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  • Twins 6, Guardians 7 (15 Innings): Twins Mount Comeback, Still Lose Long Game


    Sherry Cerny

    The Twins have continued to battle themselves and the Guardians for the division. Saturday's second game proved the Twins refuse to go down without a fight. 

    Image courtesy of Ken Blaze, USA Today

    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Josh Winder 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (82 pitches, 54 strikes (65%))
    Home Runs: Nick Gordon (8)
    Top 3 WPA:  Nick Gordon (0.435), Dereck Rodriguez (0.355), Griffin Jax (0.307), Michael Fulmer (0.307)
    Bottom 3 WPA: Matt Wallner (-0.377), Jermaine Palacios (-0.304), Sandy Leon (-0.286) 

    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
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    Josh Winder and Gary Sanchez started out the first inning finding a rhythm to their game. Winder let a run in immediately in the top of the first but managed to stay in control, finding that stride, and retired the next ten batters through the fourth inning. Winder started his third game against Cleveland this season and his second appearance since coming off the IL for shoulder tightness.  

    The Twins let Winder try and work into the fifth, which was good until a slider to Amed Rosario backed up and didn't break. The red-hot Rosario crushed a three-run home run. Baldelli relieved Winder after Jose Ramirez hit a single and replaced him with Jovani Moran to finish the inning. 

    The bullpen managed to keep the Guardians scoreless after their initial five runs. Even when it got exciting in the ninth and the Guardians made a push with players in scoring position. Steven Kwan was on second when Jorge Lopez uncoiled a wild pitch. Kwan rounded third and slid into home, not realizing that the pitch bounced into a dugout suite. Given another chance, Lopez closed out the inning and sent the game to the tenth. 

    The Twins offense didn't get a hit off of Guardian starter Konor Pilkington until the sixth inning when Jose Miranda recorded a single. That ended the night for the Cleveland lefty. In the seventh inning, they threatened with one out and the bases loaded (after a pitch struck Nick Gordon) but left all three stranded. The Twins haven't been hitting much lately, and when they do get baserunners, they struggle with runners in scoring position. 

    Due to the countless injuries and Triple-A players occupying the roster and line-up, the Twins have the youngest team in MLB. The rookies have received playing time and opportunities. Each has experienced some success to build upon, and each has found plenty of struggles and lessons learned. 

    One player who has really taken advantage of his opportunity in 2022 is Nick Gordon. He regularly played in left of center field most of the season, but with Jorge Polanco on the Injured List and Luis Arraez hobbled, he's been playing a lot of second base of late. Check out this play. 

    Since Terry Francona took over the Guardians coaching position in 2012, the Twins and Guardians have had 194 meetings, with the Twins winning 95 of those and the Guardians winning 99. The Guardians are one of the teams that have consistently given the Twins trouble getting past. The Guardians have been in 25 last-at-bat this season, and seven have been against the Twins. They have also won half of their walk-offs of the season against the Twins (3). 

    Jake Cave came into the game as a pinch hitter and started a five-run eighth inning. After getting to first on an error, the bases loaded up again after Jose Miranda singled and Carlos Correa was hit by a pitch. A Gio Urshela single scored Cave and Miranda and cut the deficit to 5-2. Gary Sanchez scored Correa with a sacrifice fly. With two outs, Nick Gordon crushed a two-run homer that tied the game at five.

    The Twins managed to stay solid, even bringing back veteran and former Twins farmhand Dereck Rodriguez who had one appearance with the big club back on April 13th against the Dodgers. "Son of Pudge" managed to keep the Guardians at bay, giving the Twins a chance.
     
    In the 13th inning, it was Gordon again who gave the Twins a short-lived lead at 6-5 with a sacrifice fly that scored Correa. 

    In 89 2/3 innings this season with Saints this season, he had 88 strikeouts and a 1.35 WHIP to accompany a 7-4 record. Rodriguez wasn’t even at the stadium when the game started, He was on a plane from Minneapolis to Cleveland and suited up and took the field. Right-handed reliever Trevor Megill was placed on the COVID-IL between games with Rodriguez, who is not on the 40-man roster, taking his spot.

