GameChat – Astros @ Twins #2, 6:10pm

UPDATE: Pedro Florimon is a late scratch with wrist soreness, Bernier will start in his place.

I don’t know if you count it as an exciting game or a really boring games when two bad teams play extra innings, maybe both, but I was not around to see it all as I fell asleep some time around the 4th inning.

Failing to make a roster move to replace Scott Diamond, even if they just brought up an extra bat for a few days, cost the Twins last night as they were working with a thin bench and they ended up losing the DH.

Things should be a little more normal today, but the Twins will need a strong performance out of their starter to save the bullpen.  But hey, Andrew Albers arrives today, so there’s that!

Go Twins!

Astros

@

Twins
Villar, SS Dozier, 2B
Altuve, 2B Mauer, C
Castro, Ja, C Morneau, DH
Carter, DH Doumit, RF
Wallace, 1B Plouffe, 3B
Dominguez, 3B Arcia, LF
Grossman, LF Colabello, 1B
Barnes, B, CF Thomas, C, CF
Hoes, RF Bernier, SS
  Bedard, P   Gibson, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Houston 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 10 1
Minnesota 1 2 0 0 0 0 3 0 x 6 9 0

Kyle Gibson had a great opportunity to rebound from a poor start in Seattle and he couldn’t keep it together, failing to pitch into the fourth inning.  Luckily the Twins’ bullpen was back in full force again tonight after a marvelous performance a night ago.  Six scoreless innings from the pen, topped by a great performance from Anthony Swarzak.  For coming into the game and calming things down (3IP, 5K, 0H, 1BB), tonight’s BOD is Anthony Swarzak, with ice cream for the rest of the bullpen.

052811-MLB-Minnesota-Twins-Anthony-Swarzak-PI_20110528221233867_660_320

GameChat – Astros @ Twins, 7:05pm

The Twins welcome the Astros to Target Field for the first time as American League opponents. The Twins haven’t won a baseball game for almost a week, so don’t expect a lot tonight, but against the worst team in baseball, a little something would be nice.

Oh, sorry, I’m a little negative today.

Anywhoo, the sun is shining and it is a beautiful day in Minnesota, exactly the kind of day that makes Target Field a great place to take in a ball game.

Aaron Hicks will be replaced in centerfield by Clete Thomas, and I while that doesn’t seem great, it is an offensive upgrade.

Go Twins!

Astros

@

Twins
Villar, SS Dozier, 2B
Elmore, 2B Mauer, C
Castro, Ja, DH Morneau, 1B
Wallace, 1B Doumit, RF
Corporan, C Arcia, LF
Krauss, RF Plouffe, 3B
Dominguez, 3B Colabello, DH
Barnes, B, CF Thomas, C, CF
Grossman, LF Florimon, SS
  Cosart, P   Deduno, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 R H E
Houston 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 7 1
Minnesota 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 4 11 0

Ok, so I missed MUCH of this game since I ran off to the bar to see my little brother’s band play… BUT they did have it on at the bar so I was able to see things here and there and check score every once in awhile – I just couldn’t hear rulings or WHY things were done certain ways..  so I was pretty lost – and then heard the bottom of the 13th on the way home from the bar.

Can I tell you that I wasn’t any less confused at all!?!?!? I had to go read the play-by-play!!! (It didn’t help) How on earth are we in the position that we’re grabbing starting pitchers (admittedly former NL guys) as pinch hitters when it’s ONLY the 13th?!?!! Yes, I know that is still a lot of extra innings but come on guys, it’s not like we never do that. I definitely missed some things and yeah, I feel like there was some poor roster management in there as part of it. I would very much appreciate any comments you guys can add to help explain wtf happened.

All THAT being said, it sure made for a DRAMATIC ending! I have a feeling that if we had LOST after all that, I would be pretty damn crabby this morning.. seriously.. losing to the Astros is nothing to sneeze at especially when it looks like things got very loosey-goosey down the stretch. But all that being said, I’ll take a win. And THANK YOU to Dozier for finally ending it! For that, he gets today’s BOD!

Dozier at bat

GameChat Twins at Mariners #3, 3:10 pm

The Twins stole a win from Felix Hernandez last night, and they should have a little easier sledding this evening against Harang, so maybe the boys will score a couple more runs.

And Chris Colabello was rewarded for his extra inning work with a start at DH tonight.

Go Twins!

