Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Twins Minor League Report
American Idol Thoughts
Good Monday morning everybody! Well, it will be a few brief thoughts on the Twins loss, the Twins minor league update and a bunch on American Idol as they are down to the Final Three and tonight one more will be sent home.
Briefly, if you haven't checked it out yet, you can hear my Blogger Minute which aired on April 23 on WCCO's Twin Magazine Show. I was also on this past Saturday, but don't have that file yet. I will post that when I receive it.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, concerns or ideas for future entries, please e-mail me.
Last night, the Twins welcomed Corey Koskie back to the Dome. Unfortunately, the Twins got Johan Santana's worst start in a long time and fell to the Blue Jays 10-3. Below are a few notes about the teams and the game:
The story was Santana. He was not good at all. He did last 5 1/3 innings, but gave up seven earned runs on nine hits and a walk. He struck out five. He has had the problem with the home run ball much of the season and last night he gave up two of them. Now, I have already read some of the message boards that are really worried about Santana now that he's (gasp) had two bad starts in a row! Well, he had like 25 really good start before that, so he was due for a bad outing or two. Now, that isn't to say that there are some aspects worth worrying about. For instance, there have been rumors of a blister. That would certainly affect a couple of his pitches at least. I also mentioned hearing that he was tipping his pitches. For awhile, that didn't even matter, but if he doesn't have his really perfect stuff, and the hitter knows what is coming, they can hit it. The other concern is just that he has been working up in the strike zone with all of his pitches a bit much. Combine these things and there can be trouble. His changeup is so good that for awhile, he was able to get away with having it come in a little high, but if the hitter knows it's coming, they can sit on it and drive it. Short story long, I am not worried about Johan in the least. He was due to have some rough outings. All of the top pitchers in baseball have them. And, let's be honest, we were incredibly spoiled by what he has done in the last year. It's not fair to expect another run like that. But now lets see how Johan responds.
Juan Castro started for the third straight game. Apparently Jason Bartlett had a really bad error on a routine ground ball on Friday night, and he hasn't played since. Now, I understand molding the young player and teaching and stuff like that. But this is ridiculous! Does the Twins staff really think that Bartlett will get better and more comfortable on defense in practice? I don't think that's what happens. You can make all the plays in practice, but you need to do them in games to actually feel comfortable. Juan Castro is what he is, and after an awful defensive spring, we have found out that he is a very solid defensive shortstop (or 3B, or 2B). But for that, he simply can not hit. Sure, he may have an occasional 2-4 game, but he does not put together good at bats. He frequently just swings at everything. Obviously with Torii Hunter and Jacque Jones free swinging in the lineup, the Twins don't have a problem with that. But, Jason Bartlett can hit, even if his average does not show it. He takes pitches, works a count, etc. I just believe that a young player needs some time. Hopefully Bartlett will be back in the lineup soon.
Shannon Stewart was 2-4 last night. It seems like in the last couple of weeks, he has had two hits or more in games a lot.
Did you see my man Justin Morneau's home run that sailed well into the Metrodome's upper level last night? Just-Incredible! He and Mauer are two guys that, when they are batting, I stop what I'm doing to watch them hit. It was Morneau's 7th home run on the year.
Luis Rivas got the start last night and went 2-4. You take that, and just really hope that Gardy doesn't read into it too much and continue playing him!
Torii Hunter went 1-2 with two walks and a two-run homer, his 5th of the season. He does seem to be taking a number of walks this year, but I don't think that it necessarily means that he 'gets it'. He still swings at a lot. But some games, you just have to be happy with it. I am really starting to get concerned with his baserunning. I think he found so much success for awhile at the beginning of the season by simply guessing and luck and surprise. He hasn't stolen any bases since, and almost got picked off of second last night.
Speaking of moving on... the Twins will send Kyle Lohse to the mound tonight to face David Bush. Lohse is 2-2 with a 5.45 ERA. He was skipped in the rotation the last time around because of off days. It is seriously time for him to start putting up, or the team needs to do something. He has been horrible this year. He was horrible last year all year. He won 13 games each of his first two seasons, but did not have a good ERA and other numbers. Likewise, David Bush is 0-3 with a 5.02 ERA this year.
