2019 ALDS: Twins @ Yankees, Game 2

The other day I realized that three of the Twins' best players this year have been suspended now or in the past related to performance enhancing drugs. That seems like a high ratio.

Today the plan is for three Tanaka pitches to be suspended in the air for a long long time into the outfield seats.  I'll go with just Kepler though for my pick.

I don't have any thoughts or analysis on the game or matchup today. I just want to say I've enjoyed the hell out of this season and you guys make it better.

175 thoughts on “2019 ALDS: Twins @ Yankees, Game 2”

    1. I had to actually shut a guy up today at my daughter's soccer game, so I know a thing or two about it.

  1. I am off with the family to my wife's company fall party (corn maze, hot chocolate and pumpkins) so you won't have to hear my profane negativity all night. Solid bet on the Yankees already in place.

    Was keeping our top prospects really worth this? What appears to be a 3 game sweep where we won't even be competitive?

    I've been consistent all season - the ownership is too damn cheap and the front office (even the new guys) are too damn conservative. Sure 100 wins and a division title is more fun than not making the postseason and yes its no guarantee that major trades or major contracts would have given us the pitcher we needed to win one of these first 2 games and have a competitive series and no one saw our best pitcher getting suspended.

    But look at who our game 2 starter is for fucks sake!!!!!

    I'm sure many of you will enjoy watching these apparently amazing prospects we held onto whose names I can't even remember without googling them in the coming years. Me? I'd rather have a overpaid rental pitcher on the mound with a fighting chance today instead of a nice story about an uber driver who wasn't even in the majors last April and has no business starting game 2 in Yankee stadium today.

      1. Dobnak is the Game Two starter because our best pitcher is suspended and our front office/ownership didn't do their job to give the best offense in the history of baseball a better option than Randy Fucking Dobnak to start game 2 of the PLAYOFFS!

          1. By recognizing that even with Pineda they didn't have enough pitching to win the coming playoff series and making the damn move to get a playoff worthy starter.

            There were PLENTY of people with my same voice at the trade deadline wanting the cheap ass owners to actually pay for a pitching upgrade.

            1. I agree the pitching is thinner than I’d like, but I also think this 101-win team caught the people who assembled it by surprise. By the time they were in position to address some of the remaining weak points, they were limited in what they could accomplish. Greinke didn’t want to come to Minnesota. The Twins engaged the Blue Jays on Stroman, but Toronto stupidly never called back and took the Mets’ offer without soliciting a counter. I doubt you’d want Robbie Ray or Matt Boyd pitching a postseason game in the Bandbronx, let alone at the cost of Alex Kirilloff & Royce Lewis.

              If you’re not prepared to admit the front office has limited agency in mid-season trades, you’re not making a fair argument.

              1. I don't think you will get far with this line of debate. Yes there were specific issues at the deadline. However the Twins have never made a significant inseason move, ever. Also tons of national media talking about how little effort the Twins were making for the Pitchers that were available. Its not the case there were no pitchers avaialable. It was the case that the Twins failed to make a any real move on the ones who were. I knew a 0-3 playoff sweep was likely the day after the trade deadline.

                1. the Twins have never made a significant inseason move, ever.

                  In 2010 the Twins had a half-game lead in the AL Central when they traded for a rental closer who had a 2.74 ERA, 26 saves, and 4.22 SO/BB ratio. The closer saved another 16 games with a 2.00 ERA and 1.185 WHIP, but the Twins were swept in the postseason anyway.

                  They traded an amazing prospect whose name you probably can’t remember because (even though he won the Rookie of the Year the season after the trade,) his team lost three LDS with him on the team.

                  1. Shannon Stewart. Don Baylor. Again, I'm sure there are more if I had time to look them up. I have some sympathy for how you feel, but let's stay factual.

                2. Its not the case there were no pitchers avaialable. It was the case that the Twins failed to make a any real move on the ones who were.