    The Twins management throughout today's games was fantastic and it showed through the remaining portion of the game, but after 24 innings of baseball, the game ended with a Guardians walk-off in the bottom of the 15th inning due to a Jermaine Palacios error on a hard-hit ball from Amed Rosario (of course) allowing Austin Hedges to score, ending the night. 

    With two games left in the series, the Twins remain in an absolutely must-win situation to stay relevant in the division. Do you think they have it in them, or are they done for the season? 

    Pitching Preview Match-Up Cleveland Series: 
    Sunday 12:40pm CST: Joe Ryan (11-8,3.83 ERA) vs. RHP Cody Morris (0-1,2.79 ERA)
    Monday 12:10 pm CST: Sonny Gray (8-4, 2.91 ERA) vs. RHP Cal Quantrill (12-5, 3.51 ERA)

    Postgame Interview

     

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
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    Pennant drive sputtering...

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    Frustrating and heartbreaking as it was, it's impossible not to admire the fight the lads put up in the night game. Though we continue to hope for a turnaround, a glance at the lineups shows why there's no betting on it.  Both games' batting cards featured just four of nine Twins starting hitters who began the season at the major league level. Likewise, three of nine pitchers only came up to the big club in recent months. Injuries have long since blown this season's established depth to smithereens. With the number of freshmen the Twins are running out against opponents' varsity squads, it's frankly surprising our record isn't much worse.

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    Would have been nice to see a little fight from this team towards the end, instead they lose 6 straight against Cleveland and roll over with a whimper. 

    32-49 on the season against .500 or above teams, and an overall record of 42-52 since May 30, when they led the Guardians by 6.5 games.

    Quote

    Here’s to all of the realists condemned for prognosticating the future and speaking out early and often to try to get the brass to act early and often and change the impending future. 

    Cheers buddy. This team has been bad for a long, long time and it's been a head-scratcher since the trade deadline. 

    The articles lauding the Twins trades at that time look laughable. Many, including myself, said they needed a bat. That the Twins had too many holes to fill, and that giving up guys like Steer, Encarnacion-Strand, etc was too high of a price for a team that ultimately wouldn't make it. I guess the FO had to try, they were in a pretty tough place. 

    Again, and incredibly depressing end to the season, getting stuffed into a locker by the White Sox, Yankees, and Guardians without even fighting back.

    Nothing to like about this team other than Jose Miranda and Nick Gordon. Full stop. 

     

     

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    3 hours ago, h2oface said:

    Battle battle. 
    Its right in front of us. 
    We are still in first place……

    Here’s to all of the realists condemned for prognosticating the future and speaking out early and often to try to get the brass to act early and often and change the impending future. 

    Congratulations to you and your kind. 

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    A sad day - the Twins raised hopes against KC (who doesn't), but could not carry that success to a team that is above 500 or in first place.  Big Hat posted

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    32-49 on the season against .500 or above teams,

    How about teams in first place?  I am too exhausted to look it up, but I know it is horrible. 

    We are not ready for the playoffs, but hopefully our young players will have experience that will give us a better push next year.  Like Bighat I think we could have used Steer.  We have to hope Mahle can get over his arm issues because we really need pitching.  I think Winder, Ober, Ryan, Gray will be good, if Mahle and Maeda come back and flash skill the rotation will be the best we have had in years.

    I know there is still games left, but with 16 games and a seven game deficit it means we have to have a 14 game winning streak to be close.

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    It sucks and/or blows..but it was exciting to see them at least put up a fight. I'll still watch even though there is no hope for this year. The Twins are who we though they are, not very good! The Gaurdindians are just a better team. I'll only root for them in the playoffs if they are playing the Yankees, maybe the Astros too.

