Monday, August 14, 2006
Roger's Minor League Players of the Week
Twins Minor League Report
Good morning everybody! First, things first. I mentioned on Friday that you should be sure to watch the Twins pregame show on Friday night. Well, our great friend Roger Dehring (whose Pitcher and Player of the Week can be found below) appeared on the show. He was interviewed by Anthony LaPanta and did a terrific job. Congrats Roger!!
It was a rough weekend for Twins fans. Coming off the high of winning two out of three in Detroit, as well as being on top of the AL Wild Card Race, it is really disappointing to lose a series to the still-fighting for a spot Toronto Blue Jays. However, what Brad Radke did for the Twins (again) on Sunday was exactly what they needed. The in-pain veteran control artist was in his finest form Sunday pitching seven shutout innings after the Twins lost the first three games of the series. Today, we've got plenty of thoughts on the Twins weekend games against the Blue Jays. We also have Roger's minor league player and pitcher of the week and the minor league summaries.
For those Chris Coste fans out there, he started only on Saturday for the Phillies. He went 1-4 in that game. However, he entered the game on both Friday and Sunday as a pinch hitter in the 9th inning against former Twins closer Eddie Guardado. On Friday night, he led off the inning with a double. He was pinch run for by Chris Roberson who came in to score the game-tying run. On Sunday afternoon, he singled in a run to cut the Reds lead to 5-4. The tying run eventually scored.
So, let's get to the rest of today's topics. Have a Great Week! Please feel free to e-mail me or leave Comments below.
Well, obviously the story of the weekend, and last week for that matter, was the major league debut of Matt Garza. To me, it was as eagerly anticipated as the debuts of Francisco Liriano and Justin Morneau. (Speaking of Morneau, check out this great Jim Souhan article on the big Canadian.) Here are some thoughts on his outing, an outing he would probably like a 'do-over' on:
Seven runs. Eight hits. Two walks. Two and two-thirds innings. It was not a good outing for Matt Garza.
In NO WAY does this mean that Garza is not good or that he has lost any status as the team's top prospect. So what was it? It was a bad start. A really bad start, and I think that Garza would be the first to tell you that.
But what is most important to remember is that it was just one start. Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson. They have all had lots of bad starts in their careers. Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan were horrible pitchers for a couple of years before they became what they were. Now, I'm not saying that Matt Garza will have a career like any of those pitchers. However, it is also important that we put the start into some perspective here.
It sure started out well. Reed Johnson was the Blue Jays first batter. Garza threw him two fastballs for strikes before striking him out on a sharp slider. The second batter, Frank Catalanotto, worked Garza for an eight pitch at bat. The fifth pitch was a 2-2 changeup that I have no idea how he took. It may have been just a tad low, but tough to take. A couple of fastballs at 97 and 98 were fouled off before Catalanotto hit an infield single between short and third on another changeup. Then Vernon Wells came up and looked horrible on two fastballs before Garza froze him on a slow curve. Troy Glaus walked on a close pitch just off the inside corner.
And then there was the Lyle Overbay 'double.' I prefer to call it the Torii Hunter misplay. A soft liner to center turned into a two run double. Hunter said he lost it. I thought that he looked incredibly slow and hesitant on the ball. And then he put a weak dive attempt at it. It was really too bad because who knows if the game turns out a little differently if that catch is made.
Now, I can be harsh on Torii Hunter and say that he isn't the defender that he was. However, he is still very good and that one play was probably more of an aberration. However, I will back him on one count. At that point in the inning, Garza had already thrown 27 pitches which is just too many. It is tough because a fielder is not as ready as when a pitcher is getting quicker outs.
In the first inning, Garza threw 29 pitches. 19 were for strikes. He threw 21 fastballs, five breaking balls and three changeups. FSN did a poor job of letting us know the pitch velocities. Of those that I was able to record, he hit 98 twice and once hit 97. Most of his fastballs were in the 93-96 range.
The second inning was even worse in terms of results. However, it was a good showing of why I (and many others) believe Garza will be just fine with a couple of adjustments. He got Bengie Molina to fly out. He threw him three different pitches that all worked. Aaron Hill had a five pitch at bat that ended with a ground out to 3B. In the at bat, he threw him two fastballs, a slow curve, a slider and a changeup. All worked well. Then, on an 0-1 pitch to Reed Johnson, he put a changeup about belt high that was hit well into the left field bleachers. Frank Catalonotto followed with his second infield single. It was a play where Luis Rodriguez played back, fielded the ball, gripped it, took a few steps and then threw a changeup to 1B. Should have been out of the inning. Then Vernon Wells slapped a single to RF on a fastball on the outer half. Then Troy Glaus did the same thing. So, he gave up the three runs, but I would almost contend that he only made one really bad pitch.
For the second inning, he threw 26 pitches, 17 of them were strikes. 18 of the pitches were fastballs. He threw three curveballs, two sliders and three changeups.
The third inning was bad. I can admit that. It started with a four pitch walk to Eric Hinske. Bengie Molina hit into a fielder's choice. Aaron Hill lined out to third. Then a 92 mph fastball at the belt was hit out by John MacDonald, a bad hitter!
And his game was over.
The crowd was great though. A standing ovation when he came out to the mound for the first. An eruptive standing ovation when he struck out Reed Johnson. And, another standing ovation when he walked off the field having allowed seven runs in 2.2 innings. That tells you that Twins fans get it. They understand that Garza is going to be great! They understand that he had a bad outing, but they want him to succeed.
Garza's next start will likely be on Thursday afternoon against Cleveland, another solid offensive lineup.
I've already received several e-mails calling me a Garza apologist. I don't see it that way. I still believe Garza is a top prospect and even with a bad start, he is ready for the big leagues. He doesn't need me to apologize for him. And he has nothing to apologize for. I believe that I am being consistent as well in saying that he deserves more starts. Want proof? Last week, I said it was ridiculous that Gardy made the comments he did about Mike Smith and didn't give him a second chance. How long do I stick with Garza? I would say at least five starts.
There were a couple of positives even in the Twins 7-1 loss to the Blue Jays. Luis Rodriguez made a rare start and went 2-3 with a double.
After Garza, the Twins bullpen went 6.1 shutout innings. I was happy to see Willie Eyre throw 3.1 shutout innings. He gave up just one hit and one walk. In his last six outings, he has an ERA of 2.52 in 10.2 innings. The only negative is that all three runs that he has given up in that time came via the home run.
On Saturday night, the Twins turned back to Boof Bonser to make the start. Bonser has now been recalled to the Twins three times this season. Bonser actually pitched alright in the game. Here are my game notes:
As he did the night before, Reed Johnson led off the game with a strikeout. However, he came back in his second at bat with a two-run homer to break a scoreless game.
Bonser was actually pretty good. Through five innings, he had given up just two runs on five hits. He walked none and struck out five. In the sixth, he got two outs right away, but a single was followed by a Troy Glaus double for a run. But, I think Bonser did well enough to stick around with the Twins. If a fifth starter can give up three runs or less and close to six innings, you should be happy.
Most impressive in the game, as it seems he is whenever he pitches, was Pat Neshek. He came in and struck out Vernon Wells to end the sixth. He pitched a scoreless 7th and 8th inning as well. He gave up his first two hits over his previous eight innings, but he also struck out four. Of his 27 pitches thrown, 22 of them were strikes.
The Twins hitters made the four Blue Jays pitchers look like legit big leaguers. Scott Downs was a spot starter. Brian Tallet has been hurt his whole career. Brandon League is very talented and young. Scott Schoenweiss is, well, Scott Schoenweiss. Those four shut out the Twins. Worse yet, the Twins managed just seven hits. And only Josh Rabe had an extra base hit, a double.
The Twins hitters hit into six double plays. Six double plays in nine innings. That is horrible! When I was in high school, a coach always said that you want to hit hard line drives and vicious ground balls. If you have that approach at the plate, you are going to hit into some double plays. Kirby Puckett hit into a lot of double plays. However, of the six double plays, I don't believe any of them were even well hit ground balls.
On Sunday afternoon, Brad Radke gave the Twins exactly what they needed. Seven shutout innings on the way to a 5-0 win. Here are my game notes:
I really believe that this was Radke's best performance of the year. He got off to such a horrible start. After a May 24th start in which he gave up six runs in 5.2 innings, Radke's ERA was 7.44. Since then, he has made 15 starts. In those starts, he has gone 8-2 with a 2.66 ERA. So, he is now 12-8 with a 4.43 ERA on the year. And to think that there are still people who think he is done. (for comparison sake, Johan Santana has gone 9-1 with a 3.12 ERA in his last 15 starts.)
