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  • Dodgers 8, Twins 5: Late Home Runs The Difference


    Andrew Mahlke

    The Twins took an early lead thanks to Jorge Polanco and Gary Sanchez, but as it has been so many times with this team, the bullpen relinquished the lead in the late innings on the way to an 8-5 loss.

    Image courtesy of Richard Mackson/USA Today

    Box Score
    SP: Sonny Gray: 4 2/3 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, (80 pitches, 49 strikes (61.3%))
    Home Runs: Jorge Polanco (15), Gary Sanchez (11)
    Bottom 3 WPA: Sonny Gray (-.280), Griffin Jax (-.172), Carlos Correa (-.148)

    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
    QKW6ZwDNRGO3hdgMn5OEegRit7pgPqDAVJN9wVFmuY7bTZRh4XCIOwZANyhtzNCy2100CnnqyU_lzEb-rF3FrmwPRq6sOpJszT9Xzf1Scu5aEzBB8bI3mXXLHFE0rXGD9v4BTTwr3-hqvbLckAFERV8

    Pregame Notes
    Byron Buxton was not in the starting lineup Wednesday night. He has only played one inning in the field in the month of August. Rocco Baldelli revealed that his knee has experienced increased swelling since an awkward landing on a jump in San Diego. The best version of the Twins involves Buxton in centerfield and it’s tough to see them making a playoff run without him out there. He can provide plenty of offensive value but part of what makes him such a special player is the value he provides the team in the outfield.

    Early Deficit
    Like Tuesday night, the Twins allowed the Dodgers to score first on Wednesday when Max Muncy roped a homer off of Sonny Gray and Cody Bellinger drove in Gavin Lux with a sacrifice fly.

    Polanco Stays Hot
    After a tough 0-for-4 night on Tuesday, Jorge Polanco got the scoring started for the Twins in the third inning when he hammered a three-run homer down the right field line to give them a 3-2 lead. Since coming off the injured list on June 28, Polanco is hitting .222/.366/.462 (.828) with eight home runs and 21 RBI

    Gary Breaks The Drought
    Gary Sanchez hit his last home run on July 9th. In the fifth inning on Wednesday, he hammered a fastball from Ryan Pepiot 400 feet to right-center for his 11th homer of the year. Between homers, Gary hit .170/.283/.191 (.474) in 54 plate appearances. Hopefully, this home run is the start of one of those Gary Sanchez hot streaks where he can be one of the most prolific power hitters in the league.

    Sonny Side Down
    Sonny Gray did not have his best stuff, not making it through five innings before being pulled for Caleb Thielbar. Sonny struck out five batters and allowed three earned runs. He held the Dodgers mostly under control the first two times through the order, but the top of the Dodgers order went double, single, pop-out, double off of him the third time through.

    Homer Happy Bullpen
    Chris Taylor hit the go-ahead homer in the bottom of the sixth off of an 0-2 slider from Michael Fulmer. Before that plate appearance, right-handed hitters had not homered off of Fulmer in 111 plate appearances this year. So naturally, the Dodgers were the first team to do so.

    One inning later, Joey Gallo hit a pinch-hit three-run homer for his first homer as a Dodger off of Griffin Jax to give the Dodgers an 8-4 lead.

    Cole Sands did throw a 1-2-3 eighth inning which included strikeouts to Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger so that is a good sign going forward for the rookie.

    All Rise for Arraez
    MLB’s leader in batting average, Luis Arraez, continued the heater he has been on lately. After an uncharacteristic 7-for-42 stretch, Arraez has multiple hits in his last three games, going 9-for-14 in those games, including a 3-for-4 performance on Wednesday. This ties Arraez for second in MLB in three-hit games, his 13th three-hit performance of the season.

    Cold Streak for Kepler
    Since coming off the IL on Saturday, Max Kepler is 0-for-17 and has not reached base safely. He could still be getting acclimated to playing with a broken pinky toe, but the Twins will need Kepler to start hitting, at the very least, at a league-average clip for him to be a solid contributor to the team.

    What’s Next?
    The Twins have an off-day Thursday, followed by a three-game set just 30 miles Southeast against the Los Angeles Angels. On Friday, they play at 8:38 PM CST and Tyler Mahle will make his second start as a Twin against southpaw Patrick Sandoval.

