Sometimes with late season baseball you struggle for reasons to watch. That will not be the case tonight as there is a pitching matchup for the ages in Bruce Chen against Carl Pavano. It doesn't get any better than this, you guys.
Twins 5, Whities 4
WP: Hot Carl
SAVE (1): Joe Nathan
Twins Record 59-84 ---->.5 games into the cellar. Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.
King of the Savers race update: Craig Kimbrel and Dancie McDouche are knotted atop the leader board with 42 saves apiece. As was noted during the game log the Twins are perfect in converting saves since firing Shortening from the traditional closer role. Small, moral victories are still victories.
Wow. The Twins stink. No, really, they actually smell bad. As a cost saving measure, the front office has turned off the water in the clubhouse for the remainder of the season. They're hoping that Michael Lewis will take note of their radical attempt to change how the game is played. The ensuing movie will undoubtedly star Gene Hackman as the grizzled veteran manager who has to deal with the injuries, the prima donna, and the young upstarts that light a fire which lands the team in the cellar. I'd pay a nickle to watch that movie.
The Twins won this one, although it wasn't a pretty performance. Danny V stroked a blooper with the bases loaded to open the scoring in the third inning. I read that the Twins had been 0-24 this series with RISP before Danny V, and I couldn't believe the number wasn't more like 0-200. Hot Carl was a bit shaky on the mound. He finished the night pitching five and a third innings, allowing 10 hits, 3 runs (only one of which was earned) walking one, and striking out one. Both AJ Burnette and Jose Mijares pitched in tight situations during the 6th inning, but left without causing further harm. The official scorer handed out 4 holds for the Twins bullpen, with perkins the only relief pitcher allowing a run to score. Luke Hughes should have been thrown out attempting to seal second in the bottom of the 6th, but instead no one was covering the bag and the throw ended up in the outfield allowing Hughes to score. Awesome. Joe Nathan came on and pitched a perfect ninth striking out two batters, neither of which were Adam Dunn.
Culture Club: The next time you're up nort stop by the Duluth Art Institute. They've been an influence and a resource for many emerging artists from Minnesota, and the region, for more than 100 years. Their mission is to create a diverse, creative community of art makers and appreciators. Their current exhibit features a former studio mate of mine.
Pavano v Danks
De Aza RF
("Man this team is bad" joke)
(half-hearted statistical analysis detailing just how bad things have gotten)
(oh, wait... we're batting against Verlander today? We're even more out of luck than usual.)
(Make 190-pitch complete game joke.)
(threaten to volunteer to do house work with the wife instead of watching game, only to chicken out later because the work she's got planned sucks, and bad baseball is better than no baseball until the 8th inning when we've only got ONE FREAKING RUN AGAIN)
(Delmon Young joke)
(snarky condolences to anyone who watches the game)
I mean, if the Twins can phone it in, why can't I?
Tonight, the Twins get to take on somebody their own size for a change. The O's are a sad 47-77, on pace for 101 losses per coolstandings.com.
Zach Jeremy Britton for the O's (scheduled; he's coming off the 15-day DL, although it was for a strain in his non-pitching shoulder)
Carl Pavanostache for the Twins.
Bal'more is tied with Minnesota and Seattle for having used the most position players this season (35 different players have had PA), but they've gotten much better offensive production out of all that deck-chair shuffling (team OPS+ of 99, compared to 85 for the Twinkies).
On the bright side, the O's pitching staff leads the AL in HR allowed by a wide margin (157; Twins are tied for second at 130) and is last in the AL in "defensive efficiency" according to b-r (Twins are two rungs higher). So I'm rooting for a slugfest. How long has it been since Jimbo had a three-HR game??
(oh, and that Wieters guy? He's hitting 261/319/404 with 12 HRs and 69:32 K:BB in 426 PA, compared to Joe's 288/350/352, 1 HR and 33:23 in 277; so I suppose you could say that the moniker kind of fits this season)
A pinch hit recap for Twayn...I wish I was on vacation and he were writing this.
I was really looking forward to having all of our opening day starters back together again. Then Cuddy tweaked something in his neck in early batting practice and Kubel had to sub in right. Good start out of Pavano. Not a good outing by Perkins. Mountie and Lexi back in the lineup - Laddie back out of the lineup in the 7th with a tweaked hamstring...lots of "tweaking" tonight.
Batters 1 through 6 were 1 for 20 with a walk and rare were the outs made on well struck balls (typically they didn't even leave the infield). That's simply not going to cut it. Most exciting moment for the hometown 9 may have been the Dude's 400+ ft fly out to center in the 5th. Nishi had both rbi's for the Twins, but also had a pretty gawd-awful night in the field.
"We basically gave it away," Gardenhire said. "We missed a lot of plays. It's a tough loss for us. We need some people to play a lot better baseball. It's kind of embarrassing to tell you the truth."
I couldn't agree more. Highlight of the night for me was the shout-out to Rhubarb_Runner of WGOM and é rayhahn, rayhahn fame who is "jostling for position" with someone named Matt Krieger...and Rhu_Ru didn't even submit the winning answer tonight!11!1!
For some reason, I've been hanging on to hope that this team would make a run and challenge for a playoff spot. Watching them run around like monkeys f*cking a football tonight has pretty much cinched it for me. How about you?
It'd be nice if Jim Thome would hurry up and hit number 600, so I can move on with my plan of watching games until we're losing by two, because we're back to the point where the starting pitching is bad, and a Twins lead sometimes seems like an insurmountable deficit. Things are tough to watch, a few players excepted.
The Smartest Pitcher in Baseball takes the mound tonight against Zach Stewart, who is making just his 4th big league start. Our favorite tater-masher should get some good cuts in today.
Let's see some dongers jacked... I mean... umm... yeah.
Tonight, the Twins play the first of four against the scarier of the two not-scary-to-any-other-divisions-out-there Central division leaders. Of course, the home field advantage is nullified by the pitching matchup:
Carl Pavano 6-6, 130 IP, 3.88 K/9, 1.73 BB/9, 4.08 ERA, 3.97 FIP, 4.12 xFIP, 1.6 WAR
Justin Verlander 12.5, 157 IP, 8.77 K/9, 1.89 BB/9, 2.29 ERA, 2.70 FIP, 2.96 xFIP, 4.7 WAR
You know, now that Pavano's numbers are starting to look not so bad, it's cruel that I have to set them up against Verlander's ludicrous numbers. Well, Pavano walks 0.16 fewer guys per nine innings. That's something, right? Guys?
This one could get frustrating for the hitters, but hey, Kubel might be back tomorrow, and Verlander isn't all that likely to pitch in back-to-back games, as durable as he is.
Go Twins! Bunt early, bunt often. Get Verlander tossed!
I had a post written up about how much Matt Capps sucks, but I wrote it while angry and somewhat inebriated. Today when I read it, I realized that it wasn't even quarter-bakef. We can't have substandard stuff like that, so instead, I'm going to half-bake it on the fly.
Carl Pavano (6-6, 97 ERA+)
Jeff Francis (3-10, 84 ERA+)
The 'stacheless 'stacheman has been pulling it together as of late, that one game in Milwaukee excepted. We've beaten Francis around a little bit in couple of times we've played him this year, so I'm feeling pretty good about tonight's game. I predict Ben Revere will hit an inside-the-park home run in which he will run the last 80 feet backwards.
Matt Capps sucks....but we'd better score a few more runs tonight than we did last night.