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  • Game Score: Tigers 17, Twins 14


    Andrew Thares

    It was a rough day in Minnesota as the Vikings dropped a hard-fought battle to the Lions by a score of 17-14... Excuse me, I am getting word that this was not a Vikings game, but rather the Twins dropped an offensive slugfest against the Tigers.

    Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

    Box Score

    Starting Pitcher: Happ 3.0 IP, 10 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 4 BB, 2 K

    Homeruns: Sano 2 (17), Jeffers 2 (8), Kepler (14), Rooker (4), Polanco (15)

    Bottom 3 WPA: Happ -0.321, Minaya -0.158, Kepler -0.154 

    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    905964924_ScreenShot2021-07-28at4_19_33PM.png.f0bf7cfc135c93f4dc3f1d364948c0e7.png

    J.A. Happ’s Horrendous Start

    It has been far from a good season for offseason signing J.A. Happ, who put together arguably his worst outing of the season, yes even as bad as his start against the White Sox back in May. By the time the plug was finally pulled on Happ, the game was seemingly well out of reach. After giving up a couple of baserunners, but no runs in the first, Happ surrendered four singles and a walk in the second that gave the Tigers the early two run lead.

    Happ then had a strong three-up-three-down third and appeared to get his start back on the right track. That was before all hell broke loose in the fourth. To start the top of the fourth, the Tigers offense started the inning by going single, walk, double, single, single, walk, double before Rocco Baldelli finally came out and ended J.A. Happ’s outing.

    Former Tigers first round pick Beau Burrows came in to relieve Happ, and got out of the inning, but not before allowing two sac-flies and an RBI triple, giving the Tigers an early 10-0 lead. Burrows would stay in the game and pitch a scoreless fifth, after the Twins bats somehow got them back in the game, but then let the Tigers build on their lead again in the sixth. He gave up two walks to begin the inning, before Zack Short hit an RBI double. Burrows then got the next two guys on flyouts, the former being a sac-fly, before Grayson Greiner ripped another double off Burrows giving the Tigers what was at the time a 13-6 lead.

    Twins Monster 4th Inning

    After the Tigers appeared the bust the game completely wide open in the top of the fourth, the Twins bats made the game interesting after a big inning of their own. Miguel Sano got the scoring started with a leadoff solo home run to center field.

     

    After the Sano home run, which was nice to see, the game still felt very much not in the balance. That, however, would all change just four batters later. After the Sano home run, Trevor Larnach, Willians Astudillo and Nick Gordon all hit singles to set the table for this Ryan Jeffers grand slam!

     

    The Twins bats were not done after that, as they continued to pile on the hits. After Andrelton Simmons lined out to right, Max Kepler was hit by a pitch and that was the end of the road for Tigers pitcher Wily Peralta, who was replaced by Kyle Funkhouser (great name). Funkhouser did not find any more success, as Rooker, Polano and Sano all proceeded to get singles off of him to begin his outing, cutting the Tigers lead to four and giving the Twins bases loaded and just one out. They failed to capitalize on this, however, as Trevor Larnach struck out and Willians Astudillo grounded out to end the inning.

    Twins Coming Roaring Back in the 8th

    Yes, I know that was a bad Tigers pun, but it was a long game. With the Twins still down 13-6 entering the bottom of the eighth, the Twins bats exploded for a second time in today’s ballgame. Max Kepler, who has been swinging the bat a lot better in July, got the inning started with his fourteenth home run of the season, and that would not be even close to the last home run the Twins would hit this inning.

     

    Then it was Brent Rooker’s turn to stay hot, after he’s been tearing it up in St. Paul this year to the tune of 19 home runs and an OPS of .908 in 61 ball games for the Saints. In total, Rooker has hit 23 home runs in just 75 games played between the Saints and the Twins this season.

     

    Now down 13-8, it felt like the Twins were still in the ball game, and that feeling became even stronger once Jorge Polanco drew a walk to get on base for what was the most no-boudt of all no-doubters that has ever come off the bat of Miguel Sano, and that is saying something.

     

    According to Statcast, that home run left Miguel Sano’s bat with an exit velocity of 114.8 MPH and a launch angle of 30 degrees, traveling an estimated 473 feet into the third deck in left-center. Truly a mammoth home run, even by his standards. 

    The Twins bats did not slow down after that, as they continued to use the long ball to get back into this ballgame. After a Willians Astudillo double, sandwiched between a Tevor Larnach fly out and a Nick Gordon strike out, Ryan Jeffers blasted his second home run of the game, bringing the Twins back within one.

     

    Juan Minaya Shines Until Things Fall Apart in the Ninth

    After the struggles of J.A. Happ and Beau Burrows, Juan Minaya was a refreshing change of pace for the Twins on the mound, when he entered the game to start the seventh. He began his outing by retiring all six batters that he faced in the seventh and eighth innings, and came back out to pitch the ninth, after the Twins had just made it a one-run ball game. He got the inning started off strong by striking out Harold Castro, before walking Grayson Greiner. After a quick mound visit, Minaya seemed to get back on track as he struck out Akil Baddoo for the second out of the inning.

