Bully!

Categories: Twins
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OK, now that was a good game. You had Frank Thomas (The Tank Engine) blasting his 500th home run, and the Twins won anyway. Our boys fell behind quickly in the first and then, nonplussed, shut the lid on the Blue Jays in commanding fashion, playing small-ball and Earl Weaver style basher-ball to come back and win 8-5. And that's just awesome.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I've been a grouch about this Twins team. They have failed to live up to my always excessive expectations and probably will continue on this path no matter what they do shy of a World Series triumph. But games like today's do raise my spirits considerably, and that's because there's hope. A well played game is a joy forever in this sport, but if your team's the Kansas City Royals and the season's over by June, well, a good game goes only so far. Grim reality comes crashing down after the last out, just as sure as the sun disappears every day. That the Twins have a chance this season--and they do, in spite of all my pessimism--makes today's comeback that much more exciting.

It looked bad from the start, though. Carlos Silva gave up Thomas' historical blast, which put the Jays up 4-0 right away. The Twins scored a run quickly in their half, put two more on with one out, and then the heart of the order stranded them. Uh-oh, I thought, and remembered that Silva was in his usual mess--no pitcher in the AL has worse run support than poor Carlos. Four runs seemed daunting.

But the Twins shook off the first inning and went to work. The Jays made errors and we took advantage of them. Jason Bartlett smacked a surprising home run, was hit by a pitch, reached base every at-bat, stole a base and scored a pair of runs. Torii, not to be outdone by the Big Hurt (or Bartlett for that matter), cracked a pair of homers himself, and knocked in three RBI. Outside that first inning, Silva threw six full and gave up only three hits, a walk, and struck out five in that time.

My favorite moment came in the fifth, when Minnesota, down by a pair, opened up the game and went ahead 7-5. Tyner began the rumpus with a sharp single, and then Bartlett stepped to the plate. Now, it seems to me that Gardy would typically let this pirahna lay down a sacrifice bunt, a strategy I absolutely hate, but one that's popular (the Twins are tied for fourth in this category). Now, I don't know if Gardenhire was still stunned at Bartlett's sudden power surge just two innings earlier, but the guy never even showed bunt. Instead, he belted a liner into right which sent Tyner to third and got the ball rolling on what would be a four-run inning.

Homers, stolen bases, key hits, great pitching... oh, yeah, and in the ninth, with the game out of reach and Joe Nathan working his magic, both Frank Thomas and manager John Gibbons were ejected. So the Big Hurt started the game making history, and ended it by getting tossed on his ear. What more do you want?


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31 comments
rightnow
rightnow

This article is more evidence that bullying is a national tragedy affecting young people across America and throughout Minnesota. We all need to take action against the source of bullying and let kids, parents, teachers, principals and politicians know that bullying is NOT okay. We all need to do something to make a difference.   An amazing young singer-songwriter named Becca Levy is doing just that.   She has started a music based anti bullying group called Right Now.   Here’s a link to her video for a cover of “Right Now” by Van Halen. The purpose of the video is to promote awareness to kids using both music and the Internet. The video begins with a public service announcement and is full of statistics that people of all ages need to see.   Becca lives in Washington, D.C. and just turned sixteen years old.   Rightnowagainstbullying.com  

Matt Dahl
Matt Dahl

Newsflash....take a guess which site is down AGAIN! (or is it just really, really, REALLY slow? Anyway, at least it's the All-Star break, so nothing much to talk about re: the Twins. Just pray for no injuries during the AS game.

Brad Norman
Brad Norman

You're probably right about Santana. Hopefully we won't need him.

Matt Dahl
Matt Dahl

I wouldn't expect a Santana sighting, as Gardenhire thinks outside the box about as much as I watch the WNBA.

Brad Norman
Brad Norman

Gotta love the Strib board. It's down again!

Say, blog administrator(s), why is it that every post must be approved? The message we get after posting is that only our first one has to be approved. Can't certain email addresses be put on a "safe list" so that people can have immediate posting privileges? It's hard to interact with people when your posts are always slow to appear.

