2019 Recap: Game Thirty-five


Date:  Wednesday, May 8.

Batting stars:  Jorge Polanco was 5-for-5 with a two-run homer (his seventh) and a double, scoring twice.  C. J. Cron was 4-for-5 with a two-run homer, his seventh.  Eddie Rosario was 2-for-4 with a home run (his thirteenth), two runs, and three RBIs.  Jonathan Schoop was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer, his sixth.  Max Kepler was 2-for-5 with a walk and two runs.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Gibson struck out eleven in six shutout innings, giving up two hits and one walk.  Ryne Harper pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Mike Morin pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Blake Parker pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Billy McKinney was 1-for-3 with a home run, his second.  Derek Law struck out four in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.

The game:  The Twins threatened to take a big lead in the first inning.  Singles by Kepler and Polanco put men on first and third with none out.  A popup and an Eddie Rosario sacrifice fly put them up 1-0.  Cron singled and Marwin Gonzalez walked to load the bases, but Mitch Garver popped up, leaving the score 1-0.

It didn't matter.  In the second, Kepler walked and Polanco homered, making the score 3-0.  In the third, Rosario singled and Cron homered, and later in the inning Gonzalez singled and Schoop homered, making the score 7-0.  McKinney got the Blue Jays on the board with a home run in the fifth, but in the sixth Polanco doubled and Rosario homered to put the Twins ahead 9-1.

Other than the home run, the only time the Blue Jays got a man as far as second was the ninth, on a walk and a fielder's choice.  It was total dominance by Gibson and three relief pitchers.

WP:  Gibson (3-1).  LP:  Trent Thornton (0-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Garver was 1-for-5 and is batting .354.  Polanco is batting .344.  Harper has an ERA of 1.84.  Parker has an ERA of 1.54.  Morin's ERA is 3.00.

As you probably heard, Polanco is the first Twin to have more than one five-hit game in a season since Joe Mauer in 2010.

Four two-run homers in one game is probably not the record, but it would seem like it has to be at least within shouting distance of it.

Going into the Houston series a week and a half ago, I said that after the next ten games we'd have a better idea of how good the Twins are.  Well, they went 7-3 in those ten games.  Two of the losses were games started by Michael Pineda, and at that only one of them was a blowout--in the other, the Twins just ran into a really good pitcher they couldn't do much with, which happens to everybody sometimes.  It seems to me that we have to say this is a good baseball team.

That's not to say they're going to win the World Series.  I do think they're now the favorites to win the division, though.  They might not do it--it's a long season, and lots of things can happen (injuries, slumps, etc.).  But it's looking good now.  That's why I hope the front office is not willing to settle for just winning the division, and is looking for ways to improve the team so it can actually go somewhere in the playoffs.  Again, I say that not knowing what deals may be available to them.  I'm not advocating a move of the Ramos-for-Capps variety.  But I think they have a real chance this year, and you never know for sure how many of them you're going to get.  When you get one, I think you need to go for it.

Record:  The Twins are 23-12, first in the American League Central, four games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 150-12!

7 thoughts on “2019 Recap: Game Thirty-five”

  1. It seems to me that we have to say this is a good baseball team.

    I mentioned in the game log the other night that my brother and I were marveling a bit at this roster in comparison to some other notable Twins squads of recent vintage. He said he was trying to think of the last time the Twins looked this good, top to bottom, and threw out 2006 as a starting point. I said I thought the lineup was better in 2010 than in 2006, but rotation & bullpen were better in 2006 than 2010. I think the lineup in 2010 (prior to Morneau’s injury) might have been a cut above this one, but the position player depth of the 2019 club is much better.

    Pitching-wise, I’m less certain what to think yet. I think Berríos is a better pitcher than any of the starters on the 2010 team, but isn’t in Santana territory — yet. Gibson & Odorizzi might be better, equal to, or worse than Baker & Pavano, depending on how things go. Perez has made an impressive pivot thanks to his new pitch, and I’m hoping Pineda looks more like his spring training showing as the weather warms up. This group appears superior to the 2010 rotation, but needs somebody behind Berríos to give it the 1-2 punch of Santana/Liriano.

    As for the bullpen, these guys seem capable of equaling the 2010 ‘pen, but I don’t know about beyond that. Maybe it’s the lack of an elite reliever like Nathan that makes this unit seem less impressive than 2006.

    1. Looking at the AL Wins Above Average for 2006 and 2010 plus pro-rating 2019's team to 162 games gives this breakdown.

      Year Batters Starters Relievers
      2006 2.0 2.2 5.9
      2010 4.1 2.3 1.5
      2019 19.9 3.7 -0.9

      The second best relievers in 2006 belonged to Oakland with 2.5 WAA. The starters that year don't look great because they only had 16 games by Liriano and 31 by Silva, 28 by Radke's undead arm, and 18 by Bonser.

      The 2010 was well rounded: fourth in starting, third in relief, and fifth in batting.

      2019's hitters look absurdly good so far, but they're also averaging an absurd 5.31 runs per game with a 118 OPS+.

      The one spot the Twins led all three of those years?

      Barely a spoiler SelectShow
  2. I know it's early but I would give the edge to Baldy over Gardy in this comparison as well. We all know that a manager isn't going to make a 70 win team a 90 win team or vice-versa but I think Baldelli has a better idea on how to use the players he has at their optimal position in the field and at bat. Same with pitching coach.

  3. As you probably heard, Polanco is the first Twin to have more than one five-hit game in a season since Joe Mauer in 2010.

    I had not heard that. What I heard is that he's the only Twin to have more than one five-hit game with a HR in a season.

  4. My little brother favors trading Sano for a pitcher, but I think that's pretty hasty, and I don't know what his trade value really would be considering his injury issues. I want to see what he can do hitting in this lineup every day, myself.

    1. Obviously it depends on what pitcher you could trade him for, but I agree that trading him now would probably be selling low.

      1. Sano for Sandoval, who recently pulled off something only Christy Mathewson has done.

        Who says no?

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