Aaron Gleeman shows an interesting look at the stats of Jason Bartlett this year compared to Cristian Guzman last year, and they are remarkably similar, offensively and defensively. He comments that for the Twins it was certainly enough to warrant continuing to start. I would add that Bartlett is duplicating the output of Guzman at about 1/15th the cost. So, why this rush to bench Bartlett?
Do you have any thoughts on the current Twins situation? What are your concerns, or don't you have any yet? E-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Monday - REDWINGS 7, Scranton/Wilkes Barre 6 - Our guy Chris Coste hit another homer in this game, his 6th of the year. Brent Abernathy went 3-4 with a double and his 5th home run. Luis Rodriguez went 2-5. Augie Ojeda was 2-3 with his first homer. Josh Rabe added his fourth homer and 3 RBI. Boof Bonser gave up six runs (4 earned) on 10 hits and two walks in five innings. But the bullpen did well. Beau Kemp pitched a scoreless frame before Ricky Barrett pitched two scoreless innings. Willie Eyre improved to 4-2 as he pitched a perfect 9th.
Tuesday - REDWINGS 5, Columbus 3 - Jimmy Anderson actually pitched well again. The veteran went six innings and gave up three runs. He allowed six hits and walked two, but he struck out four. His ERA is at 2.89, which is very good. Beau Kemp came in though and got just two outs while giving up four runs. Henry Bonilla got an out to get out of that inning and because of it got his second win. Travis Bowyer pitched the final two innings to record his seventh save. He struck out three. Todd Dunwoody led the offense with a 3-5 day. He hit his ninth double and his third homer and drove in three. Josh Rabe and Michael Ryan were both 2-4. Garrett Jones was 2-5 with his 8th homer. He drove in four runs. Glenn Williams was 2-5 with a double.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
Monday - ROCKCATS 5, Harrisburg 4 - Matt Yeatman had another decent start. He allowed two runs (just one earned) on three hits in five innings. He still walked four, but he also struck out five. John Thomas also gave up two runs (also just one earned) in 2 2/3 innings. He struck out four. Jim Abbott was perfect in his 1 1/3 innings. Danny Matienzo went 3-4 with two doubles. Gabby Torres had three singles in four at bats. Gil Velazquez was 2-4 with a walk.
Tuesday - ROCKCATS 4, Harrisburg 6 - Justin Olson falls to 3-4 on the year. He gave up five runs on five hits and a walk in 7 innings. He struck out 8. Jan Granado then gave up a run in his inning. The offense was led by Luis Jimenez who was 3-4. Doug Deeds went 2-2 with two walks, a double and his third home run.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
Monday - MIRACLE 7, Daytona 8 - Glen Perkins finally had a rough pro start, actually one rough inning. All told, he gave up five earned runs in five innings. He allowed seven hits and walked two, but he also struck out six. Actually, he didn't give up a run the first four innings, and gave up all five in the fifth. Tristan Crawford came in and gave up a run in two innings. Tim Henkenjohann pitched a scoreless inning. Jay Sawatski then took the loss by allowing two runs and getting just two outs. Brock Peterson led the offense with a 3-4 day. Denard Span went 2-5. Matt Moses, Kyle Phillips and Ben Pattee each went 2-4. Moses added a double.
Tuesday - MIRACLE 9, Daytona 2 - Errol Simonitsch pitched well and improved to 4-2. In his 8 innings, he gave up two runs on seven hits and a walk. He even struck out six. Peter Tautor came in to pitch the ninth and was perfect to drop his season ERA to 19.06. Brock Peterson went 3-4 for the second day in a row. Kyle Phillips was 2-4 (again) with a double. Ben Pattee was also 2-4, again.
Monday - SNAPPERS 2, Quad Cities 7 - Alexander Smit had had a couple of rough starts in a row. On this night, he actually was not bad. He gave up three runs on six hits and a walk, and he struck out three hitters. However, because of little run support, he fell to 1-5. David Shinskie didn't help either as he got just one out and gave up four runs (he didn't get help from the defense as just one was earned). Kevin Culpepper got the last five outs and allowed just one hit. The offense got just five hits. Deacon Burns hit his sixth triple and Mitchell Zamojc had a two run single.
