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Andrew Gebo

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Posts posted by Andrew Gebo

  1. It's not an even year but the San Francisco Giants are back and they're ready to make a run under new leadership and surprise resurgent years from two veteran holdovers from the dynasty years of the last decade. Minnesota has the pieces to help San Francisco get back on top of the baseball world but does a trade with San Francisco make sense for Minnesota? 

    What’s Their Situation?

    The San Francisco Giants have been the biggest surprise in baseball this year. Going into the season, most industry pundits and prediction systems had the Giants hovering around the .500 mark and finishing third place in their division behind Los Angeles and San Diego.

    With less than two weeks until the trade deadline, the San Francisco Giants hold the best record in baseball and sit atop their division. Their surprise run has been powered by the resurgent years of two 34-year-old veterans Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford as well as unexpected starting pitching success from Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood.

    While the Giants reached the pinnacle of the baseball world three times in the 2010s, they have not reached the postseason since 2016. Even though they currently own the best record in baseball they only have a small lead over their division rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    The road to the postseason in 2021 for the San Francisco Giants looks all but guaranteed, however, the division title is far from a guarantee. In order to win their division and take down the defending champions, the Giants will need some reinforcements and could look to the Twins to provide the pieces they need. 

    What Do They Need?

    The Giants dynasty teams of the last decade were comprised of perennial All-Stars and household names. Those teams had a roster with Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Sergio Romo, Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Pablo Sandoval, and Hunter Pence. They were also led by future Hall of Fame manager Bruce Bochy.

    The 2021 version of the San Francisco Giants looks a lot different. Outside of the likes of Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford this team lacks star power and household names. You’ve probably never heard of Darin Ruf, Donovan Solano, Austin Slater, Thairo Estrada or Steven Duggar. Surprisingly though, there aren't many holes to be filled on this team, but that doesn't mean they won't be buyers. Here's what they could add at the deadline to make this team even better. 

    Starting Pitching: This has been an area of pleasant surprise for the Giants. During the winter they made a lot of short-term acquisitions to bolster their starting rotation. Many of those short-term acquisitions have had very strong seasons, which is a big part of the Giants' success. However, very few of them have the track record of staying healthy and being guys that can be relied on to make a deep postseason run. For that reason, starting pitching will be the Giants number one priority at the trade deadline. 

    Relief Pitching: The Giants bullpen hasn't been terrible but it hasn't been great either. They’ve pretty much been average to slightly above-average in most statistical categories; however in the postseason you need better than average bullpen arms. 

    Outfield: Other than Mike Yastrzemski, the Giants have struggled to get consistent production from any of their outfield options. Earlier in the season they acquired Mike Tauchman from the New York Yankees but his .569 OPS has provided very little impact offensively. Some of the other guys like Austin Slater, Alex Dickerson or Steven Duggar have had stretches where they played well but their numbers overall leave something to be desired. The only other bright spot in the outfield would be LaMonte Wade Jr but he spends most of his time at first base.

    Which Twins Are The Best Fit?

    José Berríos: Much has been made about whether or not the Twins should trade José Berríos, but if Minnesota ultimately does decide to part with their former top pitching prospect turned All-Star, the San Francisco Giants would likely be one of the many teams calling. Acquiring Berríos not only helps the Giants in 2021 but it helps them in 2022 as well. As previously mentioned, many of their current rotation options are on short-term deals that expire at the end of this season. So a move to bring in José Berríos sets them up for success now and for the future. 

    Taylor Rogers: As with Berríos, Taylor Rogers will be one of the most highly sought-after pieces on the trade market but it's unsure whether or not the Twins will be willing to part with him. If Minnesota does in fact pull the trigger on dealing Taylor Rogers, they will have many suitors and the Giants will certainly be one of them. As stated earlier, the Giants bullpen has been average and adding a guy like Taylor Rogers makes them a better-than-average group. Additionally, it would also be pretty cool to see the Rogers brothers on the same team pitching against the Dodgers in the NLCS, or better yet, the World Series. 

    Byron Buxton: There seems to be a trend here because much like the first two mentioned names, Buxton also fits into the category of will the Twins actually want to trade him. Given his injury history and amount of time spent on the injured list this season it may be a little bit harder for Minnesota to find a suitor for Buxton than it will be for Berríos or Rogers. It's no secret that a healthy Byron Buxton is one of the best players in all of baseball and a player of that caliber will help any team, especially a team like San Francisco that struggles to get high-end offensive production from many of their current outfield options. In addition to what he offers offensively, Byron Buxton would also be a huge defensive upgrade for the Giants. Imagine how fun it would be to see Byron Buxton patrol the vast open spaces of the Oracle Park outfield. 

    What Could The Twins Get Back?

    This is where it gets dicey. If recent history tells us anything it's that the Minnesota Twins should avoid any trade calls from the San Francisco Giants at all costs. Let's take a look at some of the recent trades between the Giants and Twins and how they fared for each team. 

    In 2016 the Giants acquired then All-Star shortstop Eduardo Núñez from Minnesota in exchange for Adalberto Mejia. Núñez would go on to help the Giants make the postseason in 2016 and they would later trade him to Boston in exchange for Shaun Anderson. Mejia, on the other hand, pitched 138 innings in a Twins uniform and posted a lackluster 4.63 ERA and a 96 ERA+. He now pitches in the Chinese Professional Baseball League. 

    Now, raise your hand if you remember Sam Dyson. If you managed to completely scrub that from your memory until now, I'm sorry. In return for Sam Dyson, the Giants acquired Jaylin Davis, who to this point hasn't done much to speak of at the major league level, however, Sam Dyson was one of the worst trade acquisitions a team could possibly ask for and he is no longer pitching in professional baseball. 

    Lastly we have the LaMonte Wade Jr. for Shaun Anderson trade that took place this past winter. LaMonte Wade Jr. has been a revelation for San Francisco and is hitting .252/.347/.520 (.867) and a 133 OPS+. Meanwhile, Shaun Anderson is no longer in the Twins organization and is currently pitching for a third different organization this season. 

    Perhaps Falvey and Levine would be better off blocking Farhan Zaidi’s number but if they were to strike another deal, the Giants do offer some intriguing options.

    Joey Bart: If Minnesota is committed to Mitch Garver then perhaps Bart wouldn’t be that intriguing but he is the 17th ranked prospect in baseball and the second-highest ranked catching prospect behind the Orioles Adley Rutschman. Bart is a very promising young player who’s currently blocked by further Hall of Famer, Buster Posey.

    Marco Luciano: This 19-year-old shortstop is the prize possession of the Giants farm system and the 12th overall prospect in baseball. It will be difficult to pry Luciano away from the Giants but a package deal of Berríos and Rogers may do the trick. 

    Heliot Ramos: This Giants outfield prospect is the 63rd ranked prospect in baseball and is on the fast track to the big league roster. After a breakout spring training in which he hit .410/.425/.718 (1.116), Ramos went on to hit for a .756 OPS in double-A before his recent promotion to triple-A.

    Seth Cory: After developing Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain the Giants have largely failed at developing quality starting pitching but Seth Cory looks promising. The 22-year-old is currently pitching in high A and is the 84th ranked prospect in baseball. 

    Bart, Luciano, Ramos and Cory won’t come easy but if Minnesota is willing to part with any one or some combination of their most prized possessions then San Francisco would likely be willing to part with some of their prized prospects. 

     


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  2. Jake Cave had a big night in support of Kenta Maeda as the Twins beat the Tigers 7-6 Wednesday night. The victory combined with another White Sox loss puts the Twins back on top of the American League Central standings.Box Score

    Maeda: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K

    Home Runs: Cave 2 (4), Rosario (13)

    Top 3 WPA: Maeda .195, Cave .134, Clippard .122

     

    Kenta Maeda Deal…. Again

    Kenta Maeda continued to do what he’s done all year. Maeda allowed an infield single to Victor Reyes to start the game and responded by not allowing another hit until the sixth inning.

     

    The sixth inning would be the worst and final inning of the night for Maeda. He allowed two Tigers hitters to reach base before surrendering a three-run home run to the future Hall of Famer, Miguel Cabrera.

     

    Overall, Kenta Maeda did exactly what he’s done all year for Minnesota. He delivered yet another quality start, his eighth of the season in 11 starts.

     

    He finished the night with a final line of 6 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 9 K

     

    Small Ball and Bombas

    The Twins offense got the scoring started in the third inning with a steady dose of small ball. Jorge Polanco singled on a soft line drive to the opposite field and would eventually steal second base. Marwin Gonzalez drove him in with a single to right and Marwin would later score the second run of the inning when Buxton grounded into a fielders’ choice.

     

    Minnesota scored again in the fourth, this time with the long ball. The always patient and disciplined Eddie Rosario led off the inning with a walk and would eventually cross home plate courtesy of a two-run home run from Jake Cave, pushing the lead to 4-0. He got to wear the robe.

     

     

    The Twins struck again in the fifth inning when Eddie Rosario followed in the footsteps of Jake Cave when he launched a two-run home run, extending the Minnesota lead to 6-0. He too got to wear the robe.

     

     

    Jake Cave wore the robe again in the sixth when he led off the inning with an opposite field home run, answering the Tigers three-run inning and pushing the Twins lead to 7-3.

     

    Twins Bullpen Closes the Door

    It wasn’t clean but they got the job done. Bullpen ace Matt Wisler entered the game following the stellar outing from Kenta Maeda. Wisler didn’t pitch his best inning as he allowed the Tigers to load the bases with one out and was eventually relieved by Tyler Clippard.

     

    Clippard showed veteran prowess as he was able to wiggle out of the bases loaded jam without surrendering a run and preserving the 7-3 Minnesota lead.

     

    Jorge Alcala entered the game in the eighth and pitched a scoreless inning, setting up the ninth for Caleb Thielbar, who ran into some trouble after allowing two base runners and was relieved by Sergo Romo.

     

    Sergio promptly served up a home run to Cabrera, his second of the night and narrowed the Twins lead to 7-6. Romo responded by inducing a ground out from the next batter and put the lights out on a 7-6 Twins victory.

