing their record down to a lowly 12-23.

    Image courtesy of © Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

    Box Score
    Pineda: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 7 K
    Home Runs: Kepler (3)
    Bottom 3 WPA: Arraez -.179, Garver -.124, Donaldson -.110
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    image.png.0ecd8b02732bd7aabaca4a327a77f9fa.png

    After the Twins allowed the White Sox offense to go wild on Wednesday evening, Michael Pineda did a much better job keeping the bats at bay on Thursday afternoon. Through the first five innings, Pineda only allowed two runs on solo shots from Tim Anderson and Jake Lamb in the first and third innings, respectively.

    While fans have criticized Baldelli all year for pulling his starters too early, Rocco trotted out Pineda for the sixth inning where he quickly found himself in trouble, walking the first two batters of the sixth inning. Baldelli then turned the ball over to Hansel Robles and the Twins bullpen, who again allowed an inherited runner to score after Andrew Vaughn connected for an RBI single to push the White Sox lead to 3-1.

     

    On the offensive side of the ball, the Minnesota Twins struggled early to get anything going, connecting on only two hits through the first seven innings, though they were able to generate base runners via the base on balls, walking five times in the game. 

    The Twins finally found a spark at the plate in the eighth inning, led off by a solo home run from Max Kepler, cutting the lead down to 3-2.

     

    Following the home run, the Twins strung two consecutive singles together before manager Tony La Russa decided to go to his closer and former Minnesota Twins, Liam Hendriks, to attempt a five-out save.

    Hendriks was successful in doing so, as he shut down the Minnesota Twins with no trouble, taking them down in order to close out the game 4-2 following Yermin Mercedes' insurance RBI single in the eighth.

    Trevor Larnach Finding Success

    After achieving his first career Major League hit on Wednesday night, Larnach again found success at the plate on Thursday, connecting on a fourth-inning double with a 105 MPH exit velocity, where he would in turn come around to score the Twins first run of the game. In the fifth inning, Larnach demonstrated terrific plate discipline, drawing a nine-pitch walk off of Lance Lynn.

    In a season that has been disappointing on so many levels, being able to get performances like these from rookies are big-time wins for the long-term outlook of the Minnesota Twins.

    More Trouble with RISP

    In what has been a consistent theme throughout the season for the Minnesota Twins, the team once again was unable to come through with runners in scoring position. Today, the Twins went 0-for-10 with RISP, lowering their average to .230 in those situations on the season. For a team that is already struggling in so many different areas, they cannot afford to melt down with runners in scoring position, but that is exactly what they have done time and time again all year.

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

    What’s Next
    Things don’t get much easier for the Minnesota Twins as they will now return to Target Field to kick off a 3-game series against the 1st place Oakland Athletics.


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    Time for some heat from writers/bloggers/beat reporters on the front office, Rocco, Wes Johnson, and the hitting coach. A team simply cannot regress this hard 35 games into the season with no heat on them. I don't think Rocco should be fired, nor should anyone in the front office, but I do think a change, especially on the hitting side of things, would be welcome. The Mets fired their beloved hitting coach after not getting the results they wanted. The Twins coaches should not be immune to this. I've said it the past few days, maybe even weeks, but this team simply isn't very good. Almost every single player outside of Buxton, Cruz, Donaldson, and Polanco as of late has regressed. Time for someone inside the organization to take some blame and accountability for things, and it starts with Rocco saying something other than "Yeah, these guys are really battling but aren't getting the results we want. It'll come around eventually." Show some fight. Please.

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    They lose the same way all the time. When was the last time that someone got a clutch late inning hit to tie the game or take the lead? Bullpen---just bad enough..again. First Robles lets an inherited runner score. then typical Rogers...he gets 2 outs and then gives up the RBI hit to turn it into a 2 run game again.

    Meanwhile Twins strike out at every opportunity. None of them escape this. 12 more men left on. They had chances galore and just never got the clutch hit. And often the RISP were with less than two outs.

    Twins are now the worst team in MLB and they have earned every bit of that. The hitters look frustrated from the time they step up to the time they walk back to the dugout.

    Time for a shaleup...something...anything

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    How tough to be assigned post game wrap ups.  I would want to write- They Stunk again and go have a beer.  But of course baseball is about nuance. 

    So Rocco tried to get six innings out of a starter.  Maybe you start pushing the innings in ST and early in the seasons.  Not a sudden, lets try it.  Sorry, but Pineda did not blow it in the sixth.  Robles let in the run and Pineda is given the score on his sheet.  Baseball Reference says 67% of inherited runners score against the BP.  How do you spell RELIEF?  Not the Bullpen. 32 inherited runners have scored - subtract that from the SP and add it to the RP - how are the ERAs?  

    Robles you do not deserve a clean 0 runs.  Taylor Rogers you killed us with the run you gave up.  

