A girls view of baseball...knowing the game, loving the game, and loving and appreciating the boys who play the game.

All photos are ©Betsy Bissen (unless otherwise noted) Do not use without permission.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Were We On A Break?!

A four game losing streak was hard to take.  Being swept by the Brewers was even harder.  The Twins are a team that can beat the Brewers as well as crush the Brewers!  So why couldn't the do just that in Milwaukee?  Well it didn't entirely seem like their bats were up to par, nor did our pitching stand up and give the Brewers anything to fear.

Friday night against the Mets, out pitching seemed to be back in the swing of things, until Kevin Slowey had a few hiccups in the middle innings.  Our offense couldn't seem to piece together enough hits to come back and win it.  It seemed like every time they got a couple hits, the rest of the lineup would fail and leave the few on base.  This isn't how teams are going to win.  I'm not sure entirely what the answer is to get the Twins out of these funks, but there is something missing, something needed to win (tougher games) and the Twins need to find it.  They need to find it soon.

With the All-Star break coming in just a few weeks, Detroit and Chicago are closing the gap in the AL Central race.  In order to stay on top, the Twins need to at least match, and hopefully exceed what Detroit and Chicago are doing. (Chicago is on an 11-game winning streak)  It also means that the games coming up against those teams (Detroit, Mon - Wed at Target Field, and July 9-10 in Detroit; Chicago July 15-17th at Target Field) mean do or die for the top spot in the AL Central.

Today Timmy goes for his 50th win and the series win against the Mets.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Big Hits

It was hard watching the Twins two of the three games in Philly.  I wasn't too happy that our starting pitching couldn't go into the 3rd inning in either game.  I was ripped off!  I wanted to watch the pitchers awkwardly swing at the ball over and over, and only got to see it once each game.  IT SUCKED.

I watch most of Saturday's game at Park Tavern in St. Louis Park with a bunch of other Twins bloggers!  It was the Twins Centric viewing party and it was fun!  Seth was mean and teased me with Kevin Slowey's email address, ultimately deciding that he wasn't going to give it to me.  (I swear I'd behave if I had it.  I'd probably look at it more than actually use it.  I'd be too scared to do anything about it! HINT HINT, Seth.)  It was hard listening to pretty much what turned out to be the second half of the game on the radio while driving to my home town of Austin for Father's Day.  I think people would have thought I was nuts if they would've been in the car with me, or even seen me from their car.  I was screaming at the top of my lungs when Joe Mauer hit his home run to tie the game.

Of course, the game didn't end there for the Twins, that was just the start of the battle. I thought for sure that Drew Butera's first ever MLB home run was what was going to win it for the Twins.  Then Jon Rauch gave up a home run, blowing the save.  Thankfully the Twins came back in the 11th with 3 more runs to edge out ahead and win the game!

Two games out of 3 in Philly, the reigning NL Division champs of 2009, I'll take it!  Sunday, Carl was outstanding going the distance and pitching a complete game!  He even got a hit to try and help his cause.  It was too bad that Carl put no effort into his running the base line.  He made Jim Thome and Jason Kubel look like fast runners with how slow he trotted to the bases.
Thanks, Carl for being a badass!  I'm still not sure I like the mustache, but if you keep pitching like that, I'll let ya keep it! Even if I do think it's gross.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Going For the Sweep

Last night was by far the best game I've been to in my 14 games!  I managed to score some fantastic seats 3 rows from the field (in section 3, which is right next to the Twins' dugout!!).  I was so close to the field and the players I was having heart palpitations! It was a great game otherwise too.  The Twins were trailing 2-0 in the first three innings (2nd run scored in the 3rd for Colorado) and it wasn't looking the best.  We got Cuddy to third, but couldn't seem to bring anyone home to give Carl any run support.

These are the times that I fear my record will take a hit (it's first loss).  I started getting worried at the start of the 4th, but Joe Mauer pulled through with a great base hit that started a HUGE inning for the Twins, scoring 5 runs on 6 hits (2 walks and 1 fielder's choice).  The Twins batted around and Joe Mauer grounded into a double play to end the inning that he started.  It was one of those games that throws my scorecard off cause I have to continue an inning into another column.  I didn't mind though.

