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Twins Notes

3 Jul

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

The Twins enjoyed their off day on Thursday. It was the first time this season that they have been two games above .500. Now, the players may have rested on the off day, but the front office was plenty busy.

First, the Twins released reliever Luis Ayala. Ten days earlier, the Twins had designated him for assignment. Although a couple of teams, namely Pittsburgh and Florida, expressed interest, but a trade was not able to be worked out. He was released, and later in the day, he signed a contract with the Florida Marlins.

In a second transaction, the Twins outrighted Sean Henn to AAA Rochester and promoted Brian Duensing. Henn, being out of options, had to clear waivers to be sent back to Rochester. He did, and remains in the Twins organization. The promotion of Duensing is somewhat surprising. Being left-handed, he does give Ron Gardenhire a second left-hander in the bullpen. You could argue that Anthony Swarzak was much more deserving of promotion as he has been superb for the Red Wings since his demotion in mid-June. Of course, Swarzak was just named as the Red Wings lone representative in the AAA All-Star Game.

LaVelle E. Neal reports that the Twins have offered a contract to Dominican 16 year old SS Miguel Angel Sano. However, the contract is contingent upon an investigation by Major League Baseball into weather Sano is actually 16 years old. The Twins, Pirates and Baltimore Orioles are the three teams said to be most interested. The Twins and Pirates apparently have a very strong relationship with him. The contract is rumored to be anywhere from $2.5 million to over $4.25 million.

Travis Talks provides his June Awards for the Twins. Joe Nathan had an incredible month. In 11.2 innings (12 games), he gave up no runs on four hits. He walked one and struck out 18. But he wasn’t the only bullpen arm to impress. R. A. Dickey’s ERA for June was 0.67. Matt Guerrier’s was 0.86. Jason Kubel was the easy choice for Twins Player of the Month in June.

Josh Johnson provides a review of all six Twins minor league affiliates, including a selection for hitter and pitcher of the month for each team. Nick Nelson looked back at his preseason Top 10 Twins Prospects to see how they are performing through June.

Consistent release point is important to all pitchers, but Over the Baggy’s Parker Hageman shows us why and how release point is important for Scott Baker.

Brian, at the Twins Examiner site, tracks the young career of Aaron Hicks.

At Jim Mandelaro’s Extra Bases blog, he takes a look into the Life of a GM, through the eyes of Twins GM Bill Smith, who has lost 40 pounds since February.

Baseball Intellect takes a look at the Mechanics of Kevin Slowey to determine why he is able to pitch with so much control.

Slowey will take the mound on Friday night for the Twins as they start a three game series at the Metrodome against the division-leading Detroit Tigers.    

MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

Wednesday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Tyler Ladendorf & Danny Rams, Elizabethton Twins

Wednesday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Mike McCardell, Ft. Myers Miracle

ROCHESTER REPORT

Wednesday – Rochester, Buffalo – Game Postponed by Rain. The Red Wings are set to send Jeff Manship to the mound against Oliver Perez in a game that is expecting over 20,000 fans in attendance. What a great atmosphere!

ROCKCAT RECAP

Wednesday – New Britain, Portland – Game Postponed by Rain.

MIRACLE MEMOS

Wednesday – Game 1 – Ft. Myers 3, Lakeland 1 Tyler Robertson started this game and threw two shutout innings. He gave up two hits, walked two and struck out two. But during the top of the third inning, there was a rain delay. When play resumed, Joe Testa came in and struck out five in two scoreless innings to get the Win. Loek Van Mil threw two shutout innings. Blair Erickson recorded his ninth save. He struck out two and gave up an unearned run in the seventh. The offense managed just six hits. Steve Singleton hit his fifth home run. Deibinson Romero hit his 16th double.  

Wednesday – Game 2 – Ft. Myers 4, Lakeland 1 Mike McCardell started and finished the second game. The righty gave up one run on seven hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out nine to improve to 8-5. Steve Singleton was 2-4 with his fourth steal. Mark Dolenc went 2-3. Chris Parmelee hit his 10th home run, a two run homer in the 8th that gave the team a two run lead. In the ninth, Nick Romero extended the lead with a solo home run, his third of the year.     

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Wednesday – Beloit 1, Cedar Rapids 5 – The Snappers managed just two hits in this game. James Beresford had a double. Dominic de La Osa went 0-1 with two walks and his third stolen base. Dan Osterbrock started and gave up three runs on ten hits and three walks over five innings. He struck out five. Curtis Leavitt went two innings and gave up one run on one hit. He walked one and struck out three. Matt Williams gave up an unearned run over the final two innings.

E-TWINS EXTRAS

Wednesday – Elizabethton 12, Bristol 4 – The E-Twins improved to 9-1 in this game. Tyler Ladendorf and Danny Rams were the hitting stories again, both going 3-5. Ladendorf knocked his fourth and fifth doubles. Rams hit his fifth home run. Tobias Streich hit his second homer, and Josmil Pinto hit his fourth homer. Reggie Williams went 2-4. Angelo Sanchez got his second win. In six innings, he gave up two runs on six hits and a walk. He struck out six. Ramon Acosta gave up two unearned runs on two hits in two innings. Tony Davis struck out two in his inning.

Interesting Note – We often wonder why the Twins draft so many catchers, and what they will do with all of them. Well, of the nine players in the E-Twins starting lineup, four of them were drafted as catchers. Danny Rams was the Twins 2nd round pick in 2007. He played 1B in this game. Josmil Pinto was the DH in this game. Chris Hermann played LF in this game. And Tobias Streich actually was the catcher.  

GCL TWINS THOUGHTS

Wednesday – GCL Twins – No Game Scheduled.

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

Pirates Power Past Twins

17 Jun

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

I really don’t want to dwell on the Twins 8-2 loss last night to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Francisco Liriano actually wasn’t bad. Michael Cuddyer had a very good game. But the long ball definitely hurt the Twins in this game. It was a bad pitching game, and the Twins pitching has been so strong the last ten to twelve games. I’m just not worried about this one game. If you would like to, you can read my Game Recap at BaseballDigest.com. Before getting in to my one big story from the game, here again is the pitching matchup for this afternoon’s Twins/Pirates series finale.

Thursday – 12:10 – Nick Blackburn (5-2, 3.31, 1.30, .264) vs Zach Duke (7-4, 3.10, 1.17, .263)

Story of the Game – The Idiot of the Day Award has to go to the Twins fan in the Home Run Porch that caught Andrew McCutchen’s 3rd inning home run and decided it was a good idea to throw it back on the field. First of all, any fan who catches a home run ball and throws it back on to the field has to have a little idiot within, but this was a completely different situation. You see, it was the first career home run for McCutchen. A fan has to be thinking such things when you are sitting in a location that could find you catching a little bit of history. At a minimum, the person who caught the ball could have received a signed bat and signed ball from McCutchen (one of baseball’s best prospects), had the opportunity to meet and shake hands with McCutchen, and present him the ball after the game. Doesn’t that sound much better than throwing the ball back out onto the field? It is a dumb thing to do in the first place. Do the fans out there encouraging the person to “Throw it Back” think that the guy who just hit the home run feels disrespected by the fan throwing it back? Do they think that it motivates the home team? Quick note – It doesn’t. All it does is slows down the game and highlights even more the fact that the home team’s pitcher just gave up a home run. But to give up the opportunity that that person did is inexcusable!

