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  • Twins 7, Giants 1: Minnesota Avoids the Sweep With a Blowout


    Thiéres Rabelo

    Despite missing several big bats on their lineup, the Twins avoided the sweep by crushing the Giants at Target Field. Minnesota took advantage of a series of defensive miscues by San Francisco to put the game out of reach early.

    Image courtesy of Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

    Twins Video

     

    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Joe Ryan, 5.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K (107 pitches, 72 strikes, 67.3%)
    Home Runs: Édouard Julien (3), Ryan Jeffers (2)
    Top 3 WPA: Matt Wallner (.224), Édouard Julien (.147), Willi Castro (.127)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
    chart.png.a62bb7f490a6c2495f3bd57354865f64.png

    Offenses get busy early
    The bats were active early for both teams. Though the Giants didn’t score in the top of the first, they drove up Joe Ryan’s pitch count by making him throw 24 first-inning pitches. The Twins struck first, though, with Édouard Julien jumping on the second pitch of the inning for a leadoff home run to deep center.

    The lead didn’t last long. With back-to-back hits to open the second inning, including a leadoff double, the Giants tied the game on a Casey Schmitt RBI single. The Giants scored only one run, but they once again forced San Francisco native Ryan to throw more than twenty pitches to get through the inning. At 45 pitches after two innings, it was uncertain whether Ryan would be able to stay in for a long start.

    How long Ryan would stay in this game was uncertain, but at least he got some immediate run support. Three Twins batters reached against San Francisco starter Anthony DeSclafani in the bottom of the second. Willi Castro doubled to center and was brought home by a Matt Wallner double in the following at-bat that put the Twins ahead. Wallner reached third on a passed ball and scored on a Julien sacrifice fly next, making it 3-1 Minnesota. Ryan threw a scoreless third but couldn’t prevent his pitch count from reaching 62 by the end of the inning. It could’ve been a much shorter inning for him hadn’t he made a throwing error to second trying to rush an inning-ending double play.

    Twins take advantage of the Giants’ mistakes and add on
    Still, in the third inning, Minnesota’s offense didn’t start well, with DeSclafani striking out the first two batters quickly. But before he could record the inning’s final out, the Twins took advantage of a series of defensive miscues by the Giants' defense to score two more runs.

    Kyle Farmer reached on a fielding error by Brandon Crawford, and after Castro got hit by a pitch, Farmer himself scored after a Wallner ground ball went through the legs of Brett Wisely to reach right field. The error allowed Castro to reach third, and with Wallner at first, the Twins tried a double steal. Wisely made a faulty throw home to catcher Blake Sabol, who couldn’t glove, allowing Castro to steal home and make it 5-1 Minnesota.

    The Twins scored yet another run on a San Francisco mistake in the fourth inning. With Julien at third, DeSclafani threw a wild pitch, allowing the Twins' second baseman to score Minnesota’s sixth run. Ryan went on to complete five innings allowing just one run but having thrown almost 110 pitches. Could the struggling Twins bullpen hold on to a five-run lead?

    Twins bullpen escapes a huge jam; offense adds on
    Brock Stewart was the first relief pitcher out of the bullpen to replace Ryan in the sixth. He did not look sharp at all, and San Francisco loaded the bases before he could record an out. He was given an opportunity to try and get out of the jam, at least partially. He got two outs with a strikeout and a popout, then departed the game. Jovani Morán took the mound and got the final out on a single pitch.

    The bullpen got even more support in the bottom of the sixth when Ryan Jeffers hit a leadoff home run, making it 7-1 Minnesota and getting DeSclafani out of the game. Morán came back for the seventh and gave up a leadoff walk, but he managed to strike out the next three batters to end the threat.

    José De León pitched a quick, scoreless eighth, and former Twin Taylor Rogers pitched himself into a jam in the home half of the inning – runners on the corners with only one out – but Minnesota couldn't capitalize. De León came back to get the first out in the ninth, then Jhoan Durán finished it off without any problems.

    Postgame interview

    What’s Next?
    Minnesota has a day off on Thursday as they prepare for another home series over the weekend. On Friday (5/26), the Twins begin a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Target Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 pm CDT. Louie Varland (2-0, 4.18 ERA) is set to make the start for Minnesota, while the Blue Jays starter has yet to be determined.

