Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

Round And Round And…


Twins_Orioles_Baseball_sff_212420_game.jpgSame story again tonight… a lot of head-scratching on both sides of the ball. I don’t care how many runs the pitchers give up at this point. If we can’t push one across, we can’t win games. This is getting old fast.

Preview (): Nick Blackburn (1-2, 3.06) vs. Zach Britton (2-1, 2.75).

Spark & Fire

Spark:

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Gardy said he likes the Tolbert-Casilla combination up the middle. If the Twins keeping winning, Cuddy can put away his small glove.

Fire:

New call-up (but old hand) Jim Hoey came into the game throwing these…

 

Very impressive, to say the least

Two wins in a row?!  Against these hapless O’s, it should be more as the week plays out.

Preview (): Carl Pavano (1-1, 3.60) vs. RHP Jake Arrieta (1-1, 7.04).

Strong Lineage

215521_10150168134729841_45991614840_6374971_658818_n.jpgWow…what a great picture.

The first thought that comes to mind is “who was the better manager?”, but I don’t think the answer really even matters.  Tom Kelly brought a “fundamentals” approach to MN, and Gardy has simply continued that tradition.  That consistency has allowed the Twins to build such a fine organization over the past two decades.

I found another pic that does show the main difference between Gardy and TK:

TK and Gardy.jpg

TK was almost always a calming presence, while Gardy brings a bit more “fire & brimstone” to the dugout.  Other than that, though, both managerial philosophies were the same: learn the fundamentals, respect the game, hustle and have fun.

The Exception?

manny-ramirez.jpgAlright…with Manny Ramirez retiring suddenly this past week to avoid a second suspension for failing a drug test, it begs the question: HOF?

Taking steroids out of the equation, this guy is a first-ballot HOF-er.  I would argue that he was the greatest righthander hitter in baseball from 1995-2008, and one of the greatest pure hitters in baseball history.  Sure, he was a complete spaz and couldn’t field a lick, but when you hit like that it doesn’t really matter.  During the mid-1990s he and Jim Thome provided potency to the Cleveland Indians, then he and David Ortiz teamed up as perhaps the most dominant 3-4 combination since Ruth-Gehrig.  Even his stint with the Dodgers (before the first suspension that signaled the end of his career) was incredible.

Some of the career stats: .312 BA, .411 OBP, .585 SLG, .996 OPS, 2,574 H, 555 HR, 1,831 RBI.

He was always a favorite player of mine (when not tormenting Twins pitching, of course) for just his pure hitting ability.  The guy didn’t give a lick about anything, but he was blessed with the ability to hit a baseball really, really hard with surprising frequency.

Of course, much like Andy Pettitte, the steroid issue will cloud Manny’s candidacy.  Like Pettitte and, say, A-Rod, Manny is a confirmed steroid user.  That being said, he didn’t make up ridiculous stories in his defense (e.g. Barry Bonds), didn’t become a jerk about it (e.g. Roger Clemens), didn’t refuse to speak about the past (e.g. Mark McGwire), didn’t blatently deny his usage (e.g. Rafael Palmeiro), and didn’t forget how to speak English when questioned (e.g. Sammy Sosa).  Basically, he just got caught and served his time.

My feeling on the matter right now is that I would put Manny in the Hall, but not after a few years of “punishment waiting” sitting on the ballot.  Perhaps I am being too sentimental and should be harder on the guy, but at least he didn’t deny, deny, deny and make baseball look like a bunch of guys trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

Time will tell.

Home

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Joe Nathan coming home, indeed.  For the Twins’ 2011 Target Field opener, they pretty much sleepwlked through seven innings at the plate.  Luckily, Carl Pavano was dominating, setting down Oakland A after Oakland A.  Then, in the eighth, Danny Valencia’s infield single was followed by hits from three lefties (Kubel, Span, Mauer) to scratch two runs across.

As this was occuring on the field, Joe Nathan was quickly warming in the pen, anticipating his first Target Field save situation.  When those gates opened and “Stand up and Shout” played over the loudspeakers, it was clear that Mr. Nathan was “Home” at last.

For whatever reason, Joe Nathan is a favorite Twin of mine (just look at the name of this blog).  He’s easily the greatest closer the team has ever had, and there’s just something about a save situation that gets me pumped.  Besides Cuddy gunning a runner, Span slapping a triple, or Thome blasting off, there isn’t anything that will get me on my feet faster than a closer coming into a game to get those final three outs.

