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Happy Saturday morning! The Twins opened up Target Field with their home opener for 2011 on Friday afternoon. The weather could not have been better. Joe Mauer took his rightful spot in the #2 spot in the lineup. Luke Hughes got to the stadium on time and was in the starting lineup, batting 8th and playing 2B. He went 0-3 but listening on the radio, he hit a ball that got John Gordon excited late in the game (it was, of course, caught on or near the warning track.) Carl Pavano probably couldn’t have been better. The Twins recorded a late win thanks to two runs in the bottom of the 8th and held on for a 2-1 win. Emotions were heavy when following the 8th inning rally, the drum beat from Stand Up and Shout started and Joe Nathan ran in from the bullpen to take the mound for the first time at Target Field. He came through though, notching his third save in as many attempts.
The Twins bats didn’t show up, again, but I’m one to credit the opponents’ pitchers too. Brett Anderson may not be a household name to some, but take a moment and check out his numbers sometime. He’s good.
I made half of the trek down to the Twin Cities on Friday night, and I will make my way down to Target Field on Saturday for my first Twins game of the season. I’m really looking forward to seeing the changes in person. Hopefully I will see many of you at the game. We’ll also get to see Nick Blackburn for the Twins and another one of my favorite young pitchers, Gio Gonzalez, for the A’s.
Below are game notes and highlights from the Twins affiliates’ Friday night games. Again, my plan is to post highlights, extra base hits and pitching performances throughout the season. I’ll also discuss some notes when applicable. Please feel free to share topic ideas or notes with me. If you have any articles on Twins prospects in their local papers, notes or more, please feel free to e-mail me.
By the way, it is also Saturday morning, so you will want to go to Twinkie Town for Roger’s Minor League Report.
SethSpeaks.net Minor League Hitter of the Day – Brian Dozier, Ft. Myers Miracle
Seth Speaks.net Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Eric Hacker, Rochester Red Wings
Red Wings Ramblings
Friday – Red Wings 7, Pawtucket 2 – Starting pitching was the problem for the Red Wings in 2010. Through (admittedly just) two games in 2011, it has been a strength. Eric Hacker was perfect one time through the batting order. The right-hander through five shutout innings, allowing just two hits, no walks and striking out five. Carlos Gutierrez came in and struggled. In his one inning, he gave up two runs on two hits and two walks. Jim Hoey worked two scoreless innings and struck out four while walking just one. He gave up two hits. Despite a hit, a walk and a hit batter, Kyle Waldrop got a ground ball double play to end the game without the Paw Sox scoring on him.
The bats showed up for the Red Wings as well, led by Trevor Plouffe. The Twins shortstop went 3-5 with a double, a home run and three RBI. Steve Holm not only did a great job of helping the pitchers, but he was 2-3 with a walk. Dustin Martin was 2-4 with a walk, a triple and a stolen base. Brian Dinkelman had two doubles in five at bats. Rene Tosoni added a double. Ben Revere got the scoring started with a bases loaded single in the second inning that scored two.
On Saturday afternoon, the Red Wings will play their home opener with Kyle Gibson on the mound.
Rock Cats Report
Friday – Rock Cats 7, Richmond 1 – Have I mentioned that I heart “IHeartRadio?” Cuz I do. I was able to listen to the Richmond broadcast of this game.
It is obviously a big year for Deolis Guerra. The 21-year-old will be out of options at the end of this season. As he did a year ago, he made a great start in his season debut. The right-hander gave up just three hits and a walk in five scoreless innings. He struck out two. Cole DeVries came in and was perfect for three innings, including five strikeouts. Tyler Robertson gave up a run on two hits in the 9th, and even the outs were hit hard. Chris Parmelee led the way for the Rockcats with a 3-5 day. Joe Benson was 2-5 as well. Yangervis Solarte and Evan Bigley were each 2-5 with a double. Michael Hollimon got things started with a long, two-run homer for the Rock Cats in the 5th inning that made it 2-0.
Bobby Lanigan will make his season debut for New Britain tonight.
Friday – Miracle 5, Jupiter 1 – Brian Dozier is doing a great job of showing fans of the Twins minor league fans that he was worthy of that non-roster invite to big league camp. In this game, Dozier went 4-5 with his first homer of the year, three runs scored and a stolen base. Chris Herrmann was 2-4 with a walk. James Beresford was 2-4. Nick Romero was 0-2 with three walks. Miguel Munoz got the start and he gave up just one run on two hits in 5.2 innings. He did allow four walks with just one strikeout. Edgar Ibarra got the next four outs, three of them on strikeouts. Shooter Hunt made his 2011 debut and in two innings, he gave up no runs on one hit, one walk and on strikeout.
Tom Stuifbergen will be on the mound tonight for the Miracle. The team will again play Jupiter although it will be in Ft. Myers.
Friday – Snappers 4, Quad Cities 7 – The Snappers’ season started a day late, and one could argue that much of the team might have missed the memo. BJ Hermsen made the start and in 5.1 innings, he gave up four runs but none of them were earned. He did give up seven hits, but the night was full of errors for the Snappers. They committed five errors in this game. Clinton Dempster got the final two outs of the 6th inning. Manuel Soliman pitched a scoreless seventh inning with a walk and two strikeouts. Jose Gonzalez came in and gave up three runs (2 earned) on two hits and a walk and got just two outs in the 8th inning. Ryan O’Rourke got a strikeout to end the inning. Danny Ortiz inexplicably batted ninth, but he had two of the team’s five hits including his first home run of the year and two RBI. Oswaldo Arcia went 1-3 with a walk and an RBI double. Here are some of the not-so-pretty season debuts: Danny Santana went 0-5 with four strikeouts and committed two errors. Josmile Pinto went 0-4 with four strikeouts. Lance Ray was 0-4 with three strikeouts. Andy Leer had one hit in four at bats, and then struckout three times.
The Snappers will play a double header this afternoon. Adrian Salcedo will make one of the starts. The second starter is not yet determined.
Feel free to leave your thoughts, questions or comments.