Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Twins Minor League Notes
American Idol Thoughts
Twins Win! (again)
Good morning everyone! Well, the Twins had to come back, but they finally got Win #2 last night. Brad Radke is 2-0 now! Today, I will post several thoughts on the Twins, Twins bloggers, could-have-been-Twins and more. There will be the minor league game summaries and thought. And of course, there are new American Idol Thoughts that you'll want to read, so let's get into it right away.
Last night, the Twins had Brad Radke on the mound and again fell behind. But just like in Radke's first start, the Twins immediately had a big inning and Radke settled down, and the Twins got their second win of the year. Here are a few thoughts from the game. Feel free to add your own by either e-mailing me, or posting Comments at the bottom of today's page.
So, after work last night, I come home and change, and go wash my car. It needed to be done... about ten days ago... so I did that. Then I came home and spent about 45 minutes on my driveway, trying to make it more drivable. However, when it was 6:30, it was time for me to come in the house because I was all excited to watch even the Twins pregame show last night. So, imagine my disappointment when on Fox Sports Net there was a pre-game show for the Minnesota Wild's final home game of the season. I was fuming! I was sure that the Twins game would not be on and I would have to "watch" it online, on Gameday or something. How upset was I? Let's put it this way... I even did the dishes! I know. Crazy! However, at 7:00, TV 1 turned to American Idol on Fox, and just as that started, the Twins game appeared on Fox Sports Net, so I was again happy!
The pre-game show must have been incredible to see in person, huh? If anyone was there, please leave some comments below, or e-mail me about the events. On TV, we heard Dick Bremer's comments and watched Catherine and Kirby Jr. throw out first pitches to Torii Hunter and Ron Washington. I really like the big 34 in centerfield. I think being there in person, and seeing the video presentations on the big screen would have been neat. It is nice that the Twins are doing so much to honor Kirby Puckett, the greatest Twin.
Brad Radke didn't give up a run in the first inning! That alone is a story. The way he did it was even better. He struck out two hitters. Unfortunately, Radke had his first inning in the second inning. The first batter, Eric Chavez, hit a home run well over the centerfield fence. A Nick Swisher double with the bases loaded increased the lead to 3-0.
I could write this every day, I suppose, but Joe Mauer has the most perfect swing. Combine that with the perfect approach at the plate; that makes a very good hitter! Add in the hustle that allowed him to stretch a single into a double, and you have one of the truly special players. Now consider that he is one of the smartest catchers with the fact that his arm is as strong and accurate as any catcher in baseball.
Remember the other Twins win this year, when Torii Hunter went 4-5 with six RBI? Well, even with his 1-4 and an RBI game last night, he is now 2-23 with 2 RBI in the other six games he has played this year. That would be a nice .087 batting average.
Tony Batista was 2-4 last night. He had the big blow, a three-run homer to cap the Twins six-run 3rd inning. He later had a double. Am I the only one who doesn't know how to feel when Batista succeeds? I mean, if he is in the Twins lineup, I want him to contribute because I want the Twins to win. However, whenever he succeeds, it likely buys more time for him at 3B! It might be a case of a Win-Lose situation!
Joe Nathan was impressive. He was hitting 97 and 98 miles per hour with his fastball. His breaking ball looked sharp and unhittable. He did issue a walk, probably because he looked almost over hyped. But, if he can put that 'stuff' together with a calmer demeanor, he could have his best season yet, which is saying a lot!
Did you see Francisco Liriano come jogging out when his name was announced? That is one long, lanky individual. I still can not get over how easy is delivery is. It is amazing that he can hit 97 mph and not even look like he is throwing hard. Jim Souhan wrote a very nice article on Liriano yesterday. You will want to take a few minutes to read it.
You can find Aaron Gleeman everywhere! He writes his blog, The Hardball Times, and several other internet sites including FoxSports.com. A few weeks ago, he was in Sports Illustrated. Last night, there was a story on him on KSTP news in the Twin Cities. On their site, you can check out the story, or even see the Video. Congratulations again, Aaron!
