GameChat – Twins @ Rangers #2, 3:05pm

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!

Minnesota Texas
Fuld, CF Choo, LF
Dozier, 2B Andrus, SS
Mauer, DH Pena, C, 1B
Morales, K, 1B Beltre, A, 3B
Arcia, O, LF Murphy, DH
Suzuki, K, C Martin, L, CF
Parmelee, RF Gimenez, C
Escobar, E, 3B Choice, RF
Florimon, SS Odor, 2B
  Hughes, P, P   Darvish, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2
Texas 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 3 x 5 11 0

I had no idea how this game went, so I asked someone how the Twins did today and I was told they got their asses kicked.

Seems that’s about accurate. I was not shocked. – JC

GameChat – Twins @ Rangers, 7:05pm

Ok, let’s be honest here.. the Rangers are NOT the Angels.. let’s see what we have for a game!

Minnesota @ Texas
Dozier, 2B Choo, LF
Suzuki, K, C Andrus, SS
Mauer, 1B Pena, C, 1B
Willingham, LF Beltre, A, DH
Morales, K, DH Rios, A, RF
Arcia, O, RF Martin, L, CF
Escobar, E, 3B Gimenez, C
Fuld, CF Sardinas, 3B
Florimon, SS Odor, 2B
  Correia, P   Tepesch, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 4 6 0
Texas 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 x 5 8 1

Have to credit the Twins for finally mounting a come back in the 9th inning, but if you take 8 innings off, you really can’t expect things to work out well in the end.

Like seeing Jorge Polanco with that triple in the 9th that put the Twins in shape to complete that come back.  – JC

Episode 89 – The Roster Crunch and Jorge Polanco

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.

camo

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.

Thanks for sticking around!

 

You can follow Cody on Twitter (@NoDakTwinsFan) or read his writing at NoDakTwinsFan, you can find Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) 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 tell us how to get to Sesame Street.

 

GameChat – Twins @ Angels #2, 9:05

Another late night game and another chance to start a new winning streak.

Let’s see what Yohan Pino can do for an encore. – JC

Minnesota @ LA Angels
Santana, D, SS Calhoun, RF
Dozier, 2B Trout, CF
Mauer, 1B Pujols, 1B
Willingham, LF Hamilton, LF
Morales, K, DH Aybar, SS
Arcia, O, RF Kendrick, H, 2B
Escobar, E, 3B Cron, DH
Fryer, C Green, G, 3B
Fuld, CF Iannetta, C
  Pino, P   Richards, P
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 5 0
LA Angels 0 3 2 0 0 0 0 1 x 6 10 1

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…

GameChat – Twins @ Angels, 9:05pm

SORRY!

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!

Minnesota @ LA Angels
Santana, D, SS Calhoun, RF
Dozier, 2B Trout, CF
Mauer, 1B Pujols, 1B
Willingham, LF Hamilton, LF
Morales, K, DH Aybar, SS
Suzuki, K, C Kendrick, H, 2B
Parmelee, RF Cron, DH
Escobar, E, 3B Freese, 3B
Fuld, CF Conger, C
  Gibson, P   Wilson, C, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 5 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 6 11 0
LA Angels 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 x 8 8 1

Not Kyle Gibson’s finest hour. His team matched five spot for five spot, but when Gibson gave up a second inning HR to Mike Trout, the game was effectively over.

Some very nice relief work by Sam Deduno, though. – JC

Few Silver Linings for Kernels

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.

Mitch Garver

Mitch Garver

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.

Chad Christensen

Chad Christensen

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.

Kohl Stewart

Kohl Stewart

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.

Todd Van Steensel

Todd Van Steensel

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.

Alex Muren

Alex Muren

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.

- JC

GameChat – White Sox @ Twins #4, 1:10pm

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.

Chi White Sox Minnesota
Eaton, CF Santana, D, SS
Beckham, G, 2B Dozier, 2B
Abreu, 1B Mauer, 1B
Dunn, A, DH Willingham, LF
Ramirez, Al, SS Morales, K, DH
Gillaspie, 3B Arcia, O, RF
Sierra, RF Suzuki, K, C
De Aza, LF Escobar, E, 3B
Flowers, C Fuld, CF
  Danks, Jh, P   Hughes, P, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chi White Sox 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 8 0
Minnesota 1 2 0 3 0 0 0 0 x 6 11 1
Kinda says it all, doesn't it!?

Kinda says it all, doesn’t it!?

Woohoooo!!

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!

