Boiling Point

19 Aug

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

I’m often called the positive or the calm Twins blogger. Not much gets under my skin. And I take pride in that. Kind of the One Game at a Time thing, I guess. I’ve played the game of baseball, and I know how hard it is. When players make errors, it doesn’t bother me. It’s part of the game. When players look silly at the plate while striking out, I’ve been there. Obviously not at the big league level, but anyone who has played baseball beyond high school knows that this is a very humbling game by its very nature. It is a hard game to play, and even though these players are big leaguers, they are also playing against big leaguers, which levels that playing field.

With any transaction, I try to think about the deal from all perspectives. I won’t necessarily agree with every move (see Ramos, Wilson for Capps, Matt), but I understood what they were thinking. I can usually find something.

For some reason, when I saw the Twins lineup and the Twins situation yesterday, it set me off, and that happens maybe once a year. Joe Mauer playing right field was an interesting situation, although I have no problem with it. In fact, I don’t have a problem with the lineup as it was. But the team had no one available on the bench until Luke Hughes showed up after the game started.

I ranted a bit on Twitter, which actually kind of felt good. I think I may have over-done it in a couple of instances, but I needed it, and now I’m back to my calm self. Here is a quick view of some of my tweets from last night:

SethTweets: Gardy pre-game speech: “So, this is our lineup and our defense. Don’t get hurt, we have no bench. Now Go Beat CC and those Darn Yankees!!”

I blogged yesterday several reasons why Joe Benson should have been promoted yesterday. The team knew that Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel could not play the OF. Against CC Sabathia, Rene Tosoni would have no chance. Maybe Benson wouldn’t either, but it’s something. Benson was on the 40 man roster. But with the lineup that the Twins played, it is hard to envision having a shot against one of baseball’s best teams and one of baseball’s best pitchers.

SethTweets: I’m sure someone will. RT @jimmyjammer22 @LaVelleNeal @SethTweets so if mauer runs into the RF wall and breaks a leg, Gardy gets the blame?

There are a lot of Twins fans who blame Gardy for everything, and I’m sure that happening would against be Gardy’s fault. This lineup and this situation was a microcosm of the 2011 Twins season. Gardy isn’t perfect, but a lot of the issues of this team have nothing to do with the manager.

SethTweets: Now the Rochester Red Wings and New Britain Rock Cats can no longer complain when the Twins leave them short-rostered! #ThisIsRidiculous

Seemingly a couple of times a year, the Twins will leave their AAA or AA affiliate with a very short bench. My typical response has been that it is the role of those teams to help fill the Twins roster when needed. I never imagined seeing a Twins game in which the Twins had no one on the bench. So I understand the frustration now that the Twins have experienced an empty bench.

SethTweets: And, if @MCuddy5 can’t play under these circumstances, he clearly isn’t coming back any time soon. Why not DL?

Honestly, how long have we heard that Cuddyer is a day away? Span was a day or two away. He was finally put on the Disabled List. Cuddyer is the ultimate team player, and he has shown time and again his willingness to play hurt. Understanding the Twins situation last night, I am of the opinion that Cuddyer could not play, and would not be able to play for at least a few more days.  

SethTweets: And I’m the positive #Twins blogger who can usually find something to make situations understandable. This is pretty pathetic! #HardToAdmit

I don’t like being negative. At all.

SethTweets: And there are still people who hold Ron Gardenhire responsible for this mess! Unreal. (But it should be fun to watch)

Again, Gardy had no good options in last night’s game. He has been handcuffed with the roster and the injuries all year. That said, it was fun to see Mauer in RF, and a lineup that included Tosoni, Revere and Plouffe. It’s still a great game!

SethTweets: Ha!! No one down there! RT @DWade @SethTweets is there anyone in Beloit that’s also already on the 40-man?

If the Twins had someone on the 40 man roster in Beloit, he could have been to the Twin Cities in about 5 ½ hours!  However, the Twins don’t have anyone on their 40 man roster in Beloit. That said… Tommy Watkins is the hitting coach there. Maybe he could have been brought up to the Twins as an extra infielder!

SethTweets: I’m not blaming players, no questioning the toughness & will of @MCuddy5, Morneau, Span or others, but something isn’t right w/med. Staff.

