Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Twins Minor League Report
Good morning everyone!
I have to be honest. It's getting hard to write about the Twins right now. It is frustrating on so many levels.
First, it is frustrating to see a team continue to lose one-run games, games that could be won with one or two big hits here and there.
Second, it's frustrating that the offense is slumping all together. You would have thought after the All-Star break, they would have come back ready to hit, but it just hasn't happened.
Third, it is frustrating that many people will not give the opposition the credit that they deserve. The Twins have faced some very good pitching in these five games. It would be nice to bust out just once, and for more than one inning off of Bartolo Colon.
The pitching has been great. Carlos Silva pitched nine great innings last night. He made just one mistake, and that resulted in the home run to Sammy Sosa.
I'm frustrated that there are so many called third strikes.
I'm frustrated that Ron Gardenhire continues to get kicked out of so many games, but I can understand this one. He has to be as frustrated as us as fans. I am sure part of that ejection was an attempt to fire up his team and again show he is backing them.
I'm frustrated by the "fans" getting down on this team so much.
I'm frustrated by Gardy and the media talking about how poor Joe Mauer's season has been so far. The 22 year old is hitting over .300. He was 2-5 again last night. He's calling a good game as evidenced by the pitcher's success of late. He's taking good at bats. He's hitting line drives. He has six home runs, maybe not as much as some would like, but oh well. He is catching five games a week. He has stayed healthy. The team has been smart in their usage of him. The big problem I hear is that he is not being a 'run producer.' Well, RBI is another one of those stats that don't tell you a lot. FSN last night showed the stats of some run-producing #3 hitters and included Vlad Guerrero, Miguel Tejada and David Ortiz. You're going to compare Joe Mauer to any of those guys? You've got a couple of MVPs and a guy who has turned his career around by staying healthy in Boston and starting to swing the bat.
I'm frustrated by Scott Ullger and the team's insistence that he's doing something positive for the hitters. I wrote about this yesterday and am too frustrated to continue writing about him! Paul Molitor. Rod Carew. Tony Oliva. Tom Szymanski. I don't know. Let someone else try. It's not like this is the first time that players haven't hit.
I am finally in the group now that is frustrated with the performance of Justin Morneau. My expectations for him in 2005 were apparently way too high. I do blame Ullger in part for this, but Morneau is not helping his cause by continually swinging at bad pitches.
I am frustrated that, after Matthew LeCroy went 2-3, in a crucial late-inning situation, Scott Ullger (managing after Gardy's ejection) had Morneau pinch hit for LeCroy. Did he really see that as a good decision at the time?
Since I am going to bash Ullger... why did he take Silva out of the game after the 9th inning? He had only thrown 83 pitches and was still looking strong and ready to go. There was no reason to go to the bullpen yet. Have someone ready, but let Silva go.
I am frustrated that Michael Cuddyer seems to be the whipping boy for all that is wrong too. As Stick and Ball Guy pointed out, since May 1st, Cuddyer has been as productive as any of the Twins hitters with the exception of Torii Hunter (who had a nice streak), Shannon Stewart and Joe Mauer. Yet, he is (Again!) being used as a scapegoat. Not Jacque Jones. Not Juan Castro. Not some of the other guys who just haven't done their part yet.
Finally, I'm frustrated that I'm frustrated. The fact is that the Twins have a better record through 90 games than they've had in any of the previous three seasons. The main problem with the Twins is that they are in the same division as the White Sox. If this was a normal AL Central season, the Twins would probably still be within a couple of games of the Sox, and a couple of games ahead of Cleveland and waiting for the Tigers' collapse and thinking all was fine in the world. The White Sox play like a team on a mission and take the league by storm. Fact is, the Twins aren't playing any worse than they were the last few years, our basis of reference is just significantly different. Sometimes, we just have to step back and remember that. We're in panic mode, trying to win the Wild Card against the Yankees, Orioles and Red Sox, three teams that have nearly unlimited resources. The Oakland A's started their mid-season run a little early this year so they could play a factor in the Wild Card as well. And the AL Central can no longer be a laughing stock. There are four solid teams in the division.
So, what will happen? I don't know, and that's frustrating. I suppose, people always say, "Patience is a virtue." I guess I just don't really want to be virtuous right now!
By the way, is it really possible that the Red Sox might want JC Romero??? Maybe we could work out a Romero for Hanley Ramirez deal! Ha! I wish. There is talk of the Twins wanting Bill Mueller too. Is that really an improvement over anything they have, or just a move to make a move? I would say it is the latter. If they're going to make a trade, make it an impact trade!!
Here are the rest of the pitching matchups for the series against the Orioles:
Do you have any thoughts on the Twins, the Angels, the Orioles or anything baseball. Feel free to e-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Tuesday - REDWINGS 5, Charlotte 13 - Jason Bartlett is making a stronger case to be recalled to the Twins and reinserted into their lineup. Last night, he was 4-5 with two home runs and three RBI. He is now hitting .321. Kevin West was 3-5. Brent Abernathy went 2-5. Rob Bowen hit his third home run. Ricky Barrett got the start. He gave up eight runs on five hits and four walks over four innings. He gave up three home runs. Henry Bonilla then gave up three over the next three. Beau Kemp gave up two in his inning of work.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
Tuesday - ROCKCATS 11, Binghamton 5 - Justin Olson picked up his 8th win of the year. The flamethrower went six innings. He allowed four runs (3 earned) on six hits and two walks. He struck out five. John Thomas gave up a run in 1.2 innings before Daylon Childress pitched 1.1 scoreless. Denard Span led the offense. He was 3-6 with a double and two RBI. Doug Deeds went 2-5 and smashed his 10th homer. Danny Matienzo was 2-4 with a double and a walk. Luis Jimenez was 2-4 with a walk. Matt Moses took an 0-5 to drop his batting average to .095.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
Tuesday - MIRACLE 3, Brevard County 2 - The Florida State League debut of Jay Rainville went off better than I'm sure they ever expected. The righty went six innings. He gave up a run on six hits, but he walked none and struck out five for the win. Jannio Gutierrez got his fifth save. He gave up a run in the final three innings and struck out six. Kyle Phillips went 2-3 with two walks. Brock Peterson was 2-4 with a double.
Tuesday - SNAPPERS 3, SW Michigan 10 - The first Midwest League start of Eduardo Morlan didn't go as well as one would have hoped. He lasted just three innings and gave up five runs on six hits and three walks. He struck out four. David Shinskie went the next three frames. He gave up four runs (3 earned) on six hits and a walk. Josh Hill pitched the final three innings and gave up a run. The offense sputtered with just five hits. David Winfree hit his 25th double. Trevor Plouffe had his 12th.
Tuesday - E-Twins 5, Bristol 2 - Juan Portes is now hitting .380 after another 3-4 day. He had a double. But the day was Erik Lis's. The first baseman went 3-3 with his fourth double, third homer and four RBI. Adam Hawes picked up the win by allowing two runs (1 earned) on two hits and two walks. He struck out six. Armando Gabino pitched a scoreless inning. Alexander Smit recorded his first save with two innings pitched. He struck out five.
GULF COAST TWINS
Tuesday - GCL Twins 3, GCL Red Sox 0 - William Luque went 2-3. Jose Castillo improved to 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA. He pitched eight shutout innings. He gave up just two hits. However, he did walk six, but he struck out seven. Aaron Craig pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save.
On that note, I am going to call it a day! As always, please feel free to e-mail me your thoughts on the Twins, the minor leagues, or anything you would like to discuss.
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