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Everything posted by darwin22

  1. Like you, I will focus my comments on the POSITIVES from this season rather than concentrating on the improvements/upgrades that need to happen next season. The positives: 1. Winning not only our 1st playoff game in 18 seasons, but winning a series while recording 3 playoff wins. Sitting under .500 at the ASB (45-46) after getting swept by Baltimore at home---how many fans predicted this result? Not me. 2. Having the best pitching staff--top to bottom---in Twins history. Yes, thats a pretty bold statement, but the facts prove it to be true. MLB ranks for 2023 regular season: Quality Starts: 1st (76) K's: 1st (1560) WHIP: 4th (1.20) Fewest BB allowed: 4th (443) ERA: 6th (3.87) Opponents batting avg: 6th (.236) 3. Getting key contributions from role players-----Farmer, Solano, Taylor & Castro as well as from numerous rookies---Lewis, Wallner and Julien. 4. A bullpen that showed significant production after the ASB. Pagan was probably the least likely, but was very good the last 2 months. Varland--a possible starter next season, was excellent in his bullpen role. Stewart, although very late return, showed he can be a trusted late inning RP next season. Nice to see the raucous environment at Target Field over the last two weeks. Just beyond frustrating to see the offense only produce 3 runs the last two days.
  2. As most fans of our era remember----THAT night in the Dome after defeating a highly favored Tigers team-----was one of my most vivid and enjoyable days as a Twins fan! I was just out of college and was home in northwest Iowa volunteering as a high school school football coach as I was trying to find a teaching job. Still remember G-Man shedding tears of joy when he and the team walked into the Dome to see 55,000+ fans roaring for the TWINS!! Like the makeup of this team. The BEST pitching staff--starters through bullpen---this team has EVER had! Will be interesting to see what, if any changes, are made to the roster. I can definitely see Ober being added. Not sure who would get removed. As much as I'd like to see Buxton play----MAT is doing fine in CF and I don't think Stevenson is an obvious choice to be moved off.
  3. As an "older" Twins fan---finished my college undergrad in the Spring of 1987---I fully remember the W in game 1 of the 2004 ALDS. Little did I know the excruciating extra inning loss in game 2 the following night would be the first of 18 defeats until yesterday. I've tried blocking out this memory, but was it in 2004 that Phil Cuzzi totally blew the call on Mauer's obvious double? Was this the same series the Twins had a late lead until Ruben Sierra hit Juan Rincon's "slider of death" almost to White Bear Lake? I just remember, literally drop kicking a flower pot off my front porch after Sierra's HR.
  4. So........this is how it feels to have a 900 lb. gorilla off our back? Not going to restate the obvious from this game, but a few comments: #1 Has there EVER been a better crowd at Target Field? Just great to see the fans enthusiasm and support all day. #2 Defense!!! On a day where the bats were mainly silent (except for Royce!) the defensive plays by MAT, Correa and Solano cannot be overstated. For all of the (imo justified) criticism of Correa with his bat, he showed a NATIONAL audience how GREAT a defensive player he is! I still cannot believe he made that play to throw Bichette out at home especially considering where he started from. Does any other MLB SS make 'that' play? Simple answer: No! #2B Regardless of how this series ends, can Falvey front office re-sign Solano for next year with a nice raise. Donnie Barrels has not only been one of our most consistent and productive hitters all season, but the play he made to end the game was sensational! Not sure what the exit velo was on that rocket Springer hit (guessing 100+), but his ability to snare it and make a perfect throw to Duran was terrific. #3 Bullpen: As excellent at it was today, I don't see the pitch counts hindering ANY of the 4 RPs used from pitching tomorrow. Hopefully, Gray can pitch, at minimum, 5 effective innings or more. Should that prove true, it will be interesting to see what Rocco does. A couple of questions for those not used: Is Pagan trusted in a meaningful/high leverage spot? His 0.82 September ERA/ 2.27 ERA since June 1st--would suggest the answer is "yes" Pagan did have a notable meltdown against the Jays in a road loss on June 11th, but did pitch 2 scoreless innings on May 26th. Do the 3 late season appearances by Brock Stewart ( 3IP/ 4 hits/ 0 walks/ 4 Ks) influence Rocco to use him in a late high leverage situation? I can see the pecking order tomorrow to be: 5th or 6th: Pagan or possibly Stewart 7th: Varland. Yes, loud contact from Chapman, but he threw only 2 pitches. 8th: Mix and match. Thielbar and Jax. Jax showed me A LOT in the 8th today after Guerrero smoked his first pitch for a double. 3 pitches to Bichette: Sit down Bo! 3 pitches to Biggio: Take a seat Cavan! 1 pitch to Kirk---Solano with nice pick. End of inning. and finally...the lineup against Bassitt: Bassitt has been excellent over the last 2 months, but he DID give up 7 ER over 4 IP in his only start against the Twins on May 27th. Don't see any significant changes, but will be interesting to see what Rocco does with Polanco? IMO, he should sit. I know he's playing out of position at 3B, but his 1st inning throwing error was brutal. His other defensive whiff (tough play) was bailed out by Correa. At the plate, Polanco had a rough day going 0-4 (2 whiffs, pop up and routine fly ball out. Who could replace Polanco? Easy answer: Willie Castro. In Bassitt's start in May, Castro homered off him and also had another hit. He can absolutely cover 3B and then be moved into an OF slot in later innings with Farmer taking over. Stay humble boys. Lets go get another W tomorrow.
