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  • Guardians 5, Twins 3: We've Seen This Ending Before


    David Youngs

    Despite Jose Miranda's clutch double and Tyler Duffey's reemergence, the Twins found another way to lose a game in the series finale against Cleveland on Thursday.

    Image courtesy of Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
     
     
     
     
     
    Box Score
    SP: Chris Archer 4 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 6 BB, 2 K (90 pitches, 45 strikes 50%)
    Home Runs: None
    Top 3 WPA: Jose Miranda (.233), Tyler Duffey (.215), Chris Archer (0.92)
    Bottom 3 WPA: Tyler Thornburg (-.715), Alex Kirilloff (-.114), Byron Buxton, Gilberto Celestino (-.89)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
    image.png
    If you feel like you've seen this movie before, it's because you have. The names may have changed, but a late-inning bullpen implosion occurred yet again on Thursday afternoon in Cleveland. In fact, the Twins lost three games in this five-game series, all because of late-inning bullpen implosions. What could have been a nine-game lead and a sweep is now a one-game lead.
     
    Let's jump right to it. The Twins carried a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning. Tyler Thornburg, who had not pitched since Saturday, was finally used. The former Brewers' closer really struggled. He loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter before an infield single coupled with Carlos Correa's second error of the game tied the game at three after eight innings. 
     
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    Left with few options, Thornburg was back for the ninth frame. He walked Jose Ramirez to lead off the inning. A ground out to second advanced him to second base and brought Andrew Gimenez to the plate. On a 3-2 pitch, he launched a walkoff homer for the Guardians. 
     
    data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw==
     
    The Twins hit former Cy Young winner Shane Bieber hard in the first two innings but were unable to come away with a run. That changed in the third frame. 

    After failing to convert with a runner in scoring position in the first inning, José Miranda delivered. Just a day after his 24th birthday, the rookie laced a two-out, bases-clearing double to the right-field gap to put the Twins on the board and give them a 3-1 lead. Miranda continues to impress after a rough start with the Twins, batting safely in all five games of the series against the Guardians.

     
    Chris Archer showed both mountains and valleys in his four-inning outing on Thursday. Despite allowing just one run and one hit, Archer walked a season-high six batters. Four of those came in the second inning. After recording the first two outs of the inning, Archer walked four consecutive batters to put the Guardians on the board. Archer allowed two more walks in the third inning but escaped the inning with no runs. 
     
    The outing was uncharacteristic for Archer; the electric righty allowed just three walks in his past three starts and has only walked four-plus batters once this season prior to Thursday. And while the damage wasn't brutal, Archer sat at 90 pitches after four innings. the highest number he's thrown all year. With the Twins monitoring his pitch count adamantly given prior injuries, there was no shot that Archer could go longer. 
     
    A seasoned veteran and talented arm, Thursday's outing was likely just a spur in the road for Archer. Expect the 33-year-old to make some adjustments and come back strong in his next start. 
     
    LHP Jovani Moran followed Archer with a 1-2-3 fifth inning with two strikeouts. After Carlos Correa booted a ground ball to lead off the bottom of the sixth, Moran struck out a batter followed by a walk, prompting Rocco Baldelli to bring in Tyler Duffey. 
     
    Few players have been ridiculed as much as Duffey has in recent weeks. Yet despite the noise, Duffey prevailed in the sixth with runners on first and second, striking out Myles Straw and drawing groundout from Steven Kwan to escape the inning. 
     
    It got better in the seventh. Facing the top of the Cleveland lineup, Duffey struck out the Amed Rosario, Jose Ramirez, and Josh Naylor, getting ahead of the hitter in all three at-bats. 
     
    Then came the eighth inning, and we already talked about that and don't want to talk about it any more. 
     
    Luis Arraez recorded two on the day, bringing his batting average up to .340, just one point behind league leader Paul Goldschmidt. Correa, Max Kepler, and Gilberto Celestino also tallied singles in the game. 
     
    What's Next? 
    The Twins head home for the Fourth of July weekend against the Orioles. Despite being in the cellar of the AL East, the Orioles just posted their first winning month since 2017 and are playing competitive baseball in the league's strongest division. Coming off a win over the Rockies, RHP Joe Ryan (6-3, 3.20 ERA) will face off against RHP Spenser Watkins (1-1, 5.14 ERA) in tomorrow night's tilt. First pitch at Target Field is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. CST. 
     
    Postgame Interview
     
     
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
      SUN MON TUE WED THU TOT
                 
    Pagan 22 0 22 14 0 58
    Duffey 15 0 12 0 28 55
    Moran 0 0 34 0 20 54
    Duran 18 0 0 33 0 51
    Thornburg 0 0 0 0 48 48
    Theilbar 19 0 10 11 0 40
    Jax 0 0 21 16 0 37
    Cotton 0 24 0 8 0 32
     
     
     

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    Is it weird I'm not even that upset about today's game?  Last night was a huge gut punch.  They probably didn't even deserve to win today's game anyways.  Cleveland blew a thousand opportunities today.  Still sucks they couldn't find some way to find those last 6 outs though.

