67 thoughts on “September 14, 2017: Late-Inning Heroics”

  1. I was working at the joint last night. It really hit me that the conversations about the Twins have changed dramatically over the past 12 months. For soooo long, the few people who would want to talk baseball would talk about front office failures, under performing Joe Mauer and "tired of hearing about next year". Now people are talking about a surging Kyle Gibson, the smoke and mirrors of Bartolo Colon, the depth of our line up, and things like that. Many more positive vibes. Fun, fun, fun!

        1. I was doing that four weeks ago and concluded that the Twins could definitely catch the Indians if they matched their August win percentage. But I do love this time of year when my team is contending. I love looking at the scores and standings and match-ups every morning, figuring out which teams need to win or lose to help my team. This has been a fun team to follow this year, and I'm hopeful that next year they'll be even better. The trends seem to indicate it.

          1. Speaking of, I just noticed the Twins are the only AL Central team not eliminated from the divisional race. So there's still a chance!

    1. On another note:

      I am taking some credit on the Twins second half success. I was highly critical of Rosario a few months back and he has proven me wrong. I also was quick to write how unimpressed I was with Hildenberger, shortly after his call up, and he has gone on to be a key part of our bullpen resurgence. I have a long track history of sports proving me wrong, and my half-baked takes on these two individuals have helped propel the Twins to new heights. You are all welcome!

        1. I forgot that I had also officially given up on Gibson. He promptly got hot and has been key to the rotation stabilizing.

          1. On August 22nd, I was at the clubhouse after golf league and Kyle Gibson loaded the bases with no one out in the third inning. The consensus around the table was that Gibson wasn't a big league pitcher and needed to be sent to the bullpen or removed from the roster. My dad insisted that he was going to get out of the inning and start pitching better. He then proceeded to strike out the next three batters. The rest of us insisted that it didn't really change anything.

            Since loading the bases in that third inning, he's gone 30.2 innings, walking 2, striking out 25 on his way to a 1.17 ERA. He hasn't lost a game, and while the team has given him FORTY EIGHT runs of support in those five starts, he's not given up more than two runs in any of them.

            He's not this good, clearly, but if he could at least keep them in games, that would be enough to limp this rotation along.

            1. It kind of feels like a difference in approach. Like, before he'd be initially aggressive to a batter and get ahead in the count, then it'd be nibble, nibble, nibble until suddenly he's gotta groove one in or walk the guy, with predictable results. Now, and maybe its just a perception bias because he's having success, it feels like he's just staying aggressive and getting batters out.

      1. Opposite Day! zooomx, you'd better be telling us soon how the Yanquis are going to clobber the Twins in the playoffs.

  2. Curious about other people's thoughts here. Where do you think the Twins would be had we kept Kintzler and Garcia?
    Would we be ahead of the Yanks? Would we be behind the Angels? Would we be exactly where we are? Hard to say, and I don't want to second guess, I'm jus a little curious what people think now that were a month and a half removed from those events. They seem so long ago.

    1. I think we'd be in much the same place, though I love this as a story: "Twins FO gives up, but forgets to tell the actual players." Garcia was such a small blip on the radar I actually had to remind myself who you were talking about. I don't even remember where he ended up after his whirlwind stop in Minnesota.

      Though our lives have been entirely too full for a few weeks, the Milkmaid and I are trying to make time to get to another game. It's tough in a race. I want to see a late game but don't want to wait until everything is decided. Or maybe I do, for my heart's sake. As far as convenient days off go, Sunday is #1, so the last game of the season is a possibility.

      1. I was helping the LCS owner open packs of the Topps Heritage High Number set which just came out yesterday, and ran across cards of Braves players Andrew Albers, Kurt Suzuki, and Jaime Garcia. I'm hoping we have a nice season wrap-up post where we can see how some of the former Twins did this year.

    2. García has been worth -0.2 rWAR with the Yankees while Kintzler has been +0.4 rWAR with the Nationals. Fangraphs says +0.1 fWAR and +0.2 fWAR.

      García has started five games for the Yankees and they are 2-3 in his games (he's 0-2). Kintzler has nine holds and one blown save with the Nationals in 20 appearances.

