• Liriano's velocity has been at the 90s (93 the highest) and the slider is working pretty well so far. His control seems better too. 1-2-3 inning with 2 strikeouts. Cliff Lee looks very composed in the mount this year, compared to last year. So far, he has carried his team with Sabathia struggling and Carmona landing back to earth. 2 walks for Liriano in the second inning and his control is missing. 2 runs in. Gomez makes a great throw to the plate making an easy run close. Liriano has been very hesitant and he cannot have a continuation in his game. Maybe a Liriano/Mulvey swap should happen until Slowey is ready to come back

  • this is a pretty scary stat…and what’s that stuff on Cliff Lee’s hat bill? Doesn’t look like resin and he never used a resin bag in the mount in this game. Think that it might be that? What was wrong with Casey Blake to make to Twins give up on him? Rincon is pitching well enough to be adequate trade bait. Crain is back, and more than back. His location is great and his off speed stuff is working, too. I think that the cold outdoor games really affected the Twins' relievers last week.

  • Another loss for the Twins. But, there are several more games against Cleveland and last year the Twins were 4-14 against the Indians...

Twins MVP: Tolbert


Game Notes

  • Span makes a lead-gloved 2B error in RF and costs a run. It is amazing that Gardy is continuing to start him instead of Monroe... It would have been an 1-2-3 inning for Bonser.

  • Bonser is staying in the game too long. He should have been out after the 1st 2 hits on the 5th inning. A hit, a walk and a run later, Bass comes in. Span has another error by overrunning the ball. At least Guerrier has a well needed excellent outing. Gardy starts Span to begin the 7th against a lefty pitcher. Neshek has a great outing; 1-2-3 ninth with 1 K

Twins MVP: Tolbert


Games notes from tonight

  • I am trying a different format. Much less play by play and more commentary.
  • Here is an interesting (albeit technical) tidbit about Neshek, which might explain some things. From Josh Kalk’s excellent site, here are Neshek’s pitch graphs in 2008 and here are those of 2007.
    If you compare the vertical movement and the release points in the 2 years, his 4 seamer (indicated as a “sinker” and “fastball” in the graphs) has been consistent. However, his 2 seamer (indicated as “slider” in the graphs) has been thrown at a lower release point this year compared to last and has much more downward movement that than of last years, which usually results in a ball

  • Good to see a home forecast for a change on mlb.tv. Of course, the anticipated Evan Longoria and Eva Longoria comparison by the announcers happen on the 1st inning. Hernandez' slow curve isn't that slow tonight and he's a bit further away from the strike zone as usual. Mauer has a great throw to get a runner out. Detroit is spanking Cleveland. Sabathia had another bad outing. I called it a month ago about his effectiveness if his contract is not resolved....

  • Kubel is very slow running the bases, for every other Twins' hitter that would have been an infield hit in the second inning. I write that down and then he gets a triple...

  • Good to hear Scott Erickson on the broadcast. How about Bartlett in that 5th?

  • Reyes has a great 11 pitch inning with a K against a righty. Then starts the next inning. Great to see Reyes there for more than 1 batter. Rincon in. Rincon does ok. How sweet was that Crawford boneheaded play with Delmon scoring? Game over Twins win 6-5

Twins MVP: Mauer

Pitching, defence and fundamentals win games?

here is the data for the Twins' teams of the Gardenhire ERA:

year SLG ERA Record place OBP

2001: .433 4.51 85-77 2nd .337
2002: .437 4.12 94-67 1st .332
2003: .431 4.41 90-72 1st .341
2004: .431 4.03 92-70 1st .332
2005: .391 3.71 83-79 3rd .323
2006: .425 3.95 96-66 1st .347
2007: .391 4.15 79-83 3rd .330

Clearly, the biggest differential of the non-competitive teams of 2005 and 2007 is slugging percentage.


Notes from tonite's game

  • Interesting decision for the Caesar, to have Kubel in RF and Monroe DHing, instead of the opposite, since Monroe's career range factor in RF is 1.82 where that of Kubel is 1.00. In addition Monroe knows the park. I hope that it is not another mistake... From the current Tiger's lineup only Ordonez (1.121) has a career OPS higher than .788 against Baker, and as far as the Twins go, only Harris (1.500) surpasses that mark against Robertson

  • Random thought of the day: The team is about $10mil under in payroll. With Everett/Punto/Rincon/Monroe off the books for next year, does a serious run for Manny Ramirez (3 years @ $15-17 mil per year) to be the everyday DH make sense?

  • Unrelated thought of the day: 1st Monday Night Football: Vikings at Packers. Tough schedule, though...

  • Issues with mlb.tv. Gomez doubles, steals 3rd, Harris walks, Mauers FC, Harris out, Gomez scores. Twins 1-0. Morneau strikes out. Young flies out to Thomas. Twins 1-0. Fly out to Young, strikeout, home run to left by Sheffield. 1-1. Strikeout. End of 1. 1-1. 16 pitches for Baker.

