the baseball this weekend has been pretty disappointing. honestly. Let’s see if the Twins can’t do something to entertain us today. I may miss the beginning but I might actually get to WATCH some baseball today! It would be great if it was worth it.
so I was wrong… doesn’t happen often but there you go. I didn’t get to watch any of the game. *sigh*
And of course they WON!
Looking at the box score though, I have to make only one determination for BOD – I see that Gibson pitched 8 innings. That’s pretty rare these days so I’m taking it. Let’s hope they all get back to doing that again.
I can’t even watch the game today so I really wish that last night’s had been more entertaining.. I didn’t even get to watch the end where they tried to come back. So here’s hoping that they actually give me something good to peek in on close to the end when I get a chance to come check the score!
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This week we spend time talking about the series of roster moves and player swaps that lead to Jorge Polanco being called up from High-A Fort Myers to the Big League club. We talk about Byron Buxton‘s rehab, Kendrys Morales finally hitting a home run for the Twins, and the Twins’ struggles on the road. We go Down on the pond and talk about Pat Kelly (Cody and Jay interviewed Pat but the audio did not come through clearly, so we have a write up on that interview coming soon) and what he’s been doing since he was drafted in the 12th round of the 2014 draft.
We talk beer, baseball, and we take some questions for the listeners.
let’s face it, if you’re checking here for a post game report, you didn’t make it to the end of the game either… Sadly, Pino did not have a great outing. I didn’t get to catch any of the game on TV and only caught brief segments on the radio. I actually got HOME before the game was over but was too exhausted and not enthused by the score to watch.
That being said, it appears that the bullpen actually came in and did a great job of halting the Angels offense but it appears that the Twins bats didn’t really ever get swinging to any benefit. Can’t win if you don’t score…
You’d think with games starting in West Coast time, that I’d actually be able to get something up on time.. yeah, turns out it’s just enough time to get completely occupied in another task and lose track – holy crap there’s baseball on!
June has not been kind to the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
As a team, they’ve lost a dozen games this month and won just six. The first half of the season mercifully drew to a close a week ago, but the Kernels started off their second half season by dropping three of four road games to the Midwest League’s Western Division champions, the Kane County Cougars.
Silver linings are a little difficult to come by for a team that most people expected to be led by their pitching when the season opened, only to find themselves with the 15th ranked team ERA (4.83) in the 16-team Midwest League.
There are a handful of bright spots as the Kernels begin the race for a postseason spot that would come with finishing as one of the top two teams in the MWL Western Division among the six teams that have not already qualified for postseason play.
The brightest of those bright spots might be catcher Mitch Garver. So far in June, Garver is batting .364, has an on-base percentage of .500 and an OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of 1.045.
According to TwinsDaily.com’s Seth Stohs, heading in to this week’s series in Peoria, Garver is among the Twins minor league organizational leaders in batting average (2nd), on-base percentage (1st), slugging percentage (3rd), OPS (2nd) and home runs (tied for 4th with teammate Bryan Haar).
Cedar Rapids native Chad Christensen has also shown he can handle Class A work. He is hitting .323 in June and has a .963 OPS. He’s had eight extra-base hits in the month, including four home runs.
Christensen’s .299 batting average ties him for fourth among all Twins minor leaguers.
But Garver and Christensen can’t win games by themselves. Most of the rest of the Kernels’ batting order have seen their hitting numbers drop considerably in June.
The Kernels could get some offensive help as some of the hitters that have been idled by injuries begin to return.
That process has begun already as outfielder J.D. Williams was activated from the Disabled List on Tuesday.
Zach Larson, Logan Wade and Jeremias Pineda remain on the club’s DL for now. Larson, in particular, could provide an offensive boost if he can get healthy and return to a level of productivity he demonstrated in April when he hit .307 for the Kernels.
Unless you’re a fan who worships gaudy strikeout numbers for pitchers, there has been nothing to complain about in starting pitcher Kohl Stewart’s performance thus far.
Stewart’s 2.44 ERA on the season would be good enough for fourth best in the league if he had enough innings to qualify (he’s one inning short, which should be more than met in his next scheduled start on Wednesday).
Stewart has continued to lead the rotation with a 1.13 ERA in three June starts, with batters putting up just a .236 batting average against him this month.
To find anything else resembling “bright” among the Cedar Rapids pitching corps, it’s necessary to turn to the bullpen, which has had its own share of ups and downs through the first half of the season.
Todd Van Steensel perhaps represents the best of the “ups” for the bullpen corps recently.
Van Steensel has put up a 1.67 ERA since joining the Kernels at the end of April. He has struck out 35 batters in 27 innings of work and opponents are hitting just .179 off the right hander.
Alex Muren has been among the team’s most consistent bullpen arms, assembling a 3.43 ERA on the year and a similar 3.48 ERA so far in June.
This month, hitters are batting just .171 against Muren. He’s thrown 10.1 innings in five June appearances. All four runs surrendered this month came in one forgettable appearance on June 15.
Brandon Bixler had two good months in April and May, but has been less consistent in June. He has a 3.13 ERA on the year and hitters have just a .201 batting average against him. He’s struck out 39 batters in 40.1 innings.
Jared Wilson’s year has been similar to Bixler’s. Since joining the Kernels in mid May, Wilson has put up a 2.49 ERA and a .197 BAA (batting average against), while striking out over one batter per inning pitched. He’s been somewhat inconsistent in June, with three outings where he was almost unhittable and three others where he gave up almost an earned run per inning.
The Kernels bullpen could be in for a boost, however.
On Tuesday, the Twins announced that they had signed Nick Burdi, their second round pick in the 2014 draft, and that Burdi will be joining Cedar Rapids on Friday.
Burdi, the closer for a University of Louisville squad that qualified for the College World Series, reportedly throws in the 96-98 mph range and is capable of regularly topping 100 mph with his fastball.
Expectations for the Kernels coming in to the season were modest, but a seventh place finish in the MWL Western Division first-half standings was a disappointment.
Garver and Christensen will need some of their teammates to step up their games and the Kernels rotation will need to start contributing more than three or four innings of solid pitching on a regular basis if the team expects to contend for a postseason berth in the second half of the year.
Can we do it? A four game sweep would be pretty amazing. Hopefully, we’ll have a window of dry long enough to get the game in but I think we should all cross our fingers.
I also think we have a chance for a good pitching start today with Hughes out there. It would be a real shame if we had three bad starts in a row – the bullpen would greatly appreciate a little bit less need or their abilities today.
No, really.. a 4 game sweep of the White Sox! (that hasn’t happened in literally 20 years) Actually, if you take it as simply four home games, the Twins haven’t had a four game home win-streak since 2007. But it’s just that much more special that it was a four-game sweep of a division rival – that we don’t like very much.
There were several really good performances in today’s game (not that I saw any of it) but surprisingly, none of them was from Phil Hughes. And he readily admits it. I feel bad for the bullpen that had been leaned on heavily for the last couple games and it turned out that they were leaned on again today. Swarzak came in and pitched two innings and Fien did a share but since Perkins has had the ninth the last two games in a row, Burton went out there today to get the Save and he got it well. I think the whole team was feeling the pressure though and some really awkward pitch rulings from the ump had Gardy out in force for a little Show Time – and the much more rare ejection.
Sam Fuld was there doing a little bit of everything and Willingham was holding his own but once again, it was Mauer who seemed to carry the team today. It’s really good to have you back and we’ll give you the BOD gain!