Adopt a Prospect II.2: Derestraining the Force Inside You

It's a frickin' monsoon out there little rainy today, and rather than stare hopefully at the FSN rain delay, hoping that the game restarts and the Twins suddenly remember the good ol' days of two weeks ago when they could crush the Red Sox as easily as a twig under a space ship, we decided to revisit our old pal Luis Perdomo!

Then we saw the statistics and remembered that Luis needs a motivation coach. So it's high time for lesson number two:

(This instruction was intended for Luis Perdomo only...following the Peanuts from Heaven De-Restraining a Force Inside You [DRAFIY] without specifically tailored guidance from a Peanuts From Heaven approved Force De-Restrainer may result in serious injury. Peanuts from Heaven is not liable for misinterpretations of their lessons...but please don't think this lesson is encouraging to remove your own appendix...that's crazy talk)

Lesson 2: When Life Hands You Lemons, See if You can't get Some Limes, Carbonated Water and High Fructose Corn Syrup to Make a Sugary Soft Drink!

Let's not lie, let's not sugar coat it, let's not pretend that your dog is one new coat of nail polish away from winning the Miss America Project. There will be some hard times in your life and career Luis, hard times like the last two weeks where you gave up a run in all but one of your six appearances. But what matters is not which problems you face, but what you do in response.

The Ultimate Goal
Other motivation coaches might tell you to turn those lemons into Lemonade, but those of us behind the De-Restraining a Force Inside You program, firmly believe that a new age calls for a new mindset. Why settle for Lemonade when you can have a Sugary Lemon-Lime flavored soft drink? After all, the lemonade might be refreshing, but only the soft-drink can be resold for tremendous profit and potential long term health consequences for your enemies!

So yeah, it's not great that you've given up more walks than strikeouts (7 to 6), or that you've given up about as many hits as runs (13 and 12). But what do we do, Luis? We take all those problems and we turn them into a strength for you! Now your opponents have come to mistakenly believe that they can hit whatever you throw up there, but when you unleash your flaming fireballs of doom then there will be no recourse left to them...and if you have no flaming fireballs of doom, you can always use a slider or change-up, then BOOM now the opposition is crippled by your diabetes inducing awesomeness!


Wha' Happened #6 (@Indians & Red Sox, V.s. Orioles & White Sox)

Rumors of our demise our greatly exaggerated. Rumors of the school year ending, our student teacher leaving and our work load increasing dramatically are absolutely accurate. Here now, a pseudo-recap of the weeks since the Twins last got a day off.

Game 27
Indians 7 - Twins 6
Long ago I first wrote about the magical Land of Cleve, a blighted kingdom where no team can win for long and where all the knights in the land eventually flee for other kingdom's with better salaries and dental packages.

But a strange thing happened in the last year. The Land of Cleve, they have rebounded, regained themselves and found a new King! King Terry the Lost who shockingly has found powerful knights throughout his kingdom (to complement the slightly quirky: Sir Kyrie who-Likes-to-Pretend-He's-an-Old-Guy-But-Really-Isn't.)

So it was with much confusion that the Territory of Twinnesota entered the land of Cleve for the first battle of the year, only to find that, rather than rolling over and begging for mercy (as they normally do) the resilient knights of King Terry the Lost, rebounded until Sir Drew of the Swollen Toes delivered the fatal blow to our hopes

[Wasn't that a lot more fun to read than just: "Drew Stubbs hit a walk-off..."]

Game 28
Indians 7 - Twins 3
Bad Correia!!
Kevin Correia pitched poorly! Let the indiscriminate blame and pointless recriminations BEGIN!!

Kevin Correia is directly responsible for the Twins loss in Cleveland, Joe Mauer's distraction from hitting, the repeated threat of snow in late April and May and the mailing of toxic ricin to political leaders.

