Monday, April 11, 2011

Week in Review 04.11.2011

Do you want to know what's really, really awesome?  The burgers at The Blue Door Pub.  There's only seating for about 25 people in the entire place so even at 6pm on a Friday night when most of the going out public is in Minneapolis following the Twins' home opener the wait was still an hour to get a table for four, but it was totally worth it. 

We tried a variety of their burgers, from The Frenchy (stuffed with caramelized onions and swiss cheese and served with au jus) to the Cajun (stuffed with pepper jack and diced jalapenos) to the Luau (stuffed with mozzarella and Canadian Bacon and topped with grilled pineapple and a sweet chili lime sauce) and they were all awesome, as were the fish tacos, tator tots, and deep fried pickles.  Add in an awesome selection of beer on tap and it might be my favorite restaurant ever.  Of course, seeing as how long it takes to get seated I don't know if I'll be going very often but I really can't recommend it highly enough.  Go there.


1.  The Masters.  Now that, my friends, was a freaking awesome golf tournament.  Really it had everything you could want:  Tiger making a Sunday charge, the best of the young guns (McIlroy) and the most underrated (Day), vets who had won majors before (Ogilvy, Cabrera) and who were still looking for their first (Choi), two guys trying to drop out of contention for the best player never to win a major (Donald, Scott), and and the next in the line of South African studs (Schwartzel).  Most importantly, outside of McIlroy's implosion, which happened early enough to not affect the enjoyment of the back 9, and fades from Bo Van Pelt and Choi on the back, everybody brought their A-game down the stretch.  Donald's chip, Day's putts at 17 and 18, Scott's tee shot at 16, or any of Schwartzel's birdies from 15-18 could have been a signature moment, but this year's year's tournament was just stuffed with 'em, and was so competitive 8 different players had at least a share of the lead on the back nine on Sunday.  Just insane.  Such an awesome tournament, I can only hope the other three majors come close.

2.  Edwin Jackson.  Well shit.  When the Sox were trying to maneuver to acquire Adam Dunn last year, the thought was they got Jackson from Arizona simply because they knew the Nationals were sweet on him and they would use him to try to facilitate a trade for Dunn.  When the trade never materialized, it was awesome because it looked like they screwed themselves.  Unfortunately for all those who hate the White Sox (which is everyone in the world outside Chicago and prisons) it looks like Jackson may be a keeper all by himself.  His 8 inning, 4 hit, 1 walk, 13 strikeout performance against Tampa puts him at 2-0 for the year with a 1.93 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 20-5 Ks to BBs.  He looks like he might actually be good and that's unfortunate because the team of evil deserves to have nothing good happen to them, ever.

3.  Alex Gordon.  It's taken forever, a bunch of false starts, a few really poor seasons, and a position change, but maybe, just maybe, Alex Gordon - former #2 overall pick in 2005 - has arrived.  He's been in the majors since 2007 (with a few trips to AAA sprinkled in) and managed just a .244/.328/.405 over that time with about 1 HR ever 40 at-bats and twice as many strikeouts as walks, and he threw in shitty defense to round it out.  Basically the kid was looking like a monster bust.  This year, however, things may be looking up.  He's currently hitting at a .357/.400/.548 while leading the league in hit and playing a passable left field.  He's also showing some power, at least compared to his previous years, and has cut down a bit on the strikeouts.  I'm not saying he's arrived, but he's finally looking like a competent player.  Which brings the Royals total to 3.

4.  Ty Lawson.  It's not often I write about the NBA in the regular season.  I pay attention in the playoffs, of course, because playoff NBA basketball is one of the most entertaining and skillful displays in any sport at any time, but the regular season is nearly as boring as the WNBA or your average Gopher men's home game.  That being said, occasionally something happens that is so inexplicable and/or bizarre that I need to mention it, and that's why this part here with Ty Lawson is here.  Lawson is a great penetrator and distributor and is fast as hell but going back to his days at North Carolina it's always been known as a terrible shooter.  But naturally everything changes and gets flipped on its head when the Wolves are involved, and Lawson hit 10 of 11 three-pointers.  That's 10 of 11 threes, including his first 10 (an NBA record) on his way to 37 points (a career high).  Lawson's previous career high for three pointers hit in a game was three.  THREE!  God the basketball in this town sucks. 

5.  Trevor Plouffe.  I don't know if he's the middle infield answer (more on Casilla later), but he's certainly showing he might be ready by destroying AAA pitching thus far this season.  Rochester kicked off their year on Thursday and Plouffe started slowly going 0-4, but he's followed that up by going 3-5 with a double and a homer, 3-5 with a walk, a double and two homers, and 2-4 with a walk, bringing his early season line to .444/.500/1.056.  Simply put, so far he's been completely on fire.  Some may say it's early still and the Twins should wait and not bring him up yet, but those people are the same idiots who stare at a fire in the corner and wait until the entire house is ablaze before reacting.  Come on Bill Smith, don't let the house burn down.  We need some Plouffe.


