Thursday, May 1, 2008

Minnesota Twins

Over the next few days i am going to break down the month of the teams with different categories and letter grades and the pitcher and hitter of the month and im going to start with the Twins.

Starting Pitching: The Twins starting pitching has been a pleasant surprise this year compiling a 4.41 starters ERA led by rookie Nick Blackburn who had a 3.52 era followed by Boof Bonser at 3.75, then Scott Baker at 4.50 and then Livan Hernandez at 5.04. If you take away the bad 4 starts that Francisco Liriano and Kevin Slowey made it would be alot lower. Grade: B

Relief Pitching: The Twins relief pitching has had its up and downs most notably the 2 games in Detroit that we let get away. Dennys Reyes has been really good this year and Pat Neshek has come back after a couple bad outings to put up solid numbers. Jesse Crain has been solid and the important thing is he has got his velocity back. Joe Nathan has been awesome at the end just like you expected.

Grade: B-

Hitting: The good thing is they have hit good for average and the bad thing is they have only hit 14 Hr's on the year. Justin Mourneau has been what you expected hitting 6 hr and driving in 22 to be among the league leaders. Carlos Gomez has been the sparkplug we expected and Joe Mauer has been good as usual. Because of the lack of power we have not scored as many runs only scoring 3.8 runs a game which makes it harder on the pitching. Grade:D+

Fielding: The Twins have been really good defensively being in league leaders in fewest errors. Our outfield defense has been superb led by Carlos Gomez running down everything in sight and good arms all over the outfield. As long as Gardy is the manager the Twins will always emphasize defense so it will be always good. Grade:A-

Baserunning: This is the strength of the team as their is speed at pretty much every position on the team. Led by Carlos Gomez who had 11 stolen bases and Delmon Young's 6 the Twins have 27 stoled bases so far and its a real weapon for the team. Grade:A

Overall: The Twins had a decent month going 13-14 and doing alot of good things and the big thing is they didn't get blown away out of the gate. The Twins need to hit better if they want to contend all year round. The pitching will keep us in most games but the hitters are going to have to pick it up if the Twins want to be contending come August.

Grade: C

Pitcher of the Month: Nick Blackburn- Nick has been a big surprise for the Twins going 2-1 and a 3.52ERA in 6starts. I was not big on him going into the season but he has really impressed me this year pinpointed his fastball and placing his curveball and slider. The only thing that concerns me is he doesn't strike out alot of batters striking out only 19 batters in 38 innings. You would like him to miss some bats because it makes it so much harder on his defense everyone has to be perfect to get hitters out, but im knitpicking Nick has had a good month and if he can continue it he will be with the Twins for a long time.

Hitter of the Month: Justin Mourneau- Justin has done what we all expected him to do after signing his new 80million 6 year deal and he has delivered. Justin hit .268 with 6hr's and 22 rbi's with a .495 slugging percentage and a .840 OPS. The only thing that i can find wrong is his average is a little low and that is probably because he has been swinging at some bad pitches, but all in all it was a good month for Justin and i expect that can of production every month for the Twins.

Thursday, May 1st

Twins Talk

Minnesota 4 Chicago 3

Minnesota 13-14 1.5 games back

  • POG:Carlos Gomez- Its pretty obvious when Carlos has a good game the Twins are hard to beat thats why they keep running him out there. You just wish he was a little more consistant but yesterday was a good day. Carlos went 3-4 with an rbi,2runs scored and a stolen base to raise his total to 11 on the year. Carlos' 3 hits brought his season average to .265 after the first month. I have been a big Gomez supporter all year and watching that Texas series you can tell the difference when he is not in the lineup. I counted 3 or 4 balls that Gomez would of caught that fell in and 3 runs in the 2 games that would not of scored had he been in. So I think people need to just be patient with him because he brings so much to the plate that he is worth the down things about him like the strikeouts and lack of walks.

  • Nick Blackburn said after the game that he didn't have his good stuff and if thats the case thats a good sign because I thought he pitched pretty good. Nick pitched 7 innings and only gave up 8 hits and 3 runs against that offense to lower his ERA to 3.52 on the season.

  • The Twins bullpen blew away Chicago in 2 innings they gave up 1 hit and struck 4 batters to get the win. I know they have had a couple bad games but i think our bullpen has come around and is a strength once again.

  • The Twins have today off and begin a series with Detroit Friday night at the Metrodome.

