Monday, August 24, 2009
Good Monday Morning to everyone! I certainly hope you had a great weekend! I really did. Maybe it was because I only watched a few innings of Twins baseball. I watched very little of the Friday night game, and no, it was not due to watching the Vikings, I only watched the first series of that game. That was enough of that. All I know is that E.J. Henderson could quickly become my favorite Vikings player this year! Saturday was a busy but very fun day. It started with a long walk throughout the Dodge Nature Center. Then it was to the Minnesota Zoo for a couple of hours before watching some 3D Dinosaur movie at the IMAX theatre. I did watch the first seven innings on Saturday night. Then decided that sleep was good. On Sunday, it was church, followed by a great time at a 50th anniversary party. Stopped at an apple orchard on 169 on the way home, and that was my weekend.
So, although the Twins had a much-needed sweep of the Royals in Kansas City this weekend, I didn’t see much of it. Apparently I much-needed some time away. How do I know? How about this dream scenario from one night this weekend:
So, I’m back in my home town, which is about three hours from the Twin Cities. I’m just walking around the town when out of a building walks Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. I’m close enough to him to overhear him tell someone, “Well, they’re getting rid of me too.” I grabbed for my cell phone and was trying to Tweet the breaking news. I was just shaking!
So seriously, that was a good sign that taking a step back might be necessary for me right now. Just another reminder, especially to Thrylos, that the above was just a dream! Ron Gardenhire is still the Twins manager!
So, let me ask you this:
Does the Twins sweep of the Royals in Kansas City have you all excited about the team again, or even the team’s chances of making the playoffs? Is this the biggest week of the season for the Twins?
· The Twins will be playing host to the Baltimore Orioles for three games starting tonight. Meanwhile, the Tigers will be in Anaheim, taking on the Angels. The White Sox will be playing the Red Sox. Now, how many times will we hear that the Twins have a favorable schedule? The Twins were bad on their most recent home stand, and then they went 5-2 on the road this past week. So…
· The just have to be consistent. I fully am aware that all of these teams are comprised of major league players that can beat anyone on any given day. But the Twins have to find a way to start beating the teams that they should beat.
· They need to get Justin Morneau back as quickly as possible. The clean up hitter, a former MVP, a player who is in the top ten in most statistical categories in the American League… you don’t just replace a guy like that in any lineup.
· But the Twins have tried. Michael Cuddyer has done a nice job at first base defensively. He has also really picked up his offense in the last week with four doubles and three home runs.
· Also, it has meant that both Delmon Young and Carlos Gomez are in the lineup every day. Delmon Young had a rough series in Kansas City, but he has been hitting the ball well, including home runs. And Gomez has been playing better as well. So again, you can’t replace Justin Morneau, but as long the other players don’t try to do too much, but everyone does a little bit, they can survive.
· The biggest key continues to be the starting pitching, and consistency of the starting pitching. Scott Baker has been very good in the second half. Nick Blackburn has been very non-good in the second half (after an amazing first half). Carl Pavano had another very strong start on Sunday. Brian Duensing would apparently get another start after five difficult yet successful innings on Saturday night.
· So, the fifth starter becomes a big question mark. After Saturday’s game, the Twins sent Anthony Swarzak back to Rochester and summoned Armando Gabino to the Twins. Now, I have been saying for a couple of weeks that Gabino is deserving of this promotion. When guys like Jeff Manship and Philip Humber were promoted, it was, in part, due to timing that it was not Gabino called up. In each case, he had just pitched and would not have been able to pitch in the role the Twins would have wanted. Gabino was added to the Twins 40 man roster shortly after the 2008 season finished. He has primarily been pitching out of the bullpen in his time with the Twins, but due to inconsistency in the Rochester rotation, he has made several starts as well. And he has pitched well in whatever role he is in. He deserves this opportunity, but I don’t believe that starting is where his big league career will go. I think he can be a good long reliever and spot starter. I personally think that Jeff Manship could or should be starting long term. For the short term, Kevin Mulvey is an option who should get more opportunities. Philip Humber is also on the roster, so maybe a start would be good for him.
· And then comes the question of what to do with Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins. Liriano will apparently be out a little longer than initially planned. Personally, I would shut down both of these lefties for the rest of the season.
· Speaking of questions, do you give Orlando Cabrera any credit for the improved play of Carlos Gomez and especially Alexi Casilla? I sometimes think that those types of intangibles can be overblown. But honestly, whatever works, right?
