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  • Blue Jays 9, Twins 3: Blue Jays Crush Twins


    Theo Tollefson

    Target Field was filled with visitors from the Northland, country music fans and some who identify as both Thursday night as the Twins opened a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays entered the series three games better than the Twins and tacked on six runs in the eighth to expand that lead by one.

    Image courtesy of Brad Rempel, USA Today Sports

    Box Score
    SP: Sonny Gray 5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 5 BB, 5 K (78 pitches, 56 strikes (71.7 strike %))
    Home Runs: Jake Cave (1)
    Bottom 3 WPA: Emilio Pagan -.422, Jake Cave -.157, Luis Arraez -.098

    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

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    The first inning of the game was all pitching for both sides. Sonny Gray, making his third start of the second half, only allowed one walk and retired Teoscar Hernandez on a 5-3 groundout that had its ruling overturned as a single. All-star Alek Manoah was on the mound for the Jays and retired the minimum with the Twins lineup getting Luis Arraez and Carlos Correa on flyouts and striking out Byron Buxton

    The people who came to Target Field Thursday night for a concert would be in for a treat of a pitcher's duel. Manoah’s streak of dominance would last through the next two innings as he continued to retire the minimum in the second and third against the Twins. Gray would only allow a walk to Matt Chapman in those same innings. 

    The perfect game bid remained for Manoah into the fourth but with one out, Correa hit a line drive single back to the mound. The deflection off Manoah’s glove hit him so quickly that he couldn’t recover the ball in time as Correa reached first base. 

    After getting Buxton out on a groundout, Manoah walked Jorge Polanco and Nick Gordon to get the bases loaded for Jose Miranda. Miranda worked a 2-2 count in his favor and received the nasty end of a Manoah fast ball that drilled him in his left arm. Miranda remained in the game following the hit by pitch which also scored Correa to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.

     

    The Twins didn’t capitalize to score more runs with the bases loaded and walked back to the dugout with the first lead of the game. 

    Gray held down the lead for the Twins in the top of the fifth even as he got into a jam with two outs. Gray walked the leadoff man Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and a two out single to Cavan Biggio

    This brought George Springer up to the plate with runners on first and second. Gray and Springer dueled to get a full count with Springer winning the battle to get the bases loaded for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Gray worked Guerrero Jr. to a 2-2 count and eventually got him out on a ground out to Correa at short to keep the Twins in front 1-0. 

    The Twins got a runner on in the bottom of the fifth with a Gary Sanchez one out walk but Arraez and Correa came up short trying to get him home to add to their lead. 

    Gray was done for the evening following the fifth as he had thrown 96 pitches with only 50 hitting the strike zone. This brought in Emilio Pagan for the sixth. With one out in the inning, Pagan gave up a home run to Teoscar Hernandez that landed in the second deck of left field to tie the game 1-1. 

    Bo Bichette followed with a double to put the lead run into scoring position for Guerriel Jr. He was able to get Bichette in on an RBI single putting the Jays up 2-1. The Twins looked to be out of the jam as Whit Merrifield hit a ball to Miranda. Miranda’s throw to first was scooped by Arraez but fell out of his glove, scoring another run to make it 3-1 Blue Jays. 

    Pagan eventually got out of the jam but the damage was done as the Blue Jays now led 3-1 over the Twins going into the bottom of the sixth. 

    Buxton led the inning off with a strikeout but Polanco drew a walk to follow and Gordon advanced both himself and Polanco with a double to right-center field to give the Twins with two runners in scoring position for Miranda.

    Miranda, looking to shake off the pain inflicted from a Manoah pitch earlier in the game, hit two foul balls off Manoah. The second went right into the hands of Dick Bremer as Miranda fouled it into the Twins broadcast booth. Following that, Miranda got an RBI fielder's choice to get the Twins back within a run. 

    The Twins were down 3-2 going into the seventh with Trevor Megill on the mound. Megill pitched well in the seventh as he only allowed one base runner on a Guerrero Jr. double. 

