Tag Archives: Cody Stashak

2019 Recap: Game One Hundred Fifty-six

MINNESOTA 12, KANSAS CITY 8 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, September 22.

Batting stars:  Eddie Rosario was 3-for-4 with three doubles, a walk, and three RBIs.  Nelson Cruz was 2-for-3 with a home run (his fortieth), two walks, and four runs.  Miguel Sano was 2-for-4 with two home runs (his thirty-second and thirty-third), a walk, and four RBIs.  Jorge Polanco was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and three runs.  Marwin Gonzalez was 2-for-4 with a walk and three RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Tyler Duffey struck out the side in a perfect inning.  Trevor May pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.  Cody Stashak struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Brusdar Graterol struck out the side in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Whit Merrifield was 3-for-4 with a stolen base, his nineteenth.  Nicky Lopez was 2-for-3 with two doubles, a walk, and two runs.

The game:  The Royals started the game with singles by Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi, then immediately pulled off a double steal to put men on second and third with none out.  They did not score, however, as the next three batters failed to get the ball out of the infield.

The Twins responded with a big bottom of the first.  With one out, Polanco and Cruz singled and Rosario followed with an RBI double.  With two out, Gonzalez singled home a run and Sano came through with a three-run homer.  It did not kill the rally, as Jake Cave walked and LaMonte Wade and Luis Arraez singled.  It was a 6-0 Twins lead, and they then cruised to an easy victory.

Well, not quite.  Nick Dini hit a two-run homer in the second to cut the lead to 6-2.  In the third, Lopez and Jorge Soler hit back-to-back doubles, Hunter Dozier singled, a ground out scored a run, and Cheslor Cuthbert had an RBI single, cutting the margin to 6-5.  Sano homered in the bottom of the third to make it 7-5, but Lopez had an RBI double in the fourth to again cut the lead to one at 7-6.  Cruz hit a home run in the bottom of the fourth to put the difference back up to two at 8-6.

Things settled down a bit for a little while.  There was no more scoring until the sixth.  Polanco doubled, Cruz was intentionally walked, Rosario had an RBI double, and Gonzalez drove in a run with a single to make it 10-6.  They added two more in the seventh.  With two out, Polanco and Cruz walked, Rosario had another RBI double, and Jason Castro and Gonzalez walked, giving the Twins a 12-6 advantage.  The Twins remained in control of the game the rest of the way.

No, not really.  They should have.  Fernando Romero came in to pitch the ninth with a six run lead.  No one needed their bats against him, as he went strikeout, walk, walk, strikeout, walk.  With the bases loaded and two down, Rocco had seen enough and brought in Sergio Romo.  He immediately walked two men, making the score 12-8 and bringing the tying run to the plate.  Finally, however, he struck out Alex Gordon and the victory went to the Twins.

WP:  Zack Littell (6-0).  LP:  Jorge Lopez (4-9).  S:  None.

Notes:  LaMonte Wade was in center in the continuing absence of Byron Buxton.  Jake Cave was in right in the absence of Max Kepler.  Marwin Gonzalez was at first base in the continuing absence of C. J. Cron.  Mitch Garver started the game at catcher, but was removed in the fifth due to "right hip tightness".  I have no information on how serious it is.

Luis Arraez was 1-for-6 and is batting .343.  Cruz is batting .303.  His home run, as I'm sure you know, was the four hundredth of his career.

Zack Littell has an ERA of 2.83.  Tyler Duffey is at 2.26.

Remember when Miguel Sano was a total bust, and the Twins should either send him to Rochester or just DFA him?

I seem to hear from a lot of Twins fans who aren't really enjoying this run for the division title.  They keep saying, "But with our pitching, we won't do anything in the playoffs."  I actually agree with that assessment, although with the caveat that it's baseball and you never know.  But even so, that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the success we're having in the regular season.

I think part of the problem is that a lot of fans have no confidence in the Twins' ability to take the next step next year.  They don't see this as a division title this year, maybe a deep playoff run the next year, then a world championship.  Their fear is that this is a one-off, and next year we'll be back to mediocrity.  I understand that.  We've never really seen a Twins team that was able to take that next step.  The division championships in the first decade of the 2000s were accompanied by post-season futility.  The two world championships were not the culmination of a steady building phase--they came from bad teams becoming good in a single bound, and then dropping back to mediocrity or worse within a couple of years.  We have no experience with a Twins team going from good to better to best.

