Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Twins Minor League Report
American Idol Thoughts
A Little Bit of This...
Good morning everybody! Just a few quick thoughts, some Twins Thoughts, Twins Minor League thoughts and of course, it is Wednesday which means my American Idol Thoughts! So have a great day and enjoy!
Today, I'm going to go a little backwards. I am going to start with some random links before getting to my standard daily stuff.
So, Britney Spears has finally admitted via her website that she is, in fact, pregnant. Shocking information, isn't it? I mean, I only read about this in US Weekly three weeks ago! Good for her, but I just don't think I like this Kevin Federline guy! She could do better!
Be sure to check out Will Young's Twins page today. He started a series in which he looks at the best Twins to wear each uniform number. It's really interesting. You can make guess who is the best Twins player of all time to wear #14, but what about the best to wear number 4 or number 13? He got the idea from Vikings Underground, which did the same thing with the Vikings players.
Don't forget to enter Stick and Ball Guy's new contest. You can win Twins tickets!!!
The Fargo/Moorhead Redhawks of the independent Northern League are entering their 10th season as an organization. They are allowing fan voting on their website for their all-time team, starting with the first baseman. So, be sure to bookmark their homepage and vote for each position. Just guess who the catcher will be!
Brent of BrentNet went for an interesting drive this weekend! It's pretty funny! If you don't like it, at least you'll get to see a nice map of where Perham is!
The Twins scratched and clawed and although they never had a lead until the last pitch of the game, they found a way to win game one of this series with the Detroit Tigers. There are a few things that I would like to discuss about the game, and none of them will be how nice it will be to not have to hear about how Troy Percival has never given up an earned run to the Twins.
I don't know if you've noticed, but I am a huge fan of Jason Bartlett; have been for about two years. I tried to subtly comment on him being my favorite contender in the shortstop battle in spring. So when he was named the starting shortstop, I was thrilled. The fact the he has produced so far offensively is exciting, although certainly not in any way surprising. Last night, he unloaded on a high fastball and hit a high, towering home run to left field. It was the first home run of his big league career. It is fun to see player's firsts, like that. But don't overlook his impressive walk in the 8th inning that led to scoring the game-tying run.
And, slightly off topic... how impressive was Michael Cuddyer's home run? It was well over 400 feet. And then what did he do in the bottom of the 9th? Laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt. People need to lay off of Michael Cuddyer. Yes, I too am tired of his frequent strikeouts, especially the ones where he goes down looking, but he is a team player. He has been jerked around by the organization for years and has never complained. Now he will show how great he can be!
HERE WE GO, JOE
Joe Mays made his first start since the middle of the 2003 season. He pitched a couple of innings last week, but this was his first start. I started the game charting his pitches, just to get an idea of what he really has at this point. In the first inning, he threw 23 pitches, 13 for strikes. He threw 17 fastballs, 3 curves and 3 changeups. His fastball was consistently between 88 and 91 (although they showed one at 95, which I'm not buying!). It looked like he was getting some good movement on his pitches. He did keep the changeup down. In the second inning, he threw 14 pitches and nine were strikes. He threw 12 fastballs, a change up and a curveball. The fastball was between 86 and 90.
The lone problem that Mays seemed to have was with controlling the strike zone. He was either on, or he would miss his spots by a significant amount. But I believe that will come with more time. It was good start for Mays. The home run ball to Craig Monroe was a pitch that missed its location by about 2 inches. He needs to cut down the walks. But I saw it as a good first start for Mays and has me excited about being a possible #3 starter.
So, is Carlos Silva going to have his torn meniscus removed (and be back after the All-star break) or repaired (and miss the whole year)? Well, as of last night, the team was saying that they may just give him two to three weeks off and re-examine it and he could be pitching by early May. If that is the case, and accurate, that would be great news for the team!
Last night, the Twins decided to put Justin Morneau on the Disabled List because of his concussion, or at least concussion symptoms. He is still dizzy after swinging a bat. So, I do believe this is the right decision for the team, and certainly for Morneau's well-being. It hurts that he won't be able to play for a week or so.
Terry Tiffee was called up to the Twins. He would likely have made the Opening Day roster if not for the team feeling that they needed Corky Miller on the roster. Hopefully Tiffee will be starting at 1B. He played there throughout college and has some in the minor leagues. He even was over there some for the Twins last season. In any case, it is a given that Tiffee would be far better defensively than Matthew LeCroy! (for more on Tiffee, click here)
Joe Nathan and Juan Rincon are absolutely incredible... enough said on them! They're amazing!
But, honestly, did anyone else find the bottom of the 6th and top of the 7th to be incredibly boring to watch... and I'm a die-hard baseball fan. But how many pitching changes should there be? Mike Maroth started the 6th for the Tigers and was replaced by Franklin German, who was replaced by Jamie Walker, who was replaced by Kyle Farnsworth. In the top of the 7th, Terry Mulholland started the inning for the Twins. With a runner on 2nd, he was replaced by Jesse Crain who was replaced by JC Romero. That is five pitching changes in less than one full inning!
I think that's ridiculous. I understand pitching matchups and the like, but I just don't like this at all. Such frequent pitching changes shows now confidence in your pitchers.
The one that bugged me the most was when Jesse Crain was replaced by JC Romero. Crain came in and struck out Brandon Inge. Then on an 0-2 pitch, he absolutely shattered Omar Infante's bat, but it still resulted in a bloop RBI single. And because of it, Gardy decided to go to Romero. There is an argument that it is good to move Carlos Guillen to the right side of the plate, but then Romero pitched the entire next inning. Maybe Gardy has no confidence in Crain. Maybe he was just being strategic. I don't know. I guess it worked out for the Twins!
