Game Chat – Twins @ Phillies #2, 3:10 pm FOX

Let’s put last night’s ugliness in the rear view mirror and move on, shall we? Time to score a bunch of runs, boys.

Minnesota @ Philadelphia
Span, CF   Victorino, CF
Hudson, O, 2B   Polanco, 3B
Mauer, C   Utley, 2B
Morneau, 1B   Howard, 1B
Cuddyer, RF   Werth, RF
Young, D, LF   Ibanez, LF
Valencia, 3B   Schneider, C
Punto, SS   Valdez, W, SS
Slowey, P   Hamels, P


  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R
Minnesota 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 1 3 13
Philadelphia 3 4 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 10


KL & Babs headed over to the TwinsCentric gathering while JimCrikket held down the fort in the gamechat but a good time was had by all where they intersected – gotta love all these bars with wifi access now!

The story of the game has to be Drew Butera.  His dad – former Twin, Sal Butera – finally was able to attend a game to see his son play in the MLB.  It was the first time he got to see Drew play in the bigs in person and, in response, Drew hit a HR to give the Twins their first lead of the game.  He came in as a pinch hitter for Matt Guerrier to lead off the 10th inning with the game tied at 9-9.  The whole team erupted off the bench when he hit a long fly to left field.  In a game that saw homeruns come from Mauer, Morneau & Thome (for which we give them all the pastries they can eat), it was the unexpected bomb from Butera that really captured my attention.  For that, he receives his first BOD.  I hope that he will be able to truly enjoy the day and all the team remembers the contributions that can be made by every person on the roster and we are glad he got his shot in front of his dad.  And pastries go to the rest of team in recognition of their continuing efforts no matter what the score – Manship & Duensing coming in and holding down the fort for Slowey, Matty G fanning the heavy hitters, Delmon going 3-6, Punto on base 4 times, Tolby with his timely hit in the end and especially Rauch for laying down a great bunt – a rare enough occasion for an American League closer.

What a great game to watch with 30 other people in a bar!

Drew Butera, BOD!

GameChat – Twins @ Phillies, 6:05 pm

HUDSON IS BACK!!!!  I am hopefull that good things are to come!  Of course, if you thought that might mean our lineup would start to look more normal, you were WRONG.  Sheesh.  Cuddy at 3B means I’m having not-so-fond flashbacks quite honestly. 

In an interesting and sad twist, instead of having to send one of our callups back to Rochester to make room for Hudson, Mijares has been put on the bereavement list and he’s actually in Venezuela right now for a family matter.  The plan is that he’ll join the team in NY and we’ll see what shakes out then.

Sorry that you don’t have your usual lineup links, MLB decided to be slow and I couldn’t wait any longer to put up the post.  I’m off to the little brother’s graduation party.  So my thanks to LEN III at the Strib and y’all can cheer the boys on for me!

Twins (38-28)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Orlando Hudson,2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Michael Cuddyer, THIRD BASE 
6. Jason Kubel, RF
7. Delmon Young, LF
8. Nick Punto, SS
9. Nick Blackburn, RHP

Phillies (34-30)

1. Shane Victorino, CF
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 3B
5. Jason Werth, RF
6. Raul Ibanez, LF
7. Wilson Valdez, SS
8. Carlos Ruiz, C
9. Joe Blanton, RHP

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 2 5 11 0
Philadelphia 3 5 0 0 1 0 0 0 x 9 11 0

Snappers & Hermsen get the sweep… and then some

They say, “You can’t go home again.” Boy are ‘they’ wrong.

The pride of West Delaware (IA) HS, BJ Hermsen

BJ Hermsen returned home (or as close to home as he can get and be playing professional baseball) to Cedar Rapids and took the mound for the Beloit Snappers tonight in front of a near-sellout crowd. If you were inclined to rob a small town bank, picking one in Delaware County Iowa tonight would have been a good idea. Nobody was home. They were filling Memorial Stadium to watch Hermsen face the local Kernels on Perfect Game Field.

Snappers 3B Anderson Hidalgo

Some guys tend to press a bit in those situations (how long did it take before Morneau had a good game in Toronto?), but not Hermsen. All he did was shut down the Kernels completely through 7 and 2/3 innings of no-hit ball and finish with a complete game 1-hitter. The Kernels’ Justin Bass lined a solid single to right field with two out and nobody on base in the 8th inning, but that’s the only hit Hermsen gave up as he led the Snappers to a 3 game sweep of the Division leading Kernels. (Cedar Rapids’ magic number is 1, so the loss kept them from clinching the first half Division title.)

