Into the Off Day…

So, it’s been a while. I’m under a fair amount of stress right now, so let’s use some soothing bullet points to put me at ease…

  • Let me tell you, finishing off a law school career is pretty hard work. I only have about 40 more pages to write before next Monday (May 3rd) so that I can graduate, so I can almost guarantee that this will be the final post of a decent length until then. I’m working on three papers: one is a really simple and easy reflection memo on my internship in DC Superior Court; the second involves suggestions on how to implement the Omnibus DC Voting Bill for the 2010 elections; and the third is the beast, a 20-page paper on standing requirements, which are what must be met before one can sue. Overall, not too bad (considering I ended up writing a somewhat controversial 68-pager on the teaching of evolution over creationism in schools last year), but the time frame will make it very difficult. Wish me luck! If I succeed, I’ll graduate. If not, well, I’ll hope for an extension!
  • Friday’s game was an interesting one for me. I had missed the two prior days’ games due to work and going to the Nationals games. Both, by the way were terrible to watch. Livan Hernandez was pretty impressive Thursday, but still pulled off the loss against Cy Jimenez. He was exactly the guy he was in 2008, which still makes me cringe, but I’m happy he’s still finding success. However, Friday’s game got nasty on Twitter. When David DeJesus (I think) hit a home run that just barely went over the fence (as was apparent on replay but not on first viewing), Michael Cuddyer did not seem to hustle at all to return the ball to the infield. The problem? The ump called the ball in play, which led to DeJesus getting an inside-the-park home run as Cuddyer meandered back to the ball, which was resting at the base of the fence. Now, I know Cuddyer likely saw the ball go over his head, and the ump’s call would have been overturned on instant replay, but the slow walk Cuddyer took incensed many of those on Twitter that day. Our reward for being critical of Cuddyer for (apparently) not hustling (as is the Minnesota Twins way, of course)? This Tweet, by a respected and widely-followed Twins blogger (name removed because I have not spoken with him directly):

    This Tweet was quickly followed up by:

    Really?

    Now, as everyone who reads my writing or tweets knows, I am all about the snark and the sarcasm, but there is a line that stops short of accusing someone of “not being a fan” or “not being a true fan.” The first tweet crossed that line, and the second Tweet was just a reminder. As of now, I find myself an “alleged” Twins fan in the eyes of at least one (for those not familiar with the legal term of art “alleged,” it means roughly “something that has been declared true, but that certainly hasn’t been proven.”) influential blogger. Frankly, it pissed me off, and I sure hope it pissed off others. I really have one sports rule, and that rule is to NEVER accuse someone of not being a fan. Here’s where I shout out to my fellow blogger Fanatic Jack, who tends to have a negative outlook on the team, and frequently gets accused of all sorts of nasty things because of it. Jack, we rarely agree, but I know you are a true fan, and I urge everyone else to read his work at Fanatic Jack Talks Twins, as he does have a lot of good analysis to go along with is (often merited) pessimism.

