Category:MLB
Posted on: June 29, 2009 6:36 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2009 7:26 pm
 

A big next two weeks for the Twins!

Take what you can get.

By: Christopher Torola

The Minnesota Twins finished inter-league play on a high-note, taking two out of three games against both the Brewers and the Cardnials. Now they move on to some big games. The three game series at Kansas City is important for the Twins. They need to start really beating up on the weaker teams in the division. A sweep of the Royals on the road would do well to get some momentum going into a tough home stand, which may be needed when the Twins welcome the Tigers, Yankees, and White Sox before All-Star weekend.

The Twins had several positive occurrences take place over the last road trip. Francisco Liriano put together a great game, throwing six strike outs and only two earned runs over seven innings for his second win in as many starts. If he can turn around his season in the second half, the Twins pitching staff could make the move from good to formidable. 

The team also seem to get healthy over this trip. Denard Span rejoined the team Friday and picked up right where he left off, scoring five runs over the last four games. Joe Crede played in all six of the last games, getting eight hits, including a home run deep into the left field stands. Michael Cuddyer also played in all six of the last games, scoring three runs and driving in two more.

There is one Twin that just can't manage to stay healthy. After hurting his ribs sliding head first into first base during the first game of the Milwaukee series, Nick Punto met up with the team in Kansas City, after missing the last five games, but is scheduled to play in tonight's game. Despite the fact that Matt Tolbert, who with some regular at-bats last week is now in the midst of a four game hitting streak.

Now that the Twins are back to playing American League games, we can see Jason Kubel go back to DHing, while Delmon Young and Carlos Gomez replace the pitchers in the batting order. This seems to be the healthiest the Twins have been in a long time, and with a tough set of games going into the All-Star break, we should get a good look at what this team is made of.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 22, 2009 9:02 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2009 10:52 pm
 

A home split vs. the NL...

Not good enough.

By: Christopher Torola


The Twins took two out of three from the Pirates and one out of three from the Astros last week. This was a great opportunity wasted. The Twins played two bad National League teams at the Metrodome, and should have faired better. Meanwhile the Tigers went four and two, increasing their lead in the American League Central to four games over the Twins.

Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that the Twins have found their power stroke this year; but they seemed to have lost their identity in doing so. They already have five players (Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer, and Joe Crede) with more then 10 home runs. The Twins had only three players reach that mark all of last year. The only problem with this is, they seem to have forgotten how to play baseball. They are not advancing runners, stealing bases, or properly laying down sacrifices. Far too many base hits have been wasted by double plays and runners swinging for the fences and striking out. Worse yet, they seem to be making an abundance of base running errors recently. I noticed a lot of Twins base runners caught in run downs over this last home stand.

 

Some of this can be chalked up to injuries. Both Nick Punto and Denard Span who combined for a third of the Twins stolen bases last year, are currently nursing injuries. Span is on the DL because of an inner ear infection and Nick Punto, who was recently activated, may be heading right back as a result of a head first slide into first base. Joe Mauer missed some time with Flu-like symptoms. Even Twins Iron-Man Justin Morneau missed a game with general soreness.

It is not much longer until the All-Star break. If the Twins can stay strong through the remaining inter-league games, they may be able to take some momentum into a three game series at Kansas City, followed by a tough home stand that will have the Twins playing the Tigers, Yankees, and the White Sox prior to a much needed resting period over All-Star weekend. 

 

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 16, 2009 2:33 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2009 2:42 pm
 

One For The Road.

Despite a recent slew of injuries, the Twins play .500 ball on the road.

By: Christopher Torola

The Twins just completed a ten game road trip, and came away with as many wins as losses. Not bad considering that Nick Punto spent most of that time on the DL, and during the trip the Twins lost at least some playing time from Michael Cuddyer (finger), Denard Span (dizziness), and Joe Crede (back). If the Twins can win games with only eighty percent of the best players on the field, they should be able to play even better once back at full strength. All that being said, the rest of the American League central played just as well or better over their last ten games, and the Twins are now three games out of first place.