We have all had our questions about the Twins medical staff for years. Constant missed diagnosis. How many times has someone been out for “a day” and gone on the Disabled List 10 days later? How many more ‘rest and rehabs’ do they need? Why are there so many injuries this year or in the last couple of years. Why isn’t Tolbert on the DL? It’s injury after injury and missed diagnosis.

SethTweets: Must be! @bennyc50 @SethTweets I wonder if the Twins lead the league in retroactive DL stints because they wait so long to put them on?

This is my point. How many times have they waited and called players day-to-day and then put them on the Disabled List eight to twelve days later?

SethTweets: And the beauty of baseball is that this #Twins roster could beat CC and the Yankees tonight cuz baseball is a funny game! #GreatestGameEver

There’s always fun in baseball. There is always strange things that happen. Even the worst big league players have good days and sometimes even against some of the best pitchers. The Royals beat the Yankees and Red Sox sometimes. The worst teams still generally win about 60 games and some of them against teams that will win 90 or more games. Obviously by now you know that the obvious result of the game occurred (Twins lost 8-4), but you never know.

SethTweets: Finally, I want Bill Smith’s explanation for how this happens. Had to know Kubel would be gone. Two guys haven’t played for a week.

Like I said, I can typically understand pretty much anything that happens to a baseball team or a team’s roster, but this one, I don’t get. They’ve known for awhile now that Span wasn’t coming back anytime soon. I don’t know, but I have to assume that they knew before Wednesday’s game that Kubel was going to need a day away from the team for personal family matters. They couldn’t have known that Luke Hughes was inexplicably going to be sitting at the wrong gate at the Rochester, NY, airport and not show up until after game time. And again, Matt Tolbert couldn’t swing a bat on Wednesday night. No way he was available last night no matter what is said. I get that the Twins aren’t competing, but it’s a big league club. This should never happen.

SethTweets:Alright, no more whining for me… Ranting happens about once a year. I’m good now. Back to positivity. #ItsHappening

Thursday night presented a situation that no big league team should ever have to go through. I still find it inexplicable. But on Friday, Kubel should be back. Cuddyer is probably questionable. Hughes will be there, presumably on time.

 

The Home Run/Non-Home Run

And then came the Justin Morneau home run. The powerful Canadian hit a long, towering fly ball down the right field line. The 1B umpire called it a home run. I was actually watching it on mute thanks to being on a phone call. I saw two replays that showed it VERY clearly was a foul ball. After the Yankees asked for a replay, the umpires correctly changed the call to a foul ball. Gardenhire came out and argued, which is basically an automatic ejection. But he was adamant, and I didn’t understand at all. Maybe it was because I didn’t have the volume on. That was one of the stranger things I’ve seen.

MINOR LEAGUE UPDATES

Here are some minor league highlights from the last two days. But be sure to download and listen to last night’s Twins Minor league Weekly podcast.

ROCHESTER RED WINGS

On Wednesday, the Red Wings lost to Lehigh Valley 3-1. Andy Baldwin started and gave up three runs on seven hits. In six innings, they walked one and struck out ten. Cole DeVries struck out two in two scoreless, one-hit innings. Brandon Roberts was 2-4. Aaron Bates was 1-2 with two walks. Toby Gardenhire went 1-3 with a walk and his third home run.

The Red Wings lost to Lehigh Valley 11-1 on Thursday. The Red Wings managed just six hits. Dustin Martin was 1-2 with two walks and his 25th double. Chase Lambin, Aaron Bates and Steve Holm each hit a double. Dennys Suarez gave up seven runs on seven hits and a walk in 3.2 innings. Chuck James then threw 2.1 one-hit innings. Lester Oliveros made his Red Wings debut and gave up a solo homer in his inning. Carlos Gutierrez gave up three runs on four hits in one inning. He struck out three. Jim Hoey walked two in his scoreless innings.   

NEW BRITAIN ROCK CATS

Wednesday night, the Rock Cats beat Binghamton 7-3. Michael Hollimon went 3-4 with a walk, his second triple and his 14th home run. Joe Benson went 2-5 with his 12th and 13th home runs and six RBI. Chris Parmelee was 2-5. Evan Bigley went 2-3 with a walk. Blake Martin started and gave up three runs on seven hits. In five innings, he walked five and struck out three. Deolis Guerra gave up just one hit in three scoreless innings. He walked none and struck out two. Tyler Robertson pitched a scoreless inning.