Daniel Santana, Snappers LF

He had help. There were no fewer than four extraordinary defensive plays behind him, a fact he was quick to point out in post-game interviews with local media after the game. In addition, Anderson Hidalgo supported Hermsen with three hits while Aaron Hicks and Daniel Santana added two hits each. Hermsen was also treated to the traditional “shaving cream in the face” treatment by team mates during one interview (see video below).

Snappers CF Aaron Hicks held on 1B by the Kernels' Casey Haerther

Memorial Stadium seats a bit over 5,000 fans and just under 4,700 paid their way in tonight. Of course, it didn’t hurt that it was “Thirsty Thursday”, with beers $1.50 all evening (if this post is a bit incoherent, you now know why). I think it’s pretty safe to say the Snappers have never had support like that on the road before as it was probably pretty close to a 50-50 split in terms of fan support between the local Kernels and Hermsen and his Snappers.

The Kernels organization made a call to Beloit after Hermsen was promoted to the Snappers and specifically requested that, if possible, their rotation could be set up to allow for Hermsen to get a start in Cedar Rapids. To their credit, the Snappers obliged. I’d like to hope we’ll get another opportunity to see him pitch in Cedar Rapids when the Snappers return to town in August, but with the way players bounce up and down the organizational ladder, you just never know if that opportunity will present itself. But if this ends up being the only chance that BJ’s family and friends get to watch him pitch locally, at least he gave them a night to remember. – JC

Can the Snappers get the sweep that the Twins couldn’t?

Well we already know the Twins phoned it in on yet another sweep opportunity, but how about their Midwest League (low-A) affiliate, the Beloit Snappers? The Snappers took the first two games of a 3-game series with MWL-West Division leaders, the Cedar Rapids Kernels, on Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon. That sets up Thursday night’s opportunity to get out the brooms.

I sat through the 3.5 hour game Tuesday night, mostly because the Snappers seemed to fall asleep after putting up 6 runs in the second inning, allowing the Kernels to sneak back to within a run heading in to the final couple of innings. The Snappers added a couple of late runs, however, for an 8-5 win.

Michael Gonzales works out during Spring Training under the watchful eye of Tom Kelly

The Snappers’ big first baseman, Michael Gonzales, hit one of the longest, hardest, home runs I’ve seen in the 30+ years I’ve been going to minor league games here. The 6’6″ 245# Gonzales entered the game hitting only about .170 but he had 7 home runs and wasted no time racking up #8, hitting the first pitch he saw way beyond the RF wall. It would be an exaggeration to say the ball was still on the rise when it cleared the fence, but the ball WAS still nearly the height of the RF foul pole (40-45 feet up) as it cleared. The sound of the ball on the bat is just different with some guys when they connect. That was the case with Gonzales’ HR.

As a consolation prize, the Kernels clinched a MWL playoff spot when 3rd place Clinton lost their game Tuesday night.

Wednesday’s game was a noontime matinee game and I hoped to get to see 3-4 innings or so over my lunch hour. It was not to be. For the second consecutive game, the Snappers put a 6-spot on the board in the second inning. This time it was infielder Anderson Hidalgo and catcher Danny Rams who went yard for the Snappers. I was happy for Rams, in particular. He had a tough night Tuesday night, hitting in to a bases-loaded, inning-ending double play once and leaving runners in scoring position in at least a couple of other plate appearances (which makes you wonder a bit if the Twins are starting to TEACH that crap in the lower levels, doesn’t it?).

There was a bit of a scare early when CF Aaron Hicks fouled a ball off of his back foot. He stayed in the game but definitely favored that ankle. In the end, this time the Snappers kept the pedal to the metal and came away with an 11-2 win.

I’d like to have a few pictures to share, but I discovered something about photography the hard way, Tuesday night. Apparently, rechargeable AA batteries have to actually be recharged after they’ve been used up in order for them to pr0vide enough power for a camera to operate properly… or at all, for that matter. Ah well, live and learn, right?

Which brings us to tonight’s game. BJ Hermsen (an Iowa kid out of West Delaware HS) is pitching for the Snappers as they go for the sweep. Check back later for results and, hopefully, a few pictures from the game (both sets of batteries have been recharged).

