2011 Game 59: Senators at Naps

The Arizona Diamondbacks are 13-4 since May 20, when they began a three-game sweep of our boys (and 18-5 back to May 14. I just wanted to point that out, because through April, the Snakes were 28th in MLB in FIP (just ahead of the Twins) and 26th in pitching WAR (the Twins were dead last). Now Arizona is in the hunt in the NL West, a half-game back of SF, thanks to much improved pitching (they were middle-of-the-pack in FIP, xFIP and pitching WAR in May).

The Twins ride into Cleveland on the wings of a four-game sweep of the Landed Gentlemen. Not exactly the 1927 Yankees there, but a feel-good weekend nonetheless. But if the Twins are going to make a move, now is the time to get it started, with a series win against the surprise division leaders.

Pitching matchup:

Scott Baker (3.86 ERA, 4.06 FIP, 3.65 xFIP, 66:23 K:BB, 10 HR in 67 2/3)
Josh Tomlin (3.27 ERA, 4.33 FIP, 3.86 xFIP, 41:11 K:BB, 11 HR in 71 2/3)

Tomlin, a righty, has been riding the tiger in Cleveland. He's 7-2, thanks in significant part to best-in-the-majors run support (7.91 r/g), a .213 BAA and unsustainable .213 BABIP, despite not missing very many bats and having given up HRs at the same pace as our boy Scotty. He throws a pedestrian 2-seam fastball, cutter, curve and changeup and recently has been compared unfavorably to Phil Humber. If only we had some healthy, left-handed sluggers to put in the lineup against this Cinderella Story.... Go, Red Wings Rock Cats!!!111one111!!!

First Monday Book Day: The age of recycling

The oldest trick in the literary book is to re-write somebody else's story. And of course, it helps to steal from really good stories.

This month's selection, James Lovegrove's The Age of Odin, is the third in his non-trilogy threesome of godpunk/military scifi retellings of ancient mythological stories. Here, it is Ragnarök with M16s and RPGs.

I was suckered into purchasing this number by the back-cover blurb from The Guardian (actually about another of the three books), "The kind of complex, action-oriented SF Dan Brown would write if Dan Brown could write."

Seriously. I was so amused that the publisher (Solaris Books) had the balls to take such a swipe at another writer on the cover of the book that I gave this one a chance. Now that I have, I will offer my own version of the plug: "The kind of pulpy, shallow action-oriented SF that Neil Gaiman would write if he were 15."

Ok, that's a bit harsh. I found this book mildly entertaining, if derivative (some of the ideas appear to be lifted from -- err, homages to -- Gaiman's fantastic American Gods; in both, the protagonists meet up with more-than-he-seems-to-be old man after a car accident; Gaiman's kills the protagonist's wife; Lovegrove's kills his ex-army buddy; etc. etc.). Lovegrove isn't overly interested in developing either story or character, but he seems to be pretty good at writing blood-and-gore fight scenes. Pretty much the whole book is fight scenes.

This is beach reading, perfect for a teenage boy who has already seen Thor and X-Men: First Class, waiting eagerly for Green Lantern to open. Disposable, largely devoid of any effort to raise Big Ideas, and somewhat hampered by a rather clumsily done development of the bad guy (Loki) as a thinly veiled Sarah Palin. Oooh, so topical! But it reads quickly for its 585 pages. And, perhaps most importantly, it got me in the mood to start George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series.
Continue reading First Monday Book Day: The age of recycling

Minor Details: Games of 6/1 – 6/5

ROCHESTER

Wednesday—Rochester 10, Toledo 9 in Rochester.  The Red Wings overcame a 7-0 first inning deficit.  Rene Tosoni and Aaron Bates each had three hits, with Tosoni hitting a home run.

Thursday—Rochester 8, Toledo 0 in Rochester.  Eric Hacker struck out six in six innings, giving up four hits and four walks.

Friday—Norfolk 7, Rochester 2 in Rochester.  Aaron Bates had two hits.  Kyle Gibson allowed six runs (four earned) on nine hits with five strikeouts in five innings.

Saturday—Rochester 5, Norfolk 1 in Rochester.  Dustin Martin doubled and homered.  Scott Diamond allowed an unearned run on four hits and a walk in eight innings.

Sunday—Norfolk 11, Rochester 5 in Rochester (11 innings).  Rene Tosoni had two singles and a double.  Aaron Bates and Chase Lambin each singled and homered.

Continue reading Minor Details: Games of 6/1 – 6/5

Game #58: Twins 6, Royals 0

Twins record: 21-37
Fangraphs

Whoops, I forgot I had to do one of these, so I'm going to get in, get out, and go to bed. The Twins won, we swept the Royals in KC, baseball is fun again, Duensing was on top of his game, there's some cool pictures from the WGOM get-together in the CoC, I can't think of as many things to say when the Twins win as when they lose. That's all I've got.

Hitter of the Week: I suppose I ought to give one of these to Alexi Casilla before he turns back into Alexi Casilla.
Pitcher of the Week: Carl Pavano

Game 58: Twins at Royals

Brian Duensing vs. Jeff Francis

This is the Twins' fourth three-game winning streak of the season and they do not have a four-game winning streak. So, the Twins are due, right? This will be the third time that Duensing is the starter as the Twins go for a fourth consecutive victory.

The Twins have followed the three previous three-game win streaks with six-, nine- and four-game losing streaks, so the Twins need to find a way to keep this going, but the current health of their roster is likely to make this difficult. With a lefty on the mound, I wouldn't be surprised if both Justin Morneau and Denard Span get an extra day off to help with their minor injuries.

Duensing is 0-5 in his last six starts. This bad stretch started in Kansas City, so hopefully coming full circle will help Duensing put an end to it.

Alexi Casilla is now hitting .301/.370/.390 in his last 34 games (119 PAs).  The Twins desperately need some production and consistent defense from a middle infielder, so this is a good sign. GO TWINS!!!

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.