Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Twins in NYC
The Twins likely got into New York City really late on Sunday night/Monday morning after their ESPN game in Detroit. The Yankees got the better of the Twins in game one of this four game series with a 5-1 decision. Here are some thoughts:
Roger Clemens won his 350th career win, something only seven other players in the history of Major League baseball have ever done. I'm no fan of the Win stat, but on some level, this is an incredible number. Greg Maddux, with 340 wins in his career, is 10th on the all-time list. As great as Clemens career has been, he has been very mortal to this point in the season and yet, he made the Twins hitters, with the exception of Joe Mauer, look horrible. And I don't know completely why. First, we know that the Twins have done a very good job of making average pitchers look really good. Second, Roger Clemens had a great split finger pitch going last night. It got me to thinking, how many pitchers right now throw a split finger fastball? I realize that many pitchers throw a sinker, but that's different than a split-finger. And, because of how difficult the pitch is to hit, why don't more pitchers throw it?
Boof Bonser definitely was not on again last night. He had a very rough June, and his first July start wasn't great. He gave up a lot of runners, however, through five innings, he had allowed just one run. Unfortunately in the sixth inning, he gave up a homer, a double and a single before being taken out of the game. Bonser throws pretty hard. He has a very good curveball. He has the stuff to be a very solid, #3-type big league pitcher. However, of late, I find watching him very difficult to watch. The game is boring when he pitches. Not Steve Trachsel boring, because he works fairly quickly between pitches, but he just throws so many pitches and has so many deep counts and long at bats.
Bonser did not get any help from his defense though. Particularly, Luis Castillo cost him a lot of extra pitches. Castillo had to double clutch on a potential double play throw which would have got Bonser out of the first inning without a run scoring. Instead, he had to throw several more pitches. Castillo double clutched again an inning later but was still able to complete that double play. I know, Castillo set the record for most games without an error at 2B. Yah, Yah. But my comment would be that he plays when he wants to play. It was comical how Rick Sutcliffe was saying that the Cirillo throws to Castillo's chest might have been throwing off Castillo. OK!
Bonser didn't get help from his bullpen. Juan Rincon came in with two runners on and proceeded to walk the next two batters, forcing in a run before he was removed from the game. Another bad outing for Rincon. Shocking!
Then Matt Guerrier came in and he did exactly what he needed to do. He got Derek Jeter to bounce the first pitch toward third base. Unfortunately in this case, Jeff Cirillo misplayed the ball and it snuck through the left side of the infield to score two runs. Sutcliffe, the genius that he is, asked out loud if the Jeter ball would be credited as a hit and two RBI. I just laughed. We all knew that it would be called a single and two RBI for Jeter. First, errors are almost never given any more. Second, it was Jeter in New York, of course it was a two-RBI single. Then Alex Rodriguez hit the next pitch for another grounder to third. Cirillo fielded this one cleanly and made another strong, accurate throw to Castillo who, at least this time, made a throw to 1B. Unfortunately the throw was high and A-Rod was safe. With these non-errors, Bonser was credited with four earned runs when all but one (the HR to Abreu) were really earned.
It sounds like I'm making excuses for Bonser, and I don't mean to. He threw too many pitches and allowed too many base runners. But the reality is that with some defensive help (and not outstanding, Web Gem type plays, his line could have looked much better.
Of the four hits that the Twins had, Joe Mauer had two of them, and he looked like he was trying to hit a home run. His swing looked a little different, like he was purposely trying to launch the ball. I don't mind that from him in this type of game. He twice flew out to the fence in left field. He definitely needs to figure out how to drive the ball to right field though. He just doesn't do it a lot.
The highlight of this game from a Twins perspective was seeing Matt Garza on the mound again. Of course, I had to track his pitches. He got to pitch the 7th and 8th innings. It could be read as mop up innings, but he is going to start on Friday, so he needed to get a couple of innings in. Here are some things that I noted:
Control - 21 of his 30 pitches were strikes. But more than that, with no more than two exceptions, he was close to the strike zone with all of his pitches. He threw first pitch strikes to seven of eight hitters he faced.
Velocity - Of the 21 fastballs that he threw, the range was 94-98. Once he hit 98. 13 hit 97 mph.
Mix of pitches - 21 fastballs. 6 curveballs. 2 changeups. 1 slider. 70% of the pitches were fastballs. That number is fairly high, but I think it is a good thing. Let's be honest, Matt Garza is a fastball pitcher. He throws in the upper 90s, so he should throw mainly fastballs. But, what he did (in admittedly a two inning appearance) was threw a nice mix of pitches. He showed the ability to throw his curveball for strikes. He threw his changeup for strikes. He struck out Jorge Posada on the one slider that he threw. His changeup came in about 11-14 mph slower than the fastball. The curveball was another 6-7 mph slower than that, and the slider at 84-85 could be a huge strikeout pitch for him.
Obviously now the key for him is to get a few starts, work all of his pitches, and develop some consistency.
Confidence - Some may have concern that Garza presents himself with an air of confidence that may rub some people wrong. I think that is a positive attribute for a starting pitcher to have. Even if it boils over into cockiness, that isn't a bad thing.
Any other thoughts on the Twins, Yankees, All-Star selections, or anything, please e-mail me or leave Comments below. Here are the pitching matchups for the rest of the series:
Tuesday - 6:05 - Carlos Silva (6-8, 4.15, 1.34, .286) vs Chien-Ming Wang (7-4, 3.86, 1.21, .263)
Wednesday - 12:05 - Johan Santana (9-6, 2.76, 1.04, .218) vs Mike Mussina (4-5, 4.63, 1.32, .285)
Thursday - 12:05 - Kevin Slowey (3-0, 5.13, 1.56, .310) vs Kei Igawa (2-2, 6.91, 1.56, .258)
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Mark Dolenc, Elizabethton Twins
SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Oswaldo Sosa, Ft. Myers Miracle
If you have any thoughts on the Twins system, please e-mail me.
Monday - Red Wings 4, Buffalo 7 – Darnell McDonald was such a great pick up by the Twins. In this game, he went 3-5 with his 21st double. Garrett Jones went 2-3 with a walk and his 23rd double. Glenn Williams went 2-3 with a walk, his 12th double and two RBI. Brian Duensing went the first five innings. He gave up five runs on ten hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out four. Of the hits he gave up three of them were home runs. Brian Bass gave up two runs over the next two innings. Julio DePaula then pitched a shutout inning. Luis Rivas hit his 9th homer for Buffalo.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Monday - Rockcats 4, Reading 21 – It was a rough one for the Rockcats last night. Kyle Waldrop started and went just 3.2 innings. He gave up eight runs (4 earned) on nine hits. He walked one and struck out one. Danny Powers went just one inning. He gave up eight earned runs on seven hits and a walk. He did strike out two. Josh Hill got just one out and gave up five runs (3 earned). He allowed three hits and two walks. JP Martinez threw two shutout innings. Then Luke Hughes threw a shutout inning in relief.
Congratulations to Tim Lahey, Jose Mijares and Luke Hughes who were each named to the Eastern League All Star team.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Monday - Miracle 4, Lakeland 0 - Oswaldo Sosa was excellent and improved to 3-4. The righty went seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits and three walks while striking out seven. Armando Gabino then threw two scoreless frames. The Miracle managed just four hits. Juan Portes had an RBI double, his 15th. Rondell White was 0-3 with a walk in his rehab play.
Monday - Snappers 9, Clinton 3 – Wilson Ramos started the season at extended spring. I can't help but wonder why. Since coming up to Beloit, he has raked. Last night, he was 2-4 with a walk and his sixth home run. Chris Parmalee went 2-4 with his 11th homer. Matt Betsill went 2-3 with a walk. Joe Benson hit his third homer. Alex Burnett started and gave up a run in five innings. He gave up two hits, walked one and struck out seven. Matt Williams got the win in his first Beloit appearance. He did so despite giving up two runs on three hits and a walk in his inning. Dan Leatherman recorded his fifth save. He went three shutout innings and struck out two.
Monday - E-Twins 13, Bristol 1 – Another game, another double-digit scoring game for the E-Twins. Mark Dolenc went 3-4 with a walk, his third double, three RBI and two stolen bases. Deibinson Romero went 3-5 with two RBI. Ozzie Lewis went 2-5 with two doubles. He already has six doubles. Greg Yersich went 2-4 with his third double. Ben Petsch went 2-5. Michael Tarsi got the win. He gave up a run on three hits and a walk in five innings. He struck out seven. Dan Latham struck out three in his two shutout innings. Brad Tippett then threw two shutout innings.
GCL TWINS UPDATE
Monday - GCL Twins 2, GCL Red Sox 5 – Juan Richardson was the hitting hero in this game. He went 3-3 with his second double. Angel Morales and David Hernandez each had an RBI, and a stolen base. Liam Hendriks gave up four runs (2 earned) on six hits in 3.1 innings. He walked two and struck out two. Mark Hamburger went the next 1.2 innings and gave up only an unearned run. He struck out two. Nick Lobanov gave up four hits in one inning, but he did not allow a run. Nelvyn Fuentes threw two shutout frames.
Do you have any further thoughts on any Twins prospects, minor leaguers, or these summaries? I would love any input, or ideas to make it better. Thanks! E-mail me, or also feel free to leave comments below.
Let me know what you think. Send me an e-mail, or let's talk about it in the Comments here. That is it for today!
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