Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account
  • Rockies 3, Twins 2: In a Game that Didn't Matter, Some Things Did


    Steven Trefz

    The Twins looked to survive Sunday's season finale injury-free and with some positive momentum as they awaited news of their Wild Card series opponent on Tuesday. Bailey Ober dominated, the Twins lineup regulars hit the showers early, and Jorge Alcala made his first appearance since May. Here's what went down Sunday afternoon.

    Image courtesy of Kamil Krzaczynski - USA Today

    Twins Video

     

    Box Score:
    Starting Pitcher: Bailey Ober - 6.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K (96 Pitches, 66 Strikes, 69%)
    Home Runs: None

    Win Probability Chart (Via Fangraphs):

    image.png

    The main question coming out of Sunday afternoon's completion of the regular season was "Who will the Twins face at Target Field on Tuesday?" As the Twins and Bailey Ober went about their business, the answer to that question emerged, and the Twins looked sharp throughout most of their final tune-up for the Wild Card series.

    Ober Hopes for a Division Series Opportunity
    As the late-season pitching auditions continued, Bailey Ober made his case for becoming the Game 1 ALDS starter. Ober started the game looking to build on a September of succes, having gone 2-0 with a 2.40 ERA over his three Fall starts. Through the first four innings, Ober struck out five and only surrendered one hit to Nolan Jones. Unfortunately that hit traveled 458 feet.

    Oppo-rific Second Inning
    The Twins carried a 2-1 lead into the fifth inning mainly because their offense got opposite-field happy in the top of the second. Four straight singles to where the defense wasn't by Max Kepler, Ryan Jeffers, Edouard Julien, and Alex Kirilloff plated two runs and gave Twins fans hopes of playoff offensive success. 

    The offense went on snooze control from there, however, and the regulars began getting pinch hit for in the sixth inning.

    Seriously, Who Do We Play on Tuesday?
    Every game on the final Sunday started at 2pm CDT so that no one could unnecessarily tank. The Twins were locked and loaded to play either Houston or Toronto in their opening round, and by the time the sixth inning rolled around it looked fairly obvious that the Canadians would be invading Target Field on Tuesday. The Astros were taking care of the Diamondbacks, and the Rangers were losing to the Mariners. Twins fans were lamenting the Blue Jays' decision to skip Kevin Gausman for today's start implied that Toronto was setting themselves up for a loss today. Jose Berrios at Target Field on Wednesday doesn't sound wonderful either. Conspiracy theorists really took off once the Rays lit Wes Parsons (who definitely isn't Gausman) for seven runs in the second inning. Stay tuned...

    Intriguing Side-Story Part 2
    The other Twins-worthy item of note involved the 2019 Bomba Squad home run record and the 2023 juggernaut Atlanta Braves. The Braves entered the day with 305 long balls, just three shy of the Twins' record 307. Marcell Ozuna took one deep in the third inning, putting them at 306 in their matchup with the Washington Nationals with Ronald Acuna Jr. and Matt Olson having been removed from the game in the fifth inning.

    Back to Coors Field for a Game Still Being Played
    Ober kept dealing through the middle innings. The Twins offense kept sputtering. But the highlight of the game in what might be the final appearance of Twins baseball on TV as we've known it, Justin Morneau and Trevor Plouffe caught Dick Bremer off-guard with a cake and some bourbon in honor of Bremer's 40th season of bringing Twins baseball to the midwest and beyond. The future is uncertain for all parties, but clearly Bremer has made an impact with former players and staff, as well as the Blyleven fill-in's. Bremer teared up, and I forgave him for causing me pain with his premature home run calls all season.

    A bunt single led to Solano chucking the ball to goodness knows where, but the Rockies couldn't cash the run in and it was still 2-1 after six.

