Monday August 16, 2004
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
USA HOOPS LOSES... TO PUERTO RICO
Good morning and Happy Monday to everyone!
Last week, I asked you a number of question about what you liked or didn't like about this site. I got a number of really great answers, and I want to thank those who took the time to respond. I learned a lot from them.
One common response was that, with the Twins thoughts, a lot of what I was writing could be found in a review of the box score, or reading a game summary. I show all of that, and also expressed some opinions or thoughts on the team as I felt them. Well, I am going to start just discussing the games in terms of my thoughts, rather than any box score review. I will have a short highlights package at the end which will show some of the multi-hit batters or quality pitching stats.
However, I will continue to show updates in the current format for the minor league updates. On that, I had some people tell me that they didn't care to read them at all, only concerning themselves with what happens at the big league level. Others told me that it was the first thing they read each day. They could go to five or six other sites to find such information, but here they are able to find it all in one place. So, I will continue to highlight the Twins minor league teams and players.
It was fun for me to read your responses. In the past, I have written about basketball, football and other sports, but also about non-athletic things like TV, movies and music. Some of you said that they chose to just skip that stuff. Others say that they like that my site is more well-rounded. So again, I will write on topics I find interesting, and you can chose to read them and even comment on them if you chose to.
I guess one goal of this site for me is to write a page that I would want to read. It is fun for me, and I hope you enjoy reading it as well.
I'll even talk some Minnesota Amateur Baseball state tournament if I want. OK, I'll probably only discuss the Wolf Lake Wolfpack. Those who have been here for awhile know that my brother Justin (and a few of the others that I named in my The Best I've Ever Played Ball With entry) plays for that team. They were in the state tournament last year, even winning winnings two games there. This weekend, they advanced to the state tournament again.
Coming Up -
Well, the Twins lost two out of three in Cleveland over the weekend. They were really fortunate to take the rubber game of the series yesterday to keep the AL Central lead to themselves. But it is pretty clear, especially considering the Twins upcoming schedule, that there will be plenty to write about them the next couple of months. The Twins minor league team's seasons are coming toward an end. Then 35-40 players will participate in the Instructional League. Then six more players will play in the Arizona Fall League. Basically, when it comes to this website, there will be some baseball information every day.
The NFL season is fast approaching as well. The Vikings won their first preseason game on Saturday night. Knowing Minnesota fans, there were probably a lot of you who actually watched the game. I will again preview the Vikings season and try to express my thoughts on them each week. I will be participating in at least two fantasy football leagues and will share my draft results on this site. So, if you have any Fantasy Football questions, please feel free to ask.
Also, the "NFL EXPERT PICKS" will be returning before Week 1. Each week, I will be making my picks on who will win each NFL game each week. Last year, we had nine panelists. This year, I will have at least that many, if not more, as my final list of panelists is being finalized. Last year's winner, Aaron Gleeman (of Aaron's Baseball Blog and The Hardball Times (and more) fame) will be defending his title. He beat The Hardball Times' Ben Jacobs by two games last year. Ben will also again compete this year. I have some commitments from some new people, other bloggers that you probably read quite frequently. There may even be a big surprise or two, so be sure to check back for that.
As high school fall sports are coming to a start today in Minnesota, it is getting closer to the start of the new TV season. I will try to watch some of the new shows and let you know what I'm watching. I'm doing a pretty poor job of TV watching this summer. For that, I apologize.
I also will hopefully be able to watch more movies in coming months. I will try to give a brief review of whatever I watch. Over this weekend, I watched 13 Going on 30. It stars Jennifer Garner as a 30 year old woman who does not remember years 13-29 of her life. She is a 13 year old in the body of a 30 year old. She learns a bunch of lessons and becomes a better person. This movie wants to be the female version of Big. Basically, it's a cutesy movie, but I wouldn't recommend it. I wouldn't even call it a great movie.
Hey, who knows... with the Presidential Election just months away, I may even start talking politics. Now I know that will cause some reaction!! Ha!
Are there topics you would like me to cover? If you ever have any questions or comments or ideas for entries, send me an e-mail.
Thank you again to all of the readers, especially those of you who take the time to write and contribute to the enjoyment I get from writing...
Enough about that... let's talk some baseball!
Well, as I mentioned above, and if you're reading this site you probably already know, the Twins lost 2 out of 3 to the Cleveland Indians this weekend. Actually, they were pretty well dominated on Friday and Saturday nights, so to squeak out an extra-inning win on Sunday was huge for the team. Had they lost on Sunday, the Twins and Indians would have been virtually tied atop the AL Central. But instead, the Twins leave Cleveland with a two game lead over the Indians (and 4 games over the White Sox).
