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  • Guardians 6, Twins 5: Twins Drop Winnable Opener to Guardians


    Jamie Cameron

    The Twins dropped the opening game of an important series against the Guardians 6-5 on Tuesday. Emilio Pagan blew a late lead, negating a huge home run from Luis Arraez, as Cleveland won in eleven innings.

    Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn - USA Today Sports

    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Ryan 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO (101 pitches, 70 strikes)
    Homeruns: Arraez (4)
    Bottom 3 WPA: Urshela -.273, Pagan -.269, Miranda -.233
    Bottom Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
    1364447330_chart(13).png.48b5996fd64069b9e0b0c4be259b78e9.png

    On Tuesday night, the Twins began their most important series of the season so far. Entering the opening game of athree-gamee series against Cleveland, the Guardians had trimmed Minnesota’s AL Central lead to just one game. Here’s how the Twins lined up behind Joe Ryan.

    In his second start back from the COVID IL, Joe Ryan struggled early. His velocity was down, and his control and command were extremely poor through his first three innings.

    Cleveland took the lead after Ryan surrendered two singles and a double in the top of the first inning. Meanwhile, the Twins struggled mightily early against Aaron Civale. They managed just a Carlos Correa double and an Alex Kirilloff single through three innings, with Civale striking out five.

    A massive Josh Naylor home run deep to right field put the Guardians up 3-0 in the top of the third in a game that seemed to be getting away from the Twins early. In the bottom of the fourth, the offense found life. Max Kepler singled and Gary Sanchez walked, before Kirilloff launched a 106 mph double to score both runners and cut the lead to 3-2.

    Meanwhile, Ryan began to settle in the middle innings. He allowed a walk and a single in the top of the fourth inning, before retiring seven Cleveland hitters in a row, striking out the side in the sixth inning. After a shaky start, Ryan rebounded nicely to keep the Twins in the game, giving them six innings and surpassing 100 pitches in the process.

    In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Cleveland bullpen took over. After a quiet sixth inning, pinch-hitter Trevor Larnach drew a walk with one out in the top of the seventh. Eli Morgan took over in relief for Cleveland. Ryan Jeffers crushed a 102 mph double down the left field line. A batter later, Luis Arraez turned on a fastball inside to hit a 359 foot, three run home run to put the Twins ahead five to three.

    Emilio Pagan took over in the eighth inning. After a Josh Naylor single, Franmil Reyes hit a center cut offering from Pagan 419 feet to tie the game at five. The Twins, it seems, will continue the revolving door of who will get high leverage opportunities behind Jhoan Duran. No one has stepped up with consistency.

    Duran pitched a scoreless ninth inning despite an infield single from Steven Kwan on a groundball Gio Urshela struggled to gain control of. In the bottom of the ninth, Kyle Garlick led off with a pinch-hit, infield single. Nick Gordon pinch ran for him and was thrown out on a close play at second base, bringing him to 3 for 6 in stolen base attempts on the season. Despite a Ryan Jeffers single, the game headed to extra innings after a Luis Arraez groundout.

    Duran got the tenth for the Twins. With a runner on second base, he induced a quick groundout from Jose Ramirez. After intentionally walking Josh Naylor, Duran managed to get Oscar Gonzalez to ground into an inning ending double play to end the inning and give the Twins a chance to walk it off in the bottom of the tenth inning.

    In the bottom of the tenth, Luis Arraez started on second base, with Byron Buxton at the plate. Buxton walked, putting runners at first and second base with no outs. Carlos Correa, Max Kepler, and Gary Sanchez struck out in consecutive at bats, stranding the runner, keeping the game tied at five, and dropping the Twins at 2-10 with RISP in the game.

    The Guardians took the lead in the eleventh. Andres Gimenez floating a 71 mph single to center field off Griffin Jax to retake the lead. Jax worked around further trouble to retire the side, leaving the Twins trailing 6-5, with Emmanuel Clase entering the game to close in the bottom of the eleventh inning. Clase managed the inning with relative ease, despite Jose Miranda missing a walkoff homerun by five feet. Just like that, the Twins are in second place.

    The loss leaves the Twins and Guardians tied at the top of the AL Central. The story was a familiar one for the Twins. They had ample opportunities to score more runs, but struggled to cash runners in scoring position. Ultimately, this game came down to a battle of the bullpens. The Twins aren't going to win too many of those against serious teams.

