Ok, I get to WATCH some baseball! I am going through a little bit of withdrawal because I’ve been a little away from the game due to my birthday, family time and the holiday. I’m glad to be back and would like to properly say thank you to the Twins for winning on my birthday. The whole restaurant (pretty much my group of family and friends) cheered at the end of the game. It was good. I would like to see them do it again. Just saying.
I think the Twins have run out of new ways to lose games. They seem to be repeating themselves, now. It was nice to see Justin Morneau do his “hit the ball a long way… twice” thing tonight, though.
I’d be eternally thankful if the Twins would find a shortstop who could throw the ball accurately to one base or another. I hear Toby Gardenhire is doing a nice job in Rochester with the bat and the glove. At this point, why not? Nobody else in this organization seems to want the gig.
Happy Memorial Day everyone. I’m sure you all join me in honoring and thanking those who have given the last full measure of devotion… as well as their families.
I considered authoring a Memorial Day post, but I don’t think I could do any better than Babs did a year ago. Click here to go back and read her Memorial Day post from last year, as I did.
The Twins go back on the road starting today with a noon game in Detroit.
Jim Thome returns to the line-up and Jose Mijares returns to the bullpen.
From the Twins’ Communication office comes this stat of the day…Denard Span’s lifetime batting average of .363 (74 of 204) is the highest All-Time among players with at least 200 ABs against the Tigers. Keep it up, Denard!
Sorry I wasn’t more active in the Chat, but my family decided to join me at the bar so I figured I should socialize with them a bit.
I haven’t read a lot of the reports from Detroit after the game, but I think I heard Jason Kubel left with an ankle injury. Had to figure that was coming, didn’t we? One of the few guys who have been healthy AND productive… yeah you knew that couldn’t last this season.
And that call down the LF line in the 8th that led to the Tigers’ winning run was pure bullshit. We have no idea whether the Twins would have won the game but for that call, but the Tigers certainly should not have scored that run.
The pitching held together quite well, including some members of the bullpen who have not been terribly effective lately, so that was something positive.
Ive seen, heard and read a few weird things the last day or so. At least they’re weird to me. When that kind of thing happens to most people, they may have one or two family members and/or a few friends to tell about the weirdness. But most people don’t have blogs (though it sure seems like it sometimes, doesn’t it?). Anyway, I do have a blog so I get to share the weirdness with all you poor souls who stopped by to read this.
About 12:30 Sunday, I checked out of my hotel and walked a couple of blocks toward Target Field. I thought I would see what sort of price tickets were going for at game time. I knew I didn’t want to stay through the entire game, but if I could get a cheap ticket, I thought I might watch 3-4 innings before heading home.
I left without a ticket sometime near the bottom of the first inning. It was weird to me that there were several ticket “brokers” on the street corners who apparently preferred to eat their remaining tickets rather than sell them for much, if any, below face value. You would think even selling at a “loss” would be better than losing the entire amount paid for that ticket. But I guess not.
I got to Albert Lea about the 7th inning and decided to stop to eat at Applebees, figuring they had televisions that might be tuned to the Twins game. They did and I watched the final couple of innings there. That wasn’t weird.
What was weird, however, was walking in to the restaurant and finding a picture of myself on the wall in their waiting area.
Granted, it was not a recent picture. In fact, it was a picture of the 1968 conference champion HS baseball team from Albert Lea… a team my dad coached and that I was a batboy for. So yeah, seeing that was a bit weird… but it brought back some great memories.
Twitter is someplace you kind of expect to read weird stuff, especially from professional athletes who, it seems, can’t resist Tweeting to the world words that they would not likely utter out loud in public. So it’s no surprise, really, when you see something weird there.
I’m not sure what to make of it, yet… but I found this Tweet from Danny Valencia a bit odd (maybe not quite weird… but let’s see if there’s a story behind it at some point):
dannyvalencia19: Nobody likes a tattle tale, it seems like it’s a common trait of a slightly older generation… #yeaisaidit
Seriously, what’s that all about? I guess since my generation is more than just “slightly” older, I shouldn’t take offense… or mention that people of a slightly younger generation seem to share a common trait of not being able to understand being accountable for their actions. Yeah, I said that. Maybe Danny was just joking around. If so then, yeah, so am I 🙂
Also from Twitter, we have this exchange involving Twins President Dave St. Peter:
TwinsPrez: Wonder if Calvin ever had $115 million payroll RT @greglw3:@Neilson34 Worst offseason since Griffith let Bostock, Hisle, Campbell all leave.
So, if I’m reading that right, a couple of people Tweeted St. Peter with their opinion that this past offseason was a disaster of historic proportions… and St. Peter’s response was to point out his organization had bajillions of dollars at their disposal that Griffith never had? Huh? Doesn’t the fact that his organization had considerably more resources at their disposal than Griffith did just make the results all the more indefensible?
