Monday March 29, 2004
Twins Win Three
College Sports Weekend
Discussion Question #1
Discussion Question #2
OK, I had a weekend away from here. Always nice to get some time away and just hang out. Now, I'm back and I need to write. I should write up some eloquent, stat-filled diatribe on one of the baseball world's deepest questions. But not today. I have to get myself back into the swing of things first. Be sure to check out this week's (and next week's) Discussion Questions, and should you choose to, please feel free to participate.
For today, I will just be updating how the Twins fared in their three games. I will provide stats for former Twins in other major league camps. I will discuss the college basketball and hockey tournaments, updating where we are standing. And then, I will close with a couple of fun questions for you to read and hopefully you'll take a few minutes to respond to them. So, let's get started.
TWINS WITH THREE
It was a good three games for the Twins. They have been playing quite well as a team this spring and after three wins since I've last written, they are now 16-8 this spring. Here is a quick look at their games from this weekend.
FRIDAY - Twins 7, Blue Jays 5
One day after roughing up the Red Sox Pedro Martinez, Mike Timlin and Keith Foulke, the Twins hit well against Cy Young Winner, Roy Halladay. The Twins scored 6 runs on 9 hits in Halladay's 5 innings. For the Twins, Jacque Jones had two doubles and two RBI in three at bats. Joe Mauer was 2-3 with two RBI. Luis Rivas and Corey Koskie each had two hits as well. On the mound, Brad Radke kept the ball in the part but gave up four earned runs in six innings. Aaron Fultz struck out two in his inning before JC Romero pitched a scoreless inning.
SATURDAY - Twins 3, Pirates 0
Johan Santana finally pitched well. In five innings, he gave up no runs and two hits. He walked two and struck out four. I'm one who believes that strikeouts are nice, but I would rather see Santana strike out 8 per 9 innings and be able to pitch 7-8 innings a game than strike out 11 per 9 innings and only go 5-6. It was a good pitching performance all around for the Twins though. Peter Munro, looking for a spot in the bullpen pitched two scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out two. Juan Rincon pitched a scoreless inning, as did Grant Balfour. Nick Punto went 2-4 and Torii Hunter hit a three-run homer.
SUNDAY - Twins 2, Pirates 1
It was Kyle Lohse's turn to prove he is ready for the regular season. He went five innings and gave up three hits and no runs. He struck out four, but equally important, he walked none. Joe Roa, in contention with Munro for a bullpen spot, pitched two innings. He gave up a run on three hits and a walk, striking out two. Finally, Carlos Pulido, who may also have a chance at breaking camp with the Twins, threw two shutout innings. However, he did walk three hitters. On offense, Doug Mientkiewicz and Cristian Guzman each went 2-3. Torii Hunter and Shannon Stewart each hit doubles.
MONDAY - The Twins will play the Toronto Blue Jays
OTHER NOTES - I want to thank all of you that responded to my Twins Roster Thoughts from Friday. You presented excellent points and backed them up very well. I want this site to express my opinions, and I want you to feel free to express your opinions to me. That makes it fun; I enjoy reading them all and responding to you. Also, from time to time, I will post some of those responses.
Lew Ford Article - Check out an excellent article on Lew Ford. He is a computer genius who scored high on his SAT's math sections. But, is he a genius, or well, the opposite? I'm glad to see that Lew Ford will make the team. He is one of my favorites (in case you haven't figured that out from previous postings dating back to his major league debut!), and this is a fun article.
Joe Mauer Article - Randy Marsh, a 22 year big league umpire, says that Joe Mauer is a pleasure to work behind; he sets up well behind the plate and is very polite. Read This Article and see what else he has to say about Mauer. Quite the opposite of his predecessor, AJ Pierzynski, that's for sure!
If you have any thoughts on the Twins, their roster, or the upcoming season, please e-mail me. You will notice that is a part of the Discussion Questions.
Here are how former Twins players did for their new teams this weekend. With Opening Day just a week away, there is some pressure on a few of these players:
Javier Valentin, PH, Cincinnati Reds (0-1)
James Baldwin, SP, New York Mets (5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 2 HR given up)
David McCarty, 1B, Boston Red Sox (1-2, RBI)
David Ortiz, 1B, Boston Red Sox (1-2)
Mark Guthrie, RP, Pittsburgh Pirates (1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 1 K)
Warren Morris, 2B, Detroit Tigers (0-1)
Denny Hocking, LF, Colorado Rockies (1-5)
Greg Colbrunn, PH, Arizona Diamondbacks (0-0, BB)
Todd Walker, 2B, Chicago Cubs (3-4)
Matt Lawton, LF, Cleveland Indians (1-5)
Casey Blake, 3B, Cleveland Indians (0-4)
Dustan Mohr, CF, San Francisco Giants (0-2)
Quinton McCracken, LF, Seattle Mariners (2-3)
Chad Moeller, C, Milwaukee Brewers (2-3, 3 RBI, 2B, HR)
Bobby Kielty, RF, Oakland A's (1-4, 2 RBI, 2nd HR)
AJ Pierzynski, C, San Francisco Giants (3-4, 2 RBI, 1st HR, off Tim Hudson, makes sense!)
