also available at www.SethSpeaks.net –
After Monday night’s loss to the Detroit Tigers, the Twins fell out of first place, 0.5 games behind the Tigers. The proverbial sky was falling down upon Twins Nation. On my StarTribune.com TwinsCentric blog, I tried to give Twins fans ideas for what else they could do instead of watching the Twins play (the end result being that I will continue to watch them regardless). Not only were they out of first place, but they lost to the Tigers with Francisco Liriano on the mound. Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey, who were both struggling immensely, were the next two starters. Things didn’t look promising.
But the offense showed up on Tuesday night in support of Blackburn. Inspired (likely) by the triple on Monday night by Jim Thome, Denard Span went 4-4 with three triples on Tuesday night. Thome himself showed that it is possible for a left-hander to hit a home run to the opposite field. Joe Mauer had a single and a double. Nick Punto was 1-2 with two walks. Everyone contributed, and Nick Blackburn needed it. Blackburn gave up four runs, but this time, he did so while still recording 21 outs to improve his record to 7-5. It was just the second time in his past six starts that he had finished four innings. It was a good rebound start for him.
On Wednesday afternoon, Kevin Slowey was the benefactor of some run support. He didn’t need it. He was terrific. In six innings, he gave up just one run on four hits. He walked one and struck out four. Of his 81 pitches, 55 of them were strikes. Unfortunately, he was hit in the foot by a line drive and left the game with a contusion. It don’t appear to be too serious. Slowey improved to 8-5, but it was the first time in four starts that he gave up less than five runs. And the Twins got plenty of runs too. Although Joe Mauer was not in the lineup, the middle of the order came through. Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer each had two hits, including a double each. Morneau added his 16th home run.
The Twins finished June 12-15. That is one way to look at it. The other way to look at a rough month is to say that despite going 12-15 in June, they overcame a rough patch and still hold a 1.5 game lead in the division.
I know, most fans don’t want to listen to the “Marathon… Not a sprint” philosophy. Many choose to live and die with every game. The Twins won’t win every game unfortunately. There will likely be several hiccups in a long season. The Twins lost their lead in the division. Now they have it back.
Tonight the Twins start a four game series against the Tampa Bay Rays, a team that is just as thrilled as the Twins are that June is over. The Rays went 11-14 in July and fell into 3rd place in the AL East.
If nothing else, it should be a fun, entertaining series to watch.
A few more notes:
- I’ll be boarding the Twins Train and heading to Detroit to see the Twins and Tigers play two games. I’m really looking forward to the trip. I hear that Sooze and Parker Hageman will also be on the Detroit trip, so it should be a great time. Apparently the Twins Train trips have been successful enough that they have added a couple more trips in August. There is a trip to Cleveland and to Chicago. And the Twins train is also making a trip to Green Bay and Lambeau Field in October. Check out the Twins Train website for details and trip availability.
- If you recall, it was just about a year ago that TwinsCentric came out with its first publication, the TwinsCentric July Trade Deadline Primer. Since then, there has been the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook, our work with Maple Street Press on the Twins 2010 Annual, the TwinsCentric blog at StarTribune.com and several TwinsCentric Viewing parties around the Twin Cities. It’s been an interesting, busy, fun year of learning about this new media and such. Well, today, I just want to mention here that TwinsCentric will be announcing, in the next couple of days, our newest project which we hope to make available next week. Check back here for many more details about our newest venture, something that we think is really good.
- Be sure to tune in to Paul Allen on KFAN or KFAN.com at 9:20 Thursday morning as I will be making my weekly appearance on his show.
- You’ll want to check out the below minor league updates and highlights below. Which former hitting prospect threw seven shutout innings for a Twins affiliate on Wednesday night? Which players were named All-Stars in their respective leagues? And much, much more.
Here is a quick glance at what happened on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Twins minor league system:
SethSpeaks Tuesday Minor League Hitter of the Day – Steve Liddle – Beloit Snappers
SethSpeaks Tuesday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Tim Lahey – Rochester Red Wings
SethSpeaks Wednesday Minor League Hitter of the Day – Brock Peterson – Rochester Red Wings
SethSpeaks Wednesday Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Manuel Soliman – Elizabethton Twins
- On Tuesday, Ben Revere, Kyle Gibson and Deolis Guerra were named to the Eastern League All-Star game.
- On Wednesday, Anthony Slama and Dustin Martin were named to the International League All Star team. Kyle Waldrop got ripped off!
Red Wings Report
Tuesday – Rochester 4, Lehigh Valley 5 (completion of a suspended game) – In a game that started over a month ago, the Red Wings fell to the IronPigs. Glen Perkins had originally started the game, and got the first five outs. Brad Hennessey came in on Tuesday and gave up four runs (3 earned) on five hits in 3.1 innings. Tim Lahey threw 2.2 shutout innings. Kyle Waldrop took the loss giving up an unearned run on two hits in his inning. The Red Wings had eight hits. D’Angelo Jimenez went 2-3 with a walk and a home run. Trevor Plouffe hit another home run. It was technically his second of the year, but actually his seventh.
Tuesday – Rochester 3, Lehigh Valley 2 (regularly scheduled game) – Matt Fox gave up two runs on four hits and a walk in 5.1 innings. He struck out nine. Pat Neshek came in and got the final two outs of the sixth. Anthony Slama recorded his 15th save. He struck out two in a scoreless inning. The Red Wings managed just five hits. Brock Peterson was 2-2 with a walk.
