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Steven Buhr

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  1. I agree. Not saying I agree with that approach, just that it has that feel to me. I've always believed games you add in the W column in April and May count just as much as those you rack up the rest of the season. Now is when you step on the gas. Bury the competition, and make THEIR front offices question whether there's any point to "buying" at at the deadline. Make them decide to be sellers as soon as possible.
  2. I'm not buying this. If they had NO plans to contend, it made no sense at all to give Correa what they had to know... maybe even expect... to be a 1-year deal. They were planning on contending with the White Sox... maybe Cleveland. It seems more likely, to me, that they're looking around and thinking, "We've had half the team on the IL and nobody has closed the gap on us. The rest of this division REALLY sucks! We can coast a little bit, make some deals at the deadline and make a run at things this year."
  3. See, this is where you lose me... If struggling "happens to everyone," so it's inevitable with Lewis, then sending him down now just prolongs that event, doesn't it? I don't necessarily believe he MUST have some kind of inevitable meltdown beyond just regular slumps, but if the premise is correct, why wouldn't you want to get that out of the way sooner, than later? I simply don't buy that spending some time learning positions that are LESS demanding would threaten his sensitive psyche.
  4. This is an example of the FO using the convenient explanation and hoping nobody notices it's inconsistent with what they've done over and over again with other players. Lewis did not "need" to go down, and sending him down now could cost wins. It certainly doesn't INCREASE their chances of winning games he misses while he's in St Paul. I won't say "The FO doesn't want to win this year." However, I will say the FO doesn't appear to be all that concerned about winning every game possible. Maybe that's fine. Maybe they feel they're going to win this weak division with several games to spare, or at least they feel there's a reasonable enough chance of that being the case that they're willing to roll the dice on it. As for the service time issue that's been brought up, I simply don't know where all that landed with the new deal MLB made with the Union, so I have no idea if that's even a consideration at this point. I would hope not.
  5. I was bumfuzzled this morning when I read Lewis was sent down instead of Miranda. The Twins have struggled to score runs, so they elect to send down a guy who IS producing offensively, and keep a guy who clearly could benefit from some AAA at-bats? As usual, of course, I come to TD and discover a couple of things. 1 - I hadn't paid close enough attention to realize Garlick also has an option left. Of course, this just made me more confused, They could have demoted a LHP-hitting-only platoon option and kept both Lewis AND Miranda (since, sure, he has some defensive benefit at the moment)? 2- But then, reading through the possible rationales for this move, I realized there was one more thing I had NEVER known... Apparently, games you fail to win at the end of May don't matter as much as those you could lose at other points in the season, so banishing one of your hottest bats to St. Paul for at least a couple of weeks this time of year isn't really a big deal. So glad to know that. Can't believe I never heard about that before, they say you learn something new every day.
  6. Looks like we should get our first look at Stankiewicz in CR sometime the middle of the upcoming homestand. I'm looking forward to it. Gotta love to see a guy who comes in with little fanfare and just does the job every time he gets handed the ball.
  7. I haven't missed many home games, so I've obviously seen quite a bit of CES. The hot first week or so wasn't surprising. Those things happen with some amount of regularity and I'm usually skeptical (shocking to those of you who know me, I'm sure). I've kept waiting to see him crash to earth. There was one game where he flailed a couple of times, striking out, and I thought "Here it comes... reality." The next game he was back to multiple hits, and he's continued to make steady contact ever since. Sure, he looks bad at times. Guess what? Every hitter at this level (or any level, I suppose) looks bad at times. Yes, he's had a couple of bloop hits... with some of the windy days we've had, everyone has seen some weird things happen. Those are the exception, not the rule. I don't know what his exit velo has been, but I'd be willing to bet it's up there. There are no guarantees with a Class A player, but I'll be surprised if CES' start is a total fluke. He's focused. He has a nice approach to hitting, not a lot of extra noise in his swing. And he hits the ball hard. That's a recipe for good things happening.
