GameChat – Twins @ Mariners, 9:10 pm

Ouch, gotta love these west coast games… I’m sure our west coastie fans LOVE finally having games AFTER they get home from work but us poor midwesterners have had to wait sooooooo long for our baseball! Of course, today we had plenty to keep us busy I’m betting – at least I did.

So, lineup news: the update on ‘Lando is that things aren’t as scary as they looked last night. He’s sore but scans found no new damage and he’s likely to fly out and join the team tomorrow. No word on how soon he’ll play but it’s probably a shorter period off than JJ had with his bone bruise. The interesting side-effect is that instead of putting Lexi out there at 2B, it’s Cuddy. Now this could be fun/tense/entertaining/scary!

Minnesota @ Seattle
Span, CF   Suzuki, I, RF
Hardy, SS   Figgins, 2B
Mauer, C   Gutierrez, F, CF
Morneau, 1B   Bradley, LF
Thome, DH   Sweeney, M, DH
Cuddyer, 2B   Lopez, J, 3B
Kubel, RF   Wilson, Jo, SS
Young, D, LF   Johnson, Ro, C
Punto, 3B   Tuiasosopo, M, 1B
  Liriano, P     Fister, P

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 3 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 5 10 0
Seattle 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 1 4 10 0

 

So Cuddy didn’t embarrass himself or anything at 2B although this was obviously not are BEST defensive arrangement of players.  Sure tried to make things interesting at the end too!  But it’s nice to start with a win.  I believe we have consensus amongst game watchers that the white hats with the gray unis REALLY sucks.  Not a good combo and makes the laundry guys look bad.

Chat awarded the BOD to Justin Morneau for breakdancing in the top of the 9th.  Oh wait, not quite but he did do an awful lot of mashing of the ball and some FANTASTIC defense at 1B definitely earned the recognition even with the entertainment on the basepaths.  All-you-can-eat pastries for the other long ball hitters.

Time Out to Remember

Baseball will be back tonight (LATE) for the Knuckleballs but in honor of the holiday, we ask you to put that aside for a moment.

For all those who have served in our nation’s military, we thank you.  For all those families who have sacrificed, we thank you.  But in the true recognition of Memorial Day and it’s history, we remember those who fell in the service of this country and we honor their memory.

There is no way to pay the debt owed for the privileges I enjoy.  I can only recognize the depth of loss and remember the cost.

We encourage all our readers to enjoy their Memorial Day in whatever manner they choose but to take a moment during the day to remember those we’ve lost.

… The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion … 

Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address

 

 

 

Day is done,
gone the sun,
From the hills,
from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well,
safely rest,
God is nigh.

GameChat – Rangers @ Twins #3, 7:05 pm, ESPN & am1500

A LOT happened in baseball this weekend – some very cool things and some not cool things.  In former Twins notes, Carlos Silva is SERIOUSLY kicking ass this season so far – he’s 7-0 and honestly pitching well.  I’m happy for him – especially since it’s pretty unexpected.  Roy Halladay threw MLB’s 20th Perfect Game and the second one this month.  And Kendry Morales hit a walk-off grand slam to lift the Angels over the Mariners – and then failed to walk off.  Why?  Because he BROKE HIS LEG in the home plate celebration!  I think a LOT of teams will be a bit more restrained in such celebrations in the future but I sure do feel horrible for Morales and the Angels.  Whether or not he’s able to get back before the end of the season is still up in the air.  His surgery to make repairs to the ankle has been put off because he still has too much swelling.

I’m listening to the thunder softly rumble outside and the rain come down in dribbles, so I’m not sure what the fate of the game will be.  Too bad we’re on ESPN schedule and didn’t play this afternoon when we usually would have.

