Tuesday April 13, 2004
Twins Sign Mulholland
Twins Minor Leagues
Other Baseball Thoughts
Wolves Win Again
More Random Ramblings
TWINS LOSE IN CLEVELAND
The Twins dropped to 3-4 with a loss to the Cleveland Indians yesterday in the season opener at Jacob's Field. Kyle Lohse struggled throughout allowing hits and base runners. In the third inning, it caught up with him when, after walking the bases loaded, Lohse gave up a grand slam to North Dakotan Travis Hafner. The Twins climbed back with two runs in the top of the 4th, but it seemed that every time the Twins got a rally going, someone would ground into a double play.
Lohse should be commended for lasting six innings. Because he doesn't strike out a lot of hitters, he doesn't throw a lot of pitches. That means, he will be able to last longer in games. Lohse is now 0-2, but I really am not worried about him yet. Carlos Pulido pitched the 7th and 8th innings. He gave up solo home run to former Twins All-Star Matt Lawton before getting the next six hitters out.
The question as to be asked, however, in the 9th inning, with a couple of runners on base and David Riske on the mound, why did Ron Gardenhire not have Corey Koskie pinch-hit? If his back is really hurting, I can understand it, but if he was just giving him a day off to rest it, he should have been hitting with a chance to tie the game. Also, if Koskie couldn't hit in that situation, why not the wonderful, left-handed pinch hitter that the team so desperately needed to keep on the roster, Michael Ryan? Why did he not pinch hit for Cristian Guzman? Just a question...
The Twins now have today off before finishing the series with games on Wednesday and Thursday. Any thoughts on the Twins? E-mail me.
Twins Sign Mulholland
After another poor performance on Sunday, the Twins designated lefty Brad Thomas for assignment and signed veteran lefty Terry Mulholland.
First, the Twins gave Thomas every chance to make the team and even after making the Opening Day roster, he pitched in three games. It resulted in an ERA over 16. By being designated for assignment and having no options left, he will either be traded or claimed by another team. Because he is left-handed, throws over 90 mph, and has a pulse, it is likely that someone will claim him. In the last month, the Twins have lost two pitchers after designating them. The Toronto Blue Jays claimed both Sean Douglass and Michael Nakamura.
Terry Mulholland had a poor 2003 season with the Cleveland Indians. In 45 games, he went 3-4 with a 4.91 ERA. In 2002, he split the season between Cleveland and LA and went 3-2 with a 5.70 ERA. Actually, Mulholland has not had an ERA under 4.00 since 1998. My initial reaction is to not like this deal. But after thinking about it, Mulholland probably provides the Twins exactly what they need. He will provide them some innings pitched when games are out of control. He is going to come back from poor outings and have forgotten about the previous game. He will get people out. Now, of course, I would like to see Jesse Crain get called up, but I would actually like to see him stay in AAA until things calm down a little bit with the Twins. Mulholland comes for cheap and with a lot of experience. Certainly, this is not a signing that will win the division, but it may help because the likes of JC Romero, Aaron Fultz, Juan Rincon, etc. won't have to pitch in blowout situations.
I think, as was the case with Jose Offerman and Henry Blanco, we'll just have to see how it works out. I have to admit, to this point, I have been completely wrong about Offerman. He has been a tremendous pick so far. I have to admit, I was also completely wrong about Henry Blanco. I wrote that he would be a solid backup because he is so good defensively. Well, he has not been good on defense, blocking balls in the dirt or throwing out runners. However, the career .219 hitter has not been bad with the bat. Of course, one week is a very small sample size, but at this point, it is impossible to disagree with Terry Ryan's decision to sign either of those players.
What are your thoughts on this signing, or the probable loss of Brad Thomas? E-mail me.
Twins Minor Leagues
Check out ESPN.com's John Sickels most recent article in which he discusses twelve top prospects that should be ready for the big leagues soon. In it, he discusses two Twins, Justin Morneau and Jesse Crain.
Here is what he said about Justin Morneau:
Justin Morneau, 1B, Minnesota Twins: His bat is ready now; only roster issues have kept him in the minor leagues. If the Twins continue to suffer from their current rate of injury attrition, Morneau will be up sooner rather than later. This is an impact bat, someone who will hit for both power and average, and only needs consistent playing time to show what he can do. He is capable of hitting .290+, with home run production, in the Show right now.
And about Jesse Crain:
Jesse Crain, RHP, Minnesota Twins: He should probably have begun the year in the major league bullpen. His stuff and control are both top-rate, and I'd rather see what he could do than rely on retreads like Joe Roa and Seth Greisinger to hold down the fort while the Twins try to deal with their spate of injuries. In any event, Crain is the best relief prospect in baseball this side of Ryan Wagner.
