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Archive for July, 2010

First Inning

It almost brought a tear to my eye to see  little Scotty Baker graduating to manhood as evidenced by his well-kept auburn hairy lip moat. On a related note, Bert’s fancy was tickled by this same development as recent statistical evidence suggests that white male Twins pitchers that aren’t named Nick Blackburn pitch consistently better with facial hair than without (see Carl Pavano’s Luigi ‘stache). Can’t wait to see Kevin Slowey sporting the mustache that Burnside built.

Second Inning

One year contract- 1.5 Million dollars

Jim’s pregame Arby’s roast beef sandwich: $2.99

Seeing Jim Thome hit another homerun without hearing “You can put it on the booooaaarrrrddd!” – priceless.

Third Inning

I thought if there was anything that the Mariners had going for them it was defense. Unfortunately for them it looked like the spirit of Matt LeCroy was possessing the Mariner infielders.

Fourth Inning

The fourth inning was pretty uneventful so it makes an excellent slot for the tweet  of the day:

@texaszeller: “Let’s get denarded and by denarded I mean let’s get picked off”

Fifth Inning

It was a humid summer evening at Target Field. Alexi Casilla, after performing his pre-at-bat rituals, steps in to the batters box and glares in to the eyes of pitcher Doug Fister. Fister looks intently at the signs from his catcher, vehemently shakes off the first sign- then apparently finds his desired pitch as indicated by a noble head nod. With a jerk backward he winds up and hurls a fireball towards the plate. For Alexi, it has been a demanding season yet one that would be remembered by Twins fans for years, as that of the epic home run race with Nicky Punto.  Punto had taken the lead much earlier in the season and was the fan favorite, yet Casilla at the end of July found himself still within striking distance. One home run was standing between Alexi and history. And with that one pitch that flew toward Alexi, as he unleashed a gargantuan swing, the face of baseball was changed forever. This was a season that would be remembered by generations- the race to one.

/kenburnsed

Sixth Inning (Christian filled in for me from the sixth inning on. Don’t blame me for how bad the rest of this sucks.)

Dick on Ichiro: “It’s easier to strike him out than it is to walk him.” I’m pretty sure that’s not true. I think if you really really wanted to walk him, you could probably find a way to make it happen. Just a thought.

Seventh Inning

Warrior Matt is looking goooooooooooodd. Minnesota Twins – the most apparently virile team in sports.

Eighth Inning

I totally thought that Michael Saunders was black until right now. He’s actually, extremely, extremely white.

Ninth Inning

A hearty congratulations to Matt Capps for doing something that the average major league pitcher would successfully do 85% of the time–getting three outs without giving up two runs. All I’m saying is that, since the Twins gave up one of their top 5 prospects because you have some supposed skill at doing something most pitchers would do almost all the time, you’re kind of going to need to do that every time. I’m just sayin’.

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Matt Capps Trade

The Twins organization announced this evening that they’ve acquired Matt Capps and some cash considerations for top catcher prospect Wilson Ramos, and lefty pitching prospect Joe Testa. My initial reaction could best be explained as the opposite of what this man is feeling (with the exception of the weeping “what does it mean?”–I do feel that way):

Ramos and Testa seems like an awfully large price to pay for a good but not great reliever in Capps and 500,000 bucks. Of course, when the Twins find themselves with a valuable trading commodity at the deadline they tend to make a trade that resembles the recent Johan-for-nothing trade. I imagine the trade talks went something like this:

Twins: What will you give us for Wilson Ramos?

Nats: A baseball player

Twins: Like Stephen Strasburg?

Nats: No like Matt Capps.

Twins: But Wilson Ramos is one of the best prospects in the country!

Nats: But you already have Joe Mauer. You don’t need a catcher.

Twins: That’s true. Can you throw in Ian Desmond?

Nats: Afraid not. How about we throw in 500,000 dollars and you give us this Joe Testa guy… I don’t know if you notice but his ERA this year is 5.50.

Twins:

While I don’t think the trade was a good trade by any means, I can understand at least in some ways what the Twins were thinking. As recent trade rumors mostly had involved the Twins landing a starting pitcher, this deal seems to be in effect a statement of confidence directed at the starting rotation with the recent addition of Brian Duensing.

Capps is a minor upgrade at closer over Rauch, who has put up similar numbers over the past three seasons:

Rauch- 2 Wins above replacement, 4.29 xFIP

Capps-1.2 WAR, 3.97 xFIP

Of course, due to the bullpen chaining effect, the addition of Capps upgrades every bullpen slot, allowing for a pretty significant improvement over the course of the season.

Welcome to the team, Matt Capps. You are now my second favorite reliever named Matt. The Warrior still reigns.

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Retro Bill Smith

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Nine Innings is a (hopefully) recurring feature on GNH, in which we experience the joyful journey of each Twins game, one inning, one ms paint atrocity, and one thought at a time.


1. Today’s lineup is pretty normal. Jason “Reptar” Repko is slotted in at right field. Alexi’s batting second again. Gleeman has pointed out many times how in Gardy’s mind, defensive positions and batting order are inseparably fused. I have a different theory. Gardy thinks Alexi and O-Dog are the same brownish person.

2. In the second inning, we’re treated to an infographic illustrating the awesomeness of Danny Valencia’s recent streak. We are really getting ahead of ourselves when we start comparing Danny Valencia to George Brett and Rod Carew. Sure he’s hitting like .400 or whatever since being called up, but he’s still the same 25 year-old guy that put up a lackluster .289 / .322 / .421 line in 484 AAA plate appearances. He hits for contact and sports a pretty solid glove at third, adding up to a decent starting 3b with a ceiling right around league average. Given what the Twins have been running out at third base since Corey Koskie, league average is great, but George Brett he ain’t.

3. Great quote from Bert: “If you could just put a run on the board or more every inning, that would be nice.” In related news, I would find it acceptable if my boss doubled my salary and cut my hours in half. Seriously, though, there’s only one thing that gets Bert excited anymore.

4. I’m not trying to pile on Bert here, but in the fourth inning, Bert gave us his in-depth analysis of Brian Bannister’s career according to his w/l record. Of all people in the world, shouldn’t Bert Blyleven understand the idiocy of using w/l records to analyze a pitcher?

5. In the bottom of the fifth, Dick gets in on the action, saying that leaving Duensing in to face Billy Butler with runners on first and second would be good for Duensing because he would have a chance at being credited with a win. This is my problem with stat-heads like Bert and Dick. All they care about is the numbers. “Wins…blah blah… RBI… blah blah…” Hey nerds! What about the human element?

6. Kaufman’s radar has Duensing topping out at 94 and Bannister at 93.  Riiiiiiiight.

7. I think I’ve written Jesse Crain off for good like 10 times in the last four years. He is the indestructible zombie reliever.

8. Punto avoided getting hurt earlier in the game when he slid head-first under the spikes of Bannister covering first. In the eighth, he does it right, and hurts himself running through the bag. Sometimes I think God is just messing with me.

9. There is no greater feeling in sports fanmanship than the ninth inning insurance run. Total relief. Better than pooping.

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