Live Twins Chat Tonight at 7:30 – I have not done a Live Chat for a couple of weeks and a lot has happened in the mean time. We have seen the draft, promotions, demotions, some injuries, some good pitching, Mauer is still good, and there is a lot going on in the minor leagues. I will open up the chat room a little after 7:00 tonight . If you would like to set an e-mail reminder, join the live chat and ask questions during that time, or read the transcript later, Click Here.     

MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

Wednesday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Alexi Casilla, Rochester Red Wings

Wednesday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Loek Van Mil, Ft. Myers Miracle

TRANSACTIONS AND NOTES

  • Steve Hirschfeld was added to the Florida State League All-Star game roster yesterday. Both Carlos Gutierrez and Danny Lehmann were named to the team but promoted to AA.
  • The Twins and Beloit Snappers released reliever Danny Rondon yesterday to make room for righty Tom Wright who is again healthy.
  • Travis posted his choices for Twins prospects 11-15.

ROCHESTER REPORT

Wednesday –Rochester 10, Columbus 2 – The Red Wings likely needed a game like this. 10 Runs on 17 Hits is a good way to improve team morale. Bobby Keppel continues to impress on the mound. He won his third game and dropped his ERA to 2.43 with six strong innings. He gave up two runs on nine hits. He walked none and struck out five. Armando Gabino continued his role as well. He recorded the three inning save. He didn’t allow a runner to reach base and struck out three. Alexi Casilla went 3-5 with a walk, his first home run and seventh stolen base. Trevor Plouffe was 3-6. Steve Tolleson went 3-5 with a walk and his second stolen base. David Winfree went 2-5 with his 18th double. Justin Huber was also 2-5. Dustin Martin was 1-3 with a walk and four RBI.

ROCKCAT RECAP

Wednesday – New Britain, Altoona – Postponed by rain.  

MIRACLE MEMOS

Wednesday – Ft. Myers 4, Dunedin 8 – Another rough outing for Deolis Guerra in this game hid another strong performance by Loek Van Mil. Guerra started and gave up eight runs on ten hits and two walks. Van Mil came in and threw four shutout innings, keeping his ERA at 0.00. He gave up two hits, walked two and struck out three. Danny Berg went 2-2 with his ninth double and first triple. Ben Revere was 2-3 with his 27th stolen base. Deibinson Romero went 2-4 with a walk and his 13th double. Evan Bigley went 2-4 with his fourth AA.  

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Wednesday – Beloit 1, Clinton 4 Ramon Santana and Dominic de La Osa each went 2-3 with a walk in this game, but it wasn’t enough for the Snappers. Santana hit his 14th double. Dan Berlind gets the loss after giving up three runs on three hits and two walks in six innings. He struck out seven. Blake Martin gave up a run on two hits and three walks in two innings. Curtis Leavitt pitched a scoreless ninth.    

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

Sunday Stream of Consciousness

1 Jun

also avilable at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Watching the Twins lose six in a row on the road earlier in the month was rather frustrating. Then they won 20-1 in Chicago before winning five of seven at home. Then they went back on the road and lost their first two games to the Rays. But more important than anything else, on Sunday, they were able to beat Matt Garza and that makes everything right with the world again. It was great seeing Brendan Harris touch him up for a home run. It was great to see Delmon Young come in to face him and get a single.

In the end, we see over and over and over again, whether at the Metrodome or on the road, that the key to a team’s success starts with that day’s starting pitcher. I know. It’s boring and sounds so cliché, but sometimes it’s important to remember how clichés got to become clichés! You’re only as good as your next day’s starter, right? Tom Kelly used to say that all the time, and well, it is one of baseball’s great truths. Friday night, it was Scott Baker giving up a three run homer to Evan Longoria. On Saturday, it was Francisco Liriano looking pretty clueless. On Sunday, it was Nick Blackburn looking pretty much in control the whole game with the exception of two solo home runs. Garza looked pretty good though and for awhile it looked like that would be enough for the Rays to sweep the Twins, but single runs in the 6th and 7th innings gave the Twins a 3-2 win. Sean Henn, Matt Guerrier, Jose Mijares and Joe Nathan finished the final three innings without allowing a run to preserve a win for Blackburn.

Why was the offense able to score in the 6th and 7th? Did they wear out Garza? I don’t know about that, but I know I did my part by leaving the house and going to watch the cartoon Up at the theatre. What as excellent movie, one of the best feature cartoon movies that I have seen! That’s right! I quit watching them and decided to enjoy the weekend! So, you’re welcome!

Plenty of topics to discuss, and as you can see, I am just rambling. That’s the beauty of titling something a Stream of Consciousness blog. I can ramble and that’s the purpose! That’s what I am going to do today, trying to touch on several Twins-related topics. I’ll write for awhile and just see where it takes us, so please enjoy and certainly feel free to comment.

As I have said, starting pitching is the key to everything. Right now, it seems that the Twins can count on Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey to give them decent starts and a chance to win. Anthony Swarzak came up to replace the injured Glen Perkins and has since made two very good starts. Perkins had really struggled for several starts before going on the Disabled List, so I am not certain if the struggles were related to the arm, or what. But I do know that I agree with the theory that a player should not lose his spot to an injury. That is why, after his rehab stint at Rochester, I believe that Glen Perkins should be given a couple of starts before possibly being shifted back to the bullpen if that is what needs to be done.

The problem is that Swarzak is a good pitching prospect, but nothing in his minor league numbers indicate that he will be able to sustain this level of excellence over a long period of time. As one who believes in minor league track record being an indicator of big league success, I also understand that there are exceptions to every rule. So of course you just run with Swarzak while he is the hot hand and just hope . The problem is that Swarzak could stay in the rotation because one of the two guys that we all counted on heading into the season, Francisco Liriano, has been horrific of late. He looks completely lost on the mound. It’s all about control of the fastball, and from pitch to pitch, he does not seem to know where the ball is going. It’s as if he still thinks he’s a dominant pitcher and he’s fighting himself so hard to get there again and overdoing everything. I really do not know what is best for him. He does have an option left, so he could be sent to Rochester, but I don’t necessarily think that is the best idea. He could be sent to the bullpen for awhile too, but who would he replace? R.A. Dickey continues to do great out of the bullpen. Sean Henn and Jose Mijares have been solid as lefty relievers. I guess this could be the opportunity to let go of Luis Ayala and see how Liriano responds. What do you think?

Scott Baker continues to get hurt by the big inning and/or the big home run. Friday, it was the three run blast by Longoria that essentially ended that game. Baker has really been very good most of his innings, but in each start he has had that one bad inning where he can not control the damage. Instead of giving up one or two, he gives up three to six. A team can come back from one or two, but it really puts you behind the eight ball when you’re always down by a handful of runs.

