Monday June 28, 2004
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
AL CENTRAL TRADE THOUGHTS
NBA DRAFT THOUGHTS
Good morning and thanks for stopping by SethSpeaks today. I again apologize for skipping the day on Friday. It was my birthday. I had a day off of work. So, I decided to go to the Cities with my sister and watch the Twins play the Brewers on Friday night. Well, maybe the Twins should hire me to just follow them around. When I am in attendance, they win. OK, it's just an idea, but if anyone with the Twins thinks it could be a good idea... e-mail me!
For the second straight year, she and I also went to the Twins Autograph Party at the plaza outside the Metrodome. And, for the second straight year, we both really enjoyed it.
As I mentioned last week, I will be buying a house and doing some moving toward the latter part of this week. I still have a LOT of packing to get done before then. I have lined up a couple of guest writers, which should be fun. So, if I am at all brief in my thoughts the rest of the week, I do apologize and please bear with me!
I want to encourage people to e-mail me about anything.
TWINS LOSE 2 OF 3 TO BREWERS... AGAIN
FRIDAY - TWINS 6, BREWERS 3 -
As always, I like getting to the game early. I like getting my tickets and being in line so that as soon as the gates to the Dome are open, I can go in. I love watching batting practice. I love watching players shag fly balls in the outfield. I like seeing the players interacting with each other and with the fans. I hate seeing fans screaming "BALL" or "HERE" every time a ball goes to the fence. I hate seeing adults taking out kids in order to get a ball. But anyway, I just love getting there early. So, we got to the ticket booth at about 4:30 and then stood in line until the gates opened shortly after 5.
Johan Santana won his fourth straight start with another dominant performance. It is exciting to see him mixing all of his pitches and throwing hard and getting strikeouts. He is back to being dominant. Now, I would just like to see Santana put a similar effort against a really good team. His last three starts, all impressive, have come against the Expos and the Brewers. In 7 innings, he gave up just four hits (and no walks). He struck out 10. He gave up only a solo home run to Junior Spivey in the 6th inning. (note - as Johan made that particular pitch, I had just said to my sister, "You know, it was about this stage in the game last Sunday when Spivey hit a solo homer against Santana.") Juan Rincon came in and didn't get much help, giving up two runs (one earned) in an inning. However, giving up those two runs meant that Joe Nathan could pitch the 9th inning and record his 22nd save of the year.
Lew Ford got the Twins going. He hit a hard grounder through 3B Billy Hall for a single to score Cristian Guzman in the 1st inning. In the third, with Guzman on third, Ford hit a bouncer that SS Craig Counsell played deep in the hole. His throw was too late to get Ford, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead. In the fourth, Joe Mauer singled up the middle to score Jacque Jones. In the 5th inning, Ford came up with runners on 1st and 2nd and nobody out. Ford laid a great bunt down the third base line. Hall barehanded the ball and threw wildly to 1B allowing Guzman to score and runners to advance to second and third. It could have been recorded as a sacrifice bunt with an error, but the official scorer gave Ford his third hit of the game. After Spivey's home run cut the Twins lead to 5-1, Guzman led off the 7th inning with a solo home run, his fourth hit of the game.
Overall, it was just an excellent game. Great start by Santana. Timely hitting and some good defense. I'm glad I was there, especially considering the results of the final two games of the series.
SATURDAY - AUTOGRAPH PARTY
The start of the Twins Autograph Party was set for 11:30. My sister and I were planning on getting there right then. Well, we stopped at a mall on the way there just to quickly get some food and then drive in. While in the mall, away from my sister, a lady came up to me and asked if I was interested in taking a survey. Me, being unable to say no to anyone, said Sure. When she said it would be about movies, I was kind of excited to do it. Well, we had to walk into an area and I could tell this wasn't just going to be a 3 or 4 question survey. But, I said I would do it, so I had to, right? I had to go to a computer and answer questions about three movies I hadn't really even heard of, I was asked if I would be interested in watching the three movies. I said "Maybe" on two of them, but on The Forgotten, I said no because it had Julianne Moore in it and I'm just not a fan. Because I said no to that one, I had to watch a promotional trailer of it. After seeing the trailer, I definitely think that I will watch it (OK, I'll rent it). It looks very suspenseful. So, I had to answer a few things about the movie trailer that stood out. Then, I had to watch the same preview again and then answer more questions. Now, my sister called me about three times while I was taking this survey asking me to hurry up. I made the mistake of letting her think that I was still in the bathroom. Oops! Anyway, about 20 minutes (or so) later, I was done. I got my $2. And I went out to find my sister.
Mind you, it was now about 11:40 and we had about 15-20 minutes left to drive into the Dome. Needless to say, she was not at all happy with me! OK, that might be an understatement. Telling her that I was doing a survey did not help. Telling her that I did it for $2 almost caused her to drive off the road!
So, that was a pretty quiet 20 minutes, but even with the delay, we were at the Autograph Party by noon. So, that's not too bad. The players came out to their autograph stations about 12:30, so we were able to walk around the plaza for awhile. Like I mentioned previously, we chose not to buy the card necessary to buy the autographs. I happen to think those are for the kids. I love seeing the kids' faces right after they get an autograph. I get equally disappointed when I see an adult walking around with a suitcase full of bats and balls.
Anyway, we walked around the silent auction for awhile. I love that stuff. Autographed baseballs, bats, jerseys, and more. There was the home plate from opening night signed by Joe Mauer. There was stuff from the Wolves and Wild, and from players from other teams. We checked out all the stands. Former Vikings great Chuck Foreman was in one of the tents taking pictures and signing autographs for people. The mascots were out there taking pictures with kids.
When the players came out, it was fun to just watch people. Torii Hunter's son sat next to him, and it was great to see how much of an interest he took as his dad signed different pieces of memorabilia. I just think it is fun to see players wearing regular clothes and showing that despite being famous athletes, they are just regular people. As we were walking by one station, my sister turned to me and asked, "Who is that?" I looked and said, "Henry Blanco." She said, "He's cute!" She also stood and watched Grant Balfour sign for a little longer than most. (For the ladies out there... have you voiced your opinion on Which Twins are: Hot or Not?)
My final point is that the Twins really deserve a lot of credit for what they do in the community. I realize that an event like this is planned and they just show up and put in their time. But you know, it is their time. But they all do a great job of being positive influences on people. We noticed that the players all really looked like they were enjoying their time, conversing with the fans and smiling a lot. And not just the players, their wives and girlfriends worked at a station where they sold grab bags. I think that they do so much of the leg work for projects such as the autograph party.
The Twins do a lot of other work too. They take time for the RBI and other youth baseball programs. They all take time to be in the community. Today, Doug Mientkiewicz is hosting and participating in his second annual bass fishing tournament on Lake Minnetonka. Take a look at some of the projects that are helped by the Twins Community Fund.
Last year, the Twins distributed over $2.2 million to area programs. Click here to see what they have done.
Anyway, it was fun to be there. We didn't stay long enough to see the former Twins but listened to WCCO's Jack Morris and Eric Nelson talking to a number of former players such as Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew and Ron Coomer.
Were you there? What were your thoughts on the event? E-mail me.
SATURDAY - TWINS 2, BREWERS 7-
The Twins hoped Matt Guerrier would relax and pitch much better in his second big league start. It didn't happen. In four innings, Guerrier gave up four runs on six hits and a walk. The big blow was a three-run homer that hit the foul pole above the baggy in right field. If that ball is a foot to the right, maybe things turn out completely different. But that wasn't the case. Terry Mulholland came in and gave up four straight hits. He settled down and gave up just three runs on six hits in his four innings. JC Romero, just brought back up to the Twins on Friday, pitched a scoreless ninth inning. The Twins lone run came on a two-run single off the bat of Jacque Jones. Corey Koskie went 2-4.
SUNDAY - TWINS 3, BREWERS 7 -
Kyle Lohse got another loss. His pitching line isn't very pretty. In 6 2/3 innings, Lohse gave up six runs on eight hits and three walks. He struck out four. However, two things are important to note. First, just two of the runs were earned. And second, he almost left the game only giving up two runs and with a shot at a win. Here is the situation. After an error by Henry Blanco on a sacrifice bunt attempt gave the Brewers runners at 1st and 2nd with one out. Scott Podsednik bunted and Blanco was unable to field the ball cleanly. Instead of getting a force out at 3rd, Blanco was only able to get Podsednik at 1B. Runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. Junior Spivey came up and Lohse got a big strikeout. So, two outs and lefty Geoff Jenkins coming to the plate, Ron Gardenhire came out and decided to stick with Lohse rather than go to lefty Aaron Fultz. Lohse walked Jenkins to load the bases. With Lyle Overbay, another lefty due up, Gardy again stuck with Lohse. Unfortunately, Lohse walked Overbay, forcing in a run. At that point, Gardy turned the game over to Fultz. A cheap infield single brought in one more run and then Fultz walked another run in. Joe Roa came in and proceeded to walk the next batter forcing in the 6th run.
Some will argue that Ron Gardenhire should have gone to Aaron Fultz to face Geoff Jenkins. Kyle Lohse was already over 100 pitches and the lefty-lefty matchup was intact. Well, that is really, really easy to say after what ended up happening. However, I am in complete agreement with Gardy's decision to stick with Lohse in that situation. At some point in the season, Lohse needs to "defining moment." Following the Spivey strikeout, I thought this was Lohse's. I wanted to see Lohse get Jenkins out, the crowd to cheer Lohse loudly and for the Twins to take the lead in the bottom of the seventh and give Lohse and the Twins a win. That didn't happen, but I very strongly support Gardy sticking with Lohse and having the guts to keep Lohse in against Jenkins.
On a positive note, Grant Balfour had another strong outing, striking out two in his inning of relief. Offensively, Cristian Guzman had another great game going 4-5 with two doubles. Jacque Jones was given the start against lefty Doug Davis and went 2-4 (the two hits actually coming against Davis).
The Twins will have today off to participate in Doug Mientkiewicz's Second Annual Bass Fishing Tournament. Then on Tuesday, they will begin a big three-game series against the new-look Chicago White Sox.
Again, if you have any thoughts on the Twins, just E-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Because there was no entry on Friday, I will also post the results of Thursday's minor league games. I would like to also thank all of your who sent me the roster of the Twins Gulf Coast League team in Ft. Myers. Also, be sure to check out a new Twins-related site called Miracle Fans if you want to know more about the Twins affiliates. On a player transaction note, Luis Maza was sent back down to AA New Britain.
Thursday - Redwings 10, Louisville 7 - JC Romero made what Twins fans and officials hope was his last appearance for Rochester. He started and went just two innings. He gave up two runs on two hits and two walks. He also struck out two. He was brought up to the Twins on Friday. Adam Johnson came in and gave up two runs in two innings. Joe Beimel gave up three runs in 1 1/3 innings. Kevin Hodge then came in and gave up no runs in 1 2/3 innings. Jesse Crain then recorded a two inning save. He struck out two without a baserunner. Josh Rabe led the offense going 3-4. Justin Morneau went 2-5, including his 19th homer, and three RBI. Todd Dunwoody went 2-4 with his second HR. Brian Simmons was 2-4. DH Juan Diaz hit his second Redwings homer as well.
Friday - Redwings 7, Louisville 2 - The Redwings got another strong start from All-Star David Gassner. He improved to 9-5 with a 3.18 ERA. He went seven innings and gave up just one run on six hits and a walk. Brent Schoening gave up a run on a HR in his inning. Beau Kemp then pitched a scoreless 9th. Justin Morneau was 3-4 with a double. RF Todd Dunwoody had two doubles in five at bats. Juan Diaz was 2-4.
Saturday - Redwings 6, Louisville 3 - Seth Greisinger was not good, but he did pick up his first Rochester win. He gave up three runs on eight hits and two walks in five innings. Jeromy Palki came in and pitched the next three innings, giving up no runs on two hits. Jesse Crain picked up his 16th Save of the season with a perfect, two-strikeout inning. SS Augie Ojeda went 2-5 with a double. RF Jason Kubel went 2-4 with 2 RBI. CF Brian Simmons was 2-4. 3B Ryan Owens had a big three-run double.
Sunday - Redwings 5, Louisville 7 - The Redwings won three of four, but couldn't quite get the sweep. The team has not done well at all when veteran Gary Glover starts. Yesterday, he gave up five runs in five innings. He gave up six hits, three walks and three home runs. Joe Beimel and Beau Kemp each gave up one more run in their combined three innings of work. 2B Luis Rodriguez, SS Augie Ojeda and RF Jason Kubel each had two hits for the Redwings. Kubel, Ojeda and DH Juan Diaz each had a double. FYI - Justin Morneau had a single in one pinch-hit at bat.
NEW BRITAIN ROCK CATS
Thursday - New Britain 3, Trenton 2 - OK, the Twins need a fifth starter, right? I think JD Durbin would be in Minnesota by now if not for his arm surgery (Note - Durbin should be activated this week!). Matt Guerrier might be given another chance with the Twins, but Scott Baker may be worth bringing up for that spot with the Twins. It is worth considering at least. Baker improved to 4-2 with a 2.15 ERA at New Britain. Bobby Korecky recorded the save with a perfect, two-strikeout ninth. He went seven innings and gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks. He also struck out nine. SS Kaulana Kuhaulua went 2-5 with a double. RF Kevin West and CF Jamess Tomlin were 2-4. Rob Bowen hit his fourth home run.
Friday - New Britain 7, Norwich 2 - The Rockcats got another strong pitching performance and another win. Henry Bonilla went 6 2/3 innings. He gave up two runs on eight hits. He walked none. Jason Miller struck out one in his scoreless inning. Travis Bowyer had an incredible four batter, four strikeout stint. RF Kevin West was 2-2 with a double, his 15th home run and three RBI. DH Matt Scanlon hit his second AA homer and had three RBI. Rob Bowen hit his third homer.
Saturday - New Britain 3, Norwich 1 - The Rockcats continued their pitching ways. Jon Pridie went seven shutout innings, allowing just six hits and one walk. He struck out six. Bobby Korecky gave up an unearned run in his two innings, but recorded his 13th save of the year. DH Matt Scanlon had two doubles in four at bats. CF James Tomlin went 2-3.
Sunday - New Britain 0, Norwich 4 - The run had to end at some point, but Boof Bonser really was not too bad. He gave up four runs in seven innings. He gave up 8 hits, but walked none. He also struck out nine hitters. Kevin Cameron struck out two in his inning. Travis Bowyer still hasn't given up an earned run all season. He gave up a hit and struck out two in his inning. More importantly, Bowyer did not walk a batter in either of his outings this weekend. Not much to report about the Rockcats offense.
FORT MYERS MIRACLE
Thursday - Miracle 1, Vero Beach 6 - Ricky Barrett had a relatively strong start. He went four innings and didn't give up a run and only gave up two hits. The only thing that hurt him was five walks. Levale Speigner came in and took the loss. He gave up two unearned runs on two hits. He didn't walk anyone and struck out three. Josh Gray gave up three hits and three walks in 1 2/3 innings and gave up four earned runs. LF Garrett Guzman hit a solo home run. RF Doug Deeds had a triple. Those were the team's only hits.
Friday - Miracle 4, Vero Beach 8 - Jeff Randazzo fell to 2-8. He went 5 2/3 innings and gave up six runs on nine hits, including three home runs. 1B Elvis Corporan went 2-5. RF Alex Romero was 2-3 with a walk. LF Doug Deeds hit his second home run.
Saturday - Miracle 6, Daytona 7 - Marcus Moseley started and gave up five runs (four earned) on five hits and six, count 'em, six walks, in 4 2/3 innings. Levale Speigner took another loss to fall to 0-2 despite a 2.38 ERA. In 1 2/3 innings, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk. Justin Olson struck out two in 1 2/3 innings. CF Alex Romero was 2-3 with a walk. C Jose Morales went 2-4. LF Garrett Guzman and 2B Brett Tamurrino were each 2-4.
Sunday - Miracle 14, Daytona 15 (10) - Good hitting... really non-good pitching. Manny Tejada started and gave up nine runs in just over 2 innings. Josh Gray and Jannio Gutierrez each gave up two runs in 2+ innings. Erik Lohse actually pitched a scoreless 9th. Justin Olson took the loss giving up two runs in the 10th while recording just one out. Cubs mega-prospect Felix Pie was 5-6 and hit for the cycle. For the Miracle, CF Alex Romero, 1B Danny Matienzo, C Elvis Corporan and RF Doug Deeds each had three hits. 3B Michael Sandoval, DH Jose Morales, 2B Brett Tamburrino and SS Jesus Merchan each had two hits. Corporan hit his first homer and drove in 4 runs. Deeds hit his 3rd of the year.
THE SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
Thursday - Swing 2, Cedar Rapids 6 - Brock Peterson had a really good weekend and it started with a 2-3 performance with a double and two RBI. CF Justin Arneson had a triple. Nick Blackburn started and went four innings. He gave up six runs, but just two were earned. He gave up three hits (2 were homers) and walked three. Tristan Crawford pitched the next three innings. He gave up just two hits and struck out three. Billy Mauer pitched a 1-2-3 inning.
Friday - Swing 11, Cedar Rapids 0 - Brock Peterson's big game was Friday. He went 5-6 with two doubles and three RBI. JR Taylor was 3-6 with two doubles and four RBI. DH Kyle Phillips, LF Mark Zamojc and C Kyle Geiger each had two hits. Christopher Schutt was the beneficiary of the run support. He did pretty well on the mound too. He gave up two hits and walked one in six innings. Peter Tautor, Kevin Culpepper and TJ Prunty each pitched a scoreless inning.
Saturday - Swing 6, Cedar Rapids - Adam Harben was incredible in continuing the shutout pitching. He went eight innings. He gave up just two hits and a walk. He struck out seven. Julio DePaula pitched a scoreless ninth. LF Mark Zamojc went 2-4 with a triple and an RBI. Nick Punto began his rehab at Quad Cities. He played SS and went 1-4 with a three-run homer. RF Scott Whitrock hit his 9th home run.
Sunday - Swing 8, Cedar Rapids 1 - Scott Tyler grabbed another win with a strong performance. He gave up just one run in 7 innings. He gave up three hits and three walks while striking out eight. Eric Brandon pitched two scoreless relief innings. Nick Punto played SS again and went 3-4 with a double. C Kyle Phillips was 3-5 with a double and his 6th home run. Scott Whitrock was 2-4 with a double and his 10th homer.
ELIZABETHTON TWINS (ROOKIE LEAGUE)
Thursday - Game 1 - E-Twins 11 , Bristol 3 - Deacon Burns had a pretty strong professional debut. The 26th round pick went 4-5 with three doubles and a homer for 5 RBI. Trevor Plouffe DHed and went 2-4 with two RBI. Matthew Fox, another first round pick, started and went four innings. He gave up three runs on two hits and a walk. He struck out four. Jonathon Martinez got the win with two shutout innings pitched. Jason Bowlin also pitched a scoreless inning.
Thursday - Game 2 - E-Twins 2, Bristol 7 - The E-Twins split the double-header. Evan Meek started and went 3 2/3 innings. He gave up just three hits. However, he walked six batters. Of the seven runs he gave up, just three were earned. John Williams didn't give up a base runner in 2 1/3 innings. He struck out four. The E-Twins had just four hits. The only extra-base hit was a double by 3B Jay Yaconetti.
Saturday - Game 1 - E-Twins 1, Princeton 0 - This game, the team had just six hits. RF Jeremy Pickrel had two hits in three at bats. David Shinske started and gave up just three hits and a walk (no runs) in five innings. Jeff Mousser pitched a scoreless relief inning. Jason Bowlin recorded the save with a scoreless inning.
Saturday - Game 2 - E-Twins 8, Princeton 10 - The E-Twins got plenty of offense, but they didn't get much pitching. Frank Mata started and went just 1 2/3 innings. He gave up 8 runs (7 earned) on six hits and a walk. Chris Marini went 1 1/3 innings and didn't give up a run. He walked three and struck out two. Kyle Aselton and Dennis Medina each pitched 2 innings. They each gave up a run. SS Trevor Plouffe went 3-4 with his first pro home run. RF Deacon Burns was 2-3 with a walk. LF Javier Lopez had two doubles in four at bats. DH Timothy Lahey was 2-4.
Sunday - E-Twins 6 , Princeton 5 (10) - No box score available.
GULF COAST/FT. MYERS TWINS (ROOKIE LEAGUE)
The below game summaries come to us from "Dianna" who is starting the website MiracleFans. She thought it would be starting today. As you can see especially in Saturday's entry, it will be fun to read!
Thursday - GC Twins 1, GC Red Sox 12
Larry Jones batted in Chris Brown for the Twins only run. Dante Blancarte and Jilmer Arratia were both two-for-four at the plate of the Twins.
Valentin Pineda surrendered five runs - four earned - on five hits, walked one and struck out one in one innings worth of work. Starter Steve Waldrop took the loss in three innings after giving up an unearned run one two hits, while striking out two.
Errors cost the Twins big time though, as only six of the Sox 12 runs were earned.
Short stop Hanley Ramirez played for the Red Sox on a rehab assignment from the FSL Sarasox.
Friday - GC Twins 4, GC Pirates 7 -
Jeremy Brown allowed five earned runs on five hits in two innings as the GCL Twins suffered a 7-4 loss against the Southern Division leading Pirates.
The two teams rematch today at noon in Bradenton.
3rd baseman Travis Kalin batted in two runs for the Twins with is first double of the season. Catcher Eli Tintor had one run and one RBI through three at bats. Dante Blancarte brought home the final run for the Twins.
Starting pitcher Anthony Swarzak allowed one run on two hits and struck out four in his GCL debut. Swarzak, a graduate of Nova High School in Fort Lauderdale, was selected in the second round, 61st overall of the 2004 draft.
Saturday - GC Twins 2, GC Pirates 3 (10) -
Gulf Coast League is some of the finest baseball in the world. You pack 30 kids plus their coaches and their equipment into three white vans and ship them 90 miles down the road to play a noon game in 90-something degree heat.
Actually, the boys got lucky today. The team rented them a bus. So instead of ten sweaty, smelly guys in a vehicle, you've got 30. And the fans got a break, as it remained somewhat overcast with a breeze kicking, which cut the heat down considerably at Pirate City in Bradenton.
The Twins however did not catch a break from the Pirates. With the team playing five men left, Joe Gault gave up one good pitch that resulted in a hopperout to right field that scored the winning run for the Pirates in the tenth inning.
It would be a heartbreaker of a game too, as the Twins rallied from a two run deficit and fought of several good scoring opportunities by Bradenton. Jeff Schoenbachler took the start for the Twins, allowing two runs on three hits (two doubles). Pirates first round draft pick Neil Walker scored the first run in the clean up spot when he hit a sold double out to right. Schoenbachler issued no walks, but only struck out one during three innings worth of play.
Meanwhile, Fort Myers struggled at the plate against Pirate Russ Johnson. Johnson coaxed five straight strikeouts from the Twins batters, including three in the third at the top of the order.
The Twins got their first run in the fourth when Dante Blancarte doubled and then scored from second on a Jilmer Arratia single. Is this a good time to start raving about Blancarte? Why not. Yeah the kid made a few errors "if he hadn't missed the throw to first, there wouldn't have been a runner on base for Walker to double in. If he'd had gotten Walker's line drive, there wouldn't have been a double. But you know what? He made one heck of effort trying to make to those plays. And what he did accomplish in the game was much more impressive. Two singles and a double, plus a walk for his four at bats. Every time he stepped to the plate today, he saw a base. And that single in the eighth inning should have been an out, the Pirate first baseman had the ball, but as ran past Dante drove his shoulder into the Pirate and the ball popped out of the guy's mitt and onto the ground. The umpire saw the ball rolling on the ground “Dante made sure to draw the blue's attention to it“ and he was ruled safe. (This of course nearly caused the Pirate bench to riot.)
With a Pirate in scoring position on third, Blancarte took a high pop up on the infield, sprinted over and tagged the runner out on the third base line and then threw to third for a second out on a rather unconventional double play. He's big, he's got both power and speed and he makes some incredibly smart plays out there. A free agent signee for the Twins he looks to be a very promising prospect.
Local boy Chris Brown, another free agent signing, also showed some potential out there today in the designated hitter spot. Rather unfortunately, he never saw base, but if that kid learns to connect with something more then wind, watch out. He's got some serious power in his swing.
Catcher Greg Najac had a rough day behind the plate today. He had two singles but was left stranded once and taken out on second on a fielder's choice on the other. Schoenbachler, a fifth round pick, wasn't quite in control all of the time (although he enjoyed a good second inning) and Jose Mijares, who pitched 3.2 innings in relief liked to throw a lot of pitches, running his counts up as much as possible. In this game I'm really not sure if it was Najac not doing his job behind the plate and making the pitchers look bad, or if the pitchers were so far off on their throws that they were making Najac look bad. Or maybe a combination of both. In any case, Blancarte likely caught as many throws at first base from Mijares as Najac did.
(Pirate prospect Kyle Pearson, a middle relief pitcher that was given camera duty today, was keeping me company through most of the game. He even got disgusted at one point with Mijares endless pick off attempts. What're you doing? He's not even attempting to steal!
Eli Tintor replaced Najac behind the plate at the bottom of the ninth and did not see any batting action, but did take out two Pirates on great plays at the plate once in the ninth, and again in the tenth. Two big collisions as well, but Tintor is a pretty big kid and just seemed to shake it off. I don't think Najac would have faired as well. (To his credit though Najac did a great job picking off a steal at second. Beautiful throw, right on the money over Schoenbachler's head.)
Joe "Goose" Gault would be the goose though in the end. He first allowed a single to start the tenth inning. The next batter hit a double. Tintor then called for an intentional walk, loading the bags. The first play worked. With five men left, the next batter took a single and reached first on a fielder's choice as Eli was brushing himself off from the play at the plate that took the first runner out. He then threw two more nail biters, before he misjudged that one pitch and the hopper went right. Prior to the tenth though, he allowed only two singles and struck out one in 2.1 innings worth of work.
Pearson was an interesting fellow. It sucked down here. The weather sucked and camera duty sucked. He'd much rather be charting because you get to take an inning off when you're charting. Ah, but then he couldn't have flirted with the local girls that showed up for the game because We heard you guys were five-and-ooooh. (They came in late and didn't stay long enough to see it made six-and-ooooh.) The Pirates have housing on the complex for the players and the rooms suck. Although he did reluctantly admit that it was better now with only one other guy in the room then it was during spring training when they had four guys per room with only two double beds and you had to fight for the shower. From what I heard from Walker's parents, the player's housing at Pirate City isn't all that bad, they had a cafeteria so they didn't have to do their own cooking and they have a game room. They do however, require the kids to do their own laundry.
So it was a decent game, and Dante made it worth the hour and a quarter I had to drive to see it. Rumor has it the guys are off tomorrow and will face the Reds on Monday.
Any questions or comments on the Twins minor league system, e-mail me.
BUSY TRADE WEEKEND IN AL CENTRAL
A couple of the biggest names in this year's trade market were moved over the weekend, and both could have an impact on the Twins run at the American League Central championship.
BELTRAN TO THE ASTROS
On Thursday, the Kansas City Royals traded the biggest name on the market. Carlos Beltran became a Houston Astro. Also, the Oakland A's acquired the closer that they needed. Here s how the deal breaks down:
Kansas City Trades OF Carlos Beltran to Houston
Houston Trades RP Octavio Dotel to the A's, C John Buck to the Royals
Oakland Trades 3B Mark Teahan and P Mike Wood to the Royals.
Oakland also received some cash to make up for their increased payroll in acquiring Dotel for prospects. They lose very good prospects in Teahan and Wood, but do receive Dotel, who despite blowing a four-run lead Saturday night, will be a big improvement over Arthur Rhodes. Houston may come out best in this deal. Essentially they receive Carlos Beltran for a catching prospect and some cash to Oakland. I think that's a great move for them!
With the trade, the Royals are officially saying that they will not compete in 2004. Considering that, they did quite well in this trade. Mark Teahan is famous for being one of Billy Beane's "Moneyball" picks. He has really had a spectacular season. He was dominating AA pitching to start this season before moving up to AAA recently. He will likely be the Royals 3B starting in 2005. Mike Wood had incredible numbers at AAA for the A's, and will go into the Royals rotation. He isn't a top of the rotation type of pitcher, but will be solid. John Buck will also get a lot of playing time right away for the Royals. With Benito Santiago injured, Buck will be in the lineup. And, for any catcher, being managed by Tony Pena can only be a positive thing.
Winner - For this year, Houston. It also helps Oakland as I really do believe that Dotel will do well there and solidify the A's bullpen. Kansas City did alright. I'm still leery about Teahan. Wood can be solid but doesn't project real high. Buck has put up solid minor league numbers. The Royals filled current and future need. I think they could have done better.
WHITE SOX GET GARCIA
The other big name potential free agent that has found himself in trade rumors much of this season is Seattle's Freddy Garcia. Well, he is now the White Sox' Freddy Garcia. Yesterday, they announced that the White Sox sent C Miguel Olivo, OF Jeremy Reed and another semi-prospect, IF Mark Morse, to Seattle for Garcia and C Ben Davis. I am sure that part of the deal was the Sox willingness to take on Davis. The Mariners actually sent him down awhile back. He has been a huge disappointment for the M's. Olivo is a big loss for the White Sox. He is a strong defensive catcher who is young and has started hitting this year too. Jeremy Reed is the big piece to this trade. The centerfielder had a huge season in 2003. After a slow start at AAA this year, he has done quite well of late.
I think that both sides can be happy with this trade. If Garcia continues to pitch as he has thus far and the White Sox give him some run support, he could get a lot of wins! But the Mariners were able to get rid of Davis and acquire a very solid catcher along with a potential star in centerfield.
Winner - I really don't see a winner. I think the White Sox definitely helped their pitching staff with the addition of Garcia. Losing Olivo won't hurt their powerful offense, but his defense will be missed. Davis just doesn't measure up as his replacement. Jeremy Reed should be a very solid pro outfielder. I'm not as convinced on his upside as some, but it was good for the M's to get him. Overall, It's pretty even.
What will the Twins do to counter this deal? Probably nothing right now, and to me, that is OK. It isn't worth forcing a move now. The Twins can still wait for Shannon Stewart to come back and see where they are at that point. Clearly the Twins need a 5th starter, but I think that the Twins should consider making a run at Braves starter Russ Ortiz.
What are your thoughts? Does the acquisition of Garcia have you worried yet? E-mail me.
WOLVES TAKE STEPP FORWARD
The NBA Draft was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City last Thursday night. Because of the Joe Smith fiasco, the Wolves were without their first round pick. Does it really matter? I don't think so. Sure, it is nice to bring in another player. However, the Wolves had the second best record in the NBA this past season, so they would have picked 29th out of 30 picks. What could they have drafted there? Well, certainly there are some players, but nothing is a given. Except for the 3 year guaranteed contract that player receives. So, essentially, the Wolves won't have a draft pick to worry about paying. I don't really think that is a bad thing at all. With their second round pick, the Wolves took Blake Stepp, a guard from Gonzaga. He is a great long-range shooter, something the Wolves could really use. The reason he falls this far is because he is not swift. But, if the Wolves are unable to re-sign Troy Hudson, there will be an opening in the backup point guard department. Maybe they can keep him around for the year and ease him into some playing time. Many compare him to Steve Kerr or John Paxson. So, he isn't a guy who will make a big mark on the team. Who knows? He may not even make the team.
Former Gophers forward Kris Humphreys was taken with the 14th pick in the first round by the Utah Jazz. Humphreys played for the Gophers for just one season. He led the Big 10 in scoring and rebounding. Some think that he would have been better off staying in college for another year or two. Ha! Yeah, like anyone would say no to the guaranteed $4.8 million that he will sign for.
Eight high school players were drafted in the first round, which is a record. I heard on some talk radio yesterday more people saying how terrible it is that these guys don't go to college. Not to restate my opinion on that topic over and over again, but... When America decides that every high school graduate must not start working and must go to college, then they should be able to tell basketball players what they can do. I know it's not all about the money... but that is a LOT of money! Sebastian Talfair is going to be a star!
Oh, and is it just me, or are the Dallas Mavericks stocking up so that they can put together a package to acquire Shaquille O'Neal? Hey, why not? The Mavs get nowhere with what they've got. Why not get the most dominant player in the league. (Or, at least the player who should be the most dominant!)
Any thoughts? E-mail me.
50 First Dates
First, I have to say that I have loved (and own) every Adam Sandler movie ever made, with the exception of Punch Drunk Love. 50 First Dates ranks right up there in terms of quality. It may not be quite as funny as The Waterboy, Billy Madison, Mr. Deeds, Big Daddy or 8 Crazy Nights, but it combined great humor an excellent storyline.
I'm sure everyone has seen the previews frequently. The premise of the story is that Sandler's character is a player, but he meets Drew Barrymore's character, who has a strange brain/memory disorder so that she forgets everything from the previous day. Sandler's character completely changes over the coarse of the movie, for the better.
As with all Sandler movies, there are animals involved and there are sports. His group of actors that appear in all of his movies each have a role.
Basically, this is a must see, so go check it out!
Are there any other movies I should be watching? If so, e-mail me.
That is it for me for today. Happy Monday! I hope you have a great week. As always, if you have any questions or comments on anything, please e-mail me.
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