I think there are reasons to think this Twins team could, though.  The biggest one is the number of young players who are having success this season.  Front and center, of course, is Arraez, who is batting .343 with an OPS of .851.  But look at the pitchers:

Littell, 2.83 ERA, 1.23 WHIP.
Cody Stashak, 3.13 ERA, 1.22 WHIP.
Randy Dobnak, 2.01 ERA, 1.39 WHIP.
Brusdar Graterol, 4.32 ERA, 1.20 WHIP.

Granted, we're dealing with some small sample sizes, but these guys have all been put into games in important situations and have, for the most part, come through.  There's every reason to think they are legitimate big leaguers, and that there are more coming.

I don't remember the last time the Twins brought up this many young players and had them perform well.  Part of the reason for that is that, before this year, they would not have been given the chance.  Arraez would never have been brought up with so little AAA experience--they'd have found a veteran middle infielder to fill in.  And if injuries had forced them to bring Arraez up for a week or two, he'd have been sent back as soon as the veterans got healthy.  It would've been "Nice job, kid.  Now go back to AAA and prove you belong here."  On the pitching staff, we'd still be bumbling along with people like Matt MagillBlake Parker, and Mike Morin, because "They've been around.  They know how to pitch."  Current management should be given credit not just for their role in developing these players, but for actually giving them the chance to play.  There are never guarantees, but it gives me a lot of hope that this year is not just a one-off, but is instead building toward something even better in years to come.

Record:  The Twins are 96-60, in first place in the American League Central, four games ahead of Cleveland.  Their magic number is three.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 102-60!

2019 Recap: Game One Hundred Thirty-nine

BOSTON 6, MINNESOTA 2 IN BOSTON

Date:  Wednesday, September 4.

Batting stars:  C. J. Cron was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Miguel Sano was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Eddie Rosario was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his twenty-eighth.

Pitching stars:  Cody Stashak pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.  Brusdar Graterol pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk.

Opposition stars:  Eduardo Rodriguez struck out eight in seven shutout innings, giving up five hits and four walks.  Mookie Betts was 4-for-5 with two home runs (his twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth) and five RBIs.  Christian Vasquez was 2-for-4 with a double.  Brock Holt was 2-for-4.

The game:  Betts led off the bottom of the first with a home run, giving the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.  The Twins put men on first and third with two out in the second but could not score.  With one out in the bottom of the second, Vazquez singled, Jackie Bradley walked, and Betts homered again, putting Boston up 4-0.

The game was basically over at that point, because the Twins could not score against Rodriguez.  They threatened in the fourth, opening the inning with two singles, but a double play ended the threat.  The Red Sox added two more in the sixth, as Holt led off with a single, Mitch Moreland walked, Vasquez doubled, and Betts delivered a one-out single.

The Twins got on the board in the eighth, as Nelson Cruz singled and Rosario hit a two-run homer.  All that did was avoid a shutout, though.  They got a pair of one-out walks in the ninth, but a double play ended the game.

WP:  Rodriguez (17-5).  LP:  Jose Berrios (11-8).  S:  Brandon Workman (11).

Notes:  Max Kepler remains in center with Byron Buxton on the bench.  Jake Cave was in right field.  Kepler left the game with an injured chest, according to the play-by-play.  I don't know anything about what happened or how serious it is.  Willians Astudillo was behind the plate.

Luis Arraez entered the game as a defensive replacement and walked in his only time to the plate, so his batting average remains .343.  Cruz was 1-for-5 and is batting .308.  Jorge Polanco was 0-for-4 and is batting .302.  Graterol has an ERA of zero in two games.

You never like to lose, of course, but the loss in itself is not a big deal.  The Twins have won nine of eleven--you're not going to win them all.  Rodriguez is a good pitcher--the Twins aren't the first team he's shut down and they won't be the last.  It happens.

The concern, though, is the continuing question of "What's Wrong With Jose Berrios?"  Rocco tried to pass it off as just getting beat by one great player, Betts, which I might be able to buy if this was just a random bad game.  It's clearly not.  His average game score for the six starts prior to this one was thirty-six, and while I don't have access to last night's game score I don't think it helped that average much.  He hasn't had a good game since July 31, when he dominated a bad Miami team.

