May 2007

A highly unlikely, extremely unthinkable bases-loaded walk of none other than Torii Hunter in the bottom of the 9th gave the Twins their first lead of the game, and the win and the sweep. It’s especially fun because Hunter has just 11 walks this year; 4 of them intentional. I think we all know he’ll swing at anything within 2 feet of the plate, yet didn’t swing once in his 9th-inning at bat. 

Scott Baker got shelled, which wasn’t totally unexpected. He has flashes of brilliance; like his 8 and 1/3 inning, 2-run performance earlier this year. But his 6.37 ERA in 16 starts in the majors last year, in my opinion, shows that he isn’t ready to be a full-time starter in the bigs. He allowed 10 hits in just 3 innings of work, giving up 6 runs. He also walked a guy and struck out 3. Lucky for him, the White Sox pitchers combined for 8 walks and 7 runs on only 7 hits. Also on his side was our bullpen. Jason Miller, Matt Guerrier, Pat Neshek, and Joe Nathan combined for 6 innings of no-hit ball. Neshek needed only 9 pitches to retire the side in his inning, while Nathan threw just 5 in the top of the 9th. 

In the third inning, down 6-1, our bats came alive when Justin Morneau hit a sac fly with the bases loaded and Hunter followed him with a double in the left field corner to score both runners. Jeff Cirillo and Chris Heintz each had an RBI single in the 6th when they tied it up. 

The Joe Mauer injury saga continues a little longer, with the possibility of him returning in tomorrow’s game ruled out completely. Kelly Thesier wrote more on the subject, but the jist of the article is that his leg is still sore and obviously we don’t want to rush him back. It’s not like Mike Redmond has been doing so incredibly bad as a replacement. 

Luis Castillo did not play yesterday, his legs are a little sore. Nick Punto filled in nicely, going 0-for-2 with 3 walks. Nobody can turn the double-play ball as quick as Luis can, but Punto is the top defensive infielder we have on our ML roster, so I’m comfortable seeing him at second over Luis Rodriguez

In order to make room for Kevin Slowey, Jesse Crain was placed on the 60-day DL. Also, reliever Julio DePaula was demoted back to Rochester. 

Again, no game today as the team travels to Oakland for a 3-game series and a 6-game West Coast trip overall. I’ll do some highlights of the Fort Myers Miracle, the High-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.


Boof Bonser pitched 6 and 2/3 innings, allowing 7 hits but just 1 earned run. He walked 3 and struck out 6. In the 7th, he walked in a run, but the inning should have been over much earlier when Jason Bartlett fielded a double-play ball. But he bobbled it, and there was no chance to get the runner at second anymore. Pat Neshek, Carmen Cali, and Ramon Ortiz finished the game, with all of them not allowing a baserunner. 

The Twins didn’t have trouble with the lefty starter for the Sox, with Justin Morneau hitting his 16th homer of the year, this one a 2-run bomb, in the 3rd inning when the Twins broke the game open. Jason Kubel would do the same just a few batters later, and that was his second homer of the year. According to Dick and Bert, the past two Tuesdays before yesterday, Morneau had hit 2 homers in those games. When he came up in the 5th inning (after already hitting his first homer) with the bases loaded, I think most of us TV watchers were excited that he could hit another one. He didn’t, but a double into the right field corner to score 2 runs is just fine. 

Michael Cuddyer was 3-for-4 with 3 runs scored, even though he’s hitting just .233 off of lefties this year. 

Joe Mauer‘s return might be a little delayed, as he reported soreness in his leg yesterday. He’s going to get checked out by a doctor today, after which the team will say whether or not his come back date is still set to this Friday. 

Also, it’s official: Kevin Slowey has been called up. He’ll pitch his first game in Oakland on Friday. 

The game today starts at 12:10 and we’ll see Scott Baker make his third start of the season. It would be really nice for him to pitch well and for us to get the win and sweep of a division rival. The Twins are also off tomorrow, but it’s also my last day of school, so I’ll have more time to write about the team. Expect another minor league post to be up Friday morning.

As much as I hate the term piranhas, it’s much easier to use that than to say “the 8, 9, 1, and 2 hitters”, so I’ll need to use it if it applies. Luis Castillo, Nick Punto, Jason Bartlett, and Jason Tyner: 8-for-14, 5 runs scored, 3 RBI, 4 walks and a hit-by-pitch. 

They were the reasons that we scored first and early: Jason Bartlett got hit by a pitch and proceeded to steal second. Jason Tyner hit a single up the middle to score him. Tyner got a big lead at first and when the pitcher threw over, it ricocheted off the wall and into right field, allowing Tyner to go to third. Luis Castillo got a walk to put runners on the corners. Nick Punto hit a little dinker over the head of the second baseman, advancing Castillo to third and scoring Tyner. Michael Cuddyer got a base hit to right and the throw home was way off target, allowing Castillo to score. 

Mike Redmond had a clutch hit in the Twins’ 5-run 6th inning. After Torii Hunter hit a high chopper off the plate to reach first, Redmond drove a double to left-center to clear the bases and break the game open. 

