Boyfriend of the Month for July is No Surprise. DY!

Yeah, big shock huh? Delmon Young kicked some major butt in July (no doubt motivated by having to share the Knuckleballs Boyfriend of the Month award with Carl Pavano in June) and ran away with the BOM race last month. DY racked up six Boyfriend of the Day awards in July alone.

We Knuckleballers weren’t the only ones impressed with Delmon’s performance in July, however. According to The Sports Network, Delmon and Toronto’s Jose Bautista are sharing the July American League Player of the Month award.

Pavano, meanwhile, apparently believed duplicating the three BOD awards that earned him a share of the BOM prize for June would be enough to do the same in July. Silly starting pitcher.

Young is now in double figures for BOD awards on the year, tallying 11 awards with two months of games still to play. Pavano’s six BODs are good for second place, thus far, in the Boyfriend of the Year race. His grip on the runner-up spot is tenuous however, as Francisco Liriano finished July just one BOD award behind Pavano and has already made up the distance with an early August BOD.

Denard Span, Jason Kubel, Kevin Slowey and Denard Span round out the top 5 (and ties) with four BODs each through the end of July. (Slowey got the jump on that group with his 5th BOD Thursday.)

Will DY continue running away with the BOY race? Will The ‘Stache fend off the challengers for runner-up? Let’s just hope August brings a lot of wins and a lot of BODs! – JC

GameChat – Twins @ Orioles #4, 12:35 pm, WFTC29 & am1500

Remember how I was saying yesterday that the Twins & Orioles keep working very hard to split the season series?  Here’s the chance for the Twins to prove me wrong.  We’re one game up on them and it’s time to finish strong.  It’s definitely the B squad lineup today though so it will be interesting to see what happens because the Orioles have the A team out there – including ‘just off the DL’ Wieters behind homeplate. Given the younger boys on the field behind him, I’m hoping that Kevin Slowey improves on his last start and has a kickass day.  We could all use it.  According to LENIII, Gardy has the roster subs out there for a few reasons: Span was sick all night after the game (heat can do nasty things like that), he really felt that Hardy needed a day off, Mauer is getting the day game after a night game off (he told us he was going to be doing that more) and still no official word on Hudson.  I have to admit that I am kind of looking forward to seeing what the young guys can do when give the opportunity – even Lexi.. again.

Minnesota @ Baltimore
Repko, CF   Patterson, C, LF
Casilla, A, 2B   Tejada, 3B
Young, D, LF   Markakis, RF
Thome, DH   Scott, 1B
Cuddyer, 1B   Wigginton, DH
Kubel, RF   Pie, CF
Valencia, 3B   Wieters, C
Punto, SS   Lugo, 2B
Butera, C   Izturis, C, SS
Slowey, P   Arrieta, P

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 4 1 1 3 0 0 1 10 19 0
Baltimore 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 4 10 1

 

Well that was an interesting ‘getaway day’. The Twins claim the series 3 games to 1 with a 10-4 win over the O’s after a rain delay in the middle of the 7th inning. Kevin Slowey earned various baked goods, at least, with a  very nice 6 inning performance (we won’t go in to Blackie’s 9th inning hiccups that delayed the inevitable at this point). Jason Repko and Alexi Casilla did a nice enough job of getting on base in the 1-2 spots that any concerns about the two of them being inserted there (not that anyone here would question Gardy’s decisions!) proved without merit… today anyway. Lexi, Little Nicky and DannyV all contributed 3 hits each, Jim Thome launched his 12th HR of the year and Repko claimed his first dinger as a Twin. Baked goods all around.

But Jason Kubel earned Boyfriend of the Day honors with his 3-for-5 performance that included a 2-out Grand Salami in the 3rd inning to give the Twins the lead and a little breathing room besides. Let’s hope this is what Kube needs to get himself on a bit of a roll.

After the game, the Twins announced Orlando Hudson would indeed be going on the Disabled List to rest his strained oblique muscle and catcher Jose Morales would be called up from Rochester. It’s an interesting move and it makes one wonder if Gardy will be giving Joe Mauer more games at DH and letting Butera and Morales handle more of the catching duties while Joe nurses his heel, shoulder, or whatever the heck else is wrong with him back to health.

Oh, and since I didn’t get my wish to have the Twins trade for Cliff Lee, it’s only fair, I suppose, that those of you who preferred Dan Haren as a trade target don’t get what you wanted either. The Angels have acquired Haren for pitcher Joe Saunders and others.   – JC

Who is the BOM and who will be your BOY… friend?

If you’ve been a regular Knuckleballs reader or participant in our live GameChats, you know we hand out a BOD (Boyfriend of the Day) award to the Twins player(s) we determine to be most worthy of the BOD title after each Twins win. If you AREN’T a regular reader or participant in our GameChat, then you’ll just have to take my word for it.

