Saturday, March 3, 2007
SATURDAY Game Notes
Hello Twins and baseball fans! I will be back today to write about this afternoon's Twins/Reds game. Since the Twins played much of their #1 lineup last night, I would expect to see a lot of minor leaguers playing today, the bubble players. Of course, since they are playing in Sarasota, the unwritten rule is that they need to send at least five 'starters.' Game time (central time) is 12:05! Check back for updates on the game and more. Thanks! As always, please feel free to Comment below and/or e-mail me. And again, the Demographic Survey will only be up through the weekend, so please e-mail me your responses if you haven't done so already.
In his article today, Jim Souhan discusses what bloggers have been discussion for a month or more, that veterans like Carlos Silva, Ramon Ortiz and Sidney Ponson could be this year's Juan Castro and Tony Batista. Kevin Slowey and Glen Perkins could be more than ready, along with Matt Garza, to replace them by May! Also, Souhan says that Twins coaches are starting to call Slowey "Hershiser." I like it!
I remember when I was in elementary and high school and reading the Strib and seeing the advertisements for baseball cards at Shinders in the Metro Area. I think I visited a Shinders once with my family when I was in high school. I really don't even remember where any of the locations are. However, the new owner of Shinders (as of about 4 years ago) is in a bunch of trouble, three Shinders have closed and it doesn't look good for the company right now.
The Twins get to face Aaron Harang of the Reds today. Harang is one of the more underrated pitchers in baseball. Last year, he went 16-11 with a 3.76 ERA. That's not great, particularly in the NL. However, he pitched 234.1 innings and struck out 216 hitters. At 6-7 and 275 pounds, Harang should be able to put up similar numbers in 2007. You think that's big... it's about the same weight as today's Twins starter Boof Bonser who is shorter.
In the top of the first, Luis Rodriguez led off with a single. He advanced to 2B on a grounder to 2B. Then Jason Kubel singled into center but L-Rod was thrown out advancing to 3B. He was making sure the ball was not caught, but it was some bad base running. Matthew Lecroy is the DH today and flew out to LF.
Not a good start for Bonser. The first batter, Ryan Freel, doubles to right. Scott Hatteberg then drilled a two-run homer, a liner to right field. Edwin Encarnacion grounded out to Jason Bartlett at SS. Adam Dunn doubled to right field on a hard-hit ball. Brandon Phillips singled to center that scored Dunn from second. On a full count, Josh Hamilton hit a ground rule double to left-field, advancing Phillips to 3B (although he would have scored easily). Alex Gonzalez flew out to shallow center (Bartlett made the catch) for the second out. Mark Bellhorn then struck out to end the inning.
Let's not overreact to this one inning, three run outing by Bonser. He's just getting his work in in a game for the first time. No, I'm not saying this because he is young. I said the same thing about Carlos Silva. Josh Hamilton is being given a real chance to make this team. He is playing a lot, and he is playing well. Alex Gonzalez was brought in to the Reds to improve their infield defense. Last year, in 111 games with the Red Sox, he had just seven errors and a 98.5% fielding percentage. Incredible!
Garrett Jones is batting fifth and playing 1B again. He must be working in the outfield only in practices, huh? A strikeout pitcher like Harang. A strikeout machine like Jones. What do you think happen... that's right, a ground rule double to centerfield (although misplayed by Ryan Freel... and yet people wonder why Ken Griffey isn't going to just give up CF for Freel.) Australian Glenn Williams is playing 3B and batting 6th today. He hit a double to left-centerfield to score Jones. Josh Rabe struck out looking for the first out. Chris Heintz is catching and batting 8th. On a 3-2 pitch, Heintz had a broken bat single to CF to advance Williams to 3B. Jason Bartlett, even in this lineup, is batting 9th. I'm sure he would be too uncomfortable to bat any higher in the lineup in this big early March game!He struck out for the second out of the inning. Luis Rodriguez popped up to SS to end the inning. Reds 3, Twins 1.
Randy Choate came in to pitch the second inning. He struck out David Ross for the first out. Ryan Freel singled up the middle. Scott Hatteberg singled to left. (Bubba Crosby pinch-runs) Edwin Encarnacion grounded out to 1B, but Chris Heintz was called for catcher's interference, loading the bases. Adam Dunn then struck out looking. Brandon Phillips grounded to 2B. It took a bad hop, but Luis Rodriguez stuck with it and got the third out.
In the top of the 3rd, Jason Tyner grounded out against lefty Bobby Livingston. Jason Kubel struck out looking at a curveball. Matthew Lecroy struck out looking. Not a very productive inning, huh?
Julio DePaula is in the game for the Twins. The reliever was added to the 40 man roster right after the season. The 24 year old started last season at Ft. Myers and pitched in eight games. He quickly moved up to Ft. Myers where he appeared in 43 games and went 2-2 with a 2.56 ERA. One important stat... he gave up just one home run in 82 innings last year! Josh Hamilton drilled a double on the first pitch off the wall in right centerfield. Alex Gonzalez singled to left field. Jason Bartlett dove for it, but it went under his glove. Mark Bellhorn singled to the left-centerfield gap for an RBI. David Ross drilled a double down the RF line to score two more runs. No, there still aren't any outs. After a visit from Rick Anderson, DePaula struck out Ryan Freel. Bubba Crosby grounded out for out #2. Juan Castro popped up to RF to end the inning. Nice comeback by DePaula! It's something to build on in his next outing!