My guess--and I emphasize that's all it is--is that he's hiding an injury, and that it's working about as well as it usually does.  Again, I have no solid evidence to support that.  It just seems like the majority of the time, when a good player suddenly isn't, there's a physical reason why.  If so, then ten out of ten for being a tough guy and a gamer, but minus several hundred for good sense.  The way he's pitching now the Twins have to score about ten runs to win, and not even the Twins can do that consistently.

The Twins basically have about three and a half weeks to figure this out.  They can win the division without a healthy and effective Berrios, but they can't win in the playoffs without him.  As it stands right now, the Twins basically have two reliable starters--Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda.  I know they won in 1987 with two reliable starters, but it wasn't easy then, and with the extra levels of playoffs it's pretty much impossible now.  The only way you can do it is if you have such an awesome and resilient bullpen that you can consistently go to it in the third or fourth inning and win, and while the Twins bullpen has been better it's not in that category.  The only way the Twins have a chance in the post-season is if Jose Berrios pitches like he did in the first four months of the season.  The Twins have the rest of this month to figure out how to make that happen.

Record:  The Twins are 86-53, in first place in the American League Central, 5.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We'll just have to settle for 109-53!

2019 Recap: Game One Hundred Thirty-two

MINNESOTA 8, CHICAGO 2 IN CHICAGO

Date:  Wednesday, August 28.

Batting stars:  Mitch Garver was 3-for-4 with a two-run homer (his twenty-fourth), a hit-by-pitch, and two runs.  Jonathan Schoop was 2-for-4 with two home runs (his twentieth and twenty-first) and four RBIs.  Jorge Polanco was 2-for-5 with a double.

Pitching stars:  Jake Odorizzi struck out eight in six innings, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks.  Trevor May struck out three in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Cody Stashak pitched two shutout innings, giving up three hits and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Jose Abreu was 2-for-4 with a double.  Tim Anderson was 2-for-4 with a double.  Jimmy Cordero pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit.

The game:  Doubles by Leury Garcia and Abreu put the White Sox on the board in the first inning with a 1-0 lead.  The Twins came right back in the second.  Eddie Rosario led off with a bloop single, Ehire Adrianza hit a two-out single, and Schoop came through with a three-run homer, putting the Twins up 3-1.   They added two in the third on just one hit.  Garver was hit by a pitch, Jorge Polanco doubled, and Nelson Cruz was intentionally walked to fill the bases.  A force out brought home one run and an error brought home another, making the score 5-1.  The Twins again loaded the bases in the fourth, getting two-out singles from Garver and Polanco and another intentional walk to Cruz, but Rosario grounded out to end the threat.

Chicago got a run back in the bottom of the fourth.  With one out, Yoan Moncada and Anderson singled and Eloy Jimenez walked, giving the White Sox loaded bases.  They were not more successful than the Twins, getting a force out to bring home one run, but no more.  Chicago put two on with two out in the fifth, but could do nothing with that, either.

The Twins put the game out of reach in the eighth.  With one out, Schoop homered, Jake Cave doubled, and Garver homered, making the score 8-2.

WP:  Odorizzi (14-6).  LP:  Ross Detwiler (2-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Cave was in center in the absence of Byron Buxton.  Adrianza was in right in the absence of both Max Kepler and Marwin Gonzalez.  An outfield of Rosario-Cave-Adrianza is obviously less than ideal, but the Twins don't have a lot of options.  LaMonte Wade has just started a rehab assignment in Pensacola.  Zander Weil is probably the next-best outfielder in Rochester, but I know nothing about his defense.  The best option may be to hope Kepler and Gonzalez can bounce back quickly.

I see that Miguel Sano was hit by a pitch and was eventually replaced by Luis Arraez.  I don't know whether that's something to be concerned about.  Arraez was 1-for-2 and is now batting .336.

The first three batters hit Odorizzi pretty hard, but he certainly settled down after that.  He allowed only three more hits and one more run over the next six innings.  That's the Odorizzi the Twins need.  The bullpen came through as well.  Trevor May has quietly been pitching quite well over the last month.  In his last eleven games (12.1 innings), he has given up just one earned run on five hits and three walks and has struck out fifteen.  Other than one game against Atlanta, Stashak has also done pretty well.

