Monday August 23, 2004
TWINS SWEEP INDIANS
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
Happy Monday to everyone. How was your weekend? Well, I hoped to run a Mailbag posting over the weekend, but I never got to it, so I will do that tomorrow. Thanks to all those who have e-mailed me. Please be patient with me in my response time. If you have anything you'd like to share with the world on this site, send me an e-mail. We can talk about the Twins/Indians series, or the upcoming series with the Rangers. We can talk about the amazing season of Calvin Pickering (35 HR at AAA) and how he was finally called up to the Royals for yesterday's game, and what a splash he made! We can talk about the Vikings. How about the men's Olympic basketball team losing to Lithuania or if you think they can still get a medal? Maybe you'd prefer to discuss the women's basketball team, or the unbelievable women's softball team? Do you want to tell me that Michael Phelps is going to be a failure because he did not come home with eight gold medals? (If so, I may have to tell you that you are an idiot!!! What he's done is impressive!) Tell me how Alexander Smit and The Netherlands are doing in the Olympics? Or how Team Canada is doing? Maybe you want to talk about TV, or the show Amish in the City? Did you watch Da Ali G Show? How about Six Feet Under? Are you as excited to watch the Johan Santana/Kenny Rogers match up tonight?
So yeah... e-mail me your thoughts on anything. I look forward to reading them.
My weekend was fun though. I spent Friday night with a couple friends watching some of the Vikings game and some of the Twins game. Saturday I played in another softball tournament up in Canada. We won our first two games (35-1 and 13-8), so I was 2-0. Unfortunately, we lost game 3 so we were done. Went home and went to a party where the featured attraction was, ummm... Rocky Mountain Oysters. If you've had them, they're not so bad, huh? If you haven't, you can ask me about them, or probably just ask someone around you as I am shy! Ha!
Sunday was a day of rest! And now, back to work! Oh well. I hope your weekend was great! It certainly was for the Twins and their fans.
TWINS SWEEP CLEVELAND
What a weekend for the Twins! Three dominating wins over their nearest competitor in the division, the Cleveland Indians. Three great pitching performances as well. I mean, we have come to expect strong pitching from Brad Radke and Johan Santana. And Terry Mulholland has been incredible as a starter, but he was also able to beat the Indians for the second straight start, which I can't imagine is easy to do. But to me, the surprise was that Kyle Lohse had a great start. I don't mean to sound negative, but I think it is fair to say that he has had a rough year. For him to be able to pick up a win in the series opener had to be a great tone-setter for the rest of the series as well as being somewhat demoralizing to the Indians.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A WEEK MAKES - Remember when the Twins got a 10th inning two run homer off the bat of the then struggling Corey Koskie? The win meant that the Twins went into the week still holding on to a 2 game lead in the division, rather than being tied with Cleveland. It was ominous, as the Twins had six games, three with the Yankees and three with the Indians again. But the Twins got great pitching from Brad Radke and Johan Santana in big wins over the Yankees. They almost had a miraculous comeback against the Yankees in the series' third game. And then the weekend sweep of the Indians (following the Rangers sweep of Cleveland earlier in the week) coupled with more White Sox losses, it means that the Twins now have a seven game lead in the division. That's quite the turnaround!
Current AL Central Standings
Minnesota Twins 69-54 --
Cleveland Indians 63-62 7.0
Chicago White Sox 60-61 8.0
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A WEEK MAKES (PART 2) - Last Sunday, Corey Koskie struck out in his first two at bats against the Indians. His average was down to .232. He had a single, double and that game-winning homer yet that game. Since that 2nd strikeout, Koskie has gone 11-24 (.458) with five home runs and 9 RBI. His average is now .251. He has 21 home runs and 55 RBI.
WISH FOR THE BEST - In the 7th inning, Justin Morneau was hit on the hand by a CC Sabathia 97 mph fastball. He was taken to the hospital for X-Rays, which were negative, which, of course is positive! Hopefully he will not be out of action for very long!
TWINS/RANGERS - ANOTHER BIG SERIES
Everything is bigger in Texas, right? And this series between the Rangers and the Twins is big for both teams. The Twins will want to continue to play well and maintain their big lead. They will need to continue playing well on the road. The Rangers are fighting to stay in both the AL West race and the AL Wildcard race.
You know, it's funny. I love the Minnesota Twins organization. I love how they have chosen to build there team. In the past, I have written about how I like the Tampa Bay Devil Rays because of their youth movement. I almost hate to admit that I really like the Cleveland Indians because of how they have transitioned their team in the last few seasons. (Note - the fact that they are in the AL Central and have become a legitimate competitor of the Twins means that I just can't.) Another team that I have really enjoyed following this year is the Texas Rangers. So many people are happy that they are playing so well and have stayed in the playoff hunt this far into the season because they are doing it after they got rid of Alex Rodriguez. And sure, that makes a great story. However, when you consider how the Rangers have altered their roster in the last couple of years, it really shouldn't surprise anyone that this team can still hit.
