What Will Francisco Do?

26 Aug

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Following their third straight loss down in Texas, the Twins optioned Anthony Slama to Rochester to make room for their new acquisition, left-handed reliever Randy Flores. Flores was designated for assignment last week by the Colorado Rockies and the Twins claimed him. The Rockies sent him without requiring compensation from the Twins. Flores just turned 35 years old. He debuted in the big leagues in 2002 with the Texas Rangers but was soon sent to the St. Louis Cardinals where he spent several years, including being part of their 2005 and 2006 postseason runs. Believe me, this is not some great signing by the Twins. Flores is not a difference maker. His season ERAs since 2006 have been 5.62, 4.25, 5.26 and 5.25. Somehow this year, his ERA with Colorado was 2.96 with a 1.28 WHIP. But the Twins and we, as fans, should not care about any of that. All we should care about is what he does over the next six weeks of the regular season. Remember last year when the Twins signed Ron Mahay at this time of the season. No one was terribly excited about him. No one was terribly excited about acquiring Jon Rauch from Arizona that same day. Both of them really helped the Twins down the stretch. In his career, right-handed batters have hit .306 with an .850 OPS. Left-handers have hit .266 with a .765 OPS. Strangely, in 2010, right-handers are hitting .229 with a .702 OPS while lefties are hitting .220 with a .776 OPS. Six weeks is a very small sample, so we can just hope he chooses now to have a very good small sample!

Tonight, Francisco Liriano will return to the mound after being pushed back three days due to a ‘tired arm.’ I’m trying not to worry much about the situation. In most previous years, Roy Halladay would be DLd by the Blue Jays with a tired arm, and he could come back just fine. So, let’s hope that Liriano is just fine. If it’s anything more than a tired arm, I would just assume that the Twins DL him rather than have him start. So, from that perspective, it will be an interesting start for Liriano, the Twins and fans. From another perspective, it will be interesting to see how Liriano pitches in a matchup against one of baseball’s best starting pitchers, Cliff Lee. We’ll be able to tell in the first inning. Will his fastball sail up and away to right-handed pitchers? Will his follow-through be wild and all over the place?

Before he was traded, Lee was having a tremendous season with the Seattle Mariners. He was 8-3 with a 2.34 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. Since coming he Texas, he has made nine starts and is 2-4 with a 4.18 ERA despite a 1.03 WHIP. His last three starts, he has given up four runs in 6.1 innings against the Yankees, six runs in 7.2 innings against the Rays, and eight runs on ten hits (including four home runs) in 5.2 innings against the Orioles. So, either the Twins are catching him at just the right time, or he is due for a really great start.

One thing we know for sure, he won’t walk many. In 174.2 innings this year, he has 11 walks and two of those are intentional. So, should the Twins batters be aggressive, knowing he’ll be around the plate? Or should they try to be patient and get Lee’s pitch count up? It’s a tough question because the second option would be great, but if he gets ahead of everyone early in the count, his pitch count will not be high. Twins batters need to step out and try to fluster Lee. Remember when Carlos Gomez would bunt on him and Lee would talk at Gomez? In 18 career starts against the Twins, he is 8-3 with a 3.40 ERA.

The Twins have lost these three games in Texas, and they are important games in determining (again, assuming these are the teams to win the AL Central and AL West) who is the #2 seed in the playoffs and gets home field advantage in the first round against the Wild Card team from the East. But don’t forget that the Twins swept the Rangers in Target Field earlier this year and the two teams will play three more times in Target Field over Labor Day weekend.

Any other Twins topics you would like to discuss?

SATURDAY IN ST. CLOUD!!

As previously mentioned, the Twins Geek, Sooze and I will be at Howie’s Sports Bar in St. Cloud for the TwinsCentric Viewing Party. The Twins play the Mariners at 3:00, so we’ll be there by 2:30 and throughout the game. There will be drink and appetizer specials, and prizes to be given away. Hopefully by having an event like this in the outstate will allow more people the opportunity to be there and meet many more Twins fans.

