Results tagged ‘ Brian Duensing ’

What The “Deuce”?

As a rookie in 2009, Brian Duensing impressed the Twins so much that he started a playoff game in the Bronx (although I’ll let you guess about the result).

In 2010, Duensing was a starter, long reliever, and setup man on another division-winning team.  In fact, he was my personal choice for ’10 team MVP.

This year, however, has been a disaster for Duensing.  He pitched okay towards the beginning of the season, but the last few months have been a train wreck.  He’s walking guys left and right, only pitching a few innings per start, and (rather inexplicably) has been very poor at throwing to any base on a batted ball.  I don’t think he’s been hurt, so that’s a small consolation, but the effectiveness has vanished as quickly as it developed.

I’ve seen a lot of batters in the throes of “sophomore slumps”, but pitchers usually struggle early on and then only get better (potentially).  Duesing, so far in is career, has been the polar opposite.

Just another question mark on a team that, just a year ago, were beginning to run away with the division.

My Favorite Twin

As the youngest of youngsters, my Twins hero (predictably) was Kirby Puckett:

Then in the mid-90s, Rick Aguilera (for whatever reason) was my favorite Twin:

Brad Radke then picked up the mantra:

Who passed o the torch to Joe Nathan:

However, with Nathan just now perhaps getting back on the horse after Tommy John, I needed a new “favorite player”…that one guy who either comes in from the pen or strides to the plate and make you inch forward in your seat with anticipation.

Right now, for me, that player is Danny Valencia…

Sure, he’s batting in the low .200s this year after an amazing rookie 2010 stretch run surge.  But I just see so much potential in him; maybe our first bona-fide hot corner man since Corey Koskie.  He hits for power, drives the ball to the gaps, has a flair for the dramatic, and plays a solid (if sometimes spectacular) 3b.  Plus, he has just enough ego to know he’s good, yet has a solid manager and good teammates to keep that Florida ego in check.

So, as of right now, Danny Valencia is my favorite Twin.  Time will tell if V will be around for the long haul (like Cuddyer), but considering his youth and considerable talents already, I’d say he’s well on his way.

Notes:

-A good start to the series with the Rays in beating David Price.  Duesing was dominating today and Valencia (heh heh), Cuddy, and Nishioka provided the offensive firepower.

Preview (37-46, 4th, 4.0 GB CWS): James Shields (8-5, 2.45) vs. Scott Baker (6-5, 3.15)

Texas Beatdown

When a lineup consists of Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Adrian Beltre, and Nelson Cruz, sometimes a blowout occurs.

About the only positive to take from it is Swarzak saving the bullpen after Duensing’s disappointment.

Preview (24-39, 5th, 3.0 GB KCR): Colby Lewis (5-6, 4.37) vs. Scott Baker (3-4, 3.86)

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).

Are You Watching Closely?

Man, it’s been awhile since I’ve written on this blog. I guess this year, I’m taking the annual loss to the Yankees in the playoffs a bit harder than usual.

To be honest, I’m not even going to comment on that ALDS.  If you are curious as to some analysis about why we were beaten by the Yankees again, just look at two older posts from this blog:

http://zkonedog.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/ramoswilson1.jpgarchives/2009/10/why_we_lost_theory_1_we_beat_o.html

http://zkonedog.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/ramoswilson1.jpgarchives/2009/10/why_we_lost_theory_2_we_were_o.html

Just change around a few of the names and faces, and that (once again) perfectly explains why the Twins can’t quite topple the mighty Yanks (even though a team like Texas doesn’t seem to have much trouble with them).

What I want to look at right now, instead, is a huge missed opportunity.  After seeing Cliff Lee (Game 1 WS start aside) pretty much buzz-saw his way through the playoffs once again, I can’t help but wondering if Twins execs shouldn’t be “watching closely” as to the difference one ace pitcher can make.

Consider this:

Throughout the regular season, the Twins were the far superior team than Texas.  In those final months of the year, we practically ran away with the #2 seed in the American League.  The ultimate turning point, though, came at the All-Star break, when we had a chance at acquiring Mr. Lee…

clifflee3.jpg

However, it seemed as if Wilson Ramos…

RamosWilson.jpg

…was the stumbling block (at least as reported in the papers) as to why the deal fell through.

Basically, the way I understand it, the Twins didn’t want to give up such a touted prospect for a guy who they knew they would only be renting, especially at a time when a playoff spot was not a given at that point.

Here’s what boggles my mind, though.  Ramos eventually did get shipped out of town, but for the services of one Matt Capps, who did relatively nothing to lock down a solid closing role and was a non-factor in the playoffs.

Now, on one hand, I get what the mid-market (with the new stadium) Twins were trying to do, and that is not tie up too much money in a short-term player when our own talent will need to be paid again soon.  I just wish that Twins execs would have taken a page out of the 2009 Vikings handbook.  The Vikes gambled on Brett Favre, and it took them to the NFC Championship game with a magical season.  Why couldn’t the Twins have done the same?!

I truly believe that we were a much better team than the one that lost to the Yankees in a short three games.  We could hit, field, and pitch (despite a lack of a star bullpen) quite well, but we were just missing that one ace who could give us that confidence-building lead in the series.  Cisco and Pavano did their best, but once it got to Duensing it was all but over.

