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8/14/09

Twins sing-along with Nick Punto

I am not going to talk about the Kansas City series. Nope. It's Friday. Thank God. We don't need to talk about depressing stuff, how about some spirit lifting. And what is better spirit lifter than:

Sing-Along time.

You know the tune (R-rated lyrics on the link), here are the words. Sing with me:

I knew a player named Nicky
I guess u could say he was a bunt fiend
I met him in a ball park
Hitting about a buck fifteen
He said howd u like 2 waste some time
And I could not resist when I saw little Nicky grind

I took me to a box seat
And I just couldnt believe my eyes
He had so many devices
And that head first first base slide
Gardy wrote his name on the dotted line
The lights went on
And Nicky started 2 grind

Nicky

The ballpark started spinning
Or maybe it was my brain
I cant tell u what he did on the park
But my team will never be the same
His hitting will kick your behind
Oh, he'll show u no mercy
But he'll shonuff shonuff show u how he grind

Darlin Nicky

Woke up the next morning
Nicky wasnt there
I looked all over and all I found
Was a Strib article by LEN3
Smith said it was Nicky's Rochester time
Call him up whenever u want 2 grind

Oh, Nicky, ohhhh

Come back Nicky, come back
You dirty little prince
Wanna grind grind grind grind grind grind grind grind grind

8/11/09

Five reasons to keep the hope alive for the Twins

The finishing line of the 2009 season is closing and the Twins are taking the final turn 5 games behind the Detroit Tigers and one game behind the White Sox (in the loss column) in the standings. Based on the 5 games difference from the Tigers and the acquisitions of Jake Peavy and Alex Rios by the White Sox, Twins' fans are about ready to throw in the towel (or the hanky), if not done already. Being the eternal optimist, here are 5 reasons why the Twins can and will win the AL Central this season:



  1. The Twins are 5 games behind the Tigers, but have 6 games against them. The Twins have their next 3 games against the Kansas City Royals at home, while the Tigers are hosted by the Boston Red Sox. A sweep both ways, will make the difference in the standings 2 games



  2. The Peavy trade will hurt the White Sox this season. Effectively the White Sox Replaced 11 starts by Clayton Richars (4.52 ERA, 1.398 WHIP, 7.1 K/9, 1.69 K/BB as a starter in 2009) with 4 or 5 starts by Jake Peavy (4.60 ERA, 1.277 WHIP, 8.6 K/9, 2.73 K/BB away from Petco in 2009; 3.94 ERA, 1.563 WHIP, 9 K/9, 4 K/BB against the AL in 2008 the last time he pitched against the AL) and 6 or 7 starts of the likes of Carlos Torres (6.75 ERA, 1.929 WHIP, 7.7 K/9, 0.89 K/BB). Overall, even if Peavy returns from his injury in perfect shape, this is a net loss for this season for the White Sox



  3. The Rios acquisition seems great in the books (they got an "all-star" "5-tool" player for nothing other than picking up his inflated contract), until one looks at his numbers this season compared to the ones of the player he is replacing, Scott Podsednik. Rios' defense is considered superior; however this season he has a -1.3 UZR/150 at RF, while the player whom he replaces, Podsednick has a 6.6 UZR/150 at CF. Arguably, CF is a harder position to play, as well. How about his bat? Coincidentally, Podsednick and Rios have exactly the same OPS (.744), however for a top of the order player, Podsednick's OBP (.351 in 2009) is more preferable than Rios' (.317 in 2009). One good thing about this trade is that the White Sox will have 4 good outfielders and Podsednick is superior to Dewayne Wise, Jerry Owens and the like on the bench. Very slight difference this season, if any, either way, for the Sox with this trade, but the trade is potentially good for the long run, if Rios proves healthy and returns to his All-star form of 3 seasons ago


  4. The Twins' acquisitions have paid dividends so far. Orlando Cabrera is on a mad tear hitting .361/.378/.611 (.989 OPS) from the number 2 hole of the lineup. He replaces there Alexi Casilla and Matt Tolbert who hit .155/.223/.184 (.408 OPS) and .179/.277/.214 (.491 OPS) respectively at the #2 spot. This is more than .100 points difference in the OBP and at least double OPS. Carl Pavano has only one start, but his start was a. exceptional and b. one of the most important wins for the Twins this season. He probably has 11 more starts taken from Glen Perkins. That change would probably give the Twins at least 2-3 more wins, conservatively.


  5. You probably cannot tell, by just watching games, but the Twins as a team are actually trending better lately both in batting and pitching. Here are the numbers for the last month:

    • Batting:

      • season: .768 OPS
      • last 14 days: .818 OPS
      • last 7 days: .834 OPS

    • Pitching:

      • season: 6.3 K/9, 2.23 K/BB
      • last 14 days: 6.4 K/9, 2.42 K/BB
      • last 7 days: 7.2 K/9, 3.00 K/BB

    The problem has been that bats and arms show up on different days sometimes, but the presence of two new veteran with World Series rings in the club, might help getting things going more consistently from now on... and definitely there is a challenge for Ron Gardenhire and his coaching staff to take advantage of the situation and keep everyone on the team focused

8/10/09

Off Day by the numbers

.323: Delmon Young's batting average with runners in scoring position this season

.309: Denard Span's batting average with runners in scoring position this season

.296: Carlos Gomez' batting average with runners in scoring position this season

.229: Micheal Cuddyer's batting average with runners in scoring position this season

.274: Twins' team batting average with runners in scoring position this season and Chicago White Sox' team batting average with runners in scoring position this season

.259: Detroit Tigers' team batting average with runners in scoring position this season

.339: Twins' team batting average at the first pitch of an at bat

.204: Twins' team batting average with a full count

38: The projected number of home runs for Joe Mauer for 162 games this season

.306: The difference between Orlando Cabrera's OPS with the Twins (.989) and his OPS with the A's (.683)

2: The number of shoulder MRI exams Glen Perkins has had this month

20: The number of pitchers the Twins used so far in 2009

17: The number of pitchers the Twins used the whole 1987 season

16: The number of pitchers the Twins used by August 10 in 2008 and the number of pitchers the Twins used the whole 1991 season

6: The number of games behind Detroit in the loss column and the number of games the Twins play Detroit in the remaining of the season

.625: Opponents' batting average against Jesse Crain with the bases loaded this season

4.29: Scott Baker's ERA with 4 days rest between starts this season

8.20: Scott Baker's ERA with 6+ days rest between starts this season

7.19: Fransisco Liriano's ERA with 4 days rest between starts this season

4.07: Fransisco Liriano's ERA with 5 days rest between starts this season

9.30: Glenn Perkins' ERA with 5 days rest between starts this season

4.63: Glenn Perkins' ERA with 6+ days rest between starts this season

2.70: Anthony Swarzak's ERA with 4 days rest between starts this season

19.12: Anthony Swarzak's ERA with 5 days rest between starts this season