Tag Archives: Mike Morin

2019 Recap: Game Seventy

KANSAS CITY 8, MINNESOTA 6 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, June 16.

Batting stars:  Max Kepler was 4-for-6 with two doubles and two RBIs.  Jonathan Schoop was 3-for-5.  Miguel Sano was 2-for-4 with a home run (his seventh) and a walk.  Nelson Cruz was 2-for-5 with a home run (his thirteenth), a double, and three RBIs.  Eddie Rosario was 2-for-5.  Jorge Polanco was 1-for-4 with two walks.

Pitching star:  Matt Magill pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Martin Maldonado was 3-for-4 with a double, scoring twice and driving in two.  Jorge Bonifacio was 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.

The game:  The Twins got a pair of runners on in the bottom of the first but did not score.  This would be a theme.  In the second, the Royals put together a walk and four singles to score three runs and take a 3-0 lead.

Martin Perez settled down after that, and the Twins got back in the game with two in the fourth.  Sano led off with a home run, Marwin Gonzalez was hit by a pitch, and singles by Schoop and Kepler cut the lead to 3-2.  Polanco was intentionally walked to load the bases with two out, but Nelson Cruz struck out to strand the runners.

In the seventh, two singles, a bunt, and an error plated to Kansas City runs to make it 5-2.  Cruz homered in the bottom of the seventh to make it 5-3.  Three singles loaded the bases with one out, but Schoop struck out and Mitch Garver flied out to strand the runners.  The Royals extended their lead in the eighth on an error, RBI doubles by Bonifacio and Maldonado, and a run-scoring single by Billy Hamilton.  It was 8-3 and it looked like the game was gone.

To the Twins' credit, they came back to make a game of it.  In the bottom of the eighth, a walk to Ehire Adrianza and singles by Kepler and Polanco again loaded the bases, this time with none out.  Cruz doubled home two to make it 8-5, but the Twins could do no more.  In the ninth, Schoop singled, Kepler had an RBI double, and Polanco walked to bring the winning run to the plate, but Cruz struck out to end the game.

WP:  Jorge Lopez (1-6).  LP:  Perez (7-3).  S:  Ian Kennedy (7).

NotesGonzalez was in right field, with Kepler in center and Byron Buxton still resting a bruised wrist.  Adrianza was at first base with C. J. Cron on the bench.

Polanco is batting .332.  Garver, who came in as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, was 0-for-2 and is batting .310.  Mike Morin allowed three runs in 1.1 innings, but the runs were all unearned, so his ERA is down to 1.17.

The Twins stranded fifteen men and went 4-for-18 with men in scoring position.  The good news is that they had fifteen hits, five walks, and a hit batsman, giving them twenty-one baserunners.  It was a frustrating game, no question, but it happens once in a while.  If they keep getting twenty-one baserunners a game, I think they'll be okay.

All the runs against Morin were unearned, but you can't argue that he pitched well.  After the error, which put a man on first with one out, there was an RBI double, a fly out, another RBI double, a run-scoring single, and a walk before the third out was recorded.  It seemed odd that Morin remained in the game that long.  I wonder if Rocco thought the game was gone at that point and didn't want to burn another reliever.  That's mere speculation on my part, but it's hard to think Morin would've pitched that long if the manager thought the game was on the line.

In regard to the game-ending checked swing, I really thought that was a call that could've gone either way, and it didn't go the Twins' way.  But Cruz had stood there and watched two good strikes, then started to swing at a pitch well out of the strike zone.  I don't think he or the Twins have much complaint coming on that.

On the one hand, it was a frustrating game to lose.  On the other hand, I didn't think the Twins played all that well in the whole series.  Maybe it was the hubbub over Joe Mauer weekend, maybe they're getting a little bit tired, maybe they just find it hard to get up for a series against Kansas City.  It just seemed to me that the team was a little bit off all weekend, and they were fortunate to win two out of three.  But maybe that's the mark of a good team, too--to be able to win even when you're a little bit off.

Record:  The Twins are 47-23, first in the American League Central, ten games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We'll just have to settle for 139-23!

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-eight

MINNESOTA 8, LOS ANGELES 3 IN LOS ANGELES

Date:  Tuesday, May 21.

Batting stars:  Luis Arraez was 2-for-4 with a home run.  Jorge Polanco was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk, scoring twice and driving in two.  Max Kepler was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk, scoring twice.  Marwin Gonzalez was 2-for-5 with a home run (his fifth) and a double, scoring twice and driving in three.  Eddie Rosario was 2-for-5 with two RBIs,

Pitching stars:  Michael Pineda pitched six innings, giving up three runs on four hits and two walks and striking out three.  Matt Magill struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Mike Morin pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits.