Minnesota

@

Seattle
Dozier, 2B Miller, B, SS
Herrmann, C, RF Franklin, 2B
Morneau, 1B Ibanez, LF
Doumit, C Morales, K, DH
Colabello, DH Seager, 3B
Thomas, C, LF Smoak, 1B
Plouffe, 3B Chavez, En, RF
Hicks, CF Quintero, C
Bernier, SS Ackley, CF
   Deduno, P   Harang, P

A very strong performance from Samuel Deduno and a couple of solo home runs powered the Twins to victory.  A victory only seen by the lucky few to have a ticket to see the game at Safeco Field because the game was not broadcast.

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

For his seven innings of shut out ball Deduno is today’s BOD!

Sam Deduno (Photo: Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Sam Deduno (Photo: Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

GameChat – Twins @ Angels #2, 9:05pm

The Twins just know how to win. Simple as that folks.  The Twins are just at the beginning of a string of 20 games against teams with records under .500, so they should play pretty competitive baseball for the next few weeks.  It will be fun while it lasts, as they run into the Tigers and Indians for what seems like two straight weeks after this is over.

Should be fun tonight with Kyle Gibson on the mound.

EDIT: Joe Mauer was a late scratch from the lineup and is headed back to Minnesota because his wife’s water broke. The babies were not due for another month, so let’s hope everything is okay for the Mauers.

 Minnesota Twins

@

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
 Dozier, 2B  Shuck, LF
 Carroll, 3B  Trout, CF
 Morneau, 1B  Pujols, DH
 Doumit, RF
 Kendrick, H, 2B
 Colabello, DH  Callaspo, 3B
 Thomas, C, LF  Trumbo, 1B
 Herrmann, C, C  Conger, C
 Hicks, CF  Cowgill, RF
 Florimon, SS  Aybar, SS
   Gibson, P    Hanson, P

Time to start a winning streak.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 7 10 15 0
LA Angels 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 10 0

What a finish!  For the 2nd night in a row the Twins almost give one away in late innings.  Tonight the Twins did give up the lead in the 9th, but stormed back in the 10th, capping things off with a Chris Herrmann grand slam to put the Angels away.

I was long asleep, but  Herrmann certainly gets BOD for his 3-5 night with RBI after not expecting to start tonight.

Chris Herrmann

 

GameChat – Yankees @ Twins #2 7:10pm

The big news out of the Twins today was that Josh Willingham has been added to the 15-day Disabled List with a bum knee, and that youngster Aaron Hicks has been reinstated from his rehab stint in Triple-A to fill Hammer’s roster spot.  Hicks is starting in centerfield and hitting 8th tonight, but don’t worry Twins fans, Clete Thomas is still available off the bench.

Yankees

@

Twins
Gardner, B, CF Dozier, 2B
Suzuki, I, RF Mauer, C
Cano, 2B Doumit, DH
Hafner, DH Morneau, 1B
Almonte, LF Plouffe, 3B
Overbay, 1B Arcia, LF
Stewart, C, C Parmelee, RF
Adams, D, 3B Hicks, CF
Gonzalez, Al, SS Florimon, SS
  Hughes, P, P   Deduno, P

Hopefully the bullpen can show up today…

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

Well, that went about how Twins/Yankees games go.  The Twins perform well for a while, and then they get Yankee’d.  Twins will need to win back to back games now just to earn a split.  Good luck, Twinkies!

GameChat – Twins vs. Red Sox – 6:05pm

We’re back!  Opening Day is just 23 days away and we need to kick off the snow and salt we’ve accumulated on our GameChats all winter.  Tonight marks the first televised Fox Sports North broadcast of the year for the Minnesota Twins (game available locally on FSN+) so that seemed like a pretty good time to pull out the GameChat and get back into the swing of things.  We’re putting the GameChat up an hour early tonight to give folks some time to catch up before the game starts.

If you’re a new reader at Knuckleballs, feel free to stop into the chat and say hello.  We will have a GameChat up for every game of the regular season, so come back often and join us for some Twins chatter.  Many of the regular folks that stop by (and JC and I) live outside of Minnesota’s boarders so the GameChats are an excellent opportunity for us to “talk shop” with other Twins fans.  We’re creating a virtual neighborhood bar, and you can bring your own beverage!

The Twins still have a whole bunch of players off participating in the World Baseball Classic, so we will see some interesting line-ups over the next several days, and tonight is no exception.

