Wednesday June 23, 2004
TWINS LOSE TO SOX
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT - Now showing - The Elizabethton Twins
WOLVES TRADE WALLY
TWINS AUTOGRAPH PARTY - I'll be there, at least for some of it. Let me know if you will be too.
DISCUSSION QUESTION OF THE WEEK - I have added more background information to the question
TWINS CRUSHED BY SOX
TWINS 2, RED SOX 9 -
Before people start bashing Kyle Lohse for this loss, just remember that by technical terms, he threw a Quality Start. A "Quality Start" is one in which the starter goes six or more innings and gives up three or few runs. Lohse went six innings and gave up three runs. When he left, the Twins were still in the game.
And, also, I am sure that people will want to bash the bullpen and say how "bad" Aaron Fultz and Joe Roa were. And, for last night, they absolutely were bad. However, don't be one of the people who starts crying about how bad the bullpen is because of these guys. They actually have been good most of the year. Last night... not so much. Fultz got just one out and gave up two hits and two walks and all four scored. Roa came in and his first pitch, a nice hanging slider, to Nomar Garciaparra resulted in his first home run of the season, and more importantly gave the Red Sox a little comfort. They added a couple more runs later and the Twins got a sacrifice fly from Alex Prieto to score Michael Cuddyer in the 9th.
Curt Schilling has had a bunch of MRIs in the last couple weeks on his ankle, but it didn't show last night as he was working all of his pitches. Really, the lone run he gave up was on a "double" by Matthew LeCroy to score Jacque Jones. Johnny Damon completely lost the ball in flight causing the run.
I complain about Jacque Jones' bat flip from time to time, but no player in major league baseball is more annoying or aggravating to watch than Manny Ramirez. Did you see him stand there and watch his home run? Did you see him catch a fly ball in left field last night with a runner on second and nonchalantly flip it back in to third? I would love to see a pitcher go up and in on Manny. It would be scary to see what would happen. I mean, how many times have we already seen a pitcher throw a pitch high and right over the plate and he wants to head to the mound with the bat in his hand. OK, I'll quit talking about my least favorite player in baseball, Manny Ramirez.
Here are the remaining scheduled pitching matchups:
Tonight - 6:05 - Carlos Silva (7-4, 4.13, 1.48, .316) vs Derek Lowe (6-5, 5.25, 1.71, .302)
Thursday - 12:05 - Brad Radke (4-3, 3.17, 1.21, .282) vs Tim Wakefield (4-5, 4.92, 1.44, .264)
So, can the Twins compete with the likes of the Red Sox and Yankees? E-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Redwings 16 Columbus 5 - The Twins beat the White Sox. OK, not quite true, but The Twins AAA team beat up on the White Sox AAA team!! Justin Morneau knocked his 18th home run of the year. SS Augie Ojeda and RF Jason Kubel went 3-5. LF Josh Rabe was 2-5. DH Juan Diaz was 2-4 with his first homer. 2B Luis Maza was 2-4 with a double. Gary Glover started and continued to struggle. In 3 innings, he gave up five runs on 8 hits and a walk. Brent Schoening got his first win (1-5) with 2 shutout innings. Jeromy Palki and Beau Kemp each pitched two shutout innings as well.
NEW BRITAIN ROCK CATS
New Britain 5, Trenton 2 - Boof Bonser came back from his horrid last start to pick up his fifth win of the season. In 5 2/3 innings, he gave up two runs on five hits and four walks. He struck out seven. Jon Pridie pitched the next 2 1/3 innings and gave up just one hit and struck out three. RF Kevin West went 2-4 with a double and two RBI. 2B Seth Davidson went 2-4. BJ Garbe was 1-4 with his third homer.
FORT MYERS MIRACLE
Miracle 5, Vero Beach 2 - The Miracle started the 2nd half of their season with a win. Manny Tejada improved to 2-3 with a six inning, two run (one earned), four hit, one walk, seven strikeout performance. Levale Speigner pitched two shutout innings before Justin Olson racked up his 7th save with a perfect 9th inning. CF Trent Oeltjen went 3-4 with a double. C Jose Morales was 3-4 with a double and his 3rd homer. RF Doug Deeds went 2-4 with a double.
THE SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
The Swing also had the day off. The Midwest League All-Star Game was played.
ELIZABETHTON TWINS (ROOKIE LEAGUE)
E-Twins 4, Greenville 6 - Trevor Plouffe (1st round) got his first professional hits. He went 2-4 with a double and an RBI. C Jesus Sanchez (14th round) went 2-3 with a walk, a triple and an RBI. DH Landon Burt went 2-4 with an RBI double. Alexander Smit, who I ranked 18th on my Twins Prospects list, got the start. He went four innings and gave up four earned runs. He gave up six hits, five walks, a wild pitch and a balk. Steven Duguay (12th round - 2003) pitched the next three innings and gave up a run on three hits and a walk and struck out four.
