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  • Game Score: Twins 5, Angels 4


    Thiéres Rabelo

    Down by four runs early on, the Twins never gave up and managed to rally back to beat the Angels and even the series, one game a piece. Ryan Jeffers' clutch hit and Nick Gordon's aggressive baserunning sealed the deal late.

    Image courtesy of Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

    Box Score
    Happ: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (62.5% strikes)
    Home Runs: none
    Top 3 WPA: Jeffers .512, Rogers .169, Polanco .104
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
    chart.png.dc754defe7d4ab93b125dc79a6274ce5.png

    Happ struggles early but settles in nicely

    Eight pitches. Eight pitches were all it took for this game to have its first runs on the board. Happ was off to a horrendous start, which is not news. Coming into tonight’s game, 21.3% of all earned runs given up by the southpaw in the season happened during the first inning of games. That became a little worse when Phil Gosselin doubled and then scored on a Jose Iglesias’ single. Then it became a lot worse a few moments later when old friend Kurt Suzuki hit a two-out, two-run bomb to the left field corner, making it 3-0 Angels.

    Facing righty Alex Cobb, the offense loaded the bases during the bottom of the first inning but couldn’t capitalize. They went down in order in the second frame, but not before Happ had given up yet another home run in the top of the inning to Jack Mayfield, extending the Angels’ lead to four. With the four early runs allowed, the Twins’ starter took the lead of Robbie Ray for most earned runs allowed by any left-handed pitcher in the American League.

    Minnesota got one run back in the third inning with Jorge Polanco keeping his hot streak alive and well with a double, and being pushed across by a single from Trevor Larnach. Fortunately, that was also the inning when Happ had started to settle in. After the awful first two innings, he went on to pitch four scoreless frames.

    Before he departed, the Twins manufactured another run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Max Kepler hit a bullet to lead off the inning (110 MPH exit velocity), then Polanco singled to move him to third. With men on the corners, a fantastic defensive play from Mayfield at third prevented the Twins from maybe scoring a couple of runs. Instead, Josh Donaldson grounded into a double-play, but that was enough to score Kepler from third and cut Los Angeles’ lead to 4-2.

    Offense keeps pushing for a rally

    The Twins continued to peck their way into this game. Cobb came back to the mound for the bottom of the sixth, but he left the game with a blister before throwing a single pitch. With Steve Cishek pitching, Miguel Sanó led off the inning with a double, and Nick Gordon singled to right to bring the big man home, putting Minnesota within a run.

    Minnesota kept hitting the ball hard. After Alexander Colomé delivered a scoreless seventh inning, Donaldson hit a single in the bottom of the inning, the Twins’ 11th hit of the night. However, they couldn’t add on, thanks to Mayfield’s impressive defensive display at the hot corner. While the Twins were able to produce baserunners, most of them were stranded by the Angel defense.

    Juan Minaya worked out of a jam in the top of the eighth to keep this a one-run game. Then, with a series of great at-bats, the offense came through in the home half. Sanó worked an eight-pitch at-bat to draw a leadoff walk, prompting a pitching change. Joe Maddon brought in star closer Raisel Iglesias to try to keep the Angels ahead. After he got the first out of the inning, Gordon responded with a single, his second of the night. Then Ryan Jeffers came through with his most clutch hit yet!

    A single to left, just out of the reach of Mayfield, was enough to score Sanó from second. After an errant throw home, Suzuki tried to catch Gordon advancing to third base, but he was way off the mark, allowing the Twins’ rookie to score sliding and give the Twins their first lead of the night, 5-4. Taylor Rogers came in to pitch the ninth inning and, despite giving up a bloop single to David Fletcher, managed to retire the side and secure the Twins win. This was his ninth save of the season, the 50th in his career. He's now even closer to enter the top 10 in career saves in Senators/Twins franchise history, ranking 13th at the moment.