Friday night - Cleveland 8, Twins 2
Lew Ford (3-4, 27th double), Torii Hunter (2-4, BB, 28th double), Michael Cuddyer (2-4), Jacque Jones (1-4, 19th home run). Carlos Silva (6 earned runs, 2 innings), Joe Roa (4 IP, no runs)
Saturday night - Cleveland 7, Twins 1
Shannon Stewart (3-4, 6th home run, lone RBI), Jacque Jones (2-4, 2B). Kyle Lohse (7 earned runs, 5 innings), JC Romero, Juan Rincon (combined 3 scoreless innings).
Sunday afternoon - Cleveland 2, Twins 4 (10 innings)
Corey Koskie (3-5, 2B, 17th home run, game-winnings 2-run HR in 10th), Justin Morneau (2-4, BB, 2B), Jose Offerman (1-1, pinch-hit, 2-run double in 6th), Lew Ford (0-2, BB, 2-HBP). Terry Mulholland (8 innings, 2 runs, 1 earned run), Joe Nathan (34th save, perfect 10th inning).
1.) I think it is time to lay off of Terry Mulholland. I know I felt the need to defend him after his last start. Against Seattle, he gave up four first inning runs before throwing six shutout innings. So many see him as an old-man who has nothing left and can't provide the Twins with any value. The Twins needed a strong pitching performance after both Carlos Silva and Kyle Lohse got shelled in the previous games. Mulholland got off to a shaky start, but got a big double-play ball in the first inning. And, really, his throwing error contributed to one run. 8 innings, 2 runs. And he gets a no decision. Instead of always discussing what he isn't, I think we should step back and just say thank you, and appreciate what he has provided the team.
2.) Juan Rincon came in and saved JC Romero from giving up a run for the first time since he was called back up to the Twins. On at least three occasions, Romero has been brought in with runners on in an important situations, and he let down the starter by allowing those inherited runners to score. Juan Rincon could have let Romero take the loss, but instead, he got Ronnie Belliard to line out to Torii Hunter, sending the game to the 10th inning and allowing the Twins to win.
3.) So, Rincon gets just one batter out, and he gets the Win. I don't want to over-discuss my feelings on the Win stat being over-rated. That is the way the rule is written, and that really is OK with me. The Win was Rincon's 10th of the season. That gives the Twins three Venezuelan pitchers with double-digit wins. As was mentioned last week by Minneapolis Star-Tribune Twins writer Lavelle E. Neal, when Carlos Silva joined Johan Santana was 10 game winners, that duo became the first pair of Venezuelans to have double-digit wins for the same team.
4.) At this point, I say leave Terry Mulholland alone. Well, I have been saying the same thing about Kyle Lohse all season as well. But I am completely changing my tune. I agree with keeping a guy who won 14 games each of the last two seasons in the rotation as long as possible, giving him a chance to work out his problems. But it is mid-August now and Lohse has not figured things out. It is time to do something with him. I say call up JD Durbin and see what he can do. Yes, his last AAA outing was not good (see below), but it could have been much better given some defensive help. I'm certainly not saying give up on Kyle Lohse, but for the team, a change is needed.
5.) I was listening to the Twins radio broadcast yesterday. I happened to see Corey Koskie's feeble strikeout with the bases loaded early in the game. I was thinking about how positive the Twins broadcasters try to be. How many times have we head Dick Bremer or Bert Blyleven say something like, "If the Twins are going to go anywhere, it's going to be because of guys like Corey Koskie, Jacque Jones, Torii Hunter and Cristian Guzman because they have been there before." Well, until yesterday, Koskie had done nothing. Jones has really struggled most of the season. Hunter has actually been great of late, and Guzman has had a couple of good streaks to make the die-hards forget about all of his struggles. Meanwhile, it is Lew Ford who has been the team's leading hitter consistently this season. Justin Morneau has really added a new dimension and a spark to the Twins lineup. Michael Cuddyer has been great since the All-Star break (.309/.377/.545). At some point, I think people need to realize that it just might be these new guys that are going to lead this team, and we have to just hope that those veterans can contribute anything. Fortunately for the Twins, Koskie had three great at bats after that strikeout including that game-winning two-run homer in the 10th.
