July 20, 2007

Saturday's Thoughts

Twins' bats come alive to beat Halos, 7-5.

The Minnesota Twins beat the Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim), 7-5 to break a 3 game losing streak that started as the result of the Detroit Tigers sweeping the Twins in all 3 games of the series.

Carlos Silva got hit up early. He gave up 2 in the 1st, 2 in the 3rd, and 1 in the fourth. He was only charged with 4 of the 5 runs. The 1st run of the game was of a result of a throwing error by Nick Punto when he robbed Vladimir Guerrero and then tried to throw out Orlando Cabrera at 1st base. Chone Figgins (who doubled to start the game) scored on the play.

Silva finished by going 6 2/3 innings and gave up just the 5 runs on 10 hits. He definitely turned a horrible start into a solid game. Dennys Reyes and Juan Rincon were both solid and both pitched 2/3 inning of scoreless baseball. Joe Nathan had two strikeouts as he pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his 19th save of the season. Nice to see that he's recovered (mentally) by the loss the day before.

Torii Hunter had a hamstring injury? He chased down fly balls and cruised the basepaths at (what looked like) full strength. He even attempted to steal a base when the Twins put the hit-and-run on with Jason Kubel singling to center field. Torii reached third with a foot first slide and got up smiling. I think he'll be alright.

Jason Kubel had another good game. The young left-fielder went 3-3 with a walk, 2 RBI's and his first triple of the season. Over the last 2 games, he's improved his batting average from .240-.257! With the way he's been swinging the bat the last two games, he could be hitting around .290 by the time this series is over (we could only wish). The Twins need him to get hot for the 2nd half. He'll need to help pick up the slack while Michael Cuddyer is on the DL. Jason Bartlett also hit his first triple of the season. He had a few well hit balls to center field. Both Jason's made great contact with the ball.

Justin Morneau went 2-4 with 3 RBI's and 2 runs scored. He also hit his 26th home run to deep right center field. Nick Punto made a few web-gem type plays in the field and he also wasn't that bad at the plate. The 3rd baseman went 1-4 with 2 RBI's.

1 Hit wonders. Luis Castillo and Joe Mauer both only recorded 1 hit. Luis Castillo almost beat out a few infield balls and probably could've finished with 3 hits. Joe Mauer has been trying to become Adam Dunn recently with his bat, and that's not necessarily a good thing, especially when he's not hitting for power. He struck out for the 4th straight game in a row. This isn't necessarily that bad (and no, he's nowhere close to Adam Dunn), but considering Mauer usually has a great eye at the plate, and that he only had 53 all of last year, it's not something to be proud of. I've been seeing him take too many good pitches to start the AB and swinging at balls out of the zone later in the AB. He needs to jump on the first ball he sees that he can take a good whack at it and drive it to the gaps. Hopefully he can improve that tomorrow against Jared Weaver.

Former Red Wings didn't help. Garrett Jones and Darnell McDonald both didn't have great games. Jones continued to have bad AB's while swinging at almost every pitch. I'll give him something though, the strikeout he recorded with the bases loaded was truely a ball and he should've been awarded 1st base and it should've been his 1st career RBI. Oh well, he had other opportunities and he didn't capitalize. Darnell McDonald looked like he never has seen a curveball before and swung at almost every one he saw (which wasn't good being that John Lackey throws a lot of them and the throws them well). I'll give him the pass though because it was his first game and besides the over-throw to Nick Punto, he was fairly solid in his 2nd career game (and first since he was an Oriole in '04) at the Dome.

Boof Bonser (5-6, 4.68) will start for the Twins on Saturday against Jared Weaver (6-5, 3.36) of the Angels. Weaver pitched his first game against the Twins earlier this season and went 7 innings and allowed 1 run on 5 hits while striking out 4 Twins batters. Bonser also pitched his first game against the Angels earlier this year, only the outcome wasn't nearly as good. "The Boofer" went 5 1/3 innings and allowed 6 runs on 12 hits while striking out 1.

Michael Cuddyer sent to the disabled list, Darnell McDonald recalled

Michael Cuddyer has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with is what La Velle E. Neal III calls "strained ligaments in his right thumb." It was first thought that he'd only miss a couple games, but as Michael Cuddyer arrived at the ballpark, he said that it was "about five shades of purple and a few times bigger than my other thumb," the right fielder told La Velle E. Neal III. Cuddyer doesn't expect to miss more than the required 15 days.

With Cuddyer on the disabled list, the Twins recalled Outfielder Darnell McDonald from AAA Rochester. McDonald (if you don't remember) was acquired by the Twins for pitcher Lavele Speinger of the Nationals. McDonald hit .282 with 2 HR's and 13 RBI's with 6 SB's in 22 games for the Red Wings.

He was in the starting lineup Friday for Michael Cuddyer and went 0-2 with a strikeout and a walk. He tried his best impression of Torii Hunter by diving into the catcher, but Mike Napoli held onto the baseball and McDonald was out on the play. He showed that he has a strong arm while overthrowing Nick Punto at 3rd to Carlos Silva who was backing him up.

Side Notes

  • Seth Stoh's had a great email by a reader that goes by the name "RaiderMike" that possed the question, "What to do?" I defintely recommend reading what he had to say and others did too. Don't be afraid to give your two-cents on the issue.

Minor League Notes

Rock Cats make 4 roster moves
The New Britain Rock Cats announced on Friday that they have sent Kyle Waldrop back to High-A Ft. Myers and have removed pitcher Errol Simontisch from their roster, he's currently on the GCL Twins roster after coming off the disabled list.

The Rock Cats announced that pitchers Oswaldo Sosa and Yohan Pino have been recalled to take their place. And all I have to say is that it's about time!

