Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Twins Daily Update
Good morning everyone! Welp, for today, it is just going to be some game thoughts from the Twins game, and of each of the Twins four affiliates. It wasn't a good night in terms of wins and losses around the organization, but there were still plenty of highlights and individual successes.
I am heading out of town later this afternoon for the rest of the week. I will be in the Twin Cities for work. I don't know if I will be able to get to a Twins game or not. I know that I will have at least a couple of postings over the remainder of the week, so please be sure to check back from time to time. However, they will not be able to be posted until mid-morning, so if there is nothing when you first check, please check back. With that, I will be able to check e-mails and Comments, so please feel free to e-mail me or leave Comments below.
First things first - If you have had the opportunity to read any of the Q&As that we have done with Twins reliever Pat Neshek (here, here, here, here), you will really, really enjoy the Interview he did with ESPN.com's Page 2's Jonah Keri. It talks about everything, and Pat obviously does a terrific job answering all of his questions.
Monday - Twins 3, Indians 7 (12) – Not much more frustrating in baseball than watching your favorite team come back from a deficit in the late innings, only to lose decisively in extra innings. Carlos Silva gave up a three run homer to Victor Martinez in the top of the 5th. He had not given up a run to that point. And then Glen Perkins, Juan Rincon, Dennys Reyes (although he didn't get anyone out), Pat Neshek and Jesse Crain combined for six shutout innings. Perkins did a nice job of getting big double play grounders. Neshek got big strikeouts when needed. When Jesse Crain came out for the top of the 12th, and Travis Hafner was the first batter he would have to face, you knew that would not be a good inning. And then you see the bottle cap strike zone that the umpire calls against Hafner, and that doesn't help. So, Hafner walked. And then Then Victor Martinez hit a slow single up the middle that Hafner was able to advance to third on. Then Ryan Garko bleeded a single into RF, a play that would have an easy catch for the 2B had the infield not been playing in. Then, for some absolutely ridiculous reason, Ron Gardenhire decided to go to Joe Nathan. At that point, what is the purpose of bringing him in? He walked Jhonny Peralta, and then gave up a two-run single to Shin-Soo Choo. At that point, the Twins were down by four runs, there were still two runners on base and nobody out. Nathan then struck out Mike Rouse and Grady Sizemore. Nick Punto saved another run plus whatever Travis Hafner would have done, by making a diving catch of a Casey Blake liner for the third out.
Travis Hafner is the best hitter in the AL. OK, so Alex Rodriguez is so far this year. But last year, until he was hurt and missed the final month of the season, Hafner was the best hitter in the league. He is starting this season right where he left off. In this game, he was 4-4 with two walks.
I'm not as worried about these two, but... Is it just me, or is Michael Cuddyer's flailing at sliders a foot or more outside starting to remind people way too much of Torii Hunter? Despite that, he is hitting .316 with good production. So, no complaining, right?
Also, I am starting to get a little tired of Jason Kubel watching fastballs right down the middle go by for called strikes. Particularly called third strikes.
Torii Hunter... getting the job done so far. He is hitting over .300. He is hitting with great power. He had a big home runs last night, but the doubles are really what I am impressed with.
Alexi Casilla is showing he belongs. Defensively, he is plenty ready. Offensively, he shows a great leadoff batter approach. He takes several pitches. He isn't afraid to hit with two strikes. He doesn't strike out very often. He bunts for hits and fake-bunts to bring in the corner infielders. He will steal a lot of bases. And, he will hit enough. I think that he is ready now. That said, as long as Luis Castillo is on the roster and able to play, Gardy will play him. And, as much as some are getting tired of the defense of Jason Bartlett at this point, the Twins should absolutely stick by him there. I don't think that Bartlett or Casilla can be their best without regular, consistent playing time, and that is why I still believe that Casilla should return to Rochester when Castillo is deemed healthy enough.
Joe Mauer went 2-4 with a walk, and he is now hitting .400. And, did you see when he threw out Shin-Soo Choo trying to steal 2B. I really didn't think that he had a chance, but Mauer threw a bullet to Jason Bartlett at 2B. The throw was right on the bag. All Bartlett had to do was catch the ball and hold on to it.
Tonight these two teams play again, the second game of the short, two-game series. The Twins will send Johan Santana to the mound against the Indians' Fausto Carmona.
Any other Twins thoughts? Please e-mail me, or leave some Comments below.
