Category Archives: 2019 Twins Game Logs

2019 Game 73: Boston Red Sox at Minnesota Twins

Eduardo Rodriguez
vs
Kyle Gibson

Fourth game of the three-game series.

Twins replaced Blake Parker with Sean Poppen while the Red Sox replaced Velázquez with Josh Smith. Poppen has yet to pitch in MLB but he's done well this year in AAA (not AA though). Josh Smith has pitched 75 games over four seasons in MLB. He has not done well in AAA despite good strikeout and walk numbers.

The teams have scored nine runs over the previous 26 innings so I expect fireworks today.

2019 Game 72: Boston Red Sox at Minnesota Twins

So the game after "The Bunt heard around all 10,000 lakes." Will the Twins be able to put behind them one bad half inning of baseball? Will Jorge Polanco be dropped in the batting order as punishment? Will Max Kepler have to watch YouTube videos of Paul Molitor run the bases? (UPDATE: Kep not in lineup tonight... hmmmm) Most likely the Twins will demonstrate the resiliency they have all year and put together another good game of fundamental baseball and the smashing of home runs to thrill the hometown fans.

David Price on the mound for the Bosox, and while maybe not as dominant as in the past, he's pitched decently this year and has a good 10.5 So/9 innings stat. Price was terrible his last start giving up 6 runs in 1.1 innings to the Rangers. Hopefully Price rides that negative momentum into this game as well. Michael Pineda for the Twins and has shown signs of getting better lately, including a 2 hit, 1 run outing over 5.2 innings last week.

Buxton on IL, so I decided to honor him in the featured image. Get better my man.

Beautiful night for baseball, C'mon Twins, let's kill this 2 game losing streak. I'm going to Wednesday's game and don't want the fans all angsty tomorrow.

Twins Lineup
SS Polanco
C Garver
DH Cruz
RF Rosario
1B Cron
RF Gonzalez
3B Sanyo
CF Cave
2B Schoop

2019 Game 70: Kansas City at Minnesota

Starting Lineups

Happy Fathers Day! I'm always reminded on this day of the two men drinking at the bar. One is commiserating at length on the pitfalls of fatherhood and proclaims finally that ten minutes of pleasure can lead to a lifetime of obligation and aggravation. The other man takes this in while staring into his drink, and after a long pause turns his head and says, "How do you make it last for ten minutes?"

The Twins wrap up Joe Mauer weekend at Target Field with a chance to sweep the beleaguered Kansas City Royals and extend their 25.5 game lead over the AL Central cellar dwellers. Watching the number retirement ceremony yesterday and seeing Joe with his little boy and the rest of his family confirmed for me that the Chairman made the right decision when he prioritized his health and family over another year of major league baseball and one last chance at a championship. I'm sure that given how the team is performing he sometimes wishes he'd given it another year, and frankly I do, too. I do think the reluctance the front office showed to even talk about a contract extension last year helped tip the scale toward retirement and like an inside fastball off the handle of the bat, that still stings a little. But in the end, we're left with a career's worth of memories (the no-look, behind-the-back crouching backhanded pick without missing a beat on a wild pitch that ricocheted straight off the sandstone backstop - I could watch that on an infinite loop). The great thing about baseball memories is that we feel them personally, we make them our own and the best ones we tuck away like treasures. We take them out from time to time to polish and admire, but we also share them freely and happily with our families and friends and other fans around the world, and that makes them even more special because they connect us in a way that transcends differences.

Jake Odorizzi proved himself human yesterday, gave up four runs and saw his ERA balloon to 2.24. Today's starter, Martin Perez, is also human but having a better year than I, for one, anticipated. He's 7-2 with a 3.97 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 70.1 innings pitched. He's served as a good pivot between our aces Berrios and Odorizzi and the less effective end of the rotation in Gibson and Pineda. The Royals today give the ball to 26-year-old Jakob Junis. The KC right-hander is probably better than his 4-6 record and 5.35 ERA, but that will happen with Kansas City's defense and offense backing you up. The Twins start today's game with a 62.6% win probability, so I believe I'll dust my broom. Play ball!