     

    After tonight's win and a loss from the White Sox, the Twins are back on top of the AL Central.

     

    Postgame Pint

    Check out tonight’s episode of Twins Daily’s Postgame Pint live stream on

    or Facebook.

     

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

    Download attachment: Bullpen.png

     

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  3. José Berríos struck out eight batters over six innings of one-run ball while the Twins’ lineup scored eight runs for the first time in 19 games. The White Sox did their part to help things along as well, committing four more errors to end what was an ugly series in the field for Chicago.Box Score

    Berríos: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K

    Home Runs: Cave (2), Sanó (8), Rosario (8)

    Top 3 WPA: Berríos .205, Donaldson .192, Cave .107

    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):

    Download attachment: WinChart.png

     

    Quality Start For Berrios

    Jose Berrios took the mound for the Minnesota Twins in the rubber match of the series and provided the Twins with the kind of start they were hoping for. Jose was dialed in from the first inning and looked very sharp all night. He ran into a little trouble in the third when he gave up a single and two walks. He could have wiggled out the jam had he gotten some help from his defense but he was able to limit the damage and only allowed one run to score.

     

    His final line was 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K

     

    The effort tonight from Berrios is exactly what this team needed. They finally snapped their losing streak last night and needed a good start from their ace to take the series against a very good Chicago White Sox team.

     

    Offense Comes Alive

    Josh Donaldson was activated off the IL today and immediately made a positive impact. He singled in his first at-bat and would later drive in a pair with a double to right-center in the second inning. His presence in the lineup had definitely been missed.

     

    Ownage is ownage and Jake Cave certainly owns Reynaldo Lopez. His first home run of the season came in the opening series of the year against Chicago when he took Lopez deep. He did it again tonight when he hit a solo shot in the second to put Minnesota on the board early. That wasn’t the only offense Cave would provide tonight. He also singled and drove in Arraez for his second RBI of the game in the fifth inning.

     

    Miguel Sano continues to swing a hot bat. He launched a solo home run in the fourth inning and led off the fifth with a double. He would later score on a very ugly defensive play. So ugly you have to see it for yourself.

     

     

    Eddie Rosario kept the offensive attack going when he blasted a two-run home run in the sixth inning to propel Minnesota to an 8-1 lead.

     

     

    Injury Bug Bites Again

    Last night we got Buxton back off the IL, tonight we got Donaldson back but two more Twins left the game early with injury.

     

    Max Kepler pulled up limp after scoring from first on the double from Donaldson and was replaced by Marwin Gonzalez. Luis Arraez also left the game early after limping into second and was replaced by Ehire Adrianza.

     

    Neither injury appeared to be too serious but the Minnesota Twins can’t afford to be without either player for any extended period of time.

     

    Minnesota Bullpen Slams the Door

    Jorge Alcala entered the game in the seventh following the quality outing from Berrios. Alcala would toss two scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and striking out two.

     

    Devin Smeltzer was called upon in the top of the ninth to put the game on ice and he did exactly that.

     

    White Sox Defense Was Bad… Very Bad

    The Minnesota Twins would have won tonight regardless but the Chicago defense was downright awful. They committed four errors, including the ridiculous debacle of a rundown play that allowed Sano to score in the fifth (see video above).

     

    The Twins will enjoy a day off tomorrow before playing a doubleheader against Detroit on Friday.

     

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

    Download attachment: Bullpen.png

     

    Postgame Pint

    John Bonnes, Seth Stohs and Jeremy Nygaard were joined by Twins Daily's virtual live audience to break down the game (and some crummy injury news).

     

    Download The Postgame Pint Podcast

    You can also listen to the Postgame Pint and never miss another one. Just head over to our iTunes page and subscribe. Every morning you'll have a new episode waiting for you. Or listen wherever you download your favorite podcasts.

     

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  4. Sergio Romo caused a bit of a stir Monday with a fiery outburst, but the flames were dulled tonight. Cleveland took the lead in the eighth inning after Romo retired just one of the five batters he faced. After dropping the series, the Twins’ lead in the division is down to a half game.Box Score

    Berríos: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 6 K (103 pitches, 63 strikes)

    Home Runs: Kepler (7)

    Bottom 3 WPA: Romo -.323, Cruz -.178, Polanco -.135

    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):

    Download attachment: Winchart.png

     

    Berrios Struggles Early then Settles Down

     

    Jose Berrios entered tonight's start coming off his best start of the year his last time out and the early results for Jose were not as good as his last outing. Berrios struggled with his command, walking three batters through the first three innings.

     

    He was able to escape an early jam in the fist with some help from Max Kepler, who made a spectacular catch at the wall in right field. The biggest blemish of the night for Jose came in the third inning when he surrendered a three-run home run to Jose Ramirez, which gave Cleveland an early 3-2 lead.

     

     

    After the third inning, Berrios was able to settle in and limit the damage. He recorded five strikeouts over the next two innings and kept Minnesota in the game. Jose ran into some trouble again in the sixth after he gave up a two-out double to Greg Allen and a walk to Roberto Perez. He was then relieved by Tyler Clippard, who made his first appearance since being hit by a line drive in his last outing.

     

    Jose finished his night with a line of 5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 6 K -- it certainly wasn’t his best effort, but it wasn’t a terrible outing either and he gave his team a chance to win, which is all you can really ask for.

     

    Offense Starts With a Bang

     

    Max Kepler continued to do Max Kepler things when he led off the game with a solo home run off Mike Clevinger, who was making his first start since being reassigned for violating COVID-19 protocol.

     

     

    Minnesota would add another run in the second inning after LaMonte Wade Jr singled, scoring Sano who had extended his hit streak to 10 games with a one-out double.

     

    The bats went quiet through the middle innings as Mike Clevinger was able to settle in and silence the Minnesota offensive attack. They finally broke through again in the seventh when Ehire Adrianza pinch hit for LaMonte Wade against Oliver Perez and ripped a double to left field. Adrianza would advance to third on a deep fly ball and later scored on a Jake Cave bloop single over the drawn in Cleveland infield, which tied the game at 3-3.

     

    Bullpen Falters

     

    Tyler Duffey worked a scoreless seventh inning, retiring the Indians in order and striking out two. Rocco handed the ball to Romo in the eighth and it did not go as planned. Romo found himself in trouble right away after allowing a single and a walk followed by a double and a sac fly, which gave Cleveland a 5-3 lead. At innings end it was 6-3 in the favor of Cleveland.

     

    Cleveland Takes the Series

     

    The Twins ended up going down 1-2-3 in the 9th and the Indians took the game and series. They have moved to within a half game of first place in the division. The Twins will now move on to play Detroit and Cleveland will head to St. Louis.

     

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

    Download attachment: Bullpen.png

     

    Postgame Pint

    Immediately following a 6-3 loss to Cleveland, Nick Nelson, Jeremy Nygaard and Andrew Thares discuss the loss with Twins Daily's live virtual audience.

     

     

    Download The Postgame Pint Podcast

    You can also listen to the Postgame Pint and never miss another one. Just head over to our iTunes page and subscribe. Every morning you'll have a new episode waiting for you. Or listen wherever you download your favorite podcasts.

     

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  5. The Twins headed to Kansas City to take on the Royals for three more games. Four batters into the game, the Twins were down 4-0. By the end of the evening, they had lost two pitchers to injury.Box Score

    Odorizzi: 3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

    Home Runs: None

    Bottom 3 WPA: Jake Odorizzi -0.259, Eddie Rosario -0.090, Max Kepler -0.068.

     

    Odorizzi Struggles; Leaves Early With Injury

    Jake Odorizzi made his third start of the year tonight and all three starts have come against the Kansas City Royals.

     

    Odorizzi ran into trouble in the first inning when he gave up a three-run home run to Jorge Soler. His defense didn’t help him much either. Sano and Vargas misplayed a pop up behind the first base bag, which allowed Whit Merrifield to score the first run of the game.

     

    In the fourth inning, Jake Odorizzi was hit in the ribs from a line drive off the bat of Alex Gordon. Odorizzi immediately dropped to all fours and was in obvious pain. He got back to his feet and attempted to stay in the game, but was eventually walked off the field by Minnesota’s head trainer, Michael Salazar.

     

    Jorge Alcala came in the game following the injury to Odorizzi and gave up a bunt single to load the bases and walked Merrifield, allowing another Kansas City run to score before recording back-to-back strikeouts against Nicky Lopez and Hunter Dozier to end the inning.

     

    Jake ended his night with a final line of 3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 K

     

    Jorge Alcala Shines in Emergency Role

    After struggling early upon entering in relief of the injured Odorizzi, Alcala settled down and worked quickly shutting down the Kansas City lineup. In his second inning of work, Alcala struck out the first two batters of the inning on six pitches and induced a first pitch pop up for the third out.

     

    Alcala worked a second scoreless inning in the sixth, striking out two more Royals hitters and keeping the Twins within relative striking distance. Alcala pitched a total of three innings, allowing one hit and striking out six.

     

    Also, he throws gas, which is always fun to watch.

     

     

    Injuries Continue to Mount

    Much like many teams across the league, the 2020 Minnesota Twins have suffered their share of injuries, most notably to this point on the offensive side. Entering tonight, the Twins were without Buxton, Donaldson and Garver due to injury.

     

    The injured list got a bit more crowded tonight. As previously noted, Jake Odorizzi left the game in the fourth after being hit in the ribs by a line drive. Later in the game, Zack Littell, who entered the game in relief of Jorge Alcala, also had his night cut short due to injury. After hitting Soler on the hands, Littell signaled to the dugout for pitching coach Wes Johnson and expressed discomfort in his pitching arm. He was removed from the game and relieved by Caled Thielbar.

     

    Losing two pitchers to injury in the first game of a 10-game road trip is not an ideal situation.

     

    The No Bomba Squad

    The offensive woes for the 2020 Minnesota Twins have been well documented. We’re now nearly halfway through this shortened season and the lineup is still sputtering and shows very little resemblance to the powerhouse they were a year ago. Tonight was no exception.

     

    Through the first seven innings, Minnesota mustered five hits, all of which were singles, and their lone run came courtesy of a fielders’ choice groundout from Ehire Adrianza, scoring Rosario.