Johan Santana wasn’t that dominant, but he did keep us in the game which is what we needed. He also went 8 innings, giving the bullpen a nice little rest. He gave up 7 hits, but 4 runs: two solo homers and a 2-run single. He only walked 1 and struck out 7. 

If the journalists at the StarTribune have anything to do with it, Kevin Slowey will be called up today and start on Friday, with Ramon Ortiz being demoted to a long relief role in the bullpen. I can’t say it’s a bad decision, but some are worried that Slowey’s pitching to contact strategy will get him shelled in the majors. I’m not real worried, in part to his averaging more than 1 strikeout per inning pitched. We could skip the start, because of an offday on Thursday, but I guess nobody wants to do that. 

Boof Bonser throws tonight in a 7:10 game.

I apologize for not doing individual game recaps, but I’ll go through each game in this post.. 

Game 1: The Twins took game 1 of the series, winning it 4-3. Scott Baker made his second start of the year for the Twins and lasted only 5 and 1/3 innings, throwing 92 pitches in the process (61 of those for strikes). He only gave up 5 hits, but allowed 3 runs and walked 4. He struck out 2 and allowed a solo homer to Frank Thomas. Joe Nathan got his 10th save of the year, throwing 24 pitches in his 1 inning of work. He allowed 2 hits, but also struck out 2.. 
The team was down 2-1 in the bottom of the 5th when Michael Cuddyer hit his 6th homer of the year, this one with a man on base. Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter each had an RBI in the game. Luis Castillo was 2-for-3 with 3 runs scored.. 

Game 2: I periodically checked into game 2 on the radio, and at one point I heard them say the Twins were down by 4 late in the game (if you’ve ever listened to radio broadcasts of the game, you know how the announcers fail to mention the score and/or inning when you’re listening), so I stopped checking in. Well, when I got home, I found that the Twins had rallied and the game ended after 13 innings, with the Twins falling 9-8. Ramon Ortiz started the game, and somehow lasted through 6 innings. He gave up 10 hits, allowed 6 runs, only walked 1 and struck out 4, but game up 3 homers. Two 2-run dingers and a solo shot. The team used all 7 of its relievers last night, including new call ups Jason Miller and Carmen Cali. Now about Cali, I have yet to see a news article that says when he was called up, but I’m assuming it was to fill Glen Perkins‘ spot; I’m not sure though. Ok, after some searching, you can read about who was called up for who in this article. Julio DePaula was terrible in his third game in the bigs, not even recording an out and facing 2 batters. He threw 9 pitches, only 1 of them for a strike. He walked both batters and a run was charged to him when Cali gave up a double. Pat Neshek ended a 17-inning scoreless streak when he gave up a home run in the 11th. Matt Guerrier got the official loss when he gave up a run in the top of the 13th.. 

The big story of the night was Michael Cuddyer who went 4-for-5 with 5 RBI. He hit his 7th homer, a 2-run home run in the 8th to jumpstart the comeback. He also drove in 2 with a single in the bottom of the 9th to tie it up.. 

Game 3: This game was the series decider and we had Carlos Silva on the mound. Not surprisingly he gave up a run in the second inning to get the team in comeback mode right away. He got some help in the bottom of the third though, when Justin Morneau made a Nick Punto-esque slide into first (although it wasn’t needed for him to be safe) while the pitcher threw the ball into the bullpen to allow two runs to score, one unearned due to the throwing error. Morneau would add runs in the 6th when he hit an upperdeck, you-knew-it-was-gone-when-he-hit-it home run to add a little insurance. Joe Nathan came in and threw just 10 pitches to record his 11th save of the year and just his 4th of the month (although 3 of those have been in the past 4 days).. 

The Twins are now 24-25, just 1 game better than they were last year through their first 49 games.. 

The Twins will now play a 3-game series at home against the White Sox. It’s possible that Joe Mauer will be back before that series is over with.. 

It seems that Matt Garza may be a little too full of himself. In this article, he blames his early-season failures to being told to throw more offspeed stuff. Well, I’ll let this quote do the talking:. 

“I know how to pitch,” Garza said Friday by phone. “I didn’t get up here because I don’t know how to pitch. I said (to Rochester pitching coach Stu Cliburn), ‘Just let me pitch. You guys just relax. Yeah, I was in a funk for April. My bad. I’m sorry I didn’t deal with disappointment the way you guys thought I was going to.”.

Hopefully he realizes that he doesn’t know everything about pitching, and he’s only going to learn the rest from his coaches and people that have been around a lot longer than he has.. 

I’ve been thinking about getting a website for this blog, so that I can have a little more freedom as far as layout and other things go. So, my question for you readers is, if I do purchase a domain name, what should it be? The first one that comes to mind is, which is available. That is obviously the most logical choice, but if any of you have clever ideas I can check if they’re available to buy or not. For instance, or are available as well. Please comment or email me with your ideas, serious or not.

