Results tagged ‘ Indians ’

Have Gun, Will Travel…

http://www.youtube.com/e/tgvxu8QY01s
large_cliff-lee.jpgWell, well, the Yankees didn’t get their man after all…

Talk about a guy (Cliff Lee) who doesn’t mind being a hired gun and throwing home life stability (I don’t know what kind of family he has) to the wind.

First, he develops his talents in Cleveland.  When they can’t afford him, he jumps to Philadelphia to help them make the World Series in 2009.  In 2010, he starts out with the “promising” Mariners, but when they completely collapse he is dealt to Texas and helps THEM get the big show.

Now, after being courted by the Yankees and Rangers, he decides to go back to Philly to join a starting rotation that would also include Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, and Joe Blanton.

What a crazy guy (although, the kind of checks he’s cashing must be incredible)!  I guess if you don’t mind not setting down roots anywhere, more power to him.

A Different Feeling

Last year ended (at least the regular season) about as exciting as a Twins season has ever come to a close (see above).

This year obviously felt a little different.  For most of today’s regular season finale against the Toronto Blue Jays, the 3-4-5 batters were: Drew Butera, Ben Revere, and Trevor Plouffe.

This occured due to the Twins trying to rest guys for the playoffs, but it was still a bit disconcerting to see the team lose so many games after clinching.  I’m not too worried, though, for this reason:

Last year in the ALDS against the Yankees, the Twins Brendan Harris, Nick Punto, and Matt Tolbert in the starting lineup.  No such thing will happen this year, as those guys are replaced (respectively) by Jim Thome, Orlando Hudson, and Danny Valencia.

We know that our first-round opponent this year will again be the Yankees, but I’ll have more on that matchup in a later post.

Final AL Central Standings:

y-Minnesota 94 -68 . -
Chi White Sox 88 -74 6.0
Detroit 81 -81 13.0
Cleveland 69 -93 25.0
Kansas City 67 -95 27.0

Git ‘Er Done


Twins_Indians_Baseball_sff_193371_game.jpgIt wasn’t pretty, but the Twins were able to “git ‘er done” this weekend against the Indians.  It took us over 18 innings to get the first run of the series, and we scored in only two innings the entire series, but still managed to take the series thanks to some great starting pitching

Now, the last series against the White Sox looms at the Cell starting Tuesday.  We can effectively put them away by winning the series, or they (a very streaky team to begin with) can gain momentum.

Notes:

-Unbelievable…we’re only two games behind the Yankees for best record in the American League, and thus locking up home field advantage for the playoffs.  With the amount of times the Yanks and Rays still play each other down the stretch, if the Twins keep putting up “W’s” we could sneak through as the #1 seed!

Preview (85-58, 1st, 6.0 GA CWS): Francisco Liriano (13-7, 3.24) vs. John Danks (13-10, 3.54).

It Could Be Worse…At Least We Aren’t Cleveland

Last night, the Twins got pounded by the Blue Jays…plain and simple:

Twins_Blue_Jays_Baseball_sff_181060_game.jpg

They homered us right out of their stadium, beating up on Scott Baker in the process.  Besides a solo shot from Michael Cuddyer, we couldn’t do squat against their pitchers and ended up in third place in the standings because of it.

However, as I lamented that fact, I happened to flip over to Lebron James TV (oh, sorry, aka ESPN) to hear “The Big Decision”.  After hearing the outcome (James to the Heat), I’m just glad I’m not a sports fan in Cleveland.  Consider:

lebron-james3.jpg The Cavaliers just lost (arguably) the best player in the NBA and, despite what their owner says, will likely not win a championship before he does.  I don’t follow professional basketball closely enough to say that with impunity, but without King James they will be a worse team…plain and simple.

ClevelandBrowns.jpg

The Browns are just as exciting as their pure orange logo, having one decent season (which only proved to be a few lucky passes from Derek Anderson to Braylon Edwards) since their franchise resurrection in the 1990s.

walkoff.jpg

The saddest case, though, is probably that of the Cleveland Indians.  Three seasons ago, they were on the verge of a World Series berth, what with CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee in the rotation and Travis Hafner looking like the natural version of Mark McGwire.  Now, they are battling the KC Royals for the AL Central cellar.

So, perhaps I should just be thankful for a competitive ballclub…although I still want an SP and a closer!

Preview (45-40, 3rd, 1.5 GB CWS): Francisco Liriano (6-6, 3.32) vs. Justin Verlander (10-5, 3.85). Ace vs. Ace.  Never has a team needed the All-Star break more than the Twins do right now, but they need to keep the fire burning for three more crucial division games.

