Thursday, April 19, 2007
Twins/Mariners - Game 2
We are back tonight with another in-game blogging experience. I believe that it was 'cmatthewson' that stated in yesterday's comments, this is a "stream of consciousness approach" to blogging. I like that. First, there are a couple of articles that I need to post to, that I forgot to yesterday.
First, check out these articles from the Rochester (MN) newspaper on one of the best Twins sites out there, Twinscards.com! It's actually a two-part article (Part 1 and Part 2). It talks about his site, his being a Twins fan, Twins baseball cards and how this site combines all of that. It's always fun for me to see bloggers and websites get notice and credit in mainstream media!
Speaking of Rochester (MN), Michael Restovich was called up to the Washington Nationals today.
JD Durbin cleared waivers, and will report to Ottawa, the Phillies AAA affiliate.
Let's start today by taking a look at the starting lineups:
2B Luis Castillo
CF Jason Tyner
DH Joe Mauer
RF Michael Cuddyer
1B Justin Morneau
C Mike Redmond
LF Jason Kubel
3B Luis (!) Rodriguez
SS Jason Bartlett
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Jose Vidro
LF Raul Ibanez
1B Richie Sexson
RF Jose Guillen
C Kenji Johjima
SS Yunieski Betancourt
2B Jose Lopez
The pitching matchup is Carlos Silva, who is inexplicably 0-1 with a 0.77 ERA so far, against Felix Hernandez, who has been unhittable so far this year. I have a feeling that tonight is the night that reality sets in for both starters. For Felix, that likely means giving up a run (he can't go all season without allowing a run, right?). For Silva, it means likely a rough outing! But, we shall see.
Maybe Torii Hunter is more hurt than I would have guessed. I thought he would be back in the lineup tonight, but they are giving him a night off with Jason Tyner in center. Joe Mauer gets to DH, and we all remember how he killed the ball as a DH last year. Luis (!) remains in the lineup as well! Same lineup for the Mariners.
By the way, the American Idol vote is coming soon. The bottom three are Sanjaya Malakar, Lakisha Jones and Blake Lewis. Blake should be safe. Maybe the producers will do what they can do to get Sanjaya out! Results coming!
And the results... Well, Blake was deemed Safe, leaving Lakisha and Sanjaya in the bottom three. Sanjaya Malakar is headed home!! Sanjaya is headed home... and a nation rejoices!
Before the game starts, let's take a look at our Minor League Update:
Again, Rochester and New Britain did not play due to inclement weather. Seriously, I want Kevin Slowey to pitch again, soon!
Ft. Myers topped Lakeland 7-4, and Cameron Maybin did not homer. Edward Ovalle was the hitting hero. The OF went 4-4 with a triple. Steve Tolleson and Jeff Christy each went 2-2. Oswaldo Sosa started and gave up two runs on four hits and two walks in five innings. He struck out eight batters. David Shinskie got a blown save and a Win. He gave up two runs on four hits and a walk in his inning. Frank Mata then went 1.2 shutout innings, and Eduardo Morlan picked up his second save by striking out two in the final four outs.
Beloit lost a 3-2 decision to Wisconsin in 11 innings today. The Snappers had just six total hits, Yancarlos Ortiz had two of them (one a double). Adam Hawes started and went six innings. He gave up two runs (1 earned) on three hits and two walks. He struck out five. Robert Delaney came in and threw four perfect innings, striking out four. Adam Revelette took the loss. He got just one out and gave up three hits and a walk for the game winning run.
