Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Twins/White Sox Series
Twins Minor League Report
Good morning everyone! I am back, I think!
DOG BLOG UPDATE - Just a real quick update on the dog situation. It has been a week now, and Abby is still not back home. At this point, who knows what I should really be thinking? I have heard that a couple of people have maybe seen her. But those "sightings" were about 15 miles apart, so who knows?
Anyway, as you all know, I went to the Twins/Mariners games on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. I have a lot of pictures to share. I would encourage you to check out that page for pictures and some thoughts from the game. There are a few really good pictures including these that I really, really like. There are plenty more, so check them out and let me know what you think.
At lunch yesterday, I posted my thoughts on a Star-Tribune article on some fans thinking that the Twins didn't actually hand out 10,000 bobbleheads, and how there were a number of scams by many to get more than others. If you missed those, check them out here.
Did you hear? The Twins Lew Ford was named the American League Player of the Week. He was incredible against the Mariners, with homers in each game, not to mention some great catches out in centerfield. To no one's surprise, Ford has played much better of late, when he has been playing every day, in the field, in one position.
As I mentioned in my brief updates the last couple of days, I had the opportunity to meet Stick and Ball Guy before the Twins game on Saturday. It was just for 15 to 20 minutes, but I learned a lot even in that amount of time. The man knows baseball and he knows stats and in talking to him, you can hear the passion for the Twins and all this in his voice. I happen to think that SBG is as good a blogger as their is out there. Yesterday, he celebrates an anniversary of sorts, as it was just one year that he first put the hit counter on his site. Be sure to stop by and congratulate him.
The New Britain Rockcats are still in playoff contention, but Pat Neshek is doing a great job of updating his site frequently. Be sure to check it out!
My ranking just continues to fall on this site! I know that awhile ago, I was as high as #39, but now, I'm down to #57, which, is alright by me. Other sites of note in the Top 100 include Aaron's Baseball Blog (#15), The Hardball Times (#36), and Batgirl (#74).
Tim Kurkjian has a great, very interesting article on Julio Franco who turned 47 years old yesterday. To put that into perspective, he notes that he is almost 30 years older than Felix Hernandez!
Grand Big League Debut Not So Devine! The Braves drafted reliever Joey Devine in the first round of this June's MLB draft. He dominated minor league ball since then, and at the end of last week, he was called up to the Braves. Saturday, he made his debut in the Braves/Padres extra inning game. He pitched a scoreless first inning. However, in his second, with two outs and the bases loaded, he gave up a grand slam to Xavier Nady to take the loss. Last night, he pitched again, and this time, he gave up another grand slam, this one to Jeromy Burnitz. Maybe this will make the Red Sox more cautious in calling up Craig Hansen or the Yankees more cautious with J. Brent Cox!
Baseball America's new Hot Sheet has Francisco Liriano ranked #2 in baseball. The comments say:
"Right now, he's simply the most dominating pitcher in the minor leagues. In 79 Triple-A innings, he has over twice as many strikeouts (93) as hits allowed (43). Liriano has yet to allow a run after the sixth inning, striking out 14 over nine such frames while allowing two hits and two walks."
Sundappled Wood continues his look at some big league ballparks with an in-depth look at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. I have been by the stadium two or three times, but have never been to a game there. I would love to someday!
BrentNet has an excellent blog already, but he is also working on putting together a Minnesota Sports Blog. I will hopefully have more information on the site in the very near future, but check out his site to get a good idea of what the site will entail.
Any thoughts?? E-mail me.
TWINS and WHITE SOX SERIES
We found out earlier in the day that last night's Twins/White Sox game was going to be broadcast to the audience in Venezuela. Johan Santana and Freddy Garcia are two of the favorite sons of that country and both are very good pitchers. I think that the Venezuelan population saw a game that could only make them more proud, and that is a good thing.
What a game! After taking Monday off, the Twins won their tenth game in their last 12. I have mentioned how exhausted I have been the past couple of days. I got home from work last night shortly after five and laid down. I woke up at 8:00, having missed the first three innings of the game. Now that would have been a great game to do an analysis of both pitchers.
Freddy Garcia was absolutely incredible. He went the complete game, allowing just one run, on just one hit, over eight innings. He also only walked two (Joe Mauer twice). His defense came through for him a couple of times, but in reality, he made just one mistake and it cost him. In the eighth inning, on a 1-2 pitch, Garcia hung a curveball right in Jacque Jones hitting zone, and Jacque got a hold of it, drilling it well over the fence in centerfield for what amounted to the only run of the game.
