Monday May 17, 2004
TWINS WIN 2 OF 3 FROM SOX
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
WOLVES SPLIT, HEAD TO GAME 7
WEEKEND WRAP UP
Hi, and welcome to a brand new week. My weekend was pretty good. What did I do? Well, I stayed away from the computer as much as I could. I responded to some e-mails on Friday after work. I didn't check my e-mail again until mid-afternoon on Saturday. In that short time, I had 116 new e-mails... of which 4 were not junk mail. I then did not check my mail until Sunday afternoon. 133 new e-mails. Seven were not junk mail. Gotta love it, right?
But staying away from the computer was a good thing. I watched a bunch of movies (I will have five movie reviews tomorrow!), spent some time on the phone, at home and out with friends. That was actually nice.
So, don't expect anything overly elaborate today, just some recaps of some weekend game action from over the weekend. I should just take a day off (maybe I should sneeze, like Sammy Sosa), but a lot happened over the weekend. The Twins took two of three from the White Sox. The minor league updates are back, and the Wolves played a couple of big playoff games. So let's get to it.
TWINS TAKE TWO OF THREE FROM SOX
Friday night - Twins 3, White Sox 2 - In the first game of the series, the Twins finally got a good start from Kyle Lohse, leading the team to the win. For the first time this season, he lasted into the 7th inning. He gave up five hits and walked two Sox hitters, but he gave up just two earned runs. The first on a Joe Crede sacrifice fly. The other on an Aaron Rowand homer which gave the Sox a 2-1 lead. In the 8th inning, the Twins got some help from the White Sox bullpen.
Scott Schoeneweis pitched well for 6 2/3 innings and Cliff Politte got him out of the 7th. But Damaso Marte started the 8th and did not do well. He got just one out and gave up one hit and two walks Jacque Jones singled to center to score Doug Mientkiewicz to tie the game. Shingo Takatsu came in and Lew Ford hit the first pitch on a grounder up the middle. Juan Uribe dove to grab the ball but was unable to make a play, allowing Torii Hunter to score the go-ahead run.
The Twins bullpen came through again. Aaron Fultz struck the only batter he faced, and Juan Rincon pitched 1 1/3 innings, striking out two hitters. Joe Nathan came in for the 9th inning and struck out two Sox batters to earn the save. Juan Rincon picked up his fifth win of the season.
Jacque Jones, who has traditionally not hit lefties well, went 3-3, with each hit being against a left-handed pitcher. Shannon Stewart and Cristian Guzman each went 2-5. Stewart stole two bases. Luis Rivas was 2-4, with a stolen base.
Saturday night - Twins 4, White Sox 1 - Saturday was just a good, solid, well-played game for the Twins. Frank Thomas hit a solo homer in the fourth inning off Twins starter Seth Greisinger. Greisinger finally pitched a very good game for the Twins. I know that after his five inning performance against Oakland last weekend, he was upset for not being able to give the team more innings. This time, he was able to give the the Twins seven very strong innings. If you watched the game, you saw a wide strike zone, and Greisinger was able to use the to his advantage. He gave up just four hits and a walk for just one run. The bullpen came in and was dominant. JC Romero pitched a six pitch 8th inning. Joe Nathan recorded his fourth consecutive Save of a Twins game with a 10 pitch 9th inning. It was his 11th save of the year. Greisinger won his first game as a Twin.
From the offensive perspective, it was Torii Hunter's night. Torii went 4-4 with two HR, a double, three runs and two RBI. His second homer was the 100th of his major league career. Actually, he had four of the Twins seven hits. Lew Ford, Michael Cuddyer and Luis Rivas each had one single. Ford and Cuddyer's knocked in the Twins first two runs.
For the Sox, Esteban Loaiza was very good for 8 innings. But it wasn't enough for the White Sox.
Sunday afternoon - Twins 0, White Sox 11 - Not a pretty game for the Twins or their fans. Maybe they wanted to be in the clubhouse watching the Wolves game. But they got behind early and were unable to answer with their bats.
