Rough Night for the Twins

15 Apr

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

A lot of Twins fans a feeling a little big down these days. The team came into Thursday’s game against the Rays with a 4-7 record and having just lost a 10-5 decision with their ‘best’ pitcher. Twins fans are starting to realize just how important defense is when you don’t have any, and specifically you don’t have any range. That’s not the fault of the players. Their speed is what it is.

Twins fans are frustrated. Likely, the Twins are very frustrated.

And then came the lineup for Thursday’s game in Tampa against righty James Shields. A day after getting the day game after a night game off, Joe Mauer was not in the lineup for a second straight game. Was it just because Carl Pavano was on the mound and Drew Butera is his catcher? Was he hurt? Was he just being wimpy. Soon after, Gardy told reporters that he was “sore” and that was “all they needed to know.” For me, that made me think that he was fed up with Mauer. We have heard too many reports of Gardenhire’s frustration with Mauer’s subtle hints that he shouldn’t play. I couldn’t help but wonder if he was just sitting him again, benching him to some degree, because of that.

During the game, Drew Butera came through with an RBI single that gave the Twins a 2-0 lead. The Twins had 12 hits, and four of them were doubles, but again scored just two runs. Joe Nathan came in for the bottom of the 9th, to protect a two run lead. With one out, Felipe Lopez had a long at bat the ended with a double. Nathan then walked Ben Zobrist. On a 3-1 count, Joe Maddon sent the runners and Matt Joyce lined a ball to the gap which scored both runs and tied up the game. Nathan was able to get out of the 9th with the game tied. Nathan has been good. All closer’s blow saves, so that doesn’t worry me in the least. Plus, he held on so the Twins still had a chance in extra innings.

With two outs in the top of the 10th, Matt Tolbert singled and advanced to 2B on a passed ball. Danny Valencia came up big again with an RBI single to give the Twins a 3-2 lead.

Then Matt Capps came in to protect the one-run lead. He got the first out, but then Super Sam Fuld singled and Johnny Damon hit a walk-off home run to end the game. Again, Capps has been tremendous this season. So I’m not worried about him. But what are the odds that both of the Twins closers (who have both been good) would blow a save in the same game? The unfortunate thing, besides another loss and the record dropping to 4-8, was that Carl Pavano’s eight shutout innings were essentially wasted. Some may question the decision to take him out of the game. However, with 104 pitches, that’s just the way the game is played. And, had Nathan been able to close out the game, not one would even mention it.

But then following the game, the news came out that Joe Mauer was going to be put on the Disabled List with “bilateral leg weakness.” Whatever that is. From Livestrong.com:

Bilateral weakness in the leg muscles can be as mild as a generalized feeling of fatigue in your legs or as extreme as complete paralysis. Bilateral weakness indicates a problem in your central nervous system — in your brain, spinal cord or nerves. Many disease processes or trauma can cause bilateral weakness in your legs.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/352012-bilateral-weakness-in-the-leg-muscles/#ixzz1JaSO0PWw

Please go here to read a lot more about bilateral leg weakness, the symptoms, causes, treatments and more. Now I know that sometimes players get put on the DL and an injury is needed to be called out. Sometimes what it is called is not exactly what it is. Even if it is bilateral leg weakness, as you can see, there are many levels of severity. Hopefully some rest, rehab and restrengthening will be in line and it won’t be long before he is back.

So, the Twins called up 31-year-old, minor league veteran Steve Holm from Rochester. He will likely get plenty of playing time while Mauer is out. He has played in 53 games in 2008 and 2009 for the San Francisco Giants, the organization that drafted him in 2001. That summer, he got to catch a 17-year-old Francisco Liriano. He spent a couple of summers catching Matt Cain. He has caught Tim Lincecum in the minor leagues, and Sergio Romo and many other big league pitchers. He is a defense-first catcher, but he can put together a solid at bat at times too. Rene Rivera and Danny Lehmann were likely also considered. None of the three were on the Twins 40-man-roster, so Holm had to be added. The Twins are now at 39 on their 40 man roster.

