Monday, June 13, 2005
Twins Bloggers Night
Twins Discussion Question
Twins Minor League Report
Good Monday morning! Hope you had a good weekend. Today, we've got some Twins Thoughts, minor league updates and some other thoughts and links. I am working on the next two postings, and I am pretty excited about both of them, so be sure to check back. Tomorrow's, of course, will be all of your responses to the Discussion Question, so be sure to e-mail me your thoughts. Also, I will re-post something I posted on Saturday afternoon regarding a Twins Bloggers night that you should read and participate in if you are able to. Here is that:
TWINS BLOGGERS NIGHT AT THE DOME - JUNE 21
There is a wonderful non-profit organization called Admission Possible. It makes college a possibility for many low-income, motivated students. This is done in four ways: 1.) SAT and ACT preparation; 2.) intensive assistance in preparing college applications; 3.) help in obtaining financial aid and 4.) guidance in transition to college. The program has been incredibly successful already.
The organization is funded through private primarily through private donations. That is where the Twins Bloggers Night comes in. Twins owner Carl Pohlad has agreed to participate in Admission Possible with a gift. The organization receives a picnic, the owner's suite and about as many tickets as needed. I hate to ad-lib and lose anything in translation, so I will use the Twins Geek's words directly:
For $25, each person gets a ticket to the game, admission to the pregame picnic tent (SW corner of the dome, 5-7PM, with hot dogs, chips, soda), and a raffle ticket to sit in the owner's box - with Tony Oliva. He'll also be stopping by the picnic. It's perfect - a great event, with fellow Twins fan(atics), food, a jazz band, a chance to sit in Carl's suite, and every penny goes to a worthy cause.
Since that was posted, they have received more specific information from Admission Possible. First, if you are interested in attending the game and the picnic, etc., click here to order your tickets. I really, really wish I lived closer to the cities so I could be there, but that seven hour one-way drive makes showing up on a Tuesday night a little difficult.
However, for those of you who might want to say hi, I will be at the Twins Autograph Party outside the Dome next Saturday (June 18th) as well as the Twins game that night, a 6:10 game against the San Diego Padres. I have been to the Autograph Party the last two years. It is a fun place to be with plenty of activities. The current players sign autographs as do many former Twins. To obtain autographs requires a $25 autograph card. There are live and silent auctions of some great Twins Memorabilia. All money goes to the Twins Community Fund which does great work throughout the Upper Midwest.
TWINS DISCUSSION QUESTION
Here is a re-run of the Discussion Question. It is time for a new Discussion Question. Again, if you check out the Archives, you will find a number of such questions. From who would make your All-Time Lineup, or which greats you would like to talk to, and more. But this week, the topic turns back to the Minnesota Twins. Here is the first question:
Right now, the Twins are 35-23, 4.5 games behind the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central.
a.) What moves do the Twins need to make to win the division? Trades?
(my current opinion really is that the Twins don't need to do anything. Their record is not only second in the division, but it is second in the American League. They are one of just three teams in all of baseball with a Winning Percentage over .600. But there are places and positions where the Twins can improve. What are those positions, and who are some players that the Twins should be targeting? Feel free to propose a few trades for our readership to think about.
b.) Finally, and maybe most importantly, which Twins minor leaguers would you classify as "Untouchable" ?
PROCESS - OK, the process remains the same for the Discussion Questions. This question is posted today and will be kept up all weekend. I will also post it on Monday. I will then take all of the responses to these questions that I receive and post them on this website on Monday night at 11:30 p.m. So, read and re-read the questions, consider your response, and then be sure to e-mail me before Monday night.