Todd Sears, PH, San Diego Padres (0-1)
Brian Buchanan, LF, San Diego Padres (0-1)
Kenny Rogers, SP, Texas Rangers (6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K)
Mike Lincoln, RP, St. Louis Cardinals (1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K)
Scott Erickson, SP, New York Mets (5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K)
Todd Walker, 2B, Chicago Cubs (1-1)
Brian Buchanan, LF, San Diego Padres (1-3)
Chris Gomez, 2B, Toronto Blue Jays (0-1)
Javier Valentin, 1B, Cincinnati Reds (0-1)
Jack Cressand, RP, Cleveland Indians (1 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K)
Todd Jones, RP, Cincinnati Reds (1 IP, 1 H, 1 K, 0 R)
Denny Hocking, RF, Colorado Rockies (0-3)
Bobby Kielty, RF, Oakland A's (0-2)
Dustan Mohr, LF, San Francisco Giants (2-5, RBI)
AJ Pierzynski, C, San Francisco Giants (1-1, RBI)
David Ortiz, 1B, Boston Red Sox (2-3)
David McCarty, 1B, Boston Red Sox (1-1)
Quinton McCracken, RF, Seattle Mariners (0-2)
Chad Moeller, C, Milwaukee Brewers (1-3, HR)
Eddie Guardado, RP, Seattle Mariners (2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 K)
David McCarty, RF, Boston Red Sox (2-4)
Chris Gomez, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays (0-3)
Greg Colbrunn, PH, Arizona Diamondbacks (0-1)
Quinton McCracken, LF, Seattle Mariners (0-3)
Matt Kinney, SP, Milwaukee Brewers (5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)
Brian Buchanan, RF, San Diego Padres (1-2)
Todd Sears, DH, San Diego Padres (2-2)
Matt Lawton, LF, Cleveland Indians (0-3)
Casey Blake, 3B, Cleveland Indians (0-3)
Rick Reed, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates (4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)
Bobby Kielty, RF, Oakland A's (1-2, 2 BB)
Todd Walker, RF, Chicago Cubs (2-3, RBI)
LaTroy Hawkins, RP, Chicago Cubs (1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K, Save #3)
AJ Pierzynski, C, San Francisco Giants (0-3)
Denny Hocking, SS, Colorado Rockies (1-2, 2 RBI, 2B)
The Wolves won one game on their Los Angeles weekend. Friday night, they were crushed by the white hot Lakers in Staples Center, 73-90. Saturday, they avoided their first three game losing streak of the season (something only Indiana and Sacramento can also claim), with a 98-82 victory over the Clippers.
Friday night, it was over early. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 35 points (with 9 rebounds). Shaquille O'Neal had 22 points and 18 rebounds. For the Wolves, Latrell Sprewell led with 19 points. Kevin Garnett had 16 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals. Fred Hoiberg, with 13, was the only other Minnesota player in double figures.
Saturday night, the Wolves got the easy win. Sprewell again led with 18 points. Kevin Garnett again had a great all-around game, scoring 17 points with 15 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks. Sam Cassell (15), Wally Szczerbiak (11) and Troy Hudson (10) also scored in double-digits. Elton Brand scored 22 for the Clippers. Rookie Chris Kaman scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Corey Maggette added 17.
The Wolves now stand at 50-24. That leaves them 1.5 games ahead of the San Antonio Spurs (48-25), 3.0 ahead of the impressive Memphis Grizzlies (46-26), and 5 games up on the Dallas Mavericks (44-28). The Wolves are in Houston to take on Yao Ming, Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley and the Rockets tonight.
Any Wolves thoughts? Can they hold on to win the Midwest? E-mail me.