Carlos Silva had not had a bad start all season, so he was due, and he made up for it in style. He got through the first inning without giving up a run, but wasn't so fortunate in the 2nd. With 2 strikes on Joe Crede, Silva hung a curveball right over the plate and Crede hit it a LONG way! In the 3rd inning, Jose Valentin drilled a three-run homer to give the Sox a 6-0 lead. Silva had not given up a homer in his previous three starts.
So, Ron Gardenhire put Grant Balfour into an easy, no-pressure situation, and Balfour just looked nervous. The problem was that he pitched nervous too! He walked the first two batters he faced, and in just 2/3 of an inning, he walked another and gave up three hits and three runs. Sure, he struck out one, meaning his K rate is above one per inning, but throw strikes!! Just proves that it takes more than a 97 mph fastball to get big leaguers out.
Joe Roa gave the team 2 1/3 innings and gave up two runs (one earned). Terry Mulholland pitched two shutout innings.
The Twins bats just never got it going. Lew Ford and Shannon Stewart each had two hits (a Ford double was the lone extra-base hit). Mark Buehrle went 6 2/3 innings, striking out seven. Jon Adkins pitched the rest to maintain the shut out.
So, for the series the White Sox outscored the Twins 14-7. But that totally doesn't matter as the Twins won 2 out of 3 games to extend their lead in the AL Central.
TWINS at BLUE JAYS
Starting tonight, the Twins play three games against the struggling Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays did just split a series with the Boston Red Sox. Roy Halladay beat Pedro Martinez yesterday, so the Twins will miss him. Here are the pitching matchups (record, ERA, WHIP, opponent's BA):
Monday - 6:05 - Brad Radke (3-2, 3.86, 1.33, .306) vs. Ted Lilly (2-2, 4.87, 1.35, .232)
Tuesday - 6:05 - Johan Santana (2-0, 4.47, 1.32, .271) vs. Miguel Batista (1-3, 5.26, 1.41, .266)
Wednesday - 11:35 - Kyle Lohse (1-3, 5.93, 1.84, .313) vs. Justin Miller (1-0, 3.38, 1.33, .273)
Any thoughts on the Twins? E-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
OK, I took about a week off from doing the individual game reports for the Twins minor league affiliates, but I will try to get back into it.
Friday night - Redwings 5, Indianapolis 8 - Peter Munro really struggled. In 5 1/3 innings, he gave up nine hits and three walks for four earned runs. CF Brian Simmons went 3-4. 2B Luis Rodriguez and SS Augie Ojeda each went 2-5. C Brandon Marsters went 2-4 with a double. Also, Terry Tiffee is back from his injury.
Saturday night - Redwings 11, Indianapolis 3 - Willie Eyre used the run support to earn the Win. He went 7 innings, gave up four hits and two runs. He walked none and struck out six. SS Augie Ojeda went 3-5 with 2 RBI. CF Brian Simmons went 3-4 wit ha double. 2B Luis Rodriguez went 2-5. Justin Morneau went 2-4 with a double. LF Josh Rabe went 2-5.
Sunday afternoon - Redwings 4, Indianapolis 1 - Carlos Pulido cleared waivers and then finally had a good start for Rochester. He went seven innings and gave up an unearned run on two hits and two walks. He struck out four. Jeromy Palki gave up two hits in 2/3 inning before Jesse Crain came out for the game's final four outs. It was his 7th save on the year. SS Augie Ojeda went 2-2 with two walks. Justin Morneau was 1-3 with an RBI double. Michael Restovich hit a home in three at bats, knocking in two runs.
NEW BRITAIN ROCK CATS
OF Prospect Jason Kubel was hit in the head with a pitch on Thursday night and was out of the lineup Friday and Saturday. He returned Sunday as the designated hitter.
Friday - Rockcats 8, Erie 1 - New Britain was unable to score runs off of Wilfredo Ledezma in the win. You remember Ledezma had to spend the 2003 season with the Detroit Tigers because he was a Rule V draft pick. Seeing his "stuff", you can see why the Tigers wanted to keep him. DH Seth Davidson had two of the team's 5 hits. Jim Abbott fell to 0-3 as he went just three innings. He gave up nine hits and walked one for seven earned runs. Jannio Gutierrez pitched four strong innings in relief. He gave up two hits and a run, but struck out six. Pat Neshek gave up a hit and a walk but no runs in two innings.
