Monday August 9, 2004
TWINS TRY FOR SPLIT WITH A'S
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Hello everyone, and welcome back to another Monday, another beginning to another work week!! Say it with me: "Woo hoo!!" OK, say it again, this time with heart! Now say it just one more time and just try to pretend that you mean it!
OK, last week was a rough week for me. Those of you who have read this site for the last month know that I bought a house on July 1. It was another need-to-mow week, I still have too many boxes left untended and all my bills are showing up again! I like to whine! Work was not fun last week either. It was a new fiscal month which, for me, means I need to run a lot of month-end reports. Because I had three major projects to complete, I did not even get to month-end until Thursday.But last week was tough in that I had to deal with some other personal stuff that just made it a very stressful week (and no, I won't get into that here!!). Let's just say that when I left work at noon on Friday (yeah, I left early!), I was ready to head out of town and just be away.
So what did I do? Well, I went home and lied down, just for a second, and woke up about an hour later. Then I made the 3 1/2 hour trek to my parent's place. We went to my brother's Wolf Lake baseball game, but it was rained out before it even started. I just went home and slept! Saturday morning, went out for breakfast, shopped for a couch and talked to some friends. Late in the morning, I drove up to Fargo, ND.
Why would I go to North Dakota? Well, if you remember our 'Expert FB Picks', you may remember that one of the people who picked the game's winners was Vic Quick. He was my college roommate and is now the sports director at KDUH-TV in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. He was able to get a couple of days off of work, so he flew up to Fargo to hang out. As I approached Fargo, Vic called my cell phone and told me to meet him at The College. So, I met Vic at the bell tower of Concordia College, in Moorhead, MN, just across the Red River from Fargo. We did a quick walk around the college.
Next up, we drove into Fargo, to the apartment of another good friend and Concordia grad, Ryan Hill, a.k.a. The Cheetah. From there, we were off to The North Dakota Horse Park. I didn't know that there was a horse track in Fargo. Apparently, Friday night was its opening night and there were over 4,000 in attendance. Saturday, there were 12 races. We showed up in time to place some bets for Race #6. Now, if you're smart, you go there and just bet $2 on each race and call it a day of fun entertainment. It would be even better if you actually knew anything about horse racing or how to read a racing card. I know nothing about either. So how did I decide which horse I would bet on? It was all about the names. The first horse I bet on was Who's Bluffing Who? Not good. Next horse was LASTCHANCETOANSWER. Yeah, I had called someone, read the name of the horses, and that was the one they told me to go with. Well, that horse finished 4th. I liked the idea of a name where multiple words were consolidated into one word. So, in the next race, I bet on SQUIRMLIKEAWORM. And that strategy worked. Turn $3 into $10.40! After that, I tried to get smart. Instead of just picking the horse with the coolest name, I would wait until just 2 minutes before the post time and go place a bet for the horse with the lowest odds. The odds continually change with each bet and some of the horses change dramatically in the 15 minutes or so between races. Anyway, I don't know how much money I lost, probably not more than a couple of dollars. But it was well worth it just for the entertainment value. Check out the website, but I believe there will be races Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the next 4 or 5 weekends.
When we were done betting on horses, we headed over to the greatest establishment known to mankind, Buffalo Wild Wings! I love that place. I overestimated my eating capabilities. I ordered 18 wings (6 Wild, 6 Hot and 6 Caribbean Jerk). Because of the warmth of the wild and hot wings, the beverages went down quite quickly! But that's ok, because it made talking with our waitress, Jennie, much easier!
We left there and went over the the West Acres Mall! It is an excellent mall, far better than when I was in college just seven years ago. But we had to make a visit to Big Nick's, a sports cards shop. I bought a few cards, including a game-used Jason Kubel card, so that was fun. And yes, I also went and checked out the new and improved Roger Maris Museum in the mall.
Oh, then Vic wanted to do just one more walk around The College. See, Vic is a big fan of Concordia College. If you ask him, he will tell you that he "Loves The College." So, we drove over there again and Vic was able to take a few pictures.