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

      SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT
    De León 0 31 0 0 21 52
    J. López 19 12 0 18 0 49
    Sands 0 0 44 0 0 44
    Morán 9 0 0 10 24 43
    Jax 0 0 17 18 0 35
    Stewart 5 0 0 10 20 35
    Durán 20 0 0 0 13 33
    Pagán 0 0 23 9 0 32
     

     

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    Needed that one. The bUllpen and lack of consistent run production continue to ail the Twins.

    Hopeful that De Leon can provide some quality outings in BP. The current state of the BP is not playoff caliber.  Likely will be addressed via trade, but that is many games in the future so any internal options such as De Leon contributing would be huge.

    The offense needs Correa and Buxton to produce more. 

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    I am a little confused over Michael A. Taylors hitting philosophy.    Does he understand that a pitch over the heart of the plate can be hit a long way?    He had an at-bat today where he looked at three pitches that were center cut without swinging at any of them.   I appreciate everything he has done this season, but he really needs to be more aggressive at the plate.

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    15 minutes ago, William K Johnson said:

    I am a little confused over Michael A. Taylors hitting philosophy.    Does he understand that a pitch over the heart of the plate can be hit a long way?    He had an at-bat today where he looked at three pitches that were center cut without swinging at any of them.   I appreciate everything he has done this season, but he really needs to be more aggressive at the plate.

    He (48.2%) swings more, in general, at any pitch than the average MLBer (47.1%). He (68.1%) swings at more pitches in the zone than the average MLBer (66.9%). He (81.8%) swings at more "meatballs" than the average MLBer (76.1%). And he (38.8%) swings at the 1st pitch more than the average MLBer (29.5%). I don't think MATs problem is being aggressive, it's being able to do well with that aggression. He has had a couple caught looking's on fastballs over the plate recently, though. Never ideal to do that.

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    Nice win. A few stray thoughts:

    In this three game series, the two teams combined to go 6 for 50 with runners in scoring position (a .120 average), including 1 for 9 with a runner on third base and less than two outs. They struck out a combined 74 times in the series, accounting for 46.5% of the outs. The defenses combined for 8 errors as well as a passed ball that directly accounted for a run today. 11 of the 17 earned runs in the series scored via home run.

    In a series that pitted two of MLB's supposed "new school" darlings, the results were overwhelmingly difficult to watch as a product. Add in the too-cute opener strategy by the Giants on Monday and Baldelli's manic reaction to that strategy. Overall this series serves as a good case study as to why the game will struggle to remain relevant as an entertainment option in the future with this brand of baseball. 

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    Ryan had NOTHING…what, zero K’s first two times through the lineup…a ton of hits. He had to know he had nothing, and he still challenged hitters, kept the ball in the park, and trusted that more balls would be caught by someone behind him, than not. Manages to get through 5 with 100+ pitches (because he was giving up hits and couldn’t finish, not because he was nibbling…big difference, IMO.)

    And gives up 1 run.

    Sigh. I love you, Joe Ryan.

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    10 minutes ago, jkcarew said:

    Ryan had NOTHING…what, zero K’s first two times through the lineup…a ton of hits. He had to know he had nothing, and he still challenged hitters, kept the ball in the park, and trusted that more balls would be caught by someone behind him, than not. Manages to get through 5 with 100+ pitches (because he was giving up hits and couldn’t finish, not because he was nibbling…big difference, IMO.)

    And gives up 1 run.

    Sigh. I love you, Joe Ryan.

    And exactly this is why he is a big time pitcher.  He's only going to get better and better!

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    33 minutes ago, jkcarew said:

    And……..Rocco basically ends up HAVING to pitch Duran in low leverage.

    If I was someone who said ‘I told you so’, here is where I would say ‘I told you so’. But I’m not someone who says ‘I told you so’,…I mean, rarely…so I’m not going to say I told you so.

    Duran ahsn't really pitched that much this month. And the Twins have an off day tomorrow. So, he got a little work and should be ready to go Friday.

     

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    10 minutes ago, Rosterman said:

    Duran ahsn't really pitched that much this month. And the Twins have an off day tomorrow. So, he got a little work and should be ready to go Friday.

     

    Duran not pitching much this month is the problem.

    Rocco was going to pitch him today no matter what…he needs the work.

    So…in this series Duran pitched once overall…and zero times in leverage. Meanwhile, there were huge leverage opportunities late yesterday where he DIDN’T pitch so that he could be ready for a save opportunity…that didn’t come yesterday…and didn’t come today.

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    1 hour ago, jkcarew said:

    Duran not pitching much this month is the problem.

    Rocco was going to pitch him today no matter what…he needs the work.

