2019 Recap: Game One Hundred Forty

MINNESOTA 2, BOSTON 1 IN BOSTON

Date:  Thursday, September 5.

Batting stars:  Willians Astudillo was 1-for-1.  Miguel Sano was 0-for-1 with three walks.  Mitch Garver was 0-for-1 with three walks.

Pitching stars:  Martin Perez pitched six innings, giving up one run on two hits and two walks and striking out one.  Trevor May pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Tyler Duffey struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Mookie Betts was 2-for-4 with a home run (his twenty-sixth) and a double.  Nathan Eovaldi pitched five innings, giving up one run on one hit and four walks and striking out three.

The game:  Neither team even threatened until the fourth, when Betts led off the inning with a home run to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.  The Twins got the run back in the fifth, although it wasn't easy.  They opened the inning with three walks, loading the bases with one out.  Then they did what the Twins usually do with the bases loaded.  A double play scored a run and a line out ended the inning.  Still, at least it was tied 1-1.

Boston threatened in the sixth when Betts got a two-out double and Xander Bogaerts walked, and a pickoff error moved them to second and third, but a ground out ended the inning.  In the seventh, a pair of one-out walks and a two-out walk again loaded the bases for the Twins. Astudillo pinch-hit a single to bring home the go-ahead run.  They missed a chance for more when Max Kepler struck out, but it was a 2-1 lead for the good guys.

It stayed there, but it wasn't easy.  The Twins missed another chance in the ninth, when a two-out walk and and an error put men on first and second.  In the bottom of the ninth, Bogaerts got a one-out single.  A force out made the runner Rafael Devers with two out.  J. D. Martinez then doubled off the Green Monster.  Devers tried to score from first, but was cut down on a perfect throw by Eddie Rosario to end the game.

WP:  Perez (10-6).  LP:  Andrew Cashner (11-8).  S:  Taylor Rogers (24).

Notes:  Byron Buxton remained out of the lineup, although he pinch-ran and stayed in the game for defense.  Jake Cave was in center and Kepler in right, a reversal of the way the Twins have been playing.  I don't know if Kepler's health had anything to do with that.  Luis Arraez was at shortstop in place of Jorge Polanco.

Arraez was 1-for-3 with a walk and is batting .343.  Nelson Cruz was 0-for-4 and is batting .305.  Duffey has an ERA of 2.59.  Sergio Romo gave up one hit and no runs in a third of an inning and has an ERA of 3.00.  Rogers gave up one hit and no runs in two-thirds of an inning and has an ERA of 2.49.

Perez is probably the last Twins starter one would expect to be in an old-fashioned pitchers' duel.  And he did it in an old-fashioned way, getting only one strikeout, but giving up only two hits.  I don't know if he got a lot of soft contact or if his defense made some good plays or some of both.  It's not the recommended way to go about it these days, but it worked.

Was Polanco unavailable for some reason?  I mean, it's one thing to give him a night off--Rocco has actually been very good about keeping everyone rested, and I don't have a problem with that.  But I don't know why, when the Twins had a late lead, you wouldn't play Polanco at short and Arraez at second, rather than leaving Arraez at short and playing Astudillo at second.  They could've gone with Ehire Adrianza at second as well, but the game log indicated that perhaps he was unavailable.  Much as I have faith in A-Stud to be able to do everything that it's humanly possible to do on a baseball field, and perhaps something that are not humanly possible as well, the defensive arrangement they went to late in the game is not the defensive arrangement I'd have preferred.  Still, they won the game.

I was unable to watch any of the game and just turned on the radio to hear the last two batters.  Given that the play at the plate ended the game, I kept expecting to hear that Boston was asking for a review, just because there'd be nothing to lose.  When I saw the play, though, I understood why they didn't.  There was simply nothing to review.  Rosario made a beautiful throw and Devers was as out as it's possible for a baserunner to be.  It was a tremendous way to end a tremendous game.

I wonder sometimes if the Twins might have a better chance to score with two out and nobody on than they do with the bases loaded.  I'm sure that's not literally true, but it sure seems like it is.

So the Twins go into a weekend series with a 6.5 game lead on second-place Cleveland.  Even if the Twins lose all three, they're still up by 3.5 games with three weeks to play, which isn't a bad place to be at all.  If they just win one, they're up 5.5, which is an even better place to be.  If they'd win the series, or even sweep, the Indians would start focusing on winning the wild card.  ubelmann used to tell us that it's not really a "must win" game unless a loss eliminates you, and there's truth in that.  In baseball, as in life, nothing is certain until it actually happens.  Still, I'd much rather be in Minnesota's position than in Cleveland's position right now.

Record:  The Twins are 87-53, in first place in the American League Central, 6.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 109-53!

