Sunday, August 30, 2009

Going Gray

This turned out to be a pretty fun series, but, I tell ya', it gave me a few more gray hairs than I'd like. I'm old enough that I get those on my own, thankyouverymuch.

Friday: Twins 3 - Rangers 2
Saturday: Twins 0 - Rangers 3
Sunday: Twins 5 - Ranger 3

Joe Nathan, who happens to have a few gray hairs himself in his goatee, gave fans of all ages all over Twins Territory more than their fair share of gray hairs both Friday and Sunday. He got the save both times, of course, but, whew, it was hard to watch. And that's exactly what was fun about it. On Sunday, he had the bases loaded (thanks in part to his own error) and nobody out, and he got the next three guys to earn the save. Waaaaay too interesting, Joe. But it also proves what a great closer he really is.

Now, as good as he looks with his "touch of gray," I really need him to stop doing that for awhile. None of us need any more.

I have an idea. The Twins should have leads big enough to not be save situations (10 runs should do it) for the next several games. That way, Nathan can rest up, and the rest of us can calm down.

As for me, I got myself a new hair cut and color. No more grays for me. Let's hope Nathan doesn't make them come back for me.


Speaking of gray beards, the team's resident graybeard gave me my biggest laugh of the weekend. Mike Redmond, who could fairly be called "the slowest man in baseball" (he is old and a catcher after all), got a triple on Sunday. Yes -- a triple! The ball ran the gap and the outfielders were in so much shock that they kind of fumbled the ball a little, all the while Red was huffing and puffing around the bases, refrigerator on his back and all, and belly-flopped into third safely.

The cameras panned over to the Twins dugout where everyone was laughing his ass off. I thought Gardy was going to tip backwards right out of his folding chair because he was laughing so hard. I'm pretty sure that Red was the most surprised of all. Good times.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Don't Let That Revolving Door Hit You in the Ass

So apparently, one of two things happened today: either Bill Smith read my blog and actually hung up a help wanted ad at the dome, or he finally cleaned off his desk and found the Post-It Note that said "get pitching help" that he wrote to himself weeks ago

Whatever happened, it's time to welcome some new pitchers to the Twins; they picked up Ron Mahay from the Royals and Jon Rauch from the D-backs. Welcome to Minnesota guys. Good luck, have fun, do well.

But this also means that the revolving door in the Twins pitching rotation just continues to spin and spin. I can't keep up.

So I did a little research, looking back at the Twins press releases over the season. I learned that of the 23 men who are or were Twins pitchers (including Mahay and Rauch), only three have been with the team the whole time without a stint on the DL or a visit to AAA. Your superstars are Blackburn, Nathan, and Guerrier.

Here's my list:

Liriano - opening day, dl 8/18
Slowey - opening day, dl 7/4
Blackburn - opening day
Perkins - opening day, dl 5/18, reinstated 6/16 (Crain), dl 8/12
Dickey - opening day, optioned 8/7
Nathan - opening day
Crain - opening day, dl 4/20, reinstated 5/3 (Morales), optioned 6/16, recalled 7/22 (Mulvey)
Guerrier - opening day
Ayala - opening day, released 6/22
Humber - opening day, optioned 4/17, recalled 8/18 (Liriano), optioned 8/28
Breslow - opening day, claimed 5/20
Duensing - opening day, optioned 4/15, recalled 7/2 (Henn)
Baker - dl, reinstated 4/15 (Duensing)
Mijares - called up 4/20 (Crain)
Morillo - acquired 4/17 (Humber), outrighted 5/1
Henn - called up 5/18 (Perkins), optioned 7/2
Swarzak - called up 5/20 (Breslow), optioned 6/13, recalled 7/4 (Slowey), optioned 8/21
Keppel - called up 6/22 (Ayala)
Mulvey - called up 7/15 (Morales), optioned 7/22
Pavano - acquired 8/7 (Dickey)
Manship - called up 8/12 (Perkins)
Gabino - called up 8/21 (Swarzak), optioned 8/28
Rauch - acquired 8/28 (Humber)
Mahay - acquired 8/29 (Gabino)

(The names in parenthesis are the guys whose roster spots were filled by the listed guy.)

