That's right. You heard me. The Minnesota Twins seem to have found some sort of glimmer of hope in Carlos Silva's right arm. They announced Tuesday that they've picked up the $4.35 million option for him, instead of buying out his contract for 100,000 clams.

At least now, the club has more than one pitcher who's stood on a Major League mound for longer than a year. Silva, along with Johan Santana are the only returning members of the rotation who spent the entire 2006 season in the Majors. Brad Radke *single tear* is expected to announce his retirement within the next week.

Twins' GM Terry Ryan had this to say...
"Our pitching staff is an area of concern for me. We believe that we are going to get Carlos back on track. He's still young. He's had some good years for us. Unfortunately, this year for Silva didn't go as well as anybody wanted, but we're going to try to get him back to the point where we can count on him every five days as one of our starting pitchers."

This past season, Carlos went 11-15 with a 5.94 ERA in 31 starts, giving up the most home runs in the league (38). He had a brief stint in the bullpen in May after a string of poor starts, where he just couldn't seem to locate his slider or find the strikezone. After fiddling with a new change-up, he returned to his go-to slider, but couldn't keep it low enough to initiate ground outs.

Will the Twins attempt to pick up another veteran arm in the off-season? Who will get the nod when the 2007 season rolls around? Bonser, Garza, Perkins? How about Guerrier? Will Liriano need surgery and sit the entire year, or will he be ready to roll at Spring Training? The suspense is killing me, as well.

Joe Niekro, a member of the '87 World Champion Twins, passed away Thursday at the age of 61. Read more here.

Detroit Tigers 2, St. Louis Cardinals 4
*St. Louis wins the World Series 4-1

Detroit Tigers 4, St. Louis Cardinals 5
*St. Louis leads series 3-1

up next...

Game 5: Detroit Tigers @ St. Louis Cardinals
Justin Verlander vs. Jeff Weaver
Friday, 10.27.06
7 CT on FOX

Detroit Tigers @ St. Louis Cardinals
*Rained out and rescheduled for Thursday, 10.26.06

up next...

Game 4: Detroit Tigers @ St. Louis Cardinals
Jeremy Bonderman vs. Jeff Suppan
Thursday, 10.26.06
7 CT on FOX

MLB.com reported today that Francisco Liriano has stopped rehabilitation after continuing to experience pain in his left elbow and may be considering surgery. Apparently, Liriano had become frustrated with how his rehabilitation was progressing, so he left Fort Myers to consult with doctors on his condition.

Gene Mato, Liriano's agent, told the Tribune on Tuesday,
"Francisco continued to experience pain while taking part in a throwing session, and at this point, he felt it was necessary to re-evaluate his situation. After conferring with the Twins and the different medical personnel that have evaluated him, he will determine whether or not he wants to have surgery in the next week or so."

Even before Liriano (who will turn 23 on Thursday) began the rehab program in Florida, he had expressed disappointment with how the process was going and the doctors' inability to diagnose the cause of the soreness, which he has been experiencing since late July. He has explored many options to figure out exactly what it is that has been causing the pain in his elbow, but in at least three MRIs done over the past three months, all proved to show no structural damage. It was only after his August 2nd start against the Tigers that Liriano was diagnosed with a mild sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament. He took the hill again on Sept. 13th vs. Oakland but had to be taken out after two batters in the third inning when he felt what he refered to as a "pop" in his elbow.

If Liriano decides to have surgery, his options appear to be either an exploratory arthroscopic surgery to further examine the ligament or Tommy John surgery to try to repair the ligament, sidelining him for all of the 2007 season: a huge blow to the Twins starting rotation and possibly his career.

Twins GM Terry Ryan confirmed that Liriano had still been experiencing some lingering soreness in the elbow, but has yet to talk with the young lefty since he left and hopes to do so soon. Ryan had this to say:
"I had a number of conversations with him in the morning down here and everything seemed like it was in order...I'm waiting for a call. I'd like to have a conversation with him and get him back here for the rest of the therapy and then go from there."

Detroit Tigers 0, St. Louis Cardinals 5
*St. Louis leads series 2-1

up next...

Game 4: Detroit Tigers @ St. Louis Cardinals
Jeremy Bonderman vs. Jeff Suppan
Wednesday, 10.25.06
7 CT on FOX

Keep tabs on your Twins as mid-November approaches when the postseason awards are shelled out. Click the banner to check it out.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is on the ballot for American League Manager of the Year. In his fifth year with the club, he's helped Minnesota make it to the playoffs four times. As a small market team with little to work with in the back pocket, Gardy has made the best of what he's got. And if Blue tries to pull one over on him, Skip's out there in a flash to kick some dirt and throw his cap.
Gardenhire's Bio | Manager of the Year Preview

Up for the American League Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player is none other than Strikeout Machine, Johan K. Santana. Johan ended yet another unforgettable season on the hill with 19 wins, 245 Ks and a 2.77 ERA, earning himself the Pitching Triple Crown. He gave the Twins an opportunity for a W everytime he stepped foot on the mound.
Santana's Stats | Cy Young Preview | MVP Preview

The other Twins MVP and Hank Aaron Award candidate is our beloved Canadian Crusher, Justin Morneau. Justin played a huge part in the Twins' mid-season comeback with 34 home runs and 130 RBIs (fourth in the Bigs and the most for a Twin since Harmon Killebrew), ending the regular season with a .321 batting average.
Morneau's Stats | MVP Preview

Even with a serious, season-ending injury to his pitching arm, phenom Francisco Liriano is up for Rookie of the Year. Over 121 innings pitched, Liriano struck out 144 batters, earning a 2.17 ERA and finishing his incredible first season with a 12-3 record in 16 starts. The Twins seemed nothing short of unstoppable with the one-two punch of Liriano and Santana.
Liriano's Stats | Rookie of the Year Preview

Right-fielder Michael Cuddyer was nominated earlier in the season for the 2006 Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team. Cuddy is a spokesperson for the Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers & Big Sisters and is on the Board of Directors for the Twins Community fund where he helps direct grant and program funds to worthy causes.
Cuddyer's Nomination | Roberto Clemente Award Preview

Tyner goes 3 for 3

Lefty Jason Tyner is up for the American League's Look Again Player of the Year. Show your love and vote today! Ballots close on Halloween.

Contrary to popular belief, Jason is not the bat boy. He actually began the 2006 season playing for the (AAA) Rochester Red Wings. April 12th-21th, he enjoyed a 17-game hit-streak, batting .457 (32-70). May 4-24, he hit safely in 11 of 12 games, batting .392 (20-52). June 11-24th, he went 17-41 (.415) during a 10-game hit-streak and was selected to play in the AAA All-Star Game.

The Twins selected Tyner's contract on July 14th as a utility outfielder and designated hitter, filling in for the ailed Shannon Stewart in left field. As one of the run-producing piranhas, he had his fourth career 4-hit game on August 6th in Kansas City. On August 19th, he tied a season-high 6-game hit-streak, going 11-20 (.550). He tripled and drove in 2 runs in his only at-bat September 10th vs. Detroit and was also intentionally walked for the first time in his career.

In 62 games, Tyner finished the year batting .312 with 68 hits and 18 RBIs. He has yet to hit a Major League home run. Some day Jason...some day.

St. Louis Cardinals 1, Detroit Tigers 3
*Series tied 1-1

up next...

Game 3: Detroit Tigers @ St. Louis Cardinals
Nate Robertson vs. Chris Carpenter
Tuesday, 10.24.06
7 CT on FOX

St. Louis Cardinals 7, Detroit Tigers 2
*St. Louis leads series 1-0

up next...

Game 2: St. Louis Cardinals @ Detroit Tigers
Jeff Weaver vs. Kenny Rogers
Sunday, 10.22.06
6:30 CT on FOX

This year, Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire became just the third skipper in Major League history to reach the playoffs in four of his first five seasons. 2006 seemed to be the most challenging however, as he helped the club go from a craptastic 12.5 games back to winning the division, earning him a well-deserved, two-year contract extension through the 2009 season.

Read more here.

NLDS 10.19.06

St. Louis Cardinals 3, New York Mets 1
*St. Louis wins series 4-3 and advances to the World Series.
The Mets left the game with full bags, the crowd going crazy
and Beltran frozen at the plate.

up next...

Game 1: St. Louis Cardinals @ Detroit Tigers
to be announced vs. Justin Verlander
Saturday, 10.21.06
6:30 CT on FOX

NLDS 10.18.06

St. Louis Cardinals 2, New York Mets 4
*Series tied 3-3

up next...

Game 7: St. Louis Cardinals @ New York Mets
Jeff Suppan vs. Oliver Perez
Thursday, 10.19.06
7:19 CT on FOX

Vote here for the MLB's top clutch players. Up for Clutch Starting Pitcher are two of our own, Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano. Justin Morneau is on the ballot for first baseman and Joe Mauer is, of course, up for the Clutch Catcher. Let's not forget (and I almost did) everybody's favorite closer, Automatic Joe Nate, who's in the running for the Clutch Closer.

Show your love, and possibly win a trip for two to the 2007 All Star Game, if you choose all positions correctly. Just for playing, you get a 10% discount at the MLB online shop, so it's a pretty sweet deal if you need a new ball cap.

NLCS 10.17.06

New York Mets 2, St. Louis Cardinals 4
*St. Louis leads series 3-2

up next...

Game 6: St. Louis Cardinals @ New York Mets
Chris Carpenter vs. John Maine
Wednesday, 10.18.06
7:19 CT on FOX

NLCS 10.16.06

New York Mets @ St. Louis Cardinals
*Rained out and rescheduled for Tuesday

up next...

Game 5: New York Mets @ St. Louis Cardinals
Tom Glavine vs. Jeff Weaver
Tuesday, 10.17.06
7:19 CT on FOX

NLCS 10.15.06

New York Mets 12, St. Louis Cardinals 5
*Series tied 2-2

up next...

Game 5: New York Mets @ St. Louis Cardinals
Tom Glavine vs. Jeff Weaver
Monday, 10.16.06
7:19 CT on FOX

ALCS 10.14.06

Oakland Athletics 3, Detroit Tigers 6
*Detroit sweeps the series 4-0 and advances to the World Series

NLCS 10.14.06

New York Mets 0, St. Louis Cardinals 5
*St. Louis leads series 2-1

up next...

Game 4: New York Mets @ St. Louis Cardinals
Oliver Perez vs. Anthony Reyes
Sunday, 10.15.06
7:15 CT on FOX


A Day At The Office

ALCS 10.13.06

Oakland Athletics 0, Detroit Tigers 3
*Detroit leads series 3-0

NLCS 10.13.06

St. Louis Cardinals 9, New York Mets 6
*Series tied 1-1

up next...