I had the chance to listen to the Red Wings game online last night. Most of their games on online. If you check out the Red Wings website, it will direct you to where you can find the game broadcast. Honestly, it was as good a broadcast as I have listened to. Play-by-play man Josh Whetzel does a great job, and the color analyst is former big league manager Joe Altobelli. The two have excellent banter and really play off of each other very well.
Monday - Red Wings 6, Syracuse 2 – The Red Wings and Chiefs sat through a 100+ minute rain delay, and when they came back, their pitching remained very strong. Jason Miller was making a spot start for the Wings. He came back after the delay and in all, Miller went four shutout innings. He gave up two hits and two walks. Brian Bass came into the game. He recorded his first win of the year despite allowing the two runs in his 2.1 innings. But Carmen Cali came in and went 2.2 innings of shutout ball for the save. Glenn Williams went 2-3 with a walk and a double. Jose Morales was 2-3 with a walk and his first home run. But the big hit of the game was a two-run double down the RF line by Tommy Watkins. Watkins went 2-4 with his fourth double and fourth stolen base.
Kevin Slowey takes the mound for the Red Wings tonight!!
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Monday - Rockcats 5, Portland 8 – This wasn't exactly a pitcher's dual. Brad Baker got the start. In 5.1 innings, he gave up four runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out just one. Brian Forystek came in and got a blown save. He gave up three runs on three hits and two walks in two innings. Tim Lahey got the final five outs, but before he did, he gave up another run on three hits and three walks. Brian Buscher continues to impress. The 3B went 3-5 with his first homer and two RBI. Kyle Geiger went 2-3 with a walk and his second double. Felix Molina went 2-3 with a walk and an RBI. He raised his average to .161. Remember Molina was an Eastern League All-Star last year. Garrett Guzman went 2-5 with his fourth double and an RBI.
Get to Know 'Em - Brian Buscher - When the Twins selected Brian Buscher in the minor league portion of the Rule V draft, I really didn't know anything about him. But now he is the Rockcats #3 hitter and third baseman. So, who is he? Where did he come from? Well, most recently Buscher came from the San Francisco Giants organization. He was the Giants 3rd round pick in 2003 out of the University of South Carolina. He had been drafted in the 50th round of the draft in both 1999 and 2000, but decided to go to community college for two years before heading to the Gamecocks. He spent half of 2005 and all of 2006 with the Giants AA affiliate. Less than a week ago, Buscher turned 26, an advanced age for AA. His age is likely the reason that he was left unprotected by the Giants. He has not shown a lot of power in the minor leagues, but he did show some in college. I believe that Buscher was brought in to provide depth at a position that the Twins are not real strong. But, if he hits and fields the ball, you just never know.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Monday - Miracle 1, Clearwater 4– Ryan Mullins had a very disappointing season last year in Beloit. He walked too many, was very hittable and just didn't pitch well in general. Last night, he fell to 0-2 on the season. However, he is really pitching well. Last night, he went seven innings and gave up just two runs (1 earned) on four hits. He walked just one and struck out ten. His season ERA falls to 3.26. Josh Hill gave up an unearned run in his inning. He struck out two. Eduardo Morlan then gave up a run on a hit and a walk in his inning. Erik Lis can flat-out hit. I don't know that anyone in the organization doubts that. Last night, he was 1-2 with his sixth double and two walks. Toby Gardenhire went 1-2 with a walk and his first double.
Congratulations ... To Kyle Waldrop who was named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Week. For the week, he went 2-0 with a 0.73 ERA. In 12.1 innings, he walked just two and struck out 12.
Monday - Snappers 3, Lansing 5 – Adam Hawes started and gave up three runs on six hits in 4.1 innings. He walked three and struck out four. Sean Land took the loss. He went one inning and gave up a run on a hit and two walks. Armando Gabino struck out three in his 1.2 scoreless innings. Danny Hernandez gave up a run on two hits in his inning. The offense managed just five hits against the Lugnuts. Allan de San Miguel went 1-2 with a solo homer and a sacrifice bunt. Yancarlos Ortiz drove in two runs on his 1-2 day.
Jeff Manship was named the Twins minor league pitcher of the week. In that time, he did not have a decision. However, in 13.1 innings, he had a 1.35 ERA and struck out 17 hitters.
Joe Benson was out of the lineup again. Who replaced him in the OF is what is interesting. Garrett Olson, who has played almost everywhere in the infield already this season, and last night, he got the start in LF.
Monday SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Ryan Mullins, Ft. Myers Miracle
Monday SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Brian Buscher, New Britain Rockcats
Do you have any further thoughts on any Twins prospects, minor leaguers, or these summaries? E-mail me, or also feel free to leave comments below.
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