Before we get started today, I posted this about two weeks ago. I thought it would be nice to post it again today:
HELP - I got a nice e-mail from our friend here at SethSpeaks, Rita Maloney of WCCO fame! She has done a lot for me and this site, getting me on air and making being interviewed very easy and fun. Well, she would like some help and there is where we come in. Rita will be walking in the 2006 Minnesota AIDS walk. She is looking to raise money for this worth-while cause. For more details, click here. If you would like to donate to Rita's walk, please click here to see how well she is doing. It is very easy to help. I just wrote Rita a check for $25, and I would like to challenge any other bloggers out there, or anyone who reads this site, to match the $25 donation. Let's see if we can get Rita to her goal!
Also, I am repeating the following paragraph for the second day, and probably through this week:
I need to ask for your assistance again. You may remember, the last two years, I have posted the pictures and updated statistics of at least six Twins minor leaguers. It is a fun way to see how these players are doing. As I did last year, I would like your help in determining the six players that you most would like to see displayed at the left. Which Twins prospects should I include? Please e-mail me the names of up to six Twins minor leaguers that you would most like to keep updated on. I will also pick my six players. Each person's vote will be tallied. The results and the updates will start showing next week, as the team's seasons begin. Thanks for your help! (Note - I did receive several e-mails with minor league suggestions. I should have pointed out that I was talking about prospects. Glenn Williams and Jason Tyner are not prospects. Also, Bartlett is no longer of rookie status, but like many of you have said, he should not be in the minor leagues. There is a good chance that I will have a section for Jason Bartlett alone.)
Wednesday, April 5, 2006
Twins Minor League Preview
American Idol Thoughts
1 Down, 161 To Go
Well, the Twins and Blue Jays were finally able to start their season last night. It was a great pitching matchup between Johan Santana and Roy Halladay, probably the two top pitchers in the American League. There will be more on the game below. I should point out that I had my final fantasy baseball draft last night. It was at a bar, and the Twins game was on, but I was not really able to watch too closely. So today, I will discuss a few notes from the Twins game. I will also be previewing the Twins minor league affiliates very briefly. But I will also continue with my series of Twins Opening Days. Yesterday, I highlighted the first fifteen Twins Opening Days. Today, I will touch on the middle fifteen opening days, from 1976-1990. Tomorrow, I will talk about the last fifteen opening days. (Box Scores available at retrosheet.org) Of course, there will also be my American Idol Thoughts, so let's get this started:
MINNESOTA TWINS OPENING DAYS
The Middle Fifteen Years
4/9/76 - Twins 1, Texas Rangers 2. Not much offense for the Twins in this game. They managed just seven hits the whole game, none for extra bases. Lyman Bostock and Dave McKay were both 2-4, and rookie Butch Wynegar had an RBI single. Bert Blyleven again went nine innings in the game. He gave up just a run on six hits. He walked none and struck out eight. Bill Campbell came in and after a scoreless 10th, he gave up a two out, RBI single to Toby Harrah to end the game. Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry used whatever he could to mesmerize Twins hitters for all 11 innings. Roy Smalley was 2-4 for the Rangers in the game.
4/9/77 - Twins 4, Oakland Athletics 7. It was back out to Oaktown for the Twins to start the 1977 season. With Blyleven gone, Minnesota native Dave Goltz got the Opening Day nod for the Twins. He lasted just 4.1 innings and four runs (3 earned) on four hits and four walks. Ron Schueler came in and and took the loss. He gave up three runs in 2.2 innings. Tom Johnson pitched a scoreless frame. Roy Smalley led the Twins offense with a 2-3 day. He had a double and a sacrifice bunt. It is interesting that Catcher Butch Wynegar was the leadoff hitter and Rod Carew batted third. Mitchell Page, (should-be HOFer) Dick Allen and Manny Sanguillen were some of the bigger names on that A's squad.
4/5/78 - Twins 2, Seattle Mariners 3. The Twins again managed just seven hits against Mariners pitching this game. It wasted a solid complete game, 8 inning outing by Dave Goltz. Goltz gave up just three runs, despite scattering nine hits and two walks. Rob Wilfong went 2-3 with two doubles. He was the only Twin with more than one hit. Willie Norwood and Glenn Adams each doubled. The Mariners were led by a 3-4 day from Craig Reynolds, who hit a home run. Bruce Bochte also was 3-4. Glenn Abbott got the Win for the M's.
