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  • Royals 4, Twins 3: Duffey Implodes as Twins Waste Winnable Game


    Jamie Cameron

    The Twins lost to Kansas City, 4-3 on Tuesday night. After a hot start, the offense went quiet in the late innings and a Tyler Duffey implosion allowed the Royals a come-from-behind win.

    Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhorn, USA Today

    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Archer 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO
    Homeruns: None
    Bottom WPA: Duffey -.305, Jeffers -.204, Polanco -.177

    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
    444386637_chart(5).png.c8e525b2854f1f200dd561aae9d0652e.png

    On Tuesday night, the Twins opened up a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals. This is the first series against an AL Central opponent in the young season and offers an opportunity to see Bobby Witt Jr. for the first time.

    With Byron Buxton not yet ready to return to the lineup, much of the pregame banter ahead of the opening game of the series surrounded Luis Arraez and his first career start at first base.

    Shifting to first base allows the Twins a respite from Miguel Sano’s cold bat while navigating Arraez’s defensive struggles at third base. It also marked the highest Nick Gordon has hit in a lineup at the major league level.

    The Twins almost struck early, facing Carlos Hernandez, who came in with an ERA north of 8.00. Jorge Polanco reached on a walk and made second base on a Carlos Correa groundout. Max Kepler then flew out to Whit Merrifield on the edge of the warning track on a ball that seemed destined to be a home run before it hung up in the wind. Kepler’s 107 mph fly ball had an xBA of .720.

    Coming off a strong first start of the season against the Dodgers, Chris Archer struggled to find the zone in the first inning. He threw 10 of his first 22 pitches for strikes, giving up a single to Nicky Lopez and a walk to Salvador Perez, before Hunter Dozier struck out to end the threat after an early mound visit by Wes Johnson.

    The Twins were in business in the third inning. Gary Sanchez led off with a double. Ryan Jeffers immediately followed up with a single, and Tommy Watkins sent Sanchez home. Sanchez was thrown out by Michael Taylor on a close play at the plate. It was a questionable decision to send Sanchez, with no outs and Arraez up, not the first by Watkins this season. The error would prove costly. Despite an Arraez single, two quick outs resulted in a scoreless inning.

    The Twins finally broke through in the fourth. Nick Gordon hit a one-out triple after Max Kepler was given out on a questionable bang-bang play at first base (the Twins had used their challenge). A Gio Urshela scored Gordon, and Gary Sanchez’s second double scored Urshela, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead.

    The Royals cut the lead to 2-1 after a Salvador Perez home run in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Twins finally chased Hernandez in the fifth, when an Arraez double and a Correa single increased the lead to 3-1. When Hernandez left the game, the Twins had eight hits and nine batted balls over 100 mph, despite just three runs to show for it. Baldelli chose to pinch-hit Garlick for Gordon in the fifth to try and add more insurance, but he struck out to end the inning.

    Archer ran into trouble in the fifth. A soft Taylor single was followed up by another from Cam Gallagher. Archer then walked Merrifield to load the bases with one out. Archer then walked Lopez scoring a run to cut the lead to 3-2 and force Archer from the game. Mercifully, Joe Smith continued his ability to escape jams, getting Bobby Witt Jr to ground into an inning-ending double play.

    On the second pitch of the sixth inning, Salvador Perez deposited a Tyler Duffey fastball into the left-field bleachers for his second home run of the day, tying the game at three. Andrew Benintendi was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double. Hunter Dozier gave the Royals a 4-3 lead, crushing another home run. Duffey gave up exit velocities of 104.9 mph, 104 mph, 109.8 mph, and 105.7 mph to the first four hitters he faced, a second brutal appearance this season, again surrendering a Twins lead.

    The Twins threatened at the top of the seventh when a Correa walk and Kepler single put two runners on. Garlick flew out to centerfield to end the inning. Jhon Romero pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh and eighth for the Twins.

    The Twins' bats went quiet in the second half of the game. After recording eight hits in the first five innings the Twins managed one more in the final four. Fans can point to the base-running send error by Watkins or another implosion by Duffey. Either way, they lost another winnable game. Instead of losing to a team making a playoff push, they dropped a game they should have had against a team who should be propping up the AL Central basement at the end of the season.

    Bullpen Usage Chart

      THU FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT
                   
    Winder 28 0 66 0 0 0 94
    Romero 34 0 11 0 0 30 75
    Jax 0 22 0 0 47 0 69
    Duran 0 34 0 0 23 0 57
    Thielbar 18 0 0 17 0 0 35
    Duffey 0 0 0 18 0 15 33
    Pagán 20 11 0 0 0 0 31
    Stashak 0 0 0 17 0 0 17
    Coulombe 14 0 0 0 0 0 14
    Smith 3 0 0 0 6 2 11

    Next Up

    On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their short series against the Royals. Chris Paddack aims to bounce back from a shaky first start against lefty Daniel Lynch. First pitch is at 7:10 CT.