Confusing, ain't it?

I'm a visual thinker, so I decided to create a picture chart to figure it out (blue arrows mean to the Twins, red means away from the Twins):

Nope, that's not any better, is it?

And there are rumors that more might be coming. Great.

Also, for the record, I've typed the word "Mahay" about 15 times today, and I haven't spelled it right on the first try yet. He just might have to be known as Mayhay in this blog.

[Edit: If you read this before about noon Saturday, you saw a grave error on my part; I forgot Scott Baker (I guess I should say that you didn't see it). In my defense, he started the season on the DL and the Twins never posted a press release announcing his activation. That's where I got my information, so I kind of forgot about him. Sorry, Scotty. I should have used the transaction list instead of the press releases. It's fixed now. The picture is fixed too.]

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Call For Arms

I wouldn't be surprised to see this hanging up at the dome in time for Friday's game:

Help Wanted
Energetic and athletic people needed to perform pitching duties for a Major League Baseball club. The ideal candidate would have a pulse, have strong leadership skills, and be able to throw a baseball 60'6". Ability to throw accurately preferred, but not required. Perks include travel to exciting locations, appearances on television, and working with Joe Mauer. Both full-time and part-time positions available. Salary based on qualifications. Contact Deadline to apply is 8/31/09.

Do you think they'd get any qualified applicants? The key word here being qualified.


Monday: Twins 2 - Orioles 1
Tuesday: Twins 7 - Orioles 6
Wednesday: Twins 1 - Orioles 5

Yes, it's great that the Twins won the series. But the wins were so hard. And they're the Orioles.


Who's getting excited about the new stadium. Be sure to visit Betsy's blog for some groovy pictures of it.


I've mentioned before that I love the Cake Wrecks blog. This post is baseball related. And hilarious.

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Joe Crede Paper Doll

Poor Joe Crede. He's out of the lineup again with a sore back. We all knew when the Twins signed him that he would be sitting out sometimes because of that twice-surgically-repaired back -- especially since they're asking him to play on Field Turf. And, to be honest, I'm not at all disappointed or frustrated with the amount of time he has to take off due to his back.

However, his other body parts are giving him grief. Everything from his right hand swelling due to being hit by a pitch to his ankle turning as he ran the bases. To his credit though, he hasn't landed on the DL.

So I made this awesome paper doll that demonstrates all the ouchies and other issues that have kept him out of the lineup. Wow, it kind of looks like his left leg is totally going to fall off. I just kinda threw in the "Little Bundle of Joy" thing; I'm not saying that he shouldn't have left the team for that.

You gotta admit, the skin-tight uni is pretty sweet. How very 1978.

Now, I'm not complaining at all about the amount of time he's missed. I just feel bad that so many different aches and pains are getting the best of him. And to be clear, I really, really, really want to love Crede. It's so nice to have a real third baseman. His defense is generally fantastic. And his bat's pretty good, too. But, I'm afraid to become too attached because chances are he's going to be gone after this year. This is why I haven't given him a nickname yet.

I'm just glad I'm not making a paper doll for Adrian Beltre.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


funny pictures of cats with captions
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This Royals series had me holding my breath a couple of times, but a Twins' sweep made it all worth it.

Friday: Twins 5 - Royals 4
Saturday: Twins 8 - Royals 7
Sunday: Twins 10 - Royals 3

Friday's game was fine, until Joe Nathan came to the mound, and then I was a mess. To be fair, I'm always nervous when the Nathanator comes out. I think his hyper-anxiety rubs off on me. I wasn't necessarily worried that he would blow the save, I was just generally worried.

I was right to be worried.

But, after the blown save, he went out for the 10th after the Twins re-took the lead. And it took him to pin it down, all the while I'm sitting and hyperventilating. But he did it. Whew.

