Would you share your oxygen?

New Music

Heartless Bastards – The Mountain – This is a band I was introduced to via the Random 10 of esteemed colleague E-6 and I’ve liked almost everything I’ve heard from them.  This album is no exception, I acquired a bunch of the songs from various corners of the internet, and then noticed yesterday that the entire album was available from Amazon for $2.  Needless to say I pounced.  This one is a little bit more mellow than All This Time, but it might be even better (and I like that album a lot).

Random 10 Songs

The Czar – Mastodon – Crack the Skye
Guerilla Radio – Rage Against the Machine – Battle of Los Angeles
The Grudge – Tool – Lateralus
Country Feedback – R.E.M. – Out of Time
Finding Solutions – Heartless Bastards – All This Time
3’s and 7’s – Queens of the Stone Age – Era Vulgaris
Black Dog – Led Zeppelin – IV
All This Time – Heartless Bastards – All This Time
Suicidal Dream – Silverchair – Frogstomp
Maggie’s Farm – Rage Against the Machine – Renegades

I really like this list.  In fact, I went back and listened to it again once I finished.

Random 10 Story – This is something that started two weeks ago, but the idea is to come up with a story that incorporates the titles of the songs in your random 10.  (Make sure you check out FreeAlonzo’s story as well).

A ringing phone is answered.  Words are exchanged until the conversation ends.  With his hand still on the receiver, he summons a young boy from the corner of the room and instructs him to “fetch the big guy”.  Ten minutes later, The Czar of Oklahoma enters the room. His assistant addresses him deferentially but confidently and informs him that the outpost responsible for monitoring the guerilla radio network has noticed a significant increase in traffic over the last two days – the assistant adds what the czar already knows, this means another attack is coming.  As he relays this information, the leader’s face darkens, and the 20 years of the grudge betwixt the countries of Oklahoma and Texizona are evident in his eyes.  All those years since he collected some loose warheads and used them to leverage this territory free from Texizona, a country that didn’t want them anyway. Stored at the deceptively named St. Margaret’s Garden, the threat of those weapons were still all that ensured Oklahoma’s independence.

The leader begins to rant.  His informants all report the same thing – across the country, feedback indicates that the guerillas are the main concern of the Oklahoman public.  The best people in the government are working constantly, finding solutions, but nothing stems the tide of enemies from the south.  Small successes are evident, but they are picking up low level spies alone or in groups of 3’s and 7’s, not even putting a dent in the hundreds they know are within their borders.  “It’s time we got some answers” he fumes as he storms out.

He stalks across the barren yard, toward a low building guarded by a ferocious looking black dog.  The dog growls as he approaches, but is quickly quieted by a tall, scowling man who emerges to exchange a few words with the czar.  They proceed together, with the dog remaining outside, through the building to a cell, where a battered, starved, haunted-looking boy sits chained to a table.  An update on the interrogation is provided by a few words from the scowling man.  “In all this time we’ve had him here, he didn’t say anything – they never do, they just hold onto their stupid suicidal dream of wiping us all out by some act of God.  Then just about 20 minutes ago we got two words out of him before he clammed up again.  Maggie’s farm.”

The czar’s face drains of color.  He tries to contact the guards to warn them but no one answers his calls. “Oh no, they’re already insi

Leave your story below.

Series Preview in Blog: New York Yankees

I lost this post once, so all I’ve got is a list of links.

It turns out the Yankees spend way more money than anyone else. Does that mean Yankees fans should feel guilty about it?  I know one thing, all that money can’t buy Brett Gardner a sense of humor.  C’mon buddy, lighten up!  Increased payroll also increases expectations, evidenced by this image from nomaas.org:

Due to the Yankees’ fairly average record so far, the new Yankee Stadium may be making more headlines than the team itself.  And they are not the good kinds of headlines.  They’ve made some poor decisions with the stadium but they seem to be trying to respond to some of the harsher criticisms.

This is pretty cool – photo gallery of the old stadium being torn down.

