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Suck-Ass Performer of the Game
Jason Kubel
Jason Kubel
(0-5, 2 K, 3 LOB)
Suck-Ass Performance Stats
Player Number
Jason Kubel 14
Michael Cuddyer 11
Nick Blackburn 10
Matt Guerrier 10
Denard Span 9
Alex Burnett 8
Orlando Hudson 8
Kevin Slowey 8
Jim Thome 8
Scott Baker 6
J.J. Hardy 6
Jon Rauch 6
Francisco Liriano 5
Justin Morneau 5
Delmon Young 5
Jesse Crain 4
Brendan Harris 3
Ron Mahay 3
Joe Mauer 3
Carl Pavano 3
Matt Tolbert 3
Danny Valencia 3
Drew Butera 2
Matt Capps 2
Alexi Casilla 2
Jose Mijares 2
Nick Punto 2
Jason Repko 2
Drew Butera 1
Brian Duensing 1
Randy Flores 1
Ron Gardenhire 1
Jeff Manship 1
Pat Neshek 1
Glen Perkins 1
Trevor Plouffe 1
Wilson Ramos 1
Anthony Slama 1

Date: 7/26-28/10

Opponent: Kansas City Royals

Home/Away: Away

Starting Pitcher: Liriano, Pavano and Duensing

Final Score: W 19-1, W 11-2, and W 6-4

Record: 56-46

Recap: I'm not going to spend a lot of time recapping games that are from a few days ago (and a series that was a lopsided 30 to 7 affair), but I do apologize again for being so far behind. It's just a crazy busy time of the year for me, and I'm exhausted. I'll be busy this weekend so I don't know when (or if) I'll get a chance to watch the games, but once I get to next week I'll have a much easier schedule and should be back on track to getting a post up shortly after each game.

We finallly took advantage of our soft schedule to put together some wins. Our pitching and our offense have both been clicking (obviously, based on the scores). However, we do need to keep in mind that we are playing the Royals, not the Yankees. The real test will be when we start playing teams with a winning record again. But hopefully these road wins will build up the confidence. 

There were too many individual performances to mention, but Mauer is Magic again (9 for 13 with 9 RBIs, 1 home run and 4 doubles), Skinny Delmon continues to lead the team (9 for 15, 5 RBIs, 3 doubles, 1 home run), and Valencia was quite impressive (8 for 12, 3 doubles, 1 home run, 7 RBIs). The starting pitchers were also fantastic. Liriano delivered 7 shutout innings, Pavano had an unusually short outing for him (5 innings) but only allowed 1 run, and Duensing stretched out more going 6 innings with 2 earned runs. Of course I'm sure the ridiculous offensive performance helped relax them a bit. I mean, we averaged 12 runs per game. That's insane. Now let's see if we can trample the Mariners.

Best Moment: My personal favorite was in the second game (I think), when the cameras showed a fan who had caught a foul ball, but in the corner of the screen was a Royals fan giving the camera the finger. I love live TV.

Most Questionable Moment: Calling the Royals a baseball team.

Worst Moment: It's hard to fine something negative about those games.

Suck-Ass Performance of the Game: No one in the first game, Ron Mahay in the second game (0.2 innings pitched, 3 hits, 1 earned run) and Alexi Casilla in the third (0 for 5, 3 left on base).

 

Date: 7/23-25/10

Opponent: Baltimore Orioles

Home/Away: Away

Starting Pitcher: Duensing, Baker and Slowey

Final Score: L 3-2, W 7-2, and W 10-4

Record: 53-46

Recap: My apologies for not posting anything this weekend and for combining them all into one entry. I had to work this weekend, and more importantly my internet wasn't working on Friday and Saturday. Anyway, there's really no better medicine for a team than playing the Orioles. The struggling starting pitchers looked good, the offense was on fire (for the most part), and we came away with the series victory.

Friday was the only game we lost. Duensing made his first start of the season and delivered 5 strong innings with just 1 earned run. He was on a pitch count, which led to him being pulled after the 5th inning. The Twins had taken a 2-run lead after a homer by Mauer. There were a couple of balls that made it to the warning track, but that home run ended up being the only offense the Twins got. Sadly the lead didn't last long. Slama came in to pitch the 6th and gave up a single and a home run to give the Orioles a lead they wouldn't relinquish. At least he got his first MLB run allowed, first MLB homer allowed, first blown save and first loss over all at once. The other unfortunate thing was Orlando Hudson, who strained an oblique hitting a fly ball.

Saturday proved a much better day for the team. Baker had a good start finally and went 7 innings with 2 earned runs. He would have had another run at least, but he was saved by a great catch by Span, reached over the outfield wall to pull back a home run. The Orioles again took a 1-run lead off a 2-run home run, but this time we came back. Everything just seemed to fall into place for the Twins during this game. We did some running, including a stolen base by J.J. Hardy (my guess is Punto missed a hit-and-run sign, but damn was that funny), we had some nice defensive plays, and there were some great offensive performances. Skinny Delmon went 4 for 4 with a home run and 3 RBIs. It's kind of insane how good he is right now. Sure it took 2 years, but he's really carried the team this month. Valencia had 3 hits in the game. 

