Weekend, May 26-28, 2007
Hello everyone!! I said I might occasionally post something new over the long weekend. What I will do is just post updates from time to time with the time of posting. So, be sure to check back and leave comments, links or opinions when you have them.
UPDATE - 10:55 a.m. Saturday - Think Ramon Ortiz saw the line Kevin Slowey put up in his start at Rochester last night? Slowey got another win to improve to 6-2. (Rochester 3, Durham 0) The righty went eight shutout innings. He gave up seven hits and, of course, he walked none. He struck out seven. Bobby Korecky recorded his 10th save with a scoreless ninth. Garrett Jones went 3-4 with his 10th double, seventh homer and two RBI. Jose Morales went 3-4 with his 11th double.
Slowey could be replaced in Rochester by Brian Duensing, who appears to be nearly ready for AAA. Last night, the lefty went seven innings. He gave up four runs (3 earned) on seven hits. He walked none and struck out eight. Jay Sawatski picked up the win with two shutout innings. New Britain beat Harrisburg 8-4. Felix Molina went 3-5 with his fifth double and third home run. Garrett Guzman went 3-5 with his seventh double and three RBI. Kyle Geiger and Rashad Eldridge each hit a home run.
Ft. Myers managed just two hits off of Daytona in a 3-0 loss. Whit Robbins and Jeff Christy each singled. Oswaldo Sosa too the loss despite a quality start. The righty went six innings and gave up two runs on five hits and two walks. Alexander Smit returned to action in the bullpen. He gave up one run on two hits and two walks in two innings. He struck out three. Josh Hill pitched a perfect ninth.
Beloit and Adam Hawes each picked up a win last night. The Canadian righty gave up two runs (1 earned) in eight innings. He gave up seven hits, and like the other starters, walked none. Rob Delaney came in and struck out three in a scoreless ninth inning for his 16th save! Johnny Woodard went 3-5 with his 10th double and two RBI. Garrett Olson was also 3-5.
And finally, the Twins won last night for the fifth time in seven games, a 4-3 win over the Blue Jays. Scott Baker wasn't quite as on as he was in his season debut, but it was also not too shabby. He gave up two runs on a 1st inning Matt Stairs single. Justin Morneau got the Twins on the board in the bottom of the inning with a run-scoring single. Scott Baker was on after that, and when Michael Cuddyer hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 5th, it gave the Twins a 3-2 lead. In the top of the 6th, with one out, Baker got Frank Thomas down 0-2 with sliders away. He tried to throw a fastball up and in, but he didn't get it high enough and Thomas hit a homer to tie the game again. Baker then walked the next hitter before being taken out of the game. Matt Guerrier came in and was excellent for four outs. He ended up getting the win because in the bottom of the 7th, Torii Hunter came through with a seeing eye single to score Luis Castillo. Pat Neshek pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and then Joe Nathan made me nervous again in the 9th, but got the save.
Luis Castillo was on base 3 out of 4 times (2-3 with a walk), and he really has been swinging great of late. OK, I don't think anything about his swing is great, but it has worked for him of late. Cuddyer added a single to his 6th home run. Mike Redmond was 2-4 and is now back up to .312. Hopefully Joe Mauer will be back in the near future, but Redmond has done a nice job in his place.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports wrote an article on Torii Hunter's upcoming free agency and what the Twins should do. Two quotes stand out:
"They can afford me. It's all about if they want to. I'd love for them to. It's sad if they don't do it."
And the second:
"There's no such thing as a discount," Hunter said. "I can make it easier. I won't say discount, but making it easier for the Twins is reasonable. You know what the price is. Come to it."
I've come a long ways from my initial thinking that it would be crazy to sign Hunter to an extension. I'm still not convinced, and if there is no discount, fahgetaboutit! (Get it? Yankees! Ha!) Or, Foawget it! (That's my best Boston accent... sorry) Ah, who am I kidding, cowboy... we all know he's going to the Rangers. Any thoughts?
