Twins relationship with Rock Cats on the rocks?

New Britain Rock Cats logoOn the field the New Britain Rock Cats (Class AA; Eastern League) finished the season with a 72-69 record but missed the playoffs. Off the field it has been an interesting season too and owner Josh Solomon says he expects his team to be playing in Hartford in two years — but maybe not as a Minnesota Twins affiliate. A split has been rumored for a few weeks, ever since Twins GM Terry Ryan spent a few days visiting the Rock Cats in August without announcing a PDC extension.

“Overall it’s been a good season in spite of the distractions,” Solomon said, referring to the team’s announcement in the middle of the year that it intends to move to Hartford (just 12 miles from New Britain) for the 2016 season and a fight with the city of Berlin over a tax issue.

Ballpark Digest article: Solomon: Rock Cats still committed to Hartford move

The Bristol Press: Solomon not worried about issues facing Rock Cats future

The Courant: Rock Cats Pay New Britain, Averting Eviction

The Bristol Press: Rock Cats take tax dispute to court

 

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According to Elias

Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer

It has come to this for Joe Mauer. In the eighth inning of a tie game with runners on second and third and one out, manager Buck Showalter decided that the Orioles should pitch to Mauer (albeit bringing in a tough lefty, Andrew Miller, to do so) rather than put Mauer on and pitch to bring up rookie Kennys Vargas, playing in his 30th big-league game.

And could you blame Showalter? Mauer brought a .271 batting average and four home runs into the game, and was batting .244 against lefties. But deep in Mauer’s statistical profile for this forgettable season lay this nugget: Mauer was batting .320 (16 for 50) in at-bats with two-or-more runners on base, including a two-run triple just two innings earlier. And Mauer came through with a two-run single, propelling the Twins to a 6-4 win. The loss ended Baltimore’s streak of having won the last 21 games in which it scored four-or-more runs, which had been the longest current streak in the majors.

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Help is on the way, or is it?

The Twins plan to add eight players to the roster now that the Rochester Red Wings season has ended. The team plans to recall LHP Logan Darnell, RHP Michael Tonkin, C Josmil Pinto, C/OF Chris Herrmann and OF Aaron Hicks. Additionally the Twins will select the contracts of RHP Lester Oliveros, RHP A.J. Achter and INF Doug Bernier.

Also joining the Twins will be Triple-A hitting coach Tim Doherty from September 2-14 while Red Wings Manager Gene Glynn will be with the Twins from September 15-28.

Aaron Hicks

Aaron Hicks

Not much to get excited about here, just think how different things could have been had Byron Buxton. Miguel Sano, and Alex Meyer not been injured this year. Then again maybe we would not have seen Danny Santana and Kennys Vargas step up in the way they have so far this year. It will be interesting to see if Hicks has improved, he did well in New Britain and in Rochester for a while before he cooled off. When Rochester was making a push for a wild-card spot late in the season Hicks was not always a regular in that line-up.

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Twins minor league player of the week

Stuart Turner

Stuart Turner

Ft. Myers Miracle (High A ball) catcher Stuart Turner is the Twins Minor League Player of the Week. The 22 year-old Turner played in four games for the Miracle and went 6-for-13 (.462) with three doubles, a home run and five RBI. The Twins third round pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft is a right-handed hitter and is in just his second year of professional baseball after being drafted out of the University of Mississippi. The Eunice, Louisiana native was named the Twins best defensive catcher entering the 2014 season.

Couple of other minor league notes -

Alex Meyer

Alex Meyer

Triple-A Rochester Red Wings starter Alex Meyer was removed from last night’s game vs. Buffalo and was placed on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. Does that kill his chances for pitching for the Twins this year? We will have to wait and see but it does not look promising.

Jose Berrios

Jose Berrios

The Twins promoted RHP Jose Berrios and LHP Ryan O’Rourke to Rochester. Berrios is expected to start for the Red Wings today in Pawtucket. 2014 has been an amazing year for Berrios who started the season at High A Ft. Myers where he put up a 9-3 record with a 1.96 ERA and was then promoted to Double AA New Britain when his record was 3-4 with a 3.54 ERA. Between the two stops he has struck out 137 batters in 137 innings. Berrios who is obviously on the fast track to Minnesota is trying to help Rochester get a wild card playoff spot.

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According to Elias

Trevor Plouffe

Trevor Plouffe

Trevor Plouffe‘s solo home run in the seventh inning would not appear to be notable at first glance, especially since the Twins would muster no more offense in their 9-1 loss at Oriole Park at Camden Yards last night. That long ball however was indeed historic – it was the 10,000th home run hit by the Twins/Senators franchise. They were the last of the 16 pre-expansion franchises to reach 10,000 home runs. The Twins have contributed 7,214 of those homers while the Senators hit 2,786. By the way, Plouffe also hit Twins home run numbers 9,999 and 10,001.

Griffith Stadium

Griffith Stadium

The Washington Senators’ longtime home field, Griffith Stadium, had very distant fences and high outfield walls. One of the most remarkable statistics in baseball history: In 1945, the Senators went through the entire season of 78 home games hitting exactly one home run in their own park – and that one was an inside-the-park four-bagger! This wasn’t in 1845; it was 1945! And that 1945 team was pretty good – finishing second, one and one-half games behind the Tigers, who would go on to win the World Series.