     

    Their first extra base hit did not come until the eighth inning when Miguel Sano doubled following a walk from Cruz, who later scored on a wild pitch.

     

    The good news is the Twins are still in first place and have another game tomorrow.

    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):

     

    Posted Image

     

    Full recap coming soon ...

     

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

     

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    Postgame Pint

    Nick, Rena and Nash discussed a bad night for the Twins, both because of the result and the potential injuries that the Twins Daily community witnessed.

     

     

    Download The Postgame Pint Podcast

    You can also listen to the Postgame Pint and never miss another one. Just head over to our iTunes page and subscribe. Every morning you'll have a new episode waiting for you. Or listen wherever you download your favorite podcasts.

     

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  6. The Bomba Squad scored a dozen runs and Kenta Maeda cruised into the seventh inning as the Twins broke loose Wednesday night in Milwaukee. Byron Buxton had his second career multi-home run game and Miguel Sanó hit a towering dinger.Box Score

    Maeda: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

    Home Runs: Sanó (4), Buxton 2 (5)

    Top 3 WPA: Maeda .125, Cave .108, Polanco .100

    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs):

    Download attachment: Winchart.png

     

    The Bats Finally Wake Up

    In the first two games of the series, Minneosta scored a combined eight runs, all of which came courtesy of the long ball. In the second inning they scored five runs without a single home run.

     

    Miguel Sano walked and later scored on a double from Jake Cave, after Brewers left-fielder, Christian Yelich lost the ball in the sun. Cave would later score after an RBI single from Arraez. Three more singles from Garver, Polanco and Cruz would plate three more runs and give Minnesota an early 5-0 lead.

     

    Miguel Sano kept the party going in the third when he launched a ball into orbit, extending the Minnesota lead to 6-0.

     

     

    In the fourth inning, Rocco dug into his bag of tricks and broke out the old school hit-and-run play and it worked to perfection. Rosario was running on the pitch and Marwin lined the ball down the right field line, scoring Rosario and pushing the lead to 7-0 -- the route was on early in Milwaukee.

     

    By the end of the fourth inning every starter for the Twins had at least one hit.

     

    In the fifth inning, Byron Buxton hit his fourth home run of the year, extending the early lead to 8-0. After the Buxton blast, Minnesota loaded the bases for Nelson Cruz who drew a walk, scoring another run and keeping the bases loaded for Rosario, who was the hottest Twins hitter entering play. Eddie worked the count full and drew another walk, scoring yet another run for Minnesota.

     

    After a Milwaukee pitching change, Marwin Gonzalez lifted a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Polanco and further extending the lead to 11-0. Milwaukee was finally put out of their misery when Cave grounded out, ending the inning in which Minnesota had batted around and scored three runs on only two hits.

     

    Byron led off the sixth by collecting his fifth home run of the year and his second of the game, stepping on the throat of Milwaukee and making it a 12-0 game.

     

    Kenta Maeda Continues To Shine

    A lot was made about the Brusdar Graterol for Kenta Maeda trade this winter but Maeda has done nothing but impress every time he’s taken the mound for Minnesota. Tonight was no exception.

     

    Propelled by an earlier lead, Maeda was able to settle in and roll through the Milwaukee lineup. He didn’t feature a lot of swing and miss stuff but he worked efficiently and kept the Brewers in check for most of the night. He ran into some trouble in the sixth when he gave up a single, double and another single, allowing Milwaukee to score two runs.

     

    Maeda finished his night with a strong 6.2 innings, improving his record to 3-0.

     

    Garver Gets On Track?

    The early struggles for Mitch Garver are well documented and we’ve all been waiting for signs that he is breaking out of his slump. Perhaps we got those signs tonight.

     

    Mitch finished 3-for-6 with zero strike outs and hit three balls with an exit velocity of 98mph or greater. That’s the kind of hard contact we’ve been waiting to see from Mitch.

     

    Rocco’s decision to have him lead off tonight turned out to be the right move. Even though some people questioned it, myself included.

     

     

    Sometimes you have to admit when you’re wrong and I was certainly wrong.

     

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

    Download attachment: Bullpen.png

     

    Postgame Pint

    Immediately after the last out, Twins Daily's writers and community gathered to revel in an easy win over Milwaukee and a 12-7 record.

     

    Download The Postgame Pint Podcast

    You can also listen to the Postgame Pint and never miss another one. Just head over to our iTunes page and subscribe. Every morning you'll have a new episode waiting for you. Or listen wherever you download your favorite podcasts.

     

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  7. Every sports fan dreams of one day seeing their favorite team win a championship. Some fans have been fortunate enough to enjoy this multiple times, some have never experienced this in their lives and others have experienced it once but haven’t gotten to experience it again in nearly three decades or more.Regardless of which category you fall into, you likely want nothing more than to see your team on top at the end of the year. But what does that mean for fans? We’re not the ones hoisting the trophy at the end of the year. We don’t get a beautiful shiny ring to wear for the rest of our lives. We don’t get to share in the financial incentive of winning it all or the endorsements to follow.

     

    As fans we’re left with some of the best memories of our lives and stories to share for decades about where we were and what we were doing the night they won it all. We hang memorabilia in our homes and talk about these moments to anyone and everyone who’s willing to listen to us.

     

    We celebrate with other fans at packed bars, we flock in the millions to attend a parade where we can, for a brief moment in time, feel like we too are in some way part of this special moment. Eventually those moments fade to memories.

     

    All of this begs the question of whether or not winning a championship in 2020 would “feel” the same from a fan perspective. This is not about whether there will be an asterisk next to the championship or if it will be deemed illegitimate. This is a discussion of the fan experience and what winning a championship will feel like in 2020.

     

    In the midst of a global pandemic, in which our lives have been flipped upside down and seemingly everything we enjoy in life has been taken away from us, it’s hard to argue that the fan experience of winning a championship in 2020 will be significantly different than at any other point in history.

     

    When the Red Sox finally broke the curse and won the World Series in 2004, it was absolute pandemonium in the streets of Boston. In 2016, the Chicago Cubs ended their 108-year World Series drought and the scene outside iconic Wrigley Field was incredible. The pain of 108 years was lifted and the people of Chicago celebrated together in a night they will not soon forget. In 2010, the San Francisco Giants won their first title in 52 years since moving to the city by the Bay. Nearly five million people showed up to the parade to share that moment with the team they spent the last seven months cheering for.

     

    None of those moments will exist in 2020. There will be no blissful celebrations on the city streets, there will be no parade to cap off an incredible journey and we won’t be able to celebrate with strangers in a packed bar, nor be in the stands when the confetti falls. We will be watching from home isolated from others and left to cherish the moment on our own.

     

    Perhaps for a fanbase that has become accustomed to winning championships, the absence of these moments won’t hurt as much. Whereas for a fanbase like Minnesota, Cleveland, Milwaukee, San Diego or Los Angeles who haven’t seen their team win in 30 plus years, or ever in franchise history, the absence of the blissfully joyful moments will certainly be felt.

     

    We got our first glimpse of what this might feel like when Nelson Cruz hit the walk-off double against Pittsburgh. The celebration left much to be desired. Cruz wasn’t mobbed by his teammates at second base. There was no explosion of cheers from the crowd as the ball sailed over the center fielders’ head. We certainly cheered at home, the excitement was there but it was different. Even Nelson Cruz described it as “boring”.

     

    There’s certainly nothing boring about winning a championship, regardless of the circumstances. However, as a Minnesota sports fan, you have waited 29 years for this to happen, and for some of you that’s longer than you’ve been alive.

     

    For those who were alive and remember 1987 and 1991 I’m sure 2020 will feel much different for you. If you had not yet been born, or were too young to experience those title years this would be your first experience with a Minnesota sports team winning a championship.

     

    This is by no means to say the Twins should not win or we as fans should root against them. That’s asinine and goes against the very reason we watch and enjoy sports. If the 2020 Minnesota Twins do in fact win the World Series it will be a special moment that will bring joy to many but the overall experience of the journey, and the moment in which they clinch it will be very subdued.

     

    It’s possible we could still get a parade. Maybe it’s delayed until the winter and we line the streets of downtown Minneapolis as we ring in 2021. Perhaps we will join our friends through Zoom video chats and celebrate together virtually. If we are blessed with a championship in 2020 we will certainly still celebrate it but the experiences won’t be the same.

     

    For Minnesota sports fans who have waited nearly three decades to celebrate a championship, will a 2020 title leave something to be desired?

     

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  8. Randy Dobnak, Mr. Reliable, delivered six more shutout innings pitching in the stadium he used to visit as a kid. He has now given up just one run in 15 innings pitched this season. Continue reading for the full recap ...Box Score

    Dobnak: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

    Home Runs: Kepler (4)

     

    The Legend of Randy Dobnak Continues

    We all know the story of Randy Dobnak being an uber driver, but the story of Randy Dobnak is becoming much more than that. The story of Dobnak is now that of a really good big league pitcher who’s throwing high quality innings for a very potent postseason contending team.

     

    Making his first career appearance in his home city of Pittsburgh, Randy Dobnak once again provided the Twins with a stellar outing and held the Pirates to no runs through six innings while only surrendering three hits, two of which were infield singles. With multiple starting pitchers on the shelf, Dobnak has emerged as a reliable quality arm for the Twins rotation and continues to give them a chance to win every time he takes the mound.

     

    Trevor Williams Silences the Bomba Squad

    Trevor Williams is certainly no household name but he was able to neutralize the high powered Minnesota lineup for seven innings. The Twins were unable to get a single extra base hit against Williams and their lone run off him came courtesy of a bloop single by Marwin Gonzalez that was mere centimeters from being foul.

     

    The Twins finally broke through for another run in the ninth inning when Marwin Gonzalez once again delivered the blow on a single, scoring Buxton and pushing the Minnesota lead to 2-0. Max Kepler delivered the finishing blow later that inning when he launched a three-run home run giving Minnesota a 5-0 lead and sending the non-existent crowd home early.

