Game 1: Twins 2, Yankees 7

8 Oct

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

 

First of all, I must apologize for no podcast last night. I went to lay down with my three year old shortly after nine o’clock, you know, just for a minute, so she would fall asleep. Well, you already know what happened. Of course, I fell asleep about 9:15. Next thing I knew it was about 11:30, and instead of waking up, I just closed my eyes and slept. So again, there was no new podcast last night, but we will have another podcast tonight where we will take a brief look back at Game 1, and look ahead to Game 2.

Anyway, I will likely write more later, but just some quick thoughts from last night’s 7-2 loss to the Yankees:

·         The Twins jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 3rd inning on a Michael Cuddyer single and a passed ball. The Twins definitely came to play early. I don’t think anyone questioned that.

·         I’m certain that the Twins were exhausted. After such an emotional, long game the night before, they didn’t get to their hotel in New York until about 4:00. So I’m sure they didn’t exactly get their full night’s sleep. That said, I think that is overplayed a bit. I mean, in the regular season, teams play extra inning games in one city one night and then travel to another city and play the next night. Now, obviously this is a little different due to the magnitude of the play-in game and the post game celebration, but still probably a little overplayed.

·         CC Sabathia was very good in Game 1. He was throwing hard, throwing strikes and had his nasty slider working most of the night.

·         It’s hard to win a regular season when you’re #4 pitcher goes against the other team’s #1. But when you’re playing such a talented team, it’s accentuated. I actually like the Twins pitching matchup opportunities the next three games.

·         I really thought Brian Duensing pitched well and showed a lot of toughness. He went just 4.2 innings and gave up five runs, but he was able to keep the Twins in the game. The hanger that Derek Jeter hit well into the left field bleachers was a bad pitch, but other than that, he was solid. I questioned pitching to Alex Rodriguez in the 5th inning with a base open and lefty Hideki Matsui on deck. But the pitch that Duensing threw was not bad at all. Fastball, down and in. But A-Rod is a great hitter, no matter what the media wants to tell you.

·         Then I questioned bringing Francisco Liriano in to fact Matsui. Duensing had done a very nice job against Matsui in two previous at bats. Of course, if Liriano comes in and gets Matsui, there is no need to second guess, but instead, Liriano gave up a two run homer and the game was suddenly 6-2.

·         Denard Span, Orlando Cabrera, Joe Mauer and Nick Punto each had two hits in the game. Span and Mauer each had hustle doubles. Punto coaxed the Twins only walk of the day.

·         And yes, listening to Chip Caray talk about the game is enough to make me turn the volume down and listen to John Gordon… OK, can’t do that either, but mute is definitely an option!

·         This is just my opinion, but with the Twins lacking a good DH option, I really think that they need to slide Jason Kubel back into the DH role. Jose Morales has returned to normal after hitting well most of the season. Might as well play the excellent defense of Carlos Gomez in CF with Denard Span in RF. That way, you get better defense, and you eliminate the need to remove Kubel from the game in the late innings.

·         I participated in a game of pepper with the C70 At the Bat blog, answering several postseason, Twins-related questions.

·         Topp Prospect Alert posted its Top 10 Twins prospect list.

·         IF you would like, you can listen to my appearance on Marty Andrade’s pre-game podcast that was before the Twins/Tigers game on Tuesday night.

·         Finally, bookmark the Baseball Digest Live podcast. There are two postseason preview shows there (which included impressive guests like Joe Hamrahi and Joe Posnanski and more!) and they will have frequent shows, so check their schedule.     

Please feel free to comment on anything.

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24 Responses to “Game 1: Twins 2, Yankees 7”

  1. Han Joelo October 8, 2009 at 8:05 am #

    I agree on Kubel DH-ing. Perhaps its wishful thinking, but watching Gomez beat out an infield hit, and then having Tolbert and Punto do their sacrifice thing seems better than having Morales clog up the bases.

    Just curious, but who would the fifth outfielder be in case of an emergency?