  8. Just a postscript... Casey Legumina has been promoted to Wichita (AA) today (May 2).
  9. Charles Mack is an infielder-turned-catcher. Casey Legumina is a reliever-turned-starting pitcher. Both are lesser-known prospects with big-league potential. They are also roommates this season in Cedar Rapids. One enjoys cooking. The other got food poisoning. Coincidence?? @Steven BUHR went on location to dig into their stories. You will enjoy this one. Maybe it was just a coincidence. Sure, Cedar Rapids Kernels catcher Charles Mack jumped out to a torrid start, with eight hits in 14 at-bats during the first week of the Kernels’ 2022 season, while pitcher Casey Legumina was charged with four earned runs in 3 2/3 innings of work in his sole start during that first week. And, yes, it’s true that Legumina has been doing some cooking at the home of the host family that he and Mack share in Cedar Rapids this summer. But it would be inconceivable that the food poisoning that had Mack bedridden for a couple of days and out of the Kernels lineup for five days had anything to do with Legumina being jealous of Mack’s hot start… wouldn’t it? Let’s ask them. “I got my food poisoning from him!” Mack accused when the question was raised during a joint interview near the end of the team’s most recent homestand. “No way! I wasn’t even cooking for you!” was Legumina’s response. Fortunately, it’s something Mack can laugh about now. He wasn’t laughing much when the bout of food poisoning hit during the team’s trip to play the Quad Cities River Bandits in Davenport earlier in the season. “It was not fun,” Mack said. “I got sick that Saturday.” Charles then admitted that it hadn’t been Casey’s cooking that did him in, but rather some chicken from a fast-food restaurant. In fact, the same issue sidelined at least a couple of additional Kernels. “I learned my lesson. I was in bed for a couple of days, hardly moving,” he recounted. It couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Kernels’ infielder-turned-catcher. His eight hits came in just four games during the opening week of the season and included three doubles and one home run. Naturally, any time someone gets so sick that suddenly, the first thing you wonder about is whether it was caused by COVID. “To be honest with you, I kind of almost wish it was COVID, just because then I would have known what it was,” Mack said. “I went to the E.R. to try to get some blood tests done. If I would have just had COVID, I wouldn’t have had to do any of that stuff.” Nevertheless, Mack is healthy again and back in the catching rotation with fellow Kernels backstops Jair Camargo and Jeferson Morales. Despite notching one hit in seven at-bats in the two games since recovering from his illness, Mack still sported a .409 batting average and a 1.140 OPS through Wednesday’s game at Beloit. The illness was certainly ill-timed, but Mack remains philosophical about it. “That happens. That’s life,” he said. “If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. I was meant to get sick, so we’ll see what happens from there. But it feels good and I’m ready to go.” As for that rough (at least statistically) first start for Legumina, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the numbers might indicate. He breezed through the first three-plus innings in Davenport before losing a bit of command, giving up a couple of singles and two walks in the fourth. He left the game with one run surrendered and the bases full of River Bandits. The first batter after Legumina left the mound hit a bases-clearing triple. That’s just bad luck and bad timing! In his next start, Legumina surrendered two runs in 4 2/3 innings. And in his third and most recent start, he worked five shutout innings against the Beloit Sky Carp, striking out eight batters, while walking just one and giving up one hit. That’s the kind of progress the Twins’ eighth-round pick in the 2019 draft out of Gonzaga University is looking for this season. “I feel really good. Obviously, I’ve had a lot of really good innings,” he said during the interview this week. “There were one or two innings that got away from me, but that’s part of the game. And those are things that I’m working out. Those are things I can control; things I’m working on in my bullpens now, to correct, so when I get in a