Monday, April 18, 2005
Twins Minor League Report
Good morning and Happy Monday to everyone! I hope everyone had a great weekend, and if the weather was nice that you were able to enjoy some time outside, maybe even playing a game of catch or something! I actually wiped the dust off of my glove and did just that.
It was an interesting weekend in the world of Minnesota sports. Gopher's women's basketball fans out there will be thrilled to hear that Center Janel McCarville was drafted #1 overall by the Charlotte Sting in the WNBA draft on Saturday. The Twins won another series over a divisional foe, this time the Cleveland Indians. Johan Santana won again, his 16th in a row and David Gassner got the win in his major league debut. The Minnesota Timberwolves playoff chances were officially dashed and their mess of a season will thankfully end on Thursday!
So for today, I am just going to touch on the Twins games, and the games of their minor league affiliates, as well as a few final thoughts on the T-Wolves.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me.
Well, as I mentioned above, and if you're reading this site you probably already know, the Twins won 2 out of 3 to the Cleveland Indians this weekend. They used strong pitching both Friday and Saturday nights to squeak out the wins. Sunday they had chances but an unfortunate error and poor pitching in the 8th meant a one-run loss. Overall though, it was a good series for the Twins. I mean, obviously it is a good thing to win a series over a divisional opponent. But, I think it is really important early in the season. Here are a few highlights followed by a few other thoughts:
Friday night - Twins 3, Cleveland 2
Terry Tiffee had two-run single in 2nd inning, Twins had just three total hits. Johan Santana (2 earned runs - on solo homers in the 2nd - in 6 innings. No walks, 10 strikeouts), JC Romero, Juan Rincon, Joe Nathan (3 IP, no runs, one hit, two walks, 3 strikeouts.)
Saturday night - Twins 6, Cleveland 4
The major league debut of David Gassner. He went 6 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs (1 unearned), 1 walk, 1 strikeout). Lew Ford three-run homer in 6th (his 2nd). Torii Hunter three-run homer in 8th (his 3rd). Hunter 3-4, 2 R, 3 RBI. Nathan one-out save.
Sunday afternoon - Twins 1, Cleveland 2
Joe Mays impressive 7 innings. 1 run on 5 hits. No walks. Juan Castro RBI single for lone run. Just five hits. _____________________________________________________________________
1.) Yes, Johan Santana is good. But even he needs help. Friday night, JC Romero, Juan Rincon and Joe Nathan held onto the Twins one-run lead to give Johan his 16th consecutive winning decision.
2.) I mention this during or after every series with the Indians. Why does Bert Blyleven pronounce Ben Broussard's name Ben Bru-SHard? I don't get that! Another one he messes up every time is the Orioles Jerry Hairston. He pronounces his last name Hair-I-ston. The third that I am always noticing was John Mabry who has played for a number of teams in recent years. He pronounces his name May-Berry. How about the SHE-cago White Sox? Again, I just don't get it. But hey, at least he gets Shigetoshi Hasegawa right.
3.) OK, Friday night's game wasn't on TV in the outstate because of FSN North's obligation to the Timberwolves. First, I think that the Minnesota legislatures should pass a law that says, "If Johan Santana is pitching for the Twins, no Minnesota TV should be without coverage!"
4.) So, it wasn't until Saturday when I saw "The Play" that Juan Castro made at 3B in the 9th inning. A ground ball was hit to him. He expected a hop to about his knee. The ball took the worst hop I've seen (in a major league game, I've seen some bad bounces on some bad fields in my time!) and actually bounced over Castro's head. Somehow, Castro had the reflexes to reach back behind his head to make the grab. The throw was the easy part. Castro them made a diving play at third base in the 8th inning of Saturday's game. Now, it was a nice play, but nowhere near as remarkable as Dick Bremer made it sound. However, for the first time, I actually heard myself say, "I really don't mind Castro defensively." Now just take away the two year guarantee on his contract and don't let him bat , especially not second in the lineup, and all will be good.
5.) Jason Bartlett had a tough weekend. He went 0-9 in the series' first two games before getting Sunday's game off. His average is now down, but I'm still not worried. He put together some really good at bats. Torii Hunter gives Bartlett's 10-pitch strikeout in the 7th inning of Saturday's game a lot of credit for his at bat in the 8th when he homered. Those are the types of at bats that show he deserves to not only be a big leaguer, but hit 2nd in a lineup.
