Seattle 10, Twins 6 -
Brad Radke was again really not good again! Granted, the 2 first inning runs were as much luck as earned with Jacque Jones losing a ball in the Metrodome roof. However, in 5 innings, he gave up 11 hits and 5 Earned Runs. Radke has just not been good this year, or at least, he’s been nothing near consistent. So often, he’s compared to a Greg Maddux/Tom Glavine control pitcher. Like Maddux, his fastball ranges from 88-90. Their change ups are their best pitches. But “Control” is the keyword for both of them, and hence, there is the difference between them. Maddux and Glavine simply don’t give in to the hitters. 3-1, they still may not throw a strike. Too often, Radke just gives in and throws a pitch right down the middle, hoping the hitter doesn’t hit it. That just doesn’t work, and hence, Radke gives up so many hits. I think that it’s more than fair to say that Brad Radke has been very disappointing thusfar this year.
When Tony Fiore was brought in, my initial thought was that it was a good move. He’s on the roster, he may as well pitch. But, after tonight again, it’s clear that when Mike Fetters is able to return, Tony Fiore, and not Juan Rincon will be sent down. Fiore was great last year, but it’s just not working this year. He’s walking hitters, and getting shelled. Rincon may have occasional bouts with control problems, but I would take my chances with him throwing 95 with that slider to go with it. The combination of Rincon and Santana as long-relievers would be far more beneficial to the Twins.
The Lew Ford Section - OK, so, Lew Ford gets to the Twin Cities about 1:30 this afternoon and goes right to the ball park. He’s not in the starting lineup, but every time the cameras are on him, you can almost read his mind and see his excitement about being there. After Torii Hunter hit his 7th inning Home Run, Ford was told by Gardy that he would be entering the game. It made me laugh seeing his face, trying so hard not to smile in a big defeat, but everyone knows what a huge moment it was for him! He fielded a couple of grounders in the 8th. Then in the bottom of the 9th, he had the moment that everyone who has ever played baseball at any level has dreamed about, his first major league at bat! And that is when I realized that I had made my first journalistic error yesterday. Lew Ford is not a left-handed hitter, he’s right handed. Fortunately, Ford knocked the first pitch he saw from Shigetoshi Hasegawa into right field for his first major league hit. Rounding first, the camera showed his face and that was a huge smile! That was great! And also great to see was that even after Doug Mientkiewicz grounded into the double-play, the bench was all up to congratulate Ford on the hit!
Speaking of Shigetoshi Hasegawa, I’m really glad that Bert Blyleven isn’t around to mock his name 87 times in the series. Is it wrong for me to think that I would much rather listen to Roy Smalley for a whole game than Bert Blyleven? First, it’s interesting to get the other perspective, from a hitter’s point of view rather than just a pitcher’s. But also, it shows that there are two varieties of “California education”. Smalley was also a California kid, like Blyleven, but he’s a far better speaker than Blyleven. I mean, I get some humor from hearing Blyleven constantly tell me that “When Doug Mientkiewicz is hitting the ball good…”, but to have Smalley, who actually speaks with intelligence, is a nice change of pace.
There were a few positives to take from the game though. 4 homers in a game (Jones, Mientkiewicz, Hunter and Pierzynski). I thought Luis Rivas had 4 quality at bats. He’s tolerable to watch when he’s not trying to hit the ball 500 feet, and simply hitting the ball where it is pitched. Guzman had his fifth consecutive game without a hit, but I thought he really hit the ball hard twice.
Seattle doesn’t have the best record in the American League for no reason. Their lineup, 1-9, is strong. Meche is tough, their bullpen is very strong. And, I noted that they play very strong defense. The last double play that Carlos Guillen and Bret Boone turned was incredible! And, John Olerud showed that he is worthy of that Gold Glove too!
Just a couple of quick thoughts for discussion:
1.) Does Bret Boone have the worst, most conceited follow-through to a swing in baseball today? I know that Jacque Jones gets some trouble for being a bat-flipper. AJ Pierzynski is, by far, the worst bat flipper on the Twins team, but neither really compare to the follow through of Bret Boone. However, even Boone doesn’t compare to what Dante Bichette used to do!!! That would actually upset me to watch!
2.) Who has more hair? Corey Koskie or Dustan Mohr? I think the answer to that isn’t as clear-cut as I would have thought!
Kyle Lohse goes tomorrow night. He’s clearly the Twins most effective starting pitcher so far this year. Hopefully he can duplicate his effort in Seattle last Saturday night! He goes against Joel Pineiro.
Here are this weekend’s matchups:
Friday night - Kyle Lohse (4-3, 3.06) vs. Joel Pineiro (4-4, 4.41)
Saturday afternoon - Rick Reed (4-4, 4.10) vs. Ryan Franklin (3-3, 3.57)
Sunday afternoon - Kenny Rogers (4-1, 4.31) vs. Freddy Garcia (4-6, 5.54)
Rochester Report - Justin Morneau was 2-3 with 2 runs and 4 RBI last night (including his 10th home run in AAA). Michael Restovich went 4-4 as the Redwings beat Indianapolis 7-1.
By the way, check out this week's USA Today Sports Weekly. Eddie Guardado and Torii Hunter are on the cover. It's basically an article on how the Twins have really built themselves through the draft.
In other baseball news, Shea Hillenbrand can now relax and just play ball. For some reason, the Red Sox have been trying to rid themselves of Shea Hillenbrand. He’s only the Red Sox top RBI guy. Sure he doesn’t walk much, but he flat-out hits! However, they do have Bill Mueller who can play 3B, and he’s hitting about .380 also. And, they picked up a very good pitcher in Byung-Hyun Kim. He’s been a reliever and closer for the Arizona Diamondbacks the last few years. This year, he moved into the D-Backs starting rotation. He’s a strikeout pitcher who is a rare hard throwing side-winder. Apparently he’ll start out in their Sox rotation while they are experiencing some injuries. But, he could become the closer, if the Red Sox feel that Brandon Lyon isn’t that guy.
Down 13 points heading into the 4th quarter, the San Antonio Spurs had an absolutely amazing final period to claim the Western Conference championship, and a spot in the NBA Finals against the New Jersey Nets. The Spurs dominated the 4th quarter, outscoring the Mavericks in Dallas 34-5 in the first 10+ minutes.
How does this game and this 4th quarter affect what Mavs coach Don Nelson will do? Will he become the next head coach of the Houston Rockets? I would guess no. I think he’ll stick with his guys, try to get some big guys in the middle and make another run next year. Having a healthy Dirk Nowitki would have made a huge difference.
The NBA Finals start on Wednesday night, and I will write up my thoughts and predictions on that series before then.
I watched the first episode of The Amazing Race. What a great, action-packed show. But, also, it’s so fun to see where these contestants get to go from week to week. In this episode, they all started in Los Angeles and had to fly to Milan, Italy, from there, they went into the mountains and did many tasks to get to their checkpoint. The last team to arrive to this spot is eliminated. Tonight, Debra and Steve, an older married couple were the team to be eliminated.
Teams are made up of two people. There always is an older married couple, a few “couples” who seem to find out whether they’ll be compatible, some models, a token homosexual couple, and a brother-sister combo. The way these people interact with each other is great!
Well, I won’t be publishing any new information until Monday morning, but there should be plenty to write about at that time. Three Twins games will be the starting point. But, I’m sure there’ll be plenty more.
Have a great weekend!
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