  • Kubel strikes out. Monroe grounds out to the shortstop. Lamb grounds out to 1st. 1-2-3 inning. Walk, fly out to Kubel, double play Lamb to Harris to Morneau. End of 2, 1-1. 29 pitches for Baker.

  • Tolbert gets a bat single to Cabrera. Gomez pops up a bunt to the catcher. Tolbert steals second. Harris pops up to right. Mauer singles to left, Tolbert scores. Morneau flies out to left. Twins 2-1. Walk, pop up foul to Mauer, stolen base (ball knocked out of Tolbert's glove), fly out to Gomez, ground out to Lamb. End of 3, 2-1 Twins. 45 pitches for Baker.

  • Young flies out to right center. Kubel strikes out in 3 pitches. Monroe singles to left. Lamb flies out to left in a great at bat where he fouled out 8 pitches or so. Bottom of 4. Fly out to Gomez, ground out to Tolbert, ground out to Morneau. Short order of Sheffield, Ordonez and Cabrera. 1-2-3 inning, 8 pitches for Baker. End of 4, Twins 2-1

  • Tolbert grounds out to 3rd. Robertson way inside to Gomez, then 3-2. Foul, strikeout on a questionable pitch (on further review gameday shows that it was indeed a strike inside). Harris flies out to the warning track at right. Twins out. Single to right, single to right, men on 1st and 2nd. Ground out to Tolbert, runners advance. Fly out to Gomez strong throw, runner stays at 3rd. 2 out. 0-2. Strikeout. End of 5. Twins 2-1. Great job by the Twins.

  • Mauer doubles to left. Morneau homers to left. 4-1 Twins. Young grounds out to short. One out. Kubel strikes out (third one tonight). Monroe lines out to short. Fly out to Kubel, ground out to third (great catch by Lamb and super play by Morneau on the other end) 2 out. Ordonez homers to left. Ground out to Lamb. End of 6. Twins 4-2.

  • Lamb flies out to short right. Visit to the mount. Pitching change. Lopez in for the Tigers. Tolbert flies out to right. Gomez strikes out on a slider way low and way away. Home run by Guillen to the right. 4-3. Fly out to Kubel, ground out to Tolbert, pop up to Harris. End of 7. Twins 4-3. 84 pitches for Baker

  • Harris flies out to center. Pitching change, sidearmer Rapada in. Mauer grounds out to 2nd. A couple of questionable pitches to Morneau called strikes (gameday shows them as balls) and he strikes out. Bottom of 8. Crain in. 94 mph fastball for a strike; then a great 74 mph curve for a strike... strikeout on a 95 mph fastball. Walk. Bad throw on a pick up play. Runner to 3rd. Foul pop to Mauer. Double to right. 4-4. 2-run homer by Cabrerra. 6-4 Tigers. Ground out to Morneau. 6-4 Tigers

  • Todd Jones in for Detroit & a couple of defensive changes. Young gets a triple to the right, almost out of the park. Kubel grounds out to the pitcher. Monroe singles Young home to left. Span pinch running. Lamb flies out to right. Tolbert strikes out. Twins lose 6-5

  • Twins MVP: Mauer

    Giving Caesar what belongs to Caesar

    A big reason that the Twins lost last night's game, was the managing of Gardenhire. Specific managing mistakes:

    1. Starting Span in RF instead on Monroe
    2. Keeping Span in the game after the home run
    3. Subing Punto for Lamb in the 8th. In the 9th Punto was the winning run on the plate with runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Who do you want in this situation, Punto or Lamb
    4. Not pinch-hitting for Punto with Tolbert or Monroe in the above situation
    5. Over utilizing Guerrier and underutilizing Crain in the pen. Crain last pitched 1 inning on 4/11, Guerrier on 4/12.
    6. He kept both Guerrier and Neshek in too long. With Reyes and Crain rested it, there is no excuse. Also is there a written rule in Gardy’s book that the closer cannot come in before the 9th?

    For most of his career, "Gardy" has given a free ride by the press and Twins' management (like not being held accountable for the sub par season this year). It's about time that changes, before this season is lost. He is not swinging the bat and making pitches, but he decides who swings the bat and who makes those pitches. I will be keeping track of his mistakes that cost games for the Twins throughout the season. This archive can be found here


    Today's game notes

    • Back watching the game from mlb.tv... For some reason Gardenhire decided to leave Monroe out again, in favor of Span. I hope he does not regret the move. Also, with Guillen on 1st having hamstring issues and Cabrera on 3rd being Cabrera, I expect Gomez to bunt in every AB

    • Gomez fouls off the 1st pitch. Bunt to 3rd, foul. Bunts fouls with 2 strikes. Strikeout. Span infield hit to short with broken bat flying over the pitcher. Mauer bunts foul towards 3rd. Mauer grounds to pitcher for a double play. 0-0. Ground out to Morneau, fly out to Span, pop out to Everett, 1-2-3 inning for Blackburn, 0-0