· September Call-Ups – It’s a big topic every year, and Bill Smith said that they would be making these types of decisions in the next week. It is always interesting to see who comes up. As I noted last week, the Twins could wait until September 8th to promote from AAA since the Red Wings season will end after their game on Labor Day night. On his Inside Twins radio show yesterday, Bill Smith said that they typically like to promote an infielder, an outfielder, a catcher and a couple of pitchers. Although I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago, here are my more current thoughts on the subject:
o Matt Tolbert – There is no way that Gardy doesn’t get his second favorite no-hit, no-field utility infielder up to the Twins.
o Jose Morales – Yes, I am to the point where I have no idea why Mike Redmond wasn’t replaced awhile back. But Morales will certainly be promoted.
o Anthony Swarzak – He’ll be back.
o Kevin Mulvey – He should be back.
o Juan Morillo – He may have to be back. I get that he throws in the upper 90s and has 76 strikeouts in 58.1 innings. But he also has 41 walks (And allowed 49 hits) in 58.1 innings. That’s really bad.
o Rob Delaney – he’s struggled in his last few outings and may need the rest. That said, he will be added to the 40 man roster after the season, so I would still like to see him promoted, even if he only pitches a couple of innings.
o Anthony Slama – He had the one really bad outing, but he’s fine. Like Delaney, Slama will be added after the season, and he could quickly become a trustworthy late inning option.
o Danny Valencia – Yes, he went on a slump, but just recently, he went 2-4 in four straight games and seems to have made an adjustment which is exactly what you want to see from a player. With Joe Crede again sidelined, I think it would be good to get Valencia a few games at 3B in September. And again, he will have to be added to the 40 man roster after the season anyway.
o Justin Huber – I think if the Twins had to put Justin Morneau, Huber might be an option to replace him on the active roster. He’s had another very good AAA season, including 19 home runs.
o David Winfree – would be the second option.
· Arizona Fall League – This topic is not at all a key to Twins 2009 season, but a lot of people are curious about who the Twins will send to the Arizona Fall League this year. That announcement will likely come out in the next week or two. Typically, each team will send six or seven players to the Fall League. Those players can’t be from countries that have Winter Leagues. In other words, players like Wilson Ramos are ineligible for the Arizona Fall League because he can go play in Venezuela. Generally, each team will send three hitters and three pitchers. Players are typically from AA or AAA, or have some time in the big leagues, but occasionally players from Hi-A ball can play as well. I’m sure there is more, but here are the six players that I would likely send to the Arizona Fall League:
o Alex Burnett – his transition to the bullpen could not be going any better. He has been terrific.
o Kyle Waldrop – He has stayed healthy all year after missing all of the 2008 season.
o Mike McCardell – he has pitched very well since his AA debut. It would be a good challenge for him.
o Rene Tosoni – I think it would be good to see him get consistent at bats against top competition.
o Steve Singleton – he’s been able to play both 2B and SS for the Rockcats, and he’s crushed the ball as well.
o Brian Dinkelman – He probably should have gone a year ago, but he was injured at the end of the season. He’s returned with a strong AA season. He could be the Dan Uggla of this year’s AFL/Rule 5 draft!
o Others – They need catchers in the AFL, so I can certainly see Jeff Christy getting the opportunity to go. Kevin Mulvey or Anthony Swarzak could benefit from getting another 30-40 innings.
o Last year – Generally speaking, the Twins haven’t sent players twice, at least not in consecutive seasons. Last year the Twins sent Jeff Manship, Rob Delaney, Anthony Slama, Tim Lahey, Danny Valencia, Dustin Martin and Steve Tolleson.
So, there is a lot of information for discussion. Please feel free to give your thoughts on these or other Twins topics.
MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
Friday - SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Brandon Roberts, New Britain Rockcats
Friday - SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Steve Hirschfeld, Ft. Myers Miracle
Saturday - SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Paul-Michael Klingsberg, Elizabethton Twins
Saturday - SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Liam Hendriks, Beloit Snappers
Sunday - SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Danny Rams, Beloit Snappers
Sunday - SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Edgar Ibarra, Elizabethton Twins
Friday – Rochester 1, Pawtucket 2 – Armando Gabino made the start in this game, but he was held to just three innings for bigger and better reasons. In those three innings, he gave up no runs on one hit and two walks. Following the game, he was told that he will be headed to Minnesota to make a start on Tuesday night against the Orioles. Juan Morillo came in and gave up two runs on three hits and three walks in just one inning. Tim Lahey then threw four shutout innings, giving up just two hits and one walk. He struck out three. The Red Wings managed just three hits in the game. Justin Huber went 1-2 with a walk and his 19th home run. Brock Peterson went 1-2 with a walk.