33 thoughts on “2019 Recap: Game One Hundred Forty”

  1. Non-broadcast commercial radio (I think that’s where I heard it) folks were talking yesterday that allowing Max to play right was also a way to cut down the wear and tear of playing CF ... they alleged that just playing the position - not even running into walls - is fairly taxing.

  2. I wonder sometimes if the Twins might have a better chance to score with two out and nobody on than they do with the bases loaded.

    There is something to that. It's closer than it should be.

    Split G PA R BA OBP SLG OPS sOPS+
    123 63 121 72 .221 .227 .327 .554 42
    2 out --- 140 793 40 .265 .337 .492 .829 123

    They have scored more with the bases loaded, but their OPS+ in the situation is very, very bad. The Twins have scored the most runs in the league with two outs and the bases empty (second is Boston with 39). They're 12th when the bases are loaded. League average is 92 runs and the Yankees lead with 142 but have also had a lot of chances.

    Team PA R BA OBP SLG OPS sOPS+
    NYY 148 145 .361 .392 .607 .998 155
    LAA 190 137 .272 .337 .424 .761 98
    HOU 147 123 .286 .347 .643 .990 148
    BOS 145 101 .281 .345 .413 .758 98
    SEA 125 95 .299 .328 .486 .814 109
    OAK 126 94 .264 .341 .434 .775 101
    CLE 119 90 .263 .311 .434 .745 92
    TEX 114 85 .273 .289 .525 .815 105
    KCR 125 82 .243 .296 .374 .670 74
    CHW 110 81 .239 .300 .489 .789 100
    TBR 126 78 .189 .230 .330 .560 44
    MIN 121 72 .221 .227 .327 .554 42
    TOR 86 71 .276 .306 .592 .898 124
    BAL 107 68 .237 .271 .366 .637 65
    DET 88 59 .183 .227 .338 .565 45

    Assuming league average hitting, they should have scored around 89 runs. Assuming they match their overall average, the Twins should have scored around 100 runs.

      1. Which is offset to some extent by the fact that "the warning track" in left field at Fenway is about twenty-five feet from home plate.

        Heck of a throw, either way, though.

        1. Which is offset to some extent by the fact that "the warning track" in left field at Fenway is about twenty-five feet from home plate.

          Also true.

    1. I love that screengrab. Both cutoff men are already in perfect position. Rogers is moving in front of the catcher to back it up, and while who knows what he's thinking at that moment, I'm sure there were some expletives in his head.

      1. According to him, he believed in Roasrio.

        Off the bat, Rogers didn’t believe that Martinez got enough of a 2-2 slider that was down and maybe caught a little too much of the plate. Anticipating a throw home, Rogers raced behind the plate to back up Castro. As harrowing as the moment was with a potential tied game if Devers scored, Rogers had confidence in his left fielder, who now has seven assists but hadn’t converted one since July 25 at Chicago.

        “Right away, I knew Rosie would have a shot at it,” Rogers said. “The ball was coming right at Cron and I said, ‘Don’t cut it. Don’t cut it.’ …

      2. i also love that for a few brief moments the infield cutoff man (cron?) was contemplating cutting it off. then, seeing the trajectory, he yanks his glove back like he touched a hot stove.

          1. Me three.

            I wonder if either Castro or Rogers (or both) were yelling at him to keep his hands off, he had great situational awareness, or all of the above.

            1. Cron said that he only cuts that ball if it's off-line.

              Which makes sense, there was no other play to be had, you only cut if there's danger of Martinez going to 3rd on a bad throw that gets past Castro.

            2. The right play is for the cutoff man to look as if he may cut it off in order to slow down the runner rounding second base. I think he knew shortly after Rosario let it go, that it was looking on line, but in that situation he should definitely make the base runner think he may cut it off. If it goes through and the runner is safe, we then have a better chance of keeping the runner on second base.

            3. As Rogers stated, he called off Cron on the cut. Typically the cutoff man will cut the ball unless he is specifically told otherwise ("Cut! Cut!" or "Let it go!") and Rogers as the backup was the right man to make that call.

              A friend of mine from Boston made it sound like Devers ran a stop sign -- is this true?

    2. I also love that the ball seems to hit another gear and go faster about the time it hits the infield. The video is great in that you can see the ball traveling in comparison with Devers running.

        1. Yup, I wonder if because the ball is passing through a different background color (green grass to brown dirt) that causes that effect.

    1. Nothing will beat Deflated Cop after Torii robbed that homer in the bullpen in terms of Fenway Sad Faces, but this is up there.

  3. On the Twins podcast from the Athletic, apparently the producer is a Nationals fan, so he was talking about how after that huge ninth-inning comeback, they didn't really get to savor it because there was a day game the next day and the Nats lost.

    It's pretty great how that finish has just wiped out any anxiety I might have had about the Indians series, because I get to spend all day enjoying (and re-enjoying) that play.

Comments are closed.