Top of the 1st - (f you want a reminder of what Felix Hernandez is capable of, click here to see what he did in his first start against the Twins). Luis Castillo led off with a single to left field on a full count pitch. It will be important to make Felix throw a lot of pitches, if possible, because the Mariners should be careful with such a young talent. I say "should" because I don't know if Mike Hargrove may not be that smart. Jason Tyner, on 1-2, singled through the hole between 1st and 2nd. Joe Mauer then walked in a five pitch at bat. (That is 15 pitches already, that is a good thing) The first pitch to Michael Cuddyer was a slider that went about 58 feet for a run-scoring wild pitch. On a 1-2 pitch, Cuddyer put the ball in play, hit a grounder to 2B to score the second run. Great piece of hitting after some rough swings before it. (more on this later) With one out, Justin Morneau came to the plate with a runner on 3B. On a 2-1 pitch, Hernandez came off the mound and called out the trainer. He was taken out of the game after just 24 pitches. I know it helps the Twins chances, but I wanted to watch him pitch!
Jake Woods, a lefty, enters the game. His first pitch, a 3-1 pitch to Morneau, is a ball for a walk (charged to Felix). Mike Redmond reached out and weakly punched a bloop single into right field to score Mauer. Jason Kubel lined a ball into the left centerfield gap that Ichiro made a wonderful running catch on to save a run for out number two. Luis (!) is up, and he worked a walk. Jason Bartlett lined a ball to center and Ichiro made a shoestring catch to end the inning. After all that, the Twins are only up 3-1 with (gulp) Carlos Silva set to take the mound!
Side note - On Michael Cuddyer, I had a nice e-mail exchange with a reader today regarding some of his swings. To summarize the question, I was asked was if Cuddyer could only hit fastballs and if I was worried about that. It was a simple question. Here is my way-too-wordy response that touches on that question and more. Feel free to comment:
I don't think it is that Cuddyer can't hit sliders and breaking pitches. I think the problem is that he appears to be a guess hitter. In other words, he is guessing what the pitcher is going to throw him. In the first at bat. He was likely guessing that one of the first two pitches would be a fastball, so he flailed at those two. By the third pitch, he knew he had looked so bad, so he guessed another slider, and he got it and it was a bad one. In the next at bat, he probably assumed that Weaver would start him out with a fastball after he destroyed the third slider, so he flailed at that one. Then Weaver threw a fastball and he didn't know what to do. Then he got lucky on a tailing 2-seemer that was called a ball. Then he didn't know what to expect, so that slider that sat on the inside corner, he couldn't pull the trigger.
Cuddy is smart... arguably too smart. I don't think he is a 'see-the-ball, hit-the-ball' kind of hitter. He's smart and he tries to think. Sometimes that is good. Sometimes, it makes him look pretty bad.
In the end though, his talent and athleticism and he generally 'just gets it' enough that over the course of the season, he will be very productive.
If you look at a typical lineup. You want two table setters at the top of the order (on-base percentage). You want your best hitter batting third (Definitely Mauer). Traditionally in the 4th spot, you want power, and Cuddyer has that. You're willing to take more strikeouts there because he drives in a lot of runs. I think Morneau could be just fine in the #4 spot as well and fits that description, but I also understand wanting to split up Mauer and Morneau. In the end, the team goal is to score runs and have production. Cuddyer is in a very good spot being between them and in the end, he is more productive. He takes a lot of pitches. You can bat Hunter sixth because he has no conscious. He's up there without a plan. He's the definition of 'see the ball, hit the ball'. So, his spot in the order really doesn't matter, but based on the power numbers (extra base hits) so far, he provides enough protection for Morneau. Also, he can, like last night, make teams pay for walking the MVP to get to him. I personally think Kubel is great and will start showing that more and more. He will be good protection for Hunter. Having Rondell White and Cirillo and other guys back will help that 8th spot in the lineup. And, I think Bartlett will be just fine too.
Another side note (and we're not even to the bottom of the 1st!) - We just found out that Mark Buehrle just no hit Texas. The only base runner was Sammy Sosa, who walked. Buehrle then picked him off. I don't like the guy, but good job!
Bottom of the 1st - Ichiro led off with a rocket right at Jason Bartlett for the first out. Adrian Beltre worked a walk. Jose Vidro then got a grounder to second to start an inning-ending double play.