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Twins announce 2014 AFL participants

AFL logoThe Minnesota Twins have named six players that will participate in the 2014 Arizona Fall League season and will announce one additional player at a later date. The Twins players that will play for the Salt River Rafters this season are outfielders Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler as well as RHP Jason Adam, LHP Mason Melotakis, and LHP Taylor Rogers. Players do not often play in the AFL two years in a row but in the case of the Twins they will Buxton, Rosario, and Kepler back for a second try. Not because of how they played in the AFL in 2013 but because they all need more at bats this season. Buxton the number one prospect in baseball has been out most of the season with wrist injuries and now is coming off a concussion. Kepler has had various nagging injuries all season and has not played up to his potential at Ft. Myers this season. Rosario missed the first 50 games of the season due to his suspension. All three outfielders have something to prove this fall.

The Salt River Rafters roster will be made up of players from the Rockies, Diamondbacks, Astros, Marlins and Twins organizations. The team will be managed by Andy Haines and the hitting coach will be Kevin Riggs and the pitching coach will be Joshua Miller.

The six-team  league, owned and operated by Major League Baseball, will play six days per week (Monday-Saturday). As always, the AFL will be chock full of future big leaguers when the six-week league, which has established itself as the finishing school for the game’s best prospects since its inception in 1992, begins its season on Tuesday, October 7. The Fall League season runs through Saturday, November 15, with a championship game held at Scottsdale Stadium. The league’s Fall Stars Game, which will feature many of those Top 100 prospects, will be held Saturday, November 1, at Salt River Fields.

According to MLB, approximately 60 percent of AFL players will reach the Major Leagues. 14 players on the Twins current roster have participated in the Arizona Fall League. Since its inception in 1992 about 2,300 AFL players have reached the major leagues.

MLB TV will carry some of these AFL games so make sure you check it out and watch some of these young stars play this fall and maybe, just maybe you will see some of the players in the major leagues in 2015.

UPDATE AS OF AUGUST 30 – The Twins have announced that RHP Jake Reed will also join the Salt River Rafters this fall.

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This Day in Twins History – August 28, 1980

Exhibition StadiumAn odd game for sure at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium. The game officially lasted 15 innings and 4 hours and 24 minutes but the game was actually not completed until the next day August 29) when the Twins defeated the Blue Jays by a 7-5 score. The game was scheduled as a day game because the Canadian National Exhibition (Canada’s version of a state fair) was going on next door to the ballpark and as part of the event, a concert stage was erected next to the stadium for a daily nighttime concert and it was declared that no inning could begin after 5:00 PM local time. The teams played for 14 innings and were tied at 5 apiece when the curfew kicked in.

Dave StiebVerhoeven, JohnThe game resumed the following afternoon but both of the line-ups had to be modified because Blue Jays 1B Otto Velez and the Twins outfielder Bombo Rivera were injured in an auto accident after the game. Rivera was in no condition to play and Blue Jay Otto Velez was injured and out for the season. Since Toronto had used all their position players, the Blue Jays sent pitcher Dave Stieb (who was scheduled to start that day’s game for Toronto) out to left field. As often happens in these situations, the Twins scored two runs quickly in the top of the 15th and Al Williams held the Blue Jays scoreless in the bottom of the inning for a Twins win and in the process recorded the first of his two career saves. Minnesota then won the regularly scheduled game for that day (August 29) 5-2 and naturally, Dave Stieb was the losing Toronto pitcher. A strange two days at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. John Verhoeven only won 3 games in his Twins career and this was one of them.

Box Score for August 28 game

Box Score for August 29 game

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Elizabethton Twins doing well…..again

Nick Gordon

Nick Gordon

Felix Jorge

Felix Jorge

A recent issue of Twins Game Notes stated that the Rookie-level Appalachian League named its 2014 All-Star Team Friday night. Nick Gordon was named the shortstop, Max Murphy was named an outfielder, Felix Jorge was named right-handed pitcher and Ray Smith was named Manager.

Ray Smith

Ray Smith

Gordon is hitting .282 (59-for-209) with six doubles and three triples in 51 games. Minnesota-native Max Murphy (currently with Cedar Rapids) hit .378 (45-for-119) with 10 home runs and 26 RBI in 35 games and also earned Appy League Player of the Year honors. Felix Jorge (currently with Cedar Rapids) went 4-2, 2.29 ERA (63.0 IP, 16 ER) with 13 walks and 56 strikeouts in 11 starts and also earned Appy League Pitcher of the Year honors. lastly, manager Ray Smith has led the E-Twins to a record of 34-27 and in first place of the Apply League West Division. Smith is in his 21st year of managing the E-Twins and his team has won the league championship on seven occasions and lost in the championship game five more times. His team has failed to make the playoffs in only seven of his 21 seasons at the helm.

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This Day in Twins History – August 25

Dean Chance8/25/1967Dean Chance pitches the second no-hitter in Twins history and defeats the Indians  2-1 in the second game of a double-header at Cleveland Stadium. The Indians actually scored first in this game when Chance walked Lee Maye and Vic Davalillo in the bottom of the first. Chance then struck out Chuck Hinton but Tony Horton reached on an error by SS Jackie Hernandez to load the bases. With Max Alvis batting, Chance threw a wild pitch and Maye scored the Indians first and only run. Chance then struck out Alvis and Joe Azcue flew out to end the threat. Chance then completed the game without allowing an Indian hit while striking out eight and walking a total of five batters. The Twins went on to score two runs and win this unusual no-hitter. Box Score

8/25/1970 – A bomb scare at Met Stadium delayed the Boston Red Sox vs. Minnesota Twins game forty-three (43) minutes. According to the Sporting News, a bomb scare forced a 43-minute delay in the fourth inning, but the only bomb that exploded was the homer by Tony Conigliaro off of Tom Hall in the eighth giving Red Sox 1-0 victory over Twins. A crowd of 17,697 evacuated the stands after announcement over public address system stated that a telephoned warning had been received that bomb was due to go off. The evacuation was orderly and without panic with about 2,000 fans, players, police and vendors gathered in the center-field area. The rest milled about in the parking lot. The bomb was supposed to go off at 10:30 PM so after a 27 minute wait, the game was resumed at 10:57 PM. The Sox end the game with a double play, the first out is a force at second base on a ball hit by Jim Holt and then Tony Oliva is caught in a rundown (6-5-2-5) trying to score from third. Ken Brett is the winner in relief over Tom Hall. Box Score