It is all so frustrating to me because the Twins are playing so inconsistently and average despite getting amazing production from Denard Span, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel all season. In May, Michael Cuddyer stepped up his game big time while Joe Crede showed the power that he can have from the right side. This team is too talented to be playing like this and to not think that a division title is in reach. But what happens when three-fifths of the season-opening starting staff is not performing to expectations? Swarzak is already up. Kevin Mulvey could probably come up and be a solid back of the rotation type. What if Liriano can’t get things figured out? What if Glen Perkins then struggles? What if Baker doesn’t stop giving up huge innings? If you go through the season’s second half with two rookie pitchers in your rotation, that isn’t necessarily good. Brian Duensing and Philip Humber do not appear to be big league starter material and none of the starters at AA New Britain look ready.

We have spent the last couple of years wondering why the Twins would go after pitchers like Livan Hernandez, Ramon Ortiz and Sidney Ponson. Why did they insist on bringing in veterans who were not good instead of just trusting their own young players? Well, maybe now we are seeing why. And yet, I can’t be mad at the front office for not getting a veteran. All five starting pitchers showed enough last year that there was no need for a veteran starter. The starting pitching was supposed to be a sure-thing, the thing that would lead the Twins to a division title. Pedro Martinez, anyone?

The bullpen has actually been much better of late. The reason? Well, when Slowey, Blackburn and Swarzak have pitched, they have been able to go seven innings. Bill Smith is not above criticism for not going out and getting a bullpen arm to solidify the back end of the bullpen, and yet, I agreed with him that they didn’t need to prioritize it too high. We knew Joe Nathan would be fine, and he has been. Many assumed Jose Mijares would be solid, and since returning he has been good. I believed Matt Guerrier would be fine, and he has been. I thought Jesse Crain would take another step forward, to get back to what he was the first three years of his career, but since his disabled list stint, he has been non-trustable. Luis Ayala was a reasonable, cheap risk, but he has not been good at all. R.A. Dickey, as I have stated several times, has been just fine in the role that he was brought in to fill, so no arguments there. Again, the key is the starting pitching, but the bullpen arms are not above criticism either. Now, Juan Cruz has been alright for Kansas City. Nothing spectacular by any means, and I fully understand not giving up a first round pick to acquire him (although when I saw the dollars and years that he signed for, I thought that it made sense). But Cruz walks a ton and moving to the American League never seems to be a good thing for a relief pitcher. Other names that fans wanted at various times included Eric Gagne, Russ Springer, Joe Nelson, Brandon Lyon and others, and none of them have done well either. So again, I don’t blame the Twins in not being big players in the free agency market because free agents rarely have an impact worthy of the contract they sign.

(Meanwhile, Rob Delaney and Anthony Slama sit in AA, just waiting for a promotion. I agree with the thought that a player who dominates in AA is ready for the big leagues and could be promoted if necessary. But at some point, those two players should be moved up somewhere, whether it is to Rochester or to the Twins. I don’t pretend to know if they are ready to help the Twins today. I know their numbers indicate that they could probably both be pretty good. Slama needs to throw more strikes, and Delaney could give up some hits. But both have done enough at the AA level to move forward.)

(The one prospect that I believe is ready to play at the big league level offensively and defensively is Danny Valencia, and as long as Joe Crede is healthy, there is no reason to call him up. Could he be at Rochester? Certainly, and I think he would do well there, but Luke Hughes needs at bats too.)

The Twins understand that building from within is the best way to develop a team over the long haul. It is a philosophy that has been very successful for the organization. But then that success is dependent upon the players developing as they need to. The Twins have developed some very good players (Mauer, Morneau, Kubel, Cuddyer, Span, Slowey, Blackburn, Baker, etc.). They were able to stare down Scott Boras and get Joe Crede for a very fair market deal. But the player development right now is kind of a question mark.

Look at the AAA roster. How many players there do you think will be contributors to the Twins at the big league level? More important, how many of them could help the Twins right now, today? Jose Morales could, and yet, I think Twins fans need to look at his track record and realize that he is not a .350 hitter. At the big league level, he could possibly hit .280/.310/.310, which frankly, isn’t terribly exciting. But he is one guy who could contribute on some level. Luke Hughes and Dustin Martin are two others that I think could contribute for the Twins if called upon, but neither of them is star caliber and I don’t know that either of them is really starter caliber. I still hold out hope for Trevor Plouffe to be a future Twins SS, but again, his batting average doesn’t indicate that he would be much better than Nick Punto at SS.

Which brings me to my next point… when the Twins locked up Nick Punto last winter for two years and $8.5 million, it didn’t bother me too much. I looked at the other free agents on the market at SS and none of them seemed to be much better than Punto, particularly for the price tag that they would insist upon. Edgar Renteria had already signed with the Giants for two years and $18 million, and he is no better than Punto. We heard rumors for players like JJ Hardy and Yunel Escobar, but the price tags in terms of players were so high that those options didn’t make sense. So although I would have preferred to go into this season with Punto not on the team, I understood that he was probably the best option available and the dollars and years that he got were certainly fair market value (in December, before free agent dollars seemed to completely disappear). My caveat to being comfortable with Punto was that he not return to 2007 form and just give 2006 or 2008-like performances. Again, that’s not to say he was good during those two years, but as a nine-hitter it would be acceptable. Well, to this point in the season, Punto has been even worse than he was in 2007, and worst yet, his defense has taken a major step backward. I always thought it was a bit overrated (because of the constant web gems), but he now has very little range and no arm.

The biggest problem with the SS situation is that there isn’t anyone close to ready to take the position from him. Brendan Harris will do just fine in replacing him. He is a far better option, so that is actually an upgrade right now. But I have noticed, as Gardy has said, that Harris does not do as well when he plays too much. But again, Plouffe isn’t ready. Steve Tolleson just got promoted to AAA this week, but I don’t think he would be ready to step in today (but maybe in a month?). There are not other options in the system right now.

It’s a good think that Justin Morneau has been incredible this year and Joe Crede has been everything that could be expected because Punto, Alexi Casilla, Matt Tolbert and Brian Buscher have been terrible. Casilla has been somewhat disappointing. Tolbert is what he is, as I have said all along,  he is a better version of utility player than Punto is. He’s a little better offensively (which doesn’t say much) and he’s not quite as good defensively (which does). I said that Buscher is a solid left-handed bat off the bench, a guy who takes good at bats and generally does what the situation calls for. I don’t think we have seen that this year, and his defense has never been real solid. I’m not certain how much value he provides to the team. In fact, that would be the one way right now that I could see the Twins bringing Jose Morales back to the roster. Morales could be the new left-handed bench bat, occasionally get some time behind the plate, and give Gardy the confidence to keep Joe Mauer in the lineup most games. Again, I feel it necessary to temper the expectations people seem to have for Morales, but I do think it is fair to say that he could contribute as much with the bat (and maybe the glove) as Buscher.

Watching Mike Redmond play baseball is painful. In years past, it was because he seemingly was always getting beat up behind the plate and yet still finding a way to hit .300 or higher while providing excellent defense and leadership from the backup catcher position. This year has been painful for a couple of new reasons. First, he simply can not throw any more. I don’t know how hurt he still is, but that has not improved over the season’s first couple of months. Secondly, if I’m an opposing defense and Redmond is up, I bring all the outfielders in to about 200 feet and swing the CF toward the gap in right center. You could almost put on a left-handed batter shift for him too. In the past, it was almost “cute” as told to us by Dick Bremer when he flails singles to right field or barely throw the hole on the right side. This year, those balls are being hit even softer. I don’t know how he continues to get any hits (and he has). I have no problem with keeping Redmond around for the rest of the season. I just sincerely hope that this is the end of the line.