Game 29
Twins 4 - Indians 2 
Let us take a moment to acknowledge the contributions of someone oft forgotten in my offense-centric recaps Glen Perkins aka The Dread Pirate Joe Nathan. (Remember, Perk adopted the intimidating name  to foil hitters. The real Dread Pirate Joe Nathan has been living like a King in Patagonia...or at least a Patagonia outlet store near Dallas)

Dread Pirate Joe Nathan v. 2.0
Sunday, with the Twins staked to a solid three run lead, The NEW Dread Pirate Joe Nathan entered the game determined to triumph in the most Dread Pirate-y way possible to wit: increasing the level of difficulty until his crew mates were convinced he was going to destroy them all...only to triumph at the last second. Following the lead off homer to left he bellowed "FAAARRRRGHARRAGH" [That's pirate for "good, now they have false hope"], then the hard stung single to right elicited an "AVARGH!!" ["Now I must defend my bounty of saves against the agents of the crown"], and when he settled down to end it all his triumphant "BLARGHERAGHERAGH!!!" [suck it Indians!] could be heard up and down the Cuyahoga.

Game 30
Red Sox 7 - Twins 6
Under careful scrutiny since St. Paul native/Twins Legend/Blue Jays Announcer/Walking Mustache Jack Morris accused him of using a substance on his shirt sleeve to throw a spitball, Boston starter Clay Buchholz attempted to throw suspicious parties off the scent of his duplicity by coating his sleeve in a different substance during the first inning.

That substance: suckitude!

And in an even greater sign of his criminal genius, Buchholz, swapped jerseys in between innings, so that one inning of giving up hits to the heart of the order [1st] and the bottom of the order [4th] (after applying copious amounts of suck to the ball) were balanced out by innings of dominance against the bottom [2nd] and heart [3rd] of the order.

Well played Buchholz, Well played.

(On a similar well played note, we were all so amazed at Joe Mauer's leaping catch of a relay throw home that we were brainwashed into assuming that he also applied the tag. Proving that no one plays it as well as Mauer does.)

I'd write more about the end of the game, but sometime around the 9th Red Sock wandering out of the batter's box and fouling off pitch after pitch to prolong the game, I decided that I should sleep...okay, I was put to sleep...which come to think of it is another genius strategem. CURSE YOU RED SOX!!

Game 31
Twins 6 - Red Sox 1
Full confession, I did not hear or watch one minute or second of this game. Instead I was with student-athletes at a track meet in Watertown which does not yet have a huge out-of-town-scoreboard (hint, hint local taxpayers!). But with 7 innings of shut-out ball, Scott Diamond is more than welcome to join the team I coach as an endurance instructor. (Back up Red Sox Third Baseman Pedro Ciracio is not allowed anywhere near the shot put, javelin or discus)

Game 32
Twins 15 - Red Sox 8
It was a thrilling trip to Boston, particularly for Aaron Hicks who made his Fenway Park debut. But just as Aaron was scared of "The Grimm" during the previous home stand, there was the awfully intimidating Green Monster out there in Left field. (I blame Hitting Coach Tom Brunansky's scary bedtime stories)
Fortunately there is one man who will always rescue our nation's children and worried rookies. He who personifies goodness and light, he who banishes fear and despair to the unfathomable void of the abyss beyond the stars. Yes our great and powerful chairman looked into the depths of the monster's eyes and slated the beast with his mighty bat of justice and truth (and also with the help of our mighty line-up which draws strength from the mere presence of his sideburns).

Rest easy young Hicks-y, for wherever our mighty Chairman resides no monster dares to tread.

Twins 33
Twins 5 - Red Sox 3
It's easy to make fun of rookies, they're young, they don't have a clearly defined personality. But one guy seems determined to stop me from making fun of him. That man? Oswaldo Arcia: the Blizzard of Oz!

How did our Blizzard Wizard triumph during his debut series at Fenway? By clobbering balls all over the yard. There are also unconfirmed reports of him shouting "Depulso!" to use a banishing charm on the two run shot that gave us a series victory over the "mighty" bean-towners. We here at Peanuts From Heaven will always encourage magic as a solution to life's problems...keep it up Oswaldo, keep it up.

Game 34
Orioles 9 - Twins 6
After all the triumphs in Boston, the Twins returned home to face another AL East team, and picked up right where they left off, battering an opposing pitcher just because they could.

But with all this natural awesomeness we neglected to discuss one important facet of the team: relief pitching. After-all, hitting is half the game, and really easy to romanticize; starting pitching talent is new and relatively amazing to Twins fans used to mind-numbingly bad starts; relief pitching...well...it's just part of the game, like the designated hitter and drunk guys.

Too much time feeling ignored and unloved can wear on you, and so [I imagine with absolutely zero proof] there was a discussion in the Twins pen between Josh Roenicke and Anthony Swarzak.

