Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hometown Heroes

The Twins will be enjoying their day off today after finishing a sweep of the lowly A's yesterday, but I had to blog about something, so here are some standings and stats for ya.

A.L. Central Division          W        L           %          GB     
  1. White Sox                29       22        .569          -
  2. Indians                     27       23        .540          1.5
  3. Tigers                       23       27        .460          5.5
  4. Royals                      21       28        .429          7.0
  5. Twins                      18        32        .360         10.5   
Twins Leaders:

  1. .302     Denard Span
  2. .296     Joe Mauer
  3. .276     Josh Willingham
Home Runs
  1. 10     Josh Willingham
  2. 9       Justin Morneau
  3. 5       Ryan Doumit
  1. 35    Josh Willingham
  2. 25    Justin Morneau
  3. 25    Ryan Doumit 
  1. 3    Scott Diamond
  2. 3    Jeff Gray
  3. 2    4 tied
  1. 2.27    Scott Diamond
  2. 2.63    Alex Burnett
  3. 2.70    Cole DeVries
  1. 39    Francisco Liriano
  2. 31    Carl Pavano
  3. 27    Glen Perkins

As far as hometown heroes go, it's worth mentioning that the Twins like to promote from within.  Three current players on the roster are actually from Minnesota: Mauer, Perkins and DeVries.  It's no secret that the Twins are akin to looking in their own backyard for talent (Kent Hrbek grew up right next to the bright lights of Met Stadium) which is a good thing for Minnesota baseball all around.  It's not like they run a charity case either.  The players they get from this state have made significant contributions.  I think it's encouraging for any standout baseball player in the high school or college ranks here that the Twins are looking and that a shot at the big leagues is possible.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Get Out The Brooms!

The Twins (18-32) successfully completed the series sweep today against the bumbling, stumbling A's (22-29) in a 4-0 victory.  Frankie Liriano even recorded his first win of the season today going 6 shutout innings and striking out 9 in the process looking very similar to the old Liriano who commanded three pitches at all times.

Of course....this was against the Oakland A's who have been playing even worse than the Twins as of late extending their losing streak to 8 games.  

But this is the Major Leagues and a win is a win is a win, and it's not easy to throw shutout innings against anyone is this league.  Therefore, it is an encouraging outing for Liriano (1-5, 7.20) and hopefully an awakening for him to turn things around this season.  

Josh Willingham added another 3 RBI performance with an RBI single and a 2-run moon shot to the upper deck in left field to help enable the Twins to get out the brooms for real with their first three game sweep of the season.  

Willingham Goes Yard!

Sometimes, all it takes is one.  The Oakland A's (22-28) went into the 9th up by 2 runs against a the Minnesota Twins (17-32) and were hoping to finally end their 6 game losing streak.  That was until Josh Willingham stepped up to the dish with 2 on and 2 out and bashed a 3 run job over the fence to win the game -- walk off style.  The Twins celebrated by giving him a Gatorade bath during the post game interview.

''You want to be in that situation whether you get a hit or not,'' said Willingham.  ''Fortunately I was able to get a hit tonight. I've been on the other end several times as well.''  The beast shot was his 5th career walk-off.

Cole DeVries was a little amped up for his first home start but fared well, going 5 innings allowing 0 ER on 2 hits.  He did, however give 5 free passes which jacked up hit pitch count to 92 over the 5 innings but, non-the-less, it was a solid outing for the rookie.

The Twins wrap up the Oakland series today at 12:10 with Francisco Liriano (0-5, 8.47) getting the game ball after a brief stint in the bullpen.  Does he deserve it?  I don't think so, but Gardy says he's tired of moving guys around and that Liriano is a starter and should be in the rotation. 

The A's are throwing Tyson Ross (2-5, 5.79) so I wouldn't look for it to be a pitcher's duel.  Let's just hope the Twins can get their bats going early this time instead of waiting for 9th inning heroics.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Losing Comes To A Skid

Memorial Day is a day for American's to honor and remember those who have served our great country.  It's also a day to remember when the Twins' losing streak finally screeched to a halt.  

The Minnesota Twins (16-32) defeated the Oakland A's (22-27) yesterday 5-4 in another nail biter as Matt Capps entered the 9th to a round of boos in his home park.

Of course the fans weren't happy with his first blown save of the year just the night before when Miguel Cabrera launched an 0-2 fastball into the seats.  ''I don't blame people for booing. They expect us to do a job, and I'm no different from the 24 other guys in here,'' Capps said.
An error and a walk and suddenly there were 2 on and 2 out for the A's with their hottest hitter Josh Reddick up to the plate.  He had homered and tripled already this game and Gardy wasn't going to take any chances with him in the 9th.  Capps intentionally walked Reddick to load the bases with a less intimidating Jonny Gomes up to bat.  Once again, Capps got Gomes 0-2 and I'm sure the echos of the booing fans still rattled in his head. 

''I wouldn't be human if I didn't feel something. Nobody likes that, especially in their home ballpark,'' Capps said, adding: ''No matter what the fans think, this organization still expects it out of me, and I've got to go out and do it.''  

But this time Capps prevailed when he blew a 94 mph heater by Gomes to end the game and get his 10 save of the season amidst a roaring Target Field crowd.

''We feel comfortable with him on the mound. He's a guy with guts,'' Morneau said

Alex Burnett (2-0) recorded the win but Scott Diamond pitched another solid game going 6.1 inn giving up 3ER on 9 hits.  Joe Mauer had 2 hits in the game, Trevor Plouffe hit a bomb in the 5th and Justin Morneau added 2 RBI in the 8th to tie it up at 4.  Ryan Doumit clobbered a fly ball to left to score Josh Willingham for the go-ahead run. 

The Twins face the A's at Target Field again tonight at 7:10.  Cole DeVries (0-1, 5.40) will get his second major league start taking on Jarrod Parker (1-2, 3.38) in the 2nd of a 3 game series.  The win extends Oakland's losing streak to 6 games. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Exercise In Futility

The Minnesota Twins need a win…badly!  The problem is, so do the Oakland A’s.  Both teams are undergoing the types of losing skids that makes them almost unwatchable.  The good news for the A’s and the Twins is that regardless of how awful they’ve been playing, one team will emerge victorious and end their losing streaks.
The A’s and the Twins have each lost 5 in row and the skid will stop today for one of them.  Exciting right??  The bad news is, one team will also lose, extending their losing streak to 6.

The good news for the Twins is they have their virtual ace, Scott Diamond on the hill facing Travis Blackley, who was picked up by the A’s on waivers from the LA Angels.

Diamond has made a statement this year having been brought up from the minors recently.  He is 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA and has easily been the best pitcher in the rotation giving the Twins a great chance to win.

 Blackley, having been a middle reliever all year for the Angels posting a 0-0 record with a 4.09 ERA, is getting his first start of the season, which usually spells trouble for the Twins.  They typically like to make a new pitcher look like a first ballot Hall of Famer, so Blackley also has a great chance of winning.

On the futile side, the A’s are posting the worst batting average in the AL with a paltry .209 while the Twins bring the worst ERA at 5.47.

Something’s gotta give.  Tune in at 1:10 CT today to find out whose losing streak will be broken.

This blog post also appears on written by Michael Schlottman

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Local Guy Gets The Call Up

Jason Marquis' tenure with the Minnesota Twins lasted just 7 starts as the club announced today that he will be designated for release or assignment.  His last start, where he only managed to go only 1.2 innings and gave up 8 earned runs, was the straw that broke the camel's back as patience finally ran out.  The Twins were hoping to get an innings eater with Marquis as well as another veteran in the rotation, but his astronomical 8.47 ERA and average innings per start of 4.2 just wasn't going to cut it.

In his place, the Twins are calling up Cole DeVries from AAA Rochester who will be making his first Major League start tonight in Chicago.  DeVries went to Eden Prairie High School and later the University of Minnesota.  He has spent 6 years in the Twins farm system compiling a 32-42 overall record with an ERA of 4.01.

Marquis is just another one from the opening day roster to be gone this year as the Twins' September call-ups continue on in May.  Stay tuned for more updates.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Simply Beat Up

Joe Mauer picked up 4 hits but the Twins got absolutely beat up by the Brewers in a 16 - 4 pounding today at Miller Park.  Minnesota went through 6 pitchers (including backup catcher Drew Butera) as Jason Marquis was only able to go 1.2 innings in his 7th start of the season, bringing his record to 2-4 with a depressing 8.47 ERA.

Conversely, Zack Greinke had the game in total control, going 6.2 innnings giving up 1 ER and picking up 6 K's along the way.  And Jonathan Lucroy tied a Brewers franchise record by driving in 7 runs on a day when the 10 run mercy rule would've been nice.
The Twins were able to draw first blood after a Willingham singled to left, scoring Ben Revere but the Brewers countered with 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st and never looked back picking up 6 in the 2nd, 2 in the 4th, 1 in the 5th and 5 more in the 7th.
Once again, Minnesota's starting pitching let the team down.

