Saturday game notes

  • Sindey Ponson is starting for the Rangers tonight. Huge gaffe from Gardy last night, not to use Nathan in the 10th, instead of Rincon, cost the game for the Twins. Baker is pitching today for the Twins. Not many news about Gomez (the local beat reporters seem to get scooped by AP), but it seems that he will be out for a couple of days. Tolbert is leading off and playing SS instead of Punto and Monroe is at CF batting in the 9th hole. Also Mauer and Morneau are batting 3rd and 4th with Harris second... Not sure that this is a good move...

  • Two early double plays turned by the Rangers. Mauer and Cuddyer are the culprits. Baker pitches 2 strong scoreless innings with 3 strike outs and only 1 hit. Young and Lamb get back to back hits in the 3rd. Monroe hits a double, one run in, runners on 2nd and 3rd no outs. Tolbert strikes out in 3 pitches. Where is the bunt sign? Lamb scores on a passed ball. 2-0 Twins. Monroe to 3rd. Harris strikes out. Mauer lines out to 3rd. Twins out. Baker gives up 3 consecutive hits in the 3rd. Nobody out bases loaded. That last hit was a blooper in the center that Gomez would have easily catch it. Baker strikes out the next hitter. 0 and 2 double to left. 2 runs in. Game tied. Strikeout. Single, 2 runs in. 4-2 Texas. Strikeout. Baker strikes out the side in the bottom of the 3rd, but the damage is done. 6 Ks for Baker.

  • Futile fourth for the Twins. 1-2-3 inning for Baker. Pitching changes. Twins tied the game in the 6th. Mauer gets a bunt hit in the 7th. Twins score 3 on top of the 7th. Delmon knocks in 2. Twins 8-5. Reyes still in; a walk and a hit. Crain in. He strikes out 2. End of inning. Tolbert looks overmatched tonight. He walks, steels second and Mauer brings him in with a single. Morneau singles. Cuddy hits a 3-run homer 12-5 Twins. Kubel out, Delmon out. Bottom of the 8th. Neshek in for some reason in the 8th with a 7 run lead. Where is Korecky?

  • Bottom of the 9th 12-5 Twins. Korecky in, for his first appearance in the majors. Hit. Walk. Walk. Double play. One run in. Ground out to Morneau. Game over. Twins win 12-6

Twins MVP: Lamb


Friday game notes

  • Bobby Korecky has been called up from Rochester, Cuddyer has been activated and Span & Liriano have been optioned to Rochester. This is the first time Bobby, 28, is in the majors making him the 4th Twin to make his MLB debut this season (Bass, Tolbert, Span are the others). Good thing to see Liriano get some time in a less stressful situation to work the kinks out. This year the Twins have 5 other starters, so Fransisco's absence would be ok

  • Gomez bunt hits at his first at bat, steals second (10 SB for the year). For some reason hit and run was on and Harris strikes out at the plate. Mauer walks. Morneau hits a single to the opposite field scoring Gomez. Cuddyer pops out in the infield. Kubel grounds out to second. Inning over. Twins up 1-0

  • Great double play turned by Blackburn in the first. Quick 9 pitch 1st inning. Gomez makes a great catch in the second inning, then another. Where are the Chicago fan pundits who wanted him demoted now? He has another bunt single in the third. Almost stole second again, but the hit and run was on and Harris fouled it. Twice... What's up with the hit and run, Gardy? Fun to hear the TX announcers appreciate Gomez. They compared him to Rickey Henderson... Harris singles, Mauer walks and Morneau hits a grad slam. Nobody out. Cuddy singles. Millwood is really struggling against the Twins. The Rangers are coming back in the 3rd inning. Young has an error, Blackburn gets hit and its a tie game. Then a great double play, runner out at home (Cuddyer) and at third (Mauer). 9-6-2-5 double play. Game still tied. Blackburn strikes out the last hitter he faces. 47 total pitches for Blackburn vs 64 for Millwood.

  • Punto up and strikes out in 3 pitches. Mercy. Gomez looks hurt after trying to bunt for a hit. Harris strikes out. No update about Gomez, but looks like a hamstring or calf cramp. Monroe subs in the field for him. Blackburn settles in for the next inning; still 5-5. Blackburn has an 1-2-3 5th. Harris strikes out for the 3rd time tonight and everyday Eddie is warming up in the Ranger's bullpen. Blackburn gets out of the 6th inning. Hard to play a team with a 7 game losing streak.