    Roster News
    Earlier in the day, the Twins called up Jorge Alcala and sent Dallas Keuchel to the IL after he apparently pitched injured to eat up innings for his squad yesterday. This answers the "Will Dallas be on the Wild Card roster?" question, but we already knew that. The bigger news might have been Gilberto Celestino being designated for assignment as a corresponding move. Celestino went from being a most-improved and unsung hero last season to an afterthought on the roster this season. We wish him well wherever he lands.

    Side-Story Updates
    As the games reached their seventh innings, the results stayed the same. Blue Jay fans were aggressively monitoring SeatGeak for a Tuesday and Wednesday run to Target Field. Houston looks to sit atop the AL West after all thanks to an indifferent Diamondbacks playoff team and a Rangers almost epic full collapse in Seattle. Houston will enjoy the week off as the #2 seed alongside #1 Baltimore. The Twins will host the Blue Jays (at 3:38 CT) and the Rays will host the Rangers on Tuesday.

    The Braves are still sitting at 305 home runs as they head to the eighth inning.

    Things Turn Bitter at Coors
    Alcala got the call for the Twins in the eighth inning, and he got the first two outs without issue. After running up the count 3-1 on pinch-hitting right hander Sean Bouchard, Alcala got away with a cookie to run the count full, and lost a cookie to the left field bleachers on the next pitch to tie the game at two apiece, and add uncertainty to his ability to be called upon when the games really really really matter over the next few weeks. After allowing three home runs in just over five innings of work in May, Alcala needed to show that his long ball issues were behind him. That didn't happen.

    Alcala returned in the ninth inning and well, and got the first two outs again easily before being squeezed early in the count by the home plate umpire into a 3-0 count and an eventual walk where Morneau was quick to claim that all five pitches were actually strikes. Kris Bryant came up with a hero moment, and an attempt to send the 100+ loss Rockies faithful home happy. With Christian Vazquez manning second base, Jones took second base while Vazquez whiffed twice at the tag. Bryant walked. Kudos to Alcala, who took all of that misfortune in his first game back since May and got Ryan McMahon to dribble out to third to end the threat. Hope lingers a bit more in young Alcala than it did an inning ago.

    One Last Dance with Ghost Runners!
    The "runner at second" in extra innings goes away once we reach the postseason, so Sunday afternoon offered one last chance for fans to discuss how much they love or hate this rule that's here to stay in the regular season at least. The 10th inning came and went without a run. In the 11th, the Twins loaded the bases only to have Jordan Luplow strike out. Luplow's punishment was to go to the mound to pitch the bottom half of the inning in a full-surrender scenario. He enticed a pop fly to right to start the inning, but with the ghost runner Brenton Doyle streaking for third, Vazquez (now catching) missed the pitch allowing Doyle to scamper home to end this meaningless ballgame 3-2.

    To add another gloomy cloud to this afternoon, in Atlanta, the lone starter left in the lineup, Ozuna, went deep yet again for number 307, tying the Bomba Squad for the all-time season record for most home runs. It's better than 308, but it still stings.

    What’s Next: Twins RHP Pablo Lopez (11-8, 3.66 ERA in regular season) will lead the Twins into the most anticipated Twins playoff games in recent history. He will most likely face the above-mentioned Blue Jay RHP Gausman
    (12-9, 3.16 ERA in the regular season). The game will take place at 3:38pm CDT on Tuesday, October 3rd. Stay tuned to Twins Daily for the details that matter during the Wild Card Round!

    Postgame Interviews:

    Bullpen Usage Chart:

      WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT
    Maeda 0 62 0 0 0 62
    Funderburk 0 0 28 0 16 44
    Pagán 18 0 9 15 0 42
    Paddack 0 0 0 39 0 39
    Alcala 0 0 0 0 39 39
    Stewart 0 0 25 0 5 30
    Thielbar 18 0 3 9 0 30
    Jax 8 0 0 19 0 27
    Durán 14 0 0 11 0 25
    Varland 0 19 0 0 0 19

    image.png

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    — Become a Twins Daily Caretaker

     Share


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    Featured Comments

    Fun day around the league.

