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Friday, May 16, 2008

Twins taste the Rockies

For the first time in franchise history the Twins head to Coors Field in Denver to start a three game interleague series against the Rockies.

The Rockies have been one of the biggest disappointments in MLB this year and are currently on a five game losing streak. The Twins are coming off of a disappointing three game sweep against Toronto at home. After a big, emotional series against Boston where the Twins took three of four, I thought they played without that same fire against the Blue Jays. The season is 162 games long and it is impossible to be emotionally hyped for every game, but this young club needs to learn to bring their best every game.

Hopefully, the thrill of heading to Coors Field for the first time and the pitchers who are eager to grab the bats can get this team going. The Twins need a big series in Colorado and Nick Blackburn takes the hill tonight facing off against Ubaldo Jimenez.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Yu Darvish... the next Tom Seaver?

I don't really want to talk about the Twins lackluster performance against the Blue Jays last night and I just finished my last final which means I'm done with college! (minus the diploma on sunday)

So insead of reading whatever nonsense I have to write, I really recommend watching this 8 minutes video on Japanese pitchers Yu Darvish. It's a very cool, well done piece and it's worth your time if you're a baseball fan.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Red Sox thoughts from a friend, Bring on the Jays

Wow, what an amazing four games series for the Twins. The Twins took three games from arguably the most complete team in baseball. They pitched pretty well, ran the bases well, and the bats came alive. Great series and I enjoyed watching two games on ESPN.

My friend and past MVB guest blogger, Taylor, witnessed the series unfold at the dome and presents the second installment of Thought from a Fellow Fan.

After attending one game and watching the other 3 of the Twins, Red Sox series three points stood out for me.

1. I truly found out what "Red Sox Nation" means. You hear it a lot nowadays as almost any ESPN commentator or media personality has to throw in the phrase "Red Sox Nation" when talking about Boston baseball, and I always thought it was dumb. But after being in the Metrodome Saturday night it finally hit me how true Red Sox nation is. The stadium was filled with red, and it wasn't because of red Twins shirts. Multiple times the dome flooded with chants of "Lets go Red Sox." And most importantly it actually sounded like the game was played at a neutral site rather then in an opposing teams stadium. I now understand that there truly is a "Red Sox nation" and they do flood out to every stadium wherever the Red Sox are playing.

2. The Twins hitting is going to be what carries them this year. This series really pushed me over the top into believing that hitting, rather then pitching like in years past, is going to be what needs to be consistent and potent if the Twins will return to the playoffs. We all should have seen this coming into the year, but it's just something Twins fans aren't used to. Gomez is a run machine if he gets on base, and the middle of the order with Mauer, Morneau, Cuddyer, Young, etc. can be just as good as the big boys in the AL. So Twins fans might have to get used to more 9-8 victories rather then the 3-2 wins we have become so accustomed to.

3. The Twins are for real. Usually coming into the baseball season I feel the Twins get disrespected because they are always picked to never make the playoffs, although they always seem to be there in the end. But this year I agreed with the ESPN's and Sports Illustrated's in picking the Twins to finished towards the bottom. Boy was I fooled. Just Sunday on ESPN the radio analyst Steve Phillips had the Red Sox as the #1 team in his power rankings in all of baseball and the Twins just took 3 of 4 out of them in multiple ways. They beat the best closer in baseball one game, out slugged them in another, and out pitched them in the final game. Now in the middle of May I expect the Twins to be still playing in October. And once again the "preseason projectors" if you will will be terribly wrong, this time me included.

The Twins look for their third win in a row tonight against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first game of a three game series in the Metrodome. Toronto's Jesse Litsch faces off against Kevin Slowey.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Exciting on ESPN

Because I go to school in an area where the cable TV is for some reason considered FSN Chicago and not FSN North, whenever the Twins are on national TV, like ESPN, it's a big deal.

It was so nice to watch such an exciting ballgame tonight on television. The Twins and Red Sox battled it out through nine hard fought innings full of scoring. Nick Blackburn perservered the entire night despite not having his best stuff, but continued to give his team a chance to win. Ron Gardenhire gave DH Craig Monroe the nod against knuckleballer Tim Wakefield which turned out to be a great decision as Monroe smacked 2 HRs and drove in 4 runs. Gomez did look a bit overmatched at the play tonight which seems to be the case about every 3 games, but stole his 16th base in the process. Joe Nathan gave up just his second and third runs of the season and looked a bit nervous in the big game which is a rare occurence, but still buckled down and picked up his 12 save of the season.