On the road trip where the Twins played the Mariners, the Athletics, and the Cubs; the boys from Minnesota never gave up more then four runs in any of their losses. Francisco Liriano and Scott Baker each pitched two games and had quality starts on all of their outings. If they can keep that up, the Twins should quickly pick up games on the Tigers to sit atop the division. Justin Morneau has not completely broken out of his slump. The most telling stat for him on this road trip is that he struck out seven times and only walked once. As if we need a reminder how good Joe Mauer is playing, as he continues to seemingly hit the ball at will his average actually dropped while getting fifteen hits in forty-two at bats. It also appears that Twin's outfielders Delmon Young (ten hits) and Carlos Gomez (six hit in the seven games he got at-bats) are starting to play their way back to respectability.

The rest of the month is spent in inter-league play (and two games at Kansas City). The Twins will host the Pirates and the Astros this week. Both teams have been playing well their during the last 10 games, but remain tied for last place at the bottom of their division. Taking that into account as well as the fact that the Twins are five and one in the National League Central so far this year, it would seem like a perfect time to pick up some ground on the Tigers who just lost two out of three to the Pirates and are now playing the much tougher Brewers and Cardinals.

It should be an enjoyable rest of the month to watch, as inter-league play is always fun to watch, especially if your a Twins fan.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 9, 2009 4:47 pm
 

Stop it before it starts.

A three game losing streak is not much of a streak, its more like a case of bad luck; however, if the Twins bats don't start helping out their pitching, it could start to get ugly very quickly. The Twins have averaged just 2 runs a game during their current road trip against Seattle and Oakland. The worst part is that the role players and the bottom half of the line up guys have been outscoring the team's star players. Justin Morneau has two RBI's, but the rest of the scoring has come from Matt Tolbert, Carlos Gomez, Mike Redmond, and Joe Crede. In the last three games the Twins have lost by 1, 2, and 1 runs. 

While the Twins hitting is much improved over recent years, if the big hitters aren't knocking the ball around, our Minnesota Twins won't win many games. Over the last seven games, the Twins' best players have been struggling, even Joe Mauer is hitting under .500. In the last week, which includes the 10 run game against the Indians, Joe Crede, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Justin Morneau, Denard Span, and Delmon Young have combined for 27 out of 118 with 11 walks. That is a batting average below .230. We need for the heart of the order to start hitting on the road, and fast.

Despite the Twins losing ways, they have only lost 1 game in the division race over their last 10. If they can win at least 2 of the remaining three against the Athletics, they will be in good shape going into the series on the North Side of Chicago to take on the Cubs.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 6, 2009 3:47 pm
 

WInning in all sorts of ways..


The Twins start this month off in perfect fashion. They win win the long run, excellent pitching, and late inning dramatics. Since my last post, the Twins have hit 4 home runs in a game, Scott Baker struck out 10, and then they went on the road and won an extra inning game playing smallball against the Mariners.
















Both Baker and Francisco Liriano pitched good. Liriano struggled at points with control (he walked 4), but never let the game get away from him. He even helped to stop Ichiro's hitting streak at 27 games. If both these pitchers continue to go late into games without giving up runs, the Twins should easily be the class of the division. Both Kevin Slowey and Nick Blackburn have had amazing years to date, and they were expected to be the 3 and 4 pitchers. If the top of the rotation guys start to pitch well, the Twins should slide into 1st in the A.L. Central within the next week or so.
Category: MLB
Tags: Twins
 
Posted on: June 3, 2009 12:12 am
Edited on: June 3, 2009 12:13 am
 

Twins vs Cleveland: Mauer Power

Joe Mauer, soon to be named player of the month for May, started June the same way he played last month. He went 3 for 3 with an intentional walk. Who would have thought that a team would purposely put an extra guy on base for Justin Mourneau, who is hitting .345 with 47 RBIs (3rd most in the AL)? I guess when you have already had 2 singles, one for an RBI, and 1 2-run homer; teams will start to do drastic things to limit your damage. It paid off this time, as Morneau hit into a inning ending double play.

