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Monday, September 29, 2008

Game 163


So after a 162 games over six months the Twins and White Sox are tied in 1st place. The White Sox jumped all over the Detroit bullpen after Tiger starter, Freddy Garcia, pitched five really solid innings. Part of me is upset at the Twins for not taking care of business at home against Kansas City, but then I could reference probably another 20 games this season where something little went wrong that cost the Twins a win.

The other part of me realizes that this is how it should be decided. A one game playoff that will be the most important baseball game played thus far in 2008.

The only way I can cover a game like this is by doing a Twins MVB Live PLAYOFF Blogcast. But this time will be different than last week's game against the White Sox. I found a new application that will allow for live up to the minute updates, but more importantly reader interaction from YOU!

So log in tomorrow around 6 pm as we prepare for the big game and as you're watching put in your own thoughts, comments, and questions. It's going to be a wild night!

Baseball Tonight Previews Tigers/White Sox

Here's a good video to prepare you for this afternoon's makeup game between the Tigers and the White Sox. The BBTN boys give their predictions...

Also, the Twins announced Nick Blackburn would take the hill on Tuesday night if a tiebreaker game is necessary. He would face off against John Danks in Chicago with a 6:37 pm CT start. Odd starting time, but no worries if you are working should be able to catch this game.

Give me a T-I-G-E-R-S!

After both the White Sox and the Twins went 1-2 in their final season series, neither team was able to step up and win the division. The Twins had two ugly, uninspiring losses to Kansas City on Friday and Saturday, but thankfully took care of business Sunday at the Dome.

The final regular season game saw an amazing pitching performance from Scott Baker, a huge clutch hit from Delmon Young, sloppy defense from the Royals, and a possible 2nd AL Batting Title for Joe Mauer!

Unfortunately, Joe must wait before being crowned batting champ because there is potentially more baseball to be played. Which brings us to the Tigers...

The White Sox finished 1/2 game behind the Twins and thus need to play the rainout game against Detroit tomorrow night in Chicago. If Chicago loses the Twins clinch the division and are off to Tampa Bay for the first round of the playoffs. If Chicago wins the Twins fly to the Windy City for AL Central Tie Breaker at U.S. Cellular on Tuesday.

A tiebreaker in Chicago would be a tough win for the young Twins. I think this motivated club could handle the pressure, but I'd much rather have the day off and head to Florida to prepare for the playoffs. So that's where for one day, just one day, all Twins fans and MVB readers are becoming Tiger's fans for a day. I'm so excited to hang out with these people...

Tomorrow's game is 1 pm CT on ESPN2. Tune in and Go Tigers!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Slowey cleared, Liriano ready

Hard to come down from the emotional high of last night's thrilling victory. Let's hope the Twins clubhouse didn't celebrate too hard!

This just in
Kevin Slowey's MRI results show no ligament damage from the line drive he took off the wrist during last night's game. The X-rays came back negative but it is uncertain when Slowey will pitch again, simply because the Twins future is still uncertain. If the Twins do make the playoffs they will certainly hope Slowey will be recovered enough to take the mound. For now... one day at a time.

Liriano Ready
After having to watch three amazing victories from the dugout, I'm sure Francisco Liriano is ready to take the mound tonight against the Kansas City Royals. Although the Twins did sweep the critical series against Chicago, these final three games are still must win games as the Twins hope to remain atop of the AL Central. There isn't another pitcher I'd rather have take the mound to start the final series tonight then "The Franchise."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Twins MVB LIVE Blogcast

7:10 PM - Here we go folks the first ever Twins MVB LIVE Blogcast!
7:10 - Can't think of a better way to start... 1 pitch... 1 out!
7:15 - Well, they don't call him a flyball pitcher for nothing! Let's see some hits from the offense.
7:18 - FSN shows a smiling Ozzie after Span's bloop single. He won't be smiling after tonight!