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    These last few games have really shown our latest surge of injuries and illnesses and depleted the lineup.  But let's not lose sight of the fact that this team has many holes in it from the start.  Since June the Twins have played very poor and uninspired baseball.  It is becoming way too convenient to blame their demise on injuries.  Yes they have had plenty but the team was playing poorly for several months with mainly a regular lineup up.  Now they are playing rotten with a very depleted lineup.

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    She may not be on stage yet, but the fat lady is warming backstage! It was a fun 1st 2/3 of the season though. Expecting to contend when over half of your lineup is AAA players, and missing 40% of the rotation was too much for a team to overcome. The FO either needs to change direction or needs to go. Twins need a new medical staff, a new coaching staff, and a little luck for next season. Now the turn to Vikings football and soon to Wild hockey!

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    One thing that caught my eye was when Nick Gordon hit his home run to tie the game late, the dugout didn't really seem to care. There was hardly anyone on the top step, and they just looked lifeless and like they didn't care. However, when Cleveland was posing a threat in extra innings, they had multiple guys up on the top step (including Ramirez) cheering on their team. I know it's not little league baseball, but when your guys are noticeably rooting for you, it makes a big difference. Just shows who really wants it, considering it was a must win game for Minnesota and Cleveland has some wiggle room.

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    28 minutes ago, cjm0926 said:

    One thing that caught my eye was when Nick Gordon hit his home run to tie the game late, the dugout didn't really seem to care. There was hardly anyone on the top step, and they just looked lifeless and like they didn't care. However, when Cleveland was posing a threat in extra innings, they had multiple guys up on the top step (including Ramirez) cheering on their team. I know it's not little league baseball, but when your guys are noticeably rooting for you, it makes a big difference. Just shows who really wants it, considering it was a must win game for Minnesota and Cleveland has some wiggle room.

    I for one agree with you. It matters if your teammates are there to cheer you on. It matters that the coaches are there to encourage you, It matters that there fans are there to cheer you on,  I like the fans into the game and not disinterested, busy on their cell phones or talking to others about unrelated things.

    You may say MLB players are professionals and not little leaguers but they are still humans beings. And things like these do make a difference between winning & losing.

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    With two games left in the series, the Twins remain in an absolutely must-win situation to stay relevant in the division.

    You mean after losing three must-win games in a row (after losing three must-win games to Cleveland last weekend), there are more must-win games. If they were literally must-win games, then nothing more would matter after losing them. And that's where we are. They are seven games out with 17 to play and two teams ahead of them. There is no chance that they win the division.

    On the other side, our magic number to clinch third is down to 3!

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    16 minutes ago, PDX Twin said:

    You mean after losing three must-win games in a row (after losing three must-win games to Cleveland last weekend), there are more must-win games. If they were literally must-win games, then nothing more would matter after losing them. And that's where we are. They are seven games out with 17 to play and two teams ahead of them. There is no chance that they win the division.

    On the other side, our magic number to clinch third is down to 3!

    I assumed that was satire or sarcasm because nobody can think you can make up 7 games and jump another team in 17 games. Cleveland play KC 6 times and Chicago 3 times, 🤷‍♂️

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    2 hours ago, Peter said:

    Tough crushing loss. Just can’t beat Cleveland-all credit from being down 5-0 to take 6-5 lead but fell short. This should do it for the season but still love the twins!!! With full healthy team next year should/will be better. 

    Rec this. But would insert “a new manager and” in front of “full healthy…”.

    We’ve won one game vs. the Dodgers, Astros, Yankees, and Guardians in the last 20 during a so-called pennant race.  A single game (granted that’s one more than the playoff games we’ve won in about as many chances ….lol). Many of us TDers blame that on health. Not I. Nor should the Pohlads.

    Until we play better fundamental baseball than those teams, we will never be competitive - regardless of our health.  And this team has never played consistent, solid fundamental baseball under Rocco whether in the field, at the plate, on the bases, or coaching from the bench. Not in a single facet. And there is no evidence to suggest that we will in the future.

    You want to get to the next level? Sure, better health is an important start.  However, this team must perform better in all the little things that add up to multiple wins over a season and that only starts with new leadership in the dugout.  I have confidence the Pohlads will see that.

