There's nothing worse than 9pm starts when the Twins are on the East Coast, but thanks to this three-game series being on a weekend, we only get one post-9 start. Here's a look at some news and notes for Seattle and Minnesota this weekend:
Schedule (all games FSN)
Friday: 9:10pm, Nick Blackburn vs Hisashi Iwakuma
Saturday: 8:10pm, Scott Diamond vs Jason Vargas
- Sunday: 3:10pm, Samuel Deduno vs. Blake Beavan
- I am contractually obligated by the Baseball Notes Column Convention of 1953 to mention that no pitcher has thrown two no-hitters consecutively since Johnny Vandermeer in 1938, a record Felix Hernandez will have a chance to tie next Tuesday. The Twins are fortunate to miss Hernandez, who is baseball's forgotten star pitcher. I loved Lookout Landing's quick breakdown of just how untouchable Hernandez was during his perfect game.
- For what seems like the tenth straight year, Seattle's downfall is that they (again) cannot score runs. They're last in the AL, scoring less than four runs a game, and so despite allowing the third-fewest runs in the league, they're 55-64 and 14 games back.
- Seattle counted on a number of young players to come through... and they're all struggling, to various degrees. Justin Smoak is hitting .189. Dustin Ackley is batting .225. Kyle Seager, Michael Saunders, Jesus Montero - they're all playing regularly, all 25 or under, and all hovering right around average or below at the plate. Not surprisingly, as a team they're 29th in batting average, 30th in OBP, and 30th in slugging percentage.
- Smoak in particular is worrying people. He headed back to Triple-A midseason and supposedly changed his swing from both sides of the plate, then was recalled due to injury - and now Lookout Landing can't find a difference with his swing. Smoak was one of the top prospects in baseball in 2010, and he's still only 25, but in the equivalent of two full major-league seasons with Texas and Seattle he's batted .215.
- Matt Carson is coming up to the big leagues. If you had never heard of Carson before La Velle reported this, then you're not alone; he wasn't on the 40-man roster, turned 31 earlier this year, and has played a grand total of 46 major-league games, last in 2010 with Oakland. Triple-A hitting coach Tom Brunansky said on the radio that Carson was maybe the team's everyday MVP in Rochester, so I guess that's something.
- Health update: Denard Span is still day-to-day with an injured shoulder, so we hope that everything goes okay and we'll see him in time for spring training. But Anthony Swarzak's back from the DL, and Ben Revere's ankle injury doesn't appear to be too serious, so fingers crossed.
- With Swarzak coming off the DL and Carson coming up to the Show, Luis Perdomo and Jeff Manship were optioned to Rochester, begging the question from all Twins fans: "The Twins had somebody named Luis Perdomo on the roster?"