4/6/79 - Twins 5, Oakland A's 3. For the third straight year, the Twins had to start their season on the West Coast. Also for the third straight year, the Twins Opening Day starter was Dave Goltz. He got the Win by going a strong 8.1 innings. He gave up the three runs on eight hits and a walk. Dr. Mike Marshall came in and got the final two outs to record the Save. Ron Jackson, in his first Twins game, went 2-4. Willie Norwood tripled, and Glenn Adams doubles. Rick Langford started for the A's.
4/10/80 - Twins 9, Oakland A's 7. Another opening trip to the left side of the country and a date with the A's. This was definitely not a pitcher's dual as many of the opening games so far have been. Jerry Koosman started against Rick Langford. Koosman gave up four runs in 6.2 innings. The Twins led 7-0 until the A's scored seven runs in their half of the 7th inning. Koosman gave up his four runs, and Mike Marshall came in and gave up the other three (on a Ricky Henderson 3-run homer. It was Ricky's first opening day.). The game remained tied until the 12th inning when Roy Smalley led off with a home run and Rick Sofield added another solo shot. It was Smalley's only hit of the game, but Sofield was 3-6. John Castino went 2-4 with a double and a triple. Butch Wynegar and Hosken Powell also each had two hits.
4/9/81 - Twins 1, Oakland A's 5. Finally, the A's had to come to Minnesota in April to play the Twins! Jerry Koosman started and gave up four runs in 7.1 innings. Next in was Don Cooper (now the pitching coach for the White Sox), making his big league debut, and he got one out, but he walked two batters. The Twins brought in Jack O'Connor for his big league debut as well. He gave up a run in 1.1 innings, a home run by Tony Armas (Senior!). Mike Norris has had a lot of struggles in his life, but on this night, he threw a complete game for the A's. Mickey Hatcher made his Twins debut, starting at 1B, and he went 2-4. Ray Smith was the starting catcher for the Twins. It was his big league debut too. He is now the Twins manager at their rookie league team in Elizabethton.
4/6/82 - Twins 7, Seattle Mariners 11. Another home game (the first for the Twins in the Metrodome), and another game where pitching was at a premium. Pete Redfern started for the Twins and gave up five runs in five innings. Bobby Castillo came in and allowed five runs in just two innings. Fernando Arroyo came in and only gave up one run in the final two innings. The starter for the Mariners was Floyd Bannister. He is the father of Brian Bannister, the rookie righty who is now the Mets fifth starter. He went 7.2 innings and gave up seven runs. He did strike out 10. Gary Gaetti started in his first opening day game and went 4-4 with two homers, a triple and four RBI. Dave Engle started in RF and went 2-3 with a home run. Like Gaetti, it was Kent Hrbek's first Opening Day, and he went 2-4. Mickey Hatcher, playing in LF, also went 2-4.
4/5/83 - Twins 3, Detroit Tigers 11. Brad Havens gave up six in the first inning and two more in the second innings and that was more than enough for Jack Morris. Pete Filson then gave up three runs in the next 3.2 innings. Len Whitehouse and Rick Lysander each threw two shutout innings. Morris went seven innings and gave up three runs. Lou Whitaker went 2-5. Alan Trammell went 3-5. Larry Herndon had a single, double and homer in six at bats. Jim Eisenrich was 0-3 in this game. He would play in just one more game before leaving the team. He came back for 12 games in 1984, but then retired, until 1987. Kent Hrbek and Randy Bush each went 2-4.
4/3/84 - Twins 1, Detroit Tigers 8. The Twins were crushed again by the Tigers in 1984's Opening Day game. The Twins managed just five hits, two of them by Mickey Hatcher. Hatcher and Gary Gaetti each had a double. For the Tigers, Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell and Howard Johnson each had two hits. Jack Morris again got the Win by giving up just one run in seven innings and striking out eight hitters. Nicaraguan Al Williams started for the Twins. He gave up six runs in 6.1 innings. Lefty Keith Comstock made his big league debut with 1.2 innings of relief. He pitched in four games that season for the Twins, then resurfaced in the big leagues in 1987.
