Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday Morning Madness: July 8, 2013

The Twins dropped two of three in their series against the Blue Jays and in the process, they dropped to eleven games below .500.  The Twins are on a 70-win pace, which would be a huge improvement and a giant disappointment at the same time.  Prior to the season, if you had told me the Twins were going to win 70 games, I'd have laughed so hard that my pants would have fallen down.  I never wore belts.  After the first third of the season, I had officially adjusted my expectations and pants.  Now, I don't know what to think or what to wear in preparation.  Here are a few thoughts I had from the Blue Jays series.

Scott Diamond was brutal on Sunday.  He was brutal in the innings when he gave up runs and he was equally brutal in the innings when he didn't give up runs.  After the first inning, I looked down at my dog and said, "Diamond doesn't have it today."  He looked up at me, yawned, and went back to sleep.  He was walking batters and he wasn't getting ground balls.  Those two factors pretty much ruin a Scott Diamond start.  He earned the right to be in the rotation last season, but that right is slipping away quickly.  If he throws like this through July, I'd call up Liam Hendriks and see if he's learned anything new with Rochester. 

Pelfrey got much better results compared to Diamond this weekend, but I thought he looked pretty awful as well.  He didn't give up any runs and he wiggled out of some jams, but I thought that he was getting hit pretty hard and things could have been a lot different if a few balls had been hit into different locations.  They weren't, so you have to credit Pelfrey with a good start.  However, I'm not convinced that he is back on any sort of right track at this point.  We'll see; I am always wrong, so that's a point in Pelfrey's favor. 

Who the raspberries is this Dozier character lately?  Here is Dozier's wRC+ broken down by month (100 is league average):
  • April - 66
  • May - 38
  • June - 151
  • July - 184
My goodness.  Dozier has been a great hitter for the past month or so.  It's never really as simple as one stat, but here are Dozier's line drive rates in those same months:
  • April - 22.8%
  • May - 14.5%
  • June - 20%
  • July - 30.4%
Bonanza!  Just watching Dozier hit, you can see that he looks more comfortable and he is really laying into the hittable pitches that he gets.  It's been fun to watch him succeed, as he has a winning smile and great head of hair.  Oh yeah, and having a good second baseman is cool too. 

Congratulations to two very deserving All-Stars in Glen Perkins and Joe Mauer.  I'm sure they will read this, right?  Mauer was a no-doubter, and was voted in by the fans.  Perkins was selected because Jesse Crain was hurt.  Perkins deserved it without being a replacement, but it's still cool that he has been honored.  I hope he gets to pitch in the game.  He's probably my favorite Twin pitcher since Johan Santana

Now that we have honored these Minnesota heroes properly, let's get to some madness!

Random Photoshop

What do you think?  I call it "Denny Hockingbird."  He has frosted feathers and frosted tips!  If you like player heads on bird bodies, then make sure to check out my blog, Kevin Slowey was Framed!, on Thursday.  I've got something special for you.

Answering a Random Facebook Question

Ugh.  I'm not sure why I keep doing this.  Going to the Twins Facebook page and looking through the comments is like repeatedly rubbing your face onto a dirty block of ice.  Regardless, I found this gem and I have a decent answer for this "fan." 

Question - Sorry am a MN fan but don't see why? Perkins could see going but Joe? Pay him way too much! As not produced!

Answer - He's the best catcher in the American League and it isn't really all that close.  They already did pay him way too much, so you got your wish!  Congrats! 

Two Twins make the All-Star game and most of the comments are about how undeserving Mauer is, how it doesn't matter because the team sucks and that more ex-Twins made it than current Twins.  This is a Facebook "fan" page.  I'm exhausted. 

Fun Stat

Caleb Thielbar pitched two scoreless innings on Satuday, bringing his streak to 19.2 innings to start his career.  Since 1916, only five pitchers have had longer streaks to start their career.  Brad Ziegler has the record, at 38 innings.  Here is the rest of the chart, with a list of players Thielbar still has to conquer:

Rk Strk Start End Games IP ▾ H R ER BB SO HR ERA Tm
1 Brad Ziegler 2008-05-31 2008-08-12 29 38.0 21 0 0 11 17 0 0.00 OAK
2 Fernando Valenzuela 1980-09-15 1981-04-09 11 26.2 13 2 0 7 21 0 0.00 LAD
3 Dennis Eckersley 1975-04-12 1975-05-25 11 23.1 12 1 0 12 20 0 0.00 CLE
4 Victor Santos 2001-04-09 2001-05-12 8 22.1 11 3 0 15 11 0 0.00 DET
5 Victor Cruz 1978-06-24 1978-07-29 13 21.1 9 0 0 14 21 0 0.00 TOR
6 Caleb Thielbar 2013-05-20 2013-07-06 17 19.2 5 0 0 7 17 0 0.00 MIN
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/7/2013.

Who thinks he can get there?

Fun Baseball Card from the past

One of my all-time favorite baseball cards is this one:

Man, what charisma!  It's a great card because of the story behind it.  That is not Gary Pettis.  It's his 15-year-old brother.  If you can't tell that this is a child by looking at this image, then you don't know how old people look.  The switch-a-roo is one thing, but the pose by the younger Pettis is the icing on the cake. 

Then, I found out that Topps decided to make a deliberate error card in their Archives set this year to memorialize this Pettis error.  Here is the card, this time with Dylan Bundy's little bro:

Pretty cool, Topps.  The original, as always, is still the best.  No one has the natural charisma of Gary Pettis' brother.

Parting Thought

I try very hard to remain non-controversial.  However, it seems that when I applaud Joe Mauer for being great, it draws the most negative response.  I guess I don't get it.  The simple fact remains that the Twins will be a much worse team when Mauer isn't on it.  He makes outs at a lower rate than anyone in Twins history.  Here is the list of Twins with the highest career OBP (minimum 2500 plate appearances):
  1. Mauer - .404
  2. Rod Carew - .393
  3. Chuck Knoblauch - .391
  4. Harmon Killebrew - .383
  5. Matt Lawton - .379
Hey, Matt Lawton!  The point is, Mauer is great.  Sorry if that is too controversial for you.

Have a great week, everyone!


  1. There are so many things to agree with here:
    Love the Pettis card (and story,) Joe Mauer is sadly underappreciated by haters, Dozier is surprising the what outta me, Denny Hocking's frosted tips are great for photoshop projects.

    All that said, I think Albers' first chance or Worley's second chance are more deserved at this point than Hendriks' 3rd/4th? chance. I really want Hendriks to succeed and be part of the solution here, but you can't force it. He has not been good this year, but since he is coming off a good start, if they act fast, they can spin it- "He has a 0.00 era in July! Don't look at his numbers in June!"

    1. That comment was meant as more of an off-handed critique of "learning" more at AAA, but it didn't play well in print. I would give Albers the next chance, 40-man spot be darned. He has earned it and both Worley and Hendriks really have not.