Friday, May 29, 2009
Friday Twins Notes
After losing six games in a row to the Yankees and White Sox, the Twins rolled out wins in five of their next six games. On Thursday afternoon, Anthony Swarzak pitched well through six innings, but Josh Beckett was even better and the Twins fell 3-1 to the Red Sox. Jason Varitek led off the top of the 7th inning with his second home run of the day and that is when things got interesting. Several batters and a couple of pitchers later, Dustin Pedroia flew out to Jason Kubel in RF. Kubel fired a strike to Mike Redmond at the plate and Jeff Bailey was called safe. Replays and slow-motion replays confirmed that the play was indeed incredibly close. Redmond leapt into the air and into the face of the home plate ump and very quickly he was deservedly ejected. Ron Gardenhire came out, and he too was ejected. In the bottom half of the inning, Beckett disagreed with some of the home plate umpire’s pitch calls and vocally demonstrated his disapproval. Varitek, realizing that his pitcher was likely the next to get the boot, turned around toward the home plate ump (something that should generate an ejection) to protect his pitcher and was soon ejected. Soon after, Red Sox manager Terry Francona was thrown out. The Twins fell short 3-1. They will now start at 3 game series against the defending American League champion Tampa Bay Rays. The Twins will trot out Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano and Nick Blackburn against the Rays’ James Shields, David Price and Matt Garza. Here are some more thoughts and Twins topics:
· With Anthony Swarzak pitching so well through two starts, he has created discussion about what the Twins should do when Glen Perkins comes back from the Disabled List after a rehab stint in Rochester. Swarzak could stick around in the bullpen as a long reliever. Perkins could be sent to the ‘pen as well. The Star-Tribune’s Jim Souhan suggests Francisco Liriano be sent to the bullpen to figure out his issues.
· Joe Mauer is off to a great start since his return to the Twins lineup on May 1. Seth Stohs looks at how his career numbers compare to Hall of Fame catchers.
· Doogie Wolfson adds his two cents on Steve Phillips’ crazy comments about Denard Span not really being an ideal leadoff hitter, and that he should be a 7th hitter.
· Nick Nelson talks about the Twins newfound ability to play Big Ball. There is little more frustrating than hearing Dick Bremer wax poetic about the Twins ability and necessity to play small ball. Turns out that a lot of people dig the long ball!
· Seth was joined by Travis Aune of Travis Talks on the MNGameNight.com Minnesota Twins podcast last night. They discussed the homestand, this weekend’s series with the Tampa Bay Rays, the AL Central, and then spent time discussing the Twins full-season minor league affiliates and highlighting some of this year’s surprises in the farm system.
· On his site, Travis has been posting arguments on several Twins topics of interesting. For instance, you can argue for or against regarding Carlos Gomez or Delmon Young, whether Francisco Liriano should go to the minor leagues, whether Aaron Hicks or Ben Revere is the Twins top prospect, whether Rob Delaney or Anthony Slama is the better relief pitching prospect or whether Justin Morneau could win the Triple Crown.
· The Rochester Red Wings scored two runs in the top of the 9th but it wasn’t enough as they lost 8-7 to Durham. Philip Humber started and gave up one run in each of the first four innings. He gave up eight hits and four walks and got the loss. Bobby Keppel came in and gave up three runs over the next three innings. Armando Gabino gave up an unearned run over the final two innings. Jason Pridie, Alexi Casilla, Jose Morales, Dustin Martin and David Winfree each had two hits.
· The New Britain Rockcats got a great start from Matt Fox and beat Trenton 7-2. Fox threw seven shutout innings, allowing five hits and walking none for his fourth win of the season. Jose Lugo and Rob Delaney each worked a scoreless inning. Steve Tolleson hit two doubles in five at bats. Brian Dinkelman added two more hits, and Rene Tosoni drove in three runs.
· It was an ugly game for the Ft. Myers Miracle as they lost 8-3 to Tampa. Carlos Gutierrez started and gave up seven runs in just 3.1 innings. Just one of the runs were earned as the Miracle had eight errors in the game. Two of the errors were on Gutierrez who also walked five hitters. Loek Van Mil made his first appearance of the season and threw two shutout innings in relief. Van Mil suffered the same injury as Twins reliever Pat Neshek. He rested and rehabbed and has not had a set back, so it is great to see him back on the mound. Ben Revere went 2-3 with his 20th stolen base.
· Beloit beat South Bend 4-2 behind a strong start from Bobby Lanigan. The right went seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits. He walked two and struck out five. Joe Testa got his third save by striking out the game’s final batter. Jonathan Waltenbury led the offense, going 3-4 with his seventh double. Angel Morales was 2-4 with his seventh double. Jeff Lanning had two hits, including his second double.