Monday, May 28, 2007

Ortiz to the Pen

The Twins offