Twinsrule1991 reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, Week in Review: Change of Luck
Last Week's Game Results:
Game 23 | MIN 2, BAL 1: Paddack, Bullpen Power Twins in Win
Game 24 | MIN 7, BAL 2: Twins Stay Hot Behind Ryan, Bats
Game 25 | BAL 9, MIN 4: Bad Start, Bad Defense, Bad Luck
Game 26 | BAL 5, MIN 3: Solo Shots Shatter Twins
Game 27 | MIN 2, OAK 1: Game of Firsts Ends in Victory
Game 28 | MIN 1, OAK 0: Polanco and Pitching Power Another Win
Game 29 | MIN 4, OAK 3: Bullpen Completes Sweep of Oakland
Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 5/2 through Sun, 5/8
Record Last Week: 5-2 (Overall: 18-11)
Run Differential Last Week: +2 (Overall: +25)
Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (3.0 GA)
NEWS & NOTES
Things looked grim after Carlos Correa took a pitch off the hand on Thursday night in Baltimore, with post-game X-rays suggesting the potential of a non-displaced fracture. Twins fans couldn't be blamed for their incredulity ... another HBP knocking out a superstar player for an extended period??
But unlike last year, when Byron Buxton's broken hand was just another big ol' drop in the endless bucket of bad luck, the Twins again got some unexpected positive news upon further testing, with a Friday CT scan showing only a bruise. Correa avoided the injured list, just like Buxton did last month after his scary slide into second at Fenway.
Even with Correa staying active, the Twins still called up top prospect Royce Lewis to fill in at shortstop over the weekend, adding an extra level of energy to their home series against Oakland. Lewis has gotten his MLB career off to a solid start, with three hits in his first 10 at-bats.
Buxton himself appears to have dodged another scary setback. He left Saturday's game due to tightness in his right hip – the same spot where a significant strain cost him six weeks last year – but the the new issue was described as "very low level" and he too avoided an IL trip.
The good breaks in the wake of bad news didn't stop there.
COVID reared its ugly head in the Twins clubhouse once again, with manager Rocco Baldelli as well as Luis Arraez and Dylan Bundy all testing positive on Thursday. But by the end of the weekend, no one else on the team had registered a positive test, which qualifies as a big relief given the level of contagion we've seen with this virus.
It wasn't all happy outcomes, however.
Trevor Larnach suffered a groin strain that forced him to IL, which is especially unfortunate because he was really cooking (as we'll cover shortly). The team is confident that his absence will be a short one – hopefully only around the 10-day minimum – but still the Twins will be without one of their most effective hitters of late. Alex Kirilloff has activated after a rehab stint in St. Paul, but the jury is very much out on his ability to make an impact with his balky wrist.
And, ss it turns out, Miguel Sanó's balky left knee was serious enough to require a surgical remedy. He underwent a procedure to repair torn meniscus, and figures to be out for a couple of months, though no firm timetable has been established. With top prospect José Miranda called up to replace him and likely to see a bulk of time at first base, it's possible that Sanó will return to find his job taken. He may be reaching the end of the road in Minnesota.
Meanwhile, Chris Paddack left Sunday's start with inflammation in his right elbow, which was a big issue last year when he battled a partially torn UCL that required a PRP injection. Very unsettling, but we'll see what comes out from further exams on Sunday. I guess we've learned better than to jump to negative conclusions.
This pitching staff is incredible. What else can you say? Even within the context of a drastic decline in offense across the league, Twins pitchers are simply crushing it. The past week featured four games in which opponents were held to two runs or fewer, including a pair of 2-1 squeakers and a 1-0 victory.
A certain amount of good luck is inherently at play when you're scratching out wins like these. But the staff is legitimately winning games, and it's valuable to bank them while the bats continue to lag amidst a league-wide hitting scourge.
