Kirby Puckett

Kirby Puckett

Saturday, May 31, 2014


Hey everybody, I was pretty busy this week/weekend so I wasn't able to get the Week in Review up. Don't worry, It'll be back next week, along with my lottery mock draft tomorrow.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Twins Week in Review: May 17th-May 24th

Three Reasons to be Happy
1. Kurt Suzuki
Man, has he looked good. He's been on a tear lately, hitting over .340 in May, including an inside the park homer against the Padres. You should watch the clip just for the shot of Bud Black contemplating suicide around the 27 second mark.
2. Phil Hughes 
Another win in San Diego brought his ERA down to 3.15 and a miniscule 1.03 in May. These are the weirdest pitchers ever. You can never figure them out. Whatever I hear about a game I'm not remotely surprised. A three hit shutout? Saw that one coming. Pulled in the second after giving up seven runs? Can't say I'm too particularly shocked.
3. Chris Parmelee
Another one of the unsurprising group. (We need a name for those guys, any suggestions? Let me know in the comments) Anyway, two homers in his first two games, including a walk-off against the M's gives me hope for the 500th time with Parmelee.
Three Reasons to be Frustrated-
1. Kyle Gibson
He just needs to be more consistent. Some nights he looks like he can beat any pitcher in the league and other times he looks like Pelfrey. One thing isn't changing which makes me optimistic: He doesn't have the demeanor of a scared rookie like he did last year. Even when he isn't pitching well he always looks confident and collected on the mound.
2. Injuries
Willingham and Arcia still haven't played since early April, while Fuld is still out with a concussion. It's a miracle that they're even at .500.
3. Mauer
He's only hitting in the .280s but don't worry, eventually he'll bust out of it. His line drive rate is normal and it seems inevitable that he'll get on a hot streak. Especially considering he's been hitting above .300 since the beginning of May.
Random Thought of the Week
The draft is coming up, and lots of mock drafts have the Twins taking shortstop Nick Gordon with their first round pick. Lots of projections are talking about the Twins "needs" in a couple years. My response to that: How are they supposed to know what you'll need in a few years? Yeah, I know they have projections and that type of stuff, but those are really inconsistent. Do you think the Twins had Dozier written into their long term plans a few years ago? Or how about the Padres, who probably thought Matt Bush would be their number one starter by now. Message to GMs: Just take the best player available. Don't act like you know.
Dan Gladden Stupidity Moment of the Week
In which we look at something moronic Dan Gladden said while announcing Twins games
Tonight against the Giants, Posey tried to bunt for a hit with two guys on in the sixth. He hit it foul, and Gladden and Provus talked about what an unusual play that was to see the number three hitter bunt. Then Danny said, "Well, if he reaches base or makes it a sacrifice it's a good play. Gee, I would have never thought. Thank god our broadcasters are here to give us astute points like this.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Twins Week in Review: May 10th-May 17th

