Ugh, there are a lot of recaps of last night’s horror show of epic proportions, but I think this one really sums it up. It was a choke job so epic, even Yahoo! sports featured it on the front page (at least it was on the front page, looks like it’s gone now). Great. How do I feel about it? I feel just like this guy:
The Twins are rumored to be shopping Delmon Young, and I was going to write a detailed post about Delmon and his numbers and compare him to Carlos Gomez, but I’m just not in the mood right now. I know there’s still plenty of baseball left to play and blah, blah, blah, but really today’s game against the Brew Crew is going to seal the Twinkies’ fate. If they win, they will
live to torture us another day be back to .500 and at least keep pace with the Tigers. If they lose, well, then it means that I was right. And I hate that.
- Francisco Liriano has his worst outing of the year and still gets the win
Even though he only surrendered three runs, this really was Frankie’s worst performance of the season. It took him a career-high 117 pitches to make it through five innings, and he faced no less than five batters in almost every single inning. He gave up seven hits and walked more batters than he struck out (six Ks vs. five BBs). That he only gave up three runs speaks volumes about the Brewers’ offense, and not so much about his ability to pitch out of a jam. Unlike his previous start against the Pirates, in which he was only a couple of meatballs away from pitching a gem, Frankie was only a couple of bad pitches away from a complete meltdown. It’s been so frustrating to watch him this season because he shows so much talent, and just when it starts to look like he’s starting to turn the corner, he has a performance as awful as this. The Twins have been patient with Frankie thus far, but obviously they can’t continue to do so and hope to catch the Tigers and win the division title. Moving him to the bullpen probably isn’t going to help either Frankie or the Twins much, since he struggles to pitch from the stretch and would likely fail in high-leverage situations. If he fails to show any progress in his next couple of starts, perhaps the Twins should consider sending him to Rochester. Working with pitching coach Bobby Cuellar seemed to do wonders for him last year, and he could be sent down with the promise that he would be called back up no matter what happens. Whether he would be called up as a starter or reliever would depend upon how well he does with the Red Wings.
This game was so difficult to watch I had to keep reminding myself that the Twins were actually winning. As awful as Frankie was, Milwaukee starter Jeff Suppan was even worse, giving up seven runs (four earned) on nine hits while walking three. The Twins jumped out to an early lead in the first, when Michael Cuddyer struck out but reached first on a wild pitch, loading up the bases for Joe Crede. Crede then lashed a double over the head of Mike Cameron, plating three runs. Carlos Gomez (who had a pretty good night, going 3-for-5 with a pair of runs and RBI) later singled and then hustled to second when Cameron took his sweet time getting the ball back to the infield. He then scored on a single by Brendan Harris, putting the Twins up 4-2. A fielding error by J.J. Hardy opened up a three-run third inning, giving the Twins a 7-3 lead they would never relinquish. Good thing the Brew Crew decided to play more like a beer-league softball team, allowing the Twins to reach the .500 mark for the umpteenth time this season and keep pace with the Tigers.
Joe Mauer is SI‘s cover model this week, for only the second time in his career. The issue dealt with his pursuit of .400, so naturally he’s gone 0-for-8 in his past two games and dropped his average to a mere .395. The SI curse probably has little to do with it though, since hitting .400 is really hard to do in the first place and Mauer was starting to show signs of slowing down even before the issue hit the stands. Still, you’d better start sleeping with one eye open, Tom Verducci.
- Former Twins third baseman Corey Koskie signs minor league deal with Cubs
I’ve mentioned this a little bit before, but I feel this story deserves its own post. I’ve always liked Koskie and have been hoping he’ll manage to resurrect his big-league career. The former infielder hasn’t played in the major leagues since July 5, 2006, after suffering a concussion during a bizarre accident while fielding a routine fly ball. He struggled with symptoms of post-concussion syndrome for the better part of two years, feeling dizzy and nauseous, struggling with his balance and basic motor skills, and getting disoriented easily. It wasn’t until he met physical therapist John Groves, who specializes in whiplash cases, that he finally found treatment that worked. He’s been symptom-free since January, and has been working hard to get back into the majors. Recently he earned a spot on Team Canada’s roster, and signed a minor league deal with the Cubs.
It’s been a long and difficult road for the former Twin, who’s had to struggle with a number of devastating and bizarre symptoms in the past three years. Worse yet, he had trouble getting the medical community to believe that there was something wrong with him. All of his tests would come back normal, and doctors told him he was fine. Except he wasn’t fine. He would walk into doorways, had trouble doing simple tasks like picking up a spoon, would get disoriented easily in crowds or hot weather, and would often sleep most of the day. His doctors for the most part refused to believe there was anything physically wrong with him, and thought he either had anxiety or that his problems were all in his head. It wasn’t until Koskie met concussion specialist Dr. Robert Cantu, who then referred him to physical therapist Dan Dyrek, who in turn referred him to another physical therapist, John Groves. Groves has been doing ground-breaking work with victims of whiplash, and it is his treatment program that finally alleviated the strange symptoms Koskie had been experiencing.
Once he was cleared to participate in baseball-related activities by his doctors, Koskie started working out with the University of Minnesota baseball team, trying to make a comeback. The Twins agreed to let Koskie work out with them during spring training so he could try to get back into playing shape. His ultimate goal was to play for Team Canada in the WBC and hope to draw the interest of a few major league teams. It wasn’t long after he was named to Team Canada’s roster that he signed a minor league deal with the Cubs. He’ll report to camp once his stint in the WBC is over, since he had already agreed to represent his country. And so far he’s shown little rust, going 1-2 and getting hit by a pitch while scoring three runs in his first game on Tuesday against the Blue Jays. He’s still a long shot to make the Cubs’ active roster, but at least he now has a shot.
Koskie was one of my favorite players when he was with the Twins, and I was really sad when he signed with the Blue Jays in 2005. How could you not love a guy who once smeared chunky peanut butter all over the inside of David Ortiz’s pants? He was the everyday third baseman for nine seasons, and was a very good third baseman and just a good guy in general. Not to mention the fact that his departure left a huge hole a third that hasn’t been filled until just recently (and even Crede isn’t a permanent solution, he’s mostly just a stopgap so Danny Valencia can develop). I wish Koskie the best, and I hope he does manage to catch on with the Cubs, even if it is only in a part-time role.