    Postgame Interviews
    Nick Gordon

     

    Ryan Jeffers

     

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

      MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT
    Colomé 0 26 22 0 11 59
    Duffey 16 0 38 0 0 54
    Alcala 23 24 0 0 0 47
    Coulombe 0 5 0 32 0 37
    Rogers 19 0 0 0 18 37
    Thielbar 0 17 16 0 0 33
    Robles 19 7 0 0 0 26
    Minaya 0 0 0 0 20 20
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    17 minutes ago, Thiéres Rabelo said:

    Coming into tonight’s game, 21.3% of all earned runs given up by the southpaw in the season happened during the first inning of games.

    While true, it doesn't mean there has been any inning where he's been actually, you know, good. Second inning has a 4.76 ERA in 17 tries for the season (.844 OPS so if anything he's been lucky), all the other frames are worse. And it's likely that in the second inning, a pitcher faces batters lower in the lineup than any other inning, unless he faces the minimum in the first two innings and gets to pitch to the 7-8-9 batters in the third.

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    Someone may have pointed this out already, but since May 12 the Twins have been between minus-9 and minus-15 games in relation to .500.  No higher, no lower.  That's an amazingly narrow band over ten weeks of play.

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    3 minutes ago, BH67 said:

    Someone may have pointed this out already, but since May 12 the Twins have been between minus-9 and minus-15 games in relation to .500.  No higher, no lower.  That's an amazingly narrow band over ten weeks of play.

    IOW they've been playing roughly .500 ball for a while. Better than they started out - but still, big whoop, from my vantage point.

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    12 minutes ago, terrydactyls said:

    The Angels looked like little leaguers in the video.

    That's the type of game our 2021 Twins can win.

    If the left fielder makes an accurate throw on the first try, and then with Simmons coming to bat, the rally is probably snuffed.

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    Just a couple quick comments besides "we won!"

    1] Happ still has SOME value as a trade chip with his career and some good games this year. He may not bring a lot back, but I would be willing to bet someone would offer of a decent AA player or A+ flier for a veteran LH to make starts and hope for a couple months re-surgance in their drive.

    2] I was always concerned that everyone seemed convinced that Jeffers was going to suddenly be a STUD after such a SSS to end 2020. Which is why I hoped for a cheap veteran LH catching option for depth. But in a lost season, and with inconsistency that I expected, I'm still seeing enough in Jeffers that I think he's going to be OK. And his continued development may allow Garver to spend more time at 1B and DH as well as being the #2 catcher to keep him in the lineup daily.

    3] Gordon FINALLY got to play as a call-up. He showed a spark. Then he struggled. Surprise for a rookie with limited AB! He has also been transitioning to a position he has never played before on the fly. So he sits. And then he has a good game. Etc. I have no idea if Gordon will turn out to be a quality starter at any position or turn out to be a NICE utility player. I strongly lean toward the latter at this point. But in a lost season, again I say, let the kid play! You've protected him for 2yrs because you see potential. Then let him play, here, there, everywhere but let him play in a lost season and see what you might or might not have!

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    35 minutes ago, DocBauer said:

    Just a couple quick comments besides "we won!"

    1] Happ still has SOME value as a trade chip with his career and some good games this year. He may not bring a lot back, but I would be willing to bet someone would offer of a decent AA player or A+ flier for a veteran LH to make starts and hope for a couple months re-surgance in their drive.

    2] I was always concerned that everyone seemed convinced that Jeffers was going to suddenly be a STUD after such a SSS to end 2020. Which is why I hoped for a cheap veteran LH catching option for depth. But in a lost season, and with inconsistency that I expected, I'm still seeing enough in Jeffers that I think he's going to be OK. And his continued development may allow Garver to spend more time at 1B and DH as well as being the #2 catcher to keep him in the lineup daily.

    3] Gordon FINALLY got to play as a call-up. He showed a spark. Then he struggled. Surprise for a rookie with limited AB! He has also been transitioning to a position he has never played before on the fly. So he sits. And then he has a good game. Etc. I have no idea if Gordon will turn out to be a quality starter at any position or turn out to be a NICE utility player. I strongly lean toward the latter at this point. But in a lost season, again I say, let the kid play! You've protected him for 2yrs because you see potential. Then let him play, here, there, everywhere but let him play in a lost season and see what you might or might not have!

    Doc:  Interesting comments with your take on Happ, Jeffers and Gordon. 

