Friday August 22, 2003
NEW DISCUSSION QUESTON OF THE WEEK
Shannon Stewart 4, Royals 3
Last nightís Twins game started off rough, but the Twins came back and defeated the Royals behind the bat of Shannon Stewart. The win pushed the Twins Ĺ game ahead of the Kansas City Royals in the American League Central Division. It is the first time they have been ahead of the Royals since June 30. The White Sox did beat the Rangers 7-3 last night, so the White Sox lead the Twins by a Ĺ game and the Royals by 1 game! In other words, the Royals went from first place to third place last night!
It started out a little rocky for the Twins. Kenny Rogers gave up single runs in the 1st, 3rd and 4th innings. Former Twin Paul Abbott no-hit the Twins through the first 5 innings. But then in the 6th, the Twins broke lose for three runs. Dustan Mohr singled and stole second before Cristian Guzman drew a walk. That brought up Shannon Stewart, and on the first pitch, Abbott threw Stewart a hanging curve ball. You could see in his face that Stewart wished he could get that pitch again. My thought at the time was ďDonít worry, Shannon, youíre about to see it again.Ē And on the second pitch, Stewart drilled another hanging curveball over the left field fence to tie the game at 3.
In the 7th inning, after AJ Pierzynski doubled, Dustan Mohr walked, and Cristian Guzman sacrificed them to 2nd and 3rd, Stewart came up again. This time, Curtis Leskanic was brought in to face him. On the first pitch, Stewart singled to right, scoring Pierzynski, giving the Twins a 4-3 lead.
(I have to say this. After the Twins gave up Bobby Kielty to acquire Shannon Stewart, I wrote about how I really didnít like the trade, for now, or for the future. So, to be fair, I will have to re-consider my thoughts on that. Here is what I think. For this season, Stewart has been a great acquisition for the Twins! He has been a spark as a leadoff hitter, and he hasnít been terrible in the outfield at all (he still has no arm though). He has been a big reason that the Twins have been able to come back from 7 Ĺ games back at the time of the trade! That said, giving up Kielty was probably still too much, long term. However, if the Twins are able to re-sign Stewart, then the trade may have been worth it. Be sure to check out the left-side of Aaronís Baseball Blog to see the up-to-date statistics of both Stewart and Kielty since the trade. You will see that clearly Stewart has done more for the Twins.)
It may be overlooked because he gave up 3 runs (unlike his 8 shutout innings his last time out against the Royals), but Kenny Rogers really battled and gave the Twins everything he could for 7 innings, and really earned the win. People may say that he didnít strike out hitters, and he gave up too many hits, but sometimes, I think those are the most impressive wins a pitcher can get. Rogers had to work out of some really tough situations. Those three innings that he gave up a single run, he left plenty more runners stranded. I just think that Rogers deserves a lot of credit!
LaTroy Hawkins pitched a great, 1-2-3 8th inning, and Eddie Guardado pitched a 1-2-3 9th for his 29th save.
That 9th inning was fun to watch. I may bash Guardado from time-to-time, but he certainly is animated and wears his emotion on his sleeve! When Corey Koskie made the impressive diving play for the 2nd out of the 9th, I thought Eddie was going to run over there and give him a hug. And, following the last out, when the Twins congratulate each other, Eddie showed the incredible enthusiasm! A key to the Twins success the rest of this season may be Eddie continuing to show such enthusiasm, while being able to control his pitches. If he can do that, the Twins should be alright!
Even just watching the game on TV, you could feel the enthusiasm and life of the crowd. If you live near the cities, be sure and try to get to the Metrodome for a game or two this weekend! It could be a very fun place to be.
Iíve spent a lot of time wavering this year with the Twins. Are they done? Do I still like anything about them? And those thoughts were just three weeks ago. But you know what? The Twins are in the heat of a pennant race. Itís going to be fun. I may still second guess them from time to time, but like everyone whoís reading this, I want the Twins to win! I want them to win the division!
So, whatís on tap for the rest of the Twins/Royals weekend? Here are the pitching matchups:
Friday night - Darrell May (6-6, 3.78) vs Kyle Lohse (10-9, 5.03).
Saturday night - Jose Lima (7-1, 3.72) vs Joe Mays (8-7, 6.12).
Sunday afternoon - Kevin Appier (8-9, 5.42) vs Johan Santana (7-3, 2.92).
In other Twins information, be sure to check out the Baseball America story on the Arizona Fall League rosters. Joe Mauer, JD Durbin and Jesse Crain are all profiled in the story. I think itís fair to say that those are the Twins top 3 prospects at this point! All three havenít yet been tainted by the ďcoachingĒ of Ron Gardenhire and Scott Ullger yet! (read - Justin Morneau, Michael Restovich, Michael Cuddyer, Todd SearsÖ)
Last night, the AAA Rochester Red Wings won again. Former first round pick, Ryan Mills, got the win with a scoreless inning in relief. Michael Nakamura got the two batters he faced out. Jesse Crain came in and struck out one in his 1-2-3 inning, recording the save. Michael Restovich had 3 doubles.
