GameChat – Twins @ Royals #2, 6:10pm

The news for today is that Justin Morneau has come back home to be with his wife as their second child arrives. Congrats to the family and I hope that everything goes well. To take his place, the Twins have brought up Chris Parmelee…

Here’s hoping that Scott Diamond can continue his remarkable work and here’s hoping that the Twins offense can do their part as well…

Minnesota

@

Kansas City
Span, CF Gordon, LF
Revere, RF Escobar, A, SS
Mauer, C Butler, DH
Willingham, DH Cain, CF
Doumit, LF Perez, S, C
Parmelee, 1B Moustakas, 3B
Dozier, SS Francoeur, RF
Casilla, A, 2B Hosmer, 1B
Carroll, 3B Betancourt, Y, 2B
  Diamond, P   Mendoza, L, P

 

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 3 8 2
Kansas City 1 1 0 0 2 0 1 2 x 7 16 0

Not such a good night on a couple of fronts. Scott Diamond gave up four runs in six innings of work, which is short of “quality start” territory, but that certainly wasn’t the worst of it. The bullpen through gas on the fire as Jeff Gray and Brian Duensing both coughed up more runs and the offense managed just one hit in seven ABs with runners in scoring position.

By the end of the game, the only suspense involved the question of why Denard Span was pulled from the line up. Span, the subject of continuous trade speculation, was pulled simply because he was feeling ill, according to media reports quoting manager Ron Gardenhire. – JC

GameChat Twins @ Royals 7:10pm

Ahhh.  Just getting this up in time for first pitch.  More to come later.

 Minnesota Twins

@

Kansas City Royals 
 Revere, CF  Gordon, LF
 Carroll, SS  Escobar, A, SS
 Mauer, 1B  Butler, DH
 Willingham, LF  Moustakas, 3B
 Morneau, DH  Cain, CF
 Plouffe, 3B  Hosmer, 1B
 Doumit, C  Francoeur, RF
 Mastroianni, RF  Perez, S, C
 Casilla, A, 2B  Betancourt, Y, 2B
 _Blackburn, P  _Hochevar, P

 

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
Minnesota 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 9 0
Kansas City 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 9 0

It took a little longer than perhaps it should have, but a win is a win. Darin Mastroianni put the Twins up with a solo shot after taking a brushback pitch and Josh Willingham finally drove Joe Mauer home with the winning run in the 11th inning.

But the Chat’s vote for Boyfriend of the Day goes to starting pitcher Nick Blackburn, who’s return from Rochester was certainly a successful one. He threw 6 2/3 innings of ball and with relief help from Tyler Robertson, Jared Burton, Casey Fien and Glen Perkins, the Twins got a nice W. –  JC

Nick Blackburn

GameChat – Orioles @ Twins #4, 12:10pm

First, #MNTwins Twitter feed is ALL aflutter this morning! Ryan Doumit is making his first appearance as a pro, EVER, in Left Field today. I hope that ERolfPleiss snags us a couple pictures of the momentous event. More than that, I hope the Twins give him a good win to honor the event of his attendance. Yay for one of the Knuckleballers actually showing up at Target Field this year!

Second, I know sooooo many friends are at the game today but there are some there that are very special. Brinna is there with her mom as part of a promo shoot with Brian Duensing. She’s fighting a form of Lukemia but she’s on the winning end of it at this point. I have known her parents for over 15 years and had Brinna as one of my childcare charges for a time. Their story is far more common than you’d think and by no means an easy one. She’s a wonderful little girl and I’m glad she’s getting the chance today to have a little fun! My thanks to Marney Gellner for supplying the picture!

Brinna playing catch with Brian Duensing – photo credit: Marney Gellner

And Lastly, anyone else out there really hope that Cole DeVries can just have an awesome outing with lots of run support? I do!

