Friday, April 6, 2007
The Twins had a day off yesterday and tonight they begin a three game series against the 1-2 Chicago White Sox. I like when AJ Pierzynski gets hit by pitches, but on Thursday, he was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the 9th to score the game-winning run and give the Sox their first win of the year. Oh well. Here are the pitching matchups for the series:
Friday night - We get to see one of the most obvious advertising schemes in recent years. The White Sox will begin home night games at 7:11. Guess who sponsors such things? Yes, that's right 7-11. The game will match the Twins Carlos Silva against the White Sox Javier Vazquez. It's funny that we mock the Twins decision to pick up Silva's $4.3 million contract option for 2007. Well, the White Sox gave a three year extension and $33 million to Vazquez, who has not really been good since the first half of 2004. This is one of those games with two bad pitchers that you would expect a 14-12 score in, but it will probably end up being a 2-1 score.
Saturday afternoon - The Twins and Sox meet on Fox, in a regional game. It will pit Sir Sidney Ponson against White Sox rookie John Danks. Danks was one third of the Rangers vaunted DVD Trio that included Thomas Diamond and Edinson Volquez as well. Volquez has been bad. Diamond recently had Tommy John surgery. And although I wish no ill-will on the young lefty, I really hope that Danks' major league debut does not go well. Does that show unnecessary bias? Oh well.
Sunday afternoon - The Twins will send Johan Santana to the mound to face Jose Contreras. Hopefully Contreras will match his season opening performance when he gave up seven earned runs in just one inning. Apparently Ozzie Guillen will be having a sit-down meeting with Contreras before this start to help him mentally. I don't know if he needs help mentally, but if his velocity is really down significantly, he could have extreme confidence, and I don't know if it will really matter. Maybe Guillen is a blog-reader. Apparently he found out that left-handed hitters actually hit better against Santana than righties, so he will likely keep his lefties in the lineup.
I'm hoping for a sweep! But in any series that the Twins send Silva and Ponson, I think winning one of those two games would very much be a positive!
So there is your real quick series preview for the weekend, now let's take a look at some links for you to check out:
John Sickels ran a Crystal Ball for Boof Bonser, and I think Twins fans can be happy with the projections for the next couple of seasons.
Who is the best pitcher: Johan Santana, Rich Harden or Felix Hernandez? (I think the question is a bit silly myself.)
An equally interesting question is who is the best catcher... Joe Mauer or Brian McCann? Depending on what you are looking for, the answer is not as easy as Twins fans likely think it should be.
Jim Mandelaro posts the Rochester Red Wings opening night lineup. It is interesting. Personally, I would probably play Matt Tolbert at SS, and have him bat second behind Alexi Casilla. That would have Denard Span batting 9th. But, I am good with the lineup as is. There is a very veteran middle of the order, although I think that by midseason, Matt Moses will be in the middle of the order too. At least, Twins fans can hope!
I saw this story, but I just overlooked it. And then I went back to it, just to see if it is interesting. Derek Zumsteg did some great work trying to answer the question, Does Francisco Rodriguez cheat? It includes a lot of pictures and it could be very intriguing to see if the league or anyone does anything about this. It will also be interesting to see if Rodriguez has this "stuff" in his next appearance.
Yesterday, Herb Carneal's funeral was held and a lot of Twins dignitaries were in attendance.
Here is a great article on Darin Erstad, the White Sox new CF, and a Jamestown, ND, native.
Want a pair of Jesse Crain's shoes? Check out the new auction at Pat Neshek's site.
Finally, Howard Sinker asks a great question. Would you rather the Twins win the division four times in five years, or win one World Series and not get to the playoffs the other years? I have shared my opinion before and in his Comments, but I would love to hear yours.
WALDROP THROWS NO-HITTER
OK, the title of this section isn't quite accurate. Let me explain. Last night was supposed to be the season opening games for the New Britain Rockcats, Ft. Myers Miracle and Beloit Snappers. But New Britain's game was snowed out, and Beloit's game was colded out (Yes, I realize that is not a real term). Fortunately, neither climatic situation really is a factor in Southeast Florida, so the Miracle traveled up to Sarasota for their season opener.
Kyle Waldrop started for the Miracle and was on his game. He was perfect through the first three innings. Then in the fourth inning, he hit the first batter... and then he hit the second batter. Not an easy situation and when the third batter grounded out to second, the two runners advanced a base each. But that's when Waldrop really bore down. He struck out the next two batters swinging to end the inning. He then started the fifth inning by striking out the first two batters before getting a ground out to end the inning, no hitter intact.
That was the end of the day for Waldrop. Five innings. No hits. No walks. Seven strikeouts. The Twins have a strict rule regarding pitch counts in the minor leagues, especially just coming out of spring training. So, Jay Rainville came into the game in relief, his first appearance since 2005 (he missed all of 2006 after shoulder surgery). Rainville got the first two hitters out on fly balls. He walked the next guy, and a single plus an error gave Sarasota the game's first run. A fielding error by Whit Robbins gave the Miracle a two run deficit. Yohan Pino came in and got the third out. He then struck out a batter in a perfect 7th inning. The line that sticks out the most is about how Pino "has gone 33-5 in his career and can't crack the starting rotation." That's just crazy! Kyle Aselton pitched the 8th inning. He gave up a single, and an intentional walk, but got out of the inning without allowing a run.
As good as Kyle Waldrop was on this night, Sarasota starter Carlos Fisher was up to the challenge. The 6-4 righty gave up three hits and a walk in seven shutout innings for the win. So, the Miracle gave up just two hits in the game. The Reds gave up three, and two of them were by Stephen Tolleson who was the DH.
Looking at the Miracle lineup, it appears that manager Kevin Boles will have plenty of defensive flexibility. Last night, he went with Erik Lis in LF, with Whit Robbins and 1B and Matt Betsill at 3B. Many times, I would guess that we will see Robbins and 3B with Lis at 1B. Betsill can play 1B too. Edward Ovalle will see time in LF. I do think that Eli Tintor will be the every day CF, and Stephen Tolleson will be the primary SS. Toby Gardenhire will likely back up both Tolleson at SS and Juan Portes at 2B. Of course, Portes has played a lot of LF the last couple of years as well. The catching situation is intriguing though too. Three 'college' catchers are on the roster with Jeff Christy, Caleb Moore and Javi Sanchez likely to each spend time DHings too. Well, at least Moore. The pitching staff is very strong and full of potential. This could be a team that will be VERY fun to watch this season.
That is it for today. Feel free to e-mail me or Comment below.|
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