Friday Night Notes

24 Apr

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On Friday night the Twins improved to12-5 with an 8-3 win in Kansas City against the Royals. As you would expect, it all started with the starting pitching. Just five days after he lost to the Royals, Carl Pavano gave up just two runs on four hits in seven innings. He walked none and struck out five. Matt Guerrier had his first bad outing of the year (spring training included). He gave up one run on one hit and one walk, but clearly he was not himself. After the Twins scored two runs in the top of the 9th, Brian Duensing came in and pitched a scoreless ninth frame. The Twins jumped out to an early lead thanks to some sketchy pitching by Gil Meche. In just 3.1 innings, Meche threw just 43 strikes. He gave up four runs on four hits and five walks. In other words, it could have been even worse. The Twins worked seven more walks in this game. The ability to work counts and take walks is so important, and something Twins fans haven’t seen in a long time, not until sometime in 2009 really. It is a trait that most good teams have, and another reason why the Twins are a good team. Orlando Hudson had three hits and a walk in the game. Jim Thome was making his second straight start, and he hit a solo home runs and a two-run double in the game. Justin Morneau was 1-3 and added two more walks to his AL-leading walk total. JJ Hardy hit his third home run.

The big news of Friday was that Nick Punto was heading to the Disabled List. After missing six games, it was decided to be cautious and put him on the Disabled List. The Twins also recalled Luke Hughes who will be in Kansas City on Saturday. Now I have been asked about Hughes and why he was the one promoted instead of Matt Tolbert or Danny Valencia. I’ll start with the latter. Valencia is struggling early and Brendan Harris has been playing adequately. The Twins want Valencia to continue to play most days, and right now, they are going with Harris at 3B. Hardy is the shortstop and Hudson is the 2B, so The promoted player would be a bench player. Hughes provides good power from the right side for the Twins bench, something they really don’t have most days. As for why Hughes over Tolbert? Well, Tolbert is a replication of Casilla and wouldn’t play at all. He has zero purpose as a bench option with Casilla already able to play all three infield spots. And again, Hughes can actually hit a little bit. So, this is certainly the right move right now. I do think that if Orlando Hudson needs a day off, and I think it would be good, that Hughes should get a start at 2B.  In a corresponding move, the Rochester Red Wings activated Matt Macri from their Disabled List.

Please feel free to leave your comments here.

SethSpeaks Friday Minor League Hitter of the Day – Reggie Williams – Beloit Snappers

SethSpeaks Friday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – David Bromberg – New Britain Rockcats

Red Wings Report   

Friday – Rochester 3, Syracuse 8 Mike Maroth started for the Red Wings. He gave up four runs (2 earned) on five hits. He walked none and struck out four. Tim Lahey gave up three runs on four hits and three walks in 2.1 innings. Matt Fox gave up only an unearned run in 1.2 innings. Brian Dinkelman went 2-4. Trevor Plouffe hit a two-run triple. But the Red Wings managed just four hits. Dustin Martin had two fielding errors in the outfield.  

New Britain Notes

Friday – New Britain 1, Harrisburg 2David Bromberg started his third game and pitched his third gem. In seven innings he gave up just one run on four hits and a walk. He struck out nine. Santos Arias fell to 0-3 as he gave up a run on three hits over two innings. The Rockcats managed just four hits. Rene Tosoni went 2-3 with a walk and the lone RBI. Estarlin de Los Santos was 1-2 with a walk.  

Miracle Matters

Friday – Ft. Myers 1, Bradenton 3 – Bruce Pugh recorded his first Quality Start of the season. He gave up three runs on seven hits and three walks in six innings. He struck out three. Shooter Hunt came in and struck out three in two perfect innings. Like the Red Wings and the Rockcats, the Miracle had just four hits in this game. Chris Herrmann and Dan Rohlfing each hit a double. Brandon Roberts was on a rehab assignment from Rochester. He was 1-3 with a walk and a stolen base.

Snappers Snippets

Friday – Beloit 7, Wisconsin 1Liam Hendriks actually gave up a run in this game, but he also picked up his first win of the year. In five innings, he gave up just the one run on one hit. He walked one and struck out six. Ben Tootle gave up one run on two hits and a walk while striking out two. Kane Holbrooks threw two shutout innings, and he struck out two. Reggie Williams went 2-3 with a double and four RBI. Steve Liddle was 1-4 with a walk and an RBI double. Aaron Hicks was 1-3 with two walks and his third stolen base.  

