Saturday Night, June 14, 2008
What a Fun Game!
The Twins and Brewers went 11 innings or back and forth ball only to have the Twins more than double their run output in the top of the 12th to make the score look one-sided. It was anything but. I think this was one of the more entertaining games I have watched this year. There was strategy. There were big hits. There were big pitches. It was close. There were big names. I mean, it's not Yankees/Mets or Dodgers/Angels, but this is a solid home and home series for the Twins. Win or Lose, the people that watched this game got their money's worth!
Be sure to check out the following:
LaVelle's Minor League Report discusses Francisco Liriano and several of the transactions made in the system this past few days.
By the way, if you're looking for a great blog on the Brewers, you should be reading Al's Ramblings.
TWINS 9, BREWERS 4 (12 innings)
Brian Buscher made his first start. He will likely get a few more, especially based on how his final four plate appearances went in this game. He hit a deep sacrifice fly to dead center in the 7th. He then had a single in the 9th inning and ended up at third base when Corey Hart misplayed it. He had a solid single in the 11th inning. Then he broke the 4-4 tie in the 12th with another solid single. Definitely a great game for him. I'm not willing to start eating crow yet, but if he performs like this, the Twins have to keep going with him.
Delmon Young had another three hit game. One of the hits was even a double. The hits came in his first three at bats. After that, he just kept swinging at the first pitches, which I generally don't mind too much. But when he swung at the first pitch after Julian Tavarez walked the bases loaded in the 11th inning, that was very frustrating. Then in the 12th inning, he wasn't even close. Very frustrating because there is so much talent and potential there. Maybe "see ball, hit ball" isn't always the best thing. That said, during the telecast they showed that Young was 3rd or 4th in the AL in swinging at first pitches. Carlos Gomez was right after him. Both were around 45-46% I was shocked to see that Josh Hamilton swings at more first pitches yet.
Glen Perkins had a quality start. The lefty went the first six innings. He gave up three runs on eight hits and a walk. He struck out six. He has earned his rotation spot.
Jesse Crain was again dominant on the mound. Some are saying that he is as good as he was before the surgery that cost him most of 2007. Although I'm sure he's still working through some things, I don't recall Crain ever being as dominant as he has been his last few outings.
Joe Nathan blew a save by giving Russell Branyan a thigh high fastball after he swung and missed a slider by a foot. The pitch made no sense, but believe me, I'm not going to question Joe Nathan. The guy gets the job done better than any of the other closers in baseball, so it just isn't something to worry about the few times that it does happen. Some may have wanted him to go another inning, but he did throw 17 pitches in the inning, and the hope would be to need to use him again on Sunday.
Brian Bass and Dennys Reyes each threw a perfect inning. Great night for the bullpen guys tonight.
Justin Morneau was 2-4 with two walks. He's doing a nice job of using the whole field. Jason Kubel went 2-5 with a walk. He had some nice at bats.
Alexi Casilla went 2-5. Is it just me or does he just seem to get it now? I mean, he just is doing what he needs to do without trying to do too much. He's not trying to pull everything. He's bunting. He's hitting the ball the other way. He is turning on inside pitches. He's driving in runs. What impressed me was how relaxed he looks on the field. He came up in a couple of big positions, and it looked like he didn't care whether he came through or not. Now, that may sound negative, but it was a look of confidence to me. It was a relaxed look in a crunch-time situation, and I think that's much better than having a guy who is showing how hard he is working and gripping the bat too tight, or changing his approach at the plate. (see Carlos Gomez) That said, I love seeing Gomez just get mad. I love the fire he plays with. So, I'm easy to please. I like the guys that are just cool, like Casilla and Mauer. But I also appreciate the guys who tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves a little more, like Gomez and Morneau.
Michael Cuddyer was only available in an emergency situation. Well, he came through when that situation presented itself. After taking five pitches, he drilled a ball off the centerfield wall for a triple, then scored when the throw to the infield got away.