game, it’s a little bit cleaner. “This year, I’m just trying to throw as many strikes as possible. For me, the big thing is my curveball, my changeup, and just really trying to refine those, get it in the zone more. (I want to) be able to throw them in counts that people aren’t expecting. I’m just trying to be more comfortable, in general, just have a better rhythm with those pitches on the mound. As long as I can do that, I feel like everything will be alright.” Mack, on the other hand, is beginning just his second year as a catcher after being selected as an infielder out of East Williamsville (NY) High School in the sixth round of the 2018 draft. Coming off a 2021 season in Fort Myers where he hit .229, Mack was happy with how he was swinging the bat to begin this season, though much of his focus has had to be on continuing his development as a catcher. “For me, I’m a new catcher, so that’s always a priority,” he said. “With that being said, in the past, I’ve been an infielder my whole life, so I’ve always expected myself to hit. Last year, I felt, was kind of a slow year. I just wasn’t as comfortable as I wanted to be. This past couple of weeks, I’ve just tried to be as comfortable as possible and as confident as possible in the box.” A big part of Mack’s work behind the plate is becoming as familiar as possible with a staff full of pitchers. “I catch all these guys a lot, so I have a good idea what they’re working on in bullpens,” he explained. "Like Casey said, the biggest thing is getting these guys in the zone. Our motto is to throw nasty stuff in the zone. If we can do that, if we can build off that, after we get ahead in the count, then we can start expanding the zone. If you’re down in the count, there’s not much you can do other than throw a fastball in the zone or flip your best off-speed pitch in the zone. Hitters pick up on that. But if you get ahead, you can do what you want.” Both Legumina and Mack, of course, had their professional plans waylaid when the COVID pandemic struck during the 2020 spring training, costing both players a full year of minor league development just as their careers were getting started. “It was mayhem,” Mack recalled. “When we found out, we were all in the Champions Hall, our big auditorium (at the Twins’ minor league academy in Fort Myers, Florida). We thought, ‘Oh, there’s no way we’re all going to be sent home.’ Then we get the news that we’re going home for a couple of weeks, and we were all shocked. And then come to find out we were going to be home for the whole year. It was a crazy time.” Naturally, a professional ballplayer can’t just take a year off, regardless of the reason for the season’s cancellation. “You kind of have to make due with what you have,” Mack said. “I was fortunate enough to have some facilities up by me (in New York) for a short period of time. Then, obviously, those got closed down as well. I just put up a little net in my garage. You make due. And I have a brother back home, so he helped. That was a blessing.” Meanwhile, almost all the way across the country, Casey Legumina was having to improvise as well. But he had another complication. He was trying to return from ‘Tommy John’ surgery, which he had undergone shortly after being drafted by the Twins in 2019. “I had my brother who plays, so that was good,” Legumina said. “Like most places in the country, everything was shutting down. There was limited capacity if they were open. “I ended up building a gym at my house. My brother and I, we just trained there, and I’d throw to him. I was in rehab at the time. So, I did all my rehab throwing to my little brother, who was my catcher. Of course, maybe all that down time gave Legumina an opportunity to refine his culinary talents. “My dad always cooked,” he said, explaining his affinity for spending time in the kitchen. “We owned restaurants growing up. My dad liked to just create things, see what tastes good. I just watched him growing up. So, I just kind of fell in love with cooking for myself, and I enjoy it. I’d rather cook for myself than go get something to eat.” It’s probably a safe bet that Mack would choose having Legumina cooking for him over going out to eat, as well… at least if the alternative is chicken from a certain fast-food joint. Whatever Legumina, Mack, and the rest of their teammates are eating, they need to stick to those diets. Through Wednesday’s win over Beloit, Cedar Rapids is 14-3 and has opened up a three-game lead over their closest Midwest League Western Division rivals. View full article
