After six straight road losses yesterday's 20-1 thrashing of the White Sox was an unexpected treat, and the Twins amusingly finished the 1-6 road trip with a plus-seven run differential. Justin Morneau and Nick Punto combined to go 0-for-7 while the rest of the Twins' starters went 19-for-35 (.543) with four homers, including a grand slam from Joe Mauer. And of course Nick Blackburn took the 20 runs of support and tossed seven shutout innings before Joe Nathan closed out the 19-run lead.
Mauer is such a great hitter that batting .417 or getting on base at a .500 clip during a 19-game stretch shouldn't surprise anyone, but eight homers and five doubles in 72 at-bats is totally unexpected even without considering that he missed April with an injury. He hasn't abandoned his patient approach at the plate and isn't suddenly pulling the ball consistently. He's still taking tons of pitches and going the the other way with most of the balls he hits, but the fly balls just seem to be traveling a little further.
I'm not sure how to explain it and have no idea whether it'll last, but holy shit has Mauer been amazing. At .417/.500/.819 he'd be leading all of baseball in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage with enough plate appearances to qualify and he has one homer per 9.0 at-bats after going deep once every 46.8 at-bats coming into the season. Plus, Ron Gardenhiremay even leave him in the No. 2 spot that I've been advocating for years now after the 20-run outburst with Mauer there yesterday.
According to the New York Times, Jimmy Kimmel's monologue this week at ABC's annual upfront presentation was "withering" and "the assembled advertisers received his performance with a mixture of uneasy laughs and the occasional gasp." That description caused me to seek out the footage:
Unless the video has been doctored somehow, I'm not sure how anyone could watch that and call the crowd's reaction "a mixture of uneasy laughs and the occasional gasp." Seems more like he killed for the better part of six straight minutes, got a ton of big laughs throughout, and was basically hilarious.
On a related note, Aziz Ansari of Parks and Recreationwas a great guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
I'm totally against the notion of Brett Favre quarterbacking the Vikings at this stage of his career, but could probably be talked into Kim Kardashian behind center after looking at these pictures.
According to the New York Post, Alex Rodriguez has "traded in a vintage Madonna for a late-model Kate Hudson" and the two were "making out" in a bar following last Friday's game against the Twins. I'll say this about A-Rod: He has eclectic taste.
Last year I went on a reading binge, burning through like a dozen books in a couple weeks, and The Road by Cormac McCarthy was one of my favorites. I'm intrigued by the movie version, which is set to come out in October, but based on Charlize Theron being prominently featured in the preview it seems like the film strays significantly from the novel in at least one huge way. Based strictly on the book, the female character would get approximately 42 seconds of screen time in the movie.
I'm cautiously optimistic, because the original material is so amazing and Viggo Mortensen strikes me as a good choice to play the lead role, but an I Am Legend-style disappointment wouldn't surprise me. Movies straying significantly from the source material when the source material would've made a better movie really bothers me and I Am Legend is the prime example of that recently. Of course, it still ends up hooking me for a half-hour each time I stumble across it on HBO.
My MinnPost colleague David Brauerreports that the St. Paul Pioneer Press could be eliminating as many as 30 newsroom jobs as part of $2.4 million in budget cuts, so Twins fans should be hoping that Phil Miller and Kelsie Smith avoid the ax.