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

GameChat – A’s @ Twins #3, 12:10pm

Another sunny day in the 50′s – great spring baseball weather. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could see some great spring baseball? I’d go for that.

Let’s see what Pelfrey can do for us.

Oh, in honor of a visit from Little Nicky Punto, I thought I would share this link from Deadspin showing a fantastic play from SS Andrelton Simmons.

Oakland

@

Minnesota
Fuld, CF Mastroianni, RF
Lowrie, SS Dozier, 2B
Donaldson, 3B Mauer, 1B
Moss, RF Colabello, DH
Cespedes, LF Kubel, LF
Callaspo, DH Plouffe, 3B
Norris, D, C Pinto, C
Barton, 1B Hicks, CF
Punto, 2B Escobar, E, SS
  Straily, P   Pelfrey, P

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Oakland

0

1

2

2

0

1

0

0

0

6

13

0

Minnesota

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

3

0

Some people will say that the story of this series is that the A’s hitting just beats ours… That may be true but to be honest, we matched them HR for HR – they just got theirs with people on base and we didn’t, and many of their HR RBI were WALKS.

The REAL story of this series is that their starting pitching rocked and ours sucked. I would like to see that change (I’m sure that Gardy would also like that) but it’s pretty much been the ongoing Twins’ issue. You have to have good pitching to get wins.

Episode 78: The Phantom DL and Gardy’s 1000th Win

For the first time in a long time we have a full week of Twins baseball to talk about on the podcast. We talk about Ron Gardenhire‘s 1000th managerial win, a couple of disabled list moves that brought both Chris Herrmann and Darin Mastroianni back to the Twins, and pontificate on what early season attendance numbers mean for the club going forward. You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here.

Don't drink my beer!

Don’t drink my beer!

We’re running a promotional giveaway. Make sure to listen to the end for the details and your chance to win a 1991 World Series box set (#TwinsNickname).

We are joined by Jeremy Nygaard (@jeremynygaard) of Twins Daily’s Hang out and Talk Twins video/podcast (@TwinsHangouts) to discuss the roster moves, the Twins payroll in 2014 and what it means for the future of the franchise and if bringing in Stephen Drew is still a valid discussion point.
You’ll also hear the weekly standby’s hitter/pitcher of the week, and around the league. We had to put the Down on the Pond segment on hold this week, but next week we’ll be taking a closer look at Twins AAA pitcher, Logan Darnell.

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 t.p. for our bung holes.

GameChat – A’s @ Twins #2, 12:10pm

STUNNINGLY beautiful day outside.. can’t wait for the continuing increase in temperatures.

There is quite a breeze though so it could be interesting to see how that effects play at Target Field. I’m pretty sure those who were able to take the time to be there won’t care about the wind though.. It’s just TIME for it to be spring in this state and every resident is going to use whatever opportunity to suck up the sunshine.

Oakland

@

Minnesota
Fuld, CF Dozier, 2B
Lowrie, SS Mauer, 1B
Donaldson, 3B Plouffe, 3B
Moss, 1B Colabello, DH
Cespedes, LF Kubel, LF
Callaspo, DH Suzuki, K, C
Jaso, C Herrmann, C, RF
Reddick, RF Hicks, CF
Sogard, 2B Florimon, SS
  Chavez, J, P   Hughes, P, P

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Oakland

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

7

Minnesota

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

2

0

0

4

Again, the silver lining today was that the weather was absolutely the perfect reason to enjoy extra innings…

Phil Hughes had a really rough start which handed a sizeable lead over to the A’s. The good news at that point was that Phil settled in well enough to give the Twins a chance to get back into the game. Both Kubel and Dozier put points on the board with the long ball. A 9th inning collapse in the A’s pitching meant that we had everything tied up…

yeah, until Norris put one in the seats for a three runs…  The Twins even loaded the bases and brought the go-ahead run to the plate – of course, with 2 outs. Yeah, got us all worked up for the typical reward.

But like I said, it was a beautiful day to watch baseball and for those who could be there, they got a couple extra innings on top of it!