Roenicke: "Can you believe the blogosphere's ignoring use Anthony?"

Swarzak: "Swarzak!"

Roenicke: "I've gone more than an inning every game since April 4th! And you've only given up 3 walks all year!!"
Swarzak: "Swarzak!"

Roenicke: "Exactly! What's a guy got to do to earn a little gentle ribbing, a little joke that I sound like I should be a hockey player, or that I grew a soul patch because I was worried about whether or not I'd go to heaven"

Swarzak: "Swarzak!"

Roenicke: "Don't rub it in man...I know...I'll blow up randomly and then people will have to write about me...you in?"

Swarzak: [Cough...cough] "Sorry, I've had that cough of years now...yeah, sure let's do this.

So that happened, and we gave up the lead.

Game 35
Twins 8 - Orioles 5
It's funny but true...Vance Worley, arguably the most promising pitching acquisition the Twins made in the offseason, had gone winless since August of the previous year. Hmm, actually that's not so much funny as sad.

We got you Vanimal, we got you
This was most troubling for the heart of the Twins order, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. After all this was their very own Vanimal, and both were big fans. After all Doctor Teeth and the Electric Mayhem was a genuinely popular band in Canada, and Baby Vanimal (from the Muppet Babies) was a favorite of Baby Jesus)

Thus it was that the Twins' biggest boppers came to the rescue of another poor performance by the vanimal, cranking out six hits, and quite a bit of head banging in response to the Vanimal's demand that he needed more runs.

Game 36
Orioles 6 - Twins 0
For Mother's Day, Scott Diamond's mom asked for just one thing: "play nice with the other boys Scotty!"*

We applaud Mama Diamond for raising a fine upstanding athletic boy, and we're all for sportsmanship, but clearly this instruction ran contrary to pitching coach Rick Anderson's "NO MISSING THE PLATE! NO MERCY!!" instruction. In the end, the Orioles kind of owned Scott Diamond and the Twins lost the game, but it's kind of nice that Scott Diamond listened to his mom (but lets just save that for mother's day)

*Note, I can't decide if this excuse is any less absurd than the "Mother's day game ball is slightly different" Twins writers actually used
Game 37

Twins 10 - White Sox 3
A little more than a week ago, ESPN noted that Adam Dunn (the White Sox Designated Hitter) had the  2nd lowest batting average in the American League (thereby questioning the whole "hitter" part of the title "Designated Hitter"). The lowest? Twins Centerfielder Aaron Hicks.

As a result this series with the White Sox felt seriously like a good ol' fashioned show down between Hicks and Dunn to prove who was marginally less bad than the other. Sure we could crunch the stats of who really won, but why not review it like the three rounds of your typical old school brawler video games.

The first round went decidedly to Aaron Hicks who seemingly owned every aspect of Adam Dunn's game. Delivering a punishing Centerfield Bomb attack on his face, pulling an amazing reversal on Dunn's own Dinger Assault, and then delivering his signature finishing move the "oh-my-god-you-can-get-more-than-one-hit-in-a-game-it-might-as-well-be another-home-run".

Game 38
Lets watch it again...and again...

White Sox 4 - Twins 2
In order to get back at Aaron Hicks decisive first round KO Adam Dunn resorted to the defense of all desperate video gamers: Mashing buttons on the controller indiscriminately hoping that things turn out okay. 

Sadly it worked, geting a cheesy, bottom-of-the-health-bar, lucky shot victory (what with the home run to Hicks' o-fer.)

Game 39
White Sox 9 - Twins 5
Before the last round of the fight [or game of the series if you prefer], Aaron Hicks pressed pause to go to the bathroom and get a Dr. Pepper.

Then Adam Dunn unpaused it, demolishing a blithely bopping on his heels Aaron Hicks with a pair of Dinger Assaults, as if that somehow proved that he was a better gamer than Hicks. When Hicks came back, Dunn stood up muttered something about "really gotta get home, my parents and lawn mowing and indiscriminate mumbling" grabbed a full bag of Doritos and a Dr. Pepper and took off.

So congrats Adam Dunn, you won this round...but Aaron Hicks will be back. Oh yes, he will be back.