    Coming up short once again in the seventh, the Blue Jays took advantage of a cold Twins lineup for their turn in the eighth. The Jays added six more runs on six hits and a walk, including a three-run home run from Guerrero Jr. to give Toronto a 9-2 lead.

    After a bumbling eighth, Duffey remained on the mound for the Twins ninth already having thrown 25 pitches. Duffey avoided any further runs being surrendered to the Jays. The Twins did not go down quietly in the ninth as Jake Cave hit his first home run since returning to the Twins clubhouse earlier in the week. 

    Cave’s home run would not be enough to start a rally as the Jays would shut down the Twins after Cave’s home run. 

    What’s Next? 
    The Twins will play their second of four games against the Blue Jays Friday night with Tyler Mahle expected to make his debut with the team following his trade. Former Twin Jose Berrios is scheduled to make the start for the Blue Jays. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. CT

    Postgame Interview 

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

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    I believe that's the 9th consecutive game in which the Twins starter did not see the 6th inning. I realize baseball has changed, but I think management needs to reassess their plan in the future.

    Also...Duffey has nothing. Why do they expect things to change. It's been chuck and duck all season.

    Also, I realize injuries have piled up, but the lineup is pretty weak. Not sure what can be done about that. It'd help if Buxton, Arraez, Correa and Polanco stepped up and carried the offense for a change. 

    I don't think Polanco has driven in a run since the Trump administration. 

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    Sorry folks, the bullpen is not a strength. You can't hide 3 guys on a consistent basis. Yes, I don't agree with bringing Pagan in during the 6th inning in a 1-0 game, you can put that on Rocco. But he also can't use his best arms in every game, so using the likes of Megill and Duffey in this one were unavoidable. The coaching staff has got to figure out how to get some of these arms in the minors working in the majors or we're going to keep seeing the backend of our pen getting wrecked often. 

    Feels like this might be it for Duffey's career as a Twin, or at least it should be. It was a good run, but it's time to move on. Pagan will probably get more chances because he's this year's Colome, but at some point you have to realize that he's been one of the worst relievers in baseball for the past 5-6 months of baseball and move on. You can only wait for the positive regression for so long.

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    Is there ANYONE in the Twins City media that has the cajones to confront Falvey to ask the following question:

    What justifies keeping Pagan and Duffey as members of this bullpen at this point in the season?

    I fully understand this is only 1 game and games like this happen.  

    Saying that, if your stated goal is to win the AL Central----------then why are Pagan AND Duffey still getting opportunities when better (Moran) and more deserving candidates (Smith, Cotton and Evan Sisk) have been released , demoted or failed to be called up?

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    I bet the new guys are real pumped about getting traded, now!

    Correa needs to start earning at least 10 mil of his 35. All that time he spent asking for help and he is not focused and needs to look in the mirror and make it happen himself.

    3 hits. This team needs to WAKE UP!

    Yes. I saw the pitching. Well documented.

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    This loss falls squarely on the shoulders of management. 

    Falvine and Rocco are so committed to a bullpen game with a team that doesn't have a great bullpen.  5 innings and one hit and you pull the starter? I'm what frigging world does that make sense!? Over a century of baseball and these guys are going to change the game.  Ridiculous.  

     

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    Buxton's defense, when he is in the outfield makes a huge difference but has any one noticed he is heading for the Mendoza line?

    You can rant about pitching but the twins would have lost whether or not Duffey pitched, dumping on Duffey is silly as the only two runs the Twins got was not from any thing that resembled a professional offense.

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    We got some new bullpen arms, so it was pretty sad to turn the game on in time to see Sonny exit in the 6th and watch runs score against Pagan and Duffey.  I know the offense needs to find some consistency, but wish the management would change up their pitching strategy.

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    7 minutes ago, Kummel said:

    We got some new bullpen arms, so it was pretty sad to turn the game on in time to see Sonny exit in the 6th and watch runs score against Pagan and Duffey.  I know the offense needs to find some consistency, but wish the management would change up their pitching strategy.

    Megill was no better.

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    The blue jays are a much better team than the twins, even though they’ve so far split the 4 games. So essentially the twins, if they do qualify for the postseason, will probably be the worst team in the field. Who are they better than? Seattle? Don’t know about that.