Texas @ Minnesota
Andrus, El, SS   Span, CF
Young, M, 3B   Hudson, O, 2B
Kinsler, 2B   Mauer, C
Guerrero, DH   Morneau, 1B
Hamilton, LF   Cuddyer, RF
Murphy, Dv, RF   Kubel, DH
Smoak, 1B   Young, D, LF
Treanor, C   Hardy, SS
Borbon, CF   Punto, 3B
  Holland, P     Baker, S, P

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Texas 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 3 10 0
Minnesota 1 2 2 0 0 0 1 0 x 6 10 0

 

It certainly feels good to get a sweep in!  The boys did an all around good job if the exceptional still eluded most.  However, Kubel continued to follow the big boys with RISP hitting and Nicky did a brilliant job tonight as well – fun to see him on base that often and STEALING besides.  Even Mauer couldn’t do THAT right tonight.  So for those reasons, we voted to let them share the BOD honors.

a salute to you too BOD!

hit that ball Kubes!

And sadly, for those that saw the final pitch and out of the game, you saw the horrific flying formation that Denard Span and Orlando Hudson attempted – which neither landed successfully.  Hudson seemed to take the worst of the landing and Span actually managed to hang onto the ball in the sacrifice of the body.  For their determination and tenacity and for walking off the field under their own power, we award them the Golden Band-aid!

GameChat – Rangers @ Twins #2, 3:10 pm, FOX & am1500

Well yesterday was a WONDERFUL birthday at the game. GREAT pitching (my favorite) and lots of fun being at the park! And the view at sunset was amazing!

So let’s see if we can’t have an amazing time today too! It’s HOT and sunny with a breeze today. Could be interesting to see if the heat and a little more humidity lofts balls a bit longer (for whichever team). It could be a factor!

Texas @ Minnesota
Andrus, El, SS Span, CF
Young, M, 3B Hudson, O, 2B
Kinsler, 2B Mauer, C
Guerrero, DH Morneau, DH
Hamilton, LF Cuddyer, 1B
Murphy, Dv, RF Kubel, RF
Smoak, 1B Young, D, LF
Ramirez, M, C Hardy, SS
Borbon, CF Harris, B, 3B
Wilson, C, P Pavano, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Texas 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 3 9 0
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 0 x 8 8 2

Well THAT was FUN!  It was a great game but CJ Wilson is quite the deal – he really had the bats befuddled for awhile but, finally, ‘Lando got to him with a long bomb to tie it up and Delmon followed the lead to bang in the winning run.  The final score just shows that the rest of the batting order followed the momentum started by Hudson.  For that reason, Hudson and Young are awarded Co-BOD’s!  Congratulations boys!  And pastries for Pav and the bullpen!

And Their Bats Trembled

If I am fortunate enough to have kids one day, this is one of the stories I’ll tell them about the first year the Minnesota Twins played at Target Field.

Back in 2010, kids, we had a lot to look forward to in Twins Territory. We had a brand-spankin’-new ballpark, we had signed a few new players during the offseason who looked full of promise for the best lineup we had seen for a while, and our hometown hero Joe Mauer signed a long-term contract during spring training. But when we learned that our closer, Joe Nathan, would be out for the season, it was like a little black cloud settled over the bullpen, bringing uncertainty, debate, speculation, and perhaps even a little fear among Twins fans everywhere as we wondered who could save the day in Twitchy’s place. We had become used to what he brought to our team, used to his entrance music, used to seeing number 36 come in at the end to close out games.

At first we were told it would be “closer by committee,” but soon we learned that Jon Rauch would be given the opportunity to prove himself as our closer for the season. I didn’t know much about this guy, except that he was the tallest player in the history of major league baseball, at 6’11″. And that he had a lot of tattoos. As it happened, he had a couple of feats to his name before coming to the Twins in August of 2009. While playing with the Expos/Nationals, he became the tallest player to hit a home run (against Roger Clemens in 2004), and he was the first pitcher credited with a win at Nationals Park (March 30, 2008).

Now, no pitcher is perfect, and in his first 13 save opportunities, Rauch had a couple of blown saves (one of which I was at Target Field for), but one (the other one) ended up being a win for him, similar to that first game at Nationals Park actually, so it wasn’t so bad. I can’t speak for other Twins fans, but by the end of May that year, any fears I might have had about our closing situation had disappeared. I even started considering downloading his entrance music (“Wherever I May Roam,” by Metallica, which was also his music when he was the closer for the Nationals in the injured Chad Cordero’s place in the first half of 2008) from iTunes, despite never really being a fan of metal.