Saturday – Rochester 5, Norfolk 4 – The Red Wings scored four runs in the bottom of the 9th to record the come-from-behind win. Kevin Mulvey went the first seven innings and gave up just two unearned runs. He gave up four hits and two walks. Sean Henn struck out two in a perfect eighth frame. Rob Delaney gave up two runs on three hits in the 9th inning, but he gets the win because of the comeback. Matt Tolbert went 3-5 with his third homer and two RBI. Dustin Martin and Brock Peterson each went 2-4. Danny Valencia hit his 17th double.
Sunday – Rochester 6, Norfolk 2 – Back-to-back homers by Dustin Martin and Brock Peterson got things going. Later Matt Tolbert hit a bases-clearing, two out triple (his fifth of the season) to give the Red Wings a more comfortable lead. Martin went 2-3 with a walk and his fourth homer. Peterson was 2-4 and the homer was his eighth. Matt Macri hit his 21st and 22nd doubles in the game. Reid Santos threw well in the start. He gave up a run on four hits in six innings. Sean Henn threw a scoreless seventh. Rob Delaney gave up a run on a hit and a walk in 0.2 innings. Anthony Slama got the final four outs.
Friday – New Britain 6, Reading 3 – Matt Fox won for the 9th time this season. He gave up two runs on four hits and a walk in 5.1 innings. He struck out seven. Carlos Gutierrez gave up a run on a walk in 1.2 innings. Spencer Steedley gave up a run and got two outs. Alex Burnett recorded his 5th save by getting the final four outs, three of them on strikeouts. Get used to reading about Mr. Burnett in this update! Brandon Roberts went 3-5 with his 17th double and his 17th and 18th stolen bases. Luke Hughes was 2-4 with his 10th double and fifth home run. Steve Singleton went 2-4.
Saturday – New Britain 3, Reading 2 – Mike McCardell continues to impress since his AA debut. In seven innings, he gave up a run on six hits. He walked none and struck out two. Kyle Waldrop got two outs, but left after giving up a walk and a hit. Alex Burnett came in and got the final four outs, three of them on strikeouts, for his sixth save. He gave up a run on a hit and a walk. Brandon Roberts went 2-4 with his second triple. Steve Singleton went 3-4 with his ninth double. Juan Portes hit his sixth home run.
Sunday – New Britain 5, Reading 4 – Erik Lis doesn’t have as many doubles as a year ago, but he is still a doubles machine. In this game, he hit his 24th and 25th doubles. Juan Portes hit his 17th and 18th doubles. Luke Hughes was 2-4 with his 11th double. Rene Tosoni hit his 15th home run of the year. Cole DeVries gave up four runs on nine hits in six innings. He walked none and struck out five. Loek Van Mil and Spencer Steedley each threw a scoreless inning. And then Alex Burnett came in and got the final three outs to record his seventh save, and his third in three days!
Friday – Ft. Myers 7, Charlotte 1 – Steve Hirschfeld was impressive yet again. In this game, he threw seven shutout innings. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out five. Bobby Lanigan struck out two in a perfect inning. Michael Allen gave up one run in the ninth. Chris Cates went 3-4. Mark Dolenc went 2-4 with his 17th double. Chris Parmelee walked once and hit his 16th home run.
Saturday – Ft. Myers 5, Charlotte 3 (10 innings) – Michael Tarsi pitched well again. He gave up two runs on three hits and three walks in seven innings. He struck out six. Joe Testa gave up an unearned run on one hits and two walks in two innings. He struck out three. Blair Erickson then pitched a scoreless inning. Ben Revere was 3-6. Mark Dolenc went 2-5 with his 23rd stolen base. Joe Benson was 2-5.
Sunday – Ft. Myers 5, Charlotte 3 – It was All Romero All the Time in this game. Deibinson Romero went 3-4 with his third triple. Nick Romero was 2-4 with his third triple and fourth home run. Bobby Lanigan made the start and went the first five innings. He gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk. Matt Williams struck out four in two scoreless innings. Henry Arias also worked two scoreless frames.