                  Greinke didn’t want to come to Minnesota. The Twins engaged the Blue Jays on Stroman, but Toronto stupidly never called back and took the Mets’ offer without soliciting a counter. I doubt you’d want Robbie Ray or Matt Boyd pitching a postseason game in the Bandbronx, let alone at the cost of Alex Kirilloff & Royce Lewis.

    1. Being that the sun has not shined in my town for weeks, I think I better understand your mind. Thanks for dropping a load of negativity before you go off to the corn maze. Sure you will be the life of the party.

      1. Somehow I am able to be as negative as I am without making things personal.........

        I don't think you understand my mind at all.

        1. Oh, actually I completely understand. You are offering nothing new tonight that we have not heard over and over and over again. The fact that you come on here tonight to rub our noses in it is making things personal. If your hot take "see comment below" is that we will lose the next 20 playoff games, well then I am unsure why you come on a website full of Twins fans other than to rain on the parade.

          1. I have no idea who you are or why Ive struck such a nerve. Thank god your immaturity is rare here. This isnt reddit.

    2. I prefer the long-term approach. Trying to pick which year to “go for it” is like trying to time the stock market. The Twins’ starting pitching situation is pretty dire, but even with some rentals, their odds in the playoffs don’t really change.

      I’m also not sure what to think about the idea of cheap owners these days. Seems like the only 100% sin is to lose the talent you’ve developed, but the cost-controlled phase of a player’s career is so long that the FA market is always super thin and the value there is usually questionable.

      So to me, the main thing is to win trades. Consistently over time trade a nickel for a dime and you’ll go somewhere. Invest in scouting, analytics, and player development so you have more nickels to trade. Overpaying at the deadline because you think it’s “the year” is generally a good way to end up like the Mariners.

        1. That's why I've completely abandoned a championship or bust mindset. The regular season is my jam and the Twins gave me a top two regular season (2006's craziness is a strong competitor to blasting the hell out of the ball), and for that, I am greatful.

          1. Yeah but this was a championship offense. What has been proven is that the ownership doesnt have a championship attitude either.

              1. As a fan in his mid 40s who remembers 87 abd every one of these last 15 games - I wanted to see the team make an effort. I wanted to see a real #1 and #2 take the mound in October. Not a struggling 2+ and a feel good story #4/5.

                  1. I loved watching playoff games that weren't over before the 4th inning - win or lose and series that weren't over before the 7th inning stretch of game 2.

        2. It sure as hell beats missing the playoffs for 20+ years.

          And I also wouldn’t bet on this streak extending to 20+ games. Even for the Yankees overmatching the Twins, this losing streak is unlucky and freakish.

            1. The losing is also freakish on top of that. I mean, even if you lowballed the Twins’ chances of winning each game at 25%, losing 15 of 15 would happen less than 2% of the time. I get that there are some match-up issues sometimes, but there is no rational argument that the teams are really this mismatched in years where the Twins have been good.

    3. I'm not going to change your mind, and I'm not going to try to. I just would point out that this is hardly the first time a team has used an inexperienced starter in an important playoff game (come to think of it, are there any unimportant playoff games?). A few years ago Cleveland started Ryan Merritt in the ALCS. Going back a number of years, Joe Magrane made two starts in the World Series for the Cardinals. I'm sure there are quite a number of others if I had the time to look them up. I know that won't make you feel any better about it, and that's fine--we're all entitled to our opinions. But this happens sometimes.

        1. Berrios was on the all-star team and Odorizzi would've been if not for injury. And you could not see Pineda's suspension coming from miles away. Sure, none of those guys are Verlander-level aces, but there aren't very many of those. At the trade deadline, the Twins had every reason to think they had three competent starting pitchers to take to the playoffs. Would a top ace have helped? Of course it would--no one's arguing that. But it's also legitimate to ask how much you have to give up to get him and how that's going to affect the team down the road. If you don't agree that it's legitimate to ask that, then I will stop, because there's really nowhere else for the discussion to go.