    The pitching gets all the blame but man oh man the offense has been bad for most of this season. The guys who should be carrying the team are not. Maybe we could get another inning out of a marginal starter if we could ever have a lead more than a run or two.

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    1 hour ago, RpR said:

    Buxton's defense, when he is in the outfield makes a huge difference but has any one noticed he is heading for the Mendoza line?

    You can rant about pitching but the twins would have lost whether or not Duffey pitched, dumping on Duffey is silly as the only two runs the Twins got was not from any thing that resembled a professional offense.

    Just becsause there is plenty to dump on right now doesn't mean that Duffey still doesn't earn the massive dump he receives.

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    14 hours ago, RpR said:

    Megill was no better.

    Megill was OK until he was asked to pitch in the 2nd inning of the evening, after 14 pitches and the cool down. Duffey came in with runners on first and second, with one out, and gave up 2 inherited runs and 3 of his own with batting practice pitching. Relief was spelled inducing a double play, which he finally did after giving up 3 consecutive hits and a walk.

    Gray was wild but effective, and had 96 pitches after 5, so this was the night to pull him after 5 and be thankful that Toronto had no runs. Gray left handing the team and pen a 1-0 shutout. Pagan was middle middle, and one crushed with an 0-2 count! Just sad. 20 strikes in 25 pitches. It might help to be a little more deceptive. I keep hearing about hit and miss stuff, but I don't see it happening. Correa and Arraez didn't help with the defense, either.

     

    Even Arraez is badly slumping. .220 in his last 15 games, and .194 in his last 7. (.281 in last 30)

    Correa is .198 in his last 30 games, .207 in his last 15, and .167 in his last 7.

    Buxton is hot comparatively..... .194 in last 30, .241 in the last 15, and .250 in his last 7.

    Polanco is .228 in his last 30, .204 in his last 15, and .174 in the last 7.

     

    I hope Miranda is OK. That HBP to his wrist was LOUD!

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    The Twins scored 3 runs. That's not going to get you a lot of wins, regardless of how much rage we want to direct at the relievers.

    With 4 innings left after Gray was yanked, Baldelli was going to need to go to some middle relievers and hope for the best for an inning or two. After Pagan got the shaft with an error from Correa and what really was an error for Arraez on a missed catch from 3rd, it quickly became 3-1. Can't fault Pagan for Twins fielders not being able to catch and throw. Megill has been solid this year, but by the time he left the game, what did it matter? The Twins were down 4-2 and the Blue Jays had runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out. Is that where people think the Twins should bring in stud relievers? No way.
     

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    27 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

    The Twins scored 3 runs. That's not going to get you a lot of wins, regardless of how much rage we want to direct at the relievers.

    With 4 innings left after Gray was yanked, Baldelli was going to need to go to some middle relievers and hope for the best for an inning or two. After Pagan got the shaft with an error from Correa and what really was an error for Arraez on a missed catch from 3rd, it quickly became 3-1. Can't fault Pagan for Twins fielders not being able to catch and throw. Megill has been solid this year, but by the time he left the game, what did it matter? The Twins were down 4-2 and the Blue Jays had runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out. Is that where people think the Twins should bring in stud relievers? No way.
     

    "The Twins scored 3 runs. That's not going to get you a lot of wins, regardless of how much rage we want to direct at the relievers."

    Precisely.  At the risk of breaking my arm (patting myself on the back), I have been saying since last year we have way too many games with the 3 runs or less stat.  Forget any other team scoring or batting numbers; this is the one that counts the most, by far.  If we score 10 runs one game, and 2 the next, we are averaging 6 runs a game and are probably 1-1.  After tonight we have scored 3 runs or less just over 46% of our games this year.  5 over .500 is probably all we can expect with that level of consistency (inconsistency?).  We can definitely tell how much Arraez means to us when he goes into a slump.  We have been spoiled by him until now.  I hope he gets going again.  

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    6 hours ago, USAFChief said:

    I believe that's the 9th consecutive game in which the Twins starter did not see the 6th inning. I realize baseball has changed, but I think management needs to reassess their plan in the future.

