GameChat – Orioles @ Twins #2, 1:10

Wow, if you live in MN and have been tolerating the weather this week, today is GORGEOUS!! The sun is out and the 50’s are so much better than it was… Since Nolasco did help out the bullpen last night, we should be set to take this to the birds but some actual offense would help a lot.

Baltimore @ Minnesota
Markakis, RF Dozier, 2B
Machado, M, 3B Mauer, 1B
Cruz, N, DH Plouffe, 3B
Jones, Ad, CF Colabello, RF
Clevenger, C Kubel, LF
Hardy, SS Pinto, DH
Pearce, 1B Suzuki, K, C
Lough, LF Fuld, CF
Schoop, 2B Florimon, SS
  Chen, W, P   Correia, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Baltimore 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 2
Minnesota 1 0 1 0 1 0 3 0 x 6 12 0

Not only was the weather a VAST improvement over the previous week but a win is too!! Correia just kept going out each inning.. having a discussion with Andy at the end of each one but then going out for the next until he’d completed 7. Again, that makes for a nice continued break for the over-worked bullpen. I like that. Kudos and pastries for our starter today! The tough part is coming up with a BOD today… I still battle back and forth. My gut says Dozier but the numbers say Mauer.. since I have no one to discuss it with at this point, I’m just going with both!

Photo Credit: Betsy Bissen

Photo Credit: Betsy Bissen

Brian Dozier

Brian Dozier

GameChat – Tigers @ Twins #2, 1:10pm

GAH!

Of course it when you’re trying to do something really quick right before a deadline that your computer decides to die and need attention before it will work for you… *sigh*  all the more reason to replace it sooner rather than later.. but that is a different issue.

Today it LOOKS quite lovely out but it’s cooler than it appears and the wind isn’t exactly gentle so it could make things interesting for both players and fans – including JC who drove his mom up for her first game since TF officially opened.

Let’s get a win boys!

Detroit @ Minnesota
Kinsler, 2B Dozier, 2B
Hunter, To, RF Mauer, DH
Cabrera, M, 1B Plouffe, 3B
Martinez, V, DH Colabello, 1B
Jackson, A, CF Kubel, LF
Castellanos, N, 3B Pinto, C
Romine, A, SS Fuld, RF
Holaday, C Hicks, CF
Davis, R, LF Escobar, E, SS
  Sanchez, An, P   Hughes, P, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Detroit 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 8 1
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 1 x 5 4 1

Yep, I’m more and more convinced that pitching wins games… Clearly, the Tigers just didn’t have the pitching today and we took advantage of it.

Even without 4 gazillion walks, Hughes pitched FANTASTICALLY! We needed everyone of those innings (although why he uses the first inning for his warm-up, I don’t know) since the bullpen was officially spent. THAT is why he is today’s BOD! Thanks Phil!

Phil Hughes

Phil Hughes (Photo: JC/Knuckleballs)

GameChat – Twins @ Rays #3, 12:10pm

I think the whole team as well as the fans are hoping for a good start from Nolasco – especially the bullpen.

The Twins have themselves in a nice position to win another series. I’d like that; how about you?

Minnesota @ Tampa Bay
Dozier, 2B Zobrist, 2B
Mauer, 1B Jennings, D, CF
Plouffe, 3B Joyce, LF
Colabello, RF Longoria, 3B
Pinto, DH Loney, 1B
Suzuki, K, C Myers, RF
Fuld, LF DeJesus, DH
Hicks, CF Escobar, Y, SS
Florimon, SS Molina, J, C
  Nolasco, P   Bedard, P
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 3 1 0 0 4 1 0 0 0 9 12 1
Tampa Bay 0 3 0 0 0 1 2 1 0 7 13 0

you know what? it’s fun to watch baseball when we are able to actually WIN the game! And the series is just bonus..  (Of course coming back to a homestand after some nice road series wins feels pretty good to.)

It was really tough to narrow down a BOD today because this team was doing it’s best to work as a team with a lot of effort up and down the order. It was good to see Sam Fuld have a very good day against his old team and for that, we are awarding him access to the pastry buffet. Mr. Fuld, the donuts are on us!

Today’s BOD came down to the veteran but new Twin, Kurt Suzuki, or the struggling young phenom, Aaron Hicks. I decided that trying to choose was too much work for a rainy afternoon so I went with BOTH! Congrats to Hicks for getting his first homerun of the season and I hope to see his bat continue to warm up. Our thanks to Zuke for holding down the fort with a great outing!

suzukiAaronHicks

GameChat – Twins @ Rays #2, 6:10pm

So I meant to bring this up yesterday but I forgot: looks like GoGo is STILL a fireball and is paying the price with a 3 game suspension – and he’s not alone. There was a pretty good bench clearing brawl a few days ago sparked by a difference of opinion between the pitcher and the hitter about how long it’s appropriate to watch a long ball that isn’t a homerun. It’s still a triple though so.. yeah.

 The video makes for a good watch.

But about tonight’s game, I hate to admit it but just like last season, I really don’t feel all that optimistic about any game with Pelfrey as the starter.. *crossing fingers anyway*

Minnesota @ Tampa Bay
Dozier, 2B Zobrist, LF
Mauer, 1B Jennings, D, CF
Plouffe, 3B Joyce, DH
Colabello, DH Longoria, 3B
Kubel, LF Loney, 1B
Pinto, C Myers, RF
Herrmann, C, RF Forsythe, 2B
Escobar, E, SS Escobar, Y, SS
Fuld, CF Hanigan, C
  Pelfrey, P   Odorizzi, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 12 1
Tampa Bay 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 9 0

I could go on and on about all the stuff that happened in this game, but frankly it just went on way too long. (four hours and 48 minutes? Seriously?)

Let’s just say the bullpen did a great job and Chris Colabello came through big time with the bat.in the 4th inning and again in the 12th. And that makes him our BOD. – JC

Chris Colabello

Chris Colabello

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

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Toronto

2

0

0

0

3

0

0

0

0

5

8

0

Minnesota

1

0

0

0

2

0

0

6

x

9

8

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

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Toronto

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

2

Minnesota

0

0

0

0

5

2

0

0

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

@

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

@

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