     

    Twins Bullpen Does It Again

    One of the early storylines for this Twins team has been the dominance of their bullpen, which was on full display again tonight. Rocco turned to the ‘pen in the seventh inning following the stellar outing by Dobnak and the trio of Stashak, Duffey and Alcala slammed the door on Pittsburgh, preserving the victory.

     

    Although the one blemish came in the bottom of the ninth, when Josh Bell launched a two-run home run off Jorge Alcala.

     

    All We Do Is Win Win Win No Matter What

    Even on a night in which the Twins’ bats were as cold as Minnesota in January for most of the game, they were still able to win their sixth game in a row and improve to 10-2, their best start to a season in franchise history.

     

    This team has shown the ability to win in a multitude of ways, which is a sign of a very good team, which is exactly what the 2020 Twins are.

     

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

    Download attachment: Bullpen.png

     

    Postgame Pint

    Immediately following the game, Twins Daily's writers Seth Stohs, Matt Braun, Matthew Taylor and Renabanena were joined by a live virtual audience and discussed the Twins' 5-2 win over the Pirates.

     

    Download The Postgame Pint Podcast

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  9. Over the last few months our nation has battled a widespread pandemic causing millions to lose their jobs and forcing us as a society to adapt to a new way of living. We were quarantined to our homes with very little resemblance of normal life. We were and still are without many of the things we enjoy in life.This last week has rocked our city. Minneapolis continues to mourn the killing of George Floyd while in custody of Minneapolis police, and pick up the pieces of the events that followed. Our city has shown great strength and sparked what is now a national movement in the continued fight for justice and equality for the black community.

     

    Better days are certainly ahead of us. Minnesota continues to turn the dials on coronavirus restrictions, and eventually life will begin to resemble normalcy. A big first step in that direction will be the return of baseball.

     

    Baseball is often referred to as America’s Pastime, and we need our pastime now more than ever. From the inception of Major League Baseball shortly following the Civil War, it has played a major role in shaping our society. From kids playing stickball in the streets during the Great Depression to MLB heroes hanging up their cleats to serve our nation during a time of war.

     

    In April of 1947, nearly ten years before the Civil Rights movement began, Major League Baseball broke the color barrier in America when Jackie Robinson made his debut for the then Brooklyn Dodgers. In the decades to follow, Major League Baseball has grown into one of the most diverse sports in the world.

     

    Baseball is played all around the world and Major League Baseball is represented by athletes from many different walks of life and is often a symbol of hope for many who choose to play the game. That symbol of hope is exactly what our city and our nation needs right now.

     

    Major League Baseball also has a history of bringing cities and our country together following tragic events that rocked a city or the nation as a whole. Let’s take a look at some of those moments.

     

    During the 1989 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics, the city of San Francisco was rocked by an earthquake that took 63 lives and injured 3,757 others. The earthquake happened less than a half hour before the first pitch of game three as the country was watching on TV. The nation watched as a city was devastated and wondered if the World Series would be completed that year.

     

    Ten days later, the World Series resumed and helped bring healing to an entire region. Even though the Athletics would go on to sweep the Giants the resuming of baseball brought the entire Bay Area together during a time of great suffering.

     

    In September of 2001, our nation watched as we were attacked by terrorists and nearly 3,000 fellow Americans lost their lives. On the day of the attacks, then MLB Commissioner, Bud Selig postponed all games scheduled that day. The postponement of baseball would last six days. When baseball finally did resume it was a celebration of patriotism and hope as we leaned on baseball to mourn the events of that horrific day.

     

    The New York Mets and Atlanta Braves played the first professional sports game in the city of New York following the attacks and both teams donned hats in support of the New York fire and police departments. This was a very difficult time for our country but we had baseball to bring us together and help the healing.

     

    Later that year, before game three of the World Series, the first game played in New York that series, President Geroge W. Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch while wearing an FDNY sweater over a bullet proof vest.

     

    In April of 2013 the city of Boston came under attack when multiple bombs were set off during the iconic Boston Marathon. The city of Boston would rally behind the Red Sox and their rally cry was “Boston Strong”.

     

    When the Red Sox had their first home game following the tragedy their uniforms did not say ‘Red Sox’, instead their uniforms had Boston stitched across their chest. David Ortiz addressed the crowd that day and had a very powerful message, “This jersey that we wear today, it doesn’t say ‘Red Sox.’ It says ‘Boston.’ We want to thank you Mayor Menino, Governor Patrick, the whole police department, for the great job that they did this past week. This is our (expletive) city. And nobody gonna dictate our freedom. Stay strong.”

     

    The Red Sox would go on to win the World Series in 2013 after finishing last in their division in 2012. The city of Boston had baseball to help them recover.

     

    In August of 2017, the city of Houston was hit by Hurricane Harvey. Thousands of Houston residents were displaced and homes destroyed. The Astros had to play home games at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Florida immediately following the devastation.

     

    Although the legitimacy of their World Series title has since been tainted, the city of Houston was able to rally behind the Astros as they won their first World Series title in franchise history later that year. The cheating scandal that captured the sports world earlier this year does not take away from the relief and healing the city of Houston received from the Astros during their title run in 2017.

     

    Baseball is still at its core merely just a game but when our cities and our nation have been rocked by tragedy and turmoil baseball becomes much larger than just a game. Baseball becomes part of the healing process. As the unprecedented events of 2020 continue to unfold we can all look to better days and know that baseball will be there for us as we continue to heal and move forward towards a better and stronger city and country.

     

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  10. As I have shared previously, I am originally from San Francisco and grew up a die-hard Giants fan. Now living in Minneapolis, I got to thinking about Twins and Giants connections over the years. These two franchises actually have a unique and interesting history together.This strange history between the two franchises began in 1924, when the Washington Senators defeated the New York Giants in the World Series. This was the first ever World Series title in Senators/Twins history and it came against none other than the Giants. The 1924 World Series was a classic too, going to game seven but even that wasn’t enough. It would be decided in the 12th inning, at that time only the second World Series to be decided in extra innings of game seven. Legendary pitcher Walter Johnson, at age 36, came out of the bullpen in extra innings to earn the win for Washington.

     

    The Senators seemed to have fate on their side and were assisted by a pebble on the infield. In the eighth inning, trailing 3-1 with two runners on, Bucky Harris of the Senators hit a routine ground ball to third but the ball hit a pebble and bounced over the head of the Giants third baseman allowing both runners to score tying the game at 3-3 and forcing extra innings. This was also the first World Series to use the 2-3-2 format, which is still used today.

     

    The next piece of this history doesn’t directly involve the Minnesota Twins but it does involve a connection between the city of Minneapolis and the Giants. The Minneapolis Millers were the minor league affiliate of the New York Giants and for 35 games in 1951 Willie Mays was an unstoppable force for the Millers. He slashed a jaw-dropping .477/.524/.799 with a 1.323 OPS in 149 at-bats. With numbers like that it’s no surprise Mays was called up to the big leagues and would go on to become one of the greatest to ever play the game of baseball.

     

    However, after being called up to the Giants, Willie Mays went 0-for-5 in his MLB debut and the Giants issued a formal apology to the city of Minneapolis for taking Mays away from them. The Minneapolis Morning Tribune published the full page apology in the newspaper and the next day Willie Mays hit his first big league home run off Warren Spahn.

     

    A pivotal piece of the Twins 1987 World Series winning team came courtesy of the Giants when they traded Dan Gladden to Minnesota for two minor leaguers and a player to be named later. Gladden would go on to play five seasons in Minnesota and win two World Series titles along the way. The two minor leaguers the Giants received in exchange never made it to the big leagues and the player to be named later had a -1.0 career WAR. I think it’s fair to say Minnesota won this trade.

     

    The Dan Gladden trade wasn’t the only trade between Minnesota and San Francisco that was a huge success for Minnesota. In 2003, the Giants sent the Twins Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser in exchange for A.J. Pierzynski. Joe Nathan would go on to become the greatest closer in Minnesota Twins history. Francisco Liriano spent seven solid years in Minnesota, including a stellar 2006, and Boof Bosner is something of a legend in his own way.

     

    A.J. Pierzynski, on the other hand, was not a very good Giant. He spent one season in San Francisco and hit a pedestrian .272/.319/.410 and led the league with 27 double plays grounded into. Not exactly what the Giants had in mind when they gave up Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano.

     

    In 2002, the Giants and Twins once again crossed paths to create an iconic moment in baseball history. During the All-Star game in Milwaukee, Torii Hunter robbed Barry Bonds of a home run. Bonds would then pick Hunter and put him over his shoulder before heading back to the dugout.

     

    Watch the video here:

     

    Today the Twins and Giants share a family connection. Twins closer, Taylor Rogers has an identical twin named Tyler Rogers who is a funky submarine style relief pitcher for the Giants. Tyler Rogers debuted with the Giants on August 27, 2019. On that same day, Taylor Rogers recorded the save for the Twins against the White Sox.

     

    The last connection between the two franchises is with Sergio Romo, who won three World Series titles in San Francisco before being traded to Minnesota last year and instantly becoming a fan favorite. Perhaps also worth noting is that Ehrie Adrianza has a World Series ring from his time with the Giants in 2014.

     

    For two franchises in different leagues separated by nearly 2,000 miles they have certainly crossed paths through time in some very interesting and impactful ways. Who would have thought?

     

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  11. The prevailing narrative surrounding the Twins offseason thus far has been more or less a series of chaotic cries of desperation for an impact, front-end of the rotation pitcher. While these cries of desperation are justified, Minnesota doesn’t need to sign an impact arm this winter to contend again in 2020.As we prepare to set out the cookies and milk for Santa Claus, the Twins rotation and lineup remains relatively the same as it was in 2019. That team won 101 games en route to their first division title in a decade -- they were a good team.

     

    The AL Central remains arguably the weakest division in the league. Sure, the White Sox will likely be better next year, but they won 72 games in 2019. Don’t expect them to be 30 wins better in 2020. The Royals and Tigers will be in a hard-fought battle for the first overall pick and the Indians will likely be somewhere in the middle, especially if they do in fact trade Lindor.

