Monday August 4, 2003
Another Happy Birthday
2 out of 3 Ainít Bad
Heís Back, Eh!!!!
DISCUSSION QUESTION OF THE WEEK
RUN OF THE MIL-TON
Happy Birthday to Eric Milton!! Today, Milton turns 28 years old.
In February, we found out that Miltonís knee injury was far more serious than was expected, and he would miss about six months of time.
In March, the Twins were able to sign free-agent Kenny Rogers to what I would still consider a bargain at $2 million for this year.
I have to admit that, at the time, I thought that Rogers would be able to be, at worse, an even replacement for Milton.
Eric Milton has been a solid major league pitcher throughout his five year career. His career ERA is 4.80. The League Average ERA for that time is 4.81. His career record is 56-51. His career Adjusted ERA (ERA+) is at an even 100, which is the number which signifies the average major league pitcher over that time period. So, maybe heís statistically just an average major league pitcher. But, wouldnít you agree that the Twins could really have used a starting pitcher who could have pitched to a level we would consider just ďaverageĒ?
Milton had major knee surgery in early March and since then he has been rehabilitating with every intention of playing yet this season. He has improved since then from barely being able to walk to now thinking that he will be able to contribute to the Twins by early September. Check out Jim Souhanís article on Milton from the Star-Tribune from last week for specifics on Miltonís situation.
So, how should the Twins deal with the Milton situation? (Granted, getting Milton back and healthy is a good situation for the Twins to have to deal with.) Should he pitch this year? If so, in what role?
Theyíre saying that Milton could be back with the Twins by early September. By that time, we will know much more about the Twins chances of winning the division championship. Here are a couple of scenarios assuming that Milton has successfully completed rehabbing the knee and been able to pitch some innings at AAA:
If the Twins are still in the division race on September 1:
∑ What I think should happen:
I think that Eric Milton should get his innings out of the bullpen. He could be the second lefty the Twins need in front of closer Eddie Guardado.
∑ What I think would happen:
I think that the Twins would put him right into the starting rotation because that is what he has always done. I think that they would probably move Kenny Rogers, or more likely Johan Santana, into the bullpen.
If the Twins are out of pennant contention on September 1:
∑ They need to determine whether it is even worth giving him innings and risking re-injury. If they do, I still think those innings should be out of the bullpen. They could have him pitch to start innings and not come into an inning with runners on, so he can be sure to prepare!
Whatever happens, I really hope that Milton can be back in the rotation for the 2004 season! If you have any thoughts on Milton and his potential return, let me know. Send me an e-mail!
Another Happy Birthday
I should also say a big Happy Birthday to Mr. Roger Clemens. The six-time Cy Young Award Winner turns 41 years old today!
He may be old (by baseball years), but heís still good. This year, heís at 10-7 with a 3.76 ERA. Clemens leads the American League with 144 strikeouts in 143 2/3 innings. Did I mention that in his last start he threw a complete game shutout against the Anaheim Angels?
His career numbers are astonishing, especially considering the offensive era that it is. A record of 303-158. An ERA of just 3.17. He has averaged 8.7 Kís per 9 innings, and has struck out 3 batters per walk. Clemens says this is his last season, but it is obvious, based on his pitching this season, that he could pitch longer.
Clemensí 303 career wins is 19th on the All-Time list. His 4,053 strikeouts are 3rd on that All-Time List.
I mentioned last week that Baseball Reference has a system that compares hitters to other hitters and pitchers to other pitchers. It shows which other playerís careers are most similar to theirs. Here is the list of the Top 10 pitchers most similar to Roger Clemens:
1.) Jim Palmer
2.) Tom Seaver
3.) Lefty Grove
4.) Greg Maddux
5.) Bob Gibson
6.) Bob Feller
7.) Bert Blyleven
8.) Randy Johnson
9.) John Clarkson
10.) Ferguson Jenkins
Roger Clemens will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But, if anyone questions that, take a look at this list. Seven are already in the Hall of Fame. Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux will be five years after they retire. The only pitcher on the list that isnít in the Hall of Fame is Bert Blyleven, and that is very hard for a lot of people to understand!!
Hopefully when Eric Milton turns 41 years old 13 years from today, he will have 300 wins, all as a member of the Minnesota Twins. He will only need to average 20 wins a year for those 12 seasons (plus sprinkle in an additional 4 wins).