Great performances are coming from all corners of the rotation and bullpen. Sonny Gray returned from the injured list on Saturday with an electric performance against Oakland, striking out seven over four scoreless innings. The previous day saw Josh Winder obliterate the A's in his second MLB start: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K. The combination of he and Joe Ryan, who looked good once again in Tuesday's win over Baltimore and now sports a 1.63 ERA, is almost too much to handle. This franchise has been starved for impact rookie pitchers. Now we've got ALL the impact rookie pitchers.
Of course, this conversation wouldn't be complete without a mention of Jhoan Duran, who's been just as uplifting to the bullpen as Ryan and Winder in the rotation.
Duran was on his way to an appearance in the Lowlights column this week after allowing two homers and taking the loss on Thursday. Then he went out on Saturday and cemented a 1-0 win with two absurdly dominant innings. He allowed no hits. He struck out five. He got nine whiffs on 32 pitches.
I'm not sure prime Aroldis Chapman comparisons are out of bounds at this point. Duran is lighting up the radar gun and flat-out blowing people away. His only weakness so far has been an odd proneness to the long ball – with four of the 10 hits he's allowed in 14 ⅔ leaving the yard – but that seems very flukish to me.
The bullpen, in general, has been simply phenomenal. Over the past week Twins relievers allowed just three earned runs in 33 innings, good for a 0.87 ERA with a 38-to-6 K/BB ratio in 31 innings. The shockingly effective relief unit was absolutely pivotal in a weekend sweep of the Athletics.
While the offense has been underwhelming overall, it's nice to see some secondary contributors stepping up, especially with Correa and Buxton hobbled.
Larnach has been making a very strong impression, and getting plenty of tread. He started five of seven games last week before the groin injury surfaced, going 6-for-15 with a pair of doubles and five runs scored. Jorge Polanco notched nine hits in 25 at-bats, including the decisive solo shot in Saturday's win. José Miranda launched his first career home run and made it count in a 2-1 Friday win. Gilberto Celestino tallied six hits in 15 at-bats to push his average to .324.
It was a tough week for Bundy. His positive COVID diagnosis came on the heels of a nightmare outing against his former team in Baltimore. Over 3 ⅔ innings, he was touched up for a career-high nine earned runs, with the Orioles piling up 11 hits, two walks and two home runs in a ballpark that had been suppressing offense to the extreme.
Bundy had given up six earned runs over six innings in his previous start, so he's seen his ERA balloon from 0.59 to 5.76 in a span of two outings. No one expected the extraordinarily strong start to sustain, but this is a jarring regression to the mean by any standard.
It's the kind of all-out implosion that can put an inexpensive back-of-rotation flier like Bundy on the ropes very quickly in a suddenly crowded rotation.
Rotation adjustments lie ahead of the Twins. Even with Paddack going down, their starting mix is full between Gray, Ryan, Winder, Bundy, and Chris Archer. Bailey Ober is expected back in relatively short order.
An overabundance of starting pitching depth is certainly not a "problem" anyone expected the Twins to deal with, and it's almost funny we're discussing it. Nevertheless, here we are.
Even if they're cool to continue rolling with six, what happens when Ober is ready to come back? How many more bad outings can Bundy afford? Is it possible a move to the bullpen might breathe some life into his upper-80s fastball?
Things get a bit more challenging this week with the Astros and Guardians coming to town. The Twins will need to play better ball than they did against Oakland if they want to win these series. How much will Buxton and Correa play? We shall see.
TUESDAY, 5/10: ASTROS @ TWINS – RHP Justin Verlander v. RHP Joe Ryan
WEDNESDAY, 5/11: ASTROS @ TWINS – RHP Jose Urquidy v. RHP Chris Archer
THURSDAY, 5/12: ASTROS @ TWINS – RHP Luis Garcia v. RHP Josh Winder
FRIDAY, 5/13: GUARDIANS @ TWINS – RHP Shane Bieber v. RHP Sonny Gray
SATURDAY, 5/14: GUARDIANS @ TWINS – RHP Triston McKenzie v. TBD
SUNDAY, 5/15: GUARDIANS @ TWINS – RHP Zach Plesac v. RHP Joe Ryan
Twinsrule1991 reacted to Melissa Berman for an article, Sinclair Announces Details of “Bally Sports+” Streaming Service
On Wednesday May 4, Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which owns the Bally Sports regional networks, announced it is planning to do a “soft launch” of its standalone streaming service by the end of the current fiscal quarter, meaning before July 1. The new streaming service will cost $19.99/ month, or if fans commit to a full year, they can get it for about $16 a month ($189.95/ year).