    In Atlanta, the Braves actually had the lead and Washington was down to its last three outs, but they ended up scoring four runs in top of the ninth and pushing the game to the bottom.  Without that, Twins HR record would have stood, maybe forever, who knows?

    Now we are left with the one record that transcends all sports:  0 for 18 in the playoffs.

    When the Twins break that jinx, if they break that jinx, the Baseball Gods certainly owe us something for these decades of misery.  What will we get?

    Worth tuning in.

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    5 hours ago, h2oface said:

    I will always hate not playing to win. It always matters. 
     

    Great game by Ober. At least he played to win. That’s always good practice as you approach the next game in a 0-18 streak. 

    Hear, hear! The fans pay to see the teams put in a reasonably competitive attempt to win each and every game.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    While I understand why some people wouldn't have liked seeing Luplow pitch in a game where the score was tied, I totally understood that call by Rocco. We couldn't afford a 15-16 inning marathon game. Just needed to get the game done and get on the plane back to Minneapolis. 

    Cannot wait for the start of the WC series. Games start at 9.38pm UK time so will be able to watch them. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    You forgot to add Luplow’s pitch count in your box of relief pitcher usage. Let us all hope that he is not needed in the playoffs

    Celestino might get picked up by somebody if they think he can play CF. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Good luck Celestino - he will be like Rooker and catch on someplace - maybe the A's.  I think he is a good player.  Alcala is not someone I trust at this point.  It is hard to be out all year and suddenly appear and be good in the playoffs.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Yes it was a meaningless game yesterday  but it was another winnable game Rocco couldn't  manage to win  ...

    I would personally like to get rid of the Manfred man ghost runner permanently  ...

    And when a manager brings in a position player and not a pitcher he should get the loss and a fine from mlb for tanking ... 

    Well each league has a team with 307 homeruns now , it's a tie but think about it Atlanta did it without  the juiced ball supposedly  ...

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    When will the Twins announce their post season roster?  Will Funderburk AND Paddock both be in the bullpen?  Can we win in 2 games so we can skip Ryan and start Ober in game #1 of the next round?  Will Buxton make the roster over Luplow?  (what a statement that is for Buxton).  Correa will be fine, but the "X" factor for the Twins is Royce Lewis.  To make any noise they need him in the lineup.  

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    13 hours ago, h2oface said:

    I will always hate not playing to win. It always matters. 
     

    Great game by Ober. At least he played to win. That’s always good practice as you approach the next game in a 0-18 streak. 

    I 100% agree with you. I’ve never seen such a concession of a game when tied in all my many years following baseball.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Heck of a game by Ober, and I wish they'd have lined him up to start game 3 (if needed) instead of Ryan. But I hope to see him in round 2! 

    If Rocco would've used any of his playoff arms in the bottom of the 10th Falvey should've fired him before the first pitch of the inning. Why in the world would you take any extra risk at all in that position? That game meant literally nothing. It was a spring training game played in October. The idea of doing everything you can to win every single regular season game in baseball is an awful idea. Especially one you know is literally meaningless.

    Miami sat Arraez, Bell, Soler, and Chisholm yesterday. They threw Weathers, Brazoban, and Hoeing who have ERAs of 6.55, 4.14, and 5.48 yesterday. Weathers made 12 starts all year. At least 2 of those guys aren't going to make their WC roster, and it's quite possible none of them do. I'm glad the people running the Twins were smart enough to not be trying to win a road game in mile high in extra innings on October 1st when they have their first playoff game on October 3rd.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    2 hours ago, Blyleven2011 said:

    And when a manager brings in a position player and not a pitcher he should get the loss and a fine from mlb for tanking ... 

    You really think it was the Twins and not the Rockies who are tanking?

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Ober, a legitimate ML SP threw 6.2 innings. Stewart, part of the post season pen, made an appearance. Funderburk, very likely part of the post season pen, also threw. They ran out a legitimate ML lineup to start the game and kept it pretty much intact for 6 innings. 