GULF COAST/FT. MYERS TWINS (ROOKIE LEAGUE)
GC Twins 5, GC Reds 3 - O. Sosa started and went 5 2/3 innings. He gave up two unearned runs on five hits and no walks while striking out five. J. Mijares pitched the next 2 1/3 innings. He didn't give up a hit, but walked two and struck out four. Robbie Hebert (43rd round) picked up the save with a one-run ninth. 3B Travis Kalin (42nd round 2003) went 2-4. LF E. Ovalle was 2-4 with a triple. SS Juan Portes (15th round) was 2-4 with a double. DH J. Brown was 1-4 with a home run. (OK, I need your help. Can anyone tell me where I can find the rosters for this team so I can give full names? E-mail me.)
Any questions or comments on the Twins minor league system, e-mail me.
WOLVES TRADE WALLY?
The rumors started last night. It was a good one, I think. Here are the details:
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: Wally Szczerbiak
Minnesota Timberwolves Receive: Tony Battie, Dejuan Wagner and the 10th overall Pick in Thursday's draft.
Assuming this trade goes through, this is another trade that I think it great for both teams.
From the Cavs perspective, they receive a guy who can flat-out score. People forget just how good of a shooter that Szczerbiak is and that he was an All-Star just two years ago. He has scored over 18 points a game for a season a couple of times. With the Cavs roster, which obviously includes the likes of Lebron James, Carlos Boozer and Zydrunas Ilgauskus, the Cavs boast a pretty strong inside-outside presence. With James ability to slash, Wally could get plenty of open shots. Depth and the point guard position remain the question marks for the Cavs. Also, don't forget that Wally went to college at Miami (OH) and is a legend in Ohio!
From the Wolves perspective, they get rid of Wally's contract. It is for a lot for a lot of money and a lot of years. The Wolves want to be able to keep much of their current roster, so moving some salary was necessary. But I think that what they received in return was very impressive. Tony Battie is a big, athletic man who can block some shots. Dejuan Wagner is a scorer. He's small, but he can shoot. He would play a role similar to Troy Hudson, with a far bigger upside. His problem is Cleveland has really just been injuries. He can play some point guard, but is really a two. The key though, for the Wolves is that 10th overall draft pick. The Wolves are without a first round pick because of the Joe Smith fiasco again this year. That said, they would have had like the 29th overall pick, so moving up to #10 is great.
Overall - Good trade for both teams.
Any thoughts? E-mail me.
TWINS AUTOGRAPH PARTY UPDATE - The below is what I wrote last week. I asked the question "Will I be going again this year?" Well, over the weekend, I found out that the answer to that question is "Yes." I will be going to the Twins/Brewers game on Friday night and then spend some time at the Autograph party on Saturday.
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 Saturday, June 26 for the Autograph Party.
There's Still TIME!! It may look bleak, but there is still a chance. 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). I am still pretty much getting crushed, so help me out, check out the site and vote early and often!
DISCUSSION QUESTION OF THE WEEK - I started posting this question toward the end of last week, and I wanted to give it a more prominent spot in the entry today. I have also added a little more to it , a little more to consider.
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)
4.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.
In addition to this look at the Twins, I received my Sunday Statistic package from Lee Sinnis' ATM Reports. I know I have mentioned it before, but signing up for his daily report is one of the best things a baseball fan can do. Here is where the Twins and White Sox rank in terms of RCAA (Runs Created Above Average):
1 Whitesox 41
T2 Tigers 32
T2 Yankees 32
4 Redsox 30
5 Angels 17
6 Indians 0
7 Royals -2
8 Mariners -7
9 A's -10
10 Orioles -13
11 BlueJays -34
T12 Devil Rays -39
T12 Twins -39
14 Rangers -61
So there you see it. The White Sox are best in the American League 80 RCAA more than the Twins, yet the Twins are 1.5 games ahead of the Sox in the division.
In case you were curious, here is how the Twins players rank individually in RCAA:
Lew Ford 11
Joe Mauer 4
Shannon Stewart 4
Corey Koskie 3
Matthew LeCroy 3
Justin Morneau 2
Rob Bowen 0
Nick Punto 0
Jose Offerman -1
Michael Restovich -1
Alex Prieto -2
Luis Rivas -2
Torii Hunter -4
Jacque Jones -5
Michael Cuddyer -6
Michael Ryan -6
Doug Mientkiewicz -11
Henry Blanco -13
Cristian Guzman -15
Anyway, therein lies the question... why have the Twins played above their "expected" level? 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 on Friday, so please e-mail me your response before Thursday. Thanks!
That is it for me for today. Hope you have yourself a splendid day!!!! As always, if you have any questions or comments on anything, please e-mail me.
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