Monday, September 18, 2006
NFL "Expert" Picks
Good morning! Well, I was out of town for the weekend, so you're stuck with just some Monday Notes for today. I am going to try something a little different this week. I hope you'll stick with me. Because of some things in my personal and professional life, it is important for me to put a little more time into those things and unfortunately, this is what will be most affected. So, what I am going to try to do is give myself one hour each night to spend on the site. I will talk about the Twins games and any notes that I may have from that. I may discuss an article I particularly like. I may post a Discussion Question and hope that you (readers) will carry the site with some interesting Comments. At the same time, I will still be working on my Twins Top 50 Prospects. I have taken some notes from several people and have altered my Top 50 a few times. For the most part, it is done, but I just need to put some final thoughts into it and then write it up in parts. That will be coming next week. Obviously, if you are from any of the Twins minor league cities and have seen any of the players play, please e-mail me as I would love to get your first-hand thoughts on several Twins prospects. So, let's see how this week goes. If you have any thoughts, opinions, ideas, articles to link to, or anything you would like shared, please send me an e-mail.
Thank you for your understanding!
I am sorry for the format, but today, I am just going to post a bunch of thoughts right here. Most will be about the Twins, but I may branch off elsewhere. Let's see where it goes:
Today, the Twins have their first off day of September. It is there final off day of the year as they will play one game each of the final 13 days of the season.
That's right, just 13 more games to go in the season and thanks to beating the Indians in three out of four games, coupled with a Tigers loss and a few White Sox losses, the Twins are just one game out of first place again in the AL Central. They also now have a four game lead over the Chicago White Sox. Wouldn't it be nice to head into that final three game series against the White Sox with a four game lead in the Wild Card race? Wouldn't it be even better if they were then ahead of the Tigers? It could happen!
The remaining schedule for the Twins is anything but easy. Starting Tuesday, they will play three games in Boston followed by three in Baltimore. They will then host the Kansas City Royals for four games before their final series with the White Sox.
The Twins will send Matt Garza, Boof Bonser and Johan Santana to the mound against Tim Wakefield, Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett. Matchups don't always look good, but they haven't for the Twins much of the second half!
The Rochester Red Wings season came to an abrupt end on Saturday night. Leading Toledo in the series 2-1, the Red Wings lost 6-0 on Friday night. Then on Saturday night, they lost 10-1 to end their season. Quinton McCracken and Terry Tiffee each had two hits in each of those two games.
The Rochester Red Wings deserve more than a note or a bullet point here. What they did was absolutely amazing! If any team has been ransacked of talent throughout the year, it has been the Red Wings. Jason Bartlett, Jason Kubel, Jason Tyner, Pat Neshek, Scott Baker, Matt Garza, Boof Bonser and Dennys Reyes all spent part of the season at Rochester. When the International League playoffs started, the Red Wings lost Baker, Chris Heintz and Josh Rabe were called up to the Twins instead of helping the Red Wings in the playoffs. Alexi Casilla skipped AAA to join the Twins for September. And yet, the Red Wings just kept winning. They got into the playoffs and won the first series. They even had two chances to win the league championship. I have to say that the coaching staff and all of the Rochester players deserve a lot of credit for all that they were able to accomplish.
After the Red Wings game ended on Saturday night, the Twins recalled Terry Tiffee and purchased the contract of Minnesota native, lefty Glen Perkins. Tiffee was an obvious recall, but I have to admit that I am disappointed in the Perkins call up. The mid-September call up really serves two purposes. It allows depth to the major league team, and secondly, it honors guys who had great minor league seasons. I thought that the Twins could still use some bullpen depth for the final 13 games, so I thought that a pitcher or two should be called up. I know that we have read that Kevin Cameron and Beau Kemp were being considered. I think both of them had very strong years in the Red Wings bullpen and were very deserving of a call up to the Twins. If the Twins felt they needed a lefty to bring out of the bullpen, then I believe that Jason Miller was the guy to call up. Miller has done well out of the bullpen the last couple of seasons, and this year, he helped out the Red Wings by becoming a starter and doing well at times in that role. One (or two or three) of those three should have been added to the Twins active roster, not Glen Perkins. The last two performances of Perkins at AAA Rochester were very good. However, he only made three appearances at Rochester after having anything but a stellar season at New Britain. His W-L record was not good, but that doesn't matter. It was better than his peripheral numbers would indicate. However, those were not spectacular either. The Twins would have to add Perkins to their 40 man roster following the season anyway, so it isn't completely surprising that he would be added now. My thought, however, is that all three that I mentioned would have to be added then as well. Give them the honor of the call up and evaluate them. If they are deemed as players that should be protected, keep them protected. If there are other players who the team decides should be protected instead, they can always be taken off the 40 man roster at that time. All three deserve this call up, and it is unfortunate that Perkins got the honor. I know, that may be controversial to say about a Minnesota player, but I guess I will take that chance.