Currently, a number of prominent streaming and satellite providers do not offer Bally Sports, including Hulu, YouTube TV and Dish Network, much to the chagrin of sports fans. It is unclear if subscribers to Bally’s new service will have access to out-of-market games or just those within their own market. Reporting by the New York Post in 2021 indicated that Sinclair was expected to seek the rights to out-of-market games, “although that could prove more difficult.” And if Sinclair gets those rights, it could charge a small additional fee for those games, according to the New York Post's source. MLB.TV, a service which gives subscribers access to the broadcasts of all teams (subject to blackout restrictions) for $24.99 per month, would likely serve as a competitor to Bally’s new service, though the latter would also feature hockey, soccer and basketball broadcasts as well, not just MLB. So far, reaction to Bally Sports+ appears mixed.
Needless to say, the switchover from Fox Sports to Bally Sports has not been without controversy. First, there is the access issue- fans complaining in droves that they are unable to watch their own market’s games. In addition, fans have reported technical difficulties and outages during Bally broadcasts post-switch. Then there are unpopular personnel moves.
Bally Sports made waves on Thursday morning when Timberwolves reporter Jon Krawczynski reported in the Athletic that Bally Sports North decided not to pick up the option for TV play-by-play announcer Dave Benz, ending a 10-year relationship. Benz and color analyst Jim Petersen formed a television duo that was universally respected, even beloved, across the league, among members of the media and fans. Benz was reportedly stunned and “heartbroken” when informed of the news on Wednesday morning.
The news of Bally Sports moving on from Benz, announced almost concurrently alongside the new Bally Sport+ service, has ignited sports fans and commentators alike, and has some fans calling into question whether Bally Sports actually cares about the quality of its product or whether it is simply trying to cut cost-cutting corners.
I am lucky enough that my family has DIRECTV, which has continued to carry Bally Sports, so I have had uninterrupted access to Minnesota sporting events. The games are so important to me, and truthfully the only thing besides the news that I watch on TV or stream, that if I had a Bally-less streaming service like Hulu, I would switch to a different one that carries Bally. If I can't watch Minnesota sports, there's no point in me having that service. But this is all beside the point. It has been discouraging and frustrating to see how difficult it is for fans to simply watch games within their own state.
It is wrong that Sinclair makes watching sports a premium experience. Simply put, watching sports in one's own market should not be a luxury at a price point inaccessible to many people. I was raised on Fox Sports North, available on cable at the time. My siblings watched so many Twins games that my sister could recite the Twins' copyright spiel forwards, backwards and sideways while talking at hyper-speed. "This copyrighted telecast is presented by authority of the Minnesota Twins and may not be reproduced or retransmitted in any form..." See if you can finish it.
It is concerning that children especially, the baseball fans of tomorrow, are growing up in an environment where they are much less likely or simply unable to watch Twins games on TV. No, I'm not out here saying that kids need to be watching a bunch of TV, but kids grow up looking up to athletes. These athletes encourage kids to get into sports, and I, as middle school and high school ski coach, am a huge advocate for children, especially girls, becoming involved in sports. The reason I am so in love with the Twins in my present-life is because I grew up watching them- both on TV and in-person. These bonds start young. I was familiarized with the players, and the players I grew up watching are still my favorites today. It was simply easier to be a fan back then. Yes, I have Bally on DIRECTV, but the latter is not cheap whatsoever, and I understand that it could be financially out of reach for some families. Bally should not be such an exclusive commodity.