     

     

     

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    1 hour ago, cjm0926 said:

    One thing that caught my eye was when Nick Gordon hit his home run to tie the game late, the dugout didn't really seem to care. There was hardly anyone on the top step, and they just looked lifeless and like they didn't care.

    This is my biggest problem with the Twins. They have become a totally lifeless, gutless organization. They wither in the face of tough opponents. They shrink from challenges. When the heat is on, they slink back into the dugout. There has to be a large-scale organizational shake-up here, because I can't imagine any player coming here and not being infected by this dead culture. There's no energy here. And sadly, we fans can't bring this enthusiasm back for them - they have to rise up and earn it. Personally, I feel like I'm about ready to be totally done with the Twins again, like I was from '94 to '02. There's just nothing here to keep up your spirits.

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    8 hours ago, h2oface said:

    Battle battle. 
    Its right in front of us. 
    We are still in first place……

    Here’s to all of the realists condemned for prognosticating the future and speaking out early and often to try to get the brass to act early and often and change the impending future. 

    A dark celebration, have fun with that

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    THE TWINS DON'T GIVE UP. THEY DO HUSTLE AND PLAY BALL. NOT ALWAYS SMOOTH AND PRICISE, BUT THEY ARE STILL IN THE GAME.

    Both sides had pretty weak lineups as the game got into extra innings. I kept seeing that these are guys you like your relief pitchers to face with a runner starting on second. All the "bench" players were in the game. 

    Cleveland pretty much blew thru their bullpen in the game. It was a godsend that the Twins did add Rodriguez, a long relief arm who could've kept going until the game ended.

    A heartbreaker, after the...dare we say...strange comback. Five Twins in the line-up hitting under .200 in the end. Two more on the bench after playing at some point in the game. Man, that line-up is weak. 

    It was a nice run. Hard to believe that the Twins were dominating as the teams now ahed of them were struggling, as the Twins are doing right now.

    Always next year.

    I'm now starting to wonder who the Twins really need to add to the 40-man? Probably a catcher, although not sure if they need to add Chris Williams. The rest would comne from AA. DO they keep a space for the injured Canterinbo? Should Enlow stay? Julien added? Any of the others going to Arizona ready to be grabbed?

    At this point, I would swamp out a couple of arms and let Balazovic and Henriquez get a couple of major league games by season's end, especially after the St. Paul season ends. We will see.

     

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    26 minutes ago, Rosterman said:

    At this point, I would swap out a couple of arms and let Balazovic and Henriquez get a couple of major league games by season's end, especially after the St. Paul season ends. We will see.

    Yes to adding Woods-Richardson since he has to be added to the roster but no to promoting Balazovic and Henriquez. They're overmatched by AAA, What would be the point of seeing them fail in the big leagues? No scholarships. There are plenty of other young players on the roster who deserve playing time.

    Does promoting Julien mess with the plan to send him to the AZ Fall League?

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    27 minutes ago, LastOnePicked said:

    This is my biggest problem with the Twins. They have become a totally lifeless, gutless organization. They wither in the face of tough opponents. They shrink from challenges. When the heat is on, they slink back into the dugout. There has to be a large-scale organizational shake-up here, because I can't imagine any player coming here and not being infected by this dead culture. There's no energy here. And sadly, we fans can't bring this enthusiasm back for them - they have to rise up and earn it. Personally, I feel like I'm about ready to be totally done with the Twins again, like I was from '94 to '02. There's just nothing here to keep up your spirits.

    I agree with this. They are putting in the time, collecting their paychecks, and waiting for October, when they can resume their non-baseball lives. Remember Eddie Rosario firing up Buxton and Kepler with their three-man jump balls to celebrate a catch or a win? Eddie is long gone, Buxton is in the hospital, and Kepler is just going through the motions.

