Tuesday, June 30, 2009

If You Haven't Seen This Yet, You Should

The awesome Katie over at Oh, It's THOSE Girls is flexing her amazingness-muscles once again. She wrote up a clever survey and sent it off to Nick Blackburn to fill out, and he did. Really. It's terrific! Terrific questions and terrific responses. And Nick's a great sport for doing it.

So, if you ever wanted to know the answers to important things like what Nick's coolest nicknames are, what superpowers he wishes he had, or his opinion on puppies, you'd better head on over there tout de suite!

Get To Know 'Em: Nick Blackburn

What are you still doing here? Click that link already! Scoot!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Boring Vacation Pictures

I remember when I was a kid, my dad and I would visit my aunt and uncle, and every time they would drag out their projector and show us their boring vacation slides. Well, it's my turn now to show off my pictures of my trip to St. Louis. Except I don't have to try to set up the stupid screen.

Beautiful Busch Stadium

These are all over town -- all decked out for the All Star Game


A beautiful cityscape out in left-center

Twins taking batting practice

My lame attempt to zoom the zoom -- I put the lens of the camera into the eye of the binoculars

Standing around

A pretty nice scoreboard

Pujols broke the I in "BIG" on a homerun a couple weeks ago

It was a scorcher on Saturday -- it says 99 -- but it was still a big crowd

Sunday, June 28, 2009

St. Louis or Bust!

Just back from my trip to St. Louis. I wanted to let everyone know that we're home safely (hi Mom!). It's kind of late, so I'll make this brief. I'll post some pictures and travel notes as soon as I get a chance (hoping for tomorrow).

Friday: Twins 3 - Cardinals 1
Saturday: Twins 3 - Cardinals 5
Sunday: Twins 6 - Cardinals 2

All in all, it was a great trip. We toured the Anheuser-Busch brewery, which was very interesting. We even got to sample some beer right out of the vat, just before it went to packaging -- very fresh. We missed out on a stadium tour (tickets were sold out), but we got there early enough to walk around. It's a beautiful place, and the city is all decked out for the All-Star Game. I loved it.

Friday's game was fun. It was hot, but not unbearable. We sat behind some really friendly Cards fans who were impressed with Perkins.

Saturday's game, on the other hand, was still fun, but the heat was awful. Our seats were directly in the sun. We could only sit there for the first two innings before I started to feel ill. We watched the rest of the game standing in the concourse area, but that was just fine -- it was shaded, there was a railing to lean on, and we could see everything. I'm willing to bet those spots are the "standing room only" spots. I wish the game would've turned out differently, but I wasn't totally upset. I admire Albert Pujols, so it was a little fun to watch him have a good day.

We were driving through Iowa during Sunday's game. Again, I was thankful for the XM radio. Listing to the STL feed made me think that the older man (I don't remember their names) must've had more than one cigarette and more than one scotch in his lifetime. I was pleased with Liriano's performance.


A few things I learned on this trip:
  • Hubby and I are smarter than our TomTom.
  • Breweries make hubby very, very happy.
  • The Cardinals struggle with left-handed pitching (according to several fans I met). Good thing we threw both ours at them.
  • There is a "Red Car Club" (a group of retired couples who drive cool red covertibles) following the Twins on the MIL-STL-KC road trip. (I want to be them when I retire!)
  • Tickets to the All Star Game events are still available behind home plate...for $13,500 a seat. (I could almost buy one of those aforementioned red convertibles for that.)
  • I am a heat-wimp. I knew I was a cold-wimp, but being a heat-wimp is news to me.
  • Cardinals fans really hate it when pitchers walk Albert Pujols, even when they don't mean to.
And my very favorite moment of the trip...
  • Friday, when Joe Nathan faced Albert Pujols in the ninth with a man on second and nobody out. The entire stadium was rocking, cheering for Albert. And when Nathan struck him out, all the Twins fans went nuts. A terrific baseball moment.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Brewing Right Along

Well, to use a very cliched line in a Meatloaf song, two outta three ain't bad. But, oh, that one that got away....

Tuesday: Twins 7 - Brewers 3
Wednesday: Twins 3 - Brewers 4
Thursday: Twins 6 - Brewers 4

Tuesday's game seemed to last for...ev...er. Liriano was effective enough, but struggled. And the misplays by the Brewers were great for the Twins. The game got better once the bullpen came in. It's good to see that they're getting things together. I even commented on Twitter that the more I see R.A. Dickey, the more I like having him around.

Wednesday's game was a stinger. Blackie did such a nice job pitching, only to be overshadowed by that one, painful misplay. Ouch. When I was watching it, I felt like I got punched in the gut! I can't even imagine how poor Nick felt. I hope he's got thick skin and can get over it quick. So, yeah, maybe I should stop talking about it.

On a side note about Wednesday's game -- there was a Brewers fan in my house (one of my son's buddies) for the last few innings, and he's a pretty intense sports fan. When that error happened, he cheered for his team, he said something about never seeing Jason Kendall getting hits like that, and that's it. No rubbing it in. No smack talk. No in my face. Just a smile for the team he loves. Maybe it was because I must have looked like I was about to cry, but he was super classy. And I appreciated it. He can watch baseball with me any time.

I spent Thursday's game driving. For my last birthday, hubby bought me an XM radio for my car. I use it every day, but it really paid for itself today because I didn't miss a moment of the Twins game while cruising through Iowa and Missouri. XM airs the home team feed, so I got to listen to Bob Uecker and the other guy. It's always fun to listen to other broadcasters, but I really got a kick out Uecker. He speaks in a choppy, staccato style, as if there's a full-stop after every word. But he's got a great sense of humor, and does great play-by-play (hint: he tells the score exactly often enough). He was especially amused when a foul ball screamed over Prince Fielder's head causing Prince to fall and flip a somersault (I can't wait to see video of that). But anyway, it was a good game for the Twins: Scotty pitched well, the bats made enough noise, and The Nathonator saved it. I liked seeing this in my car as I was driving (ok, I wasn't driving when I took this picture; we switched drivers in the bottom of the 8th):


So, you may be asking, "k-bro, why are you doing all that driving?" Well, let me tell you...I'm in St. Louis! See?

We came to see the boys in the new Busch stadium. We're going to Friday night's and Saturday afternoon's games. There might be a brewery tour involved as well.

As I'm typing this, the weather forecast came on. Yup, St. Louis knows how to do hot -- 94 Friday, and 99 Saturday (with a heat index of 110). So, I might be partaking in brewery products.

I'll have pictures when I get back. If you want to keep up with my random observations in semi-real time, follow me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/kbrobaseball).

Monday, June 22, 2009

An Off-Day Ramble in Defense of Baseball and Blogging

Fair warning: I'm on my soap box and about to throw out some controversy. I'll return to my regularly scheduled nonsense next time.

I was listening to the Play Ball podcast that went online 6/17, and it got me thinking. They interviewed Christine Brennan, a columnist from USA Today, for about 30 minutes, and it was fantastic. She talked about her dad, Title IX, our need to support women's pro sports, covering the Olympics, discrimination in golf, and other issues.

While I enjoyed the interview, and agreed with a vast majority of what she said, I'm going to exercise my right to respectfully disagree with her on two points.

She is quite adamant regarding re-instating softball into the Olympics, and I would love to see that as well. However, I have to disagree with her assessment that baseball does not belong in the Olympics. She claims that, because if its association with performance enhancing drugs, it should not be included. Here's a direct quote from her blog:

"Baseball deserved the ax mostly due to a word you've probably heard: steroids."
What a slap in the face to the clean guys worldwide who've participated! And while it's true that softball has a perfect record so far regarding testing, she seems to imply that the likelihood of steroid use follows gender lines. I don't buy it. And if we're going to throw out entire sports because of the sins of a few participants, then Track and Field needs a closer look. Those athletes, from both genders, have had their fair share of issues with PEDs. (To be clear, I am not implying at all that Track and Field be tossed from the Olympics; I am merely using it as an example.)

