GameChat – Twins @ Royals #3, 1:10pm

Happy Easter!

Clearly the holiday has all of us Knuckleballers with our attention focused elsewhere but now that I have services done, brunch with the inlaws and the turkey in the oven, I can actually spend a little time with baseball – and feeding baby.

A quick roster update that happened just before the game started: the Twins have claimed Sam Fuld off of waivers from the A’s and DFA’d Darin Mastrioanni – which leaves the Twins a little short on the bench today but that is what happens when you need room on the 40 man.

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, DH Butler, B, DH
Suzuki, K, C Moustakas, 3B
Hicks, CF Maxwell, CF
Escobar, E, SS Escobar, A, SS
  Hughes, P, P   Ventura, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 2 0 0 1 2 0 3 0 0 8 13 0
Kansas City 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 3 11 1

I started listening to the game about the time Phil Hughes was exiting, so I’m going to assume his first six innings of work were better than his last 2 hitters in the 7th inning.

In any event, the Twins move back up to .500 on the season with a 9-9 record, so I’ll take that performance from Hughes and the bullpen.

The story of the day looks like it was offense today, anyway, and a brief scan of the boxscore shows Trevor Plouffe with two doubles and a triple, as well as some RBI. Sounds like BOD material to me! – JC

Trevor Plouffe (photo: Jim Crikket)

Trevor Plouffe (photo: Jim Crikket)

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

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9

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Toronto

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8

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Minnesota

1

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9

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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

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Toronto

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Minnesota

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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_

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

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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

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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 – 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

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Cleveland

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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

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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

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Cleveland

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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 @ White Sox #3, 1:10pm

so… last chance to leave a mark on the White Sox so far..

For the record, it’s stupid cold out there again and here in MN, we’re supposed to get anywhere from 5 to 10 inches of snow tonight depending on where you live.. *SIGH*  Spring is stupid.

Glad I have some baseball to watch…

Minnesota

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Chi White Sox
Dozier, 2B Eaton, CF
Mauer, DH Semien, 3B
Willingham, LF Abreu, 1B
Colabello, 1B Dunn, A, DH
Plouffe, 3B Garcia, A, RF
Arcia, O, RF De Aza, LF
Pinto, C Ramirez, Al, SS
Hicks, CF Flowers, C
Escobar, E, SS Garcia, L, 2B
  Hughes, P, P   Quintana, P

 

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Minnesota

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Chi White Sox

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13

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Ok THAT was one weird game of baseball – and not just because the Twins actually won…

You start with an odd set up for baseball when a player strikes out but gets to 1B on a wild pitch – but isn’t unheard of. The oddness escalates when that player then gains 2B on an error – believe it or not, obstruction during the worst played rundown I’ve seen in ages. So yeah, the player that struck out is now on 2B… that was what really set the table for the rest of the game to follow.

The lead changed hands a couple times and Twins fans rarely expect anything good when they lose the lead in the late innings of a game. But due to the offensive heroics of both Chris Colabello (6 RBI) and Oswaldo Arcia (winning RBI), even the most cynical among us were pretty excited about the result – ESPECIALLY Arcia.during his 8th inning triple.

For their shared offensive glory (and especially since it appears that Cola is Arcia’s interpreter of choice), they share today’s BOD honors! Yay for the first BOD of the season!

Chris Colabello

Minnesota+Twins+Photo+Day+Arcia

GameChat – Tigers @ Twins, 7:10 pm

The big news today, of course, is that the Twins have finally taken my advice and shut Joe Mauer down for the rest of the season. I honestly have no idea why this decision wasn’t made weeks ago. Had they done so, Joe could have been just taking his time and letting his brain heal in its own time, rather than with a daily “Mauer watch” in the media.

It’s obviously concerning that he’s still dealing with concussion symptoms and at some point we can have a discussion about whether he should continue to catch, but that can wait.

For now, just get better, Joe.

Tonight, the Twins take on the Tigers and Justin Verlander. Good luck with that, guys.

TIGERS

@

TWINS
Jackson, A, CF Presley, CF
Hunter, To, RF Herrmann, C, RF
Cabrera, M, 3B Dozier, 2B
Fielder, 1B Willingham, DH
Martinez, V, DH Pinto, C
Dirks, LF Parmelee, 1B
Infante, 2B Thomas, C, LF
Avila, C Escobar, E, 3B
Santiago, R, SS Florimon, SS
_ Verlander, P   _Pelfrey, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
Detroit 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 3 10 0
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 1 4 14 0

Hey, get this: The Twins beat the Tigers and the almighty Justin Verlander!

OK, not really… since Verlander shut out the Twins for his six innings of work, but at the end of the day (almost literally, given how long the game took to play) the Twins won the game 4-3.

Mike Pelfrey only gave up 1 run. That’s pretty good. He might deserve BOD, but he earned $100,000 for hitting the 150 innings mark and that’s enough of a reward for his efforts, isn’t it?

Brian Dozier tied the game with a home run in the 9th and scored the winning run on Josmil Pinto’s RBI single in the 11th. So E and I voted unanimously for Doze.

Brian Dozier

Brian Dozier