Pitching and Defense (and Reincarnation)

Nick Blackburn

I read a few articles and posts on Tuesday about Nick Blackburn (“is he back?”, etc.). You can’t draw conclusions based on one start, but given how anemic the offense was and how the defense failed time after time to come up with a big play (or even a few routine plays) Monday night, there’s no doubt Blackburn deserved better results than he got. When you get 7 good innings out of him, you need to capitalize on that opportunity. The Twins failed to do so Monday night.

Then, apparently just to prove that failure wasn’t a fluke, the Twins turned around and wasted a nice complete game by iron man Carl Pavano on Tuesday night, too. True, the offense at least got on the board last night and yes, you can argue that an umpire call here or there might have erroneously gone against the Twins. Still, the fact remains that the Twins blew several scoring opportunities and, once again, allowed the Rangers to score runs they didn’t earn due to not making defensive plays that should have been made, particularly in the fourth inning. (In fairness, there were also a couple of pretty nice defensive plays made last night, as well.)

The Twins, as an organization, have clearly made a decision that they are willing to live with more limited defensive abilities in the corner outfield positions (Young, Kubel and Cuddyer will never impress anyone with their range or glovework in the OF). That’s fine, I suppose, but it means they really need a CF with exceptional range and ability. The organization may have expected Denard Span to provide that exceptional range and ability, but he simply has not done so on a consistent basis this season.

Having weak OF defense in the corners AND a mediocre CF will result in a lot of batted balls falling for hits that should be finding gloves. A good Major League CF makes the catch at the low wall Monday night and Denard simply misjudged where the ball was coming down. Would it have been a good play to make that catch? Yes. Is it reasonable for a Major League team to expect its CF to make that play? I believe so. I won’t even waste words on the ball that fell between Kubel and Span last night.

Of course, it wasn’t just outfield play that let Blackburn down Monday night.

Whether it was Hudson’s decision to play shallow RF against Hamilton or a failure by the coaching staff to position him correctly is a fair question to ask, but Hamilton had no business reaching first base on his “infield hit”. Likewise, sure the runner was going on the pitch and bearing down on JJ Hardy as he tried to turn the double play in the fifth inning and you’d like to think the guy you’ve got over at 1B will scoop up most throws that land 5 feet in front of him and bounce up, but it’s hard not to think that Hardy’s sore wrist affected that throw and ended up costing a run.

JJ Hardy is a very good shortstop and he may potentially be the best #9 hitter in baseball, but if his wrist is that sore, Alexi Casilla should be playing SS until Hardy is healthy. The difference between the two of them simply is not so great as to warrant having a Hardy who’s playing at less than 100% in the line up every day. (Oh, and by the way, if Hardy’s wrist is so bad that Gardy had to send Matt Tolbert up to hit trailing by one run with two out in the ninth inning last night, then Hardy should be DL’d to make room for someone who can provide a better bat than Tolbert off the bench.)

All of this, together, has me wondering a bit about how fair it is for so many people to be criticizing the Twins pitching to the degree that’s been going on this summer. I’m sure there are sabremetricians who would be happy to debate various player’s talents with me, but I’ve watched almost every game the Twins have played this season and based purely upon those observations, here’s what I’ve seen in this team’s defense:

Catcher: Several weeks of Joe Mauer with shoulder/toe/whatever problems that clearly affected his ability to throw out runners and even get down and block relatively routine pitches in the dirt.

1B: Nearly two months now of missing Justin Morneau. Cuddyer has filled in admirably, but he’s just passable defensively.

2B: This position may have been the best, most consistently manned, position as Hudson and Casilla have, together, played a pretty good 2B.

SS: Hardy gets to a lot of balls other shortstops don’t but he’s missed a ton of playing time and when he has tried to play with his wrist injury, his throws have been less than perfect. Combine that with having a backup at 1B and you get a few more baserunners than you should.

