Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Slide Continues

I sincerely feel sorry for anyone that made a trip out to the Metrodome for a game in the Twins' latest series against the Indians. Aside from missing out on some beautiful late summer weather, these poor fans were subjected to some ugly performances from a Twins squad that really doesn't seem to be trying anymore.

What a colossal tailspin this team has gone into. After dropping their seventh straight game against the Indians yesterday, the Twins are now two games below .500 and 12.5 out of first place in the AL Central. Can you even believe that just over a week ago this same Twins club went into Cleveland riding a five-game winning streak and looking to potentially move within two and a half games of the division lead? It's almost unfathomable when you look at the way they're currently playing.

Scott Baker's outing in yesterday's game was a far cry from the near-perfect effort he put forth on Friday night. He gave up 11 hits and two walks over five innings, but still managed to hold the Indians scoreless after giving up three quick first-inning runs. Unfortunately, the offense provided little help (as usual), and the Tribe touched up Nick Blackburn and Pat Neshek for three insurance runs in the ninth in an eventual 6-2 Cleveland victory.

X-rays on the injured middle finger of Mike Redmond's left hand came back negative for a break, but he will miss several days with what is being termed a "sprained ligament" in his knuckle. I think it's safe to say that Joe Mauer is still not ready to return -- La Velle wrote on his blog prior to yesterday's game that if Chris Heintz were to get injured in the first four innings, Justin Morneau would have been moved to catcher.

The injuries to Redmond and Mauer would seem to give the Twins a great opportunity to get a look at catching prospect Jose Morales, who hit .313 in Rochester this year, but my guess is that we'll just see a whole lot of Heintz over the next several days. I'm excitedly awaiting the inevitable day that we see Heintz, Luis Rodriguez, Nick Punto, Garrett Jones and Lew Ford all in the same lineup. I mean, that's what these meaningless September games are for: planning for the future. Right?

8 comments:

S.Chancellor said...

Nick N -

Yes, I would rather have Henry Blanco/Mike Redmond at catcher and Joe Mauer at 3B than Mauer at C and Punto at 3B. I can stomach a light-hitting catcher. No so 3B.

And yes, all the Mauer talk is academic. Moving Mauer doesn't add a bat, it just moves a bat.

Twins fans are fiercely protective of Mauer. I would rather call a spade a spade. I like him just as much as the next guy, buy my rooting for the hometown kid isn't going to get him healthy, hit for more power, and get over the .290 he has hit for 2 of his 3 full seasons. Mauer is fine. He is not our best player, nor our most valuable, and he is the least of our worries.

The bigger issues are whether the
Twins ante up to retain Hunter and Santana, and what to do about the black holes at 3B, LF, and DH.

beth said...

Rodriguez (whom my friends and I call "Rex" because "L-Rod" is just worn out as a nickname for all players with the last name Rodriguez, but I digress) has been hitting over .400 since returning from Rochester. Granted, very limited plate appearances, but he was hitting over .400 in Rochester, and I believe he hit very solidly in winter ball last winter. He gets rusty when he sits on the bench too long, as he did for most of the season.

Also, Jose Morales has a total of 190 games behind the plate, if my Minnesota Math works out correctly. He started his career as a middle infielder before moving behind the plate. I have no idea what his defense is like, or what his ability to call a game is like, but it's possible that plays a factor into his not getting called up.

Ted666 said...

Don't forget RonDL in that line-up.

dan said...

i am actually for using Garrett Jones as the full time DH for the rest of this year, no matter what he does, just to see if he could be an option for next yr, assuming Gardy starts Kubel in left.

as much as i hate to say it, signing hunter right after the season is over is probably just as important or more than extending santana. i atleast hope the twins make every effort with a good four year deal. hunter may decide to leave anyway. i just hope it happens fast either way so they can go after someone like rowand if he is still available.

Nick N. said...

Yes, I would rather have Henry Blanco/Mike Redmond at catcher and Joe Mauer at 3B than Mauer at C and Punto at 3B. I can stomach a light-hitting catcher. No so 3B.

Okay, so what do you do after next year when Redmond likely retires? And how do we know Redmond can hold up as a full-time catcher, seeing as how he's never done it before? And how will you feel when Mauer commits numerous errors and struggles to adjust defensively at a position he hasn't played professionaly, in a season where the Twins have championship aspirations? And what will people be suggesting if Mauer gets hurt while at third base? DH him? Make him a hitting coach?

Questions abound. He's 24.

Rodriguez (whom my friends and I call "Rex" because "L-Rod" is just worn out as a nickname for all players with the last name Rodriguez, but I digress) has been hitting over .400 since returning from Rochester. Granted, very limited plate appearances, but he was hitting over .400 in Rochester, and I believe he hit very solidly in winter ball last winter. He gets rusty when he sits on the bench too long, as he did for most of the season.

Rodriguez hit over .400 in 19 at-bats in Rochester, and he's had 13 at-bats since being recalled to the Twins in the beginning of September. Those sample sizes aren't just "very limited," they're too small to even merit discussion. Here are the more pertinent numbers: Rodriguez (or "Rex") is a .246 career hitter in the majors over 411 at-bats, and he was a .271 hitter with no power in over 3,000 minor-league at-bats.

i am actually for using Garrett Jones as the full time DH for the rest of this year, no matter what he does, just to see if he could be an option for next yr, assuming Gardy starts Kubel in left.

Regardless of what Jones does for the rest of this year, he's not an option for next year. He's just not a good hitter. Even one flukishly good month in the majors (which I don't actually believe he's capable of) would not change that.

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