So, two weeks into the season, things could not be going much worse for the Twins. The one thing they thought they could count on, the offense, is not hitting or scoring runs. Delmon Young has returned to swinging at everything. Several of the Twins key hitters got off to a very slow start. Tsuyoshi Nishioka fractured his fibula and is going to be about six to eight weeks which really highlighted the Twins lack of middle infield quality and depth. That is accentuated by Alexi Casilla being really bad both offensively and defensively. Luke Hughes has been called up and held his own, but now Michael Cuddyer is getting time at 2B against right-handed pitchers which allows the Twins to get Jason Kubel and Jim Thome into the lineup, but it also really weakens and already weak defense. The Twins best pitcher’s work ethic was (Again) called into question this spring and he has been awful in his first three starts. Joe Nathan, Matt Capps, Jose Mijares and (surprise surprise) Glen Perkins have been very good so far, but the back of the bullpen, where there were some concerns, have had some struggles.

And another concern in the offseason was what the backup plan was if (or when) Joe Mauer would go on the Disabled List. The answer, for me, was that if Joe Mauer gets hurt, it doesn’t matter who becomes the starter, it will be a big step down. At least the Twins do have very good defensive catchers that will work well with the pitching staff. They can bat 8th or 9th and any offense from them should be considered a bonus. Everyone knows that I was probably higher on Wilson Ramos than anyone, frequently discussing my plan for how he and Joe Mauer could split time between catcher and DH for years to come. However, he’s gone, he’s been gone since July, and Twins fans need to move on. Secondly, Matt Capps has been tremendous since coming to the Twins. (Doesn’t mean I think it was a good move long-term, but means that at least the Twins have had a great return in Capps) Others are upset that Jose Morales was traded in the offseason too. Again, he was out of options. He was not going to beat out Drew Butera. Getting anything out of him was what needed to be done. Obviously right now it would be nice to have Jose Morales around, but that doesn’t make the trade the wrong thing to do.

What more could go wrong at the start of this season? I hate to ask the question because, as we all know, things can always get worse. There are 150 games to go. It annoys me when people think that it can’t get better. But as I wrote yesterday, it seems that the more that the Twins have going against them, the more they come through, and the better they play. The Twins have played without Mauer before and done alright. The Twins played last year without Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan and won 94 games. I’m not intimating that the Twins are better off losing its star players, but what I am saying is don’t jump off the bandwagon now. Now is when they need the support, not the complaining.

Thursday Night’s Twins Minor League Weekly Podcast– Travis had a previous commitment. I was a little worried about how I would fill 30 minutes, but somehow, someway, I found plenty to talk about and could have gone longer. I discussed how the teams are doing and who is off to a fast start, but I also mentioned the names of some guys who are really struggling through the season’s first week. I also went much more in-depth with the injury discussion and the catching carousel.

Catching Carousel: Joe Mauer to the Disabled List, Steve Holm promoted to the Twins, Danny Lehmann promoted to Rochester, Dan Rohlfing promoted to New Britain.

MINOR LEAGUE UPDATES

SethSpeaks.net Minor League Hitter of the DayRene Tosoni, Rochester Red Wings.

Seth Speaks.net Minor League Pitcher of the DayLogan Darnell, Beloit Snappers

Red Wings Ramblings

Thursday – Game 1 – Red Wings 3, Lehigh Valley 1 – Eric Hacker started the first game and was excellent. The threw six shutout innings, giving up just two hits. He walked none and struck out five. Phil Dumatrait came in for the 7th, but a hit and two walks later, the bases were loaded with a 1-0 lead. Jim Hoey came in. He struck out the first batter he faced, but he hit the second to allow the game-tying run. He struckout the next batter. In the bottom of the 7th, Rene Tosoni hit a two-run, walk-off home run to end the game. The Red Wings managed just four hits. Ben Revere had a double. Dustin Martin hit his first home run of the year to give the Red Wings their 1-0 lead earlier in the game.