  • Eddie Guardado in for the Rangers, Mauer singles, Morneau lines out to 3rd, Cuddyer flies out to center with the first pitch he sees, Kubel grounds our to second. Guerrier in for the bottom of the 7th, then Reyes. Monroe a great over the shoulder catch to end the inning. Still 5 up. Lamb reaches again. Punto hits into a double play... The Rangers' TV commentators are the best so far for the away teams. Lamb has a Billy Buckner moment in the bottom of the 8th, then makes a great play for an out. Double play Harris-Punto-Morneau next. Reyes is pitching way above expectations this year. Top of the ninth next with score tied.

  • The Rangers bring in their closer C.J. Wilson in. Sidney Ponson will start for the Rangers tomorrow against Baker. Twins out at the ninth, tied game. Neshek in for the Twins. One out. Monroe looks great in the outfield. Rangers retired. Extra innings. Detroit loses, Cleveland wins, ChiSox are rained out, KC is winning big. Pithing change. Benoit in for the rangers, Morneau singles, Cuddyer pops up, Kubel flies out, Young flies out. Rincon in. One out, double, walk, strikeout, double. Game over. Twins lose.

Twins MVP: Morneau


Early Thursday game notes

  • Gomez starts the game with his first homer of the season. Liriano walks the first batter he faces with 5 pitches. Bases loaded (2 walks, one hit) one out. Punto froze at the hit to the left side that scored 2 runs. Another walk to load the bases. Another single, another run, bases still loaded. A 2 RBI single. Gardy needs to put Liriano out of his misery and send him to the minors for a while. He just is not productive this year and maybe needs a few months to work the kinks without jeopardizing the big club. I bet the phones is Rochester are burning. Since the Twins do not need another starter for a while, it might make sense to bring a reliever like Korecky or Gomez. Unfortunately Gomez is not on the 40 men roster, which would make Korecky a higher probability.

  • Redmond looks really pathetic at the plate and cannot throw out runners. It's probably the end of the line for him. Two hits from Bass and an error by Buscher make the second inning precarious but a great play by Morneau leaves the As scoreless. 2 consecutive bunt singles by Punto and Gomez to start the third, but Harris grounds into a double play. Kubel flies out. The 2 bunt singles wasted. Monroe has hit 2 rockets in this game, unfortunately they are both about 500 feet high and 150 feet long. Kubel practically runs into Gomez in a routine play. Wouldn't it be better with Monroe there? Bass gets hit hard and hits a batter, Buscher makes a rookie mistake going for a botched double play instead of tagging the lead run and Crain is warming up. 2 more runs score and Bass has 57 pitches in 3.1 innings. Buscher singles in Redmond who had doubled over the 3B line.

  • Bass serves a homer to the first batter in the 5th inning and a triple (underneath Kubel's glove) to the second batter (batters number 8 and 9 in the As lineup), then a double to the third, before he hits the showers, sparing himself of the "cycle". Crain in. Two pitches, two outs. Then walks Thomas and the next batter is out in one pitch. Nice pattern for Crain, whose fastball reached 95. He retires the first 2 batters he faces in the next inning then serves a homer. Span, in for Kubel in right, lets a ball drop in front of him. Redmond gets the first walk for the Twins this series after a hit by Monroe

  • Reyes is in for the 7th and good to see him for more than a batter and facing righties. Retires the first 2 batters he faces, then retires Frank Thomas on a pop up that Harris made it more difficult than it had to be. Rincon in for the 8th. One hit, 1 K, successful inning. Last chance for the Twins. Young gets his second hit of the game, Monroe strikes out, Redmond strikes out, Buscher grounds out to first. Game over. Twins lose 11-2

Twins MVP: Gomez

The dome is expanding, the dome is expanding, take cover...

