Tag Archives: Jason Castro

2019 Recap: Game Sixty-five

MINNESOTA 6, SEATTLE 5 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Tuesday, June 11.

Batting stars:  Jorge Polanco was 3-for-3 with two doubles.  Jonathan Schoop was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his twelfth.  Jason Castro was 1-for-3 with a home run, his eighth.

Pitching stars:  Tyler Duffey pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Matt Magill pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Trevor May pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Domingo Santana was 3-for-5 with two runs.  Mallex Smith was 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs.  Kyle Seager was 2-for-5.  Edwin Encarnacion was 1-for-3 with a three-run homer (his twenty-first) and two walks.  Mike Leake pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits and no walks and striking out six.

The game:  The Mariners put together a pair of two-out singles and Encarnacion hit a three-run homer in the third to give Seattle a 3-0 lead.  The Twins tied it in the fourth.  Eddie Rosario led off the inning with a double, and with two out Schoop and Castro hit back-to-back homers, tying the score at 3-3.

The Mariners got the lead back in the fifth.  A pair of walks preceded an RBI single by Dan Vogelbach to make it 4-3.  Seager's run-scoring single in the seventh increased the lead to 5-3.

The Twins took their only lead, but the only lead they would need, in the eighth.  Max Kepler and Polanco led off the inning with back-to-back doubles to cut the lead to 5-4.  Nelson Cruz walked, a fly out put men on first and third, and a wild pitch tied the score 5-5.  With two out, Marwin Gonzalez delivered a single that scored Cruz and put the Twins up 6-5.  All they needed to do was retire Seattle in the ninth to win the game.

And they did, but it wasn't easy.  Smith and Santana led off the inning with singles, putting men on first and second with Encarnacion at bat.  But he was caught looking at a third strike (the game log indicates it may not have been a correct call by the umpire), Vogelbach popped up, and Seager hit a fly to left.  Victory was ours.

WP:  Magill (2-0).  LP:  Brandon Brennan (2-5).  S:  May (1).

Notes:  Gonzalez was at first base, replacing C. J. Cron.

Polanco raised his average to .341.  Duffey has an ERA of 2.41.  Ryne Harper pitched one inning and gave up one run, making his ERA 2.03.

I don't really understand why Duffey was not allowed to go more than one inning.  Not that going to Harper is a dumb move or anything, but it means the Twins used four relief pitchers last night when they could perhaps have gotten by with three or even two.  I still don't really understand how Rocco makes his bullpen decisions.  I don't mean that as critically as it might sound--I'm sure he has reasons for what he does, and he's not obligated to explain them to me.  And I actually like that he seems to be responding to specific situations rather than just reflexively going to "the ninth inning guy" or "the eighth inning guy".  Also, I have to say that for the most part, whatever he's doing seems to be working.  The Twins have bullpen problems, but I think Rocco has made the best of the situation so far.

Martin Perez appears to have regressed to the mean.  Over his last six starts, he has an ERA of 5.59, not far off his ERA of 6.22 last season.  I don't know how to calculate FIP, but the eye test tells me he has not been particularly unlucky.  His first few starts as a Twin are looking more and more like a mirage.  If he really was doing something different, as the media kept telling us, it looks like it didn't take long for the league to figure out what it was.  He'll probably keep getting starts, though, because the Twins have nothing in AAA to replace him with other than possibly Devin Smeltzer, and there's certainly no guarantee that Smeltzer would be better.  I assume Falvey and Levine are looking for help, just as I assume they're looking for bullpen help  I have no idea what might be available or at what cost.  But the Twins need better pitching if they're going to make a deep playoff run.

It's funny--all during the game last night I kept believing that the Twins were going to come back and take the lead.  Whether they could keep the lead was another question, but when they were down 3-0, when they were down 4-3, when they were down 5-3, I was convinced that the offense would rally.  It's nice to be able to have that kind of confidence in the team you root for.

Record:  The Twins are 44-21, first in the American League Central, 10.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 141-21!

