GameChat – Twins @ Red Sox, 6:10

Some sad news in the baseball world this afternoon as word came out that Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn has passed away. Gwynn was as pure a hitter of baseballs as you’re likely to ever see. During his career, I always felt he was under-appreciated. Maybe because he played for a lot of bad teams in San Diego and maybe because he wasn’t a noted power hitter. RIP Tony.

Kevin Correia is on the mound for the Twins in Boston tonight.

Minnesota Boston
Santana, D, SS Holt, LF
Dozier, 2B Bogaerts, 3B
Mauer, 1B Pedroia, 2B
Willingham, LF Ortiz, D, DH
Morales, K, DH Napoli, 1B
Arcia, O, RF Nava, RF
Suzuki, K, C Drew, SS
Escobar, E, 3B Pierzynski, C
Fuld, CF Bradley Jr., CF
  Correia, P   De La Rosa, R, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Boston 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 x 1 6 0

Kevin Correia had another pretty decent start. That’s the good news.

The Twins got a total of 3 lousy hits. That’s the bad news.

Bad news prevails today.

GameChat – Twins @ Tigers #3, 12:08pm

ok.. sorry this wasn’t up earlier if you were here looking. Rubber match games are always interesting so while I’m moving a piano, let’s see if the boys can pull off a series win in Detroit!

Minnesota Detroit
Santana, D, SS Kinsler, 2B
Mauer, 1B Hunter, To, RF
Dozier, 2B Cabrera, M, 1B
Willingham, LF Martinez, V, DH
Morales, K, DH Martinez, J, LF
Arcia, O, RF Jackson, A, CF
Suzuki, K, C Castellanos, N, 3B
Fuld, CF Avila, C
Escobar, E, 3B Suarez, SS
  Nolasco, P   Porcello, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 3 7 1
Detroit 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 4 10 0

Tough way to lose a game to a Divisional rival as the Tigers take the game and the series in walk-off fashion. – JC

GameChat – Twins @ Tigers #2, 3:08pm

This is one of those rainy (in MN) Saturday’s where I’m doing my best to get some outdoor work done despite the rain. Actually my whole weekend is like that so I’m REALLY glad I got to see that fantastic game last night. I’ll be checking in and catching as much as possible on the radio. Let’s do this!

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 3 2 9 12 0
Detroit 0 0 7 1 2 1 1 0 x 12 19 1

Looks like the Twins’ bats woke up in the 7th, but it was too little, too late. – JC

GameChat – Twins @ Tigers, 6:08pm

I have to admit that I’m really interested to see how this series goes – it could be a bell-weather of the whole season. Both teams are kind of at a cross-roads with one on the upswing (I hope) and one sagging (so it appears).

Any predictions?

Roster update: Hicks is on the DL, Fuld is back and the Twins recalled Eric Fryer.

I’m also really interested to see how this new lineup order works AND how it gets adjusted when Dozier is back swinging a bat.

Minnesota @ Detroit
Santana, D, CF Kinsler, 2B
Suzuki, K, C Jackson, A, CF
Mauer, 1B Cabrera, M, 1B
Willingham, LF Martinez, V, DH
Morales, K, DH Martinez, J, RF
Arcia, O, RF Kelly, D, LF
Plouffe, 3B Castellanos, N, 3B
Nunez, SS Avila, C
Escobar, E, 2B Romine, A, SS
  Gibson, P   Smyly, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 4 1
Detroit 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 1

wow, that was actually a fun game to watch!

Of course it doesn’t hurt that we won but there were a lot of positives tonight – not the least of which is beating a division opponent and making progress back towards that .500 mark. We didn’t have a LOT of offense but getting that home run in the third from Escobar set up the win well. Only his 2nd HR of the year because he’s not a power hitter but I’ll take it regardless. And getting a walk off Joe Nathan in the 9th inning isn’t as hard as it used to be but it’s still nothing to sneeze at, especially when that walk sent in an additional cushion run! All your RBI’s are belong to Eduardo! I hope he enjoys the All-You-Can-Eat pastry buffet on us.