    Bullpen Usage Chart

      THU FRI SAT SUN TUE TOT
                 
    Jax 0 0 0 16 27 43
    Duffey 0 9 0 25 0 34
    Thornburg 0 33 0 0 0 33
    Thielbar 0 0 0 31 0 31
    Duran 0 0 0 0 27 27
    Cotton 0 0 10 0 11 21
    Pagán 0 0 0 0 17 17
    Smith 0 0 0 0 0 0

    Next Up
    On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against Cleveland. Sonny Gray starts for Minnesota, against Triston McKenzie of the Guardians. First pitch is 6:40 CT.

    Postgame Interviews 

     

     

     

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    Top 3 worst loss of the season. Brutal. 
     

    if you told me we’d get 6 out of Ryan and 2 out of Duran, I would have bet my life we’d have won. 15 k’s, 4 consecutively in the 10th and 11th. Cleveland got a doinker and won the game because someone got a bat on a ball. Outside of arraez, nobody really makes the pitcher WORK on a consistent basis. Separates the good teams from the best teams. 

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    Understating the obvious----this loss------was a gut punch.  Only 1 loss, but it feels like more as our bullpen options tomorrow night seem to be centered on Thielbar and Smith as our main 3 were used tonight.

    As frustrating as Pagan's performance was, I got to question the pitch selection to Reyes in that situation.  If I'm correct, I don't believe Pagan challenged him 1x with a fastball.  Pagan demonstrated he can locate his fastball and bring it with good velocity (95+).  Moreover, Reyes had whiffed in his 3 previous ABs.  3-1 slider-----center cut launched to tie game.

    What makes this loss even worse is the complete FAILURE by our 3-4-5 hitters in the 10th to move Arraez over to 3B.  Not only did Correa & Kepler fail to do that------they couldn't even make contact.  Sanchez's whiff to end the inning was a foregone conclusion.

    Sure would be nice if CLE traded us a couple of THEIR effective bullpen arms.

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    Who is this Kwan guy?

    Ryan, when he challenges and controls the speed of the game, can shine. He will still give up the home run ball, as expected in the early days of a career. But, buy...when he wants to...he can command.

    Pagan. Trying to fool the big guy? Failure. Maybe Duran needed to face the better batters and Pagan face the bottom of the lineup in the 9th.

    Can't move a guy to third, or get him home. I think there was that problem last year, too.

    Rocco given a full bench, uses everyone!

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    9 minutes ago, Vanimal46 said:

    He gave it a ride but wasn’t enough to win it. The middle of the order had a bad night, and it was amplified in extra innings. If Correa or Kepler hits a fly ball to the OF we walk away with the win. 

    Exactly, don't need a HR to win in extra innings with Manfred's stupid rule. 

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    This loss goes directly on Rocco.  If you’re willing to let Duran go two innings, why wouldn’t you make those two innings be the 8th and the 9th?  If you want to keep his workload down by only letting him pitch one inning, then why trot him out there in the 10th?  Feels like Rocco wanted to have his cake, and eat it too.

    So to sum up, Rocco used his only good bullpen option for two innings (so he won’t be available Wednesday), the Twins never had the lead while said pitcher was in the game, and they ended up losing.  Absolutely brutal.

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    Can someone answer the question:  why won't Baldelli sacrifice the runner over to 3rd in extra innings?  Far wiser folks than myself have asked (and asked, and asked..........) this question and I have never heard/read an answer.  When are we going to accept the fact that a runner on 2nd is not necessarily in scoring position.  Can't score on a fly ball, well placed ground ball, passed ball/wild pitch........any or all of the above.  When you HAVE to have a hit to the outfield to score are you truly in "scoring position"?  Put the pressure on the pitcher/defense and make them work, not just play their shifts at normal depth and make you work.  Hell, we don't even make the defense play for the possible bunt, because they know we won't do it.  I know he has said his analytics say the sacrifice doesn't pan out often enough to use it and all that, but in the 10th?  Tie score?  Handed a runner on 2nd?  What have you got to lose?  

    I know I am spitting into the wind, so to speak, when it comes to Rocco, but if someone has an insight as to why he is so dogged in his approach, maybe I will stop spitting.  

