Thursday June 17, 2004
TWINS COMEBACK TO TOP EXPOS
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
NEW DISCUSSION QUESTION OF THE WEEK
RIVAS HITS GAME WINNING HR IN 11th
You probably won't read the above title terribly often, so that is why I made it today's title. Good for him, and more importantly, good for the Twins. I still don't think he should be the starting 2B, but as long as he's in there, might as well cheer for him, right? But was it really a home run? My thought --- Who Cares?!!!??!? What did the ump say? What stood? Home Run. Twins Win! Check out Gleeman's thoughts here.
You probably noticed, but I am trying out this new format on this site. I will start with just some random, quick thoughts on sports, the Twins, TV, movies, anything. Then I will get to the Twins and their minor leagues. I am curious as to what you think of this. Is the format OK? What would you prefer? Please e-mail me and let me know what you think.
Good morning! Happy Thursday! It's Pay Day for me, so there is at least one positive in my world today! I hope you have more than one thing as well! So anyway, if you have any questions or comments or any ideas for future topics, please e-mail me.
To start my random thoughts, I'm going to be a little controversial. Last night, I played some slow-pitch softball and as the game was going on... and on... and on... I remembered why I can't stand that game! Game One was 22-17 and Game Two was something like 25-15. I realized just how much I enjoy a good 1-0 ballgame, and you just really don't find a lot of them in slow-pitch softball. I realize there are a lot of people out there who really enjoy playing softball, but I just don't get the allure. I like hanging out with the guys and being a part of a team, but the game itself is just not cool at all. I mean, it's like it wants to be baseball, but it's not. Kind of in the same way that soccer wants to be hockey, but totally isn't. So there!
MTV's Room Raiders is a great show. Excellent concept! I don't know why, but I like many of MTVs shows. I watch The Real World, Newlyweds, Punk'd and many more. However, the best of the best has to be Boiling Points. It cracks me up every time.
Advertisements - I would like to get your opinions on them, if you don't mind sharing your thoughts. If you look on the left side of this screen near the top, you will see SethSpeaks Sponsors. There are links to a couple of companies that have asked me to advertise for them on my site and been willing to pay me varying amounts (so, be sure to click on those links to see what they are!). In the last week, three other companies have come to me with offers to pay me to advertise for them. To this point, I have said that I really just like doing the Text Link Advertisements. I really would rather not get into anything like Pop-ups because I think they are annoying, even if they are no big deal since all you have to do is X out of them. Anyway, I'm just interested in some input from the readers about what you think. Obviously I would like more money. Also, if anyone out there owns a company and would like to link to this site, e-mail me and we can talk! Thanks for listening.
TWINS AUTOGRAPH PARTY - I just got some e-mail from the Twins on their annual Autograph Party. It will take place on the plaza outside the Metrodome on Saturday, June 26, from 11:30 - 5:15. Current Twins will sign autographs from 12:30-2:00. Twins Alumni will sign from 2:30-4:00. There will be a live memorabilia auction from 4:00-5:15. There will also be a silent auction throughout the day. Oh, and the Twins will play the Milwaukee Brewers at 6:10 that night!
I went to the Autograph Party last year for a couple of hours. The event is free to get into. If you would like to get autographs, you will need to buy an autograph card for $25. Of course, the money all goes to charity. I actually took a few pictures of the event, which you can find in my Photo Album, so check those out. I did go through the tent with all the Silent Auction items. I got goose bumps seeing all of the stuff. Autographs bats and balls and helmets and pictures of current and former Twins players. There are also autographed paraphernalia players from other teams or other sports. There is some great stuff.
Will I be going again this year? Well, we will have to see if I can find anyone to go with me. I would love to hang out there all day! I think it would be a lot of fun to talk to some of the players if possible. I know that I went there with my sister last year, and we both agreed that this event would be wonderful to take a 5-10 year old kid to. But it is also great for the adults. I don't like all of the autograph hounds. When I say that, I don't mean guys like me, who would love to get autographs just to collect for myself. I would also love to go there and just shake hands with the players, and maybe take a picture with them to capture the moment. No, what I mean are the adults who show up with five dozen baseballs or a couple dozen bats and sprint from line to line. They aren't there to enjoy the opportunity to meet with the players. They are there to capitalize on the event. They will be selling much of what they acquire. That is why I have absolutely no problem with the team charging money for the autograph cards.