Game 4: Oakland Athletics @ Detroit Tigers
Dan Haren vs. Jeremy Bonderman
Saturday, 10.14.06
3:30 CT on FOX

Game 3: New York Mets @ St. Louis Cardinals
Steve Trachsel vs. Jeff Suppan
Saturday, 10.14.06
7:15 CT on FOX


Selected as Sporting News American League All-Stars by their fellow players, Joe Mauer was named the top catcher, Justin Morneau as the best first baseman and Johan Santana earned the Pitcher of the Year honor. The awards were selected by a vote of 220 players who were not permitted to vote for players on their own team.

Mauer was the leading vote-getter among AL players, after his breakout season where he became the first American League catcher to earn a batting title. Mauer, 23, hit .347 with 84 RBIs, 13 home runs and a team-high .429 on base percentage.

The other M&M boy put himself square in the race for the AL MVP award as he helped carry the Twins' in an unbelievable offensive turnaround by hitting .321 with 34 home runs and 130 RBIs.

Santana went about his business with another spectacular season. A favorite to win his second Cy Young in the past three seasons, he earned the Major League's Triple Crown for pitching with his 19 wins, 2.77 ERA and 245 strikeouts.

Other AL All-Stars were second baseman Robinson Cano and shortstop Derek Jeter of the Yankees, third baseman Joe Crede and outfielder Jermaine Dye of the White Sox, outfielders Vernon Wells of the Blue Jays along with Manny Ramirez and designated hitter David Ortiz for the Red Sox.

Tigers right-handed phenom Justin Verlander was named the AL's top rookie, Chicago's Jim Thome earned Comeback Player of the Year honors, and Detroit's Jim Leyland was selected as the AL's Manager of the Year.

NLCS 10.12.06

St. Louis Cardinals 0, New York Mets 2
*New York leads series 1-0

up next...

Game 3: Oakland Athletics @ Detroit Tigers
Rich Harden vs. Kenny Rogers
Friday, 10.13.06
3:30 CT on FOX

Game 2: St. Louis Cardinals @ New York Mets
Chris Carpenter vs. John Maine
Friday, 10.13.06
7CT on FOX


ALCS 10.11.06

Detroit Tigers 8, Oakland Athletics 5
*Detroit leads series 2-0

NLCS 10.11.06

St. Louis Cardinals @ New York Mets
*Rained out and rescheduled for Thursday

up next...

Game 1: St. Louis Cardinals @ New York Mets
Jeff Weaver vs. Tom Glavine
Thursday, 10.12.06
7:05 CT on FOX

Game 3: Oakland Athletics @ Detroit Tigers
Dan Haren vs. Kenny Rogers
Friday, 10.13.06
3:30 CT on FOX


After the loss of pitcher Cory Lidle, 34, today in a Manhattan plane crash, our prayers and such are with the Lidle family, his flight instructor, their friends and family, others injured in the incident and the entire MLB organization.

The league's best hurler Johan Santana will lead the rotation in the Japanese Tour this season along with battery mate and AL Batting Champ Joe Mauer. Delivery Man of the Year candidate Joe Nathan will also join the All Star pitching staff.

The first game will be against the Yomiuri Giants on November 2nd, in Tokyo. The remaining five games will be against an All-Star team put together by Japan. Three of those will be played at the Tokyo Dome, with the venue switching to the in Osaka on November 7th and the finale of the trip at the in Fukuoka the following day.

American Major League Roster

Ken Macha - Athletics manager
Manny Acta - Mets third base coach
Ramon Henderson - Phillies bullpen coach
Curt Young - Athletics pitching coach

Pitching Staff:
Bronson Arroyo - Reds
Erik Bedard - Orioles
Chris Capuano - Brewers
Brian Fuentes - Rockies
Ray King - Rockies
John Lackey - Angels
Mike Myers - Yankees
Joe Nathan - Twins
Johan Santana - Twins
Scot Shields - Angels
Chris Young - Padres

Kenji Johjima - Mariners
Joe Mauer - Twins
Brian Schneider - Nationals

First Base
Ryan Howard - Phillies
Lyle Overbay - Blue Jays

Second Base
Chase Utley - Phillies
Tadahito Iguchi - White Sox

Short Stop
Jose Reyes - Mets
Rafael Furcal - Dodgers

Third Base
David Wright - Mets
Chone Figgins - Angels

Bill Hall - Brewers
Andruw Jones - Braves

*three more players to be announced this week

ALCS 10.10.06

Detroit Tigers 5, Oakland Athletics 1
*Detroit leads series 1-0

up next...

Game 1: St. Louis Cardinals @ New York Mets
Jeff Weaver vs. Tom Glavine
Wednesday, 10.11.06
7 CT on FOX/FX

Game 2: Detroit Tigers @ Oakland Athletics
Justin Verlander vs. Esteban Loaiza
Wednesday, 10.11.06
7 CT on FOX


You can start sleeping better at night now, knowing that the Twins have indeed picked up the option on Torii Hunter for the upcoming 2007 season.

You could say he grew up in Minnesota. A first round (20th overall) pick in the June 1993 draft, Hunter has spent his entire professional baseball career with the Twins organization, making his Major League debut late in the 1997 season in Baltimore.

After 14 years with the team, he had a career year at the plate this 2006 season, batting .278 with 21 doubles, 2 triples, 31 homers and 98 RBIs in 147 games, at the age of 31. He holds a career batting average of .269 with 214 doubles, 25 triples, 164 home runs, 604 RBIs and 108 stolen bags.