Other things that interest me (I’ve got to get to work, so these are quick) –

Left-handed catchers

Teams gaming the disabled list rules?

Terrible defense – Scouts say A-Rod is a statue, but that’s OK because, “A bad defense is good for business, because fewer outs made = more plate appearances for the other team = more concessions sold = PROFIT!

–PROBABLE PITCHERS–

Liriano v. P. Hughes

Blackburn v. J. Chamberlain

Slowey v. A. Burnett

Perkins v. A. Pettitte

I think that every time I’ve written Pettitte’s last name I’ve used at least one too few letter t’s.

Beat the Streak – 5/14

I was going to write another post, but that 13 inning roller coaster of a game last night required all of my attention.  So I’m taking the easy way out today;  No blog post and Pujols as my BTS hitter.

YESTERDAY STREAK TODAY

Denard Span (1 for 5)

Current Streak – 6

J. Mauer
M. Cabrera
M. Teahan
V. Martinez
O. Hudson
D. Span

Longest Streak – 6

Albert Pujols

Get ’em Over, Get ’em In – Individuals

Breaking down the stuff I posted on Monday a little bit further.

ADVANCING RUNNERS

Coming up with a runner on first or second and nobody out, hitters are looking to advance the runner into scoring position or to third base, where any number of outcomes will bring them home.  That is of course assuming the hitter doesn’t just drive in the baserunner themselves.

Through the first 27 games, the players with the most opportunities of this kind (runner on 1st or 2nd, 0 out) are:

Casilla – 23 (hitting behind Span has it’s perks)
Punto – 19
Morneau – 14
Cuddyer – 13

Those who have advanced runners from 1st most efficiently (0 out):

Punto – 9 bases advanced in 12 opportunities (0.75 B/Op)
Cuddyer – 5 bases advanced in 7 opportunities (0.714 B/Op)
Casilla – 10 bases advanced in 16 opportunities (0.625 B/Op)

Those who have advanced runners from 2nd most efficiently (0 out):

Punto – 7 bases advanced in 7 opps. (1.00 B/Op)
Kubel / Harris – 3 bases advanced in 4 opps. (0.75 B/Op)
Casilla – 5 bases advanced in 7 opps. (0.714 B/Op)

SCORING RUNNERS –

First off, scoring runners from third with less than two out.

Redmond 100% (2 for 2)
Gomez 100% (1 for 1)
Kubel 80% (4 for 5)
Morneau 73% (8 for 11)
Cuddyer 64% (7 for 11)
Span 42% (5 for 12)
Young 42% (5 for 12)
Harris 40% (2 for 5)
Punto 33% (2 for 6)
Casilla 33% (2 for 6)
Morales 0% (0 for 2)
Crede 0% (0 for 8)

Scoring runners in scoring position:

Young – 37% – 11 of 30
Span – 33% – 11 of 33
Mauer – 33% – 1 of 3
Kubel – 31% – 11 of 36
Morneau – 30% – 14 of 47
Cuddyer – 25% – 11 of 44
Redmond – 25% – 3 of 12
Punto – 24% – 7 of 29
Buscher – 23% – 3 of 13
Harris – 19% -3 of 16
Morales – 17% – 2 of 12
Casilla – 15% – 6 of 39
Crede -12% – 3 of 25
Gomez – 8% – 1 of 12

There’s a lot of pretty small samples in there, so it’s tough to pull anything out of here just yet, but we’ll give it another 27 games and see where we’re at.

Series Preview in Blog: Detroit Tigers

The Twins came this close to sweeping the Mariners this weekend and getting back to even. .500 will have to wait at least two more games, and next up are the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers swept the Indians this weekend, with some fantastic pitching (see below) and some fantastic defense. I’m sure you’ve seen Curtis Granderson’s game-saving catch, but Granderson writes for Big League Stew and offered his thoughts on how improbable that catch really was.  Detroit is traveling to the Metrodome for the first time this year, and they are not terribly excited to be back in Minnesota.  Even though the Tigers have had some struggles in the Dome, here’s some thoughts on what they need to do to succeed in “Hubert Humphrey’s House of Horrors“.  Minnesota is 11-9 at home this season, Detroit comes in with a 9-8 road record.  The Tigers are in first place in the Central, tied with the Royals, and 3 games in front of the Twins.

