Remember last year there was that very exciting 2-week or so period where I was writing daily posts so you worker drones would have something to do while you drink your coffee at your desk every morning? And then my stupid second baby was born and that all went right out the window? Well, I'm bringing it back. Daily posts, either regular type posts or, if I don't have anything I'm thinking about writing about, I'll do it in this "6 things" list format. Starting today and going until I get bored or lazy.
1. Drew Butera is my hero. Mauer schmauer, who needs 'em? The Twinks won their second straight, beating the Orioles 5-3 last night and giving Francisco Liriano his first win of the season. Matt Capps tried to blow the game in the ninth by giving up a crushed home run to Luke Scott, but it turns out when you're up by three no matter how long of a home run you give up it's still only worth one point.
The real story of the game, however, was "no hit" Butera who went 2-4 with a career high three RBI, two coming on a big double in the second to give the Twins the lead, and the last one coming in the ninth, helping to give the Twins in a little insurance, something they will always need since they have the world's worst bullpen. So a multi-hit game with three RBI, clutch hits, zero stolen bases by Baltimore probably because they were too afraid to run on his cannon arm, and such an outstanding ability to all a game that he made Francisco Liriano, Jose Mijares, and Jim Hoey all good, and Matt Capps only allowed one run which I assume is a season best? I think this might be the Joe Mauer we always wanted, and without all the little baby injuries and "viruses." With the DH spot already locked up I think it's time we start exploring trading him before it's too late. I'll have to have a post later this week looking at what the Twins might be able to get for Mauer. Stay tuned.
2. Harrison Barnes is coming back. Yep, Barnes, a consensus top-3 pick in the NBA draft, will be returning to North Carolina for his sophomore hoops season. The effect of this is two-fold. First, with John Henson and Tyler Zeller also staying in school plus the additions of James McAdoo (Rivals #8 overall player nationally and a guy who is just going to be ridiculous), P.J. Hairston (#14 nationally), and Desmond Hubert(#15 Center), the Tar Heels are going to be the prohibitive favorite to win the National Title (although if Kendall Marshall gets hurt it's over for them - he's the single most important player in college basketball next year). The second, and more Minnesota-centric, effect is that this year's NBA draft is going to completely suck. With Barnes, Baylor's Perry Jones, and Ohio State's Jared Sullinger all staying in school the only real blue-chippers are Arizona's Derrick Williams and Duke's Kyrie Irving. We've all been here before. Pencil the Wolves in for the third pick. And of course with next year shaping up to be one of the deepest and best classes in recent memory the Wolves have already traded their pick. Oof.
3. This guy who was almost a Twin can really hit the ball. And he's a shortstop. You may remember the name Jed Lowrie, because he was part of the package the Red Sox offered the Twins for Johan Santana way back when. The full offer was Lowrie, Jon freaking Lester, Justin Masterson, and Coco Crisp. Lowrie is currently hitting .516 with 2 home runs after going 4-5 with a dinger today in the Red Sox 9-0 thumping of Toronto, and would be leading the league in average with just a few more plate appearances (not to mention he'd be tied for the team lead in homers if he was a Twin) and is starting to look like a potential franchise type shortstop.
Which means that with a different decision, Johan could have netted the Twins a possible franchise shortstop, a #1/#2 type starter, a potential #3/#4 type starter (depending on your opinion of Masterson), and another outfielder who could have been a trade chip, made someone else a trade chip, or at a minimum might have stopped the Twins from picking up Cuddy Bear's option which pays him $11 fucking million this year to hit singles. Instead, they ended up netting out with two crappy relievers the Orioles didn't want (yes Hoey looked ok last night) and a pitching prospect who lost velocity and can't get out of double-A. I know hindsight is 20/20, and I know that according to prospect rankings the trade with the Mets looked about on par with the Sox trade, but god damn it does it rankle me every time I see Lowrie or Lester do well. Imagine how much better this team would be if that was the trade they made. I'm going to go light something on fire.
4. Use up that $2.27 million signing bonus already? In what can only be described as "totally fucking bizarre", Cincinnati Reds second year pitcher Mike Leake was arrested for stealing $60 worth of shirts from Macy's. I totally don't get it because first of all Leake's signing bonus a year and a half ago was $2.27 million. Second, he is making $425 million this year. Third, he stole six shirts whose total cost was $59.98, or under 10 bucks a piece. Fourth, the guy is a total stud and is soon, within the next couple few years, going to end up signing a nice big contract. Fifth, what the fuck? And finally, these are apparently the brand of shirts he was stealing. What the hell? You're telling me you can't just go down to ragstock or the salvation army and get the same thing for like a buck a piece?
Only two possible explanations here. First, Leake must be a huge pothead and was just confused. like Smokey after he ate too much corn. If I may be allowed to generalize and stereotype, Leake has surfer hair and went to Arizona State, so I'll assume he's not unfamiliar with the herb. Plus he went straight to the pros from the minors so he hasn't really had any time to "grow-up" or "be poor", if you will. The second possibility is that Macy's is somehow infested with a demon that causes athletes to steal even when it's the dumbest thing they could possibly do. Is it possible that Royce White was really innocent and it was just some evil force that made him try to steal those pants and push that old man? Maybe Fred Hoiberg is a secret Choctaw shaman who was able to recognize that Royce was good at heart and was just possessed, cast out the demon, and is now ready to reap the rewards of an All-American season. Stupid Baptist Tubby. I bet if they had hired Archambeau he'd be all over this.
5. Look out, world. Here comes Pricey. Tampa's David Price burst onto the scene in the 2008 playoffs, had a decent rookie year, then last year finished second in the Cy Young balloting, so his slow start this year was a bit puzzling. Well you can stop worrying so much, because he completely shut down the Sox last night, going 8 shut-out innings, allowing just four hits and striking out nine. That's the Price I'm talkin' about. Plus he did it to the White Sox, the most evil team in the history of evil, even worse than the Nazis or Packers. Does this make David Price some kind of Angel or maybe God? But in November of 2007 the owner dude changed the team name from Devil Rays to Rays, just three short months after they drafted and signed Price. Coincidence? You tell me, Robert Stack. You tell me.
6. The Pacers almost did it again. For the second straight game the Pacers looked like they might be in position to steal a win in Chicago, and for the second straight game Derrick Rose said "No soup for you." Seriously, this guy is ridiculous and completely unguardable. When it gets down to it in the fourth Chicago justs shifts into the "give Rose the ball and everybody get out of the way" offense and he gets to the rim and either finishes, gets fouled, or finds an open teammate - and nobody on the Pacers can keep him out of the lane. Last night he scored 14 of his 36 in the fourth quarter, similar to Game 1 when he scored 9 of his 37 in the quarter and came up with the game's biggest play on an assist to Kyle Korver for a three to give the Bulls the lead. Completely ridiculous. This is just like watching me play at the Y - completely unstoppable.