Twins Win 2-1, and Ramblings

1 Jul

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

The Twins were able to squeak out a win last night against the Kansas City Royals to even the series at a game a piece. The two teams will meet again this afternoon to determine who wins the series. If the Twins can get a win, it will mean a 6-3 road trip, which is pretty impressive no matter who they are playing.

This game was kind of a pitcher’s dual, although not in an obvious kind of way. Brian Bannister limited the Twins to just two runs over seven innings, and just one of the runs was earned. That one came on a long, majestic home run by Justin Morneau, his 19th of the season. But Twins starter Scott Baker had to work for the Win. He gave up just one run on five hits and two walks over five innings, which isn’t horrible. However, it took him 111 pitches to get through five innings. A couple of weeks ago, Francisco Liriano needed nearly 120 pitches to get through five innings. But unlike Liriano, Baker wasn’t wild in this game. He simply was not able to put hitters away. He had no less than three at bats in which he threw more than eight pitches. 75 of his 111 pitches were for strikes. And since the Twins scored a run in the top of the 6th, Baker improves to 6-6, and sees his ERA drop below 5! (to 4.99!)

The story of the game, without question was the performance of Bobby Keppel. Again. After throwing four shutout innings on Saturday in St. Louis, he threw another 2.1 innings without a run in this game. The difference was that he came into a one run game in the 6th inning in this situation and he more than got the job done. He gave up just one hit, a double that was really a catch by Denard Span. He also walked a batter. What is there to like about Bobby Keppel? So far, we have seen a decent fastball, relatively good control, and a very good sinker. What do the fielder’s behind him like? Keppel works very fast. He makes the pitch, catches the ball from the catcher, takes the sign and is in his delivery. That makes playing defense much easier!

Do I think that Bobby Keppel is a long term answer in relief? I don’t know. I kind of doubt it. But the important thing is, Who Cares? The Twins need someone right now who can get hitters out for a couple of innings, and if that’s Bobby Keppel right now, so be it! Is he a place holder for the likes of Jesse Crain, Juan Morillo, Rob Delaney, Anthony Slama or even Alex Burnett? Maybe. But hey, before this season started, I said that I thought Nick Blackburn was the starter most likely to struggle and end up in the bullpen. The beauty of baseball is that, although there are some indicators worth watching, there are always exceptions and players step up and perform, and others don’t. Bobby Keppel is being given an opportunity, and through a very small sample of TWO games, he has made a great impression. Will it last? Maybe not. But maybe. And as long as he is getting the job done, they should continue to use him. Like I said, who would have thought Nick Blackburn would be the team’s ace? How many of you thought that Matt Guerrier would take hold of the 8th inning job this year? Maybe Bobby Keppel will become another shutdown bullpen arm for the rest of the year, or longer. We shall see!

Speaking of bullpen options, there is talk that the Twins want to go back to 12 pitchers on the staff. That means that they will need to send a position player to Rochester and bring up a pitcher. Who will that player sent down be? Well, in the post game show, Ron Coomer said that it wouldn’t be Jose Morales, but it pretty much has to be Jose Morales at this point. As much as I would rather have Morales on the roster than Brian Buscher or Matt Tolbert, I just don’t understand the need for a third catcher on the roster. They have proven a couple of times that Morales can be there by the next game.

So, which pitcher would be promoted to the Twins as the 12th pitcher? Well, again, we can name the usual suspects; Jesse Crain, Juan Morillo, Rob Delaney and Anthony Slama, and they are legitimate names. But Jesse Crain simply needs more innings and more work with the Red Wings to get back what he once had. Juan Morillo’s walk totals are just ridiculous, and overwhelm his overwhelming strikeout numbers. Rob Delaney has more to work on at AAA. Anthony Slama should move up to AAA. Of course, Anthony Swarzak is also an option. He could pitch out of the bullpen. Had Francisco Liriano not pitched well in St. Louis on Sunday, he could have been the one heading to the bullpen. So Anthony Swarzak is an option since he has pitched great since he was demoted back to Rochester. I would prefer to keep him starting at this point, until there is a need for a starter, at least at this point. The right pitcher to call up at this time is Armando Gabino. The 25 year old from the Dominican Republic struggled in April. But in May, he had a 0.63 ERA and opponents hit just .102 against him. In June, he had a 2.55 ERA in 17.2 innings during which time he had a 12:2 strikeout to walk rate. He was added to the 40 man roster right after the 2008 season, so it would be easy as well.   

MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

Tuesday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Josmil Pinto, Elizabethton Twins

Tuesday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Brad Tippett, Beloit Snappers

NOTES AND ANOTHER TRANSACTION

  • David Shinskie was the Twins 4th round pick in 2003 out of Mount Carmel High School in Pennsylvania. He signed and spent six seasons in the Twins organization, peaking at AA. Last winter, the Blue Jays took him in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft. The Blue Jays released him in mid-May, and it appears that his baseball career is over, and he will start preparing for a future career. He is set to go to college at Boston College where he will also play a little Quarterback on the football team. He was an All-American QB in high school and hasd signed a letter of intent to play at Delaware. He figures that he has four years of eligibility, so why not play some football while getting his education.
  • LaVelle informed us that with Riccardo Ingram leaving the Red Wings (hopefully temporarily) for medical reasons and Rich Miller moving from Beloit to Rochester, the Twins hired former Twin Chris Heintz as the batting coach at Beloit. I saw in the comments section of LaVelle’s blog that some think he won’t be a good hitting coach for those young players because he hit very little at the big league level. That’s more than a little silly. What does big league success have to do with the ability to coach. Tom Kelly is generally considered an excellent manager, and his big league career consisted of 147 plate appearances in 1975. Bobby Cox had a career OPS of .617 in his two seasons with the Yankees. Tony Larussa played in six big league seasons over an 11 season period. He never had more than 123 plate appearances in a season. His second most plate appearances in a season came in 1968 when he had 53 plate appearances for the Kansas City A’s, at the age of 18. Some of the best hitting coaches in baseball history were not Hall of Fame hitters. Some weren’t even good. Not all good pitching coaches have been Hall of Fame pitchers. I would argue that the guys who had to fight just to get a big league opportunity would be much better coaches and managers than the guys who got there naturally and didn’t fail as often. Ted Williams was not a good manager, or hitting coach. Ability to coach has very little to do with ability to play. I say good for Chris Heintz.      

ROCHESTER REPORT

Tuesday – Rochester, Scranton/Wilkes Barre – Postponed by Rain.

ROCKCAT RECAP

Tuesday –New Britain 9, Portland 5 – The Rockcats scored seven first run innings and held on for the rest of the game. Kason Gabbard started for Portland but gave up seven runs and got just one out. In that first inning, the Rockcats got three hits, walked four times and also had a hit by pitch. Danny Berg cleared the bases with a three run double. Two batters later, Erik Lis hit a three run homer, his sixth of the season. Rene Tosoni went 2-4 with his tenth home run. Toby Gardenhire went 2-4 with a walk and a double. Juan Portes went 2-4. Ryan Mullins picked up his fifth win thanks to the run support. The lefty went six innings and gave up three runs on four hits. He walked three and struck out eight. Jay Rainville gave up two runs on two hits in his inning. Then Alex Burnett and Anthony Slama each threw a scoreless inning with two strikeouts.

MIRACLE MEMOS

Tuesday – Ft. Myers, Lakeland – Postponed by Rain.   

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Tuesday – Beloit 1, Cedar Rapids 4 Brad Tippett had another very strong start in this game. In six innings, he gave up just an unearned run on four this. He walked four and struck out four. Curtis Leavitt struck out two in two perfect innings. With the game tied at one going into the ninth, Steve Blevins came in and gave up three runs on two hits and a walk in the inning. The Snappers bats didn’t help the cause. They had just three hits. Drew Thompson went 1-2 with a walk and his ninth double. Aaron Hicks was 1-3 with a walk.    

E-TWINS EXTRAS

Tuesday – Elizabethton 8, Bristol 7 Billy Bullock coughed up the lead in the top of the ninth, but ended up getting the win. With two outs in the bottom of the 9th, Derek McCallum and Chris Herrmann singled. Then there was an error, followed by an intentional walk and another error and the E-Twins had a win. McCallum went 2-4 with a walk and his first home run. Danny Rams went 1-3 with two walks and his fourth home run. Josmil Pinto went 3-4 with a double and his third homer. Reggie Williams knocked his first home run. Martire Garcia made the start and went just two innings. He gave up a run on one hit and six walks. He was replaced by Brad Stillings. The Twins 7th round pick went the next 3.2 innings and gave up three runs (2 earned). He allowed four hits, walked two and struck out three. Edgar Ibarra threw 1.2 scoreless innings. Kane Holbrooks gave up an unearned run in his 0.2 innings. Bullock allowed a Holbrook inherited runner to score and then two more runs (1 earned) in the 9th. He struck out two.

GCL TWINS THOUGHTS

Tuesday – GCL Twins 1, GCL Reds 4 Shooter Hunt is not over his control issues. Although he looked good in his first outing, this one was a struggle. In four innings, he gave up one run on two hits. He walked six, hit one, and threw two wild pitches. He did strike out four. Adrian Salcedo came in and gave up three runs (1 earned) over the final five innings. He gave up seven hits, walked none and struck out five. Nick Lockwood and Oswaldo Arcia each went 2-4.     

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

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3 Responses to “Twins Win 2-1, and Ramblings”

  1. Joe July 1, 2009 at 12:39 am #

    do you know why Shooter Hunt started today instead of BJ Hermsen? was it because Hermsen still isn’t use to pitching every 5th day or do they want to get Shooter on more of a consistent repitar?

  2. Josh Johnson July 1, 2009 at 10:48 am #

    Eli Tintor is also getting ready for a new career in football with the UMD Bulldogs.

  3. Han Joelo July 1, 2009 at 11:05 am #

    Garret Jones got called up to Pittsburgh in the wake of the Morgan/Hinske trades. He had something like 12 homes and 10 steals at AAA.

    I would be great to see Gabino called up, someone a little under the radar.

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