UPDATE - 10:15 p.m. Saturday - Well, the Twins just fell to the Toronto Blue Jays, 9-8 in 13 innings. So many storylines from this game, so let's get started:
The key story was Ramon Ortiz. How would he fare against a strong Blue Jays lineup? Well, he gave up six earned runs on ten hits and a walk in six innings. Three of those hits were home runs. One of those homers was to Royce Clayton. Enough said. Couple that performance with Julio DePaula coming in and walking the two batters he faced, and there is a pretty obvious solution. Call up Kevin Slowey. Put Jesse Crain on the 60 Day DL. Send DePaula back to Rochester for more seasoning. Put Slowey in the rotation. Put Ortiz in the bullpen.
Speaking of Twins pitching prospects... did you see the article on Matt Garza "Boiling Over"? It looked like a few pointed questions were asked of him and he responded accordingly. To summarize, he was sent down and told to work on other pitches. He did that so far this season and because of it, his numbers have suffered (Note - his numbers are actually quite good!). He is now saying that he knows he has those other pitches, and he will continue to throw them in the game. However, he will throw them when appropriate, not just to throw them. In all reality, I can't disagree with him. I don't take this as a whiny response by Garza. I see it as a guy who knows how to pitch saying that he is going to start pitching. Basically, I think that the Twins sent him down to Rochester and had to make up an excuse for why. They used the "other pitches" excuse. Maybe it was reality. Maybe it was just an excuse. Garza struggled in the first month, and a lot of it was probably frustration. A little, minor 'outburst' if that is even what you would call it, is not a bad thing. It can be good, and we will see how he does now.
Again, have to Congratulate Jason Miller on his big league debut. He came in and pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning. His first batter faced was Lyle Overbay and he struck him out on four pitches. He then got the next two hitters to pop up in the infield. I was impressed. He looked poised. He threw three pitches well. The slow curve appears to be something that he could really use against lefties. He also shows a nice changeup to right-handers. And, despite a fastball that only was clocked at 87 and 88 mph, I bet it looks faster to the hitter after seeing that curveball! Good for him!
Carmen Cali made his Twins debut with a scoreless 8th inning. He gave up a walk and a single, but no runs. Pat Neshek gave up a run in his two innings. A solo homer to Alexis Rios (his 11th) meant that Neshek gave up a run for just the second time in 23 appearances this year.
Michael Cuddyer had a big day! He went 4-5 with a walk and 5 RBI. He hit a big two run homer that cut the Twins deficit to 7-4. He then drilled a single up the middle to drive in two more runs that tied the game. He is definitely in a good zone right now. Justin Morneau drove in two runs with his two hits. Torii Hunter, Mike Redmond, Luis Castillo and Jeff Cirillo each had two hits as well.
According to Charley Walters, the Twins should have tried to sign Justin Morneau to the same four year, $33 million contract that they signed Joe Mauer to. I agree, of course, because the Twins actually signed Mauer for less in 2007 than they signed Morneau for. So, four years and $33 million wouldn't have been likely for him to sign, but maybe 5 years and $45 would have made sense. He is showing that he could back up his MVP season, so I think that he is setting himself up for a four year, $50-55 million deal.
Rochester got a nice 3-0 win over Durham again on Saturday night. David Gassner... where did that come from? A nine inning, four hit, one walk outing was important for the Red Wings having lost so much of their bullpen. Alexi Casilla finally bumped Denard Span from the leadoff spot. He went 3-4 with an RBI and his 12th stolen base.
By the way, fantasy baseball owners and Twins fans, it is now time to pick up Kevin Slowey. Do it! If you're in a good league, it is likely that Slowey was picked up a couple of weeks ago. So, if you can't get Slowey, consider picking up Andrew Sonnanstine. The Red Wings beat him tonight, but he is a Slowey clone in the Tamp Bay Devil Rays organization. I picked him up in one of my leagues.
New Britain lost 7-5 to Harrisburg. Matt Allegra hit a grand slam in the 6th inning to cut the lead to 6-4, but that is as close as they got. Allegra added a single. Felix Molina went 2-5. Tristan Crawford started and gave up six runs in five innings. However, thanks to two errors by Trevor Plouffe and a Matt Allegra error, just one run was earned. Danny Powers gave up one run over the final three innings.