Gardy-led teams are known for being overachievers. That is always the case when the expectations are low. But what about in those years when the Twins have come into the season with expectation? They have not played well. This year may be the biggest visual of that. This team has way too much talent to be flailing around .500. But to be fair, I don’t know if this team has ever had this many holes either. A broken bullpen. A horrific middle infield. Two 23 year old outfielders that need playing time to get better but provide so little to helping the team win. And now starting pitching problems that were not expected. I don’t think that can be pinned on a manager, and yet in some organizations, it is. I personally agree with the ideas of longevity, and we all know that Gardy and his coaching staff aren’t going anywhere, so it’s not worth worrying about.

In the end, it comes down to the players and making plays. It’s the players that will turn the season around, or they won’t.

Now I know, I don’t whine too often on here, and one thing that you can almost certainly not get from here that you can get most places is the seemingly sophomoric need to say the same thing every day. Could I write about Brian Buscher or Nick Punto being bad every day Sure. But why? What good is that? Why pile on?? I could write about being wrong about Delmon Young and Carlos Gomez daily, but why? What good comes from that? I prefer to write more often about being completely wrong about Denard Span and Nick Blackburn! So many of these above topics, you may not read here again until something happens. There are enough other topics that can be covered and a lot more positives. There is an entire minor league system of players dreaming of getting to the big leagues that is worth talking about.       

MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

Saturday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Danny Valencia, New Britain Rockcats

Saturday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – David Bromberg, Ft. Myers Miracle

Sunday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Whit Robbins, New Britain Rockcats

Sunday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Tyler Robertson, Ft. Myers Miracle

ROCHESTER REPORT

Saturday –Rochester 6, Lehigh Valley 3 – Jason Jones picked up his first win in the Twins organization in this game. The righty went 5.2 innings and gave up three runs. He allowed six hits (two homers), walked one and struck out four. Jason Pridie went 3-5 with his 13th and 14th stolen bases. Jose Morales went 2-4 with his fourth double. In his first AAA game, Steve Tolleson went 2-3 with a walk and a double.

Sunday –Rochester 1, Lehigh Valley 5 – Kevin Mulvey started this game for the Red Wings. He gave up five runs on nine hits and a walk in seven innings. He struck out six. Tim Lahey pitched a scoreless inning. The Red Wings managed just four hits. David Winfree hit his eighth home run.

ROCKCAT RECAP

Saturday – New Britain 6, Binghamton 5 – The Rockcats got a couple of big home runs and the second win of the season by Jay Rainville. Rainville gave up five runs on seven hits and two walks in 5.2 innings. Frank Mata came in and gave up two hits and a walk before getting the final out of the sixth. Rob Delaney struck out four in two shutout innings. Anthony Slama recorded his 10th save with a scoreless ninth. Danny Valencia went 2-3 with his sixth homer and two RBI. Rene Tosoni was 2-4 with his seventh home run and three RBI. Whit Robbins went 1-2 with two walks.

Sunday – New Britain 15, Binghamton 7 – It was a big offensive game for the Rockcats, with nearly the entire lineup contributing. Whit Robbins led the way by going 4-6 with his 11th double. Brandon Roberts was 3-5 with a walk and his third homer. Erik Lis was 3-5 with his seventh double. Rene Tosoni went 2-5 with his eighth double and eighth home run. Matt Moses went 2-4 with a walk and three RBI. Brian Dinkelman went 2-4 with two walks. Yancarlos Ortiz went 2-5 with a double. Danny Valencia was 1-2 with two walks. Ryan Mullins was the beneficiary of the offensive explosion. He gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks in six innings. Yohan Pino gave up two runs on three hits and two walks in two inning. Zach Ward pitched a scoreless inning.  

MIRACLE MEMOS

Saturday – Ft. Myers 7, Brevard County 1 David Bromberg has continued to pitch well this season despite not getting as many strikeouts this year. This game was a little different. Bromberg went six innings and gave up just one run on six hits and a walk. He struck out 12 to improve to 5-0 and reduce his ERA to 1.94. Kyle Waldrop picked up his first save of the season by throwing three shutout innings. Chris Cates went 3-5. Mark Dolenc went 3-4 with his ninth double and ninth stolen base. Rene Leveret went 2-5 with his first stolen base. Deibinson Romero was 2-5 with his 11th double.

Sunday – Ft. Myers 2, Brevard County 0 Tyler Robertson improved to 3-2 in this game. He threw six shutout innings. He gave up three hits, walked none and struck out six. Santos Arias, Spencer Steedley and Blair Erickson combined to throw three shutout innings. The Miracle managed just five hits. Ben Revere hit his sixth double. Rene Leveret hit his seventh double.  

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Saturday – Beloit 2, Kane County 5 Michael Allen fell to 0-7 in this game, but he really has been pitching a little better as the season has progressed. In this game, he gave up four runs (3 earned) on eight hits and a walk. He struck out six in six innings of work. Bruce Pugh gave up a run on two hits and a walk in two innings. He struck out four. Michael Tarsi gave up two hits in a scoreless inning. The Snappers managed just six hits in this game. Nathan Hanson hit his seventh double.

Saturday – Beloit 4, Kane County 11 Dan Berlind gave up five runs (4 earned) on six hits and three walks over 5.1 innings. He struck out five. Joe Testa gave up three runs (1 earned) on two hits in two innings. He struck out three. Matt Williams went 0.2 innings and gave up just a hit. Curtis Leavitt gave up three runs on five hits in one inning. He struck out two. Jeff Lanning went 2-4. Angel Morales went 1-2 with two walks and his sixth homer. Ramon Santana hit his fifth home run and Michael Harrington got his first homer.   

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

Perkins to DL; Henn to Twins

19 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

No, I’m not quite back yet, but I did think that the Perkins story and what it means is noteworthy and deserves comment. After giving up six runs in just 2/3 of an inning last night against the Yankees, the Twins put Glen Perkins on the 15 day disabled list with elbow inflammation. They don’t seem too worried, but anytime you’re talking ‘elbow’ or ‘nerves’ you can’t help but wish for the best.

The Twins added 28 year old lefty reliever Sean Henn to the 40 man roster and called him up. Henn is definitely deserving as he has pitched very well at Rochester. In 15 games, he is 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA while recording six saves for the Red Wings. In 24 innings pitched, he has given up 17 hits and walked ten, but he has struck out 32.

However, the Twins will need a starting pitcher on Saturday to face the Brewers and to fill Perkins’ spot in the rotation. Luis Ayala is likely a little nervous. With Henn being left-handed, you also have to assume the Craig Breslow is getting a little bit nervous too. He has not pitched well in 2009. The Twins would likely hope that he would pass through waivers and keep him in the organization because he was so impressive in 2008 and his previous minor league numbers indicate he must be better than what we have seen for two months. If it is Ayala that they let go, I think they would likely just let him go. Of course, the other possibility is that the Twins decide to end the three catcher set up and send Jose Morales back to Rochester. With the bullpen burned out, that is probably the best option for right now.