  • So, that dour note behind us, it appears that Joe Mauer hasn’t shaved in a while, which is leading to a resurgent case of Joe Mauer’s Beard! I unfortunately don’t have a very good capture of it, but here is what I got. It is still a long way from the luscious specimen that we had at the beginning of ST, but it’s a start. Now if only Denard Span would follow Joe’s lead and grow back HIS Man-Beard. I promise he’ll stop it with the suckage as soon as he does.
  • The Twins have now won six straight series without managing to sweep a single one. Color me unconcerned. So long as the Twins are winning 2/3+ of their games, I won’t start to fret. Eventually, the Twins will discover their missing clutchiness and they’ll start scoring about three more runs per game than they are now.
  • I want to marry the Twins offense, but A) my wife would not approve, and B) it’s not legal to marry groups of sports players in Virginia (or Minnesota). So, I guess I’ll just have to deal with pining from a distance.
  • Topper Anton was nice enough to offer me a place in his “Twins Bloggers: Get to Know ‘Em” series, and commences to say nice things about me that I really don’t deserve, as I recently discovered that I have a horrible pottymouth while watching baseball: at the Thursday Nats game, there was a whole family, including little kids sitting right in front of me. The Nats are a horrible team, and I really don’t love them that much, but I found myself biting my lip far too much. Sorry, Mom! :S Anyway, go check out my Get-to-Know-‘Em if you want to know more about me (or if you are looking for good blackmail fodder).
  • Because of the back-up of games, I’ll give a Stud/Dud for today’s game only.
  • The Stud: Justin Morneau. Justin absolutely destroyed a pitch in the second inning for a two-run homer, and he has really been flashing the leather recently at second base. Mark Texeira he is not, but he’s still impressive.
  • The Dud: clearly, today’s dud was Kevin Slowey. This is not to say that he pitched poorly (which he did: he couldn’t locate around the corners of the plate, and when that goes, so goes Slowey’s whole game), but the main reason is that he couldn’t make it far into the Sixth Inning on the day after every pitcher but Alex Burnett was used. It turned out not to matter, as Ron Mahay and Burny (starting to like that kid a lot) easily cleaned up the final 2 2/3 innings, but it was something the Twins really needed that Slowey failed to provide.
  • Courtesy Wikipedia (click to visit page). The Hip Flexors.

    Nick Punto‘s groin is apparently just fine (which is more info than I needed to know today), but because he is still experiencing pain in that oh-so-sensitive area, the docs are looking into a possible hip flexor injury. If you didn’t know, and I didn’t, the hip flexors are any of about ten moving parts that make your hip joint work properly. I put the Wikipedia diagram on the right (credit goes to Wiki user Beth Ohara). Click on the image to go to the Wikipedia page for more info. If, as LaVelle seemed to fear in his tweet, hip flexor surgery is required, Punto could be done for the year, as Royals utility player Josh “Booger” Fields (nickname bestowed by WhiteSoxBlog) decided to do today. Ironically, as I tweeted earlier, if Punto has surgery and misses the rest of the season, the odds of him being with the Twins next year go up significantly: the hip injury will reduce his defensive value, which means all his value. The Twins were going to decline his $5 million option for next year (or so I certainly hope), and this makes it much more likely he’d accept a cheap “make-g00d” deal back with the Twins as a utility infielder. Luke Hughes got his roster spot, and I would really like to see him get a couple starts.

  • In other injury news, Clay Condrey had a setback, and there is no timetable for when he resumes throwing.
  • Tomorrow is an off day. Hallelujah.
  • Tuesday, the Twins will pitch the rearmed F-Bomb against Justin Verlander. In terms of my hopes for the Twins, I certainly hope Francisco Liriano is as good as he’s been. In the interest of my fantasy team, however, I want Verlander to strike out 10 Twins through five innings and leave a game tied 0-0, so the Twins can come back and destroy the Tiger bullpen. Life is much more complicated when my fantasy players face the Twins.

I feel better after all those bullets. Cheers!

For Dog Lovers and Baseball Fans

You’re Welcome. (H/T Deadspin)

The New Beginning

Okay, fine, so it isn’t really the beginning of the season, but it is the beginning of what I consider to be the most important era to be introduced this season: the era of outdoor baseball. Today’s game was glorious to behold, even though I did miss chunks of it (3 CT is a really stupid time to start a game. What were they thinking?!) to pick up my wife from work and also missed the entire pre-show, the game was glorious, and was a really fitting introduction to what is almost universally regarded as one of the best five ball-parks in the American League, if not MLB. I’m just saying – it is going to be a bit chillier at night, but the players are big boys and they can handle going out and playing a cold game for several thousand dollars (for the cheapest ones, of course). Think about your broader fanbase, people! It’s estimated that March Madness costs employers 1.8 billion dollars – this game probably cost MN employers at least a million. Priorities.

