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4/12/08

Game Notes


  • Big excitement over the Royals' powder blue uniforms (sans blue pants); I think that they are a step better than the Padres' UPS unis

  • Gomez fouls out to 1st. Full count to Tolbert. Grounds out to 2B. Full count to Mauer. Ground out to second. 1-2-3 inning. Pop up to Tolbert, foul out to Morneau, walk, ground out to Harris. End of inning, 0-0. 17 pitches for Boof

  • Morneau grounds out to the SS, Delmon grounds out to the pitcher, Kubel homers to the right field. 1-0 Twins. Harris grounds out to 3rd. 1-0 Twins. Fly out to Span, ground out to Tolbert, fly out to Gomez. End of 2 1-0 Twins

  • Span flies out to center, Punto singles out to center, Gomez flies out to center, Tolbert grounds out to second. Boof walks the first batter he faces, sacrifice bunt to Boof, runner to 2nd. Fly out to Young. Error Tolbert (throw high and wide to 1st), man on 1st and 3rd. Strike out. End of 3, 1-0 Twins

  • Mauer grounds out to 2nd. Morneau grounds out off Tomko's chin. Tomko looks hurt, stays in the game. Young grounds out to 3rd. 1-2-3 inning for Tomko. Fly out to Span. Fly out to Gomez. Strikeout. 1-2-3 inning for Boof. Total 65 pitches and a no hitter. Twins 1-0 after 4

  • Kubel flies out to left on the first pitch. Harris singles to right. Span strikes out in 3 pitches. Punto 3-2, walks. Gomez flies out to right. Boof in. Strikeout, single to left, strikeout, hit to second, men on 1st and 2nd. Fly out to Gomez. 3 outs, no hitter broken end of 5, Twins 1-0. 78 pitches for Bonser.

  • Tolbert grounds out to the pitcher. Mauer grounds out to 2nd for the third time in the game. Morneau reaches on a SS error. Young forces Morneau out to the SS. Twins still up 1-0. Hopefully another inning or two from Boof, then Ryes/Neshek and Nathan. Fly out to Gomez. Single to left. Fly out to Gomez. Pop up to Tolbert. End of 6, Twins 1-0. Pitch count 89. Maybe one more inning.

  • Kubel gets an infield single to second. Harris singles to right on a hit and run. Kubel to 3rd no outs. Span singles up the middle, Kubel in, Harris to 2nd. Twins 2-0, pitching change. Ramon Ramirez in to face Punto. Tomko bangs stuff in the bullpen. Punto bunts for a hit. No outs. Gomez up. Big swing 0-1, another 0-2, and another; strikeout. Where is the bunt signal? Pitching change lefty Mahay in. Tolbert swinging strike, then infield fly pop up to shortstop. Strike 1 looking to Mauer, 1-1 low, check swing strike 1-2. Foul. Takes a called third strike. If the Twins don't win this, the goat should be Gardy who did not make Gomez bunt with the bases loaded and no outs. Guerrier in, 0-2, foul, strike out. Fly out to Delmon. Infield single to Tolbert. Another lefty up, where is Reyes? Ground out to Tolbert. End of 7, 2-0 Twins.

  • Morneau strikes out looking. Delmon singles to center. Borderline balk move 4 throws to 1st. Caught stealing, questionable play. Kubel strikes out. Neshek in. Strikeout. Ground out to Morneau. Strikeout. Great outing by Neshek. 1-2-3. End of 8, Twins up 2-0

  • Nunez in to pitch. Harris grounds out to short. Span singles to right. Punto strikes out. Gomez forces out at second. Bottom of the 9th Nathan up. Ground out to Punto. Single to center. Double play, Punto to Harris to Morneau. Twins win 2-0.




Twins MVP: Bonser

4/11/08

Game Notes

  • First game in the KC series away. The temperature is a steaming 42 degrees. Slowey is finally placed in the DL and Liriano recalled for Sunday; I just hope he is not on an American Airlines flight... Willis vs. Contreras in Chicago. What is the record for BBs issued in a game by both teams?

  • 2-0 to Gomez, 2-2, bunts with 2 stikes, out at 1st. Tolbert bunts for a hit. Mauer lines out to the SS, Morneau forces Tolbert out at 2nd. Hernandez in to pitch. Ground out to Lamb, fly out to Span, Hernandez issues his 1st walk of the season, K. End of 1, 0-0, 18 pitches for Hernandez

  • Young walks in 5 pitches. Kubel strikes out. Young steals second. Moves to 3rd on a wild pitch. Full count to Harris. Walk. 0-2 to Lamb. K. Span hit to left, Young scores, Span's 1st ML RBI. Gomez doubles over the left fielder for 2 runs. 0-3. Tolbert singles him home to the center. 4-0 Twins. Mount conference, Mauer up, 8th man to bat in the inning; grounds out to the pitcher. Twins 4-0. Ground out to Harris, hit to left center, hit to left, men on 1st and 2nd 1 out. Fly out to Gomez. Ground out to Tolbert. End of 2, Twins 4-0.

  • Morneau HRs, Delmon flies out to right, Kubel flies out to center, Harris grounds out to the pitcher's butt. Twins 5-0. Ground out to Lamb, hit to center, force out Morneau to Tolbert, 2 outs. The KC announcers are beyond painful. Ground out to Tolbert. End of 3, 5-0 Twins. 47 pitches for Livan

  • Lamb flies out to center. Span up. Strikes out looking. Gomez strikes out looking. Twins 5-0. Strikeout in 3 pitches for Livan. Double, left center. Ground out to Harris, man on 3rd 2 outs. Fly out to Span. End of 4, Twins 5-0. Livan has thrown 61 pitches.

  • Tolbert walks. Steals second. His 1st SB in the majors. Mauer grounds out to 1st, Tolbert to 3d, 1 out. Morneau intentionally walked. Delmon up. Double play. Twins 5-0. Hit to center, hit to left, 1st and 2nd no outs. Fly out to Young. Hit to right, bases loaded 1 out. Guillen up. 0-2, fouls. Strike out. 2 outs. Ground out to Tolbert. End of 5. Twins 5-0. 82 pitches for Livan.

  • Kubel grounds out to 2nd. Harris strikes out on a questionable pitch. Lamb strikes out; 1-2-3 inning. end of 5, 0-5 Twins

  • Yabuda in for KC. Span out. Gomez triples. Tolbert pops at 3rd. Mauer grouds out to second. Seventh inning stretch, Twins 5-0. Livan in again. Fly out to Gomez on the 1st pitch. Ground out to Livan in 2 pitches, 2 outs. Fly out to Span. 1-2-3 inning in 6 pitches, total 99 for Livan. Morneau up, takes ball 1. 2-1. Big swing 2-2. 2 foul balls. 3-2. Walk. Young flies to deep center. Kubel pops foul to 3B. Harris has a hit down the middle. Lamb grounds out to the pitcher. Bottom of the 8th. Crain in. Strike out. Ground out to Harris. Out trying to stretch a single into a double. End of 8 Twins 5-0.

  • Top of the 9th. Ramon Ramirez in to pitch for the Royals, Span ground out broken bat to second. Gomez flies out to left. Tolbert singles to right center, Mauer grounds out to second. Nathan in; no save situation. Ground out to Tolbert. Strikeout. 0-2. Double to right. Note: Gomez grabbed it before Span. 0-2 again. 1-2. Another power outage here... Twins win 5-0. Cleveland is still losing to the As and the WhiteSox are loosing to the Tiggers.


Twins MVP: Gomez

Veteran news

This is a very sad story. NFL has recently been working to take care of its veterans. How about MLB? I think its about time MLB takes care of the people who made it the #1 sport in this country

WHIP as a winning indicator

Current team WHIP for the AL teams

Royals 1.19
Twins 1.20
Yankees 1.27
Orioles 1.28
Rays 1.29
Angels 1.31
Jays 1.31
------------
Red Sox 1.40
Mariners 1.42
Indians 1.45
------------
Rangers 1.50
White Sox 1.56
Tigers 1.70

last year's Twins team WHIP for comparison was 1.34

Here is a list of the team WHIP numbers for the AL team that made the playoffs since 2002. The team with the lowest WHIP in the league is notated with an asterisk and included in the list if it did not make the playoffs. Also the records of the teams with WHIP < 1.3 are included for that season.

2007:
Red Sox 1.27* (96-66)
Indians 1.32
Angels 1.36
Yankees 1.43

2006:
Twins 1.28* (96-66)
Tigers 1.32
Yankees 1.36
As 1.41

2005:
White Sox 1.25 (99.63)
Angels 1.27 (95-67)
Yankees 1.37
Red Sox 1.39


(Indians 1.22*, 93-69 2GB in the WC race)

2004:
Red Sox: 1.29* (98-64)
Twins: 1.32
Angels: 1.36
Yankees: 1.37

2003:
A's 1.27 (96-66)
Yankees 1.29 (101-61)
Twins 1.32
Red Sox 1.36

(Mariners 1.25*, 93-69 3GB in the west and WC races)

2002:
Yankees 1.27 (103-58)
Angels 1.28 (103-59)
A's 1.28 (99-63)
Twins 1.31
(Red Sox 1.22*, 93-69 6GB in the WC race)

So, every team that finished a season with team WHIP < 1.30 won at least 93 games and had a competitive season. Data are not shown here but teams that had WHIP between 1.30 and 1.45 needed a lot of batting help to contend and teams with WHIP higher than 1.45 did not contend. The above delineations are added to the table of current team WHIP.

Part II: Examining different indicators as games won predictors

4/10/08

Rainy day thoughts

It's always fun to use the most similar player by age tool of Baseball Reference. Here is the most similar players by age for the Twins' roster (Where there is N/A it means the sample is insignificant to assign a score):

30 Scott Baker - Joe Horlen
60 Brian Bass - N/A
53 Nick Blackburn N/A
26 Boof Bonser N/A
28 Jesse Crain - Antonio Osuna
54 Matt Guerrier - Joe Horlen
61 Livan Hernandez - Darryl Kile
36 Joe Nathan - Jack Aker
17 Pat Neshek - N/A
37 Dennys Reyes - Felix Heredia
39 Juan Rincon - Antonio Osuna
59 Kevin Slowey - N/A

7 Joe Mauer - Robinson Cano
55 Mike Redmond - Craig Shipley
12 Adam Everett - Pat Kelly
23 Brendan Harris - N/A
24 Mike Lamb - Alex Ochoa
33 Justin Morneau - Greg Walker
8 Nick Punto - Ramon Vazquez
20 Matt Tolbert - N/A
22 Carlos Gomez - N/A
16 Jason Kubel - N/A
27 Craig Monroe - Craig Wilson
Mike Cuddyer - Dave Hollins
21 Delmon Young N/A

Detroit won last night, KC is surging and Carmona signs long term

7-2 in Boston. Must have been a strange game; Bonderman lasted 5 innings and the bullpen actually held ok for the rest. Sheffield had a stolen base, and the managerial genius is keep having Pudge batting leadoff. KC took 2 out of 2 from the Yankees and the tribe signed Carmona to a 7 year $43-48 mil contract. That is pretty risky business... on one hand if he continues pitching the way he has 7 years at $7 per sounds like a good deal. On the other hand, he might prove another Joe Mays... Since he has 2 prearbitration years, the actual deal is more like 4 years @$11-12 per, which might prove to be pricey...