One of the more interesting concepts that I have found through blogs is that of Win Probability. Every play throughout the entire game affects the chances that the team will win, positively, or negatively. Check out Will Young's Twins site for more and to see who was the team's MVP last night.
By the way, if you happen to go to the Twins games this season, be sure to pick up a Gameday magazine located outside of the Metrodome. The Twins Geek is back and in charge of what goes into the magazine. He is going to incorporate several Twins bloggers in the magazine's pages each month. You should know that in the current issue, you can find an article by our good friend Roger.
The Twins drafted 6-5 righty Matt Morgal out of his Edmond, OK, high school last year in the 18th round. Morgal did not sign and instead is attending Seminole State College, the same school that Eric Gagne, Adam LaRoche, Ryan Franklin and the Twins Lew Ford all played at. In a game last Tuesday, Morgal improved to 4-0 by going 7 innings and giving up just a run while striking out nine. I wonder if the Twins have hopes of signing him after his CC season ends. The team has had very good luck with draft-and-follows in recent years. Of course, the way that Morgal is pitching, he may be pricing himself out of the Twins budget.
14th round pick, 6-8 lefty David Duncan did not sign and instead is pitching at Georgia Tech where he is 2-1 with a 5.57 ERA.
The team's 16th round pick, Yonder Alonso, a catcher from Coral Gables, Florida, is now playing 1B as a freshman for the Miami Hurricanes. He has started all 36 games and is hitting .331/.406/.554 with 11 doubles and six homers.
They used their 17th round pick on Frank Lara, another catcher. However, he chose to go to LSU where he is a backup to their senior starting catcher. He has played in just 14 of the team's games so far, starting seven.
In the 31st round, they took Linton, North Dakota, 6-5 lefty Kyle Carr. Carr decided to go to the University of Minnesota. He has appeared in just eight games (1 start) and in 13.2 innings, he has an 8.56 ERA.
This isn't a Twins note, but something I believe is worthy of mentioning. Alex Belth is the writer behind Bronx Banter, a Yankees-related blog. He recently started writing for CNNSI.com. Belth has been working on a book for the last few years on Curt Flood. It is called Stepping Up: The Story of Curt Flood and His Fight for Baseball Players' Rights. He shared an excerpt of the book over at The Hardball Times yesterday. Be sure to check it out. I have read a lot of what Alex has written and he is truly a great writer.
Finally former Gophers and baseball Hall of Famers Paul Molitor and Dave Winfield were both among the list of players nominated for the College Baseball Hall of Fame. A building will be constructed in Lubbock, Texas. A panel of 80 is taking an initial list (and impressive list) and will cut it down to the finalists by April 26th. Induction will be on July 4th.
Here are the matchups for this week's series against the A's:
Tonight - 7:10 - Esteban Loaiza vs Carlos Silva
Tomorrow - 12:10 - Joe Blanton vs Kyle Lohse
If you have any thoughts on the
Twins season, last night's game, or the rest of the series with the
A's, or anything Twins related, please
send me an e-mail, or
post some Comments down below. Were you at the game last night? What
were your impressions of the pre-game show or anything?
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Erik Lis, Beloit Snappers
SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Matt Garza, Ft. Myers Miracle
Here are the Tuesday night updates for the four Twins full-season affiliates. If you have any thoughts on the Twins system, please e-mail me.
