GameChat – Seattle @ Minnesota, 7:10pm

Once again we’re playing hide and seek with the thunderstorms here in Minnesota – so that should make Seattle feel right at home, right?

It’s VERY dark and clamorous at my house right now but it’s supposed to be on the move and I think we should be clear once the game is ready to go. (I’m doubly hopeful about this since the hubby rode the motorcycle to work today and he’ll be heading home right about first pitch…)

Since we have a nice little win streak going, I think it would be cool to keep that moving don’t you think? Let’s see if Pelfrey can maintain the quicker pace and deeper into the game progress that we really need to see from him.

Seattle

@

Minnesota
Chavez, En, RF Carroll, 3B
Bay, LF Dozier, 2B
Seager, 3B Mauer, C
Morales, K, 1B Willingham, LF
Ibanez, DH Morneau, 1B
Saunders, M, CF Doumit, DH
Franklin, 2B Parmelee, RF
Sucre, C Hicks, CF
Ryan, SS Florimon, SS
  Iwakuma, P   Pelfrey, P

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Seattle

0

0

0

0

0

3

0

0

0

3

8

0

Minnesota

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

7

1

So I actually missed the very end of the game but it doesn’t look as though I missed much…

I have to give props to Florimon and Parmelee because they seemed like the only ones actually trying to get anything going and Pelfrey actually didn’t do a HORRIBLE job so it is just sad that the offense couldn’t do more to support him.

Playing Ball Can Be Uplifting!

Ok, so that’s a little play on words that I couldn’t resist..  I saw this video on Facebook a couple days ago and I really liked the sentimentality of it all.

I thought you guys would enjoy a good moment as well.

GameChat – Brewers @ Twins #2, 7:10pm

Ok, we’re doing well against the Brewers and I would really like that to continue. Again, we’re playing a bit of poker game against the Rain and the atmosphere is the house. It could get dicey tonight but since this is our last meetup with Milwaukee, they’ll do whatever they can to get the game played.

Roster note, Plouffe is BACK on the DL. This time it’s for the calf, it’s not retroactive to his previous injury because it’s a new issue and Colabello is coming back up (btw, I have no clue if I’m spelling that right. I’ll have to look it up.)

Let’s hope that we can go deep with the starting pitching again tonight – both hoping that PJ can pitch a good amount of innings AND that we take Kyle Lohse YARD!

I wonder who will show tonight…. Kyle or Lyle?? Welcome back to MN Mr. Lohse.

Milwaukee

@

innesota
Gomez, C, CF Carroll, 3B
Segura, SS Dozier, 2B
Braun, LF Mauer, DH
Ramirez, Ar, DH Willingham, LF
Lucroy, C Morneau, 1B
Betancourt, Y, 1B Doumit, C
Schafer, L, RF Parmelee, RF
Weeks, R, 2B Hicks, CF
Bianchi, 3B Florimon, SS
  Lohse, P   Walters, P, P

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Milwaukee

0

0

0

0

0

3

1

2

0

6

12

0

Minnesota

0

0

1

4

1

1

1

0

x

8

12

0

 

two brooms for a two sweep series!

two brooms for a two sweep series!

Wow… just.. wow. Technically this is actually a sweep of two separate series of the same team but since it’s only 4 games, I think we’ve all been thinking of it as a single series. Am I right?

Tonight was the perfect capstone. I have to tell you, the BOD discussion was getting mighty creative as we attempted to dissect the performances of the various players that just ROCKED tonight.. and it was a close battle! There were 4 Homeruns! 4 players went 2/4 and 3 of those four had 2 RBI…  It came down to fielding and base-running between those guys that edged it out for one.

And congratulations to PJ Walters for a great outing and to Jared Burton for keeping us from getting ulcers. It was definitely good to have all that run cushion though because the Brewers didn’t give up. Special thanks to Lyle Kohse for that great start.. *snort*

root beer floatBecause it feels really good to finally have a win streak going and to have it be such an impressive use of the bat tonight, we are gifting the entire team with yet another beer bash variation – they ALL get rootbeer floats! (some of those kids are awfully young yet). Not to mention that it’s still plenty warm and humid in Minnesota – it’s about time – so they can cool off and enjoy some relaxation as a team. Good job boys – let’s do it some more ok? Remember how good this feels when we face Seattle tomorrow?