So who would start on Saturday? How can you not go with Anthony Swarzak to fill the rotation spot? Swarzak, a 2nd round pick in 2004 out of high school in Florida is off to a great start. Although he is just 2-3, his 2.25 ERA is very strong. The 22 year old righty has made seven starts and got 44 innings. He has given up 40 hits, walked 11 and struck out 32. Is he ready? I’m not necessarily certain of that, but he is the best option for the team right now. It certainly has been an interesting couple of years for Swarzak. He was one of the team’s top pitching prospects until his 2007 50 game suspension for a drug of abuse. He struggled after hit comeback that season but ended strong in AA. That’s where his 2008 season began and he was horrible. But inexplicably the Twins rewarded him with a AAA promotion near the end of the season. And he went 5-0. He has continued to thrive in AAA this season, and again, would be very deserving of the big league promotion, should he receive it.   

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

Sweep Complete! Bring on the Yankees!

15 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

  • The Twins completed a three game sweep of the Detroit Tigers with a dramatic come-from-behind 6-5 win on Thursday afternoon. Through five innings, both Scott Baker and Justin Verlander were throwing shutouts and cruising. However, in the sixth inning, Baker gave up five runs. Down 5-0, the Twins were able to work Verlander over 120 pitches and he left the game after a walk and a single in the bottom of the 7th. At that point, the Twins bats came alive. Then with the Twins down 5-4 with runners on 2nd and 3rd, Joe Crede blooped a two-run single to centerfield that gave the Twins a 6-5 lead. The bullpen got the job done the rest of the way to hold the lead. Jason Kubel went 3-4 with two doubles. Denard Span went 2-4. Craig Breslow went 1.2 innings of shutout relief, and Matt Guerrier got the final out of the 8th inning. Joe Nathan struck out two in a perfect ninth inning for his sixth save.
  • How good was Justin Verlander on this day. 6+ innings pitched. 13 strikeouts. According to Denard Span, “”I knew he was nasty today when I saw Joe Mauer offering at pitches he normally doesn’t swing at. That’s how you know someone is going good.””
  • Speaking of Joe Crede playing hero. He came to the plate with the bases loaded and the scored tied at ten on Wednesday night. On a 1-2 pitch, he hit a grand slam to help the Twins win that game in the 13th inning. If we go back to an old statistic that has not been used over the last several years, in the series, Joe Crede would have had all three Game-Winning RBI. He was 4-15 in the series. Jason Kubel raised his batting average from .308 to .333 by going 6-10 in the three games. Kubel came in to pinch hit with a runner on, down by two, in the bottom of the 8th, against Joel Zumaya, and on the first pitch hit a home run to tie the game. Joe Mauer went 4-11 with four walks and a home run in the series as well.
  • Next up for the Twins? A four game series in New York against the Yankees. The Twins will face Francisco Liriano, Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey and Glen Perkins to the mound against Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, AJ Burnett and Andy Pettitte
  • If you had May 14th on the Gardy’s First Ejection pool, congratulations!
  • Delmon Young will be away from the team for a little while with Jose Morales being called up to take his place. Young has been placed on the Family Medical Emergency list as a family member of his is very ill, according to LaVelle E. Neal. Jim Mandelaro discusses the Morales promotion, and says that it is Delmon Young’s mother that is very ill. Obviously we wish Young and his family the best.
  • In the same article, Mandelaro also commented that Mike Radcliff, Twins Director of Player Personnel, was in Rochester to watch Sean Henn and Bobby Keppel.
  • Ed Thoma of the Mankato Free Press find the selection of Jose Morales as intriguing, particularly with the Twins going to New York. You see, the Yankees top two catchers are Jorge Posada and Jose Molina. Both of them are injured. So, is it possible that the Twins are trying to showcase Morales? Thoma admits that is a stretch. In reality, Morales becomes a DH option with Jason Kubel likely to see more time in LF in the short-term.  
  • Matt Guerrier has been very good much of this season. Nick Nelson points out that the team’s (meaning the other bullpen arms) need to protect his arm so that he doesn’t tire in the second half of the season.
  • According to Phil Mackey, Jason Kubel thinks he can be a .300 hitter. The Twins could really use that!
  • Travis Talks presents his Top 5 Most Disappointing Players in the Twins organization so far this year. That was after posting his Top 5 Biggest Surprises the other day.
  • On Wednesday, Justin Murphy posted his Upstate Update, a look at the Rochester Red Wings play of late. He e-mailed me something that is certainly worth mentioning, “David Winfree’s batting line, with an OBP under .300 and slugging (almost) .500. I poked around a little bit and found that, on the major league level, only two players EVER have done that over a full season- Dave Kingman in 1976, Mike Jacobs in 2008.”
  • Phil Miller tells us what kind of music bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek is not a fan of!
  • At Over the Baggy, Parker analyzes the Twins starting five, looking at their run support and games scores and more.            

 MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

Thursday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Mark Dolenc, Ft. Myers Miracle

Thursday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Tyler Robertson, Ft. Myers Miracle 

ROCHESTER REPORT

Thursday –Rochester 5, Indianapolis 4 – David Winfree has made a career out of coming up with big hits in big situations. Late in this game, Winfree came up with two on and two outs, and drilled a long, three run homer to give the Red Wings the lead. It was his fifth homer of the season. Luke Hughes went 2-3 with a walk and his sixth home run. Justin Huber was 3-4 with his second triple. Jason Jones started and gave up three runs on eight hits and two walks in just 4.1 innings. Bobby Keppel then worked 2.2 scoreless innings in relief. Sean Henn recorded his fifth save. He struck out four in two innings and allowed only an unearned run.    

ROCKCAT RECAP

Thursday – New Britain, Portland – This game was suspended by rain in the top of the 4th inning. Portland was leading the Rockcats 8-1 already. Jay Rainville started and gave up seven runs (6 earned) on five hits and two walks in just 2.2 innings.    

MIRACLE MEMOS

Thursday –Ft. Myers 19, Sarasota 4Mark Dolenc led the potent offensive attack in this game by going 5-6 with three doubles. Evan Bigley is still unfazed by the Florida State League. He went 4-5 with a walk. Ben Revere was 3-5 with a double. Danny Berg was 3-6 with a double. Deibinson Romero went 2-4 with two walks. Jair Fernandez and Chris Cates each had a single and a double. Cates drove in three runs. Tyler Robertson was the beneficiary of the offensive support. The lefty gave up just two runs on five hits in 5.2 innings. He walked two and struck out three. Alex Burnett got the next four outs, three of them on strikeouts. Santos Arias then gave up two runs on four hits in the final two innings. 

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Thursday – Beloit 6, Clinton 7 (13 innings) Danny Rondon had pitched two scoreless innings before coming back out for the 13th inning. It was in that inning that he gave up the winning run. Brad Tippett started and gave up three runs (2 earned) on eight hits and no walks. Henry Reyes gave up two runs (1 earned) on two hits and a walk in two innings. Steve Blevins struck out five in three innings of one run ball. The Snappers managed just five hits in this game. They did walk seven times. James Beresford was 2-6. Jonathan Waltenbury and Angel Morales each hit their three-run homer.

