Tag Archives: Joe Mauer

2018 Game 11: Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins

The Twins kick off their 2018 Central Division campaign against a young Chicago squad, (losers of 7 of their last 9 games). They went 11-7 against the 67 win club a year ago, the first under coach Rick Renteria. Renteria and GM Rick Hahn are likely hoping that trades of Sale, Eaton*, Quintana, Kahnle, Robertson and Cabrera in 2016 & '17 will begin to bear fruit.

*Today's starter for the Sox, Lucas Giolito was part of the Eaton trade with Washington. The 23-year-old has walked 7 and given up 8 runs in 11 2/3 innings to start the year, but as a former 1st round pick (#16 overall in 2012) with decent minor league numbers (3.18 ERA, 1.248 WHIP, 9.6K/9 in 497 IP over 6 seasons), and good numbers in his (limited) MLB appearances last year (7 starts, 45.1 IP, 2.38 ERA, 181 ERA+, 4.94 FIP, 0.949 WHIP), the boys should not take him lightly.

Opposing Giolito will be the Twins' José Berríos, their very own 23-year-old , former first rounder (#32 overall in 2012). With great numbers during 6 years in the minors (2.77 ERA, 1.075 WHIP, 9.6K/9 in 591 IP), it's safe to say that the big club has high expectations for the young Puerto Rican. Berríos started 25 games for the Twins in 2017, going 14-8 with a 3.89 ERA, 113 ERA+, 3.84 FIP and 1.229 WHIP. He accumulated 139 SO in 145.2 Innings Pitched and averaged 3 BB per 9. In 2018, José has already notched a win in his first career Complete Game, and been knocked out after 4 2/3 innings (5 ER on 6 Hits) in an 11-4 loss to Seattle. Excited to see which version we get in what may be the only "nice" game of the series.

I'll leave you with this: 1,998 - not too far off 2,000. I'm hoping some Citizen is able to bring us a in-person, personal clip of this momentous occasion.

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

Game 32 Twins at Cleveland

This is a big series. Cleveland and Minnesota are tied for first place,w ith the Twins having two games in hand, a sweep could make some room at the top. The Twins have the perfect pitcher to continue a long win streak with Ervin Santana. Josh Tomlin starts for the C's. He is coming off his best start of the season (7ip 1r)

Fun fact! With his next run scored, Joe Mauer will reach 900 for his career. He is 5th on the all time Twins list, and only 4 behind Kent Hrbek. If Mauer is helathy and plays all of next year he might be able to catch Kirby (1071) and Harmon (1076 in his Twins years)

Game 134: White Sox At Twins

Tonight's game features the Twins best starter* of 2016 - Ervin Santana (6-10, 3.54 ERA, 118 ERA+, 1.201 WHIP) who, in pitching for a bad team, is 4-3 in his past 7 starts (49 IP, 13 ER's, 11BB:40K, 2.39 ERA, with an average of 4 runs of support) including a 2-0 loss to Atlanta on July 26, and a 2-1 loss to Kansas City on Aug 21.

The Twins offense will see Jose Quintana, quietly(?) having the best year of his career (11-9, 2.77 ERA, 147 ERA+, 1.103 WHIP). Quintana, also pitching for a (pretty) bad team, is also 4-3 in his past 7 starts (48.2 IP's, 10 ER's, 8BB:38K, 1.85 ERA, also with an average of 4 runs of support).

Based on the remarkable similarity of their results over their past 7 starts, tonight could be a very fun game if you like pitching.

The Twins are 2-2 against Quintana this season, losing their first two meetings, but beating him on June 28th & July 29th (though he recorded 8 & 9 SO's in those games respectively).

RECAP
-The Twins are 49-84 (6 wins behind their Pythagorean projected 55-79) and are on pace for 102 losses.
-60-102 would tie their worst W-L% since moving to Minnesota - their 1982 record.**
-A loss tonight ties the Twins longest losing streak of 14 games, set between May 19 - June 2, 1982. (The Senators lost 18 consecutive games at least four times: 1903, '04, '48 & '59.)
-Thankfully, they've got a ways to go to catch the '88 Orioles at 21 games lost in a row, or the modern-era-leading 1961 Phillies with a 23 game losing streak.

On a more positive note, highlighted by dw early this morning, Dozier has accumulated 5.4 WAR*** this year, and at 2.5 WAR so far, Joe Mauer is only .6 WAR behind Kirby Puckett on the Twins career WAR list at 50.3, good for 6th all time.