4/9/85 - Twins 6, California Angels 2. The Twins headed back out west to take on the Angels. Frank Viola got the win by throwing 7.2 innings and giving up just the two runs. Ron Davis came in and went 1.1 scoreless innings for the Save. Kirby Puckett, in his first Opening Day game, went 3-5. Mickey Hatcher, Roy Smalley and Mike Stenhouse each had two hits (I have a pitcher of me with Stenhouse. Since this was the only year that he spent with the Twins, I guess it was from 1985!). Hatcher hit a homer, and Tom Brunansky hit a three runs shot. For the Angels, Rod Carew led off and went 2-4. Bobby Grich had two hits. But Reggie Jackson was 0-4 with two strikeouts.
4/6/86 - Twins 3, Oakland A's 2. The Twins managed just six hits, but found a way to win a close ball game. Much of the credit should got to starter Frank Viola who gave up the two runs in his seven innings. Roy Smith got four outs before Ron Davis came in to get out of a jam and record the Save. Chris Codoroli started and gave up three unearned runs in five innings. I'm sure that the Twins were impressed with the two shutout innings by Keith Atherton since they traded for him a month later. Kent Hrbek and Roy Smalley each had a single and two walks. Tom Brunansky had a double.
4/7/87 - Twins 5, Oakland A's 4. The Twins started their first World Championship season with a nice extra inning win over the A's. In the 10th, Steve Lombardozzi led off with an infield single. Kirby Puckett doubled him to third. Gary Gaetti was intentionally walked before Kent Hrbek singled to win the game. All of this was done off of future Twin Bill Krueger. Puckett had a single, double, home run and two RBI in the game. Lombo, G-Man and Hrby each had two hits. Bert Blyleven was back and made another Opening Day start. He gave up four runs on four hits and three walks over eight innings. He struck out six. George Frazier pitched the final two innings to record the Win. For the A's, Mike Young had two hits. Jose Canseco started his Rookie of the Year season with an 0-4 day.
4/6/88 - Twins 0, New York Yankees 8. For the first time in years, the Twins would start their season at Yankees Stadium. Frank Viola went home and it didn't go so well. He gave up six runs on eight hits over just five innings. (I would say that he came back well in winning the Cy Young Award for 1988) Keith Atherton gave up a run in two innings. Tippy Martinez gave up a run in his inning. It was the veteran lefties first of three 1988 appearances. He was out of baseball in 1987, and again out of baseball after the Twins let him go. Greg Gagne, Kirby Puckett and Tom Brunansky each had a single. I mention those because those are the only three hits and Yankees starter Rick Rhoden allowed in his complete game shutout. Plenty of offense was achieved by the Yankees. Roberto Kelly and Willie Randolph each had three hits. Mike Pagliurulo and Ricky Henderson each homered off of Viola.
4/4/89 - Twins 2, New York Yankees 4. The Yankees came to Minnesota this year, but despite it being a closer game, the Yankees still prevailed. What was it about Roberto Kelly, against the Twins, on Opening Days? On this day, he was 4-4 with a homer and two stolen bases. Rickey Henderson was 2-3 with two walks and three SBs. Frank Viola was better than the previous opening day. This year, he went six innings and gave up just three runs on eight hits and four walks. Juan Berenguer gave up a run and struck out four in his three innings. In 1970, Tommy John started and lost against the Twins on Opening Day for the White Sox. In 1989, John was the winning pitcher for the Yankees, against the Twins. In this game, he gave up two runs over seven innings. For the Twins, Dan Gladden, Wally Backman and Kent Hrbek each had two hits.
4/9/90 - Twins 3, Oakland A's 8. The Twins and A's really did have a great rivalry in the late '80s and early '90s, didn't they?! In this game, Allen Anderson started and gave up five runs (4 earned) in just four innings. Juan Berenguer came in and gave up three more runs in 2.2 innings. Terry Leach got the final five outs without allowing any more damage. But the A's lineup was tough. Henderson, Carney Lansford, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Dave Henderson and Terry Steinbach. For the Twins, Kirby Puckett led the way with a 3-5 day. Greg Gagne had a double, a triple and two RBI. Randy Bush and Brian Harper each had two RBI. Dave Stewart picked up the Win for the A's.