      My guess is the Twins would have an additional win from slightly better bullpen, and so would the Yankees from not-García. The Twins had good starting pitching in August but it's been bad in September. Could maybe add in one more win from García replacing Gee/Slegers in the rotation, but I bet he would have not been as good as the starters were in August and so one less win then.

      1. It's impossible to know, because we have no idea how the Twins would've played it had they kept Garcia and Kintzler. Maybe, instead of replacing Slegers/Gee with Garcia, the Twins would've given up on Gibson right before what's turned out to be five really good starts. Maybe, with Kintzler as the closer and Belisle still as a set-up guy, the Twins wouldn't have given Hildenberger and Busenitz a chance. There's just no way to know what would've happened.

        1. Also very good points about Hildy and Busenitz.

          My initial thought was that the trades really brought it home to the players that their season was on the verge of slipping away.

          1. the trades really brought it home to the players that their season was on the verge of slipping away

            Yes, this. It's not really a measurable (or even really truly observable) thing, but it seems like the players have had a very strong drive since that point. Fewer games slipping away, more games where they pull ahead late, etc. Just seeming focused.

    3. Bigger question for me is "How would the Twins season look like if either Santiago or Mejia were to remain healthy this season? "
      Not that either would have been super starters for the squad, but both that the ability to be legitimate 4th or 5th starters.

      I do wonder why the Twins front office failed to pick up a closer before the August 31st deadline. I feel that if we make the playoffs, we have a punchers chance with our line up and our starting pitching. If Gibson stays solid, we would have Santana, Berrios and Gibby starting off a series. Not ideal, but our lineup can put up runs in bunches. My worry is the back end of the bullpen. Will Belisle turn back into a pumpkin? Where the Twins hoping Perkins would whip back into shape by the post season? Were they hoping Curtiss, or some other young arm would emerge? That is why I am a little bummed that we got rid of Kintzler. We really didn't have another legitimate closer option. I know closers can be overvalued, but in a one game, do or die, situation, they are valuable.

      1. Closers are made -- anyone we could have picked up (or kept Kintzler) would be just marginally better than Belisle.

        You can't play the "what if?" game (what about Trevor May? Hughes?) because then you also have to allow other teams to also play that game as well. Just be happy the Twins aren't the Mets.

      2. I do wonder why the Twins front office failed to pick up a closer before the August 31st deadline.

        A shortage of Majors-ready catching prospects?

      3. On the topic of playoff rotation, do the Twins pick anyone but Santana for a one-game playoff if he's rested? I imagine with how close the standings are, it'll probably be whomever is next.

        1. Right now it looks like, all things being the same, he'd be scheduled to pitch on the 29th. The playoff game would be October 3rd.

          There is one off day in the schedule, so they could bump him up one day, to the 28th, which would line him up to start on the 3rd.

          1. It'd be great if they could clinch a spot a day or two before his last scheduled start so they could throw some scrub out there and set the rotation up to pitch whoever they wanted for that game.

    4. I think that they picked up Garcia with the intention of doing exactly what they ended up doing. I mean, sure, if the team went on a hot streak, plans could always be changed, but the way they set up the original deal implied to me that they wanted to turn one mid-level prospect and some cash into one or two more prospects who would be closer to major league ready.

      And hey, in the end, no matter how this actually turns out, they seem to have had their cake and eaten it, too.

    1. Oh, that's beautiful! I like it when a phrase is so mangled you can't even come up with an explanation for how it was conceived.

  3. The Mrs got rear-ended on the way to work this morning. Nobody hurt but the beemer (and the car that hit her at a stop light). But still. Bummer. One damn thing after another this year.

  4. So, a way too early look at 2018. I am curious on how the roster will look like next year.

    Catcher- Castro is signed. Gimenez is not a UFA until 2019. Keep him or go with Garver as #2 catcher?
    1B/DH - Mauer, Vargas, Grossman
    2B - Dozier, Adrianza
    SS - Polanco, and Escobar
    3B - Sano
    OF - Buxton, Rosario, Kepler, Granite

    So, potentially not much movement in the line up with no free agents. It will be interesting if we stick with Gimenez. With 15 players listed, some of these guys may start down in AAA. There doesn't seem to be any glaring holes in the line up and many of these players are young and affordable. Will the FO make any moves to upgrade? I think we have one more year before any prospects are knocking hard on the door. Gordon could see some time at the MLB level. Goodrum can come up and fill in if injury bug hits.

