Saturday, September 8, 2007
Saturday Morning Notes
Good morning everyone! Thought that since I have a few minutes, I would jot down a few notes.
Can you imagine having watched last night's Twins/White Sox 13 inning 11-10 game if the Twins were still in the pennant race. The loss would have been absolutely devastating. In reality, it created just a sinking feeling in my stomach. Tied 4-4 going into the 9th, the Twins took a 10-4 lead. Julio DePaula came in an gave up five straight hits, the last being a home run to Jim Thome that cut the Twins lead to 10-9. At that point, Joe Nathan came into the game and allowed another run to tie the score at 10 a piece. At least it was a truly good man, Darin Erstad, that had that big hit for the White Sox. Unfortunately, it was a truly non-good man, AJ Pierzynski, that hit the game winning single in the 13th that gave the White Sox the win.
First, people need to calm down on the Julio DePaula outing. It was bad, but through three batters, he gave up two seeing-eye singles and a shattered bat infield single. Since his recall from Rochester (where he was 12-5 with a strong ERA), DePaula had allowed three runs in his 10.2 innings with the Twins. That's a 2.61 ERA. He's 24 years old. He has a tremendous sinker and generally good control. He doesn't typically give up a lot of home runs. I've read some who think that he will be released after the season. To that, I say NO CHANCE. Last night was a rough outing. But he will be just fine.
There was a very questionable call by Joe West at 2B. On a force play, West said that Jason Bartlett had come off the bag too early. Replays showed that it was very close, and in such cases, the benefit goes to the defense 99% of the time. Now, it was certainly a questionable call, but the way that Bert Blyleven and Dick Bremer talked about it, it was as if that was the one play that cost the Twins that game. In the post-game, Roy Smalley appeared genuinely upset. Believe me, that one call is not the reason the Twins lost.
People sometimes tell me that I don't write enough about how bad Nick Punto is. My response is that I could write about that every time Punto is in the lineup, which unfortunately, is pretty much every single day. Does it make sense to me? Absolutely not. You could accept such a lack of batting average if there was a decent on-base percentage or at least enough pop to have a decent slugging percentage, but Punto doesn't do that. He doesn't even do the little things right. Nick Punto is going to be 30 years old in November. His 2006 season, which everyone thinks was somehow good because he hit about .290 but in reality, his OPS+ was just 90 which is well below average, was by far the anomaly season of his career. The unfortunate thing is that Punto continues to get playing time in the place of the likes of Brian Buscher and Alexi Casilla. I say he continues to "get" playing time. That isn't Punto's fault. That is the fault of Ron Gardenhire for continuing to "give" him the playing time. I don't care how good his defense is, and it is solid but not nearly Gold Glove caliber, he should not be an every day player. Unfortunately, Punto had two hits last night meaning Twins fans will likely have to deal with this the rest of the year.
Justin Morneau, Jason Bartlett and Michael Cuddyer each had three hits. Punto, Jason Tyner (another singles only hitter), Chris Heintz and Torii Hunter each had two hits. Rondell White hit a three run homer that, at the time, gave the Twins a 10-4 lead in the 9th. I kept thinking that it was great, but probably meaningless. I was wrong.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are two games ahead in the NL West and playing a lot of young players. With the thumb injury to 2B Orlando Hudson, Augie Ojeda is getting significant playing time for a pennant contender. He could be sharing time with Alberto Callaspo. Ojeda has spent most of this season in a utility role for Arizona. He has 68 at bats in 42 games this year. This is his first year he has been in the big leagues since 2004 when he got 59 at bats in 30 games with the Twins.
Last night, former Twins left-handed pitcher Dan Serafini pitched to one batter (and walked him) for the Colorado Rockies. It was his second game with the Rockies this year. Serafini was the Twins 1st round pick (26th overall) 1992. He pitched in 35 games for the Twins between 1996 and 1998. He then played for the Cubs, Pirates and Padres in 1999 and 2000. It was over two more years in the minors before pitching in ten games for the Reds in 2003. Serafini then went and became a very good pitcher in Japan before coming back to the States this year. These games in September are now Serafini's first big league games in four years. It is a good story. He is now 33 years old and left-handed, so who knows how long he can stick around.
Finally, I was incorrect yesterday regarding the Beloit Snappers second round playoff opponent. Starting at 5:00 tonight, the Snappers will begin a series against the Clinton Lumberkings. Game 1 will be in Clinton, Iowa, with Game 2 (and potentially Game 3) back in Beloit.
Be sure to continue monitoring the NFL "Expert" Picks below. We now have the picks of Stick & Ball Guy, LaVelle E. Neal and Joe Benson. Only need the picks of Kevin Slowey to have the full list.
Speaking of SBG, check out ubelman's use of quotes to show that Ron Gardenhire is a bit inconsistent. It's actually kind of funny, but based on the continual bashing of the mentioned player, it shouldn't be surprising.
And, if you're a College Football fan, you will certainly want to be checking out The Baseball Savant, or as it turns out, a College Football Savant!
Rick Ankiel spoke to his name being mentioned in the HgH investigation. Good for him! Troy Glaus's name was also mentioned. The difference is that the substances purchased by Glaus were steroid, which were banned by baseball at that time! Again, I think that we will all be shocked by names as they get mentioned. This is really just the start. And don't think that the Twins will be exempt.
That is it for now. I'm not sure if there will be other weekend updates. We shall see what happens.|
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