Zach Ward pitched great and got a win over Jeff Manship's former college teammate (and an All-American Wide Receiver) Jeff Samardzija 2-1. Ward gave up just one run on four hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out four. Armando Gabino went two shutout innings in relief. Then Eddie Morlan got Save #7 with a perfect ninth frame. Steven Tolleson went 2-4 with a double. Juan Portes and Eli Tintor each had a double. Those four hits were all the Miracle had in the game.
The game between Beloit and Quad Cities was weathered out. Jeff Manship was scheduled to pick. Tomorrow afternoon the two teams will play a doubleheader.
UPDATE - Sunday 1:51 p.m. - Hello, the Twins are batting in the top of the 3rd, down 1-0 to AJ Burnett and the Blue Jays. I just wanted to post a couple of quick links this afternoon.
Roger posted his Twins Minor League update yesterday. As always it is excellent, detailed and very informative.
Geez, if Kelsie Smith keeps writing such great articles, I may just have to start reading the Pioneer Press's Twins coverage. Here is an article called Kevin Slowey, Control Freak.
Note - Justin Morneau just bounced a single into the turf that Burnett threw away, so the Twins now have a 2-1 lead in the 4th inning. I will be back with more later.
UPDATE - Monday 11:07 a.m. - Good morning! Happy Memorial Day to one and all! Well, I didn't get a second update yesterday after all. The weather was nice, so might as well be outside, right? Anyway, the Twins got a very nice 4-2 win off of AJ Burnett and the Jays. Burnett was looking tough early. You can fully understand why scouts appreciate his stuff. How it doesn't translate into better stats is shocking. It was the Justin Morneau show though. Early in the game, with the bases loaded, Morneau hit a high bouncer off the plate that Burnett played. He threw it into right field and two runs scored. The funny part of the play, depending on how you look at it, was that Morneau dove head first into first base. Not so funny was the fact that he slid late, slid awkward and really could have hurt himself. Fortunately, he didn't and was just fine. Then, in the 6th inning, he drilled a LONG homer into the upper deck to give the team a 4-1 lead. Carlos Silva did exactly what he needed to on the game. After going 13 innings and using all the pitchers the night before, Silva was able to give 7.1 innings and he gave up just two runs. Juan Rincon got two outs, and then Joe Nathan picked up the save with a perfect ninth. Burnett was very good. The Twins scored their four runs off of him on just three hits.
Today, the Twins will start a three game series at home against the White Sox. Johan Santana will take the mound against Jose Contreras.
According to LaVelle, it appears that Kevin Slowey will replace Ramon Ortiz in the Twins rotation before he makes his next start. WOO HOO!!
UPDATE - Monday 11:27 a.m. - Alright, wanted to come back and update you on the minor league recaps of yesterday.
First, you may have already heard, but Jeff Manship left the Beloit game yesterday with an apparent leg injury. Since he had Tommy John surgery three or so years ago, my concern was that it was an arm injury. Manship started and went three perfect innings with two strikeouts before leaving. Hopefully we can get an update soon. Jesus Carnevales came in and gave up a run in three innings. Dan Leatherman took the loss. He gave up tow runs on six hits and a walk in two innings. Chris Parmalee led the offense with a single, a double and a triple in four at bats. The top three hitters, Steve Singleton, Brian Dinkelman and Danny Valencia each had two hits.
Ft. Myers lost to Daytona 3-1. Caleb Moore had three of the Miracle's six hits. Jay Rainville started and gave up only an unearned run on five hits in six innings. He walked none and struck out seven. David Shinskie gave up two runs in his two innings. Kyle Aselton pitched a scoreless ninth.
New Britain lost to Harrisburg 4-9. Brad Baker started and gave up seven runs on seven hits and a walk in four innings. Brian Forystek gave up two runs on two hits and two walks in three innings. Tim Lahey pitched a perfect inning. Felix Molina led the offense. He went 3-5 with his sixth double, fourth homer and two RBI. Brian Buscher and Rashad Eldridge each had two hits. David Winfree and Matt Allegra each had a double.
The Rochester Red Wings and Matt Garza lost a 1-0 pitchers dual to Durham. Garza gave up just one run on four hits in seven innings. He walked four and struck out seven. Ricky Barrett threw two scoreless innings. Denard Span and Alexi Casilla each had a single... and each was then caught stealing.
