A couple of quick notes before we start:
· At about 12:20 today, Ill be on The Jack Michaels Show on 740 The Fan in Fargo.
· A huge Congratulations to good friend Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN who yesterday was named the Best Sports Talk Radio Host for 2011 by City Pages. Quite an honor! Phil, along with Doogie Wolfson, were the first guys to get me on the radio in the Twin Cities following the release of my first book.
Hey yall, its been awhile since I blogged here, and I feel bad about that. The last two days, I have posted at the StarTribune.com TwinsCentric blog. On Monday, I wrote some random Twins Notes. I wrote about Delmon Youngs improved defense (even before learning that the 2011 UZR numbers had come out and so far he is the #2 defensively left fielder in the league), about Rene Tosoni and Eric Hacker and more. Yesterday, I posted the Joe Mauer Birthday Rap and a Get to Know Em on Eric Hacker.
The Twins got crushed, 11-0, by the Orioles. Michael Cuddyer was 2-3 with a walk. The only other bright spot for the Twins was two shutout innings from Eric Hacker in his first appearance in the big leagues for the Twins and his first for anyone since the three games for the Pirates in 2009. It is definitely one that the Twins need to forget in a hurry.
We knew before the season started that the first twenty games would be incredibly challenging. They started with games against the potent offenses of the Yankees and Blue Jays, and played many games against the AL East. A team with several question marks and areas where they would need to figure things out (middle infield, bullpen) takes a little time to gel. Plus, there were just five home games in the first twenty. In addition to the scheduling difficulties, there have been the injuries and illnesses. Their big offseason acquisition, Tsuyoshi Nishioka was the teams 2B and second hitter for a few games, before breaking his fibula. He will be out for another four to six weeks, at least. Joe Mauer had weak legs, was put on the DL and then they realized he had a virus and was just really sick. He has apparently lost more than ten pounds with this illness. Now Justin Morneau got the flu and he has missed three straight games. On Tuesday, Delmon Young was out with the flu, but more worrisome, some side/rib soreness. When I first read the report that his side was sore, my fear was that it was an oblique injury, and if thats the case, he is going to be out for awhile. The Twins have already called up five players from Rochester. If Young went on the DL, who would come up? Ben Revere? Hes hitting .238. Rene Tosoni? Hes hitting over .300 and probably deserves it, but does the team need another left-handed hitter? Jeff Bailey? He could DH, pinch hit, maybe play some left field (while Jason Kubel plays there more). Add to all that the fact that some people (as happens every year) are off to slow starts, and I think that the Twins are lucky to be 6-11 at this time.
Although there are many reasons for optimism, there are as many (and probably more) question marks now than even before the season. The middle infield lack of depth is going to remain an issue. The bullpen has been changed significantly 15 games into the season, and likely will be altered a few more times throughout the season. Starting pitching remains a question mark, even if the starters that we were worried about have been solid while those with higher expectations have struggled. The bullpen will continue to be a work in progress.
But, Im optimistic, and I will choose to remain so!
SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast Last nights podcast was really full, but it was a lot of fun. I was joined by Scott Povolny, the man behind Twins Train. We talked about Twins topics and he informed us about the two Twins Train trips that are coming up (one to Milwaukee in late June, and one to Chicago in early July). Then we talked to Craig Brown, a Royals blogger at Royals Authority (who also does some work on fantasy baseball for Baseball Prospectus). Finally, I spoke with James Erickson, one of the Original Birthday Boys, the guys behind the Joe Mauer Birthday Rap. It was a very fun show, so hopefully you will enjoy it. Check it out here.
· Nick Nelson looks at the Return on Investment the Twins have had from their high-priced talent in a terrific article.
· NoDak Twins Fan takes a look at how his Top 5 Twins Prospects are faring so far this year.
· Brandon Warne asks a question that is very interesting to me Should the Twins be interested in Brandon Wood (who was DFAd by the Angels yesterday)? Im intrigued. I think I would claim him. The Twins have a 40 man roster spot available. I would then DFA him again, and hope that no one else claims him so the Twins can send him to AAA or AA. Imagine 4-5 years ago if someone would have said that Trevor Plouffe has done more in the big leagues than Brandon Wood. People would have thought you were crazy. But to this point, I think Plouffe has been much more successful in the big leagues which says a lot about Wood.
MINOR LEAGUE UPDATES
Yall, Im so far behind on the minor league updates, so today is going to be very much just highlights from the past few games, just to get caught up. If you ever have any questions on the Twins minor league system, players, etc., please feel free to e-mail me.
SethSpeaks.net Minor League Hitter of the Day and Pitcher of the Day
· Saturday Hitter Brian Dozier, Ft. Myers Miracle Pitcher Bruce Pugh, Ft. Myers Miracle
· Sunday Hitter Rene Tosoni, Rochester Red Wings Pitcher Andy Baldwin, Rochester Red Wings
· Monday Hitter Danny Rams, Ft. Myers Miracle Pitcher Manuel Soliman, Beloit Snappers
· Tuesday Hitter Chris Herrmann, Ft. Myers Miracle Pitcher Anthony Swarzak, Rochester Red Wings
Red Wings Ramblings
Saturday Red Wings Snowed out.