    That may be the ‘highest upside’ list of Twins prospects I’ve seen in forever. Nice sprinkling throughout the levels, especially if one believes Ramos, Bromberg, and or Gibson might be relatively close to the majors. No Valencia.

    With the way things have gone this year, it is hard not to see Tolbert and Punto both on the team next year, with at least one of them starting.

  2. Joe October 8, 2009 at 8:08 am #

    Defintely a tough matchup with #4 vs. #1, as long as they come out against Burnett and get some early runs they can flip the series back in their favor. Plus, let’s not forget they won Game 1 in NY in 2003 & 2004 and ended up losing in 4 both times.

    P.S. Totally on board with Kubel as DH, Gomez in CF. Not sure it will happen though.

  3. BB-STC October 8, 2009 at 8:27 am #

    Do you believe Kepler is a top 10 prospect talent? I can understand that Sano is, but never heard much about Kepler until he signed and am not sure how he compares to the Latin talent.

  4. M C October 8, 2009 at 8:30 am #

    They really need to pick up the trash on the field between innings. It was all over the place. Surely someone would volunteer for field level to help out…obv the 1B line ballboy isn’t going to catch it!

  5. Seth October 8, 2009 at 8:31 am #

    Valencia need to be on any top 10. No question.
    Kepler – I just can’t put him in the top 10, probably not top 20. The Europe thing has me questioning ranking him too high. That said, someone much closer than I puts him in his top 6 Twins prospects, so maybe! But like Sano, he’s just 16, so a long way to go.

    Backup outfielder could be Kubel and lose the DH. Or, you could do something crazy, like move Cuddyer out to RF?

  6. mike wants wins October 8, 2009 at 8:40 am #

    Carrying three catchers is also tough on the bench, given that Red can’t hit at all. It just limits them so much right now. They basically have interchangable bad utility infielders (four of them!) that can’t hit, and no one to come off the bench at all. Morales has come back to earth. I’d much rather have the defense of Gomez in there right now.

    As for the pitching decisions, as I said on Joe Posnanski’s blog, I think Gardy has to be appreciated from afar. He must be doing something right, but his in game decisions are terrible. No way you pitch to ARod with a base open, and Duensing had pitched Matsui well (and Liriano utterly stinks right now – I would not have had him on the roster).

  7. gobbledygookguy October 8, 2009 at 9:16 am #

    why no bunts??

    very poor bench for a want to be good team.
    try cuddy at 3b in the spring, sign vlad as a 5th of’r and dh and maybe pick up garett atkins, he can play 3b/1b/dh, he’ll come cheap this winter. makes a much stronger rh hitting bench and we all know nicky and tolbert will be playing next yr.
    so long harris!

  8. rosterman October 8, 2009 at 9:38 am #

    I agree. Why no bunts against C.C.

    For that fact alone, I would have fielded Gomez and put Kubel in as DH. If nothing else, make C.C. move a bit.

    The bench. Yes, four interchangables from the infield and RedDog. I guess you have to give RedDog a place out of respect and it is a short series. And Morales IS the bench, basically. It would’ve been ncie if the Twins had promoted another decent outfielder from the minors or gotten that bench bat for the post-season (but, who knew) and stayed with 11 pitchers…considering you only need three starters (Duensing becomes bullpen after the first game).

    Yankees need more than a hand slap…MLB should set the games and made this a Thursday/Friday series. As a matter of fact, I would like to see ALL first round games played at the same time, essentially, and make it a Wednesday-Sunday series…get it done and over with…allow clubs to only sell tickets for each game similar to the way the Twins did for #163. Basically making the championship/World Series the big package.

    Can ANYONE answer who people don’t do mroe bunting against C.C.?

  9. Seth October 8, 2009 at 9:47 am #

    Let’s see… one Twins player faked a bunt against CC last night and what happened two pitches later? Oh yeah, he got hit by a pitch… That’s why more people don’t bunt against him.

