That’s Berrios. With a K.

The highly-touted (if not vaunted) Jose Berrios pitched a pretty darn good game yesterday, winning his second of the season, going 7 2/3 innings, striking out 11. It was nice coming after a loss in the first game of the day-night doubleheader. Nothing sucks the life out of a day like losing both games of a doubleheader. But no: the youthful Berrios climbed up and set them down.

I watched a bit of video on those 11 strikeouts.They were brutal. Could we only be so lucky to see this on a regular basis from Mr. Berrios?

Berrios came up last season and had a less-than-auspicious start. 3-7, 8.02 era. He had a bit of trouble finding the plate. This season he started in Triple A, and located the pale platter. He went 2-0, with a .59 ERA and .391 WHIP. He got called up and made his first start with the Twins on May 13th in Cleveland, and got the win, 4-1, pitching 7 2/3, giving up 2 hits, a run, and striking out 4. Yesterday, another 7 2/3 innings, 2 hits, a run, and 11 strikeouts.

We’ve been hearing about this Berrios for quite awhile. Let’s hope he’s finally arrived, for we could surely use him.

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7 April 1904: Koukalik smoke!

Thursday Evening

Millers logo c

Well, perhaps the Millers may have been over-confident, facing the striplings of Illinois. Or perhaps it was just a lucky day by a pair of strong-armed young college pitchers. Or or or perhaps the Millers are yet rusty from a long winter’s hibernation? Or perhaps this year’s edition of the Millers just can’t hit a lick.

Time will tell. But yesterday the promising pair of pitching pupils, Pond and Pfeffer, held Watkin’s men to five lowly hits, and the college boys on the whole showed a good deal of verve and ginger in scratching out a narrow 3-2 victory, tallying the winning mark in the bottom of the ninth. The nimble Pfeffer also turned in two fielding gems, snagging a pair of line drives through the box.

Joe Koukalik

Joe Koukalik

Joe Koukalik made good for the Minneapolitans, permitting just three hits in six innings of work, while striking out seven batsmen. I am looking for good things from Koukalik this campaign. Keep your eye on this young man. His arm is like a deadly, missile-hurling device of war.

Converse was “unlucky” in the ninth, but it is said he turned in a creditable effort for a man who’s not yet in playing condition. In the ninth he yielded a double to Pitts, a single to Rothgeb, moving Pitts to third, and then a long out to Byers scored Pitts to carry the day.

Frank McNichol played third for the sore-winged Demontreville, and also garnered two of the Miller’s five hits. Our reporter was impressed by his efforts:

“He played with spirit, and his work, on the whole, was very good.”

Well, in any case, it’s just spring training. These games don’t count.

Spring Training Update – 1 April 1904, Friday evening

Usually it’s April showers bringing May flowers, but spring is early in the southerly climes of Champaign, Illinois, where everything is coming up roses.

The members of the team are a little stiff and sore as a result of their first few days practice, but they are in a cheerful mood and good fellowship prevails all around.

Frank J McNichols c - Salt Lake Herald - 1 Sept 1901

Lally is apparently quite stylish covering first base, and McNichol, “the coast player,” is doing some great work over at third base. The guy has an arm like a cannon, apparently. (I found a nice shot of Mr. McNichol in the Chronicling America collection, from 1901, the Salt Lake Herald.)

Out in the garden, the outfielders are frolicking, covering a lot of ground out there, even with muddy conditions, and pitchers Thomas and Owens are impressing the manager:

 

Both are now ready to go into a championship game and it seems certain that they will do better than ever this season… Minneapolis can be expected to have the best pitching staff of the association this year… in fact there will not be a weak spot on the team…

Also, Watkins tutelage around the batting cage seems to be having some effect:

All the men are stepping in to meet the ball, and all have their eye on the ball.

I imagine that Watkins stressed that point, as every manager does. Keep Your Eye On The Ball. I can remember my dad telling me that. KYEOTB. It’s that simple. I suppose you could generalize from this point, and think for a moment how important that is in the big picture, the game of Life. How can you expect to hit anything if you don’t keep your eye on the ball?

All you kids out there, reading this: Keep Your Eye On The Ball. It’s a simple game, really.

baseball

Buxton Belts Ball into Bleachers

Perhaps you think I’ve forgotten about baseball circa 2014.

Such is not the case.

Nice to see Mr. Buxton knock one out in spring ball!

I admit, I have fallen behind in my spring notes, however.

Miguel Sano! Has taken the “next step” for a Twins prospect, i.e. Tommy John surgery. No truth to the rumor that the Twins have been shopping around, looking for a good bulk price on a batch of pre-emptive Tommy John surgeries. Seriously, though, that was disappointing. Seriously disappointing.

Twins managed a 1-1 tie today, which is a bit odd. What would be the baseball equivalent of a hockey shoot-out? A home-run hitting contest? Perhaps they should end out the spring ties with that, just for a change. I’ll give the commissioner a call about this tomorrow.

(On a side note, I hate the hockey shoot-out. Give me sudden-death overtime!)

With today’s tie the Twins stand at 5-4-1, roughly 2 and a half games out of first in the race for the Grapefruit League pennant. (Here’s another idea – a one game championship between the winner of the grapefruit league and the winner of the cactus league, the last game of spring training. I’ll talk to the commissioner about that too.)

Pelfry and Deduno each pitched well today; Gibson gave up an unearned run, and Tonkin pitched one inning, struck out two. The Twins only managed seven hits. The Vaunted Parmelee was 0-4, I’m sure he’ not happy about that. Colabello went 0-1, Willingham went 0-3 – he’s hitting .077 this spring. Romero was the only Twin to get two hits today. Deibenson Romero. Not a guy I’m familiar with. He’s hitting .385 this spring, 13 at bats — he hit .266 at Rochester last season, with 10 home runs. Maybe this will be the year he puts it all together?

My Pre-Season picks (currently) for the starting rotation? Pelfry, Hughes, Correia, Nolasco, and… Sudden Sam Deduno.

And now I note that Mr. Buxton has been sent down, along with top pitching prospect Alex Meyer. No surprise. But we have seen a little glimpse of the future this spring, and it is good.

Byron Buxton c sm

the mick

Back when I was just starting to collect baseball cards, when I was a mere youth, I somehow found out about Larry Fritsch, a card dealer in Steven’s Point, Wisconsin, who sold cards through the mail by catalog. I probably thumbed through the catalog for a long time before picking out a few to purchase. Mostly Twins, of course. But then again, there was the Mick. Everyone loved the Mick, and of course I had to have a card of his. And of course, the bigger the better.

And so that’s how I wound up with this one, a 1964 Topps Giant card of Mickey Mantle.

Mickey Mantle lgcd c smWell, it’s a nice card, but the regular sized cards seem to be valued a bit more.

And I don’t like to think of what I might have paid, back in 1970, for a really nice Mickey Mantle card.

Here’s an interesting article that suggests that card dealers in NY artificially boosted the value of the ’52 Mantle card; it also estimates the value of a ’52 Mantle in the late 1970s at $100 to $150. In the early 1970s? Under $100? (Current value? Hard to say. The market is fluid, and much depends upon condition. But let’s just say probably over $10,000, and not think about it anymore.)

Of course, back in 1970, $100 was a lot of money, especially for me, and I’d have been crazy to spend that kind of money on a baseball card. I’m sure the ’64 large card was much more in my price range. Which allowed me to also get Pascual, Oliva, and Killebrew as well.

Larry Fritsch Cards, LLC, is still is out there, selling cards, at http://www.fritschcards.com/sunshop/, though Larry himself passed away in 2007.

What would I do with a ’52 Mantle anyway?