7:22 - Bert's never looked so smart after calling that Griffey is playing too shallow as Mauer puts a double over Griffey's head. Or maybe Junior's never looked so slow!
7:31 - I know Jr.'s swinging a hot bat, but do you think Ozzie really gave him the green light on 3-0? Slowey retires his first six!
7:38 - Someday I'm going to blog about all the possible things Carlos Gomez is saying to his bat
7:45 - Dick says it how it is, 30 pitches, 9 outs for Slowey. Great start!
7:52 - Mauer looking good with his second hit of the night. Keep those hits coming we want another batting title.
8:00 - The downside of flyball pitchers, Orlando Cabrera goes deep in the 4th to tie the game 1-1. No style points for Delmon's poor attempt of robbing a homerun.
8:03 - Listen Gomez!!! Definitely saw Span call that ball. Can't have mistakes like that.
8:09 - Slowey understandibly careful with Griffey as he walks. And Alexei Ramirez officially looks like an alien.
8:16 - Oh no! This is not good. Slowey is hit in the arm and throws the ball away, Sox take a 6-1 lead. How did this get so bad so quickly??? Mistakes by Gomez/Span and Buscher are taking their toll. Even worse, Matt Guerrier is coming into the game in the 4th inning.
8:26 - Great at bat by Brian Buscher. Twins need to be patient and get themselves back into this game. If we can get Floyd out of this game I like our chances against the Chicago bullpen.
8:31 - If Nick Punto's at bat lasted any longer I was going to have to leave and get a Banana Cream Pie Blizzard from DQ after staring at that sign so long. Telly Hughes reports that Kevin Slowey is on his way to the hospital for x-rays. I might hate Telly Hughes more than AJ. Anybody can do his job.
8:49 - Huge strikeout for Reyes on Junior. Twins certainly still in this game and most importantly they got the crowd back into it. 6-3 through five inings.
8:54 - Mauer is motivated tonight with his third hit of ballgame. That'll put him back up at .330. Let's see an MVP at bat here from Morneau.
9:02 - Twins can't bring the runners in. If I see another Menards commercial during this break I'll never buy a lawn mower in my life.
9:14 - Gomez picks up his second triple of the night followed by a near bunt single by Span. Oooh, that was close. 6-4 White Sox.
9:33 - Crain gets the job done. For some reason after the Slowey fiasco it seemed like this game was over, but the Twins are right where they need to be with three more innings to score runs.
9:39 - That's it! Never buying a lawn mower!
9:46 - Craig Breslow for Rolaids Relief Man of the Year!
9:54 - To get an understanding of how poor the White Sox bullpen has been Ozzie turns to his closer, Bobby Jenks, to get the five out save.
9:57 - So Gomez picks up his 5th hit of the game and FSN shows that Jenks has an 8.22 ERA in his last 7 and 1/3 IP. Hehe.
10:04 - Just heard the Metrodome roof has a hole in it after a dangerous decible level. What a rally! Unfortunately Alexi couldn't get the bunt down and the Twins are retired at a 6-6 tie. This is right where we need to be though.
10:16 - Gomez makes a nice unecessary sliding catch for the third inning and Nathan retires the Sox 1-2-3 in the 9th with a questionable appealed called 3rd strike on Nick Swisher. I love how the 3rd base ump just threw his hands up in the air and told Swisher to take a seat.
10:21 - Let's hope MVP voters aren't watching Morneau's 0-5 performance tonight. Thank you Ron Gardenhire for letting Joe Nathan pitch more than one inning. This is for 1st place!
10:35 - Punto showing his aggressive baserunning style and now Span will be walked. Let's go Casilla.
10:45 - WOW! I knew we had to sweep, I said we had to sweep, and I thought we really could sweep... but it actually happened. This is one of the biggest Twins wins I can remember and this series was the most impressive feats of determination, motivations, and clutch play.
10:50 - Certainly wish I could have been at this game tonight, but I couldn't have picked a better game for the first ever Twins MVB LIVE Blogcast. If you followed along with me tonight thanks a lot and if you read this later leave me a comment and let me know what you think. We'll have to do future live blocasts here at MVB.