  2. It might seem like a high ratio, but 3 is still a pretty small number absolutely speaking and we don’t know what the overall rate of suspensions to cheaters is, and it might just be that the Twins are bad at helping their players beat the tests, or they got unlucky.

  3. This team needs a tune-up. The spark plugs aren’t sparking, the distributor isn’t distributing, and the pistons aren’t working either.

    1. Does that mean one of his back stories is that he grudgingly supports ... himself ... even though he (accidentally?) slept with ... his own wife?

  4. I agree with Rocco that this is a different group of players than all those myriad losses to the Yankees but it feels like the same movie with different actors in the same costumes. Yeah, you have some variations on the theme but:

    - The Yankees have a ton of power and their hitters are extremely disciplined. I swear this has been true forever (at least when NYY has a good year.) They don’t really chase, but you can’t be too aggressive inside the zone because they will punish you.

    - The Yankees’ lineup is deep and as a pitcher, you can’t really work around a couple guys because you’ve got some cheap outs coming up.

    - The only way to *reliably* counter this is with 2-3 ace pitchers who have multiple pitches that miss bats and are thrown with good command (without both the stuff and the command you simply can’t go deep in the game), plus 2-3 elite relievers. Or, you would need to just abandon the idea of a starter and basically just accept that your starters/openers won’t go deep and just mix and match pitchers knowing they are going to have to throw 100% every pitch and work deep in the count to be successful.

    In theory the Yankees could beat themselves every now and then, but we haven’t been so lucky on that front.

    I haven’t lost all hope, but this all seems so familiar.

    1. Agree, but it looks to me like most of our lineup is taking pretty bad at bats as well. Lots of chasing out of the zone. I know we had some of that during the season, but they look worse tonight and last night.

      1. I wonder if the Twins lefties would be better off not crowding the plate so they can hit the diving breaking ball in

      2. I was rather surprised they just hit in the tunnels and didn’t take BP at the Vikings’ stadium to stay fresh. It’s baseball-capable and the Vikings were in Chicago last week.

    2. That's why I said that the only way we were going to win is if we won 10-8 or 12-10 or something. So far, the batters haven't been able to do much.

      1. Wouldn’t surprise me. At some point you hit diminishing returns, but even that matters when the margins are tight.

      1. Yeah, this playoff streak is about the opposite of the 2006 regular season in implausibility. But stretched out over a more than a decade it feels bad, man.

        1. It sucks for fans, but anything prior to 2017 (1 game) is totally irrelevant to this team. Kyle Gibson is the longest-tenured current Twin, and he had just finished his first season of pro ball the last time the Twins were in the postseason. Baldelli played in the other ALDS in 2010. After being a scout for several years, Derek Falvey had just finished his first season in the baseball ops department for the Indians.

          1. True, though many of the players date from years earlier. Sanó, Kepler, and Polanco were signed in 2009. Buxton, Berríos, Duffey, and Rogers were drafted in '12. The core players originate from the front office that is responsible for most of the streak of losing.

    1. And Kirk Cousins is the poster boy for Twins fans that want to say "this is what can happen if you overpay for talent that doesn't work out". But to the Vikings credit - they tried. The Twins never have.

      1. The Twins have 7 division titles and won 101 games this year without trying. Apparently they are even better at running the team than I thought! Imagine if they were trying!

        (This isn’t about Kirk Cousins at any rate—the Vikings barely took on any risk with that contract due to the way the NFL is structured. The worst case scenario for them was three bad years and then top draft picks in a league where most draft picks don’t take 6-9 years to hit their prime.)

  5. Did I mention I hate the Yankees. Probably shouldn't be done but if I am pitching Didi's next at bat a drill him in the back.

      1. This is exactly my headspace. They literally ruin my enjoyment of baseball. I’d rather not watch the Yankees than watch baseball.

        I know this is childish on some level, but I’m just so frigging done with this.