In an upset that wasn't really an upset, the 7th ranked Minnesota Gophers women's basketball team defeated the 3rd seed from Boston College, 76-63. Janel McCarville led with 25 points, 15 rebounds, 7 blocks and 4 steals. Lindsay Whalen added 15 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds. But it was more than a two person show. Shannon Bolden added 13 points and Kadidja Andersson chipped in 11. At halftime, the Gophers were clinging to a 30-28 lead. However, using a 12-0 run early in the second half gave them the cushion they needed and were able to carry through the rest of the game. The win means a date Tuesday night against #1 ranked Duke. None of the Gophers wins thusfar in the tournament have been at all surprising. However, if they manage to somehow beat Duke (30-3), I will officially be shocked!
And, the Gophers women's hockey team won the NCAA National Championship last night with a 6-2 win over Harvard.
The Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament continued over the weekend, and the Final Four participants are happily preparing for one more four-team tournament next weekend. I correctly predicted Duke and UConn advancing to the Final Four. If not for a 3-pointer by Oklahoma State's John Lucas with just over six seconds remaining, I would have had St. Joseph's as well. But, it would probably be all for naught, as I had Kentucky winning the whole thing. But, there were some great games, including the aforementioned St Joes/Ok St game. Georgia Tech needed overtime to defeat Kansas. And Duke struggled with Xavier before pulling ahead at the end. UConn continued its domination of its bracket with a blowout win over Alabama. Of course, UConn didn't have to beat any higher than a 6 seed so far. That will change when they meet Duke.
And finally, the NCAA Hockey Tournament update. Well, there were plenty of surprises this weekend. I had Michigan St. beating Minnesota to advance to the Frozen Four. Well, Minnesota-Duluth demolished Michigan St. before dismantling the two-time defending national champion Minnesota. I think the surprise would have to be that the #1 overall ranked University of North Dakota lost to Denver. #1 seeds Boston College and Maine did advance to the Frozen Four. So, see our picks from Friday. Kirk and Tim both had North Dakota winning the title, while my choice, Boston College is still in contention. Here is a quick reminder of our picks.
North Dakota, Michigan St., Maine, Boston College
Frozen Four - North Dakota, Boston College
Champion - Boston College
Kirk Beller's Picks:
North Dakota, Minnesota, Maine, New Hampshire
Frozen Four - North Dakota, New Hampshire
Champion - North Dakota
Tim Slukynsky's Picks:
North Dakota, Minnesota, Maine, Boston College
Frozen Four - North Dakota, Maine
Champions - North Dakota
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK - Part 1
This week, there will actually be dual questions of the week, but both will be similar. On Friday, I will post your thoughts on the upcoming baseball season. It's that time of the year, and predictions need to be made. I will post my thoughts and predictions that day as well. Here are the questions:
1.) Who will win each of the six divisions??
2.) Who will win the AL and NL MVP Awards?
3.) Who will win the AL and NL Cy Young Awards?
4.) Who will win the AL and NL Rookie of the Year Awards?
5.) Name one team that you think will surprise people the most (positively)?
6.) Name on team that you think will be the biggest disappointment the year?
7.) Who will win the AL and NL Batting championships?
8.) Who will win the AL and NL Home Run championships?
9.) Who will lead the AL and NL in Wins/Saves?
10.) Who will play in and win the World Series?
11.) Are there any storylines that are really exciting to you as the season begins? What headlines are you looking forward to reading (Example - Yankees Lose 100, The Boss Fires Himself)
So, I guess that is 11 Questions of the Week. Your responses will be posted on Friday (with you permission, of course), so please, simply send me an e-mail with your answers to the above questions. Be as specific or general as you want to be.
DISCUSSION QUESTION OF THE WEEK - Part 2
The results of Part 2 will be posted next Monday. The Twins will be opening their season next Monday night against Cleveland, so it seems like an appropriate time to talk about the Twins. Please answers these questions by sending me an e-mail.
1.) How will Joe Mauer do in his rookie season?
2.) Who will lead the Twins in (and how many):
a.) Batting Average
b.) Home Runs
d.) Stolen Bases
3.) Who will lead the Twins in (and how many):
4.) Will Jacque Jones stay with the team all season?
5.) Which minor leaguer(s) do you think will have the most impact on the Twins season?
6.) What, in your opinion, is the X-Factor for the Twins this year?
7.) How many games will the Twins win, and what place will that be in the AL Central?
8.) What storylines will you be following throughout the Twins season (example - Rivas Wins HR Title, or Bartlett Replaces Guzman)
There you have it. Eight Twins related questions for you to answer for next Monday. Again, be as specific or general as you'd like. If you want to project the stats for each Twins player, feel free to do so. I will post these thoughts on Monday, so please think about an answer. I can't wait to read your responses, so, e-mail me.
That's it for today. Welcome to the new work week! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Happy Monday and have a great week! If you have any questions or comments, E-mail me.
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