Finally, we spent the last couple of hours playing some blackjack at The Blue Moon. Things were going rather well for me at first. I was feeling pretty good about things for the first half of the game, especially considering the fact that I had never played it officially before. Well, my luck soon changed. And, we'll just say that things did not go so well. And with that, the day came to an end (after a quick stop at Taco Bell!).
Yesterday, we woke up and Vic left for the airport. I did a little shopping around Fargo and began the trek back home. I stopped in Grand Forks too. Things were good. All the stress from last week was completely out of my mind. It was still early enough in the day that I wasn't even thinking about how much I didn't want to go to work today! And then about an hour west of home, while listening to the Twins/A's marathon, the National Weather Service interrupted and told me that there was a tornado watch where I live. Soon later, I was informed that there was a major, severe thunderstorm with tornadic potential just miles in front of me (it's not like I couldn't see that as I was driving toward it). Stress was back in my life. The sprinkles start, and soon it was absolutely pouring. For the next 20 minutes, I was moving forward, but at no more than 30 mph. When I got through that, I took a number of deep breaths. In the final 45 minutes of my drive, I had to go below the speed limit two more times because of hard rains.
And now, as I' typing this, I am dreading waking up and going back in to work tomorrow. I will have plenty of work to do, so that will hopefully make the day go by more quickly.
But anyway, I am pretty sure that no one really wants to know, or cares about what I did this weekend. If so please feel free to e-mail me anytime and let me know if it is ok. I will try to keep this site to baseball, or at least sports, but sometimes, it's just as fun to write about other things.
But now... to the baseball stuff.
This weekend, Greg Maddux did pick up his 300th career Win. If you're ever looking for a perfect comparative analysis of why the "Win" stat is not everything it is cracked up to be, compare Brad Radke's start on Friday night with Maddux's win on Saturday. Maddux went just five innings and gave up four earned runs. Yet, because the Cubs had the lead when he left, and he had completed five innings, he got the Win. Now, Friday night, Brad Radke gave up one run in nine innings, yet left with the game still tied. He got a no-decision. So, the next time someone argues that Brad Radke is not a good pitcher and says something like "he's nothing but a .500 pitcher", jump all over them!!!
Did you know that Mickey Mantle, had he stayed completely healthy, would have had a 12% chance of hitting 1,000 home runs? That is information you can find by checking out the most recent entry on The Baseball Savant. Here is a great introductory paragraph:
What is interesting to note about this is that the Baseball Savant's Dad was 11 years old when the Mick broke into the Big Leagues and was 28 when the Mick left us. How my Father came to love and adore Mickey Mantle is something I don't know. Dad was a huge Detroit Tigers fan, and I spent a lot of time hearing him tell me that Al Kaline was immortal. By the age of 10, I had thought Kaline had hit 900 HR and had a lifetime batting average of .650! Kaline was a monster of mythic proportions, but I soon found out that if I asked Dad to compare Kaline to Mantle, then he'd quickly shut up about Kaline, as if Kaline was barely good enough to be Mantle's personal batboy.
This is a great example of the type of blog entry I really enjoy reading. I have been saying that a lot of late about The Baseball Savant. I think that means that you should check it out and be sure to bookmark it and check back frequently.
TWINS TRY FOR SPLIT WITH A'S
The Twins and A's have already played 38 innings this weekend, but amazingly, they still have one more game to go. Today, Kyle Lohse will go against Rich Harden in the series' final game. I'm sure both Ron Gardenhire and Ken Macha would like to see their starter eat up some innings. Part of me wants to see Harden last long enough into the game that Jesse Crain is pitching for the Twins. Harden is another Canadian which could mean that four Canadians would play in one game. I wonder if that is some sort of record? I remember asking the same thing last season when Corey Koskie, Justin Morneau and Larry Walker all played in a couple of Twins/Rockies games. Here is a quick look at what happened over the weekend.