2019 Recap: Game Fifty-five

TAMPA BAY 14, MINNESOTA 3 IN TAMPA BAY

Date:  Thursday, May 30.

Batting stars:  Ehire Adrianza was 2-for-3.  Jason Castro was 2-for-3.

Pitching star:  Mike Morin pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Avisail Garcia was 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, and three runs.  Tommy Pham was 2-for-2 with a double, a walk, and two runs.  Brandon Lowe was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.  Austin Meadows was 2-for-5 with a double, two runs, and four RBIs.  Christian Arroyo was 2-for-5 with two doubles, two runs, and two RBIs.  Charlie Morton pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits and no walks and striking out six.

The game:  Well, it was good for two innings.  In the bottom of the third, a single and two walks loaded the bases and Meadows delivered a three-run double.  A single, a double, and a single made it a six-run inning, leaving the Twins down 6-0.  The fourth was no better:  a single, a double, two singles, a walk, and two doubles added up to five runs and a score of 11-0.

The Twins scored single runs in the fifth and sixth, but the Rays came back with three in the seventh.  The Twins added one more in the eighth.  Yes, this is a much less thorough recap of the game than we typically do, but there seems no point in going into detail on this one.

WP:  Morton (6-0).  LP:  Martin Perez (7-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Adrianza was at shortstop in place of Jorge Polanco, who was not feeling well.  Marwin Gonzalez was at third base in place of Miguel Sano.  Luis Arraez was at second base in place of Jonathan Schoop, who was used as the DH.

Arraez was 1-for-4 and is batting .375.  Morin has an ERA of 0.87.

A baseball season is long.  One hundred sixty-two games.  Out of that many games, you're bound to have a clunker in there once in a while.  The trick is, of course, to not have very many of them.  If you do, that's a problem.  For now, though, the thing to do is simply to turn the page and move on.

It seems, though, that we should acknowledge the service done by Zack Littell last night.  Yes, his line looks terrible:  eight runs on ten hits and one walk in 4.1 innings.  But the point is that he pitched 4.1 innings.  Even when he was getting hit hard, he was not afraid to throw the ball over the plate.  That kept his pitch count low enough that he was able to fill 4.1 innings, saving the rest of the bullpen.  He actually settled down to pitch fairly well after the fourth.  I'm not saying he deserves to be player of the game or anything--in fact, as suggested in the game log, his reward may well be a ticket back to Rochester.  Still, the job he did may be important in the next couple of games, and it should be appreciated.

Also, kudos to Rocco Baldelli for leaving Littell in the game to pitch those 4.1 innings and save the bullpen.  It's one of those things that seems obvious, but it's amazing how many major league managers don't see it.  Many managers, including some recent Twins managers, would've thought they had to take Littell out in the fourth, and then would've burned through three or four relievers in a game the Twins weren't going to win anyway.  Good job by Rocco for not doing that.

After a horrible April, Adrianza is batting .313/.393/.521 in May.  If you throw out the 0-for-16 that he started May with, those numbers go to .469/.526/.694.  Obviously he's not going to sustain either of those sets of numbers.  But his season numbers are now .256/.351/.415 which, while they'd be career highs, do not seem so unsustainable.  At any rate, he's sure making those of us, including me, who were calling for the Twins to release him look pretty stupid at the moment.

It should be noted that the Twins still have the best record in baseball, and we have Jose Berrios going tonight.  Plus, Cleveland lost, so we still lead the division by 9.5 games.  That makes it a little easier to turn the page and move on.

Record:  The Twins are 37-18, first in the American League Central, 9.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We'll just have to settle for 144-18!

2019 Recap: Game Forty-three

MINNESOTA 11, SEATTLE 6 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Thursday, May 16.

Batting stars:  C. J. Cron was 4-for-5 with a two-run homer, his tenth.  Eddie Rosario was 3-for-5.  Byron Buxton was 2-for-5 with a three-run homer (his third) and two runs.  Miguel Sano was 2-for-5 with two doubles.  Jorge Polanco was 2-for-5.  Max Kepler was 1-for-4 with a home run, his ninth, and two runs.  Jason Castro was 1-for-5 with a home run (his seventh), scoring twice and driving in two.