The Twins have been playing for a week. Their minor league affiliates also got started this past weekend. I have updated the links on the left to include all four of the full-season Twins minor league affiliates. Here is a quick look at each team and their top prospects.
Rochester Red Wings
Last year was the organization's first season in Rochester. They were expected to be strong and they were really disappointing. Last night, Justin Morneau hit two home runs and drove in seven runs as the Red Wings defeated Pawtucket 12-3. The win brought the team's record to 5-0. Michael Restovich was 3-5 with a homer.
Here is a look at how some of the team's top prospects are doing through five games:
Justin Morneau - 11-21 (.524), 2 homers, 10 RBI, 2 BB, 0 K
Jason Bartlett - 8-19 (.421), 2 2B, 4 BB, 3 K.
Terry Tiffee - 5-19 (.263), 3 HR, 9 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K
Michael Restovich - 4-21 (.190), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 9 K
Josh Rabe - 3-16 (.188), 2 BB, 4 K
Jesse Crain - 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 G, 3 IP, 0 BB, 3 K
New Britain Rock Cats
New Britain is off to a 1-4 start this year. I found it interesting that Rob Bowen started the season with the Rock Cats, but after looking over their roster, it appears that some of the Twins best pitching prospects are starting the year there, so maybe they just want to keep Bowen with them. There are also a couple of hitters on the roster worth watching. Here is a quick look-see at some of the better prospects in New Britain starting with a hitter who will make the Twins outfield even more cluttered:
Jason Kubel - 12-22 (.545), 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K
BJ Garbe - 5-15 (.333), 2 2B, 2 BB, 3 K
Luis Maza - 5-21 (.238), 2B, 1 BB, 2 K
James Tomlin - 1-16 (.063), 0 BB, 6 K
Henry Bonilla - 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 6 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 5 K
Boof Bonser - 0-0, 1.93 ERA, 4 2/3 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 1 K
JD Durbin - 0-0, 3.60 ERA, 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K
Jim Abbott - 0-1, 5.06 ERA, 5 1/3 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 3 K
Ft. Myers Miracle
The Miracle were rained out yesterday and will play a double-header today against the Clearwater Threshers (Phillies). They are 2-2. Here is a list of players worth keeping an eye on with the Miracle (they don't have their stats page updated):
Pitchers: Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker, Jeff Randazzo, Manny Tejada, Erik Lohse (only because he is Kyle's brother)
Hitters: Trent Oeltjen, Alex Romero, Garrett Jones, Danny Matienzo,
Swing of the Quad Cities
A new name for team based on the jazz history of the Dubuque, IA, region. The team boasts the organization's two most recent first round draft picks, but also a couple of pitchers worth watching:
Matt Moses - 4-12 (.333), 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K
Brock Peterson - 4-14 (.286), 2 2B, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 0 K
Dusty Gomon - 2-16 (.125), RBI, 0 BB, 3 K
Denard Span - 2-17 (.118), 1 BB, 1 K
Bill Mauer - 1 G, 1 IP
Evan Meek - 1 G, 0-0, 4.91 ERA, 3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 5 BB, 1 K
Errol Simonitsch - 1 G, 0-0, 5.79 ERA, 4 2/3 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 2 K
Chris Schutt - I G, 0-0, 11.57 ERA, 2 1/3 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K
I will try to keep track of how some of these Twins top prospects are doing throughout the season. Maybe others will emerge into the prospect world as the season progresses. If you have any questions or comments about the Twins minor league system, send me an e-mail.
OTHER BASEBALL THOUGHTS
Bonds Ties Mays
As I'm sure you know (and if you read this site frequently, you're a baseball fan so I'm sure you do know), Barry Bonds tied his godfather, Willie Mays, for third place on the all-time home run list with 660. He hit a 3-2 fastball from former Twin Matt Kinney well over the right field wall and into McCovey Cove. Bonds seems to come up big when his team most needs it. They were down 4-2 when Bonds stepped to the plate. When he touched home plate, he had given the team a 5-4 lead.
ESPN.com's Rob Neyer actually wrote an article for the site that did not mention Billy Beane or the Oakland A's. He writes that Bonds chase after Mays' 660 home runs was being over hyped. He says that it was a great achievement, but it isn't a record, it's just third place. He even goes on to say that it received far more hype than when he passed Babe Ruth for the second most walks in big league history. Well, yeah, of course it did. No one wants to watch walks. I know they're important. I know Bonds has an amazing eye that makes him an incredible hitter. But of course home runs are what will get people talking.