GameChat – White Sox @ Twins #3, 1:10pm

Hello from Hrbek’s at Gate 14!!! JC and Babs (and Andrew, Baby Margaret and Molly) are enjoying a Happy Birthday celebration for KL!

It’s an absolutely stunning day for baseball and I hope that we’re able to gift KL with a sweep of the White Sox. Wouldn’t that be just the perfect birthday present? I think so.

Chi White Sox Minnesota
Eaton, CF Santana, D, SS
Beckham, G, 2B Dozier, 2B
Gillaspie, 3B Mauer, DH
Abreu, 1B Morales, K, 1B
Dunn, A, DH Arcia, O, RF
Ramirez, Al, SS Suzuki, K, C
Viciedo, RF Parmelee, LF
De Aza, LF Escobar, E, 3B
Nieto, C Fuld, CF
  Rienzo, P   Correia, P
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chi White Sox 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 9 0
Minnesota 0 1 0 0 3 0 0 0 x 4 9 2

man, what an absolutely beautiful day for baseball.. We all had a warm but wonderful time and the Twins were very generous to the series win for KL.

There was some really awkward ways to get on base today though. Walked in runs, hit batter walked in runs.. it was entertaining. It was a fun bit of small ball actually!

I think the most exciting inning of the game however was the 5th – and the return of Joe Mauer. He hit a patented double to knock in a pair of runs and then, crossed home plate himself on a single by Morales. That was all we needed to get the win – which is good because we didn’t get any more. The pitching kind of tried to give it up and Perkins made us all flash back to last night when he gave up one of the cushion runs but he held on and kept the Save instead of hoping they’d give him the Win. But since Josh Willingham’s kid as the Jr. PA didn’t actually improve the score and Mauer made the win possible, he is today’s BOD! I hope you’re actually back to stay this time.JOEMAUER

 

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

ok, it’s finally not raining in Minnesota!!! This is especially joyous for me as the carpet from my two basement bedrooms are currently laid out in my driveway hopefully drying enough to continue to be used as temporary floor covering until we decide what the permanent replacement will be. Oh yeah and everything else that was in those two rooms in now removed and piled elsewhere while we attempt to dry out..  Just so much water in this state right now.

All that being said, it’s a hot but beautiful day for baseball in Minnesota. Let’s see if the boys can make use of that hot, humid air to let some long balls carry a ways!

Chi White Sox @ Minnesota
Eaton, CF Santana, D, SS
Beckham, G, 2B Dozier, 2B
Gillaspie, 3B Mauer, 1B
Abreu, 1B Willingham, LF
Dunn, A, DH Morales, K, DH
Ramirez, Al, SS Suzuki, K, C
Viciedo, RF Arcia, O, RF
De Aza, LF Escobar, E, 3B
Flowers, C Fuld, CF
  Noesi, P   Nolasco, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chi White Sox 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 10 0
Minnesota 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 7 0

Man, Glen Perkins owes the team a steak dinner… They pulled his butt out of an ignominious post-game lockerroom walk of shame.

beerchoiceThat being said, game long highlight player was really Kurt Suzuki! wow, did he ever perform – great defense and great hit leadership! That absolutely perfect pickoff to 2B was a thing of beauty for defense-lovers. For that, the beer is on us! Whatever you want.

Escobar also provided some hefty help to this team with timely RBI but the MOST timely RBI, of course, is the walk-off hit from Brian Dozier. After the 2 run lead melted away during Perkins’ 9th inning meltdown, it was hard to keep the optimism up but out came the Bull Dozier to pull it all back together in what has become a very consistent level of performance from him which should absolutely get him an All Star game slot. But for the more local honorifics, we just call BOD!

Brian Dozier

Brian Dozier

Episode 88: The Return of Trevor May

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.

trevormay

No reason to bury the lead, Trevor May is BACK!  Trevor talked about his approach to pitching, what he’s been doing in 2014 that has allowed him to be successful, and how much fun he’s having as a member of the outstanding pitching staff in Triple-A Rochester.

Just Cody and Eric this week, in addition to talking with Trevor May, they talk about what the Twins have been doing well (pitching) and what they have not been doing at all (hitting) in the past week.  They also take a shot at predicting the Twins’ All-Star representative (and fail), and they whip around the world for beers and around the league to talk about great pitching from Clayton Kershaw and bad pitching from Justin Verlander.

84 minutes of cool dudes talkin’ ball.

 

You can follow Cody on Twitter (@NoDakTwinsFan) or read his writing at NoDakTwinsFan, you can find Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) 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 helped Yohan Pino make his Major League Debut.