As much as I hate to say it, the window may have just closed a bit.  Thome’s status is uncertain, Hardy/Hudson might both be gone (leading the old faithful Punto/Casilla middle infield that inspires little confidence both on the field and in the box), and who knows if Pavano can put together another inspired season again (if he even does return).  As evidenced by Texas bouncing the Yanks rather easily, they were ripe for the picking this year.  It just would have taken one ace…the one ace we didn’t gamble on.

Twins execs…are you watching closely?

Twins vs. Yankees X-Factors

Well, here it is, the night before the playoff ALDS opener against the New York Yankees at Target Field.  Here are my “x-factors” for this series:

Yankees:

The first two starters…

amd_yankees_sabathia.jpg

andy-pettite.jpgBoth these two starters are renowned Twins-killers, capable of shutting down even our most potent bats for inning after inning.  To me, just splitting (even at home) with these guys on the mound would be the best we could hope for, as I’m confident that Duensing will beat Hughes in the Bronx for Game 3.  However, two straight losses would pretty much doom us.

For the Twins:

The big righthanded bat…

DYoung.jpg

In previous years, the Twins have never had that powerful righthanded bat in the lineup to counter-act a tough lefty on the mound. Delmon Young changes the equation.

Also, though I won’t necessarily say this is a prediction, but I think Ron Gardenhire gives the Twins a big edge…

ron-gardenhire.jpg

Not saying that Joe Girardi isn’t a quality manager as well, but you know that Gardy will have our boys ready to go for every game. Plus, this year he has some “bullets in the chamber” instead of blanks to match up with the Yanks’ firepower.

I’m too superstitious to make a prediction on this series due to the fact that my home team is in it, so about all that’s left to say is this:

 

Preview: C.C. Sabathia (0-0, 0.00) vs. Francisco Liriano (0-0, 0.00).  The slate is wiped clean in the postseason!

The Fireman


Twins_White_Sox_Baseball_sff_193964_game.jpgTechnically, Brian Duensing is no longer considered a “fireman” now that he is a starter.  However, he threw enough water on Chicago hot situations tonight to qualify for the title.

The Twins kept up their hot hitting since flying into the Windy City, but if not for some jam-escaping abilites inning after inning from Duensing, it might not have been enough.  Like Francisco Liriano a night before, Big-Game Brian had good stuff and used it at the most opportune times in the Twins’ 9-3 win over the ChiSox that further drives home the nail in Ozzie Guillen’s team’s chances of making a late-season push.

Notes:

-Delmon Young picked up his 100th RBI of the season.  A little over a year ago, Twins fans wanted to run him out of town.  Now, we put up with his bumbling, stumbling defense for all those driven in runs.

Preview (87-58, 1st, 8.0 GA CWS, Magic #: 10): Carl Pavano (16-11, 3.47) vs. Mark Buerhle (12-10, 3.99)

Duensing Domination

Royals_Twins_Baseball_sff_192722_game.jpgIf the playoffs were to start right now, the Twins would go against the Rays and could trot out Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano, and Brian Duensing in the first three games.  After Duensing’s domination of the Royals last night, I like those odds.

A starting pitcher SHOULD dominate the paltry KC Royals offerings, and that is exactly what Duensing did.  It may have been the most impressive pitching performance of the season, considering the fact that KC (despite scratching out one weak run) really had no chance against Brian all night long.

Big hits from Tolbert and Span provided the offense against Zack Greinke, who the Twins have now bested four times this season.

I’ll be rooting on my Minnesota Vikings tonight while the Twins hope a plane to Cleveland, but also be keeping my eye on the White Sox game, as a loss could put them a full six games back in the division race!

Preview (83-57, 1st, 5.5 GA CWS): Carl Pavano (16-10, 3.52) vs. Fausto Carmona (11-14, 4.05)

Go Ahead…Make (His) Day


Angels_Twins_Baseball_sff_189132_game.jpgTisk, tisk.  Once again, a team (this time the Angels) intentionally walks Joe Mauer to get to Jason Kubel.  Bad idea (for the other team, that is).  Twins route Haren and Duensing coasts to victory.

Preview (71-51, 1st, 4.5 GA CWS): Trevor Bell (1-3, 5.40) vs. Kevin Slowey (11-5, 4.22)

Their Own Medicine

Athletics_Twins_Baseball_sff_188151_game.jpgThis weekend series against the Oakland A’s was billed with the young, very talented Oakland starting staff potentially shutting down the Twins’ bats.  Instead, we beat them at their own game:

-On Friday, Pavano got hit around quite a bit, but still managed to pitch into the seventh inning and get the win.

-Saturday saw Brian Duensing completely mow down the A’s to the tune of nine innings and three hits.

-Kevin Slowey then pitched seven no-hit innings against Oakland on Sunday, only to be removed from the game due to pitch count issues.

Now, the Pale Hose come to our house.  We can really put a dent in Guillen’s crew by just doing what we do best…winning the series.

Notes:

-I completely understand Gardy taking out Slowey after that seventh inning, as he has been struggling with elbow tendonitis of late.  However, it took even more (insert term loosely related to “guts” here) from Gardy to put in Rauch with a no-hitter on the line.  Didn’t you just know he would blow it…and he did?!  For the first time in my life, I was actually hoping to see Crain jog in from the ‘pen.

Preview (68-50, 1st, 3.0 GA CWS): John Danks (12-8, 3.19) vs. Scott Baker (10-9, 4.76)

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