GameChat – Red Sox @ Twins #2, 6:10

It’s time for the Twins to get back in the win column. I’m not sure how they’re going to do it, but getting Joe Mauer back in the line up would seem to be a good start. Having Scott Diamond on the mound can’t hurt, either.

Diamond and Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster went head to head in Boston and the Twins came out ahead 6-1.

I haven’t really followed Twins news today, but I do believe I saw where they activated Cole DeVries… and then optioned him.

I do note with interest that Justin Morneau is hitting ahead of Josh Willingham. Phil Miller of the Strib reports that the first time that’s happened this season.

I’m covering the Kernels tonight, so I won’t likely be in the chat much, if at all, but for those of you who are, I hope you enjoy the game and the company!

RED SOX

@

TWINS
Ellsbury,   CF Carroll,   2B
Gomes, J,   LF Mauer,   DH
Pedroia,   2B Morneau,   1B
Ortiz, D,   DH Willingham,   LF
Napoli,   1B Doumit,   C
Nava,   RF Arcia,   RF
Middlebrooks,   3B Plouffe,   3B
Lavarnway,   C Hicks,   CF
Ciriaco,   SS Florimon,   SS
 _Dempster,   P   _ Diamond,   P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston 3 0 1 0 3 0 4 0 1 12 13 0
Minnesota 0 1 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 5 12 0

The Twins only lost by one… if you keep score by number of hits instead of runs. And they didn’t commit any errors, so they’ve got that going for them.

Alas, what matters is runs and the Red Sox scored a lot of them while the Twins scored far fewer.

Tomorrow should be a better day, if for no other reason than it’s the day the Twins are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of the movie “Sandlot” and are going to be showing it on the video boards.

Minnesota Twins Podcast – Talk to Contact – Episode 38

Episode 38 of the Twins baseball podcast,  Talk To Contact (@TalkToContact), is now available for download via iTunes or by clicking here.

Dalton Hicks

Dalton Hicks

This week Cody and Eric dive into the poor pitching management of Ron Gardenhire, Joe Mauer‘s hit-streak amid a season filled with strike-outs, and then we discuss the possibility of seeing Kyle Gibson in a Twins uniform and the outside shot of a 6-man rotation in Minnesota.

We name our Twins hitters and pitchers of the week, and then go Down on the Pond and talk about Low-A Cedar Rapids Kernals first basemen Dalton Hicks.

We finish up the podcast talking about beers from Europe and making a trip Around the League (including a fabulous Korean bat flip).

Only an hour of fun this week, but we’ll be back next week with a special patriotic Talk to Contact in honor of Memorial Day.

You can follow Cody on Twitter (@NoDakTwinsFan) or read his writing at NoDakTwinsFan.  You can follow Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) or read his writing at  Puckett’s Pond.  And of course, you can find me on Twitter (@ERolfPleiss) and read my writing here at Knuckleballs!

– ERolfPleiss

Kernels Video: Harrison Walkoff Single Beats Cougars

For the second consecutive night, the Cedar Rapids Kernels won a game in dramatic fashion when third baseman Travis Harrison hit a walkoff single down the left field line in the bottom of the 12th inning to beat the Cubs affiliate in the Midwest League, the Kane County Cougars.

The video below captures Harrison’s apparent attempt to hit manager Jake Mauer with a foul ball just before driving in the winning run. Failing to do so, he settled for a single down the left field line to score Jorge Polanco with the game winning run. Polanco had walked to start the inning and advanced to second base via a sacrifice bunt by cleanup hitter Dalton Hicks.
 

GameChat – Red Sox @ Twins, 7:10pm

So the Red Sox are in town – and we greet them with soggy, grayness. Yay.

And we face Clay Buchholz with no Mauer (out tonight with a sore back) and with Parmelee in the 2-hole. THAT’s kind of interesting.. not sure what I think about that.

At any rate, let’s see what the boys can do since I’m pretty sure that they’ll get the game in..

Boston

@

Minnesota
Ellsbury, CF Dozier, 2B
Nava, RF Parmelee, RF
Pedroia, 2B Willingham, DH
Ortiz, D, DH Morneau, 1B
Middlebrooks, 3B Doumit, C
Drew, SS Arcia, LF
Gomes, J, LF Plouffe, 3B
Carp, 1B Hicks, CF
Saltalamacchia, C Florimon, SS
  Buchholz, P   Worley, P

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Boston 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 3 10 0
Minnesota 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 1

I was watching an extra-inning game tonight, but it didn’t involve the Twins (at least not the current Twins), so I couldn’t begin to comment on what happened. I did note from Twitter that Vance Worley seemed to have one of his better games on the mound since joining the Twins, but it wasn’t enough to get the win. For that, your bats typically need to accumulate more than four hits. – JC

Kernels Video: Buxton Walkoff Grand Slam

This is becoming almost commonplace.

Thursday night, Twins prospect Byron Buxton came to the plate with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, the bases loaded, and his Kernels team trailing the Burlington Bees 6-3.

Again, pardon the photography. I had to take this video from the second row of the Kernels pressbox, behind the Mediacom “MC22″ broadcasters who were televising the game. The bonus, I guess, is that you can hear their call of what happens next.

Please note, unlike when Travis Harrison launched a walkoff grand slam a couple of weeks ago, the Kernels bench did not chase Buxton around the basepaths, but waited for him to reach home plate before mobbing him. It’s nice to know that particular lesson has been learned!

After the game, Buxton got the traditional shaving cream to the face during a television interview.

You might expect that a superstar-in-the-making like Buxton would rush straight from the TV interview to the clubhouse to join his team mates in their celebration. But not Buxton. He signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans for several minutes before making his way up the tunnel to the clubhouse.