Saturday's game was fine, until the bullpen came in. Duensing did just fine by only allowing 2 runs, but "Tell-me-again-why-he's-here" Keppel and "The Crainwreck" Crain each gave up two runs to allow them within two. And since Nathan was unavailable because of Friday's herculean effort, it was Guerrier's game to save. And I thought I was hyperventilating the night before. He allowed a run, but eventually got the save. Whew -- again!

Sunday's game was not hyperventilation-inducing -- thank goodness. That awesome offensive outburst in the 7th, and Pavano's nice pitching performance, was just the relaxing game I needed. Cuddy's two homeruns in one inning was a little breathtaking, though. He's the first Twin to ever do that; I, for one, think that's damn cool.


And since I forgot to recap the Texas series:
Monday: Twins 5 - Rangers 8
Tuesday: Twins 9 - Rangers 6
Wednesday: Twins 5 - Rangers 4
Thursday: Twins 1 - Rangers 11

Splitting the series was better than I expected. So, yay for know, if Thursday's game hadn't been so soul crushing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Time to Bust Out the Medical Dictionary

So this road trip has proven to be costly for the Twins as far as injuries and other medical conditions are concerned. I want to make sure I know exactly what's going on with the boys, so I'll consult my trusty medical dictionary again (I use Stedman's).

Justin Morneau: Everyone is referring to his condition as an "inner ear infection," very similar to what Denard Span had. Hmmm...let's see...ok, I've got it.
labyrinthitis (a.k.a. otitis interna); inflammation of the labyrinth (the internal ear), sometimes accompanied by vertigo.
Well, that sounds about right -- that vertigo thing makes it different from ear infections common to children (otitis media) and also can be more serious. Here's hoping he has the correct medication and can get well soon.

Jason Kubel: No one really said what the injury to his knee was that took him out of Tuesday's game. But since he was back in the line up on Wednesday, I'll assume it was only a boo-boo.
contusion; 1. any injury caused by a blow in which the skin is not broken. 2. bruise.
It's not serious. A little ice and therapy, and he'll be fine.

But as great as Stedman's is, it's really meant for general medicine. There are certain injuries and conditions that are specific to baseball. Some of them are specific to the Twins. So for this information, I had to sneak in to the Metrodome on Tuesday and swipe the medical dictionary out of the trainer's room. Don't worry, there was no way I was going to get caught -- all the security staff had left the building to go to Winter Park for the Favre-apolooza.

It proved to be very informative.

Francisco Liriano (and others who I won't name): He was placed on the DL after Monday's game with what they're calling "arm fatigue." I don't buy it. Here's what I really think it is:
isuckthereforeimustbehurtosis; a condition immediately following a poor performance, characterized by complaining of "something's not right" or other vague assesments. See also: isuckandmyteamwantstocallupsomeoneelseosis, isuckandimoutofoptionssomyteamcannotsendmedownosis.
That was the closest entry I could find for him.

Philip Humber: I suspect that he might be suffering from the following common affliction.
new guy syndrome (NGS); the inability to distinguish players on your team from players from the opposing team, often causing errant throws to no one.
I know, I know, he's not really new. Hopefully, it's not an ongoing condition.

Scott Baker: It's been such a struggle to figure out his story.
selective baseball competency amnesia (SBCA); the inability to follow a good performance with another good performance.
Yikes! That sounds chronic.

Ron Gardenhire: No one has said anything about him having any kind of condition, but every time the camera shows him on TV, I can tell that he has something. And I'm not the only one who noticed; our friend luckie/sarah noticed it too.
facewillfreezethiswayparesis; characterized by uncontrollable and continued scowling, grimacing, sneering, and/or rolling of eyes, usually accompanied by redness of the face and neck. Sometimes accompanied by chronic peptic ulcer. Usually caused by stress or despair.
Watch for it -- you'll see it too. I think many fans might have this one too.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Although I don't technically work in the medical field, my job does give me occasional reason to look up terms in a medical dictionary. As I was browsing for another term, I stumbled upon the entry for CTD. And what I found is the perfect term to describe the Twins' hopes of winning the division -- Circling The Drain.