Tuesday - SNAPPERS 3, Quad Cities 5 (13 innings) - This one finished late last night when Kevin Culpepper gave up a two run homer in the bottom of the 13th inning. Josh Hill started and gave up two runs on 5 1/3 innings. Kyle Aselton didn't allow a run on 1.1 innings. Jonathon Martinez went 2.1 innings and gave up one run. Steven Duguay went two innings and despite three walks didn't give up a run. Culpepper got five outs before giving up the homer. Jeremy Pickrel led the offense with a 4-6 day. Angelo Fermin was 2-6 with a triple. Mitchell Zamojc was 2-6 with a double. Trevor Plouffe went 2-4 with a double and his 15th RBI. He was also ejected for arguing in the 9th inning.
American Idol Thoughts
Last night was another night of American Idol performances. They were down to the final three, Bo Bice, Carrie Underwood and Vonzell Solomon. I have to be honest. At this point, I do believe that the top three singers are left. I have my favorite. I also have the one that I think is the best of the group. But even the third one will likely be incredibly successful. So, I will 'cheer' for my favorite, and maybe be a little disappointed if that person doesn't win. But at this point, it really doesn't matter to me. What do you think? E-mail me. Today, I am not going to necessarily judge by individual song performances. Fact is, all three were very good on their songs and nothing jumped out as horrible in anything that needs to be pointed out. So, I am just going to discuss the three. Here were my thoughts:
Vonzell Solomon -
Clive Davis' Choice - I'll Never Love This Way Again - Dionne Warwick
Contestant's Choice - Chain of Fools - Aretha Franklin
Judge's Choice - On the Radio - Donna Summers
First song - Great song. I actually thought that she started out horribly, and looked almost unsure of herself. She was excellent during the chorus, but with that song, I was hoping for me. Once she started looking like she was having fun, she was incredible. In the song she picked, she was able to show great Aretha-like strength in her voice. But then again, if you pick the song, you really should pick one that accentuates the strengths of your voice, and she did that. And she had fun with that song. I thought that the third song was a bit questionable. Not as well known a song, that could hurt her in terms of votes. That is another way of making some people wonder about a conspiracy theory.
Bo Bice -
Clive Davis' Choice - Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me - Elton John
Contestant's Choice - Without a Dream - Badlands
Judge's Choice - I Can't Get No Satisfaction - Rolling Stones
The judges said it, and they were absolutely right. Last night was a great night for Bo. First, he just looks so confident when he performs. His stage presence is great. But he also is playing the role of "good guy" well too to drum up more votes. Let's be honest though, we are still talking about a guy with two drug arrests in the last four years. However, it's about the competition, and Bo won last night. I thought the first song was an odd choice, but he sang it so well. He hit all the notes except really the last one. He chose to go a capella on his own song choice. I must admit that I don't know the song, but I was almost mesmerized by that performance. I thought he was great and that certainly should have made him safe tonight. And finally, the last song is a song where I don't think vocals were important. He really wasn't on tune for much of the song, but was really good. Again, it's about the performance with him as much as anything else, and he just understands it.
Carrie Underwood -
Clive Davis' Choice - Crying - KD Lang
Contestant's Choice - Makin' Love out of Nothing at All - Air Supply
Judge's Choice - Man, I Feel Like a Woman - Shania Twain
Actually, I think Carrie was vocally as good as even Bo was, at least overall, throughout the three songs. I was little surprised by the first song choice, but again, that is why Clive Davis is a genius. He picked a great song for her and she san it well. It fit her voice. She hit every note. She showed some range. Then, we all probably expected her to pick a country song for herself. Well, apparently '80s music fits her well too. I thought she was incredible. She was very strong vocally throughout. She hit and held some great extend-a-notes at the end. And finally, Randy picked a great song for her to end the competition with. Carrie was able to go back to country, but Shania also is a cross-over. This was a song to not just show vocals, but she was able to have fun and her stage presence and confidence were just so obvious.
