Friday, June 09, 2006

Friday Notes

Is it just me, or does anyone else get the feeling the Twins will probably only win games this season that either Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, or Fransisco Liriano participate in (and Jesse Crain doesn't)? Anyway, I'll try and keep this post simple. There are some positives going on in the Twins world and a few added negatives. Let's break it down:

* Joe Mauer continues to be on fire, getting hit after hit, night after night. Yesterday, he went 3-for-4 with a walk, an RBI, and two doubles. He's driving the ball with absolute authority off all pitchers to all parts of the field. Mauer is now hitting nearly .380 and that .978 OPS is awesome, considering no Twins hitter has been near those heights since Chuck Knoblauch in 1996.

* Unfortunately, Ichiro is back in top form and has been scaulding the ball at a .571/.586/.821 clip in his last seven games (against Twins and Royals pitching, though). Ichiro has quietly raised his average to .362. Competing for a batting title might be hard with Ichiro around, but let's not forget that Mauer is a superior hitter who drives the ball. Ichiro is great at what he does and since no one else can really match him in that department, it works wonders. It's just fairly clear that Mauer is the better pure hitter.

* On the offensive front, the Twins continue to be a headache. Yes they scored seven runs in yesterday's game, which is a feat, but the team left nine men on base. After Wednesday's disasterpiece of a game, it's still frustrating to see this. Jason Kubel, though he drove in two in the 6th, left six men on base himself.

* Juan Castro went 2-for-3. Great. Another week with this lame excuse for a shortstop. What do the Twins have to do to get rid of this guy? The defensive argument stopped being legit a long time ago...

* Oh wow. Look! A Joe Nathan sighting. Its a 7-2 and Gardy decides that now it's okay to be flexible and bring the guy in for a little inning. What a shame. So, Wednesday, when Gardy had a great chance to win the game, had momentum on his side and all, he leaves Jesse Crain and leaves Nathan in the pen. You know, something tells me that the roles should be reversed here. A 7-2 game is the only kind of situation Crain deserves to be in right now.

* As per my introductory comment, Johan Santana started and -- not surprisingly -- the Twins won. He wasn't at his sparkling best, as he only struck out two and labored at times, but he certainly got the job done by holding Seattle to one run over five innings. He's 6-4 now with a 3.16 ERA at the beginning of June. That projects him for a 14-11 season, but if he pulls off his usual win streak starting now, he could very well hit 18 wins or so and compete for that Cy Young.

* Here's an unfortunate and awful bit of news: The Twins recalled Kyle Lohse last night, as Matt Guerrier went on the DL with a broken thumb stemming from yesterday's win. For some reason (I can't fathom why), the Twins skipped calling up their best reliever prospect by a long shot in Pat Neshek to call up Lohse. Even after blowing a save last night, Neshek is 4-1 with a 2.05 ERA to go along with 73 Ks and only 31 hits in 44 innings pitched. Also, he's only walked 12 batters in those innings. But certainly Lohse has done plenty to be deserving of another chance with this organization.

Okay, so the Jason Bartlett situation is ridiculously stupid, but this is almost worse to me. It just indicates a major problem with the organization. What does a guy like Neshek, or Bartlett for that matter, have to do to earn a call-up? Does Neshek need to strike out the next 50 guys he faces or what? Lohse wasn't throwing relief in the minors and his arm isn't adjusted for it, but Neshek has been one his whole career. When one of your better relievers goes down, what in God's name are you doing calling up a starter? It's not like Lohse was dominating Triple-A anyway. Yes, he had a 1.50 ERA, but his 12:6 K/BB ratio isn't great, especially considering the competition. All I can say is thank the high heavens we still have Mauer, Nathan (in big lead games like this one!), Santana and Liriano around to make the games worth watching. Otherwise, with this kind of organizational insanity, I'd be done.

10 comments:

SBG said...

I'm stunned it was Lohse. I'd have bet plenty that he'd never pitch for the Twins again.

I believe that Terry Ryan thinks he's still "in this thing." That's why he won't call up someone like Neshek. Can't risk putting a rook out there.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with your analysis!! I also was certain that Neshek was going to get the nod. I also thought he would be a good person to bring up when Lohse got sent down, however they continue to do things that couldn't possibly help the team. Nothing surprises me out of those two anymore!!!

Anonymous said...

"That's why he won't call up someone like Neshek. Can't risk putting a rook out there. "

Are you serious SBG?!?!? LOL you are just as bad as Terry Ryan and Gardenhire... What do you consider Bonser, Liriano, Baker, and Eyre?!?!?! Youre a freakin idiot if you would rather have Willie Eyre, Crain and Lohse pitching out of the pen than Neshek. HAHAHA, do you even know anything about baseball?!?! Neshek had a 0.00 era in BIG LEAGUE spring training and has dominating at EVERY LEVEL he has ever pitched at! Do you know what CAREER stats are buddy? Mark my words you idiot, you will see shortly what he can do...

Dicta said...

Wow, anonymous, lighten up. SBG has a long history (through his blog and comments) of hating the way that the front office treats its younger players in favor of veterans. Sarcasm, get it?

I'll try to be more clear. This is just another in the long line of decisions to "hold down the young guys in favor of a hapless veteran that has proven over the years that he has no meaningful skills."

Dicta

Nick M. said...

SBG and Dicta got it right. Its just amazing the stupidity of this organization. The Twins aren't in the race and they need to give up on the notion that Kyle Lohse's presence will somehow change that. I mean, that line makes me laugh. Its pathetic that anyone would believe that and these moves make the Twins a joke around the league. Neshek has done everything he deserves so it makes no sense to hold a guy like that back.

Mikey said...

Neshek now leads the entire IL in K's

73k's in 44 innings

Neshek is probably one of the Twins top 5 pitchers including the guys in the big leagues. Watch out when he gets called up, he's going to make a name for himself when people see him!

Nick N. said...

Good comments today.

Indeed, I think the anonymous commenter might have misinterpreted SBG's post a bit and didn't quite get the sarcastic tone (which is one of the tough things about Internet writing). If you read SBG's blog, you would be well aware of his disdain for Terry Ryan's absurd management of youth and you would take his remark as nothing more than clever sarcasm.

With regards to the conversation, I am also in agreeance. This is the same type of misguided trust in veterans and inexplicable mistrust in rookies that motivated Ryan to keep Lohse in the rotation to start this season rather than dumping him and his $4 million salary and sticking the deserving Francisco Liriano in there right off the bat.

The only defense of the move that I can see is that the Twins are looking for someone who can eat up innings as a long reliever like Guerrier. Even though Neshek has thrown 44 innings in the minors this season -- which would lead Twins' relievers -- I'm not sure that Gardy would be willing to give him such a heavy workload in his first major league stint. Personally, I don't understand why the Twins don't just send down Willie Eyre or Jesse Crain and let Neshek toss in one of their roles, for which he would be perfectly suited.

Ron said...

I have been thinking about this situation as well, and is it possible (although unlikely given the front office's decisions lately) that they only brought up lohse to get him some (hopefully) good innings at the major league level this year, even if they are in relief, so he may fetch a little more in a trade before the deadline? After all, lohse has shown NO major league ability and I would guess most teams may be skeptical as to whether he can even pitch anymore at this level. Of course, then you have to wonder what happens if he pitches bad from the relief spot and this whole thing blows up (at the Twins and Neshek's expense). Just a thought.

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