Thursday, June 21, 2007
2 out of 3 Ain't Bad!
If you missed the Over/Under-Offense Challenge, be sure to put your thoughts there.
PLEASE READ - you're going to want to go over to Twins Cards (specifically Tony, Killer and Carew), they have post PART TWO of a very entertaining and honest Q&A with former Twins reliever Doug Corbett. It is totally worth reading!
Hello everyone! Twins 6, Mets 2. A series win for the Twins over the leaders in the NL East. Sometimes it isn't about who you play, it is about when you play them and the Mets are not playing well at all right now.
The story heading into the game, besides Bert Blyleven's hair, was the start of Scott Baker. It seemed pretty apparent that he was pitching for his roster spot. I really thought Baker did what he needed to do to remain in the rotation. He gave up five runs on seven hits in five innings. He could have thrown one more inning, but the situation in the top of the 6th certainly called for a pinch hitter. 57 of Baker's 84 pitches were for strikes. In watching his pitches, I realized that pitching up in the zone is something that isn't always a bad thing. It can be a strikeout (or pop-out) inducing pitch IF it is kept in on the hitter's hands. If left over the plate, it is very hittable. The key is working three areas of the strike zone. He needs to work up and in with the fastball. He needs to be able to hit the down and in and down and away spots with the fastball. He needs to keep his changeup down and preferably outside corner. His slider/curveball is a good pitch, but it too needs to be kept down. It is a good pitch for him to lefties if it drops toward their feet, or if it is a backdoor slider. To righties, he has to hit that outside corner or get them to swing at it outside. For any of his pitches, if they are up and over the plate, they are very hittable. Of course, that is true of most any pitcher, especially one that doesn't throw in the upper 90s. The first inning run, on a single by Carlos Beltran was a legit run with a couple of singles. The third inning run was unfortunate because he threw a two out, two strike curveball to Carlos Beltran that should have been called a strike. It wasn't and it cost him a run and several other pitches. It was a solid start for Baker. It was very good for a 5th starter, which right now is what Baker is. It was a good outing against a good hitting team. It is a start that should keep him in the rotation especially since no one in Rochester is really pounding at the big league door.
Torii Hunter's two run homer gave the Twins a 3-2 lead. A big hit was the Mike Redmond pinch hit single to give the team a 4-2 lead. And then Joe Mauer had a big two run double off of Scott (why did Omar give him a three year deal) Schoenweiss to extend the lead to 6-2. Dennys Reyes, Matt Guerrier, Pat Neshek and Joe Nathan combined for four more shutout innings out of the bullpen! that is just a great combination. It was a good offensive game. There was more quality defense. A solid start, and great bullpen work. That is a great combination if you want your team to get a win!
I have been asked by several people what my thoughts are on the Twins skipping Kevin Slowey this time through the rotation. My response has been the same each time. I think it makes a lot of sense. Keeping Johan Santana on his regular rotation is a good thing. Also, the Twins like to have their minor league starting pitchers skip a start sometime around this time of year. It is about this time of the year that starters are working through their dead arm phase, and just missing one start allows them to regain their arm strength and give them a little rest. It is a way to keep their innings down. Let's not forget that Slowey was only drafted by the Twins two years ago this month. This is only his second full season of pro baseball. He is just 23 years old. The Twins need to take care of their valuable young arms. Since Slowey has come up to the Twins, he has been thrown right into it. He has pitched against the A's, the Angels, the Braves and the Brewers, each tough offenses. The schedule allows them to give him a start off and just continue to learn while watching. There are a lot of benefits to this move.
Could the Twins get Levale Speigner back? The Washington Nationals designated him for assignment yesterday. He must now go through waivers before being offered back to the Twins for $25,000. Do the Twins want him back? I am sure that he could fill a role in the Rochester bullpen or even as a spot starter. I always saw him as a spot starter, but I guess he would be worth bringing back.
There was a rumor as well that the Twins may have some interest in Florida's Aaron Boone. Let's see... a guy who can play 3B and also spell Justin Morneau at 1B to allow him to DH more. Is it just me, or does that sound like Jeff Cirillo? Does anyone see any benefit to the Twins acquiring Boone?
Any other thoughts on the Twins? Leave your thoughts below, or send me an e-mail.
Minor League Updates
Well, for the first time this season, we have updates from all six Twins affiliates. New Britain and Elizabthton each played doubleheaders, so if you count the Twins major league club, there were eight games played in the Twins organization last night! It would have been nine if Beloit wasn't on their All Star break. That's a lot of baseball.
Moses Demoted - From the minor league perspective, the big news is probably that Matt Moses has been demoted to AA New Britain. Brian Buscher has played 3B and hit well there, and he moved up to Rochester. Many are ready to call Moses a bust. I'm not quite there yet despite not ranking him among my Top 30 Twins prospects. He just wasn't ready for AAA. He didn't even hit .250 at AA last year. I think he needs to go back to New Britain, play at a level that isn't ahead of his age and skill, and just try to improve. He needs to experience some success. In reality, the Twins have really pushed him through the system despite the fact that he has not really succeeded, or at least dominated, at any level. This is really what he needs. It will be interesting to see how the 3B/1B/DH situation will play out with Moses, David Winfree and Brock Peterson. Does Buscher have a big league future? Probably not, at least not as a star, but at 26 years old, he is ready to play at AAA and we will see how it goes.
