Happy Birthday–October 1

Ray Kolp (1894)
Carmen Hill (1895)
Jimmie Reese (1901)
Jim Russell (1918)
Hal Naragon (1928)
Chuck Hiller (1934)
Rod Carew (1945)
Bill Bonham (1948)
Pete Falcone (1953)
Jeff Reardon (1955)
Vance Law (1956)
Mark McGwire (1963)
Roberto Kelly (1964)
Chuck McElroy (1967)
John Thomson (1973)
Brandon Knight (1975)
Matt Cain (1984)
Erik Komatsu (1987)

Jimmie Reese played in the majors only briefly, but was a coach in the majors or minors for most of his life.  He was Babe Ruth's roommate for a short period, and uttered the famous line that in reality, he roomed with Babe Ruth's suitcase.  He is also remembered for his skill with a fungo bat, to the extent that he would sometimes pitch batting practice with it.

We would also like to wish Beau a very happy birthday.

Continue reading Happy Birthday--October 1

Happy Birthday–September 30

Gabby Street (1882)
Nap Rucker (1884)
Johnny Allen (1904)
Robin Roberts (1926)
Johnny Podres (1932)
Craig Kusick (1948)
Dave Magadan (1962)
Yorkis Perez (1967)
Jose Lima (1972)
Carlos Guillen (1975)

Gabby Street was a light-hitting catcher who played in parts of eight major leagues seasons, mostly for the Washington Senators. He was Walter Johnson's primary catcher. He later did some managing and broadcasting. He is best remembered as the first man to catch a baseball dropped from the top of the Washington Monument.

Continue reading Happy Birthday--September 30

Trails and such

I decided I'm going to hike/bike/run across Connecticut - and started this last weekend.

The New England Scenic Trail goes from the MA border down to the Long Island Sound in Guilford.

On Saturday did the Beseck Mountain segment (hiking boots/trekking sticks, etc.) and on Sunday did Bluff Head by Guilford.  All have similar characteristics from north to south (volcanic eruption with westward facing basalt cliffs).

This evening did a trail run from Albany Ave (Reservoir 6 in West Hartford) to Heublein Tower on the Metacomet Trail.  Tough when it starts to get dark around 6ish.  Several trips but no problems.

Tough running on rocks/boulders/roots/etc. but I like the variety compared to running on asphalt.

Game 157: Twins at Cleveland

Gibson (10-11, 3.96 ERA, 4.02 xFIP) vs. Anderson (6-3, 3.31 ERA, 4.43 xFIP)

Gibson's coming off his shortest and possibly worst outing of the season against this very Cleveland team. Hopefully he's got a mind for some revenge tonight as the Twins are going to need all the wins they can get since those other frickin teams keep not losing. Since the bullpen has been shaky of late, it'd be great to get a good 7-8 innings.

Opposite Gibson is the rookie Cody Anderson, owner of a shiny 3.31 ERA and a less shiny 4.43 xFIP. He's had some trouble striking guys out with just under 5 K's/9, so on paper this looks like a pretty good matchup for the Twins. It would also be nice if they could find the time to score in more than just one or two innings.

Game 156: Minnesota 4, Cleveland 2


Facing the reigning Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber, the Twins swung early & often and their first five hits went: double (Mauer), double (Sano), homerun (Plouffe), double (Hunter), double (Rosario). These five players accounted for all eight of the hits for the Twins - Brian Dozier added a sacrifice fly and a BB, Herrrmaaann reached twice (BB & HBP) and Escobar also had a BB.

Eddie further celebrated his 24th Birthday with a couple of singles, going 3-4. Despite 114 K's to only 14 BB's, Rosario's had a very nice rookie year: .270/.290/.463 with 18 Doubles, 15 Triples, 12 Homeruns, 49 RBI's, 56 Runs and 11 Stolen bases.

Tommy Milone, tapped to start in place of an ill Phil Hughes a mere four hours before the game, rebounded nicely from his previous two starts at the beginning of September (the results of which - combined with Hughes' return from the DL and Duffy's effectiveness - caused a move to the bullpen). He gave Molitor & Co. 5 2/3 quality innings, allowing only two earned runs on four hits, no walks and four strikeouts. In the sixth, Kipnis blasted a fly ball to deep centerfield that it appeared Hicks had a play on. Instead, he leapt & missed it and the ball caromed off the wall, allowing Kipnis to reach third base. The Indian's rookie SS phenom, Francisco Lindor, then added his second RBI of the night (first was a 1st inning HR) by grounding out to SS. That was all they'd get as the Twins bullpen went on to shut the Cleveland lineup down. Boyer, Fien, Perkins & Jepsen pitched 3 1/3 innings of shutout baseball, allowing only two hits and striking out three (two by Perk-n-Play - yay!).

With this win, the Twins have guaranteed themselves the first .500 or better season in five years. Considering I couldn't find any/we didn't do any predictions this year, I'd say none of us expected much from this club to begin the season. That they're still in the playoff hunt with six games to play is a minor miracle.