2019 Game 69: Joe Mauer Was Very Good At Baseball

On Joe Mauer's player page, Baseball Reference lists two transactions:

  • June 5, 2001: Drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 1st round (1st pick) of the 2001 amateur draft. Player signed July 17, 2001.
  • October 29, 2018: Granted Free Agency.

This community did not exist before Joe Mauer became a major leaguer. Mauer made his debut on 05 April 2004; SBG started posting at the Old Basement in July 2004. Granted, there were isolated pockets of Twins fans online before Mauer crouched behind the plate, but every one of the well-established communities of Twins fans came into being during Mauer's career. The Mauer Era is the era of critical mass for Twins fans online. The retirement of Joe's number is something of a milestone for all of us.

The seeds of the ongoing revolution in the evaluation of baseball players' performance stretch back to before Joe Mauer was born. By the time Mauer was swinging the bat on St. Paul's sandlots, a few forward-thinking executives had started kicking around these new approaches. By the time Joe Mauer signed with the Twins, those approaches had already jumped from theory to application in the most forward-thinking front office in the game. (That front office was not in Minnesota.)

Joe Mauer's career unfolded in a period in which enlightened baseball executives, baseball bloggers, and a few sportswriters were capable of perceiving how legendarily good Mauer was, but in which traditional executives, old school players, and (especially) sports-writing newspapermen simply lacked the curiosity, imagination, or willingness to appreciate him. The Twins' front office remained so hidebound in its approach that Mauer's own organization was simply not capable of articulating the special abilities of its franchise catcher. In Mauer's own home state, some newspapermen conspired to poison the well, turning a huge percentage of fans against the best pure hitter they might ever see play for their favorite team. Nothing in Joe Mauer's personality suggests he brought this treatment on himself. His "crime" was to be judged a good enough ballplayer to be made a multi-millionaire by the children of a billionaire banker.

Had Mauer's career unfolded exactly as it had, but a decade later, we would know with much greater certainty how amazing he was behind the plate. We know a few things. He threw out 33% of runners attempting to steal against a cumulative league average of 27% during his catching years. Baseball Info Solutions judges him about 17 runs above average in pitch calling. Johan Santana, the best pitcher to toe the rubber for the Twins since Bert Blyleven's heyday and likely the best pitcher in the American League during his own peak, threw more innings to Joe Mauer than any other catcher in his career. The only catcher with whom Johan had a lower OPS+ allowed was Ramon Castro, who caught less than a quarter of the total innings Mauer caught Johan. We can guess other things — Mauer certainly was a very good receiver, and possibly inner-circle great at framing — but we'll simply never know how he compares to the excellent catchers who came after him.

But we do know this: very, very few catchers could hit like Joe Mauer in his prime. Joe Mauer had the fifth-highest peak, judged by rWAR, of any catcher, ever. In ten seasons, from 2004–2013, Joe Mauer hit .323/.405/.468, good for an 135 OPS+. Over that span, which included a debut season derailed by a knee injury, he ripped an average of 28 doubles every year. He got an extra-base hit in 8% of his plate appearances over that stretch, but struck out just 11.2% of the time. He totaled 2051 total bases in a decade of hitting, often banged-up from his duties on the back side of the plate. Of players who caught at least 750 games and had at least 3000 plate appearances, Mauer is 3rd in Batting Runs, 7th in WAR Runs Batting, and 8th in Runs Created.

Joe Mauer was ours. He arrived just as we were gaining the ability to follow baseball with new friends we had never met, who lived far away from the territory reached by the 50,000 watts of WCCO that then still carried Herb's voice. His career was, with the exception of the disappointments his team suffered in the postseason, the career of all of our dreams when we were growing up. Nobody — especially not the cranks at the Star Tribune and their sycophants online — can take Joe Mauer's greatness away from us. We knew it, and we shared it.