And, it is not like 660 home runs is some minor thing. I mean, only three others have done that in the history of baseball. So, no, it wasn't a record, but it was a huge event.
Aaron Gleeman, as would be expected, agrees with Rob Neyer.
It is also big for Bonds and the Giants. Bonds needs to hit one more home run to pass Mays and have third place on the all-time list to himself. At that point, the media will back off just a little bit, and he will just be able to play. Opposing managers won't feel bad about walking him. His own manager, Felipe Alou, will be able to start giving him some days off to keep the 39 year old healthy.
What are your thoughts on Neyer, Bonds or any of this? E-mail me.
I was reading The Bug last night, and he has a very interesting posting on all of the newest baseball stadiums. They seem to be touted as new stadiums with unique, individual looks to them. It also shows the current plans for the new Twins stadium and compares it to the others. It is really interesting.
Do the good starts by the Detroit Tigers and Tampa Bay Devil Rays really matter? Check out The Baseball Savant today and find out just how much a fast start means to a team! I'm not ready to give the Tigers the AL Central division crown quite yet, but David presents a pretty strong case.
Rolen, Rolen, Rolen
Scott Rolen is off to another strong start for the St. Louis Cardinals. He is known as 'one of the best' third basemen in baseball today. Take a look at Rich's Weekend Baseball Beat and see where Rolen stacks up against the best third basemen of all-time! Rich is at his best when he does reports like this, so it's worth the few minutes it will take to read! As you know, Rich is the writer who is keeping us updated on the amazing junior season of Long Beach State pitcher Jared Weaver.
Fantasy... or Nightmare??
A while back, I wrote my thoughts on fantasy baseball and about most of the players. I talk about it as if I am some expert. And I do think that I know baseball, I know the players, and I know how the fantasy games work. However, through one week of games, my teams are not doing well at all. I am in four leagues and am in last place, or tied for last place, in each one. So, again, please feel free to e-mail me at any time and ask me for my thoughts on certain players, or trade proposals, or anything, but I thought it would be only fair to tell you how well I'm doing!!
WOLVES ONE STEP CLOSER
Last night, the Minnesota Timberwolves played a big game against the Utah Jazz. With wins in their final two games, the Wolves would claim the #1 seed in the Western Conference. Well, the Wolves definitely came to play last night. They jumped out to a quick lead and led by as much as 23 points in the first half. The Jazz, still fighting for the 8th spot in the Western Conference, did not give up. At one point with about 7 minutes to go, they had cut the lead down to 8, but the Wolves knocked down their fourth quarter free throws and won the game 104-90.
It was an excellent team effort for the team as everyone seemed to contribute. The MVP, Kevin Garnett posted his 71st double-double of the season with 21 points and 17 rebounds. Latrell Sprewell was ready to play, adding 24 points. Sam Cassell contributed 18 points and 6 assists. Wally Szczerbiak came off the bench to score 17 points. It is still amazing to me that some people thought the team was better without him! Michael Olowokandi added 10 points and 9 boards in the win. Troy Hudson is expected to come off the Injured List and play on Wednesday night.
The loss meant that the Jazz will not be in the playoffs for the first time in 20 seasons. That is because the Denver Nuggets defeated the Sacramento Kings to claim the 8th spot in the West. The Kings loss means that the Wolves will have a better record than them. However, a win on Wednesday by the Kings would give them the #2 seed in the West going into the playoffs. The scenario for the Wolves is pretty simple. If they win in Memphis on Wednesday night, they will have the #1 seed. If they lose on Wednesday night and Portland can beat the Spurs, the Wolves will have the #1 seed. If the Wolves lose and the Spurs win, the Spurs would have the #1 seed and the Wolves would have the 3rd seed in the playoffs. Why not the #2 seed? Because in the NBA, the #1 and #2 spots in the playoffs go to the two division winners. However, if the Wolves did have the #3 seed and won their first round matchup (probably against the Grizzlies) and the Kings won their first round matchup (probably against the Rockets), the Wolves would play the Kings in the second round. Because the Wolves would have the better record, they would have home court advantage in the second round as well.
Gotta love the NBA! Gotta love the Wolves! Gotta love Kevin Garnett, even more so after watching Fox Sports Net's Beyond the Glory story on Garnett! That is incredibly interesting and shows just how amazing Kevin Garnett really is and how he became the player and the person that he is today!
That's it for today! As always, please feel free to e-mail me with any thoughts, questions or comments!
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