With the Month of May closed out, it’s time to tally up all the BOD awards and announce our BOM (Boyfriend of the Month). Naturally, when the season is over, we’ll be adding things up, hosting a big banquet* for all of our favorite Knuckleballs, Batlings, and anyone else we can convince to share a meal with us, and announcing the first (annual?) Knuckleballs BOY (Boyfriend of the Year… how coincidentally appropriate is THAT acronym?!).

*OK so there may not really be a banquet, but it would be cool to get together and have an adult beverage or two, right?

Anyway, we’ve really been spreading the BOD love around. No single player was named BOD more than three times in May. In fact, no player has earned more than three BOD awards during the entire season, to date! But enough with the suspense. The May Knuckleballs BOM is….

Jason Kubel... our May Boyfriend of the Month!

Jason Kubel!

Yes, not only is Jason our BOM for May, he is also the current leader in the BOY race, with 3 BOD awards.

Justin Morneau, Delmon Young, Nick Blackburn, and Denard Span each had 2 BODs in May (after each was shut out in April). Francisco Liriano had 2 BODs in April, but failed to register one in May (making Frankie he unofficial BOM for April… unofficial because we didn’t start awarding the BODs until halfway through the month and, well, a guy should have to win more than twice to get an honor as prestigous as BOM).

Joe Mauer, Kevin Slowey, and Orlando Hudson each picked up one BOD in each month, also giving them two for the year.

Seven other Twins players have received one BOD award each.

So let the battle be engaged for the honor of Knuckleballs BOY! – JC

GameChat – Rangers @ Twins #3, 7:05 pm, ESPN & am1500

A LOT happened in baseball this weekend – some very cool things and some not cool things.  In former Twins notes, Carlos Silva is SERIOUSLY kicking ass this season so far – he’s 7-0 and honestly pitching well.  I’m happy for him – especially since it’s pretty unexpected.  Roy Halladay threw MLB’s 20th Perfect Game and the second one this month.  And Kendry Morales hit a walk-off grand slam to lift the Angels over the Mariners – and then failed to walk off.  Why?  Because he BROKE HIS LEG in the home plate celebration!  I think a LOT of teams will be a bit more restrained in such celebrations in the future but I sure do feel horrible for Morales and the Angels.  Whether or not he’s able to get back before the end of the season is still up in the air.  His surgery to make repairs to the ankle has been put off because he still has too much swelling.

I’m listening to the thunder softly rumble outside and the rain come down in dribbles, so I’m not sure what the fate of the game will be.  Too bad we’re on ESPN schedule and didn’t play this afternoon when we usually would have.

Texas @ Minnesota
Andrus, El, SS   Span, CF
Young, M, 3B   Hudson, O, 2B
Kinsler, 2B   Mauer, C
Guerrero, DH   Morneau, 1B
Hamilton, LF   Cuddyer, RF
Murphy, Dv, RF   Kubel, DH
Smoak, 1B   Young, D, LF
Treanor, C   Hardy, SS
Borbon, CF   Punto, 3B
  Holland, P     Baker, S, P

 

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

 

It certainly feels good to get a sweep in!  The boys did an all around good job if the exceptional still eluded most.  However, Kubel continued to follow the big boys with RISP hitting and Nicky did a brilliant job tonight as well – fun to see him on base that often and STEALING besides.  Even Mauer couldn’t do THAT right tonight.  So for those reasons, we voted to let them share the BOD honors.

a salute to you too BOD!

hit that ball Kubes!

And sadly, for those that saw the final pitch and out of the game, you saw the horrific flying formation that Denard Span and Orlando Hudson attempted – which neither landed successfully.  Hudson seemed to take the worst of the landing and Span actually managed to hang onto the ball in the sacrifice of the body.  For their determination and tenacity and for walking off the field under their own power, we award them the Golden Band-aid!

GameChat – Yankees @ Twins #3, 7:10 pm

I am never happier than when we are finally done with the Yankees.  I would like to see our pitching continue to be stellar but I would appreciate it if our offense would attend to scoring individuals who are already on base.  And frankly, the much vaunted lack of homeruns doesn’t bother me at all and I think perhaps the boys should get that crap out of their minds and just hit when it counts instead of trying to put it over the wall.  It’s pissing me off.  Just because we have a lineup that CAN hit homeruns doesn’t mean every swing should try to be one.  And funny, but it seems like they start hitting them like crazy every time they quit trying….  Just saying…

NY Yankees @ Minnesota
Jeter, SS   Span, CF
Gardner, CF   Hudson, O, 2B
Teixeira, 1B   Mauer, C
Rodriguez, A, 3B   Morneau, 1B
Cano, 2B   Thome, DH
Swisher, RF   Cuddyer, RF
Miranda, DH   Kubel, LF
Cervelli, C   Hardy, SS
Russo, LF   Casilla, A, 3B
  Vazquez, J, P     Blackburn, P

 

I’ll be at a Church Choir picnic for the first part of the game – diligently listening on my pocket radio & headphones however – so I won’t be joining you until partway through the game.  Have fun Chatting!!

