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  • Game Score: Minnesota 5, Cleveland 2


    Nate Palmer

    Bailey Ober and Michael Pineda shut the door on Cleveland, while Jorge Polanco busted through with a four extra-base hit night. 

    Image courtesy of © Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

    Box Score
    Starter: Bailey Ober 4.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
    Home Runs: Jorge Polanco (27), Byron Buxton (11)
    Top 3 WPA: Polanco (.240), Pineda (.192), Buxton (.096)
     

    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
    chart-14.png.51744588f6046773005e0a5a039b38e4.png

    At this point in the season, it feels like a Bailey Ober start is appointment viewing to get a further glimpse at what the Twins may have in him for next season. Pineda almost stole the headlines as he was activated from the IL to piggy-back Ober. Still, it was truly Polanco who once again stole all the attention away from anyone else on the field Monday night in Cleveland. 

    The Twins got their scoring going early. Buxton was able to get an infield single to lead off the game. Polanco lined his 30th double of the season to advance Buxton to 3rd base. Then one of the more unusual 3-hole hitters for the Twins, Rob Refsnyder, drove both Twins base runners home with an opposite-field single to put the Twins up 2-0 over Cleveland. 

    As the 3rd inning came around, so did Polanco’s spot in the lineup again. In his second at-bat as a righty against the left-handed Logan Allen, Polanco hit his 27th home run of the season. Polanco wasn’t finished for the night either. He would end the night going 4-for-5 with three doubles and a home run.

     

     

    Buxton is Back

    Buxton has looked good and healthy since returning from the injured list from the running and fielding standpoint. His bat has been quiet. Yesterday it began to awaken, and tonight that awakening continued. In addition to his 1st inning single, Buxton also hit his 11th home run of the season which gave the Twins a 4-2 lead in the 5th inning. 

     

    Ober Continues His Growth

    One of the few storylines many fans are watching as the season winds down continues to be an impressive one. Ober continued his excellent stretch of pitching on a night he knew he would be limited and piggy-backed by Michael Pineda. Ober made a mistake with Franmil Reyes' at-bat, and he blasted a hanging slider for a 2-run home run. Besides that run-scoring opportunity, Ober continued to look strong as he challenged Cleveland batters inside, struck out four and walked none. 

     

    Pineda Returns to the Mound

    With plenty of questions surrounding where Pineda will be for the 2022 season, Pineda made his return starting the 5th inning after Ober was finished for the evening. Big Mike put together a respectable line of 3.0 IP, 2 H, 3 Ks, and 1 BB. The results were there, but questions still remain around the stuff and/or command being fully back. That is a question that will need to be answered as the Twins consider whether or not they will make Pineda a contract offer for 2022. 

    It was a fun night in Cleveland for the Twins. They will go back at it tomorrow as John Gant takes the mound against Aaron Civale. 

    Postgame Interview 

     

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

      WED THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT
    Gibaut 24 0 0 47 0 0 71
    Colomé 0 0 0 11 23 9 43
    Minaya 11 0 0 21 0 0 32
    Garza Jr. 0 0 8 23 0 0 31
    Thielbar 0 0 0 0 28 0 28
    Duffey 0 0 0 0 10 8 18
    Alcalá 0 0 0 0 15 0 15
    Coulombe 10 0 0 0 0 0 10

     

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    Another in whats become an excellent season for Polanco.  Great to see his bat continue to produce. Also nice to see Buxton start to come around over the last couple of days.  Frustrating to see Ober pulled after only 4 IP, but that appears to be "the plan" for him the remainder of the season.  Not to end on a "downer," but can anyone verify that Colome's $5.6 million contract for 2022 is a MUTUAL option? I can't believe our FO/Pohlads would approve of that expenditure after his inconsistent to poor season.

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    WQho can go from that mighty bullpen so we can see Moran. And maybe Hamilton? Of course, the Twins want to give work to Pineda and Colome, sicne both will be such fantastical parts of the team going forwards.

     

    Can't wait to see the roster decisions when Thorpe and Smeltzer return!

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    Man it is sad how far the Twins have fallen that actual reportrts find this to be big news

    "Bailey Ober has now allowed 3 or fewer earned runs in 9 consecutive starts."

    When out of those 9 starts, twice were 4 innings starts, and has averaged 5.07 innings in those starts, don't get me wrong I love what he has done, and I totally get the inning and pitch count stuff, but come on.

    Compare what he has done to say Robby Ray in the last 8 games, Never more than 2 earned runs, while never pitching less than 6 innings, once finishing 8, 3 times finishing 7, three 6, and lastly 6.2. It is sad we have this to get excited about.

