Thursday June 24, 2004
TWINS STOP SOX
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT - Now showing - The Elizabethton Twins and Gulf Coast Twins
WOLVES TRADE WALLY - This is just a rumor at this point
MOVIE THOUGHTS - 3 Movies you could rent this weekend!
TWINS AUTOGRAPH PARTY - I'll be there, at least for some of it. Let me know if you will be too.
Today will be another Mailbag Issue. We did have our Discussion Question of the Week, but I also received a number of other quality e-mails this week and felt they should be shared.
I also need to mention that there will not be a Friday posting this week. I will be leaving town after work to head to my parents. Tomorrow, I will be en route to the Twins Cities for the Twins game Friday night. It's my birthday. How could I not go to a Twins game? I also am looking forward to being at the Autograph party for awhile on Saturday. So, let's get to it.
THURSDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE - TWINS WIN 2 OF 3 FROM SOX
Brad Radke was solid for 6+. Grant Balfour did great. And Joe Nathan got David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Nomar Garciaparra in the 10th to record the save. Great Twins win. Some of the "Other' Guys helped. Michael Cuddyer and Michael Restovich each had an RBI double. Henry Blanco had an RBI single. In the 10th, Lew Ford hit a sacrifice fly which proved to be the game winner. On a day when Ron Gardenhire gave a day off to Joe Mauer, Doug Mientkiewicz, Corey Koskie and Jacque Jones, the Twins found a way to win.
- Check the Twins minor league links at the left to see how the Twins affiliates perform over the weekend!!
- NBA Draft on ESPN tonight! I love watching that, but I will have to listen to much of it on the radio. It'll be interesting to see how many of the rumored trades actually happen, and specifically if the Timberwolves will be able to make any deals.
Have a great weekend!
This week's Discussion Question was essentially "why have the Twins played above their "expected" level?" The Twins have outperformed their Pythagoren Numbers the last few years and still are this year. Why? Aaron Gleeman and David Pinto each discussed the topic on their sites. What were your thoughts?
From "Tim S"
One thing is missing from the numbers that will predict the records of the teams. Character. It seems to me that the Twins fight for every run and contest every out until the end of the game. Their hitting is poor at best with the 20 game slump they have been in. So, they may not blow out to many teams but with the pitching they have, they should be in most games.
Chicagoís character is in question. On paper, they should be a 90+ win team and a division champ. With the guys they have I wonder if they give up to easy. They folded last year. Maybe they got rid of a the guys they need to and will contend and come through. Time will tell and the new manager should help to.
They have a tough line up. They should be in the top 5 in hitting, runs and home runs. I donít know where they are but that is where they should be. Pitching is the problem and specifically the bullpen. They can be had in the later innings.
Are the Twins lucky or just good? Last night, they were just lucky. And as we all know, luck has nothing to do with baseball.
From "Lee K"
The reason for the Twins winning with a low total of runs to wins is pretty simple. This is one stat the stat heads are totally wrong on.
The Twins play fundamental baseball. They hit the cut off man, they know the situation and what to do with the ball, the get the guy to second when no one is out, and play with heart. In close games two or three small yet crucial fundamental plays will win or lose the game. The Twins are as good of a schooled ball club as any. The Twins also have an adequate bullpen to stay in the close games that said they are not very deep so when they are feasibly out of games they are out of games.
Simple I think
From Dave Anderson
Pythagorean numbers are an indicator. The accuracy of this indicator at projecting won/loss records depends upon the degree to which run differential over a whole season predicts run differential over 1-game increments. This may differ team-by-team as it certainly has in the case of the TWINS and White Sox over the last 3 years.
Let's say your major league team is made up of 9 David McCartys who can't hit a good major league curveball but can mash Triple A fastballs (they're a reason McCarty keeps hitting .400 in Spring Training). The David McCartys are going to have games where they score 10 runs against weak pitching and blow away their opponents, but against good pitching they're going to have a tough time scoring and lose a bunch of close games. Their run differential is going to be better over a whole season than it is during a "typical" game during the season.
In statistical terms, the TWINS must have a better run differential in close games than they do in games that aren't close. In baseball terms, the TWINS over a three year period have been better at finding ways to win than the White Sox.
Most White Sox run production involves one of their four righthanded power hitters (Thomas, Ordonez, Konerko, Lee). And while these guys are all better than Dave McCarty, it's not surprising if the White Sox score a lot of runs overall but have a tough time winning certain kinds of games.