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NY Yankees 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 10 0
Minnesota 1 2 0 0 1 1 3 0 x 8 12 1

 

wow, that was just sooooo much fun to watch!  I wish I could have a snapshot of the look on Morneau & Mauer’s face on that first long shot – they were just so excited!!  And I couldn’t be HAPPIER to be done with the Yankees for the regular season and to see it end so well.  BOD is an OBVIOUS nod to Kubel.

Kubel with TWO homeruns and 5 RBI! YANKEE KILLER!

GameChat – Brewers @ Twins Part Deux, Sat. 3:10 pm

Can we order up a game JUST like the one last night, please?

BREWERS @ TWINS
Weeks, 2B Span, CF
Gomez, C, CF Hudson, O, 2B
Braun, DH Mauer, C
Fielder, 1B Morneau, 1B
McGehee, C, 3B Cuddyer, RF
Hart, C, RF Kubel, DH
Inglett, LF Young, D, LF
Escobar, A, SS Plouffe, SS
Kottaras, G, C Punto, 3B
Gallardo, P Slowey, P

Babs and KL are at Target Field today and I’m doing some manual labor this afternoon so I’m not all that sure who will or won’t be around for the GameChat, but I hope everyone enjoys the game, wherever you are!

***********************

Well that took a little longer than it needed to, but it all worked out in the end, right?

Consensus in the GameChat was that four hits, scoring the winning run, and catching 12 innings earns Joe Mauer Boyfriend of the Day honors. I’m going to award baked goods to Jason Kubel for FINALLY coming through with a game winning RBI (though it would have been nice if he had done so on either of his first two opportunities).

The Chairman Rules!

Mauer earns BOD, with baked goods for Kubel.

Twins History Lesson: May 17-23

UPDATE: I didn’t want to create a brand new post this morning, but as I was perusing through a few sites, I came across a couple of items that I thought others might enjoy. So, if you have a few minutes, check out:

This article by the PioneerPress’ Brian Murphy on Twins LOOGY, Ron Mahay. Did you know… Mahay came up through the Red Sox organization as an outfielder and made it to the Bigs in that capacity… and is one of two remaining “Replacement Players” who filled in during the strike of 1994-95… leading to him not being entitled to any licensing royalties from the MLBPA (and thus explaining the mysterious “Ryan Moss” in the Twins bullpen in the MLB 2K10 video game)… which led to him eventually having a closed-door “come-to-Jesus” meeting with Roger Clemens… which came shortly before throwing his first bullpen session (in Australia) and earning $20 bucks on a bet from his manager there (who promptly called the Sox and told them to make Mahay a pitcher)… leading to a nearly 10-year MLB career during which he’s played for 9 different teams, 5 of them (counting the Twins) twice. Yes, I know I’ve irritated some people by communicating my support for Mahay, but beware… after reading this article, I like the guy even more. Talk about persistence!

And over here in Curve for a Strike, we get to go along on a weekend’s worth of Twins games at the new Death Star, culminating in Kubel’s “cleansing breath” of a grand slam HR. Good stuff, along with accompanying pictures!

***********************************************

This week sees the anniversaries of a few more Twins “firsts” as well as  several more noteworthy games in Twins history*.

May 17 has seen a couple of terrific performances over the years.

1963: Bob Allison became the first Twin to hit 3 home runs in one game. Hit hit a HR to LF, CF and RF in his final 3 ABs against the Tribe in an eventual 11-4 Twins win. Only 3 Twins have accomplished the same feat that Allison did. You may recognize their names: Killebrew, Oliva and Morneau.

1998: The Twins were on the wrong end when David Wells of the Yankees threw the 13th perfect game in MLB history against the twins in a 4-0 win for the Evil Empire.

Likewise, May 18 has witnessed a couple of impressive games:

1969: You couldn’t blame Tiger AllStar battery Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan if they said the 3rd inning of their game vs. the Twins on this date was the worst inning in their respective careers. In that one inning, Rod Carew stole 2B, 3B and home… and Cesar Tovar stole 3B and home the same inning, tying a MLB record.

1983: The Twins defeated the A’s 16-5 as they rolled off 18 hits (including 6 doubles and a HR) off of A’s pitching in the first 6 innings of the game, behind Frank Viola (who hadn’t won a game since August of the prior season). A’s third baseman Wayne Gross pitched the final 2 1/3 innings for the A’s… holding the Twins scoreless.

May 19, 1961 saw the first grand slam home run hit by a Minnesota Twin when Dan Dobbek went yard with bases loaded off of Kansas City A’s pitcher Ed Rakow.