Baltimore

@

Minnesota
Markakis, RF Span, CF
Hardy, SS Revere, RF
Thome, DH Mauer, C
Jones, Ad, CF Willingham, DH
Wieters, C Morneau, 1B
Betemit, 3B Plouffe, 3B
Davis, C, LF Doumit, LF
Reynolds, Ma, 1B Dozier, SS
Flaherty, 2B Casilla, A, 2B
  Chen, P   De Vries, P

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Baltimore

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

2

0

4

7

1

Minnesota

2

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

3

7

1

Ok, that one hurt. I really thought we might be able to take this series and we had the lead for so long.. Even Cole had a great game! And then, we lost it.. how typically Twins. The most memorable thing for this game (and last night) despite both games being losses, is Gardenhire choosing to IBB JJ Hardy in order to get to Thome. Are you freaking kidding me?!??! Yes, it’s because we had a lefty pitcher up in both situations and it WORKED both times too but good grief Gardy.. you’re giving us fans a collective ulcer!!

Congrats to ERolfPleiss for getting to enjoy this game with other Twins bloggers and being our representative in the FSN suite. I’m pretty sure he was having a LOT more fun there than we fans watching on TV!

GameChat – Orioles @ Twins #3, 7:10 pm

The Twins can clinch a series win over the Orioles with a victory tonight in the 3rd game of the 4 game set. Francisco Liriano goes to the mound for our guys and please excuse me for just hoping he doesn’t do anything to screw up his trade value. I’m not saying I necessarily “want” Terry Ryan to trade Frankie, but I’m convinced it’s probably going to happen. That being the case, you just don’t want to see anything happen that would make it tougher to get something of value in return. Of course, trade value aside, another good performance by Liriano also would improve the Twins’ chances of winning the game, and that would be nice, right?

Speaking of trade possibilities, it’s not too late to let us know who you think is most likely to find his way in to another uniform before the end of the summer. Just scroll down to the next post and cast your vote(s).

If you were hoping to see Jim Thome DH for the Orioles again tonight, you’re out of luck. He’s sitting out against the lefty, Liriano.

ORIOLES

@

TWINS
Markakis, RF Span, CF
Hardy, SS Revere, RF
Jones, Ad, CF Mauer, DH
Wieters, DH Willingham, LF
Reynolds, Ma, 1B Morneau, 1B
Pearce, LF Plouffe, 3B
Betemit, 3B Dozier, SS
Teagarden, C Butera, C
Tolleson, 2B Carroll, 2B
  _Hunter, T, P   _Liriano, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Baltimore 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 0
Minnesota 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 8 0

I really didn’t think that first inning home run that Frankie gave up would end up being enough to beat the Twins, but that’s exactly what happened. It’s not that our guys didn’t have opportunities to put more runs on the board because they certainly did. Just couldn’t get the run pushed across when those opportunities presented themselves. Still, Liriano had a good game and so did the bullpen. So it wasn’t a total disaster.

Who’s Going To Be Dealt First?

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan reportedly told a radio audience over the weekend that nobody is untouchable. Making that clear to every other GM (not to mention everyone in his own clubhouse) is the right thing. It’s not about WHETHER this guy or that guy can be had in a deal, it’s about HOW MUCH the trade partner is willing to offer.

Of course, some players have no-trade clauses in their contracts, such as Joe Mauer (full) and Justin Morneau (limited), but if you were playing for a team as bad as this one, wouldn’t you pretty seriously consider waiving that clause? Yeah… me too.

I suspect other players, such as Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit, would at least be consulted before being traded. It would not be good for Ryan and the Twins to get a reputation for immediately trading away players that they’ve signed as free agents to reasonable multi-year contracts. You know other teams would use that against you in offseason negotiations with players the Twins might be interested in bringing in (“You can sign with the Twins, but you know they tend to use you as trade bait as soon as their season goes south.”)

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement is going to play a bit of havoc with the trade market, too. Players like Francisco Liriano that are about to be free agents don’t bring a compensation draft pick to the Twins after the year unless the Twins make a “qualifying” offer (about $12.5 million). And if they make that offer and still lose the player, they only get one “sandwich” pick between the first two rounds. Then again, if they trade Liriano, the team getting him can’t even get that sandwich pick since a player has to be on a team’s roster the whole year for that team to get compensation.

Still, you have to believe the Twins are going to deal some players either before the end of the non-waiver period at the end of July or the waiver trade period in August. I still believe most of Twinsville will be disappointed in what Ryan gets in return for his players, but he’s going to make some trades anyway. But who?