Bob Casey

Bob Casey

Bob Casey who was the Twins public address announcer for a long time and a Minnesota legend was at times a curmudgeon. One of the best anecdotes about him occurred during this bomb threat. “Bob,” a team official told Casey, “there’s a bomb threat, and we need to clear the stadium. So could you make some sort of announcement for people to calmly leave the stadium.” Casey assured them that it would be no problem. Moments later, he grabbed the microphone and shouted, “Ladies and gentlemen, please don’t panic but there’s going to be an EXPLOSION in 15 minutes!”

Jerry Zimmerman

Jerry Zimmerman

8/25/1978 – Major League umpires stage a one-day strike in defiance of their union contract. Semipro and amateur umps are pressed into service until a restraining order forces the strikers to return.  At Toronto at Exhibition Stadium, the Blue Jays beat the Twins 7 – 3, with two amateur umpires and two coaches officiating: Toronto coach Don Leppert was at 2B and Twins coach Jerry Zimmerman was at 3B. Since 1910, this was just the 5th time this century, and the first time since 1941, that active players or coaches have acted as umpires. The umpires will walk out again at the beginning of the 1979 season

8/25/1998 – The Twins like many teams before them, send pitcher Mike Morgan packing, this time to the Cubs and pitcher Scott Downs heads to Minnesota. Morgan pitched for 12 different ML teams (13 if you count that he was traded to the Cubs twice) between 1978 and 2002 before he finally calls it quits.

8/25/2008 – The Twins make a deal with the Texas Rangers and reacquire relief pitcher Eddie Guardado and send pitcher Mark Hamburger to Texas. Hamburger resigned with the Twins as a free agent in September 2013.

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Twins minor league player of the week

Jake Reed

Jake Reed

Cedar Rapids Kernels (Low A) pitcher Jake Reed is the Twins Minor League Player of the Week. Reed, a 6’2″ right-hander made three appearances for the Kernels, tossing 4.0 shutout innings with no hits allowed no walks and six strikeouts while earning two saves. The Twins fifth round pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft has made 18 appearances for Cedar Rapids and Elizabethton combined, going 3-0, 0.32 ERA (28.0 IP, 1 ER) with two walks and 37 strikeouts.

The 21 year-old La Mesa, California native attended the University of Oregon from 2012-14 and switched from starter to closer in his final season. Reed went 4-1 with a 1.95 ERA and 13 saves in 31 games in his first season as a reliever for the Ducks. He started 17 games in each of his first two seasons with the Ducks and went 8-4 with a 2.92 ERA as a freshman and 6-6 with a 3.50 ERA as a sophomore. Reed was a Chicago White Sox 40th round pick in 2011 but chose not to sign. The Twins reportedly gave Reed a $350,000 signing bonus, slightly under slot.

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According to Elias

Kennys Vargas

Kennys Vargas

Kennys Vargas‘s five-RBI game in Saturday’s opener was the fourth by a Twins rookie over the last two seasons, joining Oswaldo Arcia (2013), Chris Colabello (2013) and Danny Santana (June 7). No other team has more than two five-RBI games by a rookie since the start of last season.

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Twins score 20

The Twins beat up on the Detroit Tigers 20-6 last night at Target Field in front of 29,394 fans that had to watch 3 hours and 59 minutes of baseball if they wanted to see the games final pitch. The Twins are the first AL team this season to score 20 runs in a game and this is the most runs ever scored by the Twins in a game at Target Field.

This is the 13th time in franchise history and the eighth time in Twins team history that the team has scored 20 or more runs in a game. The Detroit Tigers have been the unlucky victims of the Twins/Senators 20 or more runs parade on five occasions, four times by the Twins and once by the Washington Senators.

The Twins previous high for runs scored in a game at Target field occurred on July 16, 2012 when they out-scored the Baltimore Orioles 19-7. The Twins have had 20 runs scored against them just three times and always on the road. The Twins lost to the Kansas City A’s 20-2 on April 25, 1961, they lost 23-6 to the Kansas City Royals on April 6, 1974 and they lost a 20-6 game to the Texas Rangers on July 25, 2011.

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt PA AB R H HR BB LOB Attendance GmLen
1 1996-04-24 MIN DET W 24-11 60 46 24 19 3 12 9 12,189 223
2 2002-06-04 MIN CLE W 23-2 57 50 23 25 3 7 10 14,029 194
3 1994-06-04 MIN DET W 21-7 57 49 21 24 4 5 9 23,780 194
4 1994-05-20 MIN BOS W 21-2 54 44 21 22 1 7 9 20,766 188
5 1929-08-05 WSH DET W 21-5 51 41 21 21 1 6 6 132
6 2014-08-22 MIN DET W 20-6 55 46 20 20 4 9 11 29,394 239
7 2009-05-21 MIN CHW W 20-1 54 46 20 20 4 5 7 23,048 178
8 2007-07-06 (1) MIN CHW W 20-14 57 47 20 21 2 8 10 31,543 222
9 1980-04-27 MIN OAK W 20-11 52 41 20 20 0 8 8 19,859 197
10 1943-08-01 (2) WSH SLB W 20-6 56 41 20 19 0 12 12 15,579 136
11 1925-08-22 WSH DET W 20-5 55 44 20 19 3 10 8 162
12 1923-08-24 WSH CLE W 20-8 59 42 20 22 0 14 12 150
13 1915-09-29 (2) WSH PHA W 20-5 52 43 20 23 0 4 8 110
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/23/2014.