So enough on that topic. The other topic that got my undies in a bunch was a 3 minute (more or less) rant regarding blogging. Apparently, some blogger somewhere accused some athlete of using performance enhancing drugs. (I am aware of the blog post in question, but I didn't really read it carefully; I pretty much started reading it, rolled my eyes, and closed it. I don't want to address it specifically because it doesn't really matter.) I believe the main-stream media may have ran with the story, or at least linked to the blog, but I'm not entirely sure.

The bunching-undies part comes when she asserts that we should only read blogs from "legitimate, trained journalists" and that we should never pay attention to "a guy or woman in their pajamas in their basement." (Hey, that's me!) She goes on to say, "they can certainly have an opinion, but do we want to waste one moment of our time on earth reading those opinions?"

Wow. Now I admit that no one is going to confuse this blog with a "real" sports blog -- I consider myself more of a "sport fan experience" blogger -- so I don't think she was really talking about me and my peers. But there are plenty of "real" sports blogs out there that I do read and enjoy. Some of them are from trained journalists and some of them are not. However, though I don't exactly know the backgrounds and experiences of some of the "untrained" bloggers, many of them have established pretty credible reputations - I can tell they do their due diligence with research and analysis. I applaud them and will continue to read them. Being "untrained" does not equate to being "un-valuable."

While I agree that it's very dangerous territory for someone to throw out unfounded, unresearched, and unsourced accusations, especially with such an explosive subject as steroid use, I am willing to say that 99.9% of blog readers understand the difference between a credible source and an opinion. And to imply that I shouldn't waste my time reading them is akin to saying that I shouldn't waste my time chatting about sports with my co-workers around the water cooler.

I believe people watch sports for two reasons: to be entertained while the game is on, and to talk about it afterwards. Blogging is really a sophisticated way to have that water-cooler chat with more thought and a wider audience. If it's acceptable to say "I think so-and-so sucks" around the water cooler, it's perfectly acceptable to say it in your blog. If people don't like it, they'll stop reading.

The danger comes in that once opinions are out there, that bell can't be unrung. So the good ones look up the numbers, think things through, and choose their works carefully. The bad ones throw the spaghetti on the wall to see if it'll stick. As readers, it's our responsibility to keep our B.S. meters on and working. If we come across something that's just there to get attention, or worse, outright wrong, we should just ignore it. And it's the main-stream media's responsibility to choose links to blogs with the same care they use for writing their own stories.

So, those are the opinions of a girl who's usually in her sweats in her basement saying whatever she feels like on her blog. And I hope no one takes it too seriously.

I want to re-iterate that I thought Ms. Brennan's interview was terrific. She really had some thought-provoking opinions.

I also want to heap tons of praise on the Play Ball podcast. It is "ESPN's podcast by women, for women and the men who want to understand their women better," and it is a blast to listen to. Amanda and Melissa conduct great interviews, talk sports with intelligence, and have a bunch of fun. I listen to it every week. You should too.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Just Below the Threshold

I was away for the weekend camping with my family, and the Twins drop two games against a National League team? At home? I figured if it was safe for me to leave them on their own for a weekend, this would be it. *Sigh.*

Friday: Twins 5 - Astros 2
Saturday: Twins 5 - Astros 6
Sunday: Twins 1 - Astros 4

I only caught very few bits and pieces of the game on Friday. I heard that Nathan came out in the 8th inning. I heard Delmon made a nice catch and hit a homerun.

On Saturday, I heard that the Twins were up 2-1 in the middle of the 6th. Well after the game ended, I heard that they lost 5 - 6. My first thought was that the bullpen blew it. My second thought was that Scotty broke down in the 7th. Turns out my first instincts were correct. So while I was having a great time dancing to a pretty good cover band and singing Lynyrd Skynyrd and Tom Petty and other great songs at the top of my lungs (I may have had a little beer), the bullpen was letting a perfectly winnable game get away. Nice.