Hunter became just the third Minnesota Twin to win five Rawlings Gold Glove Awards (2001-2005), joining Jim Kaat (11) and (6) He's the first since Kaat (1962-72) to win the award in consecutive seasons.

"This is a very happy day for me and my family", said Torii on Tuesday. "I know I am going to be back in Minnesota for at least one more year and I am going to enjoy it. Hopefully we can put together another championship season in 2007 and bring a World Series title back to Minnesota."

Joe Nathan had an awesome season, maybe his best yet. Show your support by voting to make him the DHL Delivery Man of the Year! Voting ends today.

NLDS 10.08.06

San Diego Padres 2, St. Louis Cardinals 6
*St. Louis win series 3-1

Next up...

American League Champion Series
Begins Tuesday, 10.10.06
Game 1: Detroit Tigers @ Oakland Athletics 7 CT on FOX

National League Champion Series
Begins Wednesday, 10.11.06
Game 1: St. Louis Cardinals @ New York Mets 7 CT on FOX/FX

ALDS 10.07.06

New York Yankees 3, Detroit Tigers 8
*Detroit wins series 3-1 and advances to the ALCS

NLDS 10.07.06

San Diego Padres 3, St. Louis Cardinals 1
*St. Louis leads series 2-1

New York Mets 9, Los Angeles Dodgers 5
*New York sweeps series 3-0 and advances to the NLCS

ALDS 10.06.06

Oakland Athletics 8, Minnesota Twins 3
*Oakland sweeps series 3-0 and advances to the ALCS

Detroit Tigers 6, New York Yankees 0
*Detroit leads series 2-1

NLDS 10.06.06

San Diego Padres @ St. Louis Cardinals
Saturday, 12 CT on ESPN2
*St. Louis leads series 2-0

New York Mets @ Los Angeles Dodgers
Saturday, 6:30 CT on FOX
*New York leads series 2-0

I cannot offer any words of solace or an explanation. No excuses or fingers to point, only a giant Thank You to our Minneota Twins for another great season - this one seeming more special than the rest. With the death of Hall of Fame Twins Great , this seemed like our year. A season where our boys could go all the way for the first time in 15 years.

After a rocky 25-33 start that no one wishes to reflect upon, those thoughts were echoed by the insanely dominant pitching performance by rookie Francisco Liriano after being moved to the starting rotation from the bullpen in June. Suddenly, the Twins had the one-two punch of Liriano and former Cy Young Award Winner Johan Santana.

Not only was Minnesota's pitching a force to be reckoned with, they had a few hot bats in the lineup as well. In early June, Justin Morneau started seeing pitches like never before. He hit 34 homers and knocked in 130 RBIs, .

Joe Mauer joined in on the fun having a month that we might never see again in our lifetime. Hovering near .400 into July, he simply could not be stopped. Our hometown hero's sweet sideburns were immortalized with "Joe Mauer Sideburns night" at the Dome and players around the league began trying to grow their own, seeing if it might just help them to immitate his sweet swing. It came down to the very last day of the season with two Yankees (Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano) on his tail for the best batting average in the league, but Joe finished ahead, batting an impressive .347 on the year. Congratulations to Joe for becoming the first catcher to win the American League Batting Title and the first catcher in Major League Baseball history to lead both leagues in hitting for an entire year.

After Brad Radke had finally had enough pain from his broken shoulder in August, he was rested for a month and thought to be done for the season. But the Twins' starting rotation was in dire straights after Liriano's year was cut short due to , just to force an early come back that lasted three innings, shutting him down for good. Radke came back to help the Twins get to the postseason, and pitched what could possibly be his last Major League ball game in Game 3 of the ALDS.

Minnesota found some relief in submariner Pat Neshek, whose delivery . The same goes for his opposing hitters: Neesh struck out 53 batters in just 37 innings, allowing a total of 9 runs. Nine.

when referring to the Twins' everyday players such as Jason Bartlett, Nick Punto, Jason Tyner and others. No one wanted to face this ballclub. Not even the defending World Series Champs.

Torii Hunter and Michael Cuddyer each had career years at the plate as well: Torii hitting 31 homers with 98 RBIs and Cuddy blasting 24 bombs with 109 RBIs.

On the final day of the regular season, sitting one game behind the Detroit Tigers after what had been a roller coaster month in the standings, the Twins pulled off the win and waited. They sat in the dugout watching the Tigers/Royals game on the Jumbotron with fingers crossed, while fans waited patiently in the stands, cheering and groaning with every pitch. When Kansas City won in extras, the Twins celebrated for the fourth time in five years, high-fiving fans around the Dome. It's truly a great story. It seems like it just couldn't end here, but it does.

Heading into the ALDS with home-field advantage, Minnesota dropped the first two at home and left for Oakland with the postseason lying on Brad Radke's broken shoulder. It's not a fun way to end your career, Brad. We know. But you have given us your all the past 12 seasons, and we love you for it. Thanks for sticking with us and we're sad to see you go.

On a lighter note, Santana is the best (and pretty much the only) candidate for the American League Cy Young Award. He also gets the Pitching Triple Crown for leading the league in wins (19-tied with Chien-Ming Wang), strike-outs (245) and ERA (2.77). The Canadian Crusher has MVP consideration and of course, Man Muscles is the Batting Champ. We have a lot to look forward to as Twins fans in the upcoming years. With Liriano returning next season to help beef up the pitching rotation and our rookies getting a little playoff experience, the outlook is rosy. Maybe they'll land a DH in the off-season?