JONESING ABOUT JACQUE
I learned via Will Young's website yesterday that Jacque Jones is the only player in baseball history with the name Jacque. Interesting!
I learned over the last four or five years that Jacque Jones can not hit lefties. That said, so far this year, he actually has done relatively well. I wanted to make note of a couple of his at bats last night.
In his first at bat, against Mike Maroth, Jones got behind 0-2. Normally that means another flailing swing resulting in a strikeout or a weak grounder. But Jones worked the count, fouled off a couple of pitches and took a seven pitch walk. I thought that was a great at bat. In his next at bat, he hit a hard single against Maroth.
Yes, it is a very small sample size and I really do think that a platoon in RF would be best for the Twins. I love Jones defense, but some offense against lefties would be good! But as long as you see him battling and trying to put together some productive at bats, I don't mind. Plus, the Twins don't have much outfield depth to work with right now.
Here are the pitching matchups for the series at the Metrodome:
Wednesday - 7:10 - Jason Johnson (1-0, 0.00, 0.90) vs Kyle Lohse (0-1, 6.75, 1.50) - NO TV!
Thursday - 7:10 - Nate Robertson (0-0, 1.29, 1.00) vs Brad Radke (0-0, 6.08, 0.83)
Twins Minor League Report
Chris Coste went 2-4 for Scranton/Wilkes Barre to improve his batting average to .455. He hit his second homer of the year and drove in two runs.
Rochester got a great start from Scott Baker last night. After struggling in his first start, Baker went 6 2/3 innings last night and allowed no runs on five hits and a walk. He struck out three. Travis Bowyer got the win though. Kevin West was 2-3 with a double, a walk and an RBI. Garrett Jones was 1-3 with a walk, a homer and 2 RBI. Luis Rodriguez, Michael Ryan and Chris Heintz each went 2-4.
New Britain was rained out.
Ft. Myers took another game from Tampa by a score of 5-4. Although they had just six hits and three walks, the team scored some runs via the long ball. Brock Peterson, Scott Whitrock and Kyle Geiger each hit his first homer of the season. Denard Span was 1-4 with a walk. He stole two bases.
Beloit's game with Kane County last night was postponed by rain.
American Idol Thoughts
Another week of American Idol performances is now past. This week, each of the remaining eight contestants were able to pick any song from the year in which they were born. It is an interesting concept and the performers certainly would have had plenty of quality songs to select from. Also, there were songs from years ranging from 1975 to 1985. So, what did they chose and how did they perform? Here we go:
Nadia Turner - "When I Drew" - Mac Davis, 1977
Vocally, I thought that she was very good. Thought she was way too low a couple of times. Just think that the song was boring. Sounded almost Whitney-esque near the end. I thought she sang well, just a really bad song.
Bo Bice - "Free Bird" - Lynard Skynard, 1975
Now this is an absolutely great song. I just didn't get the feeling that Bo was really into it. Should have been a strong song for him, but it sounded like a really bad karaoke version. I was just not at all impressed.
Anwar Robinson - "I'll Never Love This Way Again" - Dionne Warwick, 1979
Interesting to hear this song with a male voice. He was good, sang good runs, but I did think he started out slow. Came on incredibly strong in the second half, and finally ended with a great final note.
Anthony Federov - "Every Time You Go Away" - Paul Young
Surprisingly, I am actually struggling to find fault with his performance. He was actually very good.
Not surprisingly, this is essentially the same song he has sung most weeks. It is certainly his niche though.
Vonzell Solomon - "Let's Hear It For The Boy" - Denise Williams, 1984
First fun song. Great on-stage presence. She just looked like she was having fun. Vocally I didn't think that she was that great, at least not compared to what she normally does. But people will vote for the song and the fun, so I have to believe that she is safe.
Scott Savol - "She's Gone" - Hall & Oates, 1976
The judges certainly seemed to like it. I thought that he started out terrible. Actually, I thought he was awful during the verses, that it was just too slow and he was flat. During the chorus, he wasn't really bad. Poor, and really unnecessary ending notes. Hall & Oates at least pretended to be impressed.
And, by the way, he needs to just be quiet. When he got some criticism from Simon, he said, "there are millions out there who didn't have the nerve to do this." Dude, you're a loser, and now you've given America every right to vote you out! I hope they do!
Carrie Underwood - "Love is a Battlefield" - Pat Benatar, 1983
Seriously, she's only eight years younger than me. She's 21, that's ok, right? She looked great. She sang great. Excellent song choice. She just seems to understand what her vocal strengths are and picks songs to show it off. She was excellent.
Constantine Maroulis - "Bohemian Rhapsody" - Queen, 1975
It is possible that this is the greatest song of all time, apparently performed the year that I was born. However, I thought his version of it was awful. Some parts he was bad vocally, other parts he was really good. Because it is a great song, and people seem to like him, he will be around. But he totally missed the last notes too.
I will rank the performers from #1 (best) to #11 (worst). In doing that, I would be saying that my choice for who should be eliminated would be number 11.
1.) Anwar Robinson - Yup, he's that good!
2.) Anthony Federov - It literally hurts to rank him this high!
3.) Carrie Underwood - She's incredible.
4.) Vonzell Solomon -
5.) Nadia Turner -
6.) Bo Bice -
7.) Constantine Maroulis -
8.) Scott Savol - Get him out of here!
So, by that, I would have to say that the Bottom Three should be Bo Bice, Constantine Maroulis and Scott Savol. I would then hope that Scott would be the one to depart.
However, if I had to try to predict who the Bottom Three will be, I would guess Anthony, Nadia and Scott.
As always, if you have any thoughts, please e-mail me.
That's it for today. Have a great day! If you have and questions or comments or ideas, please feel free to e-mail me!
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