First off, I missed you guys. Packing, moving, unpacking, life. Ugh.
So the Twins headed on down to Arlington, Texas to take on the Texas Rangers this week and Monday's premiere didn't go as well as planned.
Nick Blackburn kicked things off and allowed three runs in the first, three in the second, three in the third, and that was about it for him. Nine runs seems like a big deficit to come back from, but it's not unheard of. Many fans were probably still watching the game at that point.
Enter Jose Mijares. Five runs later, welcome new-comer Chuck James. Four runs after that, Phil Dumatrait coughed up three hits but managed a scoreless 1.2 innings. Good job, buddy. Alex Burnett tossed the seventh inning and gave the Rangers their 19th and 20th runs before the unbelievable went down.
Michael Cuddyer was spotted warming up in the bullpen.
The Twins, having used up all their pitching staff, were forced to place a position player on the mound for just the fifth time in the franchise's history. Cuddyer didn't have time to choose a warmup song, but he got right to work. Two hits and a walk loaded the bases, and I was dying of laughter. Yes, I was still watching the game at that point... it was like a car accident or a horror movie - I just couldn't look away.
He wasn't bad, but he sure as heck wasn't any good. But he got out of the jam, which is more than I can say for the previous five guys on the hill aside from Dumatrait. Cuddyer pitched in high school and had always wanted to climb the mound in the big leagues, since he's played every other position in the game other than catcher and shortstop.
My favorite post-game quote? Ron Gardenhire:
"The first five innings looked like a ZIP code, that will tell you how it went…33354. I think that’s Florida…Fort Lauderdale."
After a game like that, you have to have a sense of humor at Gardy's age. We don't want him dropping dead of embarrassment or a heart attack... unless you're one of those Fire-Gardy folks, I guess.
So were you guys impressed with Cuddy's performance on the hill?
Looking at the Minnesota Twins here in the beginning of June, it's getting difficult to believe these guys have a shot at defending their American League Central title. In fact, the casual fan may not even recognize half the guys on the roster, filling in for the numerous injured players.
Jim Thome and Jason Kubel joined the party on the 15-day disabled list Thursday due to a strained left quadriceps and sprained left foot, respectively, becoming two more casualties in a long line of damages for the Twins this season. There is currently no timetable for either of their returns.
This marks the 13th time the team has utilized the DL so far this season, which is barely two months old. With Jim Jam stalled at 593 career homers and Kubel leading the team with 30 RBI and one of the few decent batting averages at .310, things are not looking good. In their absence, Ben Revere and Luke Hughes have been recalled to join the mess.
Ron Gardenhire, who many think has overstayed his welcome in Minnesota, had this to say regarding the injury epidemic:
"I don’t even count any more. Injuries happen in this game. Unfortunately, we’ve had quite a few. Right now we’re looking for bench help. I lost two left-handed hitters today. Some of these kids are not ready to come up here and sit on the bench. There might be somebody in Triple-A who might be ready."
So... do the Twins trainers just suck at training? Can it really be a fluke that a decent number of players from this Spring are hurt? Like most fans, I need someone to blame, pronto.
Speaking of, Joe Mauer finally got some action behind the plate Thursday in an extended Spring Training game down in Fort Myers. He says he feels "real good." I hope that's not an exaggeration, since he went 0-for-5 at the plate. His recovery has been like watching the grass grow. Hurry up already.
Good news: Anthony Swarzak, after pitching an absolute gem last weekend, earned his first big league victory since 2009. Way to go, buddy. Also, the Twins beat the Kansas City Royals. In recent years, this would not be considered big news, but I was pretty excited to see them snap a four-game skid and watch the bullpen toss three scoreless innings. Good job.
Did you find any joy in that win? Did you even watch the game? I've heard recently from more than a few people that they don't even really watch the games anymore, or they'll turn it on in the eighth, see the Twins are behind, and continue watching Dancing with the Stars or whatever craptastic program they were enjoying in the meantime.
I hope these links cheer you up. If so, maybe you'll record your regularly-scheduled Friday night reality show and check out the game tonight, featuring Carl Pavano against left-hander Danny Duffy at 7:10pm.
Meet Brian Dinkleman [Twinkie Town]
Twins reach DL limit, forced the change logo [That's Twins Baseball]
Scott Erikson attempts to sell 1994 No-Hitter on eBay [Onion Sports Network]
Put yourself in a Twins uniform. [JibJab]
Apparently I picked the wrong day to head on down to Target Field. Don't get me wrong, I still ate some scrumptious food, drank some expensive tap beer, and enjoyed a beautiful view of the Minneapolis skyline on a lovely May afternoon... but the game kinda' sucked.