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton

Kernels Videos: Polanco, Hicks, Grimes

I spent Wednesday evening watching a doubleheader between the Cedar Rapids Kernels and the Burlington Bees (the Angels MWL affiliate). The two clubs split the two games with the Kernels winning the first game 6-5 and the Bees taking the nightcap 6-4.

In the first game, the Kernels came from behind and scored four runs in the third inning to take the lead. They fell behind again, but tied the game back up in the fifth inning with a Jorge Polanco triple, followed by a Dalton Hicks double. Here, if you will pardon the shaky video photography, are Polanco’s triple and Hicks’ RBI double.

Two of the newest members of the Kernels combined to contribute the ultimate game winning run as new catcher Michael Quesada beat out an infield single and pinch runner Jeremias Pineda stole second, advanced to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on a wild pitch. Josue Montanez, who just returned to the Cedar Rapids from Extended Spring Training, pitched the final two innings to earn the win for the Kernels.

In the second game, Kernels fans had very little to get excited about. However, Tyler Grimes did give fans an opportunity to cheer with this two-run home run, driving in Travis Harrison ahead of him.

The Bees and Kernels finish up their four-game series Thursday night and host the Kane County Cougars (the Cubs MWL affiliate) for four games Friday through Monday.

St. Paul Saints Opening Day!

Saints_baseball_hitter_cartoon

Exhibition time is over – REAL St. Paul Saints baseball is about to begin!!

While the Twins were suffering through cold weather, the Saints got to wait for REAL baseball weather and that means alternating sun & warmth and scattered thunderstorms. But that’s what we expect from a summer sport right?!  If you’re in the area and you’ve never been to a Saints game, you really should pop out to Midway and have a good time!

Click the image below to see what the Saints have on tap for this weekend – starting tomorrow:

Saints 2013 Opening-Week

It looks like it could be a great season!

GameChat – White Sox @ Twins #3, 12:10pm

Getaway Day! This  is the last day of the series of course and I would be GREAT if the Twins could manage a series win by taking this afternoon’s game. That makes it a pretty big deal of a game for Mike Pelfrey. He’s going to have to continue to improve rather than backslide – and to me that means: a) keeping the pace moving – if this game goes 4 hours, it better be because we played 3 extra innings (not that I want to); b) keeping hits and walks to a minimum – he doesn’t have to be perfect but both those items have come back to bite him on the rear already this season; and c) going deep into the game – we’re past the point in the season where 4-5 innings is acceptable from a starting pitcher, our bullpen needs the rest.

Who knows who will be around to chat during the middle of the work day – I’ll be watching the curiousity that the strike zone has become on gameday while the rest of you enjoy the radio or whatever.

Chi White Sox

@

Minnesota
Wise, CF Carroll, 2B
Ramirez, Al, SS Mauer, DH
Rios, RF Willingham, LF
Dunn, A, 1B Morneau, 1B
Konerko, DH Doumit, C
Gillaspie, 3B Arcia, RF
Viciedo, LF Hicks, CF
Keppinger, 2B Escobar, E, 3B
Gimenez, H, C Florimon, SS
  Axelrod, P   Pelfrey, P

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Chi White Sox

0

0

2

1

2

0

2

2

0

9

14

0

Minnesota

1

1

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

4

11

0

Ouch.

Ok, it wasn’t all bad. Mauer has extended his hitting streak to 14 games (I believe his personal record is 16) so that is cool. According to Dustin Morse, he also now has 7 games with at least 3 hits, currently tied for the most in baseball (Loney, Lowrie). That’s great too..  it just didn’t translate into enough RUNS to compensate for those given up by our pitching.

Really, I’m trying to temper my frustration because that is what I knew this season would be like but I still can’t help but say we need to expect more from Pelfrey than he is giving us. It’s just not enough. Sadly, the bullpen didn’t really do all that well for us today either – except for Perkins who came in after a several day break dealing with an oblique strain and looked pretty good.

But still.. the White Sox.. ouch.

GameChat – White Sox @ Twins #2, 7:10pm

Given my well-announced nerves for the games following nights of double-digit run explosions, I’m hopeful that Correia can keep the White Sox in line just in case we aren’t hitting as well as we were yesterday.

It’s HOT in Minnesota for the record – it hit 95 at the airport today tying a record high for this day set back in 1932 [correction: NEW record high of 98 at MSP & higher elsewhere] – and who knows if that hot weather will help the ball carry a bit more …

I laughed at a tweet from Chris Parmelee earlier today in which he claimed it’s finally baseball weather! Yeah, if you say so Parmesan. Glad I don’t have to wear all those layers and a cup and go stand in the sun of Target Field.

Chi White Sox

@

Minnesota
De Aza, LF Dozier, 2B
Ramirez, Al, SS Mauer, C
Rios, RF Willingham, LF
Dunn, A, 1B Morneau, 1B
Viciedo, DH Parmelee, RF
Gillaspie, 3B Plouffe, 3B
Keppinger, 2B Arcia, DH
Wise, CF Hicks, CF
Flowers, C Florimon, SS
  Peavy, P   Correia, P

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Chi White Sox

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

4

12

1

Minnesota

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

0

0

2

6

0

Every TIME!! I swear.. *sigh* I think there is something called a Run Hangover that means they aren’t in “performance ready” shape the night after they get a lot of runs. It just hasn’t been scientifically/statistically examined… yet.

The White Sox win one… Correia wasn’t on that roll that we would need to have to match up against Jake Peavy. We needed to have him keep the Sox batters as off balance as we expected ours to be.. that didn’t happen so much.

The good news is that at least Willingham got a timely, great hit – maybe he’s breaking HIS streak?