6.) Joe Mauer caught both the night game on Friday and the day game on Saturday. When he arrived to the park on Sunday, he was not in the lineup. But there were no problems with his knee. This may not seem worthy of its own bullet point, but it does lead me to my point. Mauer has shown himself, and his knee in particular, to be at 100% That signals to me that when Justin Morneau is able to come off of the Disabled List, Corky Miller, and not Terry Tiffee, should be sent to Rochester. I believe that Miller is out of options, so could be claimed by any team. That's fine. I mean, he was 1-39 last year with the Reds before they released him. He doesn't have a hit yet with the Twins. He is also taking at bats away from the actual backup catcher, Mike Redmond, who has shown that he can actually hit too. Miller is taking at bats from Redmond, and wasting a roster spot that Tiffee deserves.
7.) Joe Mays threw just 72 pitches in 7 innings. That is the Joe Mays of old, when he was successful. He isn't going to strike out a lot of hitters, but will get a lot of quick outs, much like Carlos Silva. He used to remind me a little of Greg Maddux on the mound in his demeanor. He is fairly quite, but you can tell on close pitches that are called balls that he gets upset. The thing that most reminds me of Maddux, however, is that fastball that he starts inside to a lefty and it runs back over the inside corner of the plate. That has to be a touch pitch to hit. Also like Silva, Mays said that about 62 or his 72 pitches were fastballs. With that kind of movement, he can be successful!
8.) And finally, some of my thoughts on David Gassner. First, as I mentioned last week, I completely agreed that he deserved this opportunity to start based on what he did at Rochester in 2004 and this spring. Seeing him pitch in a regular season game showed a lot about him. First, I doubt that his fastball even hits 88 on the radar gun. But that is generally overrated anyway. A lot of guys can throw 95 and get lit up. Gassner spots his fastball well on the corners. But he also throws a big curveball and an excellent change up. I don't know if he throws a slider or just a cut fastball, but in all, Gassner has four pitches that he seems to have confidence throwing at any time. He and Mauer worked very well on the Indians hitters. I did track his pitches through the first four innings. I was really hoping to get the speeds, but that wasn't shown on TV. Here are the thoughts I had following his first four innings:
1st Inning (1-2-3 inning) - Gassner fully admits that location is the key to his success. He hit the corners on his fastball. When he was ahead in the count, he missed off the plate. He showed a good slow curveball and a changeup. The changeup that he threw Travis Hafner to strike him out to end the innings was beautiful. 15 pitches (9 fastballs, 3 curves, 3 changeups) (11 strikes, 4 balls)
2nd Inning (Boone reached on Punto's error. Hernandez homered) - Continued to get ahead of hitters by hitting spots. Unfortunately had to pitch from the set against Hernandez because of the error. The 3-1 changeup to him was just belt high, right over the middle of the plate. 19 pitches (13 fastballs, 5 changeups, 1 curve) (13 strikes, 6 balls)
3rd Inning (weak singles by Crisp and Hafner, but no runs) - Again, throwing strikes. Crisp's single was past a diving Cuddyer and Bartlett actually slid to stop it. Hafner's single was a bleeder down the LF line. I do have to admit though that the Umpire is being rather liberal with the strike zone, for both pitchers. 9 pitches (7 fastballs, 2 curves) (7 strikes, 2 balls)
4th Inning (Walked Ludwick, but no damage) - Actually struggled with the strike zone for about eight pitches. Fortunately he was wild out of the strikezone rather than in it. With Ludwick on first base, he did show his pick off move. It actually didn't seem like much special, but he was able to pick his off after a number of tries. 14 pitches (5 fastballs, 6 curves, 3 changeups) (8 strikes, 6 balls)
Those are just some of my random thoughts on the Twins and their Cleveland series. What are you thoughts? E-mail me.
The Twins now travel to Chicago to take on the White Sox in just a two game series. Here are the pitching matchups:
Monday - 7:05 - Kyle Lohse (1-1, 6.17, 1.46, .319) vs Jose Contreras (0-0, 3.55, 1.26, .196)
Tuesday - 7:05 - Brad Radke (1-2, 5.59, 0.93, .233) vs Orlando Hernandez (1-1, 3.75, 1.50, .292)
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Saturday - Game 1 - REDWINGS 4, Ottawa 5 - JD Durbin started for the Redwings and lasted just 4 1/3 innings. He gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out just one. Willie Eyre pitched the next 1 2/3 innings without a blemish. But, Beau Kemp blew the save. He got two outs, but gave up three runs on four hits and a walk. Offensively, the team was only able to muster six hits. Glenn Williams had a double and 2 RBI.