With Matt Capps and Carl Pavano both laid up until after the non-waiver trade deadline, their chances of being traded are significantly reduced. That said, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see either or both change teams via the waiver wire in August.

Here’s my “top 5″ players I expect Ryan to be most likely to trade yet this summer:

  1. Francisco Liriano: Frankie’s value will probably not be any higher than it is right now. There are a lot of teams looking for starting pitching help, but there are a lot of better pitchers than Liriano on the market, too. He’s a free agent at the end of the year, so he’s just a rental arm, but I think he’s the most likely player to be traded of those currently on the Twins 40-man roster.
  2. Denard Span: Span would not be a rental player, as he’s still under a reasonable multi-year contract. SI.com recently published an article listing all of the best centerfielders in the Big Leagues right now and Span’s name wasn’t even mentioned. It’s true he isn’t currently considered “elite,” but he’d be an upgrade for a lot of teams and the Twins have current and future replacements in their system that make Span more expendable than any other position player that would be in similar demand.
  3. Danny Valencia: Remember him? Valencia was supposed to claim the Twins 3B job for a few years anyway. Then he stopped hitting. Then Trevor Plouffe started hitting. Then it became “Danny Who?” Valencia hasn’t exactly lit up AAA this summer, but there’s no room for him any more in Minnesota and I think the Twins will find a new home for him while he still has at least a little value.
  4. Alexi Casilla: There are bound to be teams that are looking for middle infield/utility infield help and I just suspect that Lexi is not part of the Twins’ plans for 2013, making him likely to be dealt this summer.
  5. Josh Willingham: I don’t expect Willingham to be traded, but I had to list someone “5th” on a Top 5 list. Maybe it would be a guy like Jared Burton, but I put Willingham here because there’s no doubt he’s going to be the first player that contenders ask about. Just the fact that there will be so much demand means his chances of getting dealt are higher than guys who most teams don’t care about at all.

In reality, I expect three of the top four players listed above to be gone by the end of August.

But what say you? Who do you most expect to see wearing a different uniform before the end of the summer? Let us know in the poll below (like I did, you can choose up to five players).

Which Twins player(s) do you think are most likely to be traded yet this summer? (choose up to 5)

  • Francisco Liriano (88%, 42 Votes)
  • Denard Span (69%, 33 Votes)
  • Danny Valencia (46%, 22 Votes)
  • Matt Capps (38%, 18 Votes)
  • Alexi Casilla (31%, 15 Votes)
  • Carl Pavano (29%, 14 Votes)
  • Justin Morneau (17%, 8 Votes)
  • Jamey Carroll (15%, 7 Votes)
  • Jared Burton (13%, 6 Votes)
  • Ben Revere (8%, 4 Votes)
  • Josh Willingham (4%, 2 Votes)
  • Ryan Doumit (4%, 2 Votes)
  • (other - add comment) (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 48

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GameChat – Orioles @ Twins #2, 7:10pm

So yeah, it’s hot again. The actual temperature isn’t as bad as yesterday but the humidity is still ridiculous.

It’s also just been announced that Matt Capps will be going to the DL with rotator cuff irritation. That can’t be good.. for anybody..

I have no idea if the Twins have any offense left in them after last night but I sure hope that it’s something they know how to do.

Baltimore

@

Minnesota
Markakis, RF Span, CF
Hardy, SS Revere, RF
Thome, DH Mauer, C
Jones, Ad, CF Willingham, LF
Wieters, C Morneau, 1B
Reynolds, Ma, 1B Plouffe, 3B
Davis, C, LF Doumit, DH
Betemit, 3B Dozier, SS
Flaherty, 2B Carroll, 2B
  Britton, Z, P   Deduno, P

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Baltimore 1 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 4 9 1
Minnesota 0 0 0 1 3 0 2 0 x 6 13 1

A bit more drama in tonight’s game than was involved Monday night, but it seemed to take just about as long to get the game played. Nevertheless, the Twins came away with another win, 6-4 this time.

The bullpen came up big in this game, with Jeff Gray. Tyler Robertson, Alex Burnett, Glen Perkins and Jared Burton combining to throw 4 and 2/3 innings of shutout baseball. Offensively, Denard Span, Jamey Carroll and Ryan Doumit all contributed two hits each with Doumit also racking up a pair of RBI.

