Sunday, August 03, 2008

What a week!

I was psyched for this past week of Twins baseball. A four game series with the White Sox... at home! Another 3 with the lowly Indians. Best of all, with my new cable package, I was able to get a handful of White Sox games. Which meant I had a great seat to Tuesday and Thursday night's victories.

Both ended up very similar. Twins down 4-0 by the fifth inning. Both times coming back and usually at the hands of Mauer and Morneau. With an added spice of Kubel.

Speaking of which, I saw the best sign ever at the game Thursday. "I've got a FEVER, and the only prescription is more Ku-bel." Brilliant.

The Twins ended up standing pat at the trade deadline, though it seems as they tried and got no bites. Afterward, the Twins let go of some dead weight in Livan Hernandez and Craig Monroe. To replace them they brought up Ruiz and some guy named Liriano. Apparently he's been doing fairly well in the minors. :-)

After two 3 chances in 4 days to get first place failed, the Twins were finally successful on Sunday. Was it any coincidence that it happened the same time the Twins finally put Liriano in the rotation. It's almost poetic.

The Twins have a difficult August coming up. They've got a home series with the Yankees, and a lot of games against the West. Including a brutal road trip that includes Oakland, Seattle, Los Angeles and Toronto. The more ground the Twins can gained now, the better.

I'm hopeful that the Twins can do it this year... and best of all, they didn't need to acquire a washed-up (albeit Hall-of-Fame calibur) CF to do it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Two very different teams

Yesterday, the Twins and the White Sox both let their opposing teams score 5 runs. Both teams came back in some capacity. However, the Twins couldn't quite finish the job, and lost 5-4. The White Sox meanwhile did finish the job and won 6-5. Heartbreaking.

Just a few days ago, the Twins were half a game out of first. One week later they're 3.5, and if they're not careful, they could be heading for worse than that. The only good news is that while the White Sox are winning, they're doing it against the Twins next biggest threat, the Tigers.

I felt good coming out of the All-Star break being only a small margin out of first. However, that good feeling fell sharply when the Twins lost 3 blowout games in Yankee Stadium. That killed 'em. Now there are just a few more days until the trade deadline, and the big question is, can the Twins finish the race... ahead of the Sox.

This upcoming series with the Sox is going to be crucial. Four games. That can potentially have more consequence than a 3 gamer. While a 3-gamer guarantees some change in standings, the risk is a little more with the 4-game series. It'll be Slowey, Perkins, Livan and Baker. And I sure hope that they'll be able to tame that offense.

The Sox have played very well this season, and certainly deserve to be there. But that doesn't mean I'm gonna root for them.

Oh yeah, and since I just got cable... and I live close to Chicago now, I will be able to watch some of these games.

Go Twins.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother May I?

There are certain points in a season where I become a believer... or a cynic. After this weekend's megaseries with Boston, turn me into a believer... for a while. For the Twins to come home and take 3 of 4 from the defending World Champs, including 2 very close one-run games, is astounding. There are certain teams that you always feel good about beating. White Sox, Tigers, Yankees, Angels, Athletics, and the Red Sox. One was a comeback, another a hold-off. Either way, taking 3 of 4 is good news. The Twins are in first. For what seemed to be a rebuilding year, they aren't doing half bad. There's still a lot of work to do, but so far, I have been pleased indeed.

There's a funny correlation with Mother's Day and Twins games. Living outside the Twin Cities (well... at least the Minnesota version) I don't get to see games much. Worse, I don't subscribe to cable, thus I don't get ESPN. But my mom does. Now I just need her to move closer to me (darn slow market). This past Sunday was Mother's Day, and it seems like I remember the Twins playing on ESPN a lot on Mother's Day. Particularly because my wife is not a baseball fan, and I distinctly remember one such year where this was the case, and she was not pleased that I wanted to stay at her folks house and watch the Twins game. Fat chance that happening again this year. Oh well, they won anyway, and my wife had a wonderful Mother's Day.