It turned out to be all that was necessary because Kyle really did a fantastic job tonight. And it wasn’t one of those “no one can touch him” kind of good jobs either. It was a night where he wasn’t perfect and figured out how to get the job done anyway – in some very big situations. He made life hard for himself in both the 5th and 7th innings and Gardy left him out there to figure it out. Had it all gone sour, we’d have been screaming that he once again left him in one pitch too long but I think it does a lot for a young pitcher to make it or break it on his own and we’ll be the better for it in the long run. This was an important game for Kyle because he statistically hasn’t done well on the road and he broke that “curse” tonight. With the 7 scoreless innings tonight, that is 15 consecutive for him without giving up a run. The bullpen was SOLID against this Tigers lineup with both Casey and Glenn putting out excellent innings but tonight was really all about Kyle and for that, he’s today’s BOD!

Kyle Gibson (photo: MiLB.com)

Kyle Gibson (photo: MiLB.com)

Episode 87: When Cats Attack, Reviewing the Draft

If you’re listening to this podcast, you probably have more than a passing interest in Twins baseball. You’ve probably read about all of their draft picks, even guys drafted after the first few rounds, like Minnesota native Pat Kelly, who was taken in the 12th round. 

Baseball-funny-picture

You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or click here you can download the new episode, and if you want to add the show to your non-iTunes podcast player, this is the RSS Feed.

Jay is driving the episode this week, so prepare your ears for a little different sound, but have no fear, other than lots of cat noises in the background, the show is pretty stellar. We start the episode by saying goodbye to one of the most handsome red beards to ever grace the outfield grass in Minnesota, Jason Kubel. Kubel is gone, but highlighting this last week was the acquisition of Kendrys Morales who along with the emergence of Eduardo Escobar and Danny Santana gives the Twins arguably one of the best line ups in the American League. 

We talk a little draft, but save most of the draft talk for our guests from the Twins Hangouts (@TwinsHangouts), Jeremy Nygaard (@jeremynygaard) and Seth Stohs (@SethTweets). With the help of those two we dive into the draft and discuss the Twins moves and what it could mean for this club in the near and long term.

A lot of weird things have happened in the world of baseball this week, and we cover most of them when we go around the league, to include banana and mayo sandwiches, a Seminole Indian rain man and a “fatty mass with tentacles”. Yikes.

Thanks for listening.

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 don’t pay our bills, but we don’t pay them anyways.

GameChat – Twins @ Blue Jays #2, 6:07pm

Another night where I don’t get to watch baseball.. I’ll be trying to catch scores and updates and plays during breaks and car rides.. wish I could enjoy the game since they didn’t do so well for the day I got to watch yesterday.. but I’ll take a win regardless tonight!

Let’s see how quickly Kendrys can settle in!

Minnesota @ Toronto
Santana, D, CF Reyes, SS
Dozier, 2B Cabrera, Me, LF
Mauer, 1B Bautista, RF
Willingham, LF Encarnacion, 1B
Morales, K, DH Lind, DH
Arcia, O, RF Lawrie, 2B
Nunez, 3B Navarro, D, C
Suzuki, K, C Francisco, J, 3B
Escobar, E, SS Gose, CF
  Correia, P   Happ, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 4 9 0
Toronto 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 1

Not having seen or heard the game, I’m going to simply give the BOD award to Brian Dozier for his first inning two-run home run, but four pitchers combining for a shutout of the Jays certainly warrants honorable mention! – JC

Brian Dozier

Brian Dozier

Thorpe, Romero Make Kernels Debuts

As the Cedar Rapids Kernels wrap up the final stretch of the first half of their 2014 Midwest League season, the parent Minnesota Twins sent them some needed starting pitching help in the form of two teenage pitching prospects.

Australian 18-year old lefty Lewis Thorpe and right-hander Fernando Romero, a 19-year old out of the Dominican Republic joined the Kernels from extended spring training last week and both were immediately inserted in to the starting rotation by manager Jake Mauer and pitching coach Ivan Arteaga.

Lewis Thorpe

Lewis Thorpe

Thorpe was the 6th ranked prospect in the Twins organization by MLB.com during the offseason and #7 on Baseball America’s list of Twins top prospects.

Romero was also among the organization’s top 15 prospects by both organizations coming in to the year.

Romero was the first of the pair to debut, getting a start on Thursday on the road in Appleton WI against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. The righty went five full innings, giving up a pair of earned runs on seven hits and one walk. He struck out six Rattler batters. The Kernels lost the game 7-4 but Romero got a no-decision, leaving the game with the score tied at 2-2.

Thorpe had less luck in his first start with the Kernels, picking up a loss in Kane County on Saturday as the Kernels fell to the Cougars, 5-2. All five runs were charged to Thorpe and all were earned. He gave up six hits, walked three and struck out just one batter in 4.2 innings.