Saturday - Game 2 - REDWINGS 7, Ottawa 5 - Henry Bonilla picked up his first win of the year. The righty went 6 innings and gave up five runs on eight hits and three walks (just two strikeouts). Travis Bowyer got the save by pitching a scoreless seventh frame. He gave up two hits and walked none, but struck out one. Luis Rodriguez went 2-3 with a double, a walk and an RBI. Brent Abernathy had two doubles in four at bats. Josh Rabe was 2-3 with a double and two RBI. Kevin West was 2-3. Glenn Williams went 1-3 with his first homer in the Twins organization.
Sunday - REDWINGS 4, Ottawa 9 -Scott Baker made another start. He went 5 innings and gave up just one run on four hits and three walks (with 2 strikeouts). His season ERA is now down to 2.77. Brian Wolfe came in and was lit up. In 1 1/3 innings, he gave up six runs (4 earned) on seven hits. He walked none and struck out one. Trey Hodges gave up two more runs in his 1 2/3 innings.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
Friday - ROCKCATS 1, Harrisburg 0 - Colby Miller was the man. He started and went seven shutout innings. He gave up four hits and a walk, but struck out three. Kevin Cameron pitched the next 1 2/3 innings and allowed no runs despite a walk and a hit. Thomas got the win by pitching the final 2 1/3 innings. He gave up just one walk. On offense, Selwin Langaigne, the DH, went 3-5.
Saturday - ROCKCATS 6, Harrisburg 7 - Luis Maza may have broken out of his slump. He went 3-5 with a walk, scored four runs and hit his first homer of the year. Selwin Langaigne went 3-4 with a walk, a double and 3 RBI. Bryan Kennedy went 2-5 with an RBI. Tommy Watkins had two doubles in six at bats. Levale Speigner started and went 5 2/3 innings. He gave up two runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out five. Jason Miller got the next four batters out, with two strikeouts. Ricky Barrett gave up three unearned runs on a hit and two walks. But he did strike out the two guys that he got out. Pat Neshek gave up a solo homer in his one inning. Jeff Randazzo took the loss when he gave up a run in the 11th, the third inning of his day.
Sunday - MIRACLE 7, Harrisburg 5 - Matt Yeatman got the win by pitching five innings and giving up just one run. He allowed two hits, but did walk four. Thomas went the next 3 2/3 innings and gave up four unearned runs on four hits and a walk. He struck out three. Kevin Cameron came in and struck out the final batter. Doug Deeds went 3-5 with a double and an RBI. James Tomlin went 2-4 with a walk and a double. Luis Maza was 2-4 with two doubles and a walk. Danny Matienzo went 2-4 with 3 RBI. Selwin Langainge finished his incredible weekend by going 2-4 with a double and a walk. Alex Romero was 2-5 with two RBI.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
Friday - MIRACLE 2, Dunedin 1 - Adam Harben started and went just three innings. He gave up three runs (2 earned) on four hits and four walks. He did strike out five. Chris Schutt came in and pitched the next three innings. He didn't allow a run or walk a batter and struck out six. Peter Tautor went 1 2/3 innings and gave up an unearned run on one hit but three walks. Jay Sawatski got the final four outs, striking out one. Not much to report on offense. Chris Tolbert and Scott Whitrock each hit a double.
Saturday - MIRACLE 2, Dunedin 1 - Ft. Myers had just four hits, none for extra-bases. But Matt Moses and Tarrence Patterson each drove in a run and it was enough for a win. Nick Blackburn started and got the win, his second in two decisions. He went six innings and gave up just one run on four hits. He didn't walk a batter and struck out three. Jan Granado pitched two scoreless innings and Jay Sawatski picked up his first save of the season with on scoreless inning.
Sunday - MIRACLE - No Game scheduled, Travel Day.
Friday - SNAPPERS 4, Lansing 6 - Alexander Smit has struggled in his first two starts of the season. Friday, he gave up just one run in the first four innings. But then came the fifth and he got just one out. In all, he went 4 1/3 innings and allowed five runs (4 earned) on seven hits and a walk. He struck out three. His ERA on the season is a robust 16.20. Kevin Culpepper gave up one run in his 2 2/3 innings. Steven Duguay pitched the final two frames without allowing a run. The offense had just seven hits and no one had more than one. David Winfree hit his fifth double and Mitchell Zamojc hit his third and knocked in two runs.