  10. Maybe it was just a coincidence. Sure, Cedar Rapids Kernels catcher Charles Mack jumped out to a torrid start, with eight hits in 14 at-bats during the first week of the Kernels’ 2022 season, while pitcher Casey Legumina was charged with four earned runs in 3 2/3 innings of work in his sole start during that first week. And, yes, it’s true that Legumina has been doing some cooking at the home of the host family that he and Mack share in Cedar Rapids this summer. But it would be inconceivable that the food poisoning that had Mack bedridden for a couple of days and out of the Kernels lineup for five days had anything to do with Legumina being jealous of Mack’s hot start… wouldn’t it? Let’s ask them. “I got my food poisoning from him!” Mack accused when the question was raised during a joint interview near the end of the team’s most recent homestand. “No way! I wasn’t even cooking for you!” was Legumina’s response. Fortunately, it’s something Mack can laugh about now. He wasn’t laughing much when the bout of food poisoning hit during the team’s trip to play the Quad Cities River Bandits in Davenport earlier in the season. “It was not fun,” Mack said. “I got sick that Saturday.” Charles then admitted that it hadn’t been Casey’s cooking that did him in, but rather some chicken from a fast-food restaurant. In fact, the same issue sidelined at least a couple of additional Kernels. “I learned my lesson. I was in bed for a couple of days, hardly moving,” he recounted. It couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Kernels’ infielder-turned-catcher. His eight hits came in just four games during the opening week of the season and included three doubles and one home run. Naturally, any time someone gets so sick that suddenly, the first thing you wonder about is whether it was caused by COVID. “To be honest with you, I kind of almost wish it was COVID, just because then I would have known what it was,” Mack said. “I went to the E.R. to try to get some blood tests done. If I would have just had COVID, I wouldn’t have had to do any of that stuff.” Nevertheless, Mack is healthy again and back in the catching rotation with fellow Kernels backstops Jair Camargo and Jeferson Morales. Despite notching one hit in seven at-bats in the two games since recovering from his illness, Mack still sported a .409 batting average and a 1.140 OPS through Wednesday’s game at Beloit. The illness was certainly ill-timed, but Mack remains philosophical about it. “That happens. That’s life,” he said. “If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. I was meant to get sick, so we’ll see what happens from there. But it feels good and I’m ready to go.” As for that rough (at least statistically) first start for Legumina, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the numbers might indicate. He breezed through the first three-plus innings in Davenport before losing a bit of command, giving up a couple of singles and two walks in the fourth. He left the game with one run surrendered and the bases full of River Bandits. The first batter after Legumina left the mound hit a bases-clearing triple. That’s just bad luck and bad timing! In his next start, Legumina surrendered two runs in 4 2/3 innings. And in his third and most recent start, he worked five shutout innings against the Beloit Sky Carp, striking out eight batters, while walking just one and giving up one hit. That’s the kind of progress the Twins’ eighth-round pick in the 2019 draft out of Gonzaga University is looking for this season. “I feel really good. Obviously, I’ve had a lot of really good innings,” he said during the interview this week. “There were one or two innings that got away from me, but that’s part of the game. And those are things that I’m working out. Those are things I can control; things I’m working on in my bullpens now, to correct, so when I get in a game, it’s a little bit cleaner. “This year, I’m just trying to throw as many strikes as possible. For me, the big thing is my curveball, my changeup, and just really trying to refine those, get it in the zone