Thursday – Game 2 – Red Wings 3, Lehigh Valley 5 (8 innings) – Kyle Gibson got the nod in the second game. He gave up two runs on five hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out three. Carlos Gutierrez pitched a scoreless inning. Chuck James then threw a scoreless 7th inning. He started the 8th inning and gave up one run. He left with two runners on base. Kyle Waldrop came in and gave up a hit that scored both runners, but he got the final two outs. Matt Brown was 2-3. Dustin Martin hit his second home run of the day, and of the season. Rene Tosoni tied the game up at three with a two-run double.  

Injury Notes – Trevor Plouffe suffered some whiplash and a slight concussion on Wednesday. He did not play on Thursday. Ben Revere bruised his knee on a stolen base attempt in the second game. Anthony Slama  was activated from the Disabled List. Ryan Mullins was also activated from the DL, but he was optioned to Ft. Myers.

Rock Cats Report

Thursday – Rock Cats 6, Portland 2 – The Rock Cats finally got to play their home opener. Bobby Lanigan went the first six innings. He gave up two runs (1 earned) on five hits. He walks two and struck out four. Cole DeVries did a great job out of the ‘pen again. He threw three innings of one-hit ball to record the three inning save. Joe Benson hit his third and fourth doubles in four at bats. Ray Chang launched his first home run. Chris Parmelee hit his fourth double.

Miracle Matters

Thursday – Miracle 7, Bradenton 8 – The Miracle found themselves down 7-0 after two innings, and 8-2 after three innings. They made a big comeback, but it came up just short. It was a rough start for Tom Stuifbergen, to say the least. He gave up eight runs (7 earned) on nine hits and a walk in three innings. Ryan Mullins came in and threw three shutout innings. Blake Martin then threw two scoreless innings.  Jhonathan Goncalves went 3-5. Nate Hanson was 2-4 with a double. Steve Liddle went 2-5 with a double. James Beresford was 2-4 with a walk.

Injury Notes – Paul Kelly will again miss some significant time. He had a blood clot in his right shoulder. As I wrote the other day, He left the game earlier this week because his right arm was numb. He has already had surgery to remove the clots, but they still don’t know how long he’ll be out. Miguel Munoz appears to be headed toward Tommy John surgery. I was told that the ligament did not tear, but it actually came off of the bone (which just sounds painful, doesn’t it?). And Tom Stuifbergen had a rough start last night, but more worrisome, he left the game with shoulder pain. It will be evaluated, but hopefully it is nothing serious.

Snappers Bites

Thursday – Snappers 0, Clinton 2 (13 innings) – A day after getting just one hit in a 1-0 win over Clinton, it was another pitcher’s duel between the two teams. This one had no scoring until Clinton batted in the 13th inning. Logan Darnell started and went eight shutout innings. He allowed just two hits, walked none and struck out six. Blayne Weller gave up two hits and a walk in 1.2 innings, but did not allow a run. He struck out four. Clinton Dempster went 2.1 scoreless innings, but he gave up two runs in the top of the 13th before Matt Hauser got the final two outs.  

Feel free to leave your thoughts, questions or comments.

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31 Responses to “Rough Night for the Twins”

  1. Bill in Sarasota April 15, 2011 at 6:39 am #

    1. Why was Cuddyer playing back so far in the 9th with a two run lead?
    2. Why was Hughes playing up the middle in the 10th with no one on?

    At this point, the Twins need to start doing the little things to turn it around.

    Small sample size but Ramos is hitting .450.

    • Seth April 15, 2011 at 6:47 am #

      1.) Because that’s what you do, and I’m sure that it wasn’t only his call.
      2.) I guess I didn’t notice, but I’m sure their scouting reports tell them where to play.

      Yeah, I don’t think Ramos will hit .450… and he’s not a Twin anymore, so it’s not worth bringing up.

      • mike wants wins April 15, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

        Sure it is. It is worth bringing up when judging if Bill Smith is good at his job or not. It was a bad trade.

