Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Maybe I Was Wrong?
(The Word Press page for this article can be found here)
Before getting into today's thoughts on last night's games, I do want to announce that there will be a Live SethSpeaks.net Podcast tonight at 8:00 (central time). You will be able to hear it at www.BlogTalkRadio.com/SethSpeaks, so be sure to check it out if you have a chance. It will be live online for one hour. The chat room allows you to participate by asking questions. I can tell you that there will be a couple of guests on the show. At this time I can not list them all out as I am trying to confirm a few more things. However, I will post a schedule or agenda for the show a couple of hours beforehand. If you are unable to listen to it live, shortly after the show, you will be able to hear it simply by going back to the above web page. Also note that although the live streaming only goes from 8-9, the show can continue and will if we have questions in the chat room. So, it should be a lot of fun, and I really hope you have a chance to listen to it, even if you don't participate.
Is it possible? Was I completely wrong? (Note - I know, some of you think that I'm wrong a lot, right?)
I seriously thought that this Twins team would show us that they were beyond this. I thought that the very solid series against the Angels in Anaheim showed that this Twins team might be peaking at the right time and playing the game in a way that we should feel confident that they would win the series in Seattle and Oakland. With last night's 3-2 loss to the Mariners, the Twins now have lost four in a row and the first two games to the lowly Mariners. Believe me, I get it. The Mariners have Ichiro. They have Adrian Beltre. They have Raul Ibanez. These three are legitimate big leaguers. But what else is there? The two starting pitchers that the Twins have seen to start this series have been Miguel Batista (4-12 with a 6.55 ERA coming into the game) and Ryan Rowland-Smith, and the Twins have combined for four runs in 20 innings against them. The Twins let Rowland-Smith look like a veteran. It was his sixth start of the season. He was walking nearly a batter every other inning. The Twins made him look like an accomplished big league hurler.
How did the White Sox do against these Mariners when they played each other last week? They won the three games by a combined score of 33-8. What has Chicago done this week on the road? They went into Baltimore, a bad team that they should beat, and have beaten them twice so far with one more game left in the series.
People can blame the young pitchers. In the first two games of this series, the starters have each provided quality starts. Francisco Liriano gave up a run in six innings. Scott Baker gave up ten hits and walked three, but gave up just three runs in 6.2 innings. The fault on Monday night goes to Joe Nathan and Jesse Crain primarily. And really, there is little to say negatively about the Twins pitching in these two games. These two losses go directly to the Twins bats. But it's hard to blame the young guys. In last night's game, Denard Span and Alexi Casilla were each on base twice. Joe Mauer looks tired. Is the long season getting to him? He is again grounding out weakly to the right side of the infield. He needs a day off, which he should get today. Justin Morneau is not taking consistent at bats. After facing a lefty Tuesday night, they will now see five more lefty starters in a row. Does that mean Jason Kubel on the bench with Randy Ruiz getting the bulk of the DH time? When does Denard Span take over CF? Kubel can play RF! Carlos Gomez remains clueless and just swings out of his shoes at all times. At least Delmon's swing is a good one. He had two hits, including a very big one in Monday night's game, but then last night he went 0-4 with three strikeouts. Brendan Harris comes in and makes a great defensive play, but it looks like he hasn't played in four or five days. Maybe it is because he hasn't played in four or five games! Congratulations to Randy Ruiz for his recognition as the International League Rookie of the Year award and more importantly his first big league home run for the Twins. He has played a lot of late, against lefties and righties. He clearly can hit lefties and soft-tossers. I can see that, but he is being used against everyone right now when there are better options. It's about using your players in situations in which they can succeed.
Now, I am 'the positive blogger', right? Usually I am, but this trend of losing to bad teams and completely disappearing against mediocre to poor pitching is frustrating. Remember, this is a team that found a way to beat Randy Johnson, Brandon Webb, Jake Peavy and Greg Maddux consecutively, and now they are losing to guys who either shouldn't be in the big leagues anymore, or may not be around for terribly long.
I'm one to frequently encourage blog commenters that "it's just one game, they'll be OK." I do subscribe to the "One Day at a Time" theory. I think that's the only way that a team can play. And that is what I would encourage all of us to try to do. The Twins are now two games behind the White Sox and still have nine more games on the road before heading home again. They have lost four in a row. And all they can do about it is go out this afternoon and try to win today.
Maybe shocking negativity from me will help. It always seem that as soon as we are ready to write off the Twins, they go on a streak of their own and put themselves, surprisingly, right back into contention. Hopefully the Twins have another surprise in for us and will turn this around. Three days ago, I thought this team had it in them to play tough and do the things that they need to do, and that includes beating teams that they should beat. Now, I'm not so sure. I still am not convinced that the White Sox are a great team either and that plays a big part in me still being optimistic.
