Thursday July 1, 2004
TWINS LOSE GAME 2 TO SOX
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
Well, today I sign the paperwork and will officially become a homeowner. That is kind of a scary thought! I have lived in this town for over seven years and have always lived in an apartment. I was nervous to buy a house, thinking it really tied me to the town for awhile. But I really got sick of paying rent each month, essentially for nothing. By now, I could have half of my house paid for. But that's alright.
So, as for what will be posted tomorrow, we'll see. I don't know how much time I will have to write. I hope to do some initial moving tomorrow night. Remember, if there are any of you who would like to write a guest column for me, just send me an e-mail with the topic and I will probably say that it sounds good.
Anyway, have yourself a great Thursday, and Happy July!
SethSpeaks AL All-Stars
(See yesterday's SethSpeaks NL All-Star selections.)
Today, I am going to discuss who I would like to see play in the All-Star game for the American League, the players I feel are deserving of the spot. Let me say that this will have nothing to do with the fan voting. It will basically be the team I would select if I was the sole person responsible for picking the All-Star teams. I will follow a couple of the rules as well. First, I will pick 32 players from each league, 11 of which will be pitchers. As with the real rules, I will also include at least one member of each team. Yesterday, I posted my National League All-Stars. Today, I will select my American League All-Stars.
I would love to hear your thoughts and get some debate going on these selections. If you have any thoughts you’d care to share, or if you feel I missed an obvious choice, please feel free to e-mail me.
So, let’s get to the 2004 SethSpeaks American League All-Stars:
(Note - All Stats through Tuesday 06/29/04)
Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, Detroit Tigers (.376/.416/.562, 19 double, 10 HR, 54 RBI)
Jorge Posada, New York Yankees (.267/.411/.505, 21 doubles, 9 HR, 33 RBI)
Victor Martinez, Cleveland Indians (.304/.373/.540, 24 doubles, 11 HR, 57 RBI)
I didn't think the Ivan Rodriguez signing was smart by the Tigers. I still think it was too long. But so far, so good for Pudge and the Tigers. Jorge Posada has good power and an excellent eye. And, I think we all knew that Victor Martinez would eventually hit, but it has really been a remarkable breakout season for him.
Others Under Consideration: Javy Lopez (.314/.363/.469, 11 doubles, 10 HR, 37 RBI), Jason Varitek (.280/.388/.448, 12 doubles, 9 HR, 29 RBI), Rod Barajas (.280/.298/.593, 9 doubles, 12 HR, 32 RBI).
David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox (.304/.357/.597, 29 doubles, 20 HR, 73 RBI)
Frank Thomas, Chicago White Sox (.282/.447/.590, 16 doubles, 18 HR, 47 RBI)
Ken Harvey, Kansas City Royals (.328/.374/.473, 13 doubles, 8 HR, 33 RBI)
Unfortunately, the Yankees Jason Giambi will probably be voted in as the starter. There are at least five or six 1B who are having better seasons. David Ortiz is again healthy and being incredibly productive in the middle of the Red Sox order. Frank Thomas or Paul Konerko? Both could probably make it. If the game were in an AL park, maybe both would make it. I went with Thomas. Their numbers are close, but Thomas' on-base percentage is significantly higher. Ken Harvey has been very solid in full-time play this year. Also, the Royals need someone to represent them now that Carlos Beltran is in the National League.
Others Under Consideration: Paul Konerko (.280/.370/.556, 9 doubles, 20 HR, 54 RBI), Travis Hafner (.309/.405/.527, 24 doubles, 9 HR, 49 RBI), Scott Hatteberg (.315/.392/.498, 13 doubles, 10 HR, 48 RBI), Tino Martinez (.277/.373/.495, 9 doubles, 12 HR, 37 RBI).
Alfonso Soriano, Texas Rangers (.297/.335/.453, 13 doubles, 12 HR, 45 RBI, 8 SB)
Juan Uribe, Chicago White Sox (.292/.347/.511, 19 doubles, 11 HR, 35 RBI, 7 SB)
Alfonso Soriano is now in Texas, but he is still putting up very strong numbers. I felt 2B was a pretty weak position, which is why I chose just two. Juan Uribe came over from Colorado and is putting up even better numbers than he did in Denver's thin air.
Others Under Consideration: Mark Bellhorn, Boston Red Sox (.263/.386/.431, 15 doubles, 9 HR, 44 RBI), Ron Belliard (.312/.386/.431, 23 doubles, 4 HR, 31 RBI), Orlando Hudson (.282/.369/.472, 14 doubles, 7 HR, 31 RBI).
Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees (.287/.379/.533, 12 double, 19 HR, 48 RBI, 18 SB)
Hank Blalock, Texas Rangers (.310/.372/.585, 20 doubles, 20 HR, 55 RBI)
Melvin Mora, Baltimore Orioles (.355/.442/.571, 17 doubles, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 7 SB)
I think it is safe to say that Alex Rodriguez shift to 3B this year has not affected him at all. Not only is he still hitting very well, but he may be the best defensive 3B too. Hank Blalock has just started where he left off last year. He was the hero of last year's All-Star game, and should definitely be back again. I guess Melvin Mora's 2003 season wasn't a fluke either. He has been even better this year. An injury has kept him on the bench much of the last week or so.
Others Under Consideration: Chone Figgins (.306/.364/.457, 11 doubles, 11 triples, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 20 SB).
Michael Young, Texas Rangers (.329/.368/.502, 15 doubles, 6 triples, 10 HR, 46 RBI, 7 SB)
Miguel Tejada, Baltimore Orioles (.312/.361/.492, 15 doubles, 12 HR, 63 RBI)
Carlos Guillen, Detroit Tigers (.318/.381/.556, 21 doubles, 7 triples, 11 HR, 52 RBI)
Jose Valentin, Chicago White Sox (.266/.332/.578, 14 doubles, 16 HR, 44 RBI)
No A-Rod. No Nomar. No Jeter. And yet I still have four AL SS! Replace Alex Rodriguez? I think it is fair to say that Michael Young is doing a pretty good job. Miguel Tejada has continued to mash at Camden. Carlos Guillen has always been solid, but maybe the change of scenery helped him out. Jose Valentin can hit, and hit for plenty of power. Just ask the Twins pitching staff.
Others Under Consideration: Derek Jeter (.272/.331/.452, 16 doubles, 13 HR, 40 RBI, 8 SB)
Vladimir Guerrero, Anaheim Angels (.346/.393/.615, 24 doubles, 19 HR, 68 RBI)
Manny Ramirez, Boston Red Sox (.338/.437/.651, 25 doubles, 20 HR, 59 RBI)
Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay Devil Rays (.316/.352/.453, 17 doubles, 8 triples, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 35 SB)
Matt Lawton, Cleveland Indians (.324/.395/.475, 12 doubles, 11 HR, 41 RBI, 14 SB)
Gary Sheffield, New York Yankees (.304/.405/.504, 13 doubles, 13 HR, 52 RBI)
Lew Ford, Minnesota Twins (.320/.385/.496, 16 doubles, 9 HR, 39 RBI, 9 SB)
New team. Same results for Vlad Guerrero. He would probably be my choice for AL MVP to this point in the season. I have been vocal about not being a fan of Manny Ramirez a few times, but the man can flat-out hit! Carl Crawford is becoming the star I (and many others) thought that he could become. The Indians need a representative, and former Twin, Matt Lawton is very deserving of the recognition. Gary Sheffield has really made up for a slow start. His numbers are definitely all-star worth. Then, it came down to two players. One will make the All-Star team, and the other one probably won't because of it. Odds are that Hideki Matsui of the Yankees will be voted in, and this year he is deserving of the honor. But put Lew Ford's numbers next to Matsui's (.277/.382/.500, 12 doubles, 15 HR, 45 RBI) and tell me that Ford doesn't deserve it.
Others Under Consideration: Hideki Matsui, Jose Guillen (.299/.365/.512, 15 doubles, 13 HR, 56 RBI), Carlos Lee (.296/.365/.432, 21 doubles, 6 HR, 40 RBI), Jermaine Dye (.288/.346/.514, 16 doubles, 15 HR, 46 RBI), Ichiro Suzuki (.313/.363/.392, 13 doubles, 3 HR, 27 RBI, 18 SB), Vernon Wells (.300/.366/.481, 20 doubles, 9 HR, 30 RBI).
