August 6, 2007

Call Me: Scotty "Too Hotty" Baker

Sunday's game was exactly what has been wrong with the Twins all season, no offensive consistancy. Although, this outcome showed to be much better then most previous outcomes. With only being able to muster 5 hits from the bats, the Twins were able to keep a 1-0 lead from the 4th inning to finish the game by the same score.
The Indians were also only able to get 5 hits from the Twins, and only 4 against starter Scott Baker. Baker allowed only 4 hits in his 8 shutout innings. Baker, a 25-year-old right-hander has now only allowed 1 run in the last 16 innings and has won his 2nd consecutive game. Baker has also turned 6 out of his last 8 starts into quality starts. After having a 7.33 ERA in the middle of June, Baker has been great and despite giving up 7 runs in one start, still has managed to lower his season ERA to 4.43.
But like I said, the offense was again inconsistant (almost non existant). The only offensive hero's could be Jason Kubel who reached base all four times including two hits and two walks. And Alexi Casilla is the other player who could be named "offensive hero" as he drove in the only run of the game with an RBI ground rule double. The play probably should've scored Brian Buscher who was at first base, but the run would've been insignificant anyways with the Twins shuting the Indians out. I will say that the batters were facing one of the best starters in the game right now in Fausto Carmona, and that in part is not entirely the offense's fault for only having 5 hits. But 5 men left on base by Michael Cuddyer, is not something I can entirely blame on the pitcher he faced. That is just horrid.
Joe Nathan has been used a lot lately. Mostly in part to the Twins having little offense to go along with their great starting pitching. After pitching 4 games in a row last week, he got his 2nd game in a row yesterday, and again he continued to dominate. The 32-year-old closer now has converted 25/29 saves this season, and 10 for his last 11. Twins fans (including myself at times) feel that they can get by with Pat Neshek as the closer if we can net some nice prospects for Joe Nathan, but it's hard to argue that with the way the Twins bullpen has played this season, in part to Pat Neshek, Matt Guerrier and Joe Nathan being so consistant.

Today, the Twins will send Carlos Silva to the mound to face Paul Byrd to wrap up the 4 game series. The Twins will need a strong, quality outing from "Chief" Silva to give them the ability to take the game and the series from the Cleveland Indians. With a win, there's a chance that the Twins can be 3 1/2 games back of the AL Central lead by tomorrow.

The Twins have come a long way in just the last week and a half, mostly in part to the poor play by the division leaders, but none-the-less the Twins are on their way up.

Game Ball
Profile: Scott Baker, 25, RHP

Game: 8 IP, 5 H, 0 ER/R, 2 BB, 4 K

During Saturday's game, pitching coach Rick Anderson told manager Ron Gardenhire that he's going to need "more arms" if they keep using the bullpen the way they have been as of late. So with that in mind, the Twins optioned outfielder Lew Ford to Rochester as they recalled left-handed reliever, Carmen Cali.

Ford was not playing has not been that great this season while posting a line of .232/.308/.366 with just 14 RBI's in almost 50 games. Along with his poor hitting, the thing he's been relied on the most, his defense hasn't been great either with losing balls in the outfield and making poor decisions with his throws. I cannot say that I am really that surprised with Lew Ford being the one to go to Rochester. The Red Wings can also use his bat with Chris Heintz now on the shelf, for possibly the rest of the season after braking a bone in his right wrist while he was struck by a pitch last Thursday.

Carmen Cali had a great month of July while winning 2 games and losing none in 15.2 innings of relief. He had a 3/1 K/BB ratio and posted allowed just a .241 average against him. He has been one of the most reliable pitchers in AAA this season and with already having some pitching experience with the Twins this season, this move is also not very surprising.

Lew Ford will likely be the first one recalled, if there is an injury, but I don't expect any "LEEWWWWW" chants at the Metrodome until September.

