Thursday Night, April 24, 2008
The Twins and the Ft. Myers Miracle played this afternoon. Rochester got done early. New Britain finished up now, so I figured I would get the daily game updates and notes posted right away. But you are going to want to stop by again later when I will post a brand new Q&A.
TWINS 2, A's 11
The game started out so well. Carlos Gomez was back in the lineup, as he should have been after finally getting a much-needed game off on Wednesday night. He fouled off the first pitch with a bunt attempt, but five pitches later, he hit a home run to give the Twins a 1-0 lead. Well... it was all downhill after that. Francisco Liriano started for the Twins, walked the first batter he faced, and didn't even get out of the 1st inning. He gave up six earned runs on five hits and three walks. He faced ten batters and got two of them out. It took 35 pitches to do. Brian Bass came in and gave up four runs (3 earned) on seven hits and a walk in 3.1 innings. Jesse Crain gave up a run in two innings. Then Dennys Reyes and Juan Rincon each pitched a scoreless inning. Delmon Young was the only Twins hitter with more than a hit. He went 2-4.
THE BIG QUESTION
The last two days, the big question was whether or not the Twins should send Carlos Gomez to AAA when they activated Michael Cuddyer after Thursday's game. In the end, the team determined, wisely, that Denard Span should go back to Rochester instead.
The big question today is What Do the Twins do with Francisco Liriano?! It is a good question, and it is a fair question. I am certain it is a question being discussed very seriously by Rick Anderson, Ron Gardenhire, Bill Smith and probably Liriano and his agent. So, what do I think? My opinion really hasn't changed much. I knew that the Twins would want to get Liriano back up quickly and thought it was the best way for him to get back. I don't totally disagree with that, but then in his two minor league starts, he did not show control and was hit around a little bit. That could be passed off as just getting back into game situations and feeling more comfortable. Whenever he came up to the big leagues, you had to know that there would be a different kind of adrenaline, and control would again be an issue for a little while. He has now been given four starts, and he has not shown improvement in the area that matters most, control. In fact, it is much worse.
What I would do is send Liriano down now. The Twins may not need a fifth starter right now, but based on this short start, they do need another pitcher in case there is a need for long relief during the Texas series. Liriano needs to stay on schedule, and he needs to get his control back. I think calling him up was understandable, but yet it is now time for him to go back down and improve. The Twins could take a couple of throw-away starts with the thought that he was getting better, but they can't just give away every fifth game while waiting for Liriano. Let him go down and pitch under a little less pressure, less scrutiny and just pitch.
So, who would I call up? Based on the fact that there are only 38 players on the Twins 40 man roster, I would call up Kevin Mulvey now to replace Liriano in the rotation. I would let him make a start, and then I would let him work out of the bullpen as a long reliever. I would keep him around for just in case situations until Kevin Slowey is able to come back up from his rehab assignment. Someone like Mulvey needs to have his innings watched, so I think that putting him in the bullpen, after making his debut, would be a good way to do that. If the Twins would have 40 players on their roster, then I would say that they could bring up either Philip Humber or Glen Perkins since the time up with the Twins would be a matter of a couple of weeks.
This decision, in no way, should give an impression that Francisco Liriano is thought of to any lesser degree. Liriano is still absolutely a vital part, if not the key part, of the Twins future success. When he is able to show better control, he can come right back up.
What do you think? What would you do?
The Twins will start a three game series in Texas against the Rangers this weekend. Will former Twins player Ron Washington still be the team's manager? That is certain up for debate right now. It's one of those cases where you can't fire 25, so you fire one. But as with any manager, it really is about your players, and Washington isn't the one throwing pitches for the Rangers! The Rangers have lost seven straight games. They just were swept in a three game series by the Detroit Tigers by a combined score of 37-10. Some notes on the Rangers hitters:
Frank Catalanotto is currently on a seven game hitting streak and has hit in nine of his last ten games.
Michael Young is on a nine game hitting streak. He has actually had two hits in four of his last five games. The streak raised his batting average from .196 to .286.
Their best hitter is Josh Hamilton, who the team acquired from the Reds before the season in exchange for pitcher Edinson Volquez. He is an excellent hitter, but the Rangers are in need of what... bats or arms???
Hank Blalock was a surprise early in the season. He was actually hitting .329 before this three game series when a 1-12 dropped his average to .293.
I look at their lineup and see that their catcher is either Gerald Laird or Adam Melhuse, and their 1B is Ben Broussard or Jason Botts... how is Jarrod Saltalamacchia not on this team?
I was surprised that Milton Bradley came back healthy so quickly after his devastating knee injury last year. He is the primary DH for the team and has really been good. He is currently hitting .329.
Friday - 7:05 - Nick Blackburn (1-1, 2.49, 1.22, .289) vs Kevin Millwood (1-2, 2.53, 1.56, .295)
Saturday - 7:05 - Scott Baker (2-0, 3.51, 1.01, .229) vs Scott Feldman (0-0, 4.50, 1.67, .348)
Sunday - 1:05 - Livan Hernandez (3-0, 3.55, 1.27, .279) vs Vicente Padilla (2-2, 4.97, 1.69, .317)
Twins and Twins Minor League Updates
Thursday SethSpeaks Player of the Day – Randy Ruiz, Rochester Red Wings
Thursday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day – Brian Duensing, Rochester Red Wings
Thursday - Red Wings 8, Lehigh Valley 2 – For the second straight outing, Brian Duensing had his best start of the year. In seven innings, he gave up just one runs on three hits. He walked none and struck out five to improve to 2-3. Ricky Barrett struck out two in a scoreless eighth inning. Carmen Cali gave up a solo homer in his inning. Randy Ruiz led the offense by hitting his fourth double and first home run in four at bats. Jose Morales went 3-4 with two RBI. Garrett Jones returned to the lineup after missing several games after running into the right field wall on a fly ball in a game last week. He went 2-4. Matt Macri was also 2-4 with his seventh double.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Thursday - Rockcats 1, Trenton 2 – Yohan Pino was very nearly the pitcher of the day today. But putting his numbers next to Duensing's and I think I made the right choice. However, what I am saying is that Pino pitched very well. Unfortunately, the Rockcat bats didn't help him out, so he fell to 0-1. Pino went seven innings and gave up just two runs on four hits. He walked none and struck out four. Zach Ward pitched a scoreless eighth inning. New Britain managed just seven hits. Dustin Martin went 2-4 (And stole his 6th base), and David Winfree hit a solo homer for the team's lone run.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Thursday - Miracle 2, Tampa 4 – The Miracle had just six hits in this game. One of them was the fourth double of Juan Portes. Cole DeVries falls to 1-3. He gave up three runs (2 earned) on nine hits in five innings. He didn't walk a batter, and he struck out five. Jose Lugo pitched two shutout innings. Danny Vais gave up a run on two hits in his inning.
Thursday - Snappers – No Game Scheduled
Again, I will be back, but I would love your thoughts on Francisco Liriano, or any Twins related topics, or about their minor league system.|
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