Friday – Beloit 9, Kane County 6 – Jeff Lanning drove in four runs on hit his second home of the year to lead the offense in this game. He was 2-4 in the game. Nathan Hansen went 3-4. Angel Morales went 2-4 with his 14th and 15th stolen bases and two runs driven in. Dan Osterbrock gave up an unearned run on three hits over 5.2 innings. He walked two and struck out six. Kyle Carr got the next four outs. Brad Stillings came in for the eighth. He gave up two hits and a walk, and all three scored. He didn’t record an out. Billy Bullock gave up two runs on four hits and a walk in his inning. Dan Berlind pitched a perfect ninth.
Saturday – Beloit 4, Kane County 0 – Liam Hendriks was terrific again. He threw seven shutout innings. He gave up just one hits and walked one while striking out five. Thomas Wright got five outs and gave up three hits and two walks, but somehow did not allow a run. Billy Bullock came on and struck out the lone batter he faced. James Beresford went 2-4. Angel Morales went 1-3 with a walk, his 12th home run, two runs driven in and his 16th stolen base.
Sunday – Beloit 2, Kane County 3 – Danny Rams had a nice game on offense, but it wasn’t enough on this day. He went 3-3 with a walk and his 13th and 14th doubles. Angel Morales went 2-4 with his 20th double. Drew Thompson hit his second home run. Brad Tippett started and went six innings. He gave up three runs on six this and two walks. He struck out five. Kyle Carr threw two scoreless innings ,before Dan Berlind gave up nothing in the ninth.
Friday – Game 1 – Elizabethton 5, Pulaski 4 – Brian Dozier again led the offense. He went 2-3 with a walk and his 15th double. Josmil Pinto was 2-4 with his 10th home run. Paul-Michael Klingsberg went 2-3 with his 8th double. Dan Rohlfing was 2-3 with his second triple. Jon Goncalves hit his fourth home run. Martire Garcia went just 4.1 innings. He gave up three runs on five hits and two walks. Dakota Watts gave up a run on one hits and one walk in 1.2 innings. Tony Davis struck out two in a scoreless inning.
Friday – Game 2 – Elizabethton 9, Pulaski 3 – Michael Gonzalez went 2-3 with a walk, his 11th double, his sixth home run and three RBI. Chris Herrmann went 2-3 with a walk, his 12th double and three RBI. Josmil Pinto and Steve Liddle each went 2-4. Angelo Sanchez started and gave up three runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out seven. Jhon Garcia went two shutout innings.
Saturday – Elizabethton 6, Pulaski 5 (13 innings) – Tom Stuifbergen gave up three runs on eight hits in six innings. He walked none and struck out seven. Ramon Acosta threw two shutout innings. Kelvin Mota gave up two runs on two hits in three innings. He walked none and struck out five. Peter Kennelly got the win by striking out four in two shutout innings. Anderson Hidalgo singled in Steve Liddle with what proved to be the winning run in the 13th inning. It was Hidalgo’s third hit of the game. Chris Herrmann went 3-6 with his 13th double. Paul-Michael Klingsberg was 3-5 with a walk, his ninth double and first home run. Liddle went 2-3 with three walks. Michael Gonzalez and Derek McCallum each had two hits.
Sunday – Elizabethton 9, Greeneville 1 – Edgar Ibarra improved to 6-2. He gave up one run on three hits and a walk in seven innings. He struck out ten. Kane Holbrook struck out four in two one-hit innings. All nine E-Twins hitters had one hit. Derek McCallum hit his third home run and four RBI. Anderson Hidalgo went 1-2 with three walks and his 13th double. Herbert Lara went 1-2 with two walks.
GCL TWINS GOINGS ON
Saturday – GCL Twins 1, GCL Rays 3 – Michael Tonkin gave up just an unearned run in the first six innings. He gave up four hits, walked none and struck out five. Oswaldo Sosa gave up an unearned run on two hits and a walk in two innings. Jan Rehacek gave up an unearned run but struck out two in an inning. Oswaldo Arcia went 2-4 with his eighth double and fourth home run. As you would expect based on the word “unearned” uttered so frequently in this paragraph, it wasn’t a great day for the Twins defense. The team had seven errors.
Sunday – GCL Twins 1, GCL Orioles 5 – BJ Hermsen lost for just the second time this season. In four innings, he gave up four runs on five hits. He walked none and struck out three. Edison Alvarez threw two shutout innings. Jean Mijares gave up a run on a hit and three walks in two innings. Hyeong-rok Choi went 2-5 with his fifth double. Oswaldo Arcia hit his ninth and 10th doubles in four at bats.