I also admire Nathan’s grit and determination.  He started off as a struggling SS with the Giants, then came over here with Liriano and Boof Bonser in the A.J. Pierzynski trade (thanks again, A.J.!) as a so-so reliever.  We gave him Eddie G’s closing role, and he never missed a beat.

If the weather holds out, I may be attending the game either today or Sunday, and I would like nothing more than to see Nathan return to domination in person!

Preview (3-4, T-4, 2.0 GB CLE): Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 1.29) vs. Nick Blackburn (1-0, 1.50).

What We Learned From The Road

APTOPIX_Twins_Yankees_Baseball_sff_210063_game.jpghttp://ecdn1.hark.com/swfs/player.swf?1297555656(Link) View more Jim Carrey Quotes and Sound Clips and Dumb & Dumber Quotes and Sound Clips

What we learned from the opening road trip of the 2011 season:

1.  At least early on, the Twins a bit overmatched on the road.  We are still very competitive (especially if our starting pitching cooperates), but lag in one key area: our “high flies” settle just before the warning track, while the home team jacks them out.  Until our power threats (Morneau, Young, Kubel) starting swinging the lumber, we are at a big disadvantage.  Thome is fine, though.

2. Our pitchers are going to give up home runs.  Period.  Not a one of them (besides maybe Liriano) is all that great at keeping the ball in the ballpark.  Thus, we better not walk ANYBODY to put extra bodies on the basepaths.  Target Field helps, but we still play 81 on enemy turf.

Oh yeah, and now Matty Tolbert will likely be the everyday 2B-man for awhile because of Nishioka’s broken fibula:

Minnesota Twins second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka (1) grimaces as is injured while forcing out New York Yankees Nick Swisher (33) when Mark Teixeira grounded into a seventh-inning fielder's choice in their baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Thursday, April 7, 2011. Nioshoika was taken out of the game after the play. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Preview (2-4, 5th, 2.0 GB CWS/CLE/KCR): Brett Anderson (0-0, 1.50) vs. Carl Pavano (0-1, 15.75).  Home Opener!!

Who Will Be “The One”?

Alright, Twins starting pitchers, who’s going to be “the one” to step up and give us a really quality outing.  I don’t care if it IS against the Yanks.  It’s got to start happening.  Baker?  Duensing?  Will you be the first?

Preview (1-2, T-3, 1.5 GB KCR): Scott Baker (0-0, 0.00) vs. Ivan Nova (0-0, 0.00).

Get Used To It

Twins_Blue_Jays_Baseball_sff_209134_game.jpgNo, I’m not giving up after two games.  What I’m saying is this: The Twins better get used to facing these kind of bats in April and early May, as they will be seeing a lot of them (our AL East run comes early in ’11).

Either we start pitching better, start mashing the ball ourselves a little bit, or we will dig ourselves a potentially very large hole in the opening months.

Just sayin’.

Preview (0-2, T-3, 2.0 GB CWS): Blackburn (0-0, 0.00) vs. Cecil (0-0, 0.00).

Ouch

Yep. The above video is pretty much what the Twins/Blue Jays opener looked like last night (minus the cartoon beeps and boops, although they wouldn’t have been out of place).  Except it was the Jays doing all the home-run smacking, just like they did against us last year.

It’s always a stinger to lose on Opening Day, but the season is long.  Last year, we lost to the Angels in Game 1 and then took the next three.

Hopefully today, Frankie Liriano can MISS some bats instead of hitting them.

Preview (0-1, T-3, 1.0 GB CWS): Francisco Liriano (0-0, 0.00) vs. Kyle Drabek (0-0, 0.00).

What I Want To See On Opening Day…

What I want to see Friday night in Toronto…

-Denard Span having a 9-pitch at-bat and drawing a walk.

-Alexi Casilla getting through a whole game without a bonehead mistake of some kind (not holding my breath on this one)

-Nishioka lining a single to left/center/right and being halfway to first base before the ball leaves the infield.

-The M&M boys together in the lineup.

-Cuddyer gunning a ball in from RF.

-Danny Valencia just being himself…or cool.

-Pavano laboring through 7-8 innings and keeping us in the game.

-Jim Thome just swinging.  Seriously…even a whiff is epic with that guy.

And finally, what I’ve been waiting to here for over a year now…

If that song is playing, I’ll know a win is within reach!!

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