6.) Speaking of the broadcast team, I have to say that I actually enjoy listening to the radio broadcast. I still can't stand John Gordon's over-emphasis of minute details. And I don't think that Herb Carneal is very good anymore. But I really, really enjoy listening to The Dazzle Man, Dan Gladden. First, he has greatly improved as he is on the air much more this season. Secondly, he provides a lot of "what-the-player-might-be-thinking" commentary, which I really enjoy. Finally, he isn't afraid to tell you what he is really thinking. There are times when you can actually hear his disappointment in his voice, and I think that is OK.
7.) Matt Lawton was an All-Star this year for the Indians. He also warranted an All-Star berth when he was a Twin. In this series, he was 1-13.
8.) Casey Blake got very little chance with the Twins. Corey Koskie was entrenched at 3B while Doug Mientkiewicz was a fixture at 1B. And, at the time, those were absolutely the right decisions. Blake was not a good defender at either position, something that is still the case. But, he has been an every day player now for two seasons and with the playing time, he has become a very solid player. His 20 home runs would be leading the Twins. Like he did last year, he continues to mash Twins pitching. In this series, he was 5-13 with a walk, a double, a triple and a home run (a cycle of sorts...).
9.) I thought Omar Vizquel was done. I may have been a bit premature. After an injury-laden 2003, Vizquel has been healthy as is hitting well. He is hitting .304, walking a bunch and stealing some bases in front of the powerful middle of the Cleveland lineup. Of course, that doesn't mean he will be back in the Indians lineup next year. You have to figure that for financial reasons, along with the Cleveland youth movement, Vizquel will be allowed to leave via free agency after the season. Jhonny Peralta is more than ready at AAA! But this weekend, Vizquel went 7-14 against the Twins including a 4-5 game on Friday night.
10.) Why does Bert Blyleven pronounce Ben Broussard's name Ben Bru-SHard? I don't get that! Another one he messes up every time is the Orioles Jerry Hairston. He pronounces his last name Hair-I-ston. The third that I am always noticing was John Mabry who has played for a number of teams in recent years. He pronounces his name May-Berry. Again, I just don't get it. But hey, at least he gets Shigetoshi Hasegawa right.
11.) Bert was not in the booth this weekend. He is back in Ft. Myers helping out the community after Hurricane Charley.
12.) Speaking of the Indians, it was exactly 84 years ago today (Aug. 16, 1920) that Indians SS Roy Chapman was beaned by Yankees pitcher Carl Mays. He was able to be helped off the field of play, but just hours later, he was pronounced dead with head injuries. It is the only case in major league baseball history that a player has been killed on the field.
Chapman was a career .278 who hit .300 four times in his nine year career. When he died, he was hitting .303. Mays actually had a 15 year big league career in which he went 207-126 with a 2.92 ERA (119 ERA+). He won 20 games five times including 26 wins in 1920 and 27 in 1921.
Those are just some random thoughts on the Twins and their Cleveland series. What are you thoughts? E-mail me.
The Twins will enjoy an off-day today before starting a three-game series at the Metrodome against the New York Yankees before they get another shot at the Cleveland Indians this weekend.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Friday - REDWINGS 8, Scranton-Wilkes Barre 13 - JD Durbin made his third Rochester start and it was not a good one. The hard-throwing righty went just 3 2/3 innings. He gave up 10 runs, but just 3 of them were earned. He did allow 9 hits and 2 walks, while striking out four. Adam Johnson didn't help. He gave up two runs on six hits in 1 1/3. Aaron Fultz pitched a scoreless inning, somehow, giving up a hit and two walks. Jason Bartlett was 2-5 with a triple. Michael Restovich went 2-4 with his 18th homer and four RBI. Todd Dunwoody was also 2-4. Michael Ryan went 1-4 with his 5th homer.
Saturday - REDWINGS 3, Scranton-Wilkes Barre 13 - Jason Bartlett had another good game, going 2-4 with a walk and a double. Luis Rodriguez was 2-5. Michael Ryan had two doubles in four at bats. David Gassner started and went five innings for the Redwings. He gave up seven earned runs on eight hits and two walks. Willie Eyre gave up another run in his three innings of work.