  5. Why would any Twins fans expect a "routine" last 4 outs to win a divisional title while holding a 5-run lead? Whew. Way too much late inning drama, but we won! With game on the line--------honestly, how many fans would've predicted Eddie Julien to make a nice game ending play? Time to get our pitchers rested and ready for playoffs. Will be interesting to see what Rocco/Falvey does with rotation over the next 8 games. I see Keuchel getting at least 2 starts. Others likely 1 more each, with a "bullpen" game---maybe a Winder start to account for the last 8 games. Hopefully the reports of Lewis' hamstring issue being minor are accurate. Absolutely need Correa's leadership, defense and bat ready for playoffs.
  6. Although transplanted to Missouri 30+ years ago for a teaching job, I still claim my "Iowa roots" as I grew just north of there (Cedar Falls) in the 70s and attended the University of Northern Iowa in the mid 80s. Great seeing the Kernels reward their fans, coaches and themselves with a well earned MW league championship! Disappointed that I didn't make the time for a road trip to CR this summer after having done so the last two years. As others have noted, the Wind Surge roster should be stocked next year as I'd assume a large number of these players will move up to Wichita next summer. I will definitely be making a trip to Wichita or Springfield from the KC area to check out these young and talented players!
  7. Great team W today! Coupled with CLE getting SWEPT in KC---who saw that happening?---things are looking very good. The contributions with the bats from our "2nd string/backups" cannot be understated to where this team is at tonight. As a diagnosed "stats geek" (from the old school), I still believe RBI are a relevant and important stat. Looking over our team batting stats a few weeks I noticed that it appeared we had A LOT of guys that have not only filled in at key times due to injuries from our starters, but have contributed in key situations with RBI knocks. After reviewing the RBI stats (through today per ESPN) would it surprise anyone that our Minnesota Twins hitters are #1 amongst all teams with the most players with 30+ RBI? Yes, that is not a misprint. #1 in all of MLB The Twins have 15 hitters that have produced 32+ RBI. The next closest number is 12, which have come from 3 teams: DET, HST and TB. The team with the fewest is OAK with 5 hitters. Interesting nugget: Oakland is the only team that's team leader in RBI is less than Correa's team leading 65. If you wondered, who is that? You get a prize if you answered: Brett Rooker (62) I know that many will point out that 30RBI is a very low bar, which it may be, but imo, it indicates the productivity of rookies and bench players that have been forced into significant playing time to due injuries. For the Twins this would include the following: Lewis (rookie)/ also plagued by injury: 52 RBI---------#3 on the team being Correa (65) and Kepler (60) Taylor (projected 4th OFer): 47 RBI Farmer (forced into UT slot when Correa re-signed): 40 RBI Solano (bench/ role player): 38 RBI Jeffers (start of season projected backup to Vazquez): 36 RBI Kirilloff: Injured to start season/ at least 2 IL stints: 35 RBI CASTRO!-------non roster invite to ST---------34 RBI with 18 doubles and 32 SB's! Wallner (Rookie---not called up for significant play till mid July): 34 RBI Julien (Rookie): 32 RBI Putting this into perspective, our OPENING DAY LINEUP in KC on March 30th included the following 6 hitters that have produced far below expectations: Buxton: 42 RBI on season. 0 games played since August 1st Larnach: 32 RBI (IL team and majority of season in AAA) Miranda: 14 RBI (early demotion to AAA/ injured for most of season) Gordon: 7 RBI (unproductive early/ then out with injury) Gallo: 40 RBI but only 26 since May 1st Vazquez: 28 RBI (replaced by Jeffers as C#1 early in season) Have no idea how the rest of this season will play out---as I'm just hoping for 1 playoff W (I want more!), but the outstanding contributions from those listed 9 earlier are a MAJOR reason why October baseball is around the corner!