*No other Twins starter has an ERA below 5, though reliever Ryan Pressly is 6-6 with a 3.65 ERA in 62 games
**There are 9 Senators teams with worse W-L%'s
***A career best. Maybe it goes without saying that 32 HR's and 81 RBI's (so far) are also career bests

2016 Game #6: Minnesota at Kansas City

First pitch – 1:15 PM

BREAKING: The Minnesota Twins equipment manager is offering apologies after shipping mostly ass bats with the team for their season-opening road trip. According to the front office, there was a mix up in the packing process and the ass bats were affixed with the wrong shipping labels. Replacements are being requisitioned as quickly as possible. The Twins front office responded to the incident by transferring the equipment manager to the training staff.

Because Ervin Santana pitched but two innings in the rain-delayed season opener and the Twins’ skipper was afforded the chance to use him again on Friday, we’re not seeing our first look at our last starter, Ricky Nolasco, until the 6th game of the new campaign. Now, I’m inclined to think that the less we see of Nolasco the better, but we are paying a premium for the privilege of not watching him pitch while he recovers from the injuries that have made him such a disappointment since the Twins acquired him. My hope for Nolasco is that he can redeem himself and have a solid year anchoring the rotation. Alas, the tempest that spawns when one’s expectations are not aligned with one’s hopes.

Squaring off on the mound against Nolasco today is Edinson Volquez in his second start of the season. In his Opening Day effort against the Mets in Willits Point, Volquez gave up just two hits over six frames while striking out five and walking three. He’s coming off a 2015 season of 13 wins and nine losses with 200.1 innings pitched and a 3.55 ERA.

On the other side of the ball, the Twins offensive outcomes to date have ranged from feeble to frustrating. A team that strikes out this much – 58 times in just 5 games – should be playing in a beer league or on a sandlot. Meager bright spots in an otherwise dull offense include Eduardo Escobar sporting a 1.104 OPS powered by four doubles, Joe Mauer with his .880 OPS, and Byung Ho Park compiling an .837 OPS while hitting at just a .231 clip.

We’re burning daylight. Play ball!

Game 156: Minnesota 4, Cleveland 2

Winners!

Facing the reigning Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber, the Twins swung early & often and their first five hits went: double (Mauer), double (Sano), homerun (Plouffe), double (Hunter), double (Rosario). These five players accounted for all eight of the hits for the Twins - Brian Dozier added a sacrifice fly and a BB, Herrrmaaann reached twice (BB & HBP) and Escobar also had a BB.

Eddie further celebrated his 24th Birthday with a couple of singles, going 3-4. Despite 114 K's to only 14 BB's, Rosario's had a very nice rookie year: .270/.290/.463 with 18 Doubles, 15 Triples, 12 Homeruns, 49 RBI's, 56 Runs and 11 Stolen bases.

Tommy Milone, tapped to start in place of an ill Phil Hughes a mere four hours before the game, rebounded nicely from his previous two starts at the beginning of September (the results of which - combined with Hughes' return from the DL and Duffy's effectiveness - caused a move to the bullpen). He gave Molitor & Co. 5 2/3 quality innings, allowing only two earned runs on four hits, no walks and four strikeouts. In the sixth, Kipnis blasted a fly ball to deep centerfield that it appeared Hicks had a play on. Instead, he leapt & missed it and the ball caromed off the wall, allowing Kipnis to reach third base. The Indian's rookie SS phenom, Francisco Lindor, then added his second RBI of the night (first was a 1st inning HR) by grounding out to SS. That was all they'd get as the Twins bullpen went on to shut the Cleveland lineup down. Boyer, Fien, Perkins & Jepsen pitched 3 1/3 innings of shutout baseball, allowing only two hits and striking out three (two by Perk-n-Play - yay!).

With this win, the Twins have guaranteed themselves the first .500 or better season in five years. Considering I couldn't find any/we didn't do any predictions this year, I'd say none of us expected much from this club to begin the season. That they're still in the playoff hunt with six games to play is a minor miracle.