This actually happened during the last Twins-Tigers series, but Carlos Guillen has struggled mightily this season and he was put on the 15-day DL, so he won’t be on the field this week.  This post points out that while Guillen was in the lineup he provided below average defense in addition to the lowest batting average of any AL Central left fielder (guess which AL Central LF has the highest BA?). Still, some can’t help but think that last year, Guillen would continued to be in the lineup, no matter how dinged up and ineffective he might have been.

A couple of historic links as well; pitch-tipping has been in the news recently (thanks, A-Rod!), which brought up this story from back in the day.  Secondly, I always enjoy reading people’s recollection of their childhood favorite players, especially when they were little known guys who just seemed to have fun with the game.

–PROBABLE PITCHERS–

The Tigers had absolutely phenomenal starting pitching this past weekend, Verlander, Porcello, and Jackson all had fantastic outings, so the Twins will have their work cut out to put some runs up on this staff.

Slowey v. A. Galarraga

Perkins v. D. Willis

Dontrelle Willis makes his return to the major leagues in this game.  He’s been progressing through the minor leagues so far this season, and it’s been a mixed bag of results (but do those results mean anything? You’ve got me).  It’s easy to think that Willis’ return to the big leagues was inevitable, Jim Leyland sounds like he is expecting him to hold his own, or else he may find himself back down in the minors.

Baker v. J. Verlander

Verlander has only allowed one earned run over his last three starts, which could be the result of the addition of a slider to his arsenal.  Verlander has only allowed four hits in his last two outings, so he’s going about as good as a pitcher can right now.  The Twins should see if they can score enough off of Willis that they can carry over some runs into this game.

Get ’em Over, Get ’em In

27 games represents the first 1/6th of the season.  With that passing last week, here’s an update on a few stats I have been kinda/sorta keeping track of this season. (All of these numbers are through last Tuesday, game 27).

First up is where the Twins are scoring their runs.  The number of times the runner started the run-scoring play in each situation divided by the number of opportunities in those situations gives the following numbers:

Runners on 1st Runners on 2nd Runners on 3rd
0 out 0% (0 for 83) 17% (9 of 52) 54% (20 of 37)
1 out 3% (3 for 114) 13% (10 of 77) 41% (18 of 44)
2 out 4% (5 for 122) 18% (16 of 89) 27% (14 of 52)

So, the Twins don’t drive in hardly anyone from first base. Why more score from first with two outs? Maybe more agressive baserunning (running on contact), maybe less of a focus on getting the runner into scoring position (vide infra). They are pretty good at getting baserunners in from third with less than 2 out (38 for 81, 47%). Scoring runners from second doesn’t really depend on the number of outs. Which makes sense, because it’s going to take a hit to score them regardless of situation.

Now to focus on getting the runner over. This table is “bases advanced” per plate appearance.

Runners on 1st Runners on 2nd
0 out 0.59 (49 in 83) 0.73 (38 in 52)
1 out 0.41 (47 in 114) 051 (39 in 77)
2 out 0.45 (55 in 122) 0.44 (39 in 89)

The good news here is the twins are advancing the runner on second with less than two out.  In 19 of the 129 opportunities the runner was driven in.  In 39 of the 110 remaining opportunities the runner was moved up to third base.

I’ll keep an eye on this stuff and post periodic updates throughout the season.

Beat the Streak – 5/11

I decided I’m going to keep track of my Beat the Streak choices here (Beat the Streak is an MLB.com fantasy game – pick a player each day, if they get a hit, your streak continues.  If not the streak ends).

My latest streak started on Friday with Joe Mauer.