So the Twins pull off the impossible sweep and take control of first place. Three games remaining in the season. Three games at home in the dome against the Royals for the Twins and three games at home against the Indians for the Sox. It's going to be a good weekend!

Don't Miss It an MVB First

Before you read my post game thoughts check this out! I feel really guilty for not being able to go to the game tonight as I have been good luck the past few nights at the dome, alas I have to work. But I will be working with computer access and watching the game on tv so I'm going to do the first ever LIVE TWINS MVB BLOGCAST! Leave your internet browswer on and refresh it every few minutes why you're watching the game for up to the minute comments and updates. As always, feel free to leave questions and thoughts during the game. Get the brooms out!


Wow, what another win last night! A 3-2 grind that saw great defense on both sides and some timely hitting from the Twins.

Mark Buerhle really pitched quite well and Nick Blackburn struggled at times but got the job done in clutch situations. The Twins bullpen stepped up with Craig Breslow, Boof Bonser, Jose Mijares, and Joe Nathan combining to pitch there scoreless innings. In a game that is this important it appears that Ron Gardenhire and decided to go with the young lefty, Mijares, in the 8th inning.

As long as the Twins win, it is great to see my old hero Ken Griffey Jr. hit some homeruns. His homerun last night was a blast circa Griffey 1997. As a baseball purist, I like the tradition of throwing a homerun ball back after an away homerun and I've always told myself I would do it if I caught a homer...BUT last night may be an exception. Some fool caught Griffey's ball which was his 611th in his career and you never know, maybe his last. I wouldn't try to sell the ball, but I would give it back to Junior just for an opportunity to meet him!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Round 2...FIGHT!

What a win last night! The Twins not only took the most important game 1 of the series but made a big statement in doing so.

Jason Kubel was the star of the game smacking two homeruns, hitting a triple, and picking up three RBIs. After a homer in his first at-bat and a triple in his second at bat, Kubel had me thinking cycle, but he chose to hit another homerun instead! Here Thor Nystrom of MLB.com writes, Kubel nearly didn't even start.

Delmon Young used the energy from the crowd and from Kubel's homerun immediately after to go back-to-back with a homerun of his own. Scott Baker pitched a very solid seven innings with one earned run and Justin Morneau set a new Twins record with his 47 double of the season while receiving incessant MVP chants from the crowd everytime he stepped up to the plate.

Last night's game one win was huge keeping the chances alive for a potential sweep and giving the Twins a good chance to win the essential two out of three. Tonight's matchups may be the toughest with Twin Killer Mark Buerhle (14-11) going against Nick Blackburn (10-10) who is 1-2 with a 7.58 ERA in four September starts. Blackburn has looked tired as of late, but hopefully the Metrodome crowd will pump him up to pitch a gem like Baker.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Game 1

Not much more I can say to hype up or emphasize the upcoming series that starts tonight. Nothing really needs to be said. The media is talking about it, all eyes are on the series, it's coming down to this!

I'll say it now, in my opinion the Twins need to sweep this series to make the playoffs. We'll certainly still have a chance if we take 2 of 3, but to really be in the driver's seat we need to get the brooms out.

Obviously, easier said than done against a very good Chicago White Sox club. Especially since two of the starters in this series (Mark Buerhle - Wed, Gavin Floyd - Thurs) have dominated the Twins this year. BUT... the Twins are at home. And this my friends, is going to be the difference in the game. I think the Twins have a legit chance to sweep the White Sox this week thanks to DOMEfield advantage!

With 40,000 roaring fans rocking the Metrodome it'll be a playoff atmosphere and I predict the Twins' bats will really come alive. We just need tired young arms of our starting rotation to keep up.