Sunday - REDWINGS 3, Scranton-Wilkes Barre 2 (11 innings) -Seth Gresinger had a nice start. He gave up just two runs on five hits and two walks in seven innings. Kevin Hodge and Aaron Fultz each pitched a scoreless inning. Beau Kemp then pitched two scoreless innings to get the Win. Terry Tiffee went 2-5 with a double. Alex Prieto was the team's first baseman and was 1-3 with his 5th home run. The story of the game was the Rochester debut of Kevin West (finally!!!). In his first at bat with the team, West hit a home run. It was his only hit of the game.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
Friday - ROCKCATS, Trenton 2 - Boof Bonser was the league's pitcher of the week. In this game, he went 6 2/3 innings and gave up two runs (1 earned) on five hits. He walked none and struck out nine. Kevin Camerson, Jason Miller and Bobby Korecky pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Kevin West went 2-4 with a walk. Gabby Torres was 2-4 with a double. Garrett Jones had a two run double. Bryan Kennedy was 1-3 with a walk and his 5th home run.
Saturday - ROCKCATS 5, Trenton 7 - Bryan Kennedy led the way with a 3-3 day. Ryan Owens had a pinch-hit, 2-run double. In Kevin West's final game with New Britain (he hopes), he went 1-2 with a walk and his 25th home run.
Saturday - MIRACLE - No Game Scheduled
FT MYERS MIRACLE
MIRACLE - Because of Hurricane Charley, there were no games for the Miracle this weekend. According to Terry Ryan, the team has made arrangements to play games for a while in Sarasota.
SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
Friday - SWING 4, Beloit 1- Somehow the Swing won and scored four runs despite just three hits. They did take seven walks. Brock Peterson was the hitting hero. He went 2-4 with his 6th home run and three RBI. Glen Perkins had another great start. He went 6 shutout innings and allowed just four hits and a walk. He struck out nine to improve to 2-1 with a 1.07 ERA with the team. Julio DePaula picked up his 8th save with three innings pitched. He allowed a run on three hits and a walk.
Saturday - SWING 2, Beloit 3 - Scott Tyler pitched well again. He gave up a run on three hits and four walks. He struck out six. JR Taylor went 2-4 with a walk and a double. Scott Whitrock was 2-4.
Sunday - SWING 0, Beloit 4 - Again the Swing bats just could not get going. They had just five singles and three walks. Chris Schutt was a non-beneficiary of the lack of run support. He went six innings and gave up three runs on eight hits and five walks. Matthew Hines pitched a scoreless seventh. Peter Tautor gave up a run in his inning of work.
Friday - E-TWINS 2, Burlington 0 - The E-Twins had just two hits, but it was enough to gain the win. Trevor Plouffe was an RBI single. Deacon Burns had the other hit. Steven Duguay had another great start. He did not allow a run in six innings. He walked three and struck out six. Frank Mata pitched a scoreless seventh inning for his 9th save.
Saturday - E-TWINS 6, Burlington 1- Chris Marini pitched great too. In six innings, he gave up no runs on two hits and no walks. He struck out 10! Dennis Medina gave up a run on two hits in his two innings. Frank Mata struck out two in his inning. Javier Sanchez went 3-4 with his 2nd homer. David Winfree went 2-3 with a walk and his 8th homer.
Sunday - E-TWINS 7, Kingsport 11 - A day after pitching two innings, Dennis Medina started and went 5 1/3 innings. He must have just been the guy to give up his arm yesterday. He gave up 11 runs (9 earned) on 11 hits and 4 walks. OUCH! Jonathon Martinez pitched 1 2/3 innings and struck out three. Evan Meek walked two and struck out two in an inning. Tarrance Patterson went 3-5 with 2 RBI. Johnny Woodard went 2-4. Deacon Burns and Javier Lopez each hit a double.
USA OLYMPICS LOSE TO PUERTO RICO
Read that title again... how bad is that?? I am totally not surprised that they lost a game. I actually expected it. Because teams can play a zone defense, they can put a bunch of bodies on Tim Duncan and Amare Stoudmire and not allow them to score. That means that the USA's outside shooters need to make shots. Well, as good as Allen Iverson can be, his shooting percentage is not good. The same can be said about Richard Jefferson, Lebron James, and Carmelo Anthony. Dwayne Wade is a great point guard, but he is not an outside shooter either. So a loss was imminent, I think. But I thought a loss to Lithuania, or Serbia, or someone with some international stature. Not Puerto Rico. Don't get me wrong, Carlos Arroyo is a very good player. He did well for the Utah Jazz this year when he was healthy. But Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico.
Not Team USA needs to win out probably just to get to the medal round. Part of me wants to see them come back and win the Gold. Part of me wants them to lose. Part of me wishes Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal and Tracy McGrady were on the roster with Duncan and Iverson. That team really would be unbeatable.
How much of the Olympic Games have I watched so far? Exactly as much as I was hoping to watch... NONE!
On that note, I am going to call it a day. 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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