GameChat – Twins @ Royals #2, 1:10pm

So the boys are up against Bruce Chen again.. last time it seemed as though we had finally figured out how to hit an 84 mph fastball. I hope they remember what they did because it would be a LOT of fun to do it again.

Minnesota @ Kansas City
Dozier, 2B Aoki, RF
Mauer, 1B Infante, 2B
Plouffe, 3B Hosmer, 1B
Colabello, RF Perez, S, C
Kubel, LF Gordon, A, LF
Pinto, C Butler, B, DH
Suzuki, K, DH Moustakas, 3B
Hicks, CF Maxwell, CF
Florimon, SS Escobar, A, SS
  Correia, P   Chen, B, P
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 1 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 4 8 1
Kansas City 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 x 5 10 0

this was not a GREAT day for Correia but today was really not his fault.. This loss was all on the Twins defense… absolute crap.

GameChat – Blue Jays @ Twins #3, 6:10pm

Ok, here’s our makeup game from last night.. it’s a whole 8 degrees warmer than it was during last night’s game time but at least this time there is no active snow!

Toronto (and even maybe the Twins) is going to feel seriously gypped by this whole circumstance when Minnesota is enjoying weather in the 60′s this weekend after they had to suffer through this ridiculous homestand.

I sure hope that Pelfrey can pull together a good start. *crosses fingers* And Twins fans, let’s welcome Eduardo Nunez who is up just for this evenings game… I’ll be interested to see how he does!

Toronto

@

Minnesota
Cabrera, Me, LF Dozier, 2B
Rasmus, C, DH Mauer, DH
Bautista, RF Colabello, 1B
Encarnacion, 1B Kubel, LF
Navarro, D, C Pinto, C
Lawrie, 3B Herrmann, C, RF
Gose, CF Nunez, 3B
Goins, 2B Hicks, CF
Diaz, J, SS Escobar, E, SS
  McGowan, P   Pelfrey, P

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Toronto

2

0

0

0

3

0

0

0

0

5

8

0

Minnesota

1

0

0

0

2

0

0

6

x

9

8

2

Ok, that was a mildly odd and sometimes frustrating baseball game – typical Twins … until the 8th inning.

The 8th inning is not something that is easily described.. wow.. simply put, the Blue Jays whole bullpen fell apart: eg 6 runs on one hit, 8 BB’s, 3 consecutive scoring WP’s. Yeah, I can honestly say I have NEVER seen an inning like that. I’m going to give you the MLB Play by Play text for the bottom of the 8th just you can see how it all came down:

THE 8th  
AB# Play String Play Play by Play
73     Pitching Change: Steve Delabar replaces Brett Cecil.
73 ..BBCBCFB W Josmil Pinto walks.
74 .*BBCB*B W.1-2 Chris Herrmann walks. Josmil Pinto to 2nd.
75   Coaching visit to mound.  
75 .LLX 34/SAC/BG.2-3;1-2 Eduardo Nunez out on a sacrifice bunt, first baseman Edwin Encarnacion to second baseman Ryan Goins. Josmil Pinto to 3rd. Chris Herrmann to 2nd.
76     Offensive Substitution: Pinch-hitter Trevor Plouffe replaces Aaron Hicks.
76     Pitching Change: Sergio Santos replaces Steve Delabar.
76   Coaching visit to mound.  
76 …BBBC*B W Trevor Plouffe walks.
77     Offensive Substitution: Pinch-hitter Kurt Suzuki replaces Eduardo Escobar.
77 ..B. WP.3-H;2-3;1-2 With Kurt Suzuki batting, wild pitch by Sergio Santos, Josmil Pinto scores. Chris Herrmann to 3rd. Trevor Plouffe to 2nd.
77     Offensive Substitution: Pinch-runner Pedro Florimon replaces Trevor Plouffe.
77 ..B.B.CBB W+WP.3-H;2-3 Kurt Suzuki walks. Wild pitch by pitcher Sergio Santos. Chris Herrmann scores. Pedro Florimon to 3rd.
78     Offensive Substitution: Pinch-runner Darin Mastroianni replaces Kurt Suzuki.
78 ..>B. SB2 With Brian Dozier batting, Darin Mastroianni steals (1) 2nd base.
78 ..>B.S*B*BCB W+WP.3-H;2-3 Brian Dozier walks. Wild pitch by pitcher Sergio Santos. Pedro Florimon scores. Darin Mastroianni to 3rd.
79     Pitching Change: J. A. Happ replaces Sergio Santos.
79   Coaching visit to mound.  
79 ..B>B. SB2 With Joe Mauer batting, Brian Dozier steals (5) 2nd base.
79 ..B>B.BCB W Joe Mauer walks.
80 .BBC*BSB W.3-H;2-3;1-2 Chris Colabello walks. Darin Mastroianni scores. Brian Dozier to 3rd. Joe Mauer to 2nd.
81 .CE S9/L.3-H;2-H;1-3 Jason Kubel singles on a line drive to right fielder Jose Bautista. Brian Dozier scores. Joe Mauer scores. Chris Colabello to 3rd.
82 .SBBBB W.1-2 Josmil Pinto walks. Jason Kubel to 2nd.
83 .SSC K Chris Herrmann called out on strikes.
84 .FSBBX 53/G- Eduardo Nunez grounds out softly, third baseman Brett Lawrie to first baseman Edwin Encarnacion.

