Let's talk Twins! If you love the game as a newbie, or a encyclopedic book of knowledge, please share your opinion or a story of interest. (Email me if you are shy!) I am writing to learn more about the game. Come learn with me, or feel free to share your knowledge.

Go Twins!!!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Now I feel dumb

Did you know Breslow has a degree from Yale in molecular biophysics and biochemistry?

So is pitching in the majors for molecular biophysicists like waitressing for actors?

Go Twins!!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

predicting the unpredictable

I have been busy trying to do some of my own analysis. Wow!

As I started, it seemed a fairly mundane and number crunching exercise. The plan... take the remaining series and assume a similar outcome from the previous match ups, compare our newly calculated expected final record and the White Sox, and bingo bango boom... easy schmeesy prediction. How hard could it be, asked the CPA in me?

Ok - fast forward hours later after realizing that the previous series for the Twins had lots of switches for fields (first series was away, while the remaining one is home, or visa versa). (Note - this was my big DUH moment, so go ahead, I said it so you are more than welcome to say it too.) So, should I adjust for home field advantage? If so, by how much? And what about outcomes that were so odd they shouldn't ended the way they did? Should I go back and fix those and THEN extrapolate? Or leave them in to cover the oddities that are yet to come?

Plus, what about the momentum factor? We now are filling the stadium with a consistent number of screaming fans who may have been nay sayers four months ago, but if asked, would never admit to it now. The bandwagon is full (I believe it is 17 straight home games with more than 30K fans) and the wagon is barrelling full speed. Will the full fan support help them through some of their issues, and make them give even more? Frankly, the issues we are facing are the same ones we started with and some of our rookies are starting to perform and look like veterans, (of course, the opposite also holds true for some) so I decided to ignore the current issues in comparing outcomes. For example, our relievers are not doing very well, Carlos is no longer hitting homers, BUT our relievers really haven't performed exceptionally all year, and where Carlos is slumping there are others (my man Kubel for example) who seem to be hitting more consistently. Evens out in my mind.

Of our remaining series 7 are away and 5 are home. Given our road record, there goes another factor.

End result - a pure, unadulterated, attempt-at-mathematical-calculation-gone-awry guess. A guess I spent several hours and a couple sleepless nights pondering, but ended with a guess none the less.

Drum roll please... my highly sophisticated guess is 90-72 and unfortunately, you guessed it, I came up with exactly the same number for the Sox. I have hopes of seeing 100, but it seems like with as many road games as we have remaining and with some of the teams we need to face, that will be a difficult (but not impossible) number to reach.

Me and my humbled spreadsheets retire as odds makers, and leave it to the pros!

Go Twins!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Twins take first

With 46 games to go in the season, Liriano helped the Twins win in Kansas City to retake the AL central lead! Making 100 pitches, he looked strong in his second outing since being brought back up. I was pleasantly surprised. The way we rushed to bring him back last time, made me wonder if he truly was ready this time, or if we were just looking for someone to fill the void from Livan, or at least cause a distraction (plus, of course, avoiding all the contract issues). Like Gardy said today (forgive me if I paraphrase to the max), even if he is not 100% the pitcher he was before surgery he is still better than a lot of pitchers out there.

Another pleasant surprise - Boof. I think he looked better than he has for a while. (I still won't be a card carrying member of the Boof fan club any time in the near future, but maybe I will hide my Boot Boof signs for a little while longer.) But have you seriously looked at his ERA lately? Can he make it back to the 4s in the next two months? Ok - how about the 5s? (Sorry Boof... don't mean to come down on ya.)

And a final note - I felt so bad for Punto after his botched attempt at counting. He looked like the puppy who knows he did something wrong and wants to make it right at every at-bat. I wanted him to get a home run just to get it out of his system. So thank goodness for that final game ending grab. I am thinking that the bruises he gets from the landing are so much better than the ones to his ego. If anyone finds out what went wrong, I would love to know. Thanks!

I thought it was a fun game and Kudos to Young and Gardy for keeping their cool in an antagonistic situation. Well done Gardy!