Three Reasons to be Happy
1. Brian Dozier
Things you can say right now without getting laughed out of the room: 1) Brian Dozier is the best power hitting second baseman in the game, 2) Brian Dozier is the best fielding second baseman in the league, and 3) Brian Dozier is an all star. He has been huge for the Twins this season even if the traditional stats don't cover it. He's on pace to hit over 25 homers, which just might be enough to give him is first gold glove.
2. Aaron Hicks
Ever since the Twins criticized his preparation, he's been on an "I'M NOT A FREAKING BUST" run, including a walk-off single against the Red Sox. Hicks has always had the tools, speed, flashes of power, good fielder, great walk rate, if he can put them together he could be dangerous.
3. Taking four of six from the Tigers and Red Sox
No that's not a typo, a team that won 66 games last year beat two teams that won a combined 200 games last year. The Twins have just looked downright impressive the last week. Last week I wrote that the collapse is inevitable. This team really puts you on the gamut of emotions.
Three Reasons to be Frustrated
1. The bullpen
Ugh, Perkins that was the most frustrating type of blown save. They're not nearly as painful when it's just a homer. But when the closer gives up single after single, it sucks because you can feel the guillotine about to drop and the closer will give up the lead. They will then calmly retire the rest of the order, a staple of the Matt Capps blown save.
Talking about this allows me to unveil one of my favorite sports theories: The bullpen book. Started by my Uncle Charlie, the idea is that there's a book that every Twins reliever receives when they join the team, (What do you think the Barbie backpack is for?) and that includes a closer chapter which says, "Put runners on, it makes the game more exciting," Unfortunately, Ron Davis didn't read the entire section and just assumed that the goal was to put runners on. With that, now you know the reason for all of the the Joe Nathan walk-lineout-single-strikeout-strikeout saves.
2. David Ortiz
My favorite Ortiz quote from after 9-4 Boston victory that included him going 4-5 with two homers. "I try to do this every day; they just don't let me," Translation: "I try to do this more often, but it's easier to do against incompetent pitchers"
3. Chris Colabello
Colabello's average dropped to just .235 including just .127 and three RBI in May. C'mon Chris, I want to be able to tell everyone that I shot baskets with you at Twinsfest, don't make me look desperate for attention when I tell people that story.
Stat of the Week
Suzuki's average in wins, compared to just .234 in losses. I have no idea what this is supposed to say. I hate it when broadcasters say things like that. This is especially prevalent in basketball and someone will say, "The T-Wolves are 6-2 when Rickey Rubio scores more than 25 points," Well, obviously that doesn't mean he's the X-factor but that they win when he scores that many because the defense was Swiss cheese those nights and everyone was scoring.
Dan Gladden Stupidity Moment of the Week
In which we look at something moronic Dan Gladden said while announcing Twins games
You know it's a good week when you can't find anything stupid Gladden said, (he even made a good point before Pinto's homer the other day) so instead I'll go to the files and look at something annoying he does a lot. For some reason, he feels the need to refer to everything as "little" as in "He threw a little curveball," It gets annoying. Fast.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Reasons to be Optimistic About the Wild

Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks ended the Wild's season on Tuesday, but there is no reason to be upset with this season. Here's why.
1. They weren't supposed to have gotten that far in the first place
After they made the playoffs, maybe 20% of NHL "experts" predicted them to beat the Avalanche. After that, most of them predicted the Hawks wouldn't break a sweat in beating them. They clearly proved everyone wrong.
2. New players stepping up
Haula was fantastic in the postseason with seven points. Granlund was also solid with seven points as well, along with drawing a few penalties and singlehandedly saving the season on one of the most ridiculous goals I've ever seen.
3. All of this was happening with the third and fourth string goalies in the net
The biggest subplot this postseason nobody ever talked about: Both of their top two goalies were out. They would have been in even better shape if they had had Backstrom or Harding as their netminder, maybe they steal one of the games in Chicago, then if the Hawks don't get a flukey bounce in OT on Tuesday they take the series. That's not inconceivable.
4. Free agents next season
There's a good chance Thomas Vanek is coming aboard this offseason. The former Gopher has been mentioned in numerous reports to have expressed interest in coming here (Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy referred to it as, "The worst kept secret in hockey" a few weeks ago) Vanek had 68 points including 28 goals last year with the Canadiens, Islanders and Oilers and would be a big upgrade from Heatley at left wing.
The biggest advantage the Wild have over the rest of the Minnesota teams is that in Hockey, Minnesota is a desirable market to play in. It has a rabid and knowledgeable fan base which is helpful for being appreciated. If you show a person who knows nothing about basketball a Heat game, they will still be able to tell you that Lebron James is the best player on the court. Hockey isn't like that, you have to notice the more subtle things like blocking a shot or drawing a penalty.
One last thing: That was a really exciting run. Even non Wild fans were getting into the series. After Nino's goal in OT I thought the state would explode from all of the buzz. Now that we've had a taste of the playoffs everyone wants to get back. If the right guys develop and the Wild make the right moves, I wouldn't be surprised if they get back.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Twins Week in Review: May 3rd-May 10th