From "Wade S"
I think my opinion may be too simplistic, but:
During the depicted stretch, the defense has been solid, the relief pitching solid, and the offense consistently average to anemic. That leaves the starting pitching. Every starter has been enigmatic. The starters have been good to very good for a couple of games and then get shelled. Santana was great for a stretch last year. But, when was the last time, the Twins had a consistent starter who was considered a stopper? Who was the last Twins pitcher that could be counted on for 15-20+ wins but less than double digit losses? (and stay healthy). So, if the Twins can get consistent decent starting pitching, they will win plenty of 5-4 or 3-2 games.
Yesterday I wrote about how Manny Ramirez is my least favorite player to watch play the game of baseball. My reasons, he just has a look like he takes everything for granted, he's extremely nonchalant, he watches his homers (as many do), and all that and he's still one of the best overall hitters in the game. My brief thoughts causes a couple of strong responses.
From "Tim S"
Regarding Mr. Ramirez
Pitchers do not pitch inside as much, not because some dumb batter is going to pay him a visit, it is because some umpire is going to toss them for pitching tight. It happens too much and pitchers should not have to take it. If you saw the White Sox and the Indians on Monday, CC Sabathia had problems with the umpire with the strike zone. It was inconsistent and the broadcasters were getting on the umpire. Well, after about the 3 time of throwing strikes and getting balls called, he walked up to the umpire, yelling, and the umpire yelling back and the only thing holding CC back was a first baseman about Ĺ his size. After that, the strike zone got better.
Bottom line, pitchers have to take back what is theirs which is all of the plate not just the outside corner.
Sorry, this was more of a rant about pitching than a certain batter.
From "Aaron E"
Come on.. Manny looked at his homer for a second and then put his head down and ran around the bases with his head looking at the ground until he got back to the dugout where he then started hugging and high fiving teammates. Last year, it was all about how Manny didn't care and now this year he is being more emotional and dramatic and he still takes heat. Besides the Hitting God Bonds, Manny is the best hitter in baseball, so cut him some slack, he doesn't speak English well either :) I know You don't get the chance to watch all the Red Sox games :), Manny has been hustling more this year than ever. He's made some web gems catches and throws. People are always dogging on Manny and his personality, and its unfair. Check out www.mannyramirez.com It shows another side to Manny that most outside dedicated Red Sox fans hardly see.
But of course, Manny is my favorite player and I'm a dedicated Red Sox fan. There is no one that the Red Sox can count on more than Manny. I'd take Manny over Nomar every time.
Tuesday, I wrote about some situations aroudn the Twins these days and explained my thoughts and what might be going through the heads of the Twins decision-makers. My main point of the article was to say that Ron Gardenhire and Terry Ryan have a lot of experience and they are doing what they feel is best for the team. They aren't keeping Justin Morneau in AAA just to upset all critical thinking Twins fans, and more. Here are some of the thoughts I received:
From "Peter C"
For my taste you were a bit too easy on Gardy given the Morneau, Cuddyer, and platooning-Jaque issues, giving in because of what we know about Gardy's use of his players.
From "Scott O"
I enjoyed your Situational Thinking column today and have a couple ofcomments.
Cuddyer - You seem pretty high on him, as do many others. I guess I have yet to be impressed with him and can't help but feel that the reason he doesn't play every day is because when he gets an opportunity, he usually disappoints. He's a terrible fielder and a very average hitter.
Koskie - I love his play in the field. But why does he look absolutely baffled every time at the plate? He's on pace to do better than his usual output of 12-15 HRs, but I'm not convinced he'll stay healthy long enough to do it. We can't continue to carry a third baseman who does not give us any power.
Hunter - It looks like his season of two years ago was a bit of a fluke offensively. I think what we've seen the past two seasons is what we can expect - a .250 average and around 25 HRs. I'm not complaining, I'm just trying to temper my expectations of him being a .300 hitter. And so should everyone else.
Jones vs. Stewart - If I had to choose one, I'd also pick Jones. Sure he's slumping, but unlike Hunter, Koskie and Mientkiewicz who are career .250 hitters, Jones will snap out of it. Sure he strikes out too much, but he also makes things happen. Losing him would do a lot to hurt team chemistry.
All things considered, I'm pretty pleased with the team we have. It's fun to ride players like Corey "Clueless at the Plate" Koskie and Torii "I Chase Pitches Low and Away" Hunter, but about the only holes I'd like to see filled are a little help in the starting rotation.
Well, there is just a random sampling of some of the e-mails I have received of late. I want to encourage people to e-mail me about anything.