We'll see. Babes that love baseball will be around. We'll continue to follow the playoffs and talk baseball into the winter months right up until Spring Training, when we swear we could kill at the sight of another snowflake. Go Twins! Thanks again for a sweet season. It was awesome while it lasted.

Feel free to add your own memories from this season in the comments section and forgive me if I haven't mentioned them.


Oakland Athletics 8, Minnesota Twins 3
Oakland wins series 3-0 and advances to the ALCS


Brad Radke (6.75 ERA) pitched four innings, giving up 4 runs (3 earned) on 5 hits, walking one and striking out two in what was most likely his last Major League ball game. The scoring started in the second with an Eric Chavez solo shot to right. Then the A's got another from a Marco Scutaro double that brought in Jay Payton from first.

They tacked on two more in the third when Mark Kotsay reached on a fielding error by Jason Bartlett, before Milton Bradley blasted one over the center field wall. Oakland 4, Minnesota 0.

Dan Haren (3.00 ERA) lost his shut out when the Twins put a run on the board in the top of the fourth with a Torii Hunter home run. I bet that felt awesome. But there was much more work to be done. Glen Perkins finished the fourth for Radke and was replaced by Juan Rincon in the fifth. After Justin Morneau singled and Hunter doubled to put runners on second and third for Rondell White, he grounded a base hit to right, bringing Justin home and Torii around third. With the throw ahead of the runner, home plate blue called him out when the replay clearly showed the tag was not applied by catcher Jason Kendall. An unfortuante circumstance for the Twins, and especially for Torii, who was trying his best to keep the club's postseason hopes alive.

Dennys Reyes tossed a scoreless sixth before Haren was replaced by Justin Duchscherer, who put up a zero in the seventh for the A's. After intentionally walking Frank Thomas, Reyes unintentionally put Chavez on first. Jesse Crain then came in for 'relief' with two on and two out, but loaded the bags after a bobbled ball by Morneau at first that should have ended the inning. Crain then does the unspeakable: he walks in a run. Oakland 5, Minnesota 2.

No, it doesn't end there. Scutaro promptly lined one into the right field corner, clearing the bases and busting the game wide open. Oakland 8, Minnesota 2. You're fired, Crain. The Canadian Crusher hit a solo in the eighth to try and amend the error, but it didn't really help us feel any better and it certainly didn't win the game.

Down by 5 in the ninth, Rondell led off with a base hit but once again, the Twins couldn't produce. They were swept by the Oakland Athletics in the first round after coming back from a 12.5 game deficit to win the American League Central by 1 game on the last day of the season. They went through rookies, injuries, trades and awards, but it wasn't enough. It's gonna be a long off-season.

Thanks for an amazing year, Twins.

Playoff action around the League for Friday, 10.06.06...
(all times Central)

ALDS Geriatric Special:

DET Tigers @ NY Yankees
Game 3: 7pm on ESPN
Randy Johnson vs. Kenny Rogers
*Series tied 1-1

NLDS on break until Saturday, 10.07.06

NY Mets @ LA Dodgers
Game 3: Time 6:30 CT on FOX
Steve Trachsel vs. Greg Maddux
*New York leads series 2-0

SD Padres @ STL Cardinals
Game 3: Time 12 CT on ESPN2
Chris Young vs. Jeff Suppan
*St. Louis leads series 2-0

I was one of 55,700+ fans that watched the Twins, ahem, I should say watched Torii Hunter, lose to the Athletics in Wednesday's Game 2 at the Dome. While I was upset at the loss and continue to lose sleep at the daunting task of winning three games in a row to advance, I have found a silver lining that I'd like to share with TwinsNation. My first revelation is that being a twins fan RULES!! Despite the losses, I found a way to still have a good time at the Metrodome. Being from Chicago, I am not accustomed to loud crowds who just love watching thier team play no matter what happens on the field. We'll take a winning Cubs team out of the equation on that cuz Cubs fans are nuts!! Interestingly, I've been to rock concerts, huge political rallys and even the occasional all night rave and all of these shade in comparison to the decibel level that resounded throughout the Metrodome on Wednesday afternoon. The truly remarkable thing was that at no point did the Twins even have a lead. I can only imagine the kind of pandamonium that would ensue if and when the Twins start playing Twins Baseball. At one point, the entire club level as well as the upper deck had the wave rockin' the stands! This lasted at least 5 times around until Mark "Schmitts Gay" Kotsay laced a SINGLE that Mr. "Terrence McGillicuddy" Hunter III decided to turn into an inside- the-parker. Well T-Dawg, I'll give you three games to make up for that one, mmkayuh!

The Light Rail. My second revelation is with the city of Minneapolis and the surrounding areas. What an incredible city!! Not only is the night life happening, but navigating throughout the city is painless and actually fun! I stayed at the Crown Plaza Hotel right in downtown Minny. Not only did they provide shuttle rides to and from the game, but they informed me of a Metro Transit System known as the Light Rail - a.k.a. The Hiawatha Line. This inexpensive ($2 to ride) transportation connects to the airport for easy access as well as the Mall of America for easy shopping and fun. Well, after spending $45.00 on a cab ride from the airport to my hotel I realize how valuable this transportation is. If there's one thing I know, it's that when the Twins come home for a thrilling game 5, I will be taking Minnesota's Mass Transit Light Rail to the ballgame from the airport to watch Johan pitch a Gem. This time, we will plunk Frank Thomas in the jaw, every time he steps to the plate. GO TWINS!!