Go Twins!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Endurance factor

I was probably the only one sad in Minneapolis to see Livan go. Despite his abysmal ERA, I thought that he brought a few things to the club. My take is that he taught by example that grace under pressure can make a difference. They knew when they acquired him that the guy gave up a lot of hits, and he sure lived up to that end! But he was often able through his slow, calm style to get out of difficult situations, and despite all the hits he had the best record of the starting rotation at 10-8. Don't get me wrong - I take a healthy Liriano over his sage wisdom anyday, but lets not berate the guy for doing exactly what they said he would do.

But where I think they will miss Livan is in the endurance factor. Our young rotation seems to go the six innings for the win, and then they are done. I didn't have a lot of time, but I took a quick look at how many games the pitchers went into the 7th and the results were fairly interesting. Livan went into the 7th or further 11 of his 23 starts for 48%. Blackburn does well on this as well going 10 of his 22 starts for 45%. The rest are: Baker (33%) Perkins (18%) Slowey (24%) and Liriano (0% for obvious reasons). When I get time I want to redo it for going into the 8th inning.

My point? Considering how our bullpen is struggling and how they are being used heavily (Guerrier has played in 55 games), we should be looking for ways to strengthen and reorganize there. And quickly...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Collateral damage from Thursday's White Sox game.
I guess someone figured since they didn't have a hat to throw on the field that chocolate shake would work just as well. It got all over our clothes, hair and even in Allie's eyelashes! Eewwww....

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Chat Room - Part Deux

I said I would give it another try, and I actually gave it four or five.

So one evening I sit quietly observing the chat room, not participating, but just trying to keep up with all the different conversations. The room is moving incredible quickly with conversations all over the place and about several topics.

Then the unthinkable happens.

An IM window pops up on my screen saying a simple, yet so complex, "hello"!

Pure, unadulterated panic! What do I do? Have I been busted as a voyeur? Is that wrong? Is this person gonna scold me? Or worse... is this some cyber bot thingee that will take over my PC and infect it with some horrible virus? Is someone gonna start to cyber stalk me? What to do... what to do? Heart pounding, sweaty palms, I do the only thing I can think of. I type back the truly thought provoking response, "hello."

And then I wait for an eternity. What will happen next? Twiddle my thumbs, wipe the sweat dripping from my forehead, say a prayer or two. Hours go by... okay, I guess it was a few seconds. Another window!!! Oh no!!! Dare I open it?

"What is your favorite team?"

Whew! My PC unscathed, I start up what turns out to be a good friendship with (I cringe as I admit this) a White Sox fan.

But what has this friendship taught me? I realized that while I had started looking into the game of baseball more, there was one avenue that I did not go down. I have always thought of our team in a vacuum. We were the team in second place, but I never really cared who we were behind or thought beyond the upcoming game. Now as we went into the White Sox series I was paying attention to the other team, their strengths, weaknesses, players and what all of those factors meant to our team. We talked baseball for hours. I have to tell you the series took on a whole new character. I learned a ton about the other team and I started to think more about the long term. Who do they face next vs. who do we. Of course the best part was that I could poke fun at the new friend when his team lost 3 of the 4. We hoped for each other successful games (although I am guessing we both held some of our good wishes in reserve.) We congratulated each other for good games and lamented bad plays. It was so much fun to talk about! I was at the game on Thursday (the hat kicking day) and will blog about that later (I can't post a picture from the PC I am on.) No drug could have made me higher than being at that game. And part of the thrill was getting to really rub it in! Yes, I do have an evil side!

I have done the same research now for the Indian series and it has the same effect - minus the hours of chats. How fun would it be to have a friend from every team? (But I guess I would have even less of a life due to always chatting with someone!) Yes, it takes more time to look into the other team, but knowing how batters do against the expected pitcher, and visa versa, and what to look for makes the game so much more enjoyable.

Well, even if the friend it brought me was from the enemy, my chat room experiment was actually a success and I will go back.

Go Twins!
(Watch out Sox!)