    The Twins have a 14 man pitching staff right now, 1 more than they carried throughout the season. Not 15, or 16, or 17 they might have carried with the old September call up rules. And the playoffs begin Tuesday, so they were trying to give as many guys as possible a full 2 days off. That's smart.

    I wanted the Twins to get to 89 wins. Then 88 when they lost a game. But Sunday's game literally meant nothing, and didn't change a single thing in reference to standings or the playoffs. Not a single thing. But they still played the game straight up for 6 plus innings and didn't "give in" until the 11th inning. 

    Bashing the team for not going all out to win the last, totally meaningless, game of the season in extended innings 48 hours before the playoffs is just ridiculous.

    Ober looked great, and has once again, since his respite. I think it's honestly debatable as to who is the Twins's #3 starter.

    I've never planned on Alcala on the post season roster, he's just missed too much time to have confidence in him. But healthy and throwing in the high 90's again gives me hope for him in 2024.

    About as healthy as could hope for. Last decision to be made is probably between Buxton and Luplow. Time to get excited! Go Twins!

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    6 hours ago, DJL44 said:

    You really think it was the Twins and not the Rockies who are tanking?

    It made no difference win or lose for the draft. Colorado was going to be the 3d worst team in baseball, the Twins were going to be the third worst team by record in the playoffs.  Some people just have to go overboard on the negativity

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    11 hours ago, Blyleven2011 said:

    Yes it was a meaningless game yesterday  but it was another winnable game Rocco couldn't  manage to win  ...

    I would personally like to get rid of the Manfred man ghost runner permanently  ...

    And when a manager brings in a position player and not a pitcher he should get the loss and a fine from mlb for tanking ... 

    Well each league has a team with 307 homeruns now , it's a tie but think about it Atlanta did it without  the juiced ball supposedly  ...

    both teams also did it with Eddie Rosario contributing to the HR totals too.

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    11 hours ago, Blyleven2011 said:

    Yes it was a meaningless game yesterday  but it was another winnable game Rocco couldn't  manage to win  ...

    I would personally like to get rid of the Manfred man ghost runner permanently  ...

    And when a manager brings in a position player and not a pitcher he should get the loss and a fine from mlb for tanking ... 

    Well each league has a team with 307 homeruns now , it's a tie but think about it Atlanta did it without  the juiced ball supposedly  ...

    Both teams also did it with an Eddy Rosario contributing to the totals. 

    Varland was available to pitch yesterday.  He should have gotten the call before we tanked the game yesterday.  That was embarrassing.  

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    4 hours ago, old nurse said:

    It made no difference win or lose for the draft. Colorado was going to be the 3d worst team in baseball, the Twins were going to be the third worst team by record in the playoffs.  Some people just have to go overboard on the negativity

    Yeah, but if I paid 80 bucks per seat and took my two sons to the game and bought a bunch of food to boot (spending probably 350 dollars in total), I would surely hope one of the teams doesn't intentionally throw the game. The game is 'supposed' to be for the fans and one would expect a reasonable attempt by both teams to win. Why even play the game if you intend to dump it if the game is close? Just forfeit the game if you are so worried about getting someone injured. I can't get behind this strategy at all. (You don't have to play everyone, but at least make a moderate attempt to win the game.)

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    7 hours ago, Aerodeliria said:

    Yeah, but if I paid 80 bucks per seat and took my two sons to the game and bought a bunch of food to boot (spending probably 350 dollars in total), I would surely hope one of the teams doesn't intentionally throw the game. The game is 'supposed' to be for the fans and one would expect a reasonable attempt by both teams to win. Why even play the game if you intend to dump it if the game is close? Just forfeit the game if you are so worried about getting someone injured. I can't get behind this strategy at all. (You don't have to play everyone, but at least make a moderate attempt to win the game.)

