Wednesday Game Notes

6 Aug

(This page is also available to read and comment at www.SethSpeaks.net)

 

Hi Everybody! This posting will contain game thoughts and notes from Wednesday’s games. The Twins got a much needed win. If you can believe it, the Rochester Red Wings swept a double header and one of their pitchers threw a complete game shutout! Shooter Hunt showed that he is human. Angel Morales continues to impress, and there was a two home run hitter for the GCL Twins!

 

I encourage comments and questions that you may have, but I must say that I will be leaving town Thursday mid-morning for a trip to Nebraska for a family wedding on Saturday. I hope to check things out when I get there tomorrow night. I will check the site throughout the weekend. I also want to point out that right before I leave tomorrow, my plan is to post a blog entry that everyone will thoroughly enjoy. Seriously, I am really excited about it. That posting will remain at www.SethSpeaks.net throughout the weekend. I do hope to do a couple of postings throughout the weekend, but if I do so, I will post them here. So make sure you check it out throughout the weekend. My travel schedule the last several weeks has been a bit crazy. I appreciate the loyalty most of you have shown by continuing to come to this site and contribute. Thank you!

 

Let’s get to the game thoughts…

 

TWINS 7, MARINERS 3

  • The Twins really needed this game. It’s not “Must-Win” time yet, but to have been swept, even on the road, by a team with that record would be very disappointing. Losing two of three is disappointing, but really only one game worse than you could or should really hope for. I mean, to think that you’re going to win two out of three games against any team on the road isn’t realistic. Now the Twins will be able to enjoy an off day in Kansas City before starting a three game series against the Royals on Friday night. Again, winning two out of three in that series would be great. The Twins have Kevin Slowey, Francisco Liriano and Scott Baker going in the series, so I’ll take those chances.  
     
  • Denard Span – if I have to eat crow for my thoughts earlier this year on Randy Ruiz, then what should my punishment be for any comments I may have made over the last two or three years about Denard Span. Maybe it was the eye surgery in the offseason, but the man has come up here and succeeded beyond any fair expectation. His approach at the plate is absolutely incredible. In my mind, he is the most pure leadoff hitter that the Twins have had since Chuck Knoblauch, and he left before the 1998 season started. He isn’t just a slap and run hitter. He takes a solid swing and can drive the ball. He’s already got two homers. He won’t ever be a big-time home run hitter, but he can hit them. He already has four triples. In this game, he was 3-5 with four RBI including an early bases-clearing triple. He stole his sixth base. He has greatly improved his base stealing and base running based on his numbers throughout the minor league career. And then there is his defense. He has tremendous range, a very good arm. And in this game, he robbed Adrian Beltre of a home run by leaping high above the right field fence. So what does it all mean? Is he the leadoff hitter of the future (and present)? Does he play CF or RF? Well, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. He still only has 143 at bats (and about 165 plate appearances). The league will adjust to him with scouting reports. So how Span responds and adjusts to the league’s adjustments will tell us a lot. But again, his plate discipline and approach are very conducive to being able to make those adjustments and make them more quickly. This is definitely a case where I have absolutely no problem being wrong! Good for him!
  • The Twins really, really needed a solid start from Nick Blackburn on Wednesday afternoon. He gave them a quality start. He went six innings and gave up three runs on nine hits. He walked one and struck out one and threw 102 pitches. It would have been nice to get seven from him, but it was very similar to the Glen Perkins outing on Monday (except Perkins had thrown about 30 less pitches). Blackburn was being hit a bit and it was time to get him out.
  • It was also very nice to see Dennys Reyes, Jesse Crain and Joe Nathan combine for three shutout innings! The bullpen needed a game with success. If there is any part of this team that needs a day off, it is that bullpen. Hopefully they all were able to ice their arms a lot on their flight to Kansas City and none of them pick up a ball on Thursday!
  • Another game batting third, another two-hit game for Mike Redmond.
  • Randy Ruiz got a start in what likely will be his role when with the Twins, DH against a lefty. He responded by going 2-5.
  • I never have much of a problem with guys getting days off. Sometimes they just need them. For instance, Joe Mauer has just looked tired and fatigued this whole series, so I have zero problem with giving him the day off in this game. I have no problem that Delmon Young got a day off. It is just interesting to me that he would get a day off against a lefty. That said, Jason Kubel did well enough on Tuesday night (two homers, four hits) including the home run against the lefty he faced, and I have no problem with him getting another start.
  • Adam Everett played like Adam Everett in this game. He was 1-1 with a walk and two sacrifice bunts. Can’t ask for much more from him. He also made a pretty impressive defensive play in the eighth inning.
  • Brendan Harris continued to play well. He went 2-4 with a walk, and he too made a couple of very nice plays at 3B. Both of his hits were doubles and he drove in two runs. He had two hits in all three games of the Seattle series.