Marquis has 2 quality starts this year with a win against KC (6.0, 3ER) and a loss against Seattle (6.0, 2ER).  But he hasn't been able to go more than 6.1 innings this season and that number seems to be getting less and less with each start.  For a guy who was brought over as an "innings eater", he's certainly not living up to that billing.

The Twins are going to have to look at their options (which aren't many) to figure something out for their starting pitching.  Maybe that would be putting Swarzak or Duensing back into the rotation, or trading for an arm that can give us some quality starts.

Either way, they can't afford to continue to give Marquis the ball every 5th start when guys like Butera have to come in and finish the game.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Lost Art

There used to be a time when a starting pitcher with over a 5.00 era would get released or sent down to the minors.  In looking back at all those hours spent studying the backs of baseball cards and memorizing players' stats, I don't recall seeing many pitchers with such astronomical era's still pitching at the major league level.

Nick BlackburnTonight the Minnesota Twins (10-26) are in Detroit to take on the second place Tigers (18-18) at 7:05 CT.  Nick Blackburn (1-4, 7.18) is scheduled to take the hill versus Rick Porcello (3-3, 5.18). 

Now, a couple years ago, say like 2009, this match up would be one worth watching.  Blackburn went 11-11 with a 4.03 era and Porcello did a little better going 14-9 with a 3.96 era.  Both were career years for these pitchers who, at that time, were showing promise of being a good number 3 or 4 starter respectively.  However, instead of trending upward, Blacky and Porcello have spiralled downward and, once upon a time, wouldn't even be getting a sniff at a starting spot in the rotation.

But this is 2012.  Times have changed.  Where should I begin? 
  • the mound was lowered in the 80's
  • the strike zone has shrunk
  • the baseball seams are so non-existent that it's like throwing a cue ball
  • mechanics have been overly simplified causing pitchers to use less legs and more arm
  • a new baseball is used whenever one sniffs the ground
  • pitch counts are overly enforced
  • the rotation consists of 5 guys instead of 4
  • knuckleballs, curveballs, and splitters are discouraged by pitching coaches
  • a quality start is considered giving up 3 runs in 6 innings (4.5 era overall)
  • complete games are almost non-existent
  • Tommy John surgery has become an epidemic
  • baseball trainers and agents determine how many innings a guy throws per year
  • batter's were and maybe still are pumped up on 'roids and HGH
....I could go on and on.

My point is, Major League Baseball has consistently made it more and more difficult for the pitcher to succeed, going with the notion that fans want to see lot of home runs, lots of pitchers, and 14-10 ball games.  Ironically, though, at the same time, they are also desperately trying to find ways to speed up the game.  For instance, it's rumored that they will not allow the pitcher to fake a throw to third and look to first when runners are on first and third.  Sure, that'll speed up the game. 

A good old fashioned pitcher's duel where each starter throws a complete game and the score ends up something like 2-1, guaranteed, would only take about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  A 14-10 game usually takes up to 4 hours or more.  However, Major League Baseball wants the latter with the time of the former?  Don't they also understand that the most boring and time consuming part about baseball is the pitching changes?

All of this, however, doesn't excuse the way that Blackburn and Porcello are pitching this year.  Despite all of the road blocks, there are pitchers out there that still dominate.  They are just becoming more and more scarce.  The gap between the good, the bad and the ugly is widening and the ugly (Blackburn) are still able to hang around starting rotations because, frankly, there's no one else to take their spots.

Pitching has really become a lost art over the years.  It's a scarey trend for guys like me who appreciate a good pitcher's duel.  With the way things are going, let's just hope that Major League Baseball doesn't decide to make the pitcher the guy who feeds the pitching machine.  I think I would have to stop watching at that point.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Diamond's A Mother's Best Friend

Scott Diamond took the hill on Mother's Day for his second start this season after throwing 7 shutout innings against the Angels a week ago.  He continued his shutout streak, throwing for 7 more shutout innings, 14 in a row.  Watch out Orel Hershiser and your 59 consecutive scoreless innings!

Diamond helped the Twins to get to that seemingly impossible feat of 10 wins on the season.  They are still the worst team in MLB at 10-24, trailing the Padres who are 12-23.

One bright spot is that Minnesota's winning percentage, .294, remains higher than their team batting average, which is a paltry .238, 23rd overall in the majors.

