Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Nightly Notes - Game #4

Well, well, well. It had to happen sometime, that horrible first loss of the season. The thing is, in baseball you pretty much know you're going to lose. A lot. That doesn't mean you have to like it -- just that you have to take it. Because of the ludicrous Saturday afternoon blackout rules (I was at the mercy of the local Fox affiliate), I wasn't able to watch the game. Instead, I followed along on ESPN GameCast, which seemed unable to decide whether it was Rondell White or Jason Tyner in left field for the Twins. That is, of course, an easy mistake, since they look so much alike . . . Anyway, here are today's notes:

1.) If you had said that the Twins would lose a ballgame in which Carlos Silva went 5 innings and allowed just 1 run, I would have pretty much though you were nuts. After all, it was Javier Vazquez on the mound for the White Sox! Besides, based on the the moaning about Silva making the team out of spring training, the idea of Silva going 5 innings while allowing just one run was pure fantasy, right? Right!?! Well, turns out, not so much. I don't know how much credit to give Silva, though -- the weather had to be brutal, and the hitters just didn't seem to have much in the arsenal. His first inning (33 pitches) was pretty rough too (I bet the atmosphere at the blogger/fan convention was downright stifling during that inning), but you have to admit that he buckled down and did his job. The real test will be his next outing, when he'll be pitching in a less freakish environment (and I'm only partly talking about Chicago -- moreso I mean the weather).

2.) There will be times when guys just don't get it done, but when you have runners on 1st and 2nd with nobody out and are trailing by just 1 run, you absolutely have to find a way to plate the lead runner. Grounding into a double play (that would be Mr. Torii Hunter) is simply not ok, especially when you hit the ball to the left side. I'm not sure what he was going for there, but it really didn't seem to be the right approach to the at-bat. I'm not sure whether I would have wanted this or not, but I was playing around with the question of whether Torii should have laid down a sac bunt. I don't know if he's a good enough bunter for that or not, but in that situation, a well-placed bunt would get runners at 2nd and 3rd with 1 out -- and Jason Kubel, a guy who can hit the ball in the air to the outfield, would be coming up. The worst result would be a double play, which is what happened anyway. Just a thought.

3.) I'm curious -- for those of you who actually saw the game, did you think that Vazquez pitched that well, or did the Twins hitters just not have it? There seemed to be an awful lot of strikeouts.

4.) In case you weren't paying attention to the Red Wings game (yes, they were actually able to play today), there were two notable occurrences: first, Matt Garza made it through just 3.1 innings (he was on a strict pitch count, I'm sure, and threw 74 today), but notably he gave up 5 walks in that span; second, Mike Venafro was terrible today, going 2 innings and giving up 5 earned runs on 6 hits. Conclusions: Garza was just a little wild, so I don't think you can draw any, but I think it's reasonable to say that Venafro, while still deserving of being thought of as a very good pitcher who the Twins are lucky to still have in the organization, is not quite the dominant pitcher that his spring stats were showing him to be. Remember, although he didn't allow any runs this spring, he did allow a fair number of baserunners. That may explain why he didn't leave the Twins -- maybe the major league offers were underwhelming because big league execs were looking beyond the gaudy 0.00 ERA.

5.) Johan Santana v. John Danks tomorrow. This really shouldn't be close -- but those are the games that scare me the most.



  • At Sun Apr 08, 04:15:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    If you judged Santana by his first outing this year...

  • At Sun Apr 08, 04:27:00 PM , Blogger JST said...

    I'm not sure I get the point of your comment, but I agree with the obvious sentiment -- it's never a good idea to judge anyone's performance by the first time out. In fact, I think it's folly to make major decisions based on anything less than a month of action. If you got a different impression from something I wrote in the article, that certainly wasn't intended.


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