Of course, out here on the East Coast I had to watch the game on ESPN. Don’t get me wrong, I occasionally prefer to watch the game on the tee-vee rather than on the computer via my somewhat balky internet connection (and it isn’t the awesome kind of balky, like Carl Pavano in the first inning, where he got away with a likely balk because his move was so good), but man, ESPN is just a fresh, new kind of hell. As I posted in a comment on Topper’s blog earlier, if I had to take a choice between Skip Caray (he of the fisted balls and the “line drive, base hit, caught for the out!” call during game 163) and the ESPN people, man, I’d probably grab a pencil and puncture my eardrums so I wouldn’t have to deal with the misery. So, that was the first problem.

And, in reality, it was a problem I was willing to accept today, mostly because neither Jon Miller nor Joe Morgan was on the broadcast (thank God) and because they spent a LOT of time pointing out the really cool things about Target Field. I can’t wait until the next chance I have to make a trip to MN to get to the new park – unfortunately, won’t be until August at the earliest. Dumb Bar exam.

Anyway, the Twins started out with a pretty impressive victory over the Red Sox, who right now are only barely behind the Yankees on the official Call to the ‘Pen scale of evilness.™ However, the fact that they really seemed to go out of their way to make sure that the Twins won mends a lot of bridges to me, and has resulted in a slight reduction in the Attributed Evilness score factor, though their other ratings are still high. Marco Scutaro, in the first inning, managed to get caught stealing before Pavano delivered home. Big Papi continued to hit like a wee little papoose. John Lester went to a three-ball count with more people than you can shake a stick at (seriously, you try shaking a stick at 13 people. Can’t be done – your arm gets tired).

So, your heros and zeroes:

  • Hero of the Day: Carl Pavano – I have never had a great deal of faith in Pavano, but in order to demonstrate my faith before the opener, I picked him up for a spot start for my fantasy team. Of course, he was brilliant. I think I must have, to a certain extent, internalized the Yankees’ complaints about Pavano. Either way, he was brilliant today: 1 ER on 4 hits and 1BB, with 4K. I’ll take that any day! WPA: .231
  • Runners up: Jon Rauch – continuing to remind us that the closer role is constructed to be more important than it actually is: Rauch makes me far more nervous than Nathan ever did, and I’m just waiting for him to have an implosion. But for now, I won’t complain about 5-for-5 in save opportunities. Jason Kubel and Denard Span – The Dude abided in a major way, getting the first home run in a regular season Target Field game, while Span did the same for bases on balls, stolen bases, and runs scored.
  • ZERO of the Day: I just can’t do it. If I had to pick somone , it would be Mountie, but I’m not going to. It was just to amazing a day and I can imagine it was a truly wonderful experience for all those that were there!

Tomorrow is the first off day of the young season, and I hope to put up something that looks like a post tomorrow evening. For now the hat standings:

Twins Record: 6-2

  • Blue TC logo: 0-2 (both of these were cases where I couldn’t find the one I had meant to wear. Sigh)
  • “M” logo: 3-0
  • Red TC logo: 2-0
  • Champs hat: 1-0

Great Moments in Spam Email

Okay, so this isn’t baseball-related in the slightest, but occasionally I get spam email that is so wonderful that I have to share. And this is my blog. So there. Anyway, this one is from some one named Helton Lemcke in Suriname.

I started on this wretched trail?” But alas! as
this was Dol Farrar’s first adventure in American woods, it had not occurred to him to do the right thing at the right time. Had he fired a round of signal shots when first he lost the line of spotted trees, he would probably have been heard at his camp, and would have been spared the worst scare he ever had in his life. The negligence was scarcely his fault, however; for Cyrus Garst, who had never before undertaken the responsibility of entertaining a pair of inexperienced

boys in woodland quarters, had not, at this early stage of the trip,
arranged with his comrades to fire a certain number of shots to signify
“Help wanted!” if one