In one of hte funnier moments, Jason Tyner came to the plate in the bottom of the 8th with a chance to hit for the cycle. Seeing as he had not previously hit a major league home run in over 1,000 plate appearances, it probably wasn't going to happen. Especially against one of the tougher lefties in the game in BJ Ryan.
Justin Morneau is up to 103 strikeouts on the season. He had a sacrifice fly in one inning and an RBI single in another inning. He is now hitting .318 on the year. He is on pace for 42 homers and 144 RBI. Not a bad season!
Joe Mauer had the day off. I understand this completely, especially since he should not catch the day game after a night game. However, on Saturday night, the Twins hit against lefty Scott Downs. On Sunday afternoon, they hit against righty Shawn Marcum. Why would Gardy not look at that and have Mauer catch on Sunday afternoon and have Mike Redmond catch on Saturday night... or is that a marketing situation?
A few of the Twins players really struggled in the series against the Blue Jays:
Luis Castillo went 2-16.
Joe Mauer and Torii Hunter were each 1-11.
Michael Cuddyer was 2-12.
Jason Kubel was 2-10.
Justin Morneau was 3-14.
Here is a quick look at the upcoming pitching matchups for the four game series at home against the Cleveland Indians.
Tues - 7:10 - Johan Santana (13-5, 3.24, 1.06, .226) vs Jake Westbrook (9-7, 4.18, 1.36, .281)
Wed - 7:10 - Carlos Silva (8-10, 6.41, 1.58, .336) vs Cliff Lee (10-8, 4.64, 1.44, .285)
Thurs - 12:10 - Matt Garza (0-1, 23.62, 3.75, .500) vs Paul Byrd (7-6, 4.72, 1.43, .297)
Any thoughts on the series, please let me know! Send me an e-mail, or leave Comments below.
ROGER'S MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
All season, our good friend Roger has been selecting a player of the week and a pitcher of the week. I know that I appreciate him continuing to do this this week even though he is now a big TV star! I don't know if you saw it, but if you watched the Twins pre-game show on Fox Sports Net, Roger was interviewed by Anthony LaPanta about Matt Garza, the Rochester Red Wings and many more Twins minor league topics. Congratulations to Roger!
He did pick for us his choices for this weeks player and pitcher of the week. He had a couple of difficult decisions, but I like his picks. Feel free to comment! And don't forget to check out his weekly minor league update at Twinkie Town.
Player of the Week…Deacon Burns, Ft. Myers Miracle
Last year at Beloit, Deacon Burns (drafted 26Rd/2004) was an absolute extra base machine who set the all-time franchise record for triples. To be honest, this season has been a disappointment with his batting average hovering around .220 much of the season. This past week was the week Burns has been looking for all year, a week during which he got more playing time and delivered with 12 hits in 29 at bats (.414Ave) with 2 walks, 1 double, 1 home run, 4 runs scored, 3 rbi and his 19th stolen base (23 attempts).
2006 Ft. Myers .239Ave 339ab 13-2B 3-3B 4-HR 48-R 31-RBI
2005 Beloit .271Ave 527ab 36-2B 13-3B 12-HR 90-R 78-RBI
2004 Elizabethton .314Ave 255ab 20-2B 4-3B 12-HR 49-R 49-RBI
Pitcher of the Week…Alexander Smit, Beloit Snappers
This must be the week for recognition of players who have seen recent struggles. Alexander Smit is a 20 year old native of the Netherlands who was signed as a free agent at the age of 16. He struggled last season at Beloit before being returned to Elizabethton where he was untouchable out of their bullpen. This season he again didn’t do as well as expected out of the Beloit bullpen, however, since being inserted into the Snapper starting rotation about July 1, Smit has been 5-0 with his era dropping from 4.60 to 3.20 and now has 109 strikeouts in 84.1 innings pitched. Smit made one start this week on Thursday, pitching 7.0 shutout innings with 1 hit and 11K/0BB.
