Wednesday June 16, 2004
TWINS MASH MONTREAL
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
TWINS WIN and RANDOM THOUGHTS
You probably noticed, but I am trying out this new format on this site. I will start with just some random, quick thoughts on sports, the Twins, TV, movies, anything. Then I will get to the Twins and their minor leagues. I am curious as to what you think of this. Is the format OK? What would you prefer? Please e-mail me and let me know what you think.
Good morning! Happy Hump Day to everyone! I spent a couple more hours answering your e-mails last night. That is fun! There are a lot of readers who are far better writers than me and should have their own websites. I love the in-depth conversations that we can have. So as always, if you have any questions or comments or any ideas for future topics, please e-mail me.
"We Goin' Shock the World!!" And they did! Last night, the Detroit Pistons ended the assumed championship run of the Los Angeles Lakers. They didn't just win, they absolutely dominated the Lakers. The final 100-87 score doesn't even come close to showing how much the Pistons out-played the Lakes. They were ahead by as many as 27 points in the 4th quarter. Former Timberwolves guard Chauncey Billups was named the Championship Series MVP award after scoring over 21 points and dishing out 5 assists a game.
The Pistons are a team. Billups can score, but he's a good point guard. They have scorers in Tayshaun Prince, Rip Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace. They have rebounders and shot blockers in Rasheed and Ben Wallace. They have a deep bench, and Larry Brown is a great coach. That said, Joe Dumars deserves a lot of credit. But I think that Rick Carlisle deserves a lot of credit too.
Unfortunately, most people will say "What happened to the Lakers?" instead of "Wow! That Pistons team is pretty good!" I really think that the Karl Malone injury hurt any chance the Lakers had to win the series. His strength, rebounding, passing and defense are still incredible. It will be interesting to see if he comes back next season. It will be interesting to see what happens with Gary Payton and Kobe Bryant. Payton will likely opt-out of his contract. Kobe is a free agent and will probably have a few offers. That is, of course, assuming that he is acquitted of all of his charges.
I wrote a lot last year about The Joe Schmo Show. It is Spike TV's effort at a Reality TV show. Last season, they had one person think that he was in a competition for $100,000. Fact is, the rest of the competitors were all actors and the trick was on "Joe". This season, in Joe Schmo 2, there are two people who don't know that they are the stars of the show. This show is a spoof on the Find Love types of Reality shows. There is both a Bachelor and a Bachelorette. There are men competing for the affection of the Bachelorette, including the Schmo, Tim. There are also women competing for the Bachelor, including "Jane" Schmo, Ingrid. Those who have read this site for awhile know that I really like Reality TV. I have to say that, that these spoofs on Reality are even better!! (My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance anyone?) So, check out Joe Schmo 2 Tuesday nights at 9 and 10 on Spike TV.
Check out this great posting on Mariners Wheelhouse from last Friday. It is called (Vic) Power for the People. Mudcat Grant on Racism in Baseball. There is a lot of very interesting information about these and other former Twins greats.
Aaron Gleeman wrote yesterday explaining that it has been long enough, the Twins need to start platooning with Jacque Jones against left-handed pitching. It's a well-written posting. Of course, I don't necessarily agree completely. (although Jacque is arguably my favorite Twins player, so it must mean something that I don't completely disagree with Gleeman) But he is right in say that the Twins do have other options for RF including Michael Cuddyer and Michael Restovich who have both mashed left-handed pitching. I don't believe in defensive stats like Zone Rating, so I happen to think that Jones is a great defensive outfielder wherever he is (although he is certainly not as good in right as he is in left). My point would simply be that sometimes when playing against the tough lefties, you can assume that neither team will score a lot of runs. So you want your best defense out on the field to help the pitchers. That said, when you have a low scoring game, you want to give yourself the most chances to score.
The Twins Geek compares catchers Matthew LeCroy and Henry Blanco. Very interesting stuff! However, how much does it really matter with Joe Mauer back in action? It may only matter if it is determined that LeCroy can handle the backup catcher duties. How long will Blanco stay around?
Recently, I got an e-mail from The View from the Bleachers. It seems that the first round of voting in The World Series of Blogs is complete. I want to thank those of you who voted for this site. Somehow, SethSpeaks received enough votes to win the AL Central vote and advance into the playoffs. So, I hate to do it, but I guess it doesn't hurt to ask, right? If you want, be sure to head over to The View from The Bleachers and vote in The World Series of Blogs! I am in contention in the American League with Athletics Nation, Blue Jay Way and Firebrand (Red Sox). As of last night, I was getting absolutely crushed, so help me out, check out the site and vote early and often!
Twins Mash Montreal
Twins 8, Expos 2
The Twins got off to a great start last night, spoiling the birthday of Expos starter Zach Day. The Twins scored three first inning runs. An RBI single by Corey Koskie. Lew Ford scored on a passed ball. An RBI single by Torii Hunter. Day got through the first inning, but after an RBI single by Johan Santana in the 2nd, Day's night was complete and Claudio Vargas was brought in. The Twins didn't score again until the 6th inning, when Torii Hunter hit a long, 2 run home run off of a cable above the left field fence. In the 7th inning, Lew Ford hit a 2-run homer that was caught by one of the two fans out in left field. I'm only kidding, however, there were just 4,557 announced as the paid attendance.
