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Melissa Berman

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  1. After getting swept by the Houston Astros in frustrating fashion last week, it was imperative that the Twins answer back by rattling off a few wins against their division rival the Cleveland Guardians. The weekend series had it all; grand slams, manager ejections, electric Target Field crowds, the 1000th home run hit by a Twin at Target Field, and two separate fan proposals. Ultimately, the Twins emerged from the series with a three-game lead in the division over both the Guardians and the Chicago White Sox. Here are my five takeaways from this series. 1. Royce Lewis is here to stay Between Friday’s grand slam, superb fielding at shortstop and consistent hits elsewhere, long-held #1 Twins prospect Royce Lewis has made a strong statement since he was called up a little over a week ago. Lewis has a .310 average and a top 6 on the team OPS of .719. On WCCO Radio, President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey expressed optimism that Royce Lewis can play around the field similar to the Dodgers' super-utilityman Chris Taylor. This indicates that the Twins will likely find a spot for him somewhere on the field once shortstop Carlos Correa returns to the lineup. And if he continues to perform on the field, why wouldn't they? Lewis' debut has been a long time coming, and after having gone through ACL surgery and rehab, it has been rewarding to finally see him on the field after all that hard work. He received a standing ovation from the crowd for his grand slam on Friday night, and afterwards, he expressed gratitude for the warm welcome he's received from Twins fans. "I really appreciate it. This fan base has always been really, really special to me. They've always been great to me. Minnesota nice," Lewis said. 2. Jose Miranda needs a little more time Preheat to 350° and pop Jose back in the oven for a little bit- he needs some more time to cook in AAA. So far, Miranda has looked a bit outmatched at the plate and his .114 batting average reflects that. His .111 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) and few strikeouts show that while he is making contact, the contact he makes does not give him a good chance to succeed. The Twins are depleted at first base, and injuries to first basemen Alex Kirilloff and Miguel Sanó have necessitated Jose’s spot in the lineup recently. Some fans questioned why Miranda was sent out to hit in the 10th inning on Saturday in a critical down-by-1, do-or-die situation with Byron Buxton on the bench. Manager Rocco Baldelli was quite clear after the game that rest days are rest days and that the direction the game takes does not affect that. But if Mike Trout can come off the bench to hit in the 10th inning to a huge ovation, to some it seemed that Buxton could manage as well, though Buxton is coming back from injury. I am a firm believer in Miranda’s talent, but it seems a little more time in AAA would be of benefit, and he's still very young at 23. Some infield shuffling could fill Miranda’s spot at first if he was sent down- perhaps Lewis, Luis Arraez, and even Gary Sánchez could share time there. Utility player extraordinaire Arraez made some good scoops at first during Sunday’s game, which Miranda was on the bench for. 3. Runners left on base will haunt Saturday’s game can be summed up as a game of missed opportunities, as the Twins left a whopping 12 runners on base. The biggest example of this was in the 5th inning, where the Twins had bases loaded with no outs and Shane Bieber emerged unscathed due to an unfortunate home-to-first Gio Urshela double play followed by a Miranda groundout. This half-inning was nothing short of deflating. The Twins only got three more hits in the rest of the game, two of these occurring with 2 outs and no runners on. We all know that Walks Will Haunt, but runners left on base certainly will too. The offense returned on Sunday, where Buxton and Urshela both got solo home runs, including Buxton hitting the 1,000th home run hit by a Twin at Target Field- his 11th of the season. 4. Joe Smith is one of the team’s most underrated assets Through 15 appearances, Joe Smith still has a 0.00 ERA. Some might say that’s because the Twins have used him sparingly; Smith is used in high-leverage situations, so often in late-inning, close games with runners on. He leads all AL relivers with a +1.11 win probability added (WPA). Though he has somehow never been an All-Star, he is arguably the most prolific bullpen workhorse of the last 20 years. The Twins used Smith in all three games of the series (Pagán too). So regardless of his limited pitch count (146 pitches thrown in 15 appearances equating to an average of less than 10 pitches per game), owning a 0.00 ERA this far into the season when used as a high-leverage pitcher is impressive no matter how you dice it. If this keeps up, there is no way the league