      • Seth April 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

        But OK, if you’re going to bring it up, then…

        1.) can’t we acknowledge that Matt Capps has been tremendous since coming to the Twins, even if he isn’t that prototypical closer?
        2.) To this point, the Twins and their fans have nothing to complain about on that deal.
        3.) Like I said, I like Ramos’s ceiling probably more than anyone else, but we don’t know how good he’ll be.
        4.) Those fans that want the Twins to “go for it” and ever use that saying have to say that that is exactly what the Twins did with that move. They gave up a terrific prospect for a guy that helped them win a division title.

      • mike wants wins April 15, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

        I am one of those guys, and I’m sure that is why you brought it up. But, guys that throw 60-70 innings a year aren’t worth a top prospect at a position like catcher. They should have traded Revere or some OF prospect….not a catcher (assuming there was even a need to get a RP). If they had just done the Fuentes deal, they could have re-signed him, and still have Ramos…..I can complain all I want, Capps was no better than Rauch, plus, it is the fans’ “right” to complain or cheer or whatever, that’s why these guys are millionaires.

        That said, Capps has been better than I thought he would, but I’d rather have JJ Hardy than an 8th or 9th inning guy…..

      • Ed Bast April 15, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

        Seth, Bill Smith said at the time they wouldn’t have made the deal if Capps didn’t have another year on his contract. It was, as so many Twins moves are, made for next year, not this year. It was the opposite of an all-in move. Capps converted saves at exactly the same rate as Rauch. And closers are worthless in the playoffs when you’re always losing.

  2. Scruffy Rube April 15, 2011 at 7:20 am #

    Thanks Seth, that’s the kind of thing I needed to hear; especially after I went to sleep with the image of Johnny Damon smirking and woke up with the sound of those darned cowbells ringing in my ears.

    I wonder though, between this post and the last…do you think Twins fans have lost their way? Gotten complacent? Forgotten to appreciate the joys of baseball and come to expect WINNING? We aren’t about to become like the *gasp* Red Sox/Cubs fans are we?

    I’ll stick it out, keep the faith, keep on cheering shield myself from the bandwagon jumpers, and hey, if a scuffle like this frees up some season tickets, maybe I’ll be happier in the long run.

    • Maija April 15, 2011 at 8:02 am #

      I think Twins fans have lost their way a little. Seems like the mentality among fans used to be “Hope the Twins win! Glad baseball is here.” Now it seems more like “The Twins better win or I’m going to blow a gasket.” Personally, I’m just happy the Twins are playing at all.

    • Ed Bast April 15, 2011 at 8:59 am #

      Look, we as Twins fans were told that if we paid for a brand new, revenue-hemhorraging stadium, the team would be able to compete for World Series year in and year out. The Twins went from a small-market team to a large market team. After 1 season – which ended no different than in the small-market years – the club raised already-expensive ticket prices. As fans, we are essentially funding a significant portion of this team. It’s different that it used to be. Twins fans SHOULD have expectations for this team, because we were told to have expectations.

      There is a window of opportunity for this team to win that World Series – this core won’t be together much longer. So when we see the front office blatantly worsen the team in the offseason and leave us with a crippling lack of depth, and then within 2 weeks of the season see that front office ineptitude rear its ugly head – damn right we’re pissed.

      • Seth April 15, 2011 at 9:32 am #

        I expected the Twins to compete for a playoff spot when they were -perceived to be – a small market team. I expect the Twins to compete for a playoff spot when they now have increased revenue streams. The front office has kept their part by using the increased revenue to increase payroll… and I don’t think anyone can disagree with that. They’re able to keep their better players, but that doesn’t mean they’re able to keep or sign everyone.

        Ed, is the expectation really a World Series title?

        Increased payroll doesn’t mean more wins… it means more veteran players.. They’re already about $115 million, and that’s without the guys they didn’t bring back. If they had brought them back, they’d be at about $140. And although you and I can play GM without a budget, the Twins front office actually has to play with a budget.

        Two weeks.

      • Ed Bast April 15, 2011 at 10:05 am #

        Seth, long-term, I don’t even think making the playoffs is a reasonable expectation for the team. There will be ups and downs, and fans should understand that. But I do think that when you have the talent and resources to compete for something greater, the team owes it to the fans to do that. That means focusing not only on the division but the playoffs.

