RandBall

Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.

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TFD: Trevor May and Logan Darnell combined on a no-hitter for Rochester today (say what?)

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated August 19th at 3:26pm 270815031

Two pitchers who have started games for the Twins in August — including one who pitched just two days ago — combined on a no-hitter for Class AAA Rochester on Monday.

What’s that, now?

Yes, Logan Darnell and Trevor May had a combined no-hitter for the Red Wings.

Sure, but what are you talking about?

Ah, here’s the fun part: It was the completion of a game suspended by rain July 24. May started the game and pitched three hitless innings. Darnell actually pitched two days later for the Twins, and again on Aug. 1, but he was since sent down.

The game resumed today, and Darnell threw the next six innings of hitless relief.

Tommy Milone will be the 27th pitcher to start a game for the Twins since the beginning of 2011

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated August 11th at 2:13pm 270784781

miloneThe Twins’ pitching rotation has been, ah, unsettled for a while. We were curious: how many different starters have they used since everything went to [redacted] at the beginning of 2011?

Turns out Tommy Milone, who is slated to start tonight in Houston, will be the 27th different starting pitcher used by the Twins from 2011-14.

Twenty-seven.

Sounds like a random big number you would throw out if you were trying to be mean. But it’s the real number.

Here are the other 26 aside from Milone, in order of the number of starts they have made. Honestly, we had forgotten at least a few of these guys:

Scott Diamond 58

Kevin Correia 54

Nick Blackburn 45

Carl Pavano 44

Francisco Liriano 41

Samuel Deduno 41

Brian Duensing 39

Mike Pelfrey 34

Kyle Gibson 32

Liam Hendriks 28

Phil Hughes 24

Scott Baker 21

P.J. Walters 20

Cole De Vries 18

Ricky Nolasco 18

Anthony Swarzak 17

Pedro Hernandez 12

Andrew Albers 10

Vance Worley 10

Yohan Pino 9

Kevin Slowey 8

Jason Marquis 7

Esmerling Vasquez 6

Kris Johnson 3

Logan Darnell 2

Trevor May 1

Monday (The return of Joe Mauer) Edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated August 11th at 11:52am 270756661

mauerhammockJoe Mauer is slated to come off the disabled list in time for tonight’s game against the Astros. It sounds as though either Trevor Plouffe or Oswaldo Arcia could go on the DL to make room, which is a nice relief because it means the Twins are going to fiddle with big Kennys Vargas (not that they would, anyway, since he’s been batting in the middle of their order and doing just fine).

We don’t know what this will mean for the lineup as a whole, but we do know this: the Twins have 46 games left in this season, and they are an important 46 games for Mauer. For all the jokes about Mauer’s durability and not playing in day games after night games, he appeared in at least 130 games in five of six seasons between 2005-2010. Since then, he’s done it only once — in a quite good 2012 season. Otherwise, it was 82 games in 2011, 113 last season and 76 so far this year.

Saying “Mauer needs to stay healthy” is a little too simple because nobody *tries* to get injured. But considering the Twins still owe Mauer $92 million from 2015-2018 — half of his eight-year contract — it is important to see a healthy, productive Mauer as the Twins play out the stretch run.

He’s still the team’s most accomplished hitter, by far. At 31, he might be at the start of a decline. How sharp that decline is, though, will of course determine just how much value the Twins will get for that large chunk of payroll — and be a significant factor if and when the Twins’ top prospects arrive en masse and potentially help engineer a real turnaround.

A productive Mauer always figured to be part of the plan for the team to contend in 2015/16 and beyond. Even if Mauer could return to 2013 levels for the rest of 2014 (.880 OPS), it would be a good sign. He was showing flashes of that before this last oblique injury; a consistent stretch of it would be a very welcome, and perhaps critically important, sight for the Twins as they prepare for the future.

What to watch this weekend

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated August 9th at 11:58am 270603681

Jon Marthaler is here to bring you a look at the games of the weekend – and where to find them on your TV dial.


I’m not sure anyone actually discusses sports around the water cooler, any more. Somehow, the idea of water-cooler conversations entered our collective minds, but with the rise of computer communication, the idea of having to wait to talk to a co-worker until you see him at the water cooler seems touchingly quaint. If water cooler conversations exist, though, sports fandom is fragmented enough that there isn’t just one “Game of the Week” that’s part of our common knowledge. (Except for the NFL, I mean. Everybody watches the NFL.)