     

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    9 minutes ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

    Man it is sad how far the Twins have fallen that actual reportrts find this to be big news

    "Bailey Ober has now allowed 3 or fewer earned runs in 9 consecutive starts."

    When out of those 9 starts, twice were 4 innings starts, and has averaged 5.07 innings in those starts, don't get me wrong I love what he has done, and I totally get the inning and pitch count stuff, but come on.

    Compare what he has done to say Robby Ray in the last 8 games, Never more than 2 earned runs, while never pitching less than 6 innings, once finishing 8, 3 times finishing 7, three 6, and lastly 6.2. It is sad we have this to get excited about.

     

    Yeah ... because that's a legit comparison. Ober was still a prospect last year and didn't pitch last year. This is his first experience in the majors and Robbie Ray is a veteran pitcher. Why don't you try comparing what Ray did in his first year in the majors? That might tell a different story.

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    16 minutes ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

    Man it is sad how far the Twins have fallen that actual reportrts find this to be big news

    "Bailey Ober has now allowed 3 or fewer earned runs in 9 consecutive starts."

    Well, to a starving man, an Oreo cookie seems like a big dessert. This is kind of the Twins fan's lot in life. How excited have we gotten over the years ago a string of fairly decent starts by the likes of Albers, Smeltzer, Blackburn, etc.? Ober might turn out to be the same. Or ... maybe (just this once) ... his progress signals something legitimately promising.

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    9 minutes ago, LastOnePicked said:

    Well, to a starving man, an Oreo cookie seems like a big dessert. This is kind of the Twins fan's lot in life. How excited have we gotten over the years ago a string of fairly decent starts by the likes of Albers, Smeltzer, Blackburn, etc.? Ober might turn out to be the same. Or ... maybe (just this once) ... his progress signals something legitimately promising.

    Ober looks like a legitimately talented pitcher, unlike the three you mentioned.

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    17 minutes ago, cHawk said:

    Ober is looking quite a bit better than expected. I’m pleasantly surprised.

    Minor league record of 18-3 with a 2.41 era and a 26-244 W-K ratio. Ober definitely had the pedigree, just not the innings totals. At 6-9 and 260 pounds, he has a pretty intimidating presence on the mound too. I picked him as a sleeper to make the Twins roster this year, not sure if I thought he'd earn a regular spot in the rotation this soon. The Ober-Meister!

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    22 minutes ago, cHawk said:

    Ober looks like a legitimately talented pitcher, unlike the three you mentioned.

    To be fair to Nick Blackburn, he was a legitimately solid pitcher for two consecutive years, averaging 200 IP and a little over 2.5 rWAR a season.

    Ober could easily end up worse than Blackburn when all is said and done. I don’t think he will but it’s certainly possible. 

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    Good to see a Twins win. 15 of 25 remaining games are against AL Central teams and despite the Twins limping along with their "new" starting rotation, these games may tell us where the team stands in relationship to their division foes. Ober looks decent and it may be the correct plan to monitor his pitch count so carefully. He could have easily gone at least another inning seemingly. These games do show who can focus and take solid at bats and this is a way to gage who stays and who goes.

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    In Bailey Ober we are seeing the emergence of an excellent mlb pitcher. Deceptive fastball, good change-up, sharp curves... As he matures and gets better command of his curves and sliders, I think hitters will find it even harder to solve his riddle. 

    Good to see Big Mike out there again, dealing as usual with no respect from his aching joints while he mows down hitters. I hope the Twins bring him back for 2022. He's fun to watch.

    Polanco had another great game at the plate, and now it looks like Buxton is rounding into form...just in time for the season to end. Ghaaaaaa..!

    The last couple things I want to see this season: Jordan Belazovic start a game for the club, and Jose Miranda start a few games at 3rd base, getting his first few hits out of the way. If we all click our heels at the same time...make it so!

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    8 hours ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

    Man it is sad how far the Twins have fallen that actual reportrts find this to be big news

    "Bailey Ober has now allowed 3 or fewer earned runs in 9 consecutive starts."

    When out of those 9 starts, twice were 4 innings starts, and has averaged 5.07 innings in those starts, don't get me wrong I love what he has done, and I totally get the inning and pitch count stuff, but come on.

    Compare what he has done to say Robby Ray in the last 8 games, Never more than 2 earned runs, while never pitching less than 6 innings, once finishing 8, 3 times finishing 7, three 6, and lastly 6.2. It is sad we have this to get excited about.