Saturday - Rockcats 5, Erie 7 - Rick Helling pitched his third game for the AA team. He went 6 innings and gave up five hits and three walks. He gave up four earned runs (2 HRs) and struck out six. C Rob Bowen went 2-4. DH Seth Davidson was 2-4 wit ha double. 3B Jake Mauer was 2-3 with two walks.
Sunday - Rockcats 9, Erie 5 - Jason Richardson started and went just 1 2/3 innings. He gave up five runs (4 earned) on four hits and three walks. The team was looking at being swept, but the bats came back and came through. That, and the bullpen did the job. Victor Moreno went 4 innings and gave up just two hits and two walks, while striking out 7. Beau Kemp pitched 3 1/3 innings for the save. He gave up just one hit. 2B Luis Maza and CF James Tomlin were both 3-3. 3B Tommy Watkins went 2-3 with his first homer of the season and three RBI. Jason Kubel came back and was 2-5 with three RBI. SS Seth Davidson was 2-4 with a double. RF Kevin West hit his seventh homer.
FORT MYERS MIRACLE
Friday - Miracle 5, Clearwater 9 - Matt Yeatman went 5 1/3 innings, but gave up 5 runs on 7 hits and a walk. The bullpen wasn't much help. LF Ron Perodin and C Jose Morales went 3-5. 2B Felix Molina was 3-3 with a walk. CF Trent Oeltjen went 2-5.
Saturday - Miracle 0, Clearwater 5 - Jeff Randazzo went six innings for the Miracle. He gave up six hits, three walks and four runs (although none were earned). He struck out four. Marcus Moseley pitched a scoreless inning in relief to reduce his season ERA to 0.49. RF Trent Oeltjen had two of the team's five hits.
Sunday - No game for the Miracle.
THE SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
Matt Moses did not play at all this weekend.
Friday - Game Cancelled
Saturday - Swing 4, West Michigan 2 - Adam Harben went 4 2/3 innings. He gave up six hits and two walks for one earned run. He struck out five. Julio DePaula (5-2) went the next 2 1/3 innings. He gave up two hits, walked none and struck out two. Levale Speigner recorded his fifth save with two strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings. 2B Ben Pattee went 3-5 with a double. 3B Brock Peterson was 2-3 with a walk.
Sunday - Swing 2, West Michigan 3 - Ricky Barrett went 6 innings on the mound. He gave up five hits and a walk and struck out six batters. But he gave up no runs. For the offense, CF Denard Span went 2-4 and is now hitting .258. SS JR Taylor hit a 2-run home run in four at bats.
Any questions or comments on the Twins minor league system, e-mail me.
WOLVES SPLIT, GAME 7 WEDNESDAY
The Lakers have to be loving this. The Wolves and Kings are beating each other up, causing a 7th game to the series, while they are sitting at home waiting to find out who they will play in the Western Conference finals starting next weekend. 'Beating each other up', 'fighting' these words not only words to describe competitiveness, but unfortunately this series has become chippy and very physical.
Friday night - Wolves 86, Kings 74
This game would sure have been nice to watch! However, because of the Triple-overtime game between the Detroit Pistons and New Jersey Nets, Wolves fans were unable to watch the first half of the game. Unless you have NBATV, you did too! Very, very frustrating!!!
With the series tied at two games a piece, the Wolves really needed to win on Friday night at home. I had written on Friday that the Wolves needed Latrell Sprewell to be very aggressive early, even if it looked out of control. The team needed to be aggressive. Sprewell will the team to the win on Friday night. He was 13-21 from the field with three three pointers and was 5-6 from the stripe. He scored 34 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out 6 assists. Kevin Garnett scored 23 points with 12 rebounds, 2 steal and 3 blocks. He also had eight turnovers. Sam Cassell's back is bad, so he was just 1-4 from the field for 3 points but still had 7 assists. Mark Madsen has been remarkable. In 26 minutes, he was just 1-6 shooting. He amazingly actually hit 5-8 free throws. So, he had 7 points, but that's not Mark Madsen. He also had 13 rebounds, and 8 of those were offensive!
