Thursday April 22, 2004
What to do with Lew?
Twins Streak Ends
Twins Minor League Report
Wolves Win Game 2
American Idol Thoughts
A Little Brevity
There are just a few topics that I need to cover today, and I promise, I will be brief. A few fairly big things came up that I needed to deal with, so I apologize. If you have any questions or comments, send me an e-mail. I would like to request anyone who is reading this and hasn't introduced themselves to me to just send me a quick e-mail. Say Hi, let me know where you're from and how you came to this site. I would also love to hear any thoughts you may have on this site, the format, the content, anything. So, please e-mail me.
What to do with Lew?
Today, Torii Hunter is expected to come off of the Disabled List. As I discussed yesterday, they will need to send someone down to the minor leagues. I think it will be either OF Michael Ryan or P Carlos Pulido. Lew Ford did so much in the last two weeks that if he were sent down, it would be the most unjust act in recent Minnesota history!
Last night, Ford went 3-5 with a triple and two RBI. He is now hitting .444. He HAS TO stay in the big leagues. But let's be honest, where or how much will he play with the return of Torii Hunter?
First, I feel the need to ask this question. Who is better? Lew Ford or Torii Hunter? Torii is a Gold Glove centerfielder. Lew is almost as fast and is still a better than average defender. Hunter has a stronger throwing arm. Offensively, Hunter has more raw power. He could hit 30 home runs in a year. Ford could probably hit 12-15 home runs in a full season. Torii could probably hit .290 in a really, really good year for him, if things were going very well. I think Lew is a .300 hitter. Not only that, but Lew Ford knows how to work a pitcher and work a pitch count. He may not walk a lot, but he puts together great plate appearances. How often do you see Torii swing at a bad pitch? You rarely see Ford swing outside the strike zone. Look at Ford's minor league numbers along with last season's numbers with the Twins (And this year's!). Everywhere he had been, Ford has hit!
I'm not pretending that Lew Ford will become the Twins new centerfielder, or that he "Wally Pipp'd" Torii Hunter. That's not going to happen. However, that is how it works when big salaries are involved. Hunter makes a LOT of money. Ford makes about the league minimum. Who do you think is going to get the at bats? However, the fact is that the Twins may be a better team with Lew Ford in center field.
But, that isn't going to happen. The Twins would take a Public Relations hit if they traded Torii Hunter. I think that everyone knows that Jacque Jones is gone after this season. Ford's recent play may have done one of two things. It could mean that the team could trade Jacque Jones for some middle infield or pitching help and insert Ford into right field. The other thing is that I would assume Terry Ryan has been fielding phone calls on the availability of Lew Ford. I bet there are a dozen big league teams that would love to have Lew in their starting outfield.
So, what should happen? I think that Lew Ford should play right field against left-handed pitching. He should spell Torii Hunter in center-field once every couple of weeks, same with Shannon Stewart in left-field. Those guys could DH on those days. Ford could also DH. He has done everything that he needs to do to prove that he deserves to play 4 or 5 times per week.
So, let me propose two lineups for you:
versus LHP versus RHP
Shannon Stewart LF Shannon Stewart LF
Nick Punto 2B Nick Punto SS
Doug Mientkiewicz 1B Doug Mientkiewicz 1B
Torii Hunter CF Corey Koskie 3B
Michael Cuddyer 3B Torii Hunter CF
Lew Ford RF Jacque Jones RF
Jose Offerman DH Michael Cuddyer 2B
Henry Blanco C Lew Ford DH
Cristian Guzman SS Henry Blanco C
I think these are two pretty strong lineups. Again, I would only DH Ford occasionally. I would use the DH spot to give other guys a day off from the field. Any of the OF could fill in there with Ford taking over their spot on defense. Obviously when Joe Mauer is healthy, he will be the primary catcher, probably batting 8th. Matthew Lecroy will be the DH unless the Twins wise-up and bring Justin Morneau up to DH soon! A couple other things you may notice. Michael Cuddyer is in there every day. I have included Nick Punto in the lineup every day. Luis Rivas is not in either lineup. Cristian Guzman is only in one lineup.
What do you think? Can the Twins win with these lineups? Where did I go wrong? Any thoughts? E-mail me.
BRAD THOMAS TRADED
Last week, the Twins designated LHP Brad Thomas for assignment. Because he was out of options, the team had to trade him within ten days or any team could claim him. Because he is left-handed and throws 93 miles per hour, it was clear the Twins would be able to trade him. Yesterday, the Twins traded Thomas to the Boston Red Sox either for a Player to be Named Later or Cash. The Twins probably will get a list of four or five of the Red Sox low-end Class A 'prospects' (or suspects), and will have to pick one of them. You hate to see the Twins lose Thomas, but he isn't young and seemed so nervous when pitching for the Twins. He has been in the organization a long time, so maybe a change of scenery will be good for him. The Red Sox are believed to be putting him on the Disabled List with an elbow problem. Makes you wonder if the Twins knew he was hurt. Either way, the Twins did not need him, so this is not as bad a loss as it was to lose Michael Nakamura, in my opinion.
TWINS STREAK ENDS
I think that being brief is the best thing when discussing last night's Twins 11-8 loss to the Tigers!!
It was just a bad game for the Twins all around, starting right at the beginning. Brad Radke gave up four first inning runs. There wasn't really even a well hit ball the whole inning. He gave up two more runs in the second inning, and that was it for his day. The funny thing is that in those two innings, he gave up six runs and seven hits, while throwing just 28 pitches. So, he could have gone longer. However, I agree with Gardy's decision to take Radke out. First, it was just one of those games where, no matter what he threw up to the plate, it would have fallen in for a hit. Secondly, Radke may be able to come back a day quicker in the rotation. But also, it could have been Carlos Pulido's last day with the Twins, so I'm sure Gardy wanted one last look at Pulido before sending him down today (TBD). Well, for his sake, it didn't go so well for Carlos. In three innings, he gave up five hits and two walks for five earned runs. After that, the bullpen did well. Terry Mulholland and Joe Roa each threw two scoreless innings.