     

    If you think the write-ups on Ober are a bit too pollyanna, you'll fall off your chair when you read what people are writing about 26 year-old Griffin Jax and his 6.79 ERA and 1.5 WHIP.....

    Actually I think we should be cautiously optimistic about Ober - but I emphasize "cautiously". You know, in that Minnesota way where we might feel a glimmer of hope, but we keep it bottled up and very close to the chest, because hey, we don't want to get too excited don'cha know.

    Let's put it this way: Ober hasn't been a major disappointment unlike just about everyone not named Polanco this season. That's good enough for me right now.

     

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    I bet the FO and Jim Pohlads must laugh at all of us!  Yes it appears that all they sell is hope, and wait until next year!  That's been going on for a long time.  Feed the fans some bottom feeding FA pitchers, an occasional major league player, and leave us thinking all these great prospects are future hall of famers.  I sure hope I'm wrong but I'm anticipating another long rebuild of around 5 years or so.  There is no plan in place or at least some direction as to what is going on. At least that is what it looks like to most fans.  

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    I am like so many fans, I want to see some of the minor league talent the last 25 games.  I have seen enough of Pineda, he does not have to prove anything to me.  Griffin Jax and Gant have shown their arms enough.  I definitely have seen enough of Colome and I do not need any more waiver pickups.  Give us young arms and bats - and yes, I do not care about service time.  What does it really mean.  If good we sign to extensions, if they do not sign we trade them a year before the end of service time.  Just play the best players and move us forward. 

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    Polanco, Arraez and a healthy Buxton should be the core of the Twins lineup next year.  Their current supporting staff is good enough to win the division.  How will the FO deal with the pitching problems of 2021?  That will tell us well before spring training whether to expect the Twins to compete...or not.

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    This game is a good example of my argument for being all in for long relief. With a short season last year and many pitchers not even pitching., coupled with the fact that our starters have difficulty going 5 and our short relievers stunk coming out of spring training.

    Instead of going with the winning combination of relying on long relief. They went with over extending our skaky starters and playing chess with our incompetent short relief.

    Switching Polanco to 2B is the best move the FO did. Hope they don't have a relapse.

     

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    Polanco is having a great second half and season. I'm surprised that he wasn't a player of the week in August or even player of the month. He clearly is the MVP of the Twins this season. Hopefully he can continue going forward. 

    I don't understand pulling Ober so fast. We need to have him go deeper into his starts to really see what we have. 

    It's also great to see Nelson Cruz doing so well at Tampa. Yesterday, he made 2 head first slides in the same inning and continues to bash the ball. So much for his age. Hopefully he can continue to play and reach the milestones ahead of him.

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    1 hour ago, mikelink45 said:

    I am like so many fans, I want to see some of the minor league talent the last 25 games.  I have seen enough of Pineda, he does not have to prove anything to me.  Griffin Jax and Gant have shown their arms enough.  I definitely have seen enough of Colome and I do not need any more waiver pickups.  Give us young arms and bats - and yes, I do not care about service time.  What does it really mean.  If good we sign to extensions, if they do not sign we trade them a year before the end of service time.  Just play the best players and move us forward. 

    But maybe we missed the boat by not getting Brad Hand if we could have gotten him cheap during a down season.

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    16 hours ago, LastOnePicked said:

    Polanco deserves a ton of credit for resilience, persistence and conditioning. His complete turnaround since May gives me a fool's hope that Sano and Kepler can do the same next year.  

    Sano has actually been a solid performer overall this year and has been very good after a horrific start. he was very good in both July & August and wasn't bad in May & June. The trick for Sano next season is going to be how to have an acceptable start to the season, rather than wait 2 months to get going...

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    8 hours ago, Whitey333 said:

    I bet the FO and Jim Pohlads must laugh at all of us!  Yes it appears that all they sell is hope, and wait until next year!  That's been going on for a long time.  Feed the fans some bottom feeding FA pitchers, an occasional major league player, and leave us thinking all these great prospects are future hall of famers.  I sure hope I'm wrong but I'm anticipating another long rebuild of around 5 years or so.  There is no plan in place or at least some direction as to what is going on. At least that is what it looks like to most fans.  

    The literally won the division the last two years before this.....I got no idea how anyone can feel all they sell is hope. 

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    I am hoping Ober can carry this over into next year and he is not another flash of rookie ability only to fall flat later on.  It tends to happen with some pitchers that once video comes out on them and more scouting they get lit up later on.  The fact his velo is up and he is doing better than when he started gives me some hope. 

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