No word yet on whether the Snappers will be following what has become the parent Twins’ standard procedure of resting many of their regulars in an excessively sportsmanlike attempt to avoid hurting the feelings of an opponent by sweeping them. – JC

GameChat – Rockies @ Twins #3, 12:10 pm

Today makes me a little … nervous.  Maybe more anxious?  Not sure what the right term is and that in itself is probably proof of my discombobulated emotional status.  It’s a day game…  we haven’t had such a great track record with day games this year.  But we have Frankie on the mound and that makes me optimistic!  But the anxiety returns when I remember we’re facing Ubaldo… *wince* 

May the Record Reflect:  I think that is a fantastic name for baseball and he should be one of those people that just goes by one name – like Cher or Madonna.  Why are the examples alway women?

The weather is turning hot and humid here in Minnesota with lots of bright sunshine – you know the kind of weather in which they keep saying the ball might start carrying more.  So we’ll leave the emotional rollercoaster there and hope for a great game of baseball.  Win Twins!

Colorado @ Minnesota
Gonzalez, C, CF   Span, CF
Helton, 1B   Tolbert, 2B
Tulowitzki, SS   Morneau, 1B
Spilborghs, LF   Kubel, DH
Olivo, C   Cuddyer, RF
Mora, 3B   Young, D, LF
Hawpe, RF   Valencia, 3B
Iannetta, DH   Punto, SS
Barmes, 2B   Butera, C
  Jimenez, U, P     Liriano, P


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


Keep your eyes open for a possible upcoming rant about day games/getaway games.


GameChat – Rockies @ Twins #2, 7:10

The good news is that Orlando Hudson actually swung from the left side in BP today (something he’s been unable to do so far) and it looks like they are targeting his return for Friday!!!  I have to admit that I really miss having him in our infield.

Colorado @ Minnesota
Gonzalez, C, CF   Span, CF
Helton, 1B   Tolbert, 2B
Tulowitzki, SS   Mauer, C
Hawpe, RF   Morneau, 1B
Mora, 3B   Cuddyer, RF
Giambi, DH   Kubel, DH
Smith, S, LF   Young, D, LF
Iannetta, C   Valencia, 3B
Barmes, 2B   Punto, SS
  Chacin, P     Baker, S, P


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


Ladies and gentlemen, we have the return of Scott Baker!!!  That was certainly a fantastic outting for him – 12 k’s being a career high for Scooter – and was actually one of the best pitching outtings we have had for the Twins so far this season.  For that, he was the unanimous BOD selection of the chat gathering.

GameChat – Rockies @ Twins, 7:10

and… the Pavano ‘stache discussion begins again.  I don’t fault Sooze and her offering today at all but I was wondering if the focus on his facial hair would continue.  Since Joe Nathan will be in the booth with Dick & Bert as a guest analyst for the whole broadcast tonight (yippee!), perhaps he will be able to keep the discussion regarding the mound on actual pitching..  then again, who knows?

Colorado @ Minnesota
Gonzalez, C, CF   Span, CF
Helton, 1B   Tolbert, 2B
Tulowitzki, SS   Mauer, C
Giambi, DH   Morneau, 1B
Spilborghs, RF   Cuddyer, RF
Smith, S, LF   Kubel, DH
Olivo, C   Young, D, LF
Stewart, 3B   Valencia, 3B
Barmes, 2B   Punto, SS
  Cook, P     Pavano, P


  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Colorado 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 3 6 1
Minnesota 0 0 0 5 3 0 0 1 x 9 14 0


After a disappointing conclusion to the Atlanta series, this was a HUGE win for fan morale..  *laugh*  at least it was for mine.  As has become his norm, Pavano came in and pitched FABULOUSLY for 7 innings and then let the BP come in with a great lead and clean up.  Great outting which could be considered BOD worthy.  And then there was little Tolby.  Matt Tolbert walked twice and then hit his first HR of the season, his first at home ever, and interestingly enough, he’s now hit more HR’s in Target Field than Joe Mauer.  Sorry Mauer.  But no, the BOD award today goes to Delmon Young!  Again!  He was 3/4 and got yet another RBI – he’s second only to Justin Morneau (only behind by 2) on the team.  Delmon 2.0 is definitely making his mark in this lineup. To Tolbert and Pavano – help yourself to pastries.  Carl, try to keep the crumbs out of the ‘stache.