won't start to take note. 5. The crowd is starting to wake up at Target Field After decidedly light attendance thus far, the weekend’s series featured the best attendance with the most hyped-up fans Target Field has seen this season. Friday’s game can be summed up as nothing short of electric due to the Twins piling on 12 runs. The crowd dutifully got into it when Baldelli got himself ejected in the top of the 10th inning on Saturday while arguing about an interference call, but many fans in the seats expressed confusion on why he was arguing about what seemed to be a clear-cut call. The series also featured the first big screen fan proposals at Target Field this season- one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Officially, the Twins announced 61,500 fans visited Target Field for the three-game series, which, while still feeling low, is a massive improvement from even a week ago. The Twins are near the bottom of MLB in attendance, averaging 17,944 fans per game. As the weather continues to be beautiful, kids get out of school, and the Twins hopefully keep winning, fans will continue to return to Target Field in droves. Bonus takeaway: Urshela and Sánchez had a solid series This series saw great production from former Yankees Urshela and Sánchez: Urshela hit two home runs (including a 434-foot monster blast on Friday night) and Sánchez had one home run and two doubles. Urshela continued his arguably exceptional play at 3B this series. Considering the Twins have leaned on Sánchez in the DH role when not playing catcher, hopefully this series is a sign of more good things to come at the plate. *** What were your takeaways from the Twins series against the Guardians? Leave your COMMENTS below. View full article
  2. 1. Royce Lewis is here to stay Between Friday’s grand slam, superb fielding at shortstop and consistent hits elsewhere, long-held #1 Twins prospect Royce Lewis has made a strong statement since he was called up a little over a week ago. Lewis has a .310 average and a top 6 on the team OPS of .719. On WCCO Radio, President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey expressed optimism that Royce Lewis can play around the field similar to the Dodgers' super-utilityman Chris Taylor. This indicates that the Twins will likely find a spot for him somewhere on the field once shortstop Carlos Correa returns to the lineup. And if he continues to perform on the field, why wouldn't they? Lewis' debut has been a long time coming, and after having gone through ACL surgery and rehab, it has been rewarding to finally see him on the field after all that hard work. He received a standing ovation from the crowd for his grand slam on Friday night, and afterwards, he expressed gratitude for the warm welcome he's received from Twins fans. "I really appreciate it. This fan base has always been really, really special to me. They've always been great to me. Minnesota nice," Lewis said. 2. Jose Miranda needs a little more time Preheat to 350° and pop Jose back in the oven for a little bit- he needs some more time to cook in AAA. So far, Miranda has looked a bit outmatched at the plate and his .114 batting average reflects that. His .111 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) and few strikeouts show that while he is making contact, the contact he makes does not give him a good chance to succeed. The Twins are depleted at first base, and injuries to first basemen Alex Kirilloff and Miguel Sanó have necessitated Jose’s spot in the lineup recently. Some fans questioned why Miranda was sent out to hit in the 10th inning on Saturday in a critical down-by-1, do-or-die situation with Byron Buxton on the bench. Manager Rocco Baldelli was quite clear after the game that rest days are rest days and that the direction the game takes does not affect that. But if Mike Trout can come off the bench to hit in the 10th inning to a huge ovation, to some it seemed that Buxton could manage as well, though Buxton is coming back from injury. I am a firm believer in Miranda’s talent, but it seems a little more time in AAA would be of benefit, and he's still very young at 23. Some infield shuffling could fill Miranda’s spot at first if he was sent down- perhaps Lewis, Luis Arraez, and even Gary Sánchez could share time there. Utility player extraordinaire Arraez made some good scoops at first during Sunday’s game, which Miranda was on the bench for. 3. Runners left on base will haunt Saturday’s game can be summed up as a game of missed opportunities, as the Twins left a whopping 12 runners on base. The biggest example of this was in the 5th inning, where the Twins had bases loaded with no outs and Shane Bieber emerged unscathed due to an unfortunate home-to-first Gio Urshela double play followed by a Miranda groundout. This half-inning was nothing short of deflating. The Twins only got three more hits in the rest of the game, two of these occurring with 2 outs and no runners on. We all know that Walks Will Haunt, but runners left on base certainly will too. The offense returned on Sunday, where Buxton and Urshela both got solo home runs, including Buxton hitting the 1,000th home run hit by a Twin at Target Field- his 11th of the season. 