But I’m awarding the BOD honors to Joe Mauer in recognition of his three hits, including one double and a RBI, not to mention a pretty nice diving catch of a foul ball in front of the dugout. – JC

Joe Mauer

GameChat – Orioles @ Twins, 7:10pm

“Help us Diamond Won Kinobi! You’re our only hope!”

Sadly, even Bert Blyleven agrees – he tweeted out earlier today: Twins need more innings out of their starting staff. Only Scott Diamond has given them the quality innings needed to save the bullpen.

Given the heat and humidity still existing in Minnesota, something tells me that the balls will be flying high & long if solid contact is made. So I’m REALLY hoping that Scotty is able to work a little newbie magic tonight.

It’s nice to see JJ Hardy though.. welcome back, just hope he doesn’t abuse the hospitality.

Baltimore

@

Minnesota
Markakis, RF Span, CF
Hardy, SS Revere, RF
Jones, Ad, CF Mauer, C
Wieters, C Willingham, LF
Reynolds, Ma, 1B Morneau, 1B
Pearce, LF Plouffe, 3B
Davis, C, DH Doumit, DH
Betemit, 3B Dozier, SS
Tolleson, 2B Carroll, 2B
  Tillman, P   Diamond, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Baltimore 0 1 1 0 3 0 0 0 2 7 13 1
Minnesota 7 1 2 1 0 3 0 5 x 19 20 0

I’m not sure where that offensive outburst came from but it was certainly more fun than being on the receiving end of a butt-kicking. How odd was this game? Well, the Twins knocked the O’s starting pitcher out of the game before the end of the first inning despite the fact that he had given up just one earned run. (The six unearned runs were another matter altogether, I suppose.)

There were plenty of offensive stars from which to select a BOD tonight. Justin Morneau went 4-5 with a pair of doubles and Joe Mauer homered to RF. But tonight’s co-BODs are Denard Span and Ben Revere. Not only did they combine to go 7 for 11 with three doubles and 8 RBI, but they flashed plenty of leg & leather in the outfield, as well!

Denard Span

Ben Revere

And We Have a WINNER!

We have a conclusion to our Harmon Killebrew biography contest!

Our poll asked for people to pick their favorite title for a hypothetical biography of Jim Thome.

The winner came from AW with his submission: Jim Thome: Giant Among Men, Giant-Hearted Man.

He received twice as many votes as any other submission so I think that settles the question quite handily and means he wins his own copy of Ultimate Slugger!

AW – to get your prize, contact ERolfPleiss to make arrangements for it to be sent to you! CONGRATULATIONS!

GameChat – A’s @ Twins #3, 1:10 pm

I’m not going to lie. I’m tired of the losing. More than that, I’m tired of the looking bad while losing. It’s like there are two groups of players… those that have given up and are going through the motions and those that are trying so hard (maybe to impress other teams that might trade for them and thus rescue them from this quagmire and take them in to some semblance of a pennant race?) that they end up tripping over themselves (sometimes quite literally). Oh yeah, there’s a third group… Josh Willingham. Is he a pro or what? I really hope Terry Ryan doesn’t trade him away.

On the positive side, 1500ESPN’s Tom Pelissero Tweeted that Twins President Dave St. Peter has noticed that the Twins pitching sucks. They say the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem.

ATHLETICS

@

TWINS
Weeks, 2B Revere, CF
Gomes, J, LF Mastroianni, RF
Reddick, CF Mauer, 1B
Cespedes, DH Willingham, LF
Carter, 1B Morneau, DH
Inge, 3B Plouffe, 3B
Norris, C Doumit, C
Smith, S, RF Dozier, SS
Hicks, SS Casilla, A, 2B
  _Parker, J, P   _Duensing, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Oakland 2 4 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 9 13 1
Minnesota 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 4 10 0

There’s just nothing encouraging to say about any of the baseball played this weekend by the Twins. No errors today, so I guess that’s a step in the right direction, but that’s not nearly enough to draw positives from. The Twins used SEVEN pitchers in this fiasco and only Tyler Robertson worked a clean inning. They say that at this point in the season, all players can do is play for pride. I sure hope that’s not the case, because if so, there are not many guys on this team showing any pride at all. – JC

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