There is nothing like the sun coming out!
Spring has finally returned to Minnesota – it could have come back earlier, just saying. But for those who won tickets from us here at Knuckleballs, I really hope you went to last night’s game! The baseball wasn’t really any better but the weather sure was. It was dry, sunny, and the temp was about 10 degrees warmer than the afternoon game when it ended – not going to tell you what it was when it started. But needless to say, as you can tell from the photo above, it was a beautiful if cool evening. Yes, I dressed in layers and brought gloves, no I didn’t need to wear a coat or earmuffs. If only the Twins had chosen to actually PLAY baseball.
You can make all the excuses you want but this whole series, we just got out-played on all sides of the diamond. The Rays had great defense, phenomenal hitting and stellar pitching – kind of like the Twins I like to remember in my mind and NOTHING like the Twins that showed up in Target Field. And for the record, pitching was problematic, yes, but until we start scoring RUNS, I’m not going to listen to a single pitching complaint about how many the other guys score.
This has been such a crazy week with all the injuries, the ups & downs, that I thought I would try to summarize where we’re at as the Twins head south on the road trip.
Folk on the DL:
Kevin Slowey (shoulder)
Joe Mauer (legs/back)
Delmon Young (strained oblique)
Tsuyoshi Nishioka (broken leg)
Folk injured but not on the DL:
Jim Thome (strained oblique)
Jason Repko (strained quadriceps)
Carl Pavano (sick/flu)
All this going on has made this a pretty interesting week of ups & downs in with the minor leagues. Delmon was supposed to be back on Sunday and then he couldn’t play & we had literally an empty bench (except Holm) so he was finally DL’ed and Rene Tosoni came up. He did a decent job over all. Then, after the rainout on Tuesday, we all received notification of the expected starting rotation – except that within a matter of hours, we were discussing the possibility of bringing up Eric Hacker to take Scott Baker’s place in the replacement game because Baker was moved to Pavano’s start so his could be pushed back to Sunday… and then Liriano sucked.. so we had to bring in Hacker to finish on Wednesday which made him unavailable for Thursday so we sent him back down after being here merely hours and brought up Anthony Swarzak. Then Blackburn had his sucking turn and we used everything in the bullpen just about in the first game of a double header – wow, that sounds like fun. We left ourselves Perkins and Nathan untouched and hoped Capps could do two in one day. I was hoping that when the weather cleared, our boys would begin to literally see the light and hoped for better play. I didn’t get it. Swarzak did ok in his second MLB start in two seasons and got further into the game than Liriano did. Perkins and Nathan actually did well enough (Nathan kicked ass but too little too late) but without scoring RUNS it’s hard to win a game.
As far as all those DL’ers? Well, both Mauer & Slowey are now eligible to return. Mauer’s not ready and finally spoke to the press about it yesterday. Slowey is being stretched back out to 75+ pitches to be ready to take back a starting role to replace Liriano if his next start isn’t a 180 turnaround. (I do recall saying something like Liriano should be in the bullpen and Slowey should be starting right at the end of spring training but I won’t rub that in anywhere.) Thome says he should be ready to play any day now and Gardy is giving him the benefit of the doubt but if this continues more than a couple games, he’ll go to the DL as well. I’m not sure who is left down in AAA to come up and hit for us but there you go. Repko is genuinely on the mend and should be back shortly which is good because he is still a better OF than Tosoni or Revere. Very little has been said about how Pavano is feeling – so I’m hoping that’s a good sign that he’s not on par with his teammates in contracting whatever virus is body-hopping in the clubhouse.
Ok, honest, I’m just about done channeling my inner JimCrikket (both in mood & post length) so I figure I will just pass along some good summary reading from others on how things have gone this week:
Parker Hageman – Over the Baggy: Answers for Liriano
Howard Sinker – Section 219: Bad Performances, Bad Decisions
Brett Bollinger – MLB: Update from Mauer
Seth Stohs – SethSpeaks: Bizzaro Seth
Phil Mackey – 1500ESPN.com: Somebody needs to step up
Joe Christensen – Around the Majors: Next Home Game…
I’m sure that my baseball mood won’t take much to improve – winning a game would help.