I listened to a good portion of the game on the radio while driving home. Someone needs to remind Dan Gladden that he needs to finish what he's saying because we can't see what he's reacting to. But anyways, I just sounded like a generally weak effort all around.

Up next: an off-day and then the Brewers in Milwaukee. I'm curious to see if the Twins fans will be as well represented as they usually are because this series is during the week. If I remember correctly, the Brewers series are usually on weekends. If you're going, have safe travels, have a great time, and cheer loudly for the Twins.


So, as I was catching up on the on all the blog entries I missed, I kept seeing a recurring theme: why can't the Twins push themselves over the .500 threshold and stay there?

I have a theory.

Rumor has it that some members of division rivals (had to be Tigers or White Sox) snuck into the Metrodome's attic and installed a miniature sound system hooked to a hypnosis tape that repeats, just below the level of adult human audible recognition, "live in the land of below five hundred...." The Twins organization found out during Family Day on Sunday when one of the players' kids said something to his dad, because, like we all know, kids hear way better than grown-ups do. Unfortunately, it was too close to game time to take care of it, so the misery continued. I'm hopeful that they were able to send someone up there to disconnect it (I think one of the Redmond boys should do it, because if they're anything like their dad, they're certainly tough enough).

But to aid in speedy deprogramming, I created some visual aids the Twins should use while they're on the road. Someone should print out several copies of these and paste them up all over the visiting clubhouses in Miller Park and Busch Stadium (hey...the beer parks together in one trip).

Living in the Land of Below Five Hundred

Living in the Land of Above Five Hundred

It can't hurt; it might help.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pirates and then Unplugged

First of all, let me apologize in advance for the lameness of this post. It's late and I still have stuff to do before I go to bed.

The reason I couldn't post earlier is because I went to the Champps in Maple Grove to see Michael Cuddyer, Glen Perkins, and Scott Baker at one of their Unplugged events. More about that later.

First the Pirates series.

Tuesday: Twins 8 - Pirates 2
Wednesday: Twins 2 - Pirates 8
Thursday: Twins 5 - Pirates 1

So, didn't it seem like Tuesday's and Wednesday's game were mirror images of each other? I mean, more so than the score shows?

It was nice that the boys gave Perkins some run support on his first day back from the DL on Tuesday.

I am a little annoyed with the bullpen for Wednesday's performance. When Liriano left, we were still "in the game" -- only down by two. And then the bullpen stunk it up. Oh well, it wouldn't have mattered anyway, because the rest of the boys weren't doing much either.

Blackburn must have been annoyed with the bullpen too, because Thursday he took matters into his own hands and tossed a beautiful complete game. And it was oh so close to a shutout, with the Pirates hitting a double and then a single with two outs in the ninth to score that only run. Nice work Blackie. I'll take a performance like that anytime.


So I met up with fellow bloggers For the Love of the Game, Lipgloss & Baseball, KC Baseball Blog, and Tricia for the Unplugged appearance at Champps. It was a great time. I loved meeting the gals. Cuddy, Perk, and Scotty were fun. It was packed. Some old woman told us we were making too much noise, but we totally weren't; she was an old hag.

I only had my lame cell phone camera so these are the only pictures I have:

There they are waaaay in the back. Cuddy's wearing orange. Scotty's to his left, and Perk is on the far left.

Standing in line for autographs, but we were denied. Boo. :-(

But Cuddy totally made up for it by doing a magic trick with For the Love.

By the way, go visit For the Love's blog because she had a kickass camera that had a kickass zoom and some crazy rapid motion thing and she took a zillion kickass pictures. Her's are way better than mine.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Guest Blogger Tricia: Why the Twins owe us a World Series victory, for real...

[Note from k-bro: Hey everyone, today's post was written by Tricia, formerly of the Twins Sisters blog. Tricia and her sister closed up their blog earlier this season, but she had something on her mind. So I invited her to post her thoughts here. Please make her feel welcome.]