of them should stray, or otherwise get into trouble. The idea now
cropped up in Dol’s perplexed mind, through a confused recollection of tales about forest misadventures which Uncle Eb had told him by the cheery camp-fire. So he loaded the old shot-gun. It belched forth fire and smoke into space. And the thunder of his shot went rolling off in a reverberating din among the mountain echoes, until a hundred tongues repeated his appeal for help. Again he loaded rapidly and fired. And yet again,
with nervous, eager fingers. So on, till he had let off half a dozen shots in quick succession. Then he waited, listening as if every pulse in his body had suddenly become an ear. But when the last growling echo had died away, not a sound broke the almost absolute silence on the mountain-side. Evidently not a
human
soul was near enough to hear or understand his signals of distress. In these bitter minutes some sensations ran through Dol Farrar which he had never known before; and, as he afterwards expressed it, “they were enough to cover any fellow with goose-flesh.” He felt that he had reached the dreariest point of the unknown, and was a lonely, drifting atom in this immense solitude of forest and rock. Never in his life before or afterwards did he come so near to Point De

This is the entire text of the email (yes, it does begin and end in the middle of the sentence).

It just leaves too many questions! What is Point De? What is the significance of the paragraph breaks? How creepy is it for a guy named Cyrus to be entertaining boys in the woodlands?

I want to read the rest of the story. Or at least know how it ends.

———–

Anyway, Twins go for the series win tonight. Kubel is in left field, so we’ll just hope that Blackburn keeps everything on the ground. …Oh, SLOWEY is pitching, you say? Well. This just got more interesting. Win Twins!

Game 3 – A Petition for Span to Re-grow his Man-Beard

Isn’t baseball season fun?

I’ll admit that I have never been very high on Carl Pavano. This might be because of the simple fact of his injury-devastated tenure with the Yankees or the fact that I always seemed to get most involved in the games that he lost. Either way, I know his peripherals from last year indicated he had big things in store, but I still mentally steel myself for a rough night when he’s going to pitch. So: I am proud to say that feeling was entirely wrong last night, though it sure felt right for the first two innings or so.

That said, i have figured out why Denard Span is having such a rough time. Please compare the following pictures; one from last season, one from two days ago:

Okay, so I couldn’t find a good picture of Span from this season so far. The point is that last year Span sported a shaggy man-beard, which I think may have been the source of his power. Now, he’s rocking the basic Torii Hunter Goatee, which is apparently not suiting him. Two things:

  1. I know Span has a connection with Torii Hunter, but time has demonstrated that Torii is just not someone that we want him to mimic, with the possible exception of the occasional outfield catch. Everything else? Not so much.
  2. If Span is indeed some weird post-modern version of Samson, there is only one way to solve his problems – a combination of Cuddyer magicking his razors away and a continued commitment to being Good at Baseball.

I first noticed this problem during the broadcast of last night’s game, and needless to say I just about fell off my chair. Denard, bring back the Man-Beard!

Despite the sadness that is the lack of Man-Beard, there were some important, clutch performers yesterday night:

  • Neck Tat picked up his second save, which ties him atop the MLB leaderboard at this point in the season. This save was a bit tougher, as he gave up a couple hits and an ER on his way. However, as Aaron Gleeman often says, pretty much any idiot can successfully not cough up the lead when you’re up 3. WPA: .051.
  • Matt Guerrier was quality, cutting through the heart of the California Angels of Anaheim that are also from Los Angeles’ lineup in his 8th inning. WPA: .062.
  • JJ Hardy continues to be decent at the plate (another home run and two hits) and shockingly good on defense (his arm is an amazing cannon). WPA: .049
  • Twins Territory once again collectively crapped its pants when Nick Punto hit a triple. WPA: .051
  • Justin Morneau hit another home run, leading to the creation of the Twitter hash tag #allyourmaplesyruparebelongtotheminnesotatwins and a WPA of .212.
  • HERO OF THE DAY: Carl Pavano went 7 innings (the first Twins starter to do so), giving up only 6 hits and 1 ER, with no walks issued and 6 Ks. Beautiful outing. I need to think of a nickname for him. Squinty? I’m working on it.