Wednesday SethSpeaks Player of the Day – Rashad Eldridge, New Britain Rockcats
Wednesday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day – Dave Gassner, Rochester Red Wings
Wednesday - Red Wings 2, Columbus 1 – Just when you think that the team has to be close to releasing him, David Gassner comes up with a great start. In this game, he went the first eight innings and allowed just one run on four hits and a walk. He struck out four. He improves to 2-7. Bobby Korecky came in and walked two, but struck out two in a scoreless ninth to record his 16th save. Matt Tolbert went 2-4 with his 14th double to raise his average to .373. Glenn Williams went 2-4 with his 10th double and two RBI.
Wednesday - Game 1 - Rockcats 9, New Hampshire 8 – Rashad Eldridge led the offense by going 3-5 with his 2nd triple and three RBI. Felix Molina went 2-3 with a walk and his fourth stolen base. David Winfree, Jeff Christy and Brandon Roberts each went 2-4. Josh Hill made his first AA start. He gave up five runs on seven hits and two walks in five innings. Danny Powers then threw a scoreless inning. Jose Mijares blew the save by giving up three runs on two his and two walks in an inning, but he also gets credit with the Win because of the Rockcats comeback.
Wednesday - Game 2
- Rockcats 1, New Hampshire 2
– Trevor Plouffe hit his
7th home run of the season to tie the game at one a piece, but it
was really all the Rockcats could muster. Brock Peterson did
go 2-4. Jay Sawatski came out of the bullpen to start and did
quite well. In six innings, he gave up just one run on three hits.
He walked two and struck out four. Tim Lahey threw two
shutout innings, but Frank Mata gave up a run in the top of
the 9th to take the loss.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Wednesday - Miracle 0, Tampa 4 – Zach Ward continues to pitch much better than his record would indicate, but on this night, he fell to 2-9. In five innings, he gave up three runs on nine hits. He walked none and struck out five. Ward's ERA is just 3.05. Kyle Aselton threw two shutout innings. Armando Gabino gave up an unearned run over two innings. He struck out three. Steve Tolleson went 1-3 with a walk and two stolen bases. A Erik Lis single was the only other Miracle hit.
Wednesday - Snappers – No game scheduled. All Star Break.
Wednesday - Game 1 - E-Twins 15, Kingsport 1 – Well, I need to learn the names on the E-Town roster, so nothing like scoring 15 runs in the first game to get me acquainted. Minnesota State-Mankato's Mark Dolenc went 4-5 with three RBI. Rene Leveret went 3-3 with a home run, four runs and two RBI. Greg Yersich went 3-5 . Eric Santiago went 2-4 with a walk and three RBI. Wesley Connor went 1-3 and drove in three runs. Michael Allen started and gave up just one run in the first five innings to pick up the Win. Spencer Speedley went one shutout inning. Matt Williams pitched a scoreless 7th inning.
Wednesday - Game 2 - E-Twins 6, Kingsport 4
The E-Twins completed the sweep thanks to a four run fourth
inning. Loek Van Mil got the win by throwing 2.1 shutout
innings in relief of Derek Bromberg who started. Bromberg
gave up four runs in 2.2 innings. He gave up three hits, but he
walked six batters. Dan Latham pitched a scoreless 6th. Then
Anthony Slama came in and struck out two in the 7th for his
seventh save. Ozzie Lewis went 2-4 with a double. Starling
De Los Santos went 2-5. Matt Lawman was 2-3 with a
double. Wesley Connor went 1-4 but hit a two run homer.
GCL TWINS NOTES
Wednesday - GCL Twins 5, GCL Pirates 3 – The GCL Twins picked up three runs in the bottom of the 8th and held on to pick up their first win in their first game. Liam Hendricks gave up two runs (1 earned) on three hits and two walks in 3.1 innings. Jarrad Escott went the next 3.2 innings and gave up only an unearned run. He struck out four. Donny Rondon got the win as he went tow shutout innings. Andrew Schmiesing (from St. Olaf) went 2-4 with a double, the team's lone extra base hit. Jon Waltenbury, James Beresford, Juan Richardson and Jeanford Brito each had two hits. NOTE - there are a lot of new names on the GCL Twins roster (a lot of names period) and there is definitely a major international flavor with players from all over the world. Please be sure to check out Taylor's Twins Talk for his GCL Twins preview. Also, Paul Kelly was in the lineup, starting at SS, and he went 1-3. I expect he will play for a week or two here and then stay in Ft. Myers with the Miracle. It will be interesting to see if Drew Thompson starts out with the GCL Twins as well.
Do you have any further thoughts on any Twins prospects, minor leaguers, or these summaries? E-mail me, or also feel free to leave comments below.
That is it for today. Have a great day!|
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