    Is there anyone at AAA?  Sisk?  

    The offense needs to find a way to avoid the multiple inning slumps.  You can't have a six inning stretch almost every night without making noise, it just doesn't lead to results.  

    Edit: Thornburg's WPA was -.715.  Incredible.

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    8 minutes ago, wsnydes said:

    Grasping defeat from the clutches of victory 3 times in a 5 game set is rather disheartening, to say the least.  

    Hell, grasping a losing series from the clutches of a sweep is even worse.

    Gotta do something about the pen.

    Cleveland probably gripes about their own pen blowing leads in 2 of those 3 games as well if we're being fair. Today though, that Guardians lineup was anemic, and honestly they were all series against anyone not named Pagan or Thornburg.

    Am I crazy for continuing to think the Twins are the superior team, but for some reason piss away opportunities when playing Cleveland? 

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    There is almost 0 chance this will be the same bullpen tomorrow. Everyone is shot. An immediate sub that can be done is DFA Thornburg and add Ian Hamilton to the MLB team. Evan Sisk is Rule 5 eligible this offseason and probably worth a look to see if he needs a 40 man spot. I’m not exactly thrilled to see Cano or Minaya again, but desperate times call for desperate measures I suppose. 

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    1 minute ago, KirbyDome89 said:

    Cleveland probably gripes about their own pen blowing leads in 2 of those 3 games as well if we're being fair. Today though, that Guardians lineup was anemic, and honestly they were all series against anyone not named Pagan or Thornburg.

    Am I crazy for continuing to think the Twins are the superior team, but for some reason piss away opportunities when playing Cleveland? 

    Correct.  Every team blows leads. 

    In the end, I still don't think Cleveland's run will be sustained, but they can certainly do some damage while they're on it.

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    1 minute ago, KirbyDome89 said:

    Am I crazy for continuing to think the Twins are the superior team, but for some reason piss away opportunities when playing Cleveland? 

    The bullpen is a critical part of a team. The Twins are not superior to the Guardians with this pen. That was foreseeable the moment Rogers was traded. They need to pay up and acquire a Rogers level reliever.

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    2 minutes ago, jorgenswest said:

    The bullpen is a critical part of a team. The Twins are not superior to the Guardians with this pen. That was foreseeable the moment Rogers was traded. They need to pay up and acquire a Rogers level reliever.

    While I didn't mind the trade ... I was hoping there was more to come to shore up the BP, especially after losing Rogers. Heck, even BEFORE losing Rogers.

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    Help Wanted - We are looking for 3 bullpen specialists able to start immediately.

    Qualified candidates must be able to:

    * Travel extensively 6 possibly 7 months over the course of year. Passport required. Vaccination optional. 

    * Pass random drug tests with the ability to read and understand the labels listing all substances contained in over the counter products. 

    * Lift (and throw) objects roughly the size of a baseball. 

    Candidate can be either right or left handed 

    Minimum Salary is $600,000 Yearly

    Health Insurance including dental and vision

    401K

    5 Months of PTO 

    Sign-On Bonus of $35,000

    Application can be found at: 1twinsway.com  

     

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    Just now, USAFChief said:

    They traded Rogers literally the day before the season started. There wasn't time to get more help.

     

    I know that, Chief ... they could have made another trade, and I thought maybe something else would/could happen ... they could have done something BEFORE the lockout. I've been on this page with you about the BP, maybe not as irate about the trade itself, but certainly about the BP.

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    2 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

    Baltimore has a few guys in their pen I wouldn't mind having stay in Minnesota after the Orioles head back to Baltimore on Monday. Can Lopez at least go to Chicago with us on Monday? I'll let Baltimore use him for the weekend, but would prefer he takes the Twins charter after the series.

    Lopez intrigues me, but does it bother you that other than this year, he has been well...awful?  He's 29 and having a career year.....but glancing at his overall career and his .180 BABIP this year, it just seems like a correction is in order.  Then again, with what the Twins are working with.....probably well worth the risk.

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    3 minutes ago, Riverbrian said:

    Help Wanted - We are looking for 3 bullpen specialists able to start immediately.

    Qualified candidates must be able to:

    * Travel extensively 6 possibly 7 months over the course of year. Passport required. Vaccination optional. 

    * Pass random drug tests with the ability to read and understand the labels listing all substances contained in over the counter products. 

    * Lift (and throw) objects roughly the size of a baseball. 