     

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    3 minutes ago, insagt1 said:

    They lose the same way all the time. When was the last time that someone got a clutch late inning hit to tie the game or take the lead? Bullpen---just bad enough..again. First Robles lets an inherited runner score. then typical Rogers...he gets 2 outs and then gives up the RBI hit to turn it into a 2 run game again.

    Meanwhile Twins strike out at every opportunity. None of them escape this. 12 more men left on. They had chances galore and just never got the clutch hit. And often the RISP were with less than two outs.

    Twins are now the worst team in MLB and they have earned every bit of that. The hitters look frustrated from the time they step up to the time they walk back to the dugout.

    Time for a shaleup...something...anything

    Robles outperformed the odds there......the problem was the starter was finally left in like you all have been BLASTING the manager for not doing.......I'll sit here and wait for everyone to talk about how wrong they were about that.....

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    My great uncle was Wes Westrum from Clearbrook MN and had these conversations with him as a kid a long time ago.... He was considered one of the greatest defensive catchers in his era; I know I have his glove he used in two world series and you would not believe it was a catchers glove....

    Many teams forget winning ballgames in April is more important than August since you set the tone early. This year we lost (0-7) in extra innings and X amount after 7 innings!

    So what happened? likely technology has improved through the roof folks. Watch the good hitters they are not swinging at swings outside the heat maps.

    We really need to look at heat maps of catchers and hitters; many of our pitchers simply do not match up with their battery mates on calls. Randy D. great example veteran catcher he did well, rookies calling the game he did not. TD needs to show this as well it is important as all get out.....

    I Forgot to mention Uncle Wes managed both the SF Giants when they moved from New York (he played his career with NY Giants in the 50's) and only manager to be traded for another manager Casey Stengel to the NY Mets (Expansion team)..... So yeah lots of baseball smarts as he was player, manager, and long time scout........

    So Rocco lost a lot of his staff and it is starting to show now. MLB managers are like Team CEOs and bench/in game coaches are the ones actually talking to the guys with the game plans now....

    Great hitting coaches are rare and this year I swear the pitches are being tipped somehow or the catchers are not calling a good game....

    Also what the heck happened to bunting anymore???????

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    It's incredible how every single high-leverage situation seems to turn out poorly for the Twins this season, on both sides of the ball. I know it feels like clockwork to all of us fans at this point, and it looks like the players have that same "here we go again" mindset in big situations. This team desperately needs someone to step up in some big situations and help everyone shake off that mindset. Maybe someone needs to sacrifice a chicken in the clubhouse or something?

    deep breath smile GIF

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    14 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

    Robles outperformed the odds there......the problem was the starter was finally left in like you all have been BLASTING the manager for not doing.......I'll sit here and wait for everyone to talk about how wrong they were about that.....

    The thing is no one has any faith in this bullpen. This is the only option. Pineda and Berrios are way better than anyone there.

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    2 minutes ago, jun said:

    The thing is no one has any faith in this bullpen. This is the only option. Pineda and Berrios are way better than anyone there.

    Now i am very disappointed with the Twins.   They are ranked last in MLB league.   The key of winning games is to have an excellent starting and relief pitchers.  Too many LOBs in those games!  Too many blown games!  

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    33 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

    Robles outperformed the odds there......the problem was the starter was finally left in like you all have been BLASTING the manager for not doing.......I'll sit here and wait for everyone to talk about how wrong they were about that.....

    The starter was left in too long? He pitched five and a third. Sorry, Mike, I will have this conversation with you all day, at least for today's game. I was listening on the radio. Sounded like Pineda wanted to stay in. After a game yesterday of 4.1 innings from the bullpen (two innings from Duffey and Colome). Now Rogers is burned up for tomorrow. Moves the other guys forward in the line. Multiple innings from the bullpen, every single night. It all compounds. 

    Let a starter pitch, for crying out loud, maybe something interesting happens today and Pineda works out of it, and then pitches a quick scoreless seventh, and the guys come to bat in the top of the 8th with some vigor, Kepler's home run ties the game, Robles and Rogers still fresh for the bottom of the eighth. I mean, honest question? How much worse can it get to leave a starting pitcher in a game that he does not want to come out of, just once? 

    (none of this is meant to be taken personally)

     

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    1 minute ago, Hosken Bombo Disco said:

    The starter was left in too long? He pitched five and a third. Sorry, Mike, I will have this conversation with you all day, at least for today's game. I was listening on the radio. Sounded like Pineda wanted to stay in. After a game yesterday of 4.1 innings from the bullpen (two innings from Duffey and Colome). Now Rogers is burned up for tomorrow. Moves the other guys forward in the line. Multiple innings from the bullpen, every single night. It all compounds. 

    Let a starter pitch, for crying out loud, maybe something interesting happens today and Pineda works out of it, and then pitches a quick scoreless seventh, and the guys come to bat in the top of the 8th with some vigor, Kepler's home run ties the game, Robles and Rogers still fresh for the bottom of the eighth. I mean, honest question? How much worse can it get to leave a starting pitcher in a game that he does not want to come out of, just once? 