Nice game for Boof today. He was stellar except for that one pitch to Konerko. Too bad the offense disappeared again. I'd rather see some consistency from the offense instead of this feast or famine routine.

We need a win tomorrow. Hopefully Silva can bounce back from his previous start. Maybe we'll even have a Santana sighting tomorrow!

Matt Dahl
Matt Dahl

Now it appears Boof has settled down nicely. Pitching into the 7th on a hot day....actually pretty impressive. Wish he could have the Konerko pitch back. No need for a meatball there. The offense is back to their usual antics.

Matt Dahl
Matt Dahl

Welcome, Miles! Strib forum is so slow, it makes me want to vomit. I just wish we could speed up this posting process. Apparently they'd get a lot of spam posts if they didn't monitor posts? The other problem I could see with this site may be getting to the most recent posts, especially after 100 or so comments. Scrolling down is a pain in the butt. Wonder if they could limit the amount of posts displayed per page, kinda like the Strib Forum does?

Kubel riding pine makes very little sense today. He's coming off a career day, Gardy! And as Brad points out, he's way better against lefties than French ever was or could dream to be! We all know it has nothing to do with results. It has everything to do with Frenchy being a veteran who came up before Gardy's time. Kubel came up when Gardy could be "the tough guy" on young guys/rookies. He'll probably never be able to earn the respect that Frenchy mysteriously garnished.

Miles Koppang
Miles Koppang

Gardy's handling of Kubel is similar to his handling of Cuddyer. Young hitters need consistent at bats to reach their potential. Ford has reached his ceiling....he is a fourth outfielder at best. He is not a regular outfielder.

Of course Punto is driving the ball all over the field.

Brad Norman
Brad Norman

Thanks, Matt. No, I'm definitely against signing White again for next season. But once he rejoins the Twins this season, I think he should be the regular DH. We don't have anyone better right now, except when Mauer isn't catching. I guess one could make an argument on Cirillo or Redmond's behalf. But I don't think either one of them is fit for everyday duty. I'd certainly give White every chance to win the DH and #8 spot. But I wouldn't resign him next season. He's much too injury prone.

I really doubt that Ryan will go out and sign a veteran player to DH. He's going to have his hands full with Hunter, as well as extensions for Santana, Morneau, and Cuddyer. If I had to choose between Hunter and a DH, I'd take Hunter every time, even if I had to overpay. We just can't afford to lose him at this point. Span is stinking it up at AAA, and there's no one else even close to ready. Jones is having a good year at AAA, and he's got power. I'd give him a shot next year and platoon him with someone at DH (like Cirillo, if he doesn't retire).

How predictable. The day after scoring 32 runs in 2 games, we can't even get one in the first 5 innings. And why does Gardy insist on platooning Kubel with Ford? Kubel's numbers against lefthanders are good. Much better than Jacque Jones's were, and Gardy refused to platoon him.

Matt Dahl
Matt Dahl

Had a chance to read some of your posts on the Twins, Peter, and you seem like our kind of guy. I certainly prefer your writing to that of Jim Souhan!

Peter Schilling wrote:Now, it seems to me that Gardy would typically let this pirahna lay down a sacrifice bunt, a strategy I absolutely hate, but one that's popular (the Twins are tied for fourth in this category).

Not many in our group like the pirahnas either. The whole thing is old, and the pirahnas should not have been counted on again in 2007. Truth is, 2006 was all about Morneau, Cuddyer, Hunter, and the emergence of RonDL in September. To me, pirahna equals bad at baseball.

Miles Koppang
Miles Koppang

Boof is getting more and more frustrating. He has an 0-2 count on Konerko and serves up a homer. Buehrle is back to his old self against the Twins or we are back to our old self. Cuddyer has had a couple of solid hits but end up being long fly ball outs.

Ford is igniting the offense as usual. Glad he's in there.

Matt Dahl
Matt Dahl

Boof is so frustrating. Seemed like he was rolling along, but then served up meat for Konerko. Love Boof's strikeout potential, and the ability to get out of jams with the K....but he hasn't been getting it done lately. I don't want him to lose his spot in the rotation. He's probably safe for now, with Slowey back at AAA. Baker is probably on an even shorter leash than Boof is - but not by much.