There you have it, the middle fifteen Twins Opening Day games. I just think is fun to go down memory lane from time to time. If nothing else, we can see and appreciate some new names, or at least names that we have not thought about in years. Tomorrow, I will post the Opening Day notes from 1991 to 2005. If you have any thoughts, questions, or memories of any of this, please e-mail me or leave Comments below.
Like I said, I had my final fantasy baseball league draft last night. We had it at a bar with a bunch of big TVs. So, I was able to watch the draft from a distance, but because it was so loud in there, it was necessary to really be paying attention to the draft. So, I would not be much good when it comes to actual analysis of the game. I will try to do more of that in coming days. For today, and for this game, I will just say a few obvious things. Like the final score was Blue Jays 6, Twins 3.
Shannon Stewart led off and went 3-4 on the day, including a big homer in the 8th off of Roy Halladay. I certainly don't expect him to do that much each game. However, I believe that if he can post a .360 On-Base Percentage, he will be well worth the leadoff spot.
Luis Castillo batted second. In the first inning, he had a sacrifice bunt. I know that Gardy has talked so much about having speed and doing the 'little things.' I have feared that would mean that when Stewart got on base in the 1st, Castillo would bunt. I was really hoping that wasn't the case, but right away in the first opportunity. Castillo did have an error, but I'm not worried about his defense. It was also interesting that, after Stewart homered off of Halladay, the Jays kept Halladay in to pitch to Castillo. After Castillo was out, they brought in the lefty reliever. I missed the Castillo at bat, so when I looked up and saw that Schoenweiss was in the game, I jumped up and said, "They brought in a lefty to face Castillo!" But, we are talking about a smart Blue Jays team, so they know how much Castillo mashes left-handed pitchers.
Joe Mauer was 0-4. He looked fine at the plate and behind the plate. No need to worry about him!
Rondell White was 0-3, but he had a first inning RBI to give the Twins a lead. With Stewart on first base, White took a down-and-in fastball and got under it for a sacrifice fly to CF. To me, that was a professional at bat. That is what the Twins needed a year ago. Rather than trying to do too much with a two-strike pitch, White just tried to lift it to score the run. Of course, he hit it well and almost had extra bases were it not for a fine catch by Vernon Wells.
Torii Hunter 0-4, but a couple of nice catches near the wall in CF. It looked like he was a little more hesitant, but he made the catches.
Justin Morneau was 0-4 with two strikeouts. I realize that his final at bat looked pretty bad, but those were four very sharp sliders over the plate by BJ Ryan. Aside from that at bat, I thought he looked fine.
Tony Batista batted seventh. He went 1-3 with a seventh inning homer off of Halladay. I did notice that he does appear to be less pudgy than he was when I first saw him in Spring Training action. The home runs was nice, and obviously needed. He made the routine plays, but there was at least one ball that I saw get through the left side of the infield that I think Cuddyer gets to.
Jason Kubel went 0-3 at the plate. He appeared to be just a little bit anxious. I wonder how much he will play. Will he play against all right handed pitchers, with Cuddyer playing only against lefties? If so, that would be best for Kubel's development. He needs to play daily. That said, Cuddyer has earned some playing time too.
Juan Castro did go 1-2 but was pinch hit for by Lew Ford late in the game, and Nick Punto came in for defense. Free Jason Bartlett!
No surprise that Santana struggled. He always struggles early. He was actually really good the first two or three innings, but then he fought his control. It looked like he wasn't getting quite enough twist on some of his pitches which would help explain part of his struggles. Juan Rincon looked very good in his 1.1 innings. He is certainly not at 100%, and I like the idea that he will pitch 7th innings with Jesse Crain pitching in the 8th for the time being. Of course, Crain gave up the two run, 8th inning homer to Alexis Rios to more-less put the game out of reach. I know that I am a homer and a big Crain fan, but I really do believe that he will be able to increase that strikeout rate. No one that throws 94-95 with a curveball as sharp as Crain's should struggle to strike hitters out. I think he will be fine.
Tonight, it is Brad Radke against Josh Towers at 6:07 (central) in Toronto.