We could write an entire post just listing the interesting events that have taken place on May 20 over the years. With some difficulty, I’ve culled them down to the following:

1962: Relief pitcher Ray Moore became the first Twins pitcher to both win and lose a game on the same day as he took the loss in the first game of a double header at Yankee Stadium and got the W in the second game.

1970: Rod Carew became the first Twin to hit for the cycle in a 10-5 victory over the Royals.

1984: The Twins lost 5-4 to Boston. Roger Clemens K’d 7 Twins in 7 innings for his first MLB win. He would go on to win a few more.

1989: Two Twins entered the record books during a 19-3 win over the Rangers in Arlington. Dan Gladden had 7 plate appearances in a 9 inning game, tying a record, and Randy Bush tied a Twins record with 8 RBI.

1994: Scott Erickson’s hot start to the season hit a road bump when he was scratched from his start after developing a stiff back warming up. Rookie Carlos Pulido, who hadn’t pitched in 10 days, got the start and retired 9 of the first 10 RedSox he faced. Meanwhile, the Twins forged a 10-0 lead through 3 innings and added 11 more runs in the 5th inning, on the way to a 21-2 win. The Twins offense was led by Kirby Puckett, who knocked in a career high 7 RBI in just 3 ABs. The next night, the Twins beat the RedSox again, on a 1-0 score.

1995: Rookie Marty Cordova tied a record for rookies by hitting a home run in his fifth consecutive game.

2005: Carlos Silva used only 74 pitches in a complete game win over the Brewers.

Besides being the day when (in 1999) the Twins acquired Kyle Lohse from the Cubs for Rick Aguilera (there were a couple of other players included as well), May 21 is perhaps best remembered as the date the Twins took the field in 2009 at US Cellular Field for the final game of road trip that had seen them drop four straight (2 in Extra Innings) to the Evil Empire and two more to the BitchSox. The Twins released a week’s worth of frustration on the Tidy Whities in a 20-1 win that was the worst defeat for Chicago in the franchise’s history.

May 22 has been just marginally more eventful:

1981: After 8 straight losses, John Goryl was fired as manager of the Twins and replaced by Billy Gardner. The Twins celebrated with a 7-0 shutout of KC.

2002: In what could have been an eventful day in Twins history, Governor Jesse Ventura signed a bill in to law approving financing of a new open-air stadium for the Twins. The Twins were eventually unable to meet the terms laid out in the deal and it expired. Almost 8 years later, the Twins are finally playing in their new ballpark.

2009: Michael Cuddyer became the second Twin to hit for the cycle in the 2009 season as he went 4-5 in an 11-3 win over the Brewers.

The week winds down with a bit of a slow date in Twins history, with May 23:

1991: The Twins wasted a 6-hit game by Kirby Puckett in a 10-6 Extra Inning loss to the Texas Rangers.

2009: Anthony Swarzak became the first Twins starting pitcher to record 7 scoreless innings in his MLB debut.

So that’s this upc0ming week in Twins history! Let’s see if the 2010 team can generate a few highlights this week that we can look back on in future years!

-JC

*We pull this information from a few different sources, including (but not necessarily limited to) Dave Wright’s excellent book, “162-0, The Greatest Wins!”, as well as some  internet sites like “Twins Trivia” and “National Pastime”.

GameChat Twins @ Yankees

Can we PLEASE stop acting like “OMG we don’t belong on the same field as these guys”?

Twins @ Evil Empire
Span, CF   Jeter, DH
Hudson, O, 2B   Gardner, CF
Mauer, C   Teixeira, 1B
Morneau, 1B   Rodriguez, A, 3B
Cuddyer, RF   Cano, 2B
Thome, DH   Posada, C
Kubel, LF   Thames, RF
Casilla, A, SS   Winn, LF
Tolbert, 3B   Pena, R, SS
Blackburn, P   Mitre, P

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 6 9 0
NY Yankees 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 11 0

 

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!!!!

FINALLY!!

Ok, really it’s hard to contain the excitement!  Both the people on the radio or in the chat room… just so many things you could say but I think everyone feels the same about finally beating the Yankees in Yankee Stadium.  The very idea that it happened in such a dramatic fashion against Rivera – first blown save at home since 2007 and he hasn’t given up a Grand Slam since 2002.  But you knew this was going to be an odd day when he WALKED Thome with the bases loaded.  But without doubt, kudos of the day go to Jason Kubel who comes in with the bases loaded to break two jinxes – Yankee Stadium and Bases-Loaded HR!  So thank you to our BOD!!

And the Chat bestows piles of baked goods on Blackburn and the Bullpen for the FANTASTIC pitching of the day.  And we’ll even let Gardy have one as long as he doesn’t share with Ullger.