    Postgame Interviews

     

     

     

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    Tyler Colome. Baldelli is proving to be a slow learner. At least Tyler's brothers, Caleb and Cody Colome didn't get in the game. That was oxymoronic relief. I guess 2 pitches is Smith's limit in Baldelli's books, especially after the 6 he threw yesterday (and 3 last Thursday).

    I thought that we would benefit from not having Diaz send the slow runners and hold the fast ones, but Watson is proving to be a similar nightmare. 

    Sanchez has been a nice surprise. So that's something.

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    It was idiotic to use Duffey there. Anybody can see what he is throwing is going to get lit up. I was yelling at the screen as soon as I saw they were warming him up. No bite on his breaking ball anymore. Just lazy 86 mph meatballs he lobs over the plate. He shoulda been taken out after the first bp homerun he gave up to Perez. Just embarrassing. The 2020 version of him is long gone, and he should not be given high leverage innings until he makes some changes. I was also yelling at Watkins before Sanchez even rounded third. What the hell is that guy doing? This wasn't as bad as the Sano send the other day where he was out by 10 feet, but makes absolutely no sense to push your luck in that situation. I had 40 bucks on both those games Duffey lost single handedly so far! Should not bet on teams you care about. I need to stick to prop bets on random Pirate games. 

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    This is a pretty ugly team right now. I was afraid of the pitching staff and our refusal/inability to get starters who can throw 200 innings is going to really expose this pen.

    Arraez at first, Gordon hitting fifth ... I thought our offense had some depth but early injuries are really testing it. I don't think we're this bad (102 loss pace right now, SSS) but we might have less room for error than I thought.

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    As we’ve seen time and time again, relievers are the most fickle position in baseball. Their fall from grace happens in an instant because they are the kings of SSS. Duffey’s been losing FB velocity gradually since his peak in 2019. Showing that he’s entirely hittable without 94 MPH gas. 

    Duffey takes the heat tonight, rightfully so. However, lost in this recap is Archer melting down, only to be saved by Joe Smith getting out his 2nd bases loaded jam in recent days. It sure would be nice to see Joe Smith complete a full inning sometime. Perhaps allowing him to throw double digit pitches in an outing. 

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    I'd like to take silver linings from the offense picking up, but there is too much deja vu from last year.

    Pick a stat, this bullpen is one of the worst in the league so far. I actually buy the fact they have the parts to make a pretty good bullpen this year, but it kind of feels like Rocco might keep leaning on the same guys until it is too late, just like last year.

    The front office definitely believes that relief pitchers are fickle and isn't afraid to cut bait, even with a guy like Rogers who (2020 aside) has actually been consistently good. I don't know if Rocco has the same philosophy, and it seems to manifest in the worst way, putting too little trust in new guys who look good and too much trust in the guys he knows when they don't look good.

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    47 minutes ago, 2wins87 said:

    I'd like to take silver linings from the offense picking up, but there is too much deja vu from last year.

    Pick a stat, this bullpen is one of the worst in the league so far. I actually buy the fact they have the parts to make a pretty good bullpen this year, but it kind of feels like Rocco might keep leaning on the same guys until it is too late, just like last year.

    The front office definitely believes that relief pitchers are fickle and isn't afraid to cut bait, even with a guy like Rogers who (2020 aside) has actually been consistently good. I don't know if Rocco has the same philosophy, and it seems to manifest in the worst way, putting too little trust in new guys who look good and too much trust in the guys he knows when they don't look good.

    I wish that Rocco had put in Pagan instead of Duffey and  kept Gordon in the game.  

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    That's a good wrap of the game Jamie ...

    Now we need to find another 3rd base coach who will send the fast runners and hold the slow runners  ..

    Also relegate duffy to mop up duty  , his stuff sucks 

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    Unforgiveable loss.

    Should have scored way more runs, the Twins ran themselves out of at least 2 runs early in the game, and were also unlucky hitting everything into the wind. Overall this was a team loss - the type of loss that bad teams give away. A good team wins that game 7-4, should have never even been that close.

    Twins have now had both Sano and Sanchez called out at home with less than 2 outs this year. Maybe the 3rd base coach should stop sending our big men home? I don't mind being aggressive, but maybe pick your spots.

    Bad move taking out Gordon for Garlick. I think I saw Gordon on the bench when that move was made and he was looking rather disgusted about that. Guy hits a triple and gets pulled the next inning? It was Amir Garret on the mound, not Randy Johnson.

    Duffey's been below average for a while now. I think the guy's just cooked. I don't blame Rocco for going to him, the only way you find out guys are bad is to play them. Both Duffey and Jax are very hittable and are just bullpen fodder at this point.

    Overall just a terrible loss to open the series, Twins find themselves against the wall already in KC.

     

     

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    Another terrible loss with coaching decisions near the top of the reasons why. Hate to say it, but these decisions matter.  Regardless of how poor we have hit, we’re probably down two games on coaching alone.

    Here’s hoping we turn things around, but the fears of a 2021 redux are starting to kick in again. 

