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  • Astros 5, Twins 0, Verlander Dominates Hapless Twins


    Jamie Cameron

    The Astros beat the Twins 5-0 on Tuesday as Justin Verlander was five outs away from a no-hitter. The loss moves the Twins to 18-12 on the season.

    Image courtesy of David Banks, USA Today Sports

    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Ryan 4 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 3 K
    Homeruns: None
    Bottom 3 WPA: Ryan -.209, Urshela -.069, Kepler -.068
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
    449537021_chart(8).png.17db20c4ad51c88f15f4b137c73c7097.png

    Tuesday’s game was billed as one of the best pitching matchups of the season, as Joe Ryan took on Justin Verlander. Entering the contest, the pitchers had remarkably similar statistics on the year, while the Twins and Astros had identical 18-11 records.

    The Astros made Joe Ryan work in the first inning. Despite this, he pitched around a walk of Alex Bregman to manage a scoreless frame. Justin Verlander, despite Gary Sanchez's scalding a line drive to left field, managed a hitless first inning of his own.

    Ryan struggled in the top of the second, surrendering a leadoff hit before walking Kyle Tucker for his second free pass in as many innings. After a fly ball moved Yuli Gurriel to third, a Jeremy Pena groundout gave the Astros a 1-0 lead. Verlander, meanwhile, continued to cruise, retiring the side in order to sit at just 23 pitches after two hitless innings.

    In the fourth inning, Ryan walked Kyle Tucker with one out. Tucker stole second and came around to score on a bloop single from Pena with two outs. Ryan struck out Martin Maldonado to end the fourth inning trailing 2-0. Ryan had poor command and did not look sharp on Tuesday. It’s perhaps a testament to him that he managed to keep the game close, despite walking four and throwing 83 pitches through four innings.

    Verlander sat at just 43 pitches through four hitless innings. The Twins produced poor at-bats against the future Hall-of-Famer, but he also threw 81% strikes. A Jose Altuve bloop single and Joe Ryan’s fifth walk of the game led off the fifth inning for Houston. An Alex Bregman double increased the lead to 3-0 with runners of second and third and none out and ended Ryan’s night, undoubtedly his most disappointing outing of the season.

    Danny Coulombe entered the game and managed to limit the damage to just one more run. The Twins entered the bottom of the fifth inning trailing 4-0. Verlander allowed his first base runner in the fifth inning when Jorge Polanco walked. Gio Urshela promptly grounded into a double play to immediately end any inkling of Twins resistance.

    In the sixth inning, Coulombe exited the game, the latest in a litany of injured players. He was replaced by Jharel Cotton. The Astros tacked on another run, pushing the score to 5-0. Gilberto Celestino took the Twins' second walk of the game in the sixth inning but he was thrown out trying to take second base on an errant pitch from Verlander, who faced the minimum through six innings.

    Jharel Cotton continued to pitch admirably for the Twins as he was asked to eat as many innings as possible to preserve the bullpen through the rest of the series. He pitched scoreless seventh and eight innings. Verlander finally lost his no-hit bid with one out in the eighth inning. Gio Urshela punched an opposite field single to give the Twins just their third base runner of the game. The crowd sounded their appreciation, both for Urshela, and Verlander's masterful performance. Tuesday's game was the second time this season the Twins were at risk of being no-hit by a future Hall of Fame pitcher. Royce Lewis grounded into a double play to erase the runner, and get Verlander through eight one-hit innings, striking out five.

    The Twins managed to get two runners aboard in the bottom of the ninth, advancing a runner to second base for the first time in the game! Jose Miranda flew out to centerfield to complete the shutout for the Astros. the loss dropped the Twins to 18-12 on the season.

    If nothing else, the Astros effortless swatting of the Twins on Tuesday emphasized the easy ride Minnesota has had with their recent schedule. A lineup without Buxton, Arraez, and Correa looked toothless. The Astros provided the first stern test for a severely undermanned Twins team. Verlander was brilliant. The Twins failed comprehensively. 

    Bullpen Usage Chart

      FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT
                 
    Cotton 0 0 0 0 58 58
    Pagán 28 0 28 0 0 56
    Coulombe 0 12 0 0 29 41
    Stashak 0 0 34 0 0 34
    Duran 0 31 0 0 0 31
    Thielbar 0 0 20 0 3 23
    Duffey 11 0 9 0 0 20
    Jax 0 19 0 0 0 19
    Smith 6 0 12 0 0 18

    Next Up
    On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against the Astros. Chris Archer will start for Minnesota while José Urquidy starts for Houston. The first pitch is at 6:40 CT

    Postgame Interviews - Coming Soon

     

     

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    The school was in session - Verlander showed Ryan what a great pitcher does.  In fact, he showed the statheads what is important - it is not Ks - it is outs.  Great game. and the lineup waited for good pitches. They were patient and productive - like the Dodgers this is an important lesson.  For the managers - stolen bases and hit and run still works.