Rochester Wrap

Pawtucket 4 Rochester 2

Rochester 13-14 5.0 games back

  • POG:Jason Pridie- Jason continued his resurgence going 2-4 bringing his team high average to .311 on the season. Jason has been one of the most consistant hitters for the Red Wings this season and it probably won't be too long before Jason trades his Red Wings uniform for a Twins one if he keeps it up.

  • Francisco Liriano continued his struggles with finding the plate walking 5 in only 4.1 innings of work. He keeps making baby steps so i am not worried about him YET, but eventually you would like to see some improvement. Its not that he got hit, which he did, giving up 4 runs on 5 hits. The problem is he keeps getting behind 2-0 and 3-1 counts which makes him throw a cookie and hope they dont hit it. I think he will be fine but you should keep an eye on him.

  • The Red Wings bullpen continued to succeed going 4.2 innings and only giving up 4 hits and no runs to keep the Red Wings in the game.

  • Tonight, the Red Wings begin a series in Toledo with the Mud Hens in Toledo. Gametime is at 5:30pm with Kevin Slowey making a rehab start for the Red Wings.

New Britain Business

New Britain 11 Binghamton 2

New Britain 12-12 5.0 games back

  • POG:Steve Tolleson- Steve needed a game like this going 4-5 with 2rbi's and 2 runs scored to pace the Rock Cats. With the 4 hits it raised Steve's average to .257 on the young season. Steve has struggled through most of the first month and he's too good of a hitter to be hitting as low as he has been so hopefully its the beginning of something good.

  • Yohan Pino got his first win of the year going 5 innings and only giving up 2 runs on 7 hits to get the win. Yohan has been the surprise for the Rock Cats staff in 25 innings so far this season and only given up 5 runs for a 1.80ERA.

  • Luke Hughes continues his awesome month going 2-5 with 3 rbi's and 2 runs scored to bring his team high average to .354 and bringing his rbi's up to 18 on the season. Luke has been awesome and won't be in New Britain much longer if he keeps it up.

  • Tonight, the Rock Cats finish their series with Binghamton and go for the sweep. Gametime is at 5:35 with Ryan Mullins getting the start for the Rock Cats.

Fort Myers Musings

Fort Myers 4 Clearwater 2

Fort Myers 15-11 First Place

  • POG:Cole Devries- Cole had a strong outing going 5.2 innings and only giving up 2 runs on 7 hits for the Miracle. It was his 2nd win of the year and probably his best start of the year to lower his ERA to 5.08. Nobody will deny that Cole has underperfomed this season, but it was a start that gives everyone hope that Cole can turn it around and become the pitcher the Twins organization thinks he can become.
  • Wilson Ramos had a good game with a 3 run triple in the bottom of the 1st inning to give the Miracle all the runs that they would need to get the win. With the 3rbi's it gave him 13 rbi's for the season. Wilson has had a slow start with only a .211 batting average, but if he can keep the run production up it gives you hope that he can turn it around.
  • Anthony Slama was electric once again going the last 2 innings to pick up his 4th save of the season and striking out 4 batters to bring his season total to 19 on the season. He is the most dominant reliever in the Twins minor league system if you ask me and hopefully he can keep it coming.
  • Tonight, the Miracle continue their series with Clearwater in Fort Myers. Gametime is at 6:05 with Jeff Manship getting the start for the Miracle.

Beloit Beat

Beloit 4 South Bend 2

Beloit 10-16 9.5 games back

  • POG:Ben Revere- Ben went 2-4 and drove in 2 runs to spark the Snappers attack on the game. He also stole his first base of the year in the win. In 3 games Ben is hitting .364 and has shown good discipline at the plate and when his pitch comes up he hasn't missed it so far. Its a long season but the Twins have to be encouraged how he has adjusted so far and it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to his first slump, my guess is he will be just fine and is someone to watch.
  • Another bright spot was the Pitching performance of rookie Santiago Arias who went 6 shutout innings and only giving up 2 hits while striking out 5 batters. It will be interesting how he does when scouting reports come out, but honestly it was a pretty impressive start for the Snappers.
  • Chris Parmalee went 1-3 on the day as he struggles to come out of a 2-32 slump that has seen his average dip from .365 to .222.
  • Tonight, the Snappers begin a series with the Dodgers in Great Lakes. Gametime is at 6:05 with David Bromberg getting the start for Beloit.