SILVA STOPS SOX
TWINS 4, RED SOX 2 -
After giving up nine runs on Tuesday night, the Twins got great pitching performances and a 4-2 win over the Boston Red Sox. Carlos Silva improved to 8-4 on the season. He went 6 1/3 innings and gave up two runs (on solo Homers to Mark Bellhorn and Trot Nixon). He gave up 7 hits and 2 walks. Juan Rincon came in and was great. He got five outs without giving up a baserunner. He struck out just one, but none of the Sox hitters made solid contact against him. Joe Nathan gave up a leadoff, first-pitch double to Nomar Garciaparra in the 9th, but stranded him by getting the next three out. It was Nathan's 20th Save of the Season.
The Twins jumped out to an early lead on Derek Lowe. After a Lew Ford bunt single loaded the bases, the Twins got back-to-back fielder's choices by Corey Koskie and Torii Hunter. In the 6th inning, Hunter unloaded on a Lowe pitch and gave the Twins a 4-0 lead. The Sox got their runs in the 6th and 7th innings off of Silva.
Torii Hunter led the way by going 2-3 with three RBI.
Today, the teams play the final game of the series with a noon start time. Here is the pitching matchup:
Thursday - 12:05 - Brad Radke (4-3, 3.17, 1.21, .282) vs Tim Wakefield (4-5, 4.92, 1.44, .264)
The Friday, the Twins return to Metrodome for a three game series against the Brewers. I will be there, probably in left field. I will also be at the Twins Autograph party on Saturday. So, check out the photo album, find a picture of me and if you see me Saturday, say Hi!
Again, if you have any thoughts on the Twins, just E-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Redwings - The Redwings had a day off. Three players were named to the All-Star game. They were Justin Morneau, David Gassner and Jesse Crain.
NEW BRITAIN ROCK CATS
New Britain 0, Trenton 7 - The Rockcats had just six hits on the night, and DH Matt Scanlon was 4-4 with a double. Colby Miller got hit a bit. In 4 1/3 innings, he gave up six runs on four hits and two walks. Pat Neshek pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Travis Bowyer gave up another run... another UNearned run in one inning. Kevin Cameron pitched a scoreless inning as well and struck out two.
FORT MYERS MIRACLE
Miracle 3, Vero Beach 4 - I'm having problems finding a box score for this game. I do know that Francisco Liriano got the start. He struck out six batters in the first two innings on his way to a career high nine strikeouts.
THE SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
The Swing also had the day off after the league All-Star game. They resume action today.
ELIZABETHTON TWINS (ROOKIE LEAGUE)
E-Twins , Greenville - The E-Twins game was postponed.
GULF COAST/FT. MYERS TWINS (ROOKIE LEAGUE)
GC Twins 9, GC Reds 2 - Mike Rogers gets the win. He started and went five innings, giving up just one hit. He walked two and struck out seven. C Eli Tintor went 3-4 with two doubles. DH Greg Najac went 2-4 with a double. LF Jamel Arratia was 2-5 with a triple. Finally RF Simon Fletcher went 2-3.
Any questions or comments on the Twins minor league system, e-mail me.
WOLVES TRADE WALLY?
This is a repeat from yesterday. I need to stress that this is just a rumor. I really ,really like the trade from the Wolves perspective, if it were to come true. But, there are always a lot of rumors around this time. With the NBA Draft on ESPN tonight, teams will definitely be busy. As of now, the Wolves have just the 58th overall pick in the draft. They again had to forfeit their first round pick because of the Joe Smith incident.
The rumors started last night. It was a good one, I think. Here are the details:
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: Wally Szczerbiak
Minnesota Timberwolves Receive: Tony Battie, Dejuan Wagner and the 10th overall Pick in Thursday's draft.
Assuming this trade goes through, this is another trade that I think it great for both teams.
From the Cavs perspective, they receive a guy who can flat-out score. People forget just how good of a shooter that Szczerbiak is and that he was an All-Star just two years ago. He has scored over 18 points a game for a season a couple of times. With the Cavs roster, which obviously includes the likes of Lebron James, Carlos Boozer and Zydrunas Ilgauskus, the Cavs boast a pretty strong inside-outside presence. With James ability to slash, Wally could get plenty of open shots. Depth and the point guard position remain the question marks for the Cavs. Also, don't forget that Wally went to college at Miami (OH) and is a legend in Ohio!