    What a game - thanks Astros.  Like the Dodgers they taught the lesson of quality play. 

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    1 hour ago, mikelink45 said:

    The school was in session - Verlander showed Ryan what a great pitcher does.  In fact, he showed the statheads what is important - it is not Ks - it is outs.  Great game. and the lineup waited for good pitches. They were patient and productive - like the Dodgers this is an important lesson.  For the managers - stolen bases and hit and run still works.

    What a game - thanks Astros.  Like the Dodgers they taught the lesson of quality play. 

    I would add the Yankees here as well. One of the reasons we never beat the Yankees is that we inevitably walk a couple and then give up the big hit. 

    Nine walks. It is a rare day in May if you plan on winning with nine walks.

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    Justin Verlander took advantage of his experience and the Twins inexperience tonight. Ryan had a rough time on the mound and when he doesn't have pinpoint control he is in trouble.

    Tomorrow will be a good chance to see how the Twins react to adversity against a good team. Archer needs to get through five innings or more.

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    Told my son when I seen the Twins lineup, unless Verlander is terrible, I don't see the Twins scoring tonight, and there is a decent chance they don't even get a hit. Besides Polanco (who isn't having a good season yet) and maybe Kepler, just maybe the Twins lineup was essentially a minor league team and a couple of guys that are as of right now terrible. The two former Yanks OPS are .600 and .592.

    The Twins hitters need to get healthy and in a hurry, because with the current lineup against good starting pitchers are going to carve them up.

    With that being said this is just one game where a veteran pitcher showing young hitters this is a very hard game, and fairly veteran lineup showing a young pitcher if you can't throw strikes it is going to be a long night.

    I agree Archer needs to be on the top of his game tonight because if not this series could get real ugly. Bring on the terrible teams again :)

     

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    Verlander was great!  Especially against a team with most of it's star players out.  Twins were only able to field a minor league due to all the injuries.  Not surprised.  He didn't need all of the help he got from the stuff behind home plate calling balls and strikes.  But even with a good umpire back there he would have still done well.  Byron Buxton?  He's missed 11 of the teams first 30 games.  Anyone see a pattern here lol?  It's been going on for 7 years.  The Twins need Byron to play and perform if the Twins are to be competitive.  Someone please find Buxton.  He's missing in action.  AGAIN.

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    1 hour ago, rwilfong86 said:

    The home plate ump was so inconsistent, calls that were balls for Joe Ryan were strikes for Verlander. I will be so happy when they start using a digital strike zone.

    I would agree that the ump gave Verlander some calls Ryan did not get.  However, Ryan was all over the place and Verlander was hitting his spots over and over.  It really shows how a robo ump would even those things out and not let human error guide the game.  A guy with a reputation of throwing strikes should not get benefit of close calls, where a guy known for being all over the place should not get squeezed.  A strike should be a strike no matter who throws the ball, or who is hitting.  

    For years we would hear how a guy would be known for having good control so gets those extra few inches, or how hitters with "good" eyes at the plate would squeeze the zone a little.  I cannot wait until it is done and we have a robo ump.

    That all being said, I do not feel the ump was the difference in the game but you never really know if Ryan gets a few more calls and Verlander a few less we never know how the game shakes out.

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    1 hour ago, Trov said:

    I would agree that the ump gave Verlander some calls Ryan did not get.  However, Ryan was all over the place and Verlander was hitting his spots over and over.  It really shows how a robo ump would even those things out and not let human error guide the game.  A guy with a reputation of throwing strikes should not get benefit of close calls, where a guy known for being all over the place should not get squeezed.  A strike should be a strike no matter who throws the ball, or who is hitting.  

    For years we would hear how a guy would be known for having good control so gets those extra few inches, or how hitters with "good" eyes at the plate would squeeze the zone a little.  I cannot wait until it is done and we have a robo ump.

    That all being said, I do not feel the ump was the difference in the game but you never really know if Ryan gets a few more calls and Verlander a few less we never know how the game shakes out.

    There were times when Ryan was visibly flustered by not getting a call, the difference in one pitch called differently, like in the first inning for example, could be the difference in a pitcher throwing 12 pitchers or 20+. But the Twins swinging so early in counts didn't help either, they need to learn to be more patient and work the count. But it's behind us and hopefully they'll get back on track tonight with a W. 

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    2 hours ago, rwilfong86 said:

    The home plate ump was so inconsistent, calls that were balls for Joe Ryan were strikes for Verlander. I will be so happy when they start using a digital strike zone.

    FSfAK6gVsAA9hQg?format=jpg&name=4096x409

     

    Hard to tell how much was Welke just giving Verlander veteran calls and how much was Ryan not hitting his spots well enough to get the calls.  He did have a pretty bad miss on a strike for Verlander, I think I remember it and it was one where he missed his spot by quite a bit.

