Wednesday May 26, 2004
TWINS LOSE IN TAMPA
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
WOLVES/LAKERS GAME 3 TONIGHT
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
Rough Night in Minnesota
There have been some really good nights to be a Minnesota sports fan in the last month or so. The Timberwolves won some great games in the regular season and have won two series in the playoffs with some incredible wins. Before this last weekend's Chicago series, the Twins were playing .600 baseball.
Last night was just not a real good for Minnesota fans. The Wolves went down 2-1 in their series with the Lakers with a loss. The Twins continued a downward spiral with a bad loss in Tampa Bay (or, in St. Petersburg, I guess). Well, I just have to remind myself that things aren't all bad. I also watched the replay of The Sopranos. At least things aren't as bad for me as they are for Adriana!
Again today, there isn't a lot on here. Twins, Twins Minor Leagues, Wolves and of course, my American Idol Thoughts. Please be sure to stop by tomorrow and Friday as I do have a couple of (what I think will be) interesting articles planned.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, or ideas of topics, please e-mail me.
TWINS 1, DEVIL RAYS 6
If you've read the Twins Official website title of their 6-1 loss, it says "Lohse Not Sharp." I won't say that Kyle Lohse pitched great, by any means, but for the first or second time this season, I thought that he actually pitched quite well. He really made one bad pitch! With the score still tied at one in the sixth, the Rays got two runners on base. Julio Lugo was up to bat. Lohse made a number of good pitches and Lugo, being a solid hitter, took the balls and fouled off the tough pitches. Catcher Matthew Lecroy called for an inside fastball. However, Lohse through it right down the middle of the plate, and Lugo didn't miss it. He hit it well into the bleachers. If Lohse gets that pitch where he wanted it, Lugo gets jammed and probably pops up weakly and it is possible the team gets through the inning unscathed. Unfortunately after the homer the Rays instead had a 4-1 lead. Baseball is sometimes a game of inches, but Lohse's one bad pitch of the night was off by about 8 inches, and it may have cost him and the Twins a ball game.
The Devil Rays added a couple more runs later and the Twins got crushed for the fourth time in five games. The truth is that the Twins were just unable to hit. Yes, the home plate umpire had a generous strike zone, but you know what that means? SWING THE BAT! Victor Zambrano was good though. He used the corners and challenged hitters. He struck out 8 Twins batters. In 7 innings, he gave up just 5 hits. Two of them came off the bat of Justin Morneau. His first at bat, he hit a fastball far into the right field bleachers. In his second at bat, he waited back on an offspeed pitch for a single.
Anyway, here are the projected starters for the rest of the series:
Wednesday - 6:15 - Seth Greisinger (1-3, 5.52, 1.67, .320) vs Rob Bell (0-1, 7.20, 1.60, .250 - 1 start
Thursday - 1:15 - Carlos Silva (5-2, 4.39, 1.50, .316) vs Paul Abbott (2-4, 6.42, 1.60, .267)
Injury Updates - Sounds like Corey Koskie will be back on the field for the Twins on Thursday. You have to wonder if that means that Michael Cuddyer will move to 2B? We can hope. Nick Punto re-injured his rib/oblique and will now miss more time. The slow rehabilitation of Joe Mauer continues to be going smoothly. He caught for the Twins extended spring training team yesterday and hit two home runs, including a grand slam. I like that they're being patient with him and making sure that he will be back at 100%. It will just be very nice to have him back in the lineup. I look forward to seeing what the Twins can do when they have Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer in the everyday lineup!
Any thoughts on the Twins? What do they need to do? E-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Redwings vs, Norfolk - The teams completed one scoreless inning of play last night before the skies opened and the rain came down. They will continue the game this afternoon before playing a 2nd, 7 inning game after it.
NEW BRITAIN ROCK CATS
Rockcats 4, Bowie 6 - Some people think that Seth Greisinger should be taken out of the 5th spot in the Twins rotation in favor of Rick Helling. Well, I will take Greisinger giving up five runs in 6 innings rather than Helling's lines since his first AA start. Last night, Helling went 6 innings and gave up 6 earned runs. Again, at AA. He gave up 8 hits and walked two while striking out 4. He also gave up two home runs. These are just not the numbers that would warrant a big league call up, even if it means losing Helling to another organization.
To some positives... Jon Pridie pitched the final 3 innings and didn't give up a run. He gave up two hits and a walk and struck out 4. SS Seth Davidson was 2-4 with a double and a walk. 2B Luis Maza went 2-4.
FORT MYERS MIRACLE
FRIDAY - Miracle 2, Daytona 3 - Jeff Randazzo actually pitched well enough for a win, but the Miracle were only able to muster five hits on the game and the team fell again. Randazzo went 6 1/3 innings and gave up just two runs, and only one of them was earned. He gave up 5 hits and a walk and struck out 7. No Miracle hitter had more than one hit.
THE SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
FRIDAY - Swing 6, Wisconsin 7 (10 innings) - The Swing got some offense, but it just wasn't enough as Eric Brandon took the loss in the 10th inning. Errol Simonitsch went 5 2/3 innings and gave up 9 hits and a walk. He gave up 5 runs, but just one was earned. And he struck out 4. 3B Omar Burgos went 4-5 with a double, a triple and 2 RBI. 2B Ben Pattee was 3-6 with a double. When DH Dusty Gomon put the ball in play he was great. He was 2-5 with a 2 run homer... and 3 strikeouts. 1B Brock Peterson also had two hits.