Seriously.. I don’t know quite what I would have done if I was that manager..

But given that we can’t exactly give the Blue Jays’ bullpen BOD, it was voted in the room to give it to the red hot Chris Colabello – again. Gotta say I’m liking him a LOT.

Chris Colabello

GameChat – Blue Jays @ Twins #2, 12:10pm

ok, they are actually going to play ball.. no clue how much snow they got at Target Field because the amounts were extremely variable.. I got nothing. I bet they got plenty.

I’m also fairly sure that the rest of the Knuckleballers here are as romantically fond of having a knuckleball pitcher in the game as I am – but especially we would like to welcome R.A. Dickey back to Minnesota! Sorry about the weather, man..

Toronto

@

Minnesota
Cabrera, Me, LF Dozier, 2B
Kawasaki, 2B Mauer, 1B
Bautista, CF Plouffe, 3B
Encarnacion, 1B Colabello, RF
Rasmus, C, DH Kubel, LF
Lawrie, 3B Pinto, DH
Sierra, RF Suzuki, K, C
Thole, C Hicks, CF
Goins, SS Florimon, SS
  Dickey, P   Gibson, P

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Toronto

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

2

Minnesota

0

0

0

0

5

2

0

0

x

7

10

2

Well that was actually an interesting game – odd, but interesting – to watch, at least on TV.. I don’t think I would have been dying to be in the stands at 32 degrees but a win is a win so for those who were there, I’m glad they got that benefit! RA Dickey didn’t get that benefit. He had the same cold and not nearly as much good feeling about it all. He was pretty pissed.

As for this afternoon’s BOD, wow, that is hard to come up with. The room was empty before I could remind people to vote so .. yeah, today’s decision is unilateral – but still hard. There was so much all-around effort from our boys and a good result that it’s hard to narrow down. But I keep going back to the one thing that I am looking for out of every game and never know if I’m going to get – good starting pitching. Today, we got excellent starting pitching against a team that KNOWS how to hit the ball.. so I grant BOD to Kyle Gibson.. again!

Kyle Gibson (Photo: Kevin Pataky/MiLB.com_

Kyle Gibson (Photo: Kevin Pataky/MiLB.com_

Episode 79: Brian Dozier is Robinson Cano and Other Lies

Happy birthday to our very own Jay Corn!  As a birthday present to Jay, Paul skipped the show!  Without him Eric is free to heap all of the praise in the world on Brian Dozier, and he does. You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here.

Dozier at bat

Jay Corn revisits his prediction that Josmil Pinto will hit 25 home runs (which is not looking so bad right now), and we wonder what might happen to Pinto’s playing time when Josh Willingham and/or Oswaldo Arcia return from the DL and Chris Herrmann goes back to AAA.  The jabbering continues with Logan Darnell, one of three AAA Left Handers in the Rochester starting rotation.  Lots of beer talk this week, and Eric is a little over excited about his “bready beer” and then the gang goes Around the League.

Enjoy the show!

You can follow Cody on Twitter (@NoDakTwinsFan) or read his writing at NoDakTwinsFan, you can find Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) and read his writing at PuckettsPond.com, and you can find Mr. Jay Corn on Twitter (@Jay__Corn)!

If you enjoy our podcast, please take a couple extra minutes and rate and review us on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are like syrup for our metaphorical banana walnut pancakes.

GameChat – Blue Jays @ Twins, 7:10pm

umm… yeah. It’s cold out there folks. It happens in this state in the Spring but none of us like it. At least Toronto is a “northern” team so they should be used to it right??