Pitching star:  Michael Pineda pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits and no walks and striking out six.

Opposition stars:  Mitch Haniger was 2-for-4.  Daniel Vogelbach was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his twelfth.  Mallex Smith was 1-for-4 with a home run, his second.  Ryon Healy was 1-for-4 with a home run, his seventh.  J. P. Crawford was 1-for-4 with a home run.  Connor Sadzeck pitched two perfect innings, striking out one.

The game:  It was scoreless through two, but Castro changed that by leading off the third with a home run.  Kepler also homered in the inning, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead.  Smith got one of the runs back with a home run of his own in the bottom of the third, making the score 2-1.

The Twins then broke it open with a big fourth inning.  Rosario singled and Cron homered to make it 4-1.  Marwin Gonzalez singled, Sano doubled, and a fielder's choice/error made the score 5-1.  Buxton then hit a three-run homer to increase the lead to 8-1.  The Twins still weren't done, as Kepler was hit by a pitch, Polanco singled, and an error brought home a run to make the score 9-1.

The Mariners got back-to-back homers from Healy and Crawford leading off the fifth to cut the margin to 9-3.  There was no more scoring, or even threats, until the eighth, when Buxton singled, took second on a wild pitch, and score on Polanco's single.

With the score 10-3, it was deemed safe to let Tyler Duffey pitch.  He retired Dee Gordon, but Haniger doubled, Edwin Encarnacion singled, and Vogelbach hit a three-run homer to cut the lead to 10-7.  To Duffey's credit, he regrouped to retire the next five batters.  The Twins added a run in the ninth on singles by Rosario and Cron and a double by Sano.

WP:  Pineda (3-3).  LP:  Erik Swanson (1-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Sano returned to the lineup, playing third base and batting seventh.  There is probably some wisdom in not throwing him into the middle of the lineup right away, although I assume he'll be put back up there at some point.  Gonzalez moved to first, with Cron taking the DH spot and Nelson Cruz still out of the lineup.  Jonathan Schoop batted third.  He's not really an ideal third-place hitter, of course, and he didn't get the job done last night, either, going 0-for-5.  Still, it didn't hurt them.

It had to feel good to Sano to get a couple of doubles in his first game back.  I gather that one of them was not exactly hard hit, but still, a double's a double.  One game proves nothing, of course, but at least he's off to a good start.

By game scores, last night was not Pineda's best start of the season.  That would be his first start, when he pitched four shutout innings against Cleveland.  I think most of us would agree that this one was better, though.  He gave up a few gopher balls, but this start would be the perfect illustration of "solo home runs don't hurt you".  He has gotten steadily better in his last few starts.  It is to be hoped the trend will continue.

This would seem to have been a perfect game to use new Twin Austin Adams.  Perhaps they wanted to give him more chance to get acclimated before using him in a game.  Or, perhaps they would've used him to pitch the ninth if Duffey had pitched a clean eighth.

Over the last two weeks, the Twins have played Toronto, the Angels, Detroit, and now Seattle.  Not exactly a tough schedule, but at least a couple of those teams are close to .500.  Over that same time, Cleveland has played the White Sox, Oakland, the White Sox again, and now Baltimore.  That's certainly no tougher schedule, and arguably an easier one.  Over that stretch, the Twins have gained 2.5 games on the Indians.  That strikes me as a good sign.

Record:  The Twins are 28-15, first in the American League Central, 4.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 147-15!

2019 Recap: Game Forty-two

MINNESOTA 8, LOS ANGELES 7 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, May 15.

Batting stars:  Ehire Adrianza was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two RBIs.  Jorge Polanco was 2-for-4 with a triple.  Jonathan Schoop was 2-for-4.  Jason Castro was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his sixth) and a walk.  Byron Buxton was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his second.