But in all that discussion of BOD, one did win out on the votes by sheer dedication and consistent effort both in the field AND with the bat. Tonight, it’s all Parmesan!

Chris Parmelee (photo: J Megenhardt/MLB.com)

Chris Parmelee (photo: J Megenhardt/MLB.com)

GameChat – Brewers @ Twins, 7:10pm

and the Beer Bash continues… we hope. There’s a threat of some pretty severe storms moving in so let’s hope we can get the baseball in. The boys already had to give up batting practice due to earlier rain today so let’s hope that works out as well as it did the last time rain cancelled BP – they hit the stuffing out of the ball!

In further roster shake-up, Colabello has already gone back down to Rochester as Plouffe came off the 7-day DL today. We have a new lead-off hitter to try out tonight as they put Escobar in the 1-hole. We also have Herrmann making his first appearance this season catching so that Mauer can get a little break by DHing. And just for the record, I would love to see Deduno improve over his last outing. I think we won’t get a lot of leeway and it’s imperative that he go as deep into the game as the game can go given the extra innings last night – although if rain interferes, there is little we can do to manage that other than hope someone in the bullpen has something left…

Milwaukee

@

Minnesota
Aoki, RF Escobar, E, 3B
Segura, SS Dozier, 2B
Braun, LF Mauer, DH
Ramirez, Ar, DH Willingham, LF
Gomez, C, CF Doumit, RF
Lucroy, C Parmelee, 1B
Betancourt, Y, 1B Herrmann, C, C
Weeks, R, 2B Hicks, CF
Bianchi, 3B Florimon, SS
  Estrada, P   Deduno, P

[edit] already had to post a new lineup – VERY late substitution has taken Plouffe out the game and not for the reason you’re thinking. He’s apparently dealing with tightness in his calf which kind of sucks since we already sent Colabello back down and we’re going to be light on the bench tonight…

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Milwaukee

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

5

1

Minnesota

3

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

x

4

8

0

Hot DAMN!!! And the timing was perfect because I’m listening to thunder as I type this!

beer-cakesNow THAT was some great baseball!! SO many great things happened tonight and so many people did some awesome stuff that I decided we had to combine the beer prize with our traditional baked-goods prizes and start passing out Beer Cakes to the sundry excellent performers!

Everyone except Florimon got a hit tonight, Doumit had 2 RBI and Hicks had a beautiful Homerun that sailed just out of reach of the chasing GoGo. And there was some spectacular defensive plays out there tonight and you know I’m a sucker for the glove work. Aaron Hicks and Chris Parmelee both made RIDICULOUS catches that I can guarantee will make the high light reels and Dozier had some SOLID work in the middle infield including a VERY timely and necessary double play. They ALL get to pick a Beer Cake and enjoy.

But more than anything it was great to watch a WIN and our heartiest congratulations to Samuel Deduno for his first W this season! Yeah, he hit 3 batters.. (oops) but that just solidifies his title of “effectively wild”. And more importantly, going into the 8th inning after last night’s 5+ hour affair is EXACTLY what this team needed tonight. It was a BRILLIANT outing that earned him tonight’s BOD! Good job!

Sam Deduno (Photo: Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Sam Deduno (Photo: Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Mason Melotakis Serves as Kernels Stopper

Through May 21, the Cedar Rapids Kernels had built up an impressive 30-13 record and held a five game lead over their closest competition in the Western Division of the Midwest League.

They then left town for a quick three-game road trip to Beloit after taking three out of four games from Kane County. They had no clue at that time that they not only would get swept by the second place Snappers on that trip, but would also return home and drop all three games of a series against the last place Burlington Bees.

But that’s exactly what happened to the Kernels as almost every part of their game seemed to fall apart at the same time over the past week.

The defense not only started committing more errors than usual, but those errors seemed to come at precisely the worst possible time.

The timely hitting that had almost become a trademark of the team through the first six weeks of the season disappeared as they hit safely just 13 times in 54 opportunities with runners in scoring position during their losing streak and scored just three runs in four of the six games.

Perhaps most concerning, the Kernels’ starting pitching rotation averaged less than five innings of work per game over the six losses. The rotation arms gave up a whopping 45 hits and 33 runs (28 of them earned) in 29 2/3 innings during that stretch of games.