ALDS 10.05.06

Detroit Tigers 4, New York Yankees 3
*Series tied 1-1

Minnesota Twins @ Oakland Athletics
Game 3: Friday, 3 CT on ESPN
*Oakland leads series 2-0

NLDS 10.05.06

Albert Pujols 2, San Diego Padres 0
*St. Louis leads series 2-0

Los Angeles Dodgers 1, New York Mets 4
*New York leads series 2-0

ALDS 10.04.06

Oakland Athletics 5, Minnesota Twins 2
*Oakland leads series 2-0

Detroit Tigers @ New York Yankees
Rained out and rescheduled for Thursday, 12 CT
*New York leads series 1-0

NLDS 10.04.06

New York Mets 6, Los Angeles Dodgers 5
*New York leads series 1 - 0

St. Louis Cardinals @ San Diego Padres
Game 2: Thursday, 3 CT on ESPN
*St. Louis leads series 1-0

Oakland Athletics 5, Minnesota Twins 2
*Oakland leads series 2-0


Inexperienced rookie and starting pitcher Boof Bonser (3.00 ERA) and the Minnesota Twins just dug themselves into a hole the size of George Steinbrenner's heart. Bonser gave up 2 runs on 7 hits, striking out three and walking one. After five decent innings from Boof, he gave up consecutive doubles to start the fifth; Oakland scored on the second by Marco Scutaro, who was then waved around on a Jason Kendall single.

Esteban Loaiza (3.60 ERA) pitched well until he gave up the tying run in the bottom of the sixth with back-to-back homers by Michael Cuddyer (his first postseason homer) and the Canadian Crusher. Loaiza was promptly replaced by Kiko Calero (W 1-0, 0.00 ERA).

This momentous comeback falsely uplifted the hope of Twins fans, for Dennys Reyes (27.00 ERA) would give up what should have been a double to center in the seventh, that turned into an inside-the-park homerun by Mark Kotsay. With a man on, Torii Hunter came diving in like he thought he could fly, the ball bouncing past him and dying at the center field wall. Allowing an inside-the-park home run may be the zenith of embarrassment for a ball club that plays in a Dome Stadium.

Joe Nathan (0.00 ERA) entered in the ninth to replace Juan Rincon (6.75 ERA) after he gave up a lead-off double to Nick Swisher. With Mark Ellis at the plate, Nathan threw a wild pitch that sent Swisher home, the run being charged to Juan. Oakland 5, Minnesota 2. A collective groan permeated the Metrodome ceiling as fans began to file out to beat the traffic.

With only one out remaining in the game, Jason Bartlett tried to keep it alive. He stole second before Luis Castillo drew a walk. So it was up to Nick Punto, who has had a great series so far, defensively. He fell behind in the count trying to hit one to the upper deck, but used his good eye to take two more pitches, filling the count. The runners go, Punto pops it up to short, game over.

And where was our batting champion? Joe Mauer went 1-4 with a base hit in the first. He is hitting .134 in the postseason. What is happening with this ball club right now? What needs to happen?


Facing the dark could of elimination, the Twins will head to Oakland for Game 3 on Friday with veteran stud Brad Radke getting the start against Dan Haren and the A's. Radke might be a total gimp right now with his broken limb, but he pitched well in his last outing on September 28th against Kansas City, putting a zero on the board with 3 hits in five innings of work. Against Oakland on April 11th, Brad pitched seven innings, giving up 4 runs on 8 hits and struck out two batters. Haren last faced the Twins on September 13th, getting the win with eight innings pitched, shutting them out on 3 hits and a walk.

There will be no losing faith Twins fans! This is Oakland we're talking about here. And our boys are not about to roll over and play dead. They've worked their tails off to get this far. Here's hoping they can rally with runners in soring position on Friday and get something going before there's 2 outs in the inning.

Playoff action around the League for Wednesday, 10.04.06...
(all times Central)

DET Tigers @ NY Yankees in Game 2, 7pm on ESPN
Justin Verlander vs. Mike Mussina
*New York leads series 1-0

LA Dodgers @ NY Mets in Game 1, 3pm on ESPN
Hong-Chih Kuo vs. Tom Glavine

We've added a few new links to other amazing Twins blogs around the net. So, stop by and check them out!

Neesh's Blog
Cuddy's Playoff Blog
Thank You Brian Sabean

Also, Bat Girl, Off the Baggie and Thank You Brian Sabean have added us to their links. Kickass!

[go twins]

Check out Michael Cuddyer's playoff Blog here!

ALDS 10.03.06

Oakland Athletics 3, Minnesota Twins 2
*Oakland leads series 1-0

Detroit Tigers 4, New York Yankees 8
*New York leads series 1-0

NLDS 10.03.06

St. Louis Cardinals 5, San Diego Padres 1
*St. Louis leads series 1-0

Los Angeles Dodgers @ New York Mets
Game 1: Wednesday, 3 CT on ESPN

Oakland Athletics 3, Minnesota Twins 2
*Oakland leads series 1-0


Johan Santana (L 0-1, 2.25 ERA) pitched eight innings, allowing a homer by Frank Thomas and an RBI double by Marco Scutaro in the second. He struck out eight batters, walked one and gave up 5 hits. Babes that love baseball is not too thrilled.

Barry Zito (W 1-0, 1.12 ERA) tossed eight as well, completely dominating Minnesota's lineup, allowing only 1 run (a Rondell White longball) on 4 hits with three walks. Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer combined to go 0-7, while Luis Castillo reached 3 times but was unable to score.

