Thursday, April 17, 2014

Episode 79: Brian Dozier is Robinson Cano and Other Lies

Happy birthday to our very own Jay Corn!  As a birthday present to Jay, Paul skipped the show!  Without him Eric is free to heap all of the praise in the world on Brian Dozier, and he does. You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here.

Jay Corn revisits his prediction that Josmil Pinto will hit 25 home runs (which is not looking so bad right now), and we wonder what might happen to Pinto’s playing time when Josh Willingham and/or Oswaldo Arcia return from the DL and Chris Herrmann goes back to AAA.  The jabbering continues with Logan Darnell, one of three AAA left handers in the Rochester starting rotation.  Lots of beer talk this week, and Eric is a little over excited about his “bready beer” and then the gang goes Around the League.

Enjoy the show!

You can follow Eric on Twitter (@ERolfPleiss) or read his writing at Knuckleballs Blog, you can find Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) and read his writing at PuckettsPond.com, and you can find Mr. Jay Corn on Twitter (@Jay__Corn)!

If you enjoy our podcast, please take a couple extra minutes and rate and review us on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are like syrup for our metaphorical banana walnut pancakes.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Twins Minor League Report (4/15): Kernels Streak Ends

For the second Tuesday in a row, weather played havoc on the Twins farm system. Only half of the teams were able to get on the field and both of those teams didn't exactly like the results on the night. Some hitters continued their hot starts to the year but the pitching seemed to be the biggest problem on this night

Fans who braved the weather at Target Field got to see Phil Hughes get off to a great start before giving up a chunk of runs in the sixth inning. The Blue Jays have held the Twins number in recent years. Since 2010, Toronto has a 21-7 record versus Minnesota and things haven't been pretty during that stretch.
RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester --, Pawtucket -- (Postponed)
Today's game between Rochester and Pawtucket was postponed due to inclement weather. The teams will play one game tomorrow (Wednesday) at 2:35 CST and they will make up today's game as part of a doubleheader on Thursday. The first game of the doubleheader is scheduled for 12:05 CST and game two will start approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one. Scott Diamond was scheduled to make his third start of the year before the weather acted up. He is off to a rough start after allowing eight earned runs in five innings of work through two starts.

ROCK CATS REVIEW
New Britain --, New Hampshire -- (Postponed)
The weather in the Northeast part of the US was not cooperating when it came to baseball action. Much like Rochester, New Britain wasn't able to play their game on Tuesday evening. It will be made up at some point later this season. DJ Baxendale was scheduled to make his third start of the year. He currently has a 5.91 ERA after giving up seven runs over 10.2 innings on the mound.

MIRACLE MATTERS
Fort Myers 4, Charlotte 6
Box Score
Fort Myers held 2-run leads at two different points in this game but it still wasn't enough. Tim Shibuya surrendered four runs including a three-run home run in the eighth inning to see the victory slip away. Jason Wheel started the game and gave up two runs on eight hits. He struck out three and walked two. It was the first time this season he allowed more than one earned run in a start.

Levi Michael continued his hot hitting streak by going 3-for-4 with a run scored. He has gone 7 for his last nine and he has been on base in 9-of-11 plate appearances. Dalton Hicks collected the only extra-base hit for the Miracle, his third double of the young season. Max Kepler had two hits for the second time this season and he ended a six-game hitless streak.

KERNELS NUGGETS
Cedar Rapids 5, South Bend 7
Box Score
The Kernels were off to a scorching start with victories in six straight games. Cedar Rapids starter Ryan Eades got beat-up as he allowed five earned runs in three innings. On the positive side, he did record five strike outs but South Bend pounded out eight hits. Josue Montanez came on in relief and struck out six of the eight outs he recorded while limiting the Silver Hawks to one run.

Mitch Garver has started 12 games for the Kernels and he has five home runs so far. His fifth home run of the season put him in first place in the Midwest League in home runs and total bases. Tanner Vavra collected a hit to extend his hitting streak to seven games. Bryan Haar hit a two-run homer, his second in three games.

TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Josue Montanez, Cedar Rapids Kernels
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Levi Michael, Fort Myers Miracle

WEDNESDAY'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pawtucket @ Rochester (2:35 CST)- Scott Diamond
New Britain @ New Hampshire (9:35 CST)- Taylor Rogers*
Fort Myers @ Charlotte (9:00 CST)- Tyler Duffey
South Bend @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST)- Ethan Mildren
*Subject to change because of today's weather delay

Monday, April 14, 2014

25-Man Roster Dissection: Kyle Gibson

Minnesota's pitching rotation had some rough moments at the beginning of the season. This weekend's series with the Royals helped to get things moving in the right direction. Even with the tough patches, one of the strongest members of the rotation has been Kyle Gibson. He's earned victories in each both of his starts this season and he has a miniscule 1.59 ERA.

There were questions in the spring about whether Gibson would make the team or not. Scott Diamond, Vance Worley, and Sam Deduno were all out of options so many felt they would be given the chance to start the year in Minnesota. Poor performances from a couple names on the list and a strong spring from Gibson earned him the final spot and a chance to prove his first round pedigree.