Kernels pitching coach Gary Lucas was asked what had gone wrong with the team’s starting pitching.

“I don’t know. These teams that begin with the letter B, Beloit and Burlington, took it to us,” conceded Lucas, after Tuesday night’s 9-4 win over Clinton.

“I can’t explain it. It’s been a little bit of everything here. It’s a bump in the road that all teams have, good and bad. Burlington’s turning some things around, Beloit’s turning some things around. We’ve got to overcome a losing streak and get back to our winning ways and hopefully this starts that process.”

Tuesday’s starting pitcher, Mason Melotakis, gave his team seven strong innings of work. That’s the first game a Kernels starting pitcher has worked seven innings since Tyler Duffey went 7 2/3 innings in a May 18 extra-inning win over Kane County.

Mason Melotakis

Mason Melotakis

Melotakis and Duffey are two of the Twins organization’s “conversion projects” this summer. Both were relief pitchers in college, but the Twins want to see if they are capable of playing a starting pitching role in the professional ranks.

To be successful, both pitchers will need to refine their secondary pitches – their breaking balls and change ups – rather than just rely on their ability to throw fastballs in excess of 90 miles per hour.

Melotakis feels the key for him is not letting hitters dig in against him. “I like to work in and out and make the hitters uncomfortable. I try to keep them uncomfortable and off balance in the box.”

Lucas feels that Melotakis is making progress in that area. “He is always going to attack with his fastball and he’s learning how to use it on both sides of the plate. The change up and the breaking ball are still a work in progress.”

“I think the fact that he’s using them over longer stretches, being a starter now and not a reliever, he’s got to do different things with those pitches,” Lucas added.

“He probably didn’t use a change up much as a reliever. In fact, I know when he was with us last year he didn’t. I think just staying on top of these kids and just developing touch/feel with their pitches. It’s a little inconsistent right now, but hopefully with innings, it’ll come. He (Melotakis) shows flashes of really being a consistent competitor with that fastball on both sides of the plate.”

In addition to developing other pitches, Duffey and Melotakis will also have to throw a lot more innings over the course of a season than they have in the past.

The Kernels are utilizing a six-man rotation that they hope will allow their starting pitchers to get through an entire season of rotation work without putting excessive wear and tear on their arms. It’s also hoped that doing so will make the conversion process easier for pitchers like Duffey and Melotakis.

But with the Kernels starting pitching struggling of late, could it be that some of these pitchers are tiring a bit as the team nears the half-way point of their season?

“It’s a good point. We should watch that to see at some point how they react and how their strength and how their stamina and their endurance (hold up).” Lucas said.

But Lucas isn’t ready to buy in to the theory already.

“Both Melotakis and Duffey, the key guys that used to be relievers and now are starters, they’ve got durability on their side. They’re strong. They’re hard workers. So I think they’ll be fine over the long haul. And they’re on a six man rotation so they usually get an extra day. We’re hoping that pays dividends as we move along.”

The Kernels added Hein Robb, a lefty from South Africa who just turned 21 on May 12, to their rotation this week. Robb replaced Matt Tomshaw, who was promoted to the Fort Myers Miracle.

Lucas indicated Robb would be inserted in to the rotation after Duffey, who is scheduled to pitch for the Kernels Wednesday night. That would mean Robb should make his Midwest League debut against Clinton on Thursday in Cedar Rapids.

GameChat – Twins @ Brewers #2, 7:10pm

It really does feel like we play a LOT more inter-league play with this schedule but I think it’s just one of those thing that is more because of timing than actual game count.. maybe. I lose track.