It’s possible the guy was a just a good pitcher, but I’m pretty sure that much of his success was because when he came to the mound, the opposing hitters’ bats simply trembled at the sight of him. That’s my story, anyway.

GameChat – Rangers @ Twins, 7:10

I’m putting this up a little early because KL and I are going to the game and I am planning to celebrate my birthday.. well.  So the Twins better win it for me!!  At the time of this posting, final lineups haven’t been posted to MLB yet so you’ll have to deal with the preliminary list they give the media (thanks Joe C.) and that list has BOTH Alexi Casilla and Nick Punto listed at 3B.  That will be a game time decision based on how Nicky’s finger is responding to BP.  Sorry no fancy lineup chart today.

RANGERS (26-21)

1. Elvis Andrus, SS
2. Michael Young, 3B
3. Ian Kinsler, 2B
4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH
5. Josh Hamilton, LF
6. David Murphy, RF
7. Justin Smoak, 1B
8. Max Ramirez, C
9. Julio Borbon, CF

Starting pitcher: RH Colby Lewis (4-2, 3.45 ERA)

TWINS (27-20)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Jim Thome, DH
6. Michael Cuddyer, RF
7. Jason Kubel, LF
8. J.J. Hardy, SS
9. Nick Punto or Alexi Casilla, 3B

Starting pitcher: RH Kevin Slowey (5-3, 4.53 ERA)

******************

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Texas 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 0
Minnesota 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 x 2 7 0

 

Kevin Slowey, you are the Knuckleballs' Boyfriend of the Day!

Happy birthday to Babs! She and KL got to see a great game to celebrate the birthday.

GameChat BOD honors go to Kevin Slowey for finally breaking through the 6 inning barrier with a 1-run, 6.2 inning effort. Baked goods for the bullpen trio of Mijares, Guerrier and Rauch for slamming the door and to Orlando Hudson for some remarkable plays on defense. -JC

Friday Hot Dish: Morneau, Captain Morgan… and “heroes”.

I’m never very ambitious or thoughtful on Friday, so it’s a good day to steal other bloggers’ stuff, right? (As has been the case in the past, as I come across additional links worth passing along, I’ll add them to this post.)

Doc, the Captain and the Morganettes.

For example, my morning stop at Twinsgeek’s blog found this picture that, given the discussion among the folks in the GameChat Thursday night, I felt would be of some significant interest around here. It’s very, very good to be Justin Morneau right now (at least until Mrs Doc sees the pic). I’d credit the photographer if I had any idea who it was.

Sarah, over at “Oh, it’s THOSE Girls” has figured out the secret to getting past the Yankees in the playoffs, when that opportunitiy inevitably arises in October. Seems like a pretty simple plan. Let’s hope Gardy is a reader.

There’s been a whole lot of speculation about whether the Twins would consider adding Roy Oswalt (who has asked Houston to be traded) or Cliff Lee (who may be on the block if the M’s continue to suck), but honestly until we get closer to the end of June, I don’t think it’s even worth spending much time thinking about (especially when the Twins’ starting pitching is kind of on a roll at the moment). 

One thing that is very much worth spending time thinking about, as we enter Memorial Weekend is the subject of “heroes”. I had been trying to formulate some thoughts on the subject, but today I found someone so much better at it than I am. Not surprisingly, it was Joe Posnanski. His post on “Heroes” struck a real chord with me so I strongly suggest you give it a read.

Finally, to any and all who are serving the country in the Armed Forces, and to those of you with family and other loved ones in the Service… THANK YOU.

