Tag Archives: MLB.TV

It’s Almost Next Year! 2014 Twins Preview and Over/Unders

After what seems like an eternity, it’s finally opening day across Major League Baseball! My favorite team, the Minnesota Twins, is coming off of three consecutive ninety loss seasons (which is really really bad). Unfortunately, with the roster they’ve assembled, I’d be shocked if it doesn’t reach a fourth consecutive year. With that said, I’m still excited to watch the games on the visiting team feed through mlb.tv (listening to Twins announcer Burt Blyleven is excruciating…. for specific reasons, see here or here) because baseball is awesome.

2014 Twins Preview

Pitching Additions

Last year, the Twins had the worst starting pitching in all of baseball. It was so bad that the starting pitchers gave up almost a half run more than the second to worst team. It was so bad that opposing teams hit over .300 versus the Twins starters. To put this into perspective, there were only 19 players who hit .305 or above on the season and this was what the entire league AVERAGED versus the Twins. To combat this problem, the Twins signed Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes and brought back Mike Pelfrey. As individual moves, all but the Pelfrey signing made sense. The fact of the matter is that Pelfrey was really bad last year, he doesn’t strike anyone out, and it’s like getting a tooth pulled watching his pace on the mound. Anyway, Mike Pelfrey aside, the pitching moves are not nearly enough to make the Twins relevant. Grade – C-

Hitting Additions

As if the pitching wasn’t enough to make a Twins fan cringe, the hitting was just as bad. The Twins were 25th out of 30 in team batting average and runs scored and did virtually nothing to improve it. The big addition was bringing in Jason Kubel who was released by Arizona last year and finished last year with a .216 batting average and 5 home runs. The other “addition” was bringing back Jason Bartlett to be a utility player. This move makes even less sense since he hasn’t played since 2012, and he seemed totally washed up then (for a local MN view of Barlett making the roster and how dumb the move is, click here.) Lastly, they added Kurt Suzuki to be their everyday catcher. Suzuki isn’t good. He’s not going to somehow turn good. How does this make the Twins any better? Why bother? Grade – F

Returning Players

I’ll talk about a handful of players and offer a few thoughts…

1. Starting with the incomparable Joe Mauer – This year Mauer moves to 1b to avoid concussions that have plagued him in the past. Mauer remains one of the best hitters in the league. His value is slightly diminished because he’s no longer playing a premium position, but you can still expect his career averages, which put him soundly on pace for the Hall of Fame and one of the greatest Twins ever.

2. Josh Willingham – The best hope is that he gets off to a hot start and the Twins can trade him. The worst-case is that he was what he was last year and is old and slow and washed up. My prediction is that he’ll hit around 15 hr’s, play horrible defense and the Twins will have to give him away at the trade deadline for a very low-level prospect.

3. Brian Dozier – One of only a handful of players who could have a role once the Twins are done rebuilding. The hope is that he continues where he left off in the second half of last year and becomes a solid every day 2b.

4. Oswaldo Arcia – Like Dozier, if things work out for Arcia, he could be with the Twins a long time. He’s arguably their best power hitter and is only 22 years old. The hope is that he continues to develop and the Twins play him everyday.

5. Josmil Pinto – See Arcia above and replace age 22 to age 24 for Pinto.

6. Glen Perkins – From Minnesota and played at the University of Minnesota. An all-around good guy and an absolute stud on the field. If Perkins continues from the last few years, he’ll assert himself as one of the best closers in all of baseball and one of the few bright spots on this roster.

2014 Prediction

Anyway, you can see the outlook doesn’t look good aside from a small handful of players. Las Vegas predicts the Twins will win 70.5 games. I think it’ll be even less. Hopefully the few young prospects will develop, and next year, my preview will be a lot more optimistic.

2014 Over/Unders

The last couple of years, a group of friends and I have been predicting the over/unders for the American League. My buddy Tom and I have a lunch bet on who gets more correct. I’ve included the great Gleeman and the Geek on the list since they are the impetus behind this.

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If you have any thoughts on the 2014 season, or want to get in on the over/under….. drop a note below or shoot me an email.

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2013 MLB Over/Under Results

Thankfully, the debacle that is the 2013 Minnesota Twins has finally come to an end. The Twins finished by becoming utterly unwatchable and losing the last six games of the year to finish 66-96. Once Joe Mauer got hurt, I couldn’t bring myself to watch anymore. What’s worse, is the Twins have hardly anything to build on for next year. They have an above-average second baseman, a good prospect in Arcia, an amazing closer in Perkins, and Joe Mauer. They still have no pitching hardly any trade-able assets. The immediate future is certainly bleak in MN. Here’s to 2015 if Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano continue to progress.

Now that the season is mercifully over, it’s time to review the over/under predictions that were made in April. As is usually the case, this is a great study on I shouldn’t be allowed to gamble. If you are Gleeman, Tom or John Bonnes, I highly encourage you to start planning a trip to Vegas in late March of 2014.

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Update: Just received the following email…. too soon 😦

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If you have any thoughts or want to make fun of me for my horrible picks (although I was right on the Twins), feel free to drop a note in the comments.

Cutting the Cord – Life Without Cable – Post Wedding Edition

One of the ongoing posts on this blog is how I’m coping without cable television and what I’m doing to pass the time. At this point, I’m now over 12 months without cable. This is a direct savings of at least $720 (minimal savings of $60 per month). I also have no added costs because I subscribed to Netflix and MLB.tv while I had cable.

Here is the list of what’s been keeping me busy.

