Enjoy the NFL draft (unless you are a Kansas fan)

Kansasdraft

The NFL draft is tonight, and in the category of people at a dais reading names, it’s probably my favorite event of the year. The thing is, it’s a lot more enjoyable if you have players from your favorite school charting as draft candidates. For those that don’t know, the Kansas Jayhawks went 0-12 last season, which isn’t great. Part of the reason is perhaps that their best player is also the 54th best offensive tackle in the country.For reference, Kansas has 2 players in the top 1000, neither likely to be drafted. Jacksonville State has 3 such players.

Kansas fans likely won’t have much to maintain their interest at the draft tonight, so what is a Jayhawks fan tto do? I dunno, probably just get into basketball.

Indians 6, Twins 5 – Berriosmania

The Moment: Jason Kipnis made contact only once in the game last night, striking out a total of 4 times, but the time he did make contact, it was on a Jose Berrios slider that he lined into left field, plating the game tying run with a double.  Kipnis would go on to strikeout in every other venture to the plate.

The Hero: The Twins lost despite Danny Santana’s best efforts. He had another 3 hit performance, making Paul Molitor look smart for having him bat leadoff despite all evidence suggesting that to be a bad idea. Santana led off the game with a double which sparked an early rally, and tried to bring them back when he singled in the 9th and stole 2nd. It was not to be, however, as the guys behind him didn’t come through.

The Condolences: Jose Berrios wasn’t great in his debut, but it wasn’t a catastrophe. The catastrophe was the outfield. Still, Berrios, while striking out 5, gave up hard contact in almost every other at bat. It might have been a function of the cold, or nerves, but his debut likely wasn’t what he’d had in mind.

The Soundtrack: Beautiful Girls – Van Halen. Shout out to my wife. Holla.

The Story: The thing that everyone will look back on this game and remember is that Jose Berrios made his Major League debut. He struck out 5 over 4 innings, which not many Twins pitchers could do on their best day. On the other hand, he gave up 6 hits and seemed to have 15 pitches an at bat. It made his night short.

Still, with the Twins ultimately scoring 5 runs, the loss wasn’t entirely on the rookie.I’m pinning 2 runs on Eddie Rosario, who misjudged a fly ball to left and simply dropped it. A run scored on Michael Brantley’s good fortune, and then Mike Napoli came up and drove Brantley home. I told Kyle at the game that Rosario is about 1/3rd the defender in cold weather than he is in more temperate conditions. Thanks for bearing that out, Eddie.

The Twins were hitting, though, which was nice. Byung-ho Park continues to look like a good investment. He even hits home runs — excuse me, “bangs” — when it’s cold out. Danny Santana was good, for some reason, as the lead off man as well, and Miguel Sano proved he knows a thing or two about playing third base, which runs contrary to the line we’ve been hearing about him lately. I think it puts folks’ mind at ease about the eventual departure of Trevor Plouffe, or at least long for the day when Sano doesn’t play in the outfield.

This can be chalked up to a game that the Twins will feel they let slip away, and also a debut that gave us a few things to be excited about in the future of Jose Berrios.

The other shoe drops, and Jose Berrios joins the Twins

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I think almost everyone, including myself, the biggest Ricky Nolasco defender out there, thought that it would be he and Tommy Milone out of a job by the end of April when it came time to start seeing what their top prospects had to offer. Instead, Nolasco has been the best pitcher on the team to this point, and it’s Ervin Santana with back problems and Kyle Gibson with what seems like a phantom shoulder injury that are being bumped from the rotation. Tyler Duffey is with the team already, but yesterday, the Twins announced that they are calling up Jose Berrios, the team’s top prospect that had been yet to reach the Big League club.

Berrios has increased his star in the organization ever since he was drafted. Generously listed at 6′, he didn’t have the stature of a dominant, hard throwing pitcher, but he has remained healthy since he was drafted and steadily moved through the organization and dominated at every level. As a 20 year old last year, he had nearly 10 k/9 with an ERA of 2.62. Looking at his career to that point, that wasn’t an aberration. Given just a little time, he had posted similar numbers at every level.