From the Wolves perspective, they get rid of Wally's contract. It is for a lot for a lot of money and a lot of years. The Wolves want to be able to keep much of their current roster, so moving some salary was necessary. But I think that what they received in return was very impressive. Tony Battie is a big, athletic man who can block some shots. Dejuan Wagner is a scorer. He's small, but he can shoot. He would play a role similar to Troy Hudson, with a far bigger upside. His problem is Cleveland has really just been injuries. He can play some point guard, but is really a two. The key though, for the Wolves is that 10th overall draft pick. The Wolves are without a first round pick because of the Joe Smith fiasco again this year. That said, they would have had like the 29th overall pick, so moving up to #10 is great.
Overall - Good trade for both teams.
Any thoughts? E-mail me.
TWINS AUTOGRAPH PARTY UPDATE - The below is what I wrote last week. I asked the question "Will I be going again this year?" Well, over the weekend, I found out that the answer to that question is "Yes." I will be going to the Twins/Brewers game on Friday night and then spend some time at the Autograph party on Saturday.
I just got some e-mail from the Twins on their annual Autograph Party. It will take place on the plaza outside the Metrodome on Saturday, June 26, from 11:30 - 5:15. Current Twins will sign autographs from 12:30-2:00. Twins Alumni will sign from 2:30-4:00. There will be a live memorabilia auction from 4:00-5:15. There will also be a silent auction throughout the day. Oh, and the Twins will play the Milwaukee Brewers at 6:10 that night!
I went to the Autograph Party last year for a couple of hours. The event is free to get into. If you would like to get autographs, you will need to buy an autograph card for $25. Of course, the money all goes to charity. I actually took a few pictures of the event, which you can find in my Photo Album, so check those out. I did go through the tent with all the Silent Auction items. I got goose bumps seeing all of the stuff. Autographs bats and balls and helmets and pictures of current and former Twins players. There are also autographed paraphernalia players from other teams or other sports. There is some great stuff.
Will I be going again this year? Well, we will have to see if I can find anyone to go with me. I would love to hang out there all day! I think it would be a lot of fun to talk to some of the players if possible. I know that I went there with my sister last year, and we both agreed that this event would be wonderful to take a 5-10 year old kid to. But it is also great for the adults. I don't like all of the autograph hounds. When I say that, I don't mean guys like me, who would love to get autographs just to collect for myself. I would also love to go there and just shake hands with the players, and maybe take a picture with them to capture the moment. No, what I mean are the adults who show up with five dozen baseballs or a couple dozen bats and sprint from line to line. They aren't there to enjoy the opportunity to meet with the players. They are there to capitalize on the event. They will be selling much of what they acquire. That is why I have absolutely no problem with the team charging money for the autograph cards.
So, in summary, if at all possible, head to the Metrodome on Saturday, June 26 for the Autograph Party.
There's Still TIME!! It may look bleak, but there is still a chance. 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). I am still pretty much getting crushed, so help me out, check out the site and vote early and often!
OK, I'm not going to give in-depth reviews, but here are three movies I have watched recently, in case you are looking for a movie or three to watch this weekend.
My Baby's Daddy - Excellent movie. I haven't, but if you have kids, or have ever had kids, you will laugh a lot at this movie. It's about three guys who are anything but ready to become fathers and each end up with a situation where they are one. It is just funny. I mean, Anthony Anderson and Eddie Griffin are in it. How can it not be funny? Plus, The Sopranos Michael Imperiola is on it!
Monster - OK, this movie is not funny. First, Chalize Theron is absolutely incredible in this movie. No wonder she was nominated for so many awards. She plays a non-attractive (lots of bad makeup!) woman who is a prostitute just in a bad place in her life. She meets a character played by Christina Ricci (Nice!) and the two get together. It shows how hard things can be for a former prostitute. It shows just how easily manipulated people can be and how they can get themselves into bad situations. This is a good movie, but not if you're looking to laugh.
Along Came Polly - Well, I really, really heart Jennifer Aniston. And, she is very good in this role. Ben Stiller is also great. The movie begins with his character getting married (to Debra Messing) and them going on their honeymoon. Funny situations happen and he heads home from St. Barts by himself. He meets Polly (Aniston) who he went to middle school or something with. They hang out a bunch and end up really liking each other despite them being completely different. There is a lot of situational comedy, and I think most people will like it. If you were a Friends watcher, you will definitely see some parallels.
So, there you have it. Three movies to check out.
That is it for me for today and for this week. I hope you have a great weekend, and maybe I'll be able to see some of you at the Twins game Friday night or the Autograph Party on Saturday. As always, if you have any questions or comments on anything, please e-mail me.
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