Mark Mulder, Oakland A's (10-2, 2.90 ERA, 6.2 K/9, 1.14 WHIP, .230 Opp BA)
Curt Schilling, Boston Red Sox (10-4, 3.24 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 1.15 WHIP, .253 Opp BA)
Tim Hudson, Oakland A's (7-3, 2.98 ERA, 4.3 K/9, 1.24 WHIP, .269 Opp BA)
Javier Vazquez, New York Yankees (9-5, 3.42 ERA, 6.75 K/9, 1.08 WHIP, .231 Opp BA)
CC Sabathia, Cleveland Indians (5-3, 2.77 ERA, 5.6 K/9, 1.17 WHIP, .232 Opp BA)
Miguel Batista, Toronto Blue Jays (6-5, 3.98 ERA, 5.7 K/9, 1.37 WHIP, .248 Opp BA)
Kenny Rogers, Texas Rangers (10-2, 3.32 ERA, 5.2 K/9, 1.24 WHIP, .254 Opp BA)
Two of the Big 3 make it on my team. Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson have really become the Big 2 while Barry Zito is a step behind. Curt Schilling, despite some minor ankle injury, has been as good as the Red Sox would have hoped. Javier Vazquez hasn't become the mega-star that he will become with the Yankees quite yet, but he does still deserve a spot on the All-Star team. Another case of a pitcher's record not telling the whole story is CC Sabathia. I had to chose between Miguel Batista and last year's Cy Young Award winner, Roy Halladay as the Toronto Blue Jays representative. I went with Batista because his ERA is a little lower. Their numbers are very similar. And many assume that Kenny Rogers is tied for the league lead in Wins because of the run support he gets from the Rangers. But all of his numbers are very strong and very deserving of an All-Star nod.
Others under consideration: Roy Halladay (6-5, 4.10), Johan Santana (6-4, 4.38), Brad Radke (4-3, 3.22), Pedro Martinez (8-3, 3.73), Esteban Loaiza (8-3, 4.28), Cliff Lee (7-1, 3.86), Mike Mussina (9-4, 4.67), Freddy Garcia (5-7, 3.35)
Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees (0-0, 0.93 ERA, 28/29 Saves, 7.0 K/9, 1.09 WHIP, .206 Opp BA)
Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins (1-0, 1.26 ERA, 22/23 Saves, 10.6 K/9, 1.12 WHIP, .190 Opp BA)
Eddie Guardado, Seattle Mariners (2-0, 1.19 ERA, 15/19 Saves, 9.1 K/9, 0.80 WHIP, .159 Opp BA)
Francisco Rodriguez, Anaheim Angels (1-1, 1.06 ERA, 7 Saves, 14.0 K/9, 0.87 WHIP, .171 Opp BA)
As Gagne is simply the best in the NL, Mariano Rivera is to the AL. Joe Nathan replaced Eddie Guardado as the Twins closer. Both are having very strong seasons for their new teams. And just take a look at Francisco Rodriguez's K rate. He has been terrific setting up and closing when Troy Percival has been hurt.
Others under consideration: Juan Rincon (8-3, 2.04), BJ Ryan (2-2, 2.83), Keith Foulke (2-1, 1.14, 13/15 Saves), Francisco Cordero (2-0, 1.87, 23/25 Saves), Tom Gordon (2-2, 1.61 ERA).
So there you have it. My selections for the 32 player American League All-Star team. I'm sure there are some choices that you disagree with. Let's discuss this. Send me some questions or arguments about these selections. Maybe there'll be a Mailbag later in the week. E-mail me.
WHITE SOX OVERPOWER TWINS AGAIN
Twins 6, White Sox 9
Before I start, I feel the need to say this; The Twins do not need to be better than the White Sox. They just need to have a better record than them at the end of the season. Remember, these games are just games in June. They count as just one game in the loss column each. OK, gotta stay positive, right?
I know, it's hard when the Twins either aren't hitting or aren't pitching. They actually got some big hits and hit some homers last night, but every time the Twins scored, the White Sox just hit another homer or two to reclaim the lead.
The White Sox got on the board first. They were lucky not to be down further. Lew Ford leapt over the fence in left field to rob Carlos Lee of a home run. They actually got the leadoff hitter on each of the first three innings, and each time he came around to score. Down 3-0 in the third, Joe Mauer drilled a 3-1 fastball to dead center for his 4th homer. But right away in the fourth, Paul Konerko hit his 20th homer to get the run back. In the bottom of the 5th, Cristian Guzman tied the game when he launched a hanging curveball over the baggy in right field with two runners on. But, Radke gave up a solo homer to Jose Valentin the next half inning. Corey Koskie hit his 13th homer of the year to tie the game at 5 after 6. But Radke started the 7th and the first hitter, Joe Crede hit the first pitch into the left field bleachers. He gave up two straight singles and Juan Rincon was brought in. Rincon's line looks good. 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K. But the two runners he inherited both scored. Aaron Rowand hit a homer in the 8th to extend the lead. In the 9th inning, Joe Mauer hit a Shingo Takatsu pitch over the fence in left-center for his second homer of the game, his 5th of the season.
Freddy Garcia had one of his worst starts of the season. However, because of that potent, powerful White Sox offense, he recorded a win, something he had not experienced much of in Seattle.