Sure they lost A-Rod, Rafael Palmiero, Ivan Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez in the last couple of seasons. But when you have a lineup that includes an infield of Hank Blalock, Michael Young, Alfonso Soriano and Mark Teixeira in it, you have to like your chances to score some runs. Just look at their numbers and be sure to remember not to just look at their batting average. The power numbers of specifically Teixeira is really quite impressive.
Alfonso Soriano - .281/.325/.468 - 23 doubles, 7 triples, 14 HR and 68 RBI
Michael Young - .316/.361/.481 - 24 doubles, 24 HR, 74 RBI
Hank Blalock - .274/.351/.513 - 30 doubles, 26 HR, 83 RBI
Mark Teixeira - .267/.351/.570 - 27 doubles, 30 HR, 81 RBI
Aside from The Big Four, the Rangers have a nice mix of quality players who have contributed a lot. To have the likes of Laynce Nix, Gary Matthew, Jr., Kevin Mench and David Dellucci in the outfield (and Brad Fullmer at DH) provides power potential throughout the lineup. The Gerald Laird/Rod Barajas combination behind the plate has been very productive.
Sure, in the Rodriguez twins, Palmiero, and Gonzalez, the team lost a lot of power, and specifically home runs. But this year, the Rangers became the first team in big league history to have ten players reach double-digits in home runs. They are:
Mark Teixeira (30), Hank Blalock (26), Alfonso Soriano (24), Kevin Mench (18), Michael Young (14), David Dellucci (14), Rod Barajas (13), Laynce Nix (13), Brad Fullmer (11) and Gary Matthews (10).
So, the Twins pitchers will be in for a rough weekend. The Twins hitters should be salivating as they head into this series. The Rangers, for all their offensive prowess, still have a terrible pitching staff. That said, when I discussed the AL Cy Young Award last week, I mentioned three of their pitchers; starters Kenny Rogers (15-5, 4.55), Ryan Drese (11-6, 3.35) and closer Francisco Cordero (2-0, 1.68 ERA, 39 saves). But that is about it. For various reasons, their starting rotation has been a rotating cycle as 11 other pitchers have made at least one start. (Look at the Pitching Probables below to see how certain the Rangers rotation is) Their starting rotation now includes the likes of Mickey Calloway and Scott Erickson.
This is a scary series for the Twins. The Rangers can score some runs. The Twins need to stay hot and prove that they can hit a poor pitching staff. But don't think that the Twins can (or are) looking past the Rangers in any way.
Here is the pitching match up for the big four-game series :
Tonight - 7:10 Johan Santana (13-6, 3.23, 1.00, .205) vs Kenny Rogers (15-5, 4.55, 1.13, .259)
Tuesday - 7:10 Carlos Silva (10-8, 4.78, 1.49, .320) vs WHO KNOWS?
Wednesday - 7:10 Kyle Lohse (6-10, 5.23, 1.61, .307) vs Ryan Drese (11-6, 3.35, 1.25, .256)
Thursday - 7:10 Terry Mulholland (4-6, 4.50, 1.51, .313) vs WHO KNOWS?
So, what did you think of the Twins/Indians series? What are you looking for in the Rangers series? Any thoughts? E-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Friday night - REDWINGS 9, Pawtucket 2 - Jason Kubel continued to mash International League pitching. He had two solo homers in four at bats. Kevin West went 2-4 with a double. Todd Dunwoody and Alex Prieto were both 2-4. Dunwoody hit his 8th homer. Prieto hit his 6th. Seth Greisinger was the recipient of all the run support. He went seven innings and gave up two runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out 10. Jeromy Palki pitched the final two scoreless innings.
Saturday night - REDWINGS 1, Pawtucket 2 - The Redwings had just three hits against former big leaguer Frank Castillo. Jason Bartlett, Michael Restovich and Michael Ryan each had a single. Terry Tiffee had the lone RBI. Matt Guerrier started and pitched well. He allowed two runs in seven innings on five hits and a walk. He struck out nine.
Sunday night - REDWINGS 4, Pawtucket 5 - Terry Tiffee led the way going 4-5 with a double and two RBI. Jason Kubel was 2-5. So was Kevin West. Scott Baker pitched the first five innings. He allowed two runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out eight. Brent Schoening gave up a run in 1 1/3 innings. Aaron Fultz got one guy out, but walked two and gave up an unearned run. For Pawtucket, Byung-Hyun Kim started and gave up three runs (2 earned) on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
The Rockcats were rained out both Friday and Saturday nights. That set up a double-header for Sunday.
