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Relief corps rocky as Gibson gets back on track

@Russ_Dorsey1
August 14, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- The Twins were able to overcome a bullpen slip up Tuesday, but were unable to do the same Wednesday in a 6-5 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park. Here are three takeaways from Wednesday’s game and the series in Milwaukee: • Box score Starters get back on

MILWAUKEE -- The Twins were able to overcome a bullpen slip up Tuesday, but were unable to do the same Wednesday in a 6-5 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park.

Here are three takeaways from Wednesday’s game and the series in Milwaukee:

Box score

Starters get back on track

Just like the team as a whole, it had been a struggle recently for the Twins’ starting rotation. Coming into this week’s series vs. Milwaukee, Minnesota starters were 1-4 with an 8.16 ERA over their previous six games and needing to right the ship after a disappointing series against the Indians.

After being less than stellar in their previous starts, both Kyle Gibson and Martín Perez pitched well in Milwaukee.

“I thought [Gibson] threw the ball really well,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He put us in a great spot. His stuff was good. He commanded the ball pretty well. I think he attacked the hitters pretty well, too. I think he enjoys the National League game and getting out there and grabbing a bat, too. We were in a great position to win the game and a lot of it has to do with Gibby's effort.”

Like Perez on Tuesday, Gibson worked out of several jams and avoided the big inning and allowed his offense to do the heavy lifting. While Gibson allowed some contact, he was able to minimize damage when he needed to.

“Yeah, I was just talking to Garver. Not much went our way today,” Gibson said. “A lot of ground balls found holes, and I was talking with [Baldelli] too, that I felt like the walks were an inch or two off the plate each way.

“I had a couple balls where if I get it maybe an inch or two in another direction, it's an out instead of a hit. So it just kinda seemed like that's the way it goes.”

Defensive miscues pop up at wrong time

Things have not gone well for the Twins on the defensive side of the ball recently, specifically for shortstop Jorge Polanco.

While Wednesday’s three-run eighth inning can’t be boiled down to one play, the dynamic of the inning changed after Polanco's throwing error to open the inning allowed the leadoff hitter to get on. Brewers left fielder Trent Grisham would hit the go-ahead three-run homer off Sergio Romo two batters later.

“It's kind of been a tough series defensively. Collectively, I think we could play better,” Baldelli said. “Today, I think Polo went over the top on that ball late in the game to make the throw, and he's been really good throwing from that lower arm slot that he's had pretty much the entire year. He chose to go up top on it and obviously, we didn't end up making the play."

Polanco made three errors in the series, but none bigger than Wednesday’s error in the eighth. Additionally, he was bailed out by first baseman C.J. Cron a few times on low throws.

The Twins have been one of the Majors’ best defensive teams this season, but have been in a bit of a rut as a team in the second half, now ranking sixth in the Majors with 85 errors on the season.

“We've definitely given away too many outs, especially in the second half. It feels like it. I don't know if that's what it actually says if you looked at it. But I think a lot of spots have been in crucial type [moments], towards the end of the game,” Baldelli said. “We just have to make the plays. We have guys that can make those plays. We have a pretty good preparation setting for our guys, too. They have a great routine and work hard out there. When the game starts, I just think it's been a tough run. But these are plays that we should make and need to make."

Back of the bullpen offers mixed results

It’s taken some time to get a combination of Sam Dyson, Sergio Romo, Ryne Harper and Taylor Rogers in a game together, but Baldelli was able to use three of his four high-leverage relievers in back-to-back games

While yesterday’s combo of Dyson and Romo did the job after a shaky inning from Harper, the Twins’ back end wasn’t as fortunate Wednesday, as the bullpen allowed a go-ahead, three-run shot for the second day in a row.

“To be honest, it really isn’t a lot to be worried about. The outcome obviously isn’t what we want. Obviously, I didn’t get go in there trying to give up a two-run lead, but that’s a good team,” Romo said. “[Brewers outfielder Trent Grisham] gave me a good at-bat yesterday, too. You have to tip your cap to the kid, because he seemed ready and prepared.

“Just tried to make good pitches and pitch to my strengths and I just missed. Go figure, I missed. I don’t like to make a lot of mistakes. I know that I can’t make too many mistakes, because the mistakes I make with the situation that I’m privileged to be pitching in, they’re loud. They’re loud. It hurts. I ain’t gonna lie, it hurts. I made quality pitches and just one today wasn’t."

Russell Dorsey is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter @Russ_Dorsey1.