    That said, it’s the playoffs, so you do whatever… my main contention is that the Twins don’t have any players who are good bunt-for-hit guys. Gomez seemlingly stopped doing it (I still don’t know why. he was a fun and excited player when he did attempt a bunch of them but must have been told not to). Span, Tolbert and Punto aren’t great bunt guys. And you’re certainly not going to ask Mauer, Kubel, Cuddyer or Young to bunt.

  10. gobbledygookguy October 8, 2009 at 10:39 am #

    for a team that prides itself on doing the “little things” it sure doesn’t do some of them very well, like bunt!
    these guys are supposed to be speed guys, if they can’t bunt then that is on the coaches, imo.
    that’s what practice is for, bunt, bunt, bunt until you get it or you don’t get any supper.

  11. Dome Dog October 8, 2009 at 11:46 am #

    Bunting is great and all, but you’re not going to bunt your way to a series victory by doing it. The Twins got 2 early runs and had a couple of opportunities to score a few more, they just didn’t come through. The issue is (and has been all year) the pitching. If they can’t hold the Yankees down it won’t matter how well we bunt, walk, or slap singles.

    They’ve got a legit chance to take tomorrow’s game, but Blackburn needs to give a minimum of 6 strong innings I think.

  12. Shawn in Binghamton October 8, 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    I agree on putting Kubel back to DH. Get Gomez in CF and keep Kubel’s bat in the game.

    I like Topp Prospect’s top 10 list. I don’t know where I would guess to rank Kepler and Sano. Given the bonus Sano received I think first blush he has to be top 10. Here is my list from a few days back:

    1. Angel Morales OF 20 years A Fort Myers MLB debut 2012
    2. Wilson Ramos C 22 years AAA Rochester MLB debut 2011(2010 if he were traded post Mauer extension)
    3. Aaron Hicks CF 20 years A Beloit MLB debut 2013
    4. Miguel Angel Sano SS/3B/OF 17 years Rookie Gulf Coast League Twins debut 2014
    5. Kyle Gibson RHP 22 years A Beloit MLB debut 2012
    6. Danny Valencia 3B 25 years old AAA Rochester MLB debut 2010
    7. Ben Revere OF 22 years old AA New Britain MLB debut 2012
    8. Jeff Manship RHP 24 years old AAA Rochester MLB 2009
    9. Rene Tosoni OF 23 years old AAA Rochester MLB debut 2010
    10. David Bromberg RHP 22 years old AA New Britain MLB debut 2011

    I’d probably have Salcedo in the next 5 or 10 for sure.

  13. Dave October 8, 2009 at 12:42 pm #

    Everybody and his uncle AND his aunt knew the chances were slim and none last night. With Gardy making his usual head-scratching pitching moves, our chances became none. He simply makes decisions that, were this Philadelphia or New York, the scribes would run him out of town. The Yanks personnel is so far superior it’s hard to imagine any scenario in which the Twins prevail. But to have any chance, you do things like bunt Span over in the first inning and get every runner in from third [with less than two outs] and most of them in from third even with two outs, otherwise known as clutch hits. Our best chance is Friday. If Nick comes through, there is a decent chance we get to five games and then, who knows?

  14. Bill in Sarasota October 8, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    I think early in the game the Twins need to play small ball.
    Last night, Cabrera should have bunted Span to 3rd and Span should have bunted Punto to 2nd. Nothing is guaranteed but in hindsight those missed opportunities to bunt cost the Twins two runs. If the Twins were up 4-0 who knows how much tighter the Yankees collars would have gotten
    To make any noise in this series, the Twins need to play small ball, get clutch hitting, and good pitching..
    With Morales no longer hot, I would put Gomez in CF for defense and don’t have to worry about taking Kubel out except for a critical late PR situation.

  15. roger October 8, 2009 at 4:07 pm #

    Seth, Agree 100% that they need to get Gomez in center and Kubel back to DH. That leaves Morales available for pinch hitting which he has always done a nice job.