Usually my MO is to procrastinate, but that won't work here. If we want a confetti parade come November, we have to lay down the law now. Who cares that we haven't even reached the All Star break yet?

  • They gave us a Series victory in the 80s and one in the 90s. They can't be allowed to skip a decade. We need a World Series victory in the ZeroZeros.

  • Torii and Johan have to realize that the grass ain't always greener on the other side.

  • Imagine if he got a World Series ring. I think that would be a great way to guarantee that Joe Mauer would be a Twin For Life.

  • It is well past time to break up this East Coast death grip on sports championships. Especially the state of Pennsylvania's. Seriously...a World Series, a Superbowl, and a Stanley Cup championship all in 8 months' time? Enough!

  • It would be all kinds of fun to drive my husband nuts. I talk baseball so much that I'm sure half the time he just hears, "Blah blah blah." If the Twins won the World Series, I could talk baseball all winter long. Usually he gets a break between the World Series and spring training.

  • The Twins have the kewlest blogosphere in all of baseball. If they won, we'd inundate the 'Net to the point that it would probably explode.

  • They owe us some big playoff victories after the way they broke our poor hearts in 2004 and 2006.

  • They have to send the Dome out in style. Many of us have scant, if any, memories of the old Metropolitan Stadium.

  • It would kick ass to go to Twins Fest in January '10 and get our pictures taken with the World Series MVP, whoever it happened to be.

  • Think of how completely excellent it would be to go to the 7th game of the Series and watch an extra innings walk-off win. It's the Twins, after all. Nothing is ever easy.

I think those are some pretty dang compelling reasons the Twins owe us a World Series title in '09. We should start shredding newspapers for confetti now.


Monday, June 15, 2009

I Think Jason Kubel Wants Me To Love Him

I've never really given much thought to Jason Kubel. He's always just kind of been there, just quietly doing his job and not making any noise about it. I've always catagorized him in the "Glad He's On My Team, But Don't Really Have Much Else To Say" group.

He doesn't appear in clever commercials. His interview skills are, well, awkward, but at least he tries. He's not expected to go to the All Star Game or win any post-season awards. He regularly participates, along with Mauer and Crede, in the Great Clubhouse Quiet-Off. I'm willing to bet the boldest thing he does is fill in the daily crossword in pen.

You don't hear about him doing anything goofy; you don't hear about him doing anything stupid. You don't see him dance in the dugout; you hear him sulk to the press. He neither seeks nor eschews the limelight. He makes a very middle-of-the road salary. He's the very center of the middle of the median of personality, while at the same time, on the very outside edge of attention.

And it seems like lately, he's tired of being Mr. Average.
  • He's hit a homerun in four of his last five games and 11 on the season.
  • He's only the second player this season to hit a homerun out of Wrigley Field.
  • He holds the lead for batting average for DHs.
  • He's on pace to hit about 27 homeruns and drive in about 91 runs (assuming my math is correct, which is iffy at best)
  • His OPS and SLG have improved over the last two years. His AVG has greatly improved over the last two years.
  • His homeruns this year seem more impressive, or timely, or -- something -- compared to the last two years.
  • Oh, and that cycle, topped off with the grand-slam...yeah.

I adore awesome pitching and dazzling defense. However, as the DH, he can only get my attention with his bat.

Well, Mr. Kubel, you have it. Keep up the good work.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Well, It Was Split Road Trip

One of the old adages in sports states that you'll have a good season if you play well at home and close to .500 on the road.

Well, by taking the Cubs series, the Twins finally had a .500 road trip. I know that they have a lot of making up to do to actually get to .500 on the road. But hey...baby steps.

Friday: Twins 7 - Cubs 4
Saturday: Twins 2 - Cubs 0
Sunday: Twins 2 - Cubs 3

Twins take series.

It was a busy weekend, so I missed a lot of Friday's and Saturday's games. Most of what I do know about those games, I heard about after the fact.