    #1 I made this comment on another thread recently and I would compare your comment regarding Happ having "some" value as a trade chip comparable to my assertion that Colome might have some trade value.  You may well be right, but I seriously doubt ANY GM has an interest in giving up even a low A prospect for Happ.  I do hope your right as Happ has ZERO upside for this teams future as all he'd doing is eating innings that could be given to Jax, Barnes or 1 of our acquisitions from Tampa.

    #2 Jeffers:  I've been guilty of jumping on the Jeffers bandwagon mainly due to my frustration with Garver's continued inability to stay healthy and his propensity to whiff (early season) at an alarming rate.  Agree with your point that Jeffers (my words) is a very serviceable Catcher #2 , especially with Garver getting semi regular ABs at 1B next season.

    #3 Gordon:  I realize Gordon's numbers are pedestrian...263 average with little pop (1 HR/ 5RBI) with 22K's and a low OBP (.317). Saying that, I honestly believe with MORE ABs ( only 76 in 29 games) Gordon can turn into the type of utility player that we need in the future.  I did not watch the game on FSN, but the replay of him scoring the go ahead run was an indicator of how his instincts and SPEED can be a game changer.  I realize if Juan Lagares (Angels had ANY accuracy with his weak arm) Gordon should've been out by 15 feet-------but he wasn't!  Gordon's speed and instincts took over and forced Lagares to make a throw that I doubt he expected to have to make.  When was the last time the Twins (without it being Buxton) literally STOLE a run due to their aggresiveness?  I can't remember it.  Can you. Can others?  

    With more players---Pineda, Robles, possibly Simmons---being dealt over the next 8 days------the EVALUATION PERIOD should go full throttle over the last 2 months.

     

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    The home plate umpire made the case for robot umpires. Hey they could do a little dance after called third strikes or say, "Good eye!" when batters drew a walk. It doesn't have to be boring...In any case, whoever was behind the plate today could use a robot or two to help out. (Sano was called out on a pitch that was at least two inches outside--the previous strike was about one inch outside--and Rogers got the called third strike on a pitch that was about four inches above the strike zone.)

    (I got to watch the game and everyone was sad because Ohtani was given the day off. )

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    7 hours ago, DocBauer said:

    Just a couple quick comments besides "we won!"

    Checked the score - holy cow, the Twins came back from a 4-0 deficit by chipping away! We won indeed!

    I agreed with your other points but I wanted to respectfully disagree with your thoughts on Happ. JA Happ is the worst starter in baseball. His record is 5-5 with a 6.14 ERA in 95 innings pitched. The only pitcher who's even in the same conversation is Mike Foltynewicz down in TX, who is 2-10 with a 6.11 ERA in 97 innings pitched. Even all the xStats look bad for Happ. So quite literally, he's either the worst or 2nd worst starter in the entire game of baseball. And he's old. No contender is going to give up even a shred of their future for this guy. He was a real solid MLB pitcher in his day, just doesn't have it anymore. These things happen.

    Jeffers, Gordon, and Larnach coming through along with Sano - gotta love it. Keep playing these guys when they're hot! Hope Gordon is starting again tonight.

     

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    Jeffers and Sano both bumped their averages above the Mendoza line. Gordon got a couple hits and scored the winning run. This is all good news. The most impressive play in the game last night has to be the aggressive base running by Gordon. No one else on the active roster scores there.

    There is a lot to find out about Nick Gordon, but he undoubtedly is an asset running the bases. 

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    Jeffers as with any player will benefit from playing daily.  I have been a big fan of day on, day off catcher rotation Rocco incorporates.  The benefit for Jeffers that last few days has been the playing time.  He has played 6 of the last 7 days hitting .285 during that stretch.  So is he that kind of bat from an avg perspective?  Could be as I like his approach, patient, sees pitches and has some pop.  K rate is higher than anyone would like, some of that I think is he misses the one pitch he is looking for, fouling it off and then battles with 2 strikes.  Got off to a horrible start in April but has battled back from that to move the needle in the right direction.  I'm still on board with his trajectory of being a very serviceable catcher at the bigs level.  

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