4. Joe Smith is one of the team’s most underrated assets Through 15 appearances, Joe Smith still has a 0.00 ERA. Some might say that’s because the Twins have used him sparingly; Smith is used in high-leverage situations, so often in late-inning, close games with runners on. He leads all AL relivers with a +1.11 win probability added (WPA). Though he has somehow never been an All-Star, he is arguably the most prolific bullpen workhorse of the last 20 years. The Twins used Smith in all three games of the series (Pagán too). So regardless of his limited pitch count (146 pitches thrown in 15 appearances equating to an average of less than 10 pitches per game), owning a 0.00 ERA this far into the season when used as a high-leverage pitcher is impressive no matter how you dice it. If this keeps up, there is no way the league won't start to take note. 5. The crowd is starting to wake up at Target Field After decidedly light attendance thus far, the weekend’s series featured the best attendance with the most hyped-up fans Target Field has seen this season. Friday’s game can be summed up as nothing short of electric due to the Twins piling on 12 runs. The crowd dutifully got into it when Baldelli got himself ejected in the top of the 10th inning on Saturday while arguing about an interference call, but many fans in the seats expressed confusion on why he was arguing about what seemed to be a clear-cut call. The series also featured the first big screen fan proposals at Target Field this season- one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Officially, the Twins announced 61,500 fans visited Target Field for the three-game series, which, while still feeling low, is a massive improvement from even a week ago. The Twins are near the bottom of MLB in attendance, averaging 17,944 fans per game. As the weather continues to be beautiful, kids get out of school, and the Twins hopefully keep winning, fans will continue to return to Target Field in droves. Bonus takeaway: Urshela and Sánchez had a solid series This series saw great production from former Yankees Urshela and Sánchez: Urshela hit two home runs (including a 434-foot monster blast on Friday night) and Sánchez had one home run and two doubles. Urshela continued his arguably exceptional play at 3B this series. Considering the Twins have leaned on Sánchez in the DH role when not playing catcher, hopefully this series is a sign of more good things to come at the plate. *** What were your takeaways from the Twins series against the Guardians? Leave your COMMENTS below.
  3. Love that lede. Hopefully we can get healthy and get back on track here vs division opponent! Critical series coming up here
  4. This is really cool idea for a series. I could never forget that Thome home run in particular. Well done!
  5. Gordon didn't even look like he was trying and he was still throwing 70s and 80s. He's got an arm!
  6. Great seats It's a beautiful day to be out!! Shade is definitely the way to go. Two games for the price of one, right!?
  7. Thanks for the kind words! It was so windy yesterday and must've been so difficult to hit spots that I'm willing to cut Archer sIack, but short leash indeed. Ober threw a practice bullpen yesterday, so hopefully that's a good sign. As long as we have Ryan and a couple other solid starters I feel pretty good about where the starting pitching is at. I'm glad they just pick up the game where they left off too. Even though it would be beneficial for the Twins in this case to start over, it's nice for the players that they won't have a true doubleheader. Might as well just pick up where we left and save some time. Hoping for a split today!
  8. Holy cow, sorry it ended up being so costly and such a bummer. Looks like you will get credit for any future 2022 home game if you bought the tickets from the Twins, so hopefully you can all make it out! Luckily lots more chances to wear that Correa jersey! I bought one for this season too!
  9. I can't imagine how hard it must've been trying to pitch and hit your spots in high winds. I'm willing to cut Archer some slack here
  10. Thanks for the kind words! This was a lot of fun to write, and truly my favorite form of writing too.
  11. I was really impressed with how much they did for Star Wars Night- excellent points from you. I've been to sporting events where they barely mentioned the theme, but the Twins did a ton in just the small sample size we saw! They had an entire intro video like the Star Wars opening credit scenes, photoshop graphics and unique names for every player, they played Star Wars music, had Star Wars characters on the field and TC was costumes, and giveaway shirts, They probably had a lot more planned too. Really well done by them.