PREVIOUSLY STREAK TODAY

Joe Mauer

(2 for 5, HR)

Miguel Cabrera

(2 for 4)

Mark Teahan

(2 for 4, 2 2B)

Current Streak – 3

J. Mauer
M. Cabrera
M. Teahan

Longest Streak – 3

Victor Martinez

I’m keeping it in the AL Central for now. If you’ve got picks, leave them in the comments.

Friday Music

New Music

Pixies – Surfer Rosa -The Pixies are just a little bit off-center.  It’s a different sound than anything else in my collection.  This one is a little bit more odd than ‘Doolittle’ but I like quite a few of the songs.  ‘Where is my mind’, ‘Cactus’, and ‘Broken Face’ are favorites so far.

Random 10 (or Help me, Nine Inch Nails is taking over my iPod)

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) – Marilyn Manson – Lest We Forget, the Best of Marilyn Manson
29 Ghosts IV – Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts
The Wretched – Nine Inch Nails – And All That Could Have Been
22 Ghosts III – Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts
Sigh Your Children – …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead – Madonna
Miss Murder – A.F.I. – Decemberunderground
Self Esteem – The Offspring – Smash
Born As Ghosts – Rage Against the Machine – Battle of Los Angeles
Catch Without Arms – Dredg – Live at the Fillmore
Would? – Alice in Chains – Dirt

Nothing too remarkable in those 10.  Instead I have something interesting in the third half of this post.

Zoe Keating, a cellist previously featured in one of these music posts has composed some soundtrack music for a documentary entitled “Ghost Bird”.  The trailer is below, and it doesn’t feature her music but it still ties into this post musically.

Here’s one of Ms. Keating’s compositions for the soundtrack.  Zoe Keating – Flying and Flocking

Series Preview in Blog: Seattle Mariners

The Twins (13-16) take on the Mariners (15-14) at home this weekend.  Seattle has lost their last four games and fallen out of first place in the AL West.  They currently sit one half game behind Texas.  The Mariners are 8-7 on the road thus far this season, while the Twins are 9-8 at home.

The latest losing streak aside, this is a team that not many expected to be this close to first place at any point past the first week of the season.  The fans have been pleased with the moderate success so far.  Some express that pleasure via a short ecstatic blog post, and some feel compelled to shout their love of Mariners’ players from the proverbial mountain top.

I think most Mariners fans still love Ken Griffey, Jr. as well, maybe not for what he’s bringing to the table so far this year, but over his career as a whole.  Despite his struggles (and some injuries – inflamed colon? ouch.) he seems to be really enjoying himself in Seattle this time around.  Across the outfield, Franklin Gutierrez is probably enjoying himself too, as he is on pace for a career year at the plate while playing stellar outfield defense.

–PROBABLE PITCHERS–

Baker v. C. Jakubauskas

Can Baker change his name to Jeremy for a day?

Liriano v. F. Hernandez

Is it a requirement that every time the Twins and Mariners play, that these two face each other?

Blackburn v. E. Bedard

Was it a bad idea to set up a question theme with the first two matchups when I couldn’t think of one for the third?

Relegation Watch – Three Matches Remain

Sunderland – 9 wins, 8 draws – 35 points (-17 goal differential)
Hull City – 8 wins, 10 draws – 34 points (-23 goal differential)
——————Relegation Line——————————–
Newcastle – 6 wins, 13 draws – 31 points (-19 goal differential
Middlesbrough – 7 wins, 10 draws – 31 points (-26 goal differential)
West Bromwich – 7 wins 7 draws – 28 points (-31 goal differential)

Schedule for the remaining matches –

Sunderland – Bolton / Portsmouth / Chelsea

Hull City – Stoke City / Bolton / Manchester Utd.

Middlesbrough – Newcastle / Aston Villa / West Ham

Newcastle – Middlesbrough / Fulham / Aston Villa

West Bromwich – Wigan / Liverpool / Blackburn

The Black Cats really need a win this weekend. If they get one, they’re pretty much assured of staying up for next year. If they lose and Middlesbrough/Newcastle doesn’t end in a draw, they’ll only be one point clear with two matches remaining.  Needless to say, that’s not where they want to be.