It’s Going to be OK… Really!

19 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

“These are the days that test our mettle. Our worthiness. That make us question our progress in this our journey. Sometimes, it causes us to doubt our devotion. We begin to wonder why we chose this path. This is our purification process. This is when scientists would contend that the weaker members of the Twins Nation are weeded out. Make no mistake about it, we are in the furnace and only the purest of Twins Fans are going to survive. But, survive this we will. Not only will we survive this, but we will survive it well.”  

                                                                 – OrderoftheSpur.com (with obvious liberties taken).

It’s called a losing streak, Twins fans. It happens all the time. It happens every year; generally a couple of times every year. I am always amazed by how quickly some Twins “fans” are willing to give up on their team through the rough spots, and how quickly they want to jump right back on the bandwagon when things inevitably turn around. And seriously, we all know, there will be a turnaround. This team is far too talented to play poorly for an extended period of time. Are there holes? Of course. There are on every team. Right now, the Twins weaknesses are being exposed. The Twins need a couple of changes, and I fully believe that change is imminent.

But as Rick Pitino once ranted, “All this negativity sucks!” Maybe Pitino should write a rant for Ron Gardenhire:

“You’re the people being negative. And some of the fans. Harmon Killebrew is not walking through that door. Rod Carew is not walking through that door. Tony Oliva is not walking through that door And if you expect them to walk through the door, they’re going to be gray and old. What we are is young, exciting, hard-working, and we’re going to improve. People don’t realize that, and as soon as they realize those three guys are not coming through that door, the better this town will be for all of us because there are young guys in that (locker) room playing their <tails> off.”

I know it is cliché to keep pointing out that it is a 162 game season. I know that after last year’s one game playoff no one wants to hear that it’s just one game. But what is the alternative? To overreact every single inning of every single game? I just don’t think bleeding ulcers sound that fun!? Do you really want to be a fair-weather fan? Does that make the experience better?

Maybe I’m the weird one. I’ve followed this team long enough to understand the ebbs and flows of a season. I choose to agree with the great philosopher Bobby McFerrin. I encourage everyone to click here and just listen!! Just try not to start whistling! And if that doesn’t work, watch this video which, great song, but may be the creepiest video I have ever seen!

MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

Tuesday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Steve Tolleson, New Britain Rockcats

Tuesday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – David Bromberg, Ft. Myers Miracle

TRANSACTIONS – The Twins released LHP Henry Reyes from the Beloit Snappers roster. They also put Shooter Hunt on the Disabled List with a, ahem, groin injury. The Snappers will be getting some very strong help. Michael Tarsi, Blake Martin and Curtis Leavitt will all be joining them today.

ROCHESTER REPORT

Tuesday –Rochester 3, Durham 4 – Jason Jones got drilled in this game. In 4.2 innings, he gave up seven runs on eight hits and two walks. Tim Lahey came in and in two innings gave up three runs on three hits and three walks. Armando Gabino gave up no runs in his inning despite a hit and a walk. The Red Wings managed just four hits. Allen de San Miguel went 1-1, his first AAA hit.

While I Was Out – The Red Wings simply did not bring bats to Durham, it appears. Four hits Tuesday. Just two hits on Monday. They had six hits on Sunday, but none until phenom David Price left before the sixth inning. On Monday, Brian Duensing had his best outing of the season. In seven innings, he gave up just one run on six hits and a walk, but still got the loss. On Sunday, Philip Humber gave up two runs in five innings. Sean Henn’s final AAA appearance was impressive. He struck out four in two innings. Jason Pridie hit his first home run of the year.        

ROCKCAT RECAP

Tuesday – New Britain 14, Reading 6 Jeff Manship was the beneficiary of some incredible run support in this one. Steve Tolleson went 4-6 with his eighth double, first homer and three RBI. Brian Dinkelman went 3-4 with two walks and his ninth double. Brandon Roberts went 3-6 with his sixth double. Rene Tosoni was 2-3 with two walks and his fifth home run. Danny Valencia hit his ninth double and his fourth homer. He drove in four runs. Danny Lehmann went 2-4 with a walk. Whit Robbins hit his fifth homer. Manship went just five innings. He gave up four runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out four. Yohan Pino gave up two unearned runs on two hits in 1.2 innings. He struck out three. Frank Mata was perfect for 2.1 innings.  

While I Was Out – The Rockcats had a day off on Sunday. They beat Portland 4-2 on Sunday. Matt Fox went five innings to pick up his second win. Rob Delaney threw 2.2 scoreless innings in relief. Anthony Slama recorded his seventh save. He walked two in a scoreless inning.   