One of the outcomes of the Gardy era has been the phenomenon of the ever expanding Metrodome. What do I mean? Park factor is a stat that is helpful in assessing how much a specific ballpark contributes to the offensive production of a team or player. If the park factor number above 100 is a park good for hitters and below 100 is a park good for pitchers. The "homerdome" has been traditionally regarded as a hitter's park. Here are the Park factors for the dome to date since its inaugural season. I also include its ranking among all ML parks, since 2001

year park factor PF rank (out of 30 parks)

1982 101
1983 105
1984 105
1985 103
1986 107
1987 95
1988 106
1989 106
1990 108
1991 106
1992 101
1993 102
1994 97
1995 101
1996 104
1997 99
1998 99
1999 105
2000 106
2001 102 12
2002 97 3
2003 101 8
2004 104 10
2005 104 14
2006 99 19
2007 92 28
2008 92 30

It is clear that in the later years of the Gardy era, the Metrodome is regarded as a pitcher's park. Did the Dome change? Did the mysterious air currents of a bygone era stop suddenly? Or simply, did the new hitting philosophy installed by Gardenhire & Co., turned the Dome into Shea stadium by turning the Twins into a light hitting team?


Wednesday notes

  • Late game at Oakland tonight. The Twins are riding a 3 game winning streak and Gardy decides to shake things up by changing his lineup and removing his spark plug Centerfielder, Gomez, for Span and the guy with the highest qualifying batting average in the team, Harris, for Tolbert; meanwhile Nick Punto is still starting at short, errors and 3 pitch strikeouts in vein; but, of course "he helps win games" and would you have any grey poupon? but of course. And yes the Twins are wearing their away grays tonight.

  • Empty stadium again tonight. Interesting to see Span starting instead of Gomez in CF. Miss the excitement that Gomez can provide for this club. Doubtful that the sac fly run would have scored in the second with Gomez instead of Span there. Kubel misses a 2-run homer to the upper deck by a couple feet in the 6th. Harris pinch hits for Span in the 8th and the genius moved Punto to CF instead of Gomez.

  • Bonser's fastball tops at 94 mph and has an 1-2-3 first inning. The weather is colder than expected (51 degrees), which does not bode well for the Twins' bullpen if recent history repeats itself. Boof has a really funky delivery. It's almost like he is pitching from the stretch every time. Not much leg power there. Maybe he is better suited to a reliever role. He goes 6 with 2 earned runs. Guerrier pitches a scoreless inning, then gives up a homer in the 8th

  • Twins lose 3-0. Chicago loses and Detroit wins. KC vs Cleveland is rained out

Twins MVP: Kubel


Tuesday notes

  • Another gem of sensitivity by Gardy: In an interview with Pat Borzi, he publically rips Liriano (who is the highest regarded pitcher in the organization), calls him "lazy" and suggests that if he does not improve he should be sent to the minors "as a wake up call". Are those the words someone who needs to regain his confidence on his fastball needs to hear? How wonderful to know that Gardy has Punto's back but when it comes to players from other cultures, he is being continuously insensitive. This reminds me of Gardy's behavior towards David Ortiz, in Gardy's first year as a manager. Someone from the front office needs to give Gardy a "wake up call", before it is too late.

  • Punto starts ahead of Tolbert at SS again tonight. Makes an error. Detroit beat Texas 10-2. Delmon almost hit a home in the second. The stadium is more empty than the Metrodome. Monroe gets an early RBI, then another and Lamb brings him in. And then a homer. Span who? Lamb gets 3 hits for the night. Punto looks miserable in the plate until the 9th. Gomez has 4 strikeouts.

  • Hernandez stuggled a bit, but still kept the team in the game with 4 runs in 6 innings. Good to see Rincon aggressive against lefties with 3 strikeouts. KC lost to the Indians and the White Sox lost to the Yankees. Oakland's outfield is a black hole, everything drops in for hits. Makes appreciating the Twins' outfield so much more. Neshek pitched an 1-2-3 8th with 6 pitches. Nathan strikes out the side, game over Twins win 5-4

Twins MVP: Monroe


Sunday Game Notes

  • Gardenhire made the following condescending comment in an interview with La Velle E. Neal III:

    When it was mentioned how much Punto gets ripped by fans, Gardy replied: “That’s because he doesn’t help fantasy teams but he can help you win baseball games.”