Opposition stars:  David Fletcher was 3-for-3 with a walk.  Mike Trout was 1-for-3 with a home run (his eleventh) and a walk.  Trevor Cahill struck out five in five innings, giving up one run on two hits and two walks.

The game:  Trout homered with one out in the first inning to get the Angels up 1-0.  In the second, with two out and none on, Brian Goodwin walked, Luis Rengifo singled, Fletcher had an RBI single, and a wild pitch scored another run putting Los Angeles up 3-0.  Meanwhile, the Twins did not get a hit until the fifth inning and did not get a man past first base in that time.  It was not looking good.

No worries.  Kepler led off the sixth with a double, leading the Angels to remove starter Cahill.  Polanco followed with an RBI double and Gonzalez hit a two-run homer, tying the score at 3-3.  The Twins took control in the seventh.  Jason Castro was hit by a pitch and was on first base with two out.  Kepler then singled, Polanco had an RBI single, Gonzalez hit a run-scoring double, and Rosario delivered a two-run single, leaving the Twins ahead 7-3.  Arraez added a home run leading off the eighth.

Meanwhile, Twins starter Pineda had really settled down, allowing only one hit after the second inning.  Four relievers held Los Angeles at bay over the last three innings--their only threat was in the ninth, when they put men on first and second with two out, and nothing came of it.

WP:  Pineda (4-3).  LP:  Luke Bard (1-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Gonzalez was the DH in this game, with Arraez manning third base and Miguel Sano on the bench.  Jason Castro caught back-to-back games, which I believe is only the fourth time all season he has done that.

Arraez is batting .583.  Polanco is batting .339.  Magill has an ERA of 1.80.  Taylor Rogers retired the only man he faced and has an ERA of 1.33.  Morin has an ERA of 1.13.

Pineda really pulled himself together after the second inning.  In the second, he looked like he was all over the place and had very little command.  I went to bed soon after that and assumed he would not be in the game much longer.  Instead, he pitched very well from innings four through six.  That makes four starts in a row in which he has pitched competently.  None of them has been outstanding--he's given up three runs in each and his highest game score is sixty-one--but he's pitching about as well as you expect a fifth starter to pitch.  There's a chance he may still improve, but if he can just stay where he is he's helping.

I said that if Arraez is going to be here he should play, and he has been, so good job Rocco Baldelli.  Of course, the fact that he's gone 7-for-12 with a home run, a double, and two walks makes it a lot easier to play him.  He won't keep that up, of course--that would be a record--but he's certainly off to a good start.

I assume it was mentioned during the broadcast, or maybe some of you even remember, but Bard is a former Twin.  He was in their system from 2012-2018, reaching Rochester in 2017.  He was chosen by the Angels in the rule 5 draft before the 2018 season but was returned to the Twins in late April.  He became a minor league free agent after the season and signed with the Angels.  He had been pitching well for them, but obviously did not do so last night.

Who'd have thought that with about thirty percent of the season gone, the Twins would be winning two-thirds of their games?

Record:  The Twins are 32-16, first in the American League Central, 6.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 146-16!

2019 Recap: Game Forty-six

SEATTLE 7, MINNESOTA 4 IN SEATTLE

Date:  Sunday, May 19.

Batting stars:  Jorge Polanco was 4-for-5.  Luis Arraez was 1-for-2 with two walks.

Pitching star:  Mike Morin pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Edwin Encarnacion was 3-for-4 with a home run (his thirteenth) and a double, scoring twice and driving in three.  Daniel Vogelbach was 2-for-3 with a home run (his thirteenth) and a walk, scoring twice.  Domingo Santana was 2-for-4 with a double.  J. P. Crawford was 2-for-4 with a double.  Mitch Haniger was 1-for-3 with a two-run homers (his twelfth) and a walk, scoring twice.  Yusei Kikuchi struck out six in six innings, giving up three runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks.  Brandon Brennan struck out three in two perfect innings.

The game:  There was no real threat to score until the third inning.  Arraez had a one-out single, and with two down Polanco singled and Jonathan Schoop was hit by a pitch.  C. J. Cron fanned, however, and the inning ended.  The Mariners took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on back-to-back doubles by Encarnacion and Santana.

The Twins took the lead with three in the fifth.  Walks to Arraez and Byron Buxton opened the inning.  An infield single-plus-error by Polanco tied the score and put men on second and third.  A ground out gave the Twins the lead and an error made it 3-1 Minnesota.