Sure, Berrios may not have the physical stature of a dominant starter in the majors, but his results have been impossible to ignore. Berrios is a rare sight in the Twins organization. Not only is he a pitching prospect, but he is a potential ace in a good rotation. Unlike someone like Byron Buxton, who has been evaluated mostly on his athleticism, Berrios has done nothing but put up incredible numbers. It will be fun to see what he can do at Target Field.

Twins 6, Indians 5 – The Twins just like jumping around

The Moment: Really, the Twins wouldn’t have had their exciting win for the second night in a row were it not for the fact that Mike Napoli blasted this guy to the second deck. Were it not for this dinger, with 2 out in the 9th, we wouldn’t have even had a bottom of the 9th.

The Hero: Never mind that Napoli struck out twice or anything like that, his 2 out blast in the 9th was as clutch as clutch gets.

The Condolences: The good news for Cody Allen is that he did everything in his power to prevent Oswaldo Arcia from winning the game. Of course, that meant a Brian Dozier double, a Joe Mauer walk and a Miguel Sano walk off single in the bottom of the ninth, all in consecutive order.

The Soundtrack: Stuck in the Middle with You – Stealers Wheel. NOT Steve Miller Band. Stealers Wheel.

The Story : Far and away, this was Ricky Nolasco’s worst outing of the year, and he still went 7 innings, allowing 4 runs with 2 home runs for the Indians. Those were 2 of the 5 hits allowed, though, so he was never really in trouble. Cody Anderson for the Indians? Yeah, he was constantly under the gun.

The Twins had 10 hits off of Anderson through his 5 2/3 innings of work, including the go ahead home run from Eddie Rosario in the 6th. The Twins appeared as though they had this game all locked up at this point, especially after a couple more solid innings from Nolasco and a polished off 8th from Casey Fien.

Then Kevin Jepsen came in and started off pretty well, retring the first two batters of the inning (though they were on hard hit balls)  before giving up Napoli’s home run. This is Jepsen’s 3rd blown save already, which isn’t great, and will likely be a point of great consternation for the team and the locals that love them, but let’s try o focus on the positives for a second.

The Twins won! Miguel Sano drove in the game winning run in the bottom of the frame. Suddenly the Twins can hit when it counts again!

Twins rock the boat, but in the predictable way

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Alex Meyer of the Minnesota Twins pitches during the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers during the Interleague game at Miller Park on June 26, 2015, in Milwaukee. (Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

I wasn’t exactly right on my predictions for the moves that came yesterday, but I was awfully close. Byron Buxton was sent down, Danny Santana is back on the roster, the team added a pitcher and David Murphy is no longer in Rochester.

That doesn’t encapsulate the mood of the moves. The Twins dropped Buxton and Max Kepler to AAA and opened a spot for Danny Santana to return to the roster. They also reduced their bench and increased their bullpen, adding Alex Meyer to the pitching staff. Murphy started slow in Rochester and was unable to secure promotion, and opted out of his deal with the Twins.

A couple of things stand out about themoves that I wasn’t expecting. First, with two of the primary center fielders getting sent down, Eddie Rosario will now have to man the helm. As a result, left field is the free position. Oswaldo Arcia, last night’s hero, will no ensure that his bat will occupy the role and see much more time in the lineup.

Second was the addition of Alex Meyer. The once top prospect has fallen back to earth and moved t the bullpen, outside of the scathing eye of professional baseball players and scouts. It’s almost to the point that people have forgotten how talented Meyer is. The Twins didn’t forget, and are hoping a hard thrower in the bullpen will add another dimension to the team for 2016.

Nobody is done with the team, outside of David Murphy, who was never really with the Major League team anyway. Alex Meyer and obviously Danny Santana have been with the big league squad before. There wasn’t a move in the cluster that really shook the Earth under my feet, even if they weren’t exactly what I predicted. There was no change to the long term vision of the Twins.

If there is a criticism, it’s that Buxton and Kepler were introduced to the Majors a bit prematurely, and definitely too optimistically. It might be too early to send them back to Rochester, from a psychological perspective, but if we are at a point where the Twins felt the need to replace Buxton and Kepler at the Major League level for a while, these were the right moves.

