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Guardians 7, Twins 6: Probabilities prevail

After falling behind 0-7, Minnesota made this interesting... but the better team won.

MLB: Cleveland Guardians at Minnesota Twins
Oscar Gonzalez had a great night. Unfortunately there are no photos later than this, from the 7-0 lead. That live photo access ain’t what it used to be, and it is late.
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

OK, straight quickie recap version:

After some unlucky bounces in the first inning, Dylan Bundy tried too hard to minimize the damage in a “crucial division race” and got bombed. I don’t think it is a crucial division race; I think the teams were evenly, slightly above-average for most of the year and Minnesota is just too injured right now.

In any case, after Cleveland built a large lead, they started playing the kind of defense that slightly-above-average teams will play if they think they’ve got a laugher on their hands. This lousy defense, and some more hitting by the very hot Carlos Correa, made it a close game.

But despite knocking around usually-good Guardians relievers Enyel De Los Santos and James Karinchak to make this an almost-comeback, Emmanuel Clase did what he does and stopped the swinging-too-hard Urshela & Sanchez. When Jake Cave came up as the last chance, you kinda wished the fans who’d been there for five hours could get a statistical anomaly. It was not to be.

In the interest of full disclosure, though, here’s my inning-by-inning notes, only corrected for typos:

1: Hey, this is exciting! I don’t have cable, so it’s been years since I could watch an important late-season Twins game on TV. Granted, it’s somewhat annoying Apple TV, but still...

Right there, that’s what you don’t quite get on radio. LF Nick Gordon runs about five hundred miles to make a sliding foul-ball catch for the first out. It’s a terrific play. Then, on an Amed Rosario grounder way into the hole, Carlos Correa shows his range by getting to it and his experience by not stupidly trying to throw it. An easy double-play ball hit by Jose Ramirez bounces off Dylan Bundy’s left heel, and everybody’s safe.

Oh yeah and then Bundy throws some poorly located breaking stuff and there’s a single and a Dong and this game is almost certainly already over. Watching the TV has just lost its magic appeal.

Four Twins bat and only Jose Miranda doesn’t swing at every bad pitch. He doubles with two outs. Nick Gordon swings at the first bad pitch. Guardians 4-0

2: Bundy gets out of a second-and-third, two out situation (caused by Nick Gordon trying to quickly hit the cutoff man rather than take an extra second to aim directly at 2B).

The Twins get a Gio Urshela single and Gary Sanchez walk. Then (after the obligatory Jake Kave K), MLB’s stupid replay system kills them. On a Gilberto Celestino dribbler to the mound, Cal Quantrill dumbly doesn’t take the easy out at first. He instead “opted for a weird back-foot throw” (as Brandon puts it on the GT) and it short-hops 2B Andres Gimenez. Gimenez juggles it between his glove hand, free hand, leg and foot and by the time he actually gets a grip on the ball, Sanchez is safe standing up.

The ump made a great call here. Live, it looked like Sanchez was out easily. In slo-mo, he was clearly safe. The ump got it right.

But there’s a replay challenge. And after about 150 seconds, the umps in New York get it wrong.

I’ve always thought that there should be a 60-second limit on reviews. If it’s close enough to take longer than that to decide, it’s a judgement call anyways, and no more likely to be correct than the original call. This one was called right and reviewed wrong. Then Sandy Leon does not hit because he is not a hitter.

Oh I’m SO HAPPY I have a screen to see this crap

3: Apple TV is trying WAY too hard to impress us all with its knowledge of probabilities. The best ones, like highlighting spray charts or hot/cold areas in the strike zone, have been around for at least ten years.

Apple has a little number in the bottom-right hand of the screen showing some random probability that may or may not have anything to do with what’s relevant in the game right now. It changes several times during the AB.

This is fun when radio announcers mention some odd statistical possibility just to make silly baseball talk. When it’s on, all the time, it’s less charming.

I’m sure this has NOTHING to do with Apple TV’s relentless promotion of gambling websites, including one that lets people bet on games during the games “all the way to the last out.”

4: Austin Hedges leads off by donging Bundy, who looks already gassed. He does get a GIDP after another single. Yay him.

Gordon and Urshela single. Sanchez Ks. It’s Jake Cave time! No, it’s not. Celestino can send this to the stars! Nope, dark matter.

Art Deco Bridge Name over Let’s Include The Two Cities Bloomington Isn’t In Name 5-0

5: For reasons I won’t get into it’s soon 7-0. I’m going to ignore anything more that happens besides some rare pithy observations I get watching TV.

