GameChat – 2014 All Star Game

Just in case you’re not AT the game or not on Twitter…

NL All-Stars @ AL All-Stars
McCutchen, CF Jeter, SS
Puig, RF Trout, LF
Tulowitzki, SS Cano, 2B
Goldschmidt, 1B Cabrera, M, 1B
Stanton, DH Bautista, RF
Ramirez, Ar, 3B Cruz, N, DH
Utley, 2B Jones, Ad, CF
Lucroy, C Donaldson, 3B
Gomez, C, LF Perez, S, C
  Wainwright, P   Hernandez, F, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NL All-Stars 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 8 1
AL All-Stars 3 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 x 5 7 0

It was actually a BEAUTIFUL night for baseball… for Minnesotans, there was a lot of love about this game. It really showed off Target Field to the rest of the nation in a fantastic way and our boys, both former and current, looked great and had a lot of fun.

And Jeter is officially done with Minnesota!

And Mike Trout is our All Star Game MVP – earned well enough. We would likely have given him the BOD but I think he is likely more impress with the Corvette… just saying.

Mike Trout just over four years ago

Mike Trout just over four years ago

GameChat – Are You Watching the Home Run Derby?

Since there is enough going on with the Derby tonight to include Twins and former Twins, figured I might as well put up a chat to see whoever ISN’T in Minneapolis a chance to socialize. Given that tonight’s weather is not exactly Minnesota Summer even though a lot of the out-of-state visitors probably think this is what the frozen north is always like in the summer. That being said, the ball is NOT going to carry tonight like it could otherwise.. low humidity and lower than normal summer temps mean that this is going to be a REAL challenge to get that ball out of the park – not to mention that the wind is blowing in (most of the time) so it’s going to have THAT added difficulty as well.

Here’s tonight’s bracket of competitors:

2014_mlb_hrd_bracket

It was lovely to have Dozier in the derby and to get such a great crowd response since he would never have gotten that loud a cheer in any other park so it made for a great time for him. And it was equally heart-warming to have Morneau back in Target Field. I’m sure the ovation he received was a great reminder of his time here and provided some alternative joy since both he and Dozier didn’t advance past the first round. He did get a “swing off” with Todd Frazier who ended up putting on a temporary show and got further than even he expected.

The benefit of being a Minnesota fan meant that I had other things that made last night interesting but especially after the rain delay, it was a bit of a snoozer of an event. For me, literally, since I fell asleep before it was finished. That being said, I will qualify that with the fact that I’m not a huge Derby fan to begin with so it doesn’t take much for me to lose interest if there isn’t a great baseball story being written. The wunderkind, Puig, came up with a big fat 0 which was a pretty big disappointment to a lot of people expecting a big show from him but even so, I think all should be glad that he shows pur season games.  The “last minute” assignment of Cano, the Elder, as his pitcher probably didn’t help all that much given that their batting practice time was cut so short by the rain.

Giancarlo Stanton put on a seriously impressive show hitting a couple that challenged even the distance Jim Thome put out while in Target Field. He hit one so far up into the the third deck that it really made me wonder what would have happened if the weather had been the much more regular hot and humid MN summer day.

But when it came down to the final, it was only YoYo who basically stood alone and captured the Derby title for the second year in a row.

 

GameChat – Twins @ Rockies #3, 3:10pm

Am I the only one wondering, “who the heck has time for baseball??”

For the record, I think that is officially the mark of “too busy” and I’ve well and truly passed it.

*sigh*

Minnesota @ Colorado
Dozier, 2B   Blackmon, CF
Suzuki, K, C   Gonzalez, C, RF
Morales, K, 1B   Tulowitzki, SS
Plouffe, 3B   Morneau, 1B
Parmelee, RF   Arenado, 3B
Willingham, LF   Dickerson, LF
Escobar, E, SS   Rosario, W, C
Fuld, CF   LeMahieu, 2B
Hughes, P, P   Anderson, B, P

GameChat – Twins @ Rockies,

Goodness there are a lot of familiar faces wearing the wrong colors tonight.. it’s going to be fun to see how this series goes!