Pitching star:  Jake Odorizzi pitched 5.1 innings, giving up three runs on nine hits and two walks and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Brian Goodwin was 4-for-4 with two doubles and two runs.  Tommy La Stella was 4-for-5 with a home run (his eleventh) and a walk.  Jared Walsh was 3-for-5.  Jonathan Lucroy was 2-for-4 with a home run (his sixth), a double, and a walk.  David Fletcher was 2-for-5.

The game:  The Angels threatened in the first two innings but did not score.  They started the game with a walk and a single, but a line out and a double play ended the threat.  Goodwin had a leadoff double in the second, but nothing came of that, either.  The Twins got on the board in the bottom of the second.  C. J. Cron reached on a strikeout/wild pitch, Schoop had an infield single, and Adrianza hit a two-run double to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.

The Angels immediately cut it to 2-1 in the third on La Stella's home run.  It then stayed 2-1 until the fifth, when the Twins had a big inning.  Castro walked and Buxton hit a two-run homer to make it 4-1.  With one out, Polanco tripled and scored on Eddie Rosario's double.  A wild pitch moved Rosario to third and a Willians Astudillo sacrifice fly scored him to give the Twins a 6-1 advantage.

The Angels again immediately cut it to 6-3 in the sixth when Goodwin singled and Lucroy homered.  The Twins got the two runs back in the bottom of the sixth when Adrianza singled and Castro homered.  It was 8-3 through six and it looked like it should be an easy Twins win.  Los Angeles got one in the seventh on two singles and a sacrifice fly, but it was still a comfortable 8-4 lead going to the ninth.

It got uncomfortable in a hurry.  Trevor Hildenberger started the inning and got the first out, but then gave up doubles to Goodwin and Lucroy and a single to Fletcher, making the score 8-6.  Mike Morin came in and gave up a single to Walsh.  He struck out Luis Rengifo, but La Stella singled to load the bases and Mike Trout was hit by a pitch to force in a run, cutting the margin to 8-7 and bringing up Shohei Otani.  Otani, however, grounded to short and the Twins escaped with a victory.

WP:  Odorizzi (6-2).  LP:  Trevor Cahill (2-4).  S:  Morin (1).

Notes:  With Nelson Cruz still out, Polanco was the DH and Adrianza was at short.  Willians Astudillo was at third, with Marwin Gonzalez given the day off.  It seems odd to give Gonzalez a day off with Miguel Sano presumably returning to third base soon, but then I don't know just what Rocco Baldelli might have in mind over the next few games.

Polanco raised his average to .331.

Blake Parker retired the only man he faced and his ERA is now 1.17.  Ryne Harper gave up two hits but did not allow a run in two-thirds of an inning and has an ERA of 1.50.  Morin also gave up two hits but did not allow a run in two-thirds of an inning and has an ERA of 1.80.  Matt Magill gave up a walk but no runs in two-thirds of an inning and has an ERA of 2.35.  Trevor May gave up a run on two hits in a full inning and has an ERA of 2.76.

Odorizzi did not have one of his best games, especially compared to the way he's been pitching recently.  He was constantly in trouble and finally, in the sixth, couldn't get out of it.  On the other hand, it wasn't reasonable to think he would keep pitching as well as he had been, and he got through 5.1 innings keeping the Twins in the game.  It's not what you want, but if that's as bad as it gets he'll be in good shape.  His ERA is now 2.63.

The Twins' bullpen did not have one of its best games, either, but they did do a good job cleaning up each other's messes.  They then created messes of their own, of course.  But May came in with men on first and third and one out and got out of the inning with neither runner scoring.  Magill came in with men on first and third and one out and allowed only one to score on a sacrifice fly.  Parker came in with men on first and second and two out and retired the man he faced.  Even Morin came in with men on first and second and one out and only allowed one to score.

