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5/10/08

Quick game notes and some stats

I am not going into lengths to describe the Twins' win, but that was a great 9th inning. Coming back this way against one of the best closers in the league, against the world champions, against the team with the best record in the AL, can do tons for the confidence of this young team. Supreme irony that the hero of this game was a guy who have been a goat (pun intended) for most of the season.

As a matter of fact all 3 players who were fundamental for the inning (Young, Gomez, Lamb) have been, at one time or another, the subject of much scrutiny.

I hope that the Twins will show patience in the plate with Dice-K, who has been Dontrelle Willis wild, starting and win again today…

Bad news about Neshek, I hope that rest alone solves the problem. There is a lot said about him being a vegan may have been a cause in the injury. This is like saying that the brand of the tires someone is using might be responsible for a speeding ticket he/she get while cruising at 100mph

A list of four observations from the game:

A couple more notes from this game (just in case you missed them because they were subtle and have been somewhat a point of contention):

1. Everett made at least 3 plays in the field that were exceptional and that no other infielder in a Twins uniform could make (if you don’t know what I’m talking about I could explain…)

2. Guerrier earned the RH set up job tonight. I hope that the Twins’ coaching staff realizes that… and if you are reading, Pat I hope the best and that you are back healthy soon.

3. Gomez is rapidly maturing as a hitter. I’d venture to say that at this point he might be the best right hand bat the Twins have (compare his ABs vs those of Cuddy) The kid wants to listen and he listens. That 9th inning walk was probably one of his most valuable plays this year.

4. The decision to start and keep Kubel in the game over Monroe was a very bad one. I realize that the Twins need to find out what Kubel is really all about but this is not the time or the place to do it. Monroe, even with the comparatively limited time he played, has outperformed Kubel. About time for Gardy to reward him for this…

Twins' MVP: Lamb


Here is an interesting stat for the last statement above:
Runs created per game this season:

Mauer: 6.3
Gomez: 4.8
Monroe: 4.6
Morneau: 4.2
Tolbert: 4.2
Harris: 3.8
Cuddyer: 3.6
Young: 3.5
Punto: 3.4
Kubel: 2.9
Everett: 2.3
Lamb: 2.1
Redmond: 1.7

Gardy, do what you gotta do...

5/8/08

Thursday game notes


  • KC, Detroit and Cleveland lost, but so did the Twins. They are still in first place and readying up for a four game series in the Dome with Boston.

  • Slowey pitched well for most of the game, giving up 3 runs in 5 innings. Neshek left the game with an apparent elbow injury that I hope is minor. Interesting play in the sixth inning: runners on 1st and 2nd for the Sox with no outs, Guerrier pitching, Konerko on the plate. 3-1 the count, Konerko swings on a pitch, the home plate umpire is frozen, everyone is frozen, the runners advance, Guerrier runs around as a madman tagging the runners, Mauer calls for a review from the 1B ump who says its a strike. A this point the home plate ump allows the runners to advance, Gardy gets ejected for arguing and the blow up doll clown in the Sox dugout is bursting out laughing mimicking Guerrier's tagging the runners. Lousy job for an ump who does not deserve the MLB paycheck and an even lousier job for a commissioner that can stand that fan-bashing garbage in the Sox dugout in a professional sport. If I remember correctly a few years ago Frank Robinson was appointed as a watchdog and was throwing out 15 game suspension for spiting out gum the wrong way. Where is that office when the integrity of the game and its maturity is questioned?

  • The bats were silent today, like in most of the day games away from the dome

  • Looking forward to the Boston series


Twins MVP: Mauer

Game notes


  • Gomez starts the game with a homer and sprints around the bases, after a 2 hour rain delay. Harris strikes out looking at a questionable pitch. Monroe strikes out swinging. Morneau grounds out. 1-0 Twins. One out for Livan. Two. Three. End of 1; 1-0 Twins

  • Cuddyer doubles to right center. Young grounds out to the short. Redmond pops up to the second. Tolberts lines to the 1st. Strikeout for Livan. Fly out to Gomez. Hit. Foul out to Tolbert. End of 2 1-0 Twins

  • Punto is out on a bunt, Gomez strikes out. Harris walks. Monroe goes 0-2 looking at 2 "strikes" way inside then grounds out to the SS. Fly out to Gomez, ground out to Harris, ground out to Tolbert. 1-2-3 inning. End of 3 1-0 Twins. Only 28 pitches for Livan

  • Morneau grounds out to the pitcher. Cuddyer misses a homer by a foot; foul. Strikes out. Young grounds out to second. Pop up to Punto, ground out to Morneau. Walk. Ground out to Tolbert. End of 4. 1-0 Twins. 41 pitches for Hernandez

  • Redmond gets an infield hit to the 3rd. Tolbert bloops a hit to short left center. Punto gets a double play on a bunt because he never get off the batter's box. Time to sit down, Nicky. Double play with no outs and man on 1st and second on a bunt. Time for someone to cut Punto... Gomez triples in a run. Harris grounds out. Ground out to Morneau. Hit. Ground out to Tolbert. Ground out to Hernandez. End of 5. 2-0 Twins.

