Results tagged ‘ Carl Pavano ’

Making ‘Em Sweat

Twins_Blue_Jays_Baseball__sff_180650_game.jpgLast night, the Minnesota Twins look for all the world to be headed to another disappointing loss on the road.  Down 5-2 after five innings, Carl Pavano was getting beat by the long ball and the bats weren’t doing much of anything (besides grounding to Lyle Overbay, that is).

However, that is when the bats started to heat up:

Twins_Blue_Jays_Baseball__sff_180610_game.jpg Not only did it take back-to-back jacks from Morneau and Kubel to jump back into the game, but big hits were also needed from Mauer (dinger), and doubles by Thome and Delmon Young (who finished the game 3-3) since the pen kept serving up the meatballs.

As much as everyone is worried about the Twins right now, I think that our hitting is what it is and we aren’t going to change anything.  If we continue to trot out a Span-O-Dawg-Mauer-Morneau-Cuddy-Kubes-Big D-Big Jim-JJ lineup, we’ll score runs:

 If it doesn’t, then we probably just don’t deserve to make the playoffs anyway, so why worry?  Thus, are biggest area of improvement will be pitching.  Cliff Lee would be huge, but enough so to mortage away guys like Wilson Ramos and Aaron Hicks?  At this point, I would have to say yes.  With that kind of potent lineup day in and day out, we may actually have a chance to take on the mighty Yanks in the playoffs this year (one always has to assume that the AL road to the World Series runs through the Big Apple), but not without a few pitchers to hold back their firepower.  Sending Lee, Liriano, and Pavano/Slowey/Baker/Blackie to the mound would give as at least a fair shake against their big bats, I think, though of course nothing is guaranteed.

Another key…more pictures like this:

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Notes:

-Too bad Delmon Young won’t win the Final Vote balloting, but Kevin Youkilis probably deserves it.  Just as long as Swish doesn’t make it…man I hate that guy!

Preview (45-38, 2nd, 0.5 GB DET): Kevin Slowey (8-5, 4.57) vs. Marc Rzepczynski (0-0, 0.00).  The Tigers needed some late-inning heroics to preserve their division lead last night, so let’s keep the pressure on.  I don’t want to be two games back heading into Comerica this weekend.

What Was I Thinking!

In my last blog post, I likened mustachioed Twins starting pitcher Carl Pavano to a short, stout little plumber.  What was I thinking!  The plumber’s goofy brother is a MUCH better doppelganger (!):

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U-Turn

uturn%20sign.jpgHeading into the top of the ninth inning of Saturday’s game against the the Phillies, it looked as if the Twins were headed for a sweep at the hands of the defending NL champs.  But then, less than 24 hours later, the Twins had taken two of three from the Phils and salvaged what looked to be a disaster.

Thome, Mauer, Butera, and Young provided the late-inning offense in the thrilling Saturday comeback (featuring a blown save by Jon Rauch that prolonged the game even further), while Carl Pavano out-pitched Roy Halladay (Yankee fans, I bet you never thought you’d read that sentence!) on Sunday.

Now, on to the city of Brats & Beer!

Preview (40-29, 1st, 1.5 GA DET): Scott Baker (6-5, 4.41) vs. Chris Narveson (5-4, 5.79).

Two Good Teams

This past weekend, the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves (both leaders of their respective divisions) played some hard-fought games that brought to mind another series between each club that you might remember:

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On Friday night, Francisco Liriano and Tim Hudson locked horns in an epic pitchers duel (I was at this one in person!).  Frankie struck out seven batters in a row at one point (tying a club record), and the Twins did Hudson in with one productive inning in the seventh.

For Saturday’s game, another pitching lockup commenced, this time with Nick Blackburn taking the hard-luck loss to Derek Lowe.

In the finale, Kevin Slowey came back down to earth after a series of outstanding starts, and the Twins effectively lost after the second inning (down 5-0).  Delmon Young did continue his hot hitting with a three-run bomb, though.

Notes:

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-It was nice to see the Twins organization recognize Bobby Cox before the opening game of the series (Cox has announced his retirement from managing effective at the end of this season).  He truly is a class act who will be sorely missed by Atlanta and all MLB.