Matt Dahl
Matt Dahl

Good post, Brad. I agree with everything, except I think we should do better than Jones or White at DH. Are we really gonna sign White AGAIN for next season? I can't see how TRyan can do that and expect anything more from him. The guy gets hurt skipping out of the dugout, for crying out loud! A deal should be made for a big slugger, even if we have to overpay for one year. 2008 should be our year, with the young pitching and Liriano coming back. Let's get a DH like Dunn or Sexson here just for a year or two. Their BA's are brutal, but they are a power threat every time up.

Matt Dahl
Matt Dahl

Good post, Brad. I agree with everything, except I think we should do better than Jones or White at DH. Are we really gonna sign White AGAIN for next season? I can't see how TRyan can do that and expect anything more from him. The guy gets hurt skipping out of the dugout, for crying out loud! A deal should be made for a big slugger, even if we have to overpay for one year. 2008 should be our year, with the young pitching and Liriano coming back. Let's get a DH like Dunn or Sexson here just for a year or two. Their BA's are brutal, but they are a power threat every time up.

Brad Norman
Brad Norman

Not sure why it's taking so long for my second comment to appear. Maybe I have to post a few more times to get immediate posting privileges.

Consider me officially off the "resign Castillo" bandwagon. For a while there I was leaning toward that perspective. But now I'm convinced that we should let him go. It's hard to imagine how he can be an everyday player much longer considering his deteriorating physical condition. He's certainly not worth the kind of money we'd have to throw at him.

The biggest factor in my firm arrival at this stance is named Jason Bartlett. He had a terrific June and is well on his way to approaching last year's outstanding numbers. In addition, his basestealing skills have improved dramatically this season (17 already with only 1 CS, compared to 10 last year with 5 CS). I think he's ready to step into the leadoff position.

I like Mauer in the 2 spot. His power numbers have actually gone down this season (not that they were ever really high to begin with). Last year he hit a HR every 40 ABs. This season he's hitting a HR every 53 ABs. His SLG is down, too (from .507 to .460). His best assets at this point are his AVG (.310) and OBP (.403). Along with his moderate power and speed (5 SB, 0 CS), he fits much more naturally at the 2 spot compared to the 3 spot.

This move brings the other good hitters up higher in the order to more natural spots. I like Morneau and Hunter in the 4 and 5 spots. Their power seems somewhat wasted in the 5 and 6 spots. Cuddyer takes the 3 spot, and Kubel handles the 6 spot. I'd like to see us trade for a 3B who can actually hit, moving Punto back to the utility IF spot where he belongs. Plug White or Garrett Jones (next season, anyway) into the DH spot, and our lineup looks much stronger.

As far as 2B is concerned, we've got options in the minors for next season in Casilla and Tolbert. If neither one of them pans out, there's always Punto. I'd rather see his feeble hitting at 2B than at 3B. It pains me to see a position normally reserved for good hitters filled by someone like Punto. Yuck!

Steve Lentz
Steve Lentz

I was supposed to be at yesterday's games but had a friends son that decided to get married on 07/07/07. Still what a day for Morneau, Mauer, Kubel, and Garza. Be a wee bit tougher today I would imagine.

Brad Norman
Brad Norman

Nice work getting your message posted at the Strib boards, Matt. I've had the worst trouble over there. Hopefully some of those folks will follow us over here.

Don�t look now, but Kubel is catching up to Cuddyer in BA (.255, .277), HR (7, 10), and SLG (.413, .439). He already has more doubles (16, 15) with fewer AB (235, 314). Cuddyer has definitely fallen off a bit from last year, especially in the power departments (SLG: .504 in 2006, .439 in 2007).

I would hate to mess with a good thing, but Cuddyer definitely isn�t hitting like a legitimate #4 (or even #3) hitter. Theoretically, the best order is probably Mauer, Hunter, Morneau, Cuddyer, and Kubel hitting from 2 through 6. But Hunter never seems to hit well higher in the order, so I would probably just leave things the way they are and hope for a hot streak from Cuddyer.

Matt Dahl
Matt Dahl

Welcome, Steve! Not sure why it's taking so long for some of these posts to appear.

