Droppin’ some notes

13 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

After spending three-plus hours hanging out with six great kids at Chuck E. Cheese for my young’ns 4th birthday party, I don’t have a lot left in me tonight, so here are some notes:

EVENTS

1.)     I will be on KFAN and KFAN.com with Paul Allen today at 9:15 am, so be sure to check out on your radio or listen online.

2.)     On Saturday at noon, the Twins and Yankees will be playing in New York. The TwinsCentric guys will be hosting another TwinsCentric Viewing Party during the game. This will be at Majors Sports Café in Bloomington. Hopefully many of you will be able to attend. There will again be drawings for prizes including a couple of Twins tickets. And not just that, but there will again be drink and appetizer specials. Oh, and you can watch the Twins game with a whole bunch of Twins fans.

3.)     Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

TWINS NOTES

1.)     The Twins got another two-run, seven inning performance from Carl Pavano. It was the third straight game that he gave up two runs. It was the first one in which he recorded a win. The veteran gave up two first inning runs,  but that was it. He was excellent again. Brian Duensing and Matt Guerrier pitched a perfect 8th inning before Jon Rauch threw a perfect ninth inning for the save. A Justin Morneau single scored Denard Span to tie the game at two a piece in the 3rd. Then in the fourth inning, Span singled in Delmon Young.

2.)     What a day for Delmon Young. First, if was Delmon Young Day in the Twins blogosphere. He responded by going 3-4, including doubles in his first two at bats.

3.)     JJ Hardy was put on the Disabled List, and to no one’s surprise, the Twins promoted the no-hit, decent glove Matt Tolbert. Yes, I am bitter. There is no reason that the Twins should not have called up Trevor Plouffe and given him a week’s worth of starts.

4.)     After the game, the Twins activated Jose Mijares from the Disabled List and optioned Wilson Ramos to AAA Rochester. The decision to demote Ramos makes complete and total sense. He’s a terrific prospect with tremendous upside with the bat, both in terms of batting average and power, but he has work to do. The semi-surprise was that Jose Mijares was brought back from the DL so quickly. He was really bad before he was put on the Disabled List. He worked and rehabbed for a few weeks. He went to Rochester and got hit hard both Friday and Sunday, and then he was activated by the Twins on Thursday. Why not have him make another appearance or two with the Red Wings? Brian Duensing and Ron Mahay have been tremendous. A player on a rehab assignment can be in the minor leagues for 20 days, so I just don’t understand the need to rush him back.

5.)     In a Dan Barriero interview with Bill Smith on KFAN on Wednesday afternoon, Smith said that Jose Morales was going to begin a rehab assignment in Rochester today. With both Morales and Ramos going back to Rochester, it will be interesting to watch the catching carousel. I assume that Allan de San Miguel will stay in Rochester. Jair Fernandez will likely go back to Ft. Myers, although he could go to New Britain and allow Danny Rams to go back to Beloit. It will be interesting to see what happens.

TWINS/YANKEES SERIES

The Yankees series is going to be talked about by Twins fans all over. What do the Twins need to do? After losing every game in 2010 to the Yankees, could it be a successful series if the Twins win just one game? Would it be the end of the world if they were swept (of course not, but there are some who seem to believe that.) Obviously, they are the Yankees. They spend a ton. They have some very good players. Many are past their primes (yet still productive). The Twins have nothing to be intimidated by though. They can beat this team. So what do you think? Here are the position-by-position matchups (although they don’t actually match up:

