Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Nightly Notes: Game #9

I took a couple of days off due to time constraints (those Down on the Farm reports can take time to put together), but I figured that a 12-run outburst deserved a nightly notes post if anything did. Incidentally, if you're looking for the Ft. Myers Miracle DOTF report, it's immediately below this post. Now for the notes:

1.) Let me just mention up front that I really don't like listening to Hawk Harrelson, the White Sox prime TV guy (he's the "you can put it on the board -- YES!" guy, for those of you not in the know). However, I have to admit one thing: more than I can ever recall in the past, Harrelson has absolutely gone out of his way to say nice things about the Twins players and organization. It's hard to hate a guy who is being so nice! I still get annoyed by his signature calls (the aforementioned homerun call and his equally annoying "he gone," uttered when an opposing player strikes out), but I'm going to stop saying mean things about the Sox announce team -- for now.

2.) Scott Baker needed 88 pitches to get through 5 innings of work and gave up those three solo dingers, but even though this won't go down as a quality start I'm not complaining. Baker allowed just 5 hits and a walk in his five innings while striking out 7 batters, and the bottom line is that he let just three runs score. That's not great by any means, but it's perfectly serviceable, and would have given the Twins a chance to win even if they hadn't scored 12 runs. It's nice to see him get the win to move to 2-0 on the season.

3.) In case you didn't check the box score, Brian Bass got a save for his four-inning performance in which he allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on three hits. As with Baker, Bass's performance wasn't great but did the job -- and honestly, this is exactly the sort of situation that Bass is on the roster for. He rattled off the meaningless innings that the team doesn't want to waste its better, more established relievers on. I certainly can't complain about his job tonight.

4.) It sounds like the Twins pitching situation is in flux right now, as the Twins wait to see whether they get a rainout tomorrow. If they play, the Twins are expected to put Kevin Slowey on the DL (retroactive to April 4) and call up someone to start Sunday's game -- and it seems likely that that someone would be Francisco Liriano (more on that in a second). If they get rained out, the Twins would still need a starter for Tuesday -- but it remains to be seen whether Slowey would be recovered in time to make that start or if they'd still put him on the DL (I'm guessing the latter). We should know fairly soon what's going on, but for now there are just too many moving parts to nail it down.

5.) Now, onto that Liriano story -- to activate him or not to activate him? Honestly, despite his unimpressive minor league performances, I believe Ron Gardenhire and Stan Cliburn when they say that Liriano is fine physically. If that's true, then he might as well get back to the big leagues and readjust to big league hitters. Could he benefit from staying in AAA for awhile? Maybe -- but I'm not completely convinced of that. He's already throwing all of his pitches, including the slider. He's throwing a 91-94 MPH fastball. He's not in the minors to continue learning how to pitch. Why keep him there if he's physically ready to go? I don't think there's a wrong answer here, and I won't be upset if he's kept in Rochester for awhile, but I'm pretty sure that if I was making the decision I would activate him.

6.) Do I have to apologize to Brendan Harris? After going 3-4 today, he now is hitting .348 on the year, and he hasn't been terrible defensively (although he did make two errors today, which shouldn't be ignored). Certainly, it's nice to see offensive production out of that position, and Nick Punto almost certainly wouldn't give the team that. I do feel a bit bad for Matt Tolbert, though, who won't be playing much at 2B if Harris continues to hit.

7.) Of course, Tolbert could end up playing at SS if Adam Everett keep up his woeful .095 clip. A reader commented a few days ago that Everett and not Harris should be more worried about Tolbert's strong play early, and I kind of dismissed the comment -- but I have to admit that maybe there's something to it. Everett is a veteran, though, and while he's not going to hit all that well, we have to expect that he'll improve a bit -- right? Maybe? Is it wrong to dream?

8.) I hear Carlos Gomez made a great catch today. Sadly, I was driving home and haven't seen a replay yet. Not really surprising, though, is it? Dude's awfully fast, and speed gets you in a position to make spectacular catches, right? Still, it's encouraging to actually see it happen, rather than just speculating that it should happen.

9.) Grand Slams are fun -- frankly, though, I can't believe that Jason Kubel has three of them in his career. At least, that's the stat that the White Sox folks put on the board when he drilled it -- anyone know if that's right? I'm too lazy to look it up right now . . .

10.) I'm going to end tonight by mentioning the Matt Garza-to-the-DL situation that has made for an interesting day. Garza seems to have suggested to the media that he felt something in his arm as early as last year, but that he didn't say anything to anybody. Ron Gardenhire seemed a bit defensive when talking about this (probably worrying that someone in the Rays organization might think the Twins pawned off damaged goods to the team). That's extremely unlikely, however. If the Twins knew about it, first off, then they should have been up front about it -- and I have to say that I would be surprised (and extremely disappointed) if Bill Smith tried to pull a fast one on another team with something like that. It's just not realistic that something like that could have happened here, though. First, why would Matt Garza tell the Twins but not tell the Rays? Also, if there was anything significantly wrong, why didn't the physical that you know Garza was put through detect it? Nobody has been accused of wrong-doing here (except maybe for Garza for possibly not being upfront with the Twins about some non-medically detectable pain), but I thought I should at least point out that the Twins almost certainly weren't being devious when making the swap with the Rays. Now, let's hope that Garza gets well soon -- I don't want to see a talented guy like him shut down with arm trouble before his career really even gets a chance to get started.



  • At Thu Apr 10, 12:26:00 AM , Blogger neckrolls said...

    John and Dan confirmed that it was Kubel's 3rd Granny. I thought it was interesting that his last was also vs. the Sox, in Chicago, in support of Scott Baker. Baker is 2-0 in his last 2 starts in US Cellular, despite giving up 10 ER in 10 IP. Amazing what 32 combined runs of support will do for a pitcher's record!

    Considering how hot the Sox hitters are right now, I think Baker did very well. I hope the rains will keep Livan from facing them tomorrow - I don't like his chances against a lineup that works deep counts.

  • At Fri Apr 11, 09:52:00 PM , Blogger JS said...

    Grands slams ARE fun, but there's just something about a triple...


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