Monday July 21, 2003
Bring Out the Brooms
Can someone please try to explain this to me? Here are the facts. The Twins went into the All-Star break having won just 6 of their last 28 games, and lost their last 8 games. The day after the All-Star game, then trade one of their best on-base guys for a leadoff hitter. Yet, somehow, the Twins manage to win 4 games against Oakland, and the Oakland pitching staff of Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Ted Lilly. Can someone PLEASE explain this to me?
Thursday night, they got a five-run first inning off Tim Hudson, and won 6-2.
Friday, Barry Zito and Johan Santana provided quite a pitching matchup. Santana gave up 1 run in 7 1/3. Zito gave up 1 hit thought the first 7 innings. But, the Twins managed to score 2 runs off him in the 8th. Eddie, as always, made it interesting, giving up a run, and only got the save thanks to a GREAT play by Torii Hunter. I heard John Gordon explain it live. But, because he’s terrible and prone to hyperbole, I waited to see the highlight to see how good the play was. When I saw it, I saw just how far he ran to even get to the ball, followed by the full-out dive. Torii Hunter should have got the save, in the 3-2 win!
Saturday, the starting pitching wasn’t as great! OK, it wasn’t even all that good. Mark Mulder gave up 5 runs in 6 innings. Brad Radke gave up 4 runs in 6 2/3 innings. But, the big, bases-loaded, two-strike double by Matthew Lecroy scored three runs and provided the late-inning cushion. He then scored on a Jacque Jones hit to give the final 9-4 score.
And yesterday, the Twins got out to a big 6-1 lead thanks to a first inning 3-run homer by Doug Mientkiewicz, and a 2-run homer by Torii Hunter a couple innings later. Kenny Rogers was anything but on (note - 5 BBs), but he had 7 strikeouts and did manage to make big pitches at the right times. James Baldwin didn’t help Rogers at all, allowing the game to get to 6-4. A highlight had to be seeing Joe Mays pitch 2 scoreless innings And, Eddie picked up save number 22.
So, there you have it, a 4-game sweep of the Oakland A’s. One more time… Can someone please explain this to me?
Here’s my attempt - It’s as simple as getting a few days away from the game and clearing their minds for the 2nd half. A ‘shakeup’ in the lineup? Stewart so far with the Twins has, made the first and last out of an inning, been 0-5, been injured and had a 4 hit game. (Note - did everyone see Bobby Kielty rob a home run yesterday in right field, in Fenway Park. Very impressive!) Maybe we will find out that they still are the team we anticipated them being; the team that played in May and early June; not the team that played in April, and the last month and a half. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come!
Even more impressive is that they won these four games playing without arguably their best hitter, Corey Koskie. After not playing for the last six games, they finally decided to put him on the disabled list. They purchased the contract of infielder Alex Prieto. Very interesting callup, especially considering he wasn’t on the 40-man roster. The funny thing is that he wasn’t even a starter at AAA. He was a utility player. But, maybe that’s why the Twins called him up. They know he’s not a “prospect”. The 27 year old Prieto is in his 11th professional season, and he’s a very solid defensive player. He probably won’t be up for long, and it’s ok for him not to play much while up with the club. I remember he was having such a great spring training, and the Twins were actually discussing keeping him on the team, instead of Chris Gomez. Someone in his family died near the end of spring training, maybe even his mother, and he wasn’t going to go down to the funeral, because he knew it would hurt his chances of making the team. At the time, Ron Gardenhire told him that he had already made a great impression on him and the coaching staff, and that he needed to be at the funeral. And, I think that the impression he left at that point is probably the reason he was called up. To put Prieto on the 40-man roster, Tony Fiore was dropped. I don’t know if he will be claimed by any team. If so, good luck, Tony! What he did last year was amazing! It just wasn’t there any more this year.
Then the other transaction was a more disturbing Disabled List addition. Lew Ford was put on the disabled list because he broke his arm. OK, the injury happened almost two weeks ago, and they just figured out that a bone in his arm was cracked? How does that happen!?!? Wouldn’t that show up on an X-Ray? And, why wasn’t that figured out sooner?! It just seems really unprofessional, and frankly, inexcusable. Todd Sears was called up to replace Ford.