Seriously though....the good news is that they went 2-2 against the Jays and have won the last 2 out of 3 games.  The Cleveland Indians are coming to town for a two game series and it's worth noting that, while the Indians are the division leaders at 18-16, the Twins are only 8 games back.  With that in mind, I'm going to give you a little fantasy scenario:

The Tigers are going into a two game series with the White Sox and if the Tigers lose one or both of their games and the Twins win their two against Cleveland, Minnesota would be only 6 games behind going into Detroit for a two game series.  If the Twins were to win those two games against Detroit, now I know I'm really getting ahead of myself here, and the Indians lost their two games against Seattle, Minnesota would be 14-24 and only four games behind the Indians and the White Sox who would be tied for first at 18-20.

Whew!  Hey, it could happen.  Even with the Twins having the horrible, dreadful, puke worthy season they are having, any thing's possible in the Central Division.  And it starts tonight with Pavano (2-3, 5.02) vs. Jeanmar (who?) Gomez (2-2, 4.66).

However, I believe it was after Diamond's last start that I threw out some positive thoughts on my blog, only to have them squashed by Carl Pavano and his ineptitude.  It's just too bad Scott Diamond can't pitch every start.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wake Up Joe!!!

It's a familiar site for the Twins. 

Span is on first with one out and up to the plate is Twins' number three hitter Joe Mauer.  The first pitch is a cheese ball right down the middle of the plate.  Mauer aptly takes the pitch and proceeds to lightly brush the dirt around in the batters box.  He's behind in the count right away at 0-1, no big deal. The next pitch is low and away and Joe waves at it with not much purpose other than to establish to the pitcher that he is actually there.  The count is now 0-2 and the next pitch is a waste pitch, usually up in the zone.  Joe will typically take this pitch putting the count at 1-2.  Now if the pitcher is smart and has Joe figured out, he will go low and inside.  Most pitchers will do this and the outcome is Mauer tapping a grounder to second for an easy 4-6-3 double play and the inning is over.  Joe then trots off the field at a leisurely pace like it's just another day on the job. 

Wake up Joe!!!

This is the big leagues and you're the highest paid Twins player ever and you act like it's no big deal that you hit the ball like Alexi Casilla on a bad day.  It irks me, and many other Twins fans that I know, that he seems content with hitting grounders to second.  It bothers me that he doesn't change his approach at the plate. 

Instead of always taking that first fastball that is grooved down the middle, he needs to turn on it and jack it out of the park.  That's what smart hitters do.  Every pitcher in the world knows that he can get ahead of Mauer right away by just lobbing one up there for a strike because he's not going to swing at it!  C'mon man!

It also bothers me that he exudes the excitement of Yellow Dog from Funny Farm!  Remember that scene when Chevy Chase has to take Yellow Dog's tail out of the fire place?  If not, watch the will remind you of Joe Mauer!

Wake up Joe!!!

Be the leader that's you're supposed to be.  Being the highest paid player on the team comes with some responsibility, namely leadership.  Players, coaches and fans look to you to carry the team through the tough times, not just go out like it's business as usual.  Especially with Morneau's chronic DL status, it's time to put the team on your back.

Another thing that bothers me is that it's not like Joe's a little guy.  He's 6'5", 220.  He should be hitting for power, jacking balls out of Target Field.  Look at Curtis Granderson.  He's not that big of a dude but he still powers it out.  There's no reason Mauer shouldn't be hitting 30 + homers per year.  I guess other than that he enjoys grounding out to second and trotting down the first base line and then back into the dugout.

Wake up Joe!!!

If he doesn't change soon, I think the only logical thing for Terry Ryan and the Twins to do is shop him around and trade him.  Maybe we could get a pitching prospect that either already has had Tommy John surgery or doesn't need it.  Not to mention it would free up a bunch of money for the Twins to go out and get someone that will actually make a difference. 

In order to even have a shot at salvaging this season, change needs to come fast.  If that's getting rid of Mauer than so be it.  Otherwise, the only way the Twins have a chance is if Joe will change his approach at the plate, be a leader and just wake up.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Drought Is Over.

The Twins finally score, ending their 25 inning scoreless streak and, hey, they ended up getting a win too.  Pavano went 6 solid innings giving up only 2 runs on 8 hits and the bullpen came in and did their job holding the Mariners with dominating efforts by Perkins and Capps.  Yes I said Capps.  He appears to have developed a slider and split finger and had command of them last night.  He even zipped a fast ball in at 94 mph. Watch out!