        The way I see it, the window of legitimate World Series contention for this club was 2010-2012. Last year, they did not go “all in” at the deadline and get a starter to help them compete in October. Okay, fine, it’s in the past. This offseason, they got worse by, among other things, trading their starting shortstop (contending teams don’t do this, period) and eliminating any depth on the roster whatsoever. They basically said, We’ll be real good if absolutely no one gets hurt, which has never happened to a team in the history of baseball. Good call. It’s very frustrating.

        And don’t give me the stock payroll line – the payroll limitations are there solely because of the ill-advised contracts this front office doled out the first minute they could. It’s the front office’s fault the payroll got so high in the first place. And as fans, we pay the price. We’re forced to watch a very talented team be handcuffed by the front office. We have to watch Drew Butera play baseball for the next 15+ days. Are you surprised by the Mauer injury? Obviously the front office is, because they’ve traded away every viable catching option in their system. Isn’t this the least bit upsetting?

        Oh and you probably can’t tell by the tone of my posts but I’m with you 100% on the 2 weeks. The team will be fine – they’ll play better and I still think they’ll win the division. I’m just frustrated at the front office – 2 weeks into the season and their terrible offseason is already haunting us.

      • Scruffy Rube April 15, 2011 at 10:41 am #

        I think Ed makes a lot of reasonable points; after a decade of competing for division titles it’s natural to look to the next natural goal for a contending team: the World Series. But I would say that if you can compete for a division title you can also compete for the World Series because several teams (last year’s Giants, the ’06 Cardinals, the ’03 Marlins) have shown that if you get hot in October you can make magic happen.

        We probably need more talent than we currently have to make that happen; an ace starter, better defense up the middle, etc. But (and this may be my naivete) I trust that the front office with their years of experience in baseball (and pretty solid track record for competing over the past decade) will work it out mid-season. Their strategy might not be working yet, but our last year’s 3rd base plan looked equally sketchy until Danny V. stepped up to the job–they may trust more in the farm system than other contenders might, but it may yet bear fruit.

        I hope I didn’t imply that if you want/expect the Twins to win, then you’re a bandwagon fan. Anyone who studies the team, thinks about the situation and responds to blogs like this definitely is not. But suddenly seeing empty seats at Target Field this week gave me pause…we’re two weeks in, if fans start jumping ship and revenues slide…then where do we end up?

  3. Kevin M April 15, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    The Twins have hit 3 home runs in 12 games, which as a team puts them on pace for 40 home runs this year. The offense isn’t going to improve until someone puts the ball over the fence. It is easy to blame Nathan and Capps, but the Twins offense could have done more than score 3 runs in 10 innings.

    • Seth April 15, 2011 at 9:33 am #

      I don’t care about the home runs… Just runs. Gotta score more runs. I don’t care how they get them.

  4. Jack Steal April 15, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    When are people going to wake up and realize the coaching staff is responsible for the loss last night and the slow start of the season. We were not prepared and ready to start the season. I thought that’s what spring training was for. Gardy and his laid back approach is getting old..

    First off Ben Revere should be in the outfield every day and Cuddyer should be benched. Cuddyer sucks and that is a fact. Look at his numbers last season and at 32 he is unlikely to rebound. Losing Orlando Hudson was huge and if they had kept him the middle infield would be fine..Instead we picked up a weak minded second baseman from Japan who was just plain terrible before he was hurt. We need to make a trade for a middle infielder and a catcher..If Mauer returns he needs to be moved to another position.

    I’m not a bandwagon fan!! I love this team if they lose 100 games but being optimistic for the sake of being optimistic does not make sense to me…If this was NY or Boston fans would be going crazy..Maybe Twins fans should act like that because it’s the only way the front office will act.

    • Seth April 15, 2011 at 9:44 am #

      “When are people going to wake up and realize the coaching staff is responsible for the loss last night”

      True… Gardy shouldn’t have put his closer into a 2-0 game in the 9th innings. That never works. And then with a lead in the 10th, he shouldn’t have put in the guy who was his closer last year and is his best reliever this year. That’s just horrible game management!

