Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Twins Minor League Reports
American Idol Thoughts
Battle of the Bad
Good morning to everyone! Well, the Twins and Royals 'battled' in a 1-0 game until the eighth inning.
One of the big mantras throughout the offseason was that the team needed veterans who could put together good at bats and drive in runs. Well, in the 7th inning last night, the Royals "ace" Scott Elarton had shutout the Twins offense. However, Joe Mauer walked and Rondell White singled him to 3B. So, the situation was one that we talk about all the time, runner on third, less than two outs. So, what happened? The Twins leader, veteran Torii Hunter struck out on a horrible swing. Then one of 'my guys' Justin Morneau struck out looking on a called third strike, one of my biggest pet peeves! Tony Batista came up and grounded out, but by that time, the Twins had wasted two shots at a game-tying run. That was frustrating. I figured the game was over at that point.
But in the 8th inning, Elarton's night was over and the Royals brought in Luke Hudson. I couldn't help but smile. The first batter was Lew Ford who beat out an infield single deep in the hole in short. The Twins brought in Ruben Sierra to pinch hit for Juan Castro, definitely the right move. After Ford advanced to second on a passed ball, Sierra singled to left to drive in the run, tying the game. Shannon Stewart singled to center and pinch-runner Nick Punto advanced to 3B. Here we were again, 1st and 3rd, nobody out. Lefty Andy Sisco came in, and veteran Luis Castillo came up and on the first pitch, he popped up weakly to 1B for the first out. Joe Mauer came up, and true to his form, he took three pitches before getting a pitch that he could simply fly out on. His fly ball to left was just deep enough to score Punto from third and give the Twins a 2-1 lead.
Kyle Lohse pitched well through six innings. He gave up a run on a groundout. He gave up five hits, but he walked an unnecessarily high five Royals hitters. Of the 101 pitches he threw, just 60 of them were for strikes. What are we to make of this performance? Is it a positive, something to take anything from? Or, is it a decent start against a bad team in which he battled his control, but worked out of it?
That appears to be the biggest question among Twins fans right now. How do they get Francisco Liriano into the starting rotation? I'd love to hear your thoughts, but here are some of the options as I see it:
Replace Kyle Lohse with Liriano. I can see this as an option, but it would appear to me that Lohse does still have some trade value to other organizations (for reasons unknown to me). If he is removed from the rotation, he loses most of that value.
Replace Carlos Silva with Liriano. Silva is just so hittable. It was fine when he was getting so many ground balls, but this year, he is a fly ball pitcher and too many of those fly balls are going over the fence. I think that Silva deserves the right to remain in the rotation for awhile because of what he has been able to do the last two years.
Replace Scott Baker with Liriano. Baker has been the Twins best starter to this point in the season. That would not be right.
Trade Lohse or Silva. If either could bring a solid bat to the lineup, I would be in favor of it.
Send Liriano down to AAA for two or three weeks to start and build up the arm strength that the coaches feel he needs. Give the other four starters three more starts which could then help determine what the other move will be. Dennys Reyes has pitched well enough at Rochester to have earned the call up.
Other? What do you think? I'd love to get some discussion on this topic.
Here is the rest of the schedule along with the pitching matchups:
Tonight - 7:10 - Scott Baker (1-1, 3.31, 1.35, .277) vs Runelvys Hernandez (1st start of season)
Thursday - 1:10 - Johan Santana (0-3, 4.81, 1.48, .278) vs Mark Redman (0-0, 4.91, 1.55, .308)
Why did the game have to start late? It's 10:30, and I can barely keep my eyes open. I am going to trust that Joe Nathan will get the job done in the 9th inning. I know that isn't a fair expectation. Yes, he's as good as it gets, but he just has not been used enough to remain sharp. I should just stay awake, but I am already rambling, so I really need to stop. I will have to get up early in the morning to make sure that the good guys won! (UPDATE - Nathan finished it up with a 1-2-3 ninth. Twins Win 2-1)
Do you have any thoughts on the Twins, the Royals, this series or anything else? If so, send me an e-mail, or post some Comments below.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Jason Kubel, Rochester Red Wings
SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Dennys Reyes, Rochester Red Wings
If you missed it, be sure to check out my Q&A with Red Wings OF Josh Rabe from yesterday.
Here are the updates from last night's Twins minor league games. If you have any thoughts on the Twins system, please e-mail me.
Tuesday - Red Wings 4, Richmond 2 (10 innings) – Dennys Reyes got another start for Rochester. In six innings, he allowed a run on two hits. He walked two and struck out four. Ricky Barrett pitched the seventh and struck out two. Pat Neshek pitched a scoreless eighth. Entering the bottom of the 9th, the Red Wings had a 2-1 lead and Neshek was headed back out to the mound. With one out, Neshek gave up a home run to Scott Thorman to tie the game. It was the first run he had allowed all year, and obviously his first blown save. However, he got out of the 9th inning without any more damage. With two outs in the top of the 10th, Jason Bartlett doubled, Jason Kubel was intentionally walked, and Garrett Jones ripped a two-run double to give the Red Wings a lead. Kevin Cameron came in and struck out two in his perfect inning to record his second save. Shawn Wooten led the offense with a 2-3 day. He had two doubles, a walk and an RBI. Jason Kubel went 2-4 with a walk, a double and a triple. Neshek got the win. By the way, you will want to check out his website, On the Road with Pat Neshek as he has had a couple of new postings in the last few days.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Tuesday - Rockcats , Trenton – Rained out... again.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Tuesday - Miracle – No Game Scheduled
Tuesday - Snappers 6, Quad Cities 5 – The Twins twice scored three runs in an inning and held on for the one run win. Ryan Mullins started for the Snappers. In six innings, he allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks. It is good to see the return of Frank Mata who dazzled two seasons ago in the GCL, but missed all of 2005 after Tommy John Surgery. He struck out two in his shutout inning. David Shinskie went 1.2 innings. He gave up four hits and a run, but Jose Lugo came in and got the last out to preserve the Snappers win. On offense, Edward Ovalle was the lone Snapper with more than a hit. He was 2-4 and scored two runs. Steven Tolleson drove in two with his fourth double, and Erik Lis hit his sixth double of the year.