Friday night - Twins 1, A's 3 (11 Innings)
Brad Radke was awesome! Brad Radke deserves so much better. Radke threw nine innings and gave up just one run on five hits and two walks. He even struck out seven. But Radke got nothing to show for his efforts because former Twins pitcher Mark Redman held the Twins to no runs on three hits and a walk in over 7 innings. The Twins got a solo homer from Shannon Stewart in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game, but it would not hold. Octavio Dotel shut down the Twins the next three innings. Juan Rincon gave up two runs on three hits in an inning and a third to take the loss.
The Twins had just four hits on the night with Stewart's HR being the lone extra-base hit.
Saturday afternoon - Twins 4, A's 3
I love when the Twins are able to put together a strong showing on national TV. Of course, so much of that happens because of the arm of Johan Santana. It was a matchup of Santana versus the A's Tim Hudson, who had not pitched in a big league game in about six weeks.
The Twins were able to get a lead and increase it to 4-0. Santana went six innings and got one out in the seventh before allowing three runs. In 6.1 innings, he gave up those three runs on seven hits and a walk. He struck out 10. Jesse Crain came in and gave up two hits to his two batters. But Juan Rincon came in and got the next five batters out. Still clinging to a one-run lead, the Twins went to closer Joe Nathan who pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to record his 32nd save.
Jose Offerman seemingly had not played for a month, but he took advantage of his opportunity in the DH role by going 3-4. Torii Hunter went 2-4 with an RBI and his 15th stolen base. Michael Cuddyer was also 2-3.
Sunday afternoon - Twins 5, A's 6 (18 innings)
It was as if both teams played a double header. 18 innings is not good for a pitching staff. However, since I had a long drive back home, it was great for me. I was able to listen to the first pitch, and four hours later, I went in to my house and still was able to watch the final three innings.
The Twins got an RBI single from Justin Morneau in the 3rd inning and a sacrifice fly by Shannon Stewart in the 5th to claim a 2-0 lead. Carlos Silva was on and getting a lot of ground balls, shutting out the A's through the first six innings. But in the seventh, the A's got a two-run double from Damien Miller and an RBI single by Mark Kotsay to take the lead. Cristian Guzman came up big-time for the Twins in the top of the 8th with a leadoff home run against Mark Mulder to tie the game at three. And thanks to strong relief performances by the A's Justin Duchsherer and Chris Hammond and the Twins bullpen, particularly Joe Roa (five one-hit innings), the game remained tied at three until the 18th inning.
The Twins had replaced Roa with Terry Mulholland. He gave up five hits and three runs in the top of the 18th inning. The A's were able to bring in their closer, Octavio Dotel for the bottom of the inning. Dotel walked Lew Ford to start the inning. Then he and Justin Morneau had a long battle. Finally, Morneau went down and clobbered a pitch maybe 7-8 inches off the ground well over the centerfield fence to bring the Twins to within 6-5. Unfortunately, they were unable to rally and get one more run to extend the game.
On offense, Cristian Guzman was 3-7 with a walk and his 6th homer. Justin Morneau was 3-7 with a walk, his 8th home run and three RBI. Lew Ford was 1-4 with three walks and a hit-by-pitch. He also stole his 15th base in 16 attempts.
Again, the Twins will throw Kyle Lohse this afternoon against Rich Harden and the Oakland A's. The Twins will then fly out to Seattle to begin a three game series against the Mariners on Tuesday.
I wrote the following on Friday:
Jason Bartlett was 0-4 and had another error yesterday. I'm sure there are Twins fans who are thinking he isn't ready, or even worse, will never been a big league talent. Is that really fair? I mean, we frequently talk about small sample sizes. is 10 innings in the field and five plate appearances really enough to make that determination?
Now, that said, I fully believe that if he is not going to get consistent playing time, which clearly he isn't, he should be sent back to AAA Rochester, where he can play. Alex Prieto can come up to sit on the bench.
