Tag Archives: Willians Astudillo

2019 Recap: Game One Hundred Forty

MINNESOTA 2, BOSTON 1 IN BOSTON

Date:  Thursday, September 5.

Batting stars:  Willians Astudillo was 1-for-1.  Miguel Sano was 0-for-1 with three walks.  Mitch Garver was 0-for-1 with three walks.

Pitching stars:  Martin Perez pitched six innings, giving up one run on two hits and two walks and striking out one.  Trevor May pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Tyler Duffey struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Mookie Betts was 2-for-4 with a home run (his twenty-sixth) and a double.  Nathan Eovaldi pitched five innings, giving up one run on one hit and four walks and striking out three.

The game:  Neither team even threatened until the fourth, when Betts led off the inning with a home run to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.  The Twins got the run back in the fifth, although it wasn't easy.  They opened the inning with three walks, loading the bases with one out.  Then they did what the Twins usually do with the bases loaded.  A double play scored a run and a line out ended the inning.  Still, at least it was tied 1-1.

Boston threatened in the sixth when Betts got a two-out double and Xander Bogaerts walked, and a pickoff error moved them to second and third, but a ground out ended the inning.  In the seventh, a pair of one-out walks and a two-out walk again loaded the bases for the Twins. Astudillo pinch-hit a single to bring home the go-ahead run.  They missed a chance for more when Max Kepler struck out, but it was a 2-1 lead for the good guys.

It stayed there, but it wasn't easy.  The Twins missed another chance in the ninth, when a two-out walk and and an error put men on first and second.  In the bottom of the ninth, Bogaerts got a one-out single.  A force out made the runner Rafael Devers with two out.  J. D. Martinez then doubled off the Green Monster.  Devers tried to score from first, but was cut down on a perfect throw by Eddie Rosario to end the game.

WP:  Perez (10-6).  LP:  Andrew Cashner (11-8).  S:  Taylor Rogers (24).

Notes:  Byron Buxton remained out of the lineup, although he pinch-ran and stayed in the game for defense.  Jake Cave was in center and Kepler in right, a reversal of the way the Twins have been playing.  I don't know if Kepler's health had anything to do with that.  Luis Arraez was at shortstop in place of Jorge Polanco.

Arraez was 1-for-3 with a walk and is batting .343.  Nelson Cruz was 0-for-4 and is batting .305.  Duffey has an ERA of 2.59.  Sergio Romo gave up one hit and no runs in a third of an inning and has an ERA of 3.00.  Rogers gave up one hit and no runs in two-thirds of an inning and has an ERA of 2.49.

Perez is probably the last Twins starter one would expect to be in an old-fashioned pitchers' duel.  And he did it in an old-fashioned way, getting only one strikeout, but giving up only two hits.  I don't know if he got a lot of soft contact or if his defense made some good plays or some of both.  It's not the recommended way to go about it these days, but it worked.

Was Polanco unavailable for some reason?  I mean, it's one thing to give him a night off--Rocco has actually been very good about keeping everyone rested, and I don't have a problem with that.  But I don't know why, when the Twins had a late lead, you wouldn't play Polanco at short and Arraez at second, rather than leaving Arraez at short and playing Astudillo at second.  They could've gone with Ehire Adrianza at second as well, but the game log indicated that perhaps he was unavailable.  Much as I have faith in A-Stud to be able to do everything that it's humanly possible to do on a baseball field, and perhaps something that are not humanly possible as well, the defensive arrangement they went to late in the game is not the defensive arrangement I'd have preferred.  Still, they won the game.

I was unable to watch any of the game and just turned on the radio to hear the last two batters.  Given that the play at the plate ended the game, I kept expecting to hear that Boston was asking for a review, just because there'd be nothing to lose.  When I saw the play, though, I understood why they didn't.  There was simply nothing to review.  Rosario made a beautiful throw and Devers was as out as it's possible for a baserunner to be.  It was a tremendous way to end a tremendous game.

I wonder sometimes if the Twins might have a better chance to score with two out and nobody on than they do with the bases loaded.  I'm sure that's not literally true, but it sure seems like it is.