    That is when things fell apart on Minaya, who was arguably left in the game a bit too long, especially with the Twins back in it. With two outs, the Tigers proceeded to get a single and a walk to load the bases for Eric Haase, who promptly delivered with a bases clearing double to bust the game back open for the Tigers. He would then come around to score on the next batter, when Jeimer Candelario hit a double of his own, giving the Tigers a 17-12 lead.

    It is worth noting that none of the Tigers 17 runs in today’s ballgame were scored on a home run.

    Jorge Polanco Gives Twins a Glimmer of Hope in the Ninth

    Given all that had happened today, a five run lead in the ninth did not seem insurmountable for the Twins. After all, they already had two six run innings, so why not a third and the way the inning started it appeared as though that was possible. Brent Rooker leadoff the inning with a hard fought walk and was immediately followed by a home run off the bat of Jorge Polanco, the Twins seventh of the ballgame.

     

     

    That comeback effort would not come to fruition, as Miguel Sano and Trevor Larnach would both strike out and Willians Astudillo would ground out to end what was not only an incredible game, but an incredible series.

    Bullpen Usage Chart

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    What's Next

    The Twins are off on Thursday before traveling to St. Louis to begin a three-game series with the Cardinals. Jose Berrios is scheduled to be on the mound for the Twins, though that is still very much up in the air depending on what happens with the trade deadline fast approaching.

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    As I surmised in the game thread, I'm guessing that he didn't go to the pen for two reasons:

    1. It is a lost season, and he and the FO want to see if their pitchers can get out of jams.

    2. The FO is trying to deal (or willing to deal) the three RPs that were on the bench, and he was instructed not to use them before the game even started.

    I'm guessing it is both of those.

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    8 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

    As I surmised in the game thread, I'm guessing that he didn't go to the pen for two reasons:

    1. It is a lost season, and he and the FO want to see if their pitchers can get out of jams.

    2. The FO is trying to deal (or willing to deal) the three RPs that were on the bench, and he was instructed not to use them before the game even started.

    I'm guessing it is both of those.

    And even with the off day tomorrow, we don't know if Berrios will make a start for the Twins on Friday, and if not, how will that play out (who starts? Bullpen game?) So many factors. 

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    Also wondering what the single season MLB record is for allowing 10+ runs in a game?

    Our collection of misfit (as nice a word I can use) pitchers have not allowed 10+ runs in 10 games as of today.

    Also wondering when was the last time a team scored 10+ runs in a game and still lost?

    Today was the 2nd time for this.  The other was our infamous 13-12 loss to Oakland on April 21st.  

    Looking back, I'm almost grateful for that loss as it ENDED my daily investment of time and energy in watching this team.

    April 21st was also the last SV opportunity that Colome had before replacing Rogers the other night---which ended with the same result.

    Saying that, heads up to the "Charlie Brown's of the world"--ie hopeful young/middle age Twins fans------Lucy NEVER holds the ball in place.  Just saying.

     

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    2 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

    As I surmised in the game thread, I'm guessing that he didn't go to the pen for two reasons:

    1. It is a lost season, and he and the FO want to see if their pitchers can get out of jams.

    2. The FO is trying to deal (or willing to deal) the three RPs that were on the bench, and he was instructed not to use them before the game even started.

    I'm guessing it is both of those.

    You're really reaching to defend Baldelli here.

    I can give you #1 on Burrows, but not Happ and Minaya.  Neither of them are long with the Twins, so there is no need to see what they can do in the situation.

    As far as #2 goes, I can't imagine there is much desire outside the org very deep into the Twins pen.  It's been god awful all season.  

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    As far as I can tell, there have been several instances in which a team has hit seven homers and lost. However, today’s Tigers’ victory over the Twins is the first time EVER that the winning team also did not hit a home run. The Cardinals beat the Cubs in April 1955 12-11 and only hit one dinger, That’s the closest to today’s occurrence.

    That’s what my research shows at least....

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    11 minutes ago, MMMordabito said:

    You're really reaching to defend Baldelli here.

    I can give you #1 on Burrows, but not Happ and Minaya.  Neither of them are long with the Twins, so there is no need to see what they can do in the situation.

    As far as #2 goes, I can't imagine there is much desire outside the org very deep into the Twins pen.  It's been god awful all season.  

    I'm not trying to do anything other than guess.....no defense at all. He doesn't need me for that. 

    I'm guessing Duffey would fetch a decent prospect or two......

    Also, to Seth's point, there are a ton of moving pieces right now (maybe moving, anyway).......we literally have no idea. I'm merely offering an alternative to the "Baldelli is stupid" posts.....

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    16 minutes ago, ashbury said:

    Regarding waiver claims, let me offer a reminder...

