Friday, April 14, 2006
Twins Minor League Notes
Bring out the Brooms...
and Bring on the Yankees
Good morning everyone! Happy Good Friday to everyone! Be sure to watch The Passion of The Christ tonight! Well, I was exhausted last night. I fell asleep at about 8:30, woke up at about 9:45, walked over to the computer, felt dizzy, went to the couch, and decided to just go to bed. So, it is now 5:15 in the morning as I start typing this. I hope I am still able to show off the grammatical skills that I know I am known for!
Remember yesterday, I mentioned that I had bought a month of the mlb.tv package. Well, there are still blackout regulations that it is subject to. In other words, I can not watch Twins games that are televised. Well, yesterday's Twins/A's game was not televised, but it was also blacked out. So, I guess all of the Twins games are blacked out. I was almost assuming that was the case, but I was still holding out some hope.
It would have been a fun game to watch though. I had a feeling that Kyle Lohse was going to pitch well yesterday. I don't know why. However, when he gave up the two-run double to The Big Hurt, Frank Thomas in the top of the 1st, I was a little worried. However, when the Twins came back with a three run bottom half, I was feeling a little better. Lohse settled down and pitched very well for five more innings, not allowing another run to score. The Twins, however, just kept on hitting and won 8-2 to finish the sweep of the Oakland A's. Any time you can win a series, it is a very good thing. However, if you win those first two games, you might as well go for the sweep!
Up next, the Twins get to face off against the offensive juggernaut of the New York Yankees. The Yankees come into the series with a 5-4 record having won four games in a row. Of course, the last three were against the Royals. The Yankees have scored nine or more runs in each of its past four games. Here is a quick look at the standard Yankees lineup with how they did in the three games with the Royals. There is occasional change if Kelly Stinnett catches in place of Jorge Posada, and Miguel Cairo may give Robinson Cano a day off against a lefty.
Johnny Damon CF (4-11 with 2 BB, 5 R, 2B, HR, 5 RBI)
Derek Jeter SS (3-12, 4 R, 3 BB, 4 RBI, game-winning 3 run homer)
Gary Sheffield RF (4-15, 3 R, 5 RBI, HR)
Alex Rodriguez 3B (2-9, 4 BB, 4 R, 2B, SB)
Jason Giambi 1B (5-8, 4 BB, 4 R, 7 RBI, 2 2B, HR)
Hideki Matsui LF (3-10, 3 BB, 3 R, RBI)
Jorge Posada C (3-7, 2 BB, 1 R, 1 RBI)
Robinson Cano 2B (2-8, 1 R, 2 RBI)
Bernie Williams DH (6-13, 3 R, 2 RBI)
In the game Miguel Cairo played, he went 2-4 with a walk, a run, an RBI and a stolen base. When Kelly Stinnett caught a game, he went 1-2 with a walk and a run.
This lineup is impressive, but before the Twins or their fans become intimidated, I should point out that one of the Yankees broadcasters said during the game yesterday that "the Royals and the Twins pitching is not even comparable." Well, the Twins just got their first quality start yesterday, so the Twins pitching so far has not been like the Twins pitching we have grown accustomed to. That said, I do have complete confidence in the pitching staff and expect them to throw well. Now, 'throwing well' against the Yankees may not even translate into a quality start. If Scott Baker can go 6 innings tonight and allow 4 runs, that is not a horrible night against this lineup. The question will become, what can the Twins hitters do against a Yankees pitching staff that, beyond Randy Johnson, who will not pitch in this series, is very suspect.
The Twins lineup did come up with 21 runs in their three game set with the A's. More impressively, it was a consistent offensive output. They scored six, seven and eight runs in their games. That, to me, is important. How did the Twins hitters fare against the A's?