The lead didn't last long.  Crawford led off the bottom of the fifth with a double.  The next two batters were retired, but back-to-back home runs by Haniger and Vogelbach put Seattle up 4-3.  It stayed there until the seventh.  With two out, reliever Trevor May walked Haniger and Vogelbach and Encarnacion delivered a three-run homer that effectively ended the game.

To the Twins' credit, they didn't quit.  In the ninth, Ehire Adrianza got a one-out single and Arraez walked.  Polanco got a two-out single to cut the lead to 7-4 and bring the tying run up to bat.  Schoop hit a long fly to right-center, but it was caught and that literally ended the game.

WP:  Kikuchi (3-1).  LP:  Kyle Gibson (4-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Schoop was the DH, with Arraez making the first start of his major league career at second base.  Adrianza was in right field, with Max Kepler on the bench.  Willians Astudillo was the day's catcher.

Arraez is batting .500.  Polanco is up to .343.  Morin now has an ERA of 1.29.

In two games, Arraez is 2-for-4 with a double and two walks.  Two games don't mean much, but it's nice to see him get off to a good start.

The only reasons I can think of for why you'd put Adrianza in right field are a) you really want to give both Kepler and Marwin Gonzalez a day off b) you just want to see if Adrianza can play there.  I know Adrianza has been doing better lately, but I can't see any other reason why you'd put him in right field when he's never played there before.

Gibson pitched pretty well except for the fifth inning, which means he didn't pitch very well.  I don't mean to overstate that--he wasn't terrible--but still, his line was six innings, four runs, nine hits.  He didn't walk anyone and did strike out six.  It seems to me that every once in a while he simply loses command of his pitches, leading either to walks or pitches over the center of the plate.  I assume he slips into some sort of flaw in his delivery, although I have no idea what the flaw might be.

Part of me says the Twins let a winnable game get away yesterday.  Another part says, well, you can't win them all, and taking three out of four from the Mariners in Seattle is still pretty good.  As was pointed out in the game log, the Mariners are not as bad as the Twins made them look in the first three games of the series.  Plus, Kikuchi has been pitching pretty well.  The Twins aren't the first team he's shut down, and they probably won't be the last.  So, I think we just let this one go and move on.

Record:  The Twins are 30-16, first in the American League Central, 4.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We'll just have to settle for 146-16!

2019 Recap: Game Forty-four

MINNESOTA 7, SEATTLE 1 IN SEATTLE

Date:  Friday, May 17.

Batting stars:  Ehire Adrianza was 2-for-3 with a home run (his third), scoring twice and driving in two.  Max Kepler was 2-for-4 with three RBIs.  Marwin Gonzalez was 2-for-5 with two runs.

Pitching stars:  Martin Perez struck out seven in 6.2 innings, giving up one run on five hits and four walks.  Matt Magill struck out two in 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a walk.  Mike Morin pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Edwin Encarnacion was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Dee Gordon was 2-for-4.  Mitch Haniger was 0-for-1 with three walks.  Austin Adams struck out four in two perfect innings.

The game:  The Mariners threatened in the first inning, as Haniger walked and Encarnacion doubled to put men on second and third with one out, but Perez struck out Domingo Santana and Ryon Healy to end the threat.  The Twins got on the board in the third when Adrianza homered.  Seattle again threatened in the bottom of the third, as a Gordon single and a walk to Encarnacion put men on first and second with two out, but Santana hit into a fielder's choice to end the threat.

The Twins took control in the middle innings.  In the fourth, singles by GonzalezC. J. Cron, and Willians Astudillo loaded the bases with none out.  Kepler singled home one run and a one-out sacrifice fly by Adrianza made the score 3-0.  In the fifth, singles by Jorge Polanco and Gonzalez and a walk to Cron loaded the bases with one out.  A sacrifice fly-plus-error scored one and put men on second and third, and Kepler hit a two-run single to give the Twins a 6-0 advantage.

The Mariners scored their lone run in the bottom of the fifth.  With two out, Gordon singled, Haniger walked, and Encarnacion delivered an RBI single.  That was as good as it got for them, though.  The Twins added a run in the ninth when Adrianza singled and Jonathan Schoop doubled.

WP:  Perez (6-1).  LP:  Marco Gonzales (5-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  With Mitch Garver out, Jorge Polanco got the call as leadoff man.  Gonzalez was in left field with Eddie Rosario on the bench.  Adrianza was at third base with Miguel Sano at DH.  Astudillo was the catcher.