    Candidate can be either right or left handed 

    Minimum Salary is $600,000 Yearly

    Health Insurance including dental and vision

    401K

    5 Months of PTO 

    Sign-On Bonus of $35,000

    Application can be found at: 1twinsway.com  

     

    That's the same want ad that Tyler Thornburg responded to. And Cotton, Megill, Cano, Culoumbe, Hamilton and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few.

     

    Adding more from the unemployment line isn't likely to help.

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    9 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

    That's the same want ad that Tyler Thornburg responded to. And Cotton, Megill, Cano, Culoumbe, Hamilton and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few.

     

    Adding more from the unemployment line isn't likely to help.

    Strength in numbers baby

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    Watching Archer and later Thornburg pitching, have never seen two guys missing the plate with the expression "please take me out coach, now" on their faces. 

    I applaud the grit.

    But something wrong with pitching decisions. Yes, the ump may have called some balls wrong, but there were a lot no where near the strike zone!

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    8 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

    That's the same want ad that Tyler Thornburg responded to. And Cotton, Megill, Cano, Culoumbe, Hamilton and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few.

     

    Adding more from the unemployment line isn't likely to help.

    To be fair Culoumbe and Megill have performed pretty well, they just aren't healthy.

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    12 minutes ago, SwainZag said:

    Lopez intrigues me, but does it bother you that other than this year, he has been well...awful?  He's 29 and having a career year.....but glancing at his overall career and his .180 BABIP this year, it just seems like a correction is in order.  Then again, with what the Twins are working with.....probably well worth the risk.

    I wouldn't trade any big prospects for him because of exactly what you're questioning. He wouldn't be someone I count on beyond this year, but I'll take a flier on a guy for this season.

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    Really nothing new to add after my lengthy post late last night, but will make the following inquiry to Falvey:

    What are you doing NOW/TONIGHT in your capacity to correct the problem YOU created?

    Any hope of being a playoff team is predicated on YOU upgrading the bullpen with a minimum of acquiring 2 RPs.   Alcala is not going to be back to contribute.  Coulombe is not the answer either.

    After today's implosion-----your team has 83 games remaining.

    For argument sake---lets say Twins SPs go 6 IP in 30 of those games. That still requires the bullpen to cover 90 innings (7th-8th and 9th  x 30 games)

    Continuing in that vein......Twins SPs go at least 5IP in the other 53 games.  That will require the bullpen to cover 212 IP (4 innings x 53 games),

    That total is 302 IP over the final 83 games,  

    Duran, Jax and Theilbar-------your only 3 effective RPs MIGHT....MIGHT...be able to cover 100 of those innings, which is probably an exaggeration.

    That leaves 200 IP for Twins bullpen to cover.  

    The "other 5" currently in these roles--------Pagan, Duffey, Thornburg, Cotton & Moran------all are candidates to be demoted or DFA'ed.  

    If Smith can return healthy and resemble anything close to what he did early in the season, he's your #4 RP behind the top 3.  His return would allow a DFA or demotion of Thornburg.

    If Coulombe can return healthy he gives you another needed LH option.  That spot is up for grabs. I would prefer to see Moran, but he has to earn it.  That's your #5 RP

    RP #6, imo, is a battle between Cotton and Duffey, which can be decided in games between tomorrow and the upcoming All Star break.  The "loser" gets DFA'ed.

    Unnamed RP #7 and RP #8 must be acquired via trade!  NOW is that time.  I'd prefer 1 RH as well as 1 LH. Worthy candidates from multiple losing teams (TX-OAK-PIT-AZ-MIA) that could be added without sacrificing significant prospects.

    Who did I leave out?  Oh....yeah.....the Pagan Sacrifice.  Didn't think I'd see the reincarnation of Alex Colome so soon on this team.  Plain and simple he needs to be released asap.

     

     

     

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    7 minutes ago, SwainZag said:

    To be fair Culoumbe and Megill have performed pretty well, they just aren't healthy.

    Megill actually intrigued me. 

    But waiver wire claims can't be what you're depending on as the source of a good portion of your pen. Particularly when your starting staff strategy is to target 5 and fly guys as a way to overcome not having any horses. You're going to need 3 or more relievers every night. Often more. And they're all going to pitch important innings. There aren't any low leverage guys in the Twins model.

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    This is solely on Baldelli and Pagan. We need to sweep this series to add padding for the 6 additional games that Cleveland has to play over us and, honestly the 5 that Chicago has. 

    This was the time to play playoff baseball, next rest your core guys. It's frankly embarrassing. 

    I get that the bullpen is weak, but would it kill us to have a guy pitch more than one inning? 

    This great start to the season looks more and more like it is being pissed away because of this new age approach and an absolute void of killer instinct.  

     

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