So while I am glad sports fans will have another sports streaming option in Bally Sports+ and I'm sure some of those with YouTubeTV or other services will gladly pony up, the price point is quite high when compared to what you potentially might get, especially if Bally Sports does not indeed offer out-of-market games. I won't pretend to understand the intricacies of how much it costs to produce broadcasts, but I do know that $19.99/ month will likely price some people out of watching.
This is a Twins website, not a Timberwolves one, but because the broadcasts of both teams are carried by the same company and I am a massive Timberwolves fan, I will say that I am floored and disgusted that Bally Sports (along with the Timberwolves) have decided to move on from David Benz. To be clear, Bally Sports has not announced any other personnel changes or decisions. However, moving on from Benz, a universally-beloved and widely-respected play-by-play voice, has some understandably questioning what other decisions Bally Sports might make regarding other longtime voices. I highly doubt Bally Sports would decide to move on from Dick Bremer because he has covered the Twins since 1983, is widely-respected within the clubhouse and league and the Twins organization would have to sign off on this move. He is a future club Hall of Famer.
Further, I am of the strong opinion that Bremer should have the job as long as he wants it. But moving on from the highly-popular Benz and breaking up one of the foremost broadcast duos in the NBA, to me, illustrates that Bally Sports is not concerned about what customers want and is probably just concerned about money or potential cost savings. The other anecdotal examples of fans griping on a perceived decrease in quality post Fox Sports North to Bally Sports North switch are not insignificant either.
What are your thoughts on Bally Sports+? Would you subscribe to it? Let me know in the comments below.
Twinsrule1991 reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Local Buzzkill Readies 'Does He Pitch?' Zinger
As many Minnesotans return to the physical office, men like Josh Kinney await. He has two goals: Drop a “Mondays, am I right?” as early as possible on the first day of the week, and to rob his co-workers of even fleeting joy.
“Lots of people on my floor are Twins fans, couple of them have season tickets,” said the Shorewood native. “I saw the news about Carlos Correa (the new Twins shortstop) and want to make sure they know the club is still in desperate need of pitching.
“I figure they’ll be coming into the break room, maybe to get some coffee or water. I can see the optimism in their eyes. That’s when I strike. ‘Saw that the Twins got Correa. Does he pitch?’ Then I give them a fake laugh and/or shoulder punch and exit the room. Devastation.”
This vile behavior is nothing new for the St. Thomas graduate.
“I guess I knew I was a buzzkill at a young age,” said Kinney, a human resources generalist for Best Buy. “We’d be opening presents at Christmas and I’d be sure to let my siblings know who got the most expensive gifts, right in front of my folks. I could always count on one of them to start wailing and my Mom to get furious. At least until Mom left with her yoga instructor. Then Dad would just give us cash and watch the loudest cable news channel he could find.”
Kinney’s co-workers say his ability to pee on any campfire is unsurpassed.
“We had an Oscars pool one year, like a $10 entry fee, nothing major,” said Betsy Mick, a senior digital strategist. “Josh sent a department-wide email to let everyone know that the winner needs to claim the prize money on their taxes. He CC’ed the IRS. It was remarkable.”
Kinney says his Correa-derived cruelty should be a durable form of death-by-small-talk for months.
“Even if they shore up the rotation, which they won’t, I’ll shift to reminding them he can opt out after this season, which he will,” said the monster. “If things go south and they have to trade him before that, and they will, I’ll remind them of the success rate for prospects.”
Kinney laughed and excused himself to remind a Vikings fan of Kirk Cousins' extension.
Image license here.
Twinsrule1991 reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Joe Mauer Reviews Dune
Twins Daily usually stays between the lines as regards content. However, when the best catcher in team history sends a movie review to our Friday correspondent, we disregard the baseball aspect. What follows is Joe Mauer’s review of the 2021 film Dune, now available on HBO Max and in theaters nationwide.