Twins 4, Indians 3 – Let’s Go Crazy

The Moment:

The Hero

The Condolences:  Zach McAllister only faced one batter. Can you guess which batter it was? It was Oswaldo Arcia, and Arcia hit a game winning, walk off home run.

The Soundtrack: The Same Thing – The Allman Brothers Band – The Twins coming through in the late innings to secure victory? Definitely NOT the same thing.

The Story: The Twins have had a busy day. There was the fact that they made a couple of roster moves, sending Byron Buxton and Max Kepler to Rochester, while Danny Santana came off the DL and Alex Meyer was recalled. They were also in the news because of their homage to Prince in their first home game since his passing.

They capped it in a rather enjoyable manner. Early in the game, the Indians seemed in control, with a 2-0 lead through 4 1/2, and the Twins scuffling at the plate. A fortunate review, a balk, and the first clutch hits of the seasons all played a roll in Minnesota tying the game in the bottom of the 5th, with Brian Dozier doubling home two, followed by a single from Miguel Sano to bring in Dozier.

Yan Gomes homered in the top of the 8th to tie the game back up, which set up Arcia’s big blast to walk off winners an inning later. Oh, and Kevin Jepset got the win! Nice to see something go his way.

Moves are coming

Expect a bushel of roster moves to be announced tomorrow to account for players coming off the DL, and general stank emanating from the team. We’ll dig into what actually happens later, but lets try to guess!

First, what already happened: Jorge Polanco was sent to Rochester in order for Tyler Duffey to get called up. Duffey took a line drive and will likely be placed on the DL. This is good news for ease of processing, if not for the collective health of the organization.

Some people believe there are many moves to be made by the Twins tomorrow, but the way I see it, there are only two coming. I’ll throw a third in there just for kicks, though I don’t foresee it as terribly likely..

MOVE 1: Recall Danny Santana, place Tyler Duffey on the DL.

MOVE 2: Recall David Murphy, send Byron Buxton to Rochester.

BONUS MOVE 3: Tommy Milone moved to bullpen, Michael Tonkin DFA’d and Jose Berrios called up to take a spot in the rotation.

Not as much, perhaps, as many are expecting, but it would still provide a shakeup. We’ll see how I do in the morning.

Nationals 6, Twins 5 (16 innings)

The Moment: In a 16 inning game, there were a lot of big changes in the game. There was Btian Dozier’s 3 run blast, Bryce Harper’s to re-tie it, Miguel Sano’s go ahead single, and then obviously Chris Heisey’s game winning home run. So what was the biggest play of the game?

Ugh. Oliver Perez laid down a 2 out bunt that JR Murphy threw into right field. Danny Espinosa scored, and the game was tied back up in the bottom of the 15th. Terrible.

The Hero: Bryce Harper was in the game for only one at bat. He hit a home run that tied the game in the bottom of the 9th. Not bad!

The Condolences: Michael Tonkin truly does deserve condolences. He went in to watch Murphy fire the ball into right, was made to bat for some asinine reason, and then promptly gave up the game winning home run. There is some thought that Tonkin’s time with the Twins is very nearly at an end.

The Soundtrack: The No Juice Podcast. Parker Hageman, like myself, lives in Chanhassen and is only passively interested in Prince.

The Story: Tyler Duffey came up to Minnesota for a spot start and lasted 4 innings. He was… mediocre. He worked 4 innings, gave up 5 hits, two walks, a lead off home run and only had one strikeout. It wasn’t a great game for him, and it finished with a line drive that knocked him out of the game.

The Twins were able to take two leads that seemed like they would be good enough to close out the Nationals. The first was on an outstanding at bat from Brian Dozier that resulted in a three run home run. The Nationals came back and scored three times in the bottom of the 9th.

The reason Minnesota was even in this game through extra frames was because of Ryan O’Rourke, who went nearly 4 full innings and kept the Nationals off the board. He was scuffling a bit in the 15th, which is why Tonkin was summoned. Oof. The entire undercard of the bullpen (O’Rourke, Abad, Fien, Pressly) performed admirably, actually.