The Big Hurt (now hated in Minnesota) homered again in the top of the ninth off reliever Jesse Crain (13.50 ERA), which proved to be the difference-maker for the A's. With Huston Street (9.00 ERA) on the hill, Michael Cuddyer was driven in on a Torii Hunter ground out after his lead-off triple in the bottom of the frame, but the Twins were unable to stay alive, as White flied out to center to end the Twins' comeback attempt.


Boof Bonser will look to even up the series for Minnesota Wednesday afternoon, facing Esteban Loaiza and the Athletics. In Boof's last outing vs. Oakland on June 1st, he was handed the loss after pitching seven innings, allowing 4 runs on 5 hits (3 home runs), walking no one and striking out five. Loaiza last faced the Twins on April 12th and gave up 6 runs on 8 hits, walked three and struck out one, earning the loss.

Playoff action around the League for Tuesday, 10.03.06...
(all times Central)

DET Tigers @ NY Yankees 7pm on FOX
Nate Robertson vs. Chien-Ming Wang

STL Cardinals @ SD Padres 3pm on ESPN
Chris Carpenter vs. Jake Peavy

For those of you with nothing better to do, Babes That Love Baseball has set up a message board where you will be able to comment before, after and during the ALDS. It's a fabulous place to pat your favorite players on the back, talk smack to the opposing teams' fans, and generally show your love for the Twins.

ALDS Schedule (all times Central)

Minnesota/Oakland Series

Game 1: 10.03.06 | OAK A's @ MN Twins | 12pm | ESPN
Game 2: 10.04.06 | OAK A's @ MN Twins | 12pm | ESPN
Game 3: 10.06.06 | MN Twins @ OAK A's | 3pm | ESPN
Game 4: 10.07.06 | MN Twins @ OAK A's | TBD*
Game 5: 10.08.06 | OAK A's @ MN Twins | TBD*

Detroit/New York Series

Game 1: 10.03.06 | DET Tigers @ NY Yankees | 7pm | FOX
Game 2: 10.04.06 | DET Tigers @ NY Yankees | 7pm | ESPN
Game 3: 10.06.06 | NY Yankees @ DET Tigers | 7pm | ESPN
Game 4: 10.07.06 | NY Yankees @ DET Tigers | TBD*
Game 5: 10.08.06 | DET Tigers @ NY Yankees | TBD*

*if neccessary

NLDS Schedule (all times Central)

St. Louis/San Diego Series

Game 1: 10.03.06 | STL Cards @ SD Padres | 3pm | ESPN
Game 2: 10.05.06 | STL Cards @ SD Padres | 3pm | ESPN
Game 3: 10.07.06 | SD Padres @ STL Cards | TBD
Game 4: 10.08.06 | SD Padres @ STL Cards | TBD*
Game 5: 10.09.06 | STL Cards @ SD Padres | TBD*

Los Angeles/New York Series

Game 1: 10.04.06 | LA Dodgers @ NY Mets | 3pm | ESPN
Game 2: 10.05.06 | LA Dodgers @ NY Mets | 7pm | FOX
Game 3: 10.07.06 | NY Mets @ LA Dodgers | TBD
Game 4: 10.08.06 | NY Mets @ LA Dodgers | TBD*
Game 5: 10.09.06 | LA Dodgers @ NY Mets | TBD*

*if neccessary

Here are some sweet plays from the month of September, all of which helped get the Twins to the postseason.

Torii Hunter flashin the leather vs. Tampa Bay, 09.04.06

Great play by future gold-glover Nick Punto vs. Detroit, 09.10.06

Bartlett snares a liner vs. Oakland, 09.12.06

Tyner's misjudged catch vs. the Indians, 09.14.06

Punto makes three great plays vs. Cleveland 09.15.06

Bartlett's sliding stop vs. Boston 09.20.06

Hunter's shoestring catch vs. Baltimore 09.23.06

Punto's diving catch vs. Kansas City 09.26.06

Castillo makes a nice play vs. Chicago, 10.01.06

Minnesota Twins
2006 Central Division Champions

Minnesota 5, Chicago 1

After Minnesota's 5-1 victory over Chicago, all anyone could do was wait. With the Royals/Tigers game tied at 8 and headed into the 12th inning, fans and players alike gathered and watched Kansas City battle back against former Twins pitcher Kenny Rogers. He completely unraveled on the hill, loading up the bags and walking in a run before Motown lost their grip on the division title 10-8, helping the Twins secure home field advantage against the Oakland Athletics in the ALDS. Their final record is 96-66, the most wins for Minnesota since 1970.

That all but topped off an afternoon of excitement and honors for the club. Joe Mauer went 2 for 4 on Sunday as the designated hitter, bringing his batting average to .347 on the year, finishing ahead of Derek Jeter (.345), who went 1 for 5 during New York's 5-7 loss to Toronto. Mauer is the first ever catcher in the American League to win the batting title. Aside from making history, Joe has been a huge part of the Twins' success throughout the season at the plate and behind it. In 120 games this year, Joe has a .991 fielding percenage: only 5 passed balls and 4 errors, picking off 22 of 36 potential base-thieves, and finishing with 4 assists. He would tell you in all his modesty that the Title never really mattered to him until today. His focus has been on the team's success as a whole, not on an individual player award. Congrats Joe!