1.) Alex Rodriguez
2.) Bobby Abreu
3.) Victor Martinez
4.) Derek Jeter
5.) Lance Berkman
6.) Roy Oswalt
7.) Randy Johnson
8.) Jason Giambi
9.) Joe Nathan
10.) Brian Giles
11.) Chad Tracy
12.) Ben Sheets
13.) Rickie Weeks
14.) Jeremy Bonderman
15.) Marcus Giles
16.) Doug Davis
17.) Daniel Cabrera
18.) Noah Lowry
19.) Brad Wilkerson
20.) Oliver Perez
21.) Ervin Santana
22.) Derrick Turnbow
23.) Delmon Young
24.) Scott Baker
Do you have any thoughts on the Twins, or my draft? If so, send me an e-mail, or post some Comments below.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE PREVIEW
The Rochester Red Wings will send Boof Bonser to the mound when they start their season on Thursday night. As I look at the 2006 Rochester roster, it makes me question a couple of things. What was it that convinced Dennys Reyes to accept his demotion to AAA? Why wouldn't he have at least seen if any other big league teams had interest? Do you think that the Twins brass told him that the plan is for Francisco Liriano to be starting soon, and a trade may be in the works and Reyes could be back to the Twins at that time? Second, how will the corner infield positions play out? At 1B, they have Garrett Jones and Jason Hart. At 3B, they have Terry Tiffee and Glenn Williams. One could play DH, but all deserve to play. Luis Maza is the lone 2B, with Bartlett the only real SS.
The New Britain Rockcats will be playing in the first minor league game of the 2006 season when the start at 10:35 (Eastern) on Thursday. The Rockcats also have some interesting scenarios. First, how are Danny Matienzo and Doug Deeds still in AA? What more can either do to deserve a shot. Matienzo is obviously behind Hart and Jones, so I am OK with that. But Doug Deeds was arguably the Rockcats best hitter a year ago. Of course, if he moves up, he needs to play. Will the starting OF be Deeds in RF, Span in CF and my man, Trent Oeltjen in left? But what a seriously impressive and talented starting staff in New Britain. With Glen Perkins, Errol Simonitsch, Nick Blackburn, Adam Harben and Justin Jones, they have to be one of the strongest staffs in baseball. Many Twins fans may want the team to push Perkins, Span and Matt Moses, but I think starting all three of them at AA makes a lot of sense. None will be counted on by the Twins much this year, at least not in the near future, so why rush them. Let them get comfortable again, succeed and then move up. They can move up to Rochester, or many times players are called up directly from AA.
The Ft. Myers Miracle will play their first game on Thursday night at Sarasota. It will be interesting to see how the infield lineup plays. They should have a platoon of Brock Peterson and Johnny Woodard at 1B. Alexi Casilla should start at 2B with Trevor Plouffe and David Winfree on the left side of the infield. But Luke Hughes should get plenty of playing time too. In the OF, we have to assume that Deacon Burns and Jeremy Pickrel will start in the OF. However, will Rule V pick Erold Andrus or last year's Northern League Rookie of the Year for the FM Redhawks Brent Krause play the other position. I suppose that Justin Arneson returns to the Miracle as the 5th OF. I think it is fair to assume that Jay Rainville, Anthony Swarzak, Matt Garza and Kevin Slowey will be in the rotation. The fifth starter could be either Kyle Aselton or Jose Mijares, with the other being important in the bullpen. JP Martinez should be the closer, although Tim Lahey might get a shot too.
Opening Day for the Beloit Snappers is Thursday when Cedar Rapids comes to town. This should be another strong starting staff. Kyle Waldrop is somewhat of a surprise in that he is back in Beloit. Eduardo Morlan, Adam Hawes, Ryan Mullins and Brian Duensing will likely be the remainder of the rotation, although Yohan Pino and Oswaldo Sosa may fit in there somewhere too. My guess is that David Shinskie would start the season as the closer, with Alexander Smit hopefully making the leap for good to full-season ball. Eli Tintor appears to be transitioning to the OF, but he could also catch as will Caleb Moore and 18 year old Allan de San Miguel. The infield should be comprised of Erik Lis and Henry Sanchez at 1B, Andrew Thompson and Steve Tolleson at 2B, Paul Kelly and Yancarlos Ortiz at SS. On player, likely Paul Kelly, will move to 3B, and Toby Gardenhire will be a utility player. There are two levels of prospects here, but the high school guys are clearly bigger prospects than the college guys. Also, I hear that Ortiz is blazing fast! In the OF will be Tintor, along with the speedy Terrance Patterson, Dwayne White and Edward Ovalle.