For Funzies:
2014 Predictions
2013 Predictions

Happy Birthday–September 29 (POST# 10,000 Edition)

Dave Orr (1859)
Gus Weyhing (1866)
Harry Steinfeldt (1877)
Paul Giel (1932)
Mike McCormick (1938)
Rich Reese (1941)
Steve Busby (1949)
John McLaren (1951)
Warren Cromartie (1953)
Byron McLaughlin (1955)
Tim Flannery (1957)
Craig Lefferts (1957)
Rob Deer (1960)
Derek Parks (1968)
Jake Westbrook (1977)
Heath Bell (1977)
Joe Thurston (1979)

Dave Orr is considered the greatest nineteenth century slugger of all.  His career was cut short when he suffered a stroke in 1890 at the age of 31.

Outfielder Warren Cromartie was drafted by the Twins in the third round of the January Secondary draft in 1972, but did not sign.

Continue reading Happy Birthday--September 29 (POST# 10,000 Edition)

Happy Birthday–September 28

Lou Bierbauer (1865)
Wilbur Good (1885)
Jack Fournier (1889)
Whitey Witt (1895)
Al Evans (1916)
Dick Gernert (1928)
Grant Jackson (1942)
Pete Filson (1958)
Jerry Layne (1958)
Todd Worrell (1959)
Ed Vosberg (1961)
Charlie Kerfeld (1963)
Matt Vasgersian (1967)
Mike DeJean (1970)
Ryan Zimmerman (1984)
Eddie Rosario (1991)

Jerry Layne has been a major league umpire since 1989.

Matt Vasgersian has been a major league baseball broadcaster since 1997.

Continue reading Happy Birthday--September 28

Game 155: Twins 7, Tigers 1

And now we're down to one week left and the Twins are still in this thing. The Twins are still just 1 1/2 games back. Of course, it seems like they've been 1 1/2 games back for a couple weeks. They could be leading the wildcard after Tuesday's games. At this point in the season, anything can happen and the Twins can't be considered out of it until they're officially eliminated.

Look at 2009. The Twins were 3 games back with 4 to play and only 1 game left with the Tigers. The Twins went on win the division in an epic Game 163 in the final regular-season game in the Metrodome.

As for Sunday, the Twins did what they really need to do a lot of for the next week, which is score early and often. The Twins take pride in being resilient, but they really haven't shown that characteristic during games much. In fact, they haven't won a game in which they didn't score first since Sept. 5 in Houston, and that game ended with Byron Buxton making a sliding/diving catch on a line drive with the tying run at third and the winning run at second.

Fortunately, the Twins have been very good at scoring first as of late. They did so again Sunday with six runs in the second inning. It was the 14th time in the last 20 games the Twins have scored first. What was really nice to see was it started with the bottom of the lineup. The much maligned Kurt Suzuki got the Twins on the board first with an RBI single, then Buxton, getting a rare start, came up with two on and no outs. He attempted to bunt the first pitch in an obvious bunting situation, especially with a struggling No. 9 hitter at the plate. However, he got a slow curve on the next pitch and lined it into left-center for an RBI double. The top of the order kept the hit parade going to give Ervin Santana more than enough runs.

On Aug. 25, Santana was pulled in the third inning of an eventual 11-7 win over the Rays. His ERA at that point on the season was 6.05 for the pitcher who had been given the biggest free-agent contract in franchise history.  After that start, pitching coach Neil Allen put Santana through some drills to help him make an adjustment in his mechanics. Since then, he's been terrific. He's pitched at least 7 innings and not allowed more than 2 runs in his last 6 starts. The Twins have won 6 of those games. The one loss was when Kevin Jepsen blew the save with help from a bad decision on a throw by Aaron Hicks and then Paul Molitor went all pinch runner crazy and the Twins ended up losing to the Tigers in 12 innings.

Santana didn't look like he was as sharp as he's been, but his biggest problem was a high pitch count early in the game, but he still managed to get through 7 innings on 105 pitches, which is right where you want a starter to be at. He pretty much made it look easy once he got the big lead, and he might have gotten some help from the Tigers, who might find it hard to get motivated to make big comebacks in games that are essentially meaningless to them and their season.

If a team wants to go on a long winning streak, they need to find ways to win without constantly using their best relievers. On Sunday, Michael Tonkin was the only other pitcher used with him throwing the final two innings.

The fun part of the game was seeing several firsts. While Buxton's double early in the game was probably more crucial to the victory, it was nearly as exciting to see him hit his first major league home run late in the game. The fact that it came on a high fastball from a hard-throwing right-handed reliever made it even more exciting.

Miguel Sano finally found a ballpark big enough for him to get his first major league triple. He hit a rocket shot to right-center field to the deepest part of probably the biggest AL ballpark. What was even better is that it came with two outs in the ninth and with rookie Max Kepler on deck pinch hitting for Torii Hunter. Sano's triple extended the inning so that Kepler could get his first major league at-bat. He ended up striking out, but at least he finally got a chance to bat after sitting on the bench for a week.

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.