Minnesota @ Colorado
Dozier, 2B Blackmon, LF
Suzuki, K, C Stubbs, CF
Morales, K, 1B Gonzalez, C, RF
Plouffe, 3B Tulowitzki, SS
Arcia, O, RF Morneau, 1B
Nunez, LF Arenado, 3B
Escobar, E, SS Rosario, W, C
Fuld, CF LeMahieu, 2B
Johnson, K, P De La Rosa, J, P
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 10 0
Colorado 2 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 x 6 11 0

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GameChat – Twins @ Mariners #4, 9:10pm

Tonight could be interesting for the Mariners – their pitching is going to have to pull a pretty heavy load tonight. Let’s see if our boys can do their job and get the hits we need to give the new kid some support. He did a great job the last time – let’s see if he can’t pull it off again!

Minnesota @ Seattle
Dozier, 2B Chavez, En, LF
Suzuki, K, C Jones, J, CF
Parmelee, 1B Cano, 2B
Morales, K, DH Seager, 3B
Willingham, LF Hart, DH
Arcia, O, RF Morrison, 1B
Plouffe, 3B Saunders, M, RF
Escobar, E, SS Zunino, C
Fuld, CF Bloomquist, SS
  Pino, P   Wilhelmsen, P
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 4 9 0
Seattle 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 12 1

No, I didn’t make it the end of the game. I’m getting old; I am a wuss; I get up too early; whatever excuse works for you, the fact is that I decided sleep was more important than this game.

However, we WON and I think I saw all the important stuff because not much changed after the 7th inning. Pino continues to do a good job if not eye-broadeningly spectacular (pretty sure I just made up that term). Could the team use that spark if he was? yes. Do I need it to have confidence in his ability? no. I like that he is continuing to build on previous experience and do well when he’s out there. He’ll go deeper into games as he becomes more efficient with his pitches in each at bat. But he’s doing well in my book.

Last night’s win seems to fall on the shoulders of Kendrys Morales who is stepping up his game the way we had hoped he would be able to! It’s still in the early stages of the performance ability he likely expects of himself in this return to baseball but that boy can sure hit the ball and I hope to see a LOT more like it. For that, he is the BOD!

Photo Courtesy of: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Courtesy of: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

GameChat – Twins @ Mariners #3, 9:10pm

I think I like the idea of a win streak.. but yeah, gotta admit that staying up late for the end of these games when my mornings are earlier than ever? yeah, that’s rough. But I like seeing a winning boxscore regardless. Make it happen boys!

Minnesota @ Seattle
Dozier, 2B Chavez, En, LF
Nunez, SS Jones, J, CF
Plouffe, 3B Cano, 2B
Morales, K, DH Seager, 3B
Willingham, LF Morrison, 1B
Arcia, O, RF Hart, DH
Suzuki, K, C Saunders, M, RF
Colabello, 1B Zunino, C
Fuld, CF Miller, B, SS
  Gibson, P   Elias, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 1 4 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 8 9 0
Seattle 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 12 1

Nice win for our guys. Jumped on the M’s right from the beginning and didn’t let up.

Good to see Morales do some damage in front of a crowd that apparently isn’t shy about booing the former Mariner.

Kyle Gibson perhaps wasn’t as dominant as it may have appeared, but you can’t do a lot better than not allowing opponents to score. For that, he’s our BOD.

Photo Credit: Betsy Bissen

Photo Credit: Betsy Bissen

Episode 91: The All-Star Game and ERolf’s Solo Podcast

You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here, and if you want to add the show to your non-iTunes podcast player, this is the RSS Feed.
doz bomb
For the first time ever we only had one Talk to Contact co-host available for a podcast.  Stepping out into unfamiliar territory, Eric managed to build a 40 minute podcast that wasn’t terrible.  He talked about Twins news from the past week, including Brian Dozier hilariously being added to the Home Run Derby, and talked a lot about what is going on with the pitching staff down in AAA Rochester.
He did the regular beer, news and internet segments, but as a thank you for listening to him babble for 40 minutes, he recorded a special audio production of Patrick Dubuque’s Waiting ’til Next Year for Godot.

I hope you enjoy this special episode.You can follow Cody on Twitter (@NoDakTwinsFan) or read his writing at NoDakTwinsFan, you can find Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) you can find Eric on Twitter (@ERolfPleiss) and read his writing at Knuckleballs, 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 our show on iTunes.  iTunes ratings and reviews is how to government funds unemployment.

Hu’s on first? No, he’s pitching (for the Kernels)

The merry-go-round that is a minor league team’s roster continued to spin over the weekend in Cedar Rapids as the Kernels saw two pitchers promoted to high-A Fort Myers, one infielder put on the 7-Day Disabled list and two new pitchers arrive from Elizabethton.