Question mark though... where is Juan Portes??
Any thoughts on the Twins minor league system? Please e-mail me.
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
Last night, the final nine American Idol. performers took to the stage again. The contestants had to pick country songs with the help of Kenny Rogers. Like Simon, I generally find the whole brand of music non-listen-to-able (if that's a word), but all in all, I thought that a few of the singers did well, some of the songs were actually good, but it was not my favorite night of American Idol.
So, how did the do? Well, let's get to some American Idol Analysis.
Taylor Hicks - Take me Home Country Road
This was really an in-between song for Taylor. It was as if the song was just a little too high for him to sing well. Vocally, it was really only average at best. He just made a good song really boring to watch. It was just very poor.
Mandisa - Any Man of Mine
It was a strange song coming from Mandisa for several reasons. Not her genre. Doesn't really fit her, or her strengths. However, vocally, I thought she was really quite good. Sure, there were a couple of weak spots, but overall, it was very good, and enough of her own twists.
Elliott Yamin - If Tomorrow Never Comes
Great song by Garth Brooks, the only country musician whose music is bearable for more than five minutes. Perfect song for Elliot's voice. He did a very good job of just staying subdued and calm which was appropriate for the song. I just definitely have been impressed by Elliot a lot the last three weeks or more.
Paris Bennett - How Do I Live
Again, just a horrible music type for Paris, but I thought she was very strong. Obviously her rendition was much deeper and/or lower than the original, but I thought she was good vocally, for the most part. She did look like she was struggling. In other words, she definitely did not make it look effortless.
Ace Young - Drops of Jupiter
Most of the song was very good vocally. He missed a lot of notes really throughout the song. But it was a good song for his voice, and for the most part, he was good. He is definitely best in a falsetto though!
Kellie Pickler - Fancy
Of all the contestants, Kellie had to be most excited to get to Country week. She picked the right song. She sang it well. I did struggle to understand her words at the end of sentences early in the song. She showed great strength and looked very comfortable. But again, this is her comfort zone.
Chris Daughtry - I Wanna Love You
Interesting week for him, especially after last week he was told that he needed to show some variety. This was a much calmer song. But he still sang it with his rocker voice. In other words, it was not great vocally, and yet it still worked and was believable.
Katharine McPhee - Brian Out Elvis
Count me in as - I just didn't understand the song. Was it country, or something completely different? Vocally, she was very good. Great strength. Good performance, and yes, it increased my McPheever. But as Simon said, I thought the performance was just really "peculiar."
Bucky Covington - Best I Ever Had
Now, I would have thought that Bucky would have been set up to succeed this week as well. First, it was country, and second, he picked a very good song, and a song that I thought would be good for his voice. But he was horrible, especially the first half of the song. He just was not good at all. I thought the last sentence was the only positive of the whole song.
SethSpeaks Ranking of the Top 9 Performances (from last night)
1.) Elliot Yamin
2.) Kellie Pickler
3.) Chris Daughtry
4.) Taylor Hicks
5.) Paris Bennett
6.) Katharine McPhee
8.) Bucky Covington
9.) Ace Young
Who do I think will be eliminated tonight?
Taylor Hicks -This is a difficult week to pick an eliminated contestant. I think that Taylor was by far the worst last night. However, he does have a strong following. Mandisa did not do well either, but to this point, she has not been in the bottom. I think she will be tonight. I think there is also a chance the Bucky could finally go.
Again, for further American Idol thoughts, be sure to check out The Baseball Savant and the fine folks of curlio.com because I know we don't always see or hear things the same way. Any thoughts on my American Idol Thoughts? This is where it gets fun, so if you would like, be sure to debate the merits of your favorite contestants below. Or, if you're shy, send me an e-mail.
Opening Day is now past, but we still have a lot of fun baseball to talk about in the coming months. I really hope that you will stop by the site every day, and hope that there is something to keep you interested. If you have any thoughts on Opening Day, any performances, or anything, please e-mail me, or let's get a discussion going in the Comments.|
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