2019 Recap: Game Four

MINNESOTA 5, KANSAS CITY 4 IN KANSAS CITY (10 INNINGS)

Date:  Tuesday, April 2.

Batting stars:  Max Kepler was 2-for-4 with two walks.  Nelson Cruz was 2-for-5 with a double, a walk, and three RBIs.  Jorge Polanco was 2-for-5 with a double and a walk.  C. J. Cron was 2-for-5 with a double.

Pitching stars:  Jose Berrios pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and no walks and striking out four.  Blake Parker pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Adalberto Mondesi was 3-for-5 with a home run, a double, a stolen base, and two RBIs.  Martin Maldonado was 3-for-4.  Ryan O'Hearn was 1-for-3 with a home run.  Brad Keller pitched six innings, giving up three runs on five hits and four walks and striking out five.

The game:  The Royals jumped out to a 1-0 lead within the first two batters of the game, as Whit Merrifield doubled and scored on a Mondesi single.  The Twins tied it in the fourth when Eddie Rosario walked and scored from first on Cron's single.

Kansas City got the lead back in the bottom of the fourth when Chris Owings tripled and scored on a Hunter Dozier sacrifice fly.  The Twins went in front in the fifth.  With one out, Byron Buxton was hit by a pitch and Max Kepler walked.  A fly out moved the runners to second and third and Cruz delivered a two-run double to give the Twins a 3-2 lead.

The Twins missed a chance to increase the lead in the sixth when Cron led off with a double but did not advance past second.  It cost them, as O'Hearn homered in the bottom of the sixth to tie it 3-3.  The Twins missed another chance in the seventh.  Singles by Kepler and Polanco and a walk to Cruz loaded the bases with none out, but a strikeout, a liner to third, and another strikeout ended the inning with no runs scoring.  It again cost them, as Mondesi hit an inside-the-park home run with one out in the eighth to give the Royals a 4-3 lead.

The Twins tied it in the ninth.  Polanco doubled and went to third on a fly ball.  Rosario then singled him in to tie the score 4-4.  Kansas City put two men on with two out in the bottom of the ninth, but Trevor Hildenberger came in to strike out Billy Hamilton and send the game to an extra inning.

In the tenth Willians Astudillo, who had entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, led off with a single.  He was still at first with two out, but Polanco singled to put men on first and second and Cruz singled to drive home the go-ahead run.  The Royals could manage only a two-out walk in the bottom of the tenth.

WP:  Hildenberger (1-0).  LP:  Brad Boxberger (0-1).  S:  Blake Parker (1).

Record:  The Twins are 3-1, in first place in the American League Central, one game ahead of Cleveland, Detroit, and Kansas City.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 161-1!

18 thoughts on “2019 Recap: Game Four”

    1. What struck me about that hit was how much he took what the pitcher gave him and did exactly what he needed to do to get the base hit. It was a timely hit, but it was also a very smart hit.

      1. I have only seen 7-8 of at bats by Mr Cruz. I agree with nibbish. He takes what the pitcher gives him and just squares up on the ball. He is a very wise hitter who I am sure opposing pitchers dread pitching to.

  1. Question: According to Cory Provus, the Royals used a manager's challenge on Rosario moving to second on the wild pitch in the ninth. What happened to the rule that you couldn't challenge after the seventh inning? Did it just go away? It was never really enforced anyway--the umpires would pretty much always agree to take a look at it if asked. I just wondered if they've officially changed the rule.

    1. Checking the rules, there are two mentions of the seventh or eighth innings:

      C. Crew Chief Reviews. At any time during a game, a Crew Chief may, in his sole discretion, initiate Replay Review of a potential home run call (as defined in Section V.A below). With respect to other reviewable calls, beginning in the eighth inning (unless permitted earlier in accordance with Section VI.C.2(b) below), a Crew Chief may, in his sole discretion, conduct Replay Review upon his own initiative or upon the request of a Manager who has no remaining Manager Challenges. These Replay Reviews are subject to the following:

      In circumstances in which Replay Review is not available (e.g., the call is not reviewable, no Manager Challenge or Crew Chief review is available or, after the seventh inning, the Crew Chief has communicated that he has declined to initiate Replay Review), if a manager, coach, or player makes reference to having observed a video replay that purportedly contradicts the call under dispute, such person is subject to immediate ejection from the game.

  2. Rosario’s line (1-5, R, RBI, BB) wouldn’t raise many eyebrows in the box score, but for me he might actually be the game’s MVP:

    Last night’s game is one in which I don’t think WPA gives enough credit to Eddie Rosario. Scoring from first on Cron’s single was really heads-up baseball, without which the Twins don’t tie things up. I’ll admit I don’t know if WPA weights individual plays based on difficulty or likelihood of outcome, but I’m guessing it simply looks at how significant the outcome of the play was to determining the overall outcome of the game. (I could be very wrong.) I’m thinking Rosario probably gets sufficient credit for tying it up in the ninth by knocking in Polanco, but I think WPA might significantly undervalue his fourth-innning baserunning.

          1. If we’re going to include LOB, we might as well also include defense. Yes, he could have broken the game open if he’d driven in every runner he LOB’d. We can make a case for unclutch hitting in an objective calculus, which I think is what WPA or wWE tries to do.

            In any case, I wasn’t making a categorical claim — I was stating my personal pick for game MVP is the guy who essentially conjured a tying run out of some excellent baserunning, then drove in the tying run in the ninth inning to send the game to extras.

    1. WPA only considers the batter and pitcher. Cron would get all of the credit for the runner on first scoring and the pitcher all of the blame.

      fWAR will include it since baserunning is a component.

      1. Back on my old site, I tweaked the WPA so Cron would get credit for moving Rosario to third, but Rosario would get the credit for advancing home.

        1. A quick check with an online WE calculator says the WPA should be split roughly 50-50 between the two. +6.67% for Cron and 6.14% for Rosario scoring from third. The win expectancy does not match exactly with FanGraphs, but the WPA between start and end are very close (.121 on FG, .128 on this calculator) so good enough.

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