Weekend Twins Notes

11 Apr

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekend Twins Notes

As mentioned, I went to the Twins/A’s game on Saturday night. I love going to Target Field. We got there about 45 minutes early and just hung out on Target Plaza. As I prefer to do, I went into the stadium as soon as the gates opened. It’s fun for me to watch batting practice, any field work and just walk around the whole stadium. Also, I know I recommended it before, but I did go to the State Fair booth in centerfield and got the Ribs & Fries for $8.50. As you recall, these are Michelbob’s ribs. I didn’t expect them to be as good as those I had in Naples, but they were really, really good. I definitely encourage people to get that!

I have to admit, though, that the Twins/A’s game was pretty disappointing. Not just because if was 1-0. I actually love a good 1-0, 2-1, 2-0 type of ball game, but this was not a well played game. Both teams didn’t take advantage of opportunities to score more runs. Delmon Young threw out a runner at home to end the first inning, but the other missed opportunities were due to really poor execution. The Twins had a runner on third base and nobody out and didn’t score. Danny Valencia and Luke Hughes each hit the ball hard a couple of times. Gio Gonzalez is one of the best pitchers that most fans haven’t heard much about, so he does deserve a lot of credit. But even he wasn’t totally on his game. There were a lot of deep counts. And, of course, had the Twins found a way to sneak out a second straight 2-1 win, all would have been worthwhile.

Things were worse for the Twins on Sunday. I listened some, watched some… I actually fell asleep on the couch while trying to watch the Twins play. That’s how bad it was… Making it even worse for me is that I was asleep for the Twins three-run inning and missed both a Joe Mauer non-weak groundout (he doubled) and the monumental 590th home run of Jim Thome. Unreal. The only Twins offense of the weekend, and I couldn’t keep my eyes open for it.

Here are a couple of Quick Twins Notes:

  • While Alexi Casilla struggles at the plate and in the field, Trevor Plouffe has eight hits in his last three games at Triple-A Rochester, including three home runs and two doubles. Plouffe played 2B on Sunday and committed an error. I know that many Twins fans are ready to end Casilla’s time as the Twins regular shortstop. That would be a mistake. The Twins made the decision in the offseason that Casilla would be their starting shortstop. It would be wrong to end that after just nine games. In fact, I really believe in the theory that players need six weeks to two months before making big decisions like that. The Twins made their beds, now they have to sleep in it for a little while. Casilla is hitting just .167 and frankly, not even putting together good at bats. But as of today, there is not a better option in the organization. Six weeks in Rochester may tell us that Plouffe can be the regular SS for the Twins, but again, we shall find out. It is probably the harder decision, to stand by Casilla, but for now, it is the right thing.
  • While being frustrated, watching that game on Friday night, I was amazed by the ovation that Mauer continued to get despite weak groundout after weak groundout. I wondered aloud (via Twitter) when it would be OK for the Target Field fans to start booing Mauer, if somehow they needed to wait until after the opening weekend, or would it be longer? Of course, I know that at the end of the year, Mauer will hit over .310. I think that he’ll show some more power than last year. I’m not worried, but at the same time, the weak grounders are very frustrating.
  • Equally frustrating is Mauer’s defense. His unwillingness to block a lot of pitches in the dirt. In the game I was at, pitchers had two wild pitches in which Mauer just stabbed at the ball. Part of me is fine with that. I don’t want to see a talent like Mauer taking a bunch of baseballs off the chest. We all prefer he catch more games and if being a little lazy at times is how he can get there, ok.
  • Please note that neither of those Mauer opinions have anything to do with his contract, or the fact that he is making just over $10 million more in 2011 than he did in 2010.
  • When Tsuyoshi Nishioka was put on the Disabled List, it was an obvious choice to call up Luke Hughes and make him the starter at 2B. Hughes was nearly on the roster to start the season, so it made sense for him to come up. That’s why, when Kevin Slowey was put on the Disabled List on Saturday, I was a little surprised that the team went with Alex Burnett as the promotion. The final bullpen spot seemingly came down to Jeff Manship and Jim Hoey, so I assumed Hoey would come up. However, he had pitched two innings on Friday and would not have been available on Sunday. Burnett was sent down to minor league camp relatively early.

Hey, the big picture is that we knew that the Twins early schedule would be difficult. They’re 3-6, and still have 153 games to go. We knew Chicago would be tough. I don’t think anyone is buying Cleveland or Kansas City as contenders yet, are they? So, let’s let this play out. There is too much talent in the Twins lineup for it to struggle much longer. The starting pitching has been solid. The bullpen hasn’t been bad. They’ll be OK. It’s just at times like this when you have to trust the process, I guess.

