Spring Training Report: Game Five
Actually wasn't that bad of a game today - the pitching was, on the whole, not too shabby. Unfortunately, we're still waiting for the bats to wake up from hibernation. On to the notes:
1.) Johan Santana and Juan Rincon both made their spring debuts. Santana struggled mightily in the first inning with his control, but he was better in the second inning (despite giving up a run). Of course, no one in the organization cares about HOW Santana pitches in the spring - they just want him to get his work in and not get hurt. Mission Accomplished today. Rincon looked sharp, needing just 11 pitches to get through the 8th inning.
2.) Scott Baker was terrible again today, although in fairness he had a solid, 14 pitch second-inning of work (the 4th inning of the game). His first inning, however, was atrocious - 6 hits and a walk, resulting in 5 runs. Compare that to Jeremy Cummings, who who allowed just 1 hit in his 2 innings of work (a second consecutive nice outing from him), and you see why Baker is fading from the fifth starter competition. By no means is he actually out of the race yet, but with so many guys ahead of him, it would take an outstanding remainder of the spring to get him on the team.
3.) Mike Venafro pitched a solid 9th inning to maintain his position as the leading candidate for the 7th spot in the bullpen. I think he and Choate are neck-and-neck, but Venafro is still, in my mind, just slightly ahead. Of course, working the 9th inning of an early spring game isn't quite as tough as working the 2nd inning, as Choate did yesterday. Still, a nice outing for Venafro today.
4.) Just when I said that the Twins were afraid of using Matt LeCroy at 1B . . . they did just that. LeCroy came into the game in the 5th inning as a defensive replacement for Justin Morneau, and actually did alright today, getting a sharp basehit in his first at bat. Maybe I've been too hard on him early on - he's a good clubhouse guy, he gives the Twins the emergency 3rd catcher that Gardy insists he wants, he can backup at 1B or DH - but I still don't think he'll make the team.
5.) Nice to see Michael Cuddyer's homerun, but once again most of the bats were silent yet again today. Nice to see Jason Bartlett reach base all three times he was up, though. Also nice to see Denard Span stroke a solid single in the 5th. Once again, though, the Twins only picked up 5 hits on the day. Extra BP would seem to be in order.
6.) No TV or Radio options for me tomorrow to catch the Twins @ Tampa Bay game OR the possibly more important "B" game against the Red Sox. I'll nevertheless do my best to post a recap with some notes (although it's highly likely to be shorter than normal).
Today's Big Winner: Jeremy Cummings (could we be seeing the start of a run at a roster spot?)
Runner-Up: Michael Cuddyer (Homeruns are cool)
Today's Big Loser: Scott Baker (Yipes!)
Runner-Up: Garrett Jones (slim pickin's for this spot - I'll give it to Jones for his bad baserunning blunder at the end of the game)