DLIE number:3

4/9/08

game notes


  • Cleveland lost earlier today to the Angels, Detroit is playing in Boston (down 2-0 after 2) and KC is hosting the Yankees. Wearing Santana's replica AL all-star bp jersey from '05 and watching the game on the white sox broadcast

  • Gomez walks in 5 pitches. Picked off the 1st base. Harris singlesto the right... Mauer singles to left. 3-0 to Morneau. 4 pitch walk. Bases loaded 1 out. Young up. Ball. Mount conference. Ball 2. Strike. Foul ball. 2-2. Base hit to left. One run in. Bases still loaded, Kubel up. Ball. Foul. Ball 2. Fly out to CF, Mauer scores, 2 outs. Monroe up. Ball. Strike looking. Grounds out to short. Twins up 2-0. Baker ahead 0-2. 2-2. K. One out. 0-2. 1-2. Great diving catch by Gomez. 2 out. 0-2. K. end of 1, Twins 2-0.

  • Lamb pops to second. Everett strikes out. Gomez hits one long way, Swisher grabs it at the warning track left center. Great play; that had triple all over it. 3 outs. Pop up to Morneau, ground out to Harris, 0-2 to AJP, foul ball. Base hit to right. 0-2 again. K. End of 2. Twins 2-02-2.

  • 2-2 to Harris, base hit to right. 0-1, 1-1, throw to 1st, 1-2, foul, hit to left. Morneau up 1-1, hit to left bases loaded nobody out. Strike one off Delmon's foot. 0-2. Strikes out. 0-1 to Kubel. 1-1. 2-1. 3-1. Foul 3-2. Hit to right. 3-0, bases still loaded. Mount visit. Ball to Monroe 1-0. 2-0. High swing 2-1. Foul 2-2. Foul. 3-2. Walk. 4-0 Twins, 1 out bases loaded. Pitching change. Hit by Lamb, 5-0 Twins. Everett forces the runner out at the plate. 2 outs. Gomez doubles to the right for 2 RBI. 7-0 Twins. 0-2 to Harris. Close play, out SS to 1b. Twins 7-0. 0-2 to Crede. Ground out to Baker. 0-1. 1-2. Line out to Baker. 0-1. Home run. 7-1 Twins. Hit at the right. K. End of inning. Twins up 7-1. 50 pitches for Baker

  • Mauer grounds out to the SS, ditto with Monreau. Strikeout for Young. Konerko HRs, Dye strikes out so does AJP so does Quentin... End of 4 Twins up 7-2.

  • Kubel grounds out to 1st. Monroe strikes out. Lamb takes a walk. Everett pops up to 2nd. HR Crede on the 1st pitch 7-3. 3-0. 4-0. Walk. Fly out to Gomez. 0-2. Error Lamb. Foul out to Lamb. Ground out to Everett. End of 5 7-3 Twins.

  • Gomez out. Harris doubles to right. Mauer out to 2nd. Morneau intentionally walked. Young walks, bases loaded. Trip to the mound. Grand slam Kubel. 11-3. Monroe doubles to CF. Lamb doubles to the right. 12-3. Everett flies out to the left.

  • Bass in. Double for the Sox. Infield hit. Fielder's choice, error, one run in. Ground to Everett. Fly out to Gomez. 12-4 Twins.

  • Gomez grounds out at the SS. Harris walks. Mauer strikes out. Morneau hits into a double play. Ground out to Everett. Ground out to Lamb. Ground out to Harris, end of 7. Twins 12-4.

  • Young strikes out, Kubel strikes out, Monroe strikes out. Bottom of the 8th. 1-2-3 inning for Bass. He should so pitch the 9th for the save

  • Lamb looks hurt; he's out. Punto in for him with 1-2. Strike taken, one out. Everett grounds out to 3rd. Gomez fouls a long one to LF, then flies a long one out to CF. Ground out to Everett, double to left, pop up to Mauer, hit to the right 12-5. fly out to Young. Game over. Twins win 12-5, giving an extra meaning to Baker's dozen


Twins MVP: Harris

4/8/08

Detroit is now 0-7

After a 5-0 loss at Fenway

DLIE number:2

A bit of batting research

A frequently made statement is that the Twins failures in the Gardenhire era are partly due to the Twins hitting philosophy of slapping the ball to the opposite field advancing the runners instead of slugging away.