Any other thoughts on the Twins?

Twins Minor League Updates

Wednesday SethSpeaks Player of the Day – Garrett Jones, Rochester Red Wings
Wednesday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day – Tom Shearn, Rochester Red Wings

 

ROCHESTER REPORT
Wednesday – Rochester 3, Lehigh Valley 2 (8 innings) – This was a pitch-by-bullpen game for the Red Wings. Tim Lahey started and gave up two runs on three hits and two walks in three innings. Danny Graves then threw three shutout innings, allowing just two hits. Ricky Barrett and Mariano Gomez each threw a scoreless frame as well. Jason Pridie continued to hit well. He went 2-4. Michael Cuddyer, in his first rehab start, played RF and went 1-3 with a walk. Trevor Plouffe hit his fifth homer run with the Red Wings. The losing pitcher in this game was former Twin JD Durbin. The Real Deal is now 0-7 with an 11.03 ERA with the IronPigs.

Wednesday – Rochester 5, Lehigh Valley 0 – In the second game, recently acquired veteran Tom Shearn went all seven innings and gave up no runs on two hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out eight. Garrett Jones had a big game. He went 3-3 with two doubles, his 15th homer and three RBI. Jason Pridie went 1-2 with a walk, his 16th double and 22nd stolen base.  

 

NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Wednesday – New Britain 11, New Hampshire 7Brian Dinkelman may have some chips moving around in his elbow the rest of the season, but it doesn’t seem to be affecting his bat. In this game, he went 3-4 with his first triple, his second homer and four RBI. David Winfree was 2-3 and recorded his first stolen base. Felix Molina went 2-3 with a walk. Steve Tolleson was 2-4 with a walk. Matt Moses was 2-4. Brock Peterson went 2-5. Kyle Aselton started and went 3.2 innings. He gave up four runs (3 earned) on five hits. He walked five and struck out two. Zach Ward gave up just two hits and no runs over the next 2.1 innings to get the win. He walked two and struck out one. Jose Mijares made his first AA appearance of the year and threw two shutout innings, striking out two. Ben Julianel got a mop up inning of work and gave up three runs on four hits. 

 

FT MYERS MEMOS
Wednesday
– Miracle, Tampa – The game was postponed due to a power outage and likely will be resumed. Whit Robbins had provided some power in the early innings with his fourth homer. Spencer Steedley started and went three innings of one hit ball.

 

BELOIT BITS
Wednesday – Beloit 1, Kane County 8 Yesterday morning, I got an e-mail from a reader that, in part, said, “Why are the Twins allowing Hunt and Slama to toil in A-Ball? Right now, both pitchers are men amongst boys and I can’t help but to think allowing them to completely dominate can possibly be detrimental to their development. ” My response regarding Shooter Hunt was, “He probably is where he should be. He had to move up from E-Town. And, control was his issue before the draft, and he has issued a number of walks in his few outings. he’s getting strikeouts and doing some things well. I don’t know his percentage of strikes thrown. I know he’s only gone five innings in starts which makes me think he is throwing a lot of pitches per at bat.” Well, I sent that before noon so I really hope I didn’t jinx him in some way. Hunt made this start and went just 3.1 innings. He gave up six runs (5 earned) on four hits. He walked five (for the second straight game) and struck out just three. He not has 12 walks in just 13.1 innings with the Snappers. Charles Nolte went the next 1.2 innings and gave up just an unearned run. Mike Tarsi gave up an unearned run in his two innings. Danny Hernandez pitched a scoreless inning. Jeanfred Brito went 1-2 with two walks. Ben Revere went 1-4 with his 35th stolen base.