Hey guys. I watched the movie Dune at mom’s house. She usually gets sore when me or Jake (Mauer, Joe’s younger brother) watch HBO there because they show S-E-X stuff at night, but I told her this was more like the Star Wars so she let it slide.
I wasn’t even telling stories to Mom there, I really thought this was a Star Wars movie. Remember when Luke Skywalker was just driving around the desert with his cool grampa and the robots from England? It was a whole bunch of dunes! Easy mistake to make if you’re asking me.
I was wrong. No funny robots or Han Solo, I tell you what. I guess this movie involves Timothy Huggybear or whatever and the one young woman from Shake It Up on Disney Channel and they’re trying to find a bunch of spices and get into adventures? I’ll be honest, it was real tough to follow.
The thing is, I knew it was going to be a real weirdo beardo, because my friend Glen (Perkins, former Twins pitcher) told me there was a Dune that came out when I was born with the guy from Twin Peaks and the Police rock band and it was super cool. The thing is Glen always mixes his lies with the truth to mess with me so I knew he was busting my chops lol. Also he might be the devil? Mom’s kinda on the fence about him.
Anyway, when Timothy Chandelier and Shake It Up Chicago go on their adventure, it’s pretty fun. I couldn’t follow it all that closely because Jake kept hucking wiffle balls at me while I was trying to watch the ding-dang movie. But the parts I could watch before Jake put Bob Seger on the Bluetooth speakers looked really fun.
Anyway, I guess I’d watch this again. Have a great weekend, guys.
Twinsrule1991 reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Andrelton Simmons Isn’t Good Enough to Get Away with This
Remember Steve Carlton? The not-very-integral member of the 1987 World Champion Minnesota Twins was, at one time, the best pitcher in baseball. Four Cy Youngs, five years leading the National League in strikeouts (the fifth time at age 38), last pitcher to throw 300 innings a season, led the Phillies to their first title in 1980. A remarkable career.
He was also completely out of his mind.
Carlton never spoke to the media, which means we didn’t learn until he was long retired that he built a mountain lair with a 7000-foot storage cellar loaded to the gills with guns and bottled water for “The Revolution.” That revolution was coming thanks to Russian sound waves, the Skull and Bones Society, the Elders of Zion, the National Education Association, and more. I’m aware this qualifies him to represent the state of Georgia in Congress today, but in 1994 this was wild stuff.
One assumes that the Phillies knew that Steve was off his nut, but when you can produce like he did, you let that stuff slide a little bit, especially if he keeps it quiet. By the time he was failing to make the Minnesota Twins playoff roster because he wasn’t as good as Lester Straker, he was just a cooked 43-year-old with weirdly anti-Semitic ideas about how the world works. He never pitched again.
Which brings me to Andrelton Simmons.
Already the COVID patient zero of the Twins locker room, he took to social media on Thursday to let the world know, and I quote:
I’m not going to debate the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines with Simmons or anyone else, as there is no debate to be had. They work. Please shut up and let the horses have their wormer paste. (Also, it’s “effects.”)
Across town, the Vikings are dealing with a similar situation. A handful of their best players (Adam Thielen, Harrison Smith, I guess Kirk Cousins if you squint hard enough) apparently won’t get the vacc either. It presents some hard choices for them, as they don’t have quality replacements for any of them as the regular season looms, and the NFL will make teams forfeit games if they can’t field a lineup due to COVID quarantines.
The Twins face no such dilemma.
The season is over. Simmons is an offensive liability and a good-to-excellent defender, which basically makes him a better Jeff Reboulet, if Jeff Reboulet thought Jurassic Park was real. He’s on a one-year deal. Maybe if he was the standout player in a disappointing season you could let his idiocy slide. Or maybe if it was something less harmful and kind of quirky, like thinking the earth was flat or dedicating his Instagram Stories to proving that birds are a deep-fake.
He’s not good enough to get away with this. Let the summer of Drew Maggi begin.
Image license here.