Meet the Kernels’ Catchers

The Cedar Rapids Kernels opened their 2014 season with a split of their four-game series with the Clinton Lumber Kings. The weather over the weekend was tolerable, with highs in the mid 50s to around 60 degrees, but Thursday’s Opening Night was far from delightful, with temperatures in the 30s and occasional rain. On Friday, the weather forced the season’s first postponement.

On Monday, the team boarded their bus for their first road trip. They’ll play six games in Michigan before returning Monday, April 13.

Before they left town with their team mates, the Kernels’ three-man catching corps sat down for an interview.

Kernels catching corps, from left to right: Bo Altobelli, Michael Quesada and Mitch Garver

Kernels catching corps, from left to right: Bo Altobelli, Michael Quesada and Mitch Garver

Bo Altobelli, Michael Quesada and Mitch Garver have several things in common. They are similar in age and each played some college baseball before starting their professional careers with the Twins.

In addition, each of the three hails from areas of the country that you would assume allows baseball to be played in more moderate weather than what welcomed them to Cedar Rapids last week. Altobelli’s from Texas, Quesada went to school in California and Garver in New Mexico.

They were asked over the weekend if they had any prior experience playing ball in conditions comparable to what they faced in their first week of Midwest League play this season.

Bo Altobelli: It’s a little different, especially coming from Florida up here, so that’s the major change. But it does get cold in Texas. We have played games in sleet and snow before, so I’m a little bit used to it. Of course, you prefer the Florida weather, which hopefully will come here soon.

Michael Quesada: Being from California, this is as cold as I’ve had to play in, but it’s a learning experience. You go up and down the (organizational) ladder, there’s cold places.

Minnesota, for example. You’re not going to complain when you’re up there, are you? You might as well get used to it now.

We’re not the only ones who are cold, everyone else is cold, too. So it’s something you’ve got to work through it and experiment with ways to stay warm.

Mitch Garver: It’’s very similar (in New Mexico). We get a lot of wind. We don’t get a lot of moisture. There’s no snow and sleet and rain, but when it does rain, there’s always going to be wind to accompany it. So the cold is familiar, but you can never really get used to it.  You’re always going to be playing in cold, so the first few months of the season, there’s an adjustment.

A year ago, Garver was finishing up his college career at New Mexico. He was asked what differences he’s noticed as he enters his first year of full season professional baseball.

Garver: It’s just different doing this every day. You have to learn how to maintain your body and how you prepare each day is based off how you feel. If you’re feeling a little down one day, you might have to do something a little bit extra to get going.

It’s different from college because really baseball is the only thing you have to worry about. You have to worry about keeping your body in shape, showing up to the field on time, doing what you’ve got to do to prepare.

Whereas in college, you had to take care of your social life, your emotional life, your school work and other factors that go in to it. It’s a more independent way of living and the competition obviously is better.

So does that mean you have no social life or anything like that when you’re playing professional baseball?

Garver: You’ve really got to balance things. In pro baseball, your social life is within the team. It’s kind of who you hang out with 24/7.

Both Quesada and Altobelli spent time in Cedar Rapids a season ago. They were asked whether they were adjusting their approaches this year as they return to open the season with the Kernels, but clearly hope to be getting considered for possible promotions to the next level.

Quesada: My adjustment is not worrying about it. I think I worried too much last year, putting pressure on myself with what to do. It’s a marathon, like Mitch said, it’s every day. I think I played pitch by pitch every day like it was my last pitch and I think you have to pace yourself a little bit.

That’s the adjustment I’m making this year is pacing myself throughout the year. I understand it’s 140-some odd games, plus spring training. I’m treating my body a little differently, adjusting that way.

That’s really the difference that I feel. After my first full season, I caught a lot last year and this year I’m trying to treat it as a marathon and not a sprint.

Altobelli: Similar to what they said, you can’t worry about it because the moment you think you’ve got it figured out, you’ll find out you’ve got no idea what’s going on as far as what they think you’re going to do and what you think yourself you’re going to do.

So you can’t think about it. You’ve just got to go out there and play. Play how you want to play and the rest will take care of itself.