Unfortunately, some of the Twins crapped the bed yesterday as well:

  • Michael Cuddyer was very nearly picked off first base again. Other than that, he was unremarkable. WPA: -.019
  • Orlando Hudson had another terrible night. He’ll fix it eventually, but man… WPA: -.074
  • Jim Thome was in the lineup for Kubel for some unknown reason, and he did not acquit himself well, striking out three times in four at-bats. WPA: -.067

Last night was the debut of the “M” logo hat. I haven’t had time to decide what hat tonight will demand, but I’m leaning toward the red “TC.” Thoughts?

Tonight’s Game: Twins, 2-1 (Kevin Slowey, 0-0, 0.00) at Angels, 1-2 (Joel Pineiro, 0-0, 0.00). 9:05 CST.

Game 2: Neck Tat makes his Closer Debut

(This is the first in what I hope will become a daily or near-daily series that gives a brief roundup of the heroes and zeros of the prior night’s game, with reference to the WPA graphs at Fangraphs.com. Comments on this feature? Email me at eric.donald.olson@gmail.com or message/follow me on twitter at @calltothepen)

Wow, what a game. (Game Graph Here)

Yes, I know that it wasn’t actually that amazing or anything, but I am still overly excited to have a win going forward. Maybe we return the  Los Angeles, California Angels of Anaheim’s favor from 2008, when they came into the Metrodome and took three of four in the season-opening series. But now I’m getting ahead of myself.

Last night, the Angels set a Guinness World record for the largest gathering of people wearing blankets with sleeves. In order to accomplish this, they gave everyone that came an angels-themed Snuggie (note: they weren’t allowed to call them snuggies on the air, because Snuggies are made only by SnuggieCorp (or whatever it’s called),  so these were more like Slankets or something, since they were off-brand. But I digress). Dick Bremer had his first curmudgeon-y moment of the year when he complained for about five minutes about Bert wearing the Angels-supplied and -themed snuggie, whilst refusing to do so on his own. It was a very surreal moment. It will go down, in my mind, as one of the most surreal moments in baseball I have witnessed, as well as one of the single dumbest PR stunts ever.

Last night saw a strong effort from many players. The Heroes:

  • Nick Blackburn had the highest WPA (win probability added) at .149, with a strong, but very Blackburn-esque performance: 6.2 innings, 8 hits, 4 BB, 3 ER, 4 K. The down note for Jolly Roger was that he set a new career high (or low) for walks, including the first two batters in the game. However, he bounced back and had a strong performance.
  • Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau were the clear heroes on offense. Mauer, with a WPA of .109, hit a 2-run home run in the first inning, while Justin Morneau hit a solo home run in the third, singled, and walked, resulting in a WPA of .85.
  • Denard Span got the gorilla/rally monkey off his back by getting his first hit and first walk.
  • HERO OF THE DAY: Jon Rauch made the punditry’s job much easier when he easily obtained his first Twins save, striking out two in a perfect inning. Could any decent reliever have done the same? Sure. But he’s the hero because now we don’t have to spend today arguing about whether he is the right choice (he’s not, but that’s a story for another day), as we would if he had blown his first attempt.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t all fun and games for the Twins. The night’s Zeros:

  • Delmon Young managed to drive in a run on a Sacrifice fly and single, but he still managed to raise my ire by absolutely air-mailing a throw over third baseman Nick Punto by a good five feet (it would have been the correct height had Nick Punto been standing on Chris Cates‘ shoulders). Thanks, Delmon, for reminding me why you lost the “D” in your name last year, and why I generally refer to you as ‘elmon.
  • JJ Hardy had his first Home Run as a Twin, a solo shot, but he also ended up grounding into two double plays en route to earning a WPA of -.085, which basically negates Morneau’s contribution.
  • Orlando Hudson compiled a -.101 WPA for the game, after going 0-fer, while scoring a run after reaching on an error and leaving 4 on-base. Step it up, O-Dawg.
  • ZERO OF THE DAY: Second Base Umpire Adrian Johnson, who blew such an obvious call on a pickoff attempt on Michael Cuddyer by Angels catcher Jeff Mathis that it caused a Twitsplosion before the replay was even shown. So, Cuddyer was way off second base on a ball in the dirt, Mathis recovered and gunned it to Second Baseman Howie Kendrick. The throw clearly beat Cuddyer to the bag, but the tag was not applied for a good half a second, which allowed Cuddyer to get both feet and his right knee on the bag before the tag was applied. It was an ugly call, and neither Cuddyer nor Ron Gardenhire argued it nearly enough, in my humble opinion.

