Frank: The Minnesota Twins won another series at home last week -- our 11th in a row -- over the Oakland A’s, and then headed off to LA for the opening four-game series of a marathon road trip. So while we are missing the entire State Fair, hopefully we can ride the rotation well beyond the midway point of games, show off our pride winning bull(pen), or just base some wins on our sticks.
In the last eight weeks, only one left-handed starting pitcher has beaten the Twins, Cliff Lee. During that span, the Twins had previously become the only American League team to beat Lee (that's still true). He might win the AL Cy Young Award this year, so it took the best lefty around to beat us (17 others tried). Left-handed hitters like Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Denard Span have shown a rare knack for hitting against left-handed pitchers. Newcomer Randy Ruiz has helped so far, too. What do you think of the Twins' greatness against lefties? Can it carry over into this week?
Bert: Isn't it strange how a baseball season has its ups and downs? The first half of the season the Twins offense really had a tough time against left-handed starters. Now they are having very good success! Sometimes it's who that left-hander is, how well he is pitching at the time when the Twins play his club, and the run support he gets early in the game. The Twins will be facing a lot of left-landed pitchers over the next week, but these lefties are mainly ones who do not have a lot of Major League experience. Let's hope the Twins batters can figure these pitchers out early and get our starters some early run support.
Frank: A great turn through the rotation last week -- three of the five starters lasted eight innings each and the other two posted wins and combined for twelve innings, yielding just one earned run while striking out 17 -- left the bullpen rested and fresh. How important will it be down the stretch for the relievers to get rest? What happened Sunday, and how do we prevent it from happening again?
Bert: If the Twins want to win the division it will come down to quality starts by the starters. Five or six innings isn't going to do it, because that just puts more innings on the bullpen. It's time now for all the young starters to catch their second or third wind and continue to pitch deeper into the game. I always say you win division titles and pennants with good starting pitching and good defense. The Twins don't hit home runs like some other teams, such as the White Sox, so they need to continue to drive in runs with great timely hitting. This is one reason why they are having a successful season, because they lead the Major Leagues in hitting with runners in scoring position.
What happened Sunday is that the Angels are great team and never give up. The first sign of a championship club! The Twins are also a club that never gives up so you have games like Sunday. Remember that the Twins have done exactly what the Angels did many times this season themselves.
Frank: The Minnesota State Fair opened last Thursday, one day after you left town on the current road trip. And you won't get back until after the Fair's annual Labor Day close. I know you are not a Midwesterner by birth, but usually you are in the Twin Cities for at least a little bit of the event, right? Have you ever been there? If so, what are your favorite things to do there?
If not, did you ever go to a fair as a kid? What about during your playing career? Ever play the carnival game where you try to knock down bowling pins by throwing a ball at them? If you have, did you ever give up a home run? Seriously, though, did anyone ever recognize you and make you stand further away, or make you throw a wiffle ball? Is there anything you want me to see, eat, or milk for you while I am at the Fair?
Bert: I have never been to the Minnesota State Fair. When my kids were younger we went to fairs and they were fun. The games they have are fun to play and I especially liked the dunk tank. Throw a baseball at the bull’s eye and if you hit it, you knock the person off his or her seat into the tank. There was a guy in Florida one time that sat on the seat and was very rude to the crowd as you walked by. He said something smart to my kids and I didn't like what he said. SO, I bought the three balls that you get and I hit the bull’s eye on the first shot! He went into the tank...he got back up and said something smart again and I knocked him back into the tank on my second throw...once more he got back on his seat and just when he was about to open his smart mouth again I threw the third baseball...once again he was eating water. This time he got back on his seat, looked at me and said, "Have a nice day. You have great kids." My kids thanked me and we walked away proud! People around us at the time cheered as we walked into the sunset...
At the Minnesota State Fair I know they have everything on a stick. Do they have Coors Light on a stick? I was told that the pork chops on a stick are pretty good. Try them and let me know what you think! Have a great time at the Fair and Go Twins. You are all hereby "Circled."
Let’s get going against the left-handers, tonight!
Check out the Twins this week on FSN North: (with one hour pre game shows LIVE from the Minnesota State Fair!)
Tuesday, Aug 26: vs. Seattle/ 8:00 PM
Wedensday, Aug 27: vs Seattle/ 2:30 PM
Thursday, Aug 28: vs. Oakland/ 8:00 PM
Friday, Aug 29: vs. Oakland/ 8:00 PM
Saturday, Aug 30: vs. Oakland/ 7:00 PM
The FSN North booth at the Minneosta State Fair is located on the corner of Judson and Cooper (right next to the Minnesota Twins tent!) come check it out! --Record your own "sports update" and meet our on-air personalities!