I like that St. Peter stays in touch with those of us among the great unwashed of Twinsville, but that response was just… well… weird.
That’s enough weirdness for one day. I’m going to read for a bit. Actually, I’m currently reading “Those Guys Have All The Fun”... I just started it this week and I’ve been reading about the people who started ESPN. Yeah… they were very weird, too.
So here we are once again with the Twins having a chance to win a three game series. We’ve been here before and been left disappointed, but I’ve got a good feeling about today.
I’ve got to pack up and get checked out of my hotel so I won’t be around for the chat today, but I expect those of you who are here to help the Twins bring in a W!
In transaction news, we’ve finally got Chuck James aboard the Twins’ train. James has arguably been the best relief pitcher in Rochester this season, but his arrival in Minnesota was delayed because he was not on the Twins’ 40-man roster. To make room for him, Tsuyoshi Nishioka was put on the 60-day DL. That’s no big deal because it’s retroactive to April 7, making him eligible to come off on June 7. He wasn’t likely to be ready before that anyway, since he’s just now starting to play in rehab games in Florida.
Jim Thome’s shoulder is sore, even after his cortisone shot, so he’s likely not available today.
I listened to most of the game on the radio as I drove south of the Twin Cities and then stopped in Albert Lea to eat and watch the final 2-3 innings. It was good to see the guys not go down without a fight in the 9th, but this game should have been won.
Dan Gladden and Jack Morris were pretty tough on Trevor Plouffe for his defensive mistakes, and rightfully so. Plouffe is struggling at the position. But I couldn’t help but note that the broadcasters said virtually nothing about Justin Morneau’s defensive failings. Morneau is starting to find his stroke a bit at the plate and for that I’m thankful, but he is flat out not playing good defense at 1B. His play at 1B was just as responsible for runs being scored that shouldn’t have as Plouffe’s play at SS was… and he should be held accountable by someone. So I guess that will be me.
After attending the debacle Friday night and then reading that Francisco Liriano had been scratched from his Saturday start in favor of Anthony Swarzak, who would be facing off with Jared Weaver, I can’t say I was optimistic about the possibility of witnessing a Twins win Saturday night.
OF COURSE this would be the circumstance under which the wins would put things together to pull out a W!
There was a great crowd on hand, reminding me a bit of the enthusiasm I felt during so many games last season. I think we all knew that the Twins were likely to have trouble scoring much off of Weaver, who’s had a pretty strong year, thus far. But Swarzak was every bit Weaver’s equal as the two pitchers matched one another almost pitch for pitch from one inning to the next.
Toward the 7th inning, Swarzak gave up a couple of pretty deep, well hit balls that found the gloves of Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young. In fact, the defense tonight was very solid all night long. It hasn’t been often that we’ve been able to say that this year.
With one out in the 8th inning Peter Bourjos laced a line drive down the left field line for a double to ruin Swarzak’s no-hitter bid and the crowd immediately rose to give the young pitcher a huge standing ovation. As we sat down, the three 20-something women sitting to my left asked me why everyone had been cheering… they had no idea Swarzak had a no-hitter going. I’m not sure they even knew what a no-hitter was, to be honest. Ah well.
The guy to my right almost flipped out when Matt Capps entered the game to start the 9th inning on the mound for the Twins… but he stood and gave Capps an ovation with the rest of us after his hitless inning. Alex Burnett followed with a clean inning of relief, himself. (Where have THESE versions of those two pitchers been lately… and can we keep them a while?)
And then it was the bottom of the 10th. Lefty reliever Hisanori Takahashi took over for Weaver and struck Jason Kubel out looking before giving up a solid line drive single to Justin Morneau. Jason Repko ran for Morneau and righty Kevin Jepson took the mound for the Angels. Michael Cuddyer grounded a single past the SS in to left field and Delmon Young lined a single to center field. Unfortunately, Repko couldn’t get a jump on that single because there was a real chance it could have been snagged by the shortstop (I thought he was going to catch it from where I sat).
A lot of people around me were upset that Repko didn’t score, but to be honest, he HAD to make sure that ball got through. The LAST thing you want is to have him get doubled off 2B to end that inning. He still got to 3B and the bases were loaded with just one out and Danny Valencia at the plate.
The Angels used five infielders, all playing in on the grass, and just two outfielders, but it didn’t matter. Valencia lifted a fly ball to RF and right off the bat, everyone knew it was deep enough to score Repko from 3B. Torii Hunter jogged back a bit but he knew it didn’t matter whether he got to it or not and it landed well beyond Hunter. Game over.
The Twins celebrated on the field and you could just tell this was a win that made everyone feel good… players and fans alike.