Mr. Peanut for the last two weeks: Oswaldo Arcia (if only to stop festooning Joe Mauer with these trophies)
Nutty Buddy for the last two weeks: Pedro Hernandez/Casey Fien (they haven't been bad, but they sure haven't helped much)


Wha Happened #5 (v.s. Rangers and @ Tigers)

Game 20
Rangers 2 - Twins 1
Despite the evening's overlong, numbingly-slow, seemingly interminable catalogue of the talents of others, the Twin Cities were delighted by their own brief shining moment of glory. 

But enough has been written about the Vikings' draft...The Twins also played and saw Josh Willingham hit a homerun in a losing effort to a more talented Rangers squad.

In other news: The Twins front office began declaring their interest in drafting Mantei Te'o with the fourth overall pick in June's draft...just to keep local sportswriters amused for a few more weeks.

Game 21
Rangers 4 - Twins 3
It was a beautiful afternoon in the Twins clubhouse, the perfect time to get in a little extra batting practice, enjoy some of the first sunshine of the spring.

It's like the Grim from Harry PotterThat's when Aaron Hicks noticed a shadow floating off by the electric marquee announcing the night's pitching match up. "OH NO!" He shouted, "You guys! We've got....the...Grimm!"

"Yeah," replied Josh Willingham unconcernedly, "he's a rookie."

"But...the Grimm foretells death and ill fortune for all who see it!!"

"What, did you face him in the minors or something?" asked Joe Mauer.

"No! But I read all about it in Unfogging the Future by Cassandra Vablatsky!"

"Umm...Aaron," replied Justin Morneau, slurping the last of his McDonald's Sweet Tea [ONLY 99 cents AT PARTICIPATING STORES!!] "I think that's only a book in the Harry Potter series." 

"AAAAH!" Shouted Aaron Hicks, grabbing Morneau's cup and swirling around the dregs of the drink as if it were tea leaves, "IT'S THERE...IT'S THERE AGAIN!!! WE'RE DOOMED, DOOMED I SAY!!"

As Aaron Hicks ran around shouting about the disaster to everyone, the heart of the order gathered together. Finally Morneau broke the silence, "I suppose the nice thing to do would be to help Hicksy build some confidence by having his prediction come true...you guys willing to get held scoreless by a rookie startert again?"

"Eh," they responded in unison, "why not?"

So they did...and Aaron Hicks felt better...and Oswaldo Arcia hit another homer...and the game was lost, but the nerdiness was won.
Game 22
Twins 7 - Rangers 2
On their second consecutive beautiful day the Twins started to wonder if playing against the Rangers was really worth it. I mean, couldn't they just play this one quickly, lose (as they probably would anyway) and go home to put their feet up on the deck with a drink in hand and a steak on the grill?

The very happy Mr. Hernandez
But Rookie Pedro Hernandez was delighted to be there, making his second start and first attempt to become part of the "rotation". He kept talking to players in the dugout about "how cool" it was, and that standing on a big league mound was "so sweet!"

When removed from the game after the fifth, Hernandez sat beaming on the bench around other players. "Man you guys this day is just awesome!" [mumble grumble said the team that wanted to go home] "Major league baseball...I mean for REALS!! How cool is this!!?!? [I-du-mumma-grumba said the team who was so over playing every day] "And just think tonight I've got Cloud Cult tickets for me and my best friends!" [Record scratch sound, heads swivel and everybody crowds around Hernandez]

In an effort to impress Hernandez and get those extra tickets, Brian Dozier kept bragging about his "totally amazeballs sac fly", Wilkin Ramirez and Aaron Hicks drove in insurance runs, Josh Willingham smashed a home run to left, and when the bullpen heard about this option Anthony Swarzak, Brian Duensing and Jared Burton turned in scoreless efforts. And even though Glen Perkins gave up 2 runs, Hernandez cheered him up by flashing an extra ticket at him from the top step of the dugout.

And as "Beautiful Day" played on the loud speakers, you could almost hear the glee as Wilkin Ramirez shouted "Let's get out of here and go listen to some experimental local indie art rock!! WOO Cloud Cult!!"
Woo Cloud Cult indeed.