The Twins had 14 hits in the game and won the easy battle 9-3.  I guess Carl finally got the run support he's been craving all season long!  It was nice the Twins could finally provide him with some runs.

I did enjoy seeing some guys who have needed to step up (the rookies and Punto) really step up last night.  Valencia went 2 for 3 (2 singles, walk and hit into a fielder's choice).  Punto went 2 for 3 as well with a walk, and Matt Tolbert...he shocked the hell out of me going 1 for 3 with 2 walks and a HOME RUN.  I didn't know Matt Tolbert could hit homers!  I figured maybe that would give Joe Mauer some ammo to hit his first at Target Field (minus the one he blasted during the exhibition game), but nope.
Tonight: It was great watching Timmy dominate the Rockies!  He had a career high of 12 K's (strike outs) and looked like the leader of the pack that he was supposed to be all along.  It was great seeing him excel out there and also pitch 108 total pitches.  It's not too often that Rick Anderson will let the pitcher go more than 102-105.  I wish his pitch count hadn't been at that in the 7th so he would have been able to come back out for the 8th, but the outcome tonight still turned out in the Twins' favor.

Tomorrow the Twins will go for the sweep against the Rockies (day game).  I'm not sure if I'll be able to catch the game or not.

Now: Enjoy some more pictures from my section 3, row 3 seats.
Punto (for Karlee)
 I think Drew knew I was taking his picture. Oh well!
 Trevor Plouffe
 TC!
 View from my seat (which got me on TV a lot last night, and thankfully my camera covered me most of the time!)
Joe Mauer up to bat
infielders
 Mr. Morneau
  Mauer
 My Cuddy picture that looks like a baseball card.
inside the first base lounge...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Crisco is on FIRE!

Friday night's game was fun!  I was a bit nervous going into that game with my perfect record when the Braves were up 1-0 for almost a complete 7 innings of the game.  Thankfully, Joe Mauer came through with a big hit in the 7th to rally the Twins to win the game 2-1.

My cousin and I got to enjoy the game for free, thanks for ESPN 1500.  We somewhat stalked the van that was giving out tickets on Thursday (the tweeted where they were giving tickets out at) and before the lady could even roll down her window, my cousin was shouting "Sweep the Royals" out the window.  We both were extremely excited to win the tickets, plus what better way to enjoy the Twins and Target Field for (my cousin's) first time?!

Frankkkie was on fire on Friday night striking out 11 batters.  It was somewhat amusing, the guy sitting next to me asked to take a picture of my score book where the K's were all in line.  I of course said sure!

It was fun being the tour guide for Topper and Amy at Target Field.  They both seemed to enjoy it a lot and both had a great time!
It was unfortunate watching the game yesterday and seeing the squeeze play pulled against the Twins.  This is normally Twins baseball, but I guess last night it was Atlanta's way of winning a very close ball game, 3-2.  It was unfortunate that the Twins couldn't capitalize once again on bases loaded (with 2 outs).  Apparently, Atlanta got the memo on the Twins' kryptonite: Load the bases, the Twins will do the rest.

And I've changed my mind about Target Field.  It goes like this now: Target Field: Where Joe Mauer's balls go to die.  Joe still hasn't managed (besides the one exhibition game against the Cardinals) to go deep at Target Field.  Let's hope that changes and SOON!

And coming soon: a picture of all 13 of my tickets.  I'm going to put the pictures all together into one picture and then I'll post it.  Yes, I misspoke the other day...Friday was my 13th game, and am 13-0 now. (I counted from my scorecard which had a game that went beyond 9 innings.)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Target Field: Where Balls Go To Die

It was a beautiful night for baseball last night.  The rain cleared out and the sun decided to poke its head out of the clouds.  I think the only thing that would have made it better: Kevin Slowey pitching the perfect game.  I'll take his 7 scoreless innings that he did pitch.  It was nice having Michael Cuddyer back in the lineup after being out for 4 days on bereavement leave.  I know I missed Michael Cuddyer and I know there were some Twins fans that didn't. (I see a lot of those fans on twitter).