Any thoughts on the Twins or their minor league system? Leave your comments here.

9 Responses to “Friday Night Notes”

  1. Dave April 24, 2010 at 9:12 am #

    Virtually error-free baseball… tons of walks…hitting to the opposite field…Yikes! This could be quite a season. [Great that the Twins called up Hughes, for all the reasons Seth pointed out.]

  2. TT April 24, 2010 at 9:13 am #

    Good analysis on Hughes. This is the perfect spot for him to get a chance in the big leagues. I am still not sure where he fits, even as a bat off the bench. Who does he pinch hit for? I suspect we won’t see much of him except as a late inning replacement. But he will have more use in National League parks at the end of June. This is a chance for him to make the case for them to find room for him on the roster then.

    On Valencia. He’s had a couple of decent days recently, but they seem to correspond to when the rest of the team is also hitting well. So he may have just been “feasting” off inferior pitching. The fact is Valencia hasn’t really hit in AAA after his first couple weeks last June. It sounded like Gardy identified the problem in spring training when he commented that teams were feeding Valencia breaking pitches. Apparently he couldn’t hit them. Until/unless he figures that out, he isn’t likely to get a major league call-up.

  3. TT April 24, 2010 at 9:20 am #

    “The ability to work counts and take walks is so important, and something Twins fans haven’t seen in a long time”

    I think this is putting the cart before the horse. The Twins have never had a lineup of this many very dangerous hitters and pitchers are avoiding challenging them. Its the pitchers approach, not the hitters’, that is most of the difference. You may not want to walk the guys in the middle of the order, but you don’t want to pitch to them either.

    Of course, the hitters may be more willing to take a walk with guys behind them to drive in runs. But hitters can’t walk themselves, as Twins pitchers demonstrate.

    • jimbo92107 April 24, 2010 at 10:26 am #

      TT’s got a point. I noticed that opposing pitchers changed their attitude tremendously when either Nick Punto, Alexi Casilla or Drew Butera are batting. Suddenly, they can’t wait to throw strikes. Pitchers don’t feel threatened by the weak hitters, which is why they called up Luke Hughes as a utility infielder. Hughes may not be as magical with the glove as Punto or Casilla, but at the plate, pitchers won’t see Hughes as an easy out.

      The Twins may still use Casilla as a defensive replacement late in games, but when an infielder needs a day off, Luke Hughes will step in with a decent glove and a good bat.

  4. jimbo92107 April 24, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    I hate to say it, but bringing up Luke Hughes could signal the beginning of the end for Alexi Casilla. If Hughes plays well as second, he may become the heir apparent at that position, and meanwhile for this season, why keep another utility infielder that can’t hit? Maybe Casilla needs a change of scenery. It looks like he’s not paying attention to the hitting coach – he hasn’t changed a thing about his stance or his approach at the plate.

    The saddest part is that there’s a statue of Rod Carew in the stadium that is trying to tell Alexi Casilla how he can hit .300, but it can’t talk. Sigh.

  5. mike wants wins April 24, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    Wow, why even have Tolbert on the 40 man now? I mean, they just admitted that he isn’t good, right?

    Casilla is an athlete, not a baseball player. I don’t get why people are still up on him at all.

  6. USAFChief April 24, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    “The saddest part is that there’s a statue of Rod Carew in the stadium that is trying to tell Alexi Casilla how he can hit .300, but it can’t talk. Sigh.”

    If the statue could talk, it would be telling Casilla to quit professional baseball and play slow pitch? Who knew?

    • jimbo92107 April 24, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

      There actually was a guy that copied Rod Carew’s stance and style, and he had a good career, batting mostly over .300. I just don’t remember his name, but I think he may have played for the Royals or the Indians…

  7. TT April 24, 2010 at 7:20 pm #

    Luke Hughes is not going to replace Casilla or Punto. He has some pop in his bat, but Casilla was the better hitter at AAA last year. And, while second base may be his best position, that is by default. Hughes may or may not be able to become even adequate there.

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