Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Nightly Notes: Game #89

The Twins got off to a phenomenal start in the second half, beating the A's 6-2 tonight to (hopefully) set the tone for what's to come. I was at a movie with some friends (good chance you can guess which one), so I didn't get to watch the game. That's not going to stop me from putting together some notes -- and here they are:

1.) Oh, Scott Baker, what to make of you!? Tonight's performance wasn't great, by any means -- I rag on Boof Bonser quite regularly for needing 100 pitches to get through 6 innings -- but it really wasn't bad at all. Two runs, 5 hits, a walk, 3 K's and 6 innings of work will usually be good enough. With the Twins bullpen, if the starter can go 6 and give up, say, 3 or fewer runs, I'm not going to complain. Considering how things ended for Baker in the first half, this was a great step back in the right direction. The last thing the Twins need right now is to start having to figure out who is going to be slotted in to start -- they need the current five guys to step up and keep their jobs.

2.) One walk and nothing else in three innings of work for the bullpen. We've come to expect that this season out of Matt Guerrier and Joe Nathan, but not so much out of Dennys Reyes -- as I pointed out last week, however, Reyes has been great since coming back from his injury. May I suggest that this is the real (new-ish) Reyes, and that his early season struggles were pretty much a result of his injuries? He certainly could still explode, but if he continues to perform and his ERA starts to drop again, he'll have proven himself.

3.) Garrett Jones had a nice return to the lineup, going 2-for-4 with a run scored to raise his season batting average to .250 -- safe to say that's going to get him more playing time. He did leave 2 runners on, but so did many of the other Twins (and Kubel left FIVE guys on base tonight), so can't complain too much about that.

4.) Michael Cuddyer goes 4-for-4 to start the second half -- way to go! The Twins really need him to step up, because the offense cannot work without him contributing.

5.) Interesting note today that Twins Territory pointed out to me: the Twins placed Alex Smit on waivers to remove him from the 40-man roster, and Smit was then claimed by the Cincinnati Reds. Smit was added to the roster in November, and was assigned to Ft. Myers to start the season. To put it kindly, he was downright bad in Ft. Myers, going 1-4 with a 5.86 ERA in 50.2 innings. Frankly, it baffled me when the Twins added him to the roster, because it meant he had three years to climb three levels in the organization, and he had shown no signs of being able to do that. The mere fact that he's left-handed shouldn't have been enough to get him a roster spot, but it appears that it did. Now, Smit is the Reds problem (leave it to Wayne Krivsky to take a Twins cast-off -- I'm kind of surprised he didn't claim J.D. Durbin back at the end of spring). TT wondered whether or not this is a precursor to a bigger move, with the Twins clearing roster space. At this point, I don't know the answer to that question -- but if I had to guess, I would say that it may be good news for Matt Tolbert, who is not on the roster. I've been pushing for Tolbert to replace Luis Rodriguez on the roster for some time now (despite his recent struggles at the plate), and maybe this move will clear the way for that to happen. It's certainly possible that the Twins waived Smit without an ulterior motive, but I'd be awfully surprised if that were the case. Expect something to happen in the next few days.



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