  1. Catcher – Joe Mauer or Jorge Posada – Advantage Twins, and by a long shot.
  2. 1B – Justin Morneau or Mark Teixeira – Push – Normally, I’d probably acknowledge Teixeira by a slight margin, but first, it is close enough, and second, Tex isn’t off to a terribly good start while Morneau is among league leaders in about everything.
  3. 2B – Orlando Hudson or Robinson Cano – Advantage Yankees, and by quite a bit, at least offensively. Hudson may be a bit better with the glove.
  4. 3B – Nick Punto or Alex Rodriguez – Advantage Yankees, and I hope I don’t need to add too much to this.
  5. SS – Harris/Casilla or Derek Jeter – Advantage Yankees, and if JJ Hardy was playing, it wouldn’t be a whole lot closer.
  6. LF – Young/Kubel or Randy Winn – Advantage Twins, even if Gardner or Thames is out there for the Bombers.
  7. CF – Denard Span or Brett Gardner – Advantage Twins, although Gardner has taken steps forward this year.
  8. RF – Michael Cuddyer or Nick Swisher – Push – Both are pretty good, maybe a bit underrated. If I had to pick an advantage, I’d give the slight nod to the Twins.
  9. DH – Kubel/Thome or Marcus Thames – Advantage Twins, even with Kubel’s slow start. The Yankees actually use the DH spot to give guys days off from the field a lot.
  10. Game 1 – Francisco Liriano vs AJ Burnett – Burnett is actually pitching pretty well this year, and Liriano was the AL Pitcher of the Month in April. Hopefully this will be a good matchup.
  11. Game 2 – Scott Baker vs Andy Pettitte – Advantage Twins, but Pettitte is a crafty veteran, capable of still having some decent games. (UPDATE – Baker is pitching on Friday night, and Liriano is starting on Saturday. Probably doesn’t affect much of the analysis though.)
  12. Game 3 – Nick Blackburn vs Javier Vazquez – Advantage Twins. Vazquez can be so good, but the Yankees fans hate him already. He’s been bad. Blackburn has been great his last two outings.
  13. Closers – Jon Rauch vs Mariano Rivera – see 3B reasoning.
  14. Bullpens – I’ll take the Twins bullpen any day of the week.
  15. Bench – I don’t think it can get much worse than the Twins bench with Butera, Casilla and Tolbert on it. The odd man out in the Kubel, Young, Thomas saga is the other. The Yankees have Francisco Cervelli, Ramiro Pena, Kevin Russo and Greg Golson. I might even take the Twins bench!

In other words, this should be a very good series between two very evenly matched teams. The Twins are 22-12. The Yankees are 22-11.

MINOR LEAGUE NOTES

1.)     Rochester lost 5-2 to Indianapolis. Matt Fox started and gave up three runs (on a Pedro Alvarez home run) on four hits and two walks in 3.1 innings. Cole DeVries made his first AAA appearance and gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in 3.2 innings. Tim Lahey also pitched a scoreless inning. Dustin Martin went 2-4 with his sixth double. He had two of the team’s five hits in the game. Danny Valencia collected a single to give him a 16 game hitting streak.

2.)     Ft. Myers beat Tampa 2-1. Drew Thompson and Ramon Santana each went 2-4. Liam Hendriks He gave up just one run on three hits in seven innings in an impressive Florida State League debut. He walked none and struck out eight. Billy Bullock struck out three (And walked two) in two scoreless innings for his seventh save.

3.)     New Britain’s game with Trenton was postponed by rain. The same happened to the Beloit-Kane County game as well.

4.)     On Thursday, Deolis Guerra will make his AAA debut for the Red Wings in a morning game (11:00 eastern, 10:00 central).

Alright, I must sleep. I hope you all have a great day! Leave any comments here.

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11 Responses to “Droppin’ some notes”

  1. toby May 13, 2010 at 1:17 am #

    I think they drug the pizza at Chuck E. Cheese.

    I might try to wake up early to listen to the Guerrra start — excited for the possibility of a little excellence in the Wings’ starting 5.

    Seth, it’s good to see you staying negative vis-a-vis the Twins when and where negativity is unambiguously deserved, i.e. on the Tolbert callup. All day I keep coming back to the rather unpleasant but probably apt: retarded. The ONLY thing I could come up with was maybe something the blogosphere’s not seeing re: trying to keep from burning service time (or something along those lines) with Plouffe, but Hardy’s got a 1 year deal, fercryinoutloud, so you’d assume they want to get him an MLB cuppa at some point this season to see what they have. Scream, shake fist at heavens.

    I gotta wonder just how freaking good Liam Hendriks might be. I mean, pitchers can only be SO dominant against semi-competent competition — look at the way rehabbing MLB aces don’t throw no-hitters like it’s nothing when they start in the FSL — and he has been about as consistently lights out as a guy can be. The Twins have very little in the way of dominant starting pitching in the high minors, and important as it is to give the low-level clubs a chance to win, I’d like to see them eschew the slow approach with Gibson, Hendriks and Stuifbergen (when he comes back) if they continue to post the insane DIP numbers they have thus far. I’d LIKE that, but then I remember that Anthony Slama has always posted the numbers but had that tacitly dubbed irrelevant by a scouting-report-happy braintrust, and now we get Jose Mijares, fresh off stinking up the joint after an injury after stinking up the joint.

    Serious question: what are you hearing on Kyle Waldrop’s front office love? GB-induction is a killer skill at the MLB level, even vs. AAA and esp. vs. the low minors, and he’s been brilliant thus far this season.

