Archive for August, 2010

Dick Bremer’s Prediction Finally Comes True

August 29, 2010

If you’ve watched enough Twins games with the broadcasting team of Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven, you know that both of them are fond of making “calls” (predictions) of what the hitter currently batting will do. Roughly 99% of the time, Dick and Bert are wrong, but that was not the case today.

During the top of the 7th inning, Michael Cuddyer faced a 3-0 count against Seattle starter Luke French with nobody on base. I’ll paraphrase what Dick said:

Dick: You mind if I interject?

Bert: Sure, go ahead.

Dick: I’d like to make a call. I think Cuddyer will be green lighted here, and he’s going to put a run on the board.

The next pitch, Cuddyer deposited a high fastball into the left field seats. This was the first time I’ve ever watched a Twins game and see Dick or Bert correctly guess when a batter would hit a home run. Regardless, it’s still not as impressive as this call by Mike Blowers about Seattle (then) third baseman Matt Tuiasosopo made last season.

Bolstering The Bullpen

August 29, 2010

A couple days ago, the Twins completed a trade with the Los Angeles Angels to send LHP Brian Fuentes for a player to be named later or cash. With how quickly the Twins acquired Fuentes after getting LHP Randy Flores from Colorado, it became clear that lacking Ron Mahay and Jose Mijares for the rest of the season and the next couple of weeks, respectively, would not hurt the team as much as we first thought.

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Randy Flores: At Least He’s Not Glen Perkins!

August 25, 2010

Whenever I peruse MLB Trade Rumors, I always keep an eye out for one thing: “Twins.” Usually, I don’t find anything interesting. Most of the time, my eyes seek out the first three letters, “Twi-” and I get excited, only to realize that I’ve actually spotted “Twitter.” Then there are days like today, when I came across this headline: “Twins Claim Randy Flores.”

At first, I admit I was excited. Then I got past “Twins” and realized that the Twins claimed Randy Flores. Unfortunately, Flores isn’t a very special player, especially when you look past his 2.96 ERA and .222 batting average allowed. I’m talking about his 5.22 FIP, .234 BABIP, 1.32 HR/9, 5.93 K/9 and 4.28 BB/9. All of these point towards Flores being a rather poor pitcher.

According to texasleaguers.com, Flores throws mainly a high-80s fastball, low-80s slider, and mid-70s curveball. However, according to FanGraphs’ Pitch Type Linear Weights, only his fastball has been an above-average pitch this season.

I understand that many people (including myself above) will cite Flores’ low BABIP and say how he’s been lucky this year, but I have a counterargument. While with the Rockies this year, Flores was a lefty specialist, so he’s only thrown 27.1 innings in 47 games this year. Therefore, even though his BABIP is low and many people will cite that in a larger sample, it would regress to his career .338 mark, he’s probably only going to face a handful of batters every week and his BABIP could stay low for the final 5 weeks of the season. There were definitely better options out there such as Brian Tallet or George Sherrill (look at his splits against lefthanded batters), but Flores might just work out.

Game Theory in the Late Innings

August 24, 2010

I can certainly say that a player striding to the plate as a pinch-hitter for the Twins hasn’t baffled me since Drew Butera stepped into the batters box in Citizens Bank Park.

The difference between that at-bat and Tuesday was that Butera was pinch-hitting for the pitcher, he was the last position player on the bench, and his pinch-hit ended with a go-ahead home run in the 10th inning off Chad Durbin. Tuesday, Matt Tolbert – coincidentally pinch-hitting for Butera – also faced a rather critical point in the game. However, his at-bat ended with a called third strike on a curveball from Texas closer Neftali Feliz.