I didn’t take as many pictures this trip as I usually do at games and many I did take are far from high quality, but I thought I would post a few anyway… hope you enjoy!
It’s been a phenomenally gorgious day so far. However, it does appear that there are some storms headed our way so I have no idea what that will mean come game time. So cross your fingers everyone if you actually want to see this game. Maybe we’ll get lucky and we’ll have a lead again in the 6th inning and then the storms will hit and the game will be called before the 8th inning meltdown? Does that still count as optimism?
In other news, Francisco Liriano is out… sore shoulder… Swarzak is getting the start and somewhere, Kevin Slowey is kicking himself and cursing fate. It just seems to be par for the course of this season doesn’t it?? *grumble*
Sadly, it also appears that Joe Nathan is going on the DL again as well. I’m sure the details of why this is necessary will be forthcoming.
Jim Thome is expected to get a cortisone shot in his shoulder tonight and hopes to play tomorrow, which sounds a bit odd to me since those shots don’t typically have that kind of immediate effect.
Jose Mijares threw a couple of extended spring training innings Saturday and could be rejoining the Twins Monday. Have to wonder if that constitutes good news or bad news, but given the performance of the bullpen lately, it probably has to be considered good.
Well that game was a lot better to watch than last night’s was!
That was a good old fashioned pitchers’ duel. Jared Weaver faced only two hitters beyond the minimum over nine innings, giving up just two hits to the Twins and Anthony Swarzak took a no-hitter in to the 8th inning, before giving up a one-out double to Peter Bourjos. It’s never easy losing your no-no, but at least it was a legit line drive double down the line. It would also turn out to be the only hit the Angels would get on the night.
Every fan in my section of Target Field was holding his/her breath when Matt Capps relieved Swarzak to start the 9th inning. Capps did a nice job, however and got a very nice ovation from the crowd as he walked off. Then it was Alex Burnett’s turn in the 10th and he, too, held the Angels at bay. Two hitless/scoreless innings from the bullpen! woo-hoooo!
It’s best not to push your luck though, and in the 10th inning, Danny Valencia lifted a fly ball over Torii Hunter’s head to score pinch runner Jason Repko from third base and the Twins had a much needed W!
Lots of baked goods to the guys who put together that little rally in the 10th (hits by Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young preceded Valencia’s game winner), but the BOD can only be awarded to Anthony Swarzak!
I wish I could say that Friday night’s collapse surprised me. You would think that seeing the Twins enter the 8th inning with a 5-0 lead would give a guy a fair amount of confidence that he was going to witness a rare Twins win.
As soon as Scott Baker was pulled from the game, somehow you just knew things were going to get… interesting.
And they did.
You can read all about the way the bullpen failed (again) to hold a lead pretty much anywhere else in the online world of Twinsville so I won’t go in to all that. The Twins scored some runs. The Twins’ starting pitcher pitched well. The bullpen coughed up the lead and lost the game. Again. ‘Nuff said about that.
But that’s not even the most disturbing thing I watched Friday night at the first Twins game I’ve attended in person this season. I mean… yeah… the bullpen was awful, but you could figure out the bullpen sucks pretty much just from looking at box scores the past few weeks. No real news there.
Would the Twins win more games if they had someone… anyone… who could get an out or two out of the pen? Absolutely. Would they become a team worth standing up and cheering for? In a word, no.
Here’s what I found disturbing just from watching this game with my own eyes (something I have rarely been able to do this year, thanks to that absurd, idiotic MLB blackout policy):
The Twins are really bad at playing baseball.
If you just look at the boxscore, you won’t see Danny Valencia diving back to first base on a soft line drive… with two outs.
You won’t see Alexi Casilla miss first base, have to retrace about 10 feet to find the base, before advancing to 2B for an RBI “double” in the first inning.
You wont see Jason Kubel getting doubled off the basepaths after apparently losing track of the number of outs (I think it was Kubel… but I’d been drinking pretty heavily by then so it may have been someone else and I really don’t care enough right now to check my facts).
You won’t see any of the atrocious swings that Justin Morneau, Delmon Young and others took with runners on base.
I’ve been a Twins fan ever since there has been a Minnesota Twins team. There have been some pretty bad teams during certain eras. But during many of those years, I could rationalize the poor records simply by acknowledging that the Twins simply did not have very good players during most of those years. They didn’t fail for lack of effort or preparedness or knowing HOW to play the game right. They simply didn’t have players as talented as most of their competition.
But this year is different.
Yes, I’m well aware of the unexpected obstacles the Twins have been faced with. Their newly imported middle infielder broke his leg. Their $23 million/year catcher has… um… weak legs (and by the way… is anyone at all even going to bother looking in to how an elite level professional athlete misses half a season with leg weakness or are we all supposed to simply accept that it’s a perfectly normal occurrence?).