I did watch most of Sunday's game, but it was really weird -- in fact, it was annoying. The audio from WFTC kept cutting out, and when we could hear it, it was out of sync -- we could hear the bat hit the ball well before we could see it. The whole thing gave me a really bad feeling for the entire game.

Here are the few things I actually know about this series:
  • Milton Bradley needs an abacus when he's playing out in right-field so he can count how many outs there are. He's lucky it was a harmless gaffe.
  • Saying "Joe, no interesting" to Joe Nathan while looking at the radio isn't as effective as saying it while looking at the TV. He, indeed, made it "interesting" on Saturday while I was speaking to the radio in hubby's pickup. Fortunately, he's pretty good at his job and knows what to do.
  • Carlos Gomez really can hit a homerun. Now that that's over with, maybe he'll relax and stop swinging for the fences every time he bats.
  • Joe Mauer is a really good hitter. Yeah, I know I didn't really learn that during this series, but he did a nice job of reminding me.
Up next: an off day, then the Pirates at home.

Also, I'm sending all the Get Well Mo-Jo I can muster and send it to Cuddy's hand; D-Span's head; Creeedeee's back, knee, leg, shoulder, wrist, forearm, or whatever else hurts; and any sore body parts to any Twins players who need it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


*Sigh* Another split series. And that final game was a real bummer. Oh well, it's not so bad.

Monday: Twins 3 - A's 4
Tuesday: Twins 10 - A's 5
Wednesday: Twins 6 - A's 3
Thursday: Twins 3 - A's 4

This series was odd. Every time the Twins took a lead in a game, and they had early leads in all of them, I just didn't feel comfortable (ok, I felt a little comfortable when we headed into the 9th on Tuesday leading 10-0...right up until Scotty walked that first batter).

There were fantastic moments, like Morneau's and Kubel's homers on Tuesday. There were some dreadful moments, like the 9th inning on Tuesday.

There were solid moments, like the bullpen innings on Wednesday. There were shaky moments, like Swarzak's innings on Monday.

There were gleeful moments, like Crede's homer on Thursday. There were heartbreaking moments, like the 8th and 9th innings on Thursday.


Up next: the Cubbies! I hope the Twins have a good time there and pull out a couple wins. And pitchers hitting -- I love that.

Another Head Scratcher

Like I've mentioned before, I'm not anywhere close to thinking about considering myself an expert when it comes to managing a baseball game. I love the game; I have a basic understanding of the game; I know many rules of the game; but I am lacking in many of the nuances of the game. Much of the "strategery" that happens before each play ensues is lost on me, simply because I've never been out there.

With that being said, I am wondering why in the world Gardy would pull Crede for a pinch-runner (Casilla) after his lead-off triple (which was smokin' hot by the way) in the top of the ninth of Wednesday's game. I know that Casilla is a much faster runner than Crede, and I know we really needed the run, but there was nobody out, so a simple base-hit or a decent sac fly would've scored any runner easily (even Matthew LeCroy).

My real problem with the whole thing is: wouldn't you want your best defense on the field for the bottom of the ninth in a close game? It was a tie game right at that point, so a bottom of the ninth was guaranteed. I don't mean to be mean, but lately "best defense on the field" doesn't include Alexi Casilla. It does, however, include Joe Crede. And what if that were the only run the Twins scored? Then that double that Giambi hit would've loomed even larger.

I'm just glad that Delmon and Brendan made the whole thing a moot point.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I'd Like To Buy a Bag of Gummi Bears For...

Jason Kubel

I am nothing if not a woman of my word. In the seventh inning of Tuesday's game, right after both Mauer and Morneau reached, Jason Kubel stepped into the box. I looked up from my laptop, looked at Kubel's face on TV, and literally said out loud, "Jason, I'll buy you a bag of Gummi Bears if you hit a homerun." And he did. And it was sweet.

