Friday May 14, 2004
DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY RESULTS
Short, very short, today. Here are just some random thoughts because I don't want to think too much, ya know? Any questions or comments or ideas for future postings, e-mail me. By the way, Rupert was awarded the fan's million dollar award last night on Survivor. No surprise. ______________________________________________________________________________________
Johan Santana was great yesterday. 7 innings pitched, no runs, 4 strikeouts. And, he had only thrown 94 pitches.
First, why did Santana not start the 8th inning?
Second, why would Ron Gardenhire bring in Terry Mulholland instead of JC Romero in that situation, a 1-0 game? Fortunately Romero was able to work out of a bases loaded, one-out jam in the 8th inning.
Joe Nathan is tough! He has some filthy pitches! When will people stop worrying about him. Yes, he gives up and occasional base runner, but he has worked out of it 10 out of 11 times so far this year, and you can just see that he is getting better all the time.
I'm almost to the point where Nathan should maintain the closer role this year AND next year. I'm as big a Jesse Crain fan as there is, but now I would be OK with Joe Nathan as the closer with Crain setting up for him this year and next in preparation for being the closer in 2006. Just think about it for a second. A bullpen of Juan Rincon, Grant Balfour, Jesse Crain and JC Romero setting up Joe Nathan. That could be an incredible 'pen! Nothing like having 5 guys ready to come in who can all throw 95!
Michael Cuddyer should finally get his first full-time playing time for a long time. With Corey Koskie on the Disabled List, Cuddyer is really auditioning for GM Terry Ryan and Manager Ron Gardenhire. How he performs over the next two weeks could very much determine what the Twins do with Corey Koskie. Personally, I like Koskie. I think he can be so good offensively and defensively. I also think that he is a great teammate. However, he becomes a free agent and his injury history is something that will scare the Twins. So, unless he is willing to take a pay cut, he will not be back. Whether or not Michael Cuddyer will be the 2005 every day 3B could be determined in the next two weeks.
How do you hurt a sternum?
Remember when the Twins traded Bobby Kielty? I, like so many, did not like the trade. Then Stewart was a key component in the Twins 2nd half resurgence. The trade became better in my mind when the Twins signed him to a three year contract this winter. But, don't forget the the Twins also received a player to be named later. After the season, the Twins received pitcher David Gassner from the Blue Jays as the final piece to the trade. So, how is he doing? Well, yesterday, he pitched seven shutout innings for AAA Rochester against Indianapolis. He gave up just 3 hits, walked none and struck out 5. Jesse Crain pitched the final 2 innings for the save. Gassner is now 5-1 with a 1.99 ERA this season. I think that this is just another example of Terry Ryan and his scouting staff knowing what they are doing!
Twins Travel to Chicago for Three with the White Sox. The top two teams in the AL Centreal to this point will have some tough games. I am sure both teams will be ready. Billy Koch is still yapping for the White Sox, so there could be some intensity.
Here are the pitching matchups and game times (with record, ERA, WHIP, Opponent's Batting Avg):
Friday - 7:05 - Kyle Lohse (1-3, 6.45, 1.96, .327) vs Scott Schoeneweis (3-1, 3.49, 1.32, .236)
Saturday - 6:05 - Seth Greisinger (0-2, 6.87, 1.75, .325) vs Esteban Loaiza (4-2, 4.34, 1.34, .262)
Sunday - 2:05 - Carlos Silva (5-0, 3.11, 1.32, .235) vs Mark Buehrle (2-1, 4.53, 1.41, .288)
Positional Comparisons -
1B - Doug Mientkiewicz versus Paul Konerko - Slight Advantage Twins - these two are complete, polar opposites.
2B - Luis Rivas versus Willie Harris/Juan Uribe - Slight Advantage White Sox
3B - Michael Cuddyer versus Joe Crede - Slight Advantage White Sox, only because Cuddyer hasn't been starting.
SS - Cristian Guzman versus Jose Valentin - Slight Advantage White Sox, only because of the power factor.
LF - Shannon Stewart versus Carlos Lee - Even
CF - Torii Hunter versus Aaron Roward - Advantage Twins
RF - Jacque Jones versus Magglio Ordonez - Slight Advantage White Sox
C - Henry Blanco/Matthew Lecroy versus Miguel Olivo/Sandy Alomar - Even
DH - Lew Ford versus Frank Thomas - Slight Advantage White Sox
1 - Advantage Twins, 1 - Slight Advantage Twins, 2 - Even, 5 - Slight Advantage White Sox
Uh oh! But... as always, it all comes down to pitching. Whichever team pitches better. The Twins need to get some innings from Lohse and Greisinger, although the bullpen should be rested. The White Sox three starters are not great, but each has been very solid.