Delmon Young chasing the BOM

Twins History Lesson: June 14 – 20

It’s no wonder that Major League Baseball came up with interleague play as a gimmick to generate interest in games played during the month of June. Based on the relative lack of notable events taking place in Twins history this month, baseball certainly needed something to keep fans from turning their attention elsewhere. Nevertheless, there’s been a smattering of noteworthy milestones, transactions and general an entertaining event or two that we felt worth bringing to the attention of Knuckleballs Nation. (Yeah, we know… it’s a REALLLLLLY small nation. But we can dream!) Now on with this week’s Twins History Lesson.*

Even to someone like me who had the pleasure of following Jim Kaat’s Twins career as it was playing out, it’s still somewhat amazing to me how often his name comes up in these peeks back in Twins history. June 14, 1964, may not have been a monumental date in the organization’s history, but the game that day did demonstrate just the sort of player Kaat was. It was questionable whether would even take his turn in the rotation against the Washington Senators because of a sore shoulder that had caused him to leave a game five days earlier. Kaat got a shot of Novocain in the shoulder the day before his start and took the mound vs. the Senators. He not only threw a complete game, but hit a 2-run home run in the sixth inning of the Twins 9-2 victory in the second game of a double header. It was Kaat’s second HR of the season.

There have been a couple of notable events on June 15 over the years:

On June 15, 1964 (the day after Kaat’s big game mentioned above), in a deal that would prove critical to their AL Championship season a year later in 1965, the Twins acquired pitcher Jim “Mudcat” Grant from the Cleveland Indians in return for pitcher Lee Stange and OF/3B George Banks.

Forty-four years later, on June 15, 2008, pitcher Scott Baker became the first Twins pitcher to strike out four hitters in one inning, when he K’d Brewers Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder (who reached 1B on a wild pitch on strike 3), Russell Branyan, and Mike Cameron.

June 16 has seen a pair of events, one personal and one more team oriented, that proved indicative of greater things to come:

The Twins’ rookie starting pitcher Frank Viola threw seven innings while giving up just one run on June 16, 1982, to earn his first career victory… a 5-2 win over the Kansas City Royals.

Nine years later, on June 16, 1991, the Twins scratched out a 4-2, 10-inning, win over the Indians. It was the Twins’ 15th straight victory and moved them in to first place in the Western Division for the first time since the final day of their 1987 championship season. Not a bad comeback for a team that lost 9 of their fist 11 games of the year and didn’t reach .500 until May 15.  The winning streak ended the following night, but by the time they finished their road trip a week later, they held a 3 1/2 game lead in the Division… and never looked back.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and Astros manager Cecil Cooper became the first managers fined by MLB for failing to comply with the league’s “pace of game” regulations on June 17, 2008. A month earlier, teams were instructed by MLB to help enforce rules intended to cut the amount of time it took to play games. (Apparently the Yankees and Red Sox still haven’t received that memo.)

Washington Nationals rookie Stephen Strasburg has drawn a lot of attention recently as he continues to be heralded as the next “can’t miss” superstar pitcher. But he’s far from the first phenom to garner that kind of attention and the events of June 18, 1973, could provide a cautionary lesson to those singing Strasburg’s praises. On that date, the Rangers’ David Clyde took the mound for his first Major League start… just 20 days after pitching in the state championship game for his high school team. The 18 year old Clyde gave up just one hit to the Twins in the 4-3 Ranger victory, in front of the first sell-out crowd at Arlington Stadium. Clyde, the $125,000 bonus baby, would go on to win a total of 18 games in his five year MLB career.

June 19 has been an eventful day for a trio of famous Twins:

On June 19, 1968, in a game against the Washington Senators at Metropolitan Stadium, slugger Harmon Killebrew became the first Twin to drive in 1000 runs in a career.

Twenty years later, on June 19, 1988, Jeff Reardon notched his 20th save of the year as he closed out a 3-1 win over the Mariners. It was the seventh consecutive season he accomplished that feat. The game also marked Bert Blyleven’s 250th career victory.

On June 19, 2007, on the team bus to Shea Stadium for that night’s interleague game with the Mets, Blyleven, who as a broadcaster never misses the opportunity to complain about starting pitchers failing to complete games, told Johan Santana he’d allow his head to be shaved if Santana throws a complete game shutout that night against the Mets. Not a single Met so much as reached third base  against Santana and before the next night’s game, Blyleven was shorn.