  8. Absolutely on the same page as you when Castro was signed. He has absolutely EARNED a spot on the active roster next year. Looking like Gordon can/will be used a trade chip.
  9. Best thing about today was seeing CLE gag away a 2-run lead in the 8th inning to lose to KC. Ryan's inconsistencies are making him a very risky option IF the Twins season continues into October. Flush this game and wake the bats up tomorrow night.
  10. Considering I anticipated TEX helping us this weekend (thanks for nothing!), today's W, imo, was very important. As well as the Royals are swinging the bat recently, I'm hoping they can put a dent into the recent momentum of CLE. Living in the KC area for the last 20+ years, I've never been a Royals fan (lifelong Twins fan), but will be the next 3 games. With a rested bullpen need Ryan to give us a strong 5-6 IP start tomorrow night, Keep grinding boys.
  11. Only 2 games with 2 important games to follow. Saying that, it sure would've been interesting to hear ol Hawk Harrelson's in game comments over the last 2 nights. Nothing I can think of that would've had the old Hawkero blaming the umpiring crew for the lethargic play of the Sox.
  12. Outstanding to see the Kernels fight back from an opening game loss to beat Peoria the last 2 games to advance to the championship round! Disappointed I didn't get in a trip to CR this summer after having done so the last two years from the KC area. A lot of talent on this team that could translate to a good number advancing over the next couple of seasons to be playing at Target Field by the 2025 season. Looking forward to a big contingent of these young bucks moving up to Wichita next year. I will definitely be scheduling at least one road trip to Wichita as well as to Springfield. Time to bring home a championship Kernels! Would be a great culmination to what has been a fantastic season.
  13. Great W all around with the solid return of Ober, timely hitting---Thank u Royce! and another impressive night from our bullpen. Time to keep grinding. No reason to think about or focus on what CLE is doing. Hitters need to keep taking professional ABs and our pitchers to attack the strike zone. Lets get another game tomorrow night! Go Twins!
  14. Nice to see the offense kick it into gear the 2nd time through the order as the first trip produced nothing. See Ober is being recalled to start tomorrow night. What is the corresponding move? I'd seem to think it will be Headrick getting sent down as Thielbar and Funderburk provide enough help out of the bullpen. If thats the case, will Keuchel be moved into a long/middle relief role? Or...will Keuchel remain in rotation with Twins going to a 6-man rotation for remainder of year? Sorry for the questions as I wasted my evening watching the Vikings play another inept game. Need to take care of business this weekend in CHI before moving onto Cincinnati.
  15. The only positive from today was seeing the Guardians gag away a 3-run 8th inning lead to lose 6-5 in the 10th!! Former Twin---------wish we had him back----Lamont Wade, Jr---coming through with a professional AB (sacrifice fly) for the W.
  16. Didnt see the end of the game as I had an afternoon tee time. Can't say the golf experience was satisfying (it seldomly is), but, like others, I would've been cussing out our fearless leader for sending Vazquez up to pinch hit for Julien with 2 outs. I can understand pinch hitting for Julien as he's been abysmal against LH pitching (9-42/,214 avg with 1 RBI in addition to 13 K's and zero walks. What I can't understand is pinch hitting Vazquez when Correa was available!!!! Did Rocco forget Correa was there? Did his spreadsheet have some hidden nugget telling him Vazquez was the better option? Was Correa in the clubhouse? Vazquez sure battled in that AB...didn't he Rocco? 3 pitches= game over. Ugh. Just ugh.