The story of the night though was Johan Santana, and no, not just the RBI single in the 2nd inning. Santana pitched like the guy we wanted to remember from the last two seasons. It was his second straight good game. He went 8 innings and gave up just 3 hits and 2 runs. The runs came on a 2-run homer off the bat of All-Star Jose Vidro in the bottom of the 7th inning. Santana threw strikes, walking none. He also struck out 7 hitters. Now, the Expos are not a good hitting team, but it is still good to see Johan getting it going!
Lew Ford continues to amaze. Last night, he was 2-5. The first hit was a ground ball to shortstop that he just beat out with his speed. His home run later in the game was his 9th of the season. But Ford shone out in the field as well. He appeared on Baseball Tonight's Web Gems for a great catch against the wall in left centerfield and made another nice running catch. By the way, stop by Twins Chatter for a Lew Ford MVP announcement!
Torii Hunter made a few nice catches as well. His home run was his 9th on the season as well.
Every time I see Joe Mauer play, I am more amazed, sometimes by just little things. For instance, when a runner tries to steal a base, it is incredible to see the way he catches the ball and releases a rocket that is always on target. I have been impressed with his extra-base power. Last night, he took a pitch that was down and absolutely crushed it over the second baseman for a double. Later, against lefty Joe Horgan, and with two strikes against him, Mauer took a curveball and just slapped it into left field. The man has an absolutely beautiful swing. His weight shift is so smooth. He starts with his weight slightly on his back leg. He lifts his front leg and just puts it back down. He swings hard, but always in control. He understands the strike zone and rarely swings at poor pitches. It is really just fun to watch.
The Twins will try to assure a win of the series tonight when the teams meet again. Kyle Lohse followed Johan Santana's last good start with a quality start of his own. Hopefully he can do it again. Here are the remaining matchups (W-L, ERA, WHIP, Opp. BA):
Wednesday - 6:05 - Kyle Lohse (2-4, 5.33, 1.68, .301) vs. Livan Hernandez (3-6, 3.22, 1.22, .251)
Thursday - 6:05 - Matt Guerrier (Big League Debut) vs Sun-Woo Kim (3-2, 3.63, 1.34, .230)
Again, be sure to e-mail me with your responses to the above Twins related questions. I'd love to hear and then post your thoughts on the Twins tomorrow.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Redwings 3, Columbus 6 - JC Romero made his first start for Rochester and his first AAA appearance in three years last night. He went just two innings, but he gave up just one hit and two walks, while striking out three. I'm sure he would like to see that walk total dropped. Henry Bonilla came in for the third inning. He went 5 2/3 innings. He gave up four runs, although just two were earned, on four hits and a walk. He struck out 5. Kevin Hodge gave up two more runs in his inning and a third.
Justin Morneau may have started to end his post-demotion slump. Last night, he was 3-4 with a double, his 14th homer of the (AAA) season and 3 RBI. Todd Dunwoody went 2-4. 3B Ryan Owens went 2-3 with a walk. 2B Luis Rodriguez hit his 2nd homer.
NEW BRITAIN ROCK CATS
After a day off (and a trip to Cooperstown for some), the Rockcats played a double header against Trenton. Now, you may know that when minor league teams play two games, they play 7 inning games. Well, both of these games went 8 innings.
Game 1 - New Britain 1, Trenton 2 (8) - Jim Abbott pitched great. He did not give up a run in 7 innings. He gave up five hits and walked two and struck out just one. On the offense, the Rockcats had just five singles.
Game 2 - New Britain 4, Trenton 2 (8) - The big news story in this game was that reliever Travis Bowyer pitched three innings and gave up ONE run! Amazing, huh? Well, don't worry too much. It was an unearned run, so his ERA is still 0.00. Jason Miller pitched the first four innings. He gave up two runs on four hits and a walk. RF Kevin West had two doubles and two RBI in four at bats.
FORT MYERS MIRACLE
Miracle 3, Jupiter 4 - The Miracle fell behind and just weren't able to come all the way back. DH Garrett Guzman and 2B Felix Molina were both 2-4 with a double. C Jose Morales went 2-3 with a walk. 3B Michael Sandoval hit his fifth home run and drove in two. Manny Tejada started and went six innings. He gave up 4 runs (3 earned) on 9 hits and a walk. He struck out two. Josh Gray pitched the final two innings without giving up a run... or a hit.
THE SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
Swing 5, South Bend 4 - Ricky Barrett started and went 5 1/3 innings. He gave up two runs on four hits and two walks. Scott Tyler came in and went 3 1/3 innings. He also gave up two runs, but the team rallied and gave Tyler his first win of the season. Levale Speigner picked up his 9th save of the year recording the final two outs. CF Justin Arneson went 3-4. LF Mark Zamojc also went 3-4 but added 2 RBI. 2B Paul Rutgers went 2-4.
Any questions or comments on the Twins minor league system, e-mail me.
That is it for me for today. Have yourself a great Wednesday!! As always, if you have any questions or comments on anything, please e-mail me.
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