Game Chat – Angels @ Twins #3, 7:10 pm on ESPN

It’s time for Scott Baker to step up in tonight’s showdown with Jared Weaver and the Angels. The Bitch Sox fell today in another extra inning game to the Royals (how many teams do you suppose have ever played 31 innings of baseball, covering three games, in something like 22 hours?), so here’s a chance to build the lead back up to 5 games over Chicago before heading to the Oven in Arlington.

The Twins have announced that Anthony Slama is on hand and available to pitch out of the bullpen tonight and that Nick Blackburn will meet the Twins in Texas and he will start game 1 of that series on Monday. That gives the rest of the rotation an extra day to rest the arms this week.

Here are tonight’s lineups as we bid “so long” to Torii and his friends and Jason Repko and Alexi Casilla get starts for the Twins.

Abreu, B, LF   Repko, CF
Kendrick, H, 2B   Hudson, O, 2B
Callaspo, 3B   Mauer, C
Hunter, RF   Kubel, RF
Matsui, H, DH   Cuddyer, 1B
Aybar, E, SS   Thome, DH
Napoli, 1B   Young, D, LF
Mathis, J, C   Valencia, 3B
Bourjos, CF   Casilla, A, SS
Weaver, Jr, P   Baker, S, P


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

We could talk about how this game was really one good inning surrounded by 8 innings of mediocrity. We could talk about how a lot of hitters still aren’t exactly ripping the ball. But when the win sends you five games up on the Bitch Sox, why quibble over details?

Scott Baker was on his game tonight. He sliced through the Angels from top to bottom. And when the Twins needed someone to break the scoreless tie, the rookie, Danny Valencia, stepped up and sent a Jared Weaver fastball 426 feet in to the second deck in left-center field. That appeared to wake up the bats a bit as Orlando Hudson hustled out a 2-out triple. Weaver “pitched around” Mauer and Kubel (that’s code for “throwing them nothing remotely close to the strike zone”). The strategy, apparently, was to get to Cuddyer because he has had very little success against Weaver historically.

It looked like the strategy may pay off as Weaver quickly worked ahead of Cuddyer, but Cuddy just kept fouling off one pitch after another until a conference was held on the mound to discuss what to try throwing next. Whatever the decision was, it worked out well for the Twins as Cuddy laced the pitch in to the LC gap, clearing the bases and putting the Twins up 4-0.

Baker completed 7 clean, shutout innings, providing the kind of performance the Twins have needed out of a starting pitcher and Jesse Crain & Matt Capps wrapped up the shutout.

Plenty of baked goods to go around tonight, but the consensus of the GameChat crowd was co-BOD awards for Scooter Baker and Michael Cuddyer!

JC’s Twins/Angels Slideshow

Making the 4 and a half hour drive home after the game Saturday made for a late night, but I really have only myself to blame for feeling sluggish on Sunday. After all, nobody MADE me stay up to watch the final couple innings of the Bitch Sox and Royals game. Even then, that game finished a bit after 1:00 am so I could have gone to bed then instead of watching a movie and sorting the weekend’s photos for the next two hours.

Now that I’m watching the Sox and Royals play yet another close ballgame (and occasionally chuckling at Hawk and Frank Thomas constantly whining about Joe West and his umpiring crew), I figure I might as well post a slideshow of the pictures I took Friday and Saturday. If photos aren’t really your thing, then feel free not to spend the time necessary to glance over the 70+ pictures in the slideshow. We’ll have a GameChat posted in a couple of hours anyway.

About the photos… I discovered that night games viewed from the upper deck are not real conducive to getting good pictures (at least for someone with hands no steadier than mine), so there aren’t a lot of pictures from Friday and those I did include aren’t the highest quality. Ah well. Saturday’s vantage point was from Section L in the Legends Club so those came out much better, I thought. I hope you enjoy. – JC


What does it take for you to watch the White Sox?

So I found myself laughing at how many Twins fans were tweeting the scores of the White Sox/Royals games last night.  I actually felt bad for the players when I heard that the first game of a double-header didn’t start until 7 pm.  Why couldn’t someone figure out how to open up Kauffman a bit earlier in the day and start in the afternoon!?!?  And then when the first game went into extra innings, I just shook my head.  Ouch.  And then so did the second game?!?!  REALLY?  That makes for a long day and I don’t care which team you play for, you have my sympathy at that point.

I find it more than a little amusing that it was Yuniesky Betancourt who tied it up.  I like unlikely heros. 

But now I’m curious, how many of you Twins fans and others were checking out the action!?

Oh yeah, they all have to go at it again today at 1 pm! That’s going to be some quiet clubhouses this morning.