-Boy, is Delmon ever on a tear!  Of course, he is also prone to those bone-dry stretches as well, so is it really necessary to re-hash the Garza/Bartlett for Young/Harris trade every time he goes on a streak?!

-We need to get healthy.  We may be able to beat some NL clubs (like the incoming Rockies) with the likes of Danny Valencia and Trevor Plouffe in the lineup, but we need O-Dawg and JJ back to compete with the big boys offensively.

Preview (36-27, 1st, 2.5 GA DET): Aaron Cook (2-3, 4.76) vs. Carl Pavano (6-6, 3.92).  Does Pavano ever get a no-decision?  I’m kidding…that’s actually a positive thing, as it means he’s pitching deep into games.

It’s A Long Road…

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 Since I started watching baseball back in 1996, there has been one constant to my Minnesota Twins universe: getting healthy on the Kansas City Royals.  Back in the late 90s, we would get many of our 60-70 wins per season by beating the boys in blue.  Since 2001, we have looked forward to their presence (whether here or at Kauffman Stadium doesn’t seem to make a difference) to fuel winning streaks and douse losing skids.

Tonight, the Twins once again outclassed the boys from KC, as Carl Pavano shut them down (8 IP, 2 ER) for most of the game, while Delmon Young continued to swing a healthy bat (HR #7) and the Twins banged out 10 hits en route to a 6-2 victory.

Seriously, and I would love to get some comments on this, why are the Royals still so bad?  Besides a extraordinary early-season streak in 2003 (followed by an equally tremendous fade, of course) that gave them an over-.500 record, the last time they were eclipsing that mark was in 1994 when the strike hit.  I just don’t understand how a team can be “rebuilding” for that long and still have plays like what happened tonight: a guy fails to touch second base while trying to turn a double play, and their left fielder let a ball sail over his head after seeming to have it measured.  This has been going on for far too long in KC, and I want to know why.  I kind of feel bad for the organization and fans (be careful what you wish for, I know), as I know the frustration of enduring “lean years”.  Thoughts from KC fans or others are welcome.

Preview (35-24, 1st, 4.5 GA DET): Bruce Chen (2-0, 2.95) vs. Scott Baker (5-4, 4.52). Bruce Chen?  Bruce Chen??!!  Never again will I complain about the Twins having any pitching “woes”.

King Felix Indeed

Twins_Mariners_Baseball_sff_174741_game.jpgWell, there is a reason why I take this guy every year in my fantasy baseball league.  When Felix Hernandez is on, his ball has such incredible movement that it is almost impossible to hit solidly (if at all).  That was the case tonight.

The other two reasons the Twins lost:

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The Mariners exposed a Carl Pavano weakness and turned the basepaths into a track meet.  This is becoming a serious problem when Carlos pitches against teams with speedsters.

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Then, Jose Lopez really got ahold of one and you could just feel the air come out of our sails, what with King Felix holding court.

Preview (31-23, 1st, 2.5 GA DET): Scott Baker (5-4, 4.48) vs. Dallas Braden (4-5, 3.60).  In the span of three days, the Twins will have stared down last year’s postseason hero (Cliff Lee), one of the top hurlers in the AL (Felix), and a guy (in Braden) who has pitched a perfect game this season.  Ouch.

Blue Jay Beatdown

Twins_Blue_Jays_Baseball_sff_171543_game.jpgWell, I can say this about the Toronto Blue Jays: They sure do swing the bats with authority.  If the opposing pitcher (like Pavano today) isn’t on his game and leaves too many meatballs out over the plate, this team will make them pay for those transgressions.

It was just one of those days to forget for the Twins, as they were hammered by the Jays from start to finish.  Pavano (4 IP, 10 H, 6 ER) got rocked early, and the pen couldn’t stem the tide late.

Plus, the bats never got going against Shaun Marcum as he continued his dominance over AL batsmen.

Two victories would have been nice, but splitting a series (even a short one) on the road is at least not a disaster.  A split against Boston the next two days would also salvage a road trip that looked like disaster after those first two Yankee games.

Preview (24-15, 2.0 GA DET): Scott Baker (4-3, 4.93) vs. Clay Buchholz (4-3, 3.46)

Which One Is The Hot Corner Again?