    • Morneau pops to 3rd. Delmon singles down he middle. Young steals second, Kubel strikes out. Harris pops foul behind home plate Pudge can't get it gets an error, single to left, Delmon scores. Lamb singles off the right field wall (that ball looked like it was out), Harris in, 2-0. Everett strikes out. Twins 3-0. Ordonez singles, Cabrera flies out to Span, single to right, runners on 1st and second 1 out. Pop foul to Morneau. Ground out to Morneau, end of 2, 2-0 Twins. 29 Pitches for Blackburn

    • Gomez grounds out to 3rd. Span flies out to center. Mauer walks. Morneau flies out to left. Ground out to Morneau, ground out to Harris, fly out to Span (great play). End of 3. Twins 2-0. 42 pitches for Blackburn.

    • Young grounds out to the pitcher. Lamb grounds out to the pitcher. Harris strikes out, Twins down 1-2-3. Ground out to Lamb, fly out to Span, double to left, ground out to Harris. End of 4, Twins 2-0. 57 pitches for Blackburn.

    • Lamb reaches to 1st on a Cabrera error. DLIE:4. Everett flies out to center. Gomez forces Lamb with a grounder to 3rd. Gomez steals second. Span grounds out to short (close play at 1st). Single to right, fly out to right (great play by Span), double play 1-6-3. End of 5, Twins 2-0.

    • Mauer walks in 5 pitches. Morneau strikes out on a questionable called 3rd strike. Delmon doubles Mauer in off the left field fence. Kubel singles Young in to center, Thomas over runs in, Kubel to 3rd. Third error for the Tigers. Harris sacrifices Kubel in to deep center. Lamb grounds out to second. Twins 5-0. Ground out to Blackburn, ground out to Harris, infield hit to 3rd, single through the middle; 1st and 2nd, 2 outs. Guerrier up in the pen. Hit to the left. Tigers score a run. Two run double to the left. 5-3. Blackburn out Guerrier in. Single to left, batter out on a run down, but the lead runner scores. End of 6. 5-4 Twins

    • Bonderman still in. Everett singles to left. Gomez forces Everett to short. Gomez really disrupting Bonderman, 2-0 to Span. 3-0. Hit and run. Single to center, Gomez to 3rd, 1 out. Pitching change. Lefty Seay in. Mauer walks, bases loaded. one out. Ball to Morneau, single to left, 2 runs in. Young singles to left, Mauer in, Morneau out in a rundown, Younf to second. Kubel up. Single to right, Young in. 9-4. Harris strikes out. Span kicks a long fly ball from Pudge over the fence. Assisted home run. That ball was not going out if Span did not push it... Ground out to Guerrier, ground out to Morneau, ground out to Harris. End of 7, 9-5 Twins.

    • Lamb out to second. Everett doubles to left. Gomez strikes out. Span walks. Mauer grounds out to 1st. Punto in at 3rd. Double to left. Double to center, one run in. Error by Everett, men on 1st and 2nd. Hit to left another run in. No outs. Neshek in. Force out to Everett, runners 1st and 3rd, 1 out. Triple. 2 runs in, tied game. One out. Sacrifice fly. Tigers up 10-9. Triple. Hit down the middle, 11-9. Sheffield fouls a long out to the left and then strikes out. End of 8. Tigers 11-9.

    • Todd Jones in. Morneau flies out to right. Young grounds out to 3rd. Kubel walks. Harris hits to right. Punto flies out to left. Game over. Twins lose 11-9.

    • I can't believe that Gardenhire did not pinch hit for Punto at that spot...

    • If Blackburn stays in the bigs all year, he should be a serious candidate for a gold glove

    Twins MVP: Young


    Thoughts from today's game

    The Twins lost 5-1 in Liriano's return to the majors. I did not watch the game, just followed it on the mobile version of mlb's gameday. Here are some thoughts for the game, the next series and the season:

    • Liriano had a rough outing, but he can work the kinks out. He is already pitching better than Buherle and Sabathia and it was very cold. It has been reported that the problem was fastball location.

    • Batting is an issue. I hope that in the Detroit series, Mornoe is in every game replacing Span, because he needs at bats and he has a bone to pick with them. Gomez would be very successful bunting against this defense so I hope he is there every day

    • The Twins are in a good place. They are a game ahead of Cleveland and 4 ahead of Detroit with an overall .500 record. Last year they were 9-9 against both KC and CHW and this year they are 4-2 and 1-1 against them, respectively

    • Redmond, Span & Punto do not belong in the bigs, neither does Rincon. Smith should be on the phone to bring in a bat, and one of Korecky, Mulvey & Swarzak to the bullpen

    Twins MVP: Bass