Joe Mauer went 2-5 Sunday to end the weekend with a .344 batting average. Derek Jeter's 23 game hitting streak came to an end with an 0-4 game last night. He is hitting .341.
One thing that I have been disappointed in is the lack of playing time for Phil Nevin. Although it is debatable how promising the career of Adam Harben might be (I think he's got a 4th starter future, many think he'll never see the big leagues), if he doesn't play a lot, it didn't make a lot of sense to give up so much for him. After a couple of weeks though, I am now changing my tune a little bit. The Twins were going good with their make shift roster and playing different guys in different places. Instead of just disrupting what was going on, Gardy chose to continue playing many of those players. He is simply sprinkling Nevin in here and there to allow a day off for certain players. Sunday, he played 1B and gave Justin Morneau a day to just DH. He has now done that twice. Rondell White has actually hit better in the field, so he's been playing a bunch in left field. Jason Tyner has produced when given playing time, so he has even had at bats at DH (which I don't agree with) and in LF. So, Nevin is giving the Twins some quality depth and a guy who can give a guy a day off without the Twins losing a step. Now, if only Gardy would play Tyner some in CF and give Hunter a day off, that would be good.
So, while I don't believe that Gardy is a great manager in terms of strategy and lineup construction, I do believe that he is using Phil Nevin correctly. I was also happy that he gave Joe Mauer the game off against CC Sabathia and let him hit on Sunday afternoon. Throughout the season, Gardy has been playing Mauer in the wrong game of the day-game-after-a-night-game. I am starting to wonder if Gardy is actually making some lineup decisions to best utilize his talent.
I have to point out that although Torii Hunter is not playing CF as we are accustomed to seeing, he really is doing well offensively. Sunday, with runners on 2nd and 3rd and two outs, the Indians intentionally walked Justin Morneau to get to Hunter. I was asked what Torii was thinking, was he upset. My 'guess' was that he is smart enough to realize that it was the right decision, however, he would take a wild swing at the first pitch in an attempt to maybe make Eric Wedge second-guess his decision. Well, Hunter did swing at the first pitch, a slider on the outside corner and up, and took a very nice swing and lined a two-run single to left. It was just a nice quality swing, perfect for the situation!
By the way, be sure to check out On the Road with Pat Neshek for his thoughts (and pictures) of the Twins rookie hazing! Great stuff!
Quick Fantasy Baseball Update (Team 1) - In my two major fantasy leagues, I am in the playoffs in both leagues. In the 14 team league, I won the regular season title. I was happy with my offense. I had a lineup consisting of Victor Martinez, Travis Hafner, Chase Utley, Edgar Renteria, David Wright, Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Howard and Jason Bay. However, the rest of my team was pretty much up in the air. My other OF weren't great, although Melky Cabrera came up big late in the season, and Curtis Granderson was good early. My pitching staff was pretty make shift. Decided to go with young guys. I happily drafted Danny Haren, Brett Myers, Matt Cain and Justin Verlander, but then added Cole Hamels and Chad Billingsley to the mix. However, with Hafner's injury and some question marks in my pitching and not much for two start guys, I was in trouble in the semi-finals. I was in so much trouble that I picked up Matt Guerrier thinking that he was a two-start pitcher. Well, Twins fans know that Scott Baker started for him on Sunday. Fortunately, Guerrier went the final three and got credited for a save. Those 10 points (for the save) gave me just enough points for the win. So, somehow, some way, I am going to the finals this week!