  17. On pace...with 22 games left.....to end regular season with 1663 whiffs, which would topple the 2021 record set by the Cubs of 1596. With recent play...8-5 record vs. TX and CLE over the 13-game stretch that I thought would be worse, I'm choosing to remain optimistic.
  18. Unfortunately had to miss the game due a meeting. Was beyond elated with the comeback victory that once again was spurred by some clutch hitting, a good start by Gray and three shutout IP from Jax, Thielbar and Pagan. I need to give deserved props/apology to Christian Vazquez. After calling him out/asking for a minor league replacement for next season (which I was rebuked for by numerous parties) after his 0-5 performance Sunday, Vazquez shut me up by poking a game tying HR in the 6th. His hitting line also included a single and two walks. Nice job Christian! After producing the biggest hit of the game can our front office just go ahead NOW and sign Solano to a new contract with a nice raise? Where would this team be without his contributions all season? Hitting a team leading .294 ( Not counting Lewis due to limited ABs) with a .376 OBP, Solano has more than earned his $2m salary. Having won the first two games of this series, I sure hope Rocco goes for the jugular tomorrow with our "A" lineup. Joe Ryan should be amped (hopefully not too much) for his start. Main bullpen arms should be available tomorrow with possible exception of Jax as Thielbar (10) and Pagan (12) both had efficient one inning stints tonight. Cliche time: 1 game at a time boys. 23 to go. As a former legendary high school basketball coach I used to work for would say: "Focus on the task at hand."
  19. As others have noted---this counts as only 1 win. Resounding....yes, but still counts as 1. Need Gray tomorrow night and Ryan Wednesday afternoon to pitch effectively into the 6th inning and beyond. Hopefully our hitters will review their recent performance against Bibee in which they got his pitch count up to 90 after 5 IP. Get your rest boys and come out hungry tomorrow night!
  20. A few thoughts after a frustrating loss today: 1. Thinking back to consecutive road losses at MIL (8-22/23) with the prospect of 7 games against TX, I was HOPING for a home split and 1 road W. Now that we've completed those 7 games, I would say like most fans, I'm extremely happy winning 5 of those 7 games. 2. What is the MLB record for most GIDP in 1 season? Correa has to be getting close to that dubious achievement. 3. How long of a rope does Kuechel have moving forward as a member of rotation? I think he's earned another start despite getting lit up in his last start. Keuchel has alternated very good starts (Game 1 vs. AZ and game 3 vs. PIT) with 2 horrible outings (starts at PHI and the other night vs. TX). In between those starts, he entered in relief of a very ineffective Ober and tossed 5 shutout innings in a game the Twins came back to win. His upcoming start against the White Sox is make or break, imo, with Ober sitting ready at SP. From what I've seen, Ober has NOT pitched at all for SP. Hopefully the rest will get him the reset he needed. Finally... 4. Are there others that are sick and tired of seeing Vazquez continue to fail on a daily basis when he's in lineup? I know he hit a key solo HR last night, but his performance today was BRUTAL. It was really "Gallo-esque" in terms of futility. 0-5 this afternoon with 2 Ks--both in key spots--runners on 1st and 2nd in 4th and with bases loaded in 5th. At the time of his signing, I was "ok" with it, especially after watching Sanchez's mercurial performance last season. I was surprised with the $$ amount (3yrs/ $30m), but understood it as management expected a rebound from him. Furthermore, Jeffers had done nothing BEFORE this season to establish himself as the bona fide #1 catcher. Now that Jeffers has done that, my question is---Does the front office have the guts to ADMIT THEIR MISTAKE and release him in the off season? Considering our FO has failed to admit their OBVIOUS ERROR in signing Gallo, I doubt seeing ownership eating the remaining $20m owed to Vazquez. Saying that---should Vazquez get released, I believe 2 catchers in our system warrant the opportunity to serve as Jeffers backup next season: Prospect #1: Jair Camargo/ Age 24. Acquired with Maeda in 2020 trade from Dodgers. RH bat that, I believe has spent the entire season at SP with the following numbers: AVG: .247, HR- 18, RBI-56, OBP- .315. No idea of his defensive abilities--strengths or weaknesses. Prospect #2: Alex Isola/ Age 25. Rd. 29 pick in 2019 amateur draft. RH bat. Played all season at AA Wichita with the following offensive stats: .271 avg, 18 HR, 54 RBI with a .361 OBP. I know my last point isn't a concern to many at this point in the year, but I'm beyond ready to jettison Vazquez off this team for 2024.
