Clay Buchholz [9.00 ERA 7.86 FIP 5.34xFIP 4.76 K/9] v Liam Hendriks [ 3.86 ERA 5.92 FIP 4.32 xFIP 3.86 K/9]
I figure I should try telling a story.
"Give me one of everything" he said as he slowly approached the St. Paul diner's dilapidated counter. Maggie, the aging waitress, laughed. "The usual, eh?" She was greeted by silence.
It had been 12 hours since he had induced himself into a food coma the night before. He had always used food as a coping mechanism and the previous night was no different. As he left work on Monday night he was accosted by his co-workers, his managers, and those who monitored his work.
"Do you have the internet, Maggie?" Before she could answer back Matt continued "I went home last night after stopping at Pizza Hut for unlimited medium pizzas for $10 each. After I finished I logged onto my America Online Account and went to the USA TODAY homepage. A home page is kind of like a newspaper on your computer, Maggie, and all I saw was how stupid I looked. There I was, right there for everyone to see. It was so embarrassing. Have you ever been on a newspaper, Maggie?
"Well, no, Matt. I am just a simple waitress from a small town"
"I knew you wouldn't understand" groaned Matt as Maggie walked away unsure of what to say-- again.
It was at that time that a slovenly cook clumsily walked from the kitchen with three plates of food.
"Dammit, Matt, you can't come in here every morning and make my waitress feel like garbage. I know what it feels like to be in the news. Oh, I know alright". Matt looked up from his slice of Key Lime Pie that Maggie had brought as an appetizer. "What the hell are you talking about?" Matt asked the cook.
"Your not from around here, are you?" said the cook. "I can tell just by looking at 'cha. You wouldn't know it but I used to be someone around here. Just one town over, I used to be somebody".
"Sure you were, pops" said the equally slobbish patron as he shoved the fresh fishsticks dipped into mustard in his mouth.
"You might not know me but we have a lot in common, Matt. If you aren't careful, this could be your future" he said as he waved his hands pointing to the sparsely populated diner. "I used to play baseball, too, Matt. Yessir, I know who you are. What, you don't think that we get the newspaper here? Get your head out of your rear end. Anyway, I used to be like you Matt. I was a pitcher, too. In fact, I even pitched at the end of games, just like you."
Matt interrupted "Gees, Joe, you look like crap. Texas sure has aged you."
"I am not Joe Nathan!" screamed the man as Maggie brought more plates of food out to Matt. "Look at the mirror. You are eating yourself into a gosh darn joke." Matt looked down into his plates, confused. "The year was 1986 and we had all the making of a fine young team. We had Kent and Kirby, Bruno and Gags. They were mostly kids but they were on the brink of something special. That was, until Frankie or Bert handed the ball off to me. After that, well, let's just say my back was on the front page of the newspaper a few times".
"Like the USA Today?"
"Yeah, Matt, even USA Today. Now go wash off your hands and get the hell out of here before your eat yourself right out of the big leagues, ya hear?"
"Yes sir" Matt replied.
And with that, Matt Capps walked as fast as he could to his car and drove to Target Field to begin training for that night's baseball game.
As he was leaving Maggie turned to the cook, who it turns out owned the diner, and screamed:
"Dammit, Ron, you just lost our best customer. He was putting my kid through college. He was single handily keeping our the restaurant afloat! We are going to have to close the doors here at Davis' Diner!"
Ron laughed and said "don't worry, Maggie, he will be back. He always comes back."
yet another game i was unable to watch or hear. this made me particularly upset as i've been able to hear about 2% of TK's broadcasts, and i already love them. i was able to "follow" along on gameday, and was able to "watch" in "real time" as capps does what he does. i'm not going to say it, so you guys can. also, while you're saying stuff, please think up some arguments for me to take to the boss on how getting mlb.tv is essential towards our quality of life.
i wanted to embed the JC/plouffe! play to give us some measure of happiness, but i came up short. sounds about right.
I approve of this lineup. Sort of.
So, about that winning streak. It was nice, wasn't it? The last two games, not so much.
Tonight, Our Boys make an appearance on Monday Night Baseball on the 4ltr. I'm sure we are all excited to have the nation see our AAAA (AAA?) squad take the field. Will Cuddyer play shortstop?? Go team!
Game time: 6:10 p.m. Central.