     

    If Opening Day rolls around and the Minnesota roster and payroll remains exactly what is right now they’re still the best team in the division. They’re a good team - don’t forget that. It’s also worth noting they’re returning two All-Star starting pitchers.

     

    Would it have been nice to add Gerritt Cole or Stephen Strasburg? Of course! But we all knew that wasn’t going to happen. I personally would have loved to see Madison Bumgarner shooting snot rockets in a Twins uniform but he doesn’t have horses in Minnesota. Also, I’d imagine the dirt biking scene is a lot better in Arizona.

     

    Hyun-Jin Ryu is still available but there’s something about committing four years to a 33-year-old with an injury list longer than Al Capone’s criminal record that doesn’t sit well with me.

     

    Also, Ryu’s career numbers against American League teams aren’t as favorable as his overall career numbers. His career 2.98 ERA and 1.164 WHIP looks a lot better than his 3.84 ERA and 1.24 WHIP against American League teams.

     

    Now feels like a good time to remind you that the 2019 Minnesota Twins were a very good team and will have nearly the same roster in 2020. Don’t forget that.

     

    By now you’re likely thinking “yes there were very good. I haven’t forgotten but I also haven't forgotten they got swept by the Yankees”. If you had forgotten about that, I’m sorry for reminding you. At least you have the holidays to look forward to.

     

    Opening Day is less than 100 days away. Yay! But October baseball is a long ways away. The Twins don’t need to sign an impact front-end of the rotation pitcher prior to Opening Day to be in first place by the trade deadline.

     

    Have I mentioned the AL Central is a weak division?

     

    Singing a free-agent pitcher to a long-term deal just because you can is similar to drafting Christian Ponder in the first-round. Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should do it.

     

    Do the Twins need to add a quality starting pitcher to their rotation to beat the Yankees or Astros in the postseason? Absolutely. However, that doesn’t have to happen prior to Opening Day.

     

    Come July 31 there will be trade options available and those options will likely be better than the free-agent options currently available.

     

    Some names to keep an eye on are David Price, Johnny Cueto, Matthew Boyd, and Robbie Ray. Any of those pitchers make the Twins a better team. All of them will likely be available at the trade deadline.

     

    The Twins absolutely need to add an impact arm to finally win a postseason series but they don’t need to add him prior to Opening Day.

     

    Take a deep breath and don’t forget the 2020 Minnesota Twins will be a very good team.

     

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  12. The day after celebrating their first division title since 2010, the Minnesota Twins deployed a lineup consisting of six players who began the year in the minor leagues. Seven if you count the starting pitcher, Devin Smeltzer.

     

    Luckily they were playing against Detroit, whose regular lineup is still worse than the Twins Triple-A lineup.Box Score

    Smeltzer: 5 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 70% strikes (57 of 81 pitches)

    Bullpen: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K

     

    Home Runs: Jonathan Schoop (23), Willians Astudillo (4)

    Multi-Hit Games: Ian Miller (2-for-5), Willians Astudillo (4-for-5), Jonathan Schoop (2-for-5), Jake Cave (2-for-5)

     

     

    Top 3 WPA: Cave .213, Astudillo .200, Miller .198

     

    Young Players Make an Impact

    Ian Miller collected both his first big league hit and RBI in the third inning to give Minnesota an early lead. This wouldn’t have been possible if not for Ronald Torreyes stealing second, marking only the fourth stolen base for Minnesota since the All-Star break.

     

    LaMonte Wade made his first professional start at first base. He hadn’t played the position since his sophomore year of college, five years ago, and was borrowing Max Kepler’s first baseman's mitt.

     

    This was an all-around interesting lineup.

     

    Bomba Squad Reaches 300 and Beyond

    In the top of the seventh inning, Jonathan Schoop hit his 23rd home run of the season and the 300th of the year for the Minnesota Twins. With that home run, Minnesota became the first team to ever hit 300 home runs in a season and once again passed the Yankees for the most home runs this year.

     

    In the eighth inning, Willians Astudillo made it 301 bombas when he blasted his fourth of the year over the left field fence, giving Minnesota a 10-4 lead.

     

    Winding Down

    With the division already clinched and the 2019 regular season coming to an end, with no chance of leapfrogging the Yankees or Astros in the A.L. standings, we can expect to see more lineups similar to today's.

     

    Enjoy watching stress-free baseball against Kansas City and get locked in for postseason baseball. There’s nothing better and we’ve earned this, Twins Territory.

     

    Postgame With Baldelli

     

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

    Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.

     

    Click here to view the article

  13. The Minnesota Twins completed the three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox and extended their road winning streak to a season-high seven games. Jose Berrios showed encouraging signs of getting back on track and the potent offense delivered again.Box Score

    Berrios: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 62% strikes (63 of 101 pitches)

    Bullpen: 3 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

     

    Home Runs: Jake Cave (2), C.J. Cron

    Multi-Hit Games: Jorge Polanco (2-for-4), Nelson Cruz (2-for-4), Eddie Rosario (2-for-5), Jake Cave (2-for-5), C.J. Cron (3-for-5), Jonathan Schoop (3-for-4).

     

    Top 3 WPA: Cron .139, Polanco .103, Cruz .098

     

    Singles Day in Chicago

    I cannot confirm nor deny the White Sox were having a singles day promotion but it would have been fitting given the way the Minnesota offense opened the game. Their first eight hits were all singles and the Twins scored six runs before recording their first extra-base hit.

     

    That first extra-base hit came courtesy of Jake Cave when he led off the third inning with a solo home run. C.J. Cron followed suit and blasted another solo shot to give Minnesota back-to-back home runs to open the inning.

     

    Jake Cave would later add a second home run to his afternoon and C.J. Cron would finish a triple shy of the cycle.

     

    Quality Start for Berrios

    Jose Berrios has pitched very well for the Twins this year but has struggled over his last four starts. He struggled with command throughout his start today but did a good job limiting the damage and earned only his second quality start over his last five outings.

     

    With the postseason quickly approaching, it’s important that Berrios is able to get back on track.

     

    Postgame With Baldelli

     

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

    Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.

     

    Click here to view the article

  14. On a night in which the Minnesota Twins honored closer Joe Nathan by inducting him into the Twins Hall of Fame there was no closer needed. Thanks in large part to a bombing barrage courtesy of the Minnesota offense.Box Score

    Kyle Gibson: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 61% strikes (67 of 110 pitches)

    Bullpen: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

     

    Home Runs: Nelson Cruz 3 (30), Jorge Polanco (17), C.J. Cron (19)

    Multi-Hit Games: Nelson Cruz 3-for-4, C.J. Cron 3-for-4, Luis Arraez 2-for-4

     

    Top 3 WPA: Polanco .229, Cruz .221, Cron .113

     

    Bombs Away

    The Bomba Squad was in full force tonight and Royals pitcher Danny Duffy experienced the full force of it. Before he had recorded six outs, Duffy had surrendered four home runs and seven earned runs.

     

    Nelson Cruz got the party started and C.J. Cron joined the party in his first at-bat after returning from the IL. Jorge Polanco also got into the action when he blasted a two-run home run in the second inning. The rout was in full effect early and the Twins never looked back.

     

    Aged Like Fine Wine

    Not many things age well. Among those those that do are fine wine and Nelson Cruz. Being skeptical of the Twins signing a 38-year-old DH in the offseason would have been completely rational. In no other world besides professional sports is 38 considered old, but Nelson Cruz seems to have discovered the fountain of youth in Minnesota.

     

    Since July 24, Nelson Cruz has hit .500/.581/1.308 including two three-home run games. All coming after his 39th birthday. With a BABIP of .538 it’s unlikely he continues on this pace for an extended period of time but it sure is fun to watch.

     

    Quality Start for Gibson

    Kyle Gibson had a clean 1-2-3 first inning but ran into some trouble in the second inning. Kansas City slugger Jorge Soler led off the inning with a solo home run. A throwing error from Jonathan Schoop allowed a runner to reach base and he later scored, tying the game at 2-2.

     

    After the second inning, Gibby was on cruise control until he ran into trouble in the seventh. He left the game with the bases loaded and two outs. Thankfully Ryne Harper was able to wiggle out of the jam and preserve the 11-3 lead.

     

    Postgame With Baldelli

     

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

    Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.

     

    Click here to view the article

  15. By now most of you have seen Sergio Romo pitch and gotten a sense of his energetic and infectious personality. Many of you have also likely already grown very fond of him. For those of you that haven’t, I hope this article changes your mind.Before we get started on this journey together, I think it’s important to tell you a little about myself. I am originally from San Francisco. I was a senior in high school when Sergio Romo won his first World Series ring. I was a sophomore in college when he recorded the final out of his second World Series and by the time he won his third World Series I was already a jaded old man working a corporate job.

     

    I was fortunate enough to watch Sergio Romo evolve from a mid-relief pitcher to an All-Star closer and three-time World Series champion. I was there for every step along the way. I can still hear his entry music blaring through the AT&T Park speakers. There was also that one time in San Diego when he tossed me a baseball.

     

    So yeah, I love the guy and I hope after reading this you will too. Now let’s begin that journey.

     

    This will not be a statistical breakdown of Sergio Romo the pitcher. I covered that here. Instead this article will focus on Sergio Romo, the person. My goal is for you to get to know Romo a little better while also taking a walk with me down memory lane, and reliving some of the best moments of his career.

     

    Fear The Beard

    Our journey begins in 2010. At this time, Sergio Romo was a relative unknown. He was a 28th-round draft pick in 2005 and entering the 2010 season, he was a 27 year-old with less than 70 big league innings under his belt.

     

    There was one distinguishable trait about him, however. And that was his beard. He and fellow bullpen teammate, Brian Wilson became a feared and bearded bullpen duo. They would later embrace the rally cry of “Fear The Beard”.

     

    There were shirts made for this. You couldn’t walk anywhere in San Francisco without a street vendor selling you a Fear The Beard T-shirt. Concession stands in AT&T Park were selling beards.

     

    For Halloween that year I dyed my beard black and wore a Giants jersey. It was a trend and it all started with Sergio Romo — the 27-year-old 28th-round draft pick.