It will be interesting to see how the teams handle the game.. before the snow moves in for tomorrow. :(

Toronto

@

Minnesota
Cabrera, Me, LF Dozier, 2B
Kawasaki, 2B Mauer, 1B
Bautista, CF Plouffe, 3B
Lind, DH Colabello, RF
Encarnacion, 1B Kubel, LF
Navarro, D, C Pinto, DH
Sierra, RF Suzuki, K, C
Lawrie, 3B Hicks, CF
Goins, SS Florimon, SS
  Morrow, P   Hughes, P, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Toronto 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 4 9 14 1
Minnesota 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 7 1

I didn’t see or hear any of tonight’s Twins game, so I have no idea what happened beyond what I can see in the box score. But that’s enough to know it was ugly.

I do see Chris Colabello had three hits and Trevor Plouffe put up home run number 1 on the season, so I guess that’s something. Oh, and Phil Hughes had 7 strikeouts in his 5 innings of work and, from what some people seem to think, that’s a good thing. I personally think it’s not as good as it would have been without giving up the four runs, but what do I know? – JC

Eating Crow with the Minnesota Twins

crow eatAlmost a week ago, with the Twins in the middle of being swept by the Oakland Athletics, I wrote (over at BaseballTwins.com) that the Twins had no chance of being above .500 for the entire season, and then went so far as to loudly proclaim the same stance on the most recent Talk to Contact podcast.  After a weekend of hot baseball, from the offense and pitching staff, the Twins are now back to .500, at 6-6, and with an off day today to prep for a three game series at home with the Blue Jays, I find myself on the verge of eating crow.

How did this happen?

The Twins pitching turned in their three best performances of the year, the Twins’ bats woke up in a big way, and some timely defensive miscues allowed the Twins to steal a victory on Sunday.

On Friday night, Kyle Gibson put in another strong start, going 6.1 innings and giving up just one run.  Like his first start of the year, Gibson once again walked four batters, and recorded just three strike outs, so it wasn’t a perfect start, but he got the outs he needed and avoided any real damage (and the run he gave up in the first inning was directly related to Pedro Florimon booting a tailor-made double-play ball).

Not to be outdone, on Saturday afternoon, Ricky Nolasco pitched eight strong innings of one run ball, controlling the ball well, recording four strike outs and surrendering only a single walk.

While Nolasco and Gibson put up strong performances, the Twins hitters did their jobs too, scoring 17 runs in those first two games, with a balanced lineup that saw key hits from Dozier, Suzuki, Pinto, Mauer, Kubel, Colabello and Plouffe.  Everyone was hitting except Florimon and Mastroianni, who managed to be 0-8 (but did chip in two walks) while the rest of the team recorded a .346 on base percentage.

On Sunday, Kevin Correia worked seven scoreless innings, but let the first three batters of the inning reach base, and Brian Duensing came in with two one and one in already.  He couldn’t stop the bleeding and the Twins were down 3-2 going into the home half of the eighth.  IN the bottom of the inning the Twins loaded the bases and Chris Herrmann grounded to the pitcher Wade Davis who tried to start a home-to-first double play, but instead threw the ball away allowing two runs to score.

While the Twins might creep over .500 before this home stand ends, I still think that the Twins next four series after that, against the Royals, Rays, Tigers and Dodgers will put the Twins firmly below .500 without much chance of a return.

For now though, the Twins are interesting, and I look forward to eating crow.

GameChat – Royals @ Twins #3, 1:05

The Twins have a shot at an early season series sweep today against Kansas City.They’ve proven the last two games what their capable of if they get a bit of hitting AND some quality starting pitching in the same game.

Kyle Gibson and Ricky Nolasco both stepped up their games the past two games and today, it’s Kevin Correia’s turn to show what he’s capable of. The Royals send lefty Jason Vargas to the mound. Vargas is off to a hot start for KC, giving up just two earned runs in 15 innings over the course of his first two starts. Correia’s start has been somewhat less impressive.

FSN’s Tyler Mason pointed out that Twins sit at or near the top of three AL offensive stat categories two weeks in to the season. Brian Dozier is tied for the HR lead with four, Chris Colabello is tied for the RBI lead with 14 and Jason Kubel sits second in the AL in batting average with .405. Yeah, we all expected to see that, right?

Manager Ron Gardenhire is back with the club today.  How much you wanna bet that if the Twins trail early, we’ll see “send Gardy away again” tweets before the 7th inning stretch?

