Friday March 26, 2004
TWINS BEAT PEDRO
It hit 50 degrees today in Warroad, so after working 8 hours, I went out and walked for about an hour and 15 minutes around town. It was very nice out there. I've got spring fever. I want to mow a lawn, but, of course, lawns are still covered with snow up on the Canadian border where I live. I love this time of year. To be able to get outside and breathe in fresh air is wonderful. Sure, everything is wet and sloppy, but we know that warm weather will soon be here (soon is a relative term; last year we had a little snow in early June here).
Anyway, spring fever has taken me over and I honestly don't feel like writing much, so today's entry is going to be rather short. I do apologize. I want to encourage you to check out the About Me page, and go through the Archives as there are a lot of articles you may have missed and may be of interest to you.
I need to start today with a note that I read in Sports Weekly's The BUZZ section yesterday:
The Giants, unhappy with the play of Neifi Perez, are looking for a shortstop and are interested in Brewers infielder Craig Counsell. They also are keeping their eyes on Rey Ordonez and Tony Womack.
I'm sure that Aaron Gleeman and other stat-heads could have a field day with that. But I'm too nice, I won't comment! I just think it's funny.
Today, I will cover just a few things of note. As always, please feel free to e-mail me any questions or comments you may have. Also, I got a lot of great response to yesterday's First Crushes posting, so if you want to read that (or re-read it), or just look at the pictures, click here.
Also, as you know, I am a Featured Writer on Baseball Interactive, a great baseball website with a number of contributors. John Strubel runs the site and is going to be starting a Question of the Week for each of us writers to answer. This week's question is: Should Baseball Eliminate the Designated Hitter? I expect some excellent answers to that question. The responses to this question will be available at Baseball Interactive over the weekend, so check in there from time to time. It should be a fun weekly feature.
TWINS BEAT SOX
The Twins won a slugfest against the Boston Red Sox yesterday. I think that is most impressive because they did some damage against some pretty impressive pitchers. First, the knocked Pedro around for seven hits and three earned runs in the first five innings. He had just one strike out. Later, Mike Timlin, a great reliever, gave up four hits and a walk in 2 innings, giving up 5 earned runs. Finally, Keith Foulke, arguably the best closer in the AL last year gave up four earned runs on three hits and a walk, in one inning.
Leading the way for the Twins was again, Michael Cuddyer, who was 2-5 with his fourth home run of the spring, a grand slam. Luis Rivas was 2-4. Henry Blanco was 1-1 with a double and two RBI. Michael Restovich knocked in two runs.
The Twins pitched their possible fifth starters throughout the game. Brad Thomas, the tall lefty from Australia, started and went three innings. He gave up five hits but walked none in giving up 1 run. He struck out three. Grant Balfour came in and pitched two innings, giving up just one hit and one walk and striking out three. Juan Rincon and Seth Greisinger each gave up one run in one inning. They both struck out two batters. Joe Roa pitched a scoreless inning. The Sean Douglass really hurt his chances of making the team with four hits and four runs in one inning.
TWINS ROSTER THOUGHTS
I have been asked a few times what I think the Twins final roster should look like. So, today, I'll let you know what I would do. I want to make it known that I am, in no way, claiming to have any internal knowledge of what is happening down in Florida. But, here are my thoughts on what the Twins roster should look like (with players who are still with the team. In other words, I think Jesse Crain should be on the roster, but since he was sent down, I won't include him):
C - Joe Mauer, Henry Blanco
1B - Doug Mientkiewicz
2B - Michael Cuddyer
3B - Corey Koskie
SS - Cristian Guzman
LF - Shannon Stewart
CF - Torii Hunter
RF - Jacque Jones
DH - Matthew Lecroy
SP - Brad Radke, Johan Santana, Kyle Lohse, Carlos Silva
RP - Joe Nathan, Juan Rincon, JC Romero
UTIL - Nick Punto, Luis Rivas
So, there are my 19 "sure-things", but there are six more roster spots available. (Yes, I know that Luis Rivas will be the primary 2B and that Michael Cuddyer will be a play-everywhere utility player. I just think that Cuddyer has done everything asked of him in spring training so he deserves the job.) Here are my thoughts on who should fill them:
5th Starter - Grant Balfour
2nd LH Reliever - Aaron Fultz
2nd RH Reliever - Pete Munro
Long Relief - Brad Thomas
4th OF - Lew Ford
LH Pinch Hitter - Jose Offerman
Grant Balfour has the best "stuff" and since getting innings this spring, he has pitched very well. The Twins like having a second left hander in the bullpen, which makes sense. I like Aaron Fultz for that role because none of the lefties in camp have really stepped up, and Fultz has a lot of major league experience in the role. I think that Brad Thomas should be kept up and used in long relief. If he does well, if Fultz struggles, they could switch roles. Fourth Outfielder, in my mind, should be a no brainer. Lew Ford does everything asked of him. He can play all three outfield positions as well as hit and run well. And for the final spot, I have not completely changed my mind, but I am OK with the Twins keeping Offerman as a left-handed pinch hitter. First, he is cheap, so he won't be hurting the Twins financially. Second, with Nick Punto able to play CF and Michael Cuddyer able to play LF or RF, they don't need a 5th outfielder, so they can afford to keep a guy like Offerman.