more. (I want to) be able to throw them in counts that people aren’t expecting. I’m just trying to be more comfortable, in general, just have a better rhythm with those pitches on the mound. As long as I can do that, I feel like everything will be alright.” Mack, on the other hand, is beginning just his second year as a catcher after being selected as an infielder out of East Williamsville (NY) High School in the sixth round of the 2018 draft. Coming off a 2021 season in Fort Myers where he hit .229, Mack was happy with how he was swinging the bat to begin this season, though much of his focus has had to be on continuing his development as a catcher. “For me, I’m a new catcher, so that’s always a priority,” he said. “With that being said, in the past, I’ve been an infielder my whole life, so I’ve always expected myself to hit. Last year, I felt, was kind of a slow year. I just wasn’t as comfortable as I wanted to be. This past couple of weeks, I’ve just tried to be as comfortable as possible and as confident as possible in the box.” A big part of Mack’s work behind the plate is becoming as familiar as possible with a staff full of pitchers. “I catch all these guys a lot, so I have a good idea what they’re working on in bullpens,” he explained. "Like Casey said, the biggest thing is getting these guys in the zone. Our motto is to throw nasty stuff in the zone. If we can do that, if we can build off that, after we get ahead in the count, then we can start expanding the zone. If you’re down in the count, there’s not much you can do other than throw a fastball in the zone or flip your best off-speed pitch in the zone. Hitters pick up on that. But if you get ahead, you can do what you want.” Both Legumina and Mack, of course, had their professional plans waylaid when the COVID pandemic struck during the 2020 spring training, costing both players a full year of minor league development just as their careers were getting started. “It was mayhem,” Mack recalled. “When we found out, we were all in the Champions Hall, our big auditorium (at the Twins’ minor league academy in Fort Myers, Florida). We thought, ‘Oh, there’s no way we’re all going to be sent home.’ Then we get the news that we’re going home for a couple of weeks, and we were all shocked. And then come to find out we were going to be home for the whole year. It was a crazy time.” Naturally, a professional ballplayer can’t just take a year off, regardless of the reason for the season’s cancellation. “You kind of have to make due with what you have,” Mack said. “I was fortunate enough to have some facilities up by me (in New York) for a short period of time. Then, obviously, those got closed down as well. I just put up a little net in my garage. You make due. And I have a brother back home, so he helped. That was a blessing.” Meanwhile, almost all the way across the country, Casey Legumina was having to improvise as well. But he had another complication. He was trying to return from ‘Tommy John’ surgery, which he had undergone shortly after being drafted by the Twins in 2019. “I had my brother who plays, so that was good,” Legumina said. “Like most places in the country, everything was shutting down. There was limited capacity if they were open. “I ended up building a gym at my house. My brother and I, we just trained there, and I’d throw to him. I was in rehab at the time. So, I did all my rehab throwing to my little brother, who was my catcher. Of course, maybe all that down time gave Legumina an opportunity to refine his culinary talents. “My dad always cooked,” he said, explaining his affinity for spending time in the kitchen. “We owned restaurants growing up. My dad liked to just create things, see what tastes good. I just watched him growing up. So, I just kind of fell in love with cooking for myself, and I enjoy it. I’d rather cook for myself than go get something to eat.” It’s probably a safe bet that Mack would choose having Legumina cooking for him over going out to eat, as well… at least if the alternative is chicken from a certain fast-food joint. Whatever Legumina, Mack, and the rest of their teammates are eating, they need to stick to those diets. Through Wednesday’s win over Beloit, Cedar Rapids is 14-3 and has opened up a three-game lead over their closest Midwest League Western Division rivals.
