Game #45: Diamondbacks 3, Twins 2

Twins record: 15-30
MLB Game Wrap

If this were a season in which the Twins had lost fewer than two games for every game they've won, today's loss would probably be one of those Sunday roll-over games that doesn't sting too much. Heck, even this year, this is one of those that doesn't sting too much. From what I know of him, Dan Hudson has looked like a pretty good pitcher fairly consistently in his major league career so far, so it's not that shocking to see the Twins' bats shut down by him. And Liriano, while not as steady as last week in Seattle, was decent enough to be officially "Quality". Still, anyone who heard Alex Burnett was coming into a tie game in the seventh, and subsequently heard he'd given up the go-ahead run, should probably have responded with an "Of course, that happened."

Even after a weekend of disappointment and heartbreak, the Twins finished with a 3 and 4 road trip. Most years, you'd take a 3 and 4 road trip. Most weeks after you lose every game the previous week, you'd take a 3 and 4 road trip. If the Twins have any hope of being competitive at this point, though, 3 and 4 road trips probably need to turn into 4 and 3, 5 and 2, or maybe even more than that.

Hitter of the Week: I really want to be able to give this to a catcher again someday, so I'll just pick Rene Rivera.
Pitcher of the Week: Again, he wasn't his sharpest today, but he was okay, and he was great last week - Francisco Liriano had two quality starts, which was one more than anyone else.

Game 46: Twins at Diamondbacks

The Twins narrowly averted another tragedy late Saturday night when Hall of Fame inductee Bert Blyleven was hit in the head by a baseball thrown by Scott Baker but not seriously hurt. The motive behind the throw was not entirely clear, but Baker was heard to yell "Is that enough attitude for ya?" after the throw.

The baseball glanced off the top of Blyleven's head and knocked him to the ground. He did not lose consciousness and was taken to the hospital as a precaution. An emergency room physician was concerned that Blyleven was showing signs of a serious concussion before fellow television announcer Dick Bremer told the doctor, "No, that's the way he always talks." The doctor immediately admitted Blyleven into the hospital for observation and referred him to a specialist in dementia.

Baker was demoted to Triple-A Rochester immediately after the incident. The Twins did not say whether the demotion was a punishment for the incident or if the incident was just the last straw in their disappointment in Baker's inability to get the ball down.

The incident was just another bad moment in a season full of them for the Twins. However, they finally seem to have found their offense despite the absence of Joe Mauer and Jim Thome and have an opportunity to salvage a winning road trip with a victory today.

The Twins will send Francisco Liriano to the mound. He pitched the Twins to a 2-1 victory in his last start that ended a nine-game losing streak and will probably be asked to go as deep as possible in this one. The Diamondbacks will be sending former White Sox prospect Daniel Hudson, who has won four of his last five starts after losing his first four.

Minor Details: Games of 5/21

Syracuse 2, Rochester 0 in Syracuse.  The Chiefs scored single runs in the third and ninth.  Ray Chang had two hits, which was half of the Red Wings’ total.  Both Chiefs runs were unearned.  Ryan Mullins gave up the first one in five innings, allowing five hits while striking out five and walking none.  Chuck James pitched two shutout innings, lowering his ERA to 1.75.  Anthony Slama gave up the other unearned run on a hit and a walk in two innings.

New Hampshire at New Britain.  Postponed.  The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader this afternoon.

Ft. Myers 7, Brevard County 6 in Ft. Myers.  The Miracle scored three in the fourth to tie the game at four, then scored three in the fifth to take the lead.  Nate Hanson and Danny Rams each singled and doubled.  Aaron Hicks had two hits.  Reggie Williams homered and drove in three.  Edgar Ibarra got the win despite surrendering five runs on six hits and six walks in 5.1 innings.  Bruce Pugh pitched the final two innings, allowing an unearned run but getting the save.

Kane County 6, Beloit 5 in Beloit.  The Cougars scored four in the first and never trailed.  All the game’s runs were scored in the first three innings.  Nate Roberts had two singles and a double, raising his average to .352.  Andy Leer doubled and singled.  Andrei Lobanov allowed all six runs on ten hits and a walk in five innings.  Ben Tootle and Martire Garcia each pitched two shutout innings.