The dictionary defined it as the period of time right before a patient's death. It also advised against using this term because it's too crude. Crude or not, it's an accurate assessment.

Now, I thought I came to grips with the notion of no post-season a while ago, but then they went and teased me with a pitching-gem-complete-game beaut where our boys scored runs liked they liked it. And, for some unexplainable reason, they then decided not to do those things any more.

Friday: Twins 11 - Indians 0
Saturday: Twins 3 - Indians 7
Sunday: Twins 4 - Indians 7

And all this upping and way-downing against a team they really should've been able to beat, just like the last series they dropped.

And now they're off to Texas, which is a pretty good team. Yikes.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I'd Like to Buy a Beer For...

Scott Baker

Look at this line from Friday night's game:















Yup. That's right. Nine innings. No runs. That means a complete-game shutout. And that's beer-worthy.

Plus, only two hits, no walks, and five strike outs. That's just darned good pitching.

Thanks Scotty! Those kind of games are a ton of fun! Do it again, please. Oh, and don't forget your ID 'cuz you know you'll get carded.

Oh, and mad props to Jason Kubel for his 5-RBI night.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Who Are These Impostors?

Why is it that as soon as I think that I've got the Twins starting pitchers figured out, they go and do the exact opposite?

Tuesday: Twins 6 - Royals 14
Wednesday: Twins 7 - Royals 1
Thursday: Twins 4 - Royals 5

On Tuesday, I sat down to watch the game and figured "oh, it's Nick Blackburn -- this should be a good game." Um, nope. He couldn't get out of the second inning. That's so not like him. Must've been an impostor.

On Wednesday, I sat down to watch the game and figured "ugh, it's Francisco Liriano -- there goes another game." Again, nope. He was brilliant. In fact, he was the ghost of his 2006 self. That's so not like him this season. Must've been an impostor.

Then today, I put on my headphones to listen to the game (I was at work), and figured...well, I didn't know what to think. I've only seen Carl Pavano pitch three times -- twice against the Twins, and then his first start with the Twins. He was very good all those times. So, I guess I figured "ok, it's the Royals, we've got a good chance to take this series." I don't know him well enough to know if this was live or Memorex.


There was a point in today's game that I want to sound-off about. Well, actually, I want to reply to every one who has already sounded-off about it.

In the bottom of the 6th, both Joe Crede and Mike Redmond walked. Then Nick Punto came to the plate with two on and nobody out. Unfortunately, he failed to complete the sacrifice he was expected to make and was out bunting the third strike. And boy, a lot of people are upset over that. In fact, plenty of folks blame the loss on that at-bat.

Ok, I agree that it was a horrible, awful, downright ugly at-bat. At this point in his career, he should be more than capable of executing a routine sac bunt. He really should work on that. But as nasty as it was, it turned out that it wasn't costly.

If he had executed, there would've been runners at second and third with one out. As it was, it was runners at first and second with one out. Then Denard Span took a base on balls. Assuming that D-Span would've walked regardless of where the baserunners were, Orlando Cabrera comes to the plate with the bases loaded and one out either way. It was his GIDP that was was costly.

Not that all the other guys who left runners in scoring position, and the pitcher who gave up 5 runs, weren't also responsible.


There were some positives from this series, though. I'm glad that the offense has taken my "4 or more runs" directive to heart, Joey is back in his rightful place atop the batting leader board, and Orlando Cabrera is sporting a very groovy 22-game hitting streak. Oh, and how about Cuddy's arm? Throwing out baserunners at third base from right field is very, very hot.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

To The Pain

Westley: "To the pain," means the first thing you lose will be your feet below the ankles, then your hands at the wrists, next your nose.

Prince Humperdinck: And, then my tongue I suppose. I killed you too quickly the last time; a mistake I don't mean to duplicate tonight.

Westley: I wasn't finished. The next thing you lose will be your left eye, followed by the right . . .

Prince Humperdinck: And, then my ears, I understand. Let's get on with it.