Top of the 2nd - Luis Castillo flew out easily to left field for the first out. Jason Tyner was hit by an 0-2 fastball. Joe Mauer then walked on six pitches. (This is going to be a late night in the central time zone) On the first pitch to Michael Cuddyer, Tyner and Mauer both took off. I think Tyner was almost to third by the time Johjima caught the ball. With two strikes, Cuddyer bounced the ball over the pitcher. The infield was in, so Tyner got in a rundown. Mauer advanced to third and Cuddyer got to second. Justin Morneau came through with a two-out, two run single to right field to give the Twins a 5-0 lead. Mike Redmond lined out to right to end the half-inning.
If you would like to look elsewhere, here is the Game blog for USS Mariner, a Mariners blog. And of course, you will want to check out what they are talking about during the game over at Stick & Ball Guy's site.
Bottom of the 2nd - Raul Ibanez led off with a ground out to 2B. Richie Sexson then struck out after getting ahead in the count 3-0. He kept the ball right about at the knees. Of course, if he is hitting spots at Sexson's knees, that is about belt high for most other hitters! Ben Broussard is playing RF in place of Jose Guillen who was a late scratch. (Ben BREW-SHARD, as Bert would say!). Broussard struck out as well. Twins 5, Mariners 0.
Top of the 3rd - Jason Kubel flew out to right. (UPDATE - Felix Hernandez left the game for precautionary reasons due to soreness in his elbow. That's not good!) Luis (!) flew out to center. Jason Bartlett flew out to center for the third out.
Bottom of the 3rd - Kenji Johjima blooped a single to left field. Yuniesky Betancourt lined out to 2B. It almost looked as if Castillo was thinking about dropping it. Jose Lopez (the 23 year old who just signed a four year deal with the M's after a good first half last year) grounded into a fielder's choice. Ichiro popped up to left field to end the inning. Twins 5, Mariners 0.
Pat Neshek discusses playing in Seattle, the time difference and the ballpark. Check out his blog!
Top of the 4th - Luis Castillo singled to left to lead off. Jason Tyner then lined a one-hopper to 2B for a 4-6-3 double play. Joe Mauer then struck out.
Bottom of the 4th - Adrian Beltre looked horrible in a three-pitch strikeout. Jose Vidro lined a single to right field. Raul Ibanez flew out to right field on a full count. Richie Sexson strikes out again on a bad check swing.
I hate to say this, but Silva is looking good. he is getting a lot of movement on his fastball/sinker. It is very much reminiscent of 2005. But he has added that changeup and had decent control of it. That is crucial to at least give the hitter a second pitch to think about.
Top of the 5th - Michael Cuddyer was jammed and destroyed his bat. But he was strong enough to muscle it beyond a diving Richie Sexson at 1B. Cuddyer ran hard all the way and with Broussard taking his time getting in, he went to 2B. That was great hustle by Cuddyer, but horrible effort by Broussard. Justin Morneau flew out to left. Mike Redmond lined out to center. Jason Kubel popped out to right field to end the inning.
Bottom of the 5th - Ben Broussard led off with a single up the middle. Kenji Johjima popped up to 1B for the first out. Yunieski Betancourt grounded into a fielder's choice. LUIS (!) made yet another great play on a grounder down the 3B line. The ball took a big hop, he made the play, turned and threw a one-hopper to 1B where Justin Morneau made a great pick to end the inning! LUIS (!) Twins 5, Mariners 0.
Top of the 6th - Luis (!) led off the inning by with a fly out to center. Jason Bartlett grounded out to 3B. Beltre made a play that would have made Luis (!) proud! The other Luis flew out to left field.
Bottom of the 6th - Ichiro led off with a bloop single to left. Adrian Beltre then got a bloop single to center. Ya... Tyner is not a good outfielder. Jose Vidro then popped up to left field for the first out. Raul Ibanez then flew out to the warning track in center. Again, Tyner is anything but a smooth defensive outfielder. Rick Anderson comes to the mound for a visit. After two previous strikeouts, Richie Sexson uncorked a three run homer to bring the Mariners to within two runs. Ben Broussard grounded to a diving/tripping/falling Justin Morneau who flipped to Silva at the bag for the third out. Twins 5, Mariners 3. (It was just a matter of time)
Top of the 7th - George Sherrill is now in the game. The former Northern League lefty played with the Winnipeg Goldeyes back in the day. Jason Tyner led off with a weak grounder back to the pitcher. Joe Mauer lined out to left field. Michael Cuddyer popped up to the catcher on the first pitch.