    Topps top 10 prospects is somewhat of a joke, right? I am as hopefull as anyone that Max Kepler-Rozycki is a special player. But ranking a 16 year old German ahead of Rene Tosoni is why I find so many of these rankings absolute garbage. Plus, if they are going to rank him up there, maybe they should use his correct name.

  16. Joe October 8, 2009 at 4:17 pm #

    Yeah they looked over matched last night. My opinion they just have to deliver with men on base. Although the game was out of reach in the 7th and 9th the Twins had multiple runners in scoring position in both of those innings and did not deliver. It was important to at least get a hit in those situations to make New York look human. Now all of America is on the Yankees balls thinking they are unbeatable.

    In regards to their prospect listing for next year. Here is my layout for next year.

    1.) Aaron Hicks, 20, A+ Fort Myers, ETA 2011
    2.) Kyle Gibson, 22, A+ Fort Myers, ETA, 2010
    3.) Miguel Angel Sano, 17, Rookie GCL Twins, ETA 2013
    4.) Ben Revere, 22, AA New Britian, ETA 2011
    5.) David Bromberg, 22, AA New Britian, ETA, 2010
    6.) Angel Morales, 20, A+ Fort Myers, ETA 2012
    7.) Adrian Salcedo, 19, A Beloit, ETA 2013
    8.) Wilson Ramos, 22, AAA Rochester, ETA 2010
    9.) Danny Valencia, 25, AAA Rochester, ETA 2010
    10.) BJ Hermsen, 20, A Beloit, ETA 2012
    11.) Rene Tosoni, 23, AAA Rochster, ETA 2011 expect trade
    12.) Tyler Robertson, 22, AA New Britian, ETA 2011
    13.) Carlos Guttierez, 23, AAA Rochester, ETA 2010
    15.) Chris Parmelee, 22, AA New Britian, ETA 2011
    16.) Bruce Pugh, 21, A+ Fort Myers, ETA 2012
    17.) Joe Benson, 22, AA New Britian, ETA 2012 expect trade
    18.) Deolis Guerra, 21, AA New Britian, ETA 2011
    19.) Max Kepplar, 17, Rookie GCL Twins, ETA 2013
    20.) Trevor Plouffe, 23, AAA Rochester, ETA 2010

    Next Years September hopeful lineup.

    Catcher: Joe Mauer, Jose Morales
    1st Base: Justin Morenau
    2nd Base: Nick Punto, Alexi Casilla
    Shortstop: Matt Tolbert, Brendan Harris
    3rd Base: Danny Valencia
    Right Field: Michael Cuddyer
    Left Field: Delmon Young
    Center Field: Denard Span, Carlos Gomez
    Designated Hitter: Jason Kubel

    Starter 1: Scott Baker
    Starter 2: Carl Pavano
    Starter 3: Nick Blackburn
    Starter 4: Kevin Slowey
    Starter 5: Boof Bonser I hope its him or Liriano

    Closer : Joe Nathan
    Bullpen Jon Rauch
    Jesse Crain
    Matt Guerrier
    Jose Mijares
    Pat Neskek
    Anthony Slama

    Gone: Bobby Keppel
    Fransisco Liriano (trade, DL or Minors)
    Glen Perkins (trade or minors)
    Ron Mahay (wont be resigned)
    Orlando Cabrera (will be too pricey to keep)
    Brian Buscher (get lost!)
    Brian Duenseng (will come back to Earth)
    Jeff Manship (so will he)

  17. TT October 8, 2009 at 7:29 pm #

    “But ranking a 16 year old German ahead of Rene Tosoni is why I find so many of these rankings absolute garbage.”

    Its no different than ranking a 16 year old Dominican ahead of Tosoni. The whole idea that you can very accurately predict which players in A ball and lower will produce more in the big leagues is “absolute garbage”. Top Prospect rankings seems to be based on which guys got the most good publicity. But that is really true of all these ratings to some extent. They are fun, but they don’t have all that much meaning.