Well, it looks like the Twins had a similar idea. Friday morning the team sent Bartlett back down to Rochester so that he would be able to get consistent at bats rather than rotting on the Twins bench. The team purchased the contract of Augie Ojeda to replace him. They moved Nick Punto from the 15 day disabled list to the 60 day DL so that they could do it. Ojeda has never hit much in the big leagues, but he has some speed and is a good defender. Like Prieto, Ojeda is not young, so it is ok for him to ride the pine.
TWINS/AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
Here are the AL Central Standings. The Twins have a six game lead over both the White Sox and the Indians. When the Indians got a big three-run homer from Matt Lawton off Shingo Takatsu to win Saturday's game, the Indians actually were a game up on the Sox. But the Sox late-inning win yesterday brought them back to even.
Minnesota Twins 62-48 .564 ---
Cleveland Indians 57-55 .509 6.0
Chicago White Sox 55-53 .509 6.0
Any thoughts on the Twins or this weekend's series? E-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
Friday - Redwings 4, Pawtucket 5 - Scott Baker made another Rochester start and went 6 1/3 innings. He gave up three earned runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out five. Kevin Hodge gave up two earned runs in 1.2 innings. Terry Tiffer was the lone bright spot for the Redwings. He was 2-4 with a grand slam, his 8th homer of the year.
Saturday - Redwings 3, Pawtucket 4 - Matt Guerrier had a strong performance. He went six innings and gave up three runs (just one earned) on eight hits and a walk. Adam Johnson pitched the final two innings. He gave up a run on four hits and a walk. Jason Bartlett, back from Minnesota, went 2-5 with an RBI double. Terry Tiffee and Josh Rabe were each 2-4 (Rabe had a double).
Sunday - Redwings 4, Pawtucket 6 - JD Durbin backed up his AAA debut with another very strong game. he gave up two runs on seven hits and a walk, in six innings. He struck out six. So, in his 13 innings, his strikeout:walk ratio is 19:1. Not too baaad! Willie Eyre gave up a run on a walk in his inning. Joe Beimel gave up two hits and a walk, and all three scored without him getting anyone out. Beau Kemp pitched a scoreless 8th. Jason Kubel went 2-3. Todd Dunwoody and Josh Rabe were each 2-4 (Rabe with another double).
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
Friday - Rockcats 1, Portland 2 - Henry Bonilla got the start and fell to 8-9 on the year. He went five innings and gave up six earned runs on nine hits and a walk. Kevin Cameron went the next three innings without giving up a run. His ERA is now 0.60. Travis Bowyer struck out two in the 9th inning. Luis Maza was 2-5 wit ha double. Bryan Kennedy was 2-4 with a double and 2 RBI. Garrett Jones was 1-2 with a double, two walks and two runs batted in.
Saturday - Game 1 - Rockcats 1, Portland 2 - New Britain did get seven hits but were just unable to put anything together. They even had doubles off the bats of Ryan Owens, Jake Mauer and Kevin West, who also had his 83rd RBI. Jon Pridie started and gave up two runs on seven hits and a walk in seven innings. He struck out 11. Victor Moreno pitched the final two innings and allowed just one hit
Saturday - Game 2 - Rockcats 5, Portland 3 - Boof Bonser had another good start. In 7.1 innings, he allowed three runs (2 earned) on six hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out four. The win improves his record to 8-9 with a 4.83 ERA. Bobby Korecky got the final five outs to record his 20th save. Luis Maza went 3-4 with two RBI. Kevin West drilled his 23rd homer and Garrett Jones hit his 21st.
Sunday - Rockcats 10, Portland 5 - The bats finally got things going for the Rockcats. Garrett Jones went 3-3 with two doubles and four RBI. Matt Scanlon went 3-4 with a triple and 2 RBI. James Tomlin was 2-5 with a double. Luis Maza was 2-4 with a double, a walk and an RBI. Bryan Kennedy hits his 4th hom run. Erik Lohse got another start for New Britain. He gave up two runs on two hits and three walks in his five innings. Victor Moreno came in and gave up three runs on three hits and a walk in 2.1 innings. Travis Bowyer got the final five outs, allowing two hits and a walk.