The new pitchers, right handed starting pitcher Chih-Wei Hu and righty bullpen arm Jake Reed, were in uniform for Tuesday night’s series opener with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, won by the Kernels, 15-5.

The two will replace starter Ethan Mildren and co-closer Todd Van Steensel on the Kernels’ pitching staff.

Kernels pitching coach Ivan Arteaga and pitcher Ethan Mildren

Kernels pitching coach Ivan Arteaga and pitcher Ethan Mildren

Mildren has been dominant through his most recent pair of starts, throwing seven shutout innings against Clinton on June 29 and duplicating that feat on Independence Day against Beloit. He allowed just seven hits and three walks over that 14-inning stretch.

Van Steensel had not been charged with allowing a run, earned or otherwise, in his last seven appearances for Cedar Rapids. Overall, he put up a 1.30 ERA covering 34.2 innings of work in 23 appearances in a Kernels uniform.

If early impressions mean anything, Reed will be a capable replacement for Van Steensel in the Kernels bullpen.

The 21-year old righty, drafted in the 5th round out of the University of Oregon last month, threw nothing but shutout innings for the E-Twins in his first six innings of work this season. He struck out eight batters and held opponents to a .053 batting average.against him.

That scoreless streak, however, came to an end in Reed’s first appearance in a Cedar Rapids uniform on Tuesday night. Reed gave up one unearned run in an inning of work on Tuesday night when the first batter he faced reached on a two-base error and came around to score on a subsequent single.

Reed recorded his first strikeout as a Kernel to finish the eighth inning.

The man with the biggest shoes to fill with the Kernels, perhaps, will be Hu.

Cedar Rapids has struggled to find consistency from their rotation and Mildren was just beginning to provide much needed leadership in that area.

Hu will get Mildren’s spot in the rotation and should get his first start for the Kernels on Thursday against the Rattlers, in front of the home crowd.

Like Reed, Hu was off to a strong start for Elizabethton.

The Taichung, Taiwan, native had time to make just three starts for the E-Twins before being promoted. He was 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA. He threw six shutout innings of two-hit baseball in his last start, striking out nine batters in the process.

After watching Hu throw a bullpen session on Tuesday, Kernels pitching coach Ivan Arteaga pronounced the 20-year old Hu, “ready to go.”

“His fastball moves a lot and his slider’s got good rotation,” Arteaga added. “He really competes, according to the reports we got.”

The Kernels played Tuesday a man short on their roster as shortstop Engelb Vielma has been placed on the 7-day DL with concussion symptoms and no corresponding roster move was immediately announced.

Manager Jake Mauer indicated to media after the game that infielder Logan Wade would be re-activated from the DL on Wednesday to replace Vielma. – JC

GameChat – Twins @ Mariners #2, 9:10pm

ah, West Coast baseball… the bane of the working mid-westerner’s existence. Oh well. I guess there is still something to look forward to…

birthday cake

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JIM CRIKKET!!

Maybe the Twins can figure out how to win a game for you since they seem to be lacking in other motivation.

Congrats to Brian Dozier on getting into the Homerun Derby… I’m sure I’m not the only one giggling but I’m sure he’ll have a fantastic time regardless and have a whole heck of lot less pressure on him due to lower expectations. Have FUN Bull Dozer!

Minnesota @ Seattle
Dozier, 2B Saunders, M, RF
Nunez, 3B Jones, J, CF
Suzuki, K, C Cano, 2B
Morales, K, DH Seager, 3B
Willingham, LF Morrison, 1B
Arcia, O, RF Hart, DH
Colabello, 1B Ackley, LF
Escobar, E, SS Zunino, C
Fuld, CF Miller, B, SS
  Hughes, P, P   Young, Cr, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 2 8 0
Seattle 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 0

Well the Twins did, indeed, come through with one heck of a performance for my birthday!

Sam Fuld was 3 for 3, including his first home run in a Twins uniform, and Casey Fien & Glen Perkins combined for 1.2 innings of shutout relief work.

But 7.1 innings of 8-hit, 8-K work from a starting pitcher is something to really celebrate and that earns Phil Hughes our BOD award.

Hopefully, our guys won’t wait all the way until my next birthday before doing this kind of thing again. – JC

Phil Hughes

Phil Hughes