Seventh Inning Stretch - Thank you to Howard Sinker who, in the comments of his Section 220 blog tonight, said some nice things about this site... and my poker playing ability. I believe that is because last Wednesday, I was able to win a Texas Hold 'Em weekly tournament (32 played, I believe). This week... earlier tonight... I was the first player out. Horrible! I lost on a full house, and two pair and a couple of other bad losses. Oh well. I got home in time for American Idol and the Twins game!!
Bottom of the 7th - Carlos Silva is still in the game. I understand what the thinking by Gardy is here. One - it is the bottom of the order he is facing, and two, if he can do well, he can leave the game on a positive note. Makes some sense, but... the bullpen better be ready. Kenji Johjima "singled" to left. Jason Kubel charged in and tried to make a sliding catch. It was in his glove and I have no idea how he missed it. Yunieski Betancourt popped up to 2B on the first pitch. Jose Lopez then singled to left. Gardy is coming in to bring in Dennys Reyes. Ichiro then slapped a single to left to load the bases. Gardy is back out to bring in another new pitcher. Interesting that it is Matt Guerrier brought into a high leverage situation instead of Jesse Crain (who is still not 100%), Pat Neshek or Juan Rincon. Adrian Beltre struck out on a few inside fastballs followed by a slider on the outside corner just over the plate. That is two outs, in case you - like me - forgot how many outs. Jose Vidro then ripped a liner that Justin Morneau's height helped him to catch. Dougie Baseball wouldn't have made that play! Uffdah! That was nerve-wracking! Twins 5, Mariners 3.
Top of the 8th - Justin Morneau grounded to SS, but Beltre was there because of the shift. Mike Redmond then popped out to right. Jason Kubel struck out.
Bottom of the 8th - Juan Rincon is in to face the 4-5-6 hitters. Raul Ibanez led off with a liner to center. I officially have little confidence in Jason Tyner out there. He just tried to catch a fly ball with two hands. UGGH! Richie Sexson then walked. UGGH! I hate walks! Seriously, let's just say Sexson hit a home run there. The Twins would still be up by a run! Ben Broussard then flew out to center for out number two. Kenji Johjima lined out to short to end the inning. Twins 5, Mariners 3.
Top of the 9th - Luis (!) led off the inning against Julio Mateo. Luis (!) flew out to right. Jason Bartlett flew out to center on the first pitch. The Other Luis popped up incredibly weakly to 3B. Mr. Nathan is on his way in!
Bottom of the 9th - Yunieski Betancourt singled to lead off the inning. On the second 3-2 pitch, it was a rocket to center. Jose Lopez grounded to Castillo for a fielder's choice. Ichiro comes up, and this is scary. On 3-0, Ichiro popped up to 2B. That was huge! Adrian Beltre then grounded up the middle. Jason Bartlett made a diving play but couldn't get it out of his glove to make a play. I don't think he could have recorded an out anywhere anyway. Jose Vidro singled past a diving Justin Morneau to score Jose Lopez. Michael Cuddyer over ran the ball, so the 3B coach sent Adrian Beltre too. Cuddyer's throw went to Luis Castillo who threw home and easily threw out Beltre to end the game. What a weird way to end a game. I mean, if the play was close... maybe. But he was out by a long way! Thank you! Twins 5, Mariners 4.
SUMMARY - a win is a win, right? The Twins got ahead quick and then did nothing the rest of the game, like they had already put it in the Win column. With Silva pitching, you never know. A lot of weird stuff happened in this game, so to come out with a win is a positive!|
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