This is also posted at SethSpeaks.net:
Ah, West Coast games… you have to hate them! Seriously, 9:00 start times?! That’s just not right. So anyway, the minor league games are done, and the Twins and M’s are in the fifth inning, so I’m going to try to find a few Did You Knows or other bullet point notes while waiting for the game to finish. (Update – I should have just gone to bed! UGGH!)
First things first, Jason Kubel was removed from the lineup not long before game time with Mike Lamb taking over the 5th spot in the lineup and DHing. Soon after, it was reported that Kubel was removed because of some ‘family emergency.’ I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that I hope it isn’t anything too serious and is able to be taken care of. Best wishes to the Kubel family. I know we’ve all experienced enough “Game in Perspective” moments.
It’s been forever, so I thought that I would check the game logs… Did you know that Carlos Gomez’s last Stolen Base came on June 30th? He had two steals on Opening Night, which was in March. He had nine steals in April, six in May, four in June and then none in July and August. The strangest thing is that he has only attempted two stolen bases. Any theories?
Will Ichiro Suzuki be enshrined in Cooperstown someday? He will not get 3,000 hits, and he’s really only a singles hitter and a tremendous outfielder. However, I also think it is important to factor in the reason that he won’t get 3,000 hits in the Major Leagues. Because he was playing in Japan for a long time. He does have over 3,000 total hits. He’s just a great hitter and in my mind, he should be a first ballot Hall of Famer when his playing days are complete.
Jose Mijares was promoted to New Britain yesterday. He has been terrific and is certainly one of the positive stories of the Twins minor league system in 2008.
Here is a very good article from the Omaha World Herald on Brian Duensing heading to the Olympics.
If you’re looking for a good Mariners blog, check out USS Mariner.
I have reports from people in Rochester that the reports of Francisco Liriano hitting 99 mph on the radar gun there were not exaggerated. The reading at the stadium posted 99 on one pitch in July, and a second radar gun at the game also showed 99 mph. Throughout that game and a couple of other July starts, he was hitting 94, 95 and even 96 mph a couple dozen times. In other words, one perspective is to say that there were exaggerated numbers coming from Rochester. I guess I’ll side more with those who attend the games. On Sunday, he was sitting between 89 and 92 with most of his fastballs. Does that mean that’s all he’s got now, or is it possible that he is now experiencing a dead-arm period and there is much more in his tank? Sunday’s performance was pretty good. Throwing what he threw that day, with better control, he could be very successful. If he is in fact experiencing a dead-arm period and could add even two or three mph to his fastball, and he could be incredible very quickly again.
For those that hadn’t heard, the Twins will face R.A. Dickey tonight. The Twins actually signed Dickey to a minor league contract in December. Less than a week later, the Twins lost him in the Rule V draft to the Mariners. The M’s chose to send him down to the minors so they had to offer him back to the Twins. The Twins instead acquired Jair Fernandez, a catcher at Beloit, for the hard-throwing knuckleballer. The 33 year old is 3-6 with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP in 81.1 innings for the M’s. He didn’t play in the big leagues in 2007. In 2006, he threw 3.1 big league innings and gave up six home runs. It’s funny that there are people out there who think that the Twins messed up by not keeping him.
TWINS 6, MARINERS 11
- Many of you, and I was really thinking about it, probably went to bed when things were looking so good. The Twins had a 6-0 lead going into the sixth, and a 6-1 lead going into the 7th. Then the ten run 7th inning made in 11-6. Gardy was shown fuming in the dugout after that inning, but he can really only blame himself.
- The pitch count is used so much to limit how many pitches a starter will throw. If a starter ends an inning near 100 pitches, odds are that he will not come out for the next inning. Too often, the pitch count is used rather than noticing how well the pitcher is throwing or how much stress each pitch has been thrown with. In other words, a guy can throw 120-130 pitches if he isn’t struggling or getting into jams each inning. I think we saw the opposite in this game with the Twins. Although Glen Perkins got through six innings with just 71 pitches thrown, I believe it was time to get him out of there. First, in the sixth inning, he allowed three straight singles to start the inning. He gave up a run on a double play and then got the third out, so he got out of the inning having allowed just one run. He had not thrown a lot of pitches, but clearly the Mariners were figuring him out. Perkins was throwing nothing but strikes. In fact, when his game was over, he had thrown 71 pitches, and 55 of them were strikes. In the last couple of innings, the pitches were getting up in the zone. Nothing good can come from that. The right move would have been to take Perkins out after the sixth inning having made a couple of good pitches and leaving with a 6-1 lead. Instead, the 7th inning was a repeat of the 6th, only this time with the bases loaded, Raul Ibanez hit a grand slam. Gardy threw his gum in the dugout before making the pitching change, but he should really only be upset at himself.
- Then Brian Bass came in and gave up a rocket shot double to Adrian Beltre and a bloop single to Jose Lopez to tie the game. He let go of his pitches and had no clue where the ball was going. That was pretty easy to see. That’s been the case the last couple of months. Bass is not a big league pitcher. As much as I don’t think that Bobby Korecky has a long-term big league future and will himself be quite hittable, I’d take my chances with him over Bass at this stage, to pitch those 6th and 7th innings. But again, back to the game at hand. If Gardy has Bass start the seventh inning, with a 6-1 lead, I have no problem with that. It isn’t high leverage and he probably does just fine.