Joe clinches the batting title

Same goes for Johan Santana and Justin Morneau, who are up for the American League Cy Young Award and MVP, respectively. Johan has had yet another dominating year on the hill for the Twins. Leading the league with a 2.77 ERA, 245 strikeouts, 19 wins (tied with NYY's Chien-Ming Wang) and 233.2 innings pitched, he gets the pitching triple crown, making it loud and clear that he deserves another Cy Young Award. The difference between this year and last? A contending team behind him.

The Canadian Crusher has been vying for the American League MVP Award since everyone outside of Minnesota noticed the Twins weren't going away. But he's been playing well all year, driving in 130 runs and smashing 34 homers with a .321 average. He wasn't half bad at first base, either (a tough shoe to fill after the loss of Doug Mientkiewicz) with a .994 fielding percentage, 110 assists, 112 double plays and only 8 errors. Justin has grabbed the attention of MVP-voting sports writers everywhere with his big swings and great D, but he's got tough competition in Derek Jeter, as far as they're concerned.

Whether on offense or defense, Piranhas Nick Punto and Jason Bartlett have been amazing. If Punto doesn't belong over at third base, I don't know who does. The Twins have finally found the guy to replace Corey Koskie's robotic arm. Playing second, third, short, left and center, he boasted a .961 fielding percentage, turning 34 double plays with some huge stops at third base, not to mention his .290 batting average with 45 RBIs. Bartlett turned 45 DPs this year, with an impressive .970 fielding percentage, batting .309 on the year. Luis Castillo proved to be a sweet pickup for Minnesota, really showing a hot bat at lead-off (.296 avg) and the ability to flash some leather up the middle, fielding .991 and turning 78 DPs with 6 errors.

With so many questions in the outfield (the off-season loss of Jacque Jones coupled with Shannon Stewart's season-ending injury and Jason Kubel's knee trouble), Torii Hunter has been a rock out there in center. Spidey had another gold-glove calibur season while adding another hot bat to the line up, hitting a career high 31 home runs with 98 RBIs. Jason Tyner proved he could play with the big boys too, playing only 62 games but batting .312 with some clutch moments late in the season. Leeeeeeew Ford has done well pinching for Rondell White and filling in on his off-days, as Rondell finally came around after a rough first month as a Twin. And Michael Cuddyer. Going 2 for 3 in the season finale, he ended the year with 109 RBIs, 24 home runs and a .362 on-base percentage and a hell of a cannon in right field.

Accompanying Johan as one of the most feared pitchers in the league was rookie phenom Francisco Liriano (12-3, 2.16 ERA). The Rookie of the Year candidate's season-ending injury was tough on the Twins, but they managed to stay alive even after such a significant blow to their starting rotation.

In what may have been Brad Radke's last regular season of Major League Baseball, he was benched with a 12-9 record and a 4.46 ERA...and a severe shoulder injury, making his comeback story quite possibly the most heroic of all. But that is another blog...

Boof Bonser finished the year with a winning 7-6 record and a 4.22 ERA. Boof stepped up when it mattered most, giving Minnesota an opportunity to win important games, not unlike Matt Garza (3-6), who started the year out in Single A, began his Major League career with a 23.62 ERA and got it down to 5.76, getting the Twins some important late-season wins along the way.

Carlos Silva (W 11-15, 5.94 ERA) proved Sunday that he's still got it, pitching 5.1 outstanding innings and allowing only 1 run on 5 hits, striking out three White Sox with 2 walks. A well-deserved standing O filled the space between Carlos and Dennys Reyes (0.89 ERA), who finished the sixth as part of the best bullpen in the biz. Jesse Crain (4-5, 3.52 ERA) and Matt Guerrier (1-0, 3.36 ERA) round off the middle relief section of the pen, with Matt even getting a start later on, his first since joining the Majors. Juan Rincon has had his share of consistency issues as much as anyone this year, but finished 3-1 with a 2.91 ERA. In 74.1 innings pitched, he allowed 24 earned runs on 76 hits, walking 24 batters.

Minnesota Native and fan favorite Pat Neshek (4-2, 2.19 ERA) has lended to an already elusive pitching staff, striking out 53 batters in just 37 innings. I can't wait to see more of him in the postseason along with Willie Eyre (1-0, 5.31 ERA), but without Glen Perkins (1.59 ERA), who will come along for the playoff ride in case of dyre injury.

Then there is Mr. Automatic, Joe Nathan. He was the DHL Delivery Man of the Month in July. Seven wins, zero losses and a stunning 1.58 ERA. Joe converted 36 of 38 save opportunities this year, allowing only 12 earned runs on 38 hits, striking out 95 batters in just 68 innings. The numbers say it all.

And where would all these guys be without a battery mate? Backup catcher Mike Redmond has been the definition of clutch this season, playing the afternoon games that Joe rested, facing each game with optimism. Redmond is responsible for coining the "smell 'em" phrase, referring to Twins RBIs. He finished the regular season batting .341 in 47 games, with 23 RBIs.

This is a complete team. From top to bottom, the Twins play the best kind of beaseball: exciting baseball. The most come-from-behind wins in the league have made for some dramatic finishes, giving a reason for fans to keep watching them and opposing teams to keep fearing them.

If they're gonna do it this year, they'll be doing it for Kirby.


Minnesota heads to the postseason hosting Oakland at noon on Tuesday, with their Ace and probable Cy Young winner Johan Santana (19-6, 2.77 ERA) against Barry Zito (16-10, 3.83 ERA). The Twins are 6-4 vs. the Athletics this year, scoring 1.1 more runs per game.

11.06 09.06 Home