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  • Twins 6, A's 3: Garcia Wins First (Last?) Twins Start


    Seth Stohs

    The Twins acquired lefty Jaime Garcia from the Braves on Monday. That night, the Twins lost their second straight game. They lost the next two in Los Angeles as well. Garcia finally made his Twins debut on Friday night in Oakland. He had some shaky moments, but he showed an ability to get big outs, and ended his night with a quality start. More important to the Twins, he ended their losing streak at four games.

    Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Jason Castro)

    In Jaime Garcia’s first inning, he struck out two in a 1-2-3 innings. In the second, things didn’t go as smoothly. He walked the first two batters, and then he gave up a line drive single to load the bases. That’s when he showed what he is capable of. He started by striking out Ryan Lavarnway. Next, veteran Matt Joyce grounded into a double play to end the inning, end the threat. Same thing in the third inning, Adam Rosales led off with a double. Again, Garcia was up to the challenge. He struck out the next two batters before getting the third out on a pop out.

    The Twins bats showed up in the top of the fourth inning, though some with the help of the A’s defense. Jason Castro had an RBI double. It was followed by a Brian Dozier RBI single to make it 3-0. Castro scored from third on a very wild pitch. With two outs, Miguel Sano grounded toward shortstop. Marcus Semien fielded but airmailed the throw. The first baseman Ryan Healy had to leap and Sano reached the bag safely. Meanwhile, Dozier rounded third and kept going. Healy threw a strike home, but Lavarnway just dropped the ball. Dozier was out easily if the ball was caught. Those extra, bonus runs are always appreciated.

    They are appreciated because Garcia wasn’t able to work out of a mess in the fourth, however, A lead off double was followed by a walk. Garcia did get a strikeout, but then Jason Castro had a bad passed ball, allowing the runners to move up. Lavarnway came up again, and this time he doubled in two runs.

    Castro helped get one of the runs back in the fifth inning when he added another RBI double to give the Twins their sixth run.

    After that, it was Garcia and the Twins bullpen. Garcia gave up a run on three hits in the bottom of the fifth, but he was again able to get a big double play ball to end that inning. But in the sixth frame, he got a fly out followed by two strikeouts. Because he was still at just 90 pitches, he went out to start the seventh inning too. He got the first two outs of the inning, but after a single, Matt Belisle came on and got the final out. Belisle added another scoreless inning in the eighth. His streak of games without allowing an earned run is now at 12 games, and he’s allowed an earned run in just one of his last 17 appearances.

    Brandon Kintzler came on to protect a 6-3 lead in the ninth inning. It took some work. He threw a lot of pitches, but he was able to get out of it without allowing a run to record his 28th save. Jaime Garcia is now 1-0 as an American League pitcher.

    More important, that Twins losing streak stops at four games. It was the Twins 50th win of the year, and it came much, much earlier in the season than it did a year ago.

    https://twitter.com/AaronGleeman/status/891167995313115137

    Win Expectancy (via fangraphs)

    ccs-19-0-03261800-1501307204.png

    Top Five Twins (by Win Expectancy)

    1. Jason Castro - (.194) - 2-4, 2 RBI doubles
    2. Jaime Garcia - (.149) - 6.2 IP, 3 ER.
    3. Ehire Adrianza - (.118) - 2-5
    4. Matt Belisle - (.068) - 1.1 IP, 2 K
    5. Robbie Grossman - (.067) - 1-3, 2 BB

    Obviously when you knock in runs twice when the game is still quite close, you’ve had a big impact on the game and on win expectancy. The Twins 7, 8 and 9 hitters (Granite, Adrianza and Castro) each had two hits in the game. Jaime Garcia got into and fought out of several tough situations.

    Jason Castro discussed with Audra Martin following the game what it meant to contribute with his bat, as well as what he saw from Jaime Garcia.

    https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/891170852334485504

    AL Central

    Cleveland and Kansas City remain hot. The Royals beat the Red Sox at Fenway Park thanks to a three-run homer from Mike Moustakus in the top of the nint to give them a 4-2 lead. It was Kansas City’s ninth straight win. Cleveland won big over the White Sox, their eighth straight win. Detroit fell to Brad Peacock and the Houston Astros.