Thursday night, the Rock Cats lost 8-7 to Binghamton. Logan Darnell started and gave up seven runs on ten hits and two hit batters in 5.2 innings. He struck out four. Brett Jacobson struck out two of the four batters he got out. Andrew Albers pitched a scoreless inning. Steve Hirschfeld came in for the bottom of the 9th in a tie game. He walked a batter, who advanced on a sacrifice bunt. After a wild pitch, the game ended on a sacrifice fly. Chris Parmelee went 3-5 with his 13th home run. Evan Bigley went 2-4 with two RBI. Nate Hanson went 2-4 with his 13th double. Michael Hollimon hit his 10th double. Joe Benson hit his 26th double.  

FT MYERS MIRACLE

The Miracle beat Jupiter 5-1 on Wednesday night. BJ Hermsen started and recorded his first Florida State League win. He gave up just one run on eight hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out five. Matt Hauser went the final three innings to record his fifth save. He gave up no runs on two hits and a walk while striking out two. Oswaldo Arcia went 3-3 with his 11th double and his sixth home run. Dan Rohlfing went 2-4.   

On Thursday, the Miracle lost a pitcher’s duel 1-0. 2011 42nd round pick, Matthew Tomshaw, started for the Miracle and gave up just one hit in five shutout innings. He walked two and struck out four. Edgar Ibarra went the next three innings and gave up just one run. He gave up three hits, walked one and struck out three. Bruce Pugh struck out two in his scoreless inning. Reggie Williams went 2-4 with his fifth double. He had half of the Miracle hits. The others were the 14th double by Danny Rams and the 12th double of James Beresford. Aaron Hicks was 0-2 with two walks and his 15th stolen base.

BELOIT SNAPPERS

Beloit beat Kane County 10-1. Ryan O’Rourke gave up one run on seven hits in 5.1 innings. He walked five and struck out one. Adrian Salcedo got five outs. Jose Gonzalez and Pedro Guerra each pitched a scoreless inning too. Guerra struck out the side. Jairo Perez went 2-4 with a walk, his 15th double, his 13th home run and four RBI. Lance Ray, Danny Ortiz and Adam Bryant each went 2-5. Jhonatan Goncalves went 1-3 with two walks.

Beloit managed just four hits in a 2-0 loss to Kane County on Thursday. Jairo Perez led the offense with two walks. Manuel Soliman started and gave up two runs on six hits in seven innings. Sam Spangler threw a scoreless inning.

ELIZABETHTON TWINS

Elizabethton beat Bristol 7-3 on Wednesday. Derek Christensen went 4.1 innings and gave up three runs on two hits and four walks. He struck out seven. Corey Williams then went 2.2 scoreless innings. He gave up two hits and a walk. Cole Johnson struck out two in a scoreless inning. Matt Summers then struck out two in his scoreless inning. Rory Rhodes went 3-3 with a walk and his second steal. Eddie Rosario went 2-3 with a walk and his 12th home run and 15th stolen base. Matej Hejma went 2-4 with his third double. Max Kepler went 2-4 with his tenth double. Miguel Sano knocked his 15th home run (9th HR in last 17 games).

The E-Twins got a big 13-3 win over Bristol on Thursday. Miguel Sano went 3-5 with his 13th and 14th doubles and four RBI. Eddie Rosario went 1-2 with three walks and his 13th home run. JD Williamns went 2-5th his ninth double. Matej Hejma was 2-4. Niko Goodrm went 2-3 with a walk and his seventh stolen base. Tim Atherton started and gave up two runs on five hits for the win. In five innings, he walked two and struck out five. Cesar Ciurcina gave up one run on one hit in an inning. He struck out three. Nick Alloway pitched a scoreless seventh. Recently-signed Tyler Jones made his pro debut and threw a scoreless inning. Steven Gruver pitched a one-hit ninth.  