Morneau with 3 HR's! Finally, will not have to hear about Tony O in 1973. Been hearing that one since I started listening/watching Twins games in the '80s.

Boyd
Boyd

Am I in the reight spot a Justin hits # 101

Steve Lentz
Steve Lentz

The Natural and the X Factor had huge games. Baker was down right bad. What a football game!

Brad Norman
Brad Norman

Found you, Matt. Seems that I'm not the only one annoyed with the Star Tribune message board. I've used the blogs over there a bit, but there are too many idiots for my taste. This site should work nicely. Keep passing the word around. Hopefully the trolls will stay away.

Nice game for the offense today. Bartlett is really shining in the 2nd spot. If Kubel can build on his performance today, we're pretty solid 1-7, as you mentioned. If Rondell can return and put up some decent numbers in the 8 spot, then we're down to one black hole: Punto. I can tolerate that. But I would rather make a trade for a 3B who can actually hit.

Disappointing outing for Baker today. After his last two outings, I was hoping for more. But he's earned a few mulligins. I hope Garza has a good outing later today. We need some starting pitchers to step up and march to the beat of Santana's drum during the second half.

Matt Dahl
Matt Dahl

I'm posting it everywhere I can. Next time the Forum opens up (if ever), I'll post this site. No registration required, really, so there shouldn't be a problem.

Baker sucking wind already. I gotta run some errands. Will be back later, probably. Have fun talking to yourself for awhile, Kerry! :)

Kerry Calba
Kerry Calba

Matt - Any chance anyone else finds this site? Twins with 4 in the first. now Baker needs to pitch like he has his last two starts

Matt Dahl
Matt Dahl

And the rally fizzles out with a groundout by........Tyner. Woulda been nice to get Punto out of the way this inning too.

Matt Dahl
Matt Dahl

4-0 Twins in the 1st. Looks like I'm talking to myself so far, but that's OK. Nobody to disagree with me. :)

Matt Dahl
Matt Dahl

Mauer showing some warning track power. Better than usual, but I'd really like to see some of these drives go over the fence.

Matt Dahl
Matt Dahl

Any chance we can get rid of the posting delay during games?

Matt Dahl
Matt Dahl

Lineup for Game 1:

2B CastilloSS BartlettC MauerRF Cuddyer1B MorneauCF HunterLF KubelDH Tyner3B Punto

Looks good 1-7, even though 4-6 have been brutal lately. It's time to turn it around today. As for 8 and 9, ehhhhh...what a waste. Tyner at DH has gotta stop.

Matt Dahl
Matt Dahl

Welcome former Strib Board posters! What's everyone expecting from Garza tonight? I'm hopeful for 6 innings, 2 runs.

-p.
-p.

What do I think? I think it's awesome. This rotation is suddenly exciting, isn't it? Santana, The Boof, Silva, Baker, and the ruminative Slowey, with Matt Garza now and again. All of this complimented by one motherfucka of a relief staff.

But I would be much more stunned if the old guy in question pulled the trigger on a trade to bring in a big bat in the DH spot. If Rondell White comes back and has a similar second half as last year (and that might be a stretch, the guy's not getting any younger), and you added, say, Dmitri Young or Sammy Sosa or Adam Dunn (won't happen, but might as well dream), then you'd have a team that could seriously contend.

Instead, we get Mr. LaV. Neal III at the Strib reporting that the Twins were at one point interested in Jacque Jones, provided the Cubs eat part of his ridiculous contract. Now, this deal has reportedly fallen through, but my God, I can hardly imagine a worse move for the Twins.

How can a team that manages to steal Santana, Boof, Nathan, and Liriano be so thick-headed when it comes to nabbing hitters? Certainly those guys were plucked in the minors, before their talent had matured (with the exception of Nathan, of course, though he was still a surprise), but, my God, were the Twins really expecting Jones to contribute anything to a pennant drive?

chuckt
chuckt

Agreed, helluva game. So what do you think of Garza coming up? I love it--seems like he was starting to rot down there in Rochester. Can't believe Terry actually pulled the trigger. Sometimes that old guy can surprise you.

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