Monday, June 1, 2009

May Awards

I will once again be giving out the monthly player and pitcher of the month. I will do one a day until I get through all the teams. Today I am starting with the Twins.

  • Twins Pitcher of the month: Nick Blackburn- Nick Blackburn has been by far the most consistant pitcher for the Twins all season. After going 2-1 with a 4.02 era in April Blackburn improved that in May by going 3-1 and a very good 3.08 era in the month. In the Month of May Blackburn made 6 starts and pitched 38 innings which is 6.3 innings a start. He gave up 38 hits in the 38 innings, but that doesn't bother me because he pitches to contact and will always give up his share of hits. He walked 13 and struck out 21 during the month which is a very good ration because that is only 2.9 walks per 9 innings which is still very goood. He held hitters to a very modest .259 opponents batting average. Nick Blackburn is doing everything you can ask out of him and more by carrying the load when some of our other starters are not doing their job. The bottom line is if Blackburn can have the next 4 months like the first 2 he will have a very solid year and be one of the top pitchers for the Twins.

  • Also receiving consideration: Kevin Slowey, RA Dickey

  • Twins hitter of the month: Joe Mauer- This decision was not as easy as I thought it would be as Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer put up very good months as well. The bottom line though was Joe Mauer put up one of the greatest months in Minnesota Twins history and this month will be remembered as the month Joe Mauer took the next step in his greatness. Another reason Joe was selected was you need to remember he missed all of April and there were some who wondered if he would need time to get going. The answer to that was answered on his first at bat when he clubbed a homerun to left field. Take a look at these May stats and be prepared to be amazed. Joe hit .414 along with 7 doubles and a triple along with an astonishing 11 homeruns. You need to remember in 532 at bats last season Joe only hit 10 homeruns so to hit 11 in one month is amazing. Mauer also drove in 32 rbi's in the month of May which is a career high for most rbi's in a month. Joe walked a very impressive 19 times with only 16 strikeouts in 99 at bats. The stats that just blow me away though is his on base percentage which right now is an unbelievable .500 which means he gets on base 1 out of every 2 plate appearances which is crazy to even think about. His slugging is way up to as he is slugging at a crazy rate of .838 which would be number 1 in baseball if he had enough at bats. You don't even want to know what his OPS is because noone has ever had an ops as good as Mauer's was in the month of May as it was 1.338. Joe Mauer is amazing and he just seems to get better and better every month. In my opinion he is the best player in the game and that is why it is so important for the Twins to get him signed.

  • Also receiving consideration: Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel

Everyone what do you think of these two receiving the awards if anyone disagrees with my picks let me know or if you have anything to add let me know. You can email me at or leave a comment here at Travis Talks.

Monday, June, 1st

Twins Talk

Minnesota 3 Tampa Bay 2

  • The Twins pulled out a very gutty victory yesterday afternoon to salvage the last game against the Rays in St. Petersburg 3-2 over the Rays. The Twins kept fighting back against a very good pitcher in Matt Garza to pull out the victory. Nick Blackburn was the story of the game once again as he pitched 6 solid innings to pick up his 5th win of the year. In 6 innings Blackburn gave up just 2 solo homeruns to Carlos Pena and Matt Joyce, but other than that all he gave up was 5 other meaningless hits. With the 6 innings Blackburn lowered his era down to a very good 3.50 on the season. Blackburn has really kept it together for the Twins when they have needed him too. In his last 5 starts he has a 1.72 era and has been the solid pitcher the Twins have needed with the Baker's and Liriano's not doing their jobs. Baker and Liriano have a combined record of 4-13 on the year, but the Twins have stayed afloat because of Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowy who have a combined record of 12-3. Sean Henn came in relief and got a big out for the Twins. Matt Guerrier came in then and was a little shaky but got his 2 outs. He walked 2 but also struck out 2 hitters in the 4 batters he faced. Jose Mijeras came in and made an unbelievable catch on a popup that hit off the roof and richoceted. He gave up a sharp double to B.J. Upton to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with two outs, but thankfully got out of it. Joe Nathan then came on in the 9th and picked up his 9th save of the year.

