Archive for May, 2011

Blame It (On The Delmon Young)

May 31, 2011

After typing that title, there’s one thing I think of, and that’s one of the only two Glee episodes I’ve ever seen when the gang sang Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It (On The Alcohol).” However, this post is not about song parodies, but about understanding the rule book and why the Twins were screwed out of a fair game yesterday.

Just to get you all fired up like Ron Gardenhire, let’s review the play again. Grounder down the left field line, a fan reaches out and touches the ball. Delmon Young is stomping over to retrieve the ball.

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Slowey vs. Cuddyer

May 25, 2011

Now if this was a boxing match, I think we’d all take Cuddyer. Come on, we’ve seen his high-fives; imagine what he could do with a punch. However, I’m thinking more of each person’s willingness to adapt to new roles, and it looks like Cuddyer still comes out ahead.

Much like the Vikings with Brett Favre over the past seasons, some demons and drama are starting to leave the team’s locker room once the wins turn into losses. All of which is disappointing to see, as Kevin Slowey is one of the unlikeliest players I’d ever see involved in the middle of a controversy.

Nick Nelson recapped some of the defining moments of Slowey’s tenure over the past 9 months, specifically looking at his exclusion from the playoff roster despite having an ERA a full run lower than Nick Blackburn and being groomed as a starter for all of the 2011 spring training, and then being told that he would be a reliever. Of course, these events may have been a result of the Twins’ lack of fondness for Slowey. Forget the Golden Rule, it’s a variation that I’m sure no person would ever teach but many of us follow anyway: Treat others as you have been treated by them.

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Comparing The Hauls For J.J. Hardy and Jason Bartlett

May 21, 2011

Back in December 2010, Major League Baseball saw two shortstops get swapped to different teams in just over a week. On the 9th, the Twins agreed on a trade with the Baltimore Orioles, headlined by J.J. Hardy, while the Tampa Bay Rays sent Jason Bartlett to the San Diego Padres on the 17th. While these two players had their own strengths and weaknesses, we could certainly argue that these players were both very similar in talent.

Yet the return for Bartlett greatly exceeded what the Twins received, and the Twins even sent over another player (Brendan Harris) and cash ($500,000) in their trade. The Padres sent 4 players total to the Rays, though those with major league experience had yet to stick for a full season (relievers Adam Russell and Cesar Ramos) while the other two (reliever Brandon Gomes and infielder Cole Figueroa) had never made it to the bigs. Meanwhile, the Twins return was noticeably smaller: reliever Jim Hoey, who hadn’t seen major league action since 2007, and minor league reliever Brett Jacobsen.

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Add Another Confusing Move To The List

May 15, 2011

With how poorly the Twins have been playing this year, it’s been rather easy now to go back and look at the transactions and decisions they’ve made over the past offseason. In no particular order…

1. Trading J.J. Hardy for Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobsen (giving up a starting shortstop for two relievers, neither of whom look like anything special at the moment)

2. Claiming Dusty Hughes and designating Rob Delaney for assignment (acquiring a middling reliever for a former Minor League Pitcher of the Year)

3. Basically ignoring the lack of depth for the major league roster (which has been shown by the rash of injuries and ineffectiveness)

4. Making Alexi Casilla the starting shortstop, and related to #3, failing to have a solid backup plan in case he failed

5. Signing Eric Hacker (though he’s looked pretty good in Rochester so far)

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Perking Up

May 10, 2011

I guarantee you that if I had told you that Glen Perkins would lead the bullpen with a 0.55 ERA after the first month of the season, you would respond in any of the following manners.

1. “Yeah, and the Twins will be in the AL Central cellar in May” (or any other outlandish statement that has actually come true this season)

2. “He’s due to regress, though. It’ll be above 4.50 by the All-Star break”

3. “How many innings has he pitched? Three?”

4. “Get a hold of yourself, man!” *throws water glass into my face*

However, not only has Perkins been pitching well so far, it appears as though that it may be sustainable, at least to some extent. First was one of the most obvious changes that would happen to a pitcher that had been converted from a starter into a reliever, and that is that the fastball velocity increased.

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Where’s The Speed?

May 6, 2011

No, I’m not talking about what Will was thinking after he realized why Carlton was dancing so fast.

During the offseason, the Twins told us fans that Ron Gardenhire was disappointed with the lack of speed on the 2010 roster, and that he wanted to be able to do more hit-and-runs and stolen base attempts this year. This led to jettisoning J.J. Hardy and Orlando Hudson (though they left for other varying reasons as well) in favor of Alexi Casilla and Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka.

Well, from an offensive and defensive standpoint, it’s been pretty clear that these moves haven’t panned out. Nishioka didn’t do very much in his 6 games before Nick Swisher broke his leg, and Casilla… well, we know what he’s doing (or rather, not doing) this year.  Meanwhile, Hardy is on the disabled list himself, and Hudson is surprisingly stealing bases at an unprecedented rate this year. He’s already matched his career high in SB with 10, and will likely pass his career high in stolen base attempts later this season, provided he also comes off the 15-day disabled list first.

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My Thoughts On The Struggles To Open The Season

May 1, 2011

On one hand, I could easily just link to this (which I will probably continue to do throughout the season) and say that my analysis is complete. However, I feel like I do need to add more.

Injuries always happen, and it’s certainly part of the reason why the Twins have such a poor record entering May. Delmon Young, Kevin Slowey, Joe Mauer, and Tsuyoshi Nishioka are all on the disabled list right now, while Carl Pavano, Young, Morneau, and Mauer have all been hit by the flu. Jim Thome has been sore seemingly all season. Add it all up, and the Twins have been without a full lineup ever since the first week of the season.

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