Game 23
Twins 5 - Rangers 0
Sunday was my first day of the season at Target Field, with beautiful sunshine, a well paced game and the chance to see a well-played game. It also allowed me to develop what I think might be the best equation for the Twins surprising .500 record in April

BB*H^2 + (ESKC/CP2012) = LW

That's Bases on Balls (aka Walks) times Hits squared, plus Early Season Kevin Correia-ness* over Craptastic Pitching from 2012 equals a likely Win. The more we do any of these things, the more walks drawn, the more hits attained, the more Early-Season-Kevin-Correia-y our pitching can be and the less craptastically our pitching resembles that of 2012, the better chance we have to win. (And with Willingham getting the walks, Morneau getting the hits and Kevin Correia being Kevin Correia-y this game was a likely win) 

*Note, this is a very special brand of Kevin Correia and can still be used as a stand in for average effectiveness as a pitcher even if/when Correia collapses, after all Scott Diamond has had a very high Early-Season Kevin Correianess quotient throughout his run with the Twins*

The Italian Sausage
First bite of summer
Spices mild as big muddy
Bursts on snow tired tongue

Game 24
Tigers 4 - Twins 3
Having split the series against a very tough Rangers team, the Twins went in to Detroit full of piss, vinegar, and other assorted odd liquids. And to be sure, everything seemed to be going wonderfully, Josh Willingham homered again, Oswaldo Arcia continued to hit the ball hard, and Mike Pelfrey (the bionic reclamation project) seemed to have found a way to get guys out using trickery, guile (and maybe some mixture of piss and vinegar in their gatorade).

But it was not to last...heading into the bottom of the sixth with the top of the order due up Gardy had a premonition that perhaps Pelfrey would need to take a rest. But Pelfrey prevailed upon him telling him in a slightly robotic tone, "come on skip-per...I can get these guys...my arm feels great...I just need some WD-40 to loosen my pitching mechanism...I mean, I just need a 'hot towel' on my 'arm' and I'll get them."

Gardy was concerned, but after Pelfrey corrected himself he was sure things would work out...But Vegetarian crusader Prince Fielder could smell the metal and the grease and the un-eco friendly Pelfrey from a mile away. And with two men on, trailing by two he did what any self-respecting Vegi-citizen would do and lined a homerun to left-center, winning the game for the Tigers and increasing Super Agent Scott Boras' fear that his bionic pitcher project may be a dud...but that Fielder guy will probably make him some money for a long time to come.

Game 25
Tigers 6 - Twins 1
During all of this media reports surfaced that our benevolent chairman Joe Mauer was going through the worst hitting slump of his life. Going 0 for his last 20 entering play Tuesday night. These of course were salacious lies, Mauer (Bringer of Sun to the Snow Plagued Lands) in his infinite genius and wisdom has been redistributing feelings of honor and prosperity to other hitters in the Twins line-up.

"The chairman (praises be to him), has mercifully blessed me with the muscle mass to hit many doubles" reported young Eduardo Escobar, "he truly is the harbinger of victory and a bountiful harvest."

The Detroit Tygra Ace
Enemies still bow before Mauer (provider of Snow in Sun plagued lands). And fear his mighty eyes of laser precision that are the only true judge of strikes and balls (no matter what the puppet umpires of the capitalist conspiracy of pitchers tells you). Witness the Chairman's mighty single against the Man-Tiger Hybrid called Justin Verlander, the American League's greatest weapon of mass destruction.

The Chairman has vowed to honor all of those who have remained loyal to his greatness and destroy Thundera...I mean Comerica on his next visit, just as soon as he figures out why he wants to bomb Austin, Texas.
Game 26
Twins 6 - Tigers 2
Having been bested by both Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander the Twins had hoped to get their offense going in the final game on Wednesday afternoon. Unfortunately they were facing Anibal Sanchez, whom the Twins announcers continue to insist on calling "Anna-belle" Sanchez. The image of Sanchez with a parasol, and a fan on the mound shouting out "I do declare!" was just too dang funny and they laughed their way to 9 strikes and a 3-2 lead thanks largely to swatting at balls while muttering "I don't give a damn".
Good goat...good goat.
Fortunately it was enough as Scott Diamond gave up only two runs and avoided Rich Anderson hugs long enough to get through 6 innings en route to another win and a return to .500!

Mr. Peanut Award: Kevin Correia (easily gave the most impressive single performance of the week...and I've been ignoring him too long...like Sally Field at the Oscars)
Nutty Buddy: Joe Mauer (not that the chairman requires pity...but listing a Nutty Buddy has boosted the fortunes of others before...fingers crossed!)