Thanks to Kyle B for pointing out the great article by The Baseball Savant on the 2006 and 2007 Twins Pythagorean numbers and what they may mean.
UPDATE - Sunday 7:57 p.m. - OK, here we are with the final Weekend Update update of the weekend... or something like that. Let's start in Beloit. The Snappers had a doubleheader. In game one, Alex Burnett pitched a complete game, and lost. The Snappers fell to Quad Cities 1-0. Burnett gave up one run on four hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out five. He is now 3-3 with a 3.07 ERA on the year. Beloit managed just four hits. Joe Benson had a double. In Game 2, The Snappers got a shutout, a 4-0 win. Danny Vais started again and went the first five innings. He gave up just one hit. Robert Delaney then came in and was perfect for two innings. Chris Parmalee led the offense. He went 2-2 with a walk, his ninth double and an RBI. The first five hitters in the Snappers lineup each had one hit before Parmalee's two hits. Brian Dinkelman hit his 10th double.
Ft. Myers did not have a game scheduled. New Britain won a 10-7 game over Harrisburg in 11 innings. Kyle Waldrop went the first 5.1 innings. He gave up three runs on five hits. He walked five and struck out three. Must have been a small strike zone because Waldrop rarely has any control issues. Four other Rockcats pitcher combined for seven more walks over the final 5.2 innings. Jay Sawatski walked two in 2/3 of an inning. Frank Mata gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in 2.2 innings. Tim Lahey improved to 3-0 with 2.1 shutout innings. Trevor Plouffe led the offense. He went 4-7 with two doubles, his 13th and 14th. Brian Buscher went 3-6 with his 14th and 15th doubles. Garrett Guzman went 2-5 with a walk, his first triple and two RBI. David Winfree went 2-6 with his 11th double and two RBI. Matt Allegra went 2-5 with his 6th homer and three RBI. Rashad Eldridge went 2-4 with two walks.
Rochester lost a 3-0 decision to Richmond. Tommy Watkins went 2-3 with his 11th double. Glenn Williams hit his 5th double. The team had just six hits. Jeremy Cummings made a start and went the first five innings. He gave up three runs on six hits and two walks. Jose Mijares went the next three innings. He gave up no runs on one hit and two walks. He struck out three. JP Martinez gave up a hit in a shutout inning.
The Twins got a very nice win against the Chicago White Sox. A five run bottom of the 7th gave the Twins an 8-4 lead. Torii Hunter hit a ball off the plate with the bases loaded to give the Twins the lead. Then Mike Redmond cleared the bases with a double to deep center. In the next inning, Torii Hunter stole third base and AJ Pierzynski threw the ball into left field which allowed him to score. AJ can be directly credited with helping gain that run. He may have been indirectly linked to the big 7th inning rally. Pierzynksi twice tried to spike Justin Morneau on plays at first base. When the ump told the Twins dugout to stop talking to AJ, Gardy went ballistic, and for good reason. Obviously it was warranted because somehow Gardy was not ejected. Johan Santana was good, but certainly not great. He gave up solo homers to Luis Terrero and Paul Konerko. He gave up four runs, but somehow, he went eight innings. When the Sox did hit him, they got him early in the count. He struck out seven and improves to 6-4 while his ERA drops to 3.21. (Side Note - if anyone actually believes it when AJ says that there was no intent, you will also be interested in several acres of ocean front property that I bought a few years back for $10.)
The Twins are now 25-25 on the season. They have now won five of their last six games and seven of their last ten. On Tuesday night, Boof Bonser will start against the Sox' John Danks. Both pitchers have three wins. Danks' ERA is 3.78. Bonser's ERA is 3.88. Bonser has walked twice as many, but he has nearly twice as many strikeouts. Danks has gone six-plus innings in each of his last five starts. He has not pitched in the 7th inning yet. Bonser has recorded Wins in his last three starts, but he went just five innings in two of those.
Justin Morneau may be putting together an even better season in 2007 than he did in 2006 when he won the AL MVP award. But, will it matter if the Twins finished fourth, or even third?
UPDATE - Sunday 9:15 p.m. - Be sure to check back in a little bit because I will be posting another Q&A with another Twins top prospect. Tomorrow, I will be back with my choices for the Twins #31-40 prospects.
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