This is significant due to a series of events. First, this article mentioned how Gummi Bears fueled Kubel to hit two three-run homeruns in one game last week. Then, earlier this evening, I saw a piece on SportsCenter about how the Lakers' Lamar Odom loves loves loves candy and sweets, which reminded me of the above article, so I told j-bro about it. Then, right before I looked up and spoke only to the TV, I was playing a game on Pogo called Sweet Tooth, which features Gummi Bears as game pieces. I don't play it very often because I used to play it a lot and kind of got sick of it, but tonight I thought "what the heck?"

So the article, the Odom piece, the game, and Jason Kubel all came together to create one perfect, sweet, delicious moment. We need all of those we can get while on the road. Thank you.

[EDIT:] Yeah, clearly I wrote the above post before the ninth inning clown show. If I had waited until after the game, my enthusiasm would've been a little tempered.

But I did some asking to find out what happened to our relievers. Rumor has it that former-Twin Craig Breslow brought over some wasabi peas and told the guys they were just like the sugar-coated peanuts you get at Chinese buffets. Obviously the boys dug right in (who wouldn't). And since they were expecting sweet instead of heat, they tossed them into their mouths by large handfuls. Once the spice kicked in,they were quite uncomfortable, but they were too embarrassed and too macho to admit it, so they just kept eating. Then Crain and then Mijares were called in to pitch, but the hot snack made their eyes water so badly they couldn't see Joey's mitt. Fortunately for the Twins, Joe Nathan didn't eat any because he had just put a new piece of gum in his mouth and he didn't feel like taking it out.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pitching Duels?

Well, at least the Twins didn't get swept...for what that's worth. And they are still struggling to score runs on the road.

Friday: Twins 2 - Mariners 1
Saturday: Twins 1 - Mariners 2
Sunday: Twins 2 - Mariners 4
Twins drop series

Looking at these scores, it would appear that this series had some nice pitching duels. Any time the game is low-scoring, that's the term that the announcers use. And I guess it's true, because all pitchers involved did a nice job making pitches when they had to and keeping their teams in the game. But the games were also fraught with wasted opportunities. Both sides were guilty, but the Twins were far more so.

Let's look a the team LOBs (runners left on base):
Friday: Twins 10 - Mariners 6
Saturday: Twins 9 - Mariners 6
Sunday: Twins 12 - Mariners 13

And the team RISPs (hitting with runners in scoring position):
Friday: Twins 1 for 9 - Mariners 0 for 4
Saturday: Twins 1 for 7 - Mariners 0 for 4
Sunday: Twins 0 for 8 - Mariners 0 for 9

I've never claimed to be very "stat-y." But these numbers tell me what I intuited while I was watching the games: pretty much that the Twins should've scored more runs than they did. But on the flip side of the same coin, Liriano and Blackburn pitched very well (and even though Slowey struggled, he wasn't devastatingly awful). Too bad the Twins hitters made the Mariners pitchers seem like they pitched very well too.


Now, the boys are off to Oakland for a four-game (my favorite - not) series. I'm not a fan of weekday west-coast series, because I'm an (almost) old woman and I need my sleep. But not watching is not an option because I lay awake wondering. I'm a fool and I know it. Note to co-workers: if I have dark circles under my eyes and seem to be crabbier than usual this week, it's only the late Twins games.


And what is up all the four-game series? Do the Twins usually have this many? I don't think so.


Speaking of Oakland, what's the over/under on the number of times Bert mentions the vast amount of foul territory in the Coliseum during the three games FSN will be broadcasting? I'll say over 11.5 times.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Couple of Pitchers on My Mind

Obviously, I'm a Twins fan. But beyond that, I am a fan of baseball. Today, I've been thinking about a couple of pitchers whose stories vary greatly.