Just Win, Baby

AL-DAVIS.jpgYou know, there aren’t a whole lot of scenarios in which I can think of many positive things to say about Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, but he did coin a catchphrase that pretty much describes professional sports in a nutshell: Just win, baby.

In football, that phrase translates into doing everything possible to get the “W” on a Sunday or Monday night.  In baseball, where the schedule stretches on into the dog days of summer, it comes down to winning series, something the Twins have done with remarkable success (i.e. no failure) so far this season and, with a win over Cleveland tonight, are in a great position to do so again.

Tonight, the star of the show was Kevin Slowey, who sliced his way (8 IP, 1 ER, 5 H) through the Indians lineup with relative ease, striking out nine in the process.

Offensively, the Twins were helped by an inning that one would be accustomed to seeing in Dwarf League baseball, not the majors, featuring an easy double-play ball going through SS Asdrubal Cabrera’s legs, and then two runs scoring on one wild pitch.

If this single game told me anything, it is that I can say with little to no trepidation that the Cleveland Indians will be in last place come early October.

Notes:

-Yesterday, this guy…

gagne-pump.jpg

It always amazes me how quickly one can fall while playing this game.  In 2003, Eric Gagne put together perhaps the greatest season by a closer in major league history: 1.20 ERA, 55 saves.  After one more good season in LA, Gagne pretty much dropped off the face of the earth, never again even coming remotely close to his old dominating form.  Of course, Gagne was also named in the Mitchell Report as admitting to have taken HGH.  Perhaps that explains a few things.

Preview (10-4, 1st, 3.0 GA DET): David Huff (1-1, 1.80) vs. Francisco Liriano (1-0, 2.08).

2010 MLB Picks

crystal-ball.jpgMy “official” predictions for the 2010 MLB season (before the season gets too far along and starts to affect my judgement!):

AL East

New York

Boston (Wild Card)

Tampa Bay

Baltimore

Toronto

AL Central

Minnesota

Chicago

Kansas City

Detroit

Cleveland

AL West

Los Angeles

Oakland

Texas

Seattle

NL East

Philadelphia

Atlanta (Wild Card)

New York

Florida

Washington

NL Central

St. Louis

Chicago

Milwaukee

Cincinnati

Houston

Pittsburgh

NL West

San Francisco

Los Angeles

Arizona

Colorado

San Diego

AL Champ: New York

NL Champ: Atlanta

World Series Champ: Atlanta Braves

Questions, comments, rants, profanity-laced tirades?!

The End Of An Era

For as long as I have been following the Minnesota Twins, one thing (well, besides the one rubber-armed old fogey left-handed reliever) that has remained constant is a grizzled, experienced catcher to either handle the pitching staff in the abscence of a long-term starter, or to mentor guys like Joe Mauer and A.J. Pierzynksi.

In the late 1990s, that guy was Terry Steinbach…

Steinbach.jpg

Then, in the 2000s, the torch was passed from Tom Prince…

a_prince_i.jpg

…to Henry Blanco…

300_blanco.jpg

…and finally to Mike Redmond…

71547045_jpg_10242_0_feature.jpg

However, it was announced a few days ago that Redmond, a free agent, signed a one-year deal with the Cleveland Indians, meaning the Twins will go with young Jose Morales…

morales-jose1.jpg …as their primary backup to Joe Mauer during the 2010 season.

This decision makes sense, as it is either boom (catch all year) or bust (lose a large chunk of time due to injury) for Mauer, it seems.  Red Dog was no longer an overyday player, although an apt fill-in on Thursday and Sunday afternoons, and thus probably couldn’t hold the job alone in Mauer’s abscence.

I enjoyed watching Red over the past few seasons, and will miss that inside-out swing and all those little dinks between first and second that always seemed to drop in for hits.  I wish him the best in Cleveland and have always thought that, if he wanted to and the opportunity presented itself, he could be a big league manager someday.

Goliath vs. Goliath

It’s been way too long since I updated this blog, but in part it is because of exactly what I am about to say.  Last week, the New York Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series, and I’ll admit that I hardly watched any of it.  Was it because my beloved Twins were knocked off by the hated Yanks?  Partially, I will admit.  But I think the real reason is just because of how depressing it was to see the “haves” of baseball continue to lay the unrequited smackdown on the “have nots”.  This line of thinking was epitomized by the Game One starting pitching matchup:

indians-sabathia.jpg

The Yankees opened the Series with burly lefthander C.C. Sabathia, who had pretty much dominated any opponent sent to face him all season long.  Just two seasons previous (2007), though, old cap-tipping C.C. (the Yanks must have straightened that out along with Jason Giambi’s mustache, Randy Johnson’s dangly hair, and Johnny Damon’s Jesus-mane) had been the star of Cleveland, winning the AL Cy Young award.

