Game #159: Twins 6, Indians 4

Twins record: 61-98
MLB Game Wrap

I didn't watch a bit of this game today. I barely paid attention to it online. But, I was glad to see they won it in the extra frame. Obviously, my ideas and enthusiasm for recapping games this season were tapped out by the end of July. I would apologize to the WGOM Nation for that, but I don't think the Twins are going to be apologizing to me any time soon, so we'll all just have to live with it.

Without going into too many specific points or breakdowns, I will say that I am not at this time particularly optimistic about this organization's chances for success in the near-term going forward. I was on record (privately, but I know I told this to at least one Citizen) before the season as believing the Twins would definitely not win the division or make the playoffs. I didn't foresee a collapse this large, but I didn't foresee the injury disasters of this season, either. However, I don't believe the injuries alone account for the weaknesses of this roster's construction. I believed in March, and I still do, that this roster, even at full strength, was not as good as last year's team and not good enough to make the playoffs. I hope the organization takes some major steps this offseason to address turning the team back around. I'm not sure I have much faith in the current regime's ability to do that meaningfully and successfully, though. I hope they prove me wrong.

Since this is the last Sunday recap of the season, I tallied up my non-joke Hitter and Pitcher of the Week awards. I now present you with the Second Annual DK Hitters and Pitcher of the Season.

Co-Hitters: Jim Thome and Jason Kubel each were awarded weekly honors five times. It's hard to remember (for me, anyway), but for a couple of months before he got hurt and the Team MVP took over, Kubel basically was the Twins' entire offense. I think all but one of his awards came in April or May. Thome, meanwhile, is the sentimental and very deserving pick for reaching a career milestone in a Twins uniform.

Pitcher: Scott Baker was also named five times this season. This, too, may be hard to remember, since he was shelved by injury for almost the entire second half, but Light Rail was by far the best starting pitcher the Twins had, showing, I hope, those who doubt him that he really can be a very valuable piece of the rotation puzzle when he's healthy.

Sunday dinner: I cheated on pork, once. Once.

Oh, pork, how I love you, let me count the ways.

Dr. Chop told me that I needed to get back on the pork bandwagon, and as Strategery suggested last week this time of year calls out for good, old fashioned, roasts, stews and braises. Tonight, I went with an apple cider braised pork shoulder with caramelized onions, wilted kale (with bacon(!)), and roasted sweet potatoes. I'm really a fan of pork fat. Which is probably a problem for my waistline, but, what the hell, I'd rather eat well and die young than grow old and have culinary regrets.

You'll need:

A pork shoulder roast - 3-4 lbs (ish) bone in preferable.
3/4 cup unfiltered apple cider
1 large yellow onion sliced
2 cloves garlic
a tablespoon or so of oil
spice rub of your choice, I go with 1 part salt, 1 part black pepper, 1 part red chili powder, 1 part brown sugar, 1 part cumin, garlic powder to taste

You can do this in a dutch oven, but I prefer to do the heavy lifting in the crock pot. Rub the meat with spice mixture the night before you intend to cook. Remove excess fat and pierce the roast in several places. Slice the garlic into slivers and place them into the holes you have pierced into the roast. Add the oil to a pan over medium high heat, and brown the roast on all sides. As you brown the last side add the sliced onions to the pan. Once the onion has softened and is turning transparent dump the whole works into the crock pot and add the apple cider. Cook on medium / low for 3-5 hours until the bone falls out and the meat shreds without effort. Once the meat is done I defat the pan juice, shred the roast, and crisp it up in the cast iron skillet adding the pan juice at the last minute to loosen the fond from the bottom of the pan. [edit] I had way more sauce than I expected. After removing the fat I added the sauce to the pan and had to reduce by boiling, not really a problem, just thought you should know.

Slice up a couple pieces of bacon, fry the bits and remove once they are done to your crispiness taste, and drain all but about a tablespoon of the fat from the pan. Wilt the kale over medium high heat by adding half the bunch and tossing in the bacon fat, and the other second half with a splash of water when the first half is nearly wilted. Cook till the whole mess looks like it's done, and then add the bacon bits back into the pan. [edit] this is the first time I've tried to wilt kale, and let me tell you... This is one hardy green. I needed way more heat than I though necessary and a fair bit more water than the swiss chard, just fyi

Slice up the sweet potato and place them in a roasting pan. I prefer my sweet potato on the savory side, so I season them with chili powder, black pepper, and salt, but you can also do this on the sweet side with a little brown sugar (or sugar in the raw) or honey (although, typing this out makes me slightly enraged, just do it the savory way). I add a bit of the pan sauce and bacon fat to them, toss, and roast them at 400˚ until they're done.

Doc, enough aesthetic for you?

Game 159: Twins at Indians

Final road game on this long, weary journey. There's been injuries, disease and a bunch of headaches. Have we run out of Tylenol yet?

My California math says its Liam Hendriks' turn to pitch, but that's only if he didn't get moved up to pitch in the doubleheader. The Twins want to win this one to try to avoid 100 losses, but really, why have we gone through this if not to see history? If they go 63-99, it would just be a miserable season. At least if they lose 100, we could say we saw a historically bad team. This end of the season run has been historically bad, that's for sure.

At least the offense has picked up at the end. Seemed to happen about the time Chris Parmelee arrived. GO TWINS!!!

Games 157 & 158: Indians 8-7, Twins 2-6

Like you didn't see that coming.

The Twins officially have the second worst season in their history and still have to win one game to avoid tying for the worst record. The Twins need to go 3-1 to avoid 100 losses, which ain't happening.

It's sad when a pitcher has a 6-0 lead in the sixth inning and you're just waiting for him to fall apart. Of course, considering all the balls in the air in the first five innings, it wasn't difficult to realize Diamond was living dangerously. Of course, it sure would be nice to get your best reliever in the game before you blow a six-run lead. It also would help if the Twins would stop running themselves out of innings (or at least scoring position).

In the first game, the Twins ended a nine-game streak of scoring at least three runs after scoring two runs or fewer in seven of their previous nine games. Of course, a lot of good the extra offense did them as the Twins went 1-8 in each nine-game stretch. At least the most recent nine have been more entertaining (and more painful).

Stat of the day: Ben Revere had six doubles in 451 career at-bats before getting three doubles in the doubleheader.

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.