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    Arraez a 1B is a miracle. Sano not in the lineup is a miracle. 9 hits from this lineup is a miracle. Only 5 strikeouts from this team is a miracle. The starting pitcher going 4 and a third is not a surprise. The Coaches making mistakes is not a surprise. The Manager using one of his current best relief pitchers for 2 pitches and one of his worst relief pitchers for an entire blowup inning is not a surprise. Batting Kepler who is one of the worst hitters 4th and putting Urshela who is one of the hottest hitters 6th is not a surprise. Pulling Gordon for Garlick shows the Manager has no feel for the game but strickly makes every move based on analytics. If the Bomba squad doesn't reappear and the Twins end up needing to win based on Rocco's decisions they are doomed.

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    That was a game we should have won - certainly if expect to be a .500 team and possible playoff contender.   Their starting pitcher was not good but their bullpen had no trouble shutting us down.  Wondering if the fact that our lineup and bullpen usage is so scattered has an impact on this team of humans.    Maybe a computer model suggests all these different lineups and bullpen usage should work best but humans like some more certainty to perform better.   One more thing I will say is that we had a full offseason to improve our backup OF positions and bullpen but it looks no different than last year.  2 injured players who were also injured last year by the way and we are left without adequate replacements.   For me - no more Garlick - I would have preferred to keep Gordon in the game - at least he has speed.  I don't get our affinity with slow plodding outfielders.   

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    53 minutes ago, rv78 said:

    If the Bomba squad doesn't reappear and the Twins end up needing to win based on Rocco's decisions they are doomed.

    Yep. Men on base without a homerun to drive them in seems to be a mystery to the current day Twins. Rocco might be a good people person but I don't really like his lineup decisions, bullpen decisions or game management decisions. Its so early in the season but I'm already expecting the Titanic to be downed by an iceberg before it even leaves port.

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    rv78 stole my post!  He covered it all.  Good job.  My only addition is Archer.  We want 6 - 7 innings from starters but Chris just made a case for Rocco's 4.

    Duffey might come back this season, but can't Wes "Guru" Johnson see his stuff in the pen before sending him out?  How many coaches do we have?  What do our bench coaches do besides read the newspaper to Rocco?

    It is time to turn things around, I know it is only 7% of the season, but after last season, we need to see some more hope. How about a winning streak?
    '

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    2 Terrible coaching decisions for sure. Bad base running by Jeffers also. Beginning to look alot like the same Rocco type managed team. Undisciplined, uncertain, and under prepared. Probably need to make some bullpen moves and lets hope they do sooner rather than later or it could get out of hand quick. Don't know if they have what they need down on the farm but it sure doesn't look like they do on the big club.

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    I did not watch the game last night, but how many times will Duffy keep getting higher leverage chances?  Also, why does Rocco hate Gordon so much?  He pinch hit for him early in game to get Garlick into the game against a lefty.  Garlick has shown no reason to trust him this year.  I get lefty lefty can be issues, but Gordon has yet to get a fair shot in actual game action for extended period.  He is always first to be pulled.  I am not saying Gordon is going to be amazing, but Rocco is not willing to even give him a fair shot for some reason. 

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    42 minutes ago, Trov said:

    I did not watch the game last night, but how many times will Duffy keep getting higher leverage chances?  Also, why does Rocco hate Gordon so much?

    Similar to last year, every button Rocco pushes seems to implode. He was a great manager when the Twins were mashing home runs at a record pace (who wouldn't be?), but he seems to lack a feel for the game when things are tight - who's hot, who's not, who needs to be tested, who needs to be rested. Again, I like what I see of him as a person, but I don't find him impressive as a big-league manager.

    Every team is going to win 54 and lose 54. So far, I think the Twins are 0-3 in the remaining 54. And those losses are on the manager. And he doesn't seem to be learning from mistakes.

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    Duffey hasn't been good for years. Somehow he's muddled through, but he's never had the high K/9 he showed in his 2019 breakout. Should never be anywhere near a close game, the Twins would be 6-5 this year if he had been better. Even the outs he recorded last night were loud. 

    As for the hitting, it felt going into the season like the Twins couldn't help but score with two MVP-caliber hitters in Buxton and Correa. But with Buxton out and Correa struggling, that strength is gone. We're relying on Polando, Arraez, and ??? to get hits in the same inning. Kepler and Sano can't be counted on. Sanchez and Urshela have been merely decent. Kirilloff is hurt and Larnach still isn't great. Just struggles all around.

    Except the starting pitching! Who would've guessed?

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    This game is a pretty good example of how thin this team's margin for success really is.  Going scoreless in the 3rd ended up being a pretty big deal.  Getting at least one run plated in that inning likely sends this game into extra innings.  Plating two, as probably should have been the case, would have won it.  

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    11 hours ago, I wish the twins were good said:

    I had 40 bucks on both those games Duffey lost single handedly so far! Should not bet on teams you care about. 

    The rational choice is to bet against your favorite team. It diversifies your risk. If your team wins, you're happy about it. If your team loses, you are happy about winning the bet. 

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