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Like I wrote yesterday, I liked the “Gardy Getaway Lineup” for a day. No, I didn’t expect it to score ten runs on 19 hits, but unlike most, I expect the backups to perform admirably. That is their role. That is why they are on the team. Now, we can’t expect Danny Valencia to get three hits in back-to-back games every time. We can’t expect Alexi Casilla to record three hits in games all the time, but he has done it before and can again. We can’t expect Jason Repko to get extra base hits or hit home runs (I mean, he’s only got 12 big league homers), but we can expect him to play very good defense. We can’t expect Joe Mauer to catch every day, especially not in the grueling conditions that Orioles Park provided for the four game series. We can’t expect Drew Butera to hit triples and have multi-hit games, but we can expect him to lead a pitcher through a start, block balls in the dirt and play great defense. We can’t expect JJ Hardy and Denard Span to play every day, but again, we can expect their backups to play hard and contribute.
Yes, I get a little annoyed at some of the discussion of “Gardy Getaway Day Lineups.” I’m not dumb, and I realize that in taking starters out, it means someone less likely to contribute will be in the lineup. I get if there are a couple of guys out of the lineup, it could compound the situation. But maybe I’m weird. Maybe I just look at things differently. I think that big leaguers are big leaguers. I believe that backup big leaguers and AAAA types of players are still really good at baseball and on a given day, they can contribute. I expect that they will play hard and do everything they can to help the team win because several of them don’t get many opportunities and simply want to take advantage of it.
The other thing to remember is that even when 3-4 regulars are out of the lineup, 5-7 regulars still are in the lineup and they continue to be expected to perform. Yesterday, the team got a grand slam from Jason Kubel and solo homers from Delmon Young and Jim Thome. One more nugget that can’t be ignored is that it was against the Baltimore Orioles, the worst team in the big leagues. And yet, that is a team that has hitters like Miguel Tejada, Luke Scott, Ty Wigginton, Brian Roberts, Adam Jones and more. That is why good teams like the Twins, the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Rays have to be thrilled when they go there and win three out of four.
But it all comes down to starting pitching, doesn’t it? And the Twins got great pitching throughout the series. Yes, I do tend to give credit to Drew Butera for his work behind the plate. And no, I won’t apologize or feel bad for that. I know I took some grief late last week when I dared to say that he is a better defensive catcher right now than Joe Mauer. Lots want to say that Mauer is hurt, and I 100% agree with that. I think, when healthy, Mauer is a very good defensive catcher. But I added the “right now” part to indicate that Butera is healthy, and he does a very good job of blocking balls in the dirt, balls that Mauer likely plays differently if he is healthy.
But back to the pitching. Slowey looked pretty good yesterday. He still has some work to do. His control is not there yet. In fact, there were several times in one inning when Butera was set up inside, and Slowey split the plate. There were times when he was supposed to throw it outside, and the ball ran over the inner half of the plate. But it was a good outing. It was something to build on for his next start.
I get the frustration. I want to see the best too. I would love for Mauer and Morneau and Hudson to be in the lineup every day… all three are hurt. JJ Hardy has been playing well of late, but that doesn’t mean that he should not get a day off too. And frankly, I don’t know that there is a big drop off in production when you have Valencia at 3B and Punto at SS as compared to Punto at 3B and Hardy at SS. And although he had two hits on Saturday night, Span has not been consistent this year, so I have no problem with him being replaced in CF by Repko who is very good defensively.
Following the game, Hudson was put on the Disabled List and Jose Morales was called up to the big leagues. Of late, he has really started hitting. He raised his average from the .230s to .284 when he was summoned. I don’t expect him to catch much at all, unless in an emergency situation. I expect that he will be a solid pinch-hitting option off the bench who can hit from both sides. There is value in that. It also allows Joe Mauer to be the DH more over time since Morales would be there as a backup catching option.
To replace Morales in Rochester, Danny Lehmann will be heading to the Red Wings as Wilson Ramos’s backup.
The Twins now head to Kansas City, which ought to be good and hot and muggy too. Tonight, they get to face Zach Greinke, so even though the Royals are not a great team, they can’t be overlooked. They were hurt (literally) by the David DeJesus season-ending injury. He is someone that they could have received a nice package from a contender in a trade this week. Alex Gordon is back with the Royals as an outfielder after destroying the Pacific Coast League. The Twins can’t overlook the Royals.