 

ELIZABETHTON EXTRAS
Wednesday – E-Twins 5, Bristol 13 Another rough start for Alex Curry in this one. He went just 3.2 innings and gave up seven runs on eight hits. He walked two and struck out four. Lee Martin then gave up three runs (2 earned) on four hits in 2.2 innings. He struck out four. Kyle Carr gave up three runs (1 earned) in just 1.2 innings. Nathan Fritz threw a perfect inning. Jeff Lanning went 2-3 with his fourth homer and two RBI. Evan Bigley went 2-4 with his eighth double. Angel Morales went 2-4 with his ninth double and tenth home run. Nick Romero went 2-5 with his seventh double.

 

GCL TWINS TALK
Wednesday – GCL Twins 9, GCL Red Sox 3 Jakub Hatjmar led the offense in this game with a 5-6 game, each hit being a single. Josmil Pinto went 3-4 with a walk, his first homer and his first stolen base. Daniel Ortiz was 3-5 with his fifth triple. Juan Sanchez went 2-5 with his first two home runs. Angelo Sanchez went the first six innings and gave up three runs (2 earned) on six hits. He walked none and struck out three. Andrei Lobanov struck out three in two shutout innings. Kelvin Mota pitched a perfect inning.

   

Have a great day!

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15 Responses to “Wednesday Game Notes”

  1. Eric Olson August 7, 2008 at 12:53 am #

    I am almost bitter that Mike Redmond keeps doing so well out of the three-spot. It almost makes me question my conviction that it is totally wrong for him to be there.

  2. James M. August 7, 2008 at 2:05 am #

    As good as Span’s overall numbers are, they actually undervalue his performance since coming back up.

    Overall .313/.403/.463
    April .258/.324/.258
    Since .330/.425/.524

    He didn’t have any extra base hits in April, just 8 singles. Since then 21 singles and 13 XBH’s.

    Certainly he can’t keep up this pace for the rest of the season. Still it’s interesting to compare his numbers to M&M.

    Mauer .317/.409/.450
    Morneau .311/.387/.517

  3. toby August 7, 2008 at 3:04 am #

    The big guns at Elizabethton just continue to tantalize the imagination. Well, MY imagination, at least. In addition to Big E. Bigley and El Angel of Death’s ongoing terrorism (what did I say about my imagination?), I noted that The Duke of Waltenbury also walked twice in 5 trips to keep his OBP near .400.

    Shooter Hunt is EXACTLY where he needs to be. His stuff was way to bitchin for rookie ball, but it’s going to take a herculean coaching effort to contain the lightning that young man obviously has in his… er… bottle/arm. Note that in addition to the five walks you mentioned, he also had a wild pitch and TWO hit batsmen. It’s minimally a little interesting to note the attendence for the game against Kane County (an outer ring Chicago suburban team, basically) was just shy of 10,000. This is pure speculation, but I’m gonna go with “he was rattled by the big time atmosphere.” It’s at least a possibility, anyway, The ONLY reason to move him up is if there is honest feeling that he could get superior daily coaching at a different level.

    I run in to a couple guys fairly frequently who were naysayers when Span came up. I told them to give it a week. At this point, I should offer to quit rubbing it in for an evening of drinks.

    It makes me truly HAPPY on a basic human level to see Randy Ruiz do well.

    It was weird to see Adam Everett look like an honest to god big league hitter on his line drive single.

    Hot or not, home run against lefty or not, I was NOT happy to see Kubel getting the start ahead of Young. That was pure nonsense by me. I guess he’s a streaky player, but to bench a guy who hits from the correct side, who’s been rock solid for two months, who’s much better in the field? I didn’t get it at all.

    Man did Gomez have some UGLY swings. Hey Carlos, it was only a foot high and a foot outside! FREE JASON PRIDIE. (His August OPS — tiny sample size, to be sure — is actually better than his 1.012 July OPS!)

    If I were a betting man and faced with an exotic wager window, my money’d be on Punto’s OPS sitting sub .700 within two weeks. Why can’t they make a deal for Grudzielanek??