Who does that leave out? Well, minor league pitchers like Seth Griesinger and Joe Roa to the minor leagues. Justin Morneau is still young enough where he needs to play and needs at bats, so he needs to be the DH or be sent to AAA. Michael Restovich should be traded. Tell me when he is going to get an opportunity to play for the Twins? When Jacque Jones leaves? No, then Cuddyer probably moves to the OF, or maybe Jason Kubel or Josh Rabe will have passed Restovich. So, he'll go to Rochester for his third AAA season, and will stagnate. Michael Ryan isn't a prospect, so I'm not worried about him going back to AAA. Maybe he'll be disappointed and hit .220 again. But, these are the new decisions that Ron Gardenhire, Terry Ryan and the coaching staff have to make. It's not like 1998 when they gave big league jobs to guys because they had to fill out the roster. The Twins now have a minor league system that means good players are going to be stuck in AAA.
What do you think? I think this team is good enough to win the division. Who would you add to the roster? E-mail me.
Here are how former Twins players did for their new teams on Thursday:
David Ortiz, DH, Boston Red Sox (0-3)
David McCarty, 1B, Boston Red Sox (1-2, 6th spring HR)
Mark Guthrie, RP, Pittsburgh Pirates (1 IP, 1 K, 0 R)
Orlando Merced, 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates (0-2, RBI)
Javier Valentin, 1B, Cincinnati Reds (0-4)
Brian Buchanan, 1B, San Diego Padres (0-2)
Chad Moeller, C, Milwaukee Brewers (2-2)
AJ Pierzynski, C, San Francisco Giants (2-4)
Dustan Mohr, PH, San Francisco Giants (0-1)
Chris Gomez, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays (1-2)
Chad Allen, LF, Texas Rangers (2-3, RBI)
Eddie Guardado, RP, Seattle Mariners (1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K)
Warren Morris, 2B, Detroit Tigers (0-1)
LaTroy Hawkins, RP, Chicago Cubs (1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB)
Just a quick reminder that the # 7 seed Minnesota Gophers women's team plays Sunday in Norfolk, VA, in the Sweet Sixteen against the #3 seed Boston College. If they win, they would probably play #1 seed Duke on Tuesday for a shot at the Final Four.
The Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament continued last night with wins by UConn, Alabama, St. Joes and Oklahoma St. There are four more games on Friday, then two and Saturday and two on Sunday. By Sunday night, we will have our Final Four field. I will be out of town, but will try to update the results of my NCAA picks in the upper left-hand corner of this page.
However, I have some more predictions to make. This week the NCAA Ice Hockey Championship tournament begins. They start with just 16 teams. I don't know how many of you follow hockey, but many of you will see your first glimpse of Victory Sports if you watch some hockey this weekend. Hopefully all of these cable companies will take the free Victory coverage of the hockey tournament and then sign on for the Twins too. We'll see. But anyway, here are three people's predictions for the NCAA Hockey tournament, which has been won the past two years by the University of Minnesota. Here are my picks, along with the picks of a couple of college hockey "experts" (Please remember that these picks are for entertainment purposes only.):
1st Round - North Dakota, Denver, Michigan St., Minnesota, Maine, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Boston College
2nd Round - North Dakota, Michigan St., Maine, Boston College
Frozen Four - North Dakota, Boston College
Champion - Boston College
Kirk Beller's Picks:
First Round - North Dakota, Miami (OH), Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota, Maine, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Boston College
Second Round - North Dakota, Minnesota, Maine, New Hampshire
Frozen Four - North Dakota, New Hampshire
Champion - North Dakota
Tim Slukynsky's Picks:
First Round - North Dakota, Miami (OH), Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota, Maine, Ohio, Michigan, Boston College
Second Round - North Dakota, Minnesota, Maine, Boston College
Frozen Four - North Dakota, Maine
Champions - North Dakota
There you go, some college hockey predictions. I bet you didn't expect that when you came to this site today! On that note, this shortened version of SethSpeaks comes to an end. It's been another busy week, so again, check out the Archives. Any questions or comments? E-mail me.
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