GCL TWINS

The GCL Twins beat 3-0 to the GCL Rays in the first of two games on Wednesday. Hein Robb started and threw four scoreless innings. He gave up four hits, walked three and struck out three. Kyle Wahl then threw three perfect innings and struck out four. Candido Pimentel was 3-3 with his first triple. Julio Torres went 2-4. Drew Leachman went 2-3 with a walk.

On Thursday, the GCL Twins lost 4-0 to the GCL Rays. Ricardo Arevalo gave up four runs (3 earned) on four hits in four innings. Gerardo Ramirez pitched a scoreless inning as well before the game was postponed. The offense managed just two hits. Josh Hendricks went 2-2 with his seventh double.  

Any thoughts?? E-mail me, or leave some Comments.

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16 Responses to “Boiling Point”

  1. Bryz August 19, 2011 at 1:44 am #

    Just a minor nitpick, but I believe Luke Hughes was flying from Lehigh Valley to MN, not Rochester.

    I’m in full agreement here about the medical staff, though this has been going on for years. Joe Crede is one guy I will always remember that seemed to always have a sore back, but was considered “day-to-day.” Still, he would sit out for a full week or more between games. If a player is out for that long, I think you should start leaning towards a DL stint. Playing shorthanded, when the bench is already fairly bad to begin with, is not a good idea.

    I’ve ranted about this before on my blog, so here’s my shameless self promotion. http://weareoffthemark.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/day-to-day-to-day-to-day-to/

  2. MNP August 19, 2011 at 2:55 am #

    Just an FYI, you probably don’t remember me (I barely this!) but I used to comment on your site years and yeas ago. We even had a short exchange about politics once. I can’t for the life of me remember the name I used back then. SSJPabs? Craziersaiyan? Hell if I can remember!

    Anyhow, as someone who has not been ashamed to be anti-Gardenhire since the end of the 2006 season, my opposition is based on three things. To be fair, I’m not going to include numbers and I didn’t watch the Twins much after 2007 until this 2010.

    The first, is that he comes off as very traditional. Now my own personality involves very little respect for tradition. If there’s a better way, I am liable to take it.. Baseball has changed a lot since he played, hell even since he first started managing, and it seems like because he is so traditional he doesn’t take into account newer ideas and metrics very quickly if it all. He just seems so… so incurious about things.

    The second is the relationships with his players. It’s entirely possible that this is what is required to keep a team together, but these people are supposed to be professionals. He really appears to play favorites and sometimes defends his players when what they did was clearly wrong. Other times he calls out players for things that are outright wrong like saying they aren’t tough or dedicated if they won’t play while injured. Is that really better than saying “he’s faking”?

    A manager is supposed to manage, keep the team playing at the highest level they can sustain for a season and then prepare them as much as possible for the playoffs. Because of his limitations with his relationships to the players and his traditionalism and lack of curiosity, it feels like he just isn’t getting the most from the players he’s got. In general, I’m not saying 2011 Twins are a great team! Hell, I thought their season was done in May and refused to change my assessment until the Twins reached .500 which they never did of course.

    So as a Gardy-Hater, I guess, that’s why I blame Gardenhire. I have related criticisms of the organization, but that has nothing to do with the coach, that is, manager.

    • MNP August 19, 2011 at 3:00 am #

      Oh! Almost forgot. From the Twinkietown wrapup:

      “In the beginning of the game, the 1st inning, Justin Morneau hit–what to me, on the first-baseline, and to many others–appeared to be a home run, but the ball was ruled foul after the umpires reviewed the instant replay. Ron Gardenhire was thrown out disputing the call. Danny Gladden disputed the call over the radio. I personally disputed the call… Just going to show instant replay doesn’t necessarily solve much–umpires see what they want to see.”

      So it appears that some people saw something else. I didn’t see the play, so I have no idea.

  3. jim August 19, 2011 at 6:43 am #

    Seth
    You do a great job with your blog, thank you. We follow your minor league system closely as we have a relative that plays for the Twins. Naturally the press reports on offensive players daily but doesn’t profile defensive statistics of minor leaguers. Heck defense doesn’t even appear on their players page! Could you profile the defensive numbers of middle infielders throughout the minor leagues. I believe this would be a very interesting story. If you could, include errors, chances, double plays…all of the important stuff that profiles a great defender. Remember, pitching and defense wins championships and I for one would like to see who are best defenders are.