Offensively it was still ugly with the Twins taking advantage of Mariner walks and miscues.  The biggest hit was a seeing eye single up the middle for Joe Mauer which gave us the lead  But I can't complain...a win is a win and the Twins, desperate for hits and runs lately, will take it.  It's game 2 of the 3 against Seattle tonight at 8:10 with Jason Marquis (2-0 with a 6.23 era and 7 K's) taking the hill against Felix Hernandez (2-1 with a 2.23 era and 42 K's).

In other unrelated news, here are the top Twitter feeds in Minneapolis today.  Have a great Saturday everyone!!/search/%23GetDaddyDirectionto3Million!/search/%23HarryPotterIsOurLife!/search/%22Where%20The%20Wild%20Things%20Are%22!/search/%22The%20Avengers%22!/search/%22Derby%20Day%22

Friday, May 4, 2012

Good Bye Clete

Clete Thomas 

Today the Minnesota Twins picked up outfielder Erik Komatsu off of waivers and designated Clete Thomas for assignment.  Clete's career with the Twins started off on fire with a homer in his second at-bat but quickly went down in flames batting only 4-28 since.  That's too bad.  I actually thought Clete Thomas was going to be the answer to all of the Twins' problems.  But,'s just another example of how we can't seem to get any good young talent on the ball field.

Komatsu is coming over from the Cardinals and has gone 4-19 with three runs scored this season.  Sweet move right?  But this is going to be just the first of many potential moves to come.

The trade deadline is July 30 and the Twins' landscape could look significantly different by then.  Unfortunately, there aren't many players who would be worthy enough to constitute a "blockbuster" trade.

At the top of the list though would be center fielder Denard Span.  He's off to a great start batting .327 and is consistently solid in center.  Moving Span would make room for Ben Revere to be the full time center fielder with prospects in the minors like Eddie Rosario, Joe Benson and Aaron Hicks waiting in the wings.  But would this move be a good one for the Twins to do?  I could go on and on about all the bad moves they've made in the recent past -- getting rid of Santana, Bartlett, Garza and J.J. Hardy (of course those were all moves made by former GM Bill Smith) -- so I would be skeptical about trading fan favorite Span unless we can get something for him.

Pavano is another one that will probably be dealt.  He's 36 and is rapidly losing velocity on his fastball, however, still displays ability to be in a rotation.  But with the Twins out of contention and Pavano only getting older, he's not one to build our future around.  Don't look for much in return for this one.

Capps is one we could / should get rid of.  Not much upside on this one.  I can think of some pitching machines that would be scarier to face then him.  Sorry Capps, but when your best pitch is a 92 mph four seam fat fast ball up in the zone, there's not much future for you in the major leagues.

We could also see the Liriano project come to a close as the Twins have to be losing patience with him and his mental issues and lack of mechanical aptitude.

Mauer and Morneau are too tied up in long contracts, money and Ace bandages (Mauer has been surprisingly durable this year, though) that they aren't exactly on the market.

All in all, look for the Twins to shake things up this summer before the trade deadline...picking up Erik Komatsu to replace Clete Thomas is only just a preview. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Twins Should Take Some Credit

Weaver pitches no-hitter, Angels beat Twins 9-0
A tip of the cap to fans after a no-hitter

The Minnesota Twins were no-hit last night by Angels righty Jered Weaver.  It is definitely a monumental accomplishment to throw a no hitter and my hat is off to the man.  I, however, don't think the Twins should hang their heads over this.  Instead they should take some credit for it.  I knew going into this game that Weaver was going to dominate just because of the run he's been on since having the roughest outing of this season against the Twins earlier.  It was that game that I'm sure stuck in his head and willed him to dominate last night.  For that, the Twins should take some credit.

 Minnesota also just allowed journeyman pitcher Jerome Williams to throw a shutout against them the night before.  This one being only the second in his 9 year career which features a .500 record and a 4.17 overall ERA.  Not too bad for an average pitcher and for that, the Twins should take some credit.

Philip Humber (former Twin) threw a perfect game on April 21 of this year.  In 2009 the Twins felt Humber wasn't working out and they designated him for assignment to make room for pitcher Juan Morillo who later went on to play for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japanese Pacific League.  Good move.  Humber went to the Royals and then the White Sox where he's now 1-1 with a perfect game this season.  He far away from living up to his original expectations when he was drafted but a perfect game is nothing to sneeze at.  For that, the Twins should take some credit.