Any questions or comments on the Twins minor league system, e-mail me.
WOLVES LOSE TO LAKERS
WOLVES 89, LAKERS 100
The Lakers won by 11. But for most of the game, they led by between 4 and 10. But, as a Wolves fan, there was really no part of the game when I felt the Wolves were going to win. I really didn't, and I don't know why. That's not to say that Wolves played poorly. They played a decent game. Let's remember this is the Conference Finals and they are playing a pretty decent team. Playing as they did last night, they probably could have beaten 20 or more other NBA teams. But not the Lakers. Not in LA. And not last night.
In the first half, Kobe Bryant didn't even score. He actually only took 2 shots and missed them both. But he took over in the second half and took big shots any time the Wolves got close, and he hit them. He ended with 22 points, including 10 from the free throw line. He added 6 assists. Shaquille O'Neal scored 22 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. Gary Payton was lights out in the first quarter and contributed 18 points and 9 assists. Devean George played a great game going 5-8 (including 2-2 from behind the arc) for 12 points. Karl Malone had 11 points.
For the Wolves, Kevin Garnett had 22 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists. A solid overall game, but again, he never really took over as he did in Game 2, or specifically in Game 7 of the Sacramento series. Wally Szczerbiak came off the bench and in 25 minutes, he scored 21 points. He shop 50% from the field (and 2-4 from 3 point land) and was 7-7 from the line. He also had 7 rebounds and 2 steals. Sam Cassell started and played ok offensively. He never played much defense anyway, but his back didn't allow him to at all last night. He did score 18 points in 26 minutes, but he played just 1 minute in the fourth quarter. Latrell Sprewell had 18 points and 4 first quarter steals. Those are the four players the Wolves expect to get points from. The Wolves play far better if one or more of their 'other' guys have a decent game, but last night none really did.
It is interesting to notice the free throw discrepancy last night. Wolves were 12-14 from the line. The Lakers? They were 25-43 from the line. Remember last week when I linked to an article written by Mark Cuban in his blog on the disparity between Wolves free throws attempted compared to their opponents when Dan Crawford's officiating crew does the game? Well, it is worth looking back at it. His Conclusion?
Dan Crawford is worth 11.54 PPG against the Wolves in the playoffs.
Hmmm... Wolves lost by how many? 11.
GAME 4 stays in LA. These two teams will play again on Thursday night, again at 8:00 central time. I am liking that start time far better than those 9:30 start times the first two rounds!!!
Do you have any thoughts on last night's game? Can the Wolves win Game 4? Send me an e-mail.
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
Last night was the final opportunity for Diana Degarmo and Fantasia Barrino to impress voters and supporters alike. As you can see from the below pictures, each has changed dramatically in the last few months! It was fun seeing all of the other American Idol finalists in the crowd. Diana and Fantasia each got to pick two of the songs they performed. The third song was called "I Believe" and was written by Tamyra Gray. So, here are my thoughts:
Diana Degarmo -
I Believe - She is good when she is loud and energetic. She just struggles when she tries to hit low notes. And she started the song low, so that hurt. But she turned it on later. Except the last note. That was bad! Overall, she was just good.
No More Tears - Excellent song choice for her. It just fits her voice. I thought she had one flaw in the middle. But other than that, she was great!
Don't Cry Out Loud - The first time she sang this song, she was amazing. Last night, it just didn't work as well. Again, in the middle, there was one sentence where she completely missed the notes. But, outside of that, it was very good.
Fantasia Barrino -
All My Life - I love the song, but Fantasia completely messing it up makes me appreciate just how amazing K-Ci and Jo-Jo's version was and continues to be. I thought the start was awful and many words were inaudible. It was just a poor song choice and she seemed more like a backup performer than a lead vocalist. She did sing the "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" part really well though.
Summertime - The first time she sang this song, she was very good. I think it's a boring song still, but she was absolutely incredible. She showed great range and strength and basically she was just perfect.
I Believe - Now her version of this song was wonderful! To be honest, I just think she kept the song more simple than what Diana did, and that is a good thing. Again, she showed great range and strength! I think the whole crying thing was a bit much and will probably just show her softer side. Was it a calculated move? Probably not. She was that good!
So, who do I think will win? Well, I think that the person who will win and should win is Fantasia! Aside from butchering a great song, she has shown throughout the competition that she is incredible. She was fantastic on her final two songs. Most people who are voting probably don't even remember the All My Life fiasco! Diana was great too. Too much was made of her age (she's just 16), but she was great and she continued to get better and better each week. She has a great career ahead of her as well. Should be exciting to see her continued growth. But for this competition, at this point, Fantasia Barrino deserves the win and the title, American Idol.
So, what do you think of last night's performances, and who do you think will win tonight on the live, 2 hour finale? Send me an e-mail.
That is it for today. Have yourself a great Wednesday! Don't work too hard! As always, if you have any questions or comments on anything, please e-mail me.
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