    Cleveland 56-45 .554 ---

    Kansas City 54-47 .535 2.0

    TWINS 50-51 .495 6.0

    Detroit 45-56 .446 11.0

    Chicago 39-61 .390 15.5

    Bullpen Usage

    Brandon Kintzler needed a lot of pitches to get his 28th save. Matt Belisle was good again and kept his pitch count low. After a day off on Thursday, the bullpen should be pretty well-rested. Here is a look at which relievers may be available on Saturday night.

    ccs-19-0-07026300-1501307153.png

    What’s Next?

    The Twins and A’s will play the second game of a three-game series on Saturday (8:10 central time). It will be Adalberto Mejia against RHP Chris Smith. It is a matchup of two very different pitchers.

    Adalberto Mejia has been a pleasant surprise for the Twins this season. Sure, there were some bumps in the road, but of late, he has been as good as anyone in the Twins rotation. He got to the big leagues as a 22-year-old and it looks like he has a chance to stay in the for a long time.

    When Chris Smith came up on July 8 this year, he became the oldest pitcher in the well-over-a-century old A’s franchise to make a start. He came up to replace injured youngster Jharel Cotton. He pitched in 13 games out of the A’s bullpen in 2016. But just as interesting, those were his first games in the big leagues since he made three appearances for the Brewers in the 2010 season. He played for Milwaukee in 2009 and 12 games with the Red Sox in 2008 when he debuted as a 27-year-old. Now 36, he is 0-1 with a 3.32 ERA.

    The Twins will have to be patient and wait back. Smith was a soft-tosser when he was pitching out of the bullpen, averaging 87-88 mph with his fastball. As a starter, his average velo is down to 85 mph.He also throws a mid-70s breaking ball, and a mid-70s changeup.

    So what do you think? Will Jaime Garcia stick with the Twins? Did he do enough to make you want to keep him around, or make you think he increased his trade value? What were the keys to the Twins win in your opinion?

    Here are some final thoughts from the Manager, Paul Molitor.

    https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/891175439388954624

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    Thanks for the write-up.  Not that MY confidence has anything to do with anything, but I went to sleep before the eighth, feeling quite a bit better about the chances of a win, then I did the other night, when I went to sleep the moment Rogers got Turner to 0-2.

     

    I'm pretty wishy washy about what I want with this team.  I guess my fantasy scenario is to trade off guys who won't be here next year, while the Twins continue to play meaningful baseball.  Whatever the case, I don't want to see these guys quit.  Yeah, it's a longshot, and making the playoffs might not amount to a championship...this year.  Man, that run in 06 was fun though.

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    It's going to be interesting to see what the Twins new FO does prior to 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 31st. Two 40 man roster positions still open, correct? That's gotta mean something, right???

    Neither Cleveland nor Kansas City has lost in ten days. Do not acquire any more players. Sell off what you can.
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    IMO, you only sell off Santana if you get a guy that is near ready and you think can be a young Santana in the very near future.   Same with Dozier.   No need to sell just to make space and no, we are not out of it.    Neither Cleveland nor Kansas City are going to go undefeated the rest of the season.   We have at least 6 games with each and they play each other also.   Just take care of business and keep winning.  

     

    About the game.   I like Rosario and he has certainly been hitting well but with the game scoreless and Rosario on 2nd with no outs Granite got a base hit.  Rosario stopped halfway to third to make sure it got down.   No problem there despite what Smalley said about being aware of the outfielder's positions.   It was no sure thing that it would drop, but then Rosario makes his turn at third and only when he looks up halfway to home and sees that it will be close does he go into full sprint and what should have been a run turns into an out.   I see it often when players try turning singles into doubles as well.   Running hard only after they make the turn and getting thrown out when running hard from the get go would get them in easily.   Drives me nuts.

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    I think the Twins should do a couple small moves similar to the JRM deal and consider keeping Garcia around after 2017. Only one start but seemed better than the alternative. Santiago, Gibson, Colon or Hughes. Unless wowed by a deal for any of the other players teams may be interested in.

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    Sell Santana if you get any kind of reasonable offer, since he's not likely to repeat this performance next year.

    His performance this year is worse than last year.  And now that his BABIP is normalizing a bit, some might be finally seeing that.  He's still being helped by his LOB% (which is also normalizing), and his K% is down while his BB% is up.