Tuesday - Red Wings 0, Pawtucket 2 – Boof Bonser falls to 1-1 with the loss, but he did not pitch poorly. He gave up two runs in six innings. He walked two and struck out five. Beau Kemp the pitched two scoreless innings. On offense, there wasn't much to tell. Red Sox prospect, lefty Abe Alvarez, started and the Twins managed just two hits. Jason Bartlett and Alex Romero each had a hit. Romero's was a double, but he also had a walk.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Tuesday - Rockcats 3, Portland 7 – Things must be rough right now for Denard Span. I mean, take last night as an example. He went 2-4 with a walk, and his batting average and OPS dropped. Again, the lone negative seems to be his base running as again he was caught stealing. Jason Grove was 2-5, and Doug Deeds knocked his third home run of the young season. It was the first start of the season, and at AA, for Adam Harben, and I am guessing that his nerves got the best of him. He lasted just three innings. He did not do bad, just threw too many pitches. He gave up three hits and walked two, but he also had two wild pitches. He gave up two runs, but just one of them was earned. I look forward to seeing what he can do in start number two. Justin Olson came in in relief and gave up three earned runs in two innings. He allowed two hits and three walks. Tristan Crawford gave up two runs over three innings before Bobby Korecky pitched a perfect inning.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Tuesday - Miracle 7, Tampa 0 – So, how long will Matt Garza be at Ft. Myers before the team promotes him to New Britain? My guess... not too long at all. In his second start of the season, he gave up two hits and no runs in five innings. He walked none and struck out ten! He is just dominating so far. Ryan Callahan went the next two innings and struck out two. Josh Hill did the same thing the last two innings. The offense was led by a few guys. Trevor Plouffe was 2-4 with a walk and an RBI. Garrett Guzman continues his impressive comeback with a 2-5 day. Erold Andrus went 2-4 with a walk.
Tuesday - Snappers 11, Wisconsin 10 (12 innings) – The Snappers are already gaining reputation as a team that will not give up. How many wins have they pulled out in their last at bat already? Last night was no different. The Snappers fell behind in the top of the 12th on a home run, but in the bottom of the 12th, Paul Kelly led off with a single, and then Erik Lis drilled a two run homer to win the game! Lis led the way with a 4-6 day. He also walked and had a double. Dwayne White was 2-5 with a walk and three RBI. Paul Kelly was 2-7. Defensively, it was not a pretty game for the team. Yancarlos Ortiz and Drew Thompson each had two errors, and Lis added one. Kyle Waldrop made his second start of the year. The righty gave up four runs (3 earned) on five hits and a walk, in 5.1 innings. Jose Lugo came in in relief and gave up a hit and two walks without getting an out. Dan Powers came in and allowed an unearned run in 1.2 innings. Next in was David Shinskie. He gave up two hits, but no runs, in an inning. Eduardo Morlan came in for the 9th and allowed a game-tying home run. In his two innings, that was the only hit he gave up, and he struck out four. Yohan Pino pitched the 11th and 12th. He gave up a run and struck out two.
Do you have any further thoughts on any Twins prospects, minor leaguers, or these summaries? I would love any input, or ideas to make it better. Thanks! E-mail me, or also feel free to leave comments below.
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
Last night, the final eight American Idol. performers took to the stage again. Each had to pick a song from Queen, one of the greatest bands of all time! Now, Queen has sung some incredible songs over the years, so it always amazes me when some of the performers pick some random, lesser known song. I can't believe someone didn't sing Another One Bites the Dust or We Are The Champions.
So, how did they do? Well, let's get to some American Idol Analysis.
Bucky Covington - Fat Bottom Girls
It's funny because heading into the Final 12, I thought that Bucky was clearly the worst singer remaining. Yes, even worse than Kevin Covais. But since that time, he has done well enough to remain in the game. Last week was country week, and he advanced. This week, he picked the right song for him and he did well. I'm not going to say he was great because at times his voice gets excessively raspy and he doesn't hit all the notes. However, it was a good song to get noticed to start the show, a spot that is tough to get votes out of. He did well.
Ace Young - We Will Rock You
OK, am I the only person in America that is just annoyed by Ace. The eyes and the glances are just stupid. They're obviously not real. It's like he's trying to be a model on the stage. It can't be real. It looks fake. But anyway, to the song... He picked a good song, a well, known song, and he totally messed it up. In his intro, they showed him trying to tell the band how he wanted it done, and they didn't seem to like his ideas. Well, there is a reason they are in Queen and Ace is a wanna-be! His rendition of the song was horrible, and he sang it horribly. Just not a good night for him.
