Saturday, June 2, 2007
The Slowey Debut... and more
Good morning everybody! It is Saturday, but I assume you assumed that I would put together a posting for today, huh? Kevin Slowey made his debut last night. It was eagerly anticipated. Many of you were probably expecting to find a Pitching Analysis on Slowey from last night. I definitely thought about it. But over time, I realized a couple of things. First, pitcher's big league debuts are rarely indicative of what a pitcher is capable of. Most of the time, the pitcher is dealing with nerves, and adjusting to a strike zone and such, and they really don't perform all that well. So, I will definitely do an Analysis of Slowey at some point in the near future, but not on his big league debut. Secondly, I really just wanted to sit back and enjoy the game. I just wanted to watch, and not over think and just enjoy watching the debut. And finally, I went to a high school graduation ceremony last night, and didn't get home until Slowey was pitching to his fourth batter, so it was too late anyway!
Congrats again to Kevin Slowey who did much more in his debut than many should have expected. The righty went six innings and gave up just one run on five hits. He walked two and struck out three. Here are some further thoughts on Slowey's debut and the Twins game. Please feel free to Comment on anything you noticed from Slowey. Was there something that impressed you, or anything that alarms you?
I believe it was Aaron Gleeman who commented about how interesting the matchup of Slowey versus the A's was. Slowey is a control pitcher who rarely issues a walk. The A's are a team known for taking a lot of pitches. Well, although Slowey threw a lot of strikes, 66 out of his 99 pitches, he still walked two. In each case, he threw a lot of strikes to the hitter before the eventual walk. By the end of the third inning, Slowey was already at 60 pitches. So he had to work.
He also gave up some base runners and had to work out of some tough situations. The composure aspect of Slowey's game came to light right away in the first inning. After walking Dan Johnson to load the bases with one out, Slowey recorded a pop up and a groundout to end the inning. He left a runner on third base another time or two. Sometimes you just have to be impressed by a player's ability to work out of situations he gets into. Obviously it is easier to just go 1-2-3 every inning, but that's not too realistic.
Did you see that Slowey's fastball came in at about 88 mph on the FSN radar gun? I thought that seemed a bit slow, but I was impressed that he was staying within himself and not trying to overthrow. But then as the game went along, I had to wonder if they were using the slow gun. Why? Because although Juan Rincon isn't throwing quite as hard as he used to, he was coming in at 88-89 as well. Alan Embree who can definitely hit 93-94 mph was shown hitting 88-89. Joe Nathan, on his good fastballs, was only hitting 88-91. So, I really think that the radar gun was about 3-4 mph slow. If that is the case, and I'm not saying it is, then Slowey's 88 would have really been 91-92. And that is what we have been hearing that he has been hitting.
It had to be a thrill to get a strikeout of hit first batter. Travis Buck took a very nice two-seemer on the inside corner for a called third strike.
The lone run that Slowey allowed was an opposite field, solo home run to Eric Chavez. Watching it live, I thought it looked like it was a curveball or slider on the outside corner, not a bad pitch. The main thing was that I thought that the pitch was right to where Mike Redmond was set up. When I watched the replay, it appears that the pitch was about two inches toward the plate from where Redmond set up. That doesn't sound like much, but in baseball that inch or two can mean the difference between an opposite field home run and a fly out to left.
Jason Bartlett made a great diving catch of a liner to help Slowey out. In an earlier inning, Lew Ford turned an easy out into a gift-double to lead off an inning. Later in the inning, a foul pop was completely misplayed by Justin Morneau. Again, Slowey was able to pick up his teammates and get out of it.
Overall an excellent performance. Good start of bad start, it is important not to make too much out of it, but this is certainly something to feel good about. The pitch count got high early, but against many or most teams, he will be able to get more quick outs (as he did in his latter innings). There weren't a lot of hard-hit balls against him. He threw strikes. He showed composure. Now it is important to see what he can do to back it up. Consistency is something that the Twins will want to see.
In the bottom of the 10th, Kevin was seen talking to Joe Mauer. That is an important relationship. Mauer and Mike Redmond will be very important in the development of Slowey, Scott Baker and eventually Matt Garza. I'm sure that Kevin would tell us that Mike Redmond helped him through this debut.
FSN made Kevin's dad, Pat, a celebrity. Pat (and Kevin's brothers) was frequently shown to see how he was reacting.
Juan Rincon just needs some time, but man, has he struggled to throw strikes. Carmen Cali came in to face two lefties, and I really thought he looked good. He got the first lefty easily. Then Eric Chavez singled to left off of him, but I thought it was a good pitch. Pat Neshek then got the next four outs, including two on strikeouts. Joe Nathan continues to put in Eddie Guardado nerve-wracking performances, but again, he got a strikeout of Bobby Crosby (the most overrated player in baseball) to end the game.
Another win for the Twins. They aren't "there" yet, but they definitely are playing much better now and catching up to the Tigers quickly!
So, there are my thoughts on the Twins 3-2, 10 inning win over the A's along with the debut of Kevin Slowey. If you have any thoughts, please leave Comments below or Send me an e-mail.
Minor League Updates
Here are the Twins updates from last night, including game reports of their minor league affiliates.
Friday SethSpeaks Player of the Day – Trevor Plouffe, New Britain Rockcats
Friday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day – Tristan Crawford, New Britain Rockcats
Friday - Red
7, Scranton/Wilkes Barre 4 –
did his part to help Matt Garza win his third game.
Jones went 2-4 with his 14th double, his 8th home runs and four RBI.
Doug Deeds went 2-4 with his 4th double and an RBI. Garza
gave up two runs on three hits in six innings. He walked four
(again) and struck out seven. Ricky Barrett gave up a run
over the next two innings. Bobby Korecky gave up one in the
Friday - Rockcats 3 New Hampshire 2 – Brian Buscher went 2-3 with a walk and his fourth home run. Trevor Plouffe went 2-4 with his seventh double. Brandon Roberts went 1-3 with a walk and a double. Brad Baker gave up one run on four hits and a walk over seven innings. He struck out five. But it is Tim Lahey who improves to 4-0 with two strong innings in relief. He gave up a solo homer.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Friday - Miracle, Sarasota – Rained Out.
Friday - Snappers 7, Kane County 6 – Danny Valencia had a single, his tenth double, his ninth homer and three RBI in this game. Garrett Olson went 2-4 with his second homer, both since I wrote earlier this week that he should start hitting for power soon. Greg Yersich went 2-4 with a double. Danny Vais made another start and this one didn't go so well. In 4.1 innings, he gave up six runs (5 earned) on eight hits and a walk. Matt Fox picked up his second win in two appearances. He went 3.1 innings and gave up no runs on two hits. He struck out three. Robert Delaney picked up his 18th save getting the final four outs.
Do you have any further thoughts on any Twins prospects, minor leaguers, or these summaries? E-mail me, or also feel free to leave comments below.
That is it for today. Have a good day and enjoy the rest of your weekend!!|