I don't think there could have been a better start to the game; Zach Greinke went through 7 batters in the bottom of the first inning, giving the Twins a 3-0 lead right from the start.  Kevin Slowey went 4 1/3 innings before giving up a hit to any of the Royals batters. (He gave up 2 of the 3 hits he allowed in the 5th, and 1 in the 7th).  It was unfortunate that in the 8th inning, Alex Burnett had to give up a run, letting go of the shut out the Twins had in place.  Thankfully, the bullpen didn't blow the lead and turn this great win for Slowey into a no decision.

Justin Morneau (who is now the leader for the first baseman on the All-Star ballots) was the only one who was stumped by Zach Greinke and the Royals bullpen.  Justin was 0-4 last night with 3 strikeouts.  It was somewhat sad seeing Justin in a slight funk.  Jason Kubel was counter reacting Justin's bad luck by having a great night at the plate.  He had a 2-run scoring double and a solo home run in the game. (I think Kubel was happy to have my cousin return from Norway yesterday.  She finally got to see him and she was proud of him.)

The Twins have two more games against the KC Royals before taking on NL East leading Atlanta Braves and NL team Colorado Rockies while on their 9 game home stand.  All I know is that I'm much happier with the Twins at home.  I'm hoping Orlando Hudson and JJ Hardy return to the lineups soon.  (Hudson isn't eligible to come off the 15-day DL until June 15th, Hardy is day-to-day).

Currently the Twins are still 3.5 games ahead of Detroit Tigers.  I'd like to keep at least that much of a distance between the Twins and the Tigers.  It'd be nice to gain a few more games and have some room to breathe.  I'd love to see the Twins run away with our division, rather than having out division a close race as it's been in most years.

So I have decided (idea coming somewhat from Hockey players and their "playoff beards"), to not cut my hair (which I haven't since November, though have wanted to in the past 2 months) until the Twins lose a game I am in attendance at.  I am now sitting on a record of 12-0 when attending Twins games.  I would love it if they would win every game I am at this year.  If the Twins can do that, once the season is over (post-season included), when I get my hair cut, I will donate it to Locks of Love.  If my hair isn't long enough by the end of the season to do this (and the Twins haven't lost any game I've attended), I will continue to grow it out until it is long enough to donate and then donate it to Locks of Love.  I'm really hoping for a winning season!  Anyone wants updates on this, let me know.  I should continue to post pictures and such from any game I have attended.  I will also tweet after every game my current record.

Tonight:
Carl Pavano (and his hideous mustache) vs. Kyle Davies (and the KC Royals)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

MIA

Hey everyone,  I'm sorry I've been MIA a lot within these past couple weeks.  I've been job hunting, so my time on here has been limited.  I  promise I will be back after tonight's game, if with nothing more than a few pictures and a recap of the game, then at least that!

For now, if you're in need of some reading material from other blogs in the Twins area, check out my blog roll on the side!  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bad Calls In Baseball


Yesterday seemed to be a high day of bad calls by umpires.  Armando Gallarraga was one out away from having the perfect game when Jim Joyce missed the call at first base that should have been an out.  The Twins lost their game last night against Seattle due to a bad call (which should have been an out at second) that was missed by the umpire.  I don't think MLB should review an possibly retract this "safe" call in order to give Gallarraga his prefect game.  Why? You ask?  Well, I think that would go against a lot of what baseball means.  It ultimately wouldn't be fair.  They aren't going to reverse the non-out call for the Twins last night and say that the game is just "suspended", are they?  To play fair, they would have to do that.

I know that there has been a lot of talk about having more instant replay in baseball.  I don't know if I am for this or not.  Sure it would be great to have instant replay (or at least more of it on the "questionable" calls), but it would add length to the game of baseball.  Hockey is another sport that has a lot of calls missed or poorly called.  I know they only review goals currently in hockey and currently the MLB only reviews balls that are possible home runs.  As much as I would love to have more calls go our way, I know that the Twins have been on the other side of bad calls before and have benefited from them.  Football may be the sport that does "instant replay" right.  The manager gets their red flag (challenge flag) and can challenge a ruling on the field.  I think this would be a better option.  If a manager is wrong, they are out of challenges (and ultimately, they only have 2 they can use all game).

