Wednesday September 1, 2004
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
Good morning! And, a special welcome to all the teachers and students out there who are going to their first day of the new school year (in Minnesota, at least). Have a great year!
Those in Florida, be safe!! Watch the Weather Channel!
Today is going to be a short entry. Just some thoughts on the Twins 8-5 thriller over the Rangers, more Twins thoughts, and how their minor league affiliates did.
I won't even talk about Kevin Garnett and Rick Rickert getting into a fight on the court yesterday and Rickert needing stitches. That can't help Rickert's chances of making the team. Or, maybe KG will totally respect Rickert for it and it could help him. Who knows? I just like the fact that KG is Minnesota now. When Joel Pryzblla quit on the Gophers basketball team and entered the NBA Draft, KG had a strong dislike for him. Maybe Rickert is the same thing.
I won't talk about the Twins cutting kicker Aaron Elling and signing veteran Brett Conway. Not sure how I feel about that. Conway has been cut a lot of times. Is he really better than Elling?
Anyway, let's get to the Twins Thoughts. Please feel free to e-mail me with questions or comments on anything. Have a great day!
TWINS TOP TEXAS IN GAME 1 (8-5 in 11)
Here are just some quick random thoughts on tonight's Twins win over the Rangers. What a game! A great win down the stretch for the Twins.
Have a Night, Torii Hunter! A first inning RBI ground out. A 3rd inning, 2-run double, and in the 11th with runners on 1st and 2nd and 2 outs, Hunter laced a hanger over the left-field fence to end the game. Two doubles, a game-winning, extra-inning homer and six RBI! Not a bad night. And, I know that Torii wasn't at all "clutch" in 2003, but he has been very good this year. I won't go into the numbers because they don't matter. But he has come up with big, late-inning hits in the last month. If he can hit .270-.290 with 20-30 homers and 80-100 RBI, and still play his brand of centerfield, he is worth whatever they are paying him.
That HAS TO BE IT! OK, the time has come. I don't care if it if JD Durbin. I don't care if it is Scott Baker. I don't care if it is Dave Gassner. I don't care if it is Francisco Liriano, Henry Bonilla or Jim Abbott. I would be happy if it was Glen Perkins. But someone HAS TO take Kyle Lohse's spot in the rotation. Enough is enough... isn't it? Last night in the fifth inning, the Twins were ahead 5-3, runners on first and third. Alfonso Soriano rips a ball down the third base line for what should be a double. Augie Ojeda makes a great diving play and then the throw to second to force out the runner. The run scores making the score 5-4, but the Twins still have the lead and now there are two outs. I turned to a buddy I was watching the game with and said, "Most pitchers here would be uplifted by that play and get out of this inning with the lead intact. Kyle Lohse will not. He will find a way to give up another run or two." Well, fortunately, after two more hits, the Rangers only scored one more before Ron Gardenhire took the ball from Lohse and gave it to Joe Roa! Every time he starts we say the same thing; he can't be this bad. He can't be this bad. Well, he has now made 28 starts this year and has he had five decent starts? Maybe, maybe not.
THE PHENOM - Jason Kubel made his debut last night with a pinch hitting appearance to lead off the 11th inning. He got out, but his future is so exciting!
OUCH! That's why pitchers should not field those come-backers with their bare hand. You hear it all the time, and for the most part, nothing happens. Well, Joe Nathan tried to bare hand a ball and ended up hurting himself. Hopefully he is OK!
THE VULTURE - Nathan's injury meant that Juan Rincon could come into the game, get two outs, see Torii Hunter's homer and record his 11th win of the season.
THE WIN STAT - Ah, the Win stat! Think about this for just one second though. You and I know that the win stat, when looking at a pitcher's performance for the season, is not worth as much as WHIP, ERA, etc. However, I was having a conversation with my friend Tyler Baker last week. I said, "Think about this for a second. In an individual game, isn't the "Win" stat the most important stat for the team and for a starting pitcher?" Tyler came back with, "And, isn't a season just a 162 game series of individual games?" Hard to argue that point. I think that the Win stat is a strange one. It can be very misleading. But from a team perspective, it is the only stat that matters.
