Thursday, April 22, 2010
After an eight hour work day, I had a fun-filled seven hour drive back to the Twin Cities last night. I got home about 11:15, so today’s blog is not going to be terribly long. But hopefully you will still find value in coming here today. The nice thing was that at least I had a Twins game to listen to. And hey, I get to go to the game today!! After being to the ballpark three other times, this will be my first Twins regular season game in Target Field.
From the sounds of it, the Twins 6-0 would have been a very good game to watch. Francisco Liriano continues to impress. In this game, he went eight shutout innings. He had just six strikeouts, but he gave up just six hits and walked two. He continued to pile up a lot of ground balls. It was an easy decision to take him out of the game after the eighth inning and 102 pitches thrown. On the offensive side of the ball, the Twins were able to work six more walks, something that has definitely become a big part of their game. I think that trend started happening last year and has clearly carried into this year. That will help the Twins over the course of the year. The more they can get the starting pitcher out early, the better during series. After two walks in the 2nd inning, Brendan Harris singled in one run. After a wild pitch, Denard Span single in two more runs. With Liriano on the mound, that wound up being enough. However, Michael Cuddyer added a solo home run and a two run triple later in the game to add some insurance, which is always a good thing.
The Twins offense is scoring a lot of runs despite not hitting well with Runners in Scoring Position. We all know that those averages will even out over time. But I think Twins fans also need to recognize that it will be a rare occurrence when all eight or nine Twins hitters are all hitting at the same time. The strength of having a strong lineup 1-8 is that you’ve got two or three more hitters who can be hot. There will be hot and cold hitters, but the more good hitters and on-base guys you have, the more likely you have longer innings. It only makes sense. If you have five good hitters, and know that only two or three of them will be hitting very well at any time, you won’t score a lot of runs. However, if you have eight good hitters, maybe five of them are hitting, or maybe three of them are hitting.
As for Target Field, it certainly appears to be playing very fairly so far. It looks like a pitcher’s park, which is great to see. Yes, the Twins will lose out on some home runs, but their pitchers could be spared a lot of home runs. Maybe when it gets warmer, it will change and turn into a hitter’s ballpark (I expect this to some degree), but it will be for both teams. So, how the ballpark plays is what it is, and it is the same way for both teams.
The Twins have won their first five series now after winning the first two games of this three game series. An afternoon game today means an opportunity for their first sweep. I happen to think that Drew Butera should play in place of Joe Mauer behind the plate. I like that Mauer wants to play every day. I want him to want to play every day. But as a catcher, that should not happen. It’s April, and we have to want him to play in 150 games throughout the season, not be shot by June. That said, the Twins also talked about giving Justin Morneau more time off. Alexi Casilla is yet to make a start, and since both JJ Hardy and Orlando Hudson have played every game, I expect Casilla will start for one of them. The lineup I would like to see on Thursday afternoon would be:
Denard Span (CF), Alexi Casilla (2B), Delmon Young (LF), Justin Morneau (1B), Michael Cuddyer (RF), Jim Thome (DH), JJ Hardy (SS), Brendan Harris (3B), Drew Butera (C ). \
Now some may say that by going with a lineup like this, you are giving Cleveland the third game. I completely disagree. First, I do believe that players need days off, but secondly, there are still seven regulars in this lineup. You have your best pitcher on the mound and a solid defense. There is no reason that this lineup can’t still win. Does it mean they will? Who knows, but there is no reason to believe they can’t.
FANTASY TRANSACTION ANALYSIS
Alright, made a trade in a fantasy baseball league yesterday and I need some opinions on it. I won’t say here which side of the deal I was so your opinion isn’t biases.
· Team A Gets: Ryan Zimmerman, Freddy Garcia
· Team B Gets: Kevin Slowey, Neftali Feliz, Colby Rasmus
Who wins that deal?
Please feel free to leave your comments here.
SethSpeaks Wednesday Minor League Hitter of the Day – Danny Rams – Beloit Snappers
SethSpeaks Wednesday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Jeff Manship – Rochester Red Wings
Red Wings Report
Wednesday – Rochester 6, Buffalo 1 – Jeff Manship told me yesterday that his arm was feeling really good. It showed last night as he threw six shutout innings for his first win of the season. He gave up just four hits and no walks. Matt Fox came in and gave up one run on three hits in two innings. Kyle Waldrop pitched a scoreless ninth frame. Trevor Plouffe led the offense on this day. He went 3-4 with a triple and his second home run. Wilson Ramos was 2-3 with a walk and his second home run. Jason Repko was 2-3 with a double. Matt Tolbert was 2-4.
New Britain Notes
Wednesday – New Britain 4, Richmond 5 – Michael McCardell started for the Rockcats and gave up three runs on ten hits. He walked none and struck out just one. Cole Devries pitched a scoreless seventh inning, but he gave up two runs with just one out in the 8th inning. Chris Province came in and got the final two outs. Yancarlos Ortiz and Steve Singleton each went 2-4. Whit Robbins and Estarlin de Los Santos each went 2-4 with a walk. Ben Revere was 2-5. Danny Lehmann went 1-3 with a walk.
Wednesday – Ft. Myers 4, Charlotte 2 – Chris Herrmann, Michael Harrington and Deibinson Romero were all 2-4 in the Miracle win. Ramon Santana hit a big two run double. Bobby Lanigan pitched well again. The righty allowed just one run on seven hits and a walk in 6.2 innings. Tony Davis got the next five outs, but gave up just one run. Billy Bullock picked up his second save by getting the final two outs.
Wednesday – Beloit 9, Quad Cities 10 – The Snappers tried but were able to come back from a 7-0 deficit after just two innings, but fell late for the loss. Brad Stillings gave up eight runs (just 3 earned) on 10 hits and two walks in 3.1 innings. Edgar Ibarra threw 2.2 scoreless innings, striking out four. Peter Kennelly took the loss giving up two runs in 2.2 innings. Steve Blevins got the final out. Danny Rams was 3-5 with two doubles. Steve Liddle was 3-5 with one double. Angel Morales was 2-4 with a double. Wang-Wei Lin was 2-4 with a walk.
Any thoughts on the Twins or their minor league system? Leave your comments here.