    Also...Duffey has nothing. Why do they expect things to change. It's been chuck and duck all season.

    Also, I realize injuries have piled up, but the lineup is pretty weak. Not sure what can be done about that. It'd help if Buxton, Arraez, Correa and Polanco stepped up and carried the offense for a change. 

    I don't think Polanco has driven in a run since the Trump administration. 

    Polanco since the All-Star break is 7-36 (.194) while Correa is 7-39 (.179). 

    I think it's safe to say Correa's season stats have certainly fallen short of my expectations. It's August, the division is up for grabs, the team is fading....it's now or never. And we're all sitting here waiting. Somebody, do something. 

    Twins now 5-6 since the All Star Game, with 4 of those wins coming against Detroit. 

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    @Theo Tollefson - thanks for the detailed write-up.  One correction - the "SP" line shows Gray threw 74 pitches.  He threw 96.  Gutsy performance by Gray keeping this Jays lineup off the board for 5 innings.  

    Provus was talking up Pagan when he came into the game saying how strong he was in July based on his K/9 rate.  He did not talk about any other pitching stats. 🤨    Come on, Corey, you can be a Homer and not be so Pollyanna.

    Here are Pagan's regular stats for the last 15 games.

    2 wins, 3 loses.  7.11 ERA.  12.2 IP.  16 hits, 10 ER, 5 BB, 21K and 1.66 WHIP.  Yes the K/9 is terrific but the rest of the stats are BRUTAL!   I'm sure the advanced stats would say the same thing.
     
    Finally I sure hope Miranda is OK.  Losing him for any period of time would be very unfortunate.
     
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    Wow...another stellar performance by Pagan and Duffey. Megill was just as bad last night too. There might be some hope left for him, but not the other two. When will someone in the organization wake up and realize that Pagan and Duffey are just plain bad, and are only to be used in mop up situations. You can't throw Pagan out there with a tight one run lead and expect him to hold it. Pagan and Duffey have run out of chances, it's time to dump them. 

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    The way I look at it is if you are going to use 4 relief pitchers (at minimum) every game, one is bound to be bad almost every night, so if three suck one night, the twins should be good for another game or two before another one blows up.

    Also I cant imagine why teams didn't think of limiting a starter to 5 innings and using 4 relief pitchers to end a game way before the last few years, it seems like a wonderful formula. </s>

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    18 minutes ago, Eris said:

    A W is W, but I found it undesirable that we needed to use our “A” bullpen to secure a series win against one of the worst teams in the league and then we surrender a very winnable game by marching out the “B” bullpen squad against Toronto. 

    This. Excellent post. Not only does it tell how bad this team really is but also how bad the manager is.

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    Rocco talking about Pagan getting low leverage situations after his horrendous showing vs the Guardians was admirable but then you throw him in a 1-0 game in the 6th.  If low leverage means the inning you use him, then Rocco only got that part right.  1-0 lead isn't low leverage and Pagan did his thing by getting nailed when he needed to be the hammer.  Yes offense blows and the top of lineup sure hasn't lead the team when someone of them are suppose to be leaders. Buxton must feel sorry for Sano, because he sure has ben Sano-esque.  On to the next one hoping for different results once again. Can Twins ever win two in a row?

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    Let's face the facts. Getting Mahle, who can pitch only once every 5 games will help but won't be a difference maker. Remember, he is theoretically replacing Winder/Smeltzer/Ober. Mahle has a 5-7 record and an ERA of 4.40 pitching for the Reds. Winder/Smeltzer/Ober combined this year were 9-7 with an ERA of 3.95. I hardly see that as an upgrade. In additon, getting Fulmer, and Lopez will help but they can't pitch every day, and we all know that Rocco has a plan of only using his starters for 5 innings max. Which means he will need at least 4 guys out of the pen every game, which also means guys like Pagan, Megill, and Duffey will still have to pitch in half the games. 

    Meanwhile the offense continues to be hit or miss on any given night. Arraez has done his part but Correa, Polanco, and Buxton had better start carrying this team offensively or the pitching additions won't matter.

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