The White Sox on the road this year are 35-43. The Twins at home are 49-26. I like these numbers! Scott Baker (9-4) goes for his 10th win against Javier Vasquez (12-14). I'll be at the dome cheering along and you should watch, witness, or listen to this game!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Blockbuster Event

If this were a podcast or I could somehow add audio to this blog the entire post would be read in that movie trailer voice. You know the same guy who does every preview in the theaters. I'm going to do my best to write the script, so you need to just simply hear the voice in your head as you read the following...

In the city of two cities lives a hollowed ground. A yard, a park, a dome! A place where balls fly, strikes are fired, and fans roar. Beneath this pale white palace history is made and legends are born. Under this bubbled roof nine twin men shed blood and tears battling day in and day out against giants, pirates, angels, and tigers.

But this time... the nine uniformed men armed with bats and gloves will be fighting for their lives. Against who you ask?

From the deep, dark depths of the city of wind sleep the twin men's rivals. They come clad in evil black and armed with their secret weapon of monster home runs and their signature white socks.

This September, for three days the twin men and white socked monsters will settle the score once and for all!

Starring: Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Ron Gardenhire, and 50,000 cheering fans. Also Starring: Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye, and Ozzie Guillen with possible guest appearance by Carlos Quentin. Coming to a theater near you... (if near you is Minneapolis)


Friday, September 19, 2008

A breath of life

The Twins showed some fight and some resilence last night coming back to beat the Tampa Bay Rays on the road. Despite giving up five homeruns, three to Evan Longoria, the Twins battled putting five runs across in the 9th inning. A win that was not only needed for the team, but proved to be a big win after the White Sox lost in New York.

The end result: the Twins trail the White Sox by 1.5 games entering the weekend. We still have to play three more against the Rays as the White Sox head to Kansas City for three against the Royals. On paper this scenario doesn't look too good. The Twins play a first place club with 90 wins and the Sox play a last place club with little to play for. HOWEVER, the Royals are currently riding a seven game win streak while the Rays are sputtering having lost eight of their last 13 games.

The Twins are definitely going to need better starting pitching over the weekend. Glen Perkins didn't even get out of the first inning last night giving up five runs and getting only two outs. Thankfully the boys brought out the bats last night, but the Twins of all teams do not want to get into a slugfest with teams.

Hopefully last night's thrilling victory can be a springboard to a great final week of the season. It's certainly not going to be easy, but I just want the boys to play good baseball and make it interesting no matter what happens! Nick Blackburn (10-9) takes the mound tonight against Edwin Jackson (11-11).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Heartbreaker

The Twins took a punch to the gut last night with a 12-9 loss in the 11th inning.

The worst part was the game was set up to be a great win that could jolt this young club for the final stretch of the season. After starter Francisco Liriano struggled the Twins found themselves quickly down in a 8-1 deficit. I didn't even want to watch at this point.

Yet the Twins battled back. With a huge MVP type hit from Justin Morneau in the 8th inning the Twins tied it up at 8. Then Delmon Young got the job done with a sac fly to take the lead 9-8. The stage was set... Eddie Guardado in the 8th, Joe Nathan in the 9th, and a comebac... WAIT!!! Not so fast Twins fans.

The lead was quickly erased by a solo shot from one of the best players in the game, Grady Sizemore. After a couple innings of nothing too exciting Joe Nathan came in the 11th inning and gave up a leadoff single followed by a walk. Then Victor Martinez sent a 1-1 fastball/meatball into the bleachers for a 12-9 Twins loss. HEARTBREAKER!!!

The Twins have a chance to make a statement again tonight as they face 22-2 soon to be AL Cy Young Winner, Cliff Lee. The Twins own one of Lee's two losses, but it will not be easy. We need this one boys!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Teams running out of gas

I'm starting to think the Twins are running out of gas and it's making me nervous. This is a young club with only a handful of players who have played meaningful games in the month of September and I don't know if it's pressure, fatigure, or a combination of both.

Thankfully the old White Sox are also lagging a bit, but with the way the Twins have played in the past four weeks I think we're lucky to be just a game and a half back. If they can hang on through the week against Cleveland and Tampa Bay it'll all come down to the six home games next week.