It makes for an ugly stat line for Thorpe, but that’s more than a little misleading.

One very close pitch at the knees being called ball four instead of strike three was the difference between escaping the fifth inning relatively unscathed and getting the hook. He left the game with two runs across and bases loaded in the home half of the fifth inning, but all three baserunners came around to score after he departed.

Afterward, Arteaga agreed that Thorpe looked much better than his stat line would indicate.

“He got through two outs in the fifth inning, but just ran out of gas, unfortunately,” said Arteaga. “I think he deserved better. His line doesn’t say what he actually looked like. One thing is his line, but another thing is what he actually did and how he looked.

“He had poise. Obviously he needs a little work with the breaking ball but his fastball (command) isn’t going to be a problem. He throws the ball well. Being the first time and all, I think that I’m very pleased with what I saw.”

Arteaga was also happy with his first look at Romero since spring training in March.

Fernando Romero

Fernando Romero

“He’s got one of those arms that make you go, ‘wow,’ Arteaga said, adding that Romero throws, “94 to 99 (mph). He was able to throw a hard slider and a couple of them were sharp, especially against right-handed hitters. Coming over for the first time, I thought he looked really good.”

Arteaga, whose rotation has struggled at times through much of the season, was heartened by his first look at the new additions.

“It’s very encouraging, to have those two guys join the rotation – very encouraging for everybody because they showed that they will compete. They will throw it over and they’re going to be just fine, as advertised.

“I saw Romero and Thorpe during spring training. It was just basically a matter of time before they were going to join us and the time has come. They’re here and they’re doing really well.”

Pitching coach Ivan Arteaga and pitcher Ethan Mildren

Pitching coach Ivan Arteaga and pitcher Ethan Mildren

Thorpe and Romero will form one-third of the Kernels’ six-man rotation going forward, joining four pitchers selected by the Twins in the 2013 First Year Player Draft: Kohl Stewart (1st round), Ryan Eades (2nd round), Aaron Slegers (5th round) and Ethan Mildren (12th round).

The Kernels, who sat in seventh place in the eight-team Western Division of the MWL coming out of the weekend, will get a chance to start over with a clean slate as the league divides their season in to two halves with the second half starting on Thursday, June 19, after next week’s MWL All-Star Game. – JC

GameChat – Twins @ Blue Jays, 6:10

So much for the “Morales will need a few days to get in to playing shape” stuff, huh? Kendrys Morales is in the Twins’ lineup tonight as the DH and batting sixth.

Minnesota @ Toronto
Santana, D, CF Reyes, SS
Dozier, 2B Cabrera, Me, LF
Mauer, 1B Bautista, RF
Willingham, LF Lind, DH
Arcia, O, RF Encarnacion, 1B
Morales, K, DH Francisco, J, 3B
Plouffe, 3B Lawrie, 2B
Suzuki, K, C Thole, C
Escobar, E, SS Gose, CF

Looks like I neglected to include the pitching matchup in the lineups. It’s Nolasco, P  for the Twins and former Twin Dickey, P  for the Jays. – JC

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 9 0
Toronto 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 5 10 0

Odd game. First two hitters go yard for the Twins and then pretty much nothing until the ninth when they rally to tie the game. Unfortunately, the bullpen coughed one up in the bottom of 9.

GameChat – Astros @ Twins #3, 1:10

I’m still over in Kane County with the Kernels this afternoon but the Twins will be looking to win their series with the Astros today.

The big news, of course, is the signing of Kendrys Morales and the subsequent DFA of Jason Kubel. Certainly an interesting move by a team in last place of their division, though certainly the Twins aren’t so far out of things they should be giving up. It’s just somewhat out of character, I guess. – JC

Here are today’s lineups:

Houston @ Minnesota
Fowler, CF Santana, D, DH
Altuve, 2B Dozier, 2B
Springer, RF Plouffe, 3B
Singleton, 1B Willingham, LF
Dominguez, 3B Arcia, O, DH
Grossman, LF Nunez, RF
Carter, DH Parmelee, 1B
Corporan, C Pinto, C
Villar, J, SS Escobar, E, SS
  McHugh, P   Deduno, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Houston 0 1 1 3 0 0 4 1 4 14 13 0
Minnesota 0 0 0 1 2 0 2 0 0 5 10 2

The Twins haven’t really been blown out of as many games this season as they seemed to last year. Maybe that’s why seeing this kind of score brings back some bitter memories.

But it’s just one game, right? Forget it and move on. – JC