To test this hypothesis I looked at the slugging% of players who were with the Twins in the Gardenhire era and then joined other teams. I am comparing their SLG% their last year with the Twins with those of their first year with another team and 3 years removed from the Twins. If the hypothesis is correct there will be a significant rise in SLG % when left the Twins at least by 3 years. The list is for 150AB/year minimum.

Here is the data:

Batter SLG@MIN SLG@MIN+1 SLG@MIN+3

David Ortiz .500 .592 .604
Jacque Jones .438 .499 N/A (2008)
Todd Walker .397 .459 .431
C Guzman .384 .314 .446
Dustan Mohr .399 .437 <150AB but .466 MIN+2
Bobby Kielty .400 .370 .441
D. Mientk .363 .407 .440
*AJ Pierzynski .464 .410 .436
Matt Lawton .415 .399 .421
Brian Buchanan .415 .455 <150AB
Casey Blake .250 .411 .438 (less than 150AB @MIN)
*Corey Coskie .495 .398 out of baseball
Shannon Steward .368 .394 N/A (2009)
Chris Gomez .354 .346 .439
Javier Valentin .381 .356 .520



From the 15 players listed the only 2 that do not follow this hypothesis are AJ Pierzynski and Corey Coskie (and Corey was out of baseball at the second data point.) How big is the difference? The average player including Coskie & Pierzynksi, raised their slugging percentage by 16 base points they year after they left the Twins and by 65 base points the third year away from the Twins organization and hitting philosophy.

I think that the data certainly supports this hypothesis...

Part 2: looking at the newcomers into the Twins organization

Here is the list for the players who came into the Twins organization from others during this era. I am comparing their SLG% the year before joined the Twins with those of their first 2 years with the Twins. If the hypothesis is correct there will be a significant drop in SLG % when join the Twins at least by 2 years. The list is for 150AB/year minimum. The sample size is smaller because the Twins do not usually bring established players into the organization:


Batter SLG@MIN-1 SLG@MIN SLG@MIN2

Shannon Steward .459 .447 .388
Juan Castro .378 .386 .308
Luis Castillo .374 .370 .352
Rondell White .489 .365 .321 (<150AB)
Tony Batista .455 .388 N/A (not with the Twins)
Jeff Cirillo .414 .327 N/A (not with the Twins)


Clearly, the data show that if not by the first, by the second year a player from another batting philosophy joins the Twins, his slugging % will suffer measurably.

The data speak... It is time for a change in this philosophy

Kubel

have a look at the following groups of lefty Twins’ batters (same hitting philosophy) and their numbers when they were 25 years old:

Group 1:
batter 1: ba .234, OBP .324 SLG .475 303 AB 18 HR 48 RBI
batter 2: ba .278, OBP .351 SLG .444 593 AB 21 HR 93 RBI
batter 3: ba .285, OBP .319 SLG .463 523 AB 19 HR 76 RBI

Group 2:
batter 4: ba .248, OBP .366 SLG .415 460 AB 14 HR 60 RBI
batter 5: ba .266, OBP .341 SLG .373 263 AB 3 HR 23 RBI

Kubel’s last year

BA .273, OBP .335, SLG .450, 418 AB 13 HR 65 RBI

Morneau, on the other hand is way ahead of both groups, his numbers when he was 25:

BA .321 OBP .375 SLG .559 592 AB 37 HR 130 RBI

Kubel is in-between the 2 groups as he clearly is ahead of the second group. Which way he will end up is still early to determine, but worthwhile to find out. That’s why people are upset when he doesn’t get enough playing time…

Any guesses who the players above are? The answer is in the comments

Next game starters & some news around the bigs

Baker's stats against the White Sox and Danks' stats against the Twins.