- Craig Breslow came in and didn’t help much. He had to be replaced by Matt Guerrier who gave up the go-ahead run on the first pitch to Jeff Clement. Later Ibanez drove in two more runs with a single. Carlos Gomez threw the ball past third base, but fortunately Guerrier was backing up the play and threw the next runner out trying to score yet another run.
- This would be a great example of the report that Twins pitchers like to get ahead with strike one really hurts them. Of course, every team wants to get ahead with strike one, but the Twins pitchers seem to do that with fastballs or cookies right down the middle. That can work for awhile, but at some point, it catches up. Clearly, the Mariners scouting report was to go up there swinging.
- And don’t think I’m just blaming Gardy. The players left a lot of runners on base. It really felt like the Twins got a big lead and they just stopped. That’s not unnatural, but if this team thinks it is good, something like this should never happen.
- And yet, taking it back another step, stuff like this happens to good teams and to bad teams. Again, this is one game, and the challenge to all Twins fans is to remember that and see what happens tomorrow. The hope is simply that this horrific display is not the game that causes the Twins to plummet.
- By the way… what would the Yankees have wanted for LaTroy Hawkins?? He would slot in behind Joe Nathan, Matt Guerrier and Jesse Crain very nicely.
- It’s also important to remember that the Mariners team, for as bad as they are this year, will still win 60 games (probably). They have Ichiro, Ibanez, Beltre and other players who have experienced success in their careers, so it’s not like they are not capable of doing this. And once the flood gates open, it really doesn’t matter who is batting.
- Sleep well, and they’ll play again tomorrow!
Twins Minor League Updates
Monday SethSpeaks Player of the Day – Angel Morales, Elizabethton Twins
Monday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day – Anthony Swarzak, Rochester Red Wings
Monday – Rochester 4, Lehigh Valley 3 – Maybe reports on Anthony Swarzak were true. Maybe he was just so bored with the competition at AA that he was pitching really badly. Maybe all he needed was to be rewarded with a promotion to AAA to be adequately motivated. If so, it appears to be working so far. In his second AAA start, he improved to 2-0 with seven solid innings. He gave up two runs on eight hits and a walk. Both runs came on solo homers. He struck out five. Bobby Korecky pitched a scoreless eighth before allowing a run in the 9th. Ricky Barrett got the final two outs to record his second save. The offense was again led by Jason Pridie. He went 3-4 with a walk and his 21st double. Sergio Santos, Trevor Plouffe and Luke Hughes each went 2-4. Hughes hit his second double. Howie Clark went 2-5 with his 15th double.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Monday – New Britain 4, New Hampshire 12 – Yohan Pino simply has not been the same pitcher this season. He missed time at the beginning of the spring with an ankle injury and then missed a month earlier in the year with an arm issue. In this game, he went just 3.1 innings and gave up five runs. He struck out four, but he very uncharacteristically walked six. Armando Gabino came in and gave up three runs on three hits and three walks in 3.2 innings. Then Frank Mata came in and gave up four runs over the final two innings on three hits and four more walks. Erik Lis went 3-3 with a walk. David Winfree knocked a three run homer, his 14th of the year.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Monday – Miracle 3, Sarasota 2 – Brandon Roberts scored the game-tying run in the bottom of the 8th inning, and he drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth. He went 3-4 with a walk in the game. Wilson Ramos went 2-4 with his 12th homer. Yancarlos Ortiz went 2-3. Edward Ovalle and Juan Portes each went 2-4. Deolis Guerra started and went the first five innings. He gave up one run on six hits. He struck out just one and walked six. Carlos Gutierrez came in and gave up a run on two hits and a walk in 2.1 innings. Blair Erickson walked two and struck out one in 1.1 innings. Jose Lugo got the win by recording the final out of the top of the 9th.
Monday – Beloit – No Game Scheduled.
Monday – E-Twins 5, Kingsport 6 (12 innings) – Angel Morales hit a game tying three run homer in the bottom of the 9th inning. It was his second homer of the game and gave up five RBI in the game. He was 3-5. Michael Harrington went 3-5 with his tenth double. Evan Bigley went 2-5 with a walk. Dan Osterbrook went the first six innings. He gave up three runs (1 earned) on seven hits. He walked one and struck out eight. Lee Martin then gave up two runs (1 earned) on four hits and a walk in three innings. Steve Blevins went the final 2.1 innings and gave up a run on three hits.
GCL TWINS TALK
Monday – GCL Twins 3, GCL Orioles 5 – Edgar Ibarra started and gave up two runs on four hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out seven. Bruce Pugh went the next 2.1 innings. He allowed three hits and walked one but didn’t allow a run. Mauro Schiavoni gave up three runs (2 earned) on a hit and a walk in 1.2 innings. Hyeong-rok Choi went 3-5. Hyun-wook Choi was 2-4. Tyler Ladendorf went 2-5. Andres Diaz went 1-3 with two walks.
Have a great Tuesday!