    If you want to look at next year’s team here is a list, in order, of who is likely to offer the most help next year if they get the chance:

    1. Swarzak
    2. Plouffe
    3. Butera
    4. Gutierrez
    5. Ramos
    6. Tosoni
    7. Winfree
    8. Waldrop
    9. Burnett
    10. Guerra

    In the unlikely even he is still around, Morillo is ahead of Winfree.

    I am not considering Gibson, who might be on this list, or anyone who was on the roster at the end of the season (Manship, Gabino, etc).

    At some point people have to get real about Danny Valencia. He didn’t hit the last half the season at AAA and he had a huge number of errors. If he can’t hit and he can’t play defense, why would he be in the big leagues?

  18. Shawn in Binghamton October 8, 2009 at 9:08 pm #

    TT,

    I like the reality list you put up for next year. I have to disagree with you on Valencia. I have seen the kid play 3 times at AA and AAA this season. While the last half numbers bear out that he has some work left to do, he will be a fine major league player. He has a decent power body and has all the skills to play a decent 3B in the majors. I think 2-3 months in AAA should do it before he makes his debut. I see his topside to be Corey Koskie offensively and defensively. Not a star, but a good player.

  19. TT October 8, 2009 at 9:23 pm #

    Shawn –

    I haven’t seen him play, so you might be right. But Valencia has consistently had a lot of errors. I don’t know if that is his throws or his glove. If the former, he may just need a major league first baseman on the receiving end.

    He really struggled with the bat after a hot start at AAA. His numbers are consistent with a polished hitter who feasted on pitchers who couldn’t consistently locate their pitches. That isn’t going to be enough at AAA, much less in the big leagues.

    Koskie’s glove was a project when he hit the big leagues, but his bat was already there. He hit over .300 with 26 home runs and 32 doubles at AAA in 1998 at the same age as Valencia last year.

  20. Shawn in Binghamton October 8, 2009 at 9:30 pm #

    I guess I see Valencia as a 15-20 HR .270 hitter in the majors. Valencia’s range looks good, maybe the errors are throws? I have not seen him make any of the error’s he made. As far as a prospect, if he were to play average at 3b at hit .260 with 12-15 HRs next year, he would still be the best MLB 3b in the system. He is the reason why I’d resign Crede. Give me another incentive contract and bring up Valencia when the inevitable injury comes to Crede.

  21. TT October 9, 2009 at 8:22 am #

    Shawn –

    Valencia hit 4 home runs in 200 at bats at AAA after the allstar break. He may improve, but that projection is optimistic. For comparison, Trevor Plouffe hit 4 home runs in 150 at bats during that same timeframe. Plouffe doesn’t have Valencia’s power and Valencia had a lot more doubles, but you have to make contact.

    One of the things you look for in a prospect is whether they are getting better as the season goes on. When their results regress after a quick start, you wonder if the league caught up to them. I think Valencia’s ceiling is a AAAA guy. That may be enough to win the Twins third base slot, but I doubt it. His offense doesn’t look to be an improvement on Brendan Harris.

  22. mike wants wins October 9, 2009 at 9:17 am #

    Joe, if that is the starting pitching staff, this team will not be very good next year.

    Valencia better be good, they refused to deal him to get a real infielder to help this year….

  23. Seth October 9, 2009 at 9:31 am #

    Good point MWW… how did Freddy Sanchez turn out for the Giants?

  24. Shawn in Binghamton October 9, 2009 at 5:39 pm #

    I just look at this page and i find it hard not to see a decent major leaguer in Valencia. He gets moved up often midseason and does ok(.754 OPS) after being moved up, but his numbers always jump up the next season. I don’t see why that should change when he reaches the majors. Maybe I am hopeful, but everything i have seen numberswise and in person makes me think there is alot to like about Valencia.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/V/Danny-Valencia.shtml

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