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    Flip Garcia ASAP! Don't wait for the deadline. If you wait until the deadline other SP could be dealt that are better than Garcia. If the Twins wait for the deadline they will be making a mistake.

     

    Also, get rid of Eddie Rosario while he is hitting well. He does have a good arm but doesn't hit the cutoff man when he should. Has still not figured out how to draw a walk (18 this year). If Buxton comes back healthy & can hit I would rather see a Buxton, Kepler, & Granite outfield. This could also be a way to bring up Mitch Garver to be a sort of super utility playing many positions. 

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    That is a very light-hitting outfield.

    It's a light hitting outfield with Rosario as well. Maybe they could turn back the clock and become the piranhas again, minus Nick Punto.

     

    Also, what happened to the organizational depth in the outfield? No help at all in AAA and just LaMonte Wade in AA.

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    Flip Garcia ASAP! Don't wait for the deadline. If you wait until the deadline other SP could be dealt that are better than Garcia. If the Twins wait for the deadline they will be making a mistake.

     

    Also, get rid of Eddie Rosario while he is hitting well. He does have a good arm but doesn't hit the cutoff man when he should. Has still not figured out how to draw a walk (18 this year). If Buxton comes back healthy & can hit I would rather see a Buxton, Kepler, & Granite outfield. This could also be a way to bring up Mitch Garver to be a sort of super utility playing many positions.

    Rosario needs to learn from Granite how to skip cutoff men and throw straight to unoccupied bases.

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    It's a light hitting outfield with Rosario as well. Maybe they could turn back the clock and become the piranhas again, minus Nick Punto.

     

    Also, what happened to the organizational depth in the outfield? No help at all in AAA and just LaMonte Wade in AA.

    Man, it fascinates me how much this board overrates Granite. Yeah, he had a good half season in the minors. Maybe that sticks in MLB but his track record is pretty spotty.

     

    On the other hand, do you know who had an .825 OPS in the minors? Eddie Rosario.

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    Man, it fascinates me how much this board overrates Granite. Yeah, he had a good half season in the minors. Maybe that sticks in MLB but his track record is pretty spotty.

    On the other hand, do you know who had an .825 OPS in the minors? Eddie Rosario.

    I think we've figured out a lot about Granite already - he's got good range, a bad arm, good base-stealer, high contact batter with lots of singles, and little to no power. I think he could have some value as a 4th OF and he could play the 2015 Shane Robinson role where he could rotate with other OFers. I just don't see him as a starter though.

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    I think we've figured out a lot about Granite already - he's got good range, a bad arm, good base-stealer, high contact batter with lots of singles, and little to no power. I think he could have some value as a 4th OF and he could play the 2015 Shane Robinson role where he could rotate with other OFers. I just don't see him as a starter though.

    all of this

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    Yep, but ask yourself a question:

    Who do you see as a more significant contributor to the Twins, Granite or Rosario?

    I don't believe that's a difficult question to answer.

    It's not difficult all, but long term I don't think either is a quality MLB starter (even though, offensively, Rosario is doing well this year).  

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    It's not difficult all, but long term I don't think either is a quality MLB starter (even though, offensively, Rosario is doing well this year).  

    My point was that if you want to trade high on Rosario, sure, let's do that. But there shouldn't be a question whether Rosario is more valuable than Granite. He is. He's a better player. He has been since he was drafted. Rosario is a tweener, maybe a starter, maybe a backup. Granite is likely a backup.

     

    And that's what bothers me about the current tone of the board. Too many are acting as if Granite is better than Rosario and not questioning whether he's a starter at all. Rosario is a questionable starter, Granite is a pretty clear backup.*

     

    *obviously, Granite could turn into something special, but so could any player, see Brian Dozier

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    My point was that if you want to trade high on Rosario, sure, let's do that. But there shouldn't be a question whether Rosario is more valuable than Granite. He is. He's a better player. He has been since he was drafted. Rosario is a tweener, maybe a starter, maybe a backup. Granite is likely a backup.

     

    And that's what bothers me about the current tone of the board. Too many are acting as if Granite is not only better than Rosario, but that he's a starter at all. Rosario is a questionable starter, Granite is a pretty clear backup.*

     

    *obviously, Granite could turn into something special, but so could any player, see Brian Dozier

    I agree with all of this.

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