  • Monroe singles to left. Morneau singles to left. Cuddyer grounds out to ss, runners on 3rd and 2nd, 1 out. Young is intentionally walked. Bases loaded. Redmond sacrifice fly, Monroe scores, Morneau to 3rd, Young to second. Tolbert walks. Why not pinch hit for Punto? Punto sends all the runs home with a double. Gomez hits a double bringing Punto in and goes to 3rd on an error. Just a single for the cycle. Dotel in to pitch for the Sox. Harris strikes out looking. Hernandez back in. Ground out to Harris, line out to Morneau. Single. Double over Delmon's head. Fly out to Young. End of 6. 7-0 Twins.

  • Detroit, Cleveland and KC all won. Monroe strikes out. Morneau singles to left. Cuddyer pops up. Young flies out to deep center. Double. Strikeout. Ground out to Punto. Fly out to Gomez. End of 7. Twins 7-0. 84 pitches for Livan.

  • Boone Logan in. Redmond grounds out. Tolbert strikes out. Punto pops out. Bottom of the 8th. Fly out to Gomez. Another. 2 out. Strikeout. 1-2-3 inning for Hernandez. 3 outs away from a complete game shutout. 90 total pitches

  • Gomez hits for the cycle with an infield hit. Harris walks. Monroe singles to right bases loaded. Morneau strikes out. Cuddyer singles in Gomez. 8-0. Young singles to left, Harris in. 9-0. Bases still loaded, 1 out. Pitching change. Redmond scores 2 with a double to deep right. 11-0. Punto triples in 2 runs. 13-0. Gomez up again, strikeout. Bottom of 9th. Flyout to Gomez. HR by Dye. Single. Another single. Action at the bullpen; Guerrier up. Single; bases loaded no outs. 113 pitches for Livan. Fly out to Gomez. Runner frozen at 3rd. 2 out. Ground out to Tolbert. Game over. Twins win 13-1. Complete game Hernandez with 121 total pitches




Twins MVPs: Hernandez, Gomez

5/6/08

Game notes


  • Night game at Chicago after an off-day with the Twins leading the Sox with 2 games for the division lead. Detroit is playing Boston, Cleveland in New York (both losing early) and KC is hosting the Angels. Blackburn vs Floyd are the starting pitchers.

  • Gomez worked a full count in the first inning, then lines out. Harris works a walk and so does Mauer. Morneau beats a double play, then Cuddyer forces him out in second. The first 2 men aboard with a gift walk by the home plate umpire and a single. Great leaping catch by Gomez to retire Thome and a great running catch by Gomez to retire Conerko and freeze the runner at third. Hit, 2 runners in. Strikeout. Sox up 2-0, both runs gifted by the umpire... In the day that there is technology to determine whether a pitch is a ball or a strike, there is no need for home plate umpires who can affect the outcome of games by one bad ball. It is time that MLB takes the human factor out of the equation at home plate

  • Kubel grounds out through the middle in a play that could have been an infield hit if he were faster. Young works a full count, then flies out to the right field. Lamb fouls out. Floyd has been pitching outside to the righties and inside to the lefties, which is a hard way to make a living against the Twins. Groundout, single just under the diving Morneau's glove, pitch out on a hit and run, they got him. Groundout. End of 2, 2-0 Sox; 26 pitches for Blackburn (38 for Floyd)

  • Everett grounds out to the SS, Gomez strikes out on a foul bunt with 2 strikes. Harris grounds out. Meanwhile Ortiz and Ramirez hit back-to-back home runs off 2 different Detroit pitchers making the score 5-0 Boston in that game. Lamb makes a great play to get Cabrera out on a bunt. Fly out to Gomez. Thome walks (another gift by the home plate umpire). Pop up. End of 3. Sox 2-0

  • Mauer walks, Morneau reaches on an error by the left fielder. Cuddyer flies out, Mauer to 3rd; 1 out. Kubel sacrifice fly to shallow center, Mauer scores. Young forces Morneau out at second. Walk. Hit. Men on 1st and 2nd with no outs for the Sox. Force out at second, runners at the corners 1 out. Swisher steps on Blackburn's foot at first base to break the douple play and takes a funky tumble. Both players are ok. Fly out to Young, great running catch. Runner at 3rd is frozen. 2 outs. Single, a run in. Fly out to Gomez. End of 4. 3-1 Sox

  • Lamb grounds out to first. Everett flies out to left. Gomez grounds out to the shortstop. Great play by Young to retire Quentin. Another set of bad calls by the home plate umpire costs Blackburn several pitches. He should have been struck out earlier at the AB. Fly out to Gomez. Fly out to Gomez. 1-2-3 inning. Sox 3-1

  • Harris pops out to second, Mauer flies out to center, so does Morneau. HR to the opposite field for Dye; the next 3 batters retired. End of 6, 4-1 Sox