  • Matt Garza was very sharp for the Rays and has had a very good year so you knew runs would be hard to come by and they were. Brendan Harris had a big hit as he hit his 3rd homerun of the year in the 2nd inning off of Garza. Mike Redmond also added 2 hits for his best game of the year at the plate. Many are wondering when Jose Morales is going to come back and the Twins are going to get rid of Redmond. Well folks that is not going to happen Mike Redmond is going to be Joe Mauer's backup the rest of the year. Granted I don't think he will be back next year, but the Twins will not release Mike Redmond no matter how he does out of respect for the man. Justin Morneau also added a big rbi single in the 6th inning to tie the score at 2. With that hit Morneau is now hitting a very good .346 on the season. With the rbi Morneau now has driven in 47 runs on the year which is 3rd best in the American League behind Evan Longoria and Jason Bay. Carlos Gomez drove in the winning run in the 7th inning with a bloop single that scored Brian Buscher from third base. With the hit Gomez is now hitting .220 on the year. Denard Span and Delmon Young also contributed hits in the win.
  • The Twins have a well deserved day off before they begin a short 3 game homestand against the Cleveland Indians starting tommorrow night.

Rochester Wrap

Lehigh Valley 5 Rochester 1

  • The Red Wings 2 game winning streak came to an end yesterday as they were handcuffed by Iron Pig pitching in a tough 5-1 defeat to Lehigh Valley. Kevin Mulvey got the start for the Red Wings and was good the first 5 innings only giving up a run, but his last 2 innings of work he gave up 4 runs to make it a not so good start. In all Mulvey went 7 innings and gave up 5 runs on 9 hits along with a walk and 6 strikeouts. With the 5 runs allowed his era ballooned to 4.08 on the season. Kevin Mulvey has been very good this season and I would not make to much out of this start because he is Rochester's best pitcher and I expect him to rebound next time out. Tim Lahey came in and finished the game for the Red Wings and did not give up a run. That is noteworthy because he hasn't pitched a clean inning since he came off the disabled list. For the Red Wings to catch Pawtucket and Durham for the Wild Card they need Tim Lahey to develop into the dependable reliever that he was last year.

  • The Red Wings offense was really handcuffed by good Lehigh Valley pitching as they were only able to muster 4 hits in the game. The only highlight offensively was out of David Winfree who connected on his 8th homerun of the year in the 8th inning to break up the shutout. On the season Winfree is hitting .267 with 8 homeruns and 24 rbi's. Which is better than I expected out of him coming into the season. You also have to take in account he is only 23 years old so he could spend a couple years at AAA and still be young enough to help the Twins. Steve Tolleson also contributed a hit in his 2nd game since being promoted to Rochester on Saturday. Tommy Watkins, and Dustin Martin also contributed a hit for the Redwings. For Martin it was his team leading 8th double of the year in the losing cause.
  • Tonight, the Redwings finish off their wrap around series with Lehigh Valley as Reid Santos gets the start for Rochester.

New Britain Business

New Britain 15 Binghamton 7

  • The Rockcats had one of their best days of the year with the bats as they banged out 19 hits along with a season high 15 runs in a big win over Binghamton yesterday by a score of 15-7. Offensively, the Rockcats were led by Whit Robbins who had a phenomenal day going 4-6 with 3 rbi's. On the year now Robbins is hitting a very good .329 and has driven in 25 runs on the year. I did not see Whit Robbins coming he was ok at Fort Myers, but not this good he is a typical Twins overacheiver that finds ways to get the job done. Brandon Roberts and Erik Lis also contributed 3 hits for the Rockcats. Roberts hit his 3rd homerun of the year and Lis drove in his 21st, 22nd, and 23rd runs of the year. Rene Tosoni continued his hot streak as he had 2 hits including his 8th homerun of the year and drove in 2 more runners to bring his total on the year to 30. Brian Dinkelman, Matt Moses, and Yancarlos Ortiz also contributed 2 hits in the huge Rockcat win.

