Friday August 13, 2004
TWINS SALVAGE ONE VS M'S
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
I have been reading baseball blogs for the past 2-3 years. There are a number of sites that I don't miss ever. There are a bunch that I check out from time to time.
I think that there some basic goals that every blogger has.
The main reason is to talk baseball. Obviously anyone who takes the time to write a daily posting loves the game of baseball.
Most bloggers chose to primarily discuss their favorite team. In this case, my primary focus is my favorite team, the Minnesota Twins.
There are a number of sites that go beyond the realm of baseball. Here, I try to touch on other sports or forms of entertainment, or just whatever is going through my head.
Bloggers have a lot of opinions and love to have this type of forum with which to express it. It may be about a particular player, or a manager's style of play.
Bloggers have a tendency to hype a player or prospect, and when they are right, they will brag about how they knew that said player would become a star, and that his team would be greatly better because he is a key contributor. It is funny, because you rarely see a blogger discuss those players that they were dead wrong about.
And on that note, I have to spend a little while bragging up a guy who I have been talking about ever since I first started this blog, over 14 months ago. When Morneau was called up last June, I titled the entry "...and FINALLY The Callup." Less than a month later, I ranted about his playing time. Another month later, he had been sent back down to the minor leagues and I ranted again!
But how many times have I written, "If given 500 at bats, Justin Morneau could accidentally hit 30 homers." That is a quote that I have used a few times. After seeing him hit this season, I may have to replace 30 with 40.
Defensively, Morneau is not in the same league as Doug Mientkiewicz. But Twins fans need to remember something; compared to Mientkiewicz, no one is going to look good. However, Baseball America rated him the top defensive first baseman (and power prospect) in the International League. We have seen him make the routine plays and even make some quality picks of balls in the dirt already in this month. Having an "average" defensive first baseman is good enough for me considering the offense that he provides.
Another thing that Twins fans and coaches need to remember is that Morneau is still just 23 years old. At some point, it is likely that he too will go into a slump. Every player does. Pitchers and advanced scouts are going to find those weak spots in his swing (fastballs away, fastballs up under the hands, and real tight curveballs in the dirt). By clearing Mientkeiwicz from the equation, the Twins will have to stick with Morneau, which means that he will be given the chance to adjust to the pitcher's adjustment. He has been able to do that in the minor leagues, and I think he will be able to do that at the big league level as well.
So, don't worry, I won't brag about knowing that Morneau would be a stud. Everyone knew that. I mean, in 2003 he was a Top 10 prospect by Baseball America. This year, he was still in the Top 15. Now if only Ron Gardenhire would chose to give Michael Cuddyer the same opportunity, I will be very happy.
Oh, and I have no right to really brag anyway. I am wrong far more than I am right. Check out the Archives, particularly the 2004 player previews, where there is a good mix of me being right (Angel Berroa) and me being very wrong.
TWINS 6, MARINERS 3
Why talk about Justin Morneau more? Well, yesterday, he had two 2-run homers in the Twins victory over the Seattle Mariners. Another of the Twins key players, Lew Ford, had doubled in front of him each time. The Twins other two runs came on a triple by Shannon Stewart. Stewart was 2-5 with the triple. Lew Ford had the two doubles in four at bats before leaving the game in the late innings to receive X-Rays. Hopefully the tests were negative and he'll be back in the lineup tonight. Jacque Jones was 2-3 with a walk. Luis Rivas was 2-4.
Johan Santana was on the mound again yesterday. That pretty much means that the Twins wioudl win. He did not have his typical dominant performance, but it was good enough. Santana went 7 innings and gave up seven hits and two walks. He struck out seven. Jesse Crain struggled with the first two batters of the 8th inning. He gave up a seeing-eye single to Edgar Martinez before a Bret Boone homer. He got the next three in order.
Joe Nathan is making himself of of the more dominant closers in baseball. He hasn't give up a run since mid-June. He recorded his 33rd save in 34 attempts.