OK, so let’s get to the 15th. Miguel Sano had 4 strikeouts and only 1 hit in 7 at bats, but he chose the 15th for his hit. Well timed, as it put the team ahead late in the game. And then the bottom of the inning happened. And then the 16th happened (for one batter, anyway). And now, the bad feelings about this team have returned.

Nationals 2, Twins 0 – The strike out thing is back in a big way

The Moment: While it was followed by a 2 run single from Ryan Zimmerman, it was Bryce Harper’s double a batter before that really set things up for Zimmerman. If Zimmerman hadn’t been caught between bases, his hit definitely would have been the moment, but on Harper’s shot, nobody was retired. He wins!

The Hero: Tanner Roark seems like a guy who has tripped up the Twins more than once. The Nationals’ 6th starter definitely seems like the kind of profile for a guy that would give the Twins fits. He did pretty good today, striking out 15 and allowing only 2 hits.

The Condolences: This is crazy. Eddie Rosario was the only starter to strikeout only once. Given his wild strike zone, that’s mind boggling.Also mind boggling, that despite all that, his 0-4 day came in more clutch situations. As a result, he was the worst player by WPA, despite probably not being the worst player by the eye test.

The Soundtrack: NBC Sports Radio, talking about the NFL draft. If the Twins keep losing, this is what I need to do.

The Story: Frankly, the Twins haven’t been awful this year. Their pitching, for example, is very good, and Phil Hughes was dominant except for a couple of batters in the first inning. Joe Mauer has been awesome. He was one of the two players that actually had a hit, which is nice.

But then, the parts that have been bad have been extraordinarily bad. They struck out 18 times today, 15 against Roark and 3 against the bullpen. They are now 1-9 on the road, which is another problem.

They had a hot streak when they were playing at home, and a large part of it surrounded their power. Miguel Sano and Oswaldo Arcia got a chance to play today (Sano moved to third base!!!) but it’s tough to get Byung-ho Park and Joe Mauer into the same game, which also inhibited their offense.

But you know what? Park strikes out a lot too. The problems don’t just surround the lineup construction, but rather what is available for the lineup. The team needed to add Tyler Duffey for a spot start tomorrow, which means they had to outright someone off the roster. There will be more moves to be made, and it will be interesting to see what the Twins decide to do.

In the mean time, Minnesota gets to deal with Stephen Strasburg tomorrow. Has anyone ever struck out all 27 batters before?

Nationals 8, Twins 4 – Just wait until Bryce Harper does something

The Moment: You can pretty much tell how the game is going to go when the biggest moment of the game comes in the first inning. With two out and two on, Daniel Murphy singled to drive in Bryce Harper and left two in scoring position thanks to some smart baserunning. The Nats would eventually score 4 runs in the opening frame.

The Hero: The game was so out of hand so early that it wasn’t the type of game where players had many big moments at the plate, but Jose Lobaton made the most of it when he was up. In that first inning, he had a two run single, and in the 3rd, the not so fleet catcher scampered around for the ugliest triple I’ve seen in quite some time.

The Condolences: Kyle Gibson is the early front runner for owner of the worst start of the year. Congratulations!

The Soundtrack: Get Together – Jesse Colin Young (of the Youngbloods) – It’s important that you check out this mustache. 

The Story: There wasn’t a very compelling story today. The Nationals leapt to a 7-0 lead through 3 innings, knocking Kyle Gibson out very early in the game. They did it the old fashioned way to Gibson – A lot of hits, good base running and piece by piece. By old fashioned, I mean the way it was played in 1907 when nobody ever hit any home runs.

There were some taters later, though. Jayson Werth hit one off of Michael Tonkin for the final run for the Nationals, and Miguel Sano crushed one to dead center to wrap up the scoring for Minnesota.

There wasn’t really a point that one thought “The Twins might do it! They could still come back!” It just wasn’t that kind of day. Kyle Gibson was so hittable, and Gio Gonzalez was so not. Maybe things will change this weekend.