2006 Beloit 84.1ip 6W-1L 3.20era 1.19WHIP 109K/37BB
2005 Beloit 49.2ip 1W-9L 5.98era 1.73WHIP 54K/28BB
2005 Elizabethton 45.2ip 6W-1L 1.97era 0.81WHIP 86K/12BB
2004 Elizabethton 28.1ip 1W-1L 2.54era 1.23WHIP 43K/10BB
2003 GCL Twins 38.0ip 3W-0L 1.18era 1.03WHIP 40K/20BB
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
Friday SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Matt Moses, New Britain Rockcats
Saturday SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Brock Peterson, Ft. Myers Miracle
Sunday SethSpeaks Player of the Day - JR Taylor, Ft. Myers Miracle
Friday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Anthony Swarzak, Ft. Myers Miracle
Saturday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Brian Kirwan, Elizabethton Twins
Sunday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Eduardo Morlan, Beloit Snappers / Kevin Slowey, New Britain Rockcats
Here are the weekend updates. If you have any thoughts on the Twins system, please e-mail me.
Friday - Red Wings 1, Buffalo 2 - Scott Baker took the loss but he again pitched well. In seven innings, he gave up two runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out six. Beau Kemp came in and walked two and got just one out. But, Matt Ford came in and got the final five outs. The Red Wings managed just six hits, and only Terry Tiffee had a double.
Saturday - Red Wings 2, Buffalo 6 – Again, there was little offense for the Red Wings in this game. They managed just four hits, and again, the only extra base hit was a Terry Tiffee double. Mike Smith, back from his one start with the Twins, gave up six runs on nine hits and four walks over just five innings. Henry Bonilla settled things down with three shutout innings.
Sunday - Red Wings 3, Buffalo 7 - Terry Tiffee continued to hit, but it wasn't enough for a Red Wing win. The 3B went 3-4 with his 16th double. Garrett Jones was 2-4 with his 29th double. Glenn Williams was 2-4. Dave Gassner made another start. He gave up one run on four hits and a walk in four innings. Levale Speigner gave up a run in his two innings. Kevin Cameron had a rough one. In one inning he gave up four runs to take the loss. Bobby Korecky and Matt Ford got the final three outs.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Friday - Rockcats 9, Altoona 2 – Matt Moses had a huge game! Actually he had a huge first two at bats. In the first inning, he hit his 14th homer, a three-run shot. In the second, he hit a bases-clearing double. So, on the day, 2-4 with six RBI. Doug Deeds went 2-3 with a walk and his 32nd double. Felix Molina was 2-4 with his 14th double. Adam Harben had an excellent start. He gave up two runs on five hits and four walks. He struck out six. Jay Sawatski threw two shutout innings.
Saturday - Rockcats 4, Altoona 9 (14) – This was a long game that just kept going, but five 14th inning runs off of David Shinskie was too much to overcome. Nick Blackburn went the first four innings. He gave up two runs on five hits. Justin Olson went three shutout innings. Tristan Crawford pitched one scoreless frame. Julio DePaula gave up an unearned run in his three innings. Shinskie gave up six runs in his three innings. Felix Molina was 3-6. Trent Oeltjen was 3-7. Denard Span was 2-6 with a walk, his 12th stolen base and 20th stolen base. Doug Deeds and Matt Moses each walked three times.
Sunday - Rockcats 12, Altoona 0 – Kevin Slowey came back from a couple of average starts with a strong one. He went seven shutout innings and gave up just two hits. He walked two and struck out seven to improve to 4-3 with a 3.19 ERA with the Rockcats. Jay Sawatski completed the shutout with two strong innings. Danny Matienzo provided most of the offense. He went 3-3 with two walks, two homers and five RBI. He now has 15 homers. Garrett Guzman went 2-5. Scott Whitrock went 1-2 with two walks, his 10th double and 15th stolen base.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Friday - Miracle 7, Sarasota 0 – Anthony Swarzak had probably his best start of the year. He went 7.2 shutout innings. He gave up just three hits and one walk. He struck out 11. Ryan Callahan went the final 1.1 innings. Luke Hughes went 2-3 with his 11th and 12th doubles. Brock Peterson hit his 18th double and his 17th home run. Deacon Burns and Brandon Roberts each hit their fourth homer.
Saturday - Miracle 5, Sarasota 4 - Brock Peterson had another big game. The 1B went 3-4 with his 18th home run. The hero, however, was David Winfree (2-5) who hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 8th that gave the Miracle the win. Trevor Plouffe went 2-5 with his 20th double and his sixth stolen base. Brandon Roberts was 1-3 with two walks. Josh Hill started and gave up four runs on four hits and three walks in six innings. He struck out eight. Chris Schutt got a blown save, but also picked up the win. He allowed an inherited runner to score, but he is credited with two shutout innings of relief. Danny Powers went the final inning for his fifth save.