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Here is what ELIAS had to say about the game: Eduardo Escobar led the Twins’ 20-hit attack, going 5-for-6 from the eighth slot in the lineup, in their 20-6 victory over the Tigers. He was the first major-league player to collect five hits, including a home run, in a game from either the eighth or ninth slot in the lineup since Detroit’s Carlos Pena generated six hits, including a pair of homers, at Kansas City back in 2004.

Eduardo Escobar

Eduardo Escobar

Escobar’s night began with a second-inning homer off Robbie Ray, and he followed with a single off Blaine Hardy, a triple off Jim Johnson, a single off Joba Chamberlain and another single off pitcher-for-a-day infielder Andrew Romine. Escobar became the second Twins player this month to get hits off five different pitchers in the same game – Danny Santana did it against the White Sox on August 3 – something no other big-leaguer has done this season.

And just to complete the story, we note that Escobar also made a pair of errors at shortstop on Friday night. The last major-leaguer with at least five hits and at least two errors in the same game was Kansas City’s Angel Berroa, who did it in a game at Cleveland in September 2003.

For the Twins, their 20-run, 20-hit performance marked just the eighth time in modern major-league history that a team had posted those exact numbers – and three of those eight games have been produced by the Twins. Minnesota went 20/20 against the Athletics in 1980 and against the White Sox in 2009.

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Twins minor league player of the week

Stephen Gonsalves

Stephen Gonsalves

Cedar Rapids (Low A ball)  pitcher Stephen Gonsalves is the Twins Minor League Player of the Week. The 20 year-old Gonsalves made a start on Friday against Peoria, tossing 7.0 shutout innings with three hits allowed, no walks and five strikeouts, earning the win. The Twins fourth round pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft has gone 2-2, 1.57 ERA (23.0 IP, 4 ER) in five starts for the Kernels this season. The 6’5″ left-handed Gonsalves was promoted from Rookie league Elizabethton in late July, where he was 2-0, 2.79 ERA (29.0 IP, 9 ER) in six starts.

Gonsalves was projected at one time to be the best left-handed pitcher in the 2013 draft but fell all the way to round four where he was selected by Minnesota. Why did he drop so dramatically? You can read the story here. The exact cost of Gonsalves’ suspension will never be known, but the 15th pick of this year’s (2013) first round earned a $2.25 million bonus, while the 33rd and final pick signed for $1.65 million. Kohl Stewart, the Twins’ pick at No. 4 overall, received a $4,544,400 signing bonus Wednesday. Gonsalves received $700,000, still far above his slot projection of $468,200.

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According to Elias +

 

Phil Hughes

Phil Hughes

Phil Hughes struck out six without walking a batter over seven innings, earning a victory in the Twins’ 4-1 win over the Royals at Target Field last night. It was the 13th start this season in which Hughes didn’t issue a base on balls, the highest such total in the majors. The only other pitchers in double figures are Hisashi Iwakuma (11) and Tim Hudson (10).

Carlos SilvaThe Twins record for most starts in a season with no walks is held by Carlos Silva who had 18 games with no walks in 2005. That same season, Brad Radke had 17 starts with no walks. That same year Johan Santana and Joe Mays had seven games with walks and Kyle Lohse had six games with no bases on balls. Twins opponents had to hit their way on base back then. In 2005 Twins starters had a total of 58 games where they did not walk a batter and is an all time best. In 2014 Twins starters have 30 games todate with no walks. The Twins worst season for starters not allowing a walk was back in 1976 when they had only six games with zero walks.

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According to Elias

Josh Willingham

Josh Willingham

Josh Willingham knocked in three runs in his first game against his former team in the Royals’ win over the Twins last night. Willingham is the fifth former Twins player to drive in at least three runs in his first game against his former team and that game was played in Minnesota. The others to do that were Russ Nixon in 1968, Don Baylor in 1988, Darrin Jackson in 1997 and Carlos Gomez in 2010.

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Who am I?

who am I?In 14 years in the majors I pitched in 602 games but started just 69 of them. That in itself is kind of strange because when I started my big league career with the Giants my first two games in the big leagues were complete game shutouts. In the next three starts I gave up a total of four earned runs but lost all three games.

I pitched for the Minnesota Twins for six seasons. In those six seasons I pitched in 327 games and never started a single game. In those 327 games I pitched more innings and won more games than any pitcher in Twins history that had zero starts on his resume. Who am I?

Now that our mystery pitcher has been identified, you can learn more about him in a January 2010 interview I did with him.

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According to Elias

Joe MauerJoe Mauer‘s first-inning single was the 1,500th hit of his career and his sixth-inning homer gave the Twins a lead they never relinquished in a 3-1 win over the Astros yesterday. Mauer’s .320 career batting is the highest for any player at time of his 1,500th hit since Albert Pujols reached that milestone in 2008 with a .334 lifetime average. Aside from Pujols, the only player who entered the major leagues in the past 15 years and had a higher average than Mauer’s when he collected his 1500th hit was Ichiro Suzuki (.332).

Mauer become the sixth Twins player to reach the 1,500 hit pinnacle, can you name the other five? Pretty simple I would think for most Twins fans. Here is a table that shows how they compare.