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

Perfect Night: Twins Go 5-0

9 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

What a great night for the Twins organization. The Twins got a much-needed blow-out win while all four of their full season minor league season affiliates also won. The game reports and notes are below, but here are just a couple of reminders:

  • I will again be on am 1450 KBMW in Wahpeton, ND, so if you’re in the area, be sure to tune that in.
  • Also, I am also going to be on Twins Weekly on KFAN on Sunday with Phil Mackey and probably LaVelle E Neal. The show is one fro 5-6. I don’t know what time segment I might be on, but be sure to tune in.
  • And again, on Sunday night, from 10:00-10:30, you can hear the MNGameNight.com podcast by listening live or tuning in after the show, or downloading it to your iPod.  

GAME RECAPS

TWINS 11, MARINERS 0

Scott Baker was very good again, and the Twins bat provided him with more than enough run support to get him that first win of the season. Baker went seven shutout innings, allowing just five hits. He walked none and struck out five. Jesse Crain and Joe Nathan each got an inning of work in as well without surrendering a base runner. The Twins got a couple of runs in the first when a Joe Mauer ground out scored Denard Span, and a fly out by Justin Morneau scored Matt Tolbert from third. The next inning, Brendan Harris came up big with an opposite field, three run home run that gave the Twins a 5-0 lead. The Twins added three home runs in the bottom of the fifth. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau homered back to back, and a few batters later, Brian Buscher launched his first home run of the year, a three run blast. Mauer, Harris and Kubel each had two hits. Kubel added a walk and his ninth double. Delmon Young went 2-3 with a walk, and he is now hitting .303 on the season.  

MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Steve Tolleson, New Britain Rockcats

SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Bobby Lanigan, Beloit Snappers

ROCHESTER REPORT

Friday –Rochester 7, Charlotte 5 – Dustin Martin and Trevor Plouffe each went 3-4. Justin Huber and Drew Butera each went 2-4. David Winfree went 2-3 with a walk, his eighth double and his third home run. Brian Duensing improved to 2-1. He gave up three runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings. He didn’t walk any and struck out two. Mike Gosling gave up two runs on three hits and two walks in 2.1 innings. He struck out three. Sean Henn gave up two hits but no runs in 1.2 innings.

ROCKCAT RECAP

Friday – New Britain 12, Portland 11Steve Tolleson should have started this season at AAA. He has been really bad. Maybe tonight will help him turn it all around. He went 4-5 with his third and fourth doubles. He also stole his fourth base. Brandon Roberts went 3-5 with his first triple, first homer and four RBI. Toby Gardenhire went 2-4 with a walk and two doubles. Erik Lis was 2-6 with a double. Jay Rainville had his first really bad start. In just 3.2 innings, he gave up seven runs on eight hits and two walks. Jose Lugo then gave up three runs in 1.1 innings. Rob Delaney went the next 2.1 innings. He gave up a run on one hit and one walk. Anthony Slama blew the save, but then got the win. He went 1.2 shutout innings, gave up a hit and a walk, but struck out four and allowed only the inherited runner to score.  

MIRACLE MEMOS

Friday –Ft. Myers 4, St. Lucie 3Tyler Robertson had his best start of the year. The lefty gave up three runs (2 earned) on five hits. He walked two and struck out four. Santos Arias then gave up a hit and two walks in 1.1 innings, but no runs. Blair Erickson struck out three in the final 1.2 innings. Mark Dolenc went 3-4 with three stolen bases. Ben Revere went 3-4 with his 15th stolen base. Deibinson Romero went 1-2 with two walks.

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Friday – Beloit 8, Lansing 6Bobby Lanigan improved to 3-1. The righty gave up three runs on nine hits and two walks, but he went eight innings. Matt Williams got the final three outs, allowing three runs in the process. Ozzie Lewis led the offense. He went 3-4 with his sixth and seventh doubles. Allan de San Miguel went 3-4 with his first double. Evan Bigley, Jonathan Waltenbury and Angel Morales each went 2-5. Nathan Hanson went 2-4 with his first triple. Drew Thompson went 2-4 with his third double.  

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

More Moves to be Made?

7 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

HELP – I need your help for a blog posting for tomorrow. I want to encourage everyone to send me a few True/False Statements, or Over/Under scenarios. For instance, e-mail me and say, “True or False, Danny Valencia will be the Twins opening day 3B when the team opens up Target Field next year.” Or “Over/Under – Joe Mauer’s Batting Average – .320.” Send up to five, and I will answer them on this site tomorrow. I think it could be a lot of fun, so please take a minute and e-mail me your questions. I appreciate your help.

YOUR VOICES – Last night, I wrote up and posted my StarTribune.com/yourvoices article on a topic that, as you would guess, is already annoying to me. But it’s timely and it is regional, so it kind of makes sense. Please check it out and be sure to leave you comments. Then be sure to read the article on the same topic that Darren “Doogie” Wolfson wrote there.

On Wednesday, the Twins made a roster move by shipping Alexi Casilla back down the AAA Rochester. They promoted Matt Tolbert back to the big leagues. Could more moves be on the horizon?

If you think that Alexi Casilla was the team’s biggest problem, you might be in for some major disappointment. Clearly, the biggest issue on this team right now it pitching. Entering the season, the assumption was that the starting five would be a cornerstone of the team. Through the first month their top pitcher, Scott Baker, is 0-4 with a 9.15 ERA. The #2 starter, Francisco Liriano, is 1-4 with a 5.30 ERA. Kevin Slowey is 4-1, but his ERA is 5.50. Nick Blackburn is 2-2 with a 5.19 ERA. Glen Perkins has been the team’s top starter so far this season, and he is 1-2 with a 3.34 ERA.

None of the five are currently in jeopardy of losing their starting jobs. In reality, I don’t think that they should even consider a move of one of the five starters for at least another month.

So, let’s get to the bullpen. Joe Nathan had one blown save, but overall, he continues to be one of the best closers in the game. I think we can say that Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier and Jose Mijares have pretty secure jobs. Brian Duensing, Philip Humber and Juan Morillo have already been shipped back to Rochester. Luis Ayala has been quite disappointing in a late-inning role. He has given up 20 hits and three walks in 13.1 innings. Craig Breslow was being counted on as a lefty out of the bullpen, and he has not been good at all. In 9.2 innings, he has given up seven hits and walked ten hitters. His two innings tonight actually significantly improved his overall performance. R.A. Dickey was brought in to be a long reliever. When he has pitched in that role, and in his one start, he was just fine. But when put into more difficult situations, it hasn’t gone well.  

