July 29, 2007

Monday's Thoughts

Twins Notes

Twins beat Indians, 4-1.
The Twins came from behind in the 8th inning to beat C.C. Sabathia and the Indians, 4-1. The victory clinched a series win, which was needed after being swept by the Blue Jays last week.

Matt Garza was dealing in this game. He pitched out of a big jam in the 1st. After allowing the first two batters to reach, he struck out Victor Martinez, Travis Hafner, and Ryan Garko consecutively. Garza finished the game with 11 strikeouts in just 6 innings of work while allowing 1 run on 5 hits in the no decision.

C.C. Sabathia was also dealing. He struck out 11 batters in 7 2/3 innings including Joe Mauer 3 times and Nick Punto and Lew Ford twice. He allowed 3 runs (1 earned) on 6 hits in his 6th loss of the season.

The Twins bullpen was good in its 2nd staight game after being roughed up a few previous games. Dennys Reys, Pat Neskek and Joe Nathan combined for 3 scoreless innings of relief. Reyes picked up his 2nd win and Nathan picked up his 22nd save.

The offense was pretty bad until the 8th. With one out, Jason Tyner was hit by a pitch from Sabathia. Bartlett then grounded out to make 2 outs with Tyner still at first. Nick Punto was lifted for pinch hitter, Mike Redmond. "Red Dog" hit a game-tying RBI double to right field which drifted over Trot Nixon's head and drove in Jason Tyner from 1st. Luis Rodriguez pinch ran for Redmond. Joe Mauer hit a dribbler to Josh Barfield who threw the ball over Ryan Garko's head which allowed Mauer to reach safely and advance to 2nd while Rodriguez scored. Then Justi Morneau delivered an RBI double down the left field line to score Mauer from 2nd.

All that on a two-out rally. Amazing what just 1 hit by pitch can end up being at the end.

The offense will need to stay hot against the Kansas City Royals who have been playing very well as of late. They are 9-7 since the All Star Break and took 2/3 from both the Red Sox and Tigers before losing 3/4 games to the Yankees. But coming off of a 3 game sweep of the Rangers, the Royals are hitting and pitching great and hopefully the Twins can kill the momentum in game one.
Back, Back, Back, GONE!
Jason Tyner, after over 2600 AB's (including the Minor Leagues) finally hit his 1st Major League Home Run on Saturday off of Jake Westbrook. The ball landed in the Twins bullpen which was then snagged by Pat Neshek. Here's what Jason Tyner had to say about the hit and who got it:

“I’ve hit balls a lot better than that at the Metrodome,'’ he said. “That ball would not have been out at the Metrodome, but I’ve definitely hit some balls harder than that.'’

“Between second and third it was kind of seeping in,'’ he said. “I was kind of excited so I couldn’t get into a home run trot.'’

“My biggest fear was that Neshek would have it up on his website before the game was over,'’ Tyner said.

Michael Cuddyer Injury Update
Michael Cuddyer (sprained thumb) feels that he'll be able to return on Friday, when he's eligable to return from the disabled list. On Saturday he hit off of a tee and played catch pryer to the Twins-Indians game in Cleveland. The swelling has reportedly gone down and he also doesn't feel any pain while swinging the bat. Ron Gardenhire said:

"I think he's pretty optimistic," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Just talking to Cuddy, he's pretty fired up. And if he's fired up, that probably means he'll get there."

Buyers? Or Sellers?
The thing that everyone wants to know is if the Twins are going to be "buyers" or "sellers" by the time Tuesday afternoon comes. The Twins currently are 2 games above .500. While I think that we can still make a strong playoff push, I don't think that (with this market of batters) we'll be able to find the bat that we need. The guy that would help us out the most is Mark Teixeira, but the Twins (reportedly) have no interest in adding him and his expiring contract. Another batter who would help the Twins, Adam Dunn, also hasn't been shown any interest by the Twins. A few guys who the Twins have shown interest in are both off the table. Dmitri Young signed a 2-year, $10 Million extension to stay with the Nationals. And Ty Wiggington who can play 1st, 2nd, 3rd, DH, and has also played outfield in the past, is also off the table after being traded by the Devil Rays to the Astros for reliever, Dan Wheeler. I don't know who the Twins (realistically) could acquire that would turn this season around, but we'll have to wait and see what happens today and tomorrow to see.