3B: Once we got past the early-season games that had Matt Tolbert, Brendan Harris and Michael Cuddyer at the corner, this has been a pretty well-fielded position. I’m not yet convinced Danny Valencia’s defense is as good as his metrics so far have said he is (I don’t think he charges bunts particularly well and while he has a very strong arm, he seems to have trouble getting the ball out of his glove and getting a throw off at times), but he’s certainly been better than advertised at this point and Nick Punto has fielded the position well, also.

LF: Delmon Young is lighter and he moves better than he did last year, but nobody is going to mistake him for a “good” outfielder.

CF: Denard Span has been average, at best.

RF: Whether it’s Cuddyer or Kubel, you aren’t getting good range in RF and while it was possible for a guy to cover up other deficiencies by figuring out how to play the baggie at the Dome, I’m not sure it’s even possible for anyone to do that at Target Field with all of the various types of building materials that make up the RF wall.

I guess my point is that all things considered, it’s probably not all that surprising that opponents are getting on base and scoring at a higher rate against the Twins this season than we’d like to see and I don’t think you can lay all of that at the feet of the pitching staff. The powers-that-be decided the Twins were going to build a stronger offense in 2010 and that came with a price on the defensive side. Unless you suddenly build a pitching staff full of power pitching strikeout artists, you shouldn’t expect your pitchers to put up numbers comparable to years when you focused on putting a strong defense behind them.

Justin Morneau

Of course, perhaps this is all just a very long-winded way of saying that while this patchwork defense is good enough to beat the Orioles, Royals and White Sox, if the Twins are serious about competing with the Rangers (and the Yankees and the Rays), they are going to need #33.

Finally, one more thought this morning…

My beliefs concerning the afterlife do not include putting any stock in reincarnation. As much fun as I might think it would be to perpetually come back around as one of any number of noble species, I just can’t buy in to the belief that we get to keep coming back to the world again and again. That said… on the off chance that I’m wrong about all this, I just want to submit a request that at some point I get to return to this earth as a pigeon. I’ve already got this 7 foot tall hunk of bronze in Milwaukee picked out to rest upon after meals.

Kirby Kestrel

On the other hand, coming back as a kestrel wouldn’t be such a bad deal either. At least you wouldn’t be concerned about rising season ticket prices. – JC

GameChat – Twins @ Rangers #2, 7:05

Believe it or not, it’s actually COOLER in Arlington tonight.  It’s supposed to be about 90 at game time – but yes, like MN last week, the humidity is atrocious so I don’t know if it will really be all that obvious.  Then again, 100+ in that humidity is HOT so maybe it is better.

Let’s just hope that Pav keeps them off-balance in the way we always like to see and that the only LONG bombs are hit by us.  😀 The boys might owe the pitching staff a bit of run support after last night – apologies to Blackburn.

Minnesota @ Texas
Span, CF   Andrus, SS
Hudson, O, 2B   Young, M, 3B
Mauer, DH   Hamilton, LF
Kubel, RF   Guerrero, DH
Cuddyer, 1B   Murphy, Dv, RF
Young, D, LF   Molina, B, C
Valencia, 3B   Moreland, 1B
Casilla, A, SS   Blanco, A, 2B
Butera, C   Borbon, CF
  Pavano, P     Lewis, P


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


Babs must have passed out last night while working on her photos and not gotten around to doing the summary so I’ll give it a whack this morning.

I spent my evening at a minor league game, watching Brewers pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi no-hit our local boys. (As has become the fad lately, he was pulled after 8 innings and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers’ closer completed the no-no.) But after I got home, I watched the Twins game start to finish.


Here’s the sense that I’m left with after the past two games. The Twins, as currently constituted, are good enough to win the AL Central because they can play the way they have the past two nights and still beat teams like the White Sox and Royals. But They are not strong enough defensively or offensively, right now, to beat the best teams in the league. Maybe it’s a mental thing. Maybe it’s a toughness thing. I don’t know what it is, but then I don’t get paid to figure out what it is.

But the people who DO get paid to figure this stuff out better start doing it. – JC

GameChat – Twins @ Rangers, 7:05

According to all the advance media, it’s a bit warm down in Texas – like over 100 degrees warm – and it doesn’t look like it’s going to cool all that much over the course of the game so I hope the guys are well-hydrated!

