7-26-10: Notes

Hello again everybody...

Hope you had a great weekend.

Mine was too short, as most good weekends tend to be. I got to relax a bunch on Saturday, and work a remote on Sunday.

What's that? Work as part of a good weekend?

Well when it's a red-carpet gala, and you get to meet some interest folks (and thanks to a union contract, you get paid for more hours than you actually work), it's not a bad way to kill a few hours on a Sunday.

I always enjoy a trip to the River Center in St. Paul. I only wish I'd been passing through on my way to a hockey game!

(This is the part on Twitter where you'd insert “#isitOctoberyet”.)

But you didn't come here to listen to me ramble about rubbing elbows with C-list celebrities (did I mention Verne Troyer of Mini-Me fame was there?!). No, you came here to get my unique - and sometimes even interesting - takes on what happened over the weekend.

Which I'll give you...

Right after the quote.

”A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.”
- Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862), American author, poet, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, philosopher, and leading transcendentalist.

Admirable sentiment... now where did I leave the remote again?

«Read More...»

Never mind. Let's get to some...


The Twins took three of four from Baltimore... and that's just how you like to start a road trip!

In Friday's column, I told you about the 5-0 gem of a win on Thursday. Friday night, Brian Duensing made his 2010 debut as a starter and did a solid job. He went only 5 innings in the game, but that was by design. The Twins are still trying to get him stretched out as a starter, so they don't want to push him too hard too fast. Unfortunately, the bullpen couldn't hold the Orioles down, and the line-up wasn't able to muster enough runs for a win.

Saturday and Sunday, however, were another matter entirely. The Twins scored 17 runs in those two games to complete the series victory. Scott Baker did a solid job (which, given how he's pitched recently, is very encouraging) on Saturday, and Kevin Slowey pitched six solid innings of his own (ditto to Baker) on Sunday. The only downside to the weekend was watching Nick Blackburn get beat up a bit in his bullpen debut. Fortunately he had a huge cushion to work with. But if Nick can't get things sorted out in the 'pen... well, I'm not sure what's going to happen to him then.

Delmon Young continued his hot-hitting ways. He hit sixth on Saturday, going 4-for-4 with 3 RBI. He hit third on Sunday, going 1-for-6 with one RBI and a run scored. Okay, so the Sunday numbers aren't going to blow you away, but the guy's still hitting .322 with 74 RBI! Hopefully sliding him up a spot or two isn't a temporary situation!

Sadly there was a bit of bad news for the Twins as well. 2B Orlando Hudson strained an oblique muscle. For the uninitiated, oblique muscles surround your rib cage and are intimately involved in any twisting motion of your torso - say like swinging a bat. The problem with oblique strains, is they're a lot like hamstring strains. Unless you completely shut things down, they can keep flaring up on you. Hudson tried to take some treatment and come back, but it wasn't enough, and the Twins put him on the 15-day DL.

The player chosen to fill his roster spot is also somewhat telling. C Jose Morales will make his first appearance in a Twins uniform this week. Morales was tabbed to be the back-up to Joe Mauer coming out of spring training, but got hurt during the spring and was supplanted by Drew Butera. So why would the Twins call him up now? Obviously, Joe Mauer's shoulder is still causing him troubles. In the last 5 games, Mauer's sat twice and DH'd once. Not a good sign. Hopefully Morales will give Gardy a little more flexibility at the catching position, and Joe can get that shoulder right.

Dan Haren is no longer a Diamondback... and sadly, he's not a Twin either.

Not that really expected the Twins to make a deal for Haren, but still, the options for Minnesota to bolster their starting rotation are dwindling. And what's worse, as we approach the trade deadline on Saturday, they're only going to get that much more expensive.

First off, let's take a look at this from an Arizona perspective. In return for sending Haren to the Angels, the D'backs are getting LHP Joe Saunders along with two prospect pitchers: Rafael Rodriguez and Patrick Corbin, and a player to be named later.

Most analysis I've read about the trade so far indicates that the Diamondbacks got less in return for Haren, than they gave to the Athletics to get him in a trade after the '07 season. But that's a short-term view. The two keys to this deal for Arizona are: A) What do they do with the money they'll save by not having to pay out the rest of Haren's contract; and B) Who's the “player to be named later”? If it's left-hander Tyler Skaggs - who the Snakes nearly drafted in the supplemental round last season - then maybe it evens things out a bit. If it's a lower-level prospect and ownership sits on the money...

Best not to think that way just yet!

As for how this affects the Twins? Like I said, with Lee and Haren now off the market, the list of potentially available starters is shrinking fast. I still don't believe Houston's Roy Oswalt is a legitimate option. Houston owner Drayton McLane isn't known for being the most reasonable trade partner, and since he's got his hands all over any potential deal, a team would have to seriously over-pay to get Oswalt.

Given Minnesota's trade history, that's not terribly likely.

So at this point, Twins G.M. Bill Smith is either going to have to get seriously creative, or hope and pray that Duensing fills that spot in the rotation while Baker and Slowey bounce back.

That's a lot of hoping and praying, mind you.

And finally...

Mad Men returned on AMC last night... and if you're not watching this show, you either don't have cable/satellite, or you don't like well-written television.

I say that with one caveat, of course. If you haven't been watching, don't try to dive right in. You'll be lost... quickly.

Instead, either go to AMC's Mad Men Episode Guide, and at least run through the synopses of the first three seasons. Or, more ideally, go rent/borrow them on DVD or Blu Ray and start catching up now.

The first episode of Season 4 was excellent. There were the requisite “what the hell?!” and “they did NOT just do that” moments along with all the witty banter fans have grown to know and love from this show.

I know. I'm doing a terrible job of explaining what makes this show so good. Rent it. Watch it. You'll understand. I promise.

That's going to wrap things up for today. I'll be back on Wednesday. We're drawing to the close of another month. That means I've got to do another ”Peek at the Picks” column!

You know, unless something breaks that blows my initial idea out of the water...

Until Wednesday then, thanks for reading!


  1. I don't have cable/satellite.

    May I be excused? :-)

    Besides, if I like a show enough to look forward to it, it gets canceled. You shouldn't encourage me.

  2. Who do you think I was thinking of when I wrote that exclusion?!

    Trust me, this one's not getting canceled. I can loan you seasons one and two on BluRay if you like? :)