 Players with 1,500 or more hits in a Minnesota Twins uniform

Rk Player H From To Age G AB R HR RBI SO BA OBP OPS
1 Kirby Puckett 2304 1984 1995 24-35 1783 7244 1071 207 1085 965 .318 .360 .837
2 Rod Carew 2085 1967 1978 21-32 1635 6235 950 74 733 716 .334 .393 .841
3 Tony Oliva 1917 1962 1976 23-37 1676 6301 870 220 947 645 .304 .353 .830
4 Kent Hrbek 1749 1981 1994 21-34 1747 6192 903 293 1086 798 .282 .367 .848
5 Harmon Killebrew 1713 1961 1974 25-38 1939 6593 1047 475 1325 1314 .260 .383 .901
6 Joe Mauer 1501 2004 2014 21-31 1257 4693 727 108 664 628 .320 .401 .863
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/14/2014.

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Harmon Killebrew and Rod Carew obviously had more hits than you see above but I am only comparing the time they actually played in Minnesota. For all the criticism that Mauer has received the last few years for his lack of power, only Harmon has a higher OPS.

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Twins hodgepodge

Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer

Seems to be some validity to the complaining that the Twins best paid player Joe Mauer isn’t hitting with runners on base. Joe Mauer had the go-ahead single in the ninth inning for Minnesota on Monday, after he entered the game hitting .171 (7 for 41) in Late Inning Pressure Situations. Over the past six seasons (2008-2013), Mauer hit .339 in LIPS, the highest in the major leagues among players with at least 100 plate appearances.

The Ft. Myers Miracle the Twins High-A team is now calling JetBlue Park their new home for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs as Hammond Stadium undergoes the second phase of their two-year remodeling effort. It will be interesting to see what Hammond Stadium will look like next spring.

The Cedar Rapids Kernels the Twins Low-A club and the Minnesota Twins extended their player-development contract (PDC) through the 2020 season. Another nail in the coffin for those that had hopes of St. Paul landing a Twins minor league affiliation in their new ballpark that is being built.

Minneapolis provided MLB with free rent and discounted services for the All-Star FanFest at the Minneapolis Convention Center when the Twins hosted the 2014 All-Star game.

Ron Davis - Twins pitcher from 1982 - 1986 (courtesy of the Minnesota Twins)

Ron Davis – Twins pitcher from 1982 – 1986 (courtesy of the Minnesota Twins)

Twenty eight years ago today the Twins traded closer Ron Davis along with minor league pitcher Dewayne Coleman to the Chicago Cubs for relievers George Frazier and Ray Fontenot and shortstop Julius McDougal. Davis was the Twins closer from 1982 until he was traded in 1986. Davis saved 108 games for the Twins but it was the games that he didn’t save that made Davis one of the biggest villans in Twins history. Here is a piece about Davis in the LA Times. The Twinstrivia  interview with Ron Davis can be found here.

In the last three weeks Terry Ryan and Rob Antony have been busy house-cleaning and they have cut about $8 million from the Twins payroll. First the Twins traded DH/1B Kendrys Morales to the Seattle Mariners for RHP Stephen Pryor. Then they traded outfielder Sam Fuld to the Oakland A’s for LHP Tommy Milone. Then RHP Kevin Correia was sent out to La La land where he will pitch for the Dodgers and the Twins will receive a PTBNL or cash. Their latest trade has outfielder/DH Josh Willingham headed south to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for minor league RHP Jason Adam. Here is what a KC blog site called Cover the Bases had to say about the deal. Are there still more trades on the horizon? You never know but if I was Jared Burton  I might not be too quick to send out my clothes to the dry cleaners. Joe Mauer is now the oldest position player on the team, Wow!

Jim Merritt

Jim Merritt

A lot is being made of King Felix Hernandez and his run of history making starts this season where he has pitched seven innings or more and allowed two runs or fewer. There is even talk of him as a serious MVP candidate. Have any Twins pitchers had a nice run like that? Turns out that Jim Merritt had 11 games in a row back in 1967. This is actually a pretty amazing run by Hernandez, since 1961 there have only been 10 pitchers that have had a streak of 10 games or more that fit this criteria. Check out the list, there are some pretty good pitchers here.

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 Streaks of seven innings pitched and two or fewer runs allowed since 1961

Rk Name Strk Start End Games W L GS CG SHO IP H R BB SO HR ERA Tm
1 Felix Hernandez 2014-05-18 2014-08-11 16 9 2 16 0 0 121.0 69 20 20 134 4 1.41 SEA
2 Tom Seaver 1971-07-17 1971-09-16 13 8 3 13 10 2 114.1 72 15 25 114 5 0.94 NYM
3 Mike Scott 1986-05-17 1986-07-07 12 6 3 12 2 1 96.1 58 16 19 99 4 1.40 HOU
4 Dwight Gooden 1985-09-06 1986-05-06 12 9 0 12 7 4 105.0 63 10 21 88 2 0.69 NYM
5 Gaylord Perry 1974-04-23 1974-06-12 11 10 0 11 10 2 98.1 56 14 35 61 3 0.92 CLE
6 Larry Dierker 1969-08-03 1969-09-17 11 7 2 11 6 1 94.2 50 14 16 79 5 1.33 HOU
7 Bob Gibson 1968-06-06 1968-07-30 11 11 0 11 11 8 99.0 56 3 13 83 0 0.27 STL
8 Jim Merritt 1967-06-25 1967-08-13 11 5 3 11 4 1 94.0 70 16 6 59 4 1.53 MIN
9 Johnny Cueto 2013-09-23 2014-05-15 10 4 2 10 3 2 79.0 36 12 21 81 8 1.25 CIN
10 Don Sutton 1976-08-10 1976-09-27 10 9 0 10 7 2 90.2 53 9 18 54 5 0.89 LAD
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/13/2014.