4th Inning - Garrett Jones (against Livingston still) grounded out to 2B for the first out. Glenn Williams singles to left field. Josh Rabe grounded into a 4-6-3 double play on the first pitch to end the inning.
Lefty Jason Miller who saved Rochester last year by being able to start gets the fourth inning. (Dave St. Peter, President of the Twins, is now on the radio. Asked about the stadium issue, he says there is really nothing new. A lot of people working hard to try to resolve the land issue. He remains optimistic.) Chris Denorfia grounds out to 3B for the 1st out. St. Peter says that as of now, there is no reason to think that this could delay the plan to be in a new stadium by 2010.) Brandon Phillips homers off the foul pole in left field. Josh Hamilton singles to left. Paul Janich singled to left field. Kubel slid and then rolled over. Gladden tells us there is a divot in LF. Uggh! I hope his knee is alright! Thankfully Kubel stayed in the game. Joey Votto grounded into a fielder's choice (L-Rod to Bartlett). David Ross grounded out to third. Score through four innings - Reds 7, Twins 1.
5th Inning - Off of new pitcher Victor Santos, Chris Heintz singled down the third base line. Jason Bartlett grounds to SS for a fielder's choice (Gil Velazquez pinch runs). Luis Rodriguez grounded to first base for a double play to end the inning.
Ricky Barrett gets to pitch the 5th inning (Jose Morales catches him). Norris Hopper singled to centerfield (the 15th hit for the Reds in the game). Bubba Crosby dropped down a bunt. Glenn Williams threw the ball past Garrett Jones and Hopper scored and Crosby advanced to 3B. Juan Castro struck out on a bad pitch. Chris Denorfia lined out to LF for a sacrifice fly. Jeff Keppinger singled to center to score another run. Josh Hamilton walked on four pitches. Paul Janich grounded to 3B and it went under the backhand glove of Glenn Williams to score another run. Joey Votto walked on five pitches. Gardy comes out to the mound to make a pitching change.
Alexander Smit is now in the game. It's always funny listening to the radio guys, particularly Dan Gladden, talking about some of these minor league guys. Former Twin Chad Moeller is the first batter he will chase. He flew out to the wall in centerfield. Score through five innings - Twins 1, Reds 10.
6th Inning - Jason Tyner leads off against Santos. He grounds out to 2B. Jason Kubel, who is thankfully still in the game and alright, grounds out to 1B. Matthew Lecroy struck out swinging.
Smit remains in the game. Norris Hopper (strike looking, foul, curveball outside, foul, strike) grounds out to SS. Bubba Crosby (strike) single to left that the SS actually played. Anderson Machado (fastball called strike, fastball inside, foul, foul, ball outside, ball in dirt, ball in dirt) walked. Chris Denorfia (ball, foul, ball high, ball high, strike called, strike) popped up to the catcher Morales. Jeff Keppinger (foul, ball low, ball outside, ball in dirt, strike) singled to left to score a run. (20th hit) Josh Hamilton (foul, ball low, strike) popped out to Velazquez. Through 6th inning. Reds 11, Twins 1.
7th Inning - Kerry Ligtenberg is on the mound for the Reds. He signed a minor league deal with the team last month. Last year, he got into seven games for the Diamondbacks and had a 13.97 ERA. Garrett Jones popped up to 1B. Glenn Williams struck out. Josh Rabe flew out to end the inning.
Looks like Lew Ford will be having knee surgery. According to Joe Christensen this morning, Ford tried to run and it didn't really feel right.
Errol Simonitsch is on the mound for the 7th inning. Lots of lefties in the bullpen! Paul Janich grounded back through the middle. It hit Simonitsch in the leg and he couldn't find it, so it was a hit. Joey Votto struck out. Chad Moeller flew out to SS. Norris Hopper grounded out to 3B. Through 7 innings - Reds 11, Twins 1.
8th Inning - Jose Morales leads off against Ligtenberg. Morales hit a hard ground ball off of the first baseman for an error. Gil Velazquez flew out to the warning track in right field. Alexi Casilla pops out to SS for the second out. Jason Tyner grounded out to SS.
Carmen Cali is pitching the 8th inning. Dan Conway singled to RF. Anderson Machado grounds out to 2B. Chris Denorfia walked. Jeff Keppinger singled off of Cali. Dwayne Wise singled to right to score a run. Paul Janich hit a sacrifice fly to LF. Another run. Joey Votto blooped one to left to score another run (25 hits). Ryan Jorgenson walked. Gardy is on his way to the mound, and we will now see Oswaldo Sosa pitch. Norris Hopper (ball inside, strike called, strike foul, ball high, strike swinging) struck out. Score through eight - Reds 14, Twins 1.
9th Inning - Denard Span leads off against Bryan Shackleford. Span grounded out to 2B. Brad King is pinch hitting. He was playing (catching) independent league ball last summer in NY. King walked. Garrett Jones grounded out to 1B. Glenn Williams lined out to SS to end the game.
Final Score - Reds 14, Twins 1.
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