      2. of course i hate the yankees, but to be honest, it's harder to hate them now. they have a great farm system and they've been great at developing talent. they're doing it the way they should now. plus, they have an assload of money. good for them.

        1. There aren't really very many dislikable players on the Yankees right now. Their fans, however, continue to make it very easy for me to despise the team.

      1. Well, yeah there's that. Its not like the Yankees are invincible in the playoffs against the rest of the league. Just us.

                1. right, i've been tacitly on your side, but this is where it breaks down. this crap shouldn't and won't be accepted around here. please quickly decide how you'd like to resolve this. i have no idea how we block people, but i will happily pursue it in this case. this is a last warning, and without any satisfactory resolution, a blocking.

                  1. Understood. I apologize to the group at large.

                    For the record and in my defense - I have not once prior to this made a personal nor snide attack - my beef is with the Twins front office not with any other poster here - even those who have made snide personal attacks on me.

                    1. I think a break until tomorrow or Game 3 would be appropriate. No one is happy right now. Taking on all comers isn't going to help.

                  2. Joe,

                    I want you to know I am not ignoring you and I am willing to take this seriously. I'm not looking to burn any bridges.

                    I do apologize for the direct "f you" - with no defense and no excuse.

                    If that isn't enough for you and/or my behavior moving forward doesn't display a change that shows an understanding that I overstepped - you just need to let me know and I will leave. I won't force you to have to figure out a way to block me. (FWIW - I would actually be willing to show you how to go in and delete my wordpress user). I'm not going to make this more uncomfortable for you. I was wrong and I am sorry.

                    EDIT: Sean - duly noted and agreed. Enjoy your Sunday and here's hoping the Twins can turn this into a series coming home and break this streak.

    1. No, he doesn’t. He’s swinging without a sold base. I’m not sure he’d be on the roster if they’d been able to put him up against a velocity machine.

    1. Yeah, where the fuck did that low strike go? He dropped in two perfect benders that called balls. Jeebus.

      1. Smeltzer seems to have good command of all his pitches. Its too bad he doesn't have a few more MPH on his heater to keep guys honest.

  6. This is when I think about those dumb losses here and there during the season that gave the Yankees home field advantage.

    1. It’s crazy how small the differences are. Like everyone has those dumb losses but there’s always someone with one or two fewer.

  7. My point is this - this was not inevitable. This is not bad luck because of injuries and bad/silly/stupid drug tests.

    My everyday circle is not Twins fans. Its sports bettors. And every bettor I know criticised the Twins for not being aggressive to get a starting ace. They all saw exactly these 2 games coming and profited big.

    From the Twins fans I do know I heard how this was going to be different. The Yankees pitching is as bad as the Twins. Its a new team and coaching staff and front office not involved with the 0-13 game losing streak.

    If the Twins had signed Cole or Bumgarner or even a lesser starter and still lost I wouldn't be so irritated. But this FO did nothing. And 2 boring awful losses is the result that so many saw coming months ago.

    101 wins and 307 home runs just don't do it for me. I guess the Pohlads are lucky I'm in the minority.

    1. What ace was available?
      Ther only one traded was Greinke, but he specifically blocked a trade to the Twins.

      1. playing geoff's advocate, the twins had a lot of money come of the books last year, and they did pretty much nothing. i'm not saying there was one player (or more) that would have made a difference, but they really did next to nothing.

          1. True, but as pointed out in the countless arguments the past few months, we did not know we would be this good. I would have loved to see them make some moves on the pitching side of things. I think we all agree on that. Now, if they don't make some moves next off season, I will grab my pitchfork and yell at the heavens too.

              1. they had a glut of extra money and spent 1/4 of it and pocketed the rest. why should they be defended? "we're only going to be okay, so let our spending reflect that". really? again, we bought them a geoffing stadium. sure, let's protect their bottom line.