Kellie Pickler - Bohemian Rhapsody
Speaking of actors... let's talk about Kellie. Bohemian Rhapsody is one of the best songs ever, in my opinion. Was it as popular before Wayne's World? I didn't know if it was a good song choice for Kellie, and her voice though. Vocally, it was not great, maybe not even good. She worked the rocker look, and at times I thought it was good, but for the most part, she was just screaming. Is this another attempt at copying Carrie Underwood? Well, Carrie Underwood worked a rock type because she went with a Heart song and was amazing. Kellie, although she looked good, just is a big act.
Chris Daughtry - Keep On Trying
Was I just crabby tonight, or did they just start with the wrong four performers in the show's first half? I don't. First of all, what was that song? Vocally, he was strong as always, but the song had nothing really to it. I don't know, maybe it is just me, but I really enjoyed listening to Chris the first month or so, but I am officially bored of him at this point. Vocally, he is good. He knows where he fits in, but I am no longer entertained by him in the least. Does that mean he is not good, should be eliminated or won't be successful in music? Of course not, he is what he is and he is very good at what he is. It just means that I will not be purchasing that album!
Katharine McPhee - Who Wants Their Forever
OK, this is what I am talking about! I might have a new favorite to win this competition. Apparently Katharine changed her song choice late. I don't know what her previous song was going to be, I missed that, but she changed to probably the perfect song for her! Vocally, she was absolutely perfect. She wanted a song that she could just stand behind the microphone and sing, so I was worried that it would not be great. Well, she was wonderful. The song had enough range in it, and she was able to show off her amazing voice. I am totally impressed!
Elliott Yamin - Somebody to Love
Two in the row!? When Elliot announced that he was about to sing a song that he had never even heard before this week, I just shook my head and thought "Why would he do that?" Well, he was very good, and he made me like the song. He is not much of a performer. I really don't know what that leg thingy was, but I'm more concerned about his voice. I'm no music expert, but you could just hear that it had to be difficult. There were strange entries into lyrics and varying tempos and a large range, but he really did well. He just excelled last night, and I was very impressed!
Taylor Hicks - Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Could Taylor make it three in a row? He said that he changed songs too, changed to this song. I didn't even know that Queen sang it. But, I figured that an Elvis-song might be just perfect for Taylor. I thought it would allow him to get back to what made him so good in previous weeks. Well, vocally, he was adequate. I think his days are numbered, and they should be. He was a nice story, a guy with a very good voice who at a young age had lots of grey hair and a very true appreciation for music. Like Ace though, the Taylor act has gotten old. "Act" probably isn't the right word, because unlike Ace I believe that Taylor is genuine. I just think that he is probably in his final two or three weeks.
Paris Bennett - The Show Must Go On
I love Paris's voice. That deep, soulful voice is incredible and I think that she picked a good song to accentuate it. However, as good as she was vocally, she picked a bad song for this type of contest. It really didn't allow her to show a lot of range. It relied too much on background vocals. And, what was she wearing? That was terrible! But again, her voice is so strong and so powerful, and I thought that she was very good!
SethSpeaks Ranking of the Top 8 Performances (from last night)
1.) Katharine McPhee
2.) Elliot Yamin
3.) Paris Bennett
4.) Chris Daughtry
5.) Kellie Pickler
6.) Bucky Covington
7.) Taylor Hicks
8.) Ace Young
Who do I think will be eliminated tonight?
Ace Young -The time has come. He may be saved by picking a popular song, but signing a popular song really poorly is not good either. Taylor deserves to go just as much, but it is time to rid this competition of Ace.
Again, for further American Idol thoughts, be sure to check out the fine folks of curlio.com because I know we don't always see or hear things the same way. Any thoughts on my American Idol Thoughts? This is where it gets fun, so if you would like, be sure to debate the merits of your favorite contestants below. Or, if you're shy, send me an e-mail.
Welp, that is it for today. If you have any thoughts, opinions, comments, critiques, or ideas on anything, please e-mail me, or let's get a discussion going in the Comments.|
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