UTILITY - Augie Ojeda has proven that he can be a solid big league utility player. Clearly he can't hit well enough to play every day. But he has played well in the field at 2B and 3B so far, and he is a natural SS. No, he's no Nick Punto, but he'll do. He made two great plays at 3B last night.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN - Terry Mulholland was in the bullpen warming up in the 11th inning. Had Hunter not homered to end the game, the Twins likely would have brought Mulholland into that game. Would that have meant that JD Durbin could have started for the team tonight? Now that is something I would not have missed!!
HATE TO FORGET - I almost forgot to mention that Justin Morneau hit his 15th home run of the year and drove in another with a solid single. Have I ever mentioned that he is good?
The Twins did make a trade deadline deal yesterday afternoon. They acquired their backup catcher for the playoffs from the Seattle Mariners. But it wasn't the catcher whose name we have heard for the past month, former Minnesota Gopher Dan Wilson. Instead, they reached into the archives and acquired 41 year old Pat Borders in exchange for former first round pick BJ Garbe.
The Twins brass will want to talk about him being a veteran and an excellent backstop. You will also hear about his post-season success and the fact that he is a World Series MVP. They may forget to tell you that it was the 1992 World Series! In fact, Borders has played in just 52 big league games... since the 1999 season! 19 of them have been this year. He has spent the majority of his time riding minor league buses.
So, if we're being honest, this is a very minor trade. However, don't let that bother you. It could be a very important trade. The fact is, Borders will come in as a backup to Henry Blanco, and probably will play very little. Only late inning catching duties after Henry Blanco is pinch hit for. In that way, his offense does not matter. I guess I prefer the veteran to a guy like Rob Bowen at this stage, for this year. And that isn't a knock on Rob Bowen. Believe me, his numbers are mockery enough.
The Twins were able to trade BJ Garbe to get Borders. Yes, he is a former #1 pick that the team invested a lot of money in. It is more than fair at this point, when his batting average is barely above the Mendoza Line in AA, to call Garbe a bust. Could he still have a future in the big leagues. Maybe. He is still just 23 years old. But what good is he to the Twins at this stage. Shannon Stewart and Torii Hunter are locked up for awhile. Lew Ford deserves all the playing time he gets. Jason Kubel is one of the top prospects in baseball. Michael Restovich and Michael Ryan, despite all of their shortcomings this year, are far better equipped to contribute to the Twins. And, Garbe has probably been passed on the Twins prospect list by all of the following outfielders: Josh Rabe, Kevin West, James Tomlin, Alex Romero, Scott Whitrock, Trent Oeltjen and Deacon Burns (not to mention Denard Span who ranked ahead of him already).
BJ Garbe went to high school in Washington state, so maybe Garbe will get a chance with the Mariners. I wish him well, but he will not be missed by the Twins.
Watching the Twins Ticket, a half-hour pre-game show, they did a segment on people who could be called up to the Twins either today (September 1st), or following the Rochester Redwings final game on September 6th. It was amazing to me how non-knowledgeable Clay Matvick and Bert Blyleven were about the situation. I'm not saying that they need to be expert minor leaguers, but a little common knowledge of the situation would be good.
I mean, when Blyleven was talking about Kubel, it was as if he had read some numbers beforehand and just fumbled them on-air. They named Michael Restovich and Michael Ryan as if they could play some important role for the team in September. Why? Because they did last year. Well, Resto is hitting .248 and Ryan has been hot of late to improve his average to .210. Those are the numbers of someone warranting a call up.
For pitchers, they discussed Aaron Fultz, Seth Griesinger and Matt Guerrier. Fultz could get called up as a lefty out of the 'pen, and probably should be. I have no problem with Guerrier eating up some innings. But, Griesinger has a broken hand and is out for the year. I just don't see him contributing. Isn't that something that should have been pointed out to them when they were making that package.