  12. Wednesday's game vs the Houston Astros will no doubt be a memorable one for the fans and staff who were in attendance- even though they only saw 3 innings. Under a fittingly dark and foreboding sky, the Twins took the field alongside Darth Vader and a gaggle of stormtroopers in honor of Star Wars Night. From the moment "Obi-wan Kepleroni" and "Buck Skywalker" took the field, the wind was already whipping. Napkins and trash swirled across the field and fans chased hats ripped from their heads. As the first couple innings passed, the sky continued to darken until finally the rain opened up during the bottom of the second inning and sent fans scattering for the overhang and concourse. "It's watering down my beer!" a guy with a beer near me exclaimed as we both bolted for shelter. The Astros jumped all over Chris Archer and quickly took a 5-1 lead. The teams continued to play on through the rain and even some lightning (no comment on that one), but once reports of a tornado warning in nearby Eden Prairie came through, it seemed like only a matter of time until the rain and severe weather would continue its eastward march, reach downtown Minneapolis and bring the game to a halt. It was not lost on me that there was a tornado confirmed in Hutchinson, a mere hour west of Minneapolis, and my family and friends in the west metro were sheltered in basements, yet here we were at a baseball game completely exposed to the elements and in the storm's path. Sure enough, as the Twins took the field to begin the 4th inning, the grounds crew came out to tidy up the infield dirt (a fool's errand with the incoming rain, I thought to myself) and rookie reliever Yennier Cano warmed up on the mound, out came the tarp and into a rain delay the game went- before Cano could throw his first MLB pitch. Interestingly, it will go down as the date of his MLB debut. The Target Field Grounds Crew visibly struggled in the high winds to get the tarp down on the ground, and it was so windy that they had to weigh down the tarp with nine golf carts parked along its corners and sides. The Twins PA announcer and the outfield big screen instructed fans to seek shelter on the concourse and displayed an ominous radar graphic showing a giant mass of dark colors headed directly our way. At first, fans on the 300 level were allowed to stay on the upper concourse, where they mostly mingled and took videos of the torrential rain being blown across the field. I was doing exactly that when a concession worker walked up. "Do you want to see a really great view of the sky?" he asked. He motioned me to follow him, and we walked past a concession stand over to a beautiful view of North Loop overlooking the lightrail station. Lighting radiated across the sky and I snapped some pictures as a young man next to me profusely apologized to his date for the terrible game experience. You know the saying, you can't control the weather, but you can check the forecast. Actually, I just made that up. The concession stand worker stopped by about five minutes later to take another look at the sky. "You're still here?" he asked me. Sirens began wailing, and the ushers shepherded us to the lower concourse, which was jam-packed with soggy fans. I found a spot overlooking the field above the first base dugout and watched. I have truly never seen anything like it: the rain was coming down in such thick sheets that you could barely see the outfield video boards. The National Weather Service Twin Cities tweeted that the storm was expecting to bring Minneapolis wind gusts of up to 80 mph. A damage survey conducted the next day on Thursday May 12 concluded that an EF0 tornado touched down in Coon Rapids 15 miles north of Target Field. Despite the torrential downpour, I was awestruck with how well the Target Field drainage system seemed to be keeping up. While there was rain pooled on top of the tarp, the water on the infield dirt and surrounding grass was largely dissipating. As time ticked by, Target Field tried to find ways to keep fans entertained. With their tongue in cheek, they played "Rain Is A Good Thing" by Luke Bryan, which fans gleefully sang along to, and the Twins alternated between showing a Marney Gellner interview with Justin Morneau and an apocalyptic warning to stay sheltered. Unfortunately for those looking to dance, Club Rayne did not open today because the Twins cleared fans out of all seats. Fans appeared to be in good spirits during the delay, though some outwardly questioned why the Twins decided to play the game at all given the evening's forecast. At one point, a guy took advantage of there being no security on the field and ran onto the field. He ran across the tarp (without slipping, somehow) before he was apprehended near the third base dugout in a somewhat anticlimactic fashion- no tackling or chasing, he simply stopped running and walked into the loving, open arms of Target Field security. Though the severe weather had blown through by about 8:40 p.m., it continued to rain steadily, and it looked like it would continue until midnight. The concourse