Another thing, is that the Milwaukee Brewers traded former Twin, Grant Balfour to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Seth McClung. He struggled in his brief stay with the Brewers, after dominating the minor leagues. Hopefully the Devil Rays will give him more of a chance before they pull the plug on him, which I suspect they will; after all, Edwin Jackson is still in their rotation as the #3 starter. Yikes.
What About Me?
The young prospect that everyone has forgotten about has finally resurfaced. Anthony Swarzak has been on a tear after he served his 50 game drug suspension. He has been pitching so well that many think he may still be promoted to Rochester before the end of the season. Tim Kolehmainen has a great success story on Anthony Swarzak and the season that he has had to overcome.
Minor League Scores

Rochester Red Wings the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, 3-0.
Ryan Mullins has improved from his 1st start to his 2nd start in AAA, and Sunday, he improved from his 2nd to 3rd start. The 23 year old southpaw went 6 innings and gave up 3 runs on 6 hits while striking out 3. He may have saved his spot in the rotation, for now, despite losing his 2nd game in a Red Wings uniform. Carmen Cali pitched the final 2 innings and gave up no hits and no walks while striking out 1. Alexi Casilla and Denard Span both went 1-3 and also stole a base. Garrett Jones and Chris Heintz both had 1 hit each.

New Britain Rock Cats lost to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 10-2.
Yohan Pino's 2nd start was much better than his 1st. Pino went 5 innings and gave up 4 runs on 4 hits while striking out 5. Still, he picked up his 2nd loss of the season for the Rock Cats. Frank Mata and fellow Venezuelan gave up 5 runs in 1 1/3 innings. Tristan Crawford and Jose Mijares both gave up 1 run each. Despite going 0-5 and dropping his average to .273, Matt Moses picked up his 26th RBI, Matt Allegra drove in his 50th. Luke Hughes, Rashad Eldridge, Garrett Guzman and Felix Molina all had 2 hits apiece.

Ft. Myers Miracle
No Games Scheduled.

Beloit Snappers lost the South Bend Silver Hawks, 3-2.
Matt Fox pitched a fantastic game on Sunday. The 24 year old right hander went 7 innings and gave up 1 run on 2 hits while striking out 7. Danny Vais pitched 2 innings of relief and gave up 2 runs on 3 hits. Why wasn't Anthony Slama allowed to pitch the 9th? He's been their (best) closer since Rob Delaney was promoted, and I think that's the question people would like answered. Wilson Ramos drove in his 32nd RBI of the season. Garrett Olson hit his 12th double of the season. Joe Benson and Christopher Parmelee both went hitless with 2 K's each.

GCL Twins
No Games Scheduled.

Elizabethton Twins beat the Greenville Astros, 7-2. (Game 1)
6'7" Southpaw Dennis Reyes took the mound in game 1. The 24 year old allowed 2 runs on 4 hits while striking out 9 in 5 innings. Daniel Latham and Blair Erickson both pitched an inning of scoreless relief. Estarlin De Los Santos went 2-4 with 2 runs scored. Rene Tosoni went 2-3 with a run scored and a run driven in. D.J. Romero went 2-4. Rene Leveret & Ozzie Lewis both went 1-3, Lewis drove in 2 runs. Gregory Yersich went 2-3 with 3 RBI's and his first HR.

Elizabethton Twins beat the Greenville Astros, 6-3. (Game 2)
Michael McCardell pitched another impressive game on Sunday. The rookie out of Kutztown went 5 innings and gave up 2 hits while striking out 9. Southpaw, Michael Rogers went 2/3 of an inning and gave up 3 runs (1 earned). He walked 3 and gave up 1 hit while striking out 1. Caleb Moore went 1 1/3 inning to get his first save of the season. Rene had 2 RBI's to go along with 2 hits. Ozzie Lewis and Gregory Yersich both had 2 hits each. Danny Lehman had 2 runs scored. Mark Dolenc drove in his 23rd run of the season, and Matt Lawman drove in two of his own.