    (none of this is meant to be taken personally)

     

    I didn't say too long....I said it didn't work...which is how people here seem to judge decisions......and, none of it was personal. You attacked my position, not me. Which is great on a forum. He'd just walked two guys.....people here would be blasting him if he'd left him and it didn't work.....really, there is no good option there given this bullpen. If they had even an average 'pen, making the move there is an easy choice. Frankly, I feel bad for Rocco.....there just aren't good options, and it isn't like he gets to hire these guys, he gets who he gets.

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    2 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

    I didn't say too long....I said it didn't work...which is how people here seem to judge decisions......and, none of it was personal. You attacked my position, not me. Which is great on a forum. He'd just walked two guys.....people here would be blasting him if he'd left him and it didn't work.....really, there is no good option there given this bullpen. If they had even an average 'pen, making the move there is an easy choice. Frankly, I feel bad for Rocco.....there just aren't good options, and it isn't like he gets to hire these guys, he gets who he gets.

    Tbf, the 2nd walk was a really bad call and most definitely a strike, and had a chance to be a strike em out throw em out, and instead resulted in none. Leaving in Pineda was the right call there, result or not. I had zero issue with how Rocco managed this game (which is a rarity for me in this young season). However, if you think Rocco is just “getting who he gets” you’re fooling yourself. Rocco doesn’t have the final say on players on the roster, but he certainly does get a say on it somewhat. 

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    1 minute ago, Mill1634 said:

    Tbf, the 2nd walk was a really bad call and most definitely a strike, and had a chance to be a strike em out throw em out, and instead resulted in none. Leaving in Pineda was the right call there, result or not. I had zero issue with how Rocco managed this game (which is a rarity for me in this young season). However, if you think Rocco is just “getting who he gets” you’re fooling yourself. Rocco doesn’t have the final say on players on the roster, but he certainly does get a say on it somewhat. 

    Which RP and SP do you think he wants more than he has? Including the majors and minors? Or hitters? I mean, the minors are barren other than Thorpe and Jeffers at this point for immediate help.....

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    1 hour ago, Mill1634 said:

    Time for some heat from writers/bloggers/beat reporters on the front office, Rocco, Wes Johnson, and the hitting coach. A team simply cannot regress this hard 35 games into the season with no heat on them.......time for someone inside the organization to take some blame and accountability for things, and it starts with Rocco saying something other than "Yeah, these guys are really battling but aren't getting the results we want. It'll come around eventually." Show some fight. Please.

     

    100% Absolutely agree. There seems to be a lot of reporters saying things like "Gee whiz, another bad game for the Twins" and not much else. This is a train wreck and the media is just mailing it in, like the coaching staff. LaVelle did tweet last night that this could be a 100 loss team but he's not really the Twins beat reporter right now. No pressure at all from media or ownership or front office...

    Now you also mentioned fight. Here's the crazy part:

    Josh Donaldson: known as a competitor, can be a red-assed hothead. Wants to WIN. Period.

    Luis Arraez: Battles every plate appearance. Gritty. Gutty. Fun. Contagious attitude.

    Nelson Cruz: Ageless talent and the one of the biggest cheerleaders in the game. Yells and celebrates and has tons of fun with teammates in the dugout.

    La Tortuga: If not a competitor, at least he's a fun addition to a clubhouse.

    Buxton: A huge "LETS GO!" guy who gets fired up when he makes big plays and gets fired up when his teammates do as well.

    Berrios: Works hard, has the respect of his teammates and is not shy about pumping his fist. Clearly wants to WIN.

    How on earth can a team with the players listed above be so listless? What on earth is going on? It's like Rocco's putting sleeping pills in the gatorade or something. Not only are the Twins playing way under their abilities, but they are also sleepwalking through the whole thing. It's insane and even crazier is that all we hear is "gee whiz these Twins aren't playing well" from the local media and from Rocco.

    This is a dumpster fire and I for one want answers.

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    50 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

    Which RP and SP do you think he wants more than he has? Including the majors and minors? Or hitters? I mean, the minors are barren other than Thorpe and Jeffers at this point for immediate help.....

    Not entirely sure what you’re getting at, but I’m mainly speaking before the team breaks north outta ST. of course he isn’t saying, hey go sign alex colome, let Matt wisler go, etc. but he certainly does have a say on final roster construction and things like “hey, we might want to go sign another Tyler clippard part as I don’t think Stashak is the answer.”  Things along those lines he has a say on. Not the final say, but a say nonetheless. 

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    25 minutes ago, bighat said:

    It's insane and even crazier is that all we hear is "gee whiz these Twins aren't playing well" from the local media and from Rocco.

    This is a dumpster fire and I for one want answers.

    I'm curious about what specifically you'd like the media to do or say, and what you think would change because of it. I think the team and the organization is well aware of how badly this season is going and how frustrated all of the fans are. What answers would satisfy you? I don't think anyone really has any answers at this point.

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