Sunday, it is Scott Baker against Seth McClung. I am interested to see if Michael Cuddyer plays, and if he does, will Delmon Young, who has six hits in the last two games, or Jason Kubel, who also has been hitting well, sit on the bench to start the game? Certainly Mike Redmond will give Joe Mauer the day off after catching all 12 innings tonight. Could Matt Macri play SS?
Any other Twins thoughts?
Twins Minor League Updates
Saturday SethSpeaks Player of the Day – Garrett Olson, Beloit Snappers
Saturday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day – Ricky Barrett, Rochester Red Wings
Saturday – Rochester 1, Louisville 4 – Brian Duensing started this game and had a near-quality start. He gave up four runs on five hits in six innings. He walked none and struck out eight. Julio DePaula came in and gave up a walk and a hit in 0.2 innings. Ricky Barrett got him out of the 7th inning with a strikeout and also struck out the side in the 8th inning. Tim Lahey gave up two hits and a walk in his inning. Randy Ruiz went 2-3 with his 17th double. Jason Pridie and Garrett Jones each doubles. Trevor Plouffe again played 3B and went 0-3.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Saturday – New Britain, Binghamton – This game was suspended in the 2nd inning because of rain, but even so, it wasn't pretty for the Rockcats. Anthony Swarzak started and got just two outs. He gave up six runs (4 earned) on five hits and a walk. Jason Miller came in and gave up a run on three hits in 1.1 innings before the rains came. Erik Lis had the only hit to this point in the game for New Britain. A couple of interesting things to note though... Matt Moses has played 3B the last two games, since Trevor Plouffe moved up to Rochester. He's just holding the spot for Danny Valencia. Rodolfo Palacios has played 1B in each of his games with the team. On its own, not a big thing, but then when you notice that Brock Peterson was playing left field, it makes me think a little bit. Is he a candidate to move up to Rochester and take over LF from Tommy Watkins? Or, is this just something to give him some more flexibility? Anyway, this game will be completed on Sunday afternoon before they play their regularly scheduled game.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Saturday – West 8, East 3 – It was the Florida State All Star game and all six members of the Ft. Myers Miracle that were on the team got a chance to play. In fact, Brian Dinkelman and Danny Valencia both played the whole game. Dinkelman played 2B and was the team's leadoff hitter. He went 2-6 with two runs scored. Both hits were infield singles. Valencia went 2-5 with a single to center and a two run triple. He also committed two errors, ironically both occurring while Miracle pitchers were on the mound. Wilson Ramos entered the game in the 5th inning as a catcher. He grounded out to 1st in his first at bat and then walked. Do you remember when Kevin Slowey started the Florida State League All-Star game two years ago? He struck out the three batters he faced on nine pitches. Well, Jeff Manship was even more efficient with his pitch count. He threw just eight pitches and got three ground balls. Anthony Slama pitched the fifth inning. He had a runner get on via a Valencia error, threw a wild pitch and walked two, but did not allow a run. Rob Delaney got to pitch the final inning. He gave up two hits, but got out of the inning without a run scoring. Good showing by all six of them, and I would expect four of them will be packing for New Britain in the next day or two.
Saturday – Beloit 8, Quad Cities 6 - Garrett Olson had a big game to help lead the Snappers to a win in this game. He went 4-5 with his second triple and fifth home run. Ben Revere went 2-4 with his 13th double. Chris Cates and Estarlin de Los Santos each went 2-4. Michael Tarsi started and went the first six innings. He gave up three runs (2 earned) on five hits and a walk. He struck out four. Steve Hirschfeld gave up two runs on three hits and two walks in 1.2 innings. Matt Williams came in to get the final out of the 8th inning. But then he allowed two base runners to start the 9th inning, so Spencer Steedley came in. He got just one out and allowed a hit and a walk. So, Loek Van Mil came in and got the final two outs to record his third save.
Have a great Sunday! I'll be back.