Tonight’s Game: Twins, 1-1 (PP: Carl Pavano, 0-0, 0.00) at Angels, 1-1 (Ervin Santana, 0-0, 0.00). First Pitch: 9:05 CST.

Tonight’s selected Twins hat? Navy Blue, with “M” logo. Last night’s debut for the AL Central Division Champs 2009 hat was a success, so we’ll see if the selected opening day hat can make a comeback after missing it’s first start.

Opening Day – And an Apology to Topper

Today’s round-up looks briefly at opening day, how the loss was my fault, why we shouldn’t take the Opening Day loss too seriously, and what the future holds from Call to the ‘Pen, all arranged in a pleasing bullet-pointed format.

–> Well, baseball is back! I can’t even begin to explain how much that pleases me. Ever since the 2009 season ended (and as far as I’m concerned, it ended after Game 3 against the Yankees: all that crap that came afterward didn’t mean a lot to me). So, it’s been basically seven months since I’ve had real, meaningful baseball to watch, write about, and obsess over. This means real discussions about things that really matter (and trust me, I’m very excited for having real things to argue about, no more of this Butera vs. Ramos stuff to argue about. Onward, to arguments that matter, like whether Hardy and Delmon should be switched in the lineup, who should get the roster spot if and when Joe Nathan hits the 60-day DL (and that will happen eventually), and how many small children Jose Mijares ate during the off-season.

Well, one of those things isn’t really important. I’ll trust you to figure out which.

–> I do, however, come to you with a heavy heart. The Twins lost to the Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim, and I am afraid it was my fault.

You see, I am just as superstitious as many baseball players themselves. I think very seriously about what I eating and drinking whilst watching a game, lest I eat partake of something unacceptable to the baseball gods, I take care to wear my Morneau warm-up jersey every Monday, and, most importantly, I spend seconds, nay, minutes, agonizing over which of the seven Twins hats I own I will wear each night while watching the game. Last season, I got it down to a science, and the success of the Twins corresponded. However, my system has been thrown off, as I have added a 2009 Central Division Champs cap, and now my series of caps is not as functional as it once was.

With this troubling fact in mind, I went on Twitter (follow me at @calltothepen) and conducted a poll of my fellow Twins-related Tweeps (which sounds unfortunately close to “twerps”) about the four hats that I had, after long consideration, determined would be acceptable to wear on opening night. This photo depicts those caps that made the final cut:

Four little Twins caps lined up in a row...

So, I ran a twitter poll. I asked whether I should wear the AL Central Division Champs hat, the “M” logo hat, the blue “athletic TC” hat, or the red “TC” hat. The following were the results:

  • Champs hat: 5 votes
  • “M” logo hat: 9 votes
  • Blue “TC”: 7 votes
  • Red “TC”: 5 votes

So, it’s pretty clear that the “M” logo hat was the clear victor. So I plunked it on my head at about 8:30 pm ET, and went about my evening. I spent the next hour and a half getting more and more excited, and finally at 9:55 I sat down at the old computer to watch the game! Only then did I realize that I was no longer wearing the “M” logo hat! Thinking that I must have taken it off somewhere in the apartment, I began frantically looking around.