I'm going to come out and make a bold prediction. Right here, right now, because that's what bloggers do. Especially when they don't want their posts to sound like every other postgame report. IF JOE MAUER CAN STAY HEALTHY, I predict he will win his second batting title in 2008. He may have only gone 1-4 tonight but he is hitting the ball hard and hitting it in the right places. Jacolby Ellsbury made a diving catch to steal a double away from Mauer. I just think the kid is in the zone this year just like he was in 2006. I tell myself, jeez, it May 11th and Joe doesn't have a homerun yet. That's b/c he's not trying to hit one. It's more of a sure thing for him to slap an RBI single, so he simply does. We all know he has a history of injury troubles, but if he stays healthy I'm looking for my BOLD PREDICTION to come true!

Here's the Sportscenter video recap of the game tonight!


I want to leave you with this great video. In my opinion, it may not have been the flashiest or most important moment of the season thus far, but Micah Owings wins my award for the Best Moment of April!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Lamb earns his stripes, Neshek falls

The Twins pulled of an amazing come from behind victory in the bottom of the ninth inning last night against the Red Sox thanks to Mike Lamb's 2 RBI single. Here's the game winning hit.

It was great to see such a good win against a team like Boston. Mike Lamb came up with the big hit that will hopefully get the struggling third baseman going at the plate. Carlos Gomez showed surprising patience at the plate drawing a big two-out walk and then stealing second base for his 15th stolen base of the season which leads the American League.

However, despite the good news, on this particular day I think I would have rather taken a loss than the bad news the Twins received. Relief pitcher, Pat Neshek, got his MRI results on Friday revealing an acute partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. What does that mean you ask? Well, I'm not doctor, but it means that Neshek will very likely miss the rest of the season. A disaster for the Twins bullpen.

Neshek, who had the started the season slowly, was just returning to his usual self and was playing a big role for the Twins bullpen. For this young Twins team it was crucial having Neshek in the 8th inning and Joe Nathan in the 9th inning to close out victories. Not only will Neshek be missed on the field, but he's one of my personal favorite players to watch and a local fan favorite from Twin Cities suburb, Brooklyn Park.

The injury is certainly hard to swallow especially since the Twins bullpen is a team strenght. Hopefully Dennys Reyes can continue his hot streak and the trio of righthanders: Matt Guerrier, Juan Rincon, and Jesse Crain will have to step it up.

Another local favorite, University of Minnesota grad Glen Perkins, makes his first appearance of 2008 as he starts against Dice-K tonight. Should be a great game and let's hope the Twins can keep up their hot streak.

MLB NEWS, one of my favorite players in the game and a member of my favorite National League, Hanley Ramirez and the Florida Marlins agree on a 6-year $70 million deal. A huge move for this great franchise.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I'm Back

Here's what's been going in my life since my last post. I finished my last classes at the college level, I found an apartment in Minneapolis, I prepared for finals, and now have an impending graduation.

Here's what's been happening in the world of Twins baseball. The Twins swept a two game series at home against the White Sox, took over 1st place atop the AL Central, saw the tragic death of manager Ron Gardenhire's brother, pulled a huge three game sweep over the Tigers at the dome, nearly were no hit by White Sox pitcher Gavin Floyd, and had something happen for the first time in 22 years.

Certainly a busy week for me and for the Twins since I've last blogged.

In case you haven't heard, what happend last night for the first time in 22 years for the Twins was Carlos Gomez hitting for the cycle. Can you guess who was the last Twin to hit the cycle? Of course you can, it was none other than Kirby Puckett in 1986 who was also the centerfielder at the time for the Twins.

Gomez couldn't believe he was now in Twins history alongside Kirby Puckett.

"It's amazing," Gomez said. "Kirby Puckett, I saw the video of the player. He is an All-Star and I can't explain it to you. That's unbelievable."

Gomez hit the "reverse cycle" picking up a leadoff homerun in the first inning, a triple in the fifth, a double in the sixth, and finished with a single in the ninth inning. While hitting the cycle Gomez managed to knock in three RBIs, score two runs, and raise his batting averaged to .382.

Check out this ESPN link to see all the hits.

Times are certainly good right now for the Twins. As the calendar has turned to May the Twins are in first place. I knew the Twins would be better than experts predicted, but I thought it would take time for this young team to develop. So it's great to see the Twins who generally perform better in the second half of the season start off so well.

Sorry for the long delay in blog posts, but as the hectic ending of the school year concludes I should be back at it. As long as the Twins keep winning I'll definitely have some good things to talk about!