    Either way, Verlander took advantage of Welke's generous outside edge, and a strike zone that big will typically lead to a pretty low score.

    Verlander was obviously great, he showed how important good command can be.  I wouldn't say he dominated the Twins lineup though.  He struck out 5, and one of those was on a very bad called third strike to Celestino.  The Twins put 4 balls in play with an expected batting average over .500 against him and only one was a hit.  There were also two other well hit balls with xBAs of .350 and .450.

    The Astros played a much cleaner game and were able to be patient against some lack of control from our pitchers, but the Twins' xBA at the end of the game was .239 and the Astros was .242.  So that's my silver lining from what looked like a pretty pitiful performance on the surface.

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    3 hours ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

    Told my son when I seen the Twins lineup, unless Verlander is terrible, I don't see the Twins scoring tonight, and there is a decent chance they don't even get a hit. Besides Polanco (who isn't having a good season yet) and maybe Kepler, just maybe the Twins lineup was essentially a minor league team and a couple of guys that are as of right now terrible. The two former Yanks OPS are .600 and .592.

    The Twins hitters need to get healthy and in a hurry, because with the current lineup against good starting pitchers are going to carve them up.

    With that being said this is just one game where a veteran pitcher showing young hitters this is a very hard game, and fairly veteran lineup showing a young pitcher if you can't throw strikes it is going to be a long night.

    I agree Archer needs to be on the top of his game tonight because if not this series could get real ugly. Bring on the terrible teams again :)

     

    You nailed it. Scoring enough to have a chance was going to be a tall task for a lineup that's shorted Buxton, Correa, Arraez. And with Sano and Kiriloff's bats and health going in the tank, they're already counting on young, unproven players to find a new stride in the bigs and that just isn't going to happen against Justin Verlander. 

    It's going to be a tough series to scrape out a win. 

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    1 hour ago, 2wins87 said:

    FSfAK6gVsAA9hQg?format=jpg&name=4096x409

     

    Hard to tell how much was Welke just giving Verlander veteran calls and how much was Ryan not hitting his spots well enough to get the calls.  He did have a pretty bad miss on a strike for Verlander, I think I remember it and it was one where he missed his spot by quite a bit.

    Either way, Verlander took advantage of Welke's generous outside edge, and a strike zone that big will typically lead to a pretty low score.

    Verlander was obviously great, he showed how important good command can be.  I wouldn't say he dominated the Twins lineup though.  He struck out 5, and one of those was on a very bad called third strike to Celestino.  The Twins put 4 balls in play with an expected batting average over .500 against him and only one was a hit.  There were also two other well hit balls with xBAs of .350 and .450.

    The Astros played a much cleaner game and were able to be patient against some lack of control from our pitchers, but the Twins' xBA at the end of the game was .239 and the Astros was .242.  So that's my silver lining from what looked like a pretty pitiful performance on the surface.

    I specifically remember 1 & 2, and how annoying both of those were at the moment when they were clear missed calls. 

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    We have a pretty good B squad but nevertheless it is our B squad and you can't win big games with your B squad. It's hard to win games w/o Buxton and Correa and w/ a RHP starting Arraez's bat is much missed. I felt sorry for Ryan trying to keep the ball away from this strong line up. 

    Verlander pitched great yet got a lot of calls that went his way, I've advocated for a long time for robo umps because regular umps are usually bias towards big teams and big players. With Verlander pitching I'd like to see as many LH hitters in the line up as possible, why wasn't Gordon in the line up? It might not have change anything but you knows? He could have gotten a hit early that could've changed the tide. Kiriloff is noticibly struggling with wrist issue, the place to figure it out is AAA not the MLB.

     

     

     

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    Ryan wasn't hitting his spots and the Astros were patient enough at the plate. It was obvious to me (in attendance) the Astros had Ryan's number well enough. Verlander just seemed to know what the batter would struggle against all night.

    In the end, the Twins lost by 5 runs and didn't put a single hit on the board until the 8th inning. A handful of ball/strikes calls had little or nothing to do with the Twins losing.

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    On May 3rd , Ryan wasn't as smooth in his start of just under 5 innings  ,

    but on May 10th  he was way off the mark and got flustered more when a few calls weren't called strikes ..

    Hopefully it is a lesson we'll learned , seems to me that he thinks he should win every game , 

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    I heard on the Pitcherlist podcast that the Twins barreled 13 balls against Verlander and didn't score a run. Baseball is weird sometimes. 

    (Note: I think it was barrels. Might have been hits over 100 MPH. How would I look something like that up?)

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    9 minutes ago, ashbury said:

    Is that not a trait to be desired in our players? :)

    Yes it is and I like it , shouldn't have put it that way  ,,,, his composure got flustered last night with balls and strikes and you can't win many games that way ...

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