      ” Cuddyer sucks and that is a fact.”

      Also true. That career .790 OPS is terrible.

      ” picked up a weak minded second baseman from Japan”

      Oh yeah, that’s true too! 25 year old leaves a culture where he is incredibly popular and a star to come to the United States, a completely different culture and take a big chance. Also, he is so weak-minded that he isn’t willing to play with a fractured fibula. Weak!”

      “Maybe Twins fans should act like that because it’s the only way the front office will act.”

      Also true. This front office has shown that it is willing to act on any frustrations aired by the fan base, especially those pesky bloggers. They have no track record of success over the last decade.”

      • mini_tb April 15, 2011 at 10:18 am #

        I think Jack meant weak boned. Nishioka has fragile bones because Japanese people don’t drink as much milk as Americans. The Twins management thought they could play around Nishioka’s lack of Calcium in his diet, and they were quickly proven wrong.

      • TT April 15, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

        That last post brought to you by the Minnesota’s Dairy Farmers, keeping bones strong and clogging arteries for over a century and a half.

    • scot April 15, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

      Revere is in no any way ready to face ML pitching on a regular basis. He was way overmatched when he was called up last season. Twins already have enough hitters struggling, they don’t need another.

  5. roger April 15, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    Well Seth, the natives are getting restless. And good for them!

    First off, if Casilla doesn’t get picked off first and everything remains the same…Nathan gets the save and the Twins win, 3-2.

    I question how good this Twins team really is. They are the most expensive team ever and a lot of names we want to like. But didn’t the Twins used to win the “Twins way?” Great defense, very good pitching, great bullpens and a lot of speed. Well, every one of those areas is now gone. The team is slow, they have one of if not the worst defensive outfield in baseball and a middle infield that really isn’t very good…in the field or at the plate. Throw in a top of the line pitcher who can’t win big games and won’t come to spring training prepared and a questionable bullpen and this team isn’t very good.

    As for Ramos, I respectfully disagree and have since the day of the trade that Matt Capps ain’t that good. With that nice flat fastball he sure isn’t worth what he is being paid.

    Oh well, there is some exciting talent not that far away.

  6. AW April 15, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Seth,
    I was at the Rock Cats home opener last night, and I have to say, Joe Benson looked pretty good. 2 doubles crushed off the wall (one to left-center, one to right-center) and he made a couple nice throws. I wonder if this keeps up how long he’ll stay in AA??

    • mike wants wins April 15, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

      Too long. Studies show the Twins are one of the slowest orgs at promoting players in all of MLB.

    • Seth April 15, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

      I’d like him to spend the full year there, to be honest. I think that would be best for his development. If there was an injury with the Twins, maybe Cuddyer or Kubel, I think that Tosoni would be ahead of Benson. If Span or Young got hurt, Revere would be ahead of him. I think he’s where he needs to be. He needs to continue working on putting the ball in play, and he’s at the level he needs to be doing that.

      But yes, if he hit .410 all year, sure, he will move up.

  7. acb April 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    I’m a little concerned about the fact that the Twins drafted 5 players (including 3 RHP) before Atlanta selected their 23 year old, 98 MPH closer Craig Kimbrel with the 96th pick in 2008. I realize all the other teams passed on him, but I’m curious if the Twins even knew who he was. Other teams seem to be getting major league contributions from their drafts alot faster the Twins. Valencia will be 27 in September.

    • Seth April 15, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

      I bet you could find a lot of examples of guys that were drafted in the 3-4-5-25th rounds that the Twins didn’t draft. I guarantee that the Twins knew who he was. No doubt.

      I’d add that the Twins strategy of drafting college pitchers has provided them with some guys who have come up very quickly. Gibson will likely be another example. Baker, Garza, Slowey, Crain, Duensing… those guys all got up to the Twins very quickly. As for the hitters, when you draft high schoolers, yeah, it’ll take a little bit longer. Although, their 2007 draft pick, Mr. Revere, was in the big leagues by 21. And their 2008 pick, Aaron Hicks, may have a huge impact as well. And, their 2nd first round pick, Carlos Gutierrez, throws 97 and could play a huge role for the Twins. Sure, they ‘may’ have missed on Shooter Hunt, but all teams have picks that don’t pan out.