But there simply is no excuse for the product the Twins are putting out on the field this season. Maybe they don’t really work on the “little things” the way they used to in this organization. Maybe the coaching is not up to par. Maybe the manager can’t find the right method for motivating the players to perform better. Maybe the General Manager made some critical mistakes in assembling this roster. Maybe the scouting staff has seriously misjudged both MLB and minor league talent levels in this organization. Maybe the players need to take responsibility for flat out playing bad baseball.
Most likely, it’s a combination of “all of the above”.
Like most Twins fans, I can accept that some years will go better than others. But we are entitled to expect better. This team, even with the injuries, is not without talent.
I don’t have an explanation for why so many players that have, in the past, played some pretty good baseball now seem incapable of doing anything right… I only know that this team almost seems to go out of its way to do the little things… and a few big things… poorly.
Then again, I’ve had a fair amount to drink today and tonight… so maybe once I’m thinking more clearly, perhaps I’ll have some more lucid thoughts about what could/should be done about this situation.
Then again, I may not.
Anyway… Friday wasn’t a totally worthless day. I slept in. I had a very nice lunch at one of my favorite Minneapolis restaurants (Hell’s Kitchen), I spent some time with friends at a bar for a couple of hours before the game (even though they were ALL “late”) and during the game as well. So if you look at Twins games as purely a social event or another excuse for drinking rather heavily, then it was an enjoyable evening.
I’ll even post a couple of pictures from the game… just to prove I did more than fill up on beer for 5+ hours.
Ok, JC & I are sitting in Kieran’s across from Target Field waiting for the game to start – needless to say, our participation in tonight’s game chat might be debateable. But that being said, we’re putting it up and hope that a game actually takes place – even if delayed. Given the fact that it’s still raining out there, I’m bettting on at least a late start even if the TF grounds crew is claiming that they will be able to get things going if the rain stops as schedule at 7 pm. St. Peter claims it will be an on-time start in a window between showers, dry enough but cool.
There are a great many Twins fans heading into downtown to join with others to commemorate the life of Harmon Killebrew. Here’s all the details if you want to join Knuckleballs’ own JimCrikket and the rest. My advice is to get there as early as possible.
What: Public memorial
When: 7:10 p.m. today (broadcast coverage on FSN will begin at 6:00 pm)
Where: Target Field (gates open at 6)
Scheduled speakers: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, Rod Carew, Paul Molitor, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau
What fans should know: Event is free and open to everyone. General admission seating. Concession stands will be open. All attendees will receive a commemorative program.
Due to the solemnity of the day, Governor Dayton has declared today to be Harmon Killebrew Day here in Minnesota. I thought I would share his declaration here in it’s entirety.
Minnesota Twins legend and Hall of Famer, Harmon Clayton Killebrew, passed away on May 17, 2011, at the age of 74 after a courageous battle with esophageal cancer; and
Mr. Killebrew’s Hall-of-Fame career began when he was signed out of the ball fields of Payette, Idaho by the Washington Senators, who moved to Minnesota in 1961 and became the Minnesota Twins; and
Thanks to quick hands and extraordinary upper-body strength, Mr. Killebrew developed into one of the most feared power hitters of all time, amassing a staggering 573 home runs throughout his career; and
Mr. Killebrew dominated the game, racking up 11 all-star game appearances, named American League Most Valuable Player in 1969, and, in 1965 led the Minnesota Twins to their first World Series appearance; and
After retiring, Mr. Killebrew’s illustrious career was recognized by Major League Baseball, when he was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1984; and
Much of Mr. Killebrew’s retirement was devoted to his foundation, the Harmon Killebrew Foundation, where he worked with the Minnesota Twin Community Fund and the Miracle League to bring the joy of baseball to children; and
Mr. Killebrew’s life should serve as an inspiration to everyone, and his work on the baseball diamond and through his foundation will never be forgotten; and
Today the citizens of Minnesota join with Mr. Killebrew’s surviving family members, his many friends, and his passionate legion of fans in celebrating the man an all he accomplished throughout his life, on an off the diamond.
Now, Therefore, I, Mark Dayton, Governor of Minnesota, do hereby proclaim May 26, 2011 to be:
Harmon Killebrew Day
That was a truly amazing and moving service. If you were unable to watch it or attend, FSN has it divided into clips for you watch. I encourage you to take the opportunity.
It’s nice to come off a win and I hate to sound greedy but.. I want another one. Ok guys? I expect you to get right on that.
Here’s the injury updates:
Kevin Slowey – specialist has diagnosed him with an “acute strain of the rectus abdominus” so yeah, he’ll be going to the DL before anything else happens to him – whatever the ‘anything else’ happens to be.
Matt Capps – unavailable again today because of a sore forearm – it’s not seeming like a big deal except that once again, we can’t seem to keep a full bullpen save our lives.