started to empty out. Then at 9:17 p.m., 1 hour and 20 minutes after they first rolled out the tarp, the Twins officially announced they were suspending the game until the following day, Thursday May 12 at 12:10 p.m. The Twins would pick up in the top of the 4th inning down 5-1. After being almost no-hit by Justin Verlander the day before, it was not the start of the game the Twins were hoping for. Can we get a do-over? Regardless, to me, Wednesday's game was one of those sporting events that is so bizarre that it rises to the level of being fun. The remaining fans in the stadium trickled out as "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" by Creedence Clearwater Revival played overhead. I sloshed back to my car dreaming of sunnier days ahead- both in the forecast and on the baseball diamond. *** Were you at the game yesterday or watching from somewhere else that got hit by severe weather? What was your experience like? Leave your comments, thoughts, and stories below. View full article
  13. Under a fittingly dark and foreboding sky, the Twins took the field alongside Darth Vader and a gaggle of stormtroopers in honor of Star Wars Night. From the moment "Obi-wan Kepleroni" and "Buck Skywalker" took the field, the wind was already whipping. Napkins and trash swirled across the field and fans chased hats ripped from their heads. As the first couple innings passed, the sky continued to darken until finally the rain opened up during the bottom of the second inning and sent fans scattering for the overhang and concourse. "It's watering down my beer!" a guy with a beer near me exclaimed as we both bolted for shelter. The Astros jumped all over Chris Archer and quickly took a 5-1 lead. The teams continued to play on through the rain and even some lightning (no comment on that one), but once reports of a tornado warning in nearby Eden Prairie came through, it seemed like only a matter of time until the rain and severe weather would continue its eastward march, reach downtown Minneapolis and bring the game to a halt. It was not lost on me that there was a tornado confirmed in Hutchinson, a mere hour west of Minneapolis, and my family and friends in the west metro were sheltered in basements, yet here we were at a baseball game completely exposed to the elements and in the storm's path. Sure enough, as the Twins took the field to begin the 4th inning, the grounds crew came out to tidy up the infield dirt (a fool's errand with the incoming rain, I thought to myself) and rookie reliever Yennier Cano warmed up on the mound, out came the tarp and into a rain delay the game went- before Cano could throw his first MLB pitch. Interestingly, it will go down as the date of his MLB debut. The Target Field Grounds Crew visibly struggled in the high winds to get the tarp down on the ground, and it was so windy that they had to weigh down the tarp with nine golf carts parked along its corners and sides. The Twins PA announcer and the outfield big screen instructed fans to seek shelter on the concourse and displayed an ominous radar graphic showing a giant mass of dark colors headed directly our way. At first, fans on the 300 level were allowed to stay on the upper concourse, where they mostly mingled and took videos of the torrential rain being blown across the field. I was doing exactly that when a concession worker walked up. "Do you want to see a really great view of the sky?" he asked. He motioned me to follow him, and we walked past a concession stand over to a beautiful view of North Loop overlooking the lightrail station. Lighting radiated across the sky and I snapped some pictures as a young man next to me profusely apologized to his date for the terrible game experience. You know the saying, you can't control the weather, but you can check the forecast. Actually, I just made that up. The concession stand worker stopped by about five minutes later to take another look at the sky. "You're still here?" he asked me. Sirens began wailing, and the ushers shepherded us to the lower concourse, which was jam-packed with soggy fans. I found a spot overlooking the field above the first base dugout and watched. I have truly never seen anything like it: the rain was coming down in such thick sheets that you could barely see the outfield video boards. The National Weather Service Twin Cities tweeted that the storm was expecting to bring Minneapolis wind gusts of up to 80 mph. A damage survey conducted the next day on Thursday May 12 concluded that an EF0 tornado touched down in Coon Rapids 15 miles north of Target Field. Despite the torrential downpour, I was awestruck with how well the Target Field drainage system seemed to be keeping up. While there was rain pooled on top of the tarp, the water on the infield dirt and surrounding grass was largely dissipating. As time ticked by, Target Field tried to find ways to keep fans entertained. With their tongue in cheek, they played "Rain Is A Good Thing" by Luke Bryan, which fans gleefully sang along to, and the Twins alternated between showing a Marney Gellner interview with Justin