I've dreamed of this blog being bigger than this. I've also dreamed of starting other blogs on various subjects, such as TV shows, video games, and politics. However, I have enough trouble keeping this one afloat. I hope to keep this going, but it does help when the Twins do particularly well, like they did in June of 2006. I'm behind right now because of an exam, but I hope to keep it rollin' very soon.

Thank you, and GO TWINS!!!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Fantasy and Reality

Fantasy: I want to keep up this blog on a regular basis.
Reality: Work, Family, and Church really make that hard.

Fantasy: The Twins 3-2 victory on Monday shows that this team can still compete!
Reality: Tuesday night. 9-1.

Monday night featured two new Twins who really contributed to the Twins victory. Carlos Gomez, who was picked up in the Santana deal (I miss him), and Livan Hernandez who was hired as a semi replacement.

Hernandez went 7 innings giving up only 2 runs. One article compared his line to Santana. Both went 7 innings and gave up 2 runs. The report called them very similar. But that's only if you ignore the rest of the line. Santana had 8 K's, Hernandez 1. Hernandez gave up 7 hits, Santana 3. Sure, Hernandez didn't walk anyone while Santana walked 2, but these lines hardly make them similar. If anything, Hernandez looked more like Carlos Silva on a good day, than Johan Santana. Unfortunately, I think the rest of the season will play that out.

Gomez dazzled with speed and hitting. I was not able to watch the game, but looking at the comments on SBG's site, a lot of people were impressed with him. Except for the head-first slide.

Delmon Young has started off well too. He is 5 for 8 with a double and 2 runs scored in the first two games. If one thing, it appears that our outfield is starting off in the right direction.

Our infield on the other hand... ouch. Morneau is hitless. Mauer only has 2 hits, and our new left-side infielders only have one each. Say what you want about Lamb and Everett, I only see them as replacement-level players. Will Everett do as well as Bartlett? I'll be curious to compare their stats this year.

The pitching rotation is a shell of it's former self without Santana. Hernandez did well, but I'm expecting no better from him than another Silva. If he proves me wrong I will be a happy man. With Slowey's strong spring, I'll be curious to see how he'll translate that into regular-season success. Blackburn also intrigues me as I'm not too familiar with him, but to get a nod to start the season, he had to have been good. Baker is Baker, and Bonser is Bonser. Neither have been consistently impressive, but have had their share of good games.

The one thing I take from this is that our Ace is still up our sleeve. Liriano is starting the season in the minors, developing and refining his arm so that he can be at his best when he comes up. He could make a huge difference for this team, and I hope he's ready by late April, early May.

The Twins have come out and said this is NOT a rebuilding season. Okay, sure. If you say so. There's a lot of work to be done on this team. A lot of fresh, unfamiliar faces. It will take a while to find the groove, and more than likely it will take longer than a few months. However, I see some real promise in players like Young, Gomez, and Slowey. And as many know, the Twins are always a better threat when no one is expecting them to do well.

Go Twins!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Totally jumping on the bandwagon.

Well, the Twins bandwagon has pulled in and the engine has been shutoff for another winter. Only a week ahead of last year (sadly). So, now that the playoffs are starting, it's time to look at who's bandwagon I'm going to hop onto.

Normally I don't do this. I have my Twins. I used to cheer for the Cards since I was in Redbird territory. Now that I'm in Central Illinois, I don't feel so obligated to do that. Not to mention they didn't make it this year.

A lot of times I will cheer for the AL, simply because that's where the Twins are, and I have a sort of loyalty to them. This year, I will indeed be cheering on the Indians in the AL playoffs.

But the NL is where all the teams are. First of all, the Mets are gone and the Phillies are in. I'm not a great fan of the Phillies, but I like them better than the Mets. The D'backs are a nice fresh new face, but again, they just won 6 years ago, so I'd like someone new to win.

The Cubs are in it also. I am in Central Illinois... but I have too much St. Louis in me. I want them to lose, not so much because I dislike them, but because it's so much fun to watch the fans. 2003 was priceless, as was 1998. And besides, if they win, I'll hate them like I do the Red Sox now. So they have to stay the lovable losers.

The Padres are a good tough team that remind me a lot of the Twins. Great pitching (Peavy is the NL's Santana). Decent lineup. Been to the playoffs but couldn't quite do it. But alas, they are not the team I am going to follow this winter.

