Before getting into today’s blog posting, I want to remind everyone one more time that on Saturday starting about 11:45, the TwinsCentric guys will be hosting a Twins Viewing Party at Major’s Sports Café in Blaine. The Twins and White Sox start at noon, but the event should be a lot of fun. There will be drink and appetizer specials. Prizes will also be given away. We will give away more copies of the Twins 2010 Annual. I will give out a copy of my Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook. And, we have a couple of Twins tickets to give away as well. Hopefully you can make it because it is always fun watching and talking Twins games with other Twins fans. Hopefully we will see you there!
Sure Monday was Opening Day, but for me, Minor League Opening Night is a great night too. As someone who is a fan of not only the Twins but their entire system, being able to ‘watch’ five games intently each day is much better than watching just one. At SethSpeaks.net, I like to think of the site as a one-stop shop for Twins minor league information. Since many people don’t have the time, or don’t want to look it up, I like to post the scores and highlights from each of the Twins affiliates’ games. I like to show how the pitchers fared as well as which hitters had multi-hit games, or showed some power. I know, I’m a horrible person. I really am not too terribly concerned about the scores of the Twins minor league affiliates as much as the individual performances, but that isn’t to say that winning isn’t important. Like learning to bunt or use the whole field or perfecting a changeup, I think that learning to be a team player and helping a team win is something that can be developed. So, I do include the scores of the game. Some names tend to find themselves in the highlights more often than others. But as with other minor league things you find on this site, it will not be limited to just tracking the stars. As always, if you have any questions, comments or ideas, I will be happy to listen, but expect to see these types of updates most days at SethSpeaks.net.
Red Wings Report
Thursday – Rochester 3, Pawtucket 11 – Anthony Swarzak got the Opening Night nod for the Red Wings, and it didn’t go so well. The righty gave up five runs on four hits in just three innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out five. He was relieved by lefty Ryan Mullins. He gave up four runs on four hits in 2.1 innings. Again, he walked none, but he struck out just one. Tim Lahey got the next five outs. In between, he gave up two runs on three hits and a walk. Kyle Waldrop pitched a scoreless 8th inning, allowing just one hit. Brock Peterson led the offense. He was 2-4 with his first home run of the year. Jacque Jones went 1-3 with a walk and his first home run. Danny Valencia and Luke Hughes each hit a double. Boof Bonser made the start for Pawtucket, the AAA Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. He is on a rehab assignment. In 4.1 innings, he gave up three runs on six hits and two walks.
Here's something interesting for you also. Swarzak was the 6th pick of the Twins 2004 draft. All of those first six selections will be here at McCoy Stadium tonight. Trevor Plouffe, Glen Perkins, Matt Fox and Kyle Waldrop are playing for the Wings and were all in that Twins draft with Swarzak. The sixth is a fellow named Jay Rainville. He was a highly touted high school pitcher from right here in Pawtucket whose career ended last year with chronic shoulder problems. Jay---who is very tight with several Red Wings---is currently in the Rhode Island State Trooper Academy and will be here at McCoy Stadium tonight holding the flag for the National Anthem as part of his trooper school duties. The Red Wings players are already planning on ways to try and distract him as he attempts to fulfill his responsibilities tonight.
I’m sure most of you already read Jim Mandelaro’s Extra Bases blog as well.
New Britain Notes
Thursday – New Britain 4, New Hampshire 5 – The Rockcats managed four runs despite just four hits in the game. Steve Singleton had a double, and Juan Portes hit his first home run in games that matter. Carlos Gutierrez made the start. He gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks in just four innings. He struck out four. Former Gopher and Eden Prairie native Cole Devries came in and got five outs. He gave up only an unearned run despite three hits and two walks allowed to take the loss. Spencer Steedley went 2.1 perfect innings in relief. The lefty struck out four. Santos Arias pitched a scoreless ninth frame.
Thursday – Ft. Myers 3, Bradenton 18 – Kyle Gibson made the Opening Night start for the Miracle, and got hit around a little bit. The Twins top pick in the 2009 draft gave up five runs (3 earned) on six hits (2 home runs) and two walks in just 3.2 innings. He struck out seven. Shooter Hunt came into the game and faced five batters. He hit the first batter he faced. He walked the next three. Then he threw a strike to the fifth batter, and it went for a grand slam. Blake Martin got the next four outs, but he gave up one run on four hits and allowed the inherited runners to score. Ron Mahay is in Ft. Myers just getting some work in, presumably before being promoted to the Twins. He walked one and struck out one in a scoreless inning. It was a rough one for Henry Arias too. He gave up seven runs on five hits, two walks and a hit batter in one inning. Michael Allen did pitch a perfect eighth inning. The Miracle had plenty of hits in the game. Ramon Santana led the way by going 2-4 with a double and a home run. Paul Kelly was 2-3 with a walk. Nick Romero was 2-4. Chris Herrmann (who played CF) went 2-5 with a double. Jair Fernandez also added a double.
· Josh Johnson of Josh’s Thoughts wrote an article yesterday called Needing a Miracle. In the article, he talked about Shooter Hunt and his struggles from 2009. The hope would be that a new season would make things a little different. In game one, Hunt had a game that was reminiscent of his 2009 season, but I still hold out hope. The road could be long, and the odds are against him, but I can hope. Shooter Hunt is a very good guy, a great guy. He is a huge football fan, pro and college, and participated in the SethSpeaks.net NFL “Expert” Picks this past offseason. He told me recently that he is a huge basketball fan too. A sports junkie. This isn’t objective, but on a personal level, I do hope that Hunt is able to regain his control, and he can get back to the level that made him the Twins supplemental first round pick in 2008 from Tulane.
· If you’re looking for another feel-good story in 2010, look no further than Paul Kelly. The Twins 2nd round pick in 2005, Kelly had a solid pro debut, and in 96 games in Beloit in 2006, he hit .280/.352/.384. But knee injuries have cost him most of the past three seasons. In 2007, he got into two rehab games in the GCL before being injured again. He started the 2008 season in Beloit and hit .321 in seven games before another knee injury ended that season. In 2009, he was hurt early in spring training, had another surgery and was sent home. He hasn’t given up. He came to camp in 2010 and starts the season in Ft. Myers. Despite so much missed time, Kelly will be just 23 years old throughout the 2010 season. He is very talented. He had good range and a very strong arm. Hopefully he can play a full season this year!
· On Tuesday night’s Twins Minor League Weekly, we interviewed Joe Benson and Kyle Gibson. Gibson informed us that the starting rotation will be himself, Michael Tarsi, Bobby Lanigan, Bruce Pugh and Brad Tippett. Tippett is fighting some tendonitis, so he will be skipped the first time through the rotation.
Thursday – Beloit 1, Cedar Rapids 0 (10 innings) – Michael Gonzales singled in Brian Dozier in the top of the 10th for the only run of this game. It was his second hit of the game. Angel Morales and Derek McCallum each hit a double. But in a 10 inning shutout, obviously pitching was the name of the game. Australian Liam Hendriks threw five innings of one-hit ball, including seven strikeouts. Tom Stuifbergen struck out three in the sixth inning. Matt Tone walked two and struck out two in 1.2 innings. Steve Blevins got the win with 1.1 scoreless. Finally, Kane Holbrooks got the save with a scoreless tenth frame.
Here are some more articles to peruse:
· Parker took a look at JJ Hardy’s new mechanics. I think it’s fair to say So Far, So Good in terms of the results.
If you have any questions or comments on the Twins minor leagues, please feel free to ask. Leave your questions or comments.