As Brian Duensing struggled behind an offense unable to bring anyone around the horn, Wednesday marked the Twins 13th loss in 18 home games and a ridiculous 32nd overall. With just 16 wins on the season, they are now 14.5 games out of first in the American League Central, with the Cleveland Indians making everyone their you-know-what.
Here is a collection of reactions from disgruntled (anonymous) fans hurrying to their cars after yet another Twins loss:
"Our tickets were free from work, I wouldn't pay to see these guys right now!"
"They are a complete disaster."
"I'd rather watch the Lynx play from the nose-bleeds." (ouch)
The question was, "How about those Twins?" Out of everyone I talked to, seriously, I felt like I was in New York, Detroit, Philly, or Chicago. I'm surprised no one punched me in the face. It was brutal.
One little girl did have something positive to say:
"The teddy bear hugged me and Dad gave me pink cotton candy!"
It's a good thing her long-term memory is so under-developed.
So now it's your turn... How about those Twins?
Thursday's game was rather fun to listen to, thanks in part to home runs from Trevor Plouffe, Rene Rivera, and Justin Morneau, who needs to seriously step it up and crush like 35 more this season to make me happy. Michael Cuddyer showed up too, enjoying a three-hit afternoon while now sitting just four shy of 1,000 career hits.
By the way, congratulations to Nick Blackburn on finally beating the Athletics. That has to feel pretty good, while the team must feel awesome about putting 11 runs on the board. That's more than they've scored in most of the series they've played this entire season.
The Twins have their eyes on a season-high four-game winning streak tonight as they head to Arizona for some Interleague action. Brian Duensing will take the hill at 8:40pm against righty Ian Kennedy, who has never seen the Twins in real life.
Duensing will try to bounce back from having the crap beat out of him last Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays when he lasted just three innings and coughed up seven runs on eight hits with two walks. Ugly stuff.
This is a welcome series, since historically the Twins have done well against National League teams. They're 140-106 overall and have a distant memory of sweeping the Diamondbacks back in 2008 at the Metrodome.
Do you guys feel a turn-around in the air or is that just the rain?
Send love letters and hate mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
"No individual has ever meant more to the Minnesota Twins organization and millions of fans across Twins Territory than Harmon Killebrew." -- Twins President Dave St. Peter
It's rare when a baseball player as incredible as Harmon Killebrew turns out to be an even more incredible human being.
It's an unfortunate fact of life in the big leagues that fame and money changes many players. In Killebrew's case, he made changes, benefiting communities around Twins Territory by way of his foundation and hosting charity events such as his Golf Classic tournaments once his playing days were over.
The humble Hall of Fame legend, best known for belting longballs of ridiculous lengths and helping the team appear in their first World Series back in 1965, ended his tragic battle with esophageal cancer this morning at his Arizona home at the age of 74, after deciding to enter hospice last week.
The Twins will don their 1961 throwbacks at Target Field for the remainder of the season to honor "The Killer."
The grounds crew have placed The Killer's photo under home plate. [Twitpic]
Great video of Killebrew crashing BLB's interview with Michael Cuddyer. [Babes Love Baseball]
Harmon Killebrew: 1936-2011 [Aaron Gleeman]
Baseball's Humble Slugger Dies [NPR]
Harmon Killebrew Passes Away at 74 [Twinkie Town]
Statements about the Passing of Harmon Killebrew [Twins Insider]
Send love letters and hate mail to email@example.com.
There are much sadder things going on in the world than the state of Twins baseball. Harmon Killebrew has issued this press release regarding his exhausting battle with cancer. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this painful time.
The Minnesota Twins will open a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays this weekend at Target Field, starting tonight at 7pm with Carl Pavano taking the hill against lefty Ricky Romero, who is 3-0 lifetime against the Twins with a 2.48 ERA in four career starts. Good times.
Time to hop the train out of Sucktown guys. Seriously, at 12-23 with the absolute worst record in baseball, it's getting hard for some fans to watch. Of course, I find it easier and much more enjoyable when I don't think about their craptastic season record and just take it one game at a time. You win some, you lose some. Or most.
Some good news might be that Delmon Young is expected to return tonight from a strained left oblique muscle. In the meantime, here's something else to laugh at...
We all have differerent coping mechanisms. Some people talk it out, others hold it in. Some drink. How are you dealing with the current state of Twins baseball?
Coping strategies for Twins fans [Twinkie Town]
Theodoric of York, Medieval Twins Trainer [Very Well Then]
Proving Closers and Expensive Saves [Aaron Gleeman]
Dwelling on the Negative [TwinsCentric]