SP: Bailey Ober: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K (76 pitches, 49 strikes (64.5%)
Home Runs: Kyle Garlick (2)
Bottom 3 WPA: Bailey Ober (-0.247), Kyle Farmer (-0.128), Michael A. Taylor (-0.123)
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
Before the game's first pitch, the Twins shared great news after a weekend filled with injuries. That news was that Byron Buxton would, in fact, be able to play Monday night in the series opener against the Giants. As the lineup struggles, it cannot afford to miss Buxton’s bat.
Walks Will Haunt
Over his first five starts, Bailey Ober has been very good at two things. He has limited walks and home runs. Coming into Monday’s game, Ober had allowed two home runs and seven walks to opposing batters, giving him a fantastic 1.78 ERA and making him a valuable part of the Twins starting rotation.
It is those pristine numbers that made the sloppy first inning Monday so strange. Ober handed free passes to the first two batters, which set the table for J.D. Davis to double home the game's first run. In the next at-bat, Michael Conforto took Ober deep for a 3-run home run putting the Giants up 4-0 before an out was recorded.
Haunts to Flaunts
While the first inning was a nightmare, Ober deserves a truckload of credit for settling in and working quickly through the rest of his start. Over the next four innings, Ober only allowed one hit and no walks. The right-hander did great work at saving the bullpen and giving time for the offense to try and chip away at the lead. (More on that later.)
Put Me in Coach…
Edouard Julien was set to get time at second base and hit cleanup for the Twins. Well, he did play second base but never had the opportunity to hit. In the second inning, after the Giants pulled their right-handed opener John Brebbia and turned to left-hander Sean Manaea. Rocco Baldelli made his move. The Twins turned to Donovan Solano over Julien.
While Solano got a base hit to lead off the inning, the Twins could not do anything with it. It is an interesting managing decision not to let a young hitter get any chance against a struggling Manaea, even if he's a left-hander.
The Twins had a plan for pinch hitting against the Giants and stuck to it. Not only was Julien lifted early, but so was Alex Kirilloff in favor of Kyle Garlick. While we will focus mainly on the Twins plan for their own offense, credit to the Giants for their plan. The Giants had a clear blueprint to try and neutralize the Twins bench moves, and that plan was executed masterfully.
There was quite a level of gamesmanship that went into the Giants plan. Dan Hayes offered up on Twitter that Manaea threw a bullpen session pre-game. A pre-game bullpen would cause any team to assume he wouldn’t be the long arm after the opener.
Where’s the Offense?
As has plagued the Twins all season long, the offense disappeared. What is most frustrating on a night like tonight is that they did so against a pair of pitchers that have performed more like replacement pitchers than anything. Manaea and Tristan Beck are the type of pitchers a competitive ball club should feast on, and the Twins did the exact opposite of that.
Garlick did get Beck for a solo home run in the eighth inning in a righty vs. righty matchup. While the home run prevented the shutout, that was all it was good for. Injuries have certainly been an issue for the Twins, but even with the injuries, this lineup is talented enough to have put up crooked numbers against the pitchers they faced Monday.
In the second game of the series the Twins will send Sonny Gray to the mound who is still carrying a 1.64 ERA this far into the season. The Giants will counter with their best starter as Alex Cobb takes the mound who has his own sub two ERA AT 1.94 nine starts into his season.
Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
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