March 10, 2008

Thoughts from the Weekend

Hello again everyone. Sorry for my lack of posting, I was fairly busy this weekend. Anyways, the Twins went 3-1 this weekend.

On Friday, the club had a split squad game. One squad played against the Red Sox, and the other against the Blue Jays. Francisco Liriano started the game for the Twins against the Red Sox and went 1 2/3 innings and allowed 2 hits while walking one and striking out one. He threw 40 pitches, with just a handful of the pitches being sliders. His change-up looks to be another potentially great pitch. He'll likely rely more and more on his fastball-change-up as his bread and butter instead of his slider which he threw about 20 times too many per game. Nick Blackburn turned in 2 1/3 innings of hittless relief. Justin Morneau and Craig Monroe both went deep for the first time of the spring to lead the way offensively. The Twins won 7-2.

The other game was started by Glen Perkins who went 3 innings of scoreless ball and struck out 3 batters in the process. Phil Humber and Kevin Mulvey both pitched 2 innings apiece and combined for 5 strikeouts. Carlos Gomez went 2-5 at the plate with an RBI triple and his 3rd stolen base of the season. Randy Ruiz went 3-4 with his 2nd home run of the spring. The Twins won 4-0 and outhit the Blue Jays 11-5.

On Saturday, the Twins faced the Pittsburgh Pirates. Scott Baker took the mound for the Twins and struck out 3 in his two innings of scoreless ball while leaving the game early with a "tweaked lat muscle." The injury is not considered to be serious, however the club will still push back his next start as a precaution. Juan Rincon pitched out of a bases loaded, no out jam in the 4th inning, while Brian Duensing allowed 3 runners in and loaded the bases before he left the game. Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer lead the way offensively, while Jason Kubel, Craig Monroe and Jon Knott all went yard to put the Twins ahead for good 8-4.

On Sunday, the game was again televised and Twins fans got a double-dose of center field action. Denard Span started the game in center field, while one of the players competing for that position, Carlos Gomez, started in right field. Span went 0-1 at the plate to start the game, while reaching base the next four consecutive at bats on walks. He showed great discipline at the plate and was solid defensively. Gomez left four men on base while going 0-3 at the plate. Jason Pridie also left four men on while going 0-2 at the plate, but did come around to score late in the game. Randy Ruiz continued to impress the club as he went 1-1 in two plate appearances with a walk, a run, and an RBI. He's batting .471 this spring with 4 RBI's. Boof Bonser, Randy Keisler, and Matt Guerrier all had an ERA of 9 in their innings. Bonser and Keisler combined for 7 of the teams 8 walks. The Twins lost 7-4, despite scoring 2 runs in each of the last two innings.

This is something that I'm going to try and do the rest of Spring and probably carry it into the season as well. These are my players of the week (March 3rd-9th):

Player of the Week

At the Plate
Rand Ruiz - First Base/DH

Note: Ruiz had a very solid week while getting a fair share of at bats in the lineup. He is fighting for a roster spot, and is definitely making it interesting. Unfortunately for him, his versatility is an issue as he's viewed mostly as a DH and a first baseman. He's spent some time in the outfield, but it's unlikely that he'd ever play there with the Twins. In order to make the team, he'll have to continue to rake. He finished the week by going 7-12 at the plate while scoring 4 times, driving in 4 runs, and hitting 2 Home Runs.

Runner-Up: Delmon Young, Left Field. 7-14, 2 Runs, 4 RBI's, 1 Home Runs.

On the Mound
Brian Bass - Right Handed Starter

Note: Bass made 3 appearances this week and impressed the team as he's trying to prove that he's not just a dark horse candidate for a rotation spot. After a solid season in Rochester, he is most likely going to be back there to begin the season, unless he continues to pitch this well. He went 5 innings, and gave up 1 run, on 5 hits, while striking out 6.

Runner-Up: Phillip Humber, Right Handed Starter. 4 Innings Pitched, 1 Hit, 3 Strike Outs.

12 Players Cut

On Sunday, the Twins made the first round of roster cuts. The two players some are surprised by are infielder's Alejandro Machado and Jose Morales. The team has plenty of infielders and still a few more catchers that they have to look at, however I'm surprised with these two as they both have a good chance of being in Minnesota at some point this season. And early at that. The rest of the cuts looked as follows:

Armando Gambino
Oswaldo Sosa
Jose Mijares
Zach Day
Brian Duensing
Deolis Guerra

Jeff Christy
Felix Molina
Allan de San Miguel

Darnell McDonald

Have a great day!