My first thought for the ninth was that Rocco should've left Parker in.  But Parker had pitched 1.1 innings the night before, and the Twins had a four run lead.  If you can't trust Hildenberger for one inning with a four run lead there's no point in having him on the team.  As it turned out, unfortunately, you can't and there's not, at least not right now.  Hildenberger is kind of a puzzle.  He has stretches where he seems unhittable, and he has other stretchers where he seems to be throwing batting practice.  I wonder if there's some sort of flaw in his delivery that he slips into sometimes and has a hard time getting out of again.  That's just speculation, of course.  But I can't blame the Twins for wanting him to go to Rochester until he gets straightened out.

It was asked if the Twins didn't have someone in Rochester better to bring up than Austin Adams.  The answer, in my opinion, is no, they really don't.  Kohl Stewart, maybe, but I suspect the Twins want him to continue starting.  Devin Smeltzer has made two really good starts for the Red Wings, but it's only two starts, so I suspect a) they want him to get more experience before bringing him up and b) they want him to continue starting as well.  Adams appears to be a replacement-level pitcher at best.  He will presumably try to fill the Fernando Romero groundskeeper role, but I'm not sure I wouldn't rather have another position player on the team instead.

Record:  The Twins are 27-15, first in the American League Central, 4.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 147-15!

2019 Recap: Game Twenty-nine

MINNESOTA 8, HOUSTON 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Thursday, May 2.

Batting stars:  Marwin Gonzalez was 2-for-3 with a double and two runs.  Jorge Polanco was 2-for-3 with a triple and a double.  Jason Castro was 2-for-4 with a home run (his third) and a double, scoring twice and driving in four.  Jonathan Schoop was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Jose Berrios pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and no walks and striking out five.  Ryne Harper pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and striking out one.  Trevor May pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Aledmys Diaz was 2-for-4.  Alex Bregman was 1-for-4 with a home run, his sixth.

The game:  Bregman homered with two out in the first to give the Astros a 1-0 lead.  Each team got a two-out double in the second but did not score.  In the third, singles by Tony Kemp and George Springer put men on first and second with none out, but a strikeout, a fly out, and another strikeout left them there.  Castro led off the bottom of the third with a home run to tie the score at 1-1.

The Twins took control in the fourth.  With one out, C. J. Cron walked and Marwin Gonzalez singled, putting men on first and third.  Schoop delivered an RBI single, Castro had a two-run double, Byron Buxton had a run-scoring triple, Max Kepler hit a sacrifice fly, Polanco doubled, and Nelson Cruz had an RBI double.  In all, six runs scored, putting the Twins up 7-1 and effectively ending the game right there.

They kept playing, of course.  The Twins added a run in the fifth when Gonzalez walked, went to third on a Schoop single, and scored on a fielder's choice.  Polanco hit a one-out triple in the sixth but did not score.  Houston threatened to get back into it in the seventh.  Singles by Yuli Gurriel, Josh Reddick, and Diaz loaded the bases with none out.  A strikeout, a sacrifice fly, and another fly out limited the damage to one run, making the score 8-2, and neither team threatened after that.

WP:  Berrios (5-1).  LP:  Brad Peacock (2-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Polanco raised his average to .336.  Cruz was 1-for-4 with a double and is batting .302.

Even though it was a day game, Rocco did not go with any sort of B lineup.  The regulars played.  The Twins alternate their catchers quite a bit, so that's not really an issue, but there were no substitutes at any other position, either.

Eddie Rosario was 0-for-4 and is now riding an 0-for-24 streak.  He hit two balls hard, though.  I'm not too worried about him.

Berrios pitched a fine game.  It shows the difference expectations can make, though.  If Michael Pineda ever had a game like this, we'd be ecstatic.  When it's Berrios, we just kind of nod our heads.  We expect Berrios to have games like this every time out.  That's a compliment to him, but at the same time, it's something that shouldn't be taken for granted.

Since reaching a low point of .213 on April 17, Schoop has gone 17-for-50 and is now batting .278.

Entering this series, I said the next ten games would tell us a lot about how good the Twins are.  They're off to a good start, winning three of the first four.  Now, of course, we go to New York to play the Big Bad Yankees.  I have a feeling that this year things are going to be different.  I don't have a lot to back that feeling up--the pitching matchups aren't particularly favorable or anything.  But it's a new day, it's a new team, and I just think this is the year things change.  I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Record:  The Twins are 19-10, first in the American League Central, three games ahead of Cleveland.