So, I think it is fair to say that Luis Ayala, Craig Breslow and R.A. Dickey are three guys who will be watched a little more closely in the coming weeks. Let’s look at some pitchers in the upper minor leagues who could be considered for a promotion:

  • Sean Henn – The Twins signed the now-28 year old lefty this offseason. He is currently the default closer for the Red Wings. Last year with the Padres, he gave up 11 hits and walked nine in 9.1 innings. So far this year with Rochester, he has thrown 17.1 innings out of the bullpen. His ERA is 1.04 and he has struck out 23 batters. He has given up 11 hits, but he has walked ten batters. As good as he has been, the walk rate is a little alarming.
  • Brian Duensing – Since returning to the Red Wings, he has made three starts. He has thrown just 13 innings, and is 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA. He has given up 16 hits, walked six and struck out just seven. He certainly hasn’t warranted a promotion at this point and can use the work at AAA.
  • Mike Gosling – The 28 year old lefty is working out of the Red Wings bullpen. He is 3-1 with a 4.96 ERA. In 16.1 innings, he has given up 16 hits. He has walked seven and struck out 21. The hit rate is OK. The walk rate is slightly high. Together, that is a WHIP of just over 1.40. He’s probably just a notch behind Henn at this point.
  • Philip Humber/Juan Morillo – Both recently were sent down to the Red Wings. Both have done well in very limited time there and just need to get more work in.
  • Anthony Swarzak – the 22 year old has started out great for Rochester. He is 2-3 with a 2.03 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. In 31 innings, he has given up 23 hits and walked just six while striking out 23. He’s allowed just one home run. Swarzak is young and he’s a starter. I think he needs to just keep working and starting at AAA for now. Let’s see how he is doing in four to six weeks.
  • Anthony Slama – So many seem to think that the 25 year old is too good for his level. He certainly was last year. This year at AA New Britain, he is 2-0 with five saves. His ERA is just 2.63. In 13.1 innings, he has 22 strikeouts. However, he also has nine walks and 12 hits allowed, so his AA WHIP is at 1.54. That doesn’t scream “Promotion” to me!
  • Rob Delaney – 24 year old Delaney spent half of the 2008 season in New Britain and did great. He is back there to start this season. He is 1-1 with a 2.89 ERA. In 18.2 innings, he has given up 21 hits, but he has walked just two while striking out 22. His WHIP is 1.22. He’s been good, and that K:BB ratio is amazing. I think he should be moved up to Rochester in the next month, and then see how he is doing at that time.  

So, in reality, these are the options for promotion to the Twins, especially since Duensing and Swarzak are the only ones on the 40 man roster. None of them present a significant improvement over Ayala, Breslow or Dickey. So, in my mind, there is zero reason to make a move at this time. Again, we should probably re-evaluate these names and their numbers in another three or four weeks to see where things are.

The Twins Geek tells us that Carlos Gomez has nine at bats over the teams past twelve games.  I believe that we all believe that his ceiling is still very high, but he has a lot to learn. To learn, he needs to play. He needs consistent at bats. He needs time in the outfield, and he needs bunting opportunities and situations and such. Right now, his role with the Twins has been to start about one in four games, and do some pinch running and late inning defense.

To play more, and improve himself as a player, I believe Gomez should go to AAA. But if he goes down to AAA, I think that the Twins need to replace him with another outfielder. The three outfielders will need to start, and Jason Kubel will be the DH, so they will still need a backup outfield. That player should be a guy who can run, play good defense at all three outfield positions and at least be adequate at the plate. Here are the options:

  • Jason Pridie – The 25 year old outfielder can play three outfield positions very well. He can run very well. He can hit at the top of an order, but also has enough pop to hit some extra base hits. He strikeouts a ton. He just ended a 16 game hitting streak, and is hitting .255/.279/.292 in 106 at bats.
  • Dustin Martin – Although Martin just turned 25, the organization seems to look at him as a potential starting outfielder, so he should play every day. He can play CF, but may have enough bat to play the corners as well. He really impressed last year at New Britain, then in the Arizona Fall League, and then during training camp. At Rochester, he is hitting .308/.366/.374 with nine steals.
  • David Winfree – he is still just 23 years old and in his first season at AAA. He is hitting .272/.277/.457. Ten of his 22 hits have been for extra bases. He has one walk and 18 strikeouts, but he is a right-handed bat that could provide some pop off the bench. Can only play RF, and not necessarily very well.
  • Luke Hughes – Although he has only played 3B this season for the Red Wings, he spent plenty of time in LF and CF last year. Another right handed bat with some pop, Hughes is hitting .293/.392/.573 with 11 extra base hits.

Dustin Martin and Luke Hughes have futures as everyday types of players. Those guys should not be playing just once or twice a week, not until September. David Winfree is a right handed bat with pop, but he doesn’t fill the need for the role (defense/speed). Martin and Winfree are not on the 40 man roster at this time. Jason Pridie really fits the role of fourth or fifth outfielder perfectly. He’s got talent. He’s proven in the past that he can hit a little bit. He’s very fast. He’s very good defensively, and he can play all three outfield positions. If Gomez is actually only going to be a role player with the Twins at this early point in the season, he needs to go to AAA, and if he does, I would promote Jason Pridie.

So, as much as we may want to overreact and make a few more transactions just to make them, they do have to make sense. I don’t think it makes any sense to make any moves with the pitching staff quite yet, but that situation needs to continue to be closely monitored. I do believe that Carlos Gomez should go back to AAA and play every day, leading off and playing CF. I would then promote Jason Pridie to fill the role of fourth outfielder.

What are your thoughts? What would you do if you were Bill Smith? Leave your questions or comments here  

GAME RECAPS

TWINS 1, ORIOLES 4 (Called in 6th inning due to rain)

Tuesday night’s game was horrible because of the Twins play on the field. Wednesday night’s game was horrible because of the rain on the field. The game was delayed at the onset, and then three rain delays later, they finally called it. Unfortunately, the game was through five innings, making it an official game. The Twins were behind 4-1 at the time, so they get the loss and fall to 13-16.

Kevin Slowey got off to a bad start. In the first inning, he gave up three runs on four hits. The biggest blow as a Nick Markakis two run homer. He gave up two more hits, but no more runs, over two more innings before the game was delayed the first time. When the game started up again, Craig Breslow entered the game. He gave up a solo homer to Luke Scott. He gave up just one other hit, and most important, he did not walk a batter in two innings. Mark Hendrickson started for the Orioles and gave up just one hit over three scoreless innings. After the rain delay, former Twin Brian Bass came in. He went the final 2.2 innings and gave up a run on four hits and a walk. He struck out four. None of the Twins hits off of him were hit hard.

Mike Redmond had two of the Twins five hits.

On Thursday, Glen Perkins will face Brad Bergesen.   

MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Angel Morales, Beloit Snappers

SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Anthony Swarzak, Rochester Red Wings & Cole Devries, New Britain Rockcats

ROCHESTER REPORT

Wednesday –Rochester 5, Louisville 2 – Anthony Swarzak had another strong start and picked up his second win. He gave up just one run on five hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out six. Sean Henn went the final two innings. He gave up a run on a Jonny Gomes home run. He struck out three in two innings. Drew Butera went 3-4 with two RBI. Luke Hughes had just one hit, but it was his fifth home run. David Winfree went 2-4 with a triple. Dustin Martin was 2-4 with a walk and his ninth stolen base.  

  • By the way, be sure to bookmark a new blog on the Rochester Red Wings called ‘R Red Wings.

ROCKCAT RECAP

Wednesday – Game 1 – New Britain 2, New Hampshire 0 Cole Devries was very strong again for his second win. He went five shutout innings. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out two. Rob Delaney pitched a scoreless sixth frame. Anthony Slama recorded his fourth save with a scoreless seventh inning. He struck out one. The Rockcats managed just four hits in this game. Erik Lis scored both runs. He hit a solo home run. He also scored on a Juan Portes double. Portes had two doubles in the game.