Dennys Reyes was placed on the DL yesterday and Jason Miller was called up to replace him. Miller has pitched for AAA Rochester this season and has appeared in 10 games, 3 of those with him as a starter. His numbers as a starter are significantly better than his numbers as a reliever: 2.08 ERA in 13 innings vs. 3.65 ERA in 12 and 1/3 innings and 4 homers given up. In 2006 he posted a 3.81 ERA in 32 games for the Red Wings, 15 of those starts. He averaged giving up, through a period of 9 innings, 9 hits, 1 home run, 3 walks, and 8 strike outs. He certainly seems to be a good option for what we have. 

I bet some of you are wondering why Kevin Slowey or Matt Garza haven’t been called up yet. Well, it has to do with arbitration and a player’s “clock”. Basically, if a player has three years of Major League service time, he’s eligible for arbitration. Obviously a team will try and avoid that at all costs, and that includes waiting to promote a player to the bigs until a certain date. This year that date is June 2nd. If a player comes up on June 2nd and plays in the Majors the rest of the year, it will not count as a full year of service, giving the team an extra year where the player isn’t arb-eligible. So basically, when that week comes, expect a flurry of moves that could include but are not limited to: Slowey and Garza getting promoted; Ramon Ortiz being switched to the long relief role in the bullpen; Glen Perkins being moved into the rotation (once Reyes is healthy) in place of Carlos Silva, etc. etc. I’m not necessarily an advocate for any of these moves, but they’re definitely not out of the question. 

Alright, as for minor league stats so far: I’ve decided to do one team per day for the next few days, starting with the A-level Beloit Snappers. This is the level that top hitting prospect Chris Parmelee plays at. Through 38 games this year he’s only hitting .214 with a dismal .290 OBP (on-base percentage). The hitting leader so far is Danny Valencia who plays third base. He’s hitting .302 so far with a .373 OBP and a .503 slugging in 40 games. He has 7 homers and 24 RBI. 

The pitching is definitely a bright spot, though, with ace Jeff Manship leading the charge. Many expect him to be involved with the next round of promotions, and for good reason: He’s only allowed 10 earned runs in 57 and 2/3 innings pitched. That works out to a 1.56 ERA. He has very good control, with just 7 walks. He’s also struck out 60, tops on the staff. Another great pitcher is closer Robert Delaney, who has saved 15 games this season. His ERA is only .69 through 26 innings (that’s giving up only 2 runs for you non-math whizzes). He’s only waked 4 and also has struck out 28. 

As some of you may know, Bat-Girl has shut down her blog, citing not being able to handle both her newborn son and blogging full-time. She always added humor in her post, and frequently used Legos to recreate a play from the previous game. Check out some of her past articles by visiting her link on the right. 

If you’ve scrolled down far enough on the page, you’ve probably seen the new advertisement I’ve got there. It’s an ad selling Twins tickets, so if you’re looking for some I suggest checking out that website. It will be up there for a year (maybe more), so hopefully people can get some use out of it. 

Tonight the Twins are back home to face the Blue Jays. Scott Baker will pitch tonight, with Ortiz starting tomorrow night at 6 and Silva bringing up there in Sunday’s game at 1.

Boof Bonser threw 5 innings, struck out 6, didn’t give up a homer, and allowed only 2 runs to give us a chance to win. We did, as we scored 1 run in each of the first 3 innings, added to 2 runs in the 4th. Juan Rincon gave up 3 hits in just 2/3 of an inning, plus the Rangers’ third run of the game, but Matt Guerrier and Pat Neshek held down the fort for Joe Nathan to record his 9th save of the year.

Justin Morneau added his 14th homer, a solo one in the third inning. Luis Castillo, Jason Tyner, and Torii Hunter each added an RBI.

The Twins are off today and play host to the Blue Jays this weekend. I will hopefully post a minor league recap of the season so far for each level in the Twins’ organization, so please check back tomorrow for that.

Johan Santana pitched an absolutely amazing game, throwing 103 pitches in 7 innings, 67 of those for strikes. Santana gave up Sammy Sosa‘s 598th career homer in the 2nd, but Justin Morneau was there in the 4th for a 2-run shot to give us the lead. Justin was also there in the 5th with a 3-run home run, his 13th of the year and second of the game. That was the 7th time in Justin’s young career that he’s had two or more homers in a game. Torii Hunter added his own 2-run home run in the 8th to make it 7-1. Michael Cuddyer scored on each of those homers 

Santana only gave up 4 hits, and although they completed the cycle (a single, a double, a triple, and a homer) they only amounted to that one run. Johan also walked two, both times the recipient being Sosa. The big story has to be Johan’s 13 strikeouts, though. Oh, and all of them were swinging strikeouts, too. He struck out the side twice, and had at least one in every inning he pitched. It was important for him to go deep into the game, with Glen Perkins just placed on the Disabled List and Dennys Reyes likely to follow (he’ll have an MRI on Thursday to see what needs to be done). Pat Neshek struck out the side in his 1 inning and Joe Nathan came in to get two strikeouts on just 10 pitches. 

Jason Bartlett also has a sore shoulder/back and has been sitting out recently. Nick Punto has played short while Luis Rodriguez played third base last night. 

The Twins play at 1:00 PM today and Boof Bonser will be pitching for us. Let’s hope he can pull out another Win so we can win the series and get on a roll.

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