     

    Sergio Romo vs. Jay Bruce

    The next stop on our journey takes us to Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio on October 11, 2012. This was game five in a best of five NLDS between the Reds and Giants.

     

    It was the bottom of the ninth, with one out and two on. The Giants were hanging on to a two-run lead and in stepped Jay Bruce to face Sergio Romo. The season was hanging in the balance for both teams.

     

    Just a few years prior, Romo was labeled as a righty specialist who rarely ever faced left-handed hitters. Yet there he was, season on the line and going after a premier left-handed hitter.

     

    Romo and Bruce would eventually be locked into an epic 12-pitch battle. Just like you would expect from any epic postseason pitcher-batter duel the count ended up full.

     

    Finally, on the twelve pitch of the at-bat, Romo got Bruce to fly out to left field. He then struck out the next batter on seven pitches and sent the Giants to the NLCS.

     

    Watch this epic battle here:

     

    Sergio Romo vs Miguel Cabrera

    We don’t have to travel very far to reach the next destination on our journey. This one takes place at Comerica Park in Detroit on October 28, 2012. It was the bottom of the ninth in game four of the World Series.

     

    Sergio Romo was on the mound to close out the World Series and the last man standing in his way was none other than the future Hall of Farmer, 2012 Triple Crown winner and MVP, Miguel Cabrera.

     

    No moment was too big for Sergio Romo. He went right after Miggy and struck him out looking on an 89 mph fastball right down the middle.

     

     

    I Just Look Illegal

    We have arrived at the last stop on this part of our journey. We have landed in San Francisco on October 31, 2012. What’s the occasion? It's their World Series parade and Sergio wore what was considered a controversial shirt inscribed with the worlds “I Just Look Illegal”.

     

    Earlier that year, Romo was detained at an airport for no explainable reason. Throughout his career he had also been asked numerous times what country he’s from. So, he decided to use a tongue in cheek slogan on a shirt as a way of letting people know that he is in fact, an American, who only looks illegal.

     

     

    Also, it was pretty funny.

     

    Next we will get to know more about the lighter side of Sergio Romo.

     

    Romobombing

    Throughout his tenure with the Giants, Romo was notorious for video-bombing the dugout reporter during in-game reports. The bullpen mounds in San Francisco are in foul territory and this allows relief pitchers to be in the dugout during the game.

     

    Any time the cameras were rolling near the dugout Sergio could be seen in the background putting on a comedy show. His acts even earned their own hashtag. #romobombing

     

     

    Mi Amor

    Most athletes don’t make the best actors. I suppose the phrase “stick to sports” could apply to athletes trying their hand at acting.

     

    Romo certainly won’t be winning an Oscar any time soon but he has appeared in a handful of hilarious promotional ads.

     

    Here is my favorite:

     

    Thank you for taking this journey this with me. I hope you enjoyed reliving these memories as much as I did.

     

    Now it’s time for new memories and hopefully Sergio Romo wins his fourth World Series as a member of the Minnesota Twins. If so, who knows what kind of gimmick he will have in store for us during the parade through downtown Minneapolis.

     

    Click here to view the article

  16. Minnesota was going for the statement series sweep against Cleveland in its first regular season action after the All-Star break. They had their hands full, however, going against Shane Bieber and ultimately fell short of completing the sweep, losing 4-3.Box Score

    Berrios: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 65% strikes (60 of 92 pitches)

    Bullpen: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 K

     

    Home Runs: None

    Multi-Hit Games: Marwin Gonzalez (3-for-4)

     

    Top 3 WPA: Arraez .142, Gonzalez .126, Adrianza .115

    Bottom 3 WPA: Polanco -.317, Schoop -.285, Cruz -.150

     

    Poor Command Bites Berrios

    Twins ace,Jose Berrios entered today’s action seeking an elusive ninth win of the season. He struggled with his command early on, surrendering two walks in the first inning and Jose Rameriz made him play by driving in one of the runners with a two out knock.

     

    In the fourth inning, Berrios gave up a double and two singles allowing Cleveland to add two more runs to their lead and push the score to 3-0. A high pitch count would eventually end his afternoon after only five innings.

     

    Minnesota Rallies in the Seventh

    It wasn’t exactly how you draw it up and the Twins missed an opportunity to score even more but on a day where runs were at a premium at least they finally cracked into the run column

     

    It took Garver and Cave each getting hit by a pitch and singles from Marwin Gonzalez, Miguel Sano and Max Kepler for Minnesota to tie the game. They were very well positioned to do even more damage with the bases loaded and only one out with Polanco and Cruz due up. Unfortunately, both Polanco and Cruz would strike out to end the inning leaving the bases loaded.

     

    Coming Up Short In the Late Innings

    After the Twins rallied to tie the game in the seventh inning, Trevor May handed Cleveland the lead again when he surrendered a solo home run to Carlos Santana in an 0-2 count.

     

     

    The eighth inning got off to a good start for Minnesota when Luis Arraez reached base via a lead-off double but they were unable to drive him in and the scored remained 4-3.

     

    Postgame With Baldelli

     

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

    Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.

     

    Click here to view the article

  17. Watching afternoon baseball on the Fourth of July is always a treat and today the Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics treated us to a good game. Jose Berrios was hit or miss for most of the afternoon with a handful of good innings as well as a few rough innings. He pitched well overall but the offense came up just short.Box Score

    Berrios: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 58.7% strikes (54 of 92 pitches)

    Bullpen: 3 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K

     

    Home Runs: None

    Multi-Hit Games: Nelson Cruz (3-for-5, 2B), Ehire Adrianza (2-for-3), Jonathan Schoop (2-for-4)

     

    Top 3 WPA: Adrianza .192, Cruz .070, Littell .046

    Bottom 3 WPA: Berrios -.173, Polanco -.173, Morin -.124

     

    Berrios Not Sharp, But Effective

    The expectations are so high for Berrios that it’s easy to expect complete dominance every time he takes the mound but that won’t always be the case. What sets him apart and makes him an ace, however, is his ability to still pitch effectively when he doesn’t have his best stuff.

     

    Today was one of those days for Jose. He issued more walks than strikeouts recorded and scattered six hits over five innings while allowing three earned runs. A high pitch count ended his afternoon early but when his day was over the Twins were still in a position to win the game.

     

    Bats Remain Quiet

    The red-hot Minnesota offense we enjoyed for the first two months of the season was never going to be sustainable over a full season but seeing this team struggle at times to drive in runs is still taking some adjusting to.

     

    The best chance for the Twins to put a crooked number on the board came in the first inning. Ehire Adrianza was credited with an RBI after catcher’s interference was called with the bases loaded. The next batter, Jonathan Schoop hit a hard line drive into the left-center field gap but the stellar Oakland center fielder, Ramon Laureano tracked it down and put an end to the threat.

     

    Minnesota was able to add another run in the fifth inning when Adrianza once again collected an RBI. This time he singled into center field and Nelson Cruz was able to score from third.

     

    Oakland Breaks It Open Late

    The eighth inning didn’t get off to a great start for Minnesota and it ended even worse. Mike Morin would eventually load the bases with no outs. Marcus Semein then promptly unloaded on a pitch and blasted a grand-slam to left field giving the Athletics a 7-2 lead.

     

    Postgame With Baldelli

     

    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

    Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.

     

    Click here to view the article

  18. The Minnesota Twins have gotten good but not great production from their no-name group of relievers in the bullpen so far this season. The general consensus in Twins Territory and around the league is that in order for Minnesota to take the next step and be legitimate championship contenders it is crucial that they add more quality pieces to their bullpen. The bullpen trade market is still taking shape but today we will discuss Raisel Iglesias of the Cincinnati Reds.Raisel Iglesias, RHP, 29 years-old

    Cincinnati Reds, NL Central (38-43)

    Under team control through 2020.

     

    2019: 3.86 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 11.85 K/9, 4.13 BB/9 in 32 ⅔ IP

    2018: 2.38 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 10.00 K/9, 3.13 BB/9 in 72 IP

     

    What’s To Like

    There isn’t much to dislike about a hard throwing reliever with a wipe-out slider and proven effectiveness in late inning, high leverage situations. Actually, it is exactly what Minnesota needs. Albeit it would be even better if he was left-handed but nonetheless Raisel Iglesias is a quality bullpen arm.

     

    From 2016-18 Iglesias was lights out while pitching in a tough and hitter-friendly division. Pitching against the Cubs, Cardinals and Brewers in places like Great American Ballpark, Wrigley Field and Miller Park is no easy task and Iglesias has handled it well.

     

    ERA+ is a park adjusted statistic with 100 being league average. From 2016-18, the Cuban born right-hander posted an ERA+ well above average in each season. Here is his ERA+ each year in chronological order: 169, 181, and 177. It’s important to remember that 100 is league average, meaning Iglesias was superb over that three year stretch.

     

    FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) is another great metric to look at when evaluating how a pitcher has performed. Essentially it is a measure of what a pitcher’s ERA would be based on the types of balls put in play against him.

     

    Over his career, Iglesias has posted a 3.50 FIP. His best year was 2017 in which he had a 2.70 FIP and the worst was 4.23 in 2018. Using the chart above you can see he has consistently been above average when it comes to FIP.

     

    For those that prefer conventional metrics like ERA he’s done well in that department too. Over the same three year period his ERA ranged from 2.38 in 2018 to 2.53 in 2016.

     

    Concerns

    2019 has not been as favorable to Iglesias as his stretch from 2016-2018. While he’s maintained a solid FIP of 3.92, his ERA+ has dipped to 121. That's still above average, but much below his career high of 181 in 2017.

     

    Iglesias has also posted a 3.86 ERA which the highest it’s been since his rookie year in 2015. His K/9 is the highest of his career at 11.85 but his BB/9 is also the highest of his career at 4.13.

     

    Another area where he’s declined is WHIP. From 2016-2018 his WHIP hovered barely above 1.00. However, in 2019, his WHIP sits at 1.44. It’s not ideal for a late inning reliever to be allowing almost 1.5 base runners for every inning he pitches.