 Minnesota Twins

@

 Boston Red Sox
 Hicks, CF  Ellsbury, CF
 Dozier, 2B  Pedroia, 2B
 Willingham, DH  Sweeney, RF
 Doumit, C  Gomes, J, LF
 Plouffe, 3B  Nava, 1B
 Boggs, LF  Middlebrooks, 3B
 Benson, RF  Lavarnway, C
 Clement, 1B  Overbay, DH
 Florimon, SS  Iglesias, SS
    Pelfrey, P     Dempster, P

PLAY BALL!

The first Boyfriend of the Day (BOD, the Knuckleballs version of MVP) award goes to Mike Pelfry for three scoreless inning in which he recorded five strike outs while allowing just two hits and one walk.  The offense did just enough to give the Twins a win and the the boys from Minneapolis escaped with a 2-0 victory over the Red Sox.

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

CameChat – Mariners at Twins #4 12:10pm CDT

Day baseball is the best kind of baseball.  So I feel good about that.

Last night Samuel Deduno pitched 7 innings of no-hit baseball with ZERO walks and 9 strikeouts.  So I feel good about that.

Trevor Plouffe and Josh Willingham both hit home runs last night and Joe Mauer hit a triple.  So I feel good about that.

Jeff Gray was demoted to AAA Rochester and Chris Parmelee was called up and is starting in right field today.  So I feel good about that.

Brian Duensing is pitching today.  So I do not feel good about that.

Seattle Mariners

@

Minnesota Twins
 Ackley, 2B  Revere, CF
 Gutierrez, F, CF  Casilla, A, 2B
 Seager, 3B  Mauer, C
 Montero, C  Willingham, LF
 Smoak, 1B  Morneau, 1B
 Olivo, DH  Doumit, DH
 Robinson, T, LF  Parmelee, RF
 Thames, E, RF  Plouffe, 3B
 Ryan, SS  Florimon, SS
 _Beavan, P  _Duensing, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Seattle 1 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 5 6 0
Minnesota 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 4 6 1

Well that was pretty disappointing.  The Twins had just six hits, one of them a two-run bomb from Josh Willingham (his 33rd of the season), but a disastrous 6th inning from Brian Duensing and Casey Fien led to four runs and that was enough for the Mariners to secure the win.

Try again tomorrow in Kansas City.

-ERolfPleiss

GameChat – Minnesota Twins @ Kansas City Royals, 7:10pm

Should be a fun night in the chat as the Twins look to win another series from a Central Division foe AND the MLB First-Year Player Draft is in full swing.

MLB.com is running live draft coverage over at their website, and all signs point towards the Twins drafting the toolsy high school outfielder Byron Buxton out of Georgia.  Baseball America rates him as the best talent available in the 2012 draft and with the Twins unlikely to turn their team around in the immediate future, fans should not be concerned about the lengthy development time of a high schooler.  After the #2 pick the Twins still have 4 more of the top 75 picks, and they will likely add a couple of college arms and then look for middle infield depth.

UPDATE: TWINS TAKE BYRON BUXTON WITH THE 2ND OVERALL PICK.

Oh, and here are the line ups for the game, which is being played tonight, not 3-5 years in the future (who would have thought: the Twins have 3 hitters hitting .280+ at the top of the line up and Joe Mauer has the day off to nurse his thumb):

Minnesota Twins

@

Kansas City Royals

 Span, CF  Gordon, LF
 Revere, RF  Giavotella, 2B
 Willingham, DH  Butler, DH
 Morneau, 1B  Moustakas, 3B
 Doumit, C Francoeur, RF
 Plouffe, LF  Hosmer, 1B
 Dozier, SS  Escobar, A, SS
 Casilla, A, 2B  Dyson, CF
 Carroll, 3B  Quintero, C
 _De Vries, P  _Smith, W,

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 2 1 0 1 3 1 0 2 0 10 12 2
Kansas City 0 1 0 3 0 1 0 0 2 7 8 1

Cole DeVries picked up his first Major League win by surviving five innings. He wasn’t great, but he also had some pretty erratic defense behind him at times. The bullpen came through yet again and the offense tagged Royals pitching for 10 runs on 12 hits.