Shannon Stewart LF (5-12, 1 BB, 3 R, 2 RBI, SB)
Luis Castillo 2B (5-11, 1 BB, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2B, SB)
Joe Mauer C (3-7, BB, 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI)
Rondell White DH (1-12, 2 R)
Torii Hunter CF (4-11, BB, 5 R, 3 RBI, 2-HR)
Justin Morneau 1B (2-10, BB, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2-HR)
Tony Batista 3B (5-10, BB, R, 4 RBI, 2B, HR)
Michael Cuddyer RF (2-8, BB, 2 R, RBI, HR)
Juan Castro SS (3-11)
Jason Kubel (1-2, BB)
Nick Punto (2-4, 2B, 3B, 2 R)
Mike Redmond (3-4, 2B, 2 RBI)
So, I think it is fair to say that when your top two guys get on base at a 48% clip, and your third hitter gets on 50% of the time, it is a very good thing! Rondell White is still struggling mightily, but maybe we can all take solace in the fact that in the last couple of games, he has really hit the ball hard a couple of times. I realize that means very little, but it is something. White is a proven hitter who will be fine. I think that he is just trying too hard (and maybe his bat is a little slow yet, but who wants to read about that). Of course, the 5-6-7 hitters picked him up pretty well in the series. When you can get five home runs and 11 RBI, that is a good thing. Batista had a great series with a big game on Friday night. Morneau needs to show that he can do more than just homer, but I'm still not worried about him. And Castro has really started the season out well.
Another point of the series has to be the play of the bench. I know that the Twins bench players will not instill fear in anyone, but they got the job done in the series. Mike Redmond just continues to play remarkable ball when he gets his chances!
Again, this should be a very interesting series. The Yankees bats against the Twins arms. Can the Twins pitching staff hold the Yankees for 4 or less runs? To me, that is the key. The Twins bats are rolling right now. They beat two and a half very quality pitchers for the A's, and the Yankees don't have any great pitchers really. I guess Mike Mussina has always had the Twins number, but even he has struggled the last couple of years. Here are the pitching matchups:
Tonight - 7:10 - Mike Mussina vs Scott Baker
Saturday - 6:10 - Jaret Wright vs Johan Santana
Sunday - 1:10 - Chien-Ming Wang vs Brad Radke
Any thoughts about the Twins, the Yankees, this series or anything baseball, e-mail me.
Just a couple of very quick Twins notes before heading onto the Minor League recaps:
Francisco Liriano came in yesterday to face the A's in the 7th inning. I just happened to be driving back to work from lunch at the time. Herb Carneal, the voice of the Twins for the past 51 or 52 years was introducing the inning. He said, "The Twins will bring in Nelson Liriano..." I cracked up! I mean, Carneal has been messing up names and information a lot in the last couple of years, but I just found that funny. I'm sure that the A's didn't find it funny. Liriano came in and according to John Gordon and Dan Gladden, he was making the A's hitters look silly. In the 7th, he struck out the side on 12 pitches. Each strikeout came on a slider at 90 or 91 mph. In the 8th, he gave up a double to Nick Swisher, who was late on a fastball, but then he struck out two more hitters and got out of the inning. Two innings, five strikeouts. On the season, 6.2 innings, 12 strikeouts! He is amazing!
Of course, the question still becomes, should Liriano be in the starting rotation. My answer is definitely yes. The problem is that right now they can't do it. Liriano has pitched in three games this year, but so far, he has not thrown more than 40 pitches or three innings. To start, a pitcher really should be able to throw 85 pitches and then build up from that. I don't think that Liriano could throw that many pitches right now. The problem is that in the bullpen, he probably wont get a chance to build his arm strength. My suggestion is this... send him down to AAA. I know, that seems ridiculous to do to a guy who has been so dominant in his relief role. However, if he is going to be in the rotation, he needs to work and he needs the innings. I think that the Twins should call up either Dennys Reyes or Jason Miller now and send down Liriano. Francisco should make three, maybe four starts in Rochester, and then immediately come back up to the Twins and be in the rotation. That gives Terry Ryan two to three weeks to make it work. He could trade Kyle Lohse for a shortstop. However, I am now thinking that the Twins should try to deal Carlos Silva. He is so hittable that his long-term potential is less than that of Kyle Lohse's, in my opinion. Price-wise, the two will be pretty equivalent. I also think that the Twins could get a little bit more for Silva than for Lohse. Package him in with a decent prospect and get yourself a really good hitter. Any thoughts?