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Bob Gibson

Bob Gibson

Take a moment to check out Bob Gibson‘s numbers in the table above, they are absolutely incredible. His streak was 11 games long, his record was 11-0 and he had 11 complete games with 8 shutouts and a total of three runs allowed. No wonder Cardinals catcher Tim McCarver said that Gibson was the luckiest pitcher ever, he only pitched when the other team was not hitting.

The Minnesota Twins are still on track to have over 2.3 million fans at Target Field this summer. I think as the cooler weather approaches, the state fair gets in full swing and school begins, the attendance will fall off and the Twins will be around the 2 million mark but that is still an amazing mark for a team that has played as badly as the Twins have for the last four years.

So what about Ron Gardenhire and his staff? I think they are history within a week of the season ending. Who will be the Twins new skipper, it won’t be anyone currently associated with the Minnesota Twins today. Who would I like it to be? I think the Twins should swing a deal with the Marlins and bring Mike Redmond in as the Twins manager in 2015. The man had done well with the players he has been given. Will it happen? Nooooooo

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Twins minor league player of the week

Danny OrtizRochester (AAA-International league) outfielder Daniel Ortiz is the Twins Minor League Player of the Week. In six games with the Red Wings, he hit .455 (10-for-22) with three doubles, a home run, and five RBI. Ortiz, a left-handed batter also walked twice and scored seven runs to go with a .500 on-base percentage. The 24-year-old Cayey, Puerto Rico-native was selected by the Twins in the fourth round of the 2008 First Year Player Draft out of Benjamin Harrison (PR) High School and signed for a $253,000 bonus.

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According to Elias

 

Trevor May

Trevor May

Trevor May walked seven batters without recording a strikeout in his major-league debut, a 9-4 Twins loss at Oakland last night. No pitcher had issued that many bases on balls without a strikeout in his first big-league game since the White Sox Ken Kravec (7 walks) on September 4, 1975 versus the Royals. And the only other pitcher in Twins franchise history with such an inauspicious debut was the Washington Senators’ Joe Krakauskas, against the Philadelphia Athletics on September 9, 1937 (7 BB).

No major-league pitcher had issued 7+ walks without a strikeout in any game since the Blue Jays’ Ricky Romero (8 BB at Detroit) on August 21, 2012. And the last Twins pitcher to put up a line like this was Willie Banks (7 BB at Boston) on July 25, 1992.

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This Day In Twins History – August 8

8/8/1962 – With the score tied at 3 apiece at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City, A’s rookie third baseman Ed Charles steals home with two out in the ninth to score the winning run in a A’s 4-3 win over the Twins. Ray Moore and Jerry Zimmerman were the Twins battery at the time.

8/8/1974 – The Royals – Twins game at Royals Stadium is briefly interrupted by President Nixon’s resignation speech. The speech is broadcast after it begins and the next inning is delayed until the conclusion of the speech. The Twins prevail over the host Royals‚ 3 – 2 in 14 innings when Tony Oliva‘s sacrifice fly drives home Rod Carew. Bill Campbell pitches 7 innings of relief for the win.

White sox shorts8/8/1976 – This has nothing to do with the Minnesota Twins but still it deserves to be remembered for its “strangeness”. Thirty-seven years ago, on Aug. 8, 1976, the Chicago White Sox made sartorial history by wearing shorts in a win over the Royals. The Bermudas were the idea of—who else?—owner Bill Veeck. The shorts were worn in a total of three games.

8/8/1987 – The Twins beat the Oakland A’s 9-2 at the Metrodome as Twins pitcher Steve Carlton wins the 329th and final game of his Hall of Fame career. Carlton pitches 8 2/3 innings giving up 2 runs while striking out two batters.

8/8/1988 – The Indians and the Twins were scoreless after 3 innings at the Metrodome with Allan Anderson on the mound for the local nine. In the top of the fourth inning with no one out, the Indians Ron Washington and Willie Upshaw singled to put runners on first and second and then Joe Carter smashed a long drive to the left field corner where Twins outfielder Dan Gladden snagged it for an out and wheeled and fired a strike to Steve Lombardozzi at 2B to nail Washington and then Lombo relayed the ball to Gene Larkin at first to get the runner there by at least 5 feet and completed the unusual 7-4-3 triple play. The Twins went on to win the game by a 7-2 score with Galdden going 3 for 5 with a run scored, a stolen base, and a RBI. Catcher Brian Harper was 4 for 4 but played second fiddle to Gladden on this day.

8/8/1998Paul Molitor stole his 500th base in Minnesota’s 6-3 loss to Baltimore to become only the fifth player ever with 3,000 hits and 500 steals. Molitor joined Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Eddie Collins and Lou Brock.

8/8/2004 – The A’s beat the Twins 6 – 5 in 18 innings. It is the second-longest game in the 23-year history of the Metrodome. With the score tied 3 to 3, the A’s score 3 in the top of the 18th off Terry Mulholland to take a 6-3 lead. The Twins come back with 2 in the bottom of the 18th with a Morneau home run but leave Matthew LeCroy stranded on first when Koskie and Cuddyer flyout to end the rally and the Twins hope of a huge comeback victory. The game lasts 4 hours and 57 minutes.

8/8/2005 – One time Minnesota Twins manger (1976-1980) Gene Mauch passes away at the age of 79. Mauch was the seventh manager in Twins history. I think one of my favorite Gene Mauch quotes was “I’m not the manager because I am always right, but I am always right because I am the manager”.

8/8/2009 – The Twins third manager, Cal Ermer passed away at the age of 85 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Ermer replaced the fired Sam Mele in June 1967 with the Twins in sixth place with a 25-25 record. The Twins went 66-46 the rest of the season but lost the American League pennant on the final day of the season. Ermer was fired after the Twins finished in seventh place in 1968 with a 79-83 record.