Quick Fantasy Baseball Update (Team 2) - My other league is a 16 team, 5x5 head to head weekly league. I started off really slowly, but somehow managed to acquire Francisco Liriano (and Jason Kubel) for Juan Encarnacion, Kendry Morales and Ryan Zimmerman. That trade catapulted me up the rankings because Liriano helped me get four of the pitching categories. So, at season's end, I ranked 5th. Playing the 4th place team in the quarterfinals, I was able to win 7-2-1. This roster is not too impressive. I was thrilled to draft Josh Willingham as my catcher in that 23rd round! Signing Akinori Otsuka was also a positive for me. Here is my offense, and I think you will understand how lucky I feel to be in the playoffs at all. Willingham, Mark Teixeira, Jorge Cantu, Jhonny Peralta, Chipper Jones/BJ Upton, Troy Tulowitski, Prince Fielder, Jeff Franceour, Torii Hunter, Juan Rivera, Grady Sizemore and Nick Markakis. The guys that were drafted high didn't really earn those spots, and the others were nothing spectacular. My pitching staff (sans Liriano) consists of Jeremy Bonderman, Cole Hamels, Danny Haren, Adam Loewen and Justin Verlander with a bullpen of Joe Nathan and Otsuka. Again, I'm feeling pretty lucky at this point!
I was at my parent's this weekend, and they have VH1. I love that channel. I watched a few hours worth of shows on former child stars. Just great stuff! I could watch that channel all day!
While flipping through channels, I stopped at some religious channel. It showed a pastor talking to three guests in front of a congregation. The reason I stopped there was because one of the guests was Jason Kidd. OK, fine, the reason I stopped by was because of seeing Jason Kidd's wife. They were giving their testimonials, and it was kind of interesting to listen to. The third guest was talking and I felt I knew who it was, but just couldn't place it. finally, they showed his name at the bottom and is to Christopher Martin. That's when it hit me. He played Blade Brown on one of the great movies of all time, Class Act! IF that doesn't ring a bell, you may remember his as "Play" of Kid n Play on the House Party movies.
If you have any thoughts on the
Twins season, or anything Twins related, please
send me an e-mail, or
post some Comments down below.
NFL "EXPERT" PICKS
Through the Sunday games, we have a fairly tightly contested week of picks for our panel. JD Arney is up by a game on everyone. He has picked Jacksonville to win tonight. Six panelists finished with twelve wins. Five of the six panelists with 12 wins have picked the Steelers to win tonight (so we could have a six way tie!). Kyle Waldrop is one of those with 12 correct ,and he continues to lead the league. Here are the standings through Sunday.
|Kyle Waldrop||Twins Pitching Prospect||12||3||80.0%||25||6||80.6%|
|Al Bethke||Al's Ramblings||12||3||80.0%||23||8||74.2%|
|Stick & Ball Guy||Stick & Ball Guy||12||3||80.0%||22||9||71.0%|
|JD Arney||Reds Reporter||13||2||86.7%||21||10||67.7%|
|Roger Dehring||Several Blogs||11||4||73.3%||21||10||67.7%|
|Cory Hepola||KTVH-TV Sports||12||3||80.0%||21||10||67.7%|
|LaVelle E. Neal III||Mpls Star-Tribune||10||5||62.5%||20||11||64.5%|
|Kevin Slowey||Twins Pitching Prospect||11||4||73.3%||20||11||64.5%|
|Mike Brasel||Fantasy FB Guru||12||3||80.0%||20||11||64.5%|
|Trevor Born||Twins Junkie||11||4||73.3%||19||12||61.3%|
|Bill Ferris||Detroit Tigers Blog||7||8||46.7%||19||12||61.3%|
|Will Young||Will's Twins Blog||9||6||60.0%||18||13||58.1%|
|Seth's Mom's Class||St. Pauls School||10||5||66.7%||17||14||54.8%|
If you have any thoughts, opinions, comments, critiques, or ideas on anything, please e-mail me, or let's get a discussion going in the Comments. Have a great weekend!|
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