The best thing I can say about the Giants series is that the Twins did not lose more games than they played. If they had done that, I would have been really upset/confused. The Twins didn't put up much of a fight this weekend, but the Giants are one of the best teams in baseball. Plus, San Francisco is windy. Wind is nature's biggest bully. I'm just glad the Twins escaped with their calculators.
Does Kyle Gibson have the Radke Syndrome?
Everyone remembers the odd affinity that Brad Radke had for giving up first inning runs. In fact, why weren't Brad Radke brand peanuts more popular? Because if you got to the game after the first inning, they'd already be shelled. Radke was an excellent pitcher, despite this odd quirk. Kyle Gibson is a promising pitcher and I think he's going to be good, but his first inning troubles are starting to become a trend.
Actually, he has troubles in all of the early innings. Here's an ERA breakdown by inning in 2014:
Now, he also hits a wall around the 7th inning, but that is somewhat common. More troubling, his first three innings are terrible and the middle innings are great. Bert Blyleven posited that Gibson is too amped up when starting a game and it leads to the ball being up. When he fatigues, his pitches drop and he gets more ground balls and more outs. It makes sense, but then again, Blyleven got to about the 5th inning of Saturday's game before he stopped calling Pablo Sandoval "Sandsobal" so who really knows.
Whatever the issue, Gibson and his coaches need to iron it out because he doesn't have Brad Radke's command and therefore, his ability to overcome a bad first inning.
There should be a term for the last guy who joins the bandwagon. Mr. Last Jerk or something. Mrs. Last Jerk if it's a female. Well, we can work on that nickname later. If the Sam Deduno bandwagon is rolling along down the street, I'm running my little heart out alongside trying to decide if I should risk my health to jump aboard.
Deduno appears to be a perfectly acceptable back-end starter. I certainly prefer him to Mike Pelfrey or Kevin Correia. He looked fine on Saturday, not great, but good enough to keep the Twins in the game. I still worry about how many walks he issues, but he seems to have the ability to induce double plays because he induces so many ground balls. As a reliever, his ground ball rate had declined, but since moving back into the rotation, that rate is starting to climb back to elite levels. Plus, he's generating more strikeouts this season.
I fully believe in jinxes and I fully believe that I am a massive jinx. If I decide to run alongside the bandwagon for a few more months, there is a completely scientific reason why.
I don't curse a lot. I am a teacher. I try to be mindful of the fact that my students may read this if they are extremely bored. Therefore, I try to keep this part of the web clean. That said, doggone it to heck, why is Josmil Pinto rotting on the bench?!?
Pinto had one hit last week. One. That would be a troubling number if he hadn't gotten only six at-bats and one start. That one hit was Pinto's seventh home run, good for second on the team with ease. Kurt Suzuki has continued to be great, but keeping Pinto on the bench 80% of the time in favor of Suzuki is just crazy. Pinto is too young and too talented. He should have been alternating starts with Suzuki on the road trip. I worry that with Oswaldo Arcia and Josh Willingham coming back and Chris Herrmann sent back to AAA, Pinto will continue to sit more than he starts.
If that happens, you can expect the darn cursing to increase. Beans.
Former Twin Update - Liam Hendriks
He's back! Liam Hendriks was added to the Blue Jays' active roster when they outrighted Esmil Rogers (a player I advocated the Twins trading for, thank you very much) to AAA. Hendriks made his 2014 debut on Friday and threw 5.2 innings, giving up just 3 hits, 3 walks, 1 earned run, all while striking out 3 (well, not while, he just struck out three guys, the other stuff happened around those strikeouts). I liked Hendriks even though he was never good with the Twins. It would be cool if he found some success in Toronto. I just love people.
Random Link - McCovey Chronicles
My beloved Grant Brisbee wrote about the Twins-Giants rivalry that doesn't exist. He posted this prior to the weekend series and I read it on Friday, but it's still worth reading even though the Twins and Giants likely won't play each other again for a long time. It's always fun to rehash the A.J. Pierzynski trade, but this time it's from the perspective of the losing fan base. Here's the link.
Random Top 17 List
Top 17 lists are so popular right now. Joe Mauer happens to have the 17th worst isolated power among all qualified MLB players. Isolated power basically measures a hitter's raw power. Mauer's is currently 0.081, which rates just above "awful" on this chart. Somehow, Mauer has an above-average OPS+, even with awful power. I was shocked on Saturday when Mauer hit a double and the graphic stated that he had hit just his 5th double of the season. I hope Mauer's extra-base power starts to come back because he's basically an average hitter without it.
Here's the top 5 on this top 17 list that I never actually provided (through Saturday's games):
- Ben Revere - .034
- Derek Jeter - .043
- DJ LeMahieu - .047
- Martin Prado - .058
- Norichika Aoki - .059
This is by far my most successful half-hearted campaign. Eduardo Escobar is still on fire. When I proposed the Eddie 400 back in January, it was more a "why not" idea based on the idea that Pedro Florimon wasn't very good and Escobar was a couple years younger. Escobar has made me famous beyond my wildest dreams (I have very depressing dreams). He is still hitting like a champ and still getting regular plate appearances. In fact, he is currently on pace for about 350 at-bats, but with his recent uptick in playing time, he should plow past the 400 ABs that I requested for him.
I am so great. I take full credit for all of his successes.
Random Idea to Change Baseball
I love baseball, but I admit that it is not a perfect game. Thus, from time to time, I have some craaaaaazy ideas to make the game better. Here's one. What if one baseball per game was made of like really hard cake. This would take some engineering, but the weight and feel would have to be the same, so the pitcher doesn't realize the difference. The ump just has that cake ball in his bag and eventually it comes into the game. Once the ball is thrown, it would either explode with cake in the catcher's mitt, or better, off the batter's bat. Cake balls are really big right now, so why not capitalize?
I'm not sure what the outcome would be, maybe it would just be a short comedy interlude, everyone cleans up and we just move on like it didn't happen. If a player had a flour allergy, it would be particularly compelling every time he came to the plate. It's just an idea, so obviously it needs some fine tuning. Just imagine how much old school ball guys would hate that cake ball.
Song of the Week - Pearl Jam - Inside Job
I have nothing to plug this week. I wrote some stuff last week, but it got proper attention. Instead, I'll use this space to celebrate! Pearl Jam, my all-time favorite band, is headlining in Minnesota for the first time since 2003. Yes, Pearl Jam is still making music. No, you probably wouldn't like it. I do like it. Regardless of how you feel about their music, they put on one of the best live shows I've ever seen. I highly suggest getting tickets to see them, so long as I have my tickets first. They love their fans and prove it every night. Here's a live version of one of my faves:
I am not an overly patriotic person, or an overly political person or really, an overly emotional person. I have many family members who have served in the U.S. military and I am fortunate enough to have never lost a loved one during service. As a social studies teacher, I felt an obligation to remind students why we had this long weekend in late May. For some, they knew all too well and for others, it gave them something to think about as they enjoyed one of the final weekends before summer. I don't feel that obligation as a Twins blogger or whatever, but I don't mind taking a few minutes away from the Twins to do as much as I can to reinforce the meaning of this holiday.
To those who are remembering someone important on this very powerful holiday, my thoughts are with you.
Have a great week, everyone!