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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We will even acknowledge that some of the moves the Twins made with players we are about to describe were for the right reasons — building back up a depleted minor league pitching prospect roster.
All that said, my goodness, would you look at all the former Twins, most of them on offense, who are having big years.
Three of the top eight hitters in the NL, in terms of batting average, are ex-Twins (Justin Morneau, Ben Revere and Denard Span), while Carlos Gomez is No. 25. If batting average isn’t your thing, Morneau (fifth) and Gomez (17th) are up there in OPS.
That doesn’t even get into Michael Cuddyer, last year’s NL batting champ, who is hitting .333 and has homered in his last three games but doesn’t qualify on any leaderboards because injuries have limited his at bats this season.
On the pitching side, Vance Worley is 8-4 with a 2.93 ERA after throwing eight shutout innings Sunday for the Pirates. Francisco Liriano’s win total has regressed this season with the Pirates, but his 3.45 ERA in 151 innings would look mighty fine for the Twins.
Span and Revere were traded for pitching prospects, moves that made sense for a team going nowhere. Cuddyer left as a free agent, while Morneau was traded away. Both needed fresh starts. Worley was a disaster here, while Liriano was an enigma.
Still, it’s hard to look at what those players are producing now and not wonder 1) what that would have looked like on the 2014 Twins and/or 2) why some of those players weren’t as productive here as they have been elsewhere.
With pitchers, we can say the league switch makes some difference, but that’s also a little overblown. League average ERA in the NL this season is 3.67; in the AL, it’s 3.85. We’re pretty sure the Twins would take what Worley and Liriano have given the Pirates, even with a couple tenths of a run added on.
1) If the Vikings wanted a diversion from the “distraction” of Adrian Peterson, it arrived Sunday when Matt Cassel was carted off the field with a toe injury. In came rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater, and suddenly a juicy on-field story had emerged.
How did the rookie fare in the Vikings’ 20-9 loss to the Saints? Well, it was a mixed bag. The raw numbers — 12 for 20, 150 yards, no turnovers — were quite nice, particularly for a debut. Bridgewater usually looked composed, particularly in the face of some heavy rushes. On the other hand, this is a touchdown league and call Bridgewater could produce in roughly three quarters of football were a pair of field goals.
Maybe some of that falls on offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who looked a little conservative (again) Sunday. We get that Peterson isn’t around to carry the ball and take on the focus of a defense, but Cordarrelle Patterson and co. could still be used in more dynamic ways.
We’d say some of it falls on Bridgewater, too, though. He had the chance to make some plays and missed. It was a promising beginning for a rookie QB, but also an uneven one.
2) The biggest stat of the day came on the Saints’ third-down conversion rate. The Vikings under Mike Zimmer had been quite good in that category in the first two weeks of the season, allowing opposing offenses to convert just 9 of 28 third downs into first downs — in line with what Zimmer had consistently accomplished as D coordinator with the Bengals.
That all fell apart Sunday, though, as the Saints converted 9 of 13 third downs into first downs. That detracted from what was, at times, an impressive defensive effort (particularly after a terrible start).
The NFL is built on three things right now: turnovers (neither team had any), converting on third down (the Saints trumped the Vikings on Sunday) and cashing in scoring chances for TDs instead of FGs (the Saints had three TDs, the Vikings had three FGs on Sunday).
3) Speaking of third down, though, the Vikings should have been off the field on a critical third down in the second half. With New Orleans up 13-9 and facing third and long, Captain Munnerlyn blitzed off the corner, wrapped up Drew Brees and threw him to the ground. Apparently he did this with too much gusto for the refs because it earned him a flag — a penalty that was complete garbage and could be looked at as a turning point. Instead of punting, the Saints used turned the gift into a scoring drive that proved to be the game’s final TD.
We understand the need to protect quarterbacks in an increasingly violent game, but here’s the thing: if Munnerlyn eases up there, Brees might escape and complete a pass. What is a defensive player supposed to do? Quarterbacks are stronger and more elusive than ever. Munnerlyn is doing anything he can to bring down a bigger player (yes, even Brees is bigger than the Captain).
Munnerlyn said postgame that he felt he let his teammates down. That’s the right thing to say, but the truth is the game let the Vikings down. The league wants to have it both ways. And in doing so, the Vikings were cheated out of a big third down stop.
In his first public comments since news of Adrian Peterson’s indictment broke, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a Friday news conference the league is prepared to dole out tougher punishment for player impropriety going forward but offered few specifics beyond the formation of various committees to help the league get its house in order.
Goodell had been silent for more than a week while the NFL felt the backlash from mounting controversies involving Peterson, Ray Rice and others.
“I got in wrong in the handling of the Ray Rice matter, and I’m sorry for that,” Goodell said. “I got it wrong on a number of levels, from the process that I lead, to the decision that I reached, but now I will get it right and will do whatever’s necessary to accomplish that.”
Asked specifically about Peterson’s situation about 15 minutes into a 45-minute news conference, Goodell said:
“While I’m disappointed in what Adrian Peterson was involved with, we want to see the facts. But I think what we see so far is tragic. I have two daughters who are 13. It’s very difficult to see. I think what we have to do is allow those facts to proceed.”
Reaction to Goodell on Twitter was primarily negative, including former Viking Sidney Rice tweeting “Boo this man,” among other things, as the press conference proceeded.
The Iowa football team is struggling — perhaps even more than the Gophers, though that’s debatable. The Hawkeyes struggled to beat Northern Iowa in their opener, barely beat Ball State (17-13) after that, then lost to Iowa State 20-17 last week.