Happy Joe Mauer Day, friends.

Game 68: Your Minnesota Twins Honor Former Twin Joe Mauer By Playing The KC Royals

We start Joe Mauer Number Retirement Weekend with Purple Prince Twins Jersey Night at Target Field. Man, this is a good weekend for Minnesota stuff, isn't it? Prince and Mauer? Nice. Also, our town just got a Townball team, and they wear purple jerseys, and their first ever home game is tonight too. So this is one of those fate things, right? Gonna be a great weekend for Minnesota baseball.

Let's hope the team can get going on an actual winning streak here tonight. They're pitching Gibson, who didn't do so hot against KC when he faced them in April (4.2 innings, 5 earned runs in a game the Twins ultimately won 7-6). But that was April, and no one knew the Twins were the best team in baseball back then, so I expect the Royals will just lay down this time for Kyle.

Meanwhile, the Twins are going to be purple raining bombas all over the place, and hopefully everyone can just sit back, relax, and enjoy a beautiful Minnesota summer weekend. This is the good life.

2019 Game 65: Mariners at Twins

Seattle in town for a 3-game series and bring your glove if you're sitting in the outfield seats as both these teams on pace to demolish the season home run record. Seattle has 5 games in hand so their 1 HR lead may not hold however. I don't get how another team can have played 5 extra games by June 11th, especially since the Twins have made up a bunch of their early cancellations. Twins coming off a nice 6-4 road trip and now have 9 games at home, mostly against division bottom feeders. A 6-3 home stand would be great and really put the pressure on Cleveland to pack it in for the year.

Mike Leake on for the Mariners and he pitched a complete game in his last outing. For those who forgot, a complete game is where the starting pitcher goes the whole nine innings and gets all 27 outs, no relief pitcher comes in. Not sure teams could do that anymore but apparently Mike Leake just did that just last week. Not a big strikeout pitcher but has done well against the Twins over the past year. Martin Perez on for the Twins, and although he's come down from his lofty early season perch, has continued to pitch quite well for the Twins.

Kind of a rainy day and forecast calls more rain off and on but I'm guessing they get this one in. Back to 7:10p starts.

Twins Lineup
RF Kepler
SS Polanco
DH Cruz
LF Rosario
3B Sano
1B Gonzalez
2B Schoop
C Castro
CF Buxton

2019 Game 64: Two Identical Siblings vs. Large Striped Cats

Starting Lineups

I don't mean to harp on the bullpen. We knew going into the season it was going to be the weakest link on this team. And statistically the bullpen isn't horrible, it's just that compared to an excellent offense and outstanding starting pitching and dazzling defense, an average bullpen looks somehow below average. But chin up, mates, the front office has about seven weeks to work with, more and more teams will become sellers as the trade deadline nears, we have a sizable lead in the division, lots of games against weak divisional foes to come, and the team is relatively healthy. So, laissez les bons temps rouler.

Today the Twins send Jake Odorizzi to the mound. Simply put, he's been awesome with sugar frosting on top. His 1.96 ERA leads the American League and gives him a 228 ERA+ on the season. He's struck out 70 batters while allowing just 21 walks (3.33 K/BB), and he's given up just four home runs in more than 61 innings pitched. With a 0.964 WHIP, he's extremely stingy giving up the bases. He's one of the primary reasons that after 63 games this season, the Twins have yet to lose more than two games in a row. I think it's fair to say The Jake has more than returned on his trade investment of infielder Jermaine Palacios (.266/.322/.386/.708 MiLB career). The Tigers counter the sweet odor of success with southpaw Ryan Carpenter (1-2, 6.23 ERA). He's 28 years old, has thrown a total of 48.1 big league innings, and this year he's given up almost two and half homers for every nine innings he's pitched. So no, he's not as good as Odorizzi, but as of right now, only a very small handful of big league pitchers are. A Twins victory today means another series win and a winning ten-game road trip. Play ball!