  11. How huge was that walk Godoy came back to work in the 10th after going down 0-2?
  12. I'm in. Glad you've found a way to do this without a hard paywall.
  13. Really classy thing the Wind Surge did for Peter Mooney. Well done, folks
  14. Whew! We made it! I know I can’t be the only person who wouldn’t have bet much money a couple of months ago on the chances of MLB even having a Postseason in 2020. It looked pretty bleak when the Marlins and Cardinals started things off with a bunch of postponed games. But here we are. The American League starts their first round on Tuesday and the National League gets going on Wednesday. And, yes, the Minnesota Twins will be participating in this rather strange endeavor, having squeaked through with a second consecutive American League Central Division championship. When I initially placed a bet on the Twins to win their Division, back in January, I bet in moderation. After all, back then, we still expected the season to be 162 games long and we all know anything can happen over the course of a marathon-like MLB regular season. But when the season was officially shortened to 60 games, I was feeling very optimistic about the Twins’ chances in the AL Central. So much so that I put a whole bunch more money on them to win the Division. How much? Well, I won’t go into those details, but it was the largest single bet I’ve placed on any event since legalized gambling came to Iowa. Suffice to say, I was not pleased with a week left in the schedule. Thankfully, the White Sox totally tanked and the Twins won just enough down the stretch for me to cash in. But that’s all in the rearview mirror now. It’s time to look at the odds that William Hill and Elite Sportsbook have issued for the 16 teams still playing baseball this week. Once again, I’m surprised how these two organizations diverge on some of these odds. There are some interesting opportunities, for sure, but first let’s check in on the Twins’ odds, where the two sportsbooks are almost in lockstep with one another. Both William Hill and Elite have the Twins at 10-1 odds to win the World Series and they differ very little on their chances to win the American League Pennant. Hill is at +425 and Elite at an even 4-1. At William Hill, you can also put money on the outcome of the Twins’ best-of-three series with the Astros (boooooo). But the Twins are such heavy favorites (that felt as weird to type as it does to read, trust me) at -170 that it hardly seems worth it. Bottom line, putting a little money on the Twins to win it all at 10-1 seems worthwhile. After all, if there’s anything that would feel better than the Twins winning the World Series, it would have to be the Twins winning the World Series AND cashing in a nice fat payday from a sportsbook. But once we’ve got that money down, where else should we turn? Forget the Dodgers. I don’t care how good a team is supposed to be, if the best I can do is get 3-1 at Elite (+275 at WmHill) to win a playoff involving 15 other teams, I’m going to pass. The Rays are getting just 6-1 odds at Elite to win the World Series, but you can get 10-1 on WmHill. So you might ask yourself if you like Tampa’s chances as much as (or even more than?) you do the Twins’. No? So, what about the Yankees? Yes, at WmHill you can get that same 10-1 line on the Yankees to win the Series (Elite offers only 7-1). Elite is also offering 10-1 on the White Sox, but you can get 14-1 if you move over to William Hill. Thinking 10-1 is small potatoes and want a bigger bang for your buck? We can do that. Let’s start by assuming you’re not interested in Miami (40-1 on WmHill, 33-1 on Elite) and probably only marginally more tempted by Milwaukee (40-1 on Elite, 25-1 on WmHill) and Toronto (nay, Buffalo) which sits at 30-1 at both books. Could you be teased into a Cubs bet at 15-1 on William Hill (12-1 on Elite)? Maybe you like the Cubs to win the NL at +750 on WmHill (+550 on Elite)? The Padres have been a trendy favorite and you can get 4-1 at Elite (+350 WmHill) for a San Diego NL Pennant or go crazy and bet them to win the whole shooting match and get 9-1 at Elite (7-1 at WmHill). Here’s one that has piqued my interest, though. Didn’t the Reds look to you like they could be capable of doing some damage? And the Twins didn’t even go up against their best arm! We can get 9-1 at Elite on the Reds to win the National League (+850 at WmHill) and a whopping 22-1 at Elite to win the World Series (17-1 at WmHill). Did anyone who watched that Twins/Reds series really come away from it thinking the Twins are better than twice as likely to win it all than the team that took two out of three from them? Just for comparison, Cleveland and Houston both carry 20-1 odds to win the World Series. And Cincinnati got a pretty good draw in that NL bracket, too. They’d only have to face one or the other of the NL favorites, since they’re in the opposite bracket from the Dodgers and Padres (yes, technically, Atlanta is the number 2 seed, but both bookmakers like San Diego more). I like the Reds in their matchup with Atlanta and then they probably get the Cubs (though I’m not THAT sure the Cubs couldn’t find a way to drop a couple of games to Miami). So, that’s where I’m landing. Obviously, I have to put some money on the Twins to win it all so I REALLY have something to celebrate when Maeda shuts down his former team to claim the top prize. But I’m also going to take a little flyer on the Reds. Clearly could be a combination of “recency bias” and steep odds, but heck, I’ve put money on stuff with less logic behind it. Let’s get this party started! (This article was originally posted at Knuckleballsblog.com.)
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