Sunday - Miracle – No Game Scheduled.
Friday - Snappers 7, Ft. Wayne 2 – Eli Tintor continues to rake. He went 3-5 with two doubles (16 on season). Jose Leger was 2-4 with his fourth double. William Luque and Juan Portes went 2-4 with a walk. Portes stole his 6th base. Ryan Mullins went six shutout innings. He gave up six hits and two walks while striking out seven. Jose Cordero recorded his first save with three innings of work. He gave up two runs on four hits. He struck out four.
Saturday - Snappers 5, Ft. Wayne 1 – Yohan Pino improves to 11-2 (with a 2.28 ERA) with another solid performance. He gave up one run on three hits and a walk in his five innings. Dan Leatherman and Armando Gabino each threw two shutout innings. Matt Betsill led the offense with a 3-4 day. Dwayne White and Edward Ovalle each had two hits.
Sunday - Snappers 5, Ft. Wayne 0 – Eduardo Morlan appears to be fully back now. In seven innings, he gave up no runs and just one hit. He walked one and struck out nine to improve to 4-5 with a 2.66 ERA. The lone hit he allowed was a William Venable single to lead off the 7th inning. Danny Vais and Adam Hawes each pitched one scoreless inning. Jose Leger went 2-3 with a walk, his second triple and two RBI. Edward Ovalle went 2-3 with his 14th stolen base. Dwayne White was 2-4 with his 16th double.
Friday - E-Twins 8, Bristol 4 – JW Wilson may not have a great batting average, but he does have big games under his belt. On this night, he went 3-4 with a walk and his second double. Yancarlos Ortiz went 2-3 with two walks. Danny Valencia was 2-5 with his 6th homer. Brian Dinkelman was also 2-5. Jose Lugo picked up his 5th win with six strong innings. He gave up two runs on seven hits. He walked none and struck out three. Matt Fox struck out three in two shutout innings. Brandon McConnell gave up two runs in one inning, but he did strike out three.
Saturday - E-Twins 7, Burlington 0 – Brian Kirwin got his 4th win with a great performance. In six innings, he gave up no runs on three hits and a walk. He struck out seven. Justin Staatz threw two shutout innings. Aaron Craig walked one in his inning. The offense was remarkable. Three players (Brian Dinkelman, Garrett Olson, Wesley Connor) each had three hits. Three other players (Danny Valencia, Greg Yersich and Yancarlos Ortiz) each had two hits. Danny Berg added his fourth homer of the year.
Sunday - E-Twins 5, Burlington 7 (13) – Matt Williams takes the loss in this extra inning affair, but did he ever pitch well. He came in for the 8th inning and threw shutout ball until the 13th inning. Jose Castillo started and gave up two runs in five innings. Matt Fox came in and gave up three runs in just two innings. Greg Yersich and Josh Dean each had three hits. Richard Sojo was 2-3 with an RBI double. Steve Singleton went had two doubles in six at bats. Brian Dinkelman was 2-7 with his eighth double.
GCL TWINS REPORT
Friday - GCL Twins 4, GCL Pirates 5 – Wilson Ramos went 3-4 with his 10th double. Joe Benson went 2-4 with his 9th double. Matt Lawman was 2-4 with his first double. Matt Dolenc went 2-5. Derek Bromberg took the loss. In 3.1 innings, he gave up five runs (4 earned) on six hits and three walks. Jeff Manship went 3.2 innings and struck out seven runs without allowing a run. Brad Tippett pitched a shutout inning.
Saturday - GCL Twins 3 ,GCL Red Sox 10 – The score may not show it, but Tyler Robertson, the starter, did rather well. In six innings, he gave up three runs on eight hits. He walked none and struck out eight. Adam Revelette came in and gave up six runs (5 earned) on eight hits and a walk in just 1.2 innings. Thomas Wright gave up an unearned run in his 1.1 innings. The Twins managed just seven hits. Three of them (and a walk) came from Wilson Ramos.
Sunday - GCL Twins - No Game Scheduled.
Thanks again for stopping by this site. If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me.
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