But it is the second half of the season and that is Johan Santana time. He threw 95 pitches in eight innings and 72 of them were for strikes. He had all three of his pitches on, which makes him untouchable. But like Garcia, Santana needed his defense. Shannon Stewart robbed Paul Konerko of an extra-base hit in the 4th with a leaping catch at the wall in left-center. In the eighth, Lew Ford made another impressive catch before crashing into the wall in center to likely save a run. To see Santana's reaction to the catch was great. You can just tell that he is having a lot of fun and enjoying the game and his teammates. But Santana allowed just three hits and a walk. He also struck out seven. His second half numbers are so impressive. Santana is now 13-6 with a 3.07 ERA and a WHIP of 0.98. Those numbers are approaching what he did last year. Since the All-Star break, he is now 6-1 with a 1.57 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP.
(Here is a look at Johan's ERA after each start the past two years. We see that his ERA now is basically where it was last year, he has just been more consistent throughout this season, which I think is a good thing!)
And then, it was good to see that even with a complete game shutout going, Ron Gardenhire made the 'right' move by bringing Joe Nathan into the game for the ninth inning. Nathan has been dominant again since the All-Star break. The 1-2-3 inning meant a win for Santana and the Twins, and Nathan's 32nd save. (Be sure to check out Will Young's Twins website for the Win Expectation Probability throughout the game. How important was the Jones home run? How valuable was Johan Santana? Who didn't come through? Good stuff!)
Just a great win! It moves the Twins to within 9 1/2 games of the White Sox ,and just 2 1/2 behind the Yankees and Indians in the Wild Card race. It is still a long-shot, and the Twins will likely have to remain hot the rest of the season, with no hiccups, but the playoffs are now a legitimate reality.
Tonight at 7, the Twins and Sox will play again. The Twins will send Joe Mays to the mound. He is just 6-8 with a 5.60 ERA this year. His WHIP is up to 1.50, and opponents are hitting .309 against him. Each start is important for him if he wants to remain in the rotation. It is amazing to me that a team that wants to compete for a playoff spot would continue to pitch someone who has been this bad. He will go against Mark Buehrle. The lefty is 13-6 with a 3.06 ERA. His WHIP is 1.18 and opponents hit just .260 off of him.
Jacque Jones will not be with the team the next two games to be at the funeral of his uncle. Will he be put on the bereavement list? And, if so, who will come up to the team? Josh Rabe? Brian Buchanan? Jones likely wouldn't have been in the lineup today against Buehrle anyway, but I would have to say that Michael Ryan isn't a better option. My guess is that they may go with their funky lineup again, the one that puts Abernathy in left field (especially with Stewart possibly out) and Cuddyer in right field, with Tiffee at 3B, Bartlett at SS and Punto at 2B? Maybe Luis Rodriguez in there?
If you have any thoughts, please e-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
After being gone for the whole weekend, it would be very timely for me to get caught up on four or five days worth of games in a night. So, what I will do is strongly encourage you to check out Roger's Weekly Minor League Update over at Twins Territory. As always, Roger does an excellent job of looking at each Twins affiliate. I know that here you can see daily updates, but to me, it is interesting to see how players do over a longer time frame, in this case a week.
Anyway, there were plenty of highlights including plenty of great pitching performances. Francisco Liriano came back from his first bad AAA start with another remarkable one. Jay Rainville continues to impress at Ft. Myers. Errol Simonitsch had a strong start. Matt Garza and Brian Duensing had quality starts too over the weekend.
But again, check out Roger's posting for more information. Today, I will simply review the results and highlights of Monday's game and proceed from there.
ROCHESTER RED WINGS
Monday - RED WINGS 0, Pawtucket 4 - The Redwings offense was non-existent in this game. They collected just three singles. Henry Bonilla started and went just four innings. He gave up four runs (3 earned) on six hits and an uncharacteristic three walks. One of the runs came on a solo homer by Trot Nixon. Jason Miller came in and threw three scoreless innings before Ricky Barrett struck out two in his shutout inning.