Should be a good, fun, competitive series!
D-FISH has to be feeling pretty good about himself, huh? What an improbable ending to the Lakers/Spurs Game 5, with Fisher hitting a turnaround 17 foot jumper on an inbounds play with 0.4 seconds to play. I would say the ball left his fingertips with about 0.00005 seconds to go.
Tim Duncan made an almost equally unlikely, off-balanced, 20 footer over the strong defense of Shaquille O'Neal to give the Spurs a 1-point lead with that 0.4 seconds to go.
Remember when the Spurs had a 2-0 lead in their series and everyone was saying that the Lakers were done? That was funny, huh?
D III man, Devean George of the Lakers was in Phil Jackson's doghouse much of the second half of the season. Fact is, he couldn't shoot. Well, somehow, Rick Fox got into Jackson's doghouse in the season's last couple of weeks, and George has been the starter for the Lakers in the playoffs. With that lineup, he doesn't have to shoot or score much, just play good defense and make passes and rebound. Well, last night, he was 6-9 from the field, including 4-7 from the three-point arc for 16 points. That was good for second among Lakers, behind Kobe Bryant's 22.
Tonight, the Wolves host the Kings in Game 5 of their Western Conference semi-final series. It is a big game for both teams. No one wants to lose a third game in a series, because it is one loss from a completed season. As I said yesterday, I believe this game will be over in six games. Whoever wins a game on the road will win the series.
Keys for the Wolves -
Latrell Sprewell has to get touches. He also has to drive the ball. The team that has been most aggressive has won each game. Look at the Wolves down the stretch in Game 2. They started driving the ball and being aggressive. What did the Kings do late in Game 3 when they made their run? They were aggressive. Clearly the Kings were more aggressive throughout Game 4. Sprewell is the Wolves only real cutting option. Garnett travels ever time he tried to make a move in the paint. Cassell just backs down Bibby and throws up turnarounds without running the offense.
Kevin Garnett is going to get his points and rebounding numbers, but his most important role in Game 5 may be putting the defensive clamps on Chris Webber. The Wolves can't let him go off early.
The other, role players have to step up. Trenton Hassell and Fred Hoiberg have been great! They just need to keep it up. The center combination of Ervin Johnson, Mark Madsen and Gary Trent need to be productive.
Keys for the Wolves -
Find a way to get Peja Stojacovik some easy, early shots to get him going and silence the Target Center crowd. As the Wolves need their offense to run through KG, the Kings need Chris Webber to get touches because he too is a great passer. Bibby has to re-find his shot. Doug Christie and Anthony Peeler have been incredible on defense! The Brad Miller/Vlade Divac combination must produce.
DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY RESULTS
OK, I keep track of how many times this site is hit each day, and I know that not everyone e-mailed me with their location, age and other information this week. However, I did receive 49 responses. As would be expected since this is a Minnesota site, that is the state where the most readers of this site call home. That just makes sense. However, I did receive responses from 17 states and more. If you haven't responded yet, please e-mail me and tell me about yourself. Here are the number of responses:
19 - Minnesota
4 - Wisconsin
3 - Texas
2 - Arkansas, South Dakota, Montana, New Jersey, Iowa, Washington, Alaska
1 - Pennsylvania, New York, California, Illinois, Missouri, North Dakota, West Virginia
Other - 1 from Washington D.C., and one from Belgium (yes, the country).
44 - Male
5 - Female (come on ladies, send me an e-mail!!!)
By Age (41 answered this):
15-20 - 1
21-25 - 7
26-30 - 13
31-35 - 5
36-40 - 5
41-45 - 3
46-50 - 2
51-55 - 5
Thanks again to all those who responded. It is very interesting to me. Please feel free to e-mail me about yourself. I'm interested in meeting people, talking baseball, basketball, tv, movies or whatever you'd like.
That is it for today and for this week. It is short, but that's enough. Wolves tonight and Sunday. Twins all weekend in Chi-Town against their division rival White Sox.
Have yourself a really great weekend!
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