Rochester Red Wings lost to the Pawtucket Red Sox, 6-4.
Brian Bass fell behind early and the Red Wings weren't able to come back, despite a later-inning surge. Bass gave up 5 runs over 4 innings of work. Brad Baker gave up another run before Jay Sawatski pitched two scoreless innings to try and stop the bleeding. With Chris Heintz on the DL, Gil Velazquez played 3rd base and had delivered with 2 hits and his 10th RBI. Glenn Williams also had 2 hits, while he got his 42nd RBI. Tommy Watkins hit his 46th RBI and also his 22nd double. Matt Tolbert drove in the other run on an RBI double.

New Britain Rock Cats lost to the Akron Aeros, 9-6.
The pitching failed to keep the Rock Cats in the game, and most of it was from Jesse Flloyd who gave up 5 runs in over 5 innings of work. The bullpen didn't help with Jose Mijares allowing 3 runs and Tristan Crawford allowing another. The offense came off the bat of Garrett Guzman. Guzman delivered with 2 RBI's, 3 hits, and his 12 HR of the season. Matt Allegra, Drew Butera and Trevor Plouffe also drove in runs for the Rock Cats. Matt Moses also helped with 2 hits.

Ft. Myers Miracle beat to the Dayton Cubs, 5-4.
The Miracle needed 12 innings, but they got the job done. Kyle Aselton started and gave up 1 run in 2 innings. David Shinskie gave up 3 unearned runs in 3 innings of relief, but the two errors which lead to the runs were charged to Shinskie. J.P. Martinez, Rob Delaney and Adam Hawes combined for 7 scoreless innings of relief. Delaney picked up his 2nd win while Hawes picked up his 1st save. Steven Tolleson had a game to remember on Sunday. The shortstop went 4-5 with 2 runs scored, his 5th HR and also drove in 2 RBI's including the game winning RBI double. He also stole his 24th base of the season. Dustin Martin hit his 3rd HR in 7 games as a member of the Miracle. Juan Portes and Ed Ovalle both drove in the other runs.

Beloit Snappers beat the Dayton Dragons, 4-3.
Tyler Robertson wasn't able to get out of the 6th inning, but he still picked up win #7 as he allowed 3 runs to cross the plate. Danny Leatherman did a great job of holding the opposition to that score until Danny Vais came on in the 9th to pick up his 2nd save of the season. All the offense was supplied from home runs. Chris Parmelee hit his 13th home run and 57th RBI. Eli Tintor hit HR # 5 and RBI #23. But Steven Singleton hit his first HR of the season and also drove in 2 runs. His 2 Run HR proved to be the game winner.

GCL Twins beat the GCL Reds, 8-3. (Game 1)
Tom Wright pitched his best game of the season going 5 innings and only giving up 1 run on 4 hits while striking out 4 in his 2nd win of the season. Danny Rondon later picked up save number 9 on the season in a scoreless relief appearance. Andrew Schmiesing and Danny Rams both drove in two runs each. Juan Richardson, Jeanfred Brito, and Wang-Wei Lin each drove in a run as well. Ben Rever went 2-4 with his 8th triple of the season, but was caught stealing twice.

GCL Twins to the GCL Reds (Game 2)
Jarrad Eacott got the start in the 2nd game. The 19-year-old southpaw from "The Down Unda" allowed just 2 hits in the 3 innings he pitched. Charles Nolte pitched the next 3 innings and picked up his 3rd win of the season in the process of shuting out th Reds. Rodney Gessman piched a scoreless 7th inning. Juan Richardson hit his 2nd triple of the season and drove in 2 RBI's for the Twins. Jeanfred Brito also had an RBI. Yangervis Solarte chipped in with 2 hits. And Ben Revere continued his great season with 2 runs, a hit and his 14th stolen base of the season.

Elizabethton Twins beat the Burlington Royals, 15-5.
Starter David Bromberg lasted 6 innings and gave up 3 runs on 4 hits while striking out 10 batters. Michael Rogers allowed 2 runs (1 earned) in 2 innings and struck out 2 more. Curtis Leavitt struck out the side in the 9th. D.J. Romero had 3 hits and 4 RBI's including his 6th HR of the year, a grand slam to add onto an 11 run, 5th inning by the Twins. Rene Leveret had 4 hits and an RBI. Rene Tosoni, Mark Dolenc, and Matthew Lawman all had 2 RBI's. And Danny Lehman had another RBI.