Peavy is accused of doctoring the ball, Ozzie Guillen is being his sweet self, Jeter is out "for a few days", the Red Sox are hosting Detroit in their home opener, Martinez is coming back for the Indians, and Jose Guillen will begin serving his suspension for the Royals (unfortunately a series or 2 too late)

Standings

Randy Ruiz watch


G AB H R 2B HR RBI BB K BA OBP SLG OPS
4 16 5 2 1 0 4 2 5 .313 .389 .375 .764

4/7/08

Notes & thoughts from today's game


  • Gomez starts the game with a bunt single, 3-4 throws to 1st by Vasquez, steals 2nd. The American League player of the week doesn't even bother to throw. To third with Span's ground out to the right side and scores with Mauer's base hit to the right. Gomez has been sitting next to Livan in the dugout. He would be a good influence for Gomez. At least he has some guy to talk to. Morneau walks. Man on 1st and 2nd, 1 out. Delmon GIDPs. 1-0 Twins. Blackburn up. Swisher doubles to right center, 2 singles in a row. Konerko strikes out. Blackburn has a decent move to 2nd base. Dye strikes out. Pierzynski is up and out to Everett. End of 1-1

  • Kubel singles to the right. Harris sacrifices him with a bunt to second and Lamb doubles him home at the opposite field. Everett pops up. Gomez up. A steady diet of breaking stuff outside and strikes out on one of those on a full count. Twins up 2-1. Sox up. Walk. Pop out to Everett. Fly out to Gomez. Swisher walks. Fly out to Span. End of 2, Twins 2-1. 43 pitches for Blackburn.

  • Span singles to left (his 1st ML hit). Span steels second while Mauer strikes out. Morneau flies out to the deep center, Span tags and goes to 3rd. Delmon strikes out. Twins 2-1. Thome stikes out. Guillen is all over the umpire. Strikeout. Dye gets a him to right. AJP gets a single to the left. Fly out to Gomez. End of 3, Twins 2-1; 61 pitches for Blackburn.

  • Kubel strikes out on a check swing. Harris doubles to deep right, so does Lamb, 3-1 Twins. Everett strikes out. Gomez flies out to right. Twins 3-1. Crede doubles. Single. 1st and 3rd no outs. Force out at second. 3-2, man on 1st 1 out. Ground out to Everett (great play by Everett). Thome strikes out. Twins up 3-2; 81 pitches for Blackburn. Bass is warming up.

  • Span lines out to Crede. Mauer flies out to center. Morneau long fly out to the opposite field. Twins up 3-2. Ground out to Lamb, ground out to Everett, ground out to Harris (great diving stop). 1-2-3 inning. Young flies out to right. Kubel pops out to the SS. Harris strikes out. End of inning. Guerrier in for the bottom of the inning. Strikeout. Pop out to Lamb. 2 out walk. Line out to Lamb. End of 6, twins 3-2

  • Lamb fouls out on the 1B side. Everett strikes out. Gomez strikes out. Guerrier still in. Fly out to Span. Thome walks. Single to center. Neshek in with man on 1st and 3rd and one out. Hit. Tied game. Strike out. Hit to the left, bases loaded. Anderson has a mount conference. Grand slam for Crede. 7-3 Sox. Ouch. Great play by Neshek to Morneau to end the inning. 7-3 Sox

  • Span walks, Mauer grounds out, Morneau gets a hit to the left. Young gets an infield hit, a run scores. Kubel flies out to right. Harris grounds out to the SS. Rincon in. Strike out. Pop out to Mauer. Fly out to Mauer. Sox up 7-4

  • Top of the ninth. Jenks in to pitch, Lamb grounds out to the pitcher. Tolbert pinch hits for Everett, singles to the left. Gomez hits into a double play to the short. Gave over. Sox win 7-4.

  • What's up with the baby blues the umps are wearing and what's that thing in Swisher's chin?

  • Ironic compilation of facts: the day I received an autographed 8x10 of Neshek's he gives up a broken bat grand slam...


