GameChat – Tampa Bay @ Minnesota #3, 7:10 pm, FSN & am1500

It looks like the weather at Target Field should be a heckuva lot better this evening than the snow of last night. I’m actually seeing sunshine as I write this. Better weather, better game?

It was a busy day at work so I don’t know much about what happened in the afternoon game other than the score was pretty ugly (hello, oxymoron!). The injury update was covered earlier, so I’ll just say I hope things get better soon. Having one, or maybe even two, of the key guys injured or ill is one thing, but it’s starting to feel like a bit of an epidemic. And I just want the guys to all feel better. It’s no fun for them being hurt or sick either.

I’m interested in seeing how Swarzak does. He was the starting pitcher at the Red Wings game I attended back in August 2009, and he only lasted 2.1 innings, so… I’m maybe not his biggest fan. (The Red Wings did win in the end, but after it went into extra innings I couldn’t stay for because I had other plans. I hate having to leave games before they’re over.) He can totally sway my opinion, though.

On with the lineups:

Tampa Bay @ Minnesota
Fuld, LF Span, CF
Damon, DH Tolbert, SS
Upton, B, CF Kubel, DH
Joyce, RF Morneau, 1B
Zobrist, 2B Cuddyer, RF
Kotchman, 1B Tosoni, LF
Rodriguez, S, 3B Valencia, 3B
Jaso, J, C Butera, C
Johnson, E, SS Hughes, L, 2B
Niemann, P Swarzak, A, P

At least the Rays didn’t make it into double digits of runs? At least Swarzak did okay considering he had only three days’ rest and flew in just today? At least it wasn’t a shutout? Hey, I’m trying to stay positive.

Late word is that we’ll be seeing more roster changes tomorrow. Burnett up, Swarzak down? Slowey up? I’m not exactly sure what’s going on, but all will become clear in the light of day. I hope.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Tampa Bay 0 2 0 1 0 2 0 1 0 6 11 0
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 0


GameChat – Tampa Bay @ Minnesota #2, 12:10 pm, FSN & am1500

[update: it’s currently raining at TF so there is possibility of a delay – but the rain is supposed to be leaving so both games should still be played.]

So in obvious acknowledgement that injuries are starting to pile up on this Twins roster, the usual pre-game lockerroom discussions were altered a bit to include Rick McWane, the Twins trainer.  Discussions were tweeted out covering all the players who we WON’T see today. Delmon has a strained oblique that he wanted to play through but, especially given the current weather, just couldn’t. Rene Tosoni will be making his MLB debut as a result.

Joe Mauer is eligible to come off the DL today but he’s not quite ready. However, the trainer says he’s perfectly healthy other than the orthopedic issues – what a relief. *snort* Since his “orthopedic issues” are called Bilateral Leg Weakness and the rest of us don’t have the faintest clue what that means, I think that is a big enough problem for us to deal with. Glad to know the virus is gone though. They are saying he will need a rehab stint in the minors before he comes back to TF though.

Thome still isn’t available due to an oblique issue as well. This weather sucks and it probably sucks even more for a body over 40. I still thank god there is at least one person on the team older than I am but honestly, I don’t know how he does it.

Morneau is actually back at 1B today and I’m looking forward to that. Something tells me he’ll be back to DH’ing tonight though. I’m pretty sure that he isn’t going to man the base for two games in a row.  If he does though, I will be happily surprised and it’s probably only possible because he didn’t play the field last night.  We’ll see.

Tampa Bay @ Minnesota
Fuld, LF   Span, CF
Damon, DH   Casilla, A, SS
Upton, B, CF   Kubel, DH
Joyce, RF   Morneau, 1B
Zobrist, 2B   Cuddyer, RF
Rodriguez, S, 3B   Valencia, 3B
Shoppach, C   Tosoni, LF
Kotchman, 1B   Holm, C
Brignac, R, SS   Hughes, L, 2B
  Hellickson, P     Blackburn, P


  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Tampa Bay 2 1 2 2 0 3 3 0 2 15 19 0
Minnesota 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 3 8 2



Well that was just ugly… congrats to Rene Tosoni for getting his first MLB hit & RBI today – as well as starting with his first MLB error. Oh well, I’m hoping that tonights game can only get better right? That has nothing to do with the fact that I’m going to tonight’s game – I would just like to see us hit the cover off the ball a bit, and win one. Is that too much to ask?

Road Trip To Camden Yards

I’ve got a few new work responsibilities these days, so I haven’t been able to follow the Twins as much as I’d like, much less blog about them. On the other hand, those new responsibilities also have me in Baltimore this week and I’ve taken advantage of that by staying at a hotel just a few blocks from Camden Yards, home of the Orioles. Sure, it would have been nice if this trip had corresponded with the Twins’ series in Baltimore a week ago, but my luck doesn’t run that good (besides, the weather this week was much better for baseball in Baltimore).

I didn’t pack the camera on this trip, but I took a few pictures with my phone and thought I’d share.

On Tuesday, I joined a few coworkers at the first game of the O’s/Red Sox series (the company has some pretty nice seats just up from the visiting dugout). It was a bit warm… close to 80 degrees… and a bit on the humid side, but it sure beat the 40 degree weather back home.

A fixture out on Eutaw Street beyond RF at the ballpark is “Boog’s Bar-b-q”. Wednesday night, Boog Powell was on hand to sign autographs, pose for pictures with fans and just generally shoot the bull with anyone who cared to do so. Seemed like a really good guy. (If you don’t know who Boog Powell is, I’ll try not to hold your relative youth against you… but he and Harmon Killebrew were having their own little “home run derby” contests during Twins/Orioles games throughout most of my youth.)

I moved around a bit on Wednesday. I spent some time early in the game in the upper deck, under the overhang, avoiding raindrops and hoping the lightning I was seeing to the west of the stadium didn’t get much closer.

Fortunately, the storm moved just to the north of Camden Yards. Again, it was in the mid 70s and humid… with a few raindrops here and there… but nothing to complain about, especially compared to the snow that the Twins and Rays were playing in back at Target Field!

Later, I moved back down to the RF line… grabbing a beer and a bit of Boog’s BBQ and watching an inning or so from the standing room area above the large out-of-town scoreboard that serves as the RF wall.

Then I grabbed a seat near the RF foul pole.

Speaking of the foul pole… I didn’t realize those poles were actually carry-overs from old Memorial Stadium. Gotta like that they brought a bit of the “old ballpark” to their new one (hard to believe this place is already 20 years old, though!).

Finally, on my way out, I just snapped a shot of Eutaw Street between the signature warehouse and the OF seating area and the Oriole Hall of Fame plaques behind the large scoreboard in CF.

Oh… and I apparently brought a bit of good luck to the O’s as they beat the Red Sox both games I attended… 4-1 on Tuesday, when I got to see young Zach Britton pretty much shut down the Red Sox, taking a no-hitter through roughly the first half of the game, and 5-4 on Wednesday, when balls were flying out of the park a bit. Luke Scott and Adam Jones went back-to-back to stake Jeremy Guthrie to a 3-0 lead over Josh Beckett, but a Kevin Youkalis 3-run HR tied the game at 4 in the 8th inning. Vlad Guerrero’s RBI single in the 8th provided the margin of victory for the Orioles.

I made my first trip to Camden Yards just a year or two after it was built and it’s still one of my favorite ballparks. I’m looking forward to making more trips out here during the summer months over the next few years.

– JC