Okay, the Twins score some on Butt Defense that is like a Butt Casserole cooked by Butts.

TV says "people are on their feet." Then the camera cuts to a wide-angle pan. Nobody's on their feet!

They're loud, seeing as the crowd still remaining could probably fit into CHS Field. But they are not standing. As to the noise, it is Friday, and there was an hour-plus rain delay, and they don't just sell beer at ballgames anymore. You can buy whiskey and such. If you have entirely too much money. Erie superior to Superior 7-2

6: Cleveland’s dugout has Dubble Bubble gum in a bucket. They still have Dubble Bubble?

Reminds me of a Metrodome tour ca. 2003 or so. In the Twins dugout, there was a lot of gum on the roof. I guess at one point Doug Mientkiewicz put his gum on the roof when it was his turn to be in the on-deck circle, and he ended up getting a big hit. So he left his gum there for good luck. So other guys started doing it. Ah, baseball.

I do love Jake Cave’s most excellent salt-and-pepper beard. Because the TV is READING MY MIND, they mention that Cave never spits out his gum after a good AB. "So, he's on his third or fourth piece tonight." Hey, that's mean! Kinda funny, though.

Correa gets a hit that Cleveland butts into one more run scoring than should. More Snow Over Colder Temperatures 7-4

7: In honor of Apple TV, here's some random probabilities I just made up...

Probability Twins make the playoffs: 2%

Probable number of games Cleveland wins in the playoffs: 1

Probability the Falvine take any responsibility for putting together a pitching staff like this every d**n year: -infinity and beyond

To his credit, veteran Aaron Sanchez is doing a better job "eating innings to save the bullpen" than Bundy did.

Apple TV either separates the ump calling "strike" (he does so by grunting "RIIIIPE" like a constipated Klingon) into the far left or far right speaker. It's like the effect of early experiments in rock mixing, very "Sgt. Pepper." Well, the Beatles did release their more experimental records on Apple...

8: Friendly commenter trizongozob expresses vast frustration with how the comment threads are working and bids adieu.

I've noticed it too. Those things have gotten completely wonky lately.

It's as good a time as any to mention that SB seems to be planning another of their Brilliant Corporate Strategy shifts, and they've quietly let several less-trafficked team sites go dark. We are not one of the bigly-trafficked sites.

If there were anything I knew beyond that, I'd share it unless asked not to (from loyalty to the siterunners, not SB), but I don't know more and Ben hasn't asked me to keep anything quiet. It just doesn't look good for our little corner of the sandbox over here. (Points to anyone getting that semi-Minnesota reference!)

Some writers have talked about starting a thing elsewhere (they always have) but the thing is, finding a way to set up a website that has a good live commenting interface is really tricky.

Anybody who wants to design one for us for free, you'd get a bunch of free writers to boot! Except one writer, whom I will not mention, who needs a heavy supply of frog food for some inscrutable reason involving Terrariums.

The ump is checking Cleveland’s pitcher for having gel in his hair. He walks out and lovingly ruffles those locks. I can't tell if he's uncomfortable doing so or thinks "ah, this is why I love my job." Like, that hand so is NOT getting washed until he can get back to the hotel and enjoy that smell in Private Time.

Um, Correa hits a homer and now the score's... 7-6?

End of notes, I watched the finish and commented on it with the few people left on the thread. I’m too tired to go back and polish these into a coherent account the way I normally would.

Look, this definitely puts Minnesota in a bad position (Chicago also won). But if they keep it fun as long as possible, isn’t that better than what we expected before the season began?

Studs of the game: Correa, Miranda, Apple TV production crew for showing Arraez hanging over the edge of the dugout in the 9th with his arm draped around Miranda’s shoulders hoping for more magic that didn’t happen.

Duds of the game: Bundy, Apple TV production crew for every single one of their awful “3D’ graphics, they weren’t as bad as NFL graphics but they were close

COTG goes to everyone who was there for the last few innings, particularly trizonzobob for calling out the crummy bugs in the system now.

And, hey folks, this division is still winnable, right? As long as a team focuses on the positives of tomorrow, rather than the disappointments of yesterday? If only there were a song along those lines...

Saturday’s game will feature Chris Archer and Triston McKenzie at 6:15, catch ya there maybe, but probably not, I’ve got a lot of stuff to get done before the game on Sunday and I was up too late tonight!