Frank: It was a big week for the Minnesota Red Twins, as recent call-ups from the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings had some big games. The trend continued yesterday with Glen Perkins picking up his second win of the week, a series clinching victory over the Central Division rival Detroit Tigers. One thing that would help this happen is improved defense; I asked Bert about that.
Bert: This year’s Twins team is a work in progress probably until the All-Star break. The reason why is there are so many new faces on this club. Players on the disabled list and players going back and forth between the big club and Triple-A can take the life out of a club for a while. Ron Gardenhire believes that good pitching and good defense win games. With the inconsistent health of players at shortstop and second base, it will take time to find the right combination for the second half of the season.
Pitchers shouldn't have trouble throwing the ball to the right base or to a defensive player, period! Bad throws and bad decisions can cost your team a victory! But guess what; they are human too and make mistakes as we all do! This is another area that is being addressed and it too will take time. More pitchers fielding practice (PFP) will be added before batting practice, as well as the Twins trying to tighten up their infield defense. Again, all of this will take time!
Frank: Speaking of impatience, the New York Yankees will visit the Metrodome this weekend, bringing the swagger that always accompanies the team, because of the fact that a Steinbrenner is running a team with a huge payroll. But, the difference this year is that the Yankees are not that great. Coming off yet another playoff appearance, they were mired in last place in the A.L. East before yesterday – when they completed a sweep of the Mariners The only team in that division with a losing record (before yesterday), the Yankees have not turned it on, at least so far. Do you think they will? This weekend?
Bert: The Twins are currently in Kansas City and wouldn't it be nice to win the series here like they did in Detroit over the weekend! This would help the Twins go into the Yankee series starting Friday night at the Dome. The Yankees have had a tough time so far this season, mainly with their starting staff. Just like the Twins, they have had injuries that have kept them right around a .500 ball club. The main thing the Yankees have to worry about is the way the Boston Red Sox are playing and starting to pull away from the pack in the Eastern Division. Thank goodness the Tampa Bay Rays are staying close to the Red Sox (The Rays actually took the lead from the Red Sox yesterday.) I can't believe I just said that, but good for the Rays. They need a season like they are having so far for their organization and their fans. All 20 of them....
The Yankees will find a way to get back into the race. Like you said, money is no object to this rich organization and we all know George Steinbrenner, or now his son Hank, does not like to lose. Time will tell what moves they will make to get back to the Yankees of old, when they won Championships. I am looking forward to the 4-game series and seeing first hand what's going on with this team.
Frank: We all are. But before that, today is the Twins' first day off in three weeks. What will they/you do? Since you are in Kansas City, I must ask, do you prefer your meat with or without barbecue sauce? They claim down there to be the home of the world's greatest barbecue, which I have never liked. Since you have talked before about burgers -- which I do like -- let's hold the barbecue sauce. I remember my first time at Fuddruckers, the build-your-own burger joint that is now everywhere, came in Kansas City. I was a 14 year-old boy, so the name alone amused me to no end. I thoroughly enjoyed dining there, even though I don't remember if I enjoyed the burger. Have you been there? How about a Memorial Day picnic catered by Fuddruckers?
Bert: Off days are needed more for the every day player than the starting staff. Off days are also good for the bullpen. . . Kansas City is known for its great ribs. Gates BBQ is the place I like best here in KC. Better not wear a clean shirt when you go there because it won't be clean when you leave! The sauces they use on their beef are the best.
My wife Gayle and I have been to Fuddruckers and it too is a great place to eat. We used to take our boys there so they could pig out on exactly what they wanted. I bet you pigged out too Frank!
Hope you have a safe Memorial Day and let's hope that when the Twins come home they will be on a winning streak.
Please say a prayer for all the men and women who currently serve and have served our country! God Bless them all!
Frank: First of all, we just met in January, so how can you know my appetite from over 20 years ago so well? I will pray, and I hope all of our readers do the same. Now for the frivolous stuff:
Here are some things to look for that would help the Twins this week as they play against the Kansas City Royals and the New York Yankees.
We witnessed the arrival of the power of a couple of new guys, as Mike Lamb and Alexi Casilla hit their first home runs of the year – for Casilla it was his first major league home run – but we are still anxiously awaiting glimpses of power from Delmon Young and Michael Cuddyer. Alexi “Casilla later” hit his second homer of the week Saturday night in Detroit, one of two major bright spots for the Twins in their loss to the Tigers, 19-3. (The other was Matt Macri -- the newest call-up from Rochester -- who collected two hits, stole a base, and drove in a run, all in his first major league start.)
We need to keep up the improved offense, but not just the home run production. The Twins have jumped to the top five in the league in batting average and runs scored. We’ve also moved up the list in walks, slugging percentage, and many other offensive categories.
“Firsts” continued: many Twins enjoyed premieres last week, and not just those I’ve already mentioned. Left hander Glen Perkins won his first major league contest last Tuesday night. Kevin Slowey joined Perkins Friday night with his first victory this season. Bobby Korecky – who was recently called up from Rochester – became the first pitcher ever to get a hit in the Metrodome. The Metrodome opened in 1982, so even Bert Blyleven got shut out. On the same night as Korecky’s hit, Howie Clark – more recently called up from Rochester -- got him his first big league win with a thrilling walk-off base hit, driving in his first run for Minnesota. So last Monday night was a big one for the Red Twins. We will see what further can be premiered – can “Casilla later” unveil a grand slam trot in Kansas City? Will Perkins go the distance against the Yankees? Can Macri hit for the cycle? What about Korecky going for the cycle? Watch all week and find out:
Tuesday: vs. Kansas City at 6:30 PM
Wednesday: vs. Kansas City at 6:30 PM
Thursday: vs. Kansas City at 6:30 PM
Friday: vs. New York Yankees at 6:30 PM
Saturday: vs. New York Yankees at 5:30 PM