It's going to be their opponent tonight.

I'm totally jumping on the Rockies bandwagon. Back in 1993 when this team started out, they were my new favorite team. I have always loved Colorado as a state. The skiing, the scenery. I've wanted them to be a good team for a long time, and only 1995 has stood as a playoff season. I also heard a story last year how the clubhouse has a Christian atmosphere at times. I really like that.

I might try to follow them a little more after this season, no matter the result. I guess now that I'm in neutral (sort of) territory, now's as good a time as ever.

So good luck to the Rockies, and if they don't do it, the Indians, and if they don't do it, the Padres, and if they don't do it... I guess the Cubs.

Just not the Yankees, and not the Red Sox. Please, anybody but them!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

So long 2007 Twins

I'll have more later about the playoffs, but I wanted to use this post to wish the 2007 Twins farewell and good luck this offseason. It was an unfortunate year of injuries and players not quite playing to potential. It was a year without Liriano and not much Mauer. It was however a year of great playing by Hunter and Santana, and even Morneau. It was a year in which Silva wasn't quite so bad. It was the year the Kubel broke out and started to look like a force on this team (though you wouldn't know it the way Gardy plays him).

I'm sad that the Twins couldn't do more this year to make the playoffs, especially considering the run they had last year. But I do have hope. Next year we'll have Liriano, and I have reason to believe that Baker, Garza, and Slowey will improve on their seasons. We may not have Hunter, but we may very well have some other good bats depending on how our new GM uses the money that Hunter wanted.

The Twins have a lot to improve upon. I can seriously say that I see this team either dominating next year, or falling to last. It's all going to depend on the postseason, but we can talk about that more later.

For now, let's relish the good moments, realize that the bad have come and gone, and remember this season as an unfortunate missed attempt to carry the magic from last year. It's someone else's year, but the Twins still have hope. May next year be better, and may they learn from their mistakes.

Go Twins!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

New Low

Okay, I thought when the Indians left town for the last time, this team would finally relax a little and try to finish the season with a little dignity. However, Friday night I guess they had other plans.

Here's the weird thing, I didn't find out about Friday until Saturday night. I had noticed that the Twins scored 6 runs in the top of the 9th, but I went to bed figuring they had it won. When I checked the recap for Saturday's game and saw they lost, I noticed in the recap that they had lost 6 in a row. "That wasn't right, I thought. I knew about the 3 to the Indians, and the one to the Royals before that. But last night they were up 10-4, don't tell me they lost.

They did.

It's one thing to give up two runs to tie it against a first place team like what happened on Tuesday. But to score 6 and then give up 6. That's a whole new level of anti-clutch.

What the F happened to this team. Seriously. MVP and batting champ. Cy Young winner. Manager of the year runner up. How the hell could this team have fallen so far so damn fast. It's ponderous. It's f'in ponderous.

Two weeks ago we had just taken the third of four from Baltimore and the Twins were still hopeful to make a run for a playoff spot. Two weeks later the Twins have gone from contenders to a joke. I thought I had typed my last entry for the year. That they would just cruise along until the end. But this... this is something that can't be ignored.

This team needs a closed door meeting. Something. This is a freakin' joke. Who let this happen? Ryan? Gardy? Who? Pohlad? This team needs a kick in the pants, and quick. Ending the season like this would be tragic and pathetic. I certainly hope that something better happens quickly, because I don't want to head into the 6 months of offseason with this last month in my memory.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Holy cow, have the Twins quit or what? I check the score this evening about midway through and the Twins are up 5-2. I check in again toward the end, and the Indians had tied it up. I knew, just knew, that the Indians would end up winning. Heck, they had won the last 4-5 games against the Twins. The end of our games against the Indians can't come fast enough.

I'm happy for Cleveland though. They've put a lot of work in that team and they have fought very hard for about 3-4 years. If anyone deserves a shot at the playoffs, they do. I wish them the best of luck. After all, someone has to beat the Red Sox, Yankees and Angels.