Wednesday – Game 2 – New Britain 5, New Hampshire 3 Matt Fox made the start in the second game. He went 5.1 innings and gave up two runs on two hits. He walked three and struck out four. Jose Lugo gets credit for the Win as he got the last two outs on the sixth inning. Anthony Slama recorded his second save of the day despite giving up a run on two hits and a walk in his inning. Brian Dinkelman went 2-3 with his fifth double and two RBI. Rene Tosoni scored three runs in this game. He was 2-2 as well as got hit by a pitch. Brandon Roberts was 2-2 with his fourth double.

INJURY REPORTJuan Portes played 3B in both of these games as Danny Valencia rested a sore wrist.    

MIRACLE MEMOS

Wednesday –Ft. Myers 5, Sarasota 6Deolis Guerra had his first rough start of the season. The 20 year old righty gave up six run on 11 hits and two walks in just four innings. Steve Hirschfeld threw three scoreless relief innings. Alex Burnett pitched a scoreless eighth. The Miracle managed just five hits, no one had more than one. Danny Berg was 0-2, but he walked three times. Deibinson Romero walked twice. Ben Revere stole his 14th base. 

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Wednesday – Beloit 0, West Michigan 3Dan Berlind made the start for the Snappers in place of Shooter Hunt. (No word on what the team is going to do with Hunt; skip a start, move him to the bullpen, etc.) Berlind went 4.2 innings and gave up three runs (2 earned) on six hits. He walked two and struck out three. Joe Testa came in and went 2.1 scoreless innings. Matt Williams pitched a scoreless inning. The Snappers had just four hits. Angel Morales hit his third double and third triple.  

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

What Would You Do? Part 3 (Bullpen)

25 Mar

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Last night was the SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast. Be sure to put it on your iPod, or spend some time at work listening to it at work. Twins pitching prospect Zach Ward called in to the show at the beginning of the show. As you know, Ward spent most of the 2008 season in the New Britain bullpen. He then spent much of his offseason as a starter pitching in Puerto Rico. It was fun to learn a little more about Zach Ward. The two other guests were two new Twins bloggers. First, Wally Fish recently started writing two blogs, a Twins blog (TwinkieTalk.com) and a Royals blog (royaleswithcheese.com). Also, Jack Steal started his Twins blog (Fanatic Jack Talks Twins) this week and came on and talked Twins for awhile. It was a solid show, and there are a couple more Twins blogs that you should check out and potentially bookmark.

 

But for today, I would like to talk about three issues that seem to be hot topics as it relates to the Twins. I will post my thoughts, and ask for your thoughts. I would appreciate your comments on each. I’d like to read what you predict will happen, and what you think will happen. As we know, those two things can be very different.

 

——————————————————————————————————————————   

 

Bullpen – What do we know? Joe Nathan will be the closer. Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Luis Ayala and Craig Breslow are givens. If the Twins go with 11 pitchers, only one other pitcher can make the Opening Day roster. If they go with 12 pitchers, then two can make it. Here is the list of possibilities. What would you do?

·         Philip Humber – Right-Hander, he is out of options. Throws a good fastball, and an excellent curveball. Can eat some innings?

·         Jose Mijares – Left-hander, he has an option left. Many thought he was ready because of 10 games in September. Many upset that he came to camp overweight. Definitely easy to question his attitude.

·         RA Dickey – Veteran right-hander who became a knuckleball pitcher a couple of years ago. He has had a good spring. Can eat innings.

·         Brian Duensing – Left-hander, he has always started, except during the 2008 Olympics. He’s had a good spring, and if the Twins feel they need a second lefty, he may beat out Mijares.

·         Sean Henn – Left-hander, he has primarily started until last year. Has had a solid spring, but history of walking a lot of hitters.

·         Jason Jones – Right-hander, primarily has been a starter. Rule 5 pick would have to be offered back to the Yankees, a trade could be possible.

·         Seth’s Opinion – In my mind, Humber is a given. So if the Twins go with 11 pitchers that is it. Mijares clearly needs more time, and that isn’t a bad thing. Remember, he missed most of last year after breaking his arm. He will be fine, just needs more time. I think Jones is a guy that the Twins could keep in a trade with the Yankees. I would attempt that at least. The final spot could be between Dickey and Duensing. If Gardy insists on having a second lefty in the bullpen, then it would be Duensing. Both Duensing and Dickey can eat some innings out of the back of the rotation or serve as a spot starter. So, I don’t really have a strong feeling either way between those two. The benefit that Duensing has would be that he is on the 40 man roster.   

Minor Signings

18 Dec

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

I received word that the Twins have signed a few minor league free agents. None are terribly exciting, but each has had at least a little bit of Major League time, and who knows, given the right set of circumstances, could get there again. Will it be with the Twins in 2009? Well, we shall see. They are:

Luis Matos – The former big-time OF prospect of the Baltimore Orioles. He spent at least part of each season between 2000 and 2006 with the O’s. Matos has been a journeyman the last couple of years. After being released by the O’s in July of 2006, he signed with the Nationals where he got 15 at bats in 14 games before being released. He split 2007 between the AAA affiliates of the Pirates and Mets. He did not receive an offer for the 2008 season, so he played in Mexico, for the Yucatan Leones. He is currently playing in Puerto Rico where he has been quite impressive this winter. Matos was once the CF of the future for the Orioles. He is now a journeyman 30 year old outfielder. In reality, the Twins probably just hope that he can come close to producing for Rochester as well as the recently departed Darnell McDonald did (McDonald signed with the Reds last week).

Bobby Keppel – Keppel was the 1st round pick of the New York Mets in 2000 out of high school. He started in the Appalachian League and basically moved up one level a year until he finally made his big league debut in 2006 at the age of 23 for the Kansas City Royals. In 34.1 innings, he gave up 45 hits and walked 15. He moved to the Rockies in 2007. He started 23 games in AAA before getting four relief appearances in Colorado. In four innings, he gave up six hits and walked three more. He spent 2008 in the Marlins AAA rotation, in Albuquerque, where he went 9-11 with a 5.99 ERA. In 159.1 innings, he gave up 208 hits and walked another 57. He struck out just 85. It is pretty difficult to get too excited about this signing. He is still just 26 years old with big league experience. I would imagine that he could fight for a spot in the Rochester starting rotation.  

Sean Henn – Henn was the 30th round pick of the New York Yankees in 1999. At 24, he made his big league debut in the Bronx in 2005 by making three starts and going 0-3 with a 11.12 ERA. In 2006, he got into four more games for eth Yankees. In 2007, he pitched in 29 games for the Yankees and went 2-2 with a 7.12 ERA in 36.2 innings. He began the 2008 season in the Yankees organization but was released and claimed by the San Diego Padres. He got into four games for the Padres. He walked nine and struck out nine in 9.1 innings of relief. Henn is a 27 year old, 6-5 lefty that could start for the Red Wings but could also work out of the team’s bullpen.  

Again, I don’t think any of these three players will being the 2009 season with the Twins. They provide depth to the organization. Any thoughts? Leave your comments here.   

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