Game 45: Diamondbacks 9, Twins 6

Who do we blame? Who has done this to the Twins? Who did the Twins piss off to bring this horrible curse on themselves? Yes, the Twins have played horribly for the most part throughout this season, but they have also had hideously bad luck with injuries and illness to players they just can't afford to lose. Especially not all at once. Just when it seems like the Twins are finally getting healthy, their best reliever in a very shallow bullpen goes down. And this just after Jose Mijares has gone on the DL. Now the Twins are down to Matt Capps, Joe Nathan and ?????

And then there has been too much pure bad luck on the field. Too many line drives for outs for the batters (or double plays) and too many bloopers and bad bounces at just the wrong time.

Saturday's game featured the second straight game in which the Diamondbacks' late big inning featured not one but two bunts, and the Diamondbacks screwed up both of them. One was a terrible bunt that was popped up over the head of hard-charging Danny Valencia for a single. I mean, the D'backs were trying to give away an out with a runner already in scoring position, and instead they get a gift single, and there was nothing the Twins could do about it. What was really bad luck was the Twins had Valencia charging. Often with a runner at second, the third baseman lays back in hopes the pitcher or catcher can field the bunt and throw the runner out at third. If the Twins had chosen to use this defense, Valencia would have had an easy catch for the first out. Since the runner didn't advance on the infield single, the next batter, a rare pinch bunter, bunted and left it too close to home, so catcher Drew Butera jumped on it and threw to third base for the forceout.

The previous night, the Diamondbacks had runners at first and second and no outs and the batter attempted to bunt, but the Twins got the forceout at third. With the pitcher up, he did get a sacrifice down, and, after an unfortunate decision to intentionally walk Willie Bloomquist, Perkins allowed a three-run double to make a one-run deficit a four-run deficit. Of course, the Twins would eventually lose by just one run. Plus, you don't want to forget Jason Kubel's triple, which was hit to the only part of the ballpark that it wouldn't have been a home run.

As for Saturday's game, the Twins were perfectly set up with a three-run lead and Glen Perkins in to face three left-handers with only one runner on base. He comes up lame after a hit and suddenly Capps has to come in with no outs and the tying run on base. Other than the home run, I really don't think he pitched all that poorly. The double that made it a one-run game not only was butchered by Delmon Young (who has actually been pretty good defensively this year), but also was on a pitch that looked to be six inches outside. Then there were the two bunts and then a soft single to left and then the home run.

Capps may have blown up in the ninth if Perkins had gotten out of the eighth without injury, but I have to believe that having his routine suddenly changed. I'm sure he won't use that as an excuse, but I'm sure it didn't help any. I always get a bad feeling when a pitcher comes in after an injury and is given as many pitches as he needs that the pitcher doesn't use as many as he should to get ready since all eyes are on him and he probably realizes he's the one holding up the game.

Another frustrating issue, in this series the Twins have hit five home runs; all solo shots. And it's not like they haven't had runners on base.

Looking at it another way, the Diamondbacks had five errors, struck out nine times and allowed two home runs and won.

Can someone find me a live chicken to send to Gardy?

It just better be Chuck James getting the call up this time, because Dumatrait has done nothing to make me feel like he can be trusted to be a LOOGY in the eighth inning. I'm also expecting Brian Duensing to be sent to the bullpen and either Slowey moved into the rotation or sent to AAA in favor of another starting pitcher, although Kyle Gibson hasn't been very good of late. I guess Manship could be recalled and he or Smartyak put into the rotation.

The Rapture – Echoes

I went out for a couple of cold ones with some pals on Friday night. We went to young, hip, ironic people bars. We thought "hey we're Dads now. Let's remember what it was like to be young". Well every stupid bar we walked into was playing the Rapture way louder than it should have been.


And yes, I understand that by playing the Rapture here and now I am no better than them.