    There will never be a reason to question the conviction that Ron Gardenhire drops a boatload of acid everytime he inserts Mike Redmond into the 3 hole.

    FREE RICKY BARRETT.

  4. Mike August 7, 2008 at 8:34 am #

    Good stuff, Toby. Seth–why do you not include the DSL Twins in your minor league updates?

  5. mike wants wins August 7, 2008 at 8:39 am #

    Is it mathematically possible for Punto’s numbers to be even worse? He just should not be an everyday player. No way.

    Gomez is just where we thought he’d be this year, about a AAA or AAAA player right now. That’s not to say he’ll stay that way, but it is true I think. I’m sure Pridie will be a september call up.

    As much as I think Young is a weak hitting huge dissapointment, I’d also have had him in yesterday. It was an odd decision on its face.

    Hunt was due for a bad game, but I agree, he’s where he should be right now.

    Have fun in Nebraska, that’s where I was born and most of my family was congregated around there for years.

  6. Seth August 7, 2008 at 8:55 am #

    “Seth–why do you not include the DSL Twins in your minor league updates?”

    I believe the official term/reason would be Lazy-ness. That said, looking at the GCL roster and not knowing a lot about them, it would probably be a good idea for me to consider. Basically, I’ve got no real good reason. I guess I have some internal reason that six affiliates and a big league club is enough to cover. Also, there is no way I will consider a DSL guy for a Top 50 list.

    And Toby – Great stuff… I’m getting closer and closer to the FREE JASON PRIDIE perspective. I definitely think we’ll see him in September. And, I’ve been in the FREE RICKY BARRETT camp for a few years (more when he was 24), but he’s a lefty with good strikeout numbers and too many injuries. He certainly walks too many and that would be exposed big time in the big leagues.

    By the way, love the Duke of Waltenbury call and I think I could catch on to El Angel of Death!!

    And I think Mike is right on Gomez. He is performing like we probably thought going into the season. He just is so good defensively and we can all see the potential oozing out of him. He also had that really good month that made us think his timeline might be a little quicker. He’ll be fine.

  7. Corky August 7, 2008 at 12:25 pm #

    I’ll check the numbers later when I get a chance, but Gomez has been improving since going to the 9th spot. I see it in his at-bats. He’s actually taking pitches a little bit better and being a bit more selective in what he swings at. And he has a couple multi-hit games since colliding with the Cleveland outfield wall. Sure he swings wildly still sometimes. But give him time in this next month to see what he does.

  8. Eric Olson August 7, 2008 at 12:46 pm #

    I don’t know what the numbers are now, since he had a couple hitless games, but a few days ago, Gomez was batting .458 since being moved to the 9 spot. He still swings as if he has never seen a breaking ball before, but that is much rarer than it was a month ago. Any thoughts on whether some of his failures in the #1 spot was him fretting about losing his full-time job in center to Denard Span after the call-up?

    My personal feeling on what we might see once Cuddyer comes back looks something like this:

    vs. LHP: DH: Cuddyer, LF: Young, RF: Span, CF: Gomez
    vs. RHP: DH: Kubel, LF: Span/Young, RF: Cuddyer/Span, CF: Gomez

    Gomez just has too much speed and defensive ability to be demoted, as much as I think he could use a week or so in the minors. Even more clearly, Span isn’t going anywhere. I think he will likely lose some starts once Cuddyer comes back, but I tend to think that Young will lose more. The last series really showed what a defensive liability Young can be; we are seeing some of the lackadaisical play that Dmitri was famous for prior to his blow-up in ’05/’06.

    I don’t think Cuddyer will be a full-time fielder for the rest of the season. The club just has too much to lose if he re-injures that finger diving for a catch that Span could have made standing up.

  9. toby August 7, 2008 at 1:00 pm #

    Barrett’s been healthy all year, though, and I’m not sure what his injury-proneness has to do with it. If we were talking about spending money to sign him or something, sure, but this is like the Chinese Grandma at my work who doesn’t want us to roll out the awning because that will wear out the awning. “Yes, Mama Wong, but why do you have an awning if you’re not going to use it?”.

    As Fat Elvis might sing: “It’s now or never / Ricky Barrett’s love won’t wait.” His control issues aren’t HORRIBLE — he walks half again as many as average — but he has been NASTY for a couple months (38.5% June K rate; 31.7% in July). I’ll take an extra baserunner or two per 9 in the walk department if he’s setting down 1 in 3 without their having put the ball in play.

    BTW, I’m noticing the original site is getting more comment traffic again. Huh.

  10. toby August 7, 2008 at 1:01 pm #

    Perhaps you prefer the full on “Morales: El Angel de la Muerte”?

  11. toby August 7, 2008 at 2:16 pm #

    It seems to me like Gomez is taking pitches just to LOOK like he’s learning “patience”/getting a clue how to evaluate the pitches coming at him, at least judging by some of the awfulness (FASTBALLS way out of the zone, I’m talking about) he still swipes at and some of the fastball strikes he takes.

    Given that he’s not going anywhere unless he puts together another 1 for 50 type run, I’m minimally HOPING the lineup v. RH is DH Kubel, LF Young (I don’t think he’s as bad defensively as Kubel; he certainly looks awkward, but he covers a LOT more ground and I simply disagree that his play can be accurately characterized as “lackadaisical”), CF Span, RF Cuddyer (not that I believe Cuddyer will produce). I continue to believe Carlos Gomez is on the major league roster to make Bill Smith looks good. If he hadn’t come over in the Santana trade he’s back at AAA learning to hit and steal effectively.

  12. Corky August 7, 2008 at 4:29 pm #

    “It seems to me like Gomez is taking pitches just to LOOK like he’s learning “patience”/getting a clue how to evaluate the pitches coming at him, at least judging by some of the awfulness (FASTBALLS way out of the zone, I’m talking about) he still swipes at and some of the fastball strikes he takes.”

    Come on. Give him a little more credit than that. He’s not just going to snap out of his bad habits over night. I genuinely see him forcing himself to take a couple extra pitches and trying as hard as he can to lay off on the ones outside.

    Here I crunched the numbers for when he got sent to the 9 spot:

    Hits: 13
    At-bats: 35
    Avg: .371
    Walks: 2
    OBP: .423
    Srikeouts: 7

    Very very small sample size, but he’s obviously doing OK. He’s not hitting for power or anything, but I’m confident he’ll get things straightened out and be at least average. And as others have eluded to, he really covers a lot of ground in CF, and if he can just keep on doing what he’s doing in the 9 spot, he’ll be fine.

  13. Leslie August 7, 2008 at 6:35 pm #

    You talked about how you can’t say enough about how good Denard Span has played, Jon. Denard has been Mr. Reliable this season. He produces in every game that he plays whether it’s his glove or with his bat. He has certainly earned the right to play everyday. Carlos Gomez is fortunate that Cuddyer has that hand injury or else he would be a platoon player. When Cuddy comes back, you have to figure that Denard is your everyday centerfielder.

    What a good story Denard has been. Like most Twins fans, I really wonder what he would offer. I know the Twins wanted to groom him as Hunter’s replacement, and he is now, but he struggled to hit in the minors, and you had to wonder if he was going to be productive in the majors. He figured it out, and right now, he is doing at the right time. This guy is hungry. He wants to make sure that he wants to be in the majors for the rest of his career, and it shows in his production.

    Denard was the reason why the Twins won this game. He drove in four runs. His bases-loaded triple helped the Twins on the scoreboard, but that was not his biggest contribution. His important contribution came when he saved the game by robbing a home run from Adrian Beltre. I thought that ball was out of here when Beltre belted it. I was stunned to see Denard save it. It took the wind out of the Mariners’ sails, and the Twins got a momentum out of it by scoring three more runs in the next inning. I spent five minutes just raveling about that play by Denard.

    FSN North’s Telly Hughes said it best last week about how Denard has been Span-tastic.

  14. BigBan August 17, 2008 at 1:42 pm #

    Oh, Thanks! Really funny. Greets.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Playing with the Outfield; Problems Caused by Cuddyer (NOMY) « Call to the ‘Pen - August 8, 2008

    […] 8, 2008 by Eric Olson (Note: This post is mostly an expansion on posts I left here and here today. I wanted to take the space to thresh out the ideas more fully, so here you […]

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