Wednesday – Rochester 4, Lehigh Valley 6 – Jeff Manship started for the Red Wings and gave up six runs on 11 hits and a walk in six innings to fall to 3-4. Jose Lugo struck out three in two scoreless innings. Jose Morales was 2-4 with his 12th double. Jacque Jones and Matt Macri each had two hits and a walk. Brock Peterson went 1-2 with three walks. Brendan Harris and Wilson Ramos were each 0-5.
New Britain Notes
Tuesday – Game 1 – New Britain 0, Trenton 9 – Mike McCardell gave up four runs on five hits in six innings and falls to 0-9 on the season. He struck out six. Matt Williams pitched a scoreless inning. The Rockcats gave up five hits. Chris Cates was 2-3 with his third double.
Tuesday – Game 2 – New Britain 5, Trenton 2 – Tyler Robertson improved to 1-7 on the season with a solid season. He has given up two runs on six hits and two walks in six innings. Billy Bullock recorded his first AA save. The team managed just four hits. Joe Benson hit his eighth double. Chris Parmelee went 1-2 with a walk.
Wednesday – New Britain 5, Trenton 2 – Kyle Gibson improved to 5-3 with another solid outing. In 6.2 innings, he gave up one run on five hits. He walked four and struck out four. Loek Van Mil gave up three hits and no runs in 1.1 innings. Billy Bullock struck out two in his scoreless inning. The Rockcats won despite just five hits. Chris Parmelee and Mark Dolenc each hit a double.
Tuesday – Ft. Myers 1, Bradenton 11 – Back to back ten run losses have some around the Miracle frustrated. Bruce Pugh started and gave up three runs on two hits and four walks in 3.1 innings. He struck out four. Joe Testa then gave up a run on four hits and a walk in 2.2 innings. Shooter Hunt walked two and struckout two in a scoreless inning. Michael Allen pitched 1.1 innings (after being demoted earlier in the day from New Britain), and he gave up seven runs (4 earned) on four hits and two walks. Blake Martin got the final two outs on strikeouts.
Wednesday – Ft. Myers/Bradenton – Postponed by Rain.
Tuesday – Beloit 11, Cedar Rapids 8 – Miguel Munoz went the first six innings and gave up five runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out five. He recorded his fifth win. Chris Armstrong went 1.1 innings and gave up three runs on three hits. Peter Kennelly recorded his first save by getting the final five outs. Aaron Hicks went 2-5 with a walk, his 20th double and his seventh stolen base. Steve Liddle went 2-3 with two walks and his eighth double. James Beresford went 2-6 and scored three runs. Wang-Wei Lin went 1-4 with two walks and his eighth steal.
Wednesday – Beloit 0, Cedar Rapids 1 – Brad Stillings pitched another super game, but in this one, he took a loss. Stillings gave up just one run on five hits and a walk in six innings. Jhon Garcia then pitched two perfect innings, and Matt Tone pitched a scoreless ninth inning despite a walk and a single. James Beresford and Josmil Pinto each went 2-4. JJ Hardy played in his first rehab game with the Snappers. He went 0-3 and was hit by a pitch. He also had a throwing error.
Tuesday – Elizabethton 12, Danville 8 (11 innings) – The bats came alive for the E-Twins on this night. Lance Ray went 3-7 with his second double. Andy Leer and Kyle Knudsen each went 3-6. Brian Burke went 2-4 with a walk and a double. Gunner Glad went 2-5. Jamaal Hawkins was 1-4 with three walks and two stolen bases. One of the big hits in the four-run 11th inning came off the bat of Oswaldo Arcia. He hit a two run home run, his fourth of the year. Arcia went 2-6 with a walk. Ryan O’Rourke started and gave up three runs on eight hits and a walk in 4.2 innings. He struck out five before being ejected from the game. David Gutierrez gave up four runs on four hits and a walk in 1.1 innings. He struck out three. Sam Spangler gave up a run on three hits in two innings. Zach See got the win after striking out three in two scoreless innings. Matt Hauser struck out two in a perfect 11th inning.
Wednesday – Elizabethton 1, Danville 0 – Manuel Solimon pitched an incredible game. He threw seven no-hit, no-run innings with two walks and five strikeouts. He was replaced in the 8th inning by Andrei Lobanov who gave up two hits but no runs in two scoreless innings for the save. Lance Ray went 2-4 with his third and fourth doubles. Oswaldo Arcia hit his third double.
GCL Twins Topics
Tuesday – GCL Twins 1, GCL Orioles 5 – Matej Hejma, the 6-5 outfielder from the Czech Republic went 3-4. In-Kyun Kang went 2-4 as did Kelvin Silvania. Ricardo Arevalo started and gave up two runs (1 earned) on two hits. He walked two and struck out two. Nick Alloway then gave up three runs on four hits and a walk in two innings. Luis Nunez gave up two hits in a scoreless inning. Matt Trau pitched a scoreless inning.
Wednsday – GCL Twins 5, GCL Rays 0 – Justin Parker made the start for the Twins and threw five shutout innings. He allowed four hits, walked none and struck out three. Trayvone Johnson walked two and struck out one in a scoreless inning. Brett Carroll struck out two in two scoreless innings. Eddie Ahorrio struck out two in a shutout inning. Catcher Matt Parker went 2-5.
Any thoughts of the Twins or the minor league system? Feel free to leave your questions and comments here.