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According to Elias

Seth Smith led off the top of the 10th inning with a home run to give the Padres a 5-4 win over the Twins at Target Field. Smith entered the game with a .658 slugging percentage this season when leading off an inning, the sixth-highest such average in the major leagues (minimum: 75 leadoff at-bats).

The Twins squandered a 4-3 lead in the ninth inning, before Smith’s decisive hit. Minnesota had won the last 82 home games in which it led in the ninth inning or later, which was the longest current streak of that kind in the major leagues entering the day.

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According to Elias

As if the Twins’ nine-run eighth inning wasn’t enough, Chris Parmelee, Oswaldo Arcia and Eric Fryer rubbed salt in the wound with consecutive ninth-inning home runs off Andre Rienzo to increase the margin of victory in Minnesota’s 16-3 laugher against the White Sox. The Twins are the third team to hit back-to-back-to-back homers in a major-league game this season, and the two other instances occurred on consecutive days in April. Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Raul Ibanez did it for the Angels on April 13 (all first-inning shots off the Mets’ Bartolo Colon), as did Evan Gattis, Dan Uggla and Andrelton Simmons for the Braves on April 14 (eighth inning homers, all off Philadelphia’s B.J. Rosenberg).

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Twins minor league player of the week

Chih-Wei Hu

Chih-Wei Hu (Photo credit to Becky Evans/Cedar Rapids Kernels)

Cedar Rapids Kernels (Low A – Midwest League)  pitcher Chih-Wei Hu is the Twins Minor League Player of the Week. In two starts for the Kernels, he went 2-0, allowing one run in 12.0 innings, five hits, two walks and 14 strikeouts. The Taichung, Taiwan-native is 4-0, 1.50 ERA (30.0 IP, 5 ER) with 29 strikeouts and six walks in five starts for the Kernels this season. T

The 20-year-old right-hander was signed by the Twins as an undrafted free agent in August of 2012. Only in his second season of pro ball, Hu has a career record of 7-0 with a 1.96 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP. He has been a starter in 13 of his 20 games and he has struck out 84 batters in 82.2 innings. The man has not lost a game since he started pitching professionally, he was named Midwest League Pitcher of the Week last week.

Hu continues winning ways with Kernels by Mark Emery of MiLB.com

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According to Elias

Trevor Plouffe

Trevor Plouffe

Trevor Plouffe was 4-for-5 with two doubles in the Twins’ win at U.S. Cellular Field. Plouffe is 16-for-35 (.457) against the White Sox this season. The only major-leaguer with at least 35 at-bats versus one team this season and a higher average than that is Freddie Freeman, who is 20-for-41 (.488) against the Nationals.

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How can you not like the Twins signing Brandon Poulson

Brandon Poulson (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2014

Brandon Poulson (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2014

How often does this happen now days when baseball scouts scour the bushes around the world but yet a pitcher in California that can throw 100 MPH goes undrafted? Certainly not very often but the Minnesota Twins came up winners in getting 24 year-old Brandon Poulson’s name on a professional baseball contract and it only cost them $250,000.

The signing makes for a nice Minnesota Twins story when all the news you seem to read about the team lately is bad news. The team has stunk since the All-Star game, attendance is down, the Minnesota Vikings have reported to Mankato,  the July 31 trading deadline is almost here and rumors swirl that a number of Twins are on the way out, fans are calling for manager Ron Gardenhire‘s head, Twins prospects like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Kohl Stewart, Jose Berrios, and Max Kepler keep showing up on the DL, and of course the Twins Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for Chuck Knoblauch being cancelled because he was arrested once again so we like the baseball scouts have to look high and low for some good news and this story fits the bill.

Here are a couple of links to other stories about Brandon Poulson:

SportsYahoo.com

Star Tribune

The Press Democrat

 

 

 

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Twins farmhand suspended by club

 

Hudson Boyd (KCRG-Gazette photo by Kaitlyn Bernauer)

Hudson Boyd (KCRG-Gazette photo by Kaitlyn Bernauer)

Hudson Boyd of the Cedar Rapids Kernels a 21 year-ol right-handed pitcher has been suspended indefinitely by the parent club Minnesota Twins.“He broke team rules,” said Manager Jake Mauer. “Made bad decisions. I don’t know how long he is going to be suspended for, but he’s going to be out for a little bit here.” Boyd is a first-round supplemental pick (55th overall) of the Twins in the 2011 draft who signed with Minnesota for a million dollar bonus out of Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers.

“I’d probably better not say anything,” Boyd said, when asked about his suspension.“He’s  got to take care of some things, get some things in order,” Mauer said. “Really, unfortunately, it’s just about a guy being young. Not thinking things through. Hopefully he’ll come out of this and look at this as just a bump in the road to where he wants to get to.” The length of Boyd’s suspension will be determined by Twins farm director Brad Steil.

Boyd is in Cedar Rapids for a second consecutive year. The Twins have had Boyd start during his first two years in pro ball but this season Boyd has been used strictly in relief and has a 4-2 record with a 4.53 ERA, a 1.49 WHIP and has 35 strikeouts in 43.2 innings. Boyd has seven saves to his credit this season.

Boyd has had weight issues in the past and the Twins have been working with Boyd to keep his weight under control. Earlier this spring there were rumors floating around that Boyd had stated that he would not report to Cedar Rapids if he had to repeat a season there but he still gets his mail in Cedar Rapids and it doesn’t look like he will have to change his address in the near future.