    Burros are asses.

    Burrows are holes in the ground.

    Our front office is expected to understand the difference.

    You may steer clear of placing a wager on high expectations regarding this front office, lest ye be sitting on your burro in said burrow...

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    The pitching has been so bad from so many that I have to wonder how much is on Wes and how much is on the front office in building this roster.

    When you veteran starter gives allows 14 base runners in 23 batters getting 9 outs while giving up 9 runs it is hard to put the responsibility for this game anywhere else. I am doubting Wes made any changes to Happ. The front office was horribly wrong believing they could get another year out of Happ. The bullpen options aren’t any better. No manager could navigate the final 6 innings with the bullpen pieces provided by the front office..

    Was simply bad luck that the Twins are getting 10th percentile performance from so many of their acquisitions. That doesn’t seem possible. 

    Has the physics of the game changed with the new ball? Has that impact been greater on the types of pitchers that the Twins analysis favors? Did their analysis lead them to more pitchers who were positively helped by spider tack? They have failed miserably in projecting performance of pitchers and they need to take a hard look at the scouting/analytics that led them to those pitchers.

    A serious internal review needs to happen. 

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    We better not see another start by Happ.  This literally should be giving him his walking papers!  Any AAA starter could could give you better. 
     

    I agree that the front office said do not pitch any potential relief trade candidates. 

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    While everyone was dumping on Rocco (I really can't blame them), I couldn't help but think that Wes needs to face some accountability. The FO signed Happ to be our #4 starter, and it was on Wes and the pitching staff to work on these guys to maximize what they have... and practically every pitcher has regressed. Everyone not named Berrios and Rogers has looked worse to terrible. Plus they have some options in AAA. Heck, demote Alcala for being terrible the last month and get Ian Hamilton up here and have him pitch a bit. Maybe give Moran a cup of coffee, anything! This pitching club is a AAA unit that has forgotten how to fix pitchers. Someone needs to be held responsible for this.

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    1 hour ago, Nashvilletwin said:

    As far as I can tell, there have been several instances in which a team has hit seven homers and lost. However, today’s Tigers’ victory over the Twins is the first time EVER that the winning team also did not hit a home run. The Cardinals beat the Cubs in April 1955 12-11 and only hit one dinger, That’s the closest to today’s occurrence.

    That’s what my research shows at least....

    Baseball-reference.com has only 6 HR for the Cubs in that game:

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN195504160.shtml

    But I don't necessarily trust every box score online. Do you have a different source?

    B-r.com's Stathead tool reveals four games where a team hit 7 HR and lost:

    https://stathead.com/tiny/aQkvz

    In none of those games did the winning team hit 0. I think we have an historic event!

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    2 hours ago, Seth Stohs said:

    And even with the off day tomorrow, we don't know if Berrios will make a start for the Twins on Friday, and if not, how will that play out (who starts? Bullpen game?) So many factors. 

    Imagine - they score 17 against us today - the Detroit TIGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  and then we think we might have a bullpen game coming up if we trade Berrios!  Our BP is so good that ought to keep the opponent under 30.

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    53 minutes ago, Danchat said:

    While everyone was dumping on Rocco (I really can't blame them), I couldn't help but think that Wes needs to face some accountability. The FO signed Happ to be our #4 starter, and it was on Wes and the pitching staff to work on these guys to maximize what they have... and practically every pitcher has regressed. Everyone not named Berrios and Rogers has looked worse to terrible. Plus they have some options in AAA. Heck, demote Alcala for being terrible the last month and get Ian Hamilton up here and have him pitch a bit. Maybe give Moran a cup of coffee, anything! This pitching club is a AAA unit that has forgotten how to fix pitchers. Someone needs to be held responsible for this.

    If this was Happ auditioning for a trade I am afraid we are stuck with him.  Oh my migraine.

     

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    16 hours ago, Danchat said:

    While everyone was dumping on Rocco (I really can't blame them), I couldn't help but think that Wes needs to face some accountability. The FO signed Happ to be our #4 starter, and it was on Wes and the pitching staff to work on these guys to maximize what they have... and practically every pitcher has regressed. Everyone not named Berrios and Rogers has looked worse to terrible. Plus they have some options in AAA. Heck, demote Alcala for being terrible the last month and get Ian Hamilton up here and have him pitch a bit. Maybe give Moran a cup of coffee, anything! This pitching club is a AAA unit that has forgotten how to fix pitchers. Someone needs to be held responsible for this.

    J.A. Happ is a 15 year veteran with over 1800 IPs.  If looking for a reason for his regression, I would be more inclined to believe being 38 years old likely had more influence than his coach.  

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    I keep thinking - we scored 14 runs and lost!  And we lost to the Detroit Tigers who are supposed to be the worst team in the division.  And all we have for a diversion is a question about which good players we will trade or as we get closer will we trade?  My is this season going from bad to worse to unimaginable.  

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