Polanco was 1-for-4 and is batting .331.  Perez has an ERA of 2.89.  Magill has an ERA of 2.00.  Morin has an ERA of 1.50.

As a starter, Perez is 4-1, 2.13, 1.00 WHIP with 34 strikeouts in 38 innings.

Over his last four games, Adrianza is 6-for-11 with two home runs, a double, three walks, and five RBIs.

The Twins again did not use Austin Adams in a blowout game.  Magill and Morin had just pitched Wednesday, so it's not like they needed the work.  I don't think they're saving Adams to fill three or four innings if the starter is pulled early, because that's not who Adams is.  He's been a reliever since 2013, and looking at his stats it looks like he's basically been a one-inning guy, maybe two at most.  If they're not going to use him to close out a blowout game, why bring him here at all?

Luis Arraez also did not play.  It's possible that they wanted to give him a day to get acclimated, since he just got here, and that he'll play tonight.  That would make some sense.  But it will make no sense if they've brought him here to sit the bench.  Granted, Arraez just turned twenty-two and he's only played three games above AA, so there could be some question whether he's ready for the majors.  But I'm not the one who decided to bring him up.  He either needs to play in the big leagues or play in AAA.  He does not need to sit for two weeks.  That does neither him nor the Twins any good.  Major league roster spots are too valuable to waste one or two on players you don't intend to use.

Record:  The Twins are 29-15, first in the American League Central, 5.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

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

2019 Recap: Game Thirty-five

MINNESOTA 9, TORONTO 1 IN TORONTO

Date:  Wednesday, May 8.

Batting stars:  Jorge Polanco was 5-for-5 with a two-run homer (his seventh) and a double, scoring twice.  C. J. Cron was 4-for-5 with a two-run homer, his seventh.  Eddie Rosario was 2-for-4 with a home run (his thirteenth), two runs, and three RBIs.  Jonathan Schoop was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer, his sixth.  Max Kepler was 2-for-5 with a walk and two runs.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Gibson struck out eleven in six shutout innings, giving up two hits and one walk.  Ryne Harper pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Mike Morin pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Blake Parker pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Billy McKinney was 1-for-3 with a home run, his second.  Derek Law struck out four in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.

The game:  The Twins threatened to take a big lead in the first inning.  Singles by Kepler and Polanco put men on first and third with none out.  A popup and an Eddie Rosario sacrifice fly put them up 1-0.  Cron singled and Marwin Gonzalez walked to load the bases, but Mitch Garver popped up, leaving the score 1-0.

It didn't matter.  In the second, Kepler walked and Polanco homered, making the score 3-0.  In the third, Rosario singled and Cron homered, and later in the inning Gonzalez singled and Schoop homered, making the score 7-0.  McKinney got the Blue Jays on the board with a home run in the fifth, but in the sixth Polanco doubled and Rosario homered to put the Twins ahead 9-1.

Other than the home run, the only time the Blue Jays got a man as far as second was the ninth, on a walk and a fielder's choice.  It was total dominance by Gibson and three relief pitchers.

WP:  Gibson (3-1).  LP:  Trent Thornton (0-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Garver was 1-for-5 and is batting .354.  Polanco is batting .344.  Harper has an ERA of 1.84.  Parker has an ERA of 1.54.  Morin's ERA is 3.00.

As you probably heard, Polanco is the first Twin to have more than one five-hit game in a season since Joe Mauer in 2010.

Four two-run homers in one game is probably not the record, but it would seem like it has to be at least within shouting distance of it.

Going into the Houston series a week and a half ago, I said that after the next ten games we'd have a better idea of how good the Twins are.  Well, they went 7-3 in those ten games.  Two of the losses were games started by Michael Pineda, and at that only one of them was a blowout--in the other, the Twins just ran into a really good pitcher they couldn't do much with, which happens to everybody sometimes.  It seems to me that we have to say this is a good baseball team.

That's not to say they're going to win the World Series.  I do think they're now the favorites to win the division, though.  They might not do it--it's a long season, and lots of things can happen (injuries, slumps, etc.).  But it's looking good now.  That's why I hope the front office is not willing to settle for just winning the division, and is looking for ways to improve the team so it can actually go somewhere in the playoffs.  Again, I say that not knowing what deals may be available to them.  I'm not advocating a move of the Ramos-for-Capps variety.  But I think they have a real chance this year, and you never know for sure how many of them you're going to get.  When you get one, I think you need to go for it.

Record:  The Twins are 23-12, first in the American League Central, four games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 150-12!