    So…in this series Duran pitched once overall…and zero times in leverage. Meanwhile, there were huge leverage opportunities late yesterday where he DIDN’T pitch so that he could be ready for a save opportunity…that didn’t come yesterday…and didn’t come today.

    This... This.....aaaaaaand.... THIS!

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    I had to rewind and watch Matt Walner's throw from right field over and over. What a bazooka! Is that the strongest OF arm on the Twins since Aaron Hicks? Wallner may not have Max Kepler's footspeed, but the rest of his game may be better. Reminded me of Michael Cuddyer, who also had a major rifle in right. 

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    10 hours ago, Verified Member said:

    I thought Pagean was the low leverage RP, not Duran. Personally I feel like the Twins were lucky today and the Giants gifted them this win.

    Unfortunately it's the truth. 

    And when they lose 2-of-3 to Toronto that'll be the 4th straight series loss. It's nice to see this victory, but I'm not even remotely convinced this win will help them turn things around. 

    Unreal to look at the numbers on Ryan, Gray, Lopez, Ober, and Duran - and then look at the standings and see a team that's barely treading water at .500. An unforgiveable waste. 

    I don't think anyone can fix this team's hitting problem - at least not in the next 3 months. Twins need an offensive overhaul and that's not coming until the offseason. 

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    Everyone here knows my thoughts on Rocco as an in game manager (😠), but I am going to take a moment to give a little credit where credit is due.

    I have noticed an uptick in calls such as stolen bases, an extra base now and then, and willingness to use the safety squeeze when it is available; things I haven't seen in 4 years.  Who would have guessed a double steal with home being the second?  I assumed I had no influence over him anymore, since he stopped taking my calls, but maybe he is listening to someone else because, though we need much more of this, he is starting to use something other than the HR every now and then.  I have no idea how long it will continue, or how frequent, but just the thought it is possible keeps the defense honest.  

    Now, Rocco, don't make me regret this.  And I do have some tips for the bullpen if you are interested.  😏

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    32 minutes ago, Mark G said:

    Everyone here knows my thoughts on Rocco as an in game manager (😠), but I am going to take a moment to give a little credit where credit is due.

    I have noticed an uptick in calls such as stolen bases, an extra base now and then, and willingness to use the safety squeeze when it is available; things I haven't seen in 4 years.  Who would have guessed a double steal with home being the second?  I assumed I had no influence over him anymore, since he stopped taking my calls, but maybe he is listening to someone else because, though we need much more of this, he is starting to use something other than the HR every now and then.  I have no idea how long it will continue, or how frequent, but just the thought it is possible keeps the defense honest.  

    Now, Rocco, don't make me regret this.  And I do have some tips for the bullpen if you are interested.  😏

    I do agree that the base running has been much more fun to watch. I don't think everything hinges on the whims of Baldelli. Last year the criticism was pulling starters to early. This year they lead the league in innings pitched. They are running more because Buxton feels better and they have guys like Castro and MAT. Any manager is going to green light a guy they think will be successful. 

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    3 hours ago, bighat said:

    Unfortunately it's the truth. 

    And when they lose 2-of-3 to Toronto that'll be the 4th straight series loss. It's nice to see this victory, but I'm not even remotely convinced this win will help them turn things around. 

    Unreal to look at the numbers on Ryan, Gray, Lopez, Ober, and Duran - and then look at the standings and see a team that's barely treading water at .500. An unforgiveable waste. 

    I don't think anyone can fix this team's hitting problem - at least not in the next 3 months. Twins need an offensive overhaul and that's not coming until the offseason. 

    I don't think it's undoable.  Teams turn around quite frequently.   Adding Kirilloff was big.  Getting Correa right would also help a bunch and he has been looking better at the plate.  Lewis will be here very soon and Julien needs to take Solano's roster spot if we get enough guys back from injury.  We also have Polanco and Kepler out.  All of this adds up to plenty of opportunity to improve significantly.

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    15 minutes ago, Major League Ready said:

    I don't think it's undoable.  Teams turn around quite frequently.   Adding Kirilloff was big.  Getting Correa right would also help a bunch and he has been looking better at the plate.  Lewis will be here very soon and Julien needs to take Solano's roster spot if we get enough guys back from injury.  We also have Polanco and Kepler out.  All of this adds up to plenty of opportunity to improve significantly.

    I agree that it's possible, I just don't think it's likely. 

