Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Friday, June 15, 2007

Nightly Notes: Game #65

Well, the mini-winning streak had to stop sometime, and tonight was a decent enough night for it to happen. The Indians and Yankees both lost, so the Twins didn't lose any ground to either -- although they did fall to 4.5 games behind the Tigers in the Wild Card race. Here are tonight's notes:

1.) I think it's certainly possible that tonight was the end of Scott Baker's Twins career. Since his first start of the year, against these very Brewers, he has pretty much been terrible -- his ERA is now at 7.33. Things actually started out pretty well for Baker, who pretty much cruised through three innings before giving up a Grand Slam to Geoff Jenkins. Two more runs came in in the fifth, and that was the end of the line for Baker. Unfortunately, the ability to put up three solid innings before self-destructing isn't going to cut it at the Major League level. It seems to me that the Twins can now say that they've given him a shot to claim a role in the rotation, and he has failed to do so. They've done their due diligence. I think a move is imminent -- although the Twins may decide to be patient and give him another start.

2.) Baker's struggles gave one man in particular an immediate opportunity to reclaim a starting spot with the team -- one Ramon Ortiz, who came in during the 5th to relieve Baker, and ended up going 4.1 innings to finish out the game. It's possible (although probably not likely) that had Ortiz been solid tonight, he would have found himself being moved back into the rotation for another shot. Instead, he, too struggled -- he gave up 5 runs in 4.1 innings and allowed 8 hits with just 1 K. That removes him from consideration to take Baker's spot in the bullpen, and may put his spot in the 'pen in danger as well.

3.) Of course, that leaves one obvious name as a possible replacement for Baker -- one Matt Garza. Garza has been solid if unspectacular in Rochester, and has at times been noticeably frustrated about still being in the minor leagues. I, for one, am pleased that Garza has had a few months of "seasoning" in the minors, and I think it's time to give him another shot. Baker deserved his chance, but that has not worked out. Ortiz is undeserving of another chance. Glen Perkins -- who I would give a shot to ahead of Garza -- is still hurt and is probably a couple of weeks away from being ready to return. That leaves Garza, and I'd be all in favor of making the move. I think there's a 75% chance that he makes the start in this spot the next time through the order. If so, let's hope he shows a balance of pitches and some more poise than he demonstrated during his last trip through the bigs. I'm excited about his (I think) imminent return to the bigs -- but I'm also a little nervous about how he'll do.

4.) Joe Mauer's troubles continue, as he went 0-for-4 again tonight and didn't seem very comfortable at the plate at all (at least in the at-bats I saw -- admittedly, I didn't catch the whole thing).

5.) Luis Rodriguez: 0-3 (.194 on the year); Nick Punto: 0-3 (.224 on the year). My faith in Punto is starting to wear a wee bit thin.

6.) I'm sad to hear that Josh Rabe is out for the year, and won't be ready to return until next spring. This does mean that the Twins can shift him to the 40-man roster if they need to add someone, which solves one potential problem.

7.) Could Rondell White be back soon-ish? He's starting to play a bit. His presence in the lineup could be a shot in the arm -- or, he could be another Lew Ford type. The Twins need him to hit at least .260 with some power when he comes back -- heck, those would seem like Hall of Fame numbers out of Left Field or DH at this point.



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