GameChat – Yankees @ Twins #3, 7:10 pm

I am never happier than when we are finally done with the Yankees.  I would like to see our pitching continue to be stellar but I would appreciate it if our offense would attend to scoring individuals who are already on base.  And frankly, the much vaunted lack of homeruns doesn’t bother me at all and I think perhaps the boys should get that crap out of their minds and just hit when it counts instead of trying to put it over the wall.  It’s pissing me off.  Just because we have a lineup that CAN hit homeruns doesn’t mean every swing should try to be one.  And funny, but it seems like they start hitting them like crazy every time they quit trying….  Just saying…

NY Yankees @ Minnesota
Jeter, SS   Span, CF
Gardner, CF   Hudson, O, 2B
Teixeira, 1B   Mauer, C
Rodriguez, A, 3B   Morneau, 1B
Cano, 2B   Thome, DH
Swisher, RF   Cuddyer, RF
Miranda, DH   Kubel, LF
Cervelli, C   Hardy, SS
Russo, LF   Casilla, A, 3B
  Vazquez, J, P     Blackburn, P

 

I’ll be at a Church Choir picnic for the first part of the game – diligently listening on my pocket radio & headphones however – so I won’t be joining you until partway through the game.  Have fun Chatting!!

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NY Yankees 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 10 0
Minnesota 1 2 0 0 1 1 3 0 x 8 12 1

 

wow, that was just sooooo much fun to watch!  I wish I could have a snapshot of the look on Morneau & Mauer’s face on that first long shot – they were just so excited!!  And I couldn’t be HAPPIER to be done with the Yankees for the regular season and to see it end so well.  BOD is an OBVIOUS nod to Kubel.

Kubel with TWO homeruns and 5 RBI! YANKEE KILLER!

Fun with the Yankees… *snort*

Since the Knuckleballs folk all decided to attend the Yankees/Twins game yesterday, and in an effort to forget about our little “left on base” problems, I thought I would share a few fun photographic moments.

this is the view from JC & CapitalBabs' seats

JC & CapitalBabs in RF stands

CapitalBabs & her brother, Paul, at his first game!

Managed to catch a shot of KL sitting in her season seats directly across the park from us!

KL and her mom keeping score!

and my favorite picture from the day, a shot from Denard Span that came right at us to RF and I caught the ball in mid-air.

And just to narrow down all the pics I took at the game, I settled on a just a couple of great action shots.  The first slideshow is action at the plate and the second is shots on the mound.

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GameChat – Yankees @ Twins #2 plus some, 4:05 resumption, 6:10 game #2

The interesting and good news for Knuckleballs is that all three site authors will be ATTENDING the game at Target Field today!!!  The bad news is that all three site authors will be attending the game today…  so that leaves the site with a little..  emptyness. 

There aren’t any lineups up anywhere yet or I would put them here for you right now.  But the least I can do is put up the chat window so it’s available for the all and sundry who wish to participate come gametime.  At the conclusion of the games, go ahead and make any necessary player selections you wish and I’ll come back afterwards and read the transcript and post whoever is voted in.

Have fun y’all and WIN TWINS!

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NY Yankees 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 5 0
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0

 

JimCrikket and I got there early enough to watch the resumption of last night’s game – and enjoy a new spot in the park besides.  He got tickets in the Right Field overhang – first row by the rail.  That was an entertaining spot to sit!  It was a great place to watch the game and the FANTASTIC outting by Brian Duensing that was completely wasted.  Even Crain did a great job out there.  It’s really ridiculous how many men we leave on base and we blamed the finish of game one on Ullger for stopping the runner at third when we had two outs.  Yeah, it was Morneau and he’s not our fastest guy but you gotta go there!  Especially on Swisher’s arm!  We were filled with angst from that point on.

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NY Yankees 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 3 10 1
Minnesota 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 8 0

 

My brother, Paul, came and joined us for the second game.  Since it was his first time in Target Field, he was pretty awestruck and since he’s new to baseball, he really enjoyed the outting.  JC and I also enjoyed the day at the park – ABSOLUTELY PERFECT weather – but nothing is as frustrating as a game against the Yankees where we can’t seem to hit when it MATTERS.  Even this game was not a failure of our pitching – even if they did give up some painful long bombs – we just have to quit leaving the hits we get on base.  It’s officially a serious problem for us.  And A-roid strikeouts are always beautiful!!

That being said, tomorrow’s another day and we used the opportunity of the new outfield vantage point to get some fun pictures.  I might post some of those sometime soon but yeah, you might have had enough pics from me for awhile.  But it was still fun…  It includes a pic of KL and her mom sitting in her season seats on the exact opposite side of the park from us!  I hope her mom enjoyed her first visit to the park too!  Catch y’all tomorrow.