On June 20, 1965, the Twins played in front of the largest crowd ever to see the team play on the road, as 71,245 showed up for a double header at Yankee Stadium. In the first game, the Twins broke a 4-4 tie in the ninth inning when Zoilo Versalles and Sandy Valdespino scored runs on two separate wild pitches thrown by two different Yankee pitchers in the Twins 6-3 win. 20-year old pitcher Dave Boswell was credited with the win in the second game but, once again, a wild pitch played a role when Versalles reached first base after swinging and missing at a 3rd strike knuckleball ahead of a Harmon Killebrew home run. The 7-4 win capped a sweep of the Yankees on their home turf and served notice that the Twins were for real and they went on to win the ’65 AL pennant.

This week has the potential to create some new “history” as the Twins are scheduled to face the current odds-on favorite to win the NL Cy Young Award, the Rockies Ubaldo Jimenez, on Thursday before heading to Philadelphia for a weekend series against the defending NL champion Phillies. Let’s hope the Twins get healthy in a hurry and return to their traditional dominant ways over NL opponents. – JC


*We pull this information from a few different sources, including (but not necessarily limited to) Dave Wright’s excellent book, “162-0, The Greatest Wins!”, as well as some  internet sites like “Twins Trivia” and “National Pastime”.

Tellin’ it like it is.

I’ll be honest. While I’ve watched almost every inning of the Twins games this week, I haven’t been devoting as much time to really focusing on the games or on the Twins in general. My mind has been occupied elsewhere (Nebraska in the Big Ten? Where will the Longhorns go? Isn’t it time for the Irish to give up the “independent” foolishness and join the Big Ten?). I know they’ve won some games and lost some games and some guys have looked good and some guys haven’t looked good… and some guys aren’t even showing up. It’s time to do something about those guys. Not the end of July at the trade deadline. Not in a month at the All Star break. Not in a couple of weeks. The time is now. Right now.

We were all excited about the team Bill Smith built during the offseason and, for the most part, about the choices made with regard to who constituted the 25 man roster coming out of Spring Training. This was, arguably, going to be the most talented gathering of players to don Twins uniforms in years… perhaps even decades. This team was no longer going to send minor leaguers out to play on Sundays. Even the “B” lineup would have can’t miss Hall of Famer, Jim Thome, in the DH spot. This team, we felt, wasn’t going to have to overachieve to win the Central Division. They SHOULD win the Division and the talent was there to do some damage in the playoffs once they got there.

It wasn’t all that long ago that we felt that way. But let’s tell it like it is, gang. Twins fans can not feel that way right now. This team, as currently constituted, is still competitive… but it is far from GOOD. In fact, that lineup card Gardy turned in Sunday was an embarrassment.

Yes, there have been injuries. The nagging kind where you really don’t know if you should put the guy on the Disabled List or let him rest a couple of days. And in almost every instance (or so it seems) the result has been an extended absence from the lineup.

One of the things that has endeared the Twins to its fan base over the years has been the way we could enjoy watching young players come up through the organization and be ready to contribute when they get their chance. All five of the starting pitchers came up that way. Denard Span thrived when he got his shot. The list is long.

Suddenly flush with revenues as a result of moving in to their new stadium, the organization uncharacteristically brought in help to fill a couple of holes in the infield this offseason, even while giving Mauer and others big raises, where in the past they may have been traded away at this point in their career. It has been very encouraging.

Now many people weren’t thrilled with opening the year with Nick Punto as the 3B. Personally, I have been in the “as long as the Twins have improved offensive production from 2B and SS, they can afford one mediocre bat in the 9 position” camp. The problem is… they are no longer getting improved (or any) offense from those other infield positions.

A significant sector of Twins Territory (or at least the Twins Blogosphere neighborhood of the “Territory”) is insistently enthusiastic about “giving the kids a shot” whenever someone with the Big League team either gets hurt or is performing so poorly that replacement appears inevitable. That’s fine. I like to see guys who have worked their way up through the organization get their shot, too.  But the time has come to admit that the Twins do not have infield options that are Major League ready right now. Maybe Trevor Plouffe, Danny Valencia and Matt Tolbert will go on to have fine Big League careers. They seem like good guys who are easy to root for.

But they have no business being on the Major League roster of a team that sees itself as a World Series contender. Not as starting infielders and not really even as utility options off the bench. They just aren’t ready.

