Tag Archives: Justin Morneau

5 Twins Ruminations – 4/17

After 12 games, the Twins are a spectacular 9 and 3. They”ve emphatically taken series from the Angels, White Sox, Red Sox, and now the Royals. The first three are all considered playoff contenders, and hey – the last one has Zach Grienke. Our inaugural “Diamond Dingers” looks at the highlights of the youthful Twins season…

#1 – The Franchise!


Holy biscuits and gravy! Francisco Liriano looked fantastic in his start against the maroon stockings on Thursday. Not only did he pitch a shutout for his 7 innings, the man”s signature slider was snapping like the days of yore. Using a solid changeup and a fastball with a good deal more zip than it”s featured any time since “06, the Sisco Kid gave the Twins and their faithful a great deal of hope. In addition to the formidable nature of his pitches themselves, it was neat to see Francisco not lose his cool in some early inning jams *difficulties – not delicious jellies and preserves*.

#2 – We”re 9 – 3!


That”s not a bad looking record. The last time the Twins started out with 4 straight series wins and this type of success was in 1987. I was 2! And I”ve heard something fairly positive happened that year? The Twins have looked formidable on the mound, at the plate, and in the field. Their starters have been more than serviceable, their pen capable (even in spite of some recent injuries to Patrick Neshek and Jose Mijares, and their bench (for the first time since the Book of Genesis) has been deep.

#3 – I Haven”t Minded Nick Punto


With a lineup so capable from 1 – 8, having the tiny tumbler at 3rd and batting 9th doesn”t bother me nearly as much. There are moments when Brendan Harris seems to cry out from the bench – “I can hit 100 points higher than this man!”. But when everyone besides Punto keeps launching extra base hits at will, the whole deal just doesn”t seem as key as in recent years. In fairness, Nicholas continues playing stellar defense at 3rd and even offering hits on occasion.

#4 – This Offense Looks Neat


In recent years, every mistake the Twins made caused we fans quite a bit of stress. For we knew that for under blunder leading to an extra run for the opponent, we”d need to score one more too. That wasn”t always easy! Such luminaries as Lew Ford, Luis Rivas, elderly Jose Offerman, wizened Tony Batista, and decidedly advanced-age Ruben Sierra have been the cogs making up good portions of Twins batting orders in the past decade. When Mauer and Morneau weren”t doing their thing, it was often a real struggle to attain scoring. But no longer! With a batting order that can place today”s incarnation of Jason Kubel in the 7th spot in the order (as in Saturday”s game), the “10 Twins sport their most potent lineup since 1987. The off-season acquisitions of JJ Hardy, Jim Thome, and the O Dog Hudson have already born fruit.

#5 – Carl Pavano Has Become Greg Maddux


With Minnesota”s new-found offensive prowess, the only two commonly pointed to questions about the team have been – (a) Who will replace Joe Nathan and (b) How will we make any headway in the playoffs without a genuine ace starting pitcher. Jon Rauch (6 saves in 6 chances through Saturday) continues to make the first query moot. So far, the latter question is being answered capably by Liriano and Carl Pavano. Pavano has been outstanding, winning his first 2 decisions and a 1.38 ERA. In his 13 innings thus far, he”s only given up 10 hits. The most startling and tremendous thing about this old guy has been his great control and the excellent movement on his pitches. These pleasantries lead to the Maddux comparison. Pavano even sports the Maddux-authored 2-seam fastball that looks like it”s going to smack into a hitter”s person and then zings late right over home plate for a strike.

An additional neat feature of the reincarnated Pavano – his mere continued existence is enough to make New York Yankee fans angry. His success makes them angry and sad. Note the link to his statistics in the previous paragraph. His baseball reference page is sponsored by a Yankee fan, harpooning him for his injury riddled 4 seasons in the Yankee-land. That is just awesome!

For more MLB Baseball talk, catch the latest TWG Podcast.

An Angry Dakotan Journalist – TWG V 27

Joe Mauer BattingIn the inaugural ‘Angry Journalist’ segment of This Week with Goose, writer David Gregory joins us for his take on Sotomayor, Joe Mauer, and Republican presidential hopefuls in 2012. In a surprise move, he advocates the next GOP nominee be selected by staging a Survivor sequel in Puerto Rico with the main contenders, judged by Dick Cheney. The last person standing would then be the nominee. He then goes on to accuse Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer of steroid use. Goose also summarizes the week that was from Washington… to Cairo… to the Metrodome. It’s entertainment, information, and a general sense of well being for all. LISTEN HERE, or by clicking the blue play button right below this text… or by clicking the gray player to your right! OPTIONS!

The Twins Opener – Recap & Liveblog

This Is the FranchiseWell, the season has begun! Sadly, we took the loss against the Mariners, but reading this moment by moment commentary will console you because I am so delightfully witty. We pick things up in the 3rd, with the Twins down 1 to 0 to Seattle.

8:05 – Good gravy in the morning. Adrain Beltre has a potent arm. He has thrown out the youthful Casilla on a difficult play far to his left.

8:08 – He (Beltre), also appears to have very hard knees. The youthful Punto strayed off third and the Mariners catcher threw behind him. Punto attempted to flee back to the plate and was harpooned by Beltre’s knee. Beltre appeared genuinely concerned for the small man. Everyone is OK.

Thus ends the third inning! Mariners lead 1 to 0.

Greetings and welcome to the top of the fourth inning. The Franchise has mounted the mounted the mound again, and he appears to be doing well.

He has one out before I figure out what’s going on.

