Tag Archives: Rene Rivera

2011 Game 52: Tigers 6, Twins 5

Weather: 85°F, sunny
Wind: 9 mph
Attendance: 30,198
Time: 3:09

Twins record: 17-35 (last in AL Central, 14.5 GB)
Fangraphs boxscore | MLB wrap

Highlights:

  • Highest WPA, hitter: Kubel .140 (2-3, R, RBI) | Highest WPA, pitcher: Dumatrait .236 (0.2 IP, K)

Lowlights:

  • 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.

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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

photo by Flickr user rjcox

Remember, no embiggening.

Game #45: Diamondbacks 3, Twins 2

Twins record: 15-30
Fangraphs
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.

2011 Game 33: Red Sox 2, Twins 1 (11)

Weather: 60°F, cloudy
Wind: 16 mph, in from CF
Attendance: 37,276
Time: 3:55

Twins record: 12-21 (tied for last in AL Central, 10.0 GB)
Fangraphs boxscore | MLB Game Wrap

Highlights:

  • Highest WPA, hitter: Span .150 (2-4, R, BB) | Highest WPA, pitcher: Mijares .299 (2.0 IP, H, BB)
  • Outfield defense - Revere's diving catch and Span's sliding catch

Lowlights:

  • Lowest WPA, hitter: Tolbert, -.346 (0-5, 1 SO) | Lowest WPA, pitcher: Hoey, -.350 (0.1 IP, H, BB, ER)
  • Tolbert: still batting second
  • MLB's continued employment of Angel Hernandez and Joe West

BOSTON -- The latest rumblings out of the Twins' clubhouse are something else indeed. General Manager Bill Smith accidentally ran his iPhone through the visitor's clubhouse washing machine in Chicago last week after spilling a Chicago-style hot dog on his pants. Smith immediately put the device in a box of rice, to no avail, and had to reluctantly borrow infielder Matt Tolbert's phone so he could make some calls and find a new catcher. Steve Holm wasn't quite Corky Miller bad in his brief appearance, but Bill Smith eventually figured out he wasn't an answer to any question worth asking. Tolbert reportedly told Smith he doesn't make enough for the Twins' GM to call 411 and ask for the Rangers' front office (more on this in a moment), but could swing a call to AAA Rochester as long as it happened on his plan's nights & weekends minutes.

Red Wings infielder Toby Gardenhire is apparently #3 on Tolbert's speed dial, right behind Voicemail (#1) and former teammate Nick Punto (#2). Smith accordingly placed his call to Gardenhire the Younger, who relayed the request for a catcher to Red Wings manager Tom Nieto. Nieto, himself a former Twin, initially volunteered his own services, but apparently requested a few days to iron the fungoes out of his swing, time that Smith just wasn't willing to waste.

In his first season with the Twins, Nieto briefly served as Tim Laudner's backup and outhit regular backup Sal Butera late in the season (.071/.188/.143 for Nieto vs. .063/.118/.125 for Butera in Sept/Oct) before being inexplicably left off the playoff roster. Nieto actually paced Twins catchers in hitting and on-base percentage that year, posting a .200/.276/.314 line to Laudner's .191/.252/.389 and Sal Butera's .171/.217/.243 mark. Overall, Nieto posted an OPS+ of 17 in his Twins career, which spanned 183 plate appearances between 1987-88. When reached for comment, Nieto said, "I out-hit Sal Butera in 1987, and I believe in the depths of my soul I can out-hit his son in 2011." Drew Butera currently owns a positively Buterian .172/.213/.251 line. "But the Twins value defense behind the plate," Nieto continued, "and I accumulated -0.2 dWAR in my Twins career, so Bill Smith elected to pursue other options."

So, that's why Rene Rivera is now with the Twins. But why Rivera instead of, say, Rangers catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli, who has only 63 at bats (but 6 HR) this season despite a career 119 OPS+ and a .238 ISO? Napoli, only 29, is likely still in his hitting prime, and despite whatever Mike Scioscia - Napoli's former manager - thinks, he appears to be a serviceable catcher. Unfortunately, Smith laundered his iPhone and apparently hasn't yet worked up the nerve to tell Jim Pohlad, Dave St. Peter, or Wade Navratil, the Twins' Senior Director of Technology. Of course, Smith could always look up Rangers GM Jon Daniels' number in his laptop's address book, or drop Daniels an email for that matter, but an unnamed source in the Twins' front office divulged that Smith has forgotten how to turn his laptop on. According to another source in the Twins' front office, former Twins GM Terry Ryan and former Twins manager Tom Kelly have offered to call former Twins GM Andy MacPhail, currently the Orioles' President of Baseball Operations, about the availability of Matt "Mauer with Power" Wieters, but Smith has repeatedly expressed the desire to put his own stamp on the club.

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This week's View from the Ballpark:

photo by Flickr user LugoLounge
I know at least 5 6 7 10 Hall of Famers played here. | photo by Flickr user LugoLounge

Remember, no embiggening.