Following the TwinsCentric Viewing Party, I am going to stay in St. Cloud and head over the Joe Faber Field. The St. Cloud River Bats of the Northwoods League (a college wood bat league) are hosting the Minnesota Twins alumni game at 7:05. Several former Twins players, including Corey Koskie, Jim Eisenrich, Juan Berenguer, Al Newman and several others will be playing in a game. There will be a lot going on throughout the night. Following the game, the player’s jerseys will be signed and auctioned off. Proceeds from the evening will be going to the Miracle League of Central Minnesota. Check out the River Bats website for much more information.

Hopefully I can meet several of you at both of these events in St. Cloud on Saturday!

Here is a quick glance at what happened on Tuesday in the Twins minor league system.

Red Wings Report   

Rochester 2 Scranton/Wilkes Barre 3Matt Fox put together his best start in awhile. In 5.2 innings, he gave up one run on five hits. He walked two and struck out nine. Rob Delaney got a strikeout to get out of the sixth inning. After a scoreless seventh inning, Pat Neshek gave up two runs in the 8th. Alex Burnett got the final two outs. Brendan Harris went 1-3 with his 14th double, and he drove in both runs. D’Angelo Jimenez was 1-2 with two walks and his third triple.  

New Britain Notes

New Britain 8, Binghampton 6 – After being swept on Tuesday, the Rockcats got a nice win on Wednesday. Bobby Lanigan started and gave up one run on four hits and two walks in three innings. Mike McCardell came in and gave up two runs on three hits in his three innings. Carlos Gutierrez gave up three runs on five hits and a walk in the next 2.2 innings and Billy Bullock got the game’s final out.

Miracle Matters

Ft. Myers, Palm Beach – Postponed by rain.  

Snappers Snippets

Beloit 3, Kane County 4 – Martire Garcia made another Snapper start and was terrific! The lefty threw six shutout innings. He allowed three hits, walked two and struck out six. Matt Tone came in and gave up one run on one hit and a walk in 1.2 innings. Eliecer Cardenas went the final 1.1 innings but was charged with three unearned runs to take the loss. The Snappers had just six hits. Danny Rams hit his 15th home run. Michael Gonzales (27) and Lance Ray (10) each added a double.   

E-Twins Talkers

Elizabethton 4, Pulaski 5 – Manuel Solimon gave up four runs (2 earned) on four hits and two walks in five innings. He struck out six. Adrian Salcedo took the loss. He gave up one run on two hits in the final four innings. Jamaal Hawkins was 2-4 with his 10th double. Brandon Henderson was 1-3 with a walk and his sixth double.  

GCL Twins Topics

GCL Twins 3, GCL Orioles 2Nick Alloway was given a start and came through with a very good outing. In five innings, he gave up two runs on four hits. He walked none and struck out four. Bart Carter came in and struck out five in four scoreless innings. Candido Pimental went 2-3 with a walk. JaDamion Williams hit his third double. Miguel Sano hit his 13th double.

Any thoughts on the Twins or the minor league system? Feel free to leave your questions and comments here. 

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18 Responses to “What Will Francisco Do?”

  1. mike wants wins August 26, 2010 at 9:34 am #

    If I’m Slama, I ask to be released. Flores is terrible, and they just won’t give Slama a chance. Flores’ BABIP is really, really low this year. That is pure luck. I hope they give Slama his freedom, as they just won’t give him a real chance.

    Pretty disappointing series of “moves” this year. No help at starting pitching, no OF that can hit a little and field, no 1B/DH type, nothing that really solves their biggest problems.

    As for the minors, I remain highly disappointed in the progress of the pitchers this year. Guttierez has not improved, Delois is lost, none of the “big name” prospects other than Gibson has seemed to make any progress.

    Two of the minor league teams are horrible, win loss wise. I know you don’t think that matters, Seth, but it has to. Look what losing does to guys like Greinke. Imagine what it does to a 20 year old that has never experienced losing like that before.

    All in all, this team still looks like it is the best team in the Central, but not good enough to expect to win in the post season. It would be great if in this next offseason they found a way to get a real SP, and some OF defense.

    They need Morneau back, pretty badly. The “defense” of Cuddy shows just how important 1B are to the other infielders’ defensive ratings.

  2. Sam knows baseball August 26, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    Hey Mike don’t sleep on David Bromberg. He is another top prospect that has been doing VERY well, and was also moved to AAA before Gibson. Matt Fox also had a great game last night, don’t over look that.