4 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 10 (4 votes, average: 7.00 out of 10)
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I love interleague. There are so many reasons to hate it - and there are lots of places to find those reasons. I just like seeing pitchers attempting to bat. Without interleague, we don't get our favorite Johan Santana moment (the video link doesn't work, so just close your eyes, the highlight reel is still there, I'm sure). You don't get the crazy over-managing that ends with pitchers in left-field and utility infielders sitting on the bench, praying the game ends before their crazy manager gets any ideas and has them warming up in the bullpen.

I like that style of baseball. I don't know that I'd like it all the time, but a few games a year is interesting to me. I almost feel cheated when a National League team comes to Target Field, because that doesn't give me my "pitchers wearing batting helmets" fix.

Luckily, the Twins have seen fit to play much better as of late (well... the last 4 or 5 games, anyway). Now I'll have extra reason to enjoy sitting down, cracking open a beer and watching some late-night baseball.

Maybe they'll even win one for me tonight. Considering the fact that they're 1-6 on Saturdays, maybe that's asking for too much though. I guess I'll just be satisfied with the fact that I'm going to be able to watch Scott Baker bat.

Speaking of, here are tonight's pitchers.

Scott Baker (.050/.050/.050, 0 HR, 0 RBI, -0.3 WAR)
Micah Owings (.295/.323/.528, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 2.9 WAR)

Both of those are career lines, as neither pitcher has batted in 2011. For Baker, this is because he plays in the wrong league to show off his impressive hitting skills. For Owings, it's because while his secondary skills are legendary (he's pretty much the best hitting pitcher of all time), his primary skills (keep the opposing team from scoring runs) are sadly lacking. This is his first start in 2011, but lefties have eaten him alive over the course of his career, so unless the game is decided by which pitcher is a better batter, I like the Twins' chances.

Minor Details: Games of 5/20

Rochester 5, Gwinnett 2 in Gwinnett.  Aaron Bates singled and homered, Brian Dinkelman singled and doubled, and Ray Chang and Chase Lambin each had two hits.  Andrew Baldwin struck out eight in 6.2 innings to get the win, giving up one run on seven hits and two walks.  Jim Hoey struck out two in a perfect ninth for the save.

New Hampshire 6, New Britain 2 in New Britain.  The Fisher Cats scored two in the third and two in the fourth to build a four-run lead.  Yangervis Solarte had two hits, raising his average to .362.  Bobby Lanigan lasted only four innings, surrendering five runs on eight hits and a walk.  Spencer Steedley struck out three in a scoreless inning.

Ft. Myers 7, Brevard County 2 in Ft. Myers.  The Miracle scored three in the sixth to put away the victory.  Brian Dozier had a triple and two singles, raising his average to .322.  Aaron Hicks singled and doubled.  James Beresford drove in three runs.  Kane Holbrooks got the win, pitching five innings and giving up one run on four hits and three walks.  Brad Tippett worked two perfect innings of relief.

Kane County 4, Beloit 3 in Beloit (13 innings).  The Snappers scored single runs in the eighth and ninth to tie the game at two, and scored one more in the tenth to tie it at three, but ultimately fell short.  The winning run scored on a walk, a single, a wild pitch, and two more walks.  Wang-wei Lin had two doubles and a single.  Lance Ray singled and doubled.  Pat Dean struck out five in six innings, walking none and giving up a run on five hits.  Jose Gonzalez pitched two shutout innings.  Ryan O’Rourke started the thirteenth and took the loss.  Cougar pitchers struck out seventeen Snappers.

Happy Birthday–May 21

Fred Dunlap (1859)
Eddie Grant (1883)
Earl Averill (1902)
Hank Johnson (1906)
Mace Brown (1909)
Monty Stratton (1912)
Larry Napp (1919)
Ed Fitz Gerald (1924)
El Tappe (1927)
Moe Thacker (1934)
Barry Latman (1936)
Kent Hrbek (1960)
Bryce Florie (1970)
Tom Martin (1970)
Chris Widger (1971)
Josh Hamilton (1981)
Matt Wieters (1986)

El Tappe had a twin brother, Mel Tappe, who played in the minors.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–May 21

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.