Friday, April 8, 2005
Ready for the Weekend
It's been a big, crazy week, so today, I will keep it quite brief. I am going to do this for a couple of reasons. First, the Twins had a day off yesterday, so there isn't much to talk about. But secondly, I have to encourage everyone to head over to Stick and Ball Guy's site today because I was asked to contribute my thoughts in a second game of Pepper! (Here was my first game) Now, obviously it is a huge honor to be asked to play a game of Pepper with SBG, but I am incredibly proud to be the first two-time Pepper Player. I am extra proud to be following his game of Pepper with Derek Jeter! So, as you know, Pepper is 10 topics in 50 words or less. Those that frequent my site know that I am anything but concise! So, keeping my thoughts on almost any topic to under 50 words is a huge challenge. But SBG kept the topics fun and, I think, interesting and I really think that you will enjoy it. So, check it out here. (Note, SBG is also starting a new contest that you will definitely want to participate in!)
Today, I am going to briefly talk about the Twins home opener tonight and the series against the White Sox. I wish I was able to attend. However...
A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Melissa (Missy) Olson and Greg Lien.
They will be getting married on Saturday. Missy, you will recall, has been an editor, proofreader and publisher on this site since its inception almost two years ago. She has also been a great friend for far longer. You will also remember Missy from our trip to see the Twins Caravan in January! And, she was also the winner this year of our NFL "Expert" Football picks! (OK, she really tied for second, but it makes for better reading if I say she won!
Other than that, I'm just going to post a few links and a few thoughts and call it both a day and a week. Over the weekend, I may start putting up some pictures and the story of the Florida vacation. Please feel free to what is on your mind. E-mail me.
TWINS/WHITE SOX PREVIEW
I don't know about you, but I am excited about the concept of the Twins home opener being against the White Sox. It's like the Red Sox and Yankees opening the season against each other. These two teams legitimately do not like each other. There are a number of the White Sox players that simply are not likeable. Frank Thomas comes to mind. But the White Sox decided to sign AJ Pierzynski this offseason after the Giants released him. AJ is one of the really 'bad' guys in baseball. Yes, he seems great when he is frequently interviewed on Fox Sports Net. He's always good for an interview. But when you read between the lines (if if you're Giants' trainer Stan Conte, you read between the legs) and get the opinions of former teammates with the Giants, he is not a good teammate. When Twins players are asked about AJ, they say things like "That's just AJ being AJ." But again, you can tell what they're really thinking while they slyly smile making it more than obvious what they really thought of him. So, Twins fans, even one less reason to dislike the White Sox!
So the question has to be asked, "Which Twins pitcher will hit AJ with a pitch?" Kyle Lohse pitches Friday. It would be excellent if he drilled him between the numbers in his first at bat. But I don't think that Lohse will be the one to hit him. I think Lohse gives AJ a lot of credit for really helping him about at New Britain the season after he lost almost 20 games there. Well, I also don't think Brad Radke will hit him. His control is too good, so it would be too obvious. That said, if AJ has one of his patented at bats where he gets behind 0-2 swinging at two bad pitches and then fouls off another 10 pitches, don't be surprised if Bradke gets him! And then Sunday night, it will be Johan Santana. It could happen. However, there is one good reason that I don't think it will. I don't think that AJ will play that night. It'd be a lefty-lefty matchup and maybe his third straight game behind the plate. That said, AJ was always a competitor. That has to be said about him. He likely would really love to face a pitcher the caliber of Santana. So, what do I think the answer to that question is? Honestly, I don't think that any Twins pitcher will intentionally hit AJ Pierzynski. It really has been an organizational philosophy for the Twins not to initiate anything like that. They prefer to maintain their calm and just go about their business the right way. That said, the Twins are as willing as anyone to retaliate should anything else happen.
The White Sox made a lot of deals in the offseason. One of them, I will question for a long time. The team sent arguably their best hitter, Carlos Lee, to the Brewers in exchange for the speedy Scott Podsednik and reliever Luis Vizcaino. Now, Podsednik did steal 70 bases and it is clear that in making this deal the Sox are deciding to go from being a slugging team to a speed team. However, Podsednik has to get on base like he did his rookie season (.379), and not like he did last year (.313), if that trade is to become at all fair. The team also signed Pierzynski. They lost RF Magglio Ordonez who, when healthy, was one of the best, most consistent hitters in the American League. They replaced him with the injury-prone Jermaine Dye. The also signed Japanese 2B Tadahito Iguchi and hope for good things from him. The let HR-or-nothing Jose Valentin leave via the free agent market, but are able to slide Juan Uribe over to SS. Last year, he hit 23 homers in 130 games as the team's main second baseman.
Frank Thomas will not play this series, or probably until May. But the White Sox enter the series having won two of three against the Cleveland Indians. They were an inning away from being 3-0, but closer Shingo Takatsu gave up three solo homers in the top of the 9th to tie the game at 5. The Indians then scored six runs in the 11th to get the win. Here are the pitching matchups for the three game set:
Friday - 7:10 - Orlando Hernandez vs. Kyle Lohse
Saturday - 6:10 - Jon Garland vs Brad Radke (0-1, 5.14 ERA, 7 IP, 5 ER, 5 K, 0 BB)
Sunday - 7:05 ON ESPN!!- Mark Buehrle (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 8 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) vs Johan Santana (1-0, 7.20 ERA, 5 IP, 1 BB, 6 K)
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
The Twins minor league report is back. Last night, the Twins minor league affiliates started their 2005 seasons. I will do my best to keep you updated on who does well throughout the team's system. However, I am going to have to figure out how to best do that. So, for today, just be sure to check out the Minor League page of the Dickie Thon Twins Fan Forum. Good days for Josh Rabe (grand slam in a Rochester win) and Anthony Swarzak (6 K/1 BB in 6 innings in a Beloit win). The Ft. Myers Miracle were rained out. Errol Simonitsch will start. Francisco Liriano gave up a run in six innings last night, helping the Rockcats to a win. He struck out six and walked three. Also, be sure to check out the Twins Team Sites links on the left.
Ryan Maus of Twins Chatter recently went with the St. Olaf baseball team to Ft. Myers. While there, he had a chance to interview a St. Olaf alum, Mike Herman. He is the Twins Media and Player Relations Director. Great interview! Very interesting perspective.
I haven't plugged the BrentNet Forums much lately, but there is plenty of fun and interesting stuff going on there including: Favorite Athlete, Twins in 2005, Top 10 Best/Worst Moments in MN Sports, Top 10 Movies of All-Time, and more.
The Baseball Savant continues to be excellent ever time he writes. Yesterday, he talked about Moneyball/Drafting/Organizational Philosophies on players, and I find that stuff so interesting!
Be sure to check out the Black Sox Blog through the Twins/White Sox series.
That's it for today. Have a great day and don't work too hard! If you have and questions or comments or ideas, please feel free to e-mail me!
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