As you know, I have been critical quite a bit in the past about how the Twins have handled prospects like Michael Cuddyer and Jason Bartlett. My belief is that you stick with them for more than a month or two. You stick with them for a full year, and then replace them only if something far better comes along. I was disappointed when Bartlett was sent down to Rochester because he is a better player than Juan Castro. Now, you might think that the same would hold true for the Jason Kubel situation. From the sounds of it, Ruben Sierra will join the Twins next week at which time Kubel would be sent to Rochester. I am good with that choice. I am of the belief that Kubel is a huge prospect and he needs to play every day. In the A's series, he played just one of the three games. That is wrong, in my estimation. But what is the difference? Well, first, Kubel did miss the entire 2005 season, and he does need at bats. Second, Kubel is far younger than Bartlett. It is fine for him to stay in AAA for a little while longer. As I said before and during spring training, I thought that he and Liriano should both have started the season at Rochester and then been brought up to the Twins in mid-May. The Twins do have Michael Cuddyer and Lew Ford to play RF until Kubel is brought back up. Kubel just has so much potential that it should not rot or rust on the bench.
If you have any thoughts on the
Twins season, or anything Twins related, please
send me an e-mail, or
post some Comments down below.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
SethSpeaks Player of the Day - JR Taylor, New Britain Rockcats
SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - JP Martinez, Ft. Myers Miracle
It was not a good night in the win column for the Twins affiliates. They went 0-4, but again, that's not what I'm about here. It's about the players. So, here are the Thursday night updates for the four Twins full-season affiliates. If you have any thoughts on the Twins system, please e-mail me.
Thursday - Red Wings 0, Pawtucket 5 – A night after their 16 inning game, most of the Red Wings bats came out a little flat last night. The team had eight hits, but both Terry Tiffee and Josh Rabe went 3-4. Mike Smith started on the mound and went four innings. He allowed four runs (3 earned) on five hits and three walks. Jason Miller came in for some extended duty. He went four innings and gave up a run on two hits. He walked none and struck out two.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Thursday - Rockcats 3, New Hampshire 5 – Nick Blackburn had an amazing 2005 season. It isn't starting off as well this year. He fell to 0-2 last night. He went five innings and gave up four runs on seven hits, including two home runs. Chris Schutt came in and allowed a run on a hit and a walk. Tristan Crawford pitched the final inning and struck out two. Matt Tolbert went 2-5 with a double. JR Taylor had a nice day. He was 2-2 with two doubles and two walks. Felix Molina hit a home run. Matt Moses missed his third straight game. Denard Span was 1-4 with a walk to drop his batting average below .500!
FT MYERS MEMOS
Thursday - Miracle 3, Clearwater 4 (20 innings!) – That isn't a typo. It took 20 innings to decide the game. The game lasted just over five hours which is really very amazing considering it was really more than two games put together! For the most part, however, the innings were very quick and there was little offense. Kevin Slowey started and went 6.1 innings. He gave up two runs on five hits. As per usual, he walked none, and he struck out eight. He allowed a third inning solo home run, but nothing else until the seventh when Angel Garcia allowed one of his inherited runners to score. Garcia went 1.2 innings and gave up a run on a hit and two walks. Tim Lahey continues to impress. He went two shutout innings with two strikeouts. JP Martinez went the next four innings and gave up just three hits and a walk while striking out three. Ryan Callahan was next. He too went four innings. He gave up just a hit and two walks. Josh Hill pitched the last two innings. He gave up an unearned run on one hit, but two walks, to take the loss. The Miracle did not have an error until the 20th inning when they had two. On offense, only Brock Peterson had two hits. Ruben Sierra started and played the first half of the game in right field. He went 1-4 before Jeremy Pickrel came in for him. It was a rough night for both Garrett Guzman and Luke Hughes. Both went 0-8!
Thursday - Snappers 2, Burlington 5 – Beloit had a couple of hits, but were not able to bunch them. Dwayne White had a double, and Paul Kelly hit his first homer of the spring. Adam Hawes got the start for the Snappers. He went four innings and gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks. He did strikeout five. Jose Lugo came in and pitched two perfect innings with two strikeouts. David Shinskie went the final two innings only allowing a walk.
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.
Welp, that is it for today and for the week. 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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