I will rank the performers from #1 (best) to #3 (worst). In doing that, I would be saying that my choice for who should be eliminated would be number 3.
1.) Bo Bice - Definitely was his night. Judges loved him, and he sang and performed remarkably. Can you believe that there were really people who thought Constantine was better than this guy????
2.) Carrie Underwood - I thought she was incredible vocally and had excellent songs. And she still looks incredible!
3.) Vonzell Solomon - I think she did well. But I just don't really think that the song choices helped her.
So, by that, I would have to say that the Bottom Two should be Vonzell Solomon and Carrie Underwood and that Bo Bice should be safe tonight. However, at this point, you just never know what "America" is going to do. And again, there are three great contestants remaining and all three will likely be very successful. And really, all three have very distinct styles so they can all be successful in their own right. However, I have to pick one, so I would guess that Vonzell Solomon will be done after tonight.
What do you think? E-mail me.
On that note, I am going to call it a day. I hope you have a great week! Thanks again for stopping by this site. If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Hello! OK, I'm a bum. Last night was my first night returning to some coaching. I am helping some friends with some 9 and 10 year olds for the next couple of weeks. I don't know, but when I got home, I was dead tired, so I decided to just go to bed. Didn't even turn on the computer. So, to all the loyal readers who I disappointed, I do apologize.
Anyway, I am on my lunch break and have read some good articles today, so I thought I'd share the links.
First, I want to encourage people, if you're interested, to listen to my first Blogger Minute. It is the one I did on April 23rd. I am still waiting to receive the MP3 file from WCCO of my Blogger Minute from this past Saturday, but will post it when I do get it as well. If you have any questions or problems with hearing that page, please e-mail me and I will try to fix it before posting the new one. Thanks!
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has some very good articles today on the three Twins first round picks playing at Ft. Myers. There is an article on Matt Moses, one on Denard Span and another on Glen Perkins. All three are fun to read, just seeing a different perspective. For instance, the Moses article talks about how his bat is heating up. Well, actually, a few weeks ago, he was hitting over .400 and now he's at about .340. Still a hot bat, but not quite as much. Yes, that is nitpicking. The Span article talks about how he is finally making solid contact and really using his incredible speed.
There was some irony in the Perkins article. Here is a short bit:
The question gave lefthander Glen Perkins more problems than most of the hitters he's faced this season.
Has he faced any real adversity since turning pro?
"Knock on wood, not really," Perkins said. "Ever since pro ball, I haven't given up more than two runs in a start. I think I've made 16 starts, and I've been pretty lucky."
Well, that is true. The irony is in the fact that Perkins pitched last night... and struggled. He went five innings, but gave up five earned runs on seven hits. He walked just two, and struck out six. Even with that outing, I would expect the former Minnesota Gopher lefty will be moving up to AA New Britain soon. Also in that game, Span went 2-5 and is hitting .351. Moses was 2-4 with a double and is hitting .344.
The STrib also has a fun article on Corey Koskie and his return to the Metrodome tonight as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. Koskie may try to pull some pranks. The Twins counter by letting him try to hit Johan Santana tonight! Good luck!
Aaron Gleeman continues his look at the Twins minor league system with a look at the New Britain Rockcats.
The Baseball Savant has written some great articles of late. A couple of days ago, he gave an excellent perspective on the Latin ball players getting caught with banned, performance enhancing substances in their system. After reading that piece, I have a lot more respect for Jose Guillen! Of course on Monday, the Savant updated us on the Pythagorean Numbers of all of the teams. It shows the Twins finished with a 97-65 record, four games behind the White Sox. Read more here. And today, he has started what I think will be a very interesting series. He will be reviewing blogs, and has started with the blogs of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
And last but certainly not least, be sure to go to On the Road with Pat Neshek. I have linked to the New Britain's closer's site before, but what he has to write about life in the minor leagues is really interesting to me. Also, he has linked to my site a couple of times, so I want to return the favor and encourage you to read and bookmark his site as well. He took the time to do a fun Q&A for this site before spring training, and now has a Q&A for the New Britain website. Check them out!
Again, I apologize for the off-day. I hope all is wonderful and you have a great day! Don't forget American Idol tonight!
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