But, there are positives that the Twins can take from this game. The offense did actually do something, and more surprisingly actually hit for some power! Only Jacque Jones and Luis Rivas didn't have at least one hit. We know Brad Radke is better than he pitched last night. Again, I'm just not ready to panic. Not yet.
It is also fun to listen to Peter Gammons fawn over Joe Mauer. Power was believed to be the big question mark in Mauer's game. Well, he already has 5 homers, as many as he had between A and AA ball last year.
The two teams will wrap up this series tomorrow at 12:10. Hopefully the Twins can salvage one win as Johan Santana gets the start for the team. A win means the Twins and White Sox would be virtually tied for the AL Central lead (the Sox have played two fewer games so their percentage is higher).
Thursday - 12:10 - Johan Santana (6-4, 4.38, 1.20, .248) vs Jon Garland (5-5, 4.84, 1.33, .260)
Again, if you have any thoughts on the Twins or this series with the White Sox, or if you think the Twins should make a trade to counter the Sox deal, just E-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Redwings 10, Toledo 4 - It was rumored this week, but Jesse Crain's arrival in Minnesota could happen at any time. Last night, he did more work to show that he is ready for the Twins bullpen. He pitched the final two innings and recorded the win. He did not allow a walk or a hit and struck out three. (Check out his impressive season stats at the left) David Gassner got the start and went 5 1/3 innings. He gave up nine hits and walked three but gave up just three runs. Beau Kemp gave up a run in 2 2/3 innings. SS Augie Ojeda was 3-4 with a double. DH Juan Diaz went 3-5 with a double and 2 RBI. CF Brian Simmons hit a grand slam, his ninth homer of the year. Justin Morneau got a day off.
NEW BRITAIN ROCK CATS
New Britain 4, New Hampshire 1 - Henry Bonilla won his 6th game of the year with a strong, eight inning performance. He allowed just one run on six hits and a walk. Pat Neshek got the Save with a scoreless, one-hit, one-run 9th. 2B Luis Maza went 2-4. 3B Tommy Watkins went 2-4 with a double and his second homer. C Rob Bowen hit his 6th homer for the Rockcats. However, with his 1-4 performance, his batting average is sitting at .194.
FORT MYERS MIRACLE
Miracle 9, Sarasota 8- The Miracle ended a nine game losing streak with the win over Sarasota, who has now lost six in a row. After the pitching staff surrendered 50 runs in their four game series with Daytona, they struggled again last night. Jeff Randazzo started and provided a 'quality start.' He went 6 innings and gave up four runs (3 earned) on 6 hits and 2 walks. John Thomas didn't allow a run in the next two innings. So the Miracle held a 9-4 lead going into the 9th. Omar Burgos came in and gave up 4 runs on 3 hits and a walk, which was just enough to give Ft. Myers the win. Trent Oeltjen went 3-4 with 2 walks. Elvis Corporan had a 2-5, double, 3 RBI night. SS Felix Molina was 2-4 with a double and a triple. Jesus Merchan was 2-5 with a double. LF Ben Pattee was 2-4. RF Doug Deeds was 2-6.
THE SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
Swing 4, Cedar Rapids 7 - Chris Schutt started and went 5 1/3 innings. He gave up three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four. Tristan Crawford gave up a run in the next 1 2/3 innings. TJ Prunty pitched a scoreless inning. But, it wasn't a good night for Billy Mauer. He got just one out and gave up three runs on two hits and a walk. Peter Tautor got the final two outs. LF Mark Zamojc, C Josh Johnson and 2B Paul Rutgers each went 2-4 with a double.
ELIZABETHTON TWINS (ROOKIE LEAGUE)
E-Twins 3 , Bristol 13 - The E-Twins got plenty of hits from plenty of hitters. LF Deacon Burns again led the way. He was 3-5 with a double and his 2nd home run. CF Terrance Patterson was 2-5 with a triple. DH Jeremy Pickrel was 2-4 wit ha double and two RBI. 3B David Winfree was 2-4. 1B Johnny Woodard went 2-5 with a homer and 3 RBI. 2B Matt Tolbert went 2-4 with a homer and 3 RBI. David Shinskie improved to 2-0 thanks to the run support. He went 6 innings and gave up 4 runs on 9 hits and a walk. Frank Mata pitched two perfect innings and struck out three. Jason Bowlin gave up a hit but nothing more in the 9th.
GULF COAST/FT. MYERS TWINS (ROOKIE LEAGUE)
GC Twins , GC - No Box Score available.
Any questions or comments on the Twins minor league system, e-mail me.
That is it for me for today. I hope you have a great day. Any more moving hints would be greatly appreciated. As always, if you have any questions or comments on anything, please e-mail me.
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