As such, this humorous give-and-take on Twitter caught our eye:
We’re getting reports of a major power outage on the west side of campus- we are aware and making notifications to try and get it fixed.
— U of Iowa Police (@UIowa_Police) September 19, 2014
@DaviidHO Athletics has been notified. They’re hoping to have it fixed by tomorrow.
— U of Iowa Police (@UIowa_Police) September 19, 2014
That’s a light shot at the Hawkeyes’ struggling offense, but it’s always amusing to see those types of things coming from official Twitter accounts.
We are not in Baltimore right now. If we were, we’d probably be visiting every square inch of territory covered in The Wire like some sort of sick TV tourist (or, you know, visiting with our friend Holly).
Third choice, though, would be standing in line with a throng of Ravens fans who have congregated en masse for the team’s jersey exchange program. The Ravens told fans that they could trade in officially licensed Ray Rice jerseys for new Baltimore jerseys.
Based on the tweeted pictures we’re seeing (one below), a lot of fans are taking them up on it.
Whether fans are motivated by a distaste for Rice, the opportunity to trade in an old jersey for a new one at no cost or just the chance to stand in line (probably not that one), these jersey exchanges are an interesting dynamic.
They seem like an act of good will on the part of the team, which in a sense they are. But they are also shameless attempts by the NFL teams to keep their hooks in fans. The amount of time that has passed since the Ravens vehemently defended Rice and supported him can be measured, reasonably, in days. And now the line is cut just like that — but please, come support everyone else on the team!
Will it ever get to that point with the Vikings and Adrian Peterson? It’s hard to say, though the Vikings have no plans to do one as of now. But we do know that those who have been close to the Ravens over the years are just as stunned by Rice’s negative turn in the spotlight as we are here with Peterson’s.
— Larry Collins (@CollinsNews) September 19, 2014
|NY Mets - LP: B. Colon||2||FINAL|
|Washington - WP: T. Roark||4|
|Baltimore||5||Bottom 9th Inning|
|Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura||7||FINAL|
|Cleveland - LP: D. Salazar||1|
|Seattle - LP: F. Hernandez||2||FINAL|
|Toronto - WP: R. Dickey||10|
|Chicago WSox||3||Bottom 9th Inning|
|Philadelphia - LP: C. Hamels||0||FINAL|
|Miami - WP: H. Alvarez||2|
|Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole||3||FINAL|
|Atlanta - LP: A. Wood||2|
|Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers||1||FINAL|
|Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto||3|
|Tampa Bay||6||Bottom 9th Inning|
|Houston||0||Bottom 7th Inning|
|St. Louis||3||Top 8th Inning|
|Arizona||1||Top 7th Inning|
|LA Angels||0||Bottom 1st Inning|
|San Francisco||0||Bottom 1st Inning|
|Colorado||0||Top 2nd Inning|
|NY Giants||9/25/14 7:25 PM|
|Buffalo||9/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Green Bay||9/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Tennessee||9/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Carolina||9/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Detroit||9/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Tampa Bay||9/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Miami||9/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Jacksonville||9/28/14 3:05 PM|
|Atlanta||9/28/14 3:25 PM|
|Philadelphia||9/28/14 3:25 PM|
|New Orleans||9/28/14 7:30 PM|
|New England||9/29/14 7:30 PM|
|San Jose||0||2nd Prd 4:52|
|Arizona||1||1st Prd 10:45|
|Texas Tech||9/25/14 6:30 PM|
|(24) Oklahoma State|
|Appalachian St||9/25/14 6:30 PM|
|(11) UCLA||9/25/14 9:00 PM|
|(15) Arizona State|
|Middle Tennessee||9/26/14 7:00 PM|
|Fresno State||9/26/14 7:00 PM|
|Texas-El Paso||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|(25) Kansas State|
|Tennessee||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Vanderbilt||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Wyoming||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|(9) Michigan State|
|Northwestern||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|TCU||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Iowa||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Tulane||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|So Florida||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Colorado State||9/27/14 11:30 AM|
|Western Mich||9/27/14 11:30 AM|
|Maryland||9/27/14 12:30 PM|
|Akron||9/27/14 12:30 PM|
|Bowling Green||9/27/14 2:00 PM|
|Arkansas||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|(6) Texas A&M|
|Kent State||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Western Ky||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Minnesota||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Wake Forest||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|FIU||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|(1) Florida State||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Miami-Ohio||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Colorado||9/27/14 3:00 PM|
|Louisiana Tech||9/27/14 3:00 PM|
|Texas||9/27/14 3:00 PM|
|Temple||9/27/14 3:00 PM|
|(16) Stanford||9/27/14 3:15 PM|
|TX-San Antonio||9/27/14 4:00 PM|
|South Alabama||9/27/14 4:00 PM|
|Cincinnati||9/27/14 5:00 PM|
|(22) Ohio State|
|Rice||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|Missouri||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|(13) So Carolina|
|Boise State||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|North Carolina||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|Central Mich||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|Troy||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|New Mexico St||9/27/14 6:30 PM|
|Memphis||9/27/14 6:30 PM|
|(10) Ole Miss|
|Duke||9/27/14 6:30 PM|
|Texas State||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|Washington St||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|(8) Notre Dame||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|(7) Baylor||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|UNLV||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|San Diego St|
|Illinois||9/27/14 8:00 PM|
|Oregon State||9/27/14 9:30 PM|
|Nevada||9/27/14 9:30 PM|
|San Jose St|
|Montreal||9/26/14 6:00 PM|
|Saskatchewan||9/26/14 9:00 PM|
|Hamilton||9/27/14 5:30 PM|
|Brt Columbia||9/27/14 8:30 PM|