With that fragmentation in mind, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to find multiple Games of the Week, listed out by sport. Maybe you know your co-worker loves racing, or golf; here’s what he or she is likely to be talking about come Monday.

Soccer: Minnesota vs. Edmonton, 7pm Saturday (Channel 45)
United has lost just one game in 2014, and has five wins and a draw in six home games – and that doesn’t even count home wins over Premier League side Swansea City and the Mexico U-21 team. Edmonton, though, has beaten high-flying San Antonio and tied powerhouse New York in the span of a week, and will be looking to do the same to the Loons.

Basketball: Lynx at Phoenix, 9pm Saturday (NBA TV)
Make your jokes about the WNBA if you wish, but your hometown team is an astonishing 24-6 and has won eleven straight – and is still a game and a half behind Phoenix, which is 25-4. The Lynx beat the Mercury last week at home, but now have to head south to attempt to repeat the feat – and Phoenix has lost just one home game all season.

Golf: PGA Championship, Saturday/Sunday (TNT / CBS)
The PGA is the major that looks most like golf does the rest of the year, something that’s confirmed by the red numbers that have been hitting the scoreboard at Valhalla. Maybe the course will toughen up this weekend… or maybe Rory McIlroy will shoot 264 and dust the field.

Euro Soccer: Arsenal vs. Manchester City, FA Community Shield, 9am Sunday (FS1)
Man City won the Premier League last year and Arsenal won the FA Cup, and so the two square off in the traditional season-opening exhibition between England’s two champions from last year. Meaningless in the standings, maybe, but both clubs can set a tone for the season to come with a victory.

Football: Cleveland at Detroit, Sat 7:30pm (NFL Network)
Remember when Tim Tebow was the biggest story in the league, except he’d never do anything interesting except play his hardest? Johnny Manziel isn’t like that. Johnny Manziel could do anything. This is why you’ll probably flip on a preseason football game today, just to check in; Johnny Football will be there.

Baseball: Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee, Sun 1pm (TBS)
Clayton Kershaw is pitching.

Racing: NASCAR Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen, noon Sunday (ESPN)
Dale Jr. won last week, he said with an impossible-to-resist Southern accent, and is leading the Cup. But Jeff Gordon loves himself a trip around the road course at the Glen. Tune in to see what NASCAR looks like when it turns both ways!

TFD: After more than 5,000 words, Bill Simmons concludes Kevin Love is underrated

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated August 8th at 2:37pm 270511421

loverubioThis Bill Simmons column has it all:

*Unbearably long? Check.

*Heaping rips of the Wolves and David Kahn? Check.

*Undeniable nuggets of basketball truth and very good writing on the sport? Check.

You will need to sort through more than 5,000 words to see the answer to his question: Is Kevin Love overrated, underrated or properly rated?

He concludes underrated. It’s worth a read, or at least a skim, as Simmons almost always still is.

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Texas - WP: N. Martinez 5 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 4
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 3 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 4
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 9 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 5
NY Mets - WP: Z. Wheeler 8 FINAL
Oakland - LP: J. Samardzija 5
Atlanta - LP: D. Carpenter 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: M. Melancon 3
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 5 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: D. Huff 2
Arizona - LP: E. Marshall 2 FINAL
Washington - WP: R. Soriano 3
LA Angels - WP: C. Rasmus 8 FINAL
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 3
Detroit - WP: R. Porcello 6 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi 0
Cincinnati - LP: J. Cueto 3 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: L. Lynn 7
San Francisco - WP: J. Peavy 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 3
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 4 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi 3
Cleveland - WP: T. House 5 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: R. Nolasco 0
Kansas City - LP: D. Duffy 2 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 5
San Diego - WP: E. Stults 4 FINAL
Los Angeles - LP: R. Hernandez 1
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Philadelphia
Carolina 8/22/14 6:30 PM
New England
NY Giants 8/22/14 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 8/22/14 6:30 PM
Detroit
Oakland 8/22/14 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Chicago 8/22/14 9:00 PM
Seattle
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Colorado 3
San Jose 1 FINAL
Seattle 1
Montreal 8/22/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal

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