Also, the AA New Britain Rockcats won 9-8. Joe Mauer was 2-3 with 2 walks. Mauerís batting average is now .354. But, 3B Terry Tiffee is having a great season there also, that is probably being missed in Minnesota. He was the MVP of the AA All-Star game, and he is now hitting .320 with 13 home runs and 92 RBI for the Rockcats. He will be joining Mauer, Durbin and Crain at Arizona Fall League. The other two participating in the AFL are SS Jason Bartlett (.290, 8 HR, 46 RBI at AA) and P Henry Bonilla (8-7, 3.36 ERA at AA)
Be sure also to check out the Twins Notes on their Official Site today. There is interesting information on the career of Carlos Pulido. The most interesting to me are his comments on his playing days in Taiwan and the gambling and the mafia influence over there.
Today in 1965, Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichal was batting against one of the greatest pitchers of all time, Sandy Koufax, of the Dodgers. Marichal was not happy because he felt that catcher John Roseboro was throwing the ball too close to Marichal when he was throwing it back to Koufax. Marichal then attacked Roseboro with the bat! A huge brawl ensued. Marichal, a starting pitcher was given an eight day suspension, and fined $1,750 (which at the time was the biggest fine in the National League).
First, years later, Marichal was arrested for drug trafficking, so one has to wonder if maybe he wasnít on a little sumpiní-sumpiní at that time! I mean, he hit the catcher with a bat! If youíre going to brawl in a major league game, at least drop the bat! What did Roseboro get for his troubles? He got a big cut on his head!
Can you imagine what kind of suspension that event would warrant today, under the incredibly watchful eye of Bob Watson? Iím thinking about a 40 game suspension, especially for a pitcher!
Iíve discussed my thoughts on the Booney Bat Flip a few times. Iíve discussed how Jacque Jones sometimes admires his home runs. AJ Pierzynski is, by far, the Twins worst homer watcher. Sammy Sosa does his hop after contact. Barry Bonds hits some bombs that deserve to be watched! Did you see Jim Edmonds home run hop/dance thing on his game-winning homer run to beat the Pirates last night? That was a good one!
Last night was the season finale of The Amazing Race on CBS. I have to say, itís a great ďReality TVĒ show. Teams of two racing around the world, performing tasks along the way. I just love it as a person who wishes he could travel throughout the world. Itís my opportunity to see the sites of the world, to witness different cultures. Yes, I live very near Canada, but I hate to say, their culture isnít terribly different than mine! At least not in Manitoba!
Big Brother 4 is getting down to the wire! I have to admit that there doesnít seem to be as much controversy going through the house as there has been in previous years! That said, there is plenty of strategy! We like Erika!
Larry King Live had a panel of experts discussing the Kobe Bryant situation. Charles Barkley was one of the panelists. Of course, Charles spoke out for Kobe, saying that the media is making too much of this situation. He hasnít been proven guilty of anything, and if he was a common person, it wouldnít be such a big deal. Charles Barkley many times isnít taken seriously because he isnít afraid to express his opinions in a loud way. But if you look past that and just listen to what he says, I canít help but agree with many of his thoughts. Most times, he just speaks with common sense! Sometimes that is ok!
Again, my fantasy football drafts are fast approaching. Iíve got a draft on Tuesday night (26th) and another draft on Wednesday night (27th). I just havenít taken as much time to look throughout the Internet for information. I havenít purchased a magazine yet. I donít know if I will. I think I have a pretty good strategy going into the drafts. But, as always, there are plenty of questions that I would have. I think that I have The Big 5 as my top 5 picks. I have 3 or 4 Running Backs that I would put in that second tier, along with 3 Wide Receivers and 2 Quarterbacks (maybe 3? Vick?)
So, if you have a specific draft strategy, or would like to e-mail me a cheat sheet or anything that could help me in my draft, I would really appreciate it.
DISCUSSION QUESTION OF THE WEEK
OK, so far, weíve had two Discussion Questions:
1.) 3-part - Which ball player (dead, retired, current)would you want to talk to, and what would you ask them?
2.) Your All-Time Best Lineups.
In both cases, I got some great replies from the readers, and thatís what the Discussion Question of the Week is all about. So, please, feel free to e-mail me your thoughts on this weekís question, and if I like it, it will be included in next Fridayís posting.
Here is this weekís question:
The Twins have 35 games left in the season. They are in a very close race with the Chicago White Sox and the Kansas City Royals. What do you think will happen the rest of the season? Will the Twins win the division? Who will step up? What are the keys to their success? Who will fall flat on his face? You can be serious if you want. You can be funny! Iíd just like to hear what the rest of you are thinking on this.
Think about the question a little bit. Then send me an e-mail with your thoughts. Again, I will post the thoughts I receive in next Fridayís post.
Well, thatís it for the week! Good luck to the Wolf Lake Wolfpack in their second round amateur state tournament game on Saturday morning in Northfield, MN!
Everybody have a fun and safe weekend!
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