Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Nightly Notes: Game #47

It's sort of frustrating when momentum turns and it feels like you're going to win a ballgame that you by all rights should lose, only to see the momentum switch back again and deny you the unexpected victory. That's exactly what happened to the Twins today, and it's frustrating. You can't really blame the bullpen, though -- this was mostly on Livan. Here are some notes:

1.) As Joe C. reported this morning, Adam Everett is heading back to the disabled list with a right shoulder strain. In his place the Twins are calling up Matt Macri, who you may recall was acquired from the Colorado Rockies last August in exchange for Ramon Ortiz. To think that the Twins were able to spin Ortiz not just into a player that they felt comfortable adding to the 40-man roster, but someone who is actually going to make it to the big leagues, is rather remarkable.

The Twins didn't have a lot of other choices that were desirable. I've been advocating for Brian Buscher to get called back up, but with both Nick Punto and Matt Tolbert out, that wouldn't really work -- the Twins would have only Alexi Casilla and Brendan Harris to legitimately play in the middle infield, and that's just not feasible. Chris Basak could have been added to the roster can called up, but he's more roster filler than a guy with a legit shot at being used in the big leagues. Same for Sergio Santos. A lot of people were pushing for either Luke Hughes or Trevor Plouffe to be called up from AA, and there was even some breathless speculation that since Plouffe wasn't in the Rock Cats lineup today and Hughes was, Plouffe was getting the call. As it turns out, sometimes a day off is just a day off. While I think Hughes deserves a promotion to AAA and Plouffe is having a very nice offensive season, I didn't want to see either of them in the big leagues right now, because the jump from AA to AAA just seems to be too much. Adding in the fact that Macri was already on the 40-man roster, and his callup was pretty much inevitable.

I look forward to seeing Macri make his big league debut, and am very interested to see what kinds of lineups Gardy puts together over the next 10 days or so while Nick Punto gets healthy.

2.) Ten hits and two walks in 5.1 innings for Livan today. That's much worse even than 2007 Livan! I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this -- as has already been established, Livan will have days like this. We just have to deal with it, and at least the lineup was able to bail him out by tying the game up late.

3.) Matt Guerrier wasn't very good today, giving up 2 hits and 3 walks in 1.2 innings. I'm also not going to belabor this point, but Guerrier really needs to step up. With Juan Rincon firmly out of contention for a role of any importance and no one else really stepping up (well, except for Bobby Korecky!), the Twins need Guerrier to take on a leadership role. On the plus side, the Twins got a good inning of work out of Jesse Crain, who needed just 11 pitches to get through the 8th. Maybe he'll be able to settle into a groove. Someone, anyone, has to step up and start acting like a setup man.

4.) Carlos Gomez is good. I remember prior to the Santana trade I said that the Twins needed to acquire a center fielder who could immediately step in and make a difference. The only way they could get a player like that was to trade Johan, and that's one of the reasons I was strongly in favor of a trade. I really, really doubted whether Carlos Gomez could fill that role and immediately make an impact for this team, but nearly two months into the season I don't think there's any question that he's been a huge catalyst for this team and is one of the biggest reasons (along with Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau) that this team is hovering around .500. What I really appreciate is that, while Gomez still occasionally looks very raw, he's improved dramatically since the start of the season. It seems (although the sample size is small) that he's learning quickly and well. I'm incredibly excited about his future.

5.) With Alexi Casilla once again playing regularly at 2B is whether or not he'll end up staying there or whether this is a short-term thing until Nick Punto gets back. I know the Twins like him at shortstop, but I wonder whether or not his ticket to staying in the big leagues might not still be at second base. We'll see whether he keeps playing reasonably well -- if he can't keep the batting average above .250 (and it's at .278 now, so all is good for the moment), then it won't be a question the team needs to worry about. If he plays well, though, mightn't he be left in place as the Twins starting second baseman?

6.) Cuddyer needed a good game, and he responded with a 2-for-4 performance and a couple of walks. It's a nice start, but he has a lot of work to do if he's going to dig himself out of the giant hole he's in with his batting average.

7.) Anybody else feel heartbroken after the Lakers comeback last night? I don't particularly like the Spurs, but I've never liked the Lakers and I want so badly for them to not make it to the NBA Finals. I actually (somewhat surprisingly) find myself rooting for the Celtics overall this year -- I say surprisingly because the city of Boston has had way too much sporting success over the last five years or so, and yet here I am rooting for the Celtics. I guess I'd just like to see KG get a ring. I have to admit, incidentally, that a Lakers-Celtics finals would be awfully interesting -- so long as Boston won.

8.) Go Pens! Also, who in the NHL was responsible for scheduling the finals directly against the NBA's Eastern Conference finals? I heard Tirico and Van Pelt talking about this either yesterday or the day before on ESPN Radio, and they too were incredulous. You would think something could have been moved around when it became clear that two Detroit teams were going to be involved in this thing.

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