The Wolves defense held the Kings powerful offense in check. The Kings shot just 33 percent for the game and were 4-17 from the three-point arch. Peja Stojacovik was 5-14 for 12 points. Chris Webber was 5-16 for 13 points. Mike Bibby went 5-15 for 14 points.
In the third quarter, Darrick Martin tried to go through a screen set by Brad Miller. Miller took offense to being elbowed below the belt. He went after Martin and knocked him to the ground. Both players were ejected. As the announcers repeated, that was a very good tradeoff for the Wolves.
It seemed at the end of the game that the Kings just gave up and accepted the loss. So, what would happen on Sunday afternoon back in Arco Arena in Sacramento? Could the Wolves finish the series off?
Sunday - Wolves 87, Kings 104
In a word, No. The Wolves seemed resigned to going back to Target Center and taking their chances in Game 7. The Kings jumped out to an early lead. Latrell Sprewell's four three pointers kept the Wolves in the game early and they even had a lead for awhile. But the Kings stormed back. On the game, they shot 50% from the field. and 56% from the three point line. Peja Stojacovik scored 22 points with 8 rebounds. Chris Webber scored 14 points with 7 rebounds (and 6 turnovers). Doug Christie scored 16 points. Mike Bibby scored 16 points but also had 10 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Brad Miller had a near-perfect game. He was 5-5 from the field, and 7-8 from the line for 17 points. After Anthony Peeler's ejection, Rodney Buford came in and scored 7 points on 3-5 from the field, including his first three pointer of the year.
Sprewell again carried the Wolves on his back. He scored 27 points and was 6-7 from three point range. He also played defense, with 5 steals. Kevin Garnett scored 19 points with 10 rebounds and 5 assists. He still had 5 turnovers. Sam Cassell was 7-11 from the field, but played just 30 minutes with back pain and foul trouble. He scored 16 points but had just 2 assists. Wally Szczerbiak scored 12 and Fred Hoiberg added 10 points. But again, Mark Madsen was incredible. He scored just 3 points, but had 6 rebounds, including four offensive, and two steals. He played just 22 minutes. I wish he would play more!
Everyone will be talking about it, the Kevin Garnett/Anthony Peeler altercation, but I definitely think that too much is being made of it, at least too much blame is being given to Garnett. Multiple replays were shown and it was clear that Peeler was the instigator. He was the one who leveled Garnett with a shot to the mid-section that had Garnett on the floor for some time. When the ball came back down the court, Garnett stood up and set a very strong screen on Peeler. Granted, the elbow was included in the screen. The actually call should have simply been an offensive foul on Garnett for an illegal screen. But, when Peeler gave Garnett a forearm shiver to the jaw, things changed. Peeler was instantly tossed, and Garnett intelligently stayed out of further retaliation. Garnett was given a technical foul at that point.
Now, I have no problem with pushing and shoving and the physical play of the NBA. If I was Brad Miller and got drilled in the junk by Darrick Martin, I'd probably react too. That said, what he did to Martin was ridiculous. Peeler's job seemed clearly to be to instigate something with Garnett. Fortunately, Garnett didn't fall for it. I think that when Peeler swung at Garnett, he knew he'd be tossed, but he and the Kings team were all hoping KG would follow suit and throw a punch, thus taking him out of Game 7. As Peeler left the court, Vlade Divac gave him a hug and he was congratulated by his teammates. It is pretty clear what they were trying to do.
And that's all I have to say about that... for now...
GAME 7 - Wednesday at 7:30 Central Time from the Target Center on TNT -
You read that correctly. The game time is actually 7:30! That means the game could be over at a decent time! Of course, with the history of these two teams, Game 7 could become another overtime affair. As I have outlined in the past, I think that Latrell Sprewell right now is clearly the key to this game and this series. Mark Madsen needs to get minutes. The Wolves need to find a way to keep Garnett from turning the ball over so much. And Sam Cassell has to rest him back the next two days to try to get to 100%.
So., what did you think of the weekend's games? What will happen in Game 7? Can the Wolves get the big win? E-mail me.
That is it for today. Lots of big games to watch, none bigger than the Minnesota Timberwolves right now!
Have yourself a really wonderful week! As always, if you have any questions or comments on anything, please e-mail me.
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