Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sometimes It's Not Who You Play, But When You Play Them...

... and then sometimes it is who you play.

This nice little sweep of the Royals was the first more-than-two-game-series win of the season and the first four-game winning streak of the season. In the previous series against Detroit, our Twins looked overmatched, scared, and frustrated. It's not like the Tigers blew them away, but the Twins just didn't look good.

Since the Royals always play the Twins tough, I was hoping the Twins could at least earn a split. But they, ...
"for whatever perverse reason, began playing baseball with joy and verve and poetry"
...and it was good. In fact, it was beautiful.

Is it too soon to think that they've turned the corner into being a good team again?


One thing I have been enjoying, regardless of the outcomes of the games, is rooting for the kids. With all the injuries, we've seen a lot of them. And they're all playing like they don't want to be sent down again...not that anyone ever wants to be sent down again...and that's what makes this fun.

Ben Revere is just fun to watch. He's fast, small, and, well, adorable. I just love how he smiles all the time. He covers a lot of ground in the outfield, and he absolutely flies around the bases. About the only knock on him is his throwing arm, but the team can work with that. I see a pretty good future for him.

Anthony Swarzak has really stepped up in times of need. He did serviceable work from the bullpen, but as a starter, he's sparkled. And he has a great attitude -- he just wants the ball whenever Gardy needs to give it to him. It's great having him around to fill in for starters as needed and not feeling scared about it.

And, how about Brian Dinkelman? After only one major league game, he's earned himself quite a fan club. During Saturday's game, and reportedly at the bars after the game, loud chants of "DINK-EL-MAN" could be heard. How much fun is that? I hope he appreciated every moment of it. I don't think there are very many guys who received both a HBP and IBB in their major-league debuts.

I'm even rooting for Trevor Plouffe, although his defensive miscues drive me nuts. I know he's back in Rochester working those out right now, but it's better that he's there playing everyday rather that with the big club sitting on the bench. He'll be back soon enough, and he'll be just fine.


DL Updates:

This is the time of the season when if starts becoming a grind for the players. The freshness of the new season has worn off, and it's still to early for the excitement of a playoff push. Players are worn down and sore. Everyone's playing hurt. And everyone's hoping that "hurt" doesn't turn in to "injured."

Thankfully, there were no new additions to the DL during this series ... yet. We're watching Denard Span, who missed Saturday and Sunday with a sore neck, though he was available to pinch hit on Sunday if needed. Justin Morneau also missed Saturday and Sunday with a swollen wrist. Nick Blackburn's start on Saturday was cut short due to back spasms, although he said after the game that he was hopeful it wasn't serious.

Joe Mauer has been catching in real games for the Single-A Fort Myers Miracle (where, by the way, his brother Jake is the manager -- I wonder if they call each other "Butthead" like my boys do). He'll likely have to move up to AA or AAA for a few games in order to face better pitching before he heads back to Minnesota.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka will also start playing for Fort Myers soon. Gardy has indicated that when Nishi does return, he'll likely be at shortstop rather than at second base.

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