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Repko: Where The Fly Balls Go

August 24, 2010

Every season, a horde of players makes their way up to big league rosters from the minor leagues. The Twins system is no exception, as we’ve seen the debuts of catchers Drew Butera and (briefly) Wilson Ramos, shortstop Trevor Plouffe, pitchers Anthony Slama and Alex Burnett, and third baseman Danny Valencia this year. However, while I’m working at Target Field, I seem to get questions about one guy more than anyone else, even though prior to this year, he had accumulated more major league service time than all of these guys combined. His name is Jason Repko.

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The Perfect Irony, Pt. 2

August 23, 2010

Sometimes, receiving a baseball haymaker to the face is worth it.

That’s a $25 gift card to Target, by the way. Becoming one of the most famous ushers at Target Field isn’t that bad either.

The Perfect Irony

August 22, 2010
A nightmare to remember, I’d never be the same
What began as laughter so soon would turn to pain
Picture for a moment the perfect irony
A flawless new beginning eclipsed by tragedy
Without warning, out of nowhere
Like a bullet from the night
Day after day and night after night
Replaying the events, did they ever see the red light?
Over and over, scene by scene
Like a recurring nightmare haunting my dreams
How could you prepare for what would happen next?
Life was so simple then, we were so innocent
It will stay with us forever, a nightmare to remember

- Dream Theater, “A Nightmare To Remember”

One line above was bolded for a reason. Picture for a moment the perfect irony. Wanna know why? Well, guess who got smoked by a batting practice home run yesterday?

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Recap: Twins vs. White Sox, Game 2

August 19, 2010

Thanks, Ozzie. You make my job very easy.

Recap: Twins vs. White Sox, Game 1

August 18, 2010

You know, I wish Kubel and Thome weren’t starting tonight (against John Danks).

That was my comment to my friend Laura as we sat in our break room prior to Kubel’s at-bat in the 1st inning. As it turned out, these two guys helped carry the team.

The game started out very well with Orlando Hudson’s 6th home run (5th home run hit right-handed this year) against Danks in the 1st inning. Tacking on 3 additional runs with some help from a Jason Kubel 2-run triple and later his diving catch in the outfield made it seem like Game 1 would be an easy, yet entertaining victory for the Twins. However, the White Sox apparently deployed U.S. Cellular Field inside of Target Field, as Baker allowed big flies to Paul Konerko and Mark Kotsay. When the score went from 4-0 to 4-4, you couldn’t help but worry that the Twins were going to let a winnable game slip away.

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An Apology, Cont.

August 14, 2010

Dear Brian Duensing,

I’ve already apologized to you before. Alas, it still wasn’t enough. You continue to amaze and impress. You make me feel like I am not worthy to be in your presence in Target Field, much like Wayne and Garth felt that they were not worthy to be in the presence of Alice Cooper.

Last year, while you were in the bullpen, you were rather blasé. But once you moved into the rotation, you became excellent. This year, you continued your excellence, and you have only become better now that you are once again a starting pitcher.

Francisco Liriano is a great pitcher, and Carl Pavano with his Luigi mustache has become a close second.*

* I know that Mario is the better known brother, but you must agree that Carl looks much more like Luigi than he does Mario. If Jose Mijares used Sammy Sosa’s skin-whitening cream and grew a mustache, then he would look like Mario.

Before the season started, I would have rated our starting pitchers like so:

1. Francisco Liriano

2. Scott Baker

3. Carl Pavano

4. Kevin Slowey

5. Nick Blackburn

You have forced your way onto this list. Currently, it is now…

1. Francisco Liriano

2. Carl Pavano

3. Brian Duensing

4. Scott Baker

5. Kevin Slowey

… and although it will be tough to crack the Top 2, you can certainly draw even with Super Luigi Pavano if you keep painting masterpieces like you did Saturday night.

I don’t know if you love me, but I certainly love you. In fact, if you did love me back, then we could say that we have guy love between two guys, just like J.D. and Turk from Scrubs. It might be awkward, but we’ll shrug it off.

Keep up the good work. You’ve got the support of at least one million strong, including myself.

Guy love,

Andrew


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