                1. I’m on record as being extremely critical of how the previous two front offices, St. Peter, & the Pohlads squandered the advantages of the gorgeous ballpark Hennepin County built for them. I conducted a season-long boycott in 2015 when they brought a bigot back to provide “leadership” in the clubhouse.

                  Patrick Corbin was the best free agent starter available. Did the Twins make him an offer? I don’t know. Will they use the money they didn’t spend on Corbin, or Nathan Eovaldi, J.A. Happ, or Lance Lynn to make a competitive, compelling offer to Gerrit Cole? They’d damn well better.

              2. My point is there were some big question marks with the core. Buxton's health, Sano's inconsistency, Kepler and Polanco were not projected to be this good, nor was Garver. I feel it's too early to call this current front office cheap or unwilling to win. I give them another year or two before I will judge them in either direction.

                1. they're pocketing money in the 9 figures. i'll call them cheap.

                  of course i'm not advocating tossing out crazy contracts, but they could have done a lot more than they did. defending them from spending money on their team because "maybe they won't be good" is silly.

                  1. So, has anyone put out a list of "non-crazy" contracts that we passed on? I will give you that they are not willing to overpay. I don't think that is cheap. They are not going to hamstring future years with a bad contract or a bad trade. There window to win is much bigger next year than it appeared to be this year. Let's see how they perform this offseason.

                    1. Okay. This argument is not valid. The Pohlads could afford to spend 250 million a year. They choose not to.

                    2. i mean, i've been a fan since i was 5, so that won't change. but also, since i've been a fan since then, i'm expecting very little over the offseason. happy to be proven wrong, of course, but don't be surprised when they claim small market poverty.

                    3. Okay, so on the same page. If Falvey blows his prospects to win now and loses, Falvey won't get money like Cashman to fix it

                    4. Exactly, whether we all want it to be different or not, this team will not be a top 10 spender in total payroll. They have been willing to be league average. So that is what Falvey and company have to work with. With those constraints, we have a tighter margin for error than the legacy teams out there.

      2. Not that I'm taking his side, but Greinke had the Twins on his no-trade list. We don't know if he would have waived it or not. Most seem to but not all.

    2. The Pohlads don't care. They make billions even if the Twins lose 100 games. Theyre not baseball fans. They're business men.

        1. My choice is accept it or stop watching baseball. Which could happen to a lot of fans with perpetual 100 loss teams. We'll see if baseball ever changes the incentives to win

          1. as i mentioned above, the polands had loooooots of money to burn this year. yeah, they(/the FO) made some good moves on the cheap this year, but there was a lot of extra room to make more. all this from a team with plummeting salary after the state (county) gave them a stadium.

            1. I agree with you. But I know my vitriol would never change their minds. I'm happy to keep reminding people to choose millionaires over billionaires, but I reserve my anger for bigger social injustices

                1. And I was just arguing Geoff 's point that the Pohlads are lucky he's in the minority for not being satisfied with the Twins. If every Twins fan stopped watching today I doubt it would give the Pohlads a bit of stress. They'd move the team.

    3. If the Twins had signed Cole or Bumgarner or even a lesser starter and still lost I wouldn't be so irritated.

      Do you mean trading for them? Neither is a free agent yet.

    4. Again, I think everyone would agree that an ace would've helped. But I think it's legitimate for the front office to look at what the cost is going to be and how that's going to affect the team down the road. I don't mean to put words in your mouth, but It appears to me that you don't think those are legitimate questions for the front office to ask. And that's where we have our disagreement.

      1. And given the 30-plus year history of the front office being cheap and overly conservative I'm hesitant to give them the benefit of the doubt that they really tried to make a move and there just was no move out there I'm fine for fans that want to give them the benefit of the doubt or want to defend them

  8. What I really mean is "acquire" ANY pitcher that had they started yesterday or today I would not have blindly bet big on the Yankees. Such acquisition could have come at anytime. But once the trade deadline passed this exact situation even if Pineda isnt suspended and even if Buxton isnt hurt became very obvious.