Fortunately for the Twins, Mauers' 3 RBIs, along with Denard Span's 1, were enough for Kevin Slowey and crew to beat the Indians, 3-4. Slowey now has 8 wins on the year, 2nd most in all of baseball. The game got close in the 7th inning when Mourneau and Alexi Cassila hit gloves going for a flyball in shallow right field, allowing Cleveland's first 2 runs. Then in the 8th Jose Mijares gave up a solo home run to Victor Martinez to bring the score within 1. Joe Nathan came in for a 4 out save, his 10th save of the season.

Hopefully this is a sign of things to come, as the Twins picked up a game on everyone in the A.L. Central today. They are now tied for 2nd with the White Sox, just 3 1/2 games behind the Tigers.

Posted on: June 1, 2009 7:08 pm
 

A Look Ahead

Slow Starts and Road Woes, Followed by HOT Summers:

Business as usual for the Twins

The Minnesota Twins have an off day today before a mini-home stand versus the Cleveland Indians. The Twins currently have a major league best 19 wins at home, and should be able to take at least 2 out of 3 from the Tribe.

After the noon game on Thursday it is straight to the road, where the Twins are tied for the least amount of wins with the lowly Washington Nationals (13-6 overall). In spite of that, I think this may be an optimal time for this 10 game road trip, taking the Twins from Seattle, to Oakland, to the North side of Chicago for the start of inter-league play. 

None of the teams on the trip are playing extremely well as of late. The Mariners are 5 and 5 in their last 10, but have been beating up on the bad teams within their division. The Athletics are already 10 games out of 1st in their division, and have only won 1 of their last 5 series. The Cubs are under .500 for their last 10 games as well, and the Twins have MLB's best inter-league record since 2002. Last year they were an amazing 14-4.

If the Twins are able to pick up some wins on this road trip, they would likely stay hot through inter-league play (they host the Pirates and Astros before going to Milwaukee and St. Louis). Then they play 3 games at Kansas City, who have already cooled down drastically from their hot start. After that they start July with a 9 game home stand. Assuming our beloved Twins play like history shows they can in most of these games, they could easily have a few game lead in the A.L. Central division going into the All-Star break. 

 

Category: MLB
Tags: T Unit, Twins
 
Posted on: May 31, 2009 3:22 am
Edited on: May 31, 2009 8:36 am
 

Twins @ Rays: The Price is Right

The Tampa Bay Rays, a team that admittedly bases its team philosophy on the Twins, has taken the first 2 of a 3 game series. The Rays have been concentrating on pitching and seem to have a full stable of studs in their minor league system. The latest to be called up is David Price.

Although it was not his debut, he pitched great down the stretch in the play-offs last year, it was defiantly David Price's coming out party. The 2007 number 1 overall pick out of Vanderbilt got his first career regular season win earlier today. He pitched 5 and 2/3 innings, gave up 5 hits, 1 earned run, and walked 2. He seemed to have trouble in the first 2 innings and his pitch count reached just shy of 50, but he struck out 2 in each inning, keeping any of the Twins from scoring. Then in the 3rd Denard Span hit a bunt single, followed by a Joe Mauer ground rule double. Price was able to get Justin Morneau to hit a sacrifice before striking out Michael Cuddyer and Joe Crede, allowing just the one earned run.

Francisco Liriano then had a nightmare inning that included a lead-off home run, 2 walks, 2 wild pitches, and 3 infield singles . He also gave up 2 singles to center. The end result was 4 runs.

David Price would never look back. He struck out 5 more batters in the next 2 and 2/3 innings, totaling 11 k's, before being relieved by Grant Balfour.The Twins would score 1 more in the 9th, but came up short in the end.

Along with the likes of Tim Lincecum, Cole Hamels, and Felix Hernandez; David Price will be whiffing batters for years to come. Keep your eyes on him when he takes the mound, as he has a real chance to be a special player.

 

 



Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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