So, in summary, if at all possible, head to the Metrodome on June 25 for the Autograph Party.
Recently, Eric from The Baseball Boys posted a Dear Brad (Radke) letter.
Batgirl's Bullpen Idol competition is down to the Final Four contenders. So be sure to check it out and Vote!!
The Twins Geek discussed some scary thoughts!. Included are thoughts on "Contraction," Roster Management, and most scary, how similar has BJ Garbe's career path been to that of Torii Hunter?
Did you see that the Royals released reliever Curtis Leskanic? I realize that he has not been good this year, but he was pretty remarkable last year! If he is healthy, I think that the Twins should consider him.
DISCUSSION QUESTION OF THE WEEK - I would like to again get your input on a topic that I happen to find very interesting. As I have mentioned time and time again, I would encourage everyone to read and bookmark the Baseball Savant website. It is well worth the read every time he writes. About once a week, David updates each team's Pythagorean Numbers, meaning, based on a team's Run Differential, you can predict what record a team will end up with. Here is how the American League Central will look at season's end, according to these numbers:
1.White Sox 98-64 (+7)
2.Tigers 83-79 (+5)
3.Indians 79-83 (+6)
3.Twins 78-84 (+3)
5.Royals 61-101 (-12)
The Savant begins his analysis with this:
The Twins really do have to consider themselves the luckiest team in the AL. They really can't hit ranking 10th in the AL in runs scored per game, and their pitching/defense isn't much better ranking 8th in the AL in runs allowed per game, but here they sit a half a game out of first place in the AL Central.
So, the question of the week is this... Why do the Twins consistently have a better actual record than they "should" according to this measure? For a little background information, consider this:
Season Pythagorean Number Actual Record Differential
2000 69-93 69-93 0
2001 81-81 85-77 +4
2002 86-75 94-67 +8
2003 85-77 90-72 +5
So, as you can see, using Run Differential to predict a team's season record is relatively close. However, the Twins are an extreme exception. Most team's actual records are even closer to their Pythagorean numbers. But over the last three seasons, the Twins have won 17 games more than they should, 20 more if you count this year's numbers too.
To use a small example, remember the Twins/White Sox first series of the season? The Twins won two one-run games, but the White Sox won the other game big. So for the series, the Twins were outscored like 18-8 (numbers approximate). By that, the Twins should have lost 2 out of three, but instead won 2 out of three.
Therein lies the question... why is that? David and I have spent a lot of time discussing this issue. What is it about the Twins or their style of play that accounts for this?
Please think it over and e-mail me your responses. I will post your thoughts sometime next week. Thanks!
And again... Recently, I got an e-mail from The View from the Bleachers. It seems that the first round of voting in The World Series of Blogs is complete. I want to thank those of you who voted for this site. Somehow, SethSpeaks received enough votes to win the AL Central vote and advance into the playoffs. So, I hate to do it, but I guess it doesn't hurt to ask, right? If you want, be sure to head over to The View from The Bleachers and vote in The World Series of Blogs! I am in contention in the American League with Athletics Nation, Blue Jay Way and Firebrand (Red Sox). As of last night, I was getting absolutely crushed, so help me out, check out the site and vote early and often!
CONTROVERSIAL HOMER WINS GAME
Twins 5, Expos 4 (11 innings)
The Twins needed to come from behind in the late innings and then got a game-winning home run from a most-unlikely source to win it in the 11th inning.
Like the night before, the Twins got an early lead when Corey Koskie singled in Cristian Guzman in the first inning. However, in the 4th inning, a Jose Vidro single followed by a Nick Johnson homer gave the Expos a 4-1 lead. In the 8th inning, Doug Mientkiewicz recorded his, ahem, 17th RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly. In the top of the 9th, off Expos closer Chad Cordero, Jacque Jones hit a one out, solo home run to cut the deficit to 4-3. After the Twins loaded the bases, Cristian Guzman hit a ground ball to shortstop. It was hit slow enough that there was no other play than to get the out at 1B, scoring Luis Rivas, the tying run. The game went to the 11th inning when Luis Rivas led off with a liner down the left field line. It went over the fence and was called a home run. Replays showed that the ball was clearly foul, something that left fielder Brad Wilkerson and third baseman Tony Batista were able to see, but the umpire was not. Frank Robinson felt strongly enough about it (from his point of view 350 feet away) that he was ejected from the game. As I wrote above, I don't care if it was actually foul, it was called fair and led to the Twins win. So all is good!