Sunday Red Wings 6, Scranton/Wilkes Barre 3 Andy Baldwin got to face the Yankees again (after giving up ten runs to them a week earlier) and this time it went better. He gave up three runs on four hits in seven innings for the win. Yorman Bazardo and Phil Dumatrait each pitched a scoreless inning. Rene Tosoni had a big game. He was 2-4 with a walk, his fourth doubles, third home run and three RBI. Brian Dinkelman was 3-5 with two stolen bases. Chase Lambin was 2-4 with a walk and his second double. Danny Lehmann went 2-4.
Monday Red Wings Snowed out.
Tuesday Game 1 Red Wings 3 Buffalo 1 Anthony Swarzak gave up one run on four hits and a walk in seven innings for the complete game win. Dustin Martin and Brandon Roberts went 2-3. The Red Wings got four walks in the first inning, and Rene Tosoni hit his fifth double to drive in two runs. The lone run for the Bisons came on a Jason Pridie home run.
Tuesday Game 2 Red Wings 2, Buffalo 0 Ben Revere led off with a single. Trevor Plouffe hit a two run home run (his fourth of the year). The Twins held a 2-0 lead, and that was it for the game. Yorman Bazardo started and threw three shutout innings. He gave up two hits and a walk. Jeff Manship pitched two shutout innings and got the win. Chuck James, Anthony Slama and Phil Dumatrait combined to pitch the sixth and seventh innings.
Rock Cats Report
Saturday Rock Cats Snowed out.
Sunday Rock Cats 6, Portland 11 Liam Hendriks went five innings and four of them were scoreless. He gave up five runs on five hits in the other inning. Brett Jacobson then gave up three runs in two innings. Mike Tarsi threw a scoreless inning, but then Santos Arias gave up three runs on four hits in the ninth. Chris Parmelee went 3-5 with his first home run. Joe Benson was 2-4 with a walk and a triple. Yangervis Solarte hit his fourth and fifth doubles. Steve Singleton had two hits, including his third double. Mark Dolenc went 2-4 with a walk.
Monday Rock Cats 3, New Hampshire 7 David Bromberg started and gave up five runs on seven hits and a walk (and two hit batters) in seven innings. All five runs came in the third inning. Spencer Steedley then gave up two runs on four hits in two innings. He struck out four. Evan Bigley went 2-4 with his second double. Allan de San Miguel hit his second double.
Tuesday Rock Cats Snowed out.
Saturday Miracle 9, Bradenton 6 Brian Dozier was 3-4 with a triple. James Beresford was 3-5 with a double. Nate Hanson went 2-4 with a walk and his second homer. Danny Rams was 2-4 with a walk and his first home run. Aaron Hicks went 2-5. Nick Romero drove in three. Matt Schuld started and gave up four runs (3 earned) on six hits and a walk (and a hit batter) in three innings. Jhon Garcia gave up an unearned run in two scoreless. Shooter Hunt struck out five and walked three in two innings of one unearned run bal. Bruce Pugh recorded his third save with two scoreless innings and three strikeouts.
Sunday Miracle 1, Bradenton 4 Kane Holbrooks gave up three runs (2 earned) in seven innings, but the Miracle bats were quiet. They managed just four hits. The offensive start was Nick Romero who was 0-2 with two walks.
Monday Miracle 6, St. Lucie 4 Dan Osterbrock made his second start and in five innings, he gave up three runs (2 earned) on five hits. Andrew Albers got the win. He gave up a run in 1.1 innings. Jhon Garcia got two outs. Blake Martin pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Danny Rams went 2-3 with a walk and his second double. Nate Hanson went 2-5. Nick Romero, Chris Herrmann and James Beresford each hit a double.
Tuesday Miracle 2, St. Lucie 11 Jason Bay went 4-4 with a walk and two home runs to lead the Mets to the big win. Ryan Mullins started for the Miracle and gave up five runs (4 earned) on six hits in three innings. He gave up both Bay homers. Matt Tone gave up two in his three innings. Shooter Hunt pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts, and no walks. Edgar Ibarra gave up four runs on six hits and a walk in the final inning. Chris Herrmann went 3-4 with his fourth double. Aaron Hicks went 2-5 with his second triple. Nate Hanson went 2-4.
Saturday Snappers, Cedar Rapids Snowed out.
Sunday Game 1 Snappers 3, Cedar Rapids 5 Adrian Salcedo gave up four runs (3 earned) on five hits and four walks in 4.2 innings. Oswaldo Arcia went 2-3 with a walk and his first home run. Danny Ortiz went 2-4 with his second and third doubles. Michael Gonzalez hit his first home run.
Sunday Game 2 - Snappers 9, Cedar Rapids 1 Josmil Pinto went 2-3 with two RBI. Derek McCallum went 2-3. Michael Gonzalez hit his second homer. Jamaal Hawkins got his first Midwest League hit, a double. Andrei Lobanov gave up one run on six hits and a walk in four innings. He struck out five. Martire Garcia struck out three in two scoreless innings. Jose Gonzalez threw a scoreless inning.
Monday Snappers 4, Wisconsin 2 The Snappers entered the 9th inning down 2-0. Lance Ray doubled and scored on a Oswaldo Arcia double. Michael Gonzalez singled in Arcia. Kyle Knudson singled in Gonzalez, and then Andy Leer singled in Knudson. Knudson went 2-4. Manuel Soliman gave up two runs on five hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out seven. Clinton Dempster and Blayne Weller each pitched a scoreless inning. Matt Hauser went 1.2 innings of scoreless relief for the win, and Jose Gonzalez picked up his second save by striking out the games final batter.
Tuesday Snappers Snowed out for Tuesday and Wednesday already!
Feel free to leave your thoughts, questions or comments.