Sunday turned into a bit of a romp for the Twins despite an early Orioles lead. The Baltimore starter was getting into all kind's of trouble. Right from the start the Twins were hitting everything hard. He was lucky enough to escape the first 2 innings unscathed (Can you be scathed? Just wondering.). The luck ran out in the 3rd when, after hitting Repko, allowing a single to Casilla, and walking Thome, Jason Kubel crushed a ball into right for his 2nd grand slam of the season. It wasn't quite as exciting as the late inning come-from-behind grand slam against Rivera (by a long shot), but it was impressive. It came with 2 outs in the inning, and the Orioles came close a couple of times to doubling off Casilla on some line drives. After that the Twins continued tacking on runs. Young, Thome and Repko all hit solo home runs in the game. Slowey took a big step forward with his pitching performance. He sailed through 6 innings but was done in by a rain delay. It was probably good to have him end positively to give him some confidence in his next start. I do the same thing when I'm training my dog. It was going pretty well until Blackburn made his appearance. He got through the 8th okay, but he really struggled in the 9th and gave up 3 earned runs. Apparently Bullpen Blackburn has not figured things out yet.

Best Moment: Mauer's home run on Friday. Denard Span's home-run-robbing catch, Skinny Delmon's outfield assist and J.J. Hardy accidentally stealing a base on Saturday. Jason Kubel's grand slam on Sunday.

Most Questionable Moment: On Friday, I would say pulling Duensing after the 5th, but I actually didn't have a problem with that since he still needs to be stretched out. Or I would say putting in Slama to protect the 1-run lead, but we had 4 innings left to pitch and I'm not sure who else would have been a better choice. So I'll go with nothing. On Saturday, the child wearing the Orioles hat with the TC logo painted on his chest. Poor, poor confused boy. Someone needs to straighten him out. On Sunday, the whole lineup, but especially batting Repko and Casilla first and second. I'm not trying to question Gardy's judgment (okay, maybe I am), but what was up with that?

Worst Moment: Orlando Hudson getting hurt, Baker giving up a 2-run homer, and Blackburn continuing to suck on Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively.   

Quotations of the Day:

  • "It just blows out hot air. A lot like you, Dick." - Bert Blyleven, comparing Dick Bremer to a fan in the Twins dugout.
  • "Right now, it looks like if [Skinny Delmon] can reach it, it's a base hit." - Orioles manager Juan Samuel on trying to pitch to Delmon Young.

Suck-Ass Performance of the Game: Anthony Slama (1.0 innings pitched, 3 hits, 1 home run, 2 earned runs, 1 blown save, 1 loss) on Friday, Jason Kubel (0 for 5, 2 strikeouts, 1 GIDP, 6 left on base) on Saturday, and Michael Cuddyer (1 for 6, 1 strikeout, 8 left on base) and Nick Blackburn (2.0 innings pitched, 5 hits, 3 earned runs) on Sunday.

 

Date: 7/22/10

Opponent: Baltimore Orioles

Home/Away: Away

Starting Pitcher: Pavano

Final Score: W 5-0

Record: 51-45

Recap: Nothing like a good dose of the Pavstache to get the road trip started out right. What a phenomenal performance! A complete game shutout (his 5th complete game of the season), and he only allowed 5 hits and 1 walk. You definitely can't say that he's not pulling his own weight in the rotation; it's more like he's pulling all the weight. I kind of like this Butera as Pavano's personal catcher thing, mostly because it means more mustache hugs! Can we clone Pavano and let him pitch every night? Or at least his 'stache?

So Pavano shut the Orioles down, and Skinny Delmon got the biggest hit of the day (no surprise there). In the 1st inning, the Twins loaded the bases on a 2-out double by Mauer and walks to Kubel and Cuddyer. Then Delmon unloaded the bases in a hurry with a double. He is just an RBI machine. Now if only we could get him higher in the batting order on a regular basis. Cuddyer homered to add another run, and then the Twins tacked on a fifth run in a more controversial manner in the 7th. J.J. Hardy hit an infield single, and then with Punto at the plate he took off for 2nd (I can only assume it was a missed hit-and-run signal on someone's part). He made it only part of the way before retreating and diving back into 1st base. It appeared Ty Wigginton tagged him, but the 1st base umpire Gary Darling ruled him safe. Wigginton went completely ape shit and was ejected in seconds. It was quite entertaining. You'd really think as a member of the Baltimore Orioles he'd be used to life screwing him over. The interim manager of the Orioles, Juan Samuel came over and separated the two. Hardy later advanced to 2nd on a groundout, and then he scored on a single by Butera. At this point the home plate umpire ejected the pitching coach of the Orioles for something, and Samuel followed Wigginton's example and went completely nuts with a few hat-throwing flourishes added in. I guess it's admirable that they still care despite the team's awfulness.

The other entertainment came when someone jumped onto the field and ran around. I guess the Orioles have a policy where they don't chase such interlopers, so the security guards just slowly walked after him hoping he would give up. Sadly home viewers never get to see such antics, presumably to discourage fame whores from attempting to make it onto TV, but from the reaction of the Twins in the dugout I gather it was quite hilarious. The fan finally surrender after being scolded by the home plate umpire. I guess he was intimidating. Tomorrow we get to see Duensing's season debut as a starter. I for one am very excited. And a little nervous. But mostly excited.

Best Moment: Pavano's shutout.

Most Questionable Moment: Hardy being ruled safe at 1st. Clearly not.

Worst Moment: Still no word on Morneau's return. Sadness.

Quotations of the Day:

  • "I don't know if there's anybody you'd want at the plate more than Delmon right now in those situations. Those RBIs seem to be coming his way. He's finding a way to get those hits when he needs to. Right now, he's probably been as good as anybody in those RBI situations." - Ron Gardenhire
  • "Well, those are not young security officers." - Bert Blyleven, giving a possible explanation for the lack of effort made toward apprehending the fan on the field.
  • "See, everyone listens to umpires." - Bert Blyleven, after the aforementioned fan gave himself up after a word from the home plate umpire.

Suck-Ass Performance of the Game: Orlando Hudson (0 for 5, 1 strikeout, 2 left on base)