ROYALS

@

TWINS
Aoki, RF Dozier, 2B
Infante, 2B Mauer, 1B
Hosmer, 1B Plouffe, 3B
Butler, B, DH Colabello, RF
Gordon, A, LF Kubel, LF
Perez, S, C Pinto, DH
Moustakas, 3B Suzuki, K, C
Cain, L, CF Hicks, CF
Escobar, A, SS Florimon, SS
_Vargas, P   _Correia, P
A "Royal" blue sweep

A “Royal” blue sweep

It wasn’t the prettiest game, but what matters is that the Twins had more runs than the Royals when it was over. That means our guys are back up to .500 on the year AND it means a SWEEP of the Royals!

The Twins managed just five hits on the day and Joe Mauer was the only hitter with a pair of them. That might put him in contention for BOD honors, but we just can’t quite go there, given his strikeout in a clutch late-game situation.

Josmil Pinto’s two-run HR to open the scoring in the home half of the 7th certainly earns him consideration.

But, once again, if there’s one thing that stands out when you think about how the Twins managed to win all three games against the Landed Gentry of KC, it’s the starting pitching. Today it was Kevin Correia’s turn to step up his game. He was eventually tagged with all three Royals runs, but he put up seven innings of goose eggs before those runs came across in the 8th and let’s just say the Royals had a little help getting those runs across from a couple of Correia’s team mates.

We want to encourage this kind of work from our rotation and to that end, we are awarding our third straight BOD to the starting pitcher.

Kevin Correia (photo David Goldman/AP)

Kevin Correia (photo David Goldman/AP)

iouy

GameChat – Royals @ Twins #2, 1:10pm

Since today is so much cooler, I’m glad that it’s an afternoon game. AND I am glad we’re coming off a win. However, I always get nervous the game after a big hit parade…

Let’s see if a little public shaming will work on Ricky… Mr. Nolasco, you were chosen to be our #1 Starter so far. Has it escaped your notice that our #5 guy – basically an MLB rookie – is KICKING YOUR ASS in pitching ability so far this season? Let’s work on that shall we?

Kansas City

@

Minnesota
Aoki, RF Dozier, 2B
Infante, 2B Mauer, 1B
Hosmer, 1B Plouffe, 3B
Butler, B, DH Colabello, RF
Gordon, A, LF Kubel, LF
Perez, S, C Pinto, DH
Moustakas, 3B Suzuki, K, C
Cain, L, CF Hicks, CF
Escobar, A, SS Florimon, SS
  Shields, P   Nolasco, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 6 2
Minnesota 1 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 x 7 6 0

That’s two straight W’s for our guys!

Not a ton of hitting by either team, but the Twins made the most of what they got and took advantage of one bad inning of pitching and defense by the Royals.

It was a game that saw some Mauer Pauer as Joe launched a home run in to the right-center field seats.

But, in the end, whether or not it was Babs’ public shaming, Ricky Nolasco showed the stuff Twins fans hoped he would bring to Target Field, going eight strong innings for the win… and good for the BOD award, as well.

Ricky Nolasco (AP Photo)

Ricky Nolasco (AP Photo)

GameChat – Royals @ Twins, 7:10pm

The Twins first evening game of the year… kind of nice that it’s still 60 degrees out there this evening!

Let’s see if we can’t do better against the Royals than we did against the A’s – who are legitimately really good this year. Anyone know if the Royals have better pitching than we do?

Kansas City

@

Minnesota
Aoki, RF Dozier, 2B
Infante, 2B Mauer, 1B
Hosmer, 1B Plouffe, 3B
Butler, B, DH Colabello, RF
Gordon, A, LF Kubel, LF
Perez, S, C Pinto, DH
Moustakas, 3B Suzuki, K, C
Cain, L, CF Hicks, CF
Escobar, A, SS Florimon, SS
  Chen, B, P   Gibson, P

 

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

Ten runs! again. That’s three times already this year that the Twins have racked up double digit runs. They managed to do that a total of six times all of last season. Kind of fun seeing all those runs on the board, isn’t it?

Kurt Suzuki and Chris Colabello both had two hits and Trevor Plouffe had three. Josmil Pinto went yard and Jason Kubel had a triple (?!).

It would be one of those games where choosing a BOD from among all those bats would be a tough call. But Kyle Gibson shrugged off a dicey first inning and pitched in to the seventh for his second win and longest outing of his career. That’s the kind of thing we’d like to see more of out of this starting staff and it’s enough to earn tonight’s BOD!

Kyle Gibson (photo: MiLB.com)

Kyle Gibson (photo: MiLB.com)

(We really need to get us a picture of Gibson in his Twins uniform soon.)

- JC