2019 Rewind: Game Twenty

MINNESOTA 9, HOUSTON 5 AT HOUSTON

Date:  Monday, April 22.

Batting stars:  Jorge Polanco was 4-for-5 with a home run (his fourth) and a double, scoring twice and driving in four.  Nelson Cruz was 2-for-5.  Jason Castro was 1-for-2 with a home run and two walks, scoring twice.

Pitching stars:  Jake Odorizzi pitched 5.2 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and no walks and striking out two.  Adalberto Mejia pitched a scoreless inning, walking one and striking out one.  Blake Parker pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Josh Reddick was 3-for-4.  Tyler White was 2-for-2 with a double and two walks.  Michael Brantley was 2-for-5 with a home run (his fourth) and two runs.  Carlos Correa was 1-for-5 with a three-run homer, his fourth.

The game:  The Twins took the lead in the first inning, as two-out singles by Cruz and Eddie Rosario and a two-run double by C. J. Cron gave them a 2-0 lead.  Castro led off the second with a home run, making the score 3-0.  It stayed 3-0 until the fourth, when Brantley led off with a single, went to second on a ground out, and scored on Reddick's single to cut the lead to 3-1.

The Twins seemed to take control of the game in the sixth.  Jonathan Schoop doubled and Castro walked.  With two out, Max Kepler singled, Polanco had a single-plus-error, and Cruz singled.  Four runs scored, putting the Twins up 7-1.  Brantley led off the bottom of the sixth with a homer, making the score 7-2, but the Twins still seemed to have the game well in hand.

In the seventh, however, George Springer led off with an infield single and Alex Bregman drew a one-out walk.  Brantley lined out, but Correa hit a three-run homer, making the score 7-5 and putting the Astros right back into the game.

In the eighth, Polanco took them right back out of it.  With two out and none on, Kepler walked and Polanco hit a two-run homer, making the score 9-5.  Houston did not get a man past first base after that and the victory was secured.

WP:  Odorizzi (2-2).  LP:  Brad Peacock (1-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Polanco is batting .392.  Cruz is batting .315.  Parker has an ERA of 1.23.  Harper gave up his first earned runs of the season and is has an ERA of 2.89.

Byron Buxton was caught stealing.  If I'm reading it right it's the first time he's truly been "caught stealing" in his career, in the sense of the catcher gunning him down rather than oversliding the bag.  I guess it had to come sometime.

Harper giving up runs had to come sometime, too.  Has his bubble burst, or was this just a blip?  Time will tell, but I'm hopeful.  It looks like the home run was the only ball hit hard off him.  And as great as his story has been, it wasn't realistic to think he was going to pitch all season with an ERA of zero.  I guess we'll see.

It was mentioned in the game log that perhaps Rocco is relying too heavily on Rogers and Hildenberger.  I don't think I agree.  Rogers has appeared in ten games and pitched 11.2 innings.  Hildenberger has appeared in eleven games and pitched 7.2 innings.  Given the number of off-days we've had, that doesn't seem like too much to me.  They've each pitched on consecutive days three times and never on three consecutive days.  I actually think Rocco has done a pretty good job of using his whole bullpen, including using Mejia in the eighth inning last night.  It's something to keep an eye on as the season progresses, but I really don't have a problem with it so far.

Someone said in the game log that, going into this series, they were simply hoping the Twins would take one of three.  I was pretty much in that same place.  Now, of course, we hope they will take at least two, if not more.  We'll see.

Record:  The Twins are 13-7, in first place in the American League Central, 1.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 155-7!

2018 Game Number 1: Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles

Day game alert!

Jake Odorizzi

vs

Dylan Bundy

 

Finishing at .500 would not be considered a success this year, would it? With that being the case, I wonder if we get 424 comments today?

Continue reading 2018 Game Number 1: Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles