Friday, July 20, 2007
Fridays are good days, at least after 5:00! It's been one of those weeks where the weekend will be more than needed and useful! And no, not just because the Twins just got swept by the Detroit Tigers in three games by a combined total of three runs. It's just been a rough week at work, but that is ok. (Note - there may be a couple of other new, smaller posts yet today, so be sure to check back.)
Now, to some thoughts on the Twins. As disappointing as being swept was, there are several things to remain positive about:
Contrary to popular belief, the Twins have not officially been eliminated from either the AL Central title or the AL Wild Card. It just seems that way and the sweep did anything but help. Joe Christensen points out that the Twins are actually 1/2 game closer this year than they were last year.
No, I don't think that means a thing because what happened is not normal, but the Twins and their fans should feel very good about the way that the starting pitching has been since the All Star game. Seven games, seven quality starts. Scott Baker has been very good in five of his last six starts. If you take out the "Win" he got in that 20-14 win at Chicago in which he gave up seven earned runs over five innings, Baker has been great. In the five games, he has gone 32.2 innings with an ERA of 2.48. He has walked just six and struck out 27. Johan has been second half Johan for quite awhile now. Boof has been better. Silva has been satisfactory. And Matt Garza is showing glimpses of Liriano-itis (that is, the ability to dominate as one Francisco did a year ago). I'm not saying he is capable of doing exactly what Liriano did last year, but he can be ace-like. And, I think we can all agree that Kevin Slowey's makeup will likely mean that he will work hard on those things he needs to while at Rochester and be ready when he is next called upon.
The bullpen was great again. In 6.2 innings in this series, they gave up just one run, Joe Nathan's run in the 10th inning yesterday. The bullpen remains dominant.
But no one is concerned about the Twins pitching right now. The Twins managed just five runs in three games. That isn't good. There were a couple of bright spots. Luis Castillo had two hits on Tuesday. Michael Cuddyer had four hits on Wednesday. Jason Bartlett had two hits on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Most important, as bad as Jason Kubel looked in his one at bat on Wednesday, he got the chance to play on Thursday afternoon and responded with a single, a double and his 8th home run. And to think that if not for the Michael Cuddyer injury, he would have been benched against a right-hander. And for what? Because he had a horrible at bat on Wednesday against a lefty who has given up a total of two hits to lefties over his eight starts? I just don't understand Gardy's doghouse. I guess I don't understand the doghouse for any adult job. What good does it do? Does Gardy think that Kubel isn't aware that it was a bad at bat? Does Gardy think that by adding even more pressure than he already has to Kubel that it will make him a better player? Does he think that sitting him on the bench for a longer period than he already has will make him come out of his slump? No, playing time busts slumps. When Michael Jordan missed 10 straight shots, did he quit shooting? If Peyton Manning were to throw eight straight incomplete passes, would Tony Dungy put Jim Sorgi into the game? If Joe Mauer took called third strikes in key moments, would he be called out in the newspaper? I think we all know the answers to these questions.
I just don't get Ron Gardenhire's need to bash all young players not named Joe Mauer while praising and lauding effort of veterans while they struggle. It makes no sense to me, and Jason Kubel is only the latest example. Last year, he went to the media with negative comments about Jason Bartlett, Scott Baker, Matt Garza and Boof Bonser. The year before Lew Ford, Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer could do no right. Gardy is often credited with backing his players. He gets ejected frequently for backing his players. He continues to back and support Nick Punto and keep him in the lineup every day despite his ineptitude. He will say nothing negative about Torii Hunter or Luis Castillo. I'm not saying he should. I'm just saying be consistent. They are all adults, treat them that way!
To summarize my thoughts on the Twins/Tigers series... The Twins lost three games by a total of three runs. Many believe that the Tigers are arguably the best team in baseball right now. The Twins had a chance to win each game with a couple of breaks or big, timely hits. They lost yesterday without Torii Hunter or Michael Cuddyer in the lineup. If those things happen, then it was close to a sweep for the 'right' team, and if that happens, the Twins are right back in the race. But is that true? Are the Twins and Tigers truly that close? Or, would you say that the difference between the Twins and the Tigers is actually the nine games between them in the standings. I mean, an argument could be made for either case.
The Twins now will be playing a three game home series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. They are the team leading the AL West right now, a couple of games ahead of the surprising Seattle Mariners. They are going to see some really good pitching. Here are the matchups:
Friday - 7:10 - Carlos Silva (7-10, 4.55, 1.35, .289) vs John Lackey (12-5, 2.98, 1.16, .236)
Saturday - 6:10 - Boof Bonser (5-6, 4.68, 1.48, .273) vs Jered Weaver (6-5, 3.36, 1.42, .266)
Sunday - 1:10 - Matt Garza (1-1, 0.00, 0.93, .189) vs Joe Saunders (3-0, 2.97, 1.42, .272)
Now, with it already being the 20th of July, and the Trade Deadline being in just 10-11 days. If the Twins don't win the series and lose any more ground on either the AL Central of the AL Wild Card, I believe that it will be time to become sellers.
Do you have any other thoughts on the Twins, the Tigers or what the Twins should do, please e-mail me or leave Comments below.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Chris Parmalee, Beloit Snappers
SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Loek Van Mil, Elizabethton Twins
TRANSACTIONS - Oswaldo Sosa and Yohan Pino were each promoted to New Britain yesterday. Kyle Waldrop was returned to Ft. Myers.
If you have any thoughts on the Twins system, please e-mail me.
Wednesday - Red Wings 7, Syracuse 10 – Ryan Mullins moved from AA to AAA really quickly, barely a month. Well, I am guessing that this is not how he had envisioned his AAA debut going. Mullins went three innings and gave up nine runs on 12 hits and a walk. He also threw three wild pitches. Jay Sawatski then made his AAA debut. He gave up one run over the next three innings and struck out three. Brian Bass struck out the side in the seventh, and Brad Baker threw a scoreless eighth. Matt Tolbert led the offense as he went 3-5 with his fifth triple and fifth home run. Trent Oeltjen went 2-4 with his second homer and three RBI. He also stole his 13th base. Doug Deeds went 2-5 with his fifth double.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Wednesday - Rockcats, Trenton – Game was postponed due to rain.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Wednesday - Miracle 5, Sarasota 2 - Luis Ugueto is still with the Miracle. I guess you could call it a miracle as it makes no sense. But in this game, the SS went 2-4 with his second homer, two RBI and two stolen bases. Danny Valencia went 2-4 with his first triple and two RBI. Juan Portes went 1-3 with two walks and his fifth stolen base. Edward Ovalle went 1-2 with two walks. Kyle Aselton made a spot start and gave up two runs in the first four innings. He allowed three hits, walked four and struck out two. David Shinskie recorded his fifth win. He struck out three in three shutout innings. Robert Delaney got his first Miracle save by striking out four in two scoreless frames.
Wednesday - Game 1 - Snappers 3, Wisconsin 1 – In the first of two games (because their game on Tuesday had been rained out), the Snappers got a big game from Joe Benson. He went 3-4 with two doubles. Chris Parmalee had two doubles in four at bats and drove in two runs. Brian Kirwan started and went four shutout innings. He gave up two hits, a walk and struck out three. Jose Jugo went 2.2 innings and gave up a run on three hits. He walked none and struck out five. Dan Leatherman improved to 6-3 with 1.1 perfect innings. Anthony Slama gave up a hit, but struck out the side for the save.
Wednesday - Game 2 - Snappers 3, Wisconsin 1 – Eli Tintor hit a one out, two run homer to un-tie the game and give the Snappers the win. Chris Parmalee went 2-3 with his 12th homer. He struck out and was ejected in his other at bat. Steve Singleton went 2-3. Cole DeVries was excellent and could move up to Ft. Myers now. He gave up two runs on 11 hits in eight innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out nine.
Wednesday - E-Twins 4, Kingsport 2 – The Twins managed just four hits in this game, but scored four runs. Greg Yersich and Matt Lawman each hit a double. Estarlin de los Santos was 0-1, but he walked three times and stole his 11th base. Matt Tarsi improved to 3-1. He gave up two runs on five hits and a walk. He struck out seven. Loek Van Mil struck out five in two shutout innings. Spencer Steedley struck out two in on perfect inning, and Blair Erickson recorded his third save with a strikeout in a perfect innings.
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. Any other topics you would like to see discussed? Send me an e-mail, or let's talk about it in the Comments here. That is it for today and for this week! Have a great weekend!|
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