And given the warmth of the air, I REALLY hope that Nick Blackburn really has that sinker working well in his return debut – otherwise we may be seeing a lot of long fly balls.  You know the kind that are caught by fans instead of fielders?  Yeah, I don’t like those so much when it’s not my team.

Quick bit of recommended reading for you:  Surprise Hero by Twins Geek.  I was very entertained to find out that the gut instincts that the majority of Knuckleballers seem to employ during GameChats seems to have an actual stat!  You guys might like checking it out.

Minnesota @ Texas
Span, CF   Andrus, SS
Hudson, O, 2B   Young, M, 3B
Mauer, C   Hamilton, LF
Kubel, RF   Guerrero, DH
Cuddyer, 1B   Murphy, Dv, RF
Thome, DH   Treanor, C
Young, D, LF   Moreland, 1B
Valencia, 3B   Blanco, A, 2B
Hardy, SS   Borbon, CF
  Blackburn, P     Harden, P


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


Well, thank you Joe Mauer.  A single hit in the 9th inning didn’t do anything to stop the shutout but at least it did put a fork in the “N0-No” discussion.  I have to admit that I look askance as such discussions when a) it was a “combined” scenario betwee 4 pitchers and b) a total of 6 walks were issued.  Yes, I know that is the difference between a no-hitter and a perfect game but still, there is a point at which nearly 1 walk per inning seems to fail the level of stellar pitching that I think I want to see under the category of “no hitter”. 

Before you say “oh, but if it was your pitchers, you would say it differently,”  let me assure you, that’s not accurate.  A) I’m more likely congratulate Texas on a shutout (combined or no) and that is what I would congratulate my own pitchers for.  B) Harden just didn’t have the stuff good enough to get a complete game no hitter and certainly gave up too many walks to be “stellar” and I said EXACTLY the same thing about Kevin Slowey when he was pulled last week.  I just think sloppy-ish pitching isn’t stellar when your fielders are carrying that big a part of the load – or LUCK carrying the load as was true for Harden tonight.

The good news is that Blackburn actually looked good.  Yes, there were runs that were given up – after a couple weird-ass, lucky bounce, grounder base-hits.  Yes, I said grounders – remember this is the guy that want to see grounders from?  We saw them.  Unfornately, they also had eyes and got through.  Blackburn also had 5 strikeouts and a quality start so that is a pretty darn good outting for his first time back.  I think he can get better and I hope to see it – I also hope that the offense gives him a bit more run support next time.

Twins History Lesson: August 23-29

With about 6 weeks left in the season and the Twins grasping on to a five game lead in the AL Central standings, it’s tempting to start to feel like things are well within hand. But before we dig in to the upcoming week in Twins history, let’s keep one little piece of history in mind… one year ago, the Twins were not only 4.5 games behind the division leading Tigers, but 2.5 behind the White Sox. We all know those leads weren’t safe last year and it’s too early to assume the Twins’ current lead is any safer.

Let’s see what August 23 has brought the Twins direction:

1966: Jim Kaat got the W as the Twins notched win number 500 since the franchise relocated to Minnesota with a victory, appropriately enough, over the Senators.

1977: Dave Goltz threw a one-hitter at the Red Sox and got support from everyone in the line up (each of them recording at least one hit), including a home run from Rod Carew. Goltz struck out 10 in the 7-0 win over Boston.

Jacque Jones

2005: For the second time in Twins history, Minnesota won a game 1-0 with the only run coming on the team’s only hit, a 423 foot home run by Jacque Jones to lead off the 8th inning. Freddy Garcia of the White Sox gave up the dinger and lost to Johan Santana, who only gave up 3 hits, himself.

Kent Hrbek made his MLB debut with the Twins on August 24, 1981, and what a debut it was. In what was a sneak preview of things to come, Hrbie delivered a game-winning home run in the top of the 12th inning off of  George Frazier at Yankee Stadium.