The Twins lost two out of three against the Dodgers down in Chavez Ravine this weekend. The two losses, like most of their losses, were both by one run. Those can be the most frustrating to watch as a fan. There are always situations here and there where you can question a player or the manager. For instance, the Twins had two or three runners in scoring position with less than two outs three times in the middle innings. In each case, the rookie pitcher DJ Houlton was able to get two strikeouts to end the inning. First it was Justin Morneau followed by Torii Hunter to end one inning. The next inning, it was Juan Castro and Brad Radke. That same combination repeated itself a couple of innings later. In each case, it is impossible to blame the two out hitter because you're going to get out. I was more disappointed by Morneau and Castro (twice) in these situations. All you have to do is put the ball in play and you score a run, but they were unable to do that. After the second inning when both Michael Cuddyer and Juan Castro lifted sacrifice flies, I figure it would be a good "Twins do the little things right" day, but clutch performance was pretty non-existent after that. You can also second guess Ron Gardenhire for not pinch hitting for Radke in the 6th inning and two outs. I know that the thought crossed my mind. But, as much as we second guess the manager and the players, we also have to realize that if things turn out differently, they look smarter.
Anyway, here are a few thoughts on the series:
Glenn Williams made his major league debut on Friday night as a pinch hitter. He hit the first pitch up the middle. It hit the pitcher and before the other infielders could react, Williams was past first base with his first hit. He then got a start at 3B on Saturday night. He made all the plays and went 2-4. So, he's now a career .600 hitter.
Hee Seop Choi went into the weekend series hitting .243/.323/.410 with 6 homers. That is an OPS of .733. After his weekend where he went 6-12 with six homers and seven RBI, he is now hitting .263/.335/.532 .That is an OPS of 867. And now the stat-heads will tell us that he is having a good season!
Luis Rodriguez got the start in all three games in the series. He is making all the plays on defense. Also, he was 3-4 with a double on Saturday night. He was 0-2 but successfully dropped down two very good sacrifice bunts. My question is this: Luis Rivas is soon eligible to come off of the Disables List. What do the Twins do? Maybe they can send him to Rochester for a rehab stint? Just release him and eat his contract? Send Rodriguez, or Brent Abernathy or Glenn Williams down again? I know which one I would vote for!
I was happy to see Shannon Stewart pinch hit in the 9th inning on Sunday. It means that he will be 100% and ready to go on Tuesday. If it were more serious, there is no way that they would have let him hit, particularly against Eric Gagne.
The Twins are second in the American League in home runs allowed. Saturday night, Carlos Silva gave up three. On Sunday, Brad Radke gave up four. So, does that really matter? I mean, how much does that matter relative to the fact that the Twins have the best pitching staff in the American League. It basically means that the only way to score against the Twins is via the long ball.
Not even I, one of the biggest Brad Radke apologists, can come up with anything to excuse Choi's third home run. First pitch fastball, right down the middle of the plate. Honestly, I think I could have hit that ball out of the ballpark!
Jesse Crain threw another 2.1 innings of shutout ball. Of course, Juan Rincon threw 1.1 scoreless innings. JC Romero struck out four in his two shutout innings this weekend. Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth for the save on Saturday night, and he struck out two. And yet, it was Terry Mulholland who came into the game in the bottom of the 9th against Choi and gave up the game-winning walk-off homer. It was Mulholland who struck out Choi to end the seventh inning.
The Twins have an off-day today to travel home where they will take on the Bonds-less San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres.
Do you have any thoughts on the Twins, the Yankees or anything baseball. Feel free to e-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Friday - REDWINGS 1, Richmond 3 - Scott Baker pitch well but falls to 2-3. He gave up three runs on six hits and a walk over 7.1 innings. He struck out six. Brent Schoening came in and got the final two outs. Jason Bartlett went 3-4 with his fourth double. Chris Heintz was 1-2 with a walk and his second homer.