Then the legendary Mike Sweeney comes to bat! Berty Blyleven is speaking of Sweeney’s nice-ness and that he is a born again Christian fellow. However, neither of these qualities prohibit Sweeney from grounding out.

Aha. the inning is over.

Top of the 4th

Morneau whiffs! COMMUNISM!

Kubel follows and places a single into left field. He is now batting .500.

Joe Crede follows with his 2nd Twins at-bat. Alas, he is retired by chopping the baseball over to a seemingly blinded Adrian Beltre.

Go-go-Gomez follows this up by promply fisting the orb to the 2nd baseman, who throws the little chap out.

End of four – Twins 0, Mariners 1

Top o’ the 5th

The artist formerly known as Ken Griffey Junior is at the bat. Liriano has him 2 and 2. And the ball is free at least! Griffey hefts the Franchise’s offering into the right field seats.

Twins 0, Mariners 2

fantasy_a_felix_580Bisquick. It would appear Kenneth thinks this is 1995. I wish it was because than I could watch Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz win the World Series. Although, that would be difficult because I would be 10 – not that you can’t watch television when you’re 10, but still. A comprehension issue perhaps.

Redmond just got attacked by half of Russel Branyan’s bat whose structural integrity was undermined by the baseball hurled by the Franchise. But because he is such hearty folk, he is ignoring what Dick Bremer declared to be a bleeding wound and will stay in the game.

And we have now garnered 3 outs.

End 4 and a half. Mariners 2, Twins 0.

The bottom of the fifth is now happening. The man who was moments ago festooned by a bat has now doubled (Mr. Redmond), and the much maligned Nicholas Punto followed up with a single. Runners on 1st and 3rd before you can stand on your head and spit nickels.

No outs, and two on… Denard Span steps up to the plate. He has worked ye olde count to 3 and 1. And he has been walked! 2nd walk of the game for the man with a very baseball-ish name. The bases are juiced, my friend.

BENELUX! Felix Hernandez has caused the diminuitive Alexi Casilla to pop up, resulting in 1 out.

BUT! Cuddyer now has singled and acquired us a run. Twins 1, Mariners, 2.

The great Justin Morneau has not hit into a double play. We are out of the inning. The emotion is great.

Top of 6th

Nothing good cames of this time period. There were three long fly balls, one of which led to a home run that added two runs to the Mariners lead, which is now Twins 1, Mariners 4.

Bottom of the 6th

This was a bevy of failures. Score unchanged!

Top of the 7th

This actually was a really good inning. Liriano pitched tough despite his behind-ness. Finishes up a with a K! Weeee. He’s probably done for the evening, and not a terrible effort.

*My mom called, and I’m not sure what happened in the bottom of the 7th. I can assure you that we did not get any runs because the screen tells me it is so*

Top of the 8th

Hey! This is nice to see! We brought in a reliever and he busted out the whooping stick on the opposing team’s hitters. Luis Ayala! Three up and three down. Twins 1, Mariners 4.

Bottom 8

Felix Hernandez is still in the game, and that is ill news for us. Before my philanges can even type out the fact that Casilla is coming up, Alexi has grounded out and Cuddyer has struck out. Now the venerable Morneau is here again. He lofts a high fly ball to conclude an icky day for the Canadian star. Score unchanged.

The Upward Portion of Inning 9

The Mariners achieve a runner on 1st base – Jesse Crain appears not to have his best stuff. He manages 2 outs, and then Santa Claus (Gardenhire) brings in the left handed Craig Brewslow. Breslow really doesn’t have it! He walks the artist formerly known as Kenneth Griffey the Younger on four pitches! Holy Polly Lobster! A pitching change.

Oh no!!! This is the one guy I expect to make things worse instantly whenever I see him! And here it is. Matt Guerreir of the 5.00 ERA last year (that’s a legitimate statistic) enters the game, and immediately throws one to the backstop so the runners might advance. The batter is Jose Lopez.

1 ball, and two strikes. The ball is struck right betwixt the Crede-ster and the flailing Punto, and scores two runs. Twins 1, Mariners 6. That really wasn’t Guerreirs’ fault, but he really does seem to have skill at betokening bad things. Well, it’s at least over now.

Bottom 9

Very good! The Mariners are offering up another old dude! It’s Miguel Batista for the bottom of the ninth. I remember this dude being an also-ran with that mean guy Schilling and the tall fellow Johnson in Arizona once upon a time.

He is playing around with our Kub-dog now. 2 and 2 and fouling is happening. Yep there’s another foul.

Sadness, the Kub-dog grounds out.

Aha, Joe Crede with his first hit as a Twin-ling. Some goofy fielding on that buzzard helping him out.

Now crazy Gomez is up! It’s 0 and 2 before you can whistle Dixie. There’s the strikeout! We have one out left folks.

Now the young personage who has seized the injured Josephus, the Child Mauer’s roster spot grounds out. So ends the inning, so ends the game.

***

Postlude

I am still experiencing such joy about baseball’s return that I’m not taking this too terribly. Also, Liriano’s outing was actually encouraging to me because his control did look better. It seemed to improve as the game progressed too. He threw all his three pitches for strikes, and got up to 94 with his fastball. So that’s good news. The offense was stifled by an ace – that happens.

This Week with Goose – Volume 6

My roomate attempts to take over the podcast.

Justin Morneau wins the All Star Game and the Home Run Derby. Send it in big fella.

Senator Jim Dement says families are worthy of being defended and Christians shouldn’t be afraid to speak up.

And a Christian group is boycotting McDonalds because the company supports a homosexual agenda. I comment upon it.