No magic in the zoomball.
If only we could've taken a mulligan.
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.
Weather: 85°F, sunny
Wind: 9 mph
- Highest WPA, hitter: Kubel .140 (2-3, R, RBI) | Highest WPA, pitcher: Dumatrait .236 (0.2 IP, K)
- Lowest WPA, hitter: Delmon, -.188 (0-4, saw only 10 pitches in 4 AB) | Lowest WPA, pitcher: Blackburn, -.509 (6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 HR 5 ER, BB, 3 K)
- Kubel is listed as day-to-day with a sprained right foot
- Rene Rivera is whiffing in 40% of his at bats. Over his career Jim Thome has gotten on base in more than 40% of his at bats.
In case you didn't read it elsewhere already, Francisco Liriano was placed on the DL. Kubel is day-to-day. Meanwhile, according to the 4ltr's recap, Mauer is now able to throw from home to second. I didn't know bilateral leg weakness affected the arms, too.
Usually I watch Monday's game so I can write a recap, but this week I was down at my mother-in-law's place in Chicagoland, where the connection speed isn't particularly great. If the Twins were playing well I might have been tempted to watch the game anyway, but I figured I didn't need the frustration of the spotty DSL connection, plus terrible baseball. I suppose I could watch it now that I'm home, but I've decided not to waste my time. In the limited time I have on this earth, going back to watch yet another Twins loss isn't high on my list of priorities. Thus concludeth the game wrap.
Let's be honest: If you're even reading this, the View from the Ballpark is probably why you are here. Well, let's dispense with the pleasantries (if that's the appropriate word for recapping another loss) and get right down to it:
photo by Flickr user rjcox
Remember, no embiggening.
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.
If the Twins had somehow lost this one, I was seriously considering whipping up a Downfall parody video in which ol' Adolph would have cursed the days of birth of Alexi Casilla, Steve Liddle, and whichever pitcher ended up coughing up the lead. Thankfully I can save that one in the DK Box of Tricks for some later date.
Things are starting to look up (he says, hopefully). First series win of the season; first series sweep (basically) of the season. The offense is starting to pick up; Thome made contact today that sounded like it deserved eight total bases, but only got three. Meanwhile, Pavano keeps on Pavanoing. Next stop: .500 (he says, again, hopefully).
Hitter of the Week: Jason Kubel
Pitcher of the Week: You think, when a guy gives up zero runs, only one walk, and strikes out nine, I'm going to give it to anyone else? It's again yours, Scott Baker.
After I read the news yesterday (oh, boy), I was pretty bummed. I went through most of the stages - I couldn't believe it at first. I felt a little angry - how could SBG take that place away, just like that? I felt a small piece of ownership; and really, I'm at best on the outer periphery of people who deserve to feel ownership of the place. I thought about doing some bargaining - trying to explain that it was all of ours, that it belonged to the community at this point. I then was depressed most of the rest of the day (the ballgame yesterday didn't help much there).
Continue reading Game #15: Twins 4, Rays 2