Saturday - REDWINGS 5, Indianapolis 13 - Rochester got shelled, so I am going to start with some positive. Luis Maza went 4-5. Jason Tyner was 3-5 with a walk and his 10th stolen base. Jason Bartlett was 2-4 with a walk and his 2nd homer. Kevin West was 2-4 with hit 11th double and his 7th home run. It was a rough start for Dave Gassner. He gave up 8 earned runs on 9 hits and a walk over 4.2 innings. Beau Kemp, Willie Eyre and Travis Bowyer combined for 2.1 shutout innings. Ricky Barrett gave up a run in his 1.1 inning. Brent Schoening gave up four runs on five hits in hit inning. But he did 'strike out the side.'
Sunday - REDWINGS 3, Indianapolis 4 - The Redwings had just six hits. Luis Maza was 2-4 while Jason Tyner and Augie Ojeda each had a double. Boof Bonser started and took the loss. In six innings, he gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks. He struck out a very impressive 13 batters. Henry Bonilla went the next two innings without allowing a run. Travis Bowyer pitched one shutout inning, striking out two.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
Friday - ROCKCATS 2, Trenton 1 - Francisco Liriano picked up his third win of the year. He went six innings and gave up a run on five hits and three walks. He also struck out nine. Jason Miller recorded his third save by pitching three perfect innings with three strikeouts. The Rockcats had just five hits. Danny Matienzo went 2-3 with a walk and his 18th double.
Saturday - ROCKCATS 3, Trenton 7 - Colby Miller came off the Disabled List to make the start. In four innings, he gave up four runs (2 earned) on five hits and two walks. Jim Abbott then pitched the final five innings. He gave up three runs on six hits and a walk. Alex Romero went 2-4 with his 12th double. Ben Pattee was also 2-4. James Tomlin had a triple, and Luis Jimenez hit his 9th home run.
Sunday - Game 1 - ROCKCATS 7, Trenton 3 - Matt Yeatman improved to 2-3 with a 3.29 ERA. He went 5.2 innings and gave up three runs (2 earned) on four hits and a walk. He struck out five. Pat Neshek pitched the final 1.1 innings and didn't allow a run. The Rockcats found a way to score seven runs on just five hits. Doug Deeds was 2-4 with his 20th double and 6th home run. Ben Pattee and Luis Jimenez each hit a double.
Sunday - Game 2 - ROCKCATS 10, Trenton 1 - In the second game, the team got great pitching from Jan Granado and Kevin Cameron. Granado started and went four innings. He gave up a run on four hit. He walked none and struck out four. Cameron came in and gave up just two hits over the final three innings. Tommy Watkins led the offense with a 3-4 day that included his 9th double. Alex Romero went 2-4. So did Ricky Bell who had hit 6th double. James Tomlin was 2-2 with a walk and hit 12th double. Doug Deeds hit his 21st double and drove in two runs.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
Friday - MIRACLE, Tampa - Rained Out
Saturday - Game 1 - MIRACLE 2, Lakeland 3 - It was a Miracle that Ft. Myers was able to get two games in against Lakeland. But fans in attendance got to see some great pitching. In game one, Errol Simonitsch (arguably the Miracle's best pitcher right now) started and went all six innings. He gave up three runs on four hits and two walks while striking out five. Lakeland threw one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, Justin Verlander. He went all seven innings, giving up just two runs on six hits and a walk. The powerful righty also struck out ten. On the season, Verlander is 8-2 with a 1.71 ERA. In 79 innings, he has walked just 18 and struck out 95. Of Ft. Myers' six hits, Denard Span and Matt Moses each had two.
Saturday - Game 2 - MIRACLE 1, Lakeland 2 - Glen Perkins had a great start. He struck out 14 batters in seven innings. He gave up just one run on three hits and a walk. Kyle Geiger and Felix Molina led the offense by going 2-3. However, Jay Sawatski came in for the the inning and gave up an unearned run to take the loss.