    We're not waiting on Aaron Judge, Vlad Guerrero and Juan Soto to come back from injury. We're waiting on Royce Lewis, Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler to come back. Kepler is four years removed from his 2019 breakout year and the Twins have to have considered outrighting him to St. Paul more than once since then. Polanco's a solid player but injury issues are starting to become the norm for him. Lewis should be great but it's impossible to expect anything major from the guy coming back from 2 ACL tears. 

    The Twins only chance is that the BEST version of all three of those guys shows up, Kirilloff puts up 30 homers, Buxton and Correa both bat .260+ with 20+ homers each AND at least one of the Larnach, Farmer, Michael A. Taylor & Nick Gordon bunch plays the remainder of the season solidly above replacement value. 

    While some of those things may happen, I highly doubt that all of them will. 

     

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    Nice and needed win yesterday,  but bighat is unfortunately right about the offense as many of us have mentioned in the past. The offense is that it is best average or slightly above average when everyone is available. It is much less than that when there are injuries. Bottom line is that for this offense to be even top half we need Polanco and Correa back and hitting, Buxton to hit .260 plus, not .235, Kirilloff to be a competent #3-#5 hitter and Lewis to come up and give us a spark. I wouldn't get my hopes up for Kepler to help on offense - he is what he is and he isn't a good hitter.

    For this offense to work we need premier production from Correa and Buxton, very good production from Polanco  and Kirilloff, Gallo to hit 35 plus HRs with a .340 plus OBP, Lewis to come up and be a competent leadoff type hitter, and then real offensive contributions from at least two of Farmer, Larnach, Wallner, Taylor, Jeffers, Vasquez, and Kepler. All of those things are possible. Having all those things happen in the same season is pretty unlikely.

    I would like to see two moves over the next couple of months. First, we badly need another reliever. I would give DeLeon, Balazovic and Lawyerson a real shot for the next six weeks to be a solid bullpen piece. You can make that happen through injuries, putting Sands on the shuttle, or frankly getting rid of Pagan since we know he is not the answer. If that doesn't work, trade Kepler and a decent prospect for a solid relief pitcher. I would love a guy like Chapman (probably too expensive in prospects), be thrilled with a guy like Dylan Florio, and even accept Brad Hand.  Second, give Lewis, Wallner, and Julien a decent run in the lineup over that same time. To see if they can be contributors this year. If not, make a trade for another bat preferably one to play left field. 

    They say you spent the first two months of the season seeing what you have, the second two months trying to fill in your holes, and the last two months you play with what you have. We can see the holes in the bullpenand  in the lineup. Let's be aggressive and proactive about trying to fill those holes first with younger guys already in the organization and then trades around the All-Star break if that doesn't pan out. Let's just not keep running the same people out there over and over expecting different results.

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    If our 2 highly paid stars do not start hitting better it will be a long season. I was not a fan of signing Correa and so far he had not shown that he deserves the big contract. He is just not hitting like a star player.

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    19 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

    I have to follow up the last posting - is this what we have saved Duran for?  I do not understand - I am too old school.  I like my best to be used when the game is close.

    How old school we talkin? La Russa started saving his best guy for the 9th back in what the 70s or 80s? Before that there wasn't nearly as much bullpen usage in general so it's not quite the same thing. When starters are throwing 300 innings a year there's not much of a "when to use my best bullpen arm" decision to make since you only have 2 innings to cover a lot of the time. But once La Russa really got that closer thing going the best guy was almost always saved for the 9th, until very recently. Rivera, Nathan, Gagne, Papelbon, Hoffman, Fingers, Eckersley, even Sutter in the earlier 70s was being saved for save situations.

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    5 hours ago, chpettit19 said:

    How old school we talkin? La Russa started saving his best guy for the 9th back in what the 70s or 80s? Before that there wasn't nearly as much bullpen usage in general so it's not quite the same thing. When starters are throwing 300 innings a year there's not much of a "when to use my best bullpen arm" decision to make since you only have 2 innings to cover a lot of the time. But once La Russa really got that closer thing going the best guy was almost always saved for the 9th, until very recently. Rivera, Nathan, Gagne, Papelbon, Hoffman, Fingers, Eckersley, even Sutter in the earlier 70s was being saved for save situations.

    Acrtually the Milwaukee Braves - 57 used Don McMahon as their closer 32 times! And they had Spahn, Burdette and Buhl

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    On 5/24/2023 at 7:24 PM, stringer bell said:

    If Lopez successfully handled the seventh, Duran would probably be pitching in the eighth or ninth, maybe both.

    If the plan isn’t working…and repeatedly doesn’t work…try a different plan.

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