  8. Kunza April 15, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    I think we all love the Twins to death, but eventually the luster does start to wear off. If you constantly don’t try to improve your product or at least define it more so all people can see your mission, similar to any our real-world jobs, the glow that once was there starts to dim. We all have our right to be upset and to be upbeat.

    Personally, here are the problems I think the Twins are facing (and not just because we are losing games right now)…

    1. Identity – Are we a team that is built to hit home runs or play some small ball? When do we ever hit and run anymore? Why don’t we ever send the runners in motion when Mauer and Morneau are up to bat? Instead we wait for the 3 run home run. If I was the manager, I couldn’t wait to get runners on base in front of those two and start the wheels on the runners. Mauer and Morneau are really good with the bat. How about a straight out steal when the count isn’t 3-2? I don’t think even Gardenhire knows what he wants to do.

    2. Ballpark issues – Face it. The Twins built the 2nd coming of the Grand Canyon. The fences are going to have to be addressed soon. If you don’t think so, look at other parks that have been built recently that have already moved their fences in. Offense sells. Who out there is excited about going to a game when there is basically 0 chance of the Twins hitting a home run. Good luck attracting future free agents when you tell them “it’s a pitchers park”. If I was a top-of-the-line SP, I would kill to get up in Minnesota and increase my worth.

    3. Poor roster decisions in relationship to the park – Balls just don’t get hit out of our ballpark, yet we put players in the outfield that are horrible defenders. Have you ever wondered why we are near the leader board in team defense each year? Well could it be because we just can’t get to certain balls because of our poor range in the OF? Don’t complain when Cuddyer can’t get a semi-routine ground ball the other day or when Kubel couldn’t get over to make the catch in the RF corner. Casilla is bad at SS. Span continues to make some horrendous plays in CF. We need a really good defensive CF to cover up the mistakes on the corner.

    4. Poor contracts – I don’t think we need to get into this one – paying way too much for our own system guys. Yuck. Why extend Denard Span so quickly. Why pick up Cuddyer’s option a full year in advance. Punto’s option last year?

    5. Poor trades/GM history – enough said.

    • Seth April 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

      Great response… I think your #1 point was partially the point of my blog yesterday. The personnel has changed and the type of player has changed. This isn’t a scrappy, speedy, defense-first team anymore. It’s not that that is bad, but it is very different and as fans (in part thanks to the media) we were slow to acknowledge that.

      As for the ball park, I also agree. However, to be fair, the assumption when they moved into the ball park was that it would be a good for offense (but fair) ballpark. I don’t think anyone could have anticipated what it has become. Also, I agree that we pretty much know now, but you can’t just completely overhaul a roster in a year to go from HR/Power to speed/defense. I actually agree with the decision not to make changes after one year. Let’s let it play out at this point and see hwat happens.

      And, as for this questions, “Why pick up Cuddyer’s option a full year in advance.” the answer to that is because they had to. Where the question mark is why that was put in the contract that way.

  9. Bill in Sarasota April 15, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    Bill – Why was Cuddyer playing back so far in the 9th with a two run lead?

    Seth – Because that’s what you do, and I’m sure that it wasn’t only his call.

    With a two run lead, you play normal depth. You play the percentages as the most likely spot to get an out (when tying run is on deck).

    I understand the “mentality” of “no doubles” deep OF with an one run lead.

    When you’re struggling, the little things add up.

    Too bad the beat writers don’t ask specific questions about fielding positions – it would be interesting if it was coaches or Cuddyer’s fault.

    • adyacent April 15, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

      Yesterday Gardy said that Cuddy just lost the ball in the lights

  10. darin c April 15, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    How about trying to talk Benji Molina out of retirement if the Mauer situation is worse than expected?

  11. FromThisSeat.com April 16, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    Twins have all of the ability to take the Central again this year, if Mauer could only stay healthy.

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