  • Ryan Mullins had his rough spots in this outing, but he was able to make it through 6 innings and in a blowout like this getting through innings is the biggest thing a manager can ask for. In 6 innings Mullins gave up 5 runs on 7 hits along with 3 walks and 5 strikeouts. With the 5 runs allowed Mullins' era is now at 5.07 on the year. The Rockcats need to get back to better starting pitching as the starters have given up 5 runs in consecutive starts. Yohan Pino came in relief and was ok not great, but ok as he gave up 2 runs on 3 hits in 2 innings of work along with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. Zack Ward came in and finished the game and pitched his second consecutive clean inning. Yesterday he went 1 inning and gave up a hit, but no runs along with a strikeout. With the 0 runs allowed Ward's era is down to 6.93 on the season. I know its a small step, but the Rockcats need Ward to improve if they are going to make it to postseason play.
  • Tonight, the Rockcats begin a big series against first place Connecticut with Cole Devries getting the start for New Britain.

Fort Myers Minutes

Fort Myers 2 Brevand County 0

  • The Miracle continued their string of strong outings by their pitchers as they defeated fellow first place Brevand County for the second consecutive day 2-0 yesterday afternoon. Tyler Robertson was the story of the game as he pitched 6 shutout innings on only 3 hits along with no walks and 5 strikeouts. Tyler Robertson is a key going forward for the Miracle because if he starts pitching the way we all know he is capable of pitching then the Miracle will have a chance at a Florida State League Championship. After his 0 runs Tyler's era is down to a very good 3.91 on the season. Santos Arias then came in and pitched a clean 1.2 innings and gave up no runs on 2 hits in relief to lower his era to 2.38 on the year. Spencer Steedley then came in and pitched 2/3 of an inning on 1 hit to lower his era on the year to an unbelievable 0.76. Steedley belongs in AA and for the life of me I can not figure out why he is in Fort Myers, but he will be fine and he will make it to AA sometime this year. Blair Erickson came on and got the final 2 outs to pick up his sixth save of the year.

  • The Miracle offense did not get much going as well as they only were able to get 5 hits on the day. They were led once again by Ben Revere who had his 6th double of the year along with his 23rd rbi of the year. Jair Fernandez even got in the act as he had a hit and drove in his 7th run of the year. Rene Leveret also added his 7th double of the year and increased his average to a awesome .358 on the year. Evan Bigley and Nick Romero also contributed a hit in the Miracle's victory.
  • Tonight, the Miracle continue their series with Brevand County as Mike Mccardell gets the start for Fort Myers.

Beloit Beat

Kane County 11 Beloit 4

  • In a game that was alot closer than the score would indicate the Snappers dropped their 2nd straight to first place Kane County by a score of 11-4. Michael Harrington, Ramon Santana, and Angel Morales each hit homeruns to pace the Snappers attack. For Harrington it was his first homerun of the year and his 19th rbi. For Santana it was his 5th homerun and it drove in his 21st rbi in the losing cause. For Morales it was also his 5th homerun and his team leading 22nd rbi of the year. Jeff Lanning also contributed 2 hits to the cause, but it was not nearly enough for the Snappers.

  • Dan Berlind had a solid start for the Snappers, but the bullpen let the game get away. Berlind went 5.1 innings and gave up 4 earned runs on 6 hits along with 3 walks and 5 strikeouts. With the 4 runs allowed Berlind's era went up to 4.08 which is not great, but compared to the other starters on the team it is not bad at all. Joe Testa came in relief and was not good at all for the first time in quite a while. It didn't help that his defense did not help him out at all as the 3 runs he allowed 2 of them were unearned. Testa went 2 innings and gave up 1 earned run on 2 hits along with 3 strikeouts without a walk. Testa's era rose to still a very good 1.78. Matt Williams worked a clean 2/3 of an inning to keep the Snappers in the game only down 8-4. Curtis Leavitt finished the game and honestly he was terrible as his line would attest to. In 1 inning of work he gave up 3 runs on 5 hits along with 2 strikeouts without a walk. With the 3 runs allowed Leavitt's era rose to a crazy 11.12. Leavitt spent the first 7 weeks on the disabled list so it is going to take him time to get back in the groove for the Snappers, but I have no doubt he will get it going.
  • Today, the Snappers have a day off before they begin a 12 game road trip and start with a series in Peoria.