Three Reasons to be Happy
1. Danny Santana
In his first glimpse of Major League action the hopeful shortstop of the future got five hits in 13 at bats while playing good defense at short. I'm writing this while listening to the game right now. The instant I wrote that Santana made a dumb throw to second base with two outs when it would have been easier to go to first. Never mind.
2. Pitching is coming around
Other than two forgettable games against Cleveland and Baltimore, they didn't give up more than four runs in a game. Not bad considering they showed up in the Reasons to be Frustrated in every week up until now. Hughes had two good starts, including the one yesterday that spawned the bizarro universe headline of, "Hughes outduels Verlander"
3. Mauer doesn't have to go on the DL
I was about to add this to the reasons to be frustrated before it was announced today that he was playing. His injury had particularly bad timing because he was on such a tear when it happened. (.370 in the last ten games)
Three Reasons to be Frustrated
1. The injury bug
Willingham and Arcia have both been injured for awhile,and Mauer, Hicks, and  Fuld are banged up. You know things are getting bad when your utility infielder is playing centerfield.
2. Still not buying it
As of right now, the Twins are 16-18, not bad, but look at their record last year. at this time. At one point last  year they were 18-17. The collapse is inevitable. This team is just too young and lacking in talent to come very close to contending.
3. The deep bench
I'll admit it. I saw that they had called up Logan Darnell and said, "Who the hell is that?" Then they called up Matt Guerrier, (member of the second time with the Twins club along with Kubel and previously Bartlett. I still can't believe they didn't sign Johan Santana. C'mon, why not go all the way if you're going to sign former players)
Random Thought of the Week
You all have probably heard of the Yu Darvish near no-hitter last night. Or more specifically, the ball off of David Ortiz's bat that counted as an error. I'm not going to rip this one apart, it could have gone either way, miscommunication is a gray area, but my bigger point here, is the opposite, errors aren't counted nearly enough. Official scorers have gotten way too easy or fielders. There seem to be some rules of errors.
1. The first baseman can't get charged with an error unless it's blatantly obvious.
2. If the ball is hit hard, there's no error on the play
This needs to be fixed. We'd get a much better idea of who the best fielders are and who keeps getting bailed out by spineless official scorers.
Kris Atteberry Awesome Moment of the Week
During the game today, Dan Gladden was on vacation, so Atteberry was filling in for him. The entire time he was riding Joe West, who was umping home plate, the peak coming on a called strike three, when West must have been quiet, causing Atteberry to yell, "Show some energy, Joe West!" That was good enough, but the best part was a few seconds later when he said, "What do you think West says to people when they come to the nice umpire headquarters? 'Hey, get off my floors,
An inning later, they were discussing Provus singing along with the seventh inning stretch and for no particular reason, Atteberry quips, "Down there West is probably saying to Kinsler, 'That Provus is pretty good, but you should hear me sing some time.'" Never Change, Kris Atteberry.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Teddy Bridgewater!

     I felt like throwing my radio across the room last night. The Vikes selection had come in, with Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater still on the board, that's two potential elite QBs there and the Vikings severely lacking one, who do they take? Anthony freakin' Barr. I'll get to him in a second, but for now, can we talk about the blown pick just by a positional standpoint.
     They needed a quarterback, for this simple reason. Can you win a Super Bowl if your quarterback is Christian Ponder or Matt Cassell?
     That is the unfinished column after the Vikings first pick. In case you can't tell, I wasn't expecting them to trade back into it. I'm in a much better mood now, I'm ecstatic. When I got the update from Bleacher Report I just kept staring at my phone. Wait, we go Bridgewater? Really? The same Teddy Bridgewater who probably should have gone 20 picks earlier?
     This could be the steal of the draft, for sure. You have to love the thinking of all the GMs. "Well, this guy had a 71% completion percentage with 31 touchdowns and only four interceptions in a pro style offense, but in something slightly resembling a game he didn't do well, so we'll pass." How can you question the accuracy or someone who made a play like this?
     I would have liked Johnny Football too. He definitely had the most upside between him, Bridgewater and Blake Bortles. One of the knocks on him as well was his height. Check this out.

     Of the five guys listed in the graphic, one has had pretty good career, and two others have won Super Bowls. Get what I'm saying? Height doesn't matter, stupid. And for all of you feeling sorry for Manziel, please don't. He was going to get drafted eventually. Anyway, he already has a pretty good life anyway. One more thing, Dear Lebron James, I know you're a cowboys fan, even though you're from Akron, along with being a Yankees fan, but this is just pathetic, you already made the personal decision to be a bandwagon fan, you can't go back to your home town when something good finally happens. You suck.