2 out of 3 Ainít Bad
The Twins won 2 out of 3 against the Detroit Tigers. A lot of people may be upset about Saturdayís loss to the Tigers. Initially, maybe I was too. But, taking a step back, we all knew that the Twins couldnít beat even the Tigers every time. To have beaten the same team 17 consecutive times was phenomenal, and really fortunate. So, donít make too much of that loss. The Tigers have even defeated the Yankees and Aís this season.
I think the term ď2 out of 3Ē should be quite prevalent the remainder of the season for the Twins. The Twins goal for every series should be to win 2 out of 3 games (of course, if they win the first two, might as well get the third too!!). I understand that the Twins are scheduled for some 2 and 4 game series as well, but even so, their goal should be to win 2 out of 3 games. If the Twins can win 2 out of every 3 games the rest of the year, they would go 35-17 over the remaining 52 games. That would mean they would end the season with a record of 90-72.
Here are the current standings in the AL Central:
Kansas City 59-50 ---
Chicago 58-53 2.0
TWINS 55-55 4.5
So, if the Twins go 35-17 the rest of the way and end the season at 90-72, we would hope that the Royals and White Sox would both end up with 89 winsÖ or less!
The Royals would have to go 30-23 (.566) to finish at 89-73.
The White Sox would have to go 31-20 (.608) to finish 89-73.
During Sundayís telecast, the question: How many wins will it take to win the AL Central? Bert Blyleven thought that it would take 85-88 wins to win the division. That sounds about right. In other words, the Twins really need to win two-thirds of their remaining games.
The next two months should be fun to watch! Hopefully the Twins will finally step up and play well and stay in the race!
Heís Back, Eh!!!!
Following Sundayís win, the Twins activated 3B Corey Koskie from the Disabled List and sent Alex Prieto back to Rochester. I hope Koskie can come back and hit as he did in June, before his unfortunate back injury. But, with his return, it should be interesting to see the lineups the next few games. What do you think the Twins should do? What should the Twins Lineup look like? Send me and e-mail and let me know your thoughts. Here is how I think the Twins should go:
Shannon Stewart DH/RF
Luis Rivas 2B
Doug Mientkiewicz 1B
Corey Koskie 3B
Michael Restovich RF/DH
Jacque Jones LF
Torii Hunter CF
AJ Pierzynski C
Cristian Guzman SS
I have to admit earlier in the year, I was really fairly hard on Luis Rivas. But at the moment (subject to change again), Luis Rivas is doing very well. On July 26 the Twins lost 9-2 to the Indians and Rivas was 0-4, which brought his average down to .257. Since that game, the Twins have played seven games. In those 7 games, Luis Rivas is 14-31, an average of .452. That brings his season average to .277. Heís added two doubles, a triple and a homer. Now, Iím not going to say that Luis Rivas is the next coming of Joe Morgan or Jeff Kent, but since heís moved into the 2-hole in the lineup, heís been great!
DISCUSSION QUESTION OF THE WEEK
First, I need to thank all of those who have e-mailed me your thoughts on the discussion question that started last Thursday. To allow for all those who checked out the site for the weekend, Iím going to continue with the same question for this week. On Friday, there will be a special entry which will include some of the responses I have and will receive to the below questions. At that point, Iíll be able to get into a routine on the Question of the Week. Iíll introduce the new question on Friday, take e-mails through the following Thursday and post peopleís ideas on Friday along with the next weekís question. Iíd love to hear your thoughts. I think this is a great question, so e-mail me your response!
This weekís question is actually a 3-part question, so here you go:
1.) If you could go back in time and have a conversation with any former major league player, who is now deceased, who would you most want to talk to, and what questions would you ask?
2.) If you could talk to one former big leaguer, who is still alive, who would you talk to, and what would you most want to know?
3.) If you could talk to one current major league ball player, who would it be, and what would you ask?
I think these are really interesting questions. I have asked a couple of friends these questions already and have had some varying, very interesting responses. Some of the players were the same as the ones I chose, but the questions that they would ask are different than the questions I would ask.
So again, here are the ďrulesĒ:
1.) Think through the above questions.
2.) Send me an e-mail with your thoughts.
3.) Thatís it! Itís that simple. You can then just keep checking back to this site for an upcoming article where I will use some of the responses I get.
Thanks again to all the readers, and have a great week!
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