Today is another day, and Glen Perkins is on the mound. He has been terrific, and it is on his shoulders to help his team out of this funk. His shoulders and the shoulders of the Twins batters.
Can they do it? Was I wrong? What do you think?
Twins Minor League Updates
Tuesday SethSpeaks Player of the Day – Johnny Woodard, Ft. Myers Miracle
Tuesday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day – Michael Allen, Beloit Snappers
Tuesday – Rochester 1, Syracuse 9 – This has to be right up there with the worst starts of Tom Shearn's career. In just 0.1 innings, he gave up five runs on six hits. He didn't walk anyone, but he did strikeout one. So, his K-Rate was excellent! Julio DePaula came in and gave up two runs over the next 4.1 innings. Mariano Gomez then threw 2.1 shutout innings. Carmen Cali gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in two innings. Garrett Jones and Luke Hughes each went 2-4. Jones hit his 32nd home run.
NOTE - Randy Ruiz was named the International League Rookie of the Year yesterday.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Tuesday - Game 1 – New Britain 4, Portland 6 – The Rockcats offense really wasn't the problem in this game. They did have eight hits in the game, but no one had more than one. Drew Butera had the lone extra base hit, his 17th double. Yohan Pino started and gave up six runs on nine hits in 3.2 innings. He walked two and struck out five. Armando Gabino then struck out two in 2.1 scoreless innings.
Tuesday - Game 2 – New Britain 2, Portland 7 – Game two wasn't any better for the Rockcats. Jason Miller started and gave up six runs on eight hits and a walk in three innings. Frank Mata came in and gave up a run over two innings of work. Ben Julianel pitched a scoreless inning. The team was unable to muster much offense against former Twin Dave Gassner who gave up two runs on four hits in six innings to pick up the win. Danny Valencia went 2-3 in the game. Brandon Roberts hit his second home run.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Tuesday – Miracle 5, Lakeland 7 – Alex Burnett didn't get much help from his defense in this one. He took the loss after giving up five unearned runs on five hits and two walks in five innings. He struck out seven. Joe Testa came in and gave up two runs over the final four innings. He gave up four hits, walked three and struck out five. Johnny Woodard led the offense. He went 2-5 with his 12th double, sixth home run and three RBI. Wilson Ramos went 2-3 with a walk.
Tuesday – Beloit 2, Kane County 3 (10 Innings) – The performance of Michael Allen was the story of this game. He gave up just a run on three hits in five innings. He walked none and struck out six. Santos Arias gave up a run in his inning. Blake Martin struck out four in his two innings of work. Charles Nolte gets the loss. He gave up a run on two hits and a walk in 1.1 innings. Michael Tarsi came in to get the final two outs. Mark Dolenc went 2-4 with his 31st stolen base. Estarlin de Los Santos had a walk and his fourth double. He also stole his 15th base.
NOTES - Ben Revere has again been out, this time with a knee injury. Yesterday, he was named to the Midwest League's post season All-Star team. He was also named the League's Most Valuable Player and the Prospect of the Year. Not bad for a guy who started the season in Extended Spring Training. These choices were made by the league's managers.
Tuesday – E-Twins/Princeton – The game was rained out due to rain. On Wednesday, the E-Twins will start their playoffs with a Best 2 out of 3 series against Pulaski.
NOTES - Mark Hamburger caught an early morning flight on Tuesday to join his new teammates, the Clinton Lumber Kings. Again, he not only switched teams, but he was promoted to the Midwest League. He entered the game on Tuesday night in the 9th inning with a 5-2 lead. He struggled a bit, allowing a hit and two walks, but was able to pitch a scoreless inning for his first save with the team.
GCL TWINS TALK
Tuesday - Game 1 – GCL Twins 3, GCL Red Sox 6 – Jean Mijares fell to 0-3 after this start. In four innings, he gave up six runs on eight hits and a walk. He did strikeout seven. Blayne Weller made his first pro appearance and gave up two hits, but no runs, in an inning. He struck out one. Jay Sawatski gave up two hits in his inning. Juan Sanchez and Andres Diaz were each 2-3. Sanchez hit his 12th double. Aaron Hicks hit his 10th double.
Tuesday - Game 2 – GCL Twins 2, GCL Red Sox 3 – Jon Goncalves and Michael Gonzalez were each 2-3 in this game. Goncalves also had a walk. Michael Mopas started and gave up no runs on one hits in three innings. He walked two and struck out two. Mauro Schiavoni came in and was perfect for two innings. Khol Nanney gave up three runs on five hits and a walk in just one inning. Kelvin Mota dropped his ERA to 1.07 with a scoreless inning.
Again, thanks for stopping by and always feel free to e-mail me or comment below.