The Twins didn’t get Cliff Lee, and as of Sunday afternoon, they did not receive Dan Haren. Instead, the Arizona righty was shipped to the Angels in exchange for lefty Joe Saunders, whose 2010 ERA (4.62) is approximately the same as Haren’s 2010 ERA in Arizona, and three minor leaguers. John Bonnes wrote of the trade here, and is just fine with the Twins not acquiring Haren, and frankly, so am I.
By the way, an all-new SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast will begin at 9:00 central time tonight. Check it out.
Here is a quick glance at what happened on Sunday in the Twins minor league system:
Red Wings Report
On Sunday, the Red Wings lots 7-2 to Scranton/Wilkes Barre. Anthony Swarzak gave up six runs on nine hits and a walk in 3.1 innings. Brad Hennessey gave up a run on four hits and two walks in the next 2.2 innings. Jose Lugo threw two shutout innings before Kyle Waldrop pitched a one-hit inning. Brian Dinkelman went 2-4 with his 24th double. Dustin Martin was 2-4 with a walk.
New Britain Notes
The Rockcats and New Hampshire were tied going into the bottom of the 8th. With two outs and no one on, the Rockcats managed consecutive singles from Chris Cates, Ben Revere, Brandon Roberts, Chris Parmelee and Jair Fernandez to take the 9-6 lead that they would hold for the game’s final score. Roberts was 3-4 with a walk, his first home run and four runs scored. Chris Parmelee went 3-5 with his 16th double and three RBI. Ben Revere was 2-5. Jair Fernandez went 2-4 with a walk and his 10th double. Chris Cates was 2-4. Steve Singleton hit his 31st double and drove in two runs. Tyler Robertson went the first 5.2 innings and gave up three runs (2 earned). He gave up seven hits, walked one and struck out two. Cole DeVries gave up three runs on three hits in 1.1 innings. Billy Bullock struck out four in two scoreless innings for the win.
Michael Tarsi gave up six runs (5 earned) in the first four innings, and the Miracle were unable to recover. The team lost 6-3 to Brevard County. Steve Blevins threw three shutout innings. Joe Testa threw two scoreless frames. Evan Bigley went 3-4. Jonathan Goncalves were 2-3 with a walk.
The Snappers fell 8-4 to West Michigan. Clinton Dempster made his first Beloit start and went just two innings. He gave up four runs (2 earned) on three hits. He walked five and struck out one. Nelvin Fuentes went the next three innings and gave up two runs on four hits and a walk. Matt Tone struck out two in two scoreless innings. Andrei Lobanov gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in one inning. Aaron Hicks went 1-2 with three walks. James Beresford was 2-5 with his 11th double and his 10th and 11th stolen base. Steve Liddle was 2-5.
On Sunday, the Elizabethton Twins defeated Burlington 7-1 behind the right arm of Adrian Salcedo. The 19 year old gave up just one run on four hits. He walked none and struck out ten in six innings. Jean Mijares gave up no runs in 1.1 innings despite giving up a hit and two walks. David Gutierrez struck out two in 1.2 perfect innings. Jamaal Hawkins went 3-5 with his fifth and sixth doubles. Nate Roberts was 2-4 with a walk and his fourth triple. Danny Ortiz was 2-5. Jhonatan Arias was 1-3 with a walk, his third home run and three RBI.
- Salcedo has been terrific with the E-Twins. In his 47 innings with the team, he has four walks and 52 strikeouts. When he was at Ft. Myers, he held his own, but clearly he is where he should be now. In 27.1 innings with the Miracle, he walked eight and struck out just 16. Last year with the GCL Twins, Salcedo walked three and struck out 58 in 52 innings of work. It’s fun to watch such a young talent truly succeed at the level he should be at. That’s why I believe that it is best for BJ Hermsen and Michael Tonkin to be back with the E-Twins.
GCL Twins Topics
The GCL Twins had the day off on Sunday.
Any thoughts of the Twins or the minor league system? Feel free to leave your questions and comments here.