Minnesota isn't the only team running out of gas as baseball's feel good story, the Tampa Bay Rays, seem to be sputtering right now. The Mets are hoping to avoid another September collapse and Arizona has just fallen off the map. I haven't even mentioned the Milwaukee Brewers who have been struggling so bad they fired their manager Ned Yost with just 12 games left in their season.

The Twins need to pick up a victory behind Francisco Liriano tonight because Wednesday they'll face the Indians Cliff Lee. Although the Twins are they only team to beat the 22-2 Lee, I don't like our chances!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Target 100

It's a big day here at Twins MVB, both for the Twins and for the Most Valuable Blog.

First the important news, in an announcement that I wasn't expecting today the Twins announced the name of their new ballpark set to open in 2010: Target Field!

I approve of the name. It's nothing special but I think it could be a lot worse. Plus, I do truly believe Target is a good organization for the Twins to link themselves up with. I really liked the rumors of Best Buy Ballpark and Land O' Lakes Field, yet Target seems to be the winner. I can already picture the outfield promotions of Target bullseyes prompting Justin Morneau's homeruns to "Hit it Here" and some lucky fan with a lifetime supply of Target products!

2010... picture it now....

The other exciting announcement is that today's post is the 100th post in this blog's existence! This blog started on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2007 the day that Torii Hunter signed with the Anaheim Angels. So with a quick estimation I guess that's 100 posts in about 300 days.

On that note, expect more from the next 100 posts! The Twins MVB is planning some exciting things for this offseason. Next year Twins MVB will offer more for every Twins fan so stay tuned as a dedicated reader and thanks for sharing my hobby.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Twins Tidbits

As the Twins are in a rain delay in Baltimore waiting to start their final roadtrip of the year, let's take some time for a few Twins tidbits...

- Surprise: Despite a horrible long roadtrip due to the Republican National Convention and some mediocre play at best lately, the Twins still find themselves just a game back of the White Sox in the AL Central. It's the closest playoff race in baseball and no one predicted these young Twins to be in this position. The season is certainly considered a success at this point, but the Twins must keep their eyes set on the playoffs.

- Unlucky: I didn't know this, but apparently a coin toss took place today at Major League Baseball headquarters in New York and the Twins came out on the wrong side of the coin. The flip was to determined tie-breakers for both the AL Central and the AL Wild Card. Unfortunately, the Twins will be headed to U.S. Cellular in Chicago or Fenway Park in Boston if either of these races end in a tie. Let's just win the division outright! Watch the flip here!

- 2014: The Twins announced yesterday their future attempt to host the 2014 All-Star game in the new ballpark that is yet to be named. This would certainly be an awesome event for Twins fans and the city of Minneapolis which claims they proved themselves after hosting the RNC. In traditional Midwestern and Twin modesty, the Twins said they didn't think they'd be quite ready to host the 2012 game which the Kansas City Royals are making at run for. Whatever... apparently two years isn't long enough. Twin great Tony Oliva said he hopes he'll still be around in 2014. Me too Tony, me too!

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Day Off

Bueller... bueller....bueller!!!

The Twins long awaited day off has finally arrived. After playing 23 games in 23 days (19 of those games on the road)the Twins have a day off. And no one, not even Ferris himself, needed this day off more than the Twins!

So the Twins suffered through a long, grueling roadtrip that ended in a brutal sweep by the Toronto Blue Jays. They came home to the dome and played a lackadaisical, uninterested series against the Detroit where the Tigers took two of three. Amazingly, the Twins sit just two and 1/2 games back in the AL Central.

Now two and 1/2 isn't as nice on September 8th as it is on July 8th, but the Twins are certainly in the race with three weeks remaining in the season; however, the time is NOW.