     

    Iglesias is still only 29-years-old and while he’s declined a bit this year he’s still an above average pitcher. Perhaps moving out of the hitter friendly NL Central and transitioning to the AL Central would allow him to regain his 2016-2018 dominance. If Minnesota does in fact acquire him they will certainly be hoping that’s the case.

     

    See Also

    Jake Diekman, LHP, Royals

    Ian Kennedy, RHP, Royals

    Sergio Romo, RHP, Marlins

    Shane Greene, RHP, Tigers

    Felipe Vázquez, LHP, Pirates

    Will Smith, LHP, Giants

    Liam Hendriks, RHP, Athletics

    Ty Buttrey, RHP, Angels

    Ken Giles, RHP, Blue Jays

    Sam Dyson, RHP, Giants

    Brad Hand, LHP, Indians

    Oliver Perez, LHP Cleveland

    Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds

    John Gant, RHP, Cardinals

    Alex Colome, RHP, White Sox

    Seth Lugo, RHP, Mets

    Greg Holland, RHP, Diamondbacks

    Sean Doolittle, LHP, Nationals

    Kirby Yates, RHP, Padres

    10 Relievers Minnesota Could Target

     

    Click here to view the article

  19. Barring some sort of catastrophic second-half meltdown, the Minnesota Twins are headed for postseason baseball when the calendar flips to October. It’s certainly been a while since the Twins have enjoyed a lengthy postseason run. Prior to the surprise Wild Card berth in 2017, the last time Minnesota made the playoffs was 2010. Why am I reminding you of that? Because it’s a key reason why this team lacks players with significant postseason experience. Today we will talk about a reliever who has plenty of postseason experience and three rings to show for it, Sergio Romo.Sergio Romo, 36 years old, RHP

    Miami Marlins (NL East, 30-49)

    Free Agent Following 2019 Season

     

    2018: 4.14 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 10.02 K/9, 2.67 BB/9 in 67.1 IP

    2019: 4.76 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 7.31 K/9, 4.13 BB/9 in 28.1 IP

     

    What’s To Like

    If you are keen on evaluating potential trade targets like securities investments then perhaps the phrase “past performance is not indicative of future results” applies to Sergio Romo, but we’ll dive into the concerns later. For now, we’re going to focus on the good things.

     

    Sergio Romo belongs to a very exclusive club - he is one of five active players with three or more World Series rings. Three of the other four were his teammates for those three championships. Romo wasn’t just a bystander for those three title runs either. He was a key contributor in what became known as the “core four” in San Francisco, referring their core four relievers during their dynasty years.

     

    Throughout his career, Romo has tallied 23 ⅓ postseason IP with a 3.09 ERA and 0.900 WHIP. The highlight of his postseason success was striking out Miguel Cabrera to end the 2012 World Series.

     

    Enough living in the past. This is 2019, not 2010-16.

     

    Concerns

    Unless you’re totally sold on a 36-year-old reliever who’s a previous All-Star and three-time World Champion then there’s a lot to be concerned about with Sergio Romo.

     

    He simply has not been very good for a few years now and that’s the most diplomatic way I can phrase that. His best days are certainly behind him, which one could reasonably expect from a 36 year old.

     

    This season has not been all that kind to Romo either. His numbers with the Marlins aren’t the type of numbers that jump off the page and get you excited. So far in 2019 his strikeout rate is the lowest of his career and his walk rate is the highest of his career. With a 4.76 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in just under 30 innings, it would be difficult to imagine the Marlins will receive much interest in Romo at the deadline.

     

    If the Twins do call, however, I suppose the one thing we can hang our hat on is that Sergio Romo has more postseason innings pitched than the entire Minnesota Twins pitching staff.

     

    See Also

    Shane Greene, RHP, Tigers

    Felipe Vázquez, LHP, Pirates

    Will Smith, LHP, Giants

    Liam Hendriks, RHP, Athletics

    Ty Buttrey, RHP, Angels

    Ken Giles, RHP, Blue Jays

    Sam Dyson, RHP, Giants

    Brad Hand, LHP, Indians

    Oliver Perez, LHP Cleveland

    Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds

    John Gant, RHP, Cardinals

    Alex Colome, RHP, White Sox

    Seth Lugo, RHP, Mets

    Greg Holland, RHP, Diamondbacks

    Sean Doolittle, LHP, Nationals

    Kirby Yates, RHP, Padres

    10 Relievers Minnesota Could Target

     

    Click here to view the article

  20. The Minnesota Twins currently only feature one left-handed reliever in their bullpen, Taylor Rogers, who has arguably been their most consistent and reliable option this season. Although Rogers has been excellent, Rocco Baldelli could certainly benefit from another left-handed option in the bullpen. Today we will discuss Will Smith, a left-handed reliever for the San Francisco Giants.Will Smith, LHP, 29-years-old

    San Francisco Giants (33-43, 5th in NL West)

    Free Agent following 2019 season.

     

    2018: 2.55 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 12.06 K/9, 2.55 BB/9 in 53 IP

    2019: 2.01 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 13.50 K/9, 2.01 BB/9 in 31.1 IP

     

    What’s To Like

    There is a lot to like about Will Smith. He has been a very effective pitcher for the majority of his career and has taken his game to the next level over the past two seasons in San Francisco. It’s no secret that the Giants are not a very good team but when they have had opportunities to win, Will Smith has done an excellent job locking them down. He has converted all twenty of his save opportunities this year and his numbers get even more impressive than that.

     

    It is not uncommon for left-handed pitchers, relievers especially, to struggle against right-handed hitters. That has not been the case for Smith. His season splits are very favorable against left and right-handed hitters. In 2019 right-handed hitters have hit .152/.212/.278 compared to .172/.200/.276 for left-handed hitters when facing Will Smith.

     

    Oracle Park in San Francisco has forever been one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the league. ESPN currently has Oracle Park ranked as the 24th best park for scoring runs. One might assume that Will Smith has benefited from pitching in such a pitcher-friendly ballpark, but his home/road splits are very favorable as well. In 13 ⅓ innings away from Oracle Park, Will Smith has held batters to a very pedestrian .070/.111/.233 while raking up 27 K and a minuscule 1.35 ERA.

     

    Concerns

    As discussed above, there is a whole lot to like about Will Smith, but that doesn’t mean he comes without any concerns. Smith missed all of 2017 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and even though he has pitched well since returning to the mound, the surgery is still worth mentioning.

     

    The surgery is not the only concern either. He will become a free agent after this season so acquiring Smith will very likely be a rental acquisition, unless Minnesota is able to negotiate a longer term contract before the season ends.

     

    Another concern with Smith is not about his on-field body of work, but rather the price to acquire his talents. Highly effective left-handed relievers are a hot commodity at the trade deadline and with San Francisco in a rebuild, they will very likely be seeking a hefty exchange for Smith.

     

    The last concern with Smith is his second half stats from 2018. Overall on the season he pitched very well but he did struggle a bit in the second half. Over the second half of 2018, opposing hitters were a combined .231/.293/.363 compared to .160/.211/.210 in the first half. His ERA also ballooned to 4.18 in the second half compared to his 1.23 ERA in the first half.

     

    His 2018 second half struggles could be a reason to pause or possibly pass on Smith given the uncertainty of how he will perform in the second half of 2019. But what he’s done so far this season is nothing short of impressive and he is certainly a very legitimate trade target for the Minnesota Twins.

     

    See Also

    Liam Hendriks, RHP, Athletics

    Ty Buttrey, RHP, Angels

    Ken Giles, RHP, Blue Jays

    Sam Dyson, RHP, Giants

    Brad Hand, LHP, Indians

    Oliver Perez, LHP Cleveland

    Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds

    John Gant, RHP, Cardinals

    Alex Colome, RHP, White Sox

    Seth Lugo, RHP, Mets

    Greg Holland, RHP, Diamondbacks

    Sean Doolittle, LHP, Nationals

    Kirby Yates, RHP, Padres

    10 Relievers Minnesota Could Target

     

    Click here to view the article

  21. On a day in which both teams paid homage to the Negro Leagues by wearing throwback Negro League uniforms, one bad inning sunk Michael Pineda and the Minnesota Twins. They lost in Kansas City, splitting the four-game series, primarily due to a five-run third inning for the Royals.Box Score

    Starter: 5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 69.6% strikes (64 of 92 pitches)

    Bullpen: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

     

    Home Runs: Eddie Rosario (20)

    Multi-Hit Games: Luis Arraez (4-for-4, 2B), Max Kepler (2-for-5, 2B), Jorge Polanco (2-for-5)

     

    WPA of +0.1: None

    WPA of -0.1: Pineda -.231

    Download attachment: Win623.png

    (chart via FanGraphs)

     

    Crooked Number Cooks Pineda

    Michael Pineda has pitched well over his last seven starts, dating back to May 11. Over that time he has gone 2-0 3.67 ERA 0.91 WHIP. Of those previous seven starts, five were quality starts. Overall, very solid production from the back end of your rotation.

     

    Pineda did not necessarily pitch badly but he had one bad inning that hurt him. That rough inning came in the third, in which he gave up five earned runs, including one three-run home run to Hunter Dozier.

     

    Prior to giving up the home run, Pineda surrendered three singles to the Royals Nos. 9, 1 and 2 hitters and then a double to Alex Gordon. After allowing the home run, Big Mike settled in and threw two more scoreless innings, keeping the team in the game.

     

    Stay Hot, Luis Arraez

    This kid continues to flat-out hit. His bat-to-ball skills and knowledge of the strike zone are fun to watch. Luis added four more hits today and improved his season slash line to .436/.521/.590, relatively small sample size but impressive nonetheless.

     

    Rosario Goes Deep but Offense Falls Short

    Eddie Rosario registered his 20th bomba of the season when he launched a solo home run to right field in the fourth inning.

     

     

    Minnesota did not have many scoring chances throughout the game but they wasted a good once in the seventh innings when Rosario was unable to deliver with the bases loaded and two outs.