    SP - Santana, Berrios, Mejia, Gibson. Hughes - can't count on him, but who knows. I think Santiago will be gone. Colon is a question mark. Turley, Enns, Sleger in the mix. Romero and Gonsalves are getting close to being ready. Hope we sign at least one decent arm.
    RP - Belisle the only FA and I doubt will be signed. Would love to see a couple signings to bolster the bull pen. We do have some minor league arms that could contribute, but we need some proven arms to anchor the bullpen.

    Overall - The next 6 months will tell us a lot about the front office. Will they approach the off season with the thought to bolster the team with some free agent signings or trades? They have some trade pieces both at the major and minor league level. Or, will they look more long term and wait another year to see how this team matures. I would love to see them make a couple moves, but would understand if they sat back and waited another year. I have a feeling this will be an off season in which I constantly monitor MLB Trade Rumors and come up empty handed.

    1. Also, I wonder if Falvey went into this season with a plan, that if the team struggled, he would look hard at moving a few guys like Grossman, and maybe even Dozier, to acquire prospects for the future. He has been a little tied up in no man's land this year. Not quite good enough to go for it, and not bad enough to sell, sell, sell.

  5. Breathless alumni magazine puff piece on a sordid chapter in the corrosive legacy of UW football, or a rope-a-dope implicit comparison of the toxicity of 21st century college football to the work of the university? It's almost too hard to tell.

    Frederick Jackson Turner 1884, MA1888 — one of the nation’s most esteemed historians and the man leading the effort to get rid of football — watched as the crowd of irate students made their way down Frances Street toward his home on Lake Mendota.

    To its critics, college football at the turn of the 20th century was a corrupt and bloody swamp. To its many fans, it was a thrill. Since the sport’s advent in the 1870s, players had become bigger, stronger, and faster. As the number of broken bones, knockouts, and even deaths soared, so did the game’s popularity, attracting thousands of fans from on and off campuses around the country.

    Attendance skyrocketed, as did the money supporters were willing to spend on tickets. University football programs, including the UW’s, brought in enough cash to fund other campus sports. Playing fields with rows of simple wooden bleachers gave way to large stadiums to accommodate tens of thousands of fans. Successful programs were willing to pay huge sums to get the best coaches in the country, in some cases offering salaries that exceeded those of prized professors. Colleges offered training tables for hungry athletes and held preseason camps. Recruiters sought out the most talented high school stars. Semipro players were openly recruited, too. Alumni pledged support to their alma maters by finding good jobs for players — or just paid them cash.

  6. The results from the railroad's early retirement package are coming in, and they include my boss of 20(ish) years. She's been outstanding, and I always remind her of her worth, in that she attends meetings so I don't have to. I've also had good interactions with her husband, who also works in Engineering and is leaving as well, plus Engineering's DBA announced his retirement (which would have been next Spring anyway). Those are all I've heard, so far. It's going to be an adjustment.

    Meanwhile, Runner daughter has gotten a promotion...which of course has no boost in pay but also has no boost in responsibilities. A better title on the business cards, I guess.

  7. Hey brianS (and others). Saw X last night at First Avenue. Below is a pretty good review. I'd say it started a little slow but the last 30-45 minutes, holy cow they ripped the place up! Not sure if they are getting to SacTown but well worth it if they are. 4th time I've seen them, including twice now in last 4 years, and they've never disappointed live.

    http://www.startribune.com/punk-heroes-x-sound-vital-timeless-on-40th-anniversary-tour-at-first-avenue/444357533/

    1. I did not realize that they'd gotten back together for a tour. I've very much enjoyed John Doe's post-X work, of course.

      Not sure I could get the Mrs interested, but would love to see them.

    2. Just went to see if they're playing here and was totally stoked to see a may date, but then totes disappointed when I realized it was this may. Derp.

      1. Yea, crap. They were in Oakland on July 2. That's as close as they are getting to me on the tour. Which ends in...Columbus OH??? Huh?

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