  9. Won’t it be wonderful when these same Twins win Game 5 ... and all the wailing and gnashing of teeth is coming from Yankme fans!?!
    ...guys?
    Guys?

    I’m going to say that I’d have loved to see a quality starter added at the deadline (and it would have been nice if ‘the best reliever moved at the deadline’ had been ... you know ... healthy).

    But really, I just wish the offense hadn’t wet the bed for 2 straight days.

  10. In all of this discussion about the need for an ace, it should be pointed out that the Twins have scored a grand total of one run today. It's not all on the pitching.

  11. I'm a little surprised Rocco isn't using some of his better relievers, just to get them an inning of work. They haven't pitched in nearly a week, at least.

  12. The sun does not shine on the same dog’s ass every day, but the Yankees must have sunburned butts by now.

        1. Im happy to provide you all a villain to attack other than the lousy team that didn't bother to show up today.

    1. Yeah - I come on strong.

      I appreciate those that are able to engage on the points and not take my style personally.

      I believe (admittedly without evidence or example) that while there may not have been "aces" available to the Twins the last offseason or up to the trade deadline - I do believe there were solid #1 starters the Twins could have acquired that would have been a more solid option than Odorizzi, Pineda, and Berrios.

      I'm not claiming there was an clear and obvious move the FO refused to make. I am claiming that for more than 3 months I've been predicting the Twins to get swept by the Yankees in the ALDS and there were plenty of national pundits talking about how little the Twins FO were involved in trying to acquire talent to improve their starting rotation.

      The Twins could have a better roster on paper next year and not win 101 games again. This was a special team that didn't deserve to be lumped in with the flawed rosters that started this 15 game losing streak. While its valid to argue not overpaying for a rental and hurting future value - its also valid to argue that you need to strike when the iron is hot.

      1. I agree that it's valid to argue that you should strike while the iron is hot. Even if the Twins do make some strong off-season moves, there's no guarantee that they'll be this good again this year or next. Injuries could happen, players could regress, young players they're counting on could not pan out. I think it's a reasonable argument to say that they should've gone all in this year.

        What I don't think is reasonable is to say that, because they didn't, they're a bunch of cheapskates who'll never win anything. We have a good team now. Will they be able to take the next step from here? I don't know, but they might. We'll see.

        1. What I don't think is reasonable is to say that, because they didn't, they're a bunch of cheapskates who'll never win anything.

          But the Pohlads are - as it relates to owning an MLB team - cheapskates.

          And based on the current 0-15 streak and the continuing gap between the have and have nots of the MLB - its hard to envision how the Twins can ever win more than the AL Central.

          1. And there, I think, is where we disagree. I'm willing to wait and see whether Falvey and Levine can get the Twins to take the next step. It appears that you are not.

            1. "Willing to wait"

              I mean - I'm not giving up on being a Twins fan - as much as I'm sure some of you here would be happy to see me go. So in that way I guess I'm willing to wait. I am definitely not giving them any benefit of the doubt or carrying any expectations.

              I give the current FO credit for this offensive line up they built - but I'm not convinced it wasn't more "lightning in a bottle" than it is a foundation of a year to year contending roster moving forward.

              As a Twins fan - I would love to be wrong and to have the team and the FO surprise me but the future value of the White Sox seems to be higher than ours right now.

  13. Wow, the Twins hitters tonight look absolutely awful. (Yes, pitchers too ). But I expected our offense to at least show up.

  14. Something tells me I am glad I missed this game log in real time. So the following is easy for me to say outside of the heat of the moment.

    I hope everyone gets a good night's sleep. Maybe watch the stream of JeffA's sermon to clear out the bad juju. Have some oatmeal for breakfast. Do some lawn work. Maybe go to yoga.

    Then come back and share some joy. It's baseball! We aren't the Yankee fanbase or Phillies fanbase or Ligue'd ChiSox fanbase. Let's remember that.

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