Morneau and an apocalyptic warning to stay sheltered. Unfortunately for those looking to dance, Club Rayne did not open today because the Twins cleared fans out of all seats. Fans appeared to be in good spirits during the delay, though some outwardly questioned why the Twins decided to play the game at all given the evening's forecast. At one point, a guy took advantage of there being no security on the field and ran onto the field. He ran across the tarp (without slipping, somehow) before he was apprehended near the third base dugout in a somewhat anticlimactic fashion- no tackling or chasing, he simply stopped running and walked into the loving, open arms of Target Field security. Though the severe weather had blown through by about 8:40 p.m., it continued to rain steadily, and it looked like it would continue until midnight. The concourse started to empty out. Then at 9:17 p.m., 1 hour and 20 minutes after they first rolled out the tarp, the Twins officially announced they were suspending the game until the following day, Thursday May 12 at 12:10 p.m. The Twins would pick up in the top of the 4th inning down 5-1. After being almost no-hit by Justin Verlander the day before, it was not the start of the game the Twins were hoping for. Can we get a do-over? Regardless, to me, Wednesday's game was one of those sporting events that is so bizarre that it rises to the level of being fun. The remaining fans in the stadium trickled out as "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" by Creedence Clearwater Revival played overhead. I sloshed back to my car dreaming of sunnier days ahead- both in the forecast and on the baseball diamond. *** Were you at the game yesterday or watching from somewhere else that got hit by severe weather? What was your experience like? Leave your comments, thoughts, and stories below.
  14. Another series, another sweep! The Twins just keep rolling! My main takeaway from this past weekend's series vs the Oakland Athletics is what a joy it was to get a glimpse of what the Twins' future lineup might look like. On its face, let's say someone showed you a Twins lineup featuring Royce Lewis, Trevor Larnach, Jose Miranda, Gilberto Celestino and Josh Winder on the mound. What year would you think it is? Although we are seeing some of these faces due to illness and injury, it's apparent that the future is bright for the Twins. They have depth, talent, and based on the number of one-run games they have pulled out this year, grit and ability to tackle adversity. The Twins have the largest division lead in baseball- 3 games over the the second place Chicago White Sox. But exactly as I predicted, here come the Sox; they have gone on a tear and have won 6 in a row. Things have begun to calm down in the field for them after starting the year off with a circus of errors. But as long as the Twins are taking care of business on the field, they don't need to worry about what the Sox are doing. Regarding Lewis specifically, seeing him make his long-awaited debut AND get his first hit on Friday was a blast. Considering how beautiful of a night it was and that the Twins' #1 prospect was making his debut, I was expecting a bit larger of a crowd, but I know several people who went to the game for the sole purpose of seeing Lewis debut. His hit brought about a funny moment that may or may not have been picked up by TV- when Lewis' first hit ball made its way back to the Twins dugout, Gio Urshela feigned tossing it into the crowd. If he actually did, it could've been a Tom Brady 600th touchdown ball situation. Regardless, the Twins fans in attendance treated him right and rewarded him with some big cheers during pregame introductions and after that first MLB hit. He received a standing ovation by many fans during his first at bat too, His debut has been a long time coming, and after having gone through ACL surgery and rehab, it was rewarding to finally see him on the field after all that hard work. Welcome to the Show! One other cool observation from the game on Friday- the Twins put up the score of the Wild game on the outfield screen! I really appreciated being able to follow along what was going on with the game. My friends and I could barely believe our eyes when we saw the board light up that the Wild had scored two goals in the first couple minutes while on the road. That's one way to quiet a crowd! I'm looking forward to getting to some more Twins games this week! Twins fans who were waiting for 70s and 80s weather to go, now is your chance. For those who like kicking back and having a couple beers at the ballpark (I'll stick to Gatorade and dollar dogs), look no further than the Twins' new promotion called "First 2 Drinks On Us!" For games on May 6- May 15, $30, gets fans a ballpark access ticket and two drinks. Considering that's probably about the cost of two beers (can you tell I'm not a beer drinker?), that doesn't seem like too shabby of a deal. Have a great week and Go Twins! His very first at bat! After Lewis' first MLB hit, a single!
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