Each and every Twin must use this day however they need to prepare themselves for the final three weeks of the season. Perhaps Joe Nathan will relax and hang out with his family. Maybe Justin Morneau will spend time analyzing his swing and reviewing video. Possibly Kevin Slowey will buy a sandwich at Jimmy John's and get his laundry done. I don't care and I'm guessing Ron Gardenhire doesn't care either. BUT when the Twins come back to the dome on Tuesday to open a series against the Kansas City Royals they better be ready for a playoff race.

A playoff race that will include 19 games in 20 days. Ten of those 19 games are on the road and only seven of those 19 games are against teams with a winning record. The White Sox play 20 games in 21 remaining days with 10 of those games at home at U.S. Cellular. The Sox have 11 games against teams with a winning record compared to the Twins' seven, but the Twins games are no guarantee. Look no further than their struggles on the road against the likes of Seattle and Oakland.

Most importantly, the Twins still control their own destiny. They do not want to get into a situation where they are waiting for the White Sox to lose. Let's hope they enjoy the day off and this young team prepares for an intense playoff race. It's September baseball!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Range of emotions

This time of year losses like last night hurt even worse. It's like not only did you get stabbed in the back, but the knife was twisted.

Sorry for that, probably the most graphic thing ever written on this blog. I apologize for this blog becoming my personal diary of frustrations lately. But any Twins fan could use a place to vent these past few weeks. After last night's loss the Twins fall to 5-8 on this road trip and are miraculously only 1 game back of the Chicago White Sox.

So last night I didn't get tuned into the game until the 9th inning. I turn on my tv just in time to see Brendan Harris bust his but down to 1st base and slide head first into the base just beating out the throw for the 3rd out which allows the go-ahead run to score. Twins lead 4-3.

Nathan comes in and I'm thinking no way this goes wrong again. Even before things get worse I'm watching Nathan thinking, "Man he looks more rattled than usual. He's breathing deeper, sweating more." I say to myself, "Self, we need to get Nathan this win. He's lost some of his confidence and we need this win because we need Joe down the stretch!" Although Nathan cleary didn't have his best stuff, I thought he had enough to get out of the jam. Then comes the Blue Jays single and the error by Jason Pridie which allows the tying run to score. Nathan blows his 3rd save of the roadtrip and the Twins lose in extra innings.

Talk about a range of emotions! To make it sting a bit more: 5 of the Twins 8 losses on this road trip have been walk off wins!

I don't really want to talk anymore about last night's game. Like I said, we're lucky to be where we are right now and apparently the Twins clubhouse isn't worried. Let's hope for a win tonight and get those guys home ASAP.

Come home to the dome!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


It's funny in life how expectations can change everything. They change the way you look at something, they change the way you prepare for something, and they change the way you feel about something. Based on the way the Minnesota Twins have played this year I have high expectations, and I'm currently disappointed!

Nick Nelson of the great Nick and Nick Twins Blog writes an interesting post today about the Twins and their many narrow defeats during the month of August. Nick makes a great point that the young Twins are holding their own and fighting their way to many victories and otherwise narrow defeats. He's right and BASED ON EXPECTATIONS I should be pleased at the Twins current standing of being tied for first place with the rival Whie Sox. HOWEVER...

My expectations have risen. I know many people picked the Twins to have a rebuilding year. Some experts said last in the division. I myself said third behind Cleveland and Detroit (couldn't have been any more wrong)! But after proving that they are a legitimate team and have many great young players the Twins SHOULD be a playoff team.

Nick Nelson identifies 10 close losses that the Twins suffered in the month of August. After reviewing those games, I would fairly say we could of, would of, and should of won five of those games. A five game lead over the White Sox on September 2nd would be meeting my expectations. Dare I say exceeding them, but I would certainly feel good about our chances down the stretch.

Tonight the Twins add another one of those should have won games to the loss column, yet thankfully the White Sox also suffered defeat. Now maybe I should be more understanding of the ups and downs of a young club, but I know the Twins are capable of more and I expect nothing less. In the remaining three and a half weeks of the season I hope the Twins will play the baseball they should be playing and put themselves into the playoffs. Because that's where I expect them to be!