Speaking of, the blankety-blank Yankees are in the Wild Card lead. Again their cash has allowed them back into the race. I'm so freakin' sick of this team!!! Give them a payroll like all the other teams, and they wouldn't be able to compete. Because of them, the Red Sox are also overspending. This pretty much locks out Toronto, Tampa and Baltimore. And it drives up prices. Although to be fair, it's the record contracts to Zito and A-Rod (done be teams other than BOS and NYY) that really do it.

And to top it off, the freaking Cardinals (the Yankees of the NL (in playoff terms, not money)) are in the playoff hunt again, and they have no better a record that the Twins! What I wouldn't give to go back in time and send the Twins to the NL Central instead of the Brewers. Then of course, I would've gotten to see many more Twins games over the last 10 years.

Back to the Twins. I'm so disappointed. This team is better than this. Better than rolling over for the Indians. Better than losing this many one run games. They had both the MVP and batting champ last year, and their biggest problem is offense? Sheesh.

TR, you got your work cut out for you. We have pitching. Plenty of it. We don't need another Ponson or Ortiz. Or Rick Reed. We need a 3B. We need a CF (let's face it, Hunter's gone). We need a DH the likes of Pronk, Thome, or Thomas. We need some bats in that lineup. And we need them NEXT YEAR. At least for the Twins, there is next year. But not so sure after that. No telling what will happen with Santana and his contract. And that man deserves a WS championship with the Twins.

Sigh. Lots to get off my chest. Lots of frustration this season. And finally I can get interested in NFL again, after so many years of still being interested in baseball playoffs at this point. Too bad I'm so out of it that I didn't realize Addai of the Colts was one of the top RB's. Maybe I should do what I need to be doing, and that's studying for my next actuary test. Or spend time with my children. Or get a Wii. Or play more tennis. Or this or that...

Twins... I love you guys. But it's time to finish gracefully, and prepare for a 2008 that will blow everyone away.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ya know Twins, you're making it really hard to hold out hope for you guys.

Three days ago, the Twins were 5.5 games out of first with 32 games to go and a chance to get at Cleveland directly. Best case scenario was that they could get within 2.5. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Much like the Detroit series in July, the Twins got swept while coming close much of the time. Back then, the Twins lost all three to Detroit by one run. This week against Cleveland, the last two were one-run affairs. Those hurt, especially at this stage in the game.

Now they're 8.5 games out with 29 games to go. That's quite a daunting task. Especially when you can't beat the team in front of you. But alas, like many others, I'm beginning to give up hope for this season.

I know, I know, just last week I was pushing off the naysaying and trying to restore hope for this team. But after this last week, it's clear that the Twins do have a lot of work ahead of them in the next few months.

What bothers me most about the Cleveland series was that the problem was less of the offense, and more of the pitching. In the beginning of August, the Twins scored 6 runs in a four games series and they were still able to split the series 2-2. This time they score 11 runs, and 0 wins. Not even the mighty Santana could hold the Indians back. In fact, he went 0-4 against them this season.

So, do I throw in the towel yet? Well, nothing's over until the math confirms it. So yes, they still have a chance, but hope is certainly running short.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Blah! Naysayers

I read an article on talking about the Central Divisions for each League. Of course they mention the Tigers and Indians. On the NL they even mention of the Cubs and Brewers, AND the Cardinals. But no mention of the Twins? Even Fox sports power rankings count the Twins out of it at six games out of first.

What's funny about this is that the Twins are as close to first NOW as they were at this time last year. And we remember what happened last year right?

Maybe I'm a little overly optimistic (okay, I'm a LOT overly optimistic), but the Twins still do have a shot. After the Orioles series, the Twins play 25 of their last 32 games against the Central Division. If ever there was a time to put destiny in their own hands, this is it.

Okay, the offense has been horrid since the All-Star Break. But slumps do come to and end, and Morneau's due to have a hot streak. Anything can happen, and with this pitching staff, the Twins are certainly in good position to make a run for it.

Naysayers can talk and talk, but I still have hope. I know the probability is low (and I'm an actuary now). But these Twins aren't done yet. I can feel it. I think they could surprise a lot of people. In fact, I hope they do!