Positives for the Twins were that they scored eight runs. Most nights, that should be enough to win. Lew Ford was 3-5 with a couple RBI on a triple. Jacque Jones went 3-5 with a double. Ivan Rodriguez led the way for the Tigers with a 4-5 effort. Craig Monroe had three hits and Alex Sanchez had two hits and 3 RBI.
So, the loss to the Tigers, coupled with the White Sox loss to the Yankees, means the Twins are still in first, 1/2 game ahead of Detroit and one game ahead of the Sox.
The team now plays this afternoon against the Tigers. It will be Johan Santana (0-0, 6.46 ERA) against Mike Maroth (2-0, 3.38 ERA).
What do you think that Twins should do? E-mail me, or chime in over on the Twins board!
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
ROCHESTER REPORT - The Redwings got crushed. OK, that's not nice, but unfortunately, it's true. They lost a 14-4 game to Pawtucket. Justin Morneau paced Rochester with a 3-4 effort. He also hit his 5th homer of the season. Michael Restovich was 2-3 with his 4th home run. Jason Bartlett went 1-4 to drop to .404 and back behind Morneau who is now at .433. Peter Munro was the starting pitcher for the Red Wings. He lasted four innings. He gave up 8 hits and 8 runs (of which four were earned). He did strike out three, the same number of home runs he gave up. Joe Beimel came in and went 2 2/3 innings. He gave up five hits and three walks, and six runs, all earned. Todd Erdos got the last out of the 7th inning. Then Jesse Crain pitched one inning and struck out two. The Red Wings are off today before starting a three game set against Scranton-Wilkes Barre.
ROCK CATS REPORT - They didn't play yesterday. They next play Akron in a three game series.
MIRACLE REPORT - The Miracle had a day off yesterday. They will start a three game series on Friday at Lakeland.
SWING THINGS - The Swing had the day off too. They will start a series on Friday at Dayton.
Any thoughts on the Twins or their minor league affiliates, send me an e-mail.
WOLVES TAKE TWO-GAME LEAD
Garnett Notches Triple-Double
Last night, the Wolves played Game 2 of their Best of Seven series against the Denver Nuggets. Game time was against scheduled for 8:30. However, they are obligated to wait until TNT's first game is finished before starting. So, it was 8:50 again last night. That is better than the 9:10 start time on Sunday night!
Anyway, the game was fairly close for about a quarter and a half, but then the Wolves took over. Monday, I mentioned that I believed the Wolves needed to get Latrell Sprewell into the offensive flow right away in the first quarter. Well, the certainly did that! He scored 14 first quarter points, including 4-4 from three-point range. But former Gopher star Voshon Lenard was up for the challenge, scoring 15 points in the first quarter and keeping the game close.
After that it was all Wolves. The team held the Nuggets to just nine second quarter points on their way to an easy 95-81 victory.
Having the three-headed monster of KG, Sam and Spree is so important. If the opponent cuts off the head of one, they still have two options (And Wally, O and some others are good options too). After scoring 40 on Sunday night, Sam Cassell had just 12 points but did have 9 assists. Sprewell contributed 31 points by hitting 11 of 17 shots from the field, including seven of eight three pointers. And what did Kevin Garnett do? Oh, just recorded a triple-double. He ended the game with 20 points, 22 rebounds and 10 assists. Wally Szczerbiak had 11 points on just 4-6 shooting. Trenton Hassell was his usual, incredible defensive self in guarding Carmelo Anthony. Anthony did have 15 points, but he was forced into 7 turnovers. Lenard led the Nuggets with 24 points.
The series heads to Denver where the Nuggets will try to get a couple of wins at home. Saturday night, the teams play at 8:30. The game will be on ESPN. I do think that the Nuggets will win one of the two games in Denver before the Wolves finish the series in Game 5 back in Minneapolis. What do you think? E-mail me!
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
Last night on American Idol, the American vote again showed that voting is overrated and doesn't mean much at all! I know that sounds harsh, but what did last night's vote tell us? Voting is a popularity contest. How did LaToya London and Fantasia Barrino, clearly the top two performers remaining, end up in the bottom three? Jennifer Hudson had a great week, and now she's gone. All the while, John Stevens and Diana Degarmo, who are not good at all, at least in comparison, are still in the contest. It's just wrong.
I don't know what the producers of the show can do to make the voting more accurate. When you know that people can vote for a person as many times as they want, the results really are tainted! I know people who vote over twenty times a week for the same person, every week. If I know that, you know there are probably people who vote upwards of 100 times a week. Sure, then it looks great when 25 million people voted, but that's not true.
Any suggestions for how this can be remedied (or other American Idol thoughts)? E-mail me.
Jesse Palmer dropped four more future brides last night, including his spy, Jenny. He is left with six women to chose from. My professional soccer playing Mandy was eliminated last week. Mandy J is still in there, and that's great, but I have a new favorite... TARA! Wow! How cute is she? And Trish... ICK! She's not on the show any longer to be a future bride. Palmer is keeping her around for one reason!! Not a bad reason, but not the "right" reason!
Any thoughts? E-mail me.
And that is it for today. If you have any questions or comments on anything you've read, let me know. If you have any questions, comments or ideas for postings, please feel free to e-mail me. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!
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