This is another move I don’t understand. Sears is hitting about .240 at AAA. Clearly, he’s not a ‘prospect’, so I have no problem with him being on the roster, not playing. Unfortunately, the Twins still have Justin Morneau on the 25 man major league roster? Here is another thing I need explained to me. Why is Morneau rotting on the bench. He played very little the last 2 weeks before the All-Star break. Then the Twins got Shannon Stewart and told us they wanted him to play RF. Well, in the 4 games he’s been around, he’s been the designated hitter, so Morneau hasn’t played in any of them. How is he getting better, or learning by sitting on the bench? He should go back to AAA and play every day again!
OK, those are my Twins thoughts. Please send me an e-mail and let me know your thoughts on these topics (how the Twins swept the A’s, the Prieto callup, the Ford injury, or Justin Morneau’s playing time). I am very curious as to what others are thinking on these things.
Other baseball notes -
Rich Harden is making his highly anticipated major league debut tonight. I really hope he does well, for 2 reasons. First, he’ll be pitching against the Royals, so a win would help the Twins. But second, I picked him up in my fantasy league about 2 months ago, and he’ll finally pitch!
Basketball Notes -
Kobe Bryant was charge with one count of Class 3 Sexual Assault in Colorado on Friday. I listened to the DA’s press conference that afternoon. It was almost disappointing to listen to, especially when he said things like, “I wouldn’t have charged him if I didn’t think I could prove the case without a reasonable doubt.” Then, when I found out what Class 3 Sexual Assault is, it’s really eerie. It is basically forced assault, or rape.
The other disappointing thing was Bryant’s press release following the DA’s conference. In it, he admitted his infidelity, and said it was an issue that he and his wife needed to work though, but he said that he didn’t do anything criminal.
Can you say: Image is Nothing?!
Now, I’m not even going to pretend that I think he’s guilty. But I definitely can’t say that he’s innocent either. Two people in the world know what really happened, Kobe and his accuser. And, because of that, I have absolutely no idea what will happen. Will whatever evidence show force? Was it really consensual sex, as Bryant is claiming? And, even if it was consensual, could part of the allure of the affair have been some sort of act that could look forced? There are just too many variables. If I were on the jury, I don’t know what evidence would be available that would take away any ‘reasonable doubt.’?
I know that they want to respect the privacy of the alleged victim, and I guess I am OK with that. But, Bryant isn’t allowed the same privacy, and that, I’m not ok with. If, and again, I acknowledge that is a BIG IF, she is taking advantage of that night’s activities for monetary gain, then she deserves her picture and name in the media as well. Of course, information is coming out about her already. Some of it will be simple, factual information. Others will be more of the purpose of making her credibility look bad, including that she allegedly overdosed just a few weeks before the “alleged” assault. All of which still will not tell us what happened in that hotel room!
E-mail me your thoughts on the Bryant situation.
Football Notes -
Training camps are all getting started within the next week. As the season starts, I will start discussing more of my thoughts on the Vikings, fantasy football and other football topics.
I need to also mention Nebraska football. Nebraska is one of the finest, most historical college football programs in the country (not based on the last couple of years). Having family in that area, we have always followed their team. The reason I bring it up though, is that when I asked good friend and former college roommate, Vic Quick, Sports Director of KDUH-TV in Scottsbluff, Nebraska (small city in panhandle of Western Nebraska), what I should write about for today’s column, he said, “Nebraska football.” Well, aside from Jamal Lord being their quarterback and Frank Solich being their head coach, and former defensive coordinator, Craig Bohl, now being the head coach at North Dakota State University, I know very little about the coming season of Nebraska football.
But, I did talk Vic into making his NFL football picks each week of the NFL season, and they will be posted, along with mine, and hopefully some other “celebrities” and “dignitaries.”
One Final Note-
I also have to say a quick “Hello” to all my family and other friends that were at my grandma’s certain birthday party (I am legally and contractually not allowed to give up the specific number of that birthday). The general discussion regarding this site with them, was that it is too long, so that is why today’s posting is shorter than usual!
Happy Birthday Grandma,
and everybody have a great week!
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