A lot was made about the rain out of their Friday game this weekend resulting in the White Sox and Royals having to play three games inside of 24 hours and, without a doubt, that was a challenge for both teams. But on August 25, 1967, the Twins faced the prospect of playing their third double header in four days. That’s 7 games in four days in the middle of a four-team pennant race. Desperate for a complete game to give their bullpen a break, the Twins turned to Dean Chance, who would be pitching on just two days’ rest, to face the Indians in the second game of the twin bill. The result? Only the second no-hitter in Twins history. Chance actually gave up a run to the tribe in the first inning on two walks, an error and a wild pitch, before going on to strike out 8 to earn the 2-1 win.

Jack Kralick

Speaking of no-hitters, the first Twins no-no was recorded on August 26, 1962, by Jack Kralick, who came within a couple of outs in the ninth inning from being perfect. After Kralick helped his own cause against the A’s with a successful sacrifice bunt in the top of the 9th, followed by a Lenny Green sac fly scoring Bernie Allen, the Twins held a 1-0 lead heading in to the bottom of the ninth. Kralick lost his perfect game with a 1-out full count walk, but got two straight pop outs to put the Twins first no-hitter in the record books.

It’s hard telling which factoid was the most unusual to come out of the Twins’ 1-0 extra inning win over the Brewers on August 27, 1975… was it Craig Kusick tying the MLB record of getting hit by three pitches or iron man Bert Blyleven pitching the 11 inning complete game shutout?

August 28 has seen a couple of items of interest:

1981: Just four days after Kent Hrbek’s debut at Yankee Stadium, fellow rookie Tim Laudner also homered in his first MLB game against the Tigers at Metropolitan Stadium.

2009: The Twins acquired relief pitcher Jon Rauch from the D’Backs.

Lets wrap up this week’s trip down memory lane with a couple of items from August 29:

1963: In what has to be one of the more impressive demonstrations of power hitting in the franchise’s history, the Twins swept a double header from the Senators, 14-2 and 10-1. The Twins hit 12 home runs combined in the two games. Rich Rollins, Bob Allison and Zoilo Versalles each hit one HR, while Bernie Allen, Jimmie Hall and Vic Power each hit two balls out of DC Stadium. Harmon Killebrew won the club’s Home Run Derby with 3 round-trippers.

2009: The Twins signed lefty reliever Ron Mahay, who had been released by the Royals three days earlier.

That’s it! Tonight, the Twins start a critical four-game series against the Rangers at the Oven in Arlington (where high temperatures are forecast to be 106, 103, 93 and 94 degrees over the next four days). Meanwhile, the White Sox have the day off as they wait for the Orioles to show up in Chicago for a three-game series starting Tuesday. Should be an interesting week! – 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”.

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.

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

Wow, what a busy day it’s been so far. Sorry I’m a little late with the post but I just got back from a parade and now I get a little baseball before I had back out to the city festival and fireworks! woohoo!

JJ Hardy is back but he’s still not 100% so his starts will be spaced out with Casilla or whoever for a bit yet. And it’s fun to have the team back home because Justin gets to work out with them and we get reports of how is BP is going – yeah, apparently he’s knocking the fluff out of the ball but no, he’s not quite ready to do a rehab assignment yet but the signs are still improving every day.

After that fantastic start from Duensing last night, I’m really hoping that Kevin continues to improve off his last great outting and has better location and efficiency. Maybe he’ll actually have a REAL shot at a complete game today? It’s a gorgeous day for baseball and both KL and JC are at the game… so jealous. Hope the boys give them a great game!

LA Angels @ Minnesota
Abreu, B, LF   Span, 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   Hardy, SS
  Bell, T, P     Slowey, P


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


That kind of sucked again…  and the story of the day today is injuries.  Kevin Slowey left after the 3rd inning after feeling soreness in his right triceps again – the same thing that kept him out of his start a couple weeks ago.  He’d been feeling fine but it was obvious that his location was still suffering during the whole game.  He got through the first inning pretty well but still was throwing too many pitches.  It just wasn’t a good day for Kevin and he’ll be re-evaluated on Monday.  Also being evaluated on Monday is Ron Mahay who took an odd, awkward tumble while trying to field a bunt and left the field in obvious pain.  I have no idea what that means for tomorrow’s game since it seems like a DL stint for at least one of these guys might be in the future – no matter how much we hope not.

