Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Nightly Notes: Game #70

I still can't quite believe I'm saying this, but the Twins just won their three game series with the Mets, in freakin' New York, nonetheless. Here are tonight's notes:

1.) Scott Baker knew that he was on the chopping block tonight. A poor performance would have almost certainly been the end of his Major League season, with Matt Garza knocking on the door. Despite the fact that he faced the most intense pressure of his young career, and despite the fact that he was pitching on the big stage of New York, Baker was very good tonight -- not great, by any means, but very good. The Twins obviously are lacking confidence in Baker right now, though, because despite having a 6-2 lead going into the 6th inning, and despite the fact that Baker had only 84 pitches thrown, Gardy decided to go with Dennys Reyes to start the 6th. I can't argue with the move -- the bullpen threw 4 shutout innings and allowed just 2 hits and a walk over that span -- but it does show where Baker is right now. And honestly, had they sent him out for the 6th only to see him melt down, this might be a very different note. As it is, Baker has clearly earned another shot. However, don't read too much into this -- he needs to figure out how to pitch well consistently. Obviously, he hasn't done that yet.

2.) So, about that bullpen . . . Dennys Reyes may have found his groove, Matt Guerrier continues to be great, Pat Neshek was mostly solid (1 hit and 1 walk allowed in 1 inning -- a so-so performance for him), and Joe Nathan had no problems shutting the Mets down in the ninth. It's a little sad that Juan Rincon is no longer in the end-of-the-game rotation (as Seth suggested yesterday), and I have to agree with him that it might be time to trade him and get back whatever people are willing to give.

3.) Luis Castillo's 0-fer is over, after he went 1-for-4 tonight with a walk and a run scored. Nick Punto, however, could not get his bat going, and went 0-for-4 to drop his batting average to .221 on the season. Don't read anything into Punto starting at SS instead of Jason Bartlett today, by the way -- Gardy just wanted to rest Bartlett's neck for two days in a row. Punto is in trouble, though, because Jeff Cirillo continued to play fairly well tonight (1-for-4 and decent defensive play), and it sure looks like he's found himself a regular starting job.

4.) After Mike Redmond got his RBI pinch-hit single, I wasn't paying a lot of attention, and happened to notice somebody swipe second. My immediate reaction was "oh my god, Mike Redmond just stole a base." Then, I noticed the body size was all wrong, and things made a lot more sense when I saw that it was, in fact, Jason Tyner. My world went a little fuzzy for a few seconds, though.

5.) Congrats to both Elizabethton and the GCL Twins for both winning their first games of the year. Elizabethton destroyed Kingsport 15-1 in the first game of a double-header (they're losing #2 as I write this), and the GCL Twins beat the GCL Pirates 5-3. Great way to start the season!

6.) The White Sox are in disarray, but the big story here for me is what Ozzie Guillen is doing. Sometimes, it makes sense to rag on a player to try to get him going -- but Ozzie has thrown his team under the bus. Granted, nobody is hitting a lick on that squad, but somehow I don't think that telling them all that they suck is going to motivate them to play better. I've never been an Ozzie fan (even when he's nice to the Twins), and while I like to see the White Sox suffer, I think they need to make a move in that department. For the record, I don't blame him for the White Sox poor performance -- I just think that his presence is an anti-catalyst, and in my opinion they have no chance of playing better with him in the dugout.



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