Oh, and then in passing, they mentioned Jesse Crain (who, despite being 'sent down' to make room for Jason Kubel, stayed with the team and will be recalled today), JD Durbin, Jason Bartlett and Terry Tiffee. These are the guys who can actually contribute meaningful playing time. With Corey Koskie out for a week or so, and Michael Cuddyer missing last night's game because of an injury, Terry Tiffee may be up today and in the lineup a bit! Hopefully he does well and proves my thoughts that he could handle the Twins 3B job next year!
Other options at AAA include Alex Prieto, Boof Bonser and Adam Johnson. A couple of guys that are not on the 40 man roster, but deserve a look-see include Rochester's Josh Rabe and Kevin West as well as New Britain's Luis Maza and Garrett Jones. That is a lot of players, they would have to be told that they will not play much, but that their play warranted a big league call.
Travis Hafner hit a bases-clearing triple in the top o the first to give the Indians a 3-0 lead over the Yankees. Yeah... that was just the start of things to come. Omar Vizquel led The Tribe with a 6-7 day on their way to an easy 22-0 win.
The White Sox got to see the A's best pitcher right now, Rich Harden, and Harden got the best of them. The Sox lost 7-2 to the A's. Here are the current standings:
AL Central Standings
Minnesota Twins 73-58
Cleveland Indians 67-66 7.0
Chicago White Sox 64-66 7.5
Here are the remaining pitching matchups for the series.
Wednesday - 7:10 - Terry Mulholland (4-7, 5.03, 1.56, .322) vs Chan Ho Park (3-4, 5.50, 1.44, .277)
Thursday - 7:10 - Brad Radke (9-7, 3.74, 1.18, .275) vs Kenny Rogers (15-6, 4.69, 1.46, .292)
Any thoughts on last night's game, or anything related to the Twins?? E-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Rochester was represented by Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel on the International League Post-Season All-Star Team. Kubel was also named International League Rookie of the Year. The team has just five games remaining on its schedule after an off day today.
REDWINGS 9, Pawtucket 7 - Jason Bartlett continues his hot streak by reaching base in all five of his plate appearances (3-3 with a BB and HBP). Todd Dunwoody went 2-5 with his ninth homer. Michael Restovich went 2-5. Michael Ryan went 2-4. Terry Tiffee had a double and 3 RBI. A bullpen start was necessary for the team. Kevin Hodge got the start and went three shutout innings. Joe Beimel had a non-good outing, allowing 7 runs (6 earned) on five hits and a walk. Willie Eyre gave up none in 2 2/3. Adam Johnson came off the Disabled List and pitched a scoreless inning before a scoreless Beau Kemp inning.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
ROCKCATS 4, Harrisburg 2 - New Britain was only able to notch six hits, and as usual, Garrett Jones had two of them. Jim Abbott made the start and gave up just two runs in six innings. He allowed three hits and walked three. Victor Moreno gets the win with a scoreless inning. Bobby Korecky recorded save #29 with two shutout innings.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
MIRACLE , Lakeland - Game postponed by weather. Double header scheduled for today.
SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
I wanted to include this picture taken of the sweet swing of Swing catcher Kyle Phillips and the gorgeous background of the provided by the newly renovated John O'Donnell Stadium in Davenport, Iowa.
SWING 2, Clinton 3 (10) - Scott Tyler pitched another impressive game. He went 5.2 innings and gave up two runs on three hits and four walks. However, he also struck out 12 Clinton hitters! Chris Schutt came in in relief and gave up two hits and two walks in 1 1/3 innings, without allowing a run. 2004 8th round pick, Jay Sawatski, continues to impress. He went two scoreless innings to drop his ERA to 1.13. Quad Cities was only able to get four hits. Scott Whitrock had a double. Fans may be excited to know that Matt Moses did have one of the hits.
E-TWINS - Day Off
As always, if you have any questions, comments or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me.
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