If the team wins, everyone’s going to be happy and, more likely, people will move up if you win. So just focus on winning and the rest will take care of itself.

The Kernels roster includes 13 pitchers, leaving room for just 12 position players. Three of those spots are held by these catchers. That means Kernels manager Jake Mauer has to ration out innings behind the plate among the three backstops. They were asked how it works out, splitting time among the three of them.

Altobelli: Every year of pro ball, we’ve had three catchers where I’m at, so it’s nothing new to me. But being here, we know Jake’s going to help us out the best that he can, DHing us, maybe getting time at first base, who knows.

You’ve got to try and stay focused, take some extra BP if you need it. At least we’re catching bullpens if we’re not playing, so the ball’s still coming at us. So we’re still getting that feel down. It’s definitely difficult, but Jake does a good job of getting us in there and trying to keep us in a routine so credit to him for keeping us up to date with what’s going on.

Quesada: All of that’s out of our control. It’s up to Jake and the organization. It’s not anything we have any power over. All we can do is go out and play the best we can. If they’re going to play us more, then they do. Jake, as Bo said, does a really good job of finding ways to get us in there somehow. He’s not going to shortchange us.

Garver, on the other hand, was catching almost every game during his college season a year ago.

Garver: Yeah, that’s right. It’s a long season. It’s longer than most people might think. It’s my first full season, so I guess I probably don’t have a feel for it like these guys do, but 140 games is a long time and if you’re really only using one or two catchers, it’s going to break down toward the end of the year.

I think having three guys is going to be helpful. You can stay fresh. You can get some days off, get some at-bats at some different positions where you don’t normally play. It teaches you how to be a good baseball player. If you’re only playing one position, you’re not going to be as baseball savvy as you are if you can play multiple positions. They like to see how you can do at different positions and I think that’s a cool thing.

GameChat – HOME OPENER!! A’s @ Twins, 3:10pm

It’s just about as perfect a spring day as you get in Minnesota.  No, really, as hard as it is to believe since we just got 10 inches of snow on Friday, it’s almost 60 and gorgeously sunny out there.

KL and I aren’t actually AT the game today although I have to admit we both wish we were. It’s a sure sign you’re getting old and stodgy when you choose to prioritize “bills” before you go for fun like the baseball opener.. My NEPHEW is at the game though so we are at least raising the kids right in our family. Instead, KL and I did a little shopping for baseball findings to finish up a pair of booties for the baby to match her Twins stuff for when we DO go to games.

IMG_20140407_115300

Miss Margaret was all ready for the opener too!! KL and I met for lunch and showed up in our baseball accoutrements as well – we did discuss getting a group selfie of the three of us girls all ready for baseball but.. yeah, well, she and I aren’t really big fans of being on camera as much as we are being BEHIND a camera so you get the cute baby in gear as a substitute.

Quick DL update – Bartlett has been put on the 15 day DL and our super-utility back-up Catcher, Chris Hermann, is up here for awhile. Considering that both Arcia and Willingham aren’t swinging a bat at the moment, it’s nice to have Pinto be able to be in the lineup since Hermann can fill in if necessary behind home plate.

Let’s see what the boys can do in their home debut for 2014!

Oakland

@

Minnesota
Fuld, CF Dozier, 2B
Lowrie, SS Mauer, 1B
Donaldson, 3B Plouffe, 3B
Moss, 1B Colabello, RF
Cespedes, LF Pinto, DH
Callaspo, DH Kubel, LF
Reddick, RF Suzuki, K, C
Norris, D, C Hicks, CF
Sogard, 2B Florimon, SS
  Kazmir, P   Correia, P

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Oakland

0

2

3

0

0

1

2

0

0

8

10

0

Minnesota

0

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

6

0

yep… the story for the Twins is still “the pitching sucks” so that could get a little old before it gets too warm.

BUT  if they aren’t going to win, at least the ballgame was a good way to celebrate one of the first days nice enough to want to be outdoors. It was a stunningly beautiful day here in Minnesota – one of the first times in awhile I have been able to say that.