Westley: Wrong! Your ears you keep, and I'll tell you why. So that every shriek of every child at seeing your hideousness will be yours to cherish, every babe that weeps at your approach, every woman who cries out: "Dear God, what is that thing?" will echo in your perfect ears. That is what "to the pain" means. It means I leave you in anguish, wallowing in freakish misery, forever.

~The Princess Bride, 1987
It's beginning to feel like Twins fans have been subject to a healthy dose of "to the pain" lately. Fans, bloggers, journalists, announcers, the manager, and even players are all frustrated.

As painful as it must be to be a fan of a team like the Royals or Nationals, at least hopes of post-season play are short-lived and life quickly goes on. Kind of like ripping the band-aid off.

But this wallowing in freakish misery that has us teetering between "no way" and "it could happen" is tortuous. Like death by 1000 cuts.

But not death...pain. Pain of 1000 cuts...and then 238 bee stings...and 6 cavities...and a brain-freeze...while a bad '90s break-up song is playing (I'm thinking something by Sinead O'Connor). Oh, and what the hell, let's throw in a mild myocardial ischemia while we're at it.

So what's a fan to do? It's awfully hard to give up hope when hope keeps flirting with you.

But, really, is it so bad to just forget about the post-season? Just let it go? I'm not saying give up watching and rooting for the Twins; just accept them and love them the way they are. Kind of like when parents realize their kids probably aren't getting that full-ride scholarship to Harvard.

So, for me at least, I am declaring the rest of the season "Day To Day." And to that, Bert Blyleven will reply "aren't we all."

But then, as I write this, the Twins are winning and the Tigers are losing, so, you never know...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

When They Are Good, They Are Very, Very Good...

...and when they are bad, they are horrid.

The Twins pitching that is.

Friday: Twins 8 - Tigers 10
Saturday: Twins 11 - Tigers 0
Sunday: Twins 7 - Tigers 8
(3rd place; 5.5 games back; .486 winning %)

The Twins averaged 8.67 runs per game during this series, yet they only won one game. So the offense is doing its job. But when scoring 7 or 8 runs isn't enough to win, it's tough to gain ground in the division.

Pavano on Saturday was very, very good -- impressive even. I hope he keeps it up. Much has been said about his success against the Tigers and White Sox. So if he can pitch that well against them, I'll take it. But I'd really love it if he pitched that well all the time.

Swarzy on Friday was horrid. It happens; I'm not going to get too upset about it. I just hope he can shake it off and do well next time.

Scotty on Sunday was very, very good, and then horrid. Bobby Keppel was, well he was kind of good...I'll call it pitching for his big-league life. And then Matty, who's been very very good lately, was -- well, not exactly horrid, but kind of sucky.

So, here's my wish: I want the pitchers to give up fewer than three runs per game (and that means for the whole game -- not each pitcher who comes into the game) AND I want the offense to score more than four runs per game. For the whole season.

Got it Liriano? FEWER than three runs!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Carl Pavano, Huh?

First, let me start by apologizing for any typos or misinformation contained in this post. I have about 5 minutes to write this, and I won't have access to the Internet again until late Sunday, but I wanted to get a few thoughts out now.


I want to welcome Mr. Carl Pavano to the Twins.

I want to do that because it's the polite thing to do.

I mean, I really hope he takes advantage of this new opportunity and makes something really good happen.

But to be honest, I'm a bit skeptical. I'm not convinced that adding him is much of an improvement over what the Twins already have. And a deal between division rivals, even if one of teams is out of the playoff picture, just seems a little suspect (what do they know that we don't?).

As an additional kicker, according to the book The Yankee Years, when Pavano was a member of the Yankees, the other players stared called the Disabled List "the Pavano" because he was on it all the time.

I'm still hopeful that this is a good move. And I'm willing to give him a fair chance to prove himself. Honestly. But I just can't shake the feeling the Bill Smith is making moves just to make moves. (During the Terry Ryan years, for as many times I disagreed with what he did or didn't do, I never felt like he was going through motions to satisfy others.)

And since Liriano is now likely to move to the bullpen, he should look upon this as a new opportunity and not a demotion. I think he'll do well there.