Tuesday - RED WINGS 4, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 3 (10) - Scott Baker pitched well again and got a no-decision. In seven innings, he gave up two runs on eight hits. He walked none and struck out five. Willie Eyre pitched two shutout innings to record his 10th win. Beau Kemp started the top of the tenth and got two outs but gave up a hit. Travis Bowyer came in and got the final out for his 22nd save. The offense got two hits a piece from Luis Maza, Brian Buchanan, Luis Rivas, Gil Velazquez and Corky Miller.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
Monday - ROCKCATS 10, Reading 0 - Denard Span led the offense by going 4-5 with a double. Danny Matienzo went 2-5. Doug Deeds had a three-run double. He was pinch run for by James Tomlin who later had a grand slam, his fifth homer. Matt Yeatman improved to 5-7. He went six shutout innings and gave up just three hits and a walk. Kevin Cameron got his fifth save by pitching three one-hit innings in relief.
Tuesday - ROCKCATS 2, Reading 1 (11) - Nick Blackburn's return to New Britain was a successful one. He got a no-decision, but he allowed just one run on five hits in seven innings. He walked none and struck out five. His AA ERA is down to 2.39. Pat Neshek then pitched two scoreless innings. Daylon Childress got the win by pitching two shutout frames. Danny Matienzo went 2-4 with his 32nd double. Denard Span was 2-5 with a double. Luis Jimenez and Alex Romero each had two hits.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
Monday - MIRACLE 1, Clearwater 2 (7-rain) - Justin Jones had another decent start, but took the loss. In six innings, he gave up just two runs (1 earned) on six hits and two walks. Jake Mauer went 2-3. Ron Perodin had a double.
Tuesday - MIRACLE 9, Clearwater 5 - Anthony Swarzak got another win, and Mark Zamojc was a big reason why. Swarzak gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk in 5.2 innings. Chris Schutt came in and pitched 2.1 scoreless innings in relief. Apparently Jose Mijares has been promoted to Ft. Myers as he threw the final inning. He gave up two unearned runs on three hits. Zamojc went 4-5 with a double. Luke Hughes went 2-5 with a double. Jose Leger went 2-4.
Monday - SNAPPERS 0, Kane County 8 - Beloit could only muster two hits, one each for Deacon Burns and David Winfree. Winfree also committed two throwing errors, his 31st and 32nd on the year. Josh Hill started and went five innings. He gave up just a run on three hits and three walks. Kevin Culpepper came in and in just 1.1 innings, he gave up six runs (4 earned) on four hits and a walk. Jose Cordero gave up a run in the final two outs.
Tuesday - SNAPPERS 4 - No Game Scheduled.
Monday - Game 1 - E-Twins 2, Bristol 3 - Oswaldo Sosa fell to 6-5. He gave up three runs on five hits and two walks in five innings. Tim Lahey struck out the side in his inning. Jilmer Arratia went 3-3 with a triple and two RBI. Larry Jones went 2-3 with his seventh double.
Monday - Game 2 - E-Twins 1, Bristol 3 - Danny Vais took his first loss of the season. He gave up three runs in 4.2 innings. Danny Powers then threw 1.1 scoreless innings. Juan Portes was 2-3 with a walk and his 11th homer. Caleb Moore went 3-3 with two doubles.
Tuesday - E-Twins 4, Bristol 2 - Adam Hawes continues to role. Last night, he improved to 4-0 with a 1.45 ERA. In six innings, he gave up two runs (1 earned) on six hits and two walks. Alexander Smit threw the final two innings and struck out three for his third save. Edward Ovalle went 2-4 with his 7th homer. Travis Kalin and Caleb Moore were both 2-4.
GULF COAST TWINS
Monday - GCL Twins 3, GCL Pirates 7 - Henry Sanchez may have finally figured out the wood bat! In this game, he was 3-4 and hit his first of what will certainly be many home runs in his career. Greg Yersich went 2-3 with a double. Paul Kelly was 2-4. Kyle Edlich took the loss. In six innings, he gave up three runs (2 earned) on six hits and a walk. He struck out seven. Omar Burgos's time as a reliever, and in the Twins organization, may be coming to an end. In an inning, he gave up four runs (3 earned) on four hits and two walks. Nathan Crawford then pitched two shutout innings.
Tuesday - GCL Twins 2, GCL Pirates 6 - Paul Kelly continues to hit. He went 3-4 with a double. Joseph Abellera was 2-4. Jose Castillo started and got the loss. He gave up five runs (4 earned) on five hits and two walks in 4.1 innings. Danny Hernandez came in and gave up just an unearned run on a hit and a walk in 2.2 innings. He struck out five. Aaron Craig threw one scoreless inning.
On that note, I am going to call it a day! I hope everyone has a good one! As always, please feel free to e-mail me your thoughts on the Twins, the minor leagues, or anything you would like to discuss.
Back to Archives Home