For Funzies:
2014 Predictions
2013 Predictions

Game 145: Tigers 7, Twins 4 (in 12 innings)

Consensus after the game seemed to be that:
a) Molitor made some curious moves re: pinch-running and defensive substitutions which came back to bite him (see socal's comments in the Game Log),
b) The Twins offense had numerous chances to put this thing away, but simply couldn't get it done (3-13 w/ RISP),
c) Jepsen was bound to blow a save with the Twins at some point - unfortunately, it came in game that was both very winnable and very important,
d) Hicks still has some work to do on keeping his head in games: he was doubled off 2nd in the 6th and didn't hit the cut-off man in the 9th, allowing the eventual tying runner to advance to 2nd.
e) Duensing sucks,
f) It's all Mauer's fault, all the time.*

And the positive:

With his solo homer off Norris in the third, Eddie Rosario became the 17th rookie to record 10 homers, 10 triples, 10 doubles and 10 stolen bases in a season. He was the first do it since Hanley Ramirez in 2006. He's also just the sixth rookie to reach those marks with at least 10 outfield assists.
-Jason Beck

They're still only 1.5 games behind Houston for the 2nd Wild Card spot, with seventeen games left and a fairly favorable list of opponents. Channeling JeffA, I'd say they're ready to start their seventeen game winning streak tonight against LAAAAA.

*even though he's reached base safely in 36-straight-games, a career high.
BrianDuensing

Game 105: Twins 1, Blue Jays 5

The wins by Toronto & Baltimore yesterday, combined with the Twins loss, results in a virtual 3-way tie for the 2nd Wild Card spot. Technically, Minnesota and Baltimore are tied and Toronto is virtually tied, though actually a few meager decimals of percentage points behind the Orioles and Twins.

Also technically, Ervin "Not Johan" Santana took the Loss yesterday, but one could argue (as a few of us have recently) that the offense was at fault for the outcome. Now, the Twins were facing newly-acquired ace David Price, who is 4th in the AL in ERA (2.45) & Strikeouts (149), 5th in WAR (3.4), Tied for 6th in WHIP (1.08) and 3rd in Innings Pitched (154). For those who weren't watching or listening, I'd argue that the biggest inning was the 4th when, with the game tied at 1, the Twins managed to load the bases with nobody out. Rosario popped out to short, Hicks struck out looking and Suzuki struck out swinging. Not one productive out, though Suzuki at least had a long at-bat before succumbing to Price. That was it. Price then retired the next 12 batters in order and LaTroy Hawkins took care of the Twins' 3, 4 & 5 hitters in the 9th to salt it away. The Twins struck out 12 times - 11 at the hands of Price.

Santana was facing a Toronto club that is full of great hitters; a team leading all of baseball with 566 Runs scored, and he gave up two Home Runs and only lasted 6 Innings - not enough considering the recent slippage by the bullpen. However, the 5 Runs scored were less than the per-game average scored by the Blue Jays this year (5.3) and they only ended up with 8 hits in the game.

Couple of things.
The offense has been fairly streaky thus far, with lots of young(er) guys getting regular playing time, and their few known quantities batting about as expected. Only Dozier is in the top-20 in the league in OPS (.828) and Mauer leads qualified Twins players* with a .269 BA and a .333 OBP, though his .712 OPS is below league average. On offense, the pleasant surprises (Rosario, Hicks, Sano) have been offset by the disappointments (Vargas, Santana, Arcia and - though limited to 11 games - Buxton). The catcher position has been a black hole and the roster, as constructed, offers Molitor a bench with defensive capabilities, but limited offense. As I noted in the game log yesterday -

"...the fellas have been remarkably consistent - month-to-month - hitting .255/.306/.413 in May (hot) & June (not hot) combined and .255/.311/.420 in July. On the season, they've hit .276/.346/.439 with RISP."

We (I) was wondering what the Twins management would do at the trade deadline, considering where the club is at roster-wise right now, where they're likely hopeful to be at in the coming years, and how the current season has shaped up. We don't know what moves Terry Ryan attempted, only the one that he consummated - bringing in relief pitcher Kevin Jepsen in exchange for a couple of minor-league prospects. My guess is that, being realistic about this team and being unwilling to sell the farm for a chance at the Wild Card, knowing what he's put together in the bullpen and seeing the offense at work (and that Santana won't be available for any post-season play), Terry was not willing to sacrifice prospects to try and upgrade SS, Catcher and the Bullpen.

Secondly: They moved Mauer from behind the dish to try and protect him and prolong his career, expecting that being healthy would keep his bat in the line-up. In two years as a DH/1B, his line is .273/.349/.375 with a 101 OPS+ (good for 2.8 WAR), compared to career numbers of .323/.405/.468 and a 135 OPS+ before the move (good for 44.2 WAR). Is it time to wonder if this is the new normal for Joe? Of note, his .269 BA is 4th in the league for 1B but his .712 OPS is 9th of 12 qualifiers.

*There are only four players who currently qualify for the batting title: Dozier, Mauer, Plouffe! and Hunter. The next closest qualifier is Suzuki with nearly 70 fewer at-bats than Torii.