In his last five games, Schoop has gone 6-for-17.  That's good, but what's really impressive is that five of the six hits have gone over the fence.  That's a slugging average of 1.235, which I'm pretty sure would be a record if you did it for a season.  He won't do it for the season, of course, but it's a pretty good run, even in a small sample size.

Today the Twins go for the sweep.  Whether they get will depend to a large extent on whether Jose Berrios can pitch like Jose Berrios.  I said a couple of weeks ago that he was not one of the Twins' problems, and since then he's gone out and proven me wrong.  In his four August starts, he is 0-2, 8.44, 1.97 WHIP.  The Twins say it's an issue with his mechanics.  Hopefully a trip to Wes Johnson's repair shop has solved his mechanical problems and he can get back to pitching the way the Twins need him to.

Record:  The Twins are 81-51, in first place, 3.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 111-51!

2019 Recap: Game One Hundred Thirty

MINNESOTA 7, DETROIT 4 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, August 25.

Batting stars:  C. J. Cron was 1-for-2 with a three-run homer (his twenty-first), two walks, and two runs.  Jonathan Schoop was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his eighteenth) a walk, and two runs.

Pitching stars:  Martin Perez pitched six innings, giving up two runs on five hits and a walk and striking out five.  Cody Stashak pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Jordy Mercer was 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs.  John Hicks was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.  Harold Castro was 2-for-4.

The game:  The Tigers put two men on in the second but did not score.  In the third, the Twins broke through for two runs.  Schoop walked and scored on a Mitch Garver double.  A pair of ground outs, which should have brought all kinds of joy to the old school baseball types, brought Garver home and made the score 2-0.

It went to 5-0 in the fourth.  Miguel Sano led off the inning with a double, Max Kepler was hit by a pitch, and Cron delivered a three-run homer.  The Tigers bounced right back with two in the fifth, though.  Mercer and Hicks started the inning with doubles, making it 5-1, and a two-out single by Castro cut the margin to 5-2.

The Twins got the run back in the sixth.  Cron drew a one-out walk and with two down, Schoop hit a two-run homer, making the score 7-2.  Detroit made it somewhat interesting in the ninth.  With one out, Willi Castro singled, Mercer doubled, and Hicks singled, dropping the lead to three runs at 7-4.  The next two batters went out, however, and the victory was preserved.

WP:  Perez (9-5).  LP:  Matthew Boyd (6-10).  S:  None.

Notes:  Kepler was in center and Marwin Gonzalez in right in the continued absence of Byron Buxton.  Luis Arraez was in left in the absence of Eddie Rosario.  Arraez was 0-for-2 with a walk and is batting .335.

The Twins were out-hit in this game 9-5, and yet still won 7-4.  They drew six walks and had a hit batsman, which helped.  It also helped that of the five hits, one was a double and two went over the fence.  And it helped that the two that went over the fence came with a combined total of three men on base.  The Twins went 1-for-3 with men in scoring position.  That's a good average, but it's hard to score seven runs with only three at-bats with men in scoring position.  It worked for this game, though.  If someone has time, I'd be curious to know what some of the extremes are for that sort of thing--most runs on fewest hits, most runs with only a few at-bats with men in scoring position, that sort of thing.  Obviously, I'm not going to take the time to find out, but if someone else wanted to, that would be cool.

Now that players weekend is over, I hope someone takes those white-on-white uniforms and burns them.  I wasn't crazy about the black ones, either, but at least you could read the numbers and the nicknames on them.  The whole Players Weekend thing doesn't do much for me, but if we have to have it, let's at least do it well.  It's hard for me think how many people had to look at those white-on-white things and approve them.  I don't know what they were thinking.

A 3-3 homestand against two of the weakest teams in the league is not exactly what we hoped for.  On the other hand, it's a lot better than the 1-3 we had two days ago.  And you know, you can have all kinds of fun with artificial endpoints.  In their last six games, the Twins are 3-3.  If you look at their last ten games, they're 7-3.  If you look at their last eighteen games, they're 9-9.  If you look at their last twenty-two games, they're 13-9.  And so on.

Ultimately, the only numbers that really matter are the ones that are shown below:  their record for the season and how far ahead they are of the second place team.  As we've said before, they don't have to win a certain number of games to win the division, they just need to win one more than their nearest rival.  Right now, they've won three more with thirty-two games to play.  Those are really the only numbers that count.

Record:  The Twins are 79-51, in first place in the American League Central, 3.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 111-51!