There are a couple of players in New Britain that deserve some major recognition. They seem to be a step below the top-prospect level, but at the same time they have had strong seasons and it deserves to be noticed. Oh, and there is one player on the Twins 40 man roster whose numbers need to be noticed, especially if the team wants to call up someone who is not on the 40 man roster.
Luis Maza (2B) - .311/.342/.463, 25 doubles, 7 triples, 9 HR, 54 RBI
Garrett Jones (1B) - .307/.345/.588, 30 doubles, 25 HR, 81 RBI, 10 SBs
BJ Garbe (OF) - .208/.285/.290 - 20 doubles, 3 HR, 34 RBI, 12 SBs
Sunday - Game 1 - ROCKCATS 4, New Hampshire 3 - Francisco Liriano made the start and gave up a run on five hits and three walks in five innings. He struck out seven. Bobby Korecky gave up a run on two hits in his innings. Travis Bowyer fell to 4-2 (1.91 ERA) giving up a run in the final inning. Garrett Jones went 2-2 with two walks. Jake Mauer was also 2-2. He had a double and two RBI. Tommy Watkins was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th to win the game.
Sunday - Game 2 - ROCKCATS 5, New Hampshire 7 (9) - Tommy Watkins had two doubles in four at bats. Gabby Torres was 2-4. BJ Garbe was 2-3. Colby Miller started and went 6 2/3 innings. He gave up three unearned runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out nine.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
Friday - MIRACLE 4, Sarasota 5 - Jesus Merchan went 3-4. Danny Matienzo and Garrett Guzman were 2-4. Alex Romero hit his fourth homer of the year. Matt Yeatman started and gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks in four innings. Josh Gray pitched the next three innings allowing just an unearned run on two hits and three walks. Pat Neshek pitched a scoreless eighth.
Saturday - Game 1 - MIRACLE 1, Tampa 2 - John Thomas pitched all six innings. He pitched well but gave up two runs on four hits and a walk, and struck out six. Alex Romero went 2-4 with a double and the team's lone RBI. Doug Deeds had a double.
Saturday - Game 2 - MIRACLE 1, Tampa 3 - Again the Mircale were unable to muster much offense. Doug Deeds went 2-3. Kaulana Kuhaulua had an RBI double. Ricky Barrett started and gave up three runs on five hits in four innings. He struck out nine! Jannio Gutierrez pitched two scoreless innings.
Sunday - MIRACLE - no scheduled games in the Florida State League.
SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
Friday - SWING 1, Ft. Wayne 3 - Scott Tyler had another good start. He gave up two runs (1 earned) on three hits and four walks in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out nine. Eric Brandon gave up a run in his 1 2/3 innings. The Swing had just four single. Omar Burgos went 1-2 with a walk and the RBI.
Saturday - SWING 1, Wisconsin 0 - Chris Schutt started the shutout by pitching six scoreless innings. He gave up four hits and four walks. Jay Sawatski and Julio DePaula combined to pitch the final three innings. JR Taylor had an RBI single. Omar Burgos was 2-3.
Sunday - SWING 8, Wisconsin 3 - Justin Jones made another start for Quad Cities. Although he was better, it is pretty obvious that control is his issue at this stage. He went 4 1/3 innings. He gave up two runs (and just one was earned) on one hit. However, he also walked two, hit three and threw two wild pitches. Angel Garcia came in for 1 2/3 innings and didn't allow another run. Tristan Crawford gave up a run in his two innings. Peter Tautor pitched a scoreless inning. JR Taylor went 3-4 with a double and two RBI. Scott Whitrock and Brock Peterson were each 2-4. Omar Burgos went 2-3 with a double and two RBI.
Friday - E-TWINS 4, Kingsport 9 - Kyle Aselton started and gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in three innings. He struck out three. Dennis Medina gave up five runs in the next two innings on six hits and two walks. Four more pitchers pitched a scoreless inning each. The offense combined for 14 singles, but were unable to score more runs. Landon Burt, Trevor Plouffe, Jeremy Pickrel, David Winfree and Luke Hughes each had two hits.
Saturday - E-TWINS 4, Kingsport 6 (10) - Chris Marini started and gave up a run in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out six. Jonathon Martinez pitched two innings and gave up three unearned runs. Jason Bowlin pitched 1 2/3 innings and gave up two runs. Landon Burt, Jeremy Pickrel, David Winfree and Matt Tolbert each had two hits. Pickrel and Tolbert had a double.
Sunday - E-TWINS 4, Kingsport 2 - David Winfree had his third multi-hit game of the weekend with a 3-3 day. Luke Hughes was 2-5 while Javier Sanchez went 2-4. Kyle Waldrop started and went seven innings. He gave up two runs on eight hits. He struck out 6 and walked none. Frank Mata got the Save by pitching the final two innings. He walked one and struck out four.
Thanks for stopping by this site. Have a Happy Monday and have a great week! If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me.
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