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Everything posted by TC-D.MajorBaseballFan
I didn't watch the game last night because I fell asleep at 9pm EST. Since everyone knows what happened and the talk of this town has definitely shifted to trades, free agency, future prospects, and future years, I just thought I'd chip in a little levity to relieve the tremendous pressure. This morning I watched a movie--err, baseball game--called Scoreless in Seattle. I feel like it's in line this year for several awards in the horror film category. But hopefully it's a one-off and doesn't have a sequel or trilogy. Or, for goodness sakes, some sort of Harry Potter bloodline. That would make for a long decade.
One of the things I've observed this season, and, regrettably, especially from 3B Donaldson recently, is that the defense can't get out of an inning. They get to two outs, but then bobble the ball, toss an errant throw, or something screwy happens in the outfield. The problem mostly resides in the infield. By not getting out of an inning, this leads to runs for the other team and puts pressure on our starting pitcher (particularly his pitch count). Once the pitcher crosses his threshold, then it's off to the bullpen, which this year is about as shallow as a kiddie pool in the backyard. . . . With this season essentially statistically out of reach for the postseason (I feel like a pre-2016 Cubs fan . . . "There is always next year . . . ") it does seem time to start pulling guys up through the system and getting some of them Big League reps. With that, and no offense to him, but I'm not hyped on Celestino in the Twins organization. There are higher rungs on the CF ladder starting with Buxton (when healthy), Refsnyder (a possible diamond in the rough), and Gordon (who could be a pleasant surprise if the opportunity affords itself). I'm not saying Celestino is bad, and he certainly got called up before his time due to injuries, but given what potential he might possess himself in CF, he may be a decent trade play come Trade Deadline or Hot Stove League. Just some food for thought.
As little as there was to criticize yesterday, there is equally little to celebrate today. Houston pitcher Framber Valdez was up to his old tricks from last year’s opening game of the playoffs. He’s a Jedi Master on the hill at Target Field. “These are not the pitches you’re looking for“ . . . Strike 1, 2, Groundout, Groundout, Groundout, 3! Anyways, and this may come as a surprise to Indiana Twin seeing as I’m much more of a “feel” guy than a “math” guy, but my K-12 and college education taught me well enough to know how to do equations. So here are a few. None of this is new to y’all, the Twinkies being early exiters from the playoff hunt and sellers on the deadline market, but just to put some numbers behind it. I had to do something to get me through the end of the game after Colome and Shoemaker were, well, Colome and Shoemaker (I’m a Dobnak fan even if, contract extension or no contract extension, his MLB days may be numbered . . . I like his story off the field). Division Champs Assumption: CWS or CLE win 100 games (more likely CWS). MIN: 97 games remaining. 26-39 (.400) current record. To get to 101 wins, 75 wins needed, a winning percentage of .773. Not statistically impossible, technically speaking, but realistically impossible, in every other way speaking. Wild Card Assumption: two non-division champs win 90 games (perhaps CLE, TB, BOS, TOR, NYY, HOU, OAK, LAA). MIN: 97 games remaining, 26-39 (.400) current record. To get to 91 wins, 65 wins needed, a winning percentage of .670. More likely than .773, but I have a better chance of becoming a Jedi Master (I did once break a board with a roundhouse kick in 4th grade after-school karate). Anyways, this is just catharsis after a dreadful afternoon. And again, I’m sure y’all are perfectly familiar with all of this. I just wanted to put some numbers into the mix. As for what to do with the rest of the season, I trust collective wisdom better than my own, but I suppose I’d start playing the young guys, DFA Colome and Shoemaker to open up two bullpen roster spots, and start figuring out EXACTLY what and how much Nellie Cruz is worth to a contending team. I’d hold on to Berrios. I like the idea of him being an anchor for the staff.
Oh and, Rortvedt also stole some freebie strikes on good framing of pitches. Helped Berrios tally up his 8 Ks on an Astros lineup that doesn't strike out very often. Forgot to mention that.
Ben Rortvedt had a nice game. He called the game from start to finish behind the plate, had an RBI double, and a nice sac bunt to set up a manufactured insurance run in Bottom 7. Lots of young guys in the lineup. All three outfielders were rookies--Larnach, Gordon, and Killiroff. I think that's the first time I've seen that this season. Obviously Buxton is preferred in center--and I like Refsnyder--but the rookies have some guns too. Good overall win. Hopefully can take the series tomorrow.
To respond to Indiana Twin, First, let me say that this is the first time I've commented on this website/thread/etc. I'm a big Twins fan, but a rookie here. As such, I'll take my lumps. If my opinion is worth any salt, then such lumps are required to be taken by experienced veterans. That's the best way to learn. I agree with your in-game analysis, Indiana Twin, about bullpen management. But my frustration goes beyond just this game. It gets to Rocco's basic management style. He's way too sabermetrics. Way too attached to the math. (And, likely, the powers from on-high of Falvey and Levine). He has no feel for the game. If he did, he would've never pulled Ober tonight. 73 pitches and 52 strikes--obviously good command--and had worked through the top of the Astros lineup through the 5th (who are some of the best hitters in the AL, if not all of MLB). All the while, he had a 3-2 lead and was on the "hook" for the win. My mathematics say that 15 pitches per inning is top rate. Ober was -2 in the right direction after 5 (and again, had retired the top of the Astros lineup through his third time facing them). Why not send him out there again? At least give him a chance before running into trouble. If his command continues, he can at least get you 6 (notice Urquidy went 7 for the 'Stros . . . and threw 100+ pitches). Maybe Ober had a pitch count, I don't know. But he didn't even get to 75! Instead, it seemed like Rocco played sabermetrics, which says don't send a starter out to face the lineup for a third time (unless he's got a perfect game or no-hitter going). Rocco played the math. And the first hitter on Alcala (who I really like), blasted a home run to tie the game at 3s. Good math call, Rocco. It's doubtful Rocco will deviate from the math game, but let's just look at the math of where it's left the Twins thus far this season: 25-38 (.397). Last place in the AL Central (not to mention 2-time defending division champs). The fifth worst record in baseball (not just the AL). Come on, Rocco, do the math. Start feeling the game. Let the starters ride when they're tossing good ball.