Or, you can panic and worry, or quit watching the team… Up to you?! J

I got home last night and hosted the SethSpeaks.net Sunday night Twins podcast. It was fun answering your questions. I got a couple of callers. So, be sure to download that. I talked about the weekend in the minor leagues on there, including some of the highlights. I will get you caught up on the minor league information (including just how hot Trevor Plouffe’s bat is, Joe Benson’s first homer of the season, the 4-0 Ft. Myers Miracle, the hitting of Oswaldo Arcia and Danny Ortiz and the strikeouts of Adrian Salcedo, and more).

However, after a long weekend and a lot of travel (in gloomy, gray, rainy conditions), I ended up passing out. Sleep was very much needed as I’ve got a very busy week. The Twins have an off day today, and I need it as much as they do! HA!

However, at 10:00 tonight, Travis Aune and I will be co-hosting Twins Minor League Weekly (now on both Monday and Thursday nights). So, be sure to check that out for all kinds of minor league information!

Feel free to leave your thoughts, questions or comments.


13 Responses to “Weekend Twins Notes”

  1. mike wants wins April 11, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    They have over 1000 plate appearances to judge Casilla by….but I hope you are right, they give him 6 weeks to prove one way or the other. And then I hope if he continues to be as bad as he’s been, that they call up Plouffe. I hope this isn’t an all year thing.

    Not sure why Mauer is getting a pass for his bad defense. At one moment on Sunday, Gladden/Morris comments on his lack of willingness to block balls, at the next moment they are saying he’s still the best defensive catcher in baseball. He’s not. He’s 100% not the best defensive catcher in baseball. That said, I’m not worried that he’s going to hit half of his balls to 2nd all year. I am worried that he’s not nearly the great player we all thought he’d be. He’s looking (counting last year) more like a very good player, not a Hall of Fame player.

    I’d have called up Plouffe and not another reliever, but for some reason, they just NEED that many relievers.

    • Cap'n Piranha April 11, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

      Before we annoint Trevor Plouffe the second coming of Cal Ripken, let’s remember he wasn’t terribly special with the Big Club last year either. The Twins just don’t have a whole lot of exciting middle infield prospects in the system (trading one of our extra startes along with a toolsy outfield prospect might be something to consider).

      As far as Mauer’s defensive ability, it’s not even the best on the team, let alone in the league. Joe just needs to get over the pressure he feels to hit dingers, and go the other way. I would much rather have Joe hit .340 with a .410 OBP and 55 doubles than 2.80 with a .320 OBP, but 15 homers.

      • mike wants wins April 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

        I don’t know if Plouffe is good or not, but I’m pretty sure Casilla isn’t. They are just wasting their time there, I think.

    • gobbledy April 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

      agreed mike!

  2. mike wants wins April 11, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    I still think they are going to win 90 games this year….

  3. roger April 11, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    Some of us have no choice but to quit watching them. Those of us who have the cable providers that don’t get what seems like half the games.

    • mike wants wins April 11, 2011 at 11:00 am #

      And those of us that don’t have cable at all….

  4. R Hobbs April 11, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Equally disturbing is that teams are running at will on Mauer too. The A’s sent Kevin Kouzmanoff on him who has averaged less than 1 SB per year over his 6 year career!!

    The solution at shortstop is not within the organization. There is no evidence that Casilla has the physical or mental ability to be an everyday option. Trevor Plouffe is a perennial prospect. If the Twins want to send a message, go get Jose Reyes. The Mets are going nowhere and are desperate to shed payroll.

    • gobbledy April 11, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

      i like it!

    • Kunza April 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

      Never happen.

    • mike wants wins April 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

      I’d love that…

  5. scot April 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    I agree Casilla is terrible. Twins should have kept JJ Hardy and left Casilla on the bench were he belongs.

  6. Gopher Nation April 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    I would agree on everybody’s assessment of SS solution is probably not in the organization. Casilla seems to do well in a reserve role but can’t produce (even defensively) as a starter. And no, Punto is not the solution if he should become available. As for Mauer, he just doesn’t look like a guy you would pay $23 million per year. I know I have always been in the minority on this but he has never stayed healthy for a full season and doesn’t seem to be a solid, consistent, and dependable run producer. He will hit for a high average but so many hits are dribblers through the infield or after the game has been decided. By the end of his contract this will get ugly and his no trade clause could make it even uglier if Target Field revenues eventually fall as the new smell wears off. For having this much payroll on this team there are sure seem to be alot more questions than one would expect.

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