1.  Alexi Casilla.  I'm sorry, but this guy is not a shortstop and not a starting caliber bat at any position, possibly including National League pitcher.  I'm not even sure he can throw the ball from the hole all the way to first, and just how many times this year are we going to see him dive to stop a ball, get up, and not get the guy or not even bother throwing the ball?  Just don't even bother stopping the ball if you can't throw anybody out.  And don't even get me started with the bat - he's just terrible.  The worst part is that he's actually the best option right now, because the only other player who can play short on the major league roster is Matt Tolbert and we all know what a giant piece of crap he is.  Honest to god, can we get Plouffe up here please?  Maybe he's the answer and maybe he isn't, but at least he's got potential and brings hope to the position.  Every time they read off the Twins lineup and say Casilla's or Tolbert's name a little piece of me dies inside.

2.  Matt Thornton.  I don't know why you'd bother giving the closer to anyone else when you have the nastiness that is Chris Sale - who might have the best stuff of any pitcher in the league - but for some reason the White Sox decided to roll with Thornton.  He repaid that trust by going 0-2 in save opportunities this week, blowing the first against Kansas City (after they scored 3 runs on Joakim Soria to almost steal the game) and then followed that up by getting absolutely bombed for four hits and five runs against Tampa.  The good news for the Sox, and bad news for all White Sox haters which I assume is everyone, is that they look like they may have moved the closer duties over to the unhittable Chris Sale, who picked up the save on Saturday (although he did give up a run).  Hopefully, for the children and America, they stick with Thornton.

3.  Tampa Rays.  I know Evan Longoria is important - not just to the Rays but to all of Major League Baseball, the world, the safety of our nation, and the love in my heart - but it's pretty sad how Tampa has basically just given up after his injury.  A pathetic 1-8 start to the year, and it's been even uglier than that.  They currently rank dead last in the majors in runs scored, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage and in the bottom six in ERA, quality starts, and batting average against.  Only B.J. Upton is hitting the ball remotely well and he leads the team in basically every batting stat, while the starting pitching has been atrocious and is backed up by a pretty poorly performing bullpen.  This is really, really ugly.  Who knew Longoria had this kind of effect on the entire team?  Pretty clear he's the AL MVP at this point.  

4.  Austin Jackson.  I like Austin Jackson.  He's fast, a good fielder, and he can hit the ball with power and average - at least in theory - but he's been brutal this year.  He's hitting just .184 this year (with an OBP of .244 and SLG of .289), but that's not even the most troubling part.  That would be his impressive 14 strikeouts in just 38 at-bats, a pace that would leave him at 228 Ks for the year if he reaches the 618 at-bats he had last year - a new single-season record.  Although I feel pretty safe saying that if he doesn't start getting some hits he'll be logging some of those ABs down on the farm.  He's a free swinger and is always going to strike out a lot (and never really bothers to walk), but he needs to produce when he does put the ball in play, as he did last year.  The weird thing is that his contact rate isn't even that bad at 76.5% (Carlos Pena is at 58.5% - worst in the majors) and you can have plenty of success even if you swing and miss frequently (Nelson Cruz is at 64.2%), but when he does hit the ball he's making terrible contact (4.3% line drives vs. 52.2% fly balls).  Things are not lining up well for Mr. Jackson to turn it around.  And yes, he's on our fantasy team.  Joy.  

5.  UND Fighting Sue.  I don't know anything about hockey and to be honest don't even completely understand most of their crazy rules, but I know gambling and I know the Sue were a huge favorite at -220 (meaning you'd have to bet $220 to win $100 - that's a huge favorite) so I know that them losing to Michigan was a pretty epic chocke job.  I'll let Snake elaborate further:
"I would like to take this first sentence to thank the Michigan Wolverines for doing gods work and beating the prairie scrubs from the University of North Dakota   
Certain things can be expected every spring in the midwest.  Robins return, the snow melts, flowers bloom and coach Hakstol and the University of North Dakota lose in fantastic fashion in the NCAA tournament.  Of course nothing changed this year.  Coach Hak brought the best team in the country into a frozen four field filled with mediocre teams.  Instead of walking through the field they got shutout 2-0 by a Michigan team who played a walk-on goalie and lost to the gophers 3-1 this year.  This was a choke job of epic proportions.  Vegas had the Sioux at -250 to win it all while Michigan was +175, UMD was +450 (which bogart cashed) and Notre Dame was +500.  
So basically UND losing on Thursday was a bigger upset than Russia losing to the USA in 1980 olympics.  Only this was better because the majority of TRUE americans hate North Dakota more than those Red bastards from the USSR.  As usual, UND fans took the loss with class and dignity!"


Dharma Bum said...

Ty Lawson's one miss was on a buzzer beater. I hate the Twolves. I'll be at their last game of the year on Wednesday though because I'm an idiot.

WWWWWW said...

No argument there.

Siouxer Sioux Fan said...

I know that I "should" comment on this garbage about the Sioux. But fuck man...the choked on some big time Michigan cock. Fuck em'......

Just kidding Sioux I still love you all!!!! In a very sexual way. :)