June 19, 2009

Twins Links: Friday June 19, 2009

The Twins beat the Pirates yesterday by a score of 5-1. Twins starter Nick Blackburn won the "Battle of the Aces", outdueling Pirates starter Zach Duke to pick up his 6th win of the season. Even without Joe Mauer, the Twins offense still mustered up some punch with their bats. Brian Buscher and Michael Cuddyer both hit home runs, while the team combined for six extra-base hits. It was Buscher's second home run of the season while Cuddyer joined Mauer, Justin Morneau, Joe Crede and Jason Kubel in the double digits with his tenth of the season. Brendan Harris went 3-4 while Cuddyer and Nick Punto also had multi-hit games. All together, the Twins collected ten hits on the afternoon, seven of which were against Duke.

Tonight, the Twins play host to the Houston Astros. The Astros currently sit at the bottom of the National League Central standings and will send Roy Oswalt to the mound against Kevin Slowey. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 pm (CT).

Seth Stohs posted his most recent post at the Your Voices page on the Minneapolis Star-Tribune website has to do with Bert Blyleven and Bingo. Stohs did leave off two which quite frankly are my most irritating Bertisms: Uppercut Swing and Tim Wakefield. Blyleven has a tendancy to mention Tim Wakefield and his "much slower knuckleball" at least 10-30 times whenever R.A. Dickey is pitching. Drives me nuts!I guess cat-like instincts would be up there too, but he's gotten away from that just a bit. But regardless, it was a very creative post and I think it will be a hit!

Thrylos from The tenth inning stretch takes a look at whether or not the Twins pitching staff has improved and uses the Pitching Effectiveness formula that he created to take a more in-depth look at both the bullpen and rotation from month-to-month.

The Fort Myers Miracle clinched the first-half of the Florida State League and will make another trip to the FSL playoffs later this summer. After the Florida State All-Star game, which is this weekend, the Twins will likely be making a few roster moves, likely moving a few players around. Perhaps Ben Revere (who's hitting .325/.398/.375 with 27 stolen bases) or David Bromberg (who is 5-0 with a 2.22 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 69 innings) could be among the players that make the move from the FSL to the Eastern League? I know it's a long shot, but both have played exceptionally well. But they'll more than likely have to wait until next season to get a shot at Double-A.

Speaking of minor league roster moves, quite possibly the biggest move of the season so far was announced yesterday. Twins 2008 first-round pick Aaron Hicks has been placed on the Beloit Snappers roster, despite spending all of this season in Extended Spring Training. The original plan was for Hicks to play in Elizabethton this season, meaning he'd have to wait until 2010 to make it to the Midwest League. Hicks, however, forced the Twins' hands and with the Snapper's playing attrociously bad, they finally felt the time was right to bring Hicks up from Ft. Myers. Hicks will (for the most part) luck out on any bad whether in Wisconsin, which I'm sure will make the California boy happy.

Seth Stohs and Josh Johnson both take a look at Hicks' promotion.

Finally, Dave Cameron from FanGraphs.com (and U.S.S. Mariner) takes a looksie at the decision to plug Brendan Harris into shortstop, when Nick Punto is the more quality defender. Although I think that from a defensive standpoint, this makes sense it's kind of like "jamming a square peg into a round hole" but Gardenhire has stated numerous times that Harris is a more "natural" at shortstop than he is at second base, despite not having the range to handle the position effectively. Harris also doesn't seem to be as comfortable at second base, as he is at shortstop, which he's carried over with him offensively.