Last night, I think the Twins played a decent ball game.  Kevin Slowey kept his team in the game and kept the number of runs given up to only one.  I was a bit torn (as a fantasy baseball owner) on who to start last night.  I currently own BOTH Slowey and Cliff Lee.  I opted to start both of them thinking that it would be a very good match-up.  I luckily fared pretty well, having both the starters only give up 1 run each (Slowey pitching 7 innings and Lee pitching 8).

The Twins at least still have one more game in Seattle against the Mariners in order to split the series with them and avoid a series loss before the head off to Oakland.

My condolences go out to Michael Cuddyer (who we will miss while he's away for 4 ) as him and his family grieve the loss of his father-in-law.  Cuddy will likely miss tonight along with the whole Oakland series.  Congratulations to Danny Valencia on his big league call up.  I hope that when the time comes to send someone back to triple-A that the Twins will consider keeping Valencia here and sending Tolbert back to Triple-A.  I'm not a huge fan of Tolbert.  He's like having a back up Alexi Casilla or a back up Brendan Harris as our other option.  It's just not good enough if we want to continue to be a contending team.  I think the Twins are missing a small element (I don't know what exactly this is...maybe another strong bench option) that I think could potentially hurt them down the road around the time of post-season.  Hopefully I'm wrong.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

On A Good Pace

Right now all of the Twins pitchers all have at least 5 wins setting their paces for a great season, full of wins.  As of last night, the Twins are 31-20, which is 11 games over .500 (.608), and they are 4.5 games ahead of the second place team in the AL Central, Detroit Tigers.  There is only one team in the AL better than the Twins, the Tampa Bay Rays, and in the NL, only the San Diego Padres sit atop with the same record as the Twins.


If the playoffs were today here's how the AL would stand:
1. Tampa Bay Rays
2. Minnesota Twins
3. Oakland A's
Wild Card: New York Yankees

I'm hoping before the playoffs happen, that the New York Yankees fall out of any of the spots that have a post season.  I know there is still a lot of season left before post season happens, but as we only have a little over a month until the All-Star Break (about 1/2 way thru the season), one has to look at the standings to see what kind of a chance their team will have of making it further than just the regular season.

I don't think any team is necessarily out of the running, it's too early to determine something like that.  However, there are teams that are sitting much better than the rest of their division.  The AL Central is one of the toughest divisions in the American League.  In the last few years, the winner of the division has come down to one of the final games in the regular season.  I think this year it should be a close race as well, but I think that the Twins will still shine about the rest of the AL Central counterparts.
I was happy that the Twins pulled off another series sweep.  I wish it would have been at the hands of a team like Boston or the Yankees rather than the Rangers (I have a soft spot for them and really admire and respect a lot of their players).  I was somewhat nervous on Saturday when Carl Pavano was pitching.  Most games that Carl has pitched this season, he has seen little run support.  When Carl is starting, the Twins only have averaged 3.8 runs in these games.  This is the lowest for average of run support a starting pitcher gets.  Francisco Liriano has the next lowest, averaging 3.9 runs per game he starts, Timmy (Scott Baker) 4.55, Kevin (Slowey) 5.5 runs, and Nick Blackburn gets the most with an average of 7 runs every game he starts.  I'm wondering if I should go see more games Carl Pavano pitches, or a game Liriano pitches, since I'm 11-0 and have seen Kevin 5 times, and Nick Blackburn 4 times.  Maybe that would help these others do better.
This week the Twins are on West Coast time (7 game road trip to Seattle and Oakland).  They started their 4-game series with Seattle last night (winning 5-4) and then onto Oakland for a 3-game series.  Only one of these games is a day game (Sunday 3:10pm) so be prepared to stay up until all hours of the night watching the Twins win!  I'm not sure how much of these games I'll make it through considering I fell asleep during last nights' game, but I'm going to do my best!
Yup, that's Drew Butera popping his gum

Twins return home a week from today!  I prefer when they are at home vs. away.  There is just something about watching games at Target Field that is much more enjoyable to the other stadiums.  I wouldn't mind if the Twins played at Petco Park again (this is the only other ballpark I've been to besides the Metrodome and Target Field).  Petco is a lot like Target Field and quite beautiful.  Some day, I'll make trips to other ballparks to see all for myself!
Now, I'm going to wait for the rain to come in and enjoy some more baseball tonight!  Nick Blackburn faces Jason Vargas starting at 9:05pm (CST)!