FT. MYERS MIRACLE
Friday - Game 1 - Miracle 3, Clearwater 4 - Danny Matienzo had a day. In Game 1, he was 4-5. Jose Morales went 2-4 with a double. Kaulana Kuhaulua was 2-3 with two RBI. Jeff Randazzo got the start and gave up an unearned run on three hits and no walks in six innings. Manny Tejada gave up three runs (2 earned) on four hits in 1.2 innings. Pat Neshek got the inning's final out.
Friday - Game 2 - Miracle 4, Clearwater 5 - OK, I'm not sure if I trust the box score or not, but it tells me that Jeff Randazzo started game two as well. He went just one inning and struck out a batter. Nick Blackburn went the next five innings and gave up four earned runs in five innings. He gave up five hits (including two homers) and a walk. Levale Speigner fell to 2-4 with the loss. His ERA is just 1.32. He went three innings and gave up an unearned run on two hits and a walk. Danny Matienzo was 2-5. Ben Pattee was 2-4 with a an RBI triple.
Saturday - Miracle , Clearwater - This game was postponed.
Sunday - Miracle - No Florida State League games scheduled.
SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
Friday - Swing 0, South Bend 6 - Justin Jones got his first start in the organization... and it didn't go so well. The hard-throwing lefty was only able to go 2 2/3 innings. In that time, he gave up four runs on seven hits and a walk. Tristan Crawford went the next 2 1/3 innings, striking out four. Angel Garcia struck out four over the next three innings. Matthew Hines then gave up two earned runs in his inning. Kyle Geiger had three of the team's six hits. He was 3-4 wit ha double. The Swing had no walks and nine strikeouts on the day.
Saturday - Swing 3, South Bend 1 - Adam Harben showed Saturday why he is so highly thought of. He improved to 7-6 with eight innings of work. He allowed a run on two hits and walked none. He also struck out 11. Eric Brandon got the save wby pitching the ninth. Denard Span went 2-4. Kyle Phillips was 2-3. Scott Whitrock hit his 12th homer. Those were the only five hits the Swing had.
Sunday - Swing 5, South Bend 2 - Glen Perkings continues to pitch well early in his pro career. This time, he got the win (and dropped his ERA to 1.40). He went 5 2/3 innings and allowed seven hits , a walk, and just 1.40. Later Julio DePaula gave up three hits and a walk in two innings.
Friday - E-Twins 6, Bluefield 4 - The E-Twins got five innings from Kyle Aselton. He gave up two runs on three hits and three walks, striking out four. Kevin Culpepper fell to 0-3 by giving up a runs and an earned run in two innings. Jason Bowlin gave up an unearned run on two hits in his two innings. Landon Burt was 2-4 with a walk. Deacon Burns went 2-5. Matt Tolbert was 2-3.
Saturday - E-Twins 8, Bluefield 4 - Luke Hughes moved to the 3 spot in the lineup and went 3-4 with a two RBI double. Trevor Plouffe went 2-3 with a walk. Jeremy Pickrel went 2-3. Jay Yaconetti was 1-4 with his second homer . He also had four RBI, meaning a grand slam. David Winfree hits his fifth home. Javier Martinez started and went 2.1 innings. He gave up three runs on three walks. He stuck out two
Jonathan Martinez came in and went the next 4.2 innings. He gave up an unearned run on one hit and two walks, and he struck out 9. Jeff Mousser struck out the side in the eight. Frank Mata struck out two in the same parade.
Sunday - E-Twins 2, Bluefield 4 - The E-Twins got a nice win. Jeremy Pickrel went 3-4 with his fourth homer and three RBI. Johnny Woodard went 2-4. Luke Hughes went 2-3 with a walk. David Shinskie got the start and went seven innings. He gave up five hits and two walks. He gave up two runs, but just one was earned. Get struck out seven. Jason Bowlin gave up two runs in the next two innings.
Thank you very much for stopping by this website and please continue to do so. Have yourself a great week! If you ever have any questions, comments or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me.
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