MIRACLE MEMOS

Tuesday – Game 1 – Ft. Myers 5, Jupiter 1David Bromberg improved to 3-0 with another strong start for the Miracle. He actually worked the first six innings without allowing a run. He went out to complete the game in the 7th when he gave up a run and got two outs. Alex Burnett came in to get the final out. Chris Parmelee was 2-3 with an RBI. Evan Bigley was also 2-3.

Tuesday – Game 2 – Ft. Myers 0, Jupiter 7 – The Miracle managed just three hits in this game. Chris Parmelee went 1-2 with a walk. He also stole his second base. Steve Hirschfeld was given his first opportunity to start a game this year. He went the first three innings and gave up only an unearned run on two hits. He struck out four. Henry Arias came in and gave up six runs on five hits and two walks in one inning. Is it still considered striking out the side if he did strike out three in that inning? Blair Erickson then worked two scoreless innings.

While I Was Out – The Miracle were rained out on Monday which created the need for the Tuesday double header. On Sunday, Deolis Guerra got the loss. He gave up three runs (2 earned) on seven hits and a walk in 5.1 innings. Spencer Steedley continued to dominate the FSL with 1.2 scoreless. Alex Burnett struck out two in his perfect inning. Danny Rams got another start behind the plate. He went 2-3 with a walk and his second double. Mark Dolenc, Ben Revere and Steve Singleton also had two hits in the game.      

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Tuesday – Beloit 1, Peoria 9 – If not for the home run ball, Brad Tippett would have had a very good start. The Snappers right-handed starter gave up four runs on eight hits and three walks. Four of those hits were solo home runs. Steve Blevins came in and gave up three runs on five hits over two innings. Danny Rondon pitched a scoreless inning. Joe Testa allowed two unearned runs in the ninth. The Snappers managed just three hits.

While I Was Out – The Snappers split a couple of games with Peoria. Jonathan Waltenbury went 4-7 with a walk in the two games. But the big story, in my mind, was that Angel Morales is now batting over .200, and he homered in each game. He now has five on the season. Bobby Lanigan got beat up for eight runs on ten hits in four innings on Monday. On Sunday, Dan Osterbrock picked up a Win despite giving up six runs on nine hits in 5.2 innings. Bruce Pugh (1 R, 3 IP, 4 K) and Steve Blevins (2.1 IP, 0 R) pitched well out of the bullpen.    

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

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18 Responses to “It’s Going to be OK… Really!”

  1. Jack Steal May 20, 2009 at 12:01 am #

    Seth, I really hope you are right!!

  2. BD57 May 20, 2009 at 7:35 am #

    Seth:

    Hey, buddy!

    I know you’re right – a baseball team is never as bad as it looks in a losing streak (or as good as it looks in a winning streak), it’s just hard to endure sometimes.

    Bert’s been pretty consistent in his criticisms this year – Baker’s up in the zone too often and isn’t willing to pound hitters inside. And while there are Twins fans (and bloggers) who like to make fun of him, he’s right on this.

    On “162 games” – I have mixed emotions about that old saying. Yes, it’s a long season and there will be ups & downs, but (and I know you don’t believe this) that doesn’t make these games in May somehow ‘unimportant.’ While we don’t know how it would’ve worked out, I sure would’ve liked one less loss in April or May 2008 …

  3. thrylos98 May 20, 2009 at 9:02 am #

    It’s not the losing streak that bothers me. What bothers me is

    a. At this point they are down 6 games in the loss column

    b. 93-129. Gardenhire’s all time record against teams that eventually made the post-season

    c. Inane personnel and game management decisions: latest examples: 1. everyone in the organization was talking about “Henn’s great ERA in Rochester” but if they had bothered to see his splits, they would have noticed that his WHIP against RHB is 1.74 there. He should have never pitched against RHB in the bigs. 2. Redmond over Morales. If you are not going to play Morales, favoring a lesser older player with one foot in retirement, bring up a better bat like Hughes who is killing LHP to use as a PH/DH whatever, esp when you are facing 3 lefties in a row and Kubel will seat.

    d. complacency. “Things will magically be ok” attitude. Instead of: “We got a problem, let’s identify it and try our best to fix it”.

    e. holding people accountable for their performance. It’s ok to send Casilla down because he did not perform well. The batters are 10th in the league in SLG (8th in OPS) and the pitchers are 12th in the league in ER; every pitcher except Guerrier regressed from last season. Are the coaches held accountable for that? The answer is no and it is about time they are held accountable for something.

    I hope that the executive committee realizes that if the situation continues it will affect target field ticket sales (this year average home attendance is 24,782; down about 4,000) and do something to show they care…

  4. mike wants wins May 20, 2009 at 9:09 am #

    How does Morales not play or PH on this roster? How do Punto and Tolbert hit late in the game, with runners on, and the Twins behind with Harris and Morales on the bench? How does Redmond PH, with Morales on the bench?

    Why can’t they do the little things for the last few years, like not get picked off or caught stealing 3rd with two outs in the inning?

    What good move has Bill Smith made in terms of adding personnel?

    I’m happy, but there are some puzzling decisions being made by the manager right now, and even you’ve said they haven’t played “the TWins way” the last few years.

  5. Kunza May 20, 2009 at 10:07 am #

    I think the Twins over the past few years have consistently played the “it will be OK” card too much – some little moves could have been made but were not (whether that was bullheadedness or stupidity).

    We are a “reactive” franchise rather than a “proactive” franchise. I couldn’t agree more with some of the previous posts about trying to fix the problem instead of waiting to see – let’s face it – they are not going to go 18-0? in inter-league play again to get back into the race

    No wonder we are under-performing with all the lineup juggling and guys in and out of the lineup (reminds of Little League that I coach -get everyone in the game and keep everyone happy)

  6. mike wants wins May 20, 2009 at 10:21 am #

    I don’t agree that Smith is reactive. He traded Garza and Bartlett for Young and Harris and Pridie. That was a proactive move all the way, it was just a bad move so far.

  7. thrylos98 May 20, 2009 at 11:12 am #

    Seth, Blake Martin or David Martin, the LHP, or Lee Martin, the RHP, will be joining Beloit soon? I thought that the only Martins in the Twins’ organization were David, Lee and Dustin (the former 2 pitchers, the latter the AAA OF). Never heard of Blake

  8. TT May 20, 2009 at 12:40 pm #

    “Are the coaches held accountable for that? The answer is no and it is about time they are held accountable for something.”

    Fire the manager! Fire the coaches! How about Fire the impatient fans.

    Casilla wasn’t sent down to make him “accountable”, he was sent down because the Twins are a better team with someone else playing.

    Would they be better with a different pitching coach? I doubt it. And lets be clear, its the pitching staff that has been the problem, starters and bullpen.

    “He should have never pitched against RHB in the bigs.”

    Which means he shouldn’t be in the big leagues. He was called up because the Twins bullpen has been overworked. Having a Henn used as a LOOGY doesn’t deal with that problem.

    “some little moves could have been made but were not ”

    No doubt true, the problem is determining in advance which ones. Picking up Craig Breslow last year worked out well. Keeping him this year?

  9. MrHockey172000 May 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm #

    Seems like a lot of friction between the coaches and the players right now–in yesterday’s game vs. ChiSox–Anderson gets into it with Baker, Gardy gets into it with Harris (bunting) and White gets into it with Red Dog (trying to advance on a short fly to right field and he is a dead red dog in a run down between 1st and 2nd–lucky the runner scored in advance of this debacle).

  10. Andy Darsow May 20, 2009 at 3:55 pm #

    I agree with about half of the points you guys are making. I am a huge Twins fan and try to remain positive most of the time. What I do agree with is how the Twins are too laid back and complacent. I think they need a sense of urgency. Hopefully some of these roster moves will do that. What I don’t understand is how people say “fire the manager and the pitching coach”. Yes, Gardy loves Nick Punto and Matt Tolbert but I completely disagree that he has mismanaged the pitching staff. He basically has three relievers that he can trust right now. That being Mijares, Guerrier, and Nathan. Other than that it is a crapshoot on who he puts out there. I agree Henn is a situational lefty but he had to try him last night to see what he brought to the table. You can’t run Guerrier and Mijares out there every single night. That is on Bill Smith, not the manager. I am as big of a Brendan Harris supporter as there is but he is not a great defensive second baseman and when he has been given strings of everyday playing time hasn’t really given Gardy a reason to keep him in there. I think he should play everyday, but the reason this team is not winning right now is not because of Gardy or Anderson. What would another manager or pitching coach do to have won a few more ballgames with this team. You have to make due with what you have.

  11. mike wants wins May 20, 2009 at 4:10 pm #

    Andy, I agree that in general, this is mostly on the starting pitchers and the front office. But, when your manager lets Punto and Tolbert hit late in the game, with better hitters on the bench, it is odd. When he uses RedDog to pinch hit, it is odd. Gardy is not blameless, but it is mostly on the pitchers and the front office.

  12. Greg B May 20, 2009 at 4:28 pm #

    If you pinch hit for both Punto and Tolbert, who plays defense in the next half of the inning?

  13. thrylos98 May 20, 2009 at 5:02 pm #

    it is mostly on the pitchers and the front office

    hold it for a second.

    Other than Ayala, they are the same pitchers. Other than Guerrier, they all declined this season. How is this not on the pitching coach? We are talking 10 pitchers declining not one. An avalanche…

  14. mike wants wind May 20, 2009 at 7:50 pm #

    thrylos, its also the same pitching coach. I think this is execution.

    Greg, I was talking about PHing for one of them.

  15. JimCrikket May 20, 2009 at 9:59 pm #

    Seth, I’m generally with you on the “don’t over-react, Twins fans” mantra. Yes, it’s long season and there are going to be peaks and valleys every year.

    But this team, like most teams at some point, needs a fire lit under it right now. Just smiling and saying “Don’t worry” is not the answer. On some teams, that kick in the pants comes from veteran players… on some teams it comes from the manager… I suppose on some teams it can come from a GM who gets creative with player moves.

    But I see no evidence that this particular Twins team has anyone in the organization willing or capable of showing that kind of leadership. I hope I’m wrong.

  16. Andy Darsow May 20, 2009 at 11:57 pm #

    thrylos98…my point exactly in your post. You said it, they are the same pitchers. There starters need to execute, the bullpen is on the front office. The only acquisition that Bill Smith made this offseason was Ayala and I think most of us knew how that would turn out. We lost Reyes and didn’t add anything to the mix. We would have won the division last year if not for our bullpen implosion at the end of last year. MLB is a league where if you stand pat and don’t fill your weaknesses in the off-season, odds are your team will regress. We had a team of young players last year, many may have overachieved?? I’m not quite sure how to explain the starting pitchers right now to be honest. The starters need to execute, you have to trust the track record of Anderson which I don’t think anyone can really argue with. I’m not a panic type of fan but I have to tell you guys that this team scares me. They are showing nothing right now on the road, losing streaks are one thing but this is a bit more than that to me. There is just no sense of urgency and it is too “don’t worry be happy” for my liking.

  17. Greg May 21, 2009 at 6:20 am #

    With the benefit of hindsight, Ayala turns in a gem last night. Turns out, Anderson discovered something in his delivery and worked on it with him in order to get more sink on his pitches. Eight of his nine outs were grounders. Fire the pitching coach indeed!

    Now, if he could make adjustments to the brains of the starters…

  18. Kate J May 21, 2009 at 3:20 pm #

    As always, thanks for a great post, Seth. I’m elated to see that Allan de San Miguel got his first hit. I’ve been a fan of his for awhile–he is a beast defensively, hopefully his hitting will improve.

    Moving on to your post about bandwagon fans and not giving up on the team–I’m usually 100% in agreement with you, so it’s strange that we don’t see eye to eye on this issue. I feel like all “real” fans have every right to be worried about what has been happening over the last 6 games. Our baserunning has been atrocious, we can’t hit the cut off man, we take terrible at bats with runners in scoring position, and our defense has been spotty. This is not the “Twins baseball” that we are always so proud of.

    Our pitching sucks right now, we can’t seem to get the starters and relievers on the same page–either the starters (Blackburn and Slowey come to mind recently) throw 6 or 7 great innings and our relievers get shelled, or our starters get lit up (Glen Perkins–he’s hurt, I know. or Francisco Liriano) for a big inning and our relievers have to come in and pitch way too many innings.

    We don’t seem to have a vocal leader in the clubhouse who is able to ease the tension and it’s blatantly obvious when players and coaches are yelling at each other in the dugout and not behind closed doors that there is a lack of professional respect and camaraderie.

    I feel like the team has been listening to a little too much Bob Marley for it’s own good. That’s not to say that I believe the apocalypse is nye, but I feel like 6 games is enough to lose in a row–especially since ALL of the games were winnable–in fact, we even had a lead in several of them.

    I think Gardy should catch some heat for the decisions he has been making–specifically calling up Morales only to have him sit on the bench. I also take issue with his use of Harris. While I know that Brendan has been a defensive liability at 2nd base, Tolbert should not be taking at-bats late in games with runners in scoring position. As an unabashed Tolbert lover, that was hard to admit! I am also in the send Gomez to AAA camp. Span should play every day!

    I also wonder though, if Morales is up for trade bait–package him and an outfielder (Cuddyer or Delmon) and shop for pitching? Is this possible?

    All of that being said, I don’t think the season is a lost cause. I believe that we will adjust and keep things interesting in the AL Central.

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