    Here is the numbers (btw, Punto starts today instead of Tolbert):

    Career Runs Created per Game for the current Twins batters:
    Tolbert: 7.8
    Mauer: 6.6
    Morneau: 5.9
    Cuddyer: 5.3
    Lamb: 5.0
    Kubel: 4.5
    Harris: 4.5
    Monroe: 4.4
    Redmond: 4.4
    Young: 4.3
    Everett: 3.7
    Punto: 3.6

    As far as his defense goes, career numbers for all positions are

    FP: Punto: .976, league: .972
    RF: Punto: 3.13, league: 3.41

    Also his VORP, every year in his career other than 2006 has been negative, meaning that whomever played instead of him in that position was more productive…

    I am just tired of Gardenhire’s unsubstantiated and irresponsible comments, especially when they are condescending towards fans like this comment. Most fans do not care about "fantasy stats". All fans care about their team winning. If Punto is last in team in career runs created and his defense is below league average, how does he “help you win games”? Maybe Gardenhire cares less than the Twins' fans about winning every game

  • For some reason, Mauer is out of the lineup (with the day off tomorrow) and Morneau is DHing. Also Lamb is playing 1B and Buscher is playing 3B

  • Harris hits his 1st home run as a Twin to tie the game in the 3rd. He is the only Twin other than Morneau and Kubel to homer this season. His HR was on the opposite field over the baggie. Punto looked like Billy Butler in the stolen base attempt in the 5th inning. Great 10 inning game with Harris scoring both runs and Morneau driving him in in the bottom of 10th. Redmond and Buscher got their first hits of the season, which means that every hitter on the roster now has a hit. Gomez makes and incredible play in the bottom of the 9th to save the game (look at how the throw to the infield hits Punto on the butt :) ). I hope the fans will see Mr. Bentley for who he really is right now...

  • Byrd's stuff is soft (fastball at 87-88 mph max) but has been working several pitches all over the plate. Baker has 8 Ks over the first 7 innings with 100 total pitches, having a streak of 9 batters retired from the 3rd to 6th inning. He currently leads the Twins in strikeouts. The bullpen (Reyes, Neshek and Guerrier) did not allow a run. The Twins lead the AL in team WHIP (1.27)

  • Detroit lost in Toronto, KC lost in Oakland and the White Sox won in Tampa, which brings the Twins in a second place tie with KC, 2.5 games off first, and, even more importantly, 2 games ahead of the Indians and 3 ahead of the Tigers

  • Frank Thomas was released by the Jays today, the Twins have little power from the right side and Kubel has a .270 OBP as the full-time DH. Thomas has a .326 OBP, 3 HR, 11 RBI and 11 walks (that would put him between Mauer and Kubel in OBP, tied for second in HRs, 3rd in RBI and first in BBs in the Twins' team); it does make sense for the Twins to sign him and installing him as their full time DH in the 3 hole between Mauer and Morneau, since he would be a perfect fit in that lineup and the Jays would be picking the bill. On the other hand, if he has more that 304 ABs this year a $10 mil option for next year matures, which if he produces might not be a bad thing for the Twins [edit: since he was released and not waived, the team that signs him is not responsible for the vesting option. This is a no brainer and the Twins' staff better jump on it]. In that scenario Kubel can come off the bench or play RF and Cuddyer should see some time at 3B.

  • On unrelated news, the Pope prays in Yankee stadium. Not sure that even that would be enough to turn their season around with that pitching staff...

Twins MVP: Harris

game notes

  • Any questions why Monroe should have been starting instead of Span? Morneau hits another dinger early in the game. Blackburn is putting together a great performance. His fastball was at 93 in the 8th inning. Stikes were the name of the game and the longest performance of any Twins’ starter this season. Nathan is 6/6 in saves and neither him nor Reyes have surrendered a run this season. 3 pitcher shutout, Twins win 3-0

  • Really, cannot feel sorry about Torri's latest predicament; here is a quote from him on that: “I tried to treat myself a couple of weeks ago, and look what happened. The air bags didn’t even deploy. You know, I’m kind of disappointed that I got rear-ended in a Bentley, and they didn’t deploy. I won’t feel safe in that no more.” Life is rough.

  • Every other team in AL Central lost yesterday, so the Twins gained a game on everyone. DLIE number = 5

  • On other unrelated news, the Vikings seem ready to spend their first round pick very successfully this year

Twins MVP: Blackburn