Nick Blackburn (4.41 ERA, 5.53 FIP, 4.47 xFIP, 6.18 tRA, 15:13 K:BB, 6 HR, 34 2/3 innings)
Josh Beckett (2.35 ERA, 3.14 FIP, 3.26 xFIP, 3.07 tRA, 35:12 K:BB, 3 HR, 38 1/3 innings)
On paper, this one does not look good. We get Blackie instead of F-Bomb, who has been suffering from "Flu-like symptoms." Mebbe next year, the team can set up a flu shot clinic, please?
Blackburn has been awful in three of his six starts so far, having given up five runs each on April 15 and April 20, then seven in 3 1/3 horrible innings at home on April 28. But there are glimmers of hope, as his other three starts have been quite good, including a solid 6 2/3 inning outing to beat the Bitch Sox on May 4. When things are going well, Blackburn is a league-average pitcher who doesn't miss many bats, but who generates a lot of ground balls. In his three good outings, he induced 35 ground balls against only 17 fly balls and 9 line drives. In his three bad outings -- 27:19:16.
For his part, Beckett has been good-not-great so far. I see some hope in that he gave up 7 fly balls and 3 walks in a rain-abbreviated 4 1/3 innings against LAAAAAA on May 4th in his last start, and got hit hard by the Orioles (4 runs on 2 HR, 10 fly balls and 5 LDs in 6 innings) the start before that.
Fenway Bandbox isn't the sort of place you want to be giving up a lot of fly balls in, so let's hope the Good Blackie shows his beard tonight, and Beckett pipes a few to the Dude and Mountie.
The Twins are consistently running out a lot of players who are either just very bad (the catchers, most of the bullpen, Casilla/Tolbert) or some combination of pretty limited and in over their heads (Hughes, Revere, Tosoni, probably Plouffe - although he's been great offensively in all of three games, that will come down to earth, and I'm not sold on his defense at all). Those are all pretty frustrating, but they can only concern me to a point. If all of those guys get lots of playing time because others are hurt, the Twins are probably not going anywhere this season. If, however, many of those guys get replaced by the proper starters, the Twins are still going to most likely need contributions towards success from two guys I am a little more concerned about: Carl Pavano and Justin Morneau.
Pavano went a second straight entire game without striking anyone out today. I harp on this a lot, but it's just a lot less likely to be successful as a pitcher without getting strikeouts. He seems to be getting a little over-hammered - I have his FIP right now at about two runs less than his ERA, but a 4.6-ish FIP still isn't quite where he was at the past couple of years. Morneau, on the other hand, has me concerned that he's not physically back together yet. I have his line after today at .202/.269/.293 so far. I'm a little reminded of the beginning of 2006, when there was much gnashing of teeth over how lost he looked at the plate over the first month, before Gardenhire famously gave him "The Talk" that turned him into a (not-quite-worthy) MVP. His line over March/April that year was .208/.274/.416 - basically the same, except back then he still hit a few homers.
At least one other guy whose physical state/all-the-way-back-ness has been a concern, Joe Nathan, had a pretty good outing today.
Hitter of the Week: Jason Kubel is still pretty close to the only horse in this race.
Pitcher of the Week: Duh.
Weather: 66 degrees, partly cloudy
Wind: 21 mph, out to CF
What's not to love about this game? The Twins jet into Beantown on a wing and a prayer, a wisp of momentum, and a sigh of relief that they were able to best the offensively impotent Pale Hosers in a series deuce on the South Side, a short set featuring a no-hitter the hard way that F-bomb rolled for a 1-0 win. The boys haven't exactly been swinging hot lumber lately. With Butera and Casilla mired below the Mendozza line like sloths in La Brea tar, and Morneau barely above it, and Mauer and Delmon and JI
JIM THOME bruised and benched, our lineup doesn't have the punch of a full-strength squad hitting to expectations. But you wouldn't know it tonight.
Knuckleball pitchers may be ageless, but Wakefield's time machine finally broke. Nonetheless, I think he will have a long leash in today's game. Knowing the Twins' offense, they might not be able to score enough runs in a single inning to knock him out of the game and expose the tired bullpen. Instead, they will have time to perfect the single/walk, steal, sacrifice, sacrifice (fly) strategy.
The Red Sox used their entire bullpen for Wednesday's game, including Wakefield, for a 13 inning game in which the starter lasted 4.1 innings. Naturally, the starter in yesterday's game also lasted a mere four innings, but it was mop-up time after that and anyone important was saved for today's game. The Sox have yet to top .500 after failing two previous times. Hopefully the Twins don't notice the "Red" part and treat these Sox like their bleached brethren.