Sabathia’s mound opponent in Game One was Cliff Lee:

phils_lee.jpg

Much like C.C., Lee had lead his Phillies with dominating performance after dominating performance down the stretch the throughout the playoffs. But, again like Sabathia, just one year previous Lee won the AL Cy Young while in Cleveland.

So, while most baseball fans may have just seen a great pitching matchup, I saw what is wrong with the very fabric of what was once America’s Pastime (much more on that topic in my next post).  Instead of a level playing field, some teams are given advantages (based no more than upon the geographic territory they happen to inhabit) that allow them to dominate the lesser opponents.  I mean, just imagine how Cleveland fans must have been feeling while watching that Game One?  It would probably be like how you and I (Twins fans) would feel should the Mets ever stop sucking and Johan Santana gets the chance to shine in the postseason.  It is a very helpless feeling, and one that completely turned me off to the rest of the Series.

About the only excitement I got out of it was watching old Pedro Martinez turn back the clock one more (last?) time against the team he will be forever paired with:

pedro-martinez-phillies.jpg Other than that, I don’t have much interest in watching teams steal young talent from around the league and then calling it “high drama” when they invetabily meet in the biggest of games.  I can’t begrudge the fans of either team, as I guess I can’t blame them for their economic advantages, but I personally find it very disheartening.

Coming up next: Why football is quickly approaching my beloved baseball in terms of “favorite sport”.

5 Alive

deef4233-3c42-49dd-9e36-6eb410141a30.jpgFor much of this season, I had been rather disgusted (perhaps a bit strong…but not much) with the at-bats taken by one Michael Cuddyer.  In fact, in terms of the dollars and cents of his long-term contract, he might just be one of the worst investments (factoring in injuries) that the Twins have made over the last few years (although the jury is still out on that verdict, obviously).

For now, though, the man known as Cuddy is carrying the Twins’ offense on his back after Justin Morneau went done with his season-ending back issue.  Whereas for most of the season Cuddy was giving away at-bat after at-bat by chasing the breaking balls that drop away from him from a right-handed pitcher, he is now locked in at the plate and hitting everything with force.

Tonight, Cuddyer was 3-4 with a single, double, and home run, keeping up his long-held tradition of blasting everything that White Sox starter John Danks throws in his general direction (Cuddy is hitting over .500 against Danks in his career).

Michael also had some help tonight and it was needed, as Jeff Manship struggled in the early goings and didn’t make it past the third inning.  Orlando Cabrera, Jason Kubel, and Matt Tolbert (yep, that’s right) also contributed home runs in the contest, while Joe Mauer had a big RBI double that seemed to revitalize the team at the time.

Unfortunately, the Cleveland Indians left the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth (you would have scored them against us!) and fell 3-1 to the Tigers.  However, the Injuns actually out-hit the Little Kitties, so it isn’t as if Detroit has righted the ship.

One final thought: How in God’s name is Jesse Crain 7-4 on the season?!  Ponder THAT one for a while…

Preview (78-73, 2nd, 2.5 GB DET): Brian Duensing (4-1, 3.22) vs. Mark Buerhle (12-9, 3.84). In Duensing, we may have just found the antidote to Buerhle…another crafty lefty who does whatever it takes to get guys out.

Little Big Man

c15b02bb-f861-4f41-b83a-459ec887f628.jpgAfter hearing (and digesting, if you will) the news that Justin Morneau will no longer be contributing for the remainder of the season due to some pretty serious back issues, it was clear that other players would have to step up in the big Canadian’s abscence.

Well, Nick Punto made that quick impact tonight, collecting three hits and knocking in two runs as the Twins defeated the Indians 5-4.  Despite jumping out to an early lead, the Twins found themselves down 3-1 to the Indians after Scott Baker’s mini-meltdown in the fourth inning.  However, in the bottom of that inning, Punto’s RBI single brought the Twins to within one and later, after a solo homer from Orlando Cabrera tied it and a big hit from Brian Buscher put the Twins in the leader, Punto again singled to score the Busch-Man and give the Twins a much-needed insurance run, as Nathan struggled (solo shot, left tying run on second) to close the door in the ninth.

A great win that, what with Detroit again having their backsides handed to them by the Royals, pulls us one game closer.

Preview (73-72, 2nd, 4.5 GB DET): Aaron Laffey (7-5, 3.79) vs. Nick Blackburn (9-11, 4.39)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.