    Postgame Interviews

     

     

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

     

      SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT
                 
    Sands 0 51 0 0 21 72
    Pagan 0 19 0 32 0 51
    Megill 12 0 0 35 0 47
    Jax 11 0 0 0 21 32
    Fulmer 13 0 0 0 17 30
    Thielbar 0 21 0 0 3 24
    López 17 0 0 0 0 17
    Duran 7 0 0 0 0 7
     

     

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    Can someone please tell me why Kepler, 0 for his return, is hitting clean up?  Get him back in the game and let him work himself back into a groove, but clean up??  That makes as much sense as batting Arraez 7th or 8th.  

    As much as I love the fire he showed the other day, I still just don't get his thinking.  :(  

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    17 minutes ago, Mark G said:

    Can someone please tell me why Kepler, 0 for his return, is hitting clean up?  Get him back in the game and let him work himself back into a groove, but clean up??  That makes as much sense as batting Arraez 7th or 8th.  

    As much as I love the fire he showed the other day, I still just don't get his thinking.  :(  

    It is the same managing philosophy that would use a .125 hitter for the DH.

    Well, I guess days of "Sure, but can't you just enjoy that we are in first place" are over for a spell, as reality is unavoidable now.

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    16 minutes ago, h2oface said:

    It is the same managing philosophy that would use a .125 hitter for the DH.

    Well, I guess days of "Sure, but can't you just enjoy that we are in first place" are over for a spell, as reality is unavoidable now.

    That is another head scratcher.  Beckham is the best option against the best team in baseball?  

    Let me see if I have the bench right:  Urshela, Celestino, Buxton, and Leon.  Assuming Buck is unavailable (again) (sigh), why Timmy?  Unless Urshela is hurt, he must be thinking "was it something I said"?  Hell, even Leon takes a walk now and then.  I am really rooting for Beckham and Cave; they have put in a long stint in AAA trying to get back and they finally are.  I would like to see them do well, but playing both against the Dodgers is just asking too much.  Someday I hope to understand all of this, but it won't be today.  

     

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    "Rocco Baldelli revealed that his (Buxton's) knee has experienced increased swelling since an awkward landing on a jump in San Diego."

    SD series ended July 31st. By my math, 10 days prior to yesterday's game. So why not a 10-day DL trip for Buck? Ill-founded hope its day-to-day? One among many head scratchers. 

     

     

     

     

     

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    We had our best pitcher and a well-rested bullpen and the lead in this game against a Dodger fill-in starter and still lost by 3 runs.    Disappointing series to say the least.    The way Kepler is swinging he can't be batting clean-up.    Let's see if we can do anything against the Angels.      

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    Besides the 3 errors, some head scratching moves, Jax big HR given up and Gray not pitching his best game we were leading when he left. Was great to see especially Polanco then Sanchez raising to the occasion, hopefully they've started their 2nd half push that'll help carry the Twin to the PS. The game could have been ours. Not a bad game against LAD, let us continue & sweep LAA & KC. Go Twins.

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    Observations from last night’s game:

    1. Correa will not opt out unless he takes something along a 5 yr $100MM deal.  Nobody is paying him $30MM+ on any sort of a mid-long term deal.  Up four times last night with at least one runner on (three times with no outs!) and couldn’t even move the runner over except once with a weak grounder off Kimbrel’s foot. It was pathetic.

    2. First it was the pitching staff, particularly the bullpen, where we didn’t have the horses. Now it’s the position players. The lineup card is brutal to look at each night now and yet we sit bona fide big leaguers (Arraez and Urshela on back to back nights).

    3. We want to beat the big market teams? We have to play excellent, flawless FUNDAMENTAL baseball.  That means no errors, dumb base running mistakes, grooving 0-2 pitches, throwing to the wrong base, managerial missteps (almost nightly), etc.  This is how we’ve won in the past under TK. Sorry, touching the third rail here, but good fundamentals starts at the top. We have NEVER played good fundamental baseball under Rocco.  

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    am i high (possible) or did fulmer get tagged for four hits in a row when he last pitched for detroit against the twins...? are we surprised by him getting hit on now and the game before...or before that...

    as i said yesterday, i think, we should just be happy to be twins fans and love baseball and know they're going to be exactly who they are.

    and after sonny got tagged for a double and the run lead was reduced to one run, why wasn't he taken out then? why one more batter?

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    Awkward landing on a jump. smh
     

    It’s a hopeless situation with Buxton. He’s clearly incapable of playing a season in the field. So, you get him as a full-time DH…or you get him for a half a season (probably both) Either way he’s a nice to have not a great to have.

