Posted at 9:48 AM on June 13, 2006
by Ben Tesch
In honor of Joe Mauer being the AL Player of the Week with his ridiculous hitting (or non-hitting, in the case of walks), Batgirl is sponsoring a Mauerist propaganda slogan contest. Apparently, the Twins Territory™ campaign is doing quite well in advertising circles, but I have a feeling this contest will be even better.
Posted at 3:47 PM on June 13, 2006
by Ben Tesch
Wrigley Field Dugouts Go Wireless
Wrigley Field, the last big league stadium to install lights, will be the first to go wireless. Starting Tuesday, when Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker needs to communicate with his bullpen during games, he'll call on a wireless handset designed by Motorola rather than reach for the corded phone on the dugout's back wall.
Posted at 4:51 PM on June 13, 2006
by David Zingler
Watching the starting pitching implode, Rondell White hit .190 and Tony Batista play defense has caused Prozac prescriptions to triple in "Twins Territory", so here are 5 things to feel good about....
1. The M&M boys are coming into their own.
Joe Mauer, with his .386/.448/.538 batting line, will make two trips to Pittsburgh this season, while Justin Morneau is on pace for a 30+ homer, 100+ RBI season.
As Mauer has steadily progressed, the ride hasnít been so smooth for his Canadian counterpart. Morneau seems to have turned the corner however, as his average has been on a steady climb from .202 on May 6 to .255 today.
2. Francisco Liriano
Thrown into the starting rotation as much by necessity as promise, Lirianoís emergence has been the most exciting development of this often frustrating season. With a 5-1 record and 2.10 ERA thus far, the big Dominican should contend for Rookie of the Year this season and possibly a Cy Young in years to come.
3. Radke will not eat up an inordinate amount of the teamís payroll after this year.
Brad Radke will always have a special place in our hearts for sticking it out all of those lean years and helping pitch the franchise back into prominence, but his production in recent years has gone from a touch better than mediocre to awful this season. Enjoy retirement with your millions of dollars and ex-cheerleader wife, Brad -- youíve earned it!! (I guess.)
4. Kubel is healthy and ready to contribute.
Jason Kubelís devastating knee injury in the Arizona Fall League following the 2004 season was a major blow to an organization that heavily relies on young, cheap, homegrown talent.
After missing all of 2005, the 24-year-old minor league superstar proved healthy enough to crack the opening day roster this spring, but floundered in limited playing time early on and ended up at Rochester. Now heís back and is showing glimpses of his potential. Kubel definitely a player to keep an eye on this year.
5. Rincon is rare bright spot in bullpen.
Admit it, when Juan Rincon was suspended for steroid use last year, you wondered if his stellar numbers were an aberration. Wonder no more.
In in team leading 29 appearances, the right-hander has posted a sterling 1.71 ERA along with a 2-0 record, 8 holds and 1 save. Letís hope he gets some well deserved All Star consideration.
Posted at 10:50 PM on June 13, 2006
by Josh Lee
"Schilling versus Santana" sounds like Old English for "epic pitchers' duel," so naturally, I approached tonight's game with suspicion. "Surely," I thought, "a meeting between The Bleeding Sock and El Presidente could never live up to our expectations, because our expectations involve some kind of apocalyptic battle between giants, lightning flying off the mound, batters left scarred and weeping." It takes some pretty amazing pitching to inspire purple prose like that, and as good as these guys are, I wasn't going to hold my breath for a tell-your-grandkids-about-it kind of game.
As it turns out, I could breathe easy, because for eight innings, Santana and Schilling battled like Beowulf and Grendel. Boston's ace kept Minnesota firmly under wraps, inducing groundouts and double plays and making the Twins look a little foolish, even without Rondell White in the lineup. Johan Santana, on the other hand, simply owned the Red Sox, racking up 13 strikeouts, including the 1,000th "K" of his career. Jason Varitek looked like he might break things open with a homer in the top of the 7th, but Michael Cuddyer balanced the scales with a dinger of his own in the bottom of the inning.
After pitching each other to a draw through eight innings, though, both pitchers tired and had to withdraw from the fray, giving way to their respective bullpens. If the hitters thought that they'd have it any easier, though, they were quickly reminded that while guys like Papelbon, Nathan, and Rincon might not have any epic poems written about them, they can still get Coco Crisp and Luis Rodriguez out without breaking a sweat.
Then Gardenhire put Jesse Crain in to pitch the 12th inning, and he promptly booched it, allowing the Red Sox to load up the bases and slip a run across. With the Twins' backs to the wall in the bottom of the 12th, Mauer struck out, Cuddyer was hit by a pitch, Morneau hit a ground-rule double, and Torii was intentionally walked to load the bases. Then Jason Kubel came up to bat, decided that pitching had defined this game for long enough, and hit a walkoff grand slam to right field. Minnesota Twins 5, Boston Red Sox 2. Be sure to tell your grandkids about it.