  21. A BIG win, which could've been made even better if the Rays hadn't BLOWN 2 leads---9th and 11th inning. Huge props to Solano! Hopefully a guy our FO puts an emphasis on to re-sign in the offseason. Great to see Correa come through in a clutch situation in the 10th. Same for Kepler. He sure appears to be producing his way into the Twins picking up his $10m option next year. Never thought 2 months ago I'd be typing that previous sentence. Hate to spoil a significant W, but is there really ANY REASON why Gallo is still on this team? 0 for his last 17, 13 of those AB's ending with a whiff. His last RBI came on Aug. 12th. What is the downside of DFA'ing him and bringing up Austin Martin? With Taylor hurting, Martin could spell Stevenson as a short term replacement in CF. Is it too much to ask that TB step up and win a game tomorrow?
  22. As thoroughly disgusted as I am with the result of today's game I know I know I need to keep it in perspective as the Twins still have a 5-game lead over CLE. Saying that, can we cease and desist with the belief that its inevitable that this team is winning the AL Central? Don't get me wrong, as much as today's loss is still stinging, I believe this team CAN win the division. Will it? Who knows. What can't continue to happen includes: 1. Scoring 3 runs or less and expecting to win. 4 runs combined the last two games. Thats even worse as CLE RP's had to cover 8 IP last night and another 4 today, but gave up only 2 runs. The warts of this team offensively, namely failing to produce with RISP was proven by the fact of going 1-18 over the last two games and FAILING to make productive outs (14 more whiffs today) is a big concern. 2. Continuing to see late inning RPs fail in key spots. My confidence in Jax is diminishing. Same with Thielbar. Duran is also showing a regression. If he cleanly fields the groundball back to him in the 9th--its a DP and the Twins head off to TX with a 7-game lead. His 2-out/2 strike wild pitch was a scissor kick to the groin. I'm sure I'm in then minority here, but I wasn't upset that Pagan was hooked for Funderburk. Easy to second guess Baldelli now, but how many people would be posting ripping him if he'd left Pagan in and Calhoun had gotten the go ahead hit? I'm sure more than a few. When the count got to 3-0, I honestly thought walking Calhoun was the best move. Rough result for Funderburk, which I hope he'll learn from. Not intending to continue on a pessimistic note, but with our next 6 games on the road against TX (winners of last two) and CLE, how many games do realistic fans seeing the Twins winning? I'm hoping for two. Need some help from Tampa Bay this weekend against the Guardians. If the Twins can keep their division lead over CLE at +3 games at the conclusion of their series next week, then the remaining 22 games for each team turns the Twins way. Over the final 22 games the Twins face only two teams with a winning record (TB- 3 at home and CIN- 3 away). The other 16 games are against sub .500 teams---Mets, Angels and A's ( 9 at home)/ White Sox & Rockies 7 on road). Over that same 22 game stretch (after September 4) the Guardians have 12 games against FOUR teams with a +.500 record-- TX, BAL, CIN and SF. Their other 10 games are all on the road against the Angels, Royals and Tigers.
  23. Please cease and desist with this nonsense! There is beyond zero chance the Twins are even in the next room to the conversation of Ohtani signing in Minnesota.
  24. Not to be off topic, but in somewhat of a surprising move the Angels released the following players today: SP Giolito RP Lopez RP Moore OF Grichuk OF Renfrow Wondering if ANY of these players would be of interest to the front office? Despite the likely return of Castro, Buxton and Kirilloff over the next 10 days--------do either of the RH hitters offer an upgrade? Would either Lopez or Moore help? No certainty Stewart returns anytime soon. Is Funderburk a better option than what Matt Moore would offer? Is Giolito a short term upgrade over what Keuchel offers, especially with Ober seemingly getting an extended reset in SP? Not strongly advocating for ANY of these to be added as I understand the importance of team chemistry. Saying that---would be interested in hearing the thoughts of others.
  25. With Twins in 1981 and 1985---------95 career ABs with 77 coming in 85 season. Had 2 HRs and 13 RBI while hitting .314. Big dude/ 6'4/226-------OFer and DH. Now 66 living in Charlotte, NC per Baseball Reference profile.
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