  2. TT May 13, 2010 at 8:03 am #

    1) I like Plouffe, but I don’t think he was going to start every day in place of Harris and Casilla. So calling up Tolbert makes a lot more sense. He can play all over the field and pinch run.

    2) Why would they wait on Mijares? Apparently the reports were that he was throwing the ball just fine. I think you are putting way too much stock in a couple of rehab starts where his only real objective was to see how his arm felt. When he is healthy, he is one of the Twins top relievers. It means the Twins have three lefties in the bullpen against the Yankees and Mahay can be used as a LOOGY.

  3. mike wants wins May 13, 2010 at 8:29 am #

    I think this is Casilla’s chance. Seriously, if he’s not playing now, why are they so worried about having him n the roster? If not now, when?

  4. torgo23 May 13, 2010 at 10:26 am #

    I don’t know if you can call Kubel’s start slow. More like glacial.

  5. MrHockey May 13, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    Let’s declare every day Delmon Young Day.

  6. DH in Philly May 13, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    If things go well, Plouffe / Tolbert probably aren’t going to see much playing time.

    If things go badly, Neither Plouffe nor Harris will make a difference.

    Tolbert is the right call as long as it is a short stay for JJ on the DL

  7. mike wants wins May 13, 2010 at 1:04 pm #

    I don’t get this argument. If you have a bad player, and you have a good player, how is it better for the MLB team to have the bad player up, just because he won’t play much. Isn’t it better to have the good player up (from the MLB team’s perspective)? Sure it matters. You should have the best players up, it does make a difference. Otherwise, why have good players on the team at all?

  8. TT May 13, 2010 at 7:17 pm #

    Mike -

    There are two problems.

    The first is the good player/bad player is a false dichotomy. To be useful you have to do some things better than other players. Tolbert is faster, a better defensive player and more flexible defensively. You might use Plouffe as a late inning replacement for Harris, but Tolbert is a better choice. You might have Plouffe pinch run for Thome, but Tolbert is a better choice. Plouffe might play third or second in a pinch, but Tolbert is a better choice. Plouffe may have a better bat, but neither he nor Tolbert are going to get many at bats ahead of Punto, Harris and Casilla.

    The second problem is that Plouffe is still young, still working on things and needs to play every day to make progress.

  9. mike wants wins May 14, 2010 at 9:41 am #

    TT: I agree. I was responding to the earlier post. I don’t agree with all of your conclusions, but I agree with your premise. Either way, it should be Casilla. If he doesn’t play now, I’m not sure why he is on the squad.

    The mix of Harris, Punto, Casilla, Tolbert is bad. That 4th guy should be either a “great” PH option, or something else besides a 4th guy that is similar to the other three.

  10. torgo23 May 14, 2010 at 10:33 pm #

    Did you know the Twins are really bad at baseball. I did not. Then I watched tonight’s game vs the Yankees. Why do we even care about the postseason when it is clear we do not have “the chops” to cut it. What a dissapointment.

  11. toby May 15, 2010 at 1:53 am #

    (I fully realize this is statistically meaningless and that there probably is something to be said for using JJ Hardy’s DL time to get Casilla out of the way once and for all — uh, I mean, uh… to get Casilla some, um, playing time — but I’m still gonna go ahead and say:) Hey, look at that, Plouffe hit a 3 run dingdong and Valencia went 3-5 for Rochester tonight. (There, I feel better.)

    Having just watched that abortion of a Yankees game on Roku on-demand after scrupulously avoiding any mention of the goings on, I will just say this: Matt Guerrier’s xFIP the last 4 seasons: 4.67, 3.91, 5.08, 4.35. Not. Elite. Just not.

    I will salve my wounds with the knowledge that the Ft. Myers Miracle have decided to go forward with my Plan A for Shooter Hunt. He last pitched May 10; tomorrow is May 15, and according to both Seth and the Ft. Myers media guy, Blake Martin will be getting the spot start (Lanigan and Tippett are both DL-ed). David Blake Martin has to my knowledge NEVER started a professional baseball game. He will, it’s true, be well-rested, having last been trotted out on the 8th, but does anyone really believe he’ll be able to throw any more than 5 innings? Against the Marauders? Bradenton has a good offense, even if they didn’t show it tonight.

    Add it up, carry the one, divide by my lucky penny and what do you get? Shooter Hunt pitching more than a couple innings in one game without the pressure of the formal, capital-S Start weighing him down. That (and Francisco Liriano striking out ARod 3 times) will be my tomorrowing night consoling my tonight.

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