Sunday - MIRACLE 1, Lakeland 5 - The Miracle could only muster two hits in this game. Matt Moses and Denard Span had no hits, but Moses drove in Span with the team's lone run of the game. Nick Blackburn started and gave up just four runs on seven hits and a walk in three innings. Tristan Crawford gave up just a hit in two innings. Josh Gray gave up a run on three hits and three walks in two innings before Chris Schutt pitched a scoreless inning.
Friday - SNAPPERS 3, Peoria 6 (11) - Jay Rainville continued his successful run of starts. On this start, Rainville went 6.1 innings and gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out six. Josh Hill came in and pitched 1.1 scoreless innings. Jonathon Martinez gave up an unearned run in his 1.1 innings. Kevin Culpepper gave up three runs in his 1.1 innings including the three run homer to Luis Montanez that ended the game in the 11th. Dwayne White went 2-5 with an RBI. Trevor Plouffe went 2-5 as well. David Winfree hit his 15th double.
Saturday - SNAPPERS 4, Peoria 7 - Deacon Burns went 2-5 with his 19th double. Jeremy Pickrel went 2-4 with his 9th double. Trevor Plouffe went 1-3 with his 4th homer and two RBI. He also committed his 20th error. David Shinskie falls to 0-4 after giving up seven runs on ten hits and three walks. He did strike out five. Evan Meek pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, although he did walk three.
Sunday - SNAPPERS 3, Peoria 1 - Anthony Swarzak bounced back from his first bad start in a long time by pitching another great game. He improved to 7-3 by giving up just a run on three hits over six innings. He walked none and struck out seven. Jose Mijares has been used in about every role in the last couple of weeks. Here he picked up the save by pitching three shutout innings. Trevor Plouffe continued a good weekend. He went 2-4 with his fifth double. Luke Hughes was 2-5. David Winfree went 1-5, but his two run triple was helpful in the win! He also committed his 20th and 21st errors of the season.
I didn't spend too much time online this weekend, but found a few articles worth reading and thought I'd share some of them with you:
OK, Alex Gordon, you're in the super-regional tournament with a small lead in the latter innings. You already hit an impressive home run in the game. You were the #2 overall pick in last week's draft. What could possibly be worth getting kicked out of that game for? OH... because he was drafted by the Royals. Yeah, I can see that being rather upsetting!
Is it just me, or does Cubs OF Jason Dubois look a lot like Michael Restovich?
Did you see the play that Cristian Guzman made to end the Nationals 3-2 with over the Mariners? Even if he's only hitting .185 (which he is), he is very solid defensively. I think that the Twins (and their fans, even me) are realizing now that Juan Castro is the starting shortstop that defense is vital in the middle infield.
Did you see that the Reds sent OF Austin Kearns down to AAA? It's really been nothing but injuries and struggles for Kearns since his impressive big league debut in 2001. Maybe it would be possible for the Twins to acquire him from the Reds without breaking the bank. It is totally worth checking out because Kearns is a power-hitting right-handed hitting outfielder. Now, it may not be anything that the Twins are even interested in right now. I mean, I certainly wouldn't play him ahead of Torii Hunter, Shannon Stewart, Jacque Jones or Lew Ford. However, I can't imagine that more than two of those four guys will be on the roster next year. Add Jason Kubel to the OF mix, and the Twins OF depth would be strong again.
To send down Kearns, the Reds also called up OF Kenny Kelly. The 26 year old Kelly has been a baseball prospect for at least the last six years and is finally getting a call up. He was the QB at Miami for a couple of seasons. Of course, with Ken Griffey, Adam Dunn and Wily Mo Pena, Kelly likely won't get much playing time.
It's Monday, so I'm sure that The Baseball Savant will be posting his data on the team's Pythagorean Numbers.
Frightwig has some very interesting comments on the quotes by Ron Gardenhire and Rick Stelmaszek, and from Torii Hunter and the pampering through injuries of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.
On that note, I am going to call it a day! I hope everyone has a great week! As always, please feel free to e-mail me your thoughts on the Twins, the minor leagues, or anything you would like to discuss.
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