    If If If. How about complaining about something that actually happened.? Sorry, you are coming across as a complainer/ whiner to me. Invent a reason then complain

    Late season baseball, September call ups get chances to play on non contenders.  That really isn’t playing to win. Do people complain about them playing? Nope

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    20 hours ago, Greglw3 said:

    I 100% agree with you. I’ve never seen such a concession of a game when tied in all my many years following baseball.

    Context:

    How many games have you watched the day after “a bullpen game”?……then add……. How many with one rest day until the playoffs start? Absolutely no reason to burn up bullpen guys & not have them available Tuesday so we can win a meaningless game in Colorado to get us from 87 to 88 wins.

    Do we think as fans we are more competitive or want another win more, at our core, than Baldelli? Ridiculous! He’s has the job of managing the team & he did what was best for the team going forward…….difficult for him & team to punt. it it was the right move.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    20 hours ago, Greglw3 said:

    I 100% agree with you. I’ve never seen such a concession of a game when tied in all my many years following baseball.

    In the words of John McEnroe ... You can't be serious!

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    10 hours ago, Aerodeliria said:

    Yeah, but if I paid 80 bucks per seat and took my two sons to the game and bought a bunch of food to boot (spending probably 350 dollars in total), I would surely hope one of the teams doesn't intentionally throw the game. The game is 'supposed' to be for the fans and one would expect a reasonable attempt by both teams to win. Why even play the game if you intend to dump it if the game is close? Just forfeit the game if you are so worried about getting someone injured. I can't get behind this strategy at all. (You don't have to play everyone, but at least make a moderate attempt to win the game.)

    If you paid 80 bucks per seat to game 162 of the Rockies season when everyone knew they'd be bad and you were disappointed that you saw bad baseball in game 162 it's on you.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    10 hours ago, Bill Lumbergh said:

    When you are going to concede the game like that, just signal 3 intentional walks.    That removes all risk of injuries.   As someone who attended the game, it was disappointing to witness Baldelli’s 11th inning joke.

    Great point, I mean really, if you are just conceding the game, and want to go home, just signal the walks. At least it is honest, and you are not pretending you are still trying. Just think how horrible it would have been for Luplow to get hurt tossing those 63 mph heaters. Wild pitch? The players could run into each other trying to catch the pop-up. All kinds of things could have happened. Really make it meaningless. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    13 hours ago, old nurse said:

    If If If. How about complaining about something that actually happened.? Sorry, you are coming across as a complainer/ whiner to me. Invent a reason then complain

    Late season baseball, September call ups get chances to play on non contenders.  That really isn’t playing to win. Do people complain about them playing? Nope

    This is comparing apples and oranges. Call-ups in September are trying to win games. Anyway, it's all moot now.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    10 hours ago, chpettit19 said:

    If you paid 80 bucks per seat to game 162 of the Rockies season when everyone knew they'd be bad and you were disappointed that you saw bad baseball in game 162 it's on you.

    There are Twins fans in Colorado, such as Bill on this list. IMHO, this is a disservice to those who go out to the games. I do give Baldelli praise when it is due and criticism when it is due (for example, the way he managed today's game). I'm not just on an endless whine as some would suggest. In any case, it's moot now.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    19 minutes ago, Aerodeliria said:

    There are Twins fans in Colorado, such as Bill on this list. IMHO, this is a disservice to those who go out to the games. I do give Baldelli praise when it is due and criticism when it is due (for example, the way he managed today's game). I'm not just on an endless whine as some would suggest. In any case, it's moot now.

    If Bill expected Rocco to go all out trying to win a meaningless game that's on Bill. Welcome to the world of professional sports, folks. Adjust your expectations now because you're going to be disappointed in every franchise ever if your expectation is that they go all out to win at all times.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    1 hour ago, chpettit19 said:

    If Bill expected Rocco to go all out trying to win a meaningless game that's on Bill. Welcome to the world of professional sports, folks. Adjust your expectations now because you're going to be disappointed in every franchise ever if your expectation is that they go all out to win at all times.

    Yay, for the heartless corporate approach...

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites




    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...