So Mauer is back in the 3-hole – IMHO, FINALLY! – and it seems to be one of those things that has the twitter fandom in an uproar. I guess that everyone has their opinion but your best hitter on the team REALLY shouldn’t be your 2-hole guy. I know there is a lot of disagreement on that point.. y’all are just wrong. ;)

Let’s hope Scotty can put the Brewers away tonight and go deep into the game. I would like to start having a reason to send that 13th pitcher back down…

Minnesota

@

Milwaukee
Carroll, 3B Aoki, RF
Dozier, 2B Segura, SS
Mauer, C Braun, LF
Willingham, LF Ramirez, Ar, 3B
Morneau, 1B Gomez, C, CF
Doumit, RF Lucroy, C
Hicks, CF Weeks, R, 2B
Florimon, SS Betancourt, Y, 1B
Diamond, P Fiers, P

 

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

R

H

E

Minnesota

0

2

0

2

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

6

8

0

Milwaukee

0

0

0

3

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

5

13

1

yeah, I don’t know about you but I didn’t make it until the end…

I gave up when Perkins lost the save. I had this horrible feeling it was going to take awhile to fix. It did.. Thank GOD for Aaron Hicks finally getting something out there. Since there was only one person left in the chat by that point – she gets the sole BOD vote and she said Hicks. I can’t even argue that point! So there it is, congrats Mr. Hicks!

AaronHicks

GameChat – Twins @ Brewers

A bit late getting the GameChat up today. Sorry about that.

Looks like the Twins got on the board first and that’s a refreshing change!

TWINS

@

BREWERS
Carroll, 2B Aoki, RF
Dozier, 2B Segura, SS
Mauer, C Gomez, C, CF
Willingham, LF Betancourt, Y, 3B
Morneau, 1B Bianchi, 2B
Doumit, RF Gonzalez, Al, 1B
Hicks, CF Schafer, L, LF
Escobar, E, 3B Maldonado, C
Correia, P Peralta, W, P

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Minnesota

1

0

0

1

2

0

1

1

0

6

9

0

Milwaukee

0

0

0

1

0

2

0

0

0

3

8

1

Woohoooo!!

You know what? Winning baseball games is FUN! I hope the boys remember that. Today was a good day – Correia gave it up a couple times but he showed signs of returning to the workhorse guy we had in April.  It really was a relief to have a starter at least go 6 innings again! Just for not sucking, I decided to grant Correia a beer on the house. It is Miller Park after all.

I’m granting a beer to Ryan Doumit for actually knocking in the winning RBI, Parmelee for the Homerun and an RBI and to Pedro Florimon for going 2 for 4. (Can you tell that I’m trying to encourage them to keep this kind of activity up?)

ALSO getting a beer on the house is the umpiring Crew Chief – for overruling that idiot Angel Hernandez on yet another absolutely ridiculous bad call. Thank heaven that someone can see even if it took a video review.

But after a bit of discussion which I think we only did for the fun of it, today’s BOD went to Joe Mauer – again – for getting 3 Runs (our entire lead) and in general being awesome at the plate with a Homerun and 2 Walks. Keep it up, Big Man. – CB

casilla mauer hug

Happy Memorial Day!

We’ll come back to baseball later today, of course, but I want to encourage all of our readers to take a moment’s pause today. For all those who have served in our nation’s military, we thank you.  For all those families who have sacrificed, we thank you.

But in the true recognition of Memorial Day and it’s history, we remember those who fell in the service of this country and we honor their memory. This is not Veterans Day -although I esteem them highly and am very glad to have them with us. This is Memorial Day – the time to remember those who never came home paying a cost none of us have ever paid.

There is no way to pay the debt owed for the privileges I enjoy.  I can only recognize the depth of loss.

We encourage all our readers to enjoy their Memorial Day in whatever manner they choose but to take a moment during the day to remember those we’ve lost. We use this quote a lot but considering Memorial Day was born out of the Civil War, it seems appropriate.

… The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion … 

Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address

GameChat – Twins @ Tigers #4, 12:05pm

Ok, so we finally broke the losing streak. I would really LOVE to split the series with Detroit and try to keep from losing any more ground in the division… I’m the eternal optimist.

Until I see Pelfrey vs Scherzer…

dear lord…

Minnesota

@

Detroit
Carroll, 2B Dirks, LF
Mauer, DH Hunter, To, RF
Willingham, LF Cabrera, M, 3B
Morneau, 1B Fielder, DH
Doumit, C Martinez, V, 1B
Parmelee, RF Avila, C
Escobar, E, 3B Infante, 2B
Hicks, CF Kelly, D, CF
Florimon, SS Santiago, R, SS
  Pelfrey, P   Scherzer, P

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Minnesota

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

3

0

Detroit

1

0

0

1

0

4

0

0

x

6

6

1

*sigh* …