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Usually, the “hot corner” of the infield is the third base position. Tonight, it was the other corner.

On one hand, it doesn’t go much “hotter” than Justin Morneau right now, after ripping two more homers tonight and upping his league-leading average to .374.  He is about as locked in as a hitter can be at this point, and Twins fans can only hope that he sustains even a fraction of this performance through September and (hopefully!) October, which has been a problem for him the last few years due to slumps and injuries.

Also, first base was the site of Toronto 1B Lyle Overbay’s meltdown in the fourth inning.  After already failing to snag a few hot shots in the earlier innings, Overbay committed another faux pas by dropping an easy third out of the inning, then proceeded to fire wildly to third (and missing the mark) and allow another run to scamper home.  It was a sequence straight out of Little League desperation, complete with the frazzled infielder, carousel-like baserunning, and frustrated fans chanting the name of Overbay’s potential replacement, Brett Wallace.

After the emotional win over the Yankees yesterday afternoon, it was nice to see the Twins coming out focused once again today and not have a dip in energy that seemed to happen so much last season.

Preview (24-14, 1st, 2 GA DET): Carl Pavano (4-3, 3.30) vs. Shaun Marcum (2-1, 2.78)

Playin’ Big

pologrounds.jpgWay back in the day, there was a ballpark called the Polo Grounds that played host to the New York Giants of John McGraw and Christy Mathewson fame.  The park, pictured above, was shaped like an emormous horseshoe and was roughly 500 feet from home plate to the center field “garage” (imagine sitting out there!).  Though batters could hit lazy pop flies that would easily clear the 250 ft. lengths down both lines, the power alleys (aptly named for where the big drives go) were nearly impossible to clear.

During the current Twins homestand at Target Field, its looking more and more (at least in the soggy weather) that our new digs will play pretty big as well.  In today’s game, Michael Cuddyer hit a blast off of John Danks that looked as if it were so far gone that centerfielder Alex Rios wouldn’t even have a shot at it.  Somewhere, though, the cold air kept the ball in the air long enough to allow Rios, on a dead sprint, to extend his glove over the top of the wall and come down with ball in hand.  Cuddyer (as well as the announcers and all watching fans) was incredulous that the ball didn’t leave the stadium by a mile.

Luckily, the Twins got another solid performance from Pavano (7 IP, 2 ER) and managed not to waste it this time, slapping together a few runs in the early innings to counter a rough first inning and hanging on the rest of the way.  Without the baserunning daring of Juan Pierre, the Sox wouldn’t have had anything going for them today.

Preview (22-12, 1st, 3.0 GA DET): Francisco Liriano (4-1, 2.36) vs. AJ Burnett (4-1, 3.40).  Travel day Thursday in preperation for the big Yankee showdown over the weekend.

A Few More Feet

this_close_man.jpgI didn’t get to see much of tonight’s game, as I was watched LOST over at a friend’s house (I know, I know…priorities, right?).

When I picked things up, the Twins were down 5-2 going into the bottom of the eighth.  Mauer lined a single, then Morneau followed with a mammoth drive that, as John Gordon described it, was just a foot or so away from leaving the park and pulling the Twins to within one.  NO!!

The way I figure it, if we are losing to the White Sox in the late innings, I feel pretty good about my chances of tying things up if we are only down by one.  Why?  Because Ozzie Guillen will motion for this guy, Bobby Jenks…

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Talk about your overrated closers. He’s got a tremendous fastball, but nothing else, thus Twins hitters (having seen him so much) ALWAYS seem to hit him around.  True to form, Thome launched a double off him in the ninth in a scenario that may have played out much differently had it only been a one-run ballgame.  Ugh!

Slowey must have gotten roughed up in that fifth inning, but it was nice to see Alex Burnett and Co. keep the Twins in the game until the very end.  A pen like that can be dangerous to opponents you think they have the game won and go into coast mode, only to see us chip away at the lead.

Preview (21-12, 1st, 2.5 GA DET): John Danks (3-1, 1.98) vs. Carl Pavano (3-3, 3.43).  If Pavano gives us another solid outing tomorrow afternoon, we can’t waste it again, not with a tough East Coast stretch (New York, Toronto, Boston) coming up.

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