     

    Postgame With Baldelli

     

    Bullpen Usage

    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:

    Download attachment: Pen623.png

     

    Click here to view the article

  22. Minnesota looked to once again avoid a three game losing streak and turned to Martin Perez to be the stopper. Perez struggled early, settled in for a bit before falling apart again in the fifth but a late rally gave Minnesota the win and kept their longest losing streak of the season to only two games.Box Score

    Perez: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 60.8% strikes (48 of 79 pitches)

    Bullpen: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

    Home Runs: Cron (16), Sano (8)

    Multi-Hit Games: Rosario (3-for-5), Kepler (2-for-5), Polanco (2-for-5), Schoop (2-for-4)

     

    WPA of +0.1: Rogers .451, Rosario .321, Kepler .205, Schoop .101

    WPA of -0.1: Perez -.411

    Download attachment: Win621.png

    (chart via FanGraphs)

     

    Not Exactly How You Draw It Up

    Minnesota was trailing 3-1 when the fifth inning began. Their lone run came courtesy of a solo home run from C.J. Cron to lead off the second inning.

     

    Jonathan Schoop lead off the fifth inning and must have been listening to the FSN broadcast saying “just get on base”, because he did just that when he reached first on a slow roller to shortstop for an infield single. After two quick outs from Polanco and Kepler it looked like Minnesota was going to waste another leadoff base runner. Nelson Cruz and Eddie Rosario had other ideas, however.

     

    Cruz drew a walk and set the table for Eddie Rosario with runners on first and second and two outs. Rosie responded by ripping a line drive single to right field, scoring Schoop. Eddie then stole second base and a poor throw from the Kansas City catcher allowed Cruz to scamper home from third and tie the game at 3-3.

     

    Martin Perez (Almost) Settles In

    The first inning of the game was a weird one for Martin Perez and the Minnesota Twins. In the top half of the inning, Minnesota repeatedly squared up the ball but didn’t have anything to show for it.

     

    The bottom half of the inning was equally frustrating. Martin Perez issued two walks, Jorge Polanco committed an error and a couple of weakly hit singles allowed Kansas City to score three runs.

     

    After the first inning, Marin Perez settled in and pitched very well. He retired eight consecutive batters before Terrence Gore reached on a bunt single in the fourth inning. Perez quickly rebounded and induced a weak fly ball from Billy Hamilton to end the inning.

     

    The bottom half of the fifth inning was a rough one for Perez. After issuing a lead off walk and hitting the next batter it looked like he was on the verge of wiggling out of the jam. He recorded his first two strikeouts of the night and he needed to retire Cheslor Cuthbert to end the inning. Unfortunately he threw a cutter that didn’t cut and Cuthbert made him pay, launching a three-run blast to left field and giving Kansas City a 6-3 lead.

     

    Better Late Than Never

    The powerful and potent Minnesota offense we have enjoyed for much of the season appeared to have been missing in their last few games. In the later innings of tonight’s game, the bats woke up — thank you, Jobu.

     

    Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco led off the seventh inning with soft line drives to center field. A wild pitch advanced both runners, bringing Nelson Cruz up with runners on second and third and nobody out. Cruz quickly found himself in an 0-2 hole but battled back to a full count and laced a hard-hit ground ball down the first base line, scoring both runners and cutting the Kansas City lead to only one run.

     

    The eighth inning was also another strong offensive inning for Minnesota. Sano got the inning started with a home run (see next paragraph), but the Twins did not stop there.

     

    Mitch Garver was used as a pinch-hitter for Jake Cave to face the left-handed pitcher, Jake Diekman. Mitch drew a walk and Astudillo was brought in to pinch-run, which is as funny as it sounds. Schoop reached with a single and Max Kepler followed up with a single of his own, scoring Astudillo and giving Minnesota the lead.

     

    After two botched contact plays the inning looked to be in jeopardy with two outs. That was until Eddie Rosario came through with the clutch RBI single and extended the lead to 8-6.

     

    Miguel Sano Continues to Struggle (Sorta)

    Miguel Sano has always been strikeout prone, that’s nothing new. When he first arrived back in the big leagues this year he was striking out but still hitting the ball with authority. Lately it’s been a whole lot of striking out and nothing else - 14 strikeouts in 23 at-bats

     

    Tonight’s game was no different for Sano. He picked up another hat-trick by striking out in his first three at-bats. One of which came in a key run-scoring opportunity in the second inning.

     

    All of that would change for Sano in the eighth inning. After falling behind, he was able to work the count full and hit an absolute rocket to right center. A solo home run to tie the game at 6-6.

     

    He would strike out again, for the fourth time, in his final at-bat. Overall, Sano was 1-5 with four Ks and a home run.

     

    Taylor Rogers Slams The Door

    Ryne Harper was brought in to pitch the eighth but was quickly pulled after giving up a home run and a single without recording an out. Taylor Rogers was called upon to record a six-out save. Rogers wasted no time, retiring the next three batters in order and ending the Kansas City rally in the eighth inning.

     

    The ninth inning was another stellar one for Rogers. An error by Austidillo in right field put a runner on with only one out but Rogers caught a line drive off the bat of Nicky Lopez and quickly doubled off Merrifield to end the game and earn the save.

     

    Postgame With Baldelli

     

    Bullpen Usage

    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:

    Download attachment: Pen621.png

     

    Click here to view the article

  23. The Twins left 15 men on base, were 4-for-18 with men in scoring position and committed a pair of errors in the field that led to four unearned runs. Still, despite all their struggles, they managed to make a game of this afternoon’s contest with KC.Box Score

    Perez: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 68.6% strikes (72 of 105 pitches)

    Bullpen: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

     

    Home Runs: Sano (7), Cruz (13)

    Multi-hit games: Kepler (4-for-6, 2 2B), Schoop (3-for-5), Cruz (2-for-5, 2B, HR, BB), Rosario (2-for-5), Sano (2-for-4, HR, BB)

     

    WPA of +0.1: Kepler .181

    WPA of -0.1: Adrianza -.118, Castro -.144, Perez -.133, Morin -.181, Garver -.181

    Download attachment: win616.png

    (chart via FanGraphs)

     

    Playing in front of a sold out crowd on a sun-kissed afternoon at Target Field, the Minnesota Twins were seeking a series sweep of the Kansas City Royals and a Father’s Day victory.

     

    Martin Perez Trying to Find it Again

    Through his first seven starts of the season, Martin Perez -- a recent father himself -- was nothing short of dominant. He was enjoying one of the best career resurgences we have seen in a long time. His last four starts, however, have been a different story.

     

    Five of his first seven starts were quality starts and he was 5-1 with a 2.01 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and 41 Ks over 44 2/3 IP. Zero of his previous four starts have been quality starts and over that stretch he has gone 1-1 with a 7.27 ERA, 2.02 WHIP and 11 BB over 17 1/3 IP.

     

    Besides a rough second inning in which he surrendered three runs on four hits, Martin Perez appeared to have regained his early season success. Perez retired the Royals in order in five of his 6 2/3 innings pitched. Also, following the second inning mishap, Perez retired 14 consecutive batters before giving up a single in the seventh inning.

     

    A wacky seventh inning ruined what should have been the sixth quality start of the year for Perez. With one out and a runner on first, Eddie Rosario had a hard line drive clank off his glove putting runners on the corners. A bunt by Billy Hamilton scored the Royals fourth run of the game. Then an error by Miguel Sano allowed the Royals to score their fifth run.

     

    Missed Opportunities Hurt Minnesota

    Twins Territory has become so accustomed to seeing this team hit home runs and put crooked numbers on the scoreboard that it’s easy to overlook missed opportunities on offense but those missed opportunities really hurt them today.

     

    In the bottom of the first, Minnesota had the bases loaded with two outs and were unable to score after Marwin Gonzalez grounded out to first base. Max Kepler led off the third inning with a double but three quick outs from Jorge Polanco, Nelson Cruz and Eddie Rosario left Kepler stranded at second.

     

    After scoring two runs in the fifth inning courtesy of a Miguel Sano solo home run and an RBI single from Kepler, Minnesota once again wasted a bases-loaded opportunity. Polanco was intentionally walked which loaded the bases for Cruz and he struck out to end the inning.

     

    Cruz added the third run of the game for Minnesota in the seventh inning when he launched a solo home run into the upper deck in right-center. Following the Cruz bomba, the bases were once again loaded, this time with only one out.

     

    Jonathan Schoop would strike out and Mitch Garver was then called upon to pinch-hit for Jason Castro against the Royals left-handed reliever, Jake Diekman. After quickly falling behind 0-2, Garver eventually hit a warning-track fly ball that was caught in right field and spoiled Minnesota’s third bases-loaded opportunity of the game.

     

    The old adage is the third is a charm but for Minnesota, on Father’s Day, the fourth time was the charm. In the eighth inning, they once again had the bases loaded, for the fourth time in the game.

     

    Only this time they were able to make the Royals pay. Cruz, who had homered in his previous plate appearance, wasted no time ripping a double to left field and driving in two runs on the second pitch of his at-bat.

     

    Rosario popped up for the first out of the inning but Minnesota still had two runners in scoring position and only one out for Sano but he quickly struck out, leaving it up to Gonzalez with two outs. Once again, Minnesota was unable to fully capitalize on their scoring opportunity when Marwin lifted a shallow fly ball to left field for the third out.

     

    Remarkably, even after all those missed opportunities, Minnesota still had a chance to win the game in the ninth inning with Cruz stepping up to the plate and representing the winning run. Unfortunately, the theme of missed opportunities once again reared its ugly head when Cruz struck out on a checked swing to end the game.

     

    The Twins offense was 1-for-8 (.125) with the bases loaded and 4-for-18 (.222) with runners in scoring position. They also stranded 15 runners.

     

    Kansas City Capitalizes On Their Opportunities

    For how bad Minnesota was at hitting with runners in scoring position, Kansas City was equally as good. They Royals were 5-for-15 (.333) with runners in scoring position and only seven runners left on base.

     

    The bottom third of the Kansas City lineup also proved to be troublesome for Minnesota pitchers. Their number 7, 8 and 9 hitters were a combined 5-for-11 (.454) with four runs batted in and four runs scored.

     

    Postgame With Baldelli

     

    Bullpen Usage

    Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:

    Download attachment: Pen616.png

     

    Click here to view the article

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