Saturday Night, March 15, 2008
Twins Win, Slowey Impresses
Alright, tomorrow is my big fantasy baseball day with one draft at noon and the other starting at 6:00. I haven’t spent as much time preparing this year as in the past, and yet, I feel ready. I plan on spending the afternoon on my laptop in the draft room while watching the Twins and Blue Jays game on TV. But this afternoon, I was able to watch the Twins beat the Phillies 11-2. Here are just a few thought:
· The Twins got to see the Phillies likely regular lineup. They went Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell, Geoff Jenkins, Pedro Feliz, Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz. Really, the only change is that there will not be a DH. Jenkins and Werth will be their right fielders.
· Kevin Slowey looked incredible. He went four innings and gave up just one run on two hits. In reality, he made just one bad pitch. It came on the first pitch of the 2nd inning, a fastball right down the middle to Ryan Howard who sent it a long way over the fence in left center. Actually, the only other hit came one batter later when Pat Burrell hit a high fly ball to left field that Delmon Young completely lost in the sun for a ground rule double. But then Slowey really came through. He got Jenkins to pop up to SS and then struck out Pedro Feliz and Jayson Werth to end that threat. In the 3rd inning, the wind played havoc on things again when the sure-handed Adam Everett dropped a pop-up. But again, Slowey didn’t rattle and showed again how good he will be. People really made too much out of his struggles early. If Slowey has proven anything, it is that he makes adjustments with the best of them and will adapt to any situation. There is an easy comparison to be made here, that has been made here, but to set that expectation is unfair.
· Carlos Gomez went 3-4 with a walk, a homer, two RBI and two SBs. He also ran the bases well. But in an attempt to be fair, and as exciting as Gomez is, I saw a couple of things that were still not good. There was a lot of talk about him working with Joe Vavra now, and some are excited by the results the last two days. His first at bat, with Span on first, resulted in a double play. Gomez got a slider on the outer part of the strike zone and tried to pull it. He had a bloop single just beyond second base. He put down a nice push bunt for a single, but that doesn’t have to do with his swing. And on the home run, he just hit a hanging slider from JD Durbin over the fence in left field. Even Gomez admitted that it was wind-aided. So Gomez is very exciting on the baseball field, both in the field and at bat. From the sounds of it, his double and triple in the game on Friday were more impressive than the Saturday game was, in my opinion.
· I was actually more impressed with Denard Span who had two hits, although the first was a gift. After taking a strike, Span popped up behind short and the wind just kept pushing it away from J-Ro so it landed. I was impressed by 1.) his approach at the plate – make them throw a strike and 2.) his defense – he made a really nice play going a long ways into the gap in right center to make a running catch. I was most impressed by the way he went with the pitch. He grounded out twice to shortstop, but in both cases, he had worked the count and took the pitch where it was thrown. In looking for a leadoff-type hitter, Span is definitely a legitimate choice at this point, in my mind.
· I talk about being happy about the Twins decision to bring in Adam Everett because unlike Nick Punto, Everett truly is a great defensive player. I just can’t help but wonder how long I will be OK with him providing nearly no offense.
· Speaking of Punto, how long will the Twins announcers continue to make excuses for him. “We need Nick Punto from 2006, and not the Nick Punto from 2007.” Well, netiher one was very good, and the 2007 numbers certainly fit in better with his career numbers. In his first at bat, he hit a fly ball to medium deep left field for an out. Blyleven commented, “That’s not Nick Punto. Nick Punto is a line-drive type slap hitter.” Is he? Really? Based on what? Maybe easy outs are exactly Nick Punto.
· Jason Kubel was 2-3 with a walk. He pulled a single to right field in his first at bat. He was taking a lot of pitches and most important, he has the toe-tap timing mechanism going. That tells me that he is ready to go, and ready for the monster season! Like the Howard homer, Kubel drilled a first pitch fastball, from The Real Deal, and drilled it well over the right field fence.
· Mike Lamb is funny!
· Eli Whiteside hit an impressive, long home run off of the talented Fabio Castro. It was hit a long way. He just put his head down and jogged. It was an impressive home run trot, so it made me wonder about how much power he has shown in his career. The answer is 57 homers in his seven year career, 18 of which came at AA in 2004.
· Glen Perkins gave up a run on three hits in two innings. He struggled with his control, walking just one batter, but falling behind frequently.
· And finally, it was the Phillies and Twins, so I was hoping that Chris Coste would get to catch for Philly, but he had caught nine innings on Friday. Anyway, his book The 33 Year Old Catcher should be arriving in mailboxes next week if you ordered them ahead of time. Otherwise, be sure to check out your local bookstore.
I am not certainif I will be back tomorrow during the Twins game or the fantasy drafts. Let me know if you would like to know anything.