Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Monday Night Notes
I've got lots of excuses lately. I did make it home and safely, but I figured that I had better do my taxes. It certainly is getting close to that mid-April deadline, so I had to do that. I feel bad because the readers of this site are the ones who have to suffer for my busy-ness, and I do apologize for that. Hopefully I can start having more time for some quality posts. Until then, it's minor league game notes and thoughts and the encouragement to keep the comments filled with your comments and questions.
Twins Thoughts (Twins 4, White Sox 7)
It isn't going to happen too often, but Pat Neshek had a rough outing yesterday afternoon. In reality, however, it almost wasn't bad at all. He came in with runners on 1st and 3rd, inherited from Matt Guerrier, because a strikeout was needed. He got ahead of Jermaine Dye quickly but then on a pitch off of the plate, Dye reached out and punched it into center for a game-tying single. He then struck AJ Pierzynski out for the second out of the inning. Had Dye not muscled his hit out of the infield, Neshek's job would have been a great success. However, the inning went on an Carlos Quentin singled. Then with the bases loaded, Joe Crede got ahead of the count and hit a long line drive over the left field fence for the grand slam. The line in the box score looks horrible, but it is a great example of how this game of baseball can come down to a matter of inches.
Nick Blackburn did a nice job of sticking with it in his second start. In five innings, he gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks. The problem was that he threw 90 pitches in those innings. As Gardy would say, he battled. That's just too many pitches. He did strike out five, so he continues to strike out more per inning than he had in the minors.
Congratulations to Denard Span on his first big league hit. In two big league games I am quite impressed with his approach at the plate. Although I think those Kenny Lofton comparisons aren't likely to be fulfilled, I also like that Span takes good, solid swings so I can see some doubles and triples in his future. I read what Aaron Gleeman wrote yesterday about how he is not the best option and his numbers certainly don't work as a typical RF. Probably true. However, when I saw that his career OBP was .350. If, and again I say IF, he is able to have a .350 on-base percentage, I really like what Denard Span could bring to a big league team. I really like the idea of Carlos Gomez and Denard Span hitting back to back (Although I admit that nine-one works too). That is a lot of speed. If we've learned one thing from Carlos Gomez so far in his brief career, it is that speed is really fun to watch. Look at the first inning today. Gomez has a bunt single. Span takes a few pitches, allowing Gomez to steal 2B. He then grounds to 2B, moving Gomez to 3B where Joe Mauer knocked him in. Later, after Span's first hit, he proceeded to steal 2B. I fully understand that Span will likely never have an OPS of 700. That doesn't mean he can't be a productive big leaguer. Is he a future all-star? Probably not. Is he capable of matching Jacoby Ellsbury? Maybe not, but they might not be as far off as we want to think. No, my opinion has not changed because he's a great guy who told me he likes this site. My opinion has changed by seeing a bunch of his spring at bats and a couple of games worth of great at bats. He's earned the benefit of the doubt at this point.
Good to see Mike Lamb hit two doubles and drive in two runs. I really liked his signing this offseason and hope he proves me, and more importantly the Twins management, right.
As Kunza pointed out in the comments yesterday, Jason Kubel is hitting everything hard. He has hit a lot of deep fly balls and line drives caught near the gaps. Hopefully they will start falling in (or into the outfield bleachers).
Hey, have we sufficiently pointed out that Gardy has started Nick Punto just once throughout the season's first eight games?
Day off today. I've had a few people ask me why they have the day off mid-series. I think that it is primarily because Monday was the White Sox home opener. Had there been a rain out, they could have had their opener on Tuesday. Of course, the fair question becomes, why not just have Thursday as a day off in case of a rain out... I can't answer that one.
Red Wings Report (Rochester 4, Norfolk 1)
Kevin Mulvey was very impressive in his Twins organization debut. The righty went 5.2 innings and gave up no runs on five hits. He walked one and struck out five. (Note - that is his third straight start in AAA where he hasn't allowed a run... going back to last year.)
Glen Perkins then came in and gave up a run in two innings. He gave up a hit and walked two. I assume that he will be the starter skipped when Francisco Liriano makes his AAA start tonight and that is why he got this work in.
Bobby Korecky recorded his first save of the year. He struck out three in 1.1 innings.
Matt Macri had a double and his second triple in four at bats. Garrett Jones and Randy Ruiz were both 2-4. Ruiz drove in two runs. Brian Buscher went 2-3 with a double and a stolen base.
Miracle Bits (Ft. Myers 4, Dunedin 7)
The Miracle hitters got to face big leaguers Gustavo Chacin, BJ Ryan and Armando Benitez, who are all rehabbing.
Brian Dinkelman went 2-4 with his third double and a walk. Rene Tosoni went 2-4. Wilson Ramos went 1-2 with two walks.
Alex Burnett made his first start of the season, and it didn't go too well. In four innings, he gave up five runs (4 earned) on 12 hits and two walks. He struck out three.
Anthony Slama went two shutout innings, striking out two. Then Matt Fox gave up two runs on four hits and a walk in two innings.
Snappers Snapshot (Beloit 8, Peoria 0)
The Snappers finally got their first win of the year in a big way.
Chris Parmelee finally got his first non-home run hit, a single. Of course, he also belted his third homer of the year in the 2-4 game.
Joe Benson and Steve Singleton, the top two hitters in the lineup, both went 2-5.
This is a big year for Brian Kirwan. The Twins showed a lot of confidence when they gave him a half-million dollars as their 11th round pick a few years ago. He struggled at this level last year, but if his first start of 2008 is any indication, Kirwan could fly up the Twins prospect list. He went 5.2 innings and gave up no runs on just one hit. He walked one and struck out four.
Charles Nolte struck out two in 2.1 shutout innings. Blair Erickson pitched a perfect inning.
Joe Christensen is now reporting that the Twins will consider replacing Kevin Slowey in the rotation with Francisco Liriano as early as Sunday if Slowey experiences pain when he plays catch on Wednesday.
Maybe that Adam Johnson pick wasn't as bad as we thought, at least not relatively speaking... Chase Utley would have been nice though!
Check out Josh Taylor's Down on the Farm AAA Update.
Keep the comments coming and have a good day!