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  • Game Score: Angels 3, Twins 2


    Matthew Taylor

    Fitting that in a game in which its offensive leader was traded just hours before the first pitch, the Minnesota Twins' offense could only muster 2 runs en route to yet another loss, this time to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

    Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

    Box Score

    Starting Pitcher: Maeda 7 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K

    Home runs: None

    Bottom 3 WPA: Donaldson -.209, Jeffers -.191, Polanco -.148

    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    lgTqLv4_FOqlnu7_pUQdqkbBoiiAyoBWkg4Wh3s6lspGC_Tug5Frwwx21ZMEGBQUYeOPvu6L8r0eVYVdAJglcuzQWc8Y1PRJYN4sUNViLemhP4iHmnGEgd1_UbMdn_5wA_YfmiVa

    After the Twins and Angels played each other to a 0-0 deadlock through the first 3 innings, the Nelson Cruz-less Twins’ offense burst through for a crooked number in the 4th inning. The 4th inning rally for the Twins was kicked off by a leadoff ground-rule double by Miguel Sanó who was later brought in by an RBI double from newly called-up Willians Astudillo before Gilberto Celestino’s RBI groundout gave the Twins an early 2-0 lead.

     

    The Twins’ lead didn’t last long, though, as the Angels responded quickly in the top of the 5th inning when their bottom of the order spoiled what was a great start for Kenta Maeda. After a leadoff groundout, the Angels got a double, single and home run in three consecutive plate appearances from their 7-8-9 hitters, capped off by a three-run home run from Jack Mayfield.

     

    Aside from the rough 5th inning, Maeda put together a strong outing, tossing 95 pitches in seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, while striking out six batters.

    Unfortunately for Maeda, the Minnesota Twins offense couldn’t put together any runs outside of the two runs they tacked on in the 4th inning, getting blanked by the Angels bullpen and in total only tallying six hits and two extra base hits. With Nelson Cruz now off the club, hits and runs are going to be hard to come by for the Twins.

    In the end, the Twins ultimately fell 3-2 to the Angels and dropped down to 41-56 on the season. As the trade deadline approaches, it seems like only a matter of time until more players join Nelson Cruz in the “traded” category and the active roster looks a lot different over the last 2 months of the season.

    Lucky Pants?

    The talk of today’s game revolved completely around the departure of Nelson Cruz which occurred just before the first pitch of Thursday night’s game. One of the more touching parts of the game was how much the move impacted Miguel Sanó who developed a very close relationship with the former Twins DH. In a way to honor Nelson Cruz, Sanó wore Cruz’s pants for today’s game. With his ground-rule double, maybe the pants will be here to stay?

    Ohtani Tracker

    Target Field was packed for Thursday night’s game, in part to see the Japanese phenom, Shohei Ohtani. Unfortunately in attendance to see a ShoTime show, Ohtani had a quiet night, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

    Bullpen Usage Chart

      SUN MON TUE WED THU TOT
    Alcala 0 23 24 0 0 47
    Robles 0 19 7 0 0 26
    Rogers 0 19 0 0 0 19
    Colomé 0 0 26 22 0 48
    Thielbar 0 0 17 16 0 33
    Duffey 0 16 0 38 0 54
    Minaya 13 0 0 0 0 13
    Coulombe 0 0 5 0 32 37

     

    What’s Next

    The Minnesota Twins will continue their homestand against the Angels on Friday night when J.A. Happ squares off against Alex Cobb.


     

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    4 hours ago, VivaBomboRivera! said:

    Better baserunning and the Twins this one.

     

    13 minutes ago, theBOMisthebomb said:

    The defense by the Angels right fielder, Adam Eaton, really foiled the Twins in the 8th inning. 

    While Eaton made a good play, this was a mistake by Polanco. It was not a difficult play for a major league right fielder to make, it was late in a 1-run game with nobody out, and the situation in right field was clearly in Polanco's view as he ran. The fact that it was not a particularly close play at second bears this out. And this was not lost on Kepler on his single to right in the ensuing at-bat. That would have put runners at the corners with nobody out.

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    2 hours ago, Nine of twelve said:

    ... it was late in a 1-run game with nobody out, and the situation in right field was clearly in Polanco's view as he ran. The fact that it was not a particularly close play at second bears this out. And this was not lost on Kepler on his single to right in the ensuing at-bat. That would have put runners at the corners with nobody out.

    If Polanco learns from it we can forgive him.  The guy's playing his heart out in a losing season.  
    Sending Larnach in the bottom of the 2nd might have seemed reasonable as he was coming into third, but when watching how the play developed on video it was clearly a bad decision - Celestino's hit into the left corner was well fielded. When Upton came up throwing it was time to brake. Diaz should have seen that the relay would beat Larnach and Stassi was well-positioned up the line to take the throw.

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    33 minutes ago, VivaBomboRivera! said:

    If Polanco learns from it we can forgive him.  The guy's playing his heart out in a losing season.  
    Sending Larnach in the bottom of the 2nd might have seemed reasonable as he was coming into third, but when watching how the play developed on video it was clearly a bad decision - Celestino's hit into the left corner was well fielded. When Upton came up throwing it was time to brake. Diaz should have seen that the relay would beat Larnach and Stassi was well-positioned up the line to take the throw..

    I will add one more comment.  Why was Celestino still on second when the throw went to home, there was a collision and the catcher looks out cold and the ball is loose?

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    1 hour ago, VivaBomboRivera! said:

    If Polanco learns from it we can forgive him.  The guy's playing his heart out in a losing season.  
    Sending Larnach in the bottom of the 2nd might have seemed reasonable as he was coming into third, but when watching how the play developed on video it was clearly a bad decision - Celestino's hit into the left corner was well fielded. When Upton came up throwing it was time to brake. Diaz should have seen that the relay would beat Larnach and Stassi was well-positioned up the line to take the throw.

    He should have known to begin with.  I was half watching at the time, saw Polanco's hit, and the fielder get to it, and turned away feeling good about a leadoff single with our 2-3-4 hitters due up.  Imagine my surprise and confusion when I looked back at the screen 15 seconds later, only to see the bases empty with only one out.  I would have no problem if Polanco had made an aggressive turn in order to take advantage of a potential bobble or stumble.  But the instant the ball was fielded cleanly, Polanco should have beat a hasty retreat to first, and lived to let our best hitters drive him in.

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