Do you have any further thoughts on any Twins prospects, minor leaguers, or these summaries? I would love any input, or ideas to make it better. Thanks! E-mail me, or also feel free to leave comments below.
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
After missing a week of American Idol, I am back with my thoughts on the final six contestants. The only negative was that I missed out on seeing the elimination of Ace Young. I wish I could have seen it. On the positive side, Ace is finally done! No more creepy stares into the camera. No more of those annoying things that he did so frequently. So, I am happy.
Last night, the final six American Idol performers took to the stage and performed a love song. They had the chance to be great, or to be awful, and we saw/heard a little of each. The strange thing is that there were a couple of times when I completely disagreed with the judges. That's alright, except for the fact that their opinions are heard by the voters whereas mine are only read by you, and well after the voting hours.
So, how did they do? Well, let's get to some American Idol Analysis.
Katharine McPhee - I Have Nothing
There are just certain singers that women on American Idol should stay away from. They would be Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera and Whitney Houston. All three have amazing, powerful voices with so much range. Also, the judges will assuredly tell the contestants that they are not as good as the original. Well, no one is. However, last night, I thought that Katharine was amazing signing this Whitney song. All three judges were harsh, and I completely disagree with them. I thought that she showed more power in her voice than she previously had. She had mastered the sweet, beautiful voice. Last night, she showed some power with it. I actually really enjoyed her arrangement of the song. To me, she is incredible. And yeah, she looked amazing, even before the wardrobe malfunction!
Elliott Yamin - A Song for You
As impressed as I was throughout Katharine's performance, Elliot's performance gave me chills. His voice is just so incredible. He just is good at whatever he does. As much as we talk about Taylor's appreciation for music, Elliot has it too! Sure, he doesn't tie a very good tie, and his sense of style is not strong at all, but that just adds to the package that is Elliot Yamin. Paula cried, which I thought was a bit much, but it was that good.
Kellie Pickler - Unchained Melody
And, as impressed as I was with the first two performances, Ms. Pickler was on the opposite end of the spectrum. It started out bad with her act during the interview portion with Ryan, and then she started singing. This is one of the greatest songs of all time, and I was completely bored by it. Her performance was just ... blah! And that was when she was on key. When she went off key, ht was almost impossible to listen to. Couple all of that with the fact that she looks like she has had Botox done too many times. Seriously, there is no emotion in her face, no expression. Oh, and she had some bad hair!
Paris Bennett - The Way We Were
As you all know, I am a fan of Paris. I know there are many that don't like her girly, high-pitched voice when she is talking, but at least with her, it is real (unlike one of the other remaining contestants). What matters about Paris is that when she sings, her voice is anything but soft or weak. She is an absolute powerhouse, and she really came through with a great performance. She ended with a great note, but she was solid throughout. Was she spectacular? Did she bring the Wow Factor? No, but she was very, very good again.
Taylor Hicks - Just Once
What a great song! The lyrics start out, "I did my best, but I guess my best wasn't good enough." To me, that pretty well summed up Taylor's performance. I thought that he came on well toward the end, and a couple of times he actually sounded great. However, for the most part, Taylor was not strong enough to carry such a song. He never really hit it. He had moments, but overall, he was just not good. There were far too many really poor spots throughout.
Chris Daughtry - Have You Ever Loved a Woman
Here is the other contestant that I must have heard a LOT differently than the judges. Paula was jumping around , and the other two judges were equally enthusiastic. Chris was in the bottom three last week, and apparently the judges don't want him there again, not yet. Vocally, I thought it was horrible. Sure, when he started rocking a little bit, he got better, but then again, vocals don't matter as much at that point. And then he ended with another bad note. If he is not in the bottom three, it is due to the judges.
SethSpeaks Ranking of the Top 6 Performances (from last night)
1.) Elliot Yamin
2.) Katharine McPhee
3.) Paris Bennett
4.) Taylor Hicks
5.) Chris Daughtry
6.) Kellie Pickler
Who do I think will be eliminated tonight?
Kellie Pickler -Sure, the idiots that base their votes on the thoughts of those at VoteForTheWorst.com have kept her around longer than she should be. But they have had her as the worst since Kevin Covais was eliminated. It is time. She is just not in the same class as the rest of this group.
Again, for further American Idol thoughts, be sure to check out 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.
Let me know what you think. Send me an e-mail, or let's talk about it in the Comments here. That is it for today! Have a great day!|
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