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See you there.
3 years/$24M (2008-10)
7 years/$69.835M (2008-14), plus 2015 club option
Contract source: Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
I know we’re miffed at the Twins — and rightfully so — for not being more aggressive about fixing what’s ailed them. But taking on $61 million through the end of 2014 for … Alex Rios?
There’s no shortage of words and thoughts floating around about how poorly the Twins played last night against the Royals — clueless at-bats, T-ball defense, a silly ejection argument. I know this isn’t the case, but it almost looked like the consecutive full-count home runs that Nick Blackburn gave up came on “what-the-hey” pitches — as in: What they hey. If you guys are gonna swing the bats like that and I’m gonna get squeezed on some pitches, then let’s just throw it and see what happens.
So, while we’re feeling good and sour about the game, let me pile on with a look at what the Twins haven’t taken advantage of in the last couple pf weeks, despite the general consensus that they seem to have found their way when playing on the road.
It’s the starting pitchers they haven’t faced and aren’t facing:
*In Milwaukee last week, the Twins missed Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo (8-4, 2.86), who is averaging more than a strikeout per inning and has an ERA more than two runs better than any of their other starters.
*Against St. Louis, they didn’t face ace Chris Carpenter (5-2, 1.78), who had pitched the day before against the Mets and is pitching tonight against the Giants.
*For the second time this season, Zack Greinke (10-3, 1.95) doesn’t have his turn in the rotation coming up against the Twins. Instead, the Twins are facing three pitchers whose numbers look good mainly when compared to Sidney (1-5, 7.27) Ponson.
*And, for good measure, Detroit ace Justin Verlander (8-3, 3.40) is pitching in Oakland on Wednesday, which means he won’t face the Twins this weekend at the Metrodome.
Of course, the Tigers are giving Lucas French his first major league start on Friday night, which will allow us to hear more blah-blah-blah about facing unfamiliar pitchers. When you start hearing that stuff, cover your ears and keep in mind who the Twins haven’t been facing lately.
(Note from Howard: Longtime Section 220 commenter JimCrikket is in Florida and sharing his spring training experiences.)
I faced a tough decision Sunday morning. Yes, I had bought a ticket for the Twins/Cards game online and it was waiting for me at the Hammond Stadium Will Call window. But it turned out that my hometown boy, Zach Johnson, was going to be playing in the final threesome in the final day of the Arnold Palmer Invitational PGA tournament up the road in Orlando, along with Tiger Woods. What to do, what to do?
A quick Mapquest.com check told me that Orlando wasn’t exactly “up the road” from Ft. Myers… unless a 3 hour drive is what you consider up the road. And then, there was the whole “scattered thunderstorms all day” forecast thing. So the question became, “do you want to take a chance of sitting in the rain at the ballpark 3 miles away, or standing in the rain on a golf course 3 hours away?” Yeah… ballpark. Sorry, Zach.
And yeah… rain.
I really can’t complain too loudly about the rain. Well, I could… but that would be selfish. They’re having major wildfire issues down here and the rain today was much needed. It would have been nice if it had finished up earlier or waited to start until later, but these things happen. We’d better get used to dealing with weather-related delays again, anyway, right?
I got a “picture mail” on my phone while I was sitting there in my poncho waiting for the game to start. It was from Mrs Crikket. It was a picture of the 6 inches of snow in the driveway back home in Cedar Rapids… along with a message something to the effect of “I hope you’re enjoying Florida.” It didn’t seem sincere, somehow. I responded with a picture of me in my poncho to point out it’s not always sunny in Florida either but I suspected it probably wasn’t going to generate a lot of sympathy back home. It wasn’t until later that I found out just how much of an understatement that was. I’ll explain in a moment.
I took my time going over to the stadium in the morning. After all, there was not going to be any morning workout to watch. It started raining and thundering by 9:00ish and it kept up all morning. By the time I got to the ballpark, not much had changed. It was obviously going to be a long day. So there was really only one thing to do. Buy beer.
I have to say, it’s been a very long time since I’ve had four large beers before the first pitch of a major league baseball game, but two hour rain delays create unique situations. Needless to say, once again, if you want detailed accounts of the game, you’re best bet is to check in with LEN and/or JoeC. I don’t remember a lot of the details.
I do remember immensely enjoying Kevin Slowey striking out Albert Pujols. The odd thing was that I was enjoying it MUCH more than any of the people sitting on either side, in front of, or behind me. I suppose that might be because I was surrounded by Cardinal fans. I didn’t realize the entire city of St. Louis moves to Ft. Myers in March, but apparently that’s the case.
Some guy named Carpenter was pitching for the Cards. Those around me seemed to think he’s pretty special. They tried to convince me that a team tagging him for four runs in the early innings is a rarity this spring. I’ll take their word for it, but our guys didn’t seem to be too intimidated.
The weather did clear up quickly once they got the game going. In fact, it got so warm that you just had to have another beer… or two. In fact, by mid game, I was finally getting over the enormous guilt I had been dealing with concerning the whole “driveway full of snow” thing. That’s when I got a phone call from home. Seems the Crikket womenfolk were shopping for a prom dress and wanted to let me know PrincessCrikket had found one she liked. They just wanted to make sure it was ok to spend a relatively small fortune for it.
Now let’s think about this. I’m in Florida watching baseball. They’re in Iowa buried in 6 inches of new snow. Only a drunken fool would say “heck no, find one that’s cheaper!”, right? Well I may have been drunk, but I’m no fool. That said, this trip is suddenly getting very expensive.
Anyway… as to the other baseball stuff…
Somewhere along the way, I recall seeing R. A. Dickey confound three Cardinal hitters. Two little rollers back to him and another infield ground out later and the Twins were back in the dugout ready to hit again. I know it’s because I’m an old knuckleballer myself, but I’m pulling for the guy.
That’s about all I have to say about my day today… although I would like to put a plug in for the baby back ribs at Mel’s Diner.
I’ll try to do better… and stay dryer…and more clear-headed… on Monday at the game with the Rays.
I know the wind is blowing out and this is the time of spring training when pitchers often have the dead arm, but I’m not sure this is a pitching line that Matt Guerrier could afford this afternoon:
IP – 1, H – 4, ER – 4, W- 0, K – 1, HR – 2. Spring ERA: 8.22.
The home runs, two-run shots by Jacoby Ellsbury and Jason Bay, were not cheap.
At the same time, it was nice to see Denard Span take Papelbon deep.