GameChat – Twins @ Indians #3, 12:05pm

So this is Nolasco’s chance to improve the fairly poor impression that I got out of him from his first start. Is it fair that I have only seen him pitch once and I’m disappointed? Probably not but baseball isn’t really what I would call a fair sport – it’s an “any given day” kind of thing. So here’s his chance to be different than last week.

It’s also the Twins chance to win a series and/or achieve .500 status.. I’m just going to start that from the beginning of the year this year and just make that my goal.. if they can do .500 or better, I’ll call it a successful year. Again with the “not fair” but I don’t care.

I will only be catching bits and snags of today’s game because my family is throwing a “meet the baby” party to celebrate the arrival of Miss Margaret. For the record, baby showers are all about mommy… Meet the Baby parties? yeah, I might as well not exist. I’m only there to make sure that if there is a hunger emergency, her pleasant demeanor is maintained… maybe that’s why I’m in a “the world isn’t fair” mood today! ;)

Minnesota

@

Cleveland
Dozier, 2B Morgan, CF
Mauer, 1B Swisher, 1B
Willingham, LF Kipnis, 2B
Colabello, DH Santana, C, 3B
Plouffe, 3B Brantley, LF
Kubel, RF Chisenhall, DH
Suzuki, K, C Gomes, Y, C
Hicks, CF Murphy, Dv, RF
Florimon, SS Aviles, SS
  Nolasco, P   Masterson, P

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Minnesota

0

2

3

1

0

3

0

0

1

10

9

0

Cleveland

0

2

0

3

1

1

0

0

0

7

15

1

So my bits and pieces turned out to be the first inning… I have no clue other than the boxscore what happened after that.. but look, the boxscore says we WON!

It also says that Nolasco wasn’t trying to impress me and wouldn’t have even if I had been able to watch… ouch.

BUT Colabello looks like he had another great RBI day. HE impresses me so far this season. I made him BOD!

Chris Colabello

GameChat – Twins @ Indians #2, 12:05pm, Fox Sports 1

My apologies folk – we’re a bit out of practice for the season yet and apparently I’m the only watching to see if there’s a game going. I was unfortunately out shopping too late to get the gamechat up on time.

At any rate, if you’re having trouble finding the game on your usual channels, that is because it’s apparently on whatever is Fox Sports One in your area. Good Luck figuring that out. If you don’t know (I certainly didn’t), go to: http://msn.foxsports.com/watch/foxsports1

Minnesota

@

Cleveland
Dozier, 2B Morgan, CF
Mauer, 1B Swisher, 1B
Willingham, LF Kipnis, 2B
Colabello, DH Santana, C, DH
Plouffe, 3B Brantley, LF
Kubel, RF Cabrera, A, SS
Pinto, C Murphy, Dv, RF
Hicks, CF Gomes, Y, C
Florimon, SS Chisenhall, 3B
  Gibson, P   Carrasco, P

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Minnesota

3

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

2

7

10

0

Cleveland

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

2

3

5

0

TWINS WIN!

Yes miracles can happen! It’s amazing how well things go when the pitching is kick ass…

However, today’s BOD is granted to Ron Gardenhire to congratulate him on his 1000th career win!

ron-gardenhire-shirt

GameChat – Twins @ Indians, 2:05pm

I desperately need baseball to distract me from the 8 in of new snow outside my front door. yeesh..

Soo…. That’s quite the lineup we’re facing.. I think that is a feeling Twins fans should get used to. We’ll just have to see how Pelfrey looks facing them…

Minnesota

@

Cleveland
Dozier, 2B Morgan, CF
Mauer, 1B Swisher, 1B
Willingham, LF Kipnis, 2B
Colabello, DH Santana, C, 3B
Plouffe, 3B Brantley, LF
Arcia, O, RF Cabrera, A, SS
Suzuki, K, C Murphy, Dv, RF
Hicks, CF Gomes, Y, C
Florimon, SS Chisenhall, DH
  Pelfrey, P   Salazar, P

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Minnesota

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

9

0

Cleveland

0

0

0

0

0

3

4

0

x

7

10

0

yep… that was a whole hell of a lot of “looks vaguely familiar”…