     Final thoughts on Bridgewater: Excellent, excellent pick by the Vikings. I can definitely see Norv Turner develop him down the road. There's a great chance we just got our quarterback of the future. The Teddy Bridgewater era has begun. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Twins Week in Review: April 26th-May 3rd

Three Reasons to be Happy
1. Sam Fuld has started off well
Yeah, he only has 30 at bats, but as you'll find out later this is a pretty slow week for happiness. No matter what happens, I'd rather have him as the fourth outfielder than Mastroianni.
2. Nolasco finally gives a decent start
One decent start makes in into this section? This is the happy part and I'm getting depressed already. Just wait until the frustrated section.
3. The Wild advanced to the second round
Yes, I know that has nothing to do with the Twins but do you have any other ideas? They had more games rained out (two) than games won (one) even when they did play the weather still sucked. So I'm choosing the one good part of the week.
Three Reasons to Frustrated
1. Our leadoff hitter is hitting .227
That was depressing fact number one. Depressing fact number two is that he's also leading the team in homers. Depressing fact number three is that he's still the best option for the number one spot. For some reason Dozier's stats always seem low. It feels like he should be hitting higher than .227, just like last year the way he played made it appear that he was much better than a .247 hitter.
2. It's all catching up to them
The Twins will lose 90 games again this year. Last year they started out 17-15 before dropping ten straight and never looking back. That'll happen again this year if it isn't already happening. But the biggest reason for that is that the offense isn't sustainable, and this week they stopped scoring nine runs a game and since their pitching is worst in the majors they're going to lose a lot of games.
3. The weather
I referred to this up top, and in case you live in a different part of the country the weather here sucks in Minnesota. It rained nonstop last week, fitting weather for a crappy week.
Stat of the Week


Number of players the Twins have with more than 70 at bats with a batting average over .290. Fuld, Willingham, Escobar and Nunez all have the average but not the at bats. Things are looking pretty bleak. Now Colabello is coming back to earth, too. I'm upset, let's find a person we can all make fun of to feel better about ourselves.
Dan Gladden Stupidity Moment of the Week
In which we take a look at one moronic thing Dan Gladden said while announcing Twins games
This week's stupidity moment is from Wednesday in the second inning. "There's a line drive to left, Kubel coming on, Puig's gonna be waved home, it's 2-1, Dodgers. Thanks for such an accurate description, Dan. When one says somebody's "coming on" typically that means the ball is about to be caught. Not in Dan's world. Is he really the most qualified person the Twins have. They should have spent 24 million on a new color guy instead of Hughes this winter.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Wild Night

     I felt like I was watching a alternate reality in the Wild game last night. When Nino buried the puck in the back of the net, after the initial elation, I was confused. Did they really just score in overtime after trading goals the entire game? Going into the extra period I gave the Wild no chance. I didn't care that they had just tied it up with two minutes left. All I knew was that they were in Denver, that they had traded goals all game and it was the Avs turn. Some other thoughts on the game.
     Watching the game with my uncle Pete is always an interesting experience. Every other second he likes to tell the players what to do through the TV. Along with that, he's an actor and comments on every commercial with things such as, "Nowadays, young men in commercials have beards," and "This is really cheaply done," He also assigns nicknames or personas to players. "Semyon Varlamov. that sounds like the name of a James Bond villian," Yes it does. And from now on we will only be referring to him as Dr. Varlamov.
     This was the third most intense game of the century for Minnesota. Only trailing...
1. Vikings vs Saints NFC championship game, 2010
Ugh, this was four years ago and it still kills me. The Vikes had so many opportunities to put the game away, Peterson fumbling at the goal line, the no call when the Saints put a high-low hit on Favre, 12 men in the huddle, Tracey Porter picking off Favre on the last play of the game. I'm getting depressed. Let's go somewhere happier.
2. Twins vs Tigers Game 163, 2010
Ahhhhh, much better. This was a grueling, five hour game that included Alexi Casillia botching what could have been the game winning run, Nathan getting out of a jam after a line drive double play, all ending with the iconic image of Gomez spiking his helmet after diving across home plate.
     Is it just me, or does it not seem like the Wild just took four out of their last five? It felt like they were playing from behind the entire series. In fact they really were in the last game. They lead for exactly zero minutes. four out of five typically feel more dominating. Not this time.
    I'm not too concerned with the goal tending for two reasons. One is that Kuemper seems like he'll be able to play in the Blackhawks series. The other is that Bryzgolav is so inconsistent nobody knows what's going to happen.
     The best cross sport analogy for this game and for the most part the entire series would be a big fifteen round heavyweight bout. Both teams trading blows the entire time before one of them eventually goes down. Bring on the Hawks.