MLB.tv

Even though my favorite team is on pace for their third 90+ loss season, I still love watching baseball. Lately I haven’t been watching as much as I’d like because the Minnesota Twins have been on the west coast, which means 10pm start times. That’s too late for me. I hope to pick back up this week now that they’re back in the central time zone

Orange is the New Black

Netflix has knocked their original programming out of the park. The next three entries are all Netflix exclusives. Orange is the New Black is based on the book by Piper Kerman titled ‘Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison.’

I’m continually amazed by the high production value to the Netflix series. This felt like it could have been on HBO or Showtime without missing a beat (As it should because it was produced by Jenji Kohan who was a part of Weeds on Showtime).

My wife and I completed the entire series in 6 days after we returned from our Honeymoon. Netflix has already picked up a second season so this is definitely worth checking out.

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Arrested Development

Arrested Development remains the greatest television show ever. There was no way that season 4 could live up to the lofty expectations so I was glad to see the show take a different approach. While the new episodes weren’t nearly as good as the originals, they are still funny, well written and worth watching. So far, my favorite episode is episode 5 that focuses on Tobias (titled: A New Start). This makes the list for a second time due to the rewatchability of the episodes.

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House of Cards

I got hooked on House of Cards a new months ago. This was my first exposure to a Netflix original series. The series focuses on House of Representative Frank Underwood and the shady dealings of Washington DC. Kevin Spacey knocks it out of the park and Kate Mara was fantastic.

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Other Shows I’m Watching

Breaking Bad – Just watch it, it’s awesome. You won’t be disappointed.

Quantum Leap – Still Awesome

Scrubs – I would like to propose that we strike the last season from the record like it never happened (The Jar Jar Binks treatment). Other than that, I could watch scrubs all day long.

Futurama – I’m so sad that this got canceled again because it’s such a great show. Hopefully it’ll come back again in a few years.

If you are thinking of ditching cable or have any television show recommendations, drop a note in the comments.

It’s Almost Next Year!!! Opening Day on April 1!

Opening day is nearly here! The Minnesota Twins open at 4:10pm versus the Detroit Tigers on April 1. For those who don’t follow baseball, the Twins are coming off consecutive last place finishes in the their division. In 2011 they won a grand total of 63 games and in 2012 only won 66. This year doesn’t look to be much better with Vegas putting the estimated win total at a robust 68.5 wins.

Part of the beauty of opening day is that anything can happen for one game. The Twins are facing  the odds-on favorite to win the division in the Tigers. Detroit will be pitching Justin Verlander. He’s not only the best pitcher in the league, but also won the MVP two years ago making him the best player in the league. The odds are not in the Twins favor, but like so many things in life… hope springs eternal. If Baltimore and Oakland could compete last year, anything can happen. With that said, here are a few things I’m looking forward to this year.

  • Watching Joe Mauer play
  • Listening to and watching Vin Scully, Bob Uecker and Charlie Steiner via the MLB.tv package
  • Seeing if the Twins can get any value from trading Justin Morneau or Josh Willingham at the trade deadline
  • Watching Trevor Plouffe and Aaron Hicks development (I think Plouffe is going to have another breakout year)
  • Watching Glen Perkins and Jared Burton
  • Reading the great Aaron Gleeman and Joe Posnanski (who can also be found at http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/)

Another one of my favorite things about baseball season is listening to the Gleeman and the Geek podcast for their annual Over/Under predictions. I thought it may be fun to jot down their predictions and join in with some of my friends. The plan is to check back at the end of the year with how everyone did. If we were in Vegas, my top picks would be the under on the Twins and Red Sox and the over on the Rays. With that said, below are the over/under predictions (Note: on the podcast, Bonnes said he was confident about 5, but I only counted 4).

overUnder

If you have anything you’re looking forward to for the upcoming MLB season or want to get in on the over/under fun please feel free to drop a note in the comments.

The Summer of No Cable – Update

After a month of no cable, I thought I would provide a quick update. I’ve been passing the time watching the mlb.tv package and have had a great opportunity to watch Mad Men. This has worked out better than I could have thought. The only shows that I miss watching are Futurama, Whale Wars and some of the History Channel shows (Big, Bigger, Biggest, Build it Bigger, etc.). I think the hard part will be in the fall with College Football, The League and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Hulu+ Update

I signed up for a month trial of Hulu+. I was amazed by the lack of shows that I wanted to watch. Most of the shows either weren’t available or were web only (most Fox shows). The best option was Tosh.0 and it’s certainly not $7.99 a month for one show. I’d be better off buying individual episodes on Amazon. Because of this, I canceled my account and am left with Netflix, HBO Go and MLB.tv.

What I’m Watching & Passing the Time With

Minnesota Twins Baseball – They currently sit with the worst record in the American League, I still can’t get enough. Watching Joe Mauer play on a daily basis is worth the price by itself.

Mad Men – Great dialog and great characters.  I’m currently through episode 9 of season 1.

Arrested Development – I just finished watching the entire series. I can’t wait to restart again. The greatest show ever made.

Running – I’ve set a yearly high for miles run in a month and there is still a week left. I’m excited to keep it going. I signed up for the CHA Dog Jog 5k on August 19th and am really looking forward to that.

Reading – I’m through the ‘Hunger Games’ and I recently bought a special edition of ‘A Farewell to Arms’ with all of the alternate endings Hemingway came up with before he got to the one he published with his original notes.

A Farewell to Arms: The Hemingway Library Edition