So the Twins go into a weekend series with a 6.5 game lead on second-place Cleveland.  Even if the Twins lose all three, they're still up by 3.5 games with three weeks to play, which isn't a bad place to be at all.  If they just win one, they're up 5.5, which is an even better place to be.  If they'd win the series, or even sweep, the Indians would start focusing on winning the wild card.  ubelmann used to tell us that it's not really a "must win" game unless a loss eliminates you, and there's truth in that.  In baseball, as in life, nothing is certain until it actually happens.  Still, I'd much rather be in Minnesota's position than in Cleveland's position right now.

Record:  The Twins are 87-53, in first place in the American League Central, 6.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 109-53!

2019 Recap: Game Seventy-eight

MINNESOTA 9, TAMPA BAY 4 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Tuesday, June 25.

Batting stars:  Eddie Rosario was 4-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.  Willians Astudillo was 3-for-4 with a double.  Mitch Garver was 3-for-5 with a home run (his twelfth), two runs, and three RBIs.  Jonathan Schoop was 1-for-3 with a home run (his thirteenth) and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Gibson struck out seven in seven innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and a walk.  Ryne Harper pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Tyler Duffey pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition star:  Willy Adames was 2-for-2 with a home run, his eighth.

The game:  Nobody got on base until Rosario led off the bottom of the second with a double.  With two out, Astudillo delivered an RBI single to put the Twins up 1-0.  In the second, Schoop led off with a home run.  Jorge Polanco and Garver followed with singles, and with one out Rosario and C. J. Cron came through with RBI singles, making it 4-0.  The Twins poured on some more in the fourth.  Astudillo led off with a double and Miguel Sano singled.  With one out, Schoop walked to load the bases, Garver hit a two-run single, Nelson Cruz singled to re-load the bases, and Rosario singled home another run to give the Twins a 7-0 lead.  They got one more in the fifth on a hit batsman, a single, a walk, and a sacrifice fly.  It was 8-0 through five.

The Rays got on the board in the sixth when Adames led off with a home run.  They somewhat got back into the game in the seventh.  With two out, Travis D'Arnaud singled, Joey Wendle doubled, Michael Brosseau doubled home two, and Brandon Lowe hit an RBI triple, cutting the margin to 8-4.  That was as close as they would get, however, as Tampa Bay went down in order in the eighth and ninth.  The Twins added a run in the eighth on Garver's home run.

WP:  Gibson (8-4).  LP:  Blake Snell (4-7).  S:  None.

Notes:  Polanco was 1-for-3 with a walk and is batting .326.  Garver is batting .305.  Harper has an ERA of 2.27.  Duffey has an ERA of 1.90.

Astudillo was in right field, with Kepler in center and Jake Cave on the bench.  Cave came in to play center field in the fifth after Kepler was hit in the elbow by a pitch.*  X-Rays were negative, but he will have an MRI today.  Presumably even if we get good news he will miss a couple of days.  Byron Buxton is eligible to come off the Injured List, but has not yet done so.  I'm glad they're being careful with him, but his wrist injury was apparently worse than we were initially led to believe.  If Buxton doesn't come back that pretty much leaves the Twins with three outfielders, and that's counting Astudillo as an outfielder.  It would not be surprising to see the Twins bring up an outfielder from Rochester.

*Please, Kepler did not get "beaned in the elbow".  A bean ball has a specific meaning.  It means to throw at someone's head, the "bean".  Saying he got "beaned in the elbow" is saying he got hit in the head in the elbow.  It makes no sense.  Now get off my lawn!

I don't know where this Twins team was for the last week and a half, but it was good to get them back.  Stringing hits together, getting a couple of long balls, getting good starting pitching for six innings, even getting good relief pitching.  One game doesn't mean much, of course, but we can hope this Twins team sticks around for a while.

Record:  The Twins are 51-27, in first place in the American League Central, 8.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 135-27!

2019 Recap: Game Fifty-six

MINNESOTA 5, TAMPA BAY 3 IN TAMPA BAY

Date:  Friday, May 31.

Batting stars:  Jonathan Schoop was 2-for-2 with a walk, a hit-by-pitch, a stolen base, and two runs.  Jorge Polanco was 2-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, and three runs.  Willians Astudillo was 2-for-4 with a hit-by-pitch and two RBIs.  Marwin Gonzalez was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Jose Berrios struck out eight in 6.2 innings, giving up three runs on three hits and three walks.  Taylor Rogers pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Willy Adames was 2-for-4.  Kevin Kiermeier was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his sixth.  Emilio Pagan struck out two in 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.