    Most of the team is kids who are trying to learn how to behave as big-league players. They are being taught (by example) that a hand-shake and a smile is all they need to do to celebrate success and that failure is just "Oh well." There is no fire! They are being taught to suppress the emotions of the game, whether joy or anguish, that they felt in college and high school and probably still have inside of them. Eddie is long gone. Kirby is (sadly) long gone. 

    Maybe the whiz-kids in the back room can re-program Rocco's laptop to tell him to "CHEER" when someone does well or "RANT" when someone makes an inexcusable mistake. But I doubt it. He is who he is, and he reflects the "scientific" rather than "human" approach to the game that seems to dominate our front office. That's why I don't really expect this to change. It's the "organizational culture." (And one that many on this site welcomed.) Boring-ball is, I fear, here to stay. 

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    2 hours ago, terrydactyls said:

    I noticed that Francona several times during the extra innings employed a new and unique strategy.  He instructed the batter to intentionally lay down a bunt to move the ghost runner closer to home plate.  How long has that been a legal maneuver?

    I get that giving up an out by bunting is generally a bad strategy, but it sure seems like moving the ghost runner to third is a situation where a sacrifice is appropriate. Apparently Francona thinks so. I don't recall seeing the Twins do this much if at all this season.

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    The Twins are officially under 1% to make the playoffs with the loss last night according to Fangraphs. Now 7 games back of Cleveland with only 2 games to play against them. 3.5 games back from the White Sox.

    The White Sox play a 3 game series against Cleveland sandwiched between the current and next series against the Tigers. Once you get to the point of almost needing your competition to sweep and then get swept along with you winning out... it gets preeeeeeettttyyy bad.

    That said, definitely have to hope the White Sox sweep the Guardians and the Twins win the last two against Cleveland as well. Since the Twins have 6 games against the White Sox this year. Chicago should be a better team, but they certainly haven't played like it.

    Twins' elimination number is 11, folks. 11 losses or a combination of wins for Cleveland and losses by Minnesota. If Cleveland goes 6-11 (.353) to end the year, the Twins must go at least 13-4 (.765) to win the division.

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    2 hours ago, LastOnePicked said:

    This is my biggest problem with the Twins. They have become a totally lifeless, gutless organization. They wither in the face of tough opponents. They shrink from challenges. When the heat is on, they slink back into the dugout. There has to be a large-scale organizational shake-up here, because I can't imagine any player coming here and not being infected by this dead culture. There's no energy here. And sadly, we fans can't bring this enthusiasm back for them - they have to rise up and earn it. Personally, I feel like I'm about ready to be totally done with the Twins again, like I was from '94 to '02. There's just nothing here to keep up your spirits.

    But they like their manager!  At least that is what I read in a TD essay

     

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    3 hours ago, PDX Twin said:

    You mean after losing three must-win games in a row (after losing three must-win games to Cleveland last weekend), there are more must-win games.

    I don't know how anyone could phrase it better.  Kudos.

    They are below .500, looking up at a team which is 13 games over .500.  The fat lady has not only sung, she is in the dressing room enjoying refreshments and thinking about her next performance for a different audience.

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    Through their first nine games head-to-head this year, the Twins beat Cleveland five times. Each of the Guardians’ four wins was by one run.

    The Twins had well-documented struggles against teams with better records at that point. But that the Twins had outscored Cleveland 52-33 at that stage gave me (foolish?) optimism for the rest of the season.

    The Cleveland games now seem a bellwether for this season, where the Twins once were 11 games over .500, before falling flat.

    With two games left against Cleveland (and Ryan and Gray starting), the Twins have still outscored them 82-78. While the season series stands at 5-12.

    We have lost to them by a single run eight times. Two runs twice. Once by three, once by four. In 12 losses, never by five or more.

    Injuries no doubt played a part in this season’s disappointments. Plus not enough quality arms. But the feast-or-famine Twins offense played a part, too.

    I'm just foolish enough to look at the talent on this team, and the youth, and believe that if they add the right arms, in the off-season ...

    Sure Lucy, hold the football. I believe it will be there when I run forward to kick it.

     

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