[Last minute edit:] Oh, and I'm a little annoyed that R.A. got sent down to make room. I know he hasn't exactly been brilliant lately, but I'm wondering how many chances Keppel gets before the front office realizes that he's the one who needs more time in AAA.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Francisco?

How do you solve a problem like Francisco?
How do you teach him to pitch and keep it down?
How do you find a word that means Maria?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o'-the wisp! A clown!*
Tuesday: Twins 10 - Indians 1
Wednesday: Twins 1 - Indians 8
Thursday: Twins 1 - Indians 2
(3rd place; 4.5 games back)

*Sigh* Another disappointing series. Well, Tuesday was great; everything went right -- pitching was solid and offense was having fun. And Thursday, well it was only half rotten -- Blackie pitched just fine, but like last year, he didn't have any stinking run support. Story of his life, poor guy.

But Wednesday sucked the worst. What has happened to Francisco Liriano? Remember when everyone liked him? Remember when everyone was pissed because he was still in the minors? Remember the guy who could strike batters out easily and often? What happened to that guy?

The old cliche says "million dollar arm - ten cent head." I think a little of that philosophy might be going on here. He's lost, especially when there are base runners. He's lost his aggressiveness. He's afraid of the strike zone -- he walked four batters in five innings on Wednesday.

He also struck out four. So the talent is there. But why isn't the knowledge. He's spent portions of three seasons in the big leagues, so he should know what's expected of him. Is he nervous? Is he upset? Is he anxious?

The whole thing reminds me of what Fausto Carmona went through. He was sent to down to rookie ball to work with the pitching coordinator and the mental skills coordinator. And it seems to have worked, because he sure stymied the Twins on Thursday.

Unfortunately, the Twins don't have the luxury to send Liriano somewhere for mental fine-tuning. Who would they use to replace him?

And here's where it would have been nice if Bill Smith had added a couple arms to the squad.

*Many apologies to Rodgers And Hammerstein

Sunday, August 2, 2009

That Was Deflating

After a nice sweep of the Evil Uglies earlier in the week, the Twins and their momentum deflated pretty quickly, and they became the dustbunnies. Oh, and they're below .500 again.

Friday: Twins 5 - Angels 11
Saturday: Twins 6 - Angels 11
Sunday: Twins 4 - Angels 13

(52 - 53, 3rd place, 3 games back)

Ga! It's awful having to type all those double-digit numbers for the opponent. You'd think that scoring four or more runs in a game would at least keep the Twins close. Nope.

So, not only was the entire series a big pthpthpthtphptht, but every little thing was a slow leak. Every time a positive thing happened for the Twins, the good feeling immediately floated away because of a much larger negative thing.

On Friday:
  • Joey hits a 3-run homer, Nicky hits an RBI triple, and D-Span hits an RBI double; Blackie and Matty combine to let them tie it up.
  • Matty and Nathanator do a nice job keeping it a tie game through the 9th and 10th; Keppel, Crain, and Dickey combine to allow six (!) runs in the top of the 11th, with help from Brendan's tangled feet at the worst possible time.
On Saturday:
  • Red-Dog and Go-Go hit RBI extra base hits to tie the game; Swarzy allows four singles and three runs in the next half-inning.
  • R.A. pitches two nice innings to keep the Twins within two; then starts his third inning of work with a single, a throwing error, a walk, and a homer -- and then Keppel relieves him and quickly gives up two homers.
On Sunday:
  • D-Span makes an awesome grab for the first out in the 4th; Perkins allows a base-hit to the next batter who eventually scores.
  • O-Cab hits his first homer as a Twin; Perkins coughs up 5 runs in the next half-inning.
The whole thing felt like trying to blow up a balloon with a hole in it. It gave me a headache.

Up next:
An off day, then a road trip through Cleveland.

I don't recommend taking the Indians too lightly. Their team has been devastated by a bunch of trades, so the young guys starting are hungry and fearless -- they have nothing to lose. And, they just took 2 of 3 from the Tigers (and the one they lost was in extra innings).