Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Nightly Notes: Game #100

FYI -- Part 3 of the Minor League First Half Grades is up in the post just below this one. I mention it only because I didn't post it that long ago, and I didn't want anyone who was interested to miss it.

Well, this certainly hasn't been a fun last-ever trip to New York, has it? What's disappointing to me is that I really felt coming into this series that the Twins had a chance to prove themselves against a weakened but still dangerous Yankees club -- and instead, they're looking like a team that's not capable of standing up with the big boys. I am in no way giving up on the Twins -- but they need to get right quickly. It's pretty close to crunch time. Here are a few notes:

1.) Live by the young starter, die by the young starter. I don't know if it was the Yankee Stadium mystique, or just run-of-the-mill poor starts, but Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey didn't help the club much over the last two days. More often than not, I think these guys are going to be fine. It's not time to panic, and it's not time to argue that one of them should be sent down to make room for Francisco Liriano (although if you want to keep arguing in favor of getting rid of Livan to make room for the Franchise, I'm game!).

2.) The Denard Span leadoff experiment looks like a success after the first game, with Span going 2-for-3 to raise his batting average to .341 on the year. I said before the break that I have no problem with this move, and today just confirmed that it's probably the right way to go. What will be interesting, though, is what happens if Michael Cuddyer comes back. If Span settles in as the leadoff hitter, it'll be a lot harder to keep him out of the lineup. That could mean that Span would get playing time at the expense of Gomez -- and it's hard to argue with putting the better player in the lineup on a given night. While I like Gomez over Span in the long term, in the short term it would be hard to argue that Gomez should start over Span if there was a numbers crunch. Assuming that Cuddyer heals at some point, this could be fascinating to watch.

3.) The Twins had 6 players in the starting lineup tonight with a season average over .300 (Span, Casilla, Mauer, Morneau, Buscher, Punto) and Delmon Young is hitting .297. That's a pretty remarkable figure, I think -- the Yankees lineup, in comparison, had just two guys hitting over .300 coming in. There's one reason the Twins are winning a lot of games despite not hitting a lot of homers!

4.) I'm a bit sad that the Twins will play their final game in Yankee Stadium tomorrow afternoon. I guess tonight's drubbing was my last chance to see my favorite team play in the most storied ballpark in baseball.

5.) Christian Guzman got an extension from the Nationals today that will pay him $16 million over two years. Good for him -- based on his play this year, he deserves it. My only question is whether this year's performance is the real, healthy Guzman -- or just an illusion. Guess the Nationals will find out.

6.) Kyle Lohse had another great performance tonight for the Cardinals, although he won't get the win. I heard someone suggest today that Lohse's turnaround is due to the Cardinals pitching coach -- I don't know enough about him to know whether that's true or not. Maybe Lohse just finally got his head screwed on straight and matured to the point where he could be successful. As with Guzman, though, I wonder whether this season is an aberration or the new norm.

7.) I intend to post Part 4 of the Minor League First Half Grades tomorrow, covering corner infielders. More than likely, I will not put up a Nightly Notes post since the game will be over long before I get home from work.

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2 Comments:

  • At Tue Jul 22, 09:57:00 PM , Anonymous Twins Fix said...

    I guess I'm sad to see Yankee Stadium go, too, but I just wish there was a way to keep it without forcing the Twins to play in it.

    Any way that could happen, lol...?

     
  • At Wed Jul 23, 01:53:00 PM , Anonymous SethSpeaks said...

    "I heard someone suggest today that Lohse's turnaround is due to the Cardinals pitching coach"

    Dave Duncan was credited with helping Jeff Weaver succeed the year that they picked him up and he helped them win the World Series.

    If Lohse is smart, he will sign his extension with the Cardinals, unlike Weaver who went elsewhere and stinks again!

    Lohse, like Weaver, is a Boras client.

     

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