Now, losing something is nothing new to me. I lose things on a very regular basis, from my car keys, to random items like the toenail clippers, to the TV remote. I live in a decent-sized 2-bedroom apartment, one bedroom acting as an office, where I write to you now. No backyard. 1150 square feet. It’s just not that big! So I figured something as large as a baseball cap would be easy to find. It wasn’t. I searched frantically, cursing occasionally, until 10:04, at which time I realized I had to sit down and watch the game. I was frustrated, because I normally can find things pretty easily (though once I lost the TV remote for almost two weeks; I found it in the ice bucket in the freezer (don’t ask me how it got there). So, I donned the Blue “TC” hat, and hoped for the best.

Well, the best didn’t happen. Scott Baker, who is on every one of my fantasy teams, got beaten (grr… Timmy), and the Twins ended up losing. The “TC” logo hat was simply not adequate to make up for the lack of the “M” logo hat.

So, Topper, this is why I must apologize for ruining your predicted 162-win season. It was entirely my fault, and I hope to do better in the future.

–> Although the Twins did lose last night, there are some great reasons to be optimistic about this season (and of course, there’s that always-present “small sample size” refrain).

  • Jesse Crain threw 1.2 perfect innings of relief, bailing Timmy out of the fifth inning with two outs and runners and first and third. His motion was easy and he was in clear control of the game.
  • Pat Neshek‘s velocity was down about 3mph from where it was two years ago, but at this point in the season, that shouldn’t be concerning. The biggest thing to take away is that he would have had a perfect inning (at least, after Mijares’ ineffectiveness allowed two solo home runs) if Cuddyer was an outfielder with the ability to run. Not that Jeff Mathis is a great hitter, but Neshek made him look stupid as he struck out swinging to end the eighth.
  • Jose Mijares, though he looks like he ate Chris Cates after the second Target Field exhibition game, had some wicked stuff during the seventh inning. Unfortunately, it didn’t carry over to the eighth, but if he can get some more consistency, and I’ve seen no reason he can’t, he’ll be one of the Twins’ top two or three relievers at the end of the year.
  • Delmon Young. It took Delmon two months to hit his first homer of 2008, and two weeks in 2009. It took him one swing this year. He also beat out an infield hit and stole second base. Young only stole two bases last year, but then he was carrying around the equivalent of an eight-year-old child in his belly, so maybe we’ll see a bit more speed this season from him.
  • Scott Baker was Scott Baker. Timmy has always had trouble at the beginning of the season and has always had trouble putting away hitters once he gets them to a 2-strike count. Same as yesterday. However, he has always managed to fix himself as the season has gone on, and for a six-out stretch yesterday, he was lights-out. I don’t worry too much about him.

There were also some not-so-great signs last night, but I have a few responses to that:

  • Denard Span going 0-5 with 3 Ks means two things: he had an off night and he was facing a pitcher who gets a bunch of strikeouts.
  • Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau will not often go 2-7.
  • I will not always forget to wear the proper cap for the evening.

–> Tonight the Twins will be starting Nick Punto over Brendan Harris against the lefty Joe Saunders because he has a career 4-12 mark against Saunders, whilst Harris is 0-3. Stat nerds just had a collective nervous breakdown. SAMPLE SIZE!

–> Today the Twins signed Joe Repko to a minor-league contract to play CF for the AAA Rochester Red Wings. Takeaway? The powers-that-be have decided that Ben Revere just isn’t ready for AAA yet. I concur – he’s never played above Ft. Myers, and he should at least start at New Britain, even though he raked all spring. If he continues to dominate, he should move up to AAA at midseason. Sometimes the Twins seem to take it way too slow with their prospects, but this time it’s a good call.

–>Regarding what is coming from this blog: more, really long posts. This was supposed to be a quick round-up, and I’ll be at 1400 words by the time I finish. I have two more of the Important Games series and two more teams in my Around the Central series to complete as well. I also have two articles to write that are not strictly-Twins-related: challenges I received on Twitter. I’ll try to have some kind of a game reaction up most days, but the fact is that these other projects take a long time to do, so I will get them done as I can. Thanks everyone for your patience!

–> P.S. If you were wondering, tonight is the regular-season debut of the Champs cap.

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