2013 Recap: 6.53 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, 29 SO, 20 BB (51.0 IP)
In his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, there were positive signs from Gibson at the Triple-A level. His posted an ERA under 3.00 and he racked up 87 strikeouts in a little over 100 innings on the mound. With how bad the rotation was pitching in Minnesota, there were some who were clamoring to see Gibson at the big league level well before he made his debut. He made 10 starts for the Twins in the second half of the season and there were some bumps and bruises along the way. He allowed seven home runs and his BB/9 and SO/9 rates were well below his marks in the minor leagues. There can be some fatigue on a pitchers arm at the end of season especially one that hadn't pitched more than 95.1 innings in any minor league campaign. There was still some hope for Gibson at the end of last season and fans were left wonder what to expect moving into 2014.

Forecasting 2014: 4.40 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 86 SO, 52 BB (130.0 IP)
Gibson's good start to the season doesn't mean he will be in the hunt for this year's Cy Young Award. His ERA will go up and he won't be able to win all of the starts that he makes. To this point in the year, he has walked more men (8) than he has struck out (6) so that will be a trend to keep an eye on. The ball has stayed in the park so far this year but it has been a small sample size. It would be nice to see him last a little longer into games as he has been averaging less than six innings pitched. The Twins bullpen is going to need any break it can get this year and it always helps when the starter can pitch into the seventh inning. There shouldn't be any reason for the Twins to send Gibson down to Rochester since he is 26-years old and the team needs to see what they have in him for the future. He does have minor league options left so there is a chance the team could send him down but hopefully Gibson continues to pitch well enough so that won't be an option for the team.

25-Man Roster Safety: Loosely Locked-In

Friday, April 11, 2014

DVD CONTEST: 1991 World Series Box Set

If you listened to this week's episode of Talk to Contact, you heard us discuss the details of a contest for a great DVD box set. A+E Networks has graciously given us two copies of the 1991 World Series Collector's Edition Box Set, a $69.99 value on MLB.com. They are having a great deal on digital downloads of their products because of Opening Day. 

To celebrate the new season, A+E Networks Home Entertainment has launched a digital download sale on nearly 100 great programs from Major League Baseball, encompassing some of the league’s best TV programming, special documentaries and features, as well as the annual crowning achievement: the Official World Series Film, from 1943 to the present day.

Allowing fans to watch everything from their favorite teams and players to some of the greatest moments in Major League Baseball history anywhere a smartphone or tablet can go, MLB’s digital downloads have never been easier to attain!  Until April 15, simply visit www.iTunes.com/MLB to purchase any of the specially-priced programs, including:
·         100 Years of Wrigley Field
·         All-Time Bloopers
·         Angels Memories
·         Astros Memories: The Greatest Moments in Astros Baseball History
·         Baseball Seasons: 2004
·         Bloopers: Baseball’s Best Blunders
·         Bryce Begins
·         Detroit Tigers: Hometown Heroics
·         Fenway Park Centennial – 100 Years as the Heart of Red Sox Nation
·         Game 162
·         Letters from Jackie: The Private Thoughts of Jackie Robinson
·         Major League Baseball Official World Series Films, 1943-2013
·         Major League Baseball’s All-Century Team
·         MLB 25: Greatest Postseason Home Runs
·         New York Mets: 50 Greatest Players
·         Pride and Perseverance: The Story of the Negro Leagues
·         Prime 9 Vol. 1 (TV Episodes 9 x .5 hr)
·         Sudden Death Baseball
·         Superstars: Impact Players
·         Superstars: World Powers
·         The Best of the Home Run Derby
·         This Week in Baseball, Season. 1 (TV Episodes 17 x .5 hr)
·         World Series: History of the Fall Classic


Here's what you need to do to enter:
2. Think of a creative nickname for a current member of the Twins organization (players, coaches, and front office staff are all in play).
3. Send us a tweet using the hashtag #TwinsNickname and we will pick out our top two
(Don't let Jay Corn win this contest!)

It's as simple as that. Have fun and we look forward to reading your entries.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Talk to Contact: Episode 78

For the first time in a long time we have a full week of Twins baseball to talk about on the podcast. We talk about Ron Gardenhire's 1000th managerial win, a couple of disabled list moves that brought both Chris Herrmann and Darin Mastroianni back to the Twins, and pontificate on what early season attendance numbers mean for the club going forward. You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here.

We're running a promotional giveaway. Make sure to listen to the end for the details and your chance to win a 1991 World Series box set (#TwinsNickname).


We are joined by Jeremy Nygaard (@jeremynygaard) of Twins Daily's Hang out and Talk Twins video/podcast (@TwinsHangouts) to discuss the roster moves, the Twins payroll in 2014 and what it means for the future of the franchise and if bringing in Stephen Drew is still a valid discussion point.


You'll also hear the weekly standby's hitter/pitcher of the week, and around the league. We had to put the Down on the Pond segment on hold this week, but next week we'll be taking a closer look at Twins AAA pitcher, Logan Darnell.



Thanks for the download. You can follow Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirateor read his writing at Puckett's Pond,  Jay Corn is on Twitter ( @Jay__Corn), and you can find Eric on Twitter (@ERolfPleissand read his writing at Knuckleballs!
If you enjoy our podcast, please take a couple extra minutes and rate and review us on iTunesRatings and reviews have magical iTunes powers that will help the bullpen remember how to get outs.
__________________
Follow me, @NoDakTwinsFanon Twitter. Check out the Talk to Contact Podcast (@TalkToContactor email the show: talktocontact@gmail.com