The game:  The Twins took the lead in the first inning, when with one out Polanco doubled and Astudillo singled him home.  Schoop got to third with two out in the second, but was stranded there.  In the bottom of the second, the Rays went in front when Christian Arroyo drew a one-out walk and Kiermeier followed with a home run.  They increased the lead to 3-1 in the third when Austin Meadows walked, Adames singled him to third, and the two pulled off a double steal of second and home.

The Twins got even in the fifth.  Schoop led off the inning with a walk but was still on first base with two out.  But Polanco delivered an RBI double and Astudillo followed with a run-scoring single to make the score 3-3.  Tampa Bay put men on first and second with two out in the bottom of the fifth and the Twins put men on first and second with two out in the sixth, but the score remained 3-3 until the ninth.

Schoop led off the ninth inning by being hit by a pitch.  Byron Buxton bunted him to second and a ground out moved him to third with two down.  Polanco was intentionally walked and Astudillo was hit by a pitch, loading the bases.  Eddie Rosario then delivered a two-run single that gave the Twins a 5-3 lead.  The Rays got a two-out single in the ninth, bringing the tying run up to bat, but a ground out ended the game.

WPRogers (2-1).  LP:  Diego Castillo (1-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Polanco was feeling better, but was still not a hundred percent, so he was the DH with Gonzalez at shortstop.  Polanco raised his average to .338.  Rogers now has an ERA of 2.16.

I find it very hard to pick up any patterns in what Rocco does.  That's not to say the patterns aren't there, and maybe if I had time to study it I'd figure them out, but they're not obvious.  It's also not intended as a criticism--I don't think he's just making moves at random or anything.  But look at his use of Rogers last night.  For the last several games, when it was close late in the game, Rocco was mixing and matching his relievers, using four or five relievers for an inning or less.  Yet last night he used Rogers for 2.1 innings, even leaving him in the game in the ninth when he'd given up a hit to bring the tying run to the plate.  It's working, for the most part, and I'm sure he has reasons for what he does.  In fact, it's really kind of fun to see a manager who doesn't reflexively make the same move every time, who appears to actually evaluate each situation and think about what he wants to do.

This felt like a bigger game than it probably was.  No matter how many times we say this is a good baseball team, and no matter how much we truly believe it, there's still a part of some of us that has a hard time feeling it.  We keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the collapse to come.  We feel like the Twins' record is an illusion, that all they've done is beat up on bad teams.  That's not really true--they've actually done okay against good teams--but it's still the feeling.  Then they play a good team and get blown out, and we think, well, here we go.  A late-inning loss last night would've fed into that even more.  Again, in reality this was just one game, and I suspect the players looked at it exactly that way.  But as a fan, it felt like it was an important one to win.

Really, the criticism that "all the Twins have done is beat up on bad teams" is phony.  For one thing, beating up on bad teams is what a good team is supposed to do.  What, it would be better if the Twins were losing to bad teams?  Second, there just aren't a lot of good teams in the American League.  There are only four teams that are more than a game over .500, and one of them is the Twins themselves.  Every one of those four teams has their record because they beat up on bad teams--that's mostly who they play.

And third, it always seems like a good team has an easier schedule simply because of the way we perceive things.  If you're the Twins, and you go to play the White Sox, you think, "They're not that good.  Those are some games we should win."  If you're the Kansas City Royals, and you go to play the White Sox, you think, "This is a good, young, up-and-coming team.  These are going to be some tough games for us."  When you're a good team, there are a lot of games that seem like easy games.  When you're a bad team, every game seems like a tough game.

Record:  The Twins are 38-18, first in the American League Central, 10.5 games ahead of Chicago and Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 144-18!

2019 Recap: Game Five

MINNESOTA 7, KANSAS CITY 6 IN KANSAS CITY

Date:  Wednesday, April 3.

Batting stars:  Mitch Garver was 3-for-4 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Willians Astudillo was 3-for-5 with a double and two runs.  Eddie Rosario was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Adalberto Mejia struck out three in 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up a walk.  Trevor May pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up a hit.

Opposition stars:  Alex Gordon was 2-for-4 with a home run, a walk, and four RBIs.  Ryan O'Hearn was 2-for-4.  Adalberto Mondesi was 2-for-5 with a triple and two runs.