Sosa should never have started the season in Ft. Myers to begin with. He had a bad spring (0-0, 13.50) but he only pitched 1.1 innings! That's not enough to determine where a top pitching prospect like Sosa should be sent. Last season he was 4-1 with a 1.82 in 6 games (34.2 innings) with Ft. Myers. This season he is 5-5 with an ERA of 2.23 (the record is because of the lack of run support that Ft. Myers has had all season). The 21 year old Venezuelan was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Twins in 2002. He looks to have a bright future within the Twins organization.

Yohan Pino has been very impressive this season. He posted a 4-3 record with the Miracle along with a 1.73 ERA. He also pitched a no-hitter on June 30th against the St. Lucie Mets. He has mastered the Florida State League and will probably have a good transition into the Eastern League. He was outstanding in 2006, and then too was moved along very slowly. In fact, despite posting a 14-2 record with a 1.92 ERA with 99 K's in 2006, he was never moved up to High-A ball.

He started game two of the double header on Friday and went 3.1 innings and gave up 3 runs on 7 hits with 3 K's. Definitely not the debute he or the Rock Cats were looking for.

Rochester Red Wings lost to the Ottawa Lynx, 6-3.
Dave Gassner continued his struggles this season by allowing 6 runs (5 earned) in 4.1 innings pitched. He was relieved by Carmen Cali and Brad Baker who combined allowed just 2 hits (no runs) over the next 3 2/3 innings. Matt Tolbert went 1-4 with a 2-run double. Jose Morales drove in the other run for the Wings. Doug Deeds went 3-4 with his 6th double of the season.

New Britain Rock Cats beat the Trenton Thunder, 7-1. (Game 1)
In game one of the double header, the Rock Cats beat up "top pitching prospect" Joba Chamberlain of the New York Yankees. Chamberlain allowed 7 runs in 4 2/3 innings with 7 K's and 3 walks. He allowed 3 HR's which came off the bats of Garrett Guzman, David Winfree, and Matt Moses. Matt Allegra finished the game with 4 RBI's and 2 hits. Matt Moses had 3 runs scored and Trevor Plouffe improved his average to .287 with 2 hits. He also stole his 9th base of the season. Anthony Swarzak pitched a 7 inning complete game, allowing just 1 run on 4 hits while striking out 5 batters. He is now 3-3 with a 3.72 ERA this season. The 21-year old has only allowed 5 runs in 25.1 innings with New Britain since returning to the team after his 50-game suspension.

New Britain Rock Cats beat the Trenton Thunder, 5-4.
Starter Yohan Pino went 3.1 innings and gave up 3 runs on 7 hits with 3 K's. Not a great start for the newest addition to the Rock Cats rotation. JP Martinez went 1.1 innings of relief and gave up 1 hit, 1 run, 1 run and 1 walk. Jose Mijares went 1.1 innings of 1-hit relief and Tim Lahey picked up his 7th save while pitching a scoreless ninth. The Rock Cats only had 3 hits compared to the Thunder's 10, but still managed to outscore them. Garrett Guzman walked with the bases loaded to pick up his 58th RBI in the 4th inning. In the 3rd innning, Rashad Eldridge and Trevor Plouffe both scored on wild pitches before Matt Moses singled Guzman home for his 24 RBI in 26 games. Korey Feiner picked up RBI #15 with a single in the 4th which scored Matt Allegra from 3rd.

Ft. Myers Miracle lost to the Sarasota Reds, 8-5.
The Miracle allowed 7 runs in the 8th inning to allow the Reds to come back and beat the Miracle. Armando Gabino allowed 5 of the runs and Eddie Morlan allowed 2. The comeback wasted a good start from Jay Rainville who went 5 2/3 innings and allowed just 1 run. Toby Gardenhire went 2-3 with 2 doubles and 3 runs. Juan Portes had 3 hits to go allong with his 2 RBI's. Danny Valencia, Erik Lis, and Brian Dinkelman also all drove in a run each.

Beloit Snappers beat the Wisconsin Rattlers, 2-0.
Even though the Snappers didn't get a hit until the 6th inning, they still managed to score 2 runs and beat the Rattlers in a great pitchers dual. Tyler Robertson went 7 innings of scoreless baseball and struck out 10 batters. Anthony Slama picked up his 2nd save by pitching a scoreless 9th for the Snappers. Only two Snappers recorded hits, Danny Santiesteban and Wilson Ramos. Ramos picked up RBI number 25.

GCL Twins beat the GCL Pirates, 6-4.
Danny Rams had another great day. The catcher, chosen 2nd-round of this June's draft went 4-4 with 4 RBI's. He's now hitting .526 with 6 RBI in 5 games with the Twins. Juan Richardson went 2-4 with 2 runs scored and 2 stolen bases. James Beresford went 3-4 with 2 RBI's and his 2nd double of the season. Winston Marquez started the game and went 2/3 innings pitched but Rodney Gessmann picked up his 2nd win after pitching 3+ innings of relief.

Elizabethton Twins beat the Kingsport Mets, 14-0.
Mike Allen turned in another good start. The 20 year old went 6 innings of 1 hit baseball with 3 walks and 6 strikeouts. There were a lot of stars on offense, but newcomer Danny Lehmann (8th round pick) went 2-5 with 5 RBI. 4 came on his first pro career home run which was also his first grand slam. Ozzie Lewis went 3-4 with 3 runs scored, 2 RBI's and his 4th home run. D.J. Romero went 1-2 with 3 runs scored and 2 RBI's to go along with his 5th home run of the season. Ben Petsch went 2-3 with 2 doubles, 2 runs scored, and 2 RBI. Rene Leveret went 1-4 with 3 RBI's. Estarlin De Los Santos and Eric Santiago both chipped in with two hits of their own. Rene Tosoni and Mark Dolenc both had 1 hit apiece.


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