GameChat – Rangers @ Twins, 7:10

This is going to be interesting.  If you want a really complete update on all our injury/callup/rotation situation, beyond what JC already posted today, Mackey did a GREAT job in his Friday Notebook  so I highly recommend reading it and I’m too lazy to do work that someone else has already done.  So I’ll just cover the highlights – no, there is too much, let me sum up.

1) Baker got a cortizone shot and he feels a lot better – might miss a start or two though

2) Kubel’s MRI is encouraging – no serious damage and he hopes to be back this weekend

3) Capps is better but Fuentes is still out.

I do feel a little badly for Matt Fox because this seems like a REALLY high pressure situation to come up and have your MLB debut but I’m sending him all the positive vibes I can work up.

Texas @ Minnesota
Andrus, SS   Span, CF
Young, M, 3B   Hudson, O, 2B
Murphy, Dv, LF   Mauer, C
Hamilton, DH   Cuddyer, 1B
Cruz, N, RF   Young, D, LF
Kinsler, 2B   Thome, DH
Moreland, 1B   Valencia, 3B
Molina, B, C   Repko, RF
Borbon, CF   Hardy, SS
  Holland, P     Fox, M, P

 

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

 

First, I can’t tell you how cool it was to see that pregame special with all those fantastic former Twins all in one place.  It made for a pretty emotional reaction before the game even started.  And nothing like really adding to the pressure poor Matt Fox was under – here kid, it’s your MLB debut, you can do it front of these guys in a pennant race in September right?

Sadly, the injury bug seems to have bit YET AGAIN.  Valencia left the game tonight with a Hammy problem – they pulled him as a precautionary measure reportedly and consider him day-to-day.  Apparently, that is also the condition of Gardy’s lineup card and probably his ulcer too.  I do NOT envy him the job of pulling all this together.

It was another close game with a lot of dicey moments but at least Fox went 5.2 innings when we really needed something good from him and he kept us in the game.  Sadly he wasn’t able to get the win tonight BUT he did a very good job and made himself look pretty darn good.  Who knows what we’ll need him to do in the next few weeks but he looks like he can hold his own!  For that, we here at Knuckleballs decided that he should start getting ready for more appearances and are giving him his own personal copy of MLB10: The Show.  He should start working on his homework right away! ;)

And then there were a couple other real standouts tonight.  First, Jason Repko was amazing!  Freakish even.  At least in the field.  My friend, Ben Collin, aptly titled him “the outfield version of Nick Punto”.  It really struck a cord for me and it’s likely very true.  I know he’d like to be hitting better and I wouldn’t mind if he was but if he can keep up what he does in the OF – especially those throws to 3B *shiver* – I would love to see him stick around for awhile.  And Capps really made himself popular here with Twins fans by coming in in the 8th inning to finish it off then, and then nailing down the 1 run Save.  It was really a solid great game for him.  For that, both guys are granted as much state fair food as they can handle – corn dogs, cheese curds and beer – whatever they want.

BUT in a game where we had some legitimately beautiful performances that deserved recognition and gratitude, we did have a bright light.  One player stood out both defensively AND offensively: Denard Span, this is your BOD.  Not only was there some really amazing catches in the OF but he managed to get the game-winning RBI in a VERY tight game that didn’t grant us a lot of offensive opportunities.  I hope he realizes that wearing tall socks is good for his mojo and he should do it all the time!!

Fridays Are For Positive Thinking!

I tried brushing my teeth a few extra times between the end of the game last night and this morning, but I still can’t get the awful taste of last night’s game out of my mouth, so let’s replace last night’s stink-fest with a Friday link-fest of “think positive” posts and see if we can’t get some good mojo going around this place.

First, let’s all join k-bro in her efforts to help out our local food banks while we celebrate the Twins’ inevitable march toward the AL Central Division title. She’s pledging to donate two healthful food items to her local food shelf for every Twins victory in September. I’m in on that and I hope you’ll all join, too. Remember, the baseball gods like it when we make baseball related sacrifices and we need all the help we can get from the baseball gods right now (and remember how well this worked out for the Twins last September!).

Alex Burnett

Next, let’s get ready to welcome three new pitchers to the Twins (OK, for one of them, it’s more of a “welcome back”). LaVelle E Neal III has the up-to-date information. Alex Burnett is on his way back up to Minnesota and he’s bringing along relief pitcher Rob Delaney and starting pitcher Matt Fox. Fox will apparently make his MLB debut tonight against the AL West leading Texas Rangers. By the way, despite the frustration level we were feeling last night, apparently we weren’t all completely brain dead. I don’t remember who first

Rob Delaney as a Rock Cat

mentioned it so I apologize for not giving credit where it’s due, but as we discussed last night, the Twins will in fact make room on the 40-man roster for Fox by putting Justin Morneau on the 60-day DL

retroactively to when he was injured. That was almost 60 days ago so he could be reactivated any time that he shakes the post-concussion cobwebs (crossing fingers and toes).

For some additional insight in to Matt Fox, I suggest taking a look at Seth Stohs’ post over at sethspeaks.net. Not only has Fox worked hard to get this opportunity, but he also pitched to Drew Butera in college at Central Florida. With Joe Mauer having caught 13 innings last night, you have to figure

Friday's starting pitcher, Matt Fox

tonight will be a Golden Knight reunion. (That HAS to be good karma, right? and the baseball gods smile on the MLB debuts of guys who overcome injuries and work hard to achieve their dreams, right? Come on… tell me I’m right… please?)

Also from LaVelle’s blog post, this note of interest provided by the folks at the Elias Sports Bureau:

Brian Duensing tossed two innings of relief two days after a 6⅔-inning start. He was the first major-leaguer in more than 10 years to throw at least two innings in relief in a game that followed by only one or two days a start of more than six innings. The last pitcher to do that had been Steve Woodard of the Brewers in May 2000.

Just one more reason to be impressed with Duensing. It’s really great to see a guy overcome the disadvantage of having to attend the University of Nebraska and become one of the best young pitchers I’ve seen with the Twins in quite a while. (Don’t mind me, just practicing my Cornhusker-bashing for when they become part of the Big Ten next year.)

Speaking of the Huskers, I know it isn’t the least bit Twins-related, but I’m really excited with the new Big Ten division alignment for football and the subsequent schedules for 2011 and 2012 announced by the conference this week. My Hawkeyes get a new “final game” of the season against Nebraska on Thanksgiving weekend, which should be a terrific game. Fortunately (for Iowa anyway), they also get to continue playing the Gophers every year, although it will no longer be the last game of the season. By the way, I’m really looking forward to making the trip up to Minneapolis this November for my first look at TCF Bank Stadium (or, as we refer to it down here, “The New Kinnick Stadium North”).

Finally, let’s wrap up with a reminder that the Twins, even coming off of last night’s clunker and with all of the challenges facing them, have a couple of really important things going for them that we can all be thankful for:

1. They still have a 3.5 game lead over the Bitch Sox in the standings.

2. They don’t have to put up with Manny Ramirez’s bullshit just to retain any semblance of playoff hope.

The baseball gods are going to smile down on the Twins this weekend. I can feel it! - JC