The game:  The Royals again got on the board in the first inning, as Mondesi hit a one-out triple and Gordon followed with an RBI single.  The Twins tied it in the second when Rosario led off with a double and Astudillo followed with an RBI single.

The Twins got a two-out double from Jorge Polanco in the third but could do nothing with it.  They took the lead in the fourth, however, as Astudillo singled and Jake Cave walked.  Garver put the Twins ahead with a run-scoring double, but Cave was thrown out at the plate.  Ehire Adrianza hit a sacrifice fly, though, and the Twins had a 3-1 lead.

The Royals missed a chance in the bottom of the fourth when Jorge Soler was thrown out trying to steal home as part of a double steal.  They came back big in the fifth, though.  The first two batters went out.  Billy Hamilton walked, stole second, and scored on a Whit Merrifield single.  Mondesi followed with an infield hit that Dazzle said Adrianza should have turned into the third out.  It cost the Twins, as Gordon followed with a three-run homer to put Kansas City up 5-3.  Kansas City wasn't done.  Soler reached on an error, O'Hearn singled, and Chris Owings singled to make the score 6-3.  It was not looking good for the visiting Twins.

They bounced right back, however.  In the sixth, Astudillo hit a one-out double and Garver delivered a two-out single to cut the margin to 6-4.  In the eighth, Garver hit a one-out single, Tyler Austin had a two-out double, and Max Kepler tied the score with a double.  Then, in the ninth, Nelson Cruz led off with a walk.  Pinch-runner Byron Buxton stole second and scored on Rosario's single to give the Twins a 7-6 advantage.  The Royals went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  May (1-0).  LP:  Wily Peralta (0-1).  S:  Blake Parker (2).

Notes:  Kyle Gibson started and pitched well for four innings.  His final line, however, is 4.2 innings, six runs (five earned), eight hits, two walks, and two strikeouts.  He was not helped by his defense in the fifth.  it also seems likely that, as he continues to gain strength after his bout with e coli, he tired as he tried to get five outs in the fifth inning.  Time will tell, but I don't see any reason to hold that inning against him.

As Buxton was used as a pinch-runner and stole a base, I assume there are no linger effects from his collision with the fence Tuesday night.

This was the third time Adalberto Mejia and Adalberto Mondesi appeared in the same game.  The other times were August 20, 2016 and May 21, 2017.  There has only been one other major league player named "Adalberto".  Right-hander Adalberto Mendez appeared in five games for Florida in 2010.  Thus, there has never been a major league player named "Adalberto" whose last name did not start with "M".

4-1 is obviously a good start.  We don't know how good yet, because we don't know how the teams are that the Twins have been playing.  Cleveland is supposed to be good, and maybe they will be, but they've had injuries and don't look like a very good team at the moment.  The Royals appear to have some talent, but every time they look like they're starting to put it together they do some things to remind you that they're the Royals.  This is not intended as criticism of the Twins--you can only play the teams on your schedule, and no matter who you play you still have to go out and beat them.  The only point, which is probably obvious, is that I don't know if we have a very good read on how good the Twins are going to be yet.

But on the other hand, we also don't have a very good read on how good they need to be.  Cleveland is supposed to be the class of the division, and it still may turn out that way.  But if it's not them, who is it?  Kansas City?  Detroit?  Chicago?  Any of those teams could turn out to be good, of course, but it's not looking like it right now.  You don't necessarily have to be a great team to win a division--you just have to be better than the other four teams in it.  It's entirely possible that the Twins will be able to do that.

Record:  The Twins are 4-1, in first place in the American League Central, one game ahead of Detroit.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 161-1!

Game 81: Twins at Brewers

It's game eighty-one.   After this one, the season will be half over.  The Twins will be either eleven or nine games under .500, depending on how this one goes.  Buxton is in AAA.  Sano is in high-A.  We have a catcher on our roster who's batting .132.  Our big free-agent slugger is batting .192 with nine homers.  Of the two starters we acquired, one has an ERA well over five and the other isn't too far under.  Tonight, Jorge Polanco comes back.  The Twins are acting as if he's some sort of savior, rather than a player with limited defensive skills who nearly lost his job a year ago.

But hey, we've got Willians Astudillo!  And each day is a new day.  And it's baseball, where even the worst team can beat the best team on a given day.  Maybe we'll be given a good day today.  It's Kyle Gibson against Brett Suter.  Let's do this!  Go Twins!