The Twins did get good pitching too. Kyle Lohse started and went six innings. He gave up six hits and a walk. All four runs scored in the 4th inning. Joe Roa (1), Terry Mulholland (1) and Juan Rincon pitched four shutout innings in relief before Joe Nathan picked up his 17th save with a scoreless 11th inning. Juan Rincon pitched great again and recorded his 8th win of the season.
Attendance at the game last night in Montreal was 3,609. Pretty pathetic. Seriously, Major League Baseball needs to move the Expos. They have sat on this situation for far too long!
The Twins have assured that they will win the series and tonight they will play for a series sweep of the Expos. I am very excited to see the first major league start of Matt Guerrier's career. I really hope he can relax and just pitch. He will be opposed by Livan Hernandez.
Again, be sure to e-mail me with your responses to the above Twins related questions. I'd love to hear and then post your thoughts on the Twins tomorrow.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Redwings 6, Columbus 5 - One night after JC Romero made a start for the Redwings, Seth Greisinger made his first start for Rochester. He went five innings and gave up three runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out four and gave up two home runs. However, the big story last night was Justin Morneau. I think Morneau is now over his slump. He homered in his third consecutive game. Actually, he went 3-4 with 2 home runs, 3 runs and 4 RBI. He now has 16 AAA homers. Can I just say that he is good? A position should be opened up for him, as it was for Joe Mauer.
Anyway, to the rest of the game. Luis Rodriguez went 2-2 with two walks. Rodriguez was moved to third base because 'the man,' Luis Maza is the new 2B for the Rochester Redwings. Last night was Maza's first AAA game and he went 0-3. Brian Simmons was 2-5, including a game winning single in the bottom of the 9th.
NEW BRITAIN ROCK CATS
Not only did the Rockcats lose Luis Maza due to his promotion to Rochester, but the team also lost DH Billy Munoz. After 7 minor league seasons, Munoz decided to retire and the Twins gave him his full release. This year, he was hitting .246 with 8 homers and 27 RBI.
New Britain 2, Trenton 7 - The Rockcats were unable to hold back the final two Yankees prospects Dionner Navarro (3-3, 2 BB) and Robinson Cano (2-5) led team from Trenton, a Yankees affiliate. Ronnie Corona started and went 4 2/3 innings. He gave up six runs on eight hits and a walk. Jason Richardson came in and went 4 1/3 innings. He gave up just one run on four hits and a walk. Seth Davidson, who takes over 2B duties, went 2-5. SS Tommy Watkins had an RBI double.
FORT MYERS MIRACLE
Miracle 2, Jupiter 3 (10) - Francisco Liriano made the start for the Miracle. He went six innings and gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out five. Erik Lohse pitched great for three innings. He gave up just one hit and no runs. Justin Olson got two outs in the 10th, but control was his problem. He walked three, including the winning run. CF Trent Oeltjen was 2-5 with an RBI. DH Doug Deeds and RF Alex Romero each had a double.
THE SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
Swing 6, South Bend 4 - It seems that every day catcher Kyle Phillips has a couple of hits. Last night, he was 3-4. CF and Fergus Falls native Justin Arneson was also 2-3 with a double and a triple. LF Ben Pattee went 2-4 with 3 RBI. 2B Paul Rutgers went 2-4 with an RBI. Nick Blackburn started and went five innings. He gave up four runs on eight hits and a walk. Kevin Culpepper went three shutout innings allowing just one hit. Eric Brandon picked up his first save of the year with a scoreless 9th inning.
Any questions or comments on the Twins minor league system, e-mail me.
That is it for me for today. Have yourself a great Thursday!! As always, if you have any questions or comments on anything, please e-mail me.
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