It was the top of the ninth and Weaver was one out away from notching a no-hitter.  Alexi Casilla smacks a long fly to right and, at first, it looks as though it might drop and give the Twins their first hit of the night.  That is until we see, who else, but Torii Hunter (former Twin) giving chase.  He covers the necessary ground and makes the grab amidst loud cheers from the crowd and excitement from the no-hit performance.  Hunter left the Twins after they gave him a low ball offer to stay and the Twins were making room for star prospect Carlos Gomez anyway.  Gomez is now long gone and Hunter still roams the outfield gracefully and covers more ground than Denard Span and Chris Parmalee combined.  It was almost a cruel irony that he ended up catching the final out and for that, the Twins should take some credit.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

No Ace in the Hole

For the past ten years or so, the Minnesota Twins have preached the "pitch to contact" philosophy to it's pitching rotation which, for the better part of the decade has worked, more or less.  An entire pitching staff of Brad Radke's is what I'm sure Rick Anderson and Ron Gardenhire envision as perfection.  Always keep the ball around the strike zone.  Don't walk anyone.  Make them hit it and let your defense do their jobs.  Sounds simple enough, right?  So if it has worked for so long, why didn't it work last year and now this year?  I believe the answer comes in three parts:

1) No real ace in the rotation.

Pitch to contact works great for number 3, 4 and even 5 starters but a real ace is one who challenges the hitter not just throws it so they can hit it.  Even Brad Radke had the mental toughness to get a guy out when he needed to.

2) Pitchers are spending too much time behind in the count.

When you give major league hitters any kind of advantage, like falling behind in the count, most of the time they will crush you -- especially when you're just trying to serve one up for them to hit.

3) No consistency in the catcher's position.

Mauer was hurt most of last year and he hasn't been catching much this year.  It is extremely important for a pitching staff to have some kind of consistency behind the dish.

Of course there is also the fact that none of the Twins pitchers have any good "stuff" with the exception of a few rare Liriano sliders.

So...what's the solution?  It's very evident that the Twins need an ace and have to stop trying to get by with a bunch of 3, 4 and 5 starters.  It's just too bad....C.J. Wilson would've filled that spot neatly.

Glimmer of Hope

Dear Minnesota sports fans,

At least:

  the Central Division isn't as great as we thought it would be

  Joe Mauer has 1 homer already

  Ricky Rubio, again, looks promising for next year

  because of New Orleans Saints suspensions, Brett Favre is getting in the news again

  Justin Morneau is out for potential season ending wrist problems vs. career ending concussion problems

  we have Target Field

  we don't have to worry about the Wild losing in the first round of the playoffs again

  The Wolves were .500 when they were healthy

  Liriano's era dropped one point after giving up 4 runs in 6 innings

  Capps hasn't had many save opportunities to blow

  on paper the Vikings are making smart draft moves
  the Twins weren't contracted in 2002

  we can brag about the Lynx

  legislators would rather use hard earned tax payer dollars to fund a Viking stadium vs. dirty Racino money

  Joe Mauer is still doing Head and Shoulder commercials

  Denard Span is staying consistent about getting picked off first base

  Ralph Sampson will not be on the Gopher's roster next year

At least for all Minnesota sports teams, there's always a glimmer of hope....for next year.

Why I'm Not Sweet On Frankie

All the Twins talk around the Minnesota airwaves today has been about Francisco Liriano and how he took a step forward after last night's 4-0 loss against the Angels.  He gave up back to back bombs and Torii Hunter ate him up all game but, all-in-all, but he held his composure and didn't look to bad, right?  I say WRONG!  Being only a former college pitcher, I certainly don't have major league experience, however, I do know when I see extremely poor mechanics. 

That is what I see with Liriano and I don't care what Roy Smalley was saying last night about his controlled delivery, he still makes my arm hurt just by watching him.  He doesn't keep his weight back.  His elbow dips below his shoulder.  He lands on the heal of his foot which causes him to spin after he throws.  His arm action and angles are extremely inconsistent - sometimes nice and easy, but most of the time violent. 

He threw an amazing slider during the game and struck the batter out (can't remember who it was because I was so enthralled with Liriano's pitching motion) but I could tell by the motion that it hurt his arm.  He even shook his arm afterwards - the universal sign for any pitcher who just nearly left his arm on the ground. 

Long story short, Liriano just does not have the mechanical aptitude, much less intestinal fortitude, to be a big league pitcher over the long run.  Unless the powers-that-be don't explore a dramatic change in his mechanics, he won't ever be an effective pitcher over the course of a regular season.  I am slightly encouraged by his poise last night as he easily could've let things get worse, however, I'm not optimistic about his future as a major league pitcher.