Saturday - SNAPPERS 14, Beloit 6 - This game, the Snappers brought their bats! Paul Rutgers went 4-5 with and RBI double. Luke Hughes went 3-5 with his first homer and 2 RBI. Jeremy Pickrell went 3-4 with a triple and his first homer. Deacon Burns was 2-4 with his first homer, 2 RBI and a walk. Mitchell Zamojc was 2-4 with his first homer. David Winfree was 1-5, but the one was his second homer on the season. Javy Sanchez went 2-3 with two walks. Angel Garcia got the start and went just two innings. He struck out four and allowed no runs on a hit an a walk. (You remember, Garcia was the first overall pick of the Rule V draft, but was returned by the Devil Rays.) Evan Meek came in and gave up five runs in his two innings. He allowed three hits and three walks, striking out just two. Kyle Aselton got the win. He pitched two innings without giving up a run on two hits and a walk. He struck out three. Jonathon Martinez recorded his third save with 3 innings of one-run ball. He allowed a hit, but didn't walk anyone.
Sunday - SNAPPERS 2, Lansing 3 - The Snappers had just seven hits again, and no one had a multi-hit game. Trevor Plouffe, Deacon Burns and Tarrence Patterson each had a double. Carlos Silva made his rehab start in Beloit and it was successful. He went five innings. He gave up one run, on a solo home run, and four other hits. He walked none and struck out three. John Williams took the loss. He gave up two runs on four hits in his two innings. William Pettit gave up just a single in his two innings.
WOLVES, AND WALLY?, OUT
The Memphis Grizzlies were trying their best to put the Wolves in the playoffs. However, with the Wolves loss to the Seattle Supersonics yesterday, their playoff chances were officially eliminated. Based on the expectations following last year's run to the Western Conference Finals, this has to be the most disappointing Timberwolves season to date. I don't care about all of those years before they even made the playoffs. This team was expected to contend for a title, not contend for the 8th playoff position.
So much of the expectations came from the fact that the team was primarily kept intact. Kevin Garnett continued to be Superman. And Wally Szczerbiak is a contender for 6th man of the year because he was vital, contributed and had enough team concept in him to move to the bench thinking it would help. Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell apparently were one-hit wonders with the Wolves as Sprewell was relegated to being the 4th or 5th scoring option many times and Cassell just didn't have the magic in him and was hurt much of the season. Trenton Hassell's one quality was his defense, and even that wasn't as good this year. Troy Hudson came in as an offensive spark, but he was not good at all and even more inconsistent than would be expected.
It was just an incredibly frustrating season. Flip Saunders took the fall for it as he was fired. Ironically, he was fired by the guy who should have been let go, Kevin McHale. McHale is the one who kept the team intact. McHale is the one who said no to getting Jason Kidd. McHale took over as the head coach and it just didn't even help.
I think this team needs to start over. I think the Kevin Garnett and Wally Szczerbiak should be the centerpieces of the organization. We know that Latrell Sprewell will be gone via free agency. Maybe they can work a sign-and-trade deal with him. I would hope that Sam Cassell could fetch a decent player, although, that would also be an addition by subtraction. The Troy Hudson and Trenton Hassell re-signings that seemed so smart in the offseason have now created an albatross that would be nice to be removed, kind of like The Kandi Man.
And now Wally Szczerbiak is being quoted as welcoming a trade. First, he has been involved in trade rumors since he came to the team. I think trading him would be ridiculous unless you were able to get an All-Star player for him. Secondly, his quotes were said after the game, after yet another loss. What he did say that I really liked is that he wants a change, and with the need to sign a new coach, maybe that is enough change for him to want to stay. So, take Wally's quotes as they are, but don't make too much of them.
Again, the Wolves season was pathetic. Kevin Garnett will likely take a lot of heat and that is ridiculous. It will be an interesting (and long) offseason for the Wolves. Should be fun to follow. Hey, it'll even be worth watching the Draft Lottery. Maybe the team can get lucky and get the #1 pick. Andrew Bogut anyone?
Any thoughts? E-mail me.
On that note, I am going to call it a day. Thanks again for stopping by this site. If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me.
Back to Archives Home