Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Spring Training Report: Game Thirty

The Twins offense ignited tonight, and they picked up a nice 10-2 victory of the Cincinnati Reds. Here are tonight's notes:

1.) I doubt that it's going to hush many of the protesting voices, but Carlos Silva had a great outing today as he finished up his spring, going 5 scoreless innings and allowing just 2 hits while striking out 2. He also got 9 groundball outs to 4 fly ball outs, which indicates that his sinker was working pretty effectively. I'm most definitely NOT saying that this one performance should make everybody forget the rest of the spring, in which Silva was terrible. What I AM saying is that perhaps we should cut the Twins a little bit of slack and see if Rick Anderson (who has been saying that Silva looks great in bullpen sessions, and just isn't translating that into his performances in games) is actually right. The Twins deserve the benefit of the doubt on this, and can fix the problem quickly if/when Silva struggles during the season. I'm also just going to throw this out there -- is it possible that by sending down Garza before Silva made his last start, thus guaranteeing Silva a roster spot, calmed Silva down enough to perform effectively tonight? I have no idea, and I take no position on whether having a pitcher whose performance is so largely determined by mental state would be a good thing or a bad thing. Instead, I just leave it as something to ponder, or to discuss in the comments.

2.) Jesse Crain gave up a monster 2 run homerun tonight, but other than that the relievers looked solid and ready to go. That's especially welcome with Pat Neshek, who was great early in the spring before struggling a bit the last few times out. He walked a guy today, but didn't allow a hit and picked up a strikeout. In other words, he's fine. Joe Nathan was his usual sterling self, and if he doesn't pitch again this spring then he'll wrap up his spring with a 0.00 ERA.

3.) Luis Castillo must have gotten sick of seeing his batting average falling, so he put up a 2-for-3 night tonight to up his batting average to a sick .444. Michael Cuddyer (2-for-5; .364) and Rondell White (2-for-3; .312) also bumped up the averages in today's game.

4.) Chris Heintz made the team today, but didn't play. Josh Rabe got cut, and played anyway -- he went 1-for-1 with a run scored in a pinch hit appearance. Funny how spring training works. Incidentally, if you've been reading that Rabe was optioned to AAA, that's not the case; Rabe is not on the 40-man roster, and was in fact reassigned to minor league camp. He'll officially be joining the Red Wings after minor league camp ends. Had he in fact been optioned, he wouldn't have been eligible to play in any more Grapefruit League games this spring.

5.) A ton of minor leaguers got a chance to play in today's game, and some of them did very well. Jeff Manship pitched a perfect inning of relief, and my favorite sub-AAA player, Erik Lis, picked up a solid pinch hit 2 RBI single. Matt Tolbert (who pinch ran and walked in the game, and managed to score 2 runs), Matt Betsill, Eli Tintor, and Luke Hughes also got into the action. John Gordon and Dan Gladden suggested that the Twins will be taking NINE minor leaguers with them to tomorrow's game against the Pirates, and Matt Moses and David Winfree are expected to be included on the trip.

Today's Big Winner: Carlos Silva (Great boost for the old confidence level)
Runner-Up: Jeff Cirillo (2-for-3 with 2 RBI)

Today's Big Loser: Jesse Crain (Gave up the only 2 runs of the game on a mammoth HR)
Runner-Up: Justin Morneau (Only 0-for-3 on the team today)

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  • At Thu Mar 29, 08:49:00 PM , Anonymous the Dragon said...

    I think you have the Silva situation about right. We'll know soon enough what if anything it means.

    I think we fans get so invested in the performance of the team and/or certain players, that even though they get paid a lot of money, we seem to forget most of them are humans.

    Did you ever tighten up when the boss was looking over your shoulder, even if it's something you've done 1000 times before?

    I will still continue to believe that the WBC was the root cause of Silva's problems last year. He started off horribly, then went from good to bad, never getting into a groove.

    He would not be the first player to have a bad season and rebound. It will be interesting to see if he in fact rebounds.


  • At Thu Mar 29, 10:09:00 PM , Blogger JST said...

    Thanks for the comment --

    I wonder how much hate mail I would get if I said I'm actually excited to see Silva pitch in the regular season, to see how he'll do. If he's bad, we're that much closer to Garza or Perkins in the rotation. If he's good -- well, then we have another season of a good, happy Carlos.

  • At Fri Mar 30, 06:20:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Your reputation will probably not be enhanced due to my agreeing with you.

    I don't know if Silva will be good or not, and I would probably have a different take if I thought Garza, Perkins or Slowey were ready in Lirianoesque fashion.

    It's a very long season, and many excellent moves will not pan out, many other bonehead moves will turn out spectacularly. That is the serendipity that is baseball.

    I want Nathan in, in the 9th inning because it's likely a done deal, yet worry that my heart cannot stand those 18-22 pitch adventures he sometimes produces.

    It's like poker, the best player doesn't win every day, yet wins the most over time.

    What do I know? I'm just a fan...that's why they pay me the Big Bucks!



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