    In May I thought this an incredibly deep team. But it’s becoming comical. Just too many guys out.

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    I'm sorry, was someone really expecting a different outcome for this series? We picked up a solid starter and a closer at the trade deadline. The starter can only pitch once every five games. And, why bring a closer in when we are not in the lead? In a previous article that spoke to the Twins having too many starting pitchers, I commented that we have middle relievers we are calling starters. Buckle up Twins fans, this is what happens when you play real teams with genuine winning records. We will not compete, and we will get beat.

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    2 hours ago, Game7-91 said:

    "Rocco Baldelli revealed that his (Buxton's) knee has experienced increased swelling since an awkward landing on a jump in San Diego."

    SD series ended July 31st. By my math, 10 days prior to yesterday's game. So why not a 10-day DL trip for Buck? Ill-founded hope its day-to-day? One among many head scratchers. 

     

     

     

     

     

    Agreed, but who do you call up to take his place? The best hitters at AAA are Helman and Palacios and neither is burning up the league. Contreras didn't do much with the Twins and he can't come back until 8/16 since he was sent down on 8/6. Beckham and Cave were the best two hitters  in AAA and they aren't much in the Bigs. It may be that Buxton as a DH twice a week is the best alternative. 

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    Absolutely nothing positive to feel about chances of making playoffs at this point.  

    Starting pitching is--at best---average.

    RPs--are running on fumes.

    Hitters---When only 2 hitters (Arraez and Miranda) are producing, you're not going to produce runs.

    As much as I continue to question the decisions of Baldelli-------the horses needed to win this division--are either hurt (Buxton, Larnach, Lewis, Jeffers) or ineffective/ not producing (Gray, Jax, CORREA, Kepler).

    I can hear the voice/pipes of the immortal Dean Vernon Wormer--------"It's Over"

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    21 minutes ago, MGM4706 said:

    Why is Beckham on a major league roster? Totally overmatched at the plate. Twins cannot afford an automatic out inat the plate. Bring up a kid  Get them some bats. Beckham is wasting space!

    Agreed, but who? The AAA cupboard is bare. Best hitters are Helman and Palacious. Maybe Contreras comes back when he is eligible on 8/16? I'm with you but I just don't see any options. 

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    34 minutes ago, jkcarew said:

    Awkward landing on a jump. smh
     

    It’s a hopeless situation with Buxton. He’s clearly incapable of playing a season in the field. So, you get him as a full-time DH…or you get him for a half a season (probably both) Either way he’s a nice to have not a great to have.

    In May I thought this an incredibly deep team. But it’s becoming comical. Just too many guys out.

    For a while now I have been seeing them say he is experiencing "chronic" tendinitis in his knee.  Now, I am not a doctor, but I know a couple, and the term "chronic" means it isn't going away anytime soon, if ever.  It is time to accept what we see is what we get.  I don't know if Buck himself is resisting going to DH on more of a full time basis and leaving the field to others (with the exception of late game replacements due to pinch hitting/running, etc.), or is it management that wants to see how much longer he can keep playing?  Either way, what they are doing now isn't working.  

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    27 minutes ago, Kipp35 said:

    I'm sorry, was someone really expecting a different outcome for this series? We picked up a solid starter and a closer at the trade deadline. The starter can only pitch once every five games. And, why bring a closer in when we are not in the lead? In a previous article that spoke to the Twins having too many starting pitchers, I commented that we have middle relievers we are calling starters. Buckle up Twins fans, this is what happens when you play real teams with genuine winning records. We will not compete, and we will get beat.

    Didn’t expect any different but you’d figure you’d have your best shot with Ryan and Gray pitching, but of course they’re not particularly great either.

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    Put Buxton on the IL until his knee feels better. Playing him hurt all year is futile and demoralizing. Get it fixed, see ya next year. Also put Kepler back on the IL, then rehab in St Paul for at least ten games, or until he stops whiffing and hitting weak grounders. Kepler looks unhappy to be playing in pain. Play a healthy outfield. Cave, Gordon, Celestino. Bring up Contreras again. He looks pretty good.

    Meanwhile, time to tinker some more with the pitching staff. I'd move Archer to the pen, DFA Pagan, then bring up whoever's next in line from the minors. 

    2022 isn't going to be the big year. The Dodgers have been kind enough to show us that. Twins need to have all their stars healthy and playing well to win a playoff series, much less a Super Bowl. Maybe all the guys coming off the 60 day IL will be great..!

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