***UPDATE:  Both Slowey AND Mahay are headed for the DL.  Anthony Slama and Nick Blackburn have been called back up.  This could be an interesting time of it.  Nick’s been doing really well in AAA but I always say that AAA batters are not the same as MLB batters.  However, the most encouraging sign for me is his ground ball rate has been phenomenal – THAT has much less to do with the batter’s level of play.  Anthony hasn’t been stellar but he won’t be intimidated or anything coming back up here either so I’m hoping he does well.***

Kudos to the brand new CF for the Angels (the one who pushed Torii Hunter over to RF) because it was really his day.  He hit his first MLB homerun, plus got a triple, 4 RBI and has some SPECTACULAR fielding.  He’s got a promising future ahead of him.

A Little Saturday Morning Comic Relief “Goofiness”

The occasional circus moments last night and trying to describe some of the plays to a non-baseball individual during the White Sox series had me remembering a great classic from my childhood.  I did a little digging this morning to see if I could find it to share!  I did! Woohoo!!! 

So here’s your dose of Saturday morning cartoons! Hope you have fun today!

GameChat – Angels @ Twins, 7:10

Quick injury update: Yes, Nick Punto is back on the DL – my heart just kind of breaks for him. He reaggravated the hamstring that was supposedly healed.  And the team proved me wrong yet again because, no, no matter how badly I think we need it, they did not bring up a pitcher.  Tolbert is up to give us that flexibility of infielders and such.

As far as the game tonight, I’m kind of excited to see Dan Haren pitch but maybe that’s just because I like LOOKING at Dan Haren.  I’m willing to admit that is a possibility.  I would definitely like to see the offense be a little busier tonight than they were last night and I’m NOT goign to be ok with more LOB.  I hope that Duensing holds his own and goes deep into the game with a lot less struggles than Frankie and Pavano had.  Let’s go boys!

LA Angels @ Minnesota
Abreu, B, DH   Span, CF
Kendrick, H, 2B   Hudson, O, 2B
Callaspo, 3B   Mauer, C
Hunter, RF   Kubel, RF
Rivera, J, LF   Cuddyer, 1B
Napoli, C   Thome, DH
Aybar, E, SS   Young, D, LF
Wood, B, 1B   Valencia, 3B
Bourjos, CF   Hardy, SS
  Haren, P     Duensing, P


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


THAT went MUCH better.  How nice of the boys to give me exactly what I asked for!  And how nice of them to do such a great job while Jim Crikket was there to witness it!  The offense remembered how to hit and Duensing went out there and nailed it down, inning after inning!  More than anyone, I think the bullpen appreciated that.  But yeah, going 8 innings is something I think every coach, fielder and fan loved too. 

For any normal game,  Kubel going 2/4 with a homerun, a double and 3 RBI would probably be enough to earn him the BOD.  But not tonight.  Tonight it was great but it was only enough to get him a great big frosty adult beverage (can you tell I just left the bar?).  Heck, we’ll even throw in an adult beverage of choice to Jim Thome because, seriously, I am shocked to see just one triple from him in a season but multiples??  are you kidding me? Dude, maybe he needs a shot of 5 Hour Energy instead.

For tonight’s game though, the boxscore really says it all.  Duensing went up against a pitcher MANY Twins fans would have liked to see as a possibility in our starting rotation (including me).  He kicked Dan’s ass.  Haren just didn’t look like the hot pitcher I’ve seen in the past – maybe it was that he just doesn’t do facial hair as well?  I don’t know but Duensing came out the winner in tonight’s comparison and given how BADLY we really needed a good outting from our starter and how fun it was to see him get 6 k’s, I’m not at all surprised that the chat chose Brian Duensing for today’s BOD!  Congrats!

And sorry, Jamar, apparently our library is a bit short on the Duensing shots – of the ones we have so far, this really is the best.  I”ll make it a personal goal to be sure to get an even better one for you sometime soon!  I’m sure I could go steal a pic off some other site somewhere but we like using our own!