And what about that pitching staff? There are some talented young pitchers both in the rotation and in the bullpen. And they seem to be really good guys, too. Lots of reasons for fans to “like” almost all of them. Every member of the rotation has had some very good starts… and some that were pretty ugly. Bert pointed out during today’s broadcast that the Twins’ bullpen has the best ERA in the American League. That’s nice. Everyone out there has had some impressive appearances. But why is it that whenever virtually ANY reliever comes out of the pen, at least one person in any group you may be watching the game with is likely to say, “I wish I felt more confident with him coming in to pitch”?

Maybe JJ Hardy and Orlando Hudson will come back from their DL stints healthy and productive. Maybe one or two of the starting pitchers will become a legitimate #1 guy (I’d settle for legitimate and reliable #2 guys at this point). Maybe Ron Mahay and Jose Mijares and Jesse Crain will become more consistently reliable. Maybe Jon Rauch will add a couple MPH to his fastball and we won’t always have to hold our breath every time he comes in with less than a 3-run lead.

But that’s a lot of “maybes” for a team with expectations at the level we have for the Twins.

It’s mid June. The Twins are 2 and a half games ahead of the Tigers, with whom they have a series in Target Field to close out the month. Between now and then, both teams have 4 interleague series. The Twins with the Rockes, Phillies, Mets and Brewers. The Tigers with the Senators (missing their phenom Stephen Strausburg), D’Backs, Mets and Braves.

The truth is, the Twins will not be leading the AL Central Division at the end of the month with a lineup featuring three starting infielders every game from the group of Valencia, Harris, Plouffe, Tolbert and Punto. Unless changes are made now, look for the Twins to be playing catch-up in the second half of the season… again.

I know the Twins have already stretched their payroll beyond anything remotely close to what they’ve historically spent on MLB ballplayers. I also know they don’t like to send their precious prospects around the country in return for more expensive veterans that may or may not be a part of the team beyond the end of the current year. I can’t argue with any of that when you’re trying to build a competitive team over time.

But if the Twins organization is really serious about being more than just competitive in 2010, it’s time to bring in some reinforcements. In recent weeks, the Twins have been linked to several players who are, or may become, available via trade. The names include top of the line starting pitchers like Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee and 3B/1B Mike Lowell, in addition to a variety of middle relief pitchers, such as former BitchSox David Aardsma.

It’s fair to debate whether each of these players, or any others that may become available, would be good “fits” for the Twins. Would they upset team chemistry? Would they stay healthy? Have their better years passed them by? Are they overpriced?  All fair questions for discussion. But there’s really only one question that should matter.

Will the Minnesota Twins win more games… now and potentially in the post season… with this player than with the player currently in that role? If the answer is “yes”, it’s time to make the deal, Mr. Smith. And when the names you’re looking at replacing are Harris, Valencia, Tolbert, Plouffe, Mahay, Crain, and Mijares, how could the answer not be “yes”?

My preference? I want Mike Lowell in my lineup as quickly as he can get to Minnesota. If/when Hardy and Hudson come back, we finally get Little Nicky Punto-Tiny Super Hero in his proper role as utility infielder. I also want one of those top of the rotation guys, Oswalt or Lee (heck, even Jake Peavy is making noise about wanting to be trade again). I know, I know… somebody’s favorite current starting pitcher is going to be asked to move to the bullpen (which shores up the pen, by the way), but when you have World Series aspirations and pitchers like that are available, you go get one. That’s how the big boys play.

Now we find out if the Twins front office believe they have truly joined that exclusive club. The clock is ticking, Mr. Smith.

Tick. Tock.


GameChat – Braves @ Twins #3, 1:10 pm

Two low-scoring, one-run games so far in the series and here we are in the rubber match where both teams will be sending their best ballplayers up there to win this interleague series. Oh… well… ok, so not REALLY their best lineups. In fact, this might be the most questionable (to be polite) Twins lineup we’ve seen all year long. Well they’re all collecting Big League salaries, so it’s perfect fair to expect this group to go out and win this game. Go Twins!

Prado, 2B Punto, 2B
Conrad, 3B Plouffe, SS
Heyward, RF Mauer, DH
McCann, C Morneau, 1B
Glaus, 1B Cuddyer, CF
Hinske, DH Kubel, RF
Escobar, Y, SS Young, D, LF
Cabrera, Me, LF Harris, B, 3B
Blanco, G, CF Butera, C
Medlen, P Slowey, P


Well that was just about what we might have expected to see happen with that AAAA line up that the Twins trotted out there today.  Slowey pitched as though he knew going in that he had no shot at a W today.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Atlanta 4 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 7 16 0
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 3 4 1