  • Cuddyer pops up to the second baseman, Kubel strikes out (he needs to sit for a game or 2...). Young Strikes out. Floyd has a no-hitter after 7 (92 pitches). Crain in for the Twins. Hit. Base hit and error by Lamb and a fan interference, base hit, 2 more runs in. Still nobody out. Pop up out at foul ground to Morneau. Caught stealing by Mauer, 2 out. Walk. Ground out. End of 7, Sox 6-1

  • Lamb flies out to center. Everett flies out to center. Gomez grounds out to short. No hitter still on with 99 total pitches for Floyd. Korecky in to pitch. Double. Ground out to Harris, runner at 3rd, one out. Double, another run in. Another misserable job of ball and strike calling at that AB. Strikeout. Fly out to Gomez. End of 8, Sox 7-1

  • Harris strikes out looking on a ball outside. Mauer doubles to left center to break up the no hitter. Pitching change. Jenks in. Way to take a complete game shutout off your pitcher, Ozzie. Morneau grounds out to second. Cuddyer strikes out swinging. Game over, Twins lose, but still in 1st place.

  • Is this team going to be a clone of the '87 team as far as home and road records?


Twins MVP: Mauer

5/5/08

Just because there are rumors that Leyland wants Bonds in Detroit...

...this is to commemorate

Game (and league) notes in an off day

  • Did not watch the game yesterday, just followed it up with my mobile phone, due to other obligations. It sounds like Boof, after a shaky inning got his brain in gear. It seems that the location of his fastball was better after the first inning and he used his fastball more than other pitches after the first. Great show by the bullpen with Guerrier pitching 2 scoreless innings and Nathan a scoreless 9th for his 11th save

  • Good to see the team being able to orchestrate comeback wins this year. This is a huge change from last year and in combination with its ability to hang in and win close games, propelled the Twins in first place, 1.5 games ahead of the White Sox. Furthermore, the last 2 sweeps gave the Twins a nice divisional record. If the team continues in this pace, it will be a shoo-in to win the Division, esp. with Detroit and Cleveland underperforming. Today all the Twins' rivals, except Cleveland, are playing and the Twins are in a position to increase their lead.

  • The next series of games is in Chicago tomorrow (3 games) at a time where the White Sox manager publicly lashes against the Chicago fans and media. Not a good move biting the hand that feeds you. And apparently having blow up sex toy dolls in the Chicago clubhouse did not exorcise their demons. However, profanity and sex toys aside, that was probably not the most inane move by an AL Central manager today: Leyland cut Jacque Jones, replacing him in the field with Gary Sheffield and in the roster with Matt Joyce, with a whole 28 AAA games experience being the highest level of pro baseball experience, and incidentally starting at RF today against Boston. In several places and timepoints before the season, I expressed my opinion that Detroit was a flawed team, mainly because of pitching and fielding deficiencies. Now they have proven that they simply are a bad team...

  • Not to be outdone, the Indians joined the AL central peanut gallery announcing later today that they will cut Michaels. In an unrelated note from Left field, but of potential interest to the Twins, for some reason it seems that Andy LaRoche has slipped way down the 3B depth chart for the Dodgers. He is a player who could potentially solve the 3B issue for the Twins. His value is probably at his lowest point right now, I wonder what would it take for the Twins to pluck him from the Dodgers...


Twins MVP: Nathan

Looking back into the preseason projections

30 games into the season, I want to have a look back into my preseason predictions and see how close I am so far:


AL CENTRAL: Twins 89-73

Check. They are on first place and on a pace to be 87-75, which is more than pretty close

There will be 4 players with more than 20 HR (Monreau - more than 30, Young, Kubel, Cuddyer). There will be an additional 4 players with more than 10 HR (Harris, Lamb, Monroe, Mauer) with Gomez maybe making the cut, potentially making Everett the only starter with less than 10 HR

This is not very close. Mornoe projects for 32 (check), Kubel projects for 23 (check), Harris and Monroe project for more than 10 (check, check) and everything else is not working. Of course it could change pretty quickly

Gomez will break Knoblauch's Twins single season SB record (62, 1997) and challenge Clyde Milan's franchise record (88, Senators 1912)

Check. Projects for 79

Nathan will break Guardado's single season saves record (45, 2002)

Check. Projects for 57

One of the Twin's pitchers will have better record than Santana

Check. Hernandez 4-1; Santana 3-2

Another one of the Twin's pitchers will have better record and ERA than any of the names discussed in the Santana trade (Hughes, Lester, Kennedy)

Check:

Hughes 0-4; 9.00
Kennedy 0-2; 8.37
Lester 2-2; 3.94

Blackburn 2-1; 3.52


Gomez will score more runs than either Melky Carbera or Ellsbury

half check

RS: Gomez 17; Cabrera 16; Ellsbury 25

The Outfield will have more than 50 assists (had 32 last year)

Check: 10 so far after 30 games, projecting to 54

Harris will have fewer errors than Bartlett this year

Tie

Es: Harris 4, Bartlett 4.

D. Young will have more RBI than Torii Hunter

Not yet

RBI: Young 9, Hunter 20