Once again, there was no shortage of Boyfriend of the Day candidates. Josh Willingham, Justin Morneau and Trevor Plouffe went deep. But in the end, we’re going with co-BOD awards for Ben Revere (3 hits, 2 runs, 2 RBI, and a stolen base) and Jamey Carroll (3 hits and a walk in four trips to the plate including a triple, 2 runs, 2 RBI, and a stolen base). Those are some good numbers! – JC

Ben Revere

Jamey Carroll

.

GameChat – Oakland Athletics @ Minnesota Twins 1:10pm

Happy Memorial Day, Twins fans.

For me, Memorial Day weekend was always a time when our family went on a camping trip.  In the last three years I have been camping about 15 times.  Mostly overnight trips, but a few week long adventures in the boundary waters.  I just love camping.  Something about spending time in the woods, sleeping in a tent and cooking food with a fire that really excites me.  But here’s the thing, those last 15 times I have been camping, it has rained EVERY TIME.  Not just passing showers or an occasional drizzle.  I’m talking about wind and thunder and lightening and everything.  I tell people that if they need rain all they have to do is invite me on a camping trip.  And that has me thinking about the Twins.

Despite the Twins’ tough early schedule it seemed like the Twins were catching a lot of teams while they were down.  Twins played the Red Sox and Yankees and Angels and the Tigers this season and each team was struggling to string together stretches of good solid baseball.  Enter the Twins.  It seems like every time one of the Twins’ opponents really needs to turn things around the Twins are more than happy to do it.  So MLB owners, if your team is struggling, all you have to do is invite the Twins to town.

Oakland was 22-21 before their current 5 game losing streak, perfect time for them to visit Minnesota…

Here are the line ups for the Twins and Athletics:

Oakland Athletics

@

Minnesota Twins
Weeks, 2B Span, CF
Crisp, CF Mastroianni, RF
Reddick, RF Mauer, C
Gomes, J, DH Willingham, LF
Inge, 3B Morneau, 1B
Suzuki, K, C Doumit, DH
Ka’aihue, 1B Dozier, SS
Cowgill, LF Plouffe, 3B
Rosales, SS Casilla, A, 2B
_Blackley, T, P _Diamond, P

 

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

How about that, a Twins win!  What a great birthday present for our very own CapitalBabs!  Happy birthday, Babs, hope you enjoyed that one as much as the rest of us.

Serious Boyfriend of the Day material! (Photo: Craig Lassig/AP)

Scott Diamnd pitched pretty well through the first 6 innings before running into trouble in the 7th and being lifted after just one out.  The bullpen gave up a run in the 8th but the Twins battled back with two runs in the bottom of the 8th thanks to a Justin Morneau double that scored Joe Mauer and a sac fly from Ryan Doumit to score Josh Willingham.

For his RBI double Morneau is today’s BOD.  What a swell guy.

-ERolfPleiss

GameChat – Twins @ Mariners #3, 3:10pm

Ron Gardenhire has announced that Brian Dozier will be the team’s starting shortstop when he arrives in the clubhouse on Monday.  Jamey Carroll will be shifted to a utility role for the time being,  giving Gardenhire an opportunity to give occasional rest to Danny Valencia and Alexi Casilla (or replace them if they continue to struggle).

The Twins’ 9 hits in their last 4 games is the worst streak in the modern era (since 1900).  Ouch.  Let’s hope for something better this afternoon.

Erik Komatsu is in right field again, Mauer is back behind the plate for the first time in almost a week, and Carroll will get a swan-song at shortstop.  Here is the rest:

 Minnesota Twins

@

Seattle Mariners
 Span, CF  Ackley, 2B
 Carroll, SS  Ryan, SS
 Mauer, C  Suzuki, I, RF
 Willingham, LF  Montero, DH
 Doumit, DH  Seager, 3B
 Parmelee, 1B  Jaso, C
 Valencia, 3B  Smoak, 1B
 Komatsu, RF  Carp, LF
 Casilla, A, 2B  Saunders, M, CF
  _Blackburn, P   _Noesi, P

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

2

5

0

Seattle

3

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

X

5

7

2

 

Ryan Doumit was 3/3 with a walk and 2 HR.  The rest of the Twins were 2/27 with 5 walks and 6 strikeouts.  All in all, another pretty disappointing display of baseball from the Twins.

Twins are back home tomorrow to start a 9 game homestand.  Francisco Liriano takes the mound against a no-name pitcher for the Angels, Jered Weaver.

-ERolfPleiss