  3. mike wants wins August 26, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    Bromberg would be one guy that looks better/same this year, I agree with that. Of course, he’s still in the minors, and they acquire a LOOGY who can’t get out lefties instead….

  4. Sam knows baseball August 26, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    Bromberg is a starter… so not sure what that has to do with if the twins acquire a LOOGY which would take up a reliever slot. Bromberg in the past has been excellent at getting out lefties as a starter anyways.

    • TT August 27, 2010 at 10:35 am #

      Bromberg also pitches right-handed. There are a lot of major league hitters who kill right-handers, but struggle against a left hander. Jim Thome, for instance, has not exactly been a platoon hitter during his career. But he has still been twice as likely to hit a home run when facing a right-hander as he has a left-hander. I would much rather see Flores out there against him than any but the very best righties. Bromberg and Slama are not remotely in that category.

  5. mike wants wins August 26, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    Why is he a starter in the majors, this year? Lots of teams bring up their AAA starters to help out in the majors as a reliever, especially in preparation for the playoffs. Wouldn’t it be better to have him up here, if he’s good, than a bad reliever?

    • gobbledy August 26, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

      looks like your glass is half empty today mike. hang in there punto will be back before long.

      • mike wants wins August 26, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

        Actually, I wish Bromberg and Slama would get a chance. I’m definitely half glass full on them. The Twins do NOT like rookie relievers. Not sure they like rookies at all, actually. Punto back, it would be awesome to have three utility guys again. In September, they can also call up Harris, and have 4 utility infielders!

  6. Joel August 26, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    Even if Bromberg was ready, which he probably isn’t since he was just promoted not to long ago, there are many other factors to think about like the 40 man roster, etc. If they did bring him up, the chances are that he won’t be brought into high pressure situations. Flores might not be the answer, but neither is shoving a untested minor leaguer into the mix. The Twins are a by the book team. Sometimes that helps and sometimes it hurts. The book says get a lefty to pitch to lefties. Flores was the only choice at this time. There is no way the White Sox let someone like Downs through waivers. So lets hope he can play above ability long enough for Mijares to get healthy.

  7. mike wants wins August 26, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    Funny, Chris Sale is being shoved into the pennant race. Lots of teams, outside the Twins, are willing to give their best arms a shot, even in high leverage situations. The Twins are not.

    • mike wants wins August 26, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

      40 man roster: there is plenty of chaffe there, plenty.

    • Joel August 26, 2010 at 3:00 pm #

      I don’t know what to tell you Mike. What’s the point of complaining when you know the Twins aren’t going to rush there guys to the Bigs? Sure other teams do this, but it’s not always for the best. Sale is a special case. How many lefty arms do the Twins have in the minors that throw near 100?

  8. mike wants wins August 26, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    Good point, Joel. I’ve given up complaining about certain things the Twins’ do. I should probably give this one up also, as it isn’t going to change while BS and Gardy are here. You are like the Buddha of this blog!

    • Joel August 26, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

      I’ll be here waiting for you when Flores gets blown up a couple times. I do agree that Slama should have gotten another chance, but it is the Twins way. I was hoping a slight shift in philosophy with a more money coming in, but it seems like they are staying the course. Personally I like the philosophy for the most part. It is successful, but I think it could be better. I was doing the same thing you are doing after the draft and after the signing deadline. Kuresa or Smelter would have been nice when they barely spent any money. I like Wimmers and Dean, but I was hoping for Ranaudo and Cole. The Twins don’t draft aces, that is why they don’t have any in the system. Anyways, off topic.

      • mike wants wins August 26, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

        Cole would have been my preference also….Wimmers is a classic Twins’ pick though for a pitcher. Have a gread day, Joel, and I’ll do my best not to come on line and say “told you so” if Flores does badly, but I promise to come back on and repent if he is successful for the rest of the year.

      • Joel August 26, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

        Yeah, I totally understand the pick. Like you said, it was a classic pick.

        As for Flores, I think the message boards will be full of I told you so’s. I don’t have tons of confidence in him, but it’s what they have now. Just pray and hope from here on out.

  9. Bryan August 27, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    do you know what ever happened to matthew bashore?

    • TT August 28, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

      I believe Bashore is having Tommy John surgery.

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