Earlier this week, I discussed the team that I believe will be the Twins top competition for the rest of the season. Tonight, the two teams begin a three-game series. If the Indians can sweep the Twins this weekend, they will be tied with the Twins. Here are the game times and pitching matchups for the series:
Fri - 6:05 - Carlos Silva (10-7, 4.21, 1.45, .314) vs Scott Elarton (1-2, 5.24, 1.36, .233)
Sat - 6:05 - Kyle Lohse (5-9, 5.17, 1.66, .314) vs Jake Westbrook (10-5, 3.61, 1.27, .256)
Sun - 12:05 - Terry Mulholland (3-6, 5.14, 1.59,.322) vs Chad Durbin (5-4, 5.88, 1.62, .302)
This should be a good, fun series. The Indians are tough. Their offense is very strong, especially in the middle with Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner. They have two or three good starting pitchers, the Twins will see one of them. Chad Durbin isn't good, but he is coming off a complete game shutout in his last start. I wrote about the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday, so check that out before this series begins.
Any thoughts on the Twins, this upcoming series with the Indians? Anything. E-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
REDWINGS 3, Ottawa 1 -Terry Tiffee had himself another nice night. He went 3-4 with an RBI. Jason Kubel was 2-3 with a walk and a double. Brent Schoening got the start for the Redwings and was able to give them 5 innings. He did not allow a run and gave up just two hits and a walk. Joe Beimel got a win by going three innings and allowing just one hit. Jeromy Palki recorded his third save with a one run, one hit, two walk 9th.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
ROCKCATS 7, Trenton 3 - Henry Bonilla is a very interesting pitching prospect. Last night, he won his 9th game of the season by pitching six innings. He gave up three runs on eight hits and two walks. And, again, he struck out none. Jim Abbott went the next 1.2 innings, walking two. Bobby Korecky got his 22nd save with a perfect ninth. The dynamic power duo of the Rockcats was at it again. Kevin West and Garrett Jones each hit their 24th homer of the season. West was 3-5. Jones was 2-5. Luis Maza was 2-5 with two RBI. Bryan Kennedy went 2-4. Tommy Watkins went 2-5 with a double.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
Game 1 - MIRACLE 3, Tampa 2 (7) - Ft. Myers game on Wednesday was postponed, so they had to play two last night. In game one, Matt Yeatman started and went just two innings. He gave up two runs on a walk and a hit. Ricky Barrett improved to 4-0 with a 1.73 ERA with his four inning, one hit, six strikeout performance. Pat Neshek came in for the ninth and gave up just a single to record his 7th save. His ERA is now 0.84. For the offense, only Alex Romero's 2-3 performance stood out.
Game 2 - MIRACLE 3, Tampa 2 (8) - Game 2 ended up going an extra inning. Garrett Guzman went 2-3 with an RBI double. Doug Deeds also doubled. Jeff Randazzo started and went 5 2/3 innings. He gave up two runs on five hits and a walk. Levale Speigner got the win by going 2 1/3 innings. He did not give up a run despite giving up four hits and three walks.
SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
Like the Miracle, Quad Cities Wednesday game was postponed to Thursday.
Game 1 - SWING 1, Lansing 2 (7) - Alex Garcia went 3-3. Kyle Geiger was 2-3. Brock Peterson had a pinch hit single. Those were the team's only hits. Angel Garcia got the start and went 3 innings. He gave up a run on two hits and no walks. He struck out four. Then Justin Jones came in and pitched the final three innings. He gave up a run on one hit and three walks. He struck out three.
Game 2 - SWING 3, Lansing 2 (15) - A long game for the Swing, but at least they got the win. Adam Harben started and gave up two runs on one hit. He walked SEVEN and struck out THIRTEEN! Eric Brandon gave up a hit and two walks in the next 1 2/3. Jay Sawatski went the next two innings and struck out two. Tristan Crawford got, and deserved, the win by pitching five scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit and one walk.
E-TWINS - Burlington - Game Postponed.
On that note, I am going to call it both a day and a week. I am currently uncertain of my weekend plans, but hopefully it will involve some watching of the Twins! Thanks again for stopping by this site. If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me.
Have a great weekend! Enjoy the Olympics Opening Ceremony!
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