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    Baldelli's post game comments were enlightening about his approach. When asked if the plan was Pagan for the 8th and Duran for the 9th, Baldelli stated that "when we made that decision we were not up." And then he fumbles about "we were down a run, right?" A reporter had to clarify the situation. 

    So he made the decision about his 8th inning pitcher an inning before, when Cleveland was up 3-2. He then refuses to change that decision when Arraez's home run gave them the lead. Then he pitches Duran for 2 innings in a tie game; both of these decisions goes against his earlier word salad blather he gave during the Yankees series when he said he only wants to use Duran when they're leading in a game. 

    You can puff your chest out as much as you want that you're "new-school," "data-driven" and "smarter than everyone else," this is just good old-fashioned stubbornness from Baldelli. Or ignorance. Either way, pretty pathetic. 

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    55 minutes ago, Mark G said:

    Can someone answer the question:  why won't Baldelli sacrifice the runner over to 3rd in extra innings?  Far wiser folks than myself have asked (and asked, and asked..........) this question and I have never heard/read an answer.  When are we going to accept the fact that a runner on 2nd is not necessarily in scoring position.  Can't score on a fly ball, well placed ground ball, passed ball/wild pitch........any or all of the above.  When you HAVE to have a hit to the outfield to score are you truly in "scoring position"?  Put the pressure on the pitcher/defense and make them work, not just play their shifts at normal depth and make you work.  Hell, we don't even make the defense play for the possible bunt, because they know we won't do it.  I know he has said his analytics say the sacrifice doesn't pan out often enough to use it and all that, but in the 10th?  Tie score?  Handed a runner on 2nd?  What have you got to lose?  

    I know I am spitting into the wind, so to speak, when it comes to Rocco, but if someone has an insight as to why he is so dogged in his approach, maybe I will stop spitting.  

    In the case of tonight’s game, I don’t really blame Rocco for not calling for Buxton or Correa to bunt.  Were it Jeffers or Gordon up, then perhaps there’s a case to bunt.

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    1 hour ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

    In the case of tonight’s game, I don’t really blame Rocco for not calling for Buxton or Correa to bunt.  Were it Jeffers or Gordon up, then perhaps there’s a case to bunt.

    Have you EVER seen him do it?  Even the TV guys ask the question at times.  I personally don't know of a time since the rule was put in place to put a guy at 2nd to start the inning.  Not saying it isn't possible I missed one, but I am not nearly the only one wondering why it is rare or never.  Just appears to be one of his analytics things he won't budge from and no one can tell me why.  

    Not that that's your job.  :)  

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    2 hours ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

    In the case of tonight’s game, I don’t really blame Rocco for not calling for Buxton or Correa to bunt.  Were it Jeffers or Gordon up, then perhaps there’s a case to bunt.

    And not to belabor the point or anything, but that covers the 10th.  Why not Urshela bunting him over in the 11th for Gordon and Miranda?  Comes across as pure stubbornness.  

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    Twins strike out 15 times, continue to struggle with clutch hitting. Pagan isn't good and we've all known it for a while now. No way this team has a chance against Bieber tomorrow, and McKenzie has been great as well and he's throwing tonight. Statement series for Cleveland, should be an easy sweep for them. Chicago's right back in it as well. Next week's 5-gamer in Cleveland should be the nail in the coffin for the season.

     

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    It was a good game - back and forth, both teams working hard.  But a game like this really emphasizes the value of Arraez who makes contact and challenges the other team while our guys are whiffing in all these situations where contact moves the runner and gives us a chance.  With a runner on second we do not need a HR, although Miranda made good contact and I have no criticism of that, but Gio, Sanchez, Correa, Kepler all big Ks I do criticize.  

    We all know Pagan is an instant ulcer, but who else do we have after we have used Duran?

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    46 minutes ago, bighat said:

    Twins strike out 15 times, continue to struggle with clutch hitting. Pagan isn't good and we've all known it for a while now. No way this team has a chance against Bieber tomorrow, and McKenzie has been great as well and he's throwing tonight. Statement series for Cleveland, should be an easy sweep for them. Chicago's right back in it as well. Next week's 5-gamer in Cleveland should be the nail in the coffin for the season.

