Game 57: Twins 7, Royals 2

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire rubbed the champagne out of his eyes as he reflected on the wild ride of the past five months that had concluded with the franchise's third world championship following another epic seven-game World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

"I've never had as much fun managing a team as I have these past five months," Gardenhire said. "But I've never been as miserable managing a team as I was the first two months."

So, what keyed the turnaround?

"No. 1 was getting healthy," Gardenhire said. "It was ridiculous there for awhile. They should have just called us the Red Wings. I'd never seen anything like it. Once we got our horses back, we started to play like we expected to. Then we started to get our bullpen straightened out as well as healthy. Chuck James was just a godsend. He gave us three strong lefties along with Glen Perkins and Jose Mijares. Then we could match up Slama with righties, who have a real tough time with his motion. Of course, just getting Joe Nathan healthy enough to resume his closer role was big so Cappy could go back to setting up.

"But what I think really helped us turn it up to a high level was getting back to Twins-brand baseball."

Was there any point in the season to point to that began the turnaround?

"That series in Kansas City in the beginning of June," Gardenhire said. "We had almost the entire starting lineup on the DL or on the bench with injuries, so we had almost no power at all in the lineup, so we talked to the guys about just being more aggressive with the small ball. Taking extra bases, hitting-and-running, bunting, that sort of thing.

"Lexi (Casilla) and Benny (Revere) really took to it.  It was fun to watch."

That series was during Casilla's resurgence. Casilla had nearly played himself off the roster with his terrible hitting and inconsistent defense the first six weeks of the season, but Casilla turned it around and became a key member of the Twins and formed an exciting double-play combo with Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Revere, of course, took advantage of the injuries and played so well he eventually displaced Delmon Young as the starting left fielder.

With Revere and then Nishioka added to the lineup along with Casilla and Denard Span, Piranhas II: The Comeback was born.

Game 57: Twins at Royals

Last night at my mother-in-law's retirement party, the subject turned to our favorite baseball team. The (extremely drunken) consensus seemed to be that the team should trade Mauer to beef up our relief pitching. That's not a joke. That's an example of the fine analysis straight from the type of people whom I am privileged to talk sports with on a day in, day out basis with. You guys are truly a lifeline.

I mocked Swizzlestick last week, and he responded with might end up as the best Twins start of the season. Do I have to make fun of Blackburn's mom or something? Because so help me, I will.

As it turns out, Blacky's actually been doing pretty well, last start excepted. Tonight, he goes against Luke Hochevar, who has to be about the most "Royal"ish Royal out there. I feel pretty good about the Twins chances of grabbing a third straight, as well as my chances of picking up a third game log victory.

The Sun Ra Arkestra – Shadow World

in what is sure to be a gratuitous star-grab, i give you sun ra, in all his glory.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtHmqbnuZQs
(i've been trying to pin down an actual date for this video, but i've found contradictory answers. in all honesty, the quality of this video may belie it's actual "classic"-ness, and the technological advancement of some of the instruments lead me to believe it's sooner than later. however, i firmly believe sun ra transcends both space and time, so...)

7 votes, average: 4.86 out of 107 votes, average: 4.86 out of 107 votes, average: 4.86 out of 107 votes, average: 4.86 out of 107 votes, average: 4.86 out of 107 votes, average: 4.86 out of 107 votes, average: 4.86 out of 107 votes, average: 4.86 out of 107 votes, average: 4.86 out of 107 votes, average: 4.86 out of 10 (7 votes, average: 4.86 out of 10)
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Game 56 Recap: Twins 5, Kansas City 2

C: a one (hundred) act play

[To end 8.5 innings, Morneau grounds out to Hosmer, who flips to
Teaford for the 3rd out]
[Pavano picks up glove, readies to go to the field]
[Gardenhire steps in front of him and place a hand on his chest]
Gardenhire: Whoa, whoa, buddy.  Where do you think you’re going?
Pavano:  Uh, I’m finishing this thing.
Gardenhire: What, what, what?!?  I don’t think so, buddy.  First of all, you’ve
thrown, like, 2 million pitches--
Pavano: 103
Gardenhire: Yeah, well, that’s, like, 3 more pitches than too many.  Second,
this is technically a save situation, which means, technically, that I have absolutely
no choice but to put in my closer, no matter what possible extenuating— wait, are
you pitching a no-hitter?
Pavano: 9 hits.
Gardenhire: …no matter what the possible extenuating circumstances may be.
However, I used Capps yesterday when we were up by 6 runs, so, uh… And third!  I’ve
got Hoey and Burnett all warmed up, and if they can’t get the job done, Dumatrait’s
ready to get up at a moment’s notice.
Pavano:  You can’t be serious.
Gardenhire: Ahh, but I am.  I’m sorry, Pavvy, but I just don’t see how I can—
[Pavano grabs Gardenhire at the chest]
Pavano: Listen, old man, this is my 7th try at 3 digits.  I ain’t making no Hall of Fame,
but I’m getting this 100th win no matter what you, Smithy, or the bullpen you genii
hobbled together have to say about it.  If my words aren’t enough to convince you, then
look into my mustache.
Gardenhire: But, you don’t have a—
Pavano: LOOK AT IT!!!!!!
Gardenhire: Um, okay, Pavvy.  It’s all yours...

2011 Game 56: Twins at Royals

Carl Pavano v Danny Duffy.

Pavano seems to be repeating his 2009. Unfortunately, the Twins are the recipients of the poor performance.

Duffy decided to return to baseball in 2010 and racked up some frequent flyer miles proving himself. Seven games with the Rafters (which B-R doesn't even list and I can't corroborate), two games with a rookie team (Arizona), two more with another rookie team (Idaho), three games at A+ (Delaware), and finally seven games at AA (Arkansas).

He averaged more than a strikeout per inning in the minors while walking three per nine innings. The strikeouts followed him, but the control lagged some. The number of free passes issued has monotonically decreased. I don't expect the Twins to change that.

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.