GameChat: Minnesota @ Seattle #1, 9:10pm, FSN & am1500

Media reports are saying that Joe Mauer will be leaving Tuesday to head to Ft. Myers for “extended spring training” games and Tsuyoshi Nishioka has started “sprinting drills”. I’d like to feel more optimistic about the chances we’ll see Joe activated soon than I do. It’s just that we’ve been down this road before, yanno? But at this point, seeing anyone behind the plate for the Twins who can at least hit is weight would be encouraging!

Unfortunately, Kansas City Royals fans today got some sad news about one of their franchise favorites, pitcher-turned-broadcaster Paul Splittorf. Splittorf, who was a fixture on the mound for the Royals teams that were regularly winning the old AL Western Division in the late 1970s and early 1980s, has been diagnosed with both oral cancer and melanoma and his prognosis is not good. Twins fans can certainly relate and I’m sure I speak for all of us in expressing our sympathies to Royals fans, not to mention our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to Splittorf and his family.

Turning to tonight’s game…

It seems like just yesterday that we were all relieved that the Twins were finally ending a long road trip and returning to Target Field, where their fortunes would certainly turn around. It sounded good at the time.

Now our guys are back on the road. The good news, though, is that they are visiting the Mariners, who are struggling just about as much as the Twins are. Seattle has dropped six straight games (not as bad as the Twins’ 8 game losing streak, but it’s not good!), but they have rookie phenom Michael Pineda on the mound tonight, opposite Scott Baker for the Twins. It’s understandable if you aren’t familiar with Pineda, since there’s probably no team in baseball that gets less media attention outside their own market than the Mariners do. If you want to learn more about this guy before he faces off with the Twins, check out this USA Today article from a few days ago.

I don’t know how late I’ll be able to stay awake tonight, but let’s see if we can’t get things turned around and going in a more positive direction!

Span, CF Suzuki, I, RF
Plouffe, SS Figgins, 3B
Kubel, RF Smoak, 1B
Morneau, DH Cust, DH
Cuddyer, 1B Olivo, C
Young, D, LF Kennedy, A, 2B
Valencia, 3B Peguero, C, LF
Butera, C Rodriguez, L, SS
Casilla, A, 2B Saunders, CF
Baker, S, P Pineda, P

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

Let’s be fair and say that Michael Pineda has been shutting down a lot of teams, so give him his due. But the Twins aren’t even putting up a fight at this point. It’s sad to see. That’s nine straight, for those who are counting. The longest losing streak in over a dozen years. Ugh.