Randy Johnson
If you haven't heard yet, Johnson tallied his 300th win Thursday. What's absolutely amazing about that is that he had several seasons shorted by injury (or in the case of '94, strike). Many guys don't bounce back like Johnson, but he's only gotten better with age. He's always thrown heat, but early in his career, his control was an issue; he walked or plunked, like, everybody. He led the league in walks '90-'92 and hit batsmen in '92 and '93. But that wildness was part of the success. How frightening would it be to be standing in the box watching a 99 mph pitch and have no idea where it's going? Add that to his ugly, mean, angry demeanor, and the man is badass. He's a five-time Cy Young winner and a 10-time All Star. He's pitched a no-hitter and a perfect game. He's second on the all-time strikeouts list and the 24th member of the 300 Club. And, he's the only member of the 300 Club to have defeated every MLB team. The only problem with him going to the Hall someday is deciding which hat will his bust wear.


Fausto Carmona
You may have noticed that the Twins easily chewed up Carmona on Thursday. He gave up four runs before logging his first out of the game. As a result, the Indians sent him down to "the minor league complex" on Friday (read: Rookie League - ouch!). And as much as I was glad the Twins got a bunch runs and chased him from the game early, reading about his struggles really do bum me out. Carmona captured my interest in 2007 during the ALDS against the Yankees. Remember the "bug game" that turned Joba Chamberlain into a big wuss? Well, it was cool-cat Carmona who took a breath, fixed his gaze on the catcher's glove, cleared the mechanism, and sat down Yankees one by one. No silly little swarm was going to bother him. He was awesome; I truly enjoyed watching him pitch. Clearly this wasn't the same fellow who took the Metrodome mound on Thursday. I really hope he can find his command or his stuff or whatever it is he's missing and come back better.

Photo credits:
Johnson: ABC News
Carmona: cleveland.com

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Just Stuff

Overall, this was a decent series. Wednesday was a little demoralizing, but they made up for it on Thursday. And because Detroit and Chicago didn't have decent series, we're now firmly in second place only 2.5 games back.

Tuesday: Twins 4 - Indians 3
Wednesday: Twins 1 - Indians 10
Thursday: Twins 11 - Indians 3
Twins take series

Now, they're on the road for a bunch. Ok, well I hope today's win pepped the boys up to carry over the trip. And I hope they packed their home-away-from-home goodies I suggested too late last time. Most of all, I hope they stay positive and really believe they can win on the road. Rah.


So I don't really have a theme to go with today. I do have a bunch of random thoughts rattling around in my brain, so I'm just gonna spill them out in whatever order I think of them. I know it's kind of lame. Ok, it's really lame. But it's all I got.
  • I'm glad Scotty had a good outing today. Hopefully he can stay in this good groove.
  • I'm not too worried about Swarzak ... yet. He's still learning; he just needs to make some adjustments. I'm looking forward to his next outing to see if he can do it. Wait...will he get a next outing, or will Perk be back by then. I don't know.
  • I am, however, too worried about Liriano. He's been around long enough to know how to make adjustments. I predict that he has another horrible outing on Friday, he'll probably wind up in the bullpen. Or, they'll put him on the DL for some mystery "injury." Either way, Swarzy might just get that next outing. Of course, I really hope he has an awesome outing.
  • I like the campaign the Twins put together for All-Star Game voting. It features Uncle Sam wearing a Twins hat and saying, "Speak softly and carry big sticks." Check it out on the Twins website. And while you're there, you may as well vote for Joey and Justin.
And totally off-topic (I know, there wasn't a topic to begin with...whatever), but on my mind anyway:
  • I went to Einstein Bros for lunch today. As I walked in, I noticed two women sitting at one of the tables. I'd put them in their mid 50s. One of the women was wearing only, get this, a sports bra and shorts. She was very fit and pretty tan, so she wasn't nastily ugly. But, still, that was an awful lot of skin for 11:30 am. In fact, it was an awful lot of skin for any time of day. I don't care if she was just jogging -- I wear more clothes than that when I exercise (hell, I wear more clothes than that when I sleep, but that's probably more than you wanted to know) -- she needs to throw on a t-shirt, especially in a restaurant. I was glad I took my lunch to go.