  4. morts August 19, 2011 at 8:41 am #

    Seth,
    How much of the problem to you think is the medical staff, and how much is a result of the way the Twins share medical information? Regarding the medical staff, I think there is a big difference between what they diagnose and tell the player and the manager, and then what the organization tells the media. When we hear a player “needs a day or two” I feel that this is more a reflection of what Gardenhire and the player are trying to do. Gardy seems to like to give guys a chance to play through injuries if possible, and therefore he is slow to pull the trigger on the DL. And I don’t think the drama and confusion surrounding Mauer’s “bilateral leg weakness” is the result of an incompetent medical staff so much as the club’s desire not to divulge medical information if at all possible.

  5. mike wants wins August 19, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    Just awful roster management. Embarrassing that Tolbert is not DLd yet.

  6. JB_Iowa August 19, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    It’s funny but I’ve railed against Gardenhire a lot more in past years than this one. When the Twins are pretty decent overall, his decisions irritate me a lot more than this year when the team is just unbelievably screwed up. While I’ve complained about the front office a bit in the past, complaining about virtually everything they do seems to be absorbing any anti-Gardy energy I may have this year.

    Had a friend in the right field seats who thought the Morneau “home run” was clearly foul. All depends on your perspective but it sounds like they got it right. And no, you didn’t miss anything by having the TV on mute (but then, you would rarely miss anything by pushing the mute button on Dick and Bert)

    • JB_Iowa August 19, 2011 at 8:55 am #

      P.S. I really enjoyed you on Twitter last night — it was interesting to see you finally “melt down” a bit. At some point, though, you just have to laugh at this team. Lately I have had the old “Keystone Kops” silent movies in my mind when I watch the Twins (especially in the field) — unfortunately that image now extends to all aspects of the baseball side of the operation.

  7. Han Joelo August 19, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    Some positives: Eddie Rosario’s OPS has gone up 44 points in three days. Miguel Sano…no errors the last couple of games. Jairo Perez–why doesn’t this guy get promoted? Benson and Parmalee–heck, if the bench is empty, why not promote both these guys?

    • jim August 19, 2011 at 9:11 am #

      Sano and Rosario are beasts offensively. However, and to my previous reply above, defense also plays a huge role. Sano is an infield error machine and there are others who are as well within the system. Lets profile the best infield defenders within the system and bring them along with these offensive juggernauts to create a club that can win in all phases of the game. Middle infielders must contribute at a greater than .970 fielding efficiency in order for a club to win games or we are just fooling ourselves.

  8. mikey August 19, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    Screw Bill Smith

    He is over and tries to be too clever. Cant stand that guy

  9. roger August 19, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    Thanks for this post Seth! Jim, I spend as much time following the minor league teams as anyone and defensive stats aren’t as readily available. Like Seth, I try to stay positive.

    Thus, I don’t write a lot about errors. I did comment here awhile ago that there tended to be more unearned runs recently. After Seth’s response, I spent several hours yesterday researching that question as my original comment was based on a gut reaction. Yes, errors and unearned runs are higher over the past three or four years than say eight to ten years ago. But they are sporadic and it isn’t real clear.

    Anyway Seth, thanks for this post. I will join the chorus of saying that the organization and its management isn’t what it used to be. Just making to many fundamental errors of jusdement and basic decisions aren’t sound!

  10. ScruffyRube August 19, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    It’s nice to note that I’m not the only overly positive blogger who has been reaching his wits end in recent days. If Seth’s losing it, I feel more justified in my own craziness.

    Now is the time to adopt a zen attitude and assume: “no matter how bad things get, there’s another season next year…and seriously–we can’t possibly be this injury prone two years running…can we?”

  11. USAFChief August 19, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    Your honor, may I present exhibit number 367, in the People v. Smith matter? It’s a decision matrix entitled “How to have 9 players available for a major league game, given one week’s notice.” I’ve gone to the trouble of creating the decisin matrix because it will be difficult for the jury to believe such a situation could even exist.

  12. Ben August 19, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

    Mike, when you said “Just awful roster management. Embarrassing that Tolbert is not DLd yet.” I believe the term you were looking for was DFAd.

    • mike wants wins August 19, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

      That too….

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