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Twins minor league player of the week

Tim Shibuya

Tim Shibuya

Ft. Myers (High-A) pitcher Tim Shibuya is the Twins Minor League Player of the Week. In two starts for the Miracle, he went 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA (14.0 IP, 2 ER) with 11 hits allowed, three walks and 11 strikeouts. The 24-year-old right-hander has appeared in 26 games (8 starts) for the Miracle, going 7-3, 2.98 ERA (81.2 IP, 27 ER) with 10 walks allowed and 54 strikeouts. The 6’1″ Shibuya was drafted in the 23rd round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of California-San Diego.  Tim was a two-time All-American as a Triton in 2010 and 2011, and the program’s all-time leader in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts.

Here are a couple of links about Tim Shibuya that you might enjoy:

Miracle pitcher Tim Shibuya excels at fielding

Q&A with Tim Shibuya

 

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Former Twin Chuck Knoblauch has another brush with the law

JUly 2014 Knoblauch mug shot

Knoblauch mug shot – July 2014

Former American League Rookie of the Year and Minnesota Twins star second baseman Edward Charles “Chuck” Knoblauch was arrested Wednesday night and accused of assaulting his ex-wife. Some reports have the couple divorcing in 2012 while other reports state that they filed for divorce in 2012 but failed to follow through on the necessary paper work. Regardless of their marriage status, Chuck Knoblauch, 46, is charged with assault of a family member after allegedly hitting Cheri Knoblauch inside her Bunker Hill home.

Memorial Villages police officers arrested Knoblauch and said he appeared “extremely intoxicated.” He was released after posting a $10,000 bond. “I would caution everybody to not rush to judgment on this. Let the facts play out and let the court system do its job,” his attorney Jimmy Ardoin said. Knoblauch has another court appearance set for July 30.

 

The video below is from click2houston.com

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Knoblauch was previously convicted of hitting then-wife Stacy Stelmach in 2010 and received one year of probation in that case. The blogs we did then can be found here and here. This Day in Twins History – February 6, 1998 Knoblauch is traded to Yankees.

Earlier this year prosecutors say he (Knoblauch) pushed a police officer March 12 and was charged with interference with public duties. That case is also outstanding at the present time.

The Minnesota Twins had planned to induct Knoblauch as the 27th member of the team’s Hall of Fame on August 23 but with recent developments the club sent out the following statement on July 24 .

“In light of recent news reports surrounding Chuck Knoblauch, as well as direct communication with the former Twins second baseman, the Minnesota Twins have decided to cancel the team’s 2014 Hall of Fame induction ceremony scheduled for August 23 at Target Field.”

Nydailynews.com

khou.com

Startribune.com

 

 

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Looking for the exit sign

Exit to SafecoWinning at just a .455% clip, the third worst in the American League and in last place in the AL Central division with the July 31 trade deadline looming the Minnesota Twins caravan stopped at the local bus stop on their way to Target Field to allow 1B/DH Kendrys Morales and RHP Matt Guerrier to get off the bus. Morales is heading for Seattle but Guerrier’s destination is unknown at the present time.

Matt Guerrier

Matt Guerrier

Ryan Pressly

Ryan Pressly

The Twins signed Matt Guerrier this past March as a free agent. Guerrier, 35, appeared in relief in 27 games and had a 0-1 record with a 3.86 ERA. Guerrier is in his 11th season in the majors but is about 40 some games short of hitting the 10 year pension mark. Guerrier had pitched for Minnesota from 2004-2010 before signing with the Dodgers as a free agent and then being traded to the Cubs last season. The Twins designated Guerrier for assignment and recalled Ryan Pressly from Rochester. Pressly who spent all of 2013 in the Twins bullpen was talked about as a possible starter this season but with Rochester this season all of his 35 appearances have been as a reliever. Hard to say what is in store for Guerrier at this stage of his career but the Twins front office likes him and if he can’t find a job as a player, the Twins might offer him a pitching coach position somewhere in their minor league system.

Stephen Pryor

Stephen Pryor

Kendrys Morales

Kendrys Morales

The Twins surprised everyone when they signed free agent DH/1B Kendrys Morales to a $7.4 million deal on July 24. Morales however, has not exactly provided the punch the Twins were hoping to get when they signed the Cuban slugger that has had hit 34 home runs in 2009 and 23 last season as a Seattle Mariner. In 39 games for the Twins Morales had one home run, 18 RBI and a .234 batting average in 154 at bats. The Twins swapped Morales to the Seattle Mariners for right-handed pitcher Stephen Pryor. Pryor received his surprise birthday gift a day after his 25th birthday. Pryor was a 2010 fifth round pick by the Mariners and quickly made his big league debut with the Mariners in June of 2012. In only his 4th major league appearance for the Seattle Mariners on June 8, 2012, Pryor was credited with the win in a 1-0 combined no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Pryor appeared in 26 games as a Mariner in 2012 but only appeared in 7 games last season before under-going shoulder surgery. The 6’4″ Pryor has spent most of the season in AAA Tacoma but his solitary appearance with Seattle this season happened to be against the Twins on July 9th when he pitched 1.2 innings striking out one and allowing one unearned run. Pryor had been clocked near the 100 MPH mark in the past but is closer to the low to mid 90′s since his surgery. Having said that, his surgery was last season so there is always a chance he could regain his lost velocity. Pryor is not exactly a control pitcher as he has a 4.5 BB/9 mark in the big leagues and even worse 4.9 BB/9 in the minor leagues.  The Twins assigned Pryor to Rochester. The Twins called up shortstop Jorge Polanco from Ft. Myers to replace Morales on the roster but I would expect that Polanco’s spot on the Twins roster will be short-term.

Who will be the next Twins player to be calling Minnesota a place he used to play?

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