Twins' MVP: Lamb

4/6/08

this game is over

The jaugernauts are down 9-1 at home after six (read the last line of the article linked)

Surprises so far this season


  • Baltimore has the best record in the AL, where Detroit has the worst

  • St. Louis is tied for the best record in the NL, where Colorado is tied for the worst

  • Livan Hernandez has more wins than Johan Santana, Justin Verlander and C.C. Sabathia

  • Brandon Inge has higher slugging percentage than Miguel Cabrera, Maglio Ordonez, Gary Sheffield and Carlos Guillen

  • Rick Ankiel is tied for the HR lead in the majors

Two series in the books

The Twins lost today 3-1 to the Royals and are 3-4 for the year. Some observations so far:

  • The pitching, esp starting pitching has been performing well. Bill Madden, of the New York Daily news wrote an interesting article suggesting that the number of 7-inning performances by a teams' starting staff is a good indicator of a team's potential to make the playoffs. So far the Twins have 4 games where the starters when 7 or more, compared to 2 such games after 7 total games last season. This improvement, albeit predicted here, is generally surprising.

  • Pitching has been the strength of this team, resulting in 6 out seven games this season being close (decided by 2 runs or less) vs only 2 close games in the first 7 games in 2007. This team scored 19 runs in the first 7 games of 2008 vs. 23 in those of 2007. The offense is lagging and some adjustments might need to be made.

  • Cuddyer, Kubel, Lamb, Monroe and Young have been "slow starters" if you compare their performances in April vs those at the rest of the season for the span of their careers. Young has been hitting adequately for average but not been driving in runs. Lamb played only sparingly in the month of April, because he is a slow starter. With the emergence of Tolbert, it might be worthwhile to give Harris several starts in the 3B (that is his natural position), while keeping Lamb on the bench.

  • The DH situation is a problem with the only visible solution to wait until Kubel or Monroe find their groove. The other observation is that the bench is flawed, because of the taxing with the 12-man pitching staff (that is probably unnecessary with the performance of the starters so far) and the presence of Nick Punto who with the emergence of Tolbert is reduced to a late inning defensive replacement that is probably a luxury in a team that has a power outage. The reduction of the pitching staff to 11 and moving Punto along with one of the current bullpen parts (Rincon?), might result in a much needed bat, as originally proposed.
    Alternatively, and even more importantly, what would it take to pry away a superstar in the making in his arbitration year from a team that cannot afford him, in a year where the Twins have excess in budget? What would it take to bring Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins? If Smith let the Marlins pick 5 or 6 people from the organization other than Gomez, Mauer, Morneau, Nathan, Slowey, Liriano, Baker, Blackburn, Crain, Hernandez, Guerrier and Reyes, I think that it might happen. In the worse case scenario, Kubel, Guerra, Casilla, Span, Revere and Swarzak will go to the Marlins. I think that its a price that the Twins should be willing to pay

  • On other notes: Santana hit a double today, but lost to the Braves. Soria will be special for the Royals. Cleveland came back to win in Oakland. I'd be following the late AL Central game


Today's Twins MVP: Morneau

Cleveland has questions, too

On the Cleveland side, Martinez is still out with a hamstring injury and no time table for return, in the middle of a 3-game losing streak. Sabathia hasn't been himself. A few weeks ago I suggested that his contract situation will be a major distraction and it seems that it has. The offense hasn't been clicking yet and unless Carmona repeats his 2007 performance, this team might not go as far as everyone predicted. In no way Cleveland is in the same kind of trouble there is, but there are some early warning indicators...

How bad are Detroit's troubles?

The bad news about Rodney's condition, prompted the Tigers to have a 13-man pitching staff, keeping only 1 catcher on the roster that includes the still injured Sheffield. In addition, another potential member of the Tigers' pitching staff is placed on the DL, and the organization lacks pitching depth as well as potential trade bait to acquire pitchers if necessary. Leyland has been publicly criticizing his players, and there were enough early signs about the Tigers' performance on opening week.
[edit Sunday evening: Ivan Rodriguez is batting lead off. I think that this more than summarizes all of the above...]