     

    Agreed!! No way they recover from this. They lose first place twins will slide down as Chicago will pass them. Wasted season as twins teased us💩😡🖕🤬👎🤮. If I’d have know this would’ve happened I’d rather see twins of old losing instead. We have double a pitching our bullpen is terrible. Can’t wait to see twins get swept and put us out of misery.

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    7 hours ago, Aggies7 said:

    Top 3 worst loss of the season. Brutal. 
     

    if you told me we’d get 6 out of Ryan and 2 out of Duran, I would have bet my life we’d have won. 15 k’s, 4 consecutively in the 10th and 11th. Cleveland got a doinker and won the game because someone got a bat on a ball. Outside of arraez, nobody really makes the pitcher WORK on a consistent basis. Separates the good teams from the best teams. 

    Wow are you spot on! This screams simplicity and frustration. I glows like a scoreboard when I watch the Twins. I had a post a few days back about the top three worst characteristics of this team that will keep us from winning the division. About how we will be haunted by them. I'm not sure I have the hang of this site yet as few pay attention to me and that is fine. I will begin in A and hopefully get to the biggies as I catch on. 

    But your sentence "Outside of Arraez, nobody really makes the pitcher WORK on a consistent basis.", is so very accurate. Celestino will often work the count and actually get rewards. Buxton leads the pack with inconsistency and somehow the fans think he is a superhero! Most of our hitters are capable of working counts. Few of them do with consistency. This will cost us. IMHO believe that our manager sets the tone with his inflexibility once a game has begun. He is really flexible with his batting orders however!

    Nice simple posting! Kudo's! GO Twins!

    Twins Geezer out!

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    27 minutes ago, MMMordabito said:

    Pagan was used before Duran.

    It was meant as a question about who else can we trust.  We have Duran and a lot of mediocre arms.  And Duran did two innings, but with short starts we need at least two and usually three arms to finish the game. 

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    We can't steal (worst in MLB, only attempted 21 times, lowest in MLB, and only succesful 13 with 8 caught) and our catchers are horrible at throwing anyone out. Jeffers almost threw it into right field tonight, with nothing on it. I am so sick of watching all the other teams run on us over and over and over. The fastest guy on the team won't even try anymore. Don't even try to play small ball. I just hate Alex Pagan coming into the game. We sure did strike out well the last two innings. And now Baldy has used up the best we have in the pen in the first game, and lost. But the players lost this one. They have a job to do and didn't do it. Miranda was feet away from relieving all the pain. Very tough loss.

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    5 hours ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

    In the case of tonight’s game, I don’t really blame Rocco for not calling for Buxton or Correa to bunt.  Were it Jeffers or Gordon up, then perhaps there’s a case to bunt.

    The Buxton that was 0 - 4 with 3 K's can't bunt? He walked so not horrible call not bunting, but in a tie game in the 10th with guys at 1st and 2nd and no outs I telling Correa to bunt.

    If the home team comes up in extra innings and the away team didn't score, it should be an automatic bunt to start the inning.

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    Situational - fundamental baseball is lacking at managerial level.  Applying pressure on the pitcher and defense.  Bunting, moving a guy over to 3rd by sacrificing yourself for the betterment of the Team isn't Twins mantra.  When a manager analyzed the crap out of game via his laptop and then can't adjust on the fly with his gut instincts, you get the result we got last night.  Chicks love the the long ball, Bomba crap but when you can't manufacture many runs or a key run to win a game by not going yard, you lose majority of the games.  

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    This is on Pagán who wasn’t good enough last night and pitched like his peripherals foreshadowed he would pitch. Ultimately Pagán can shake off any pitch and it looks like he shook off the 3-1 pitch.

    Pagán wasn’t good enough in 2020 for the late innings in 2020. He wasn’t good enough in 2021. His ERA looked good this year due to a very high LOB rate. That isn’t a skill. His FIP is 5.56 for this season. I expect he is better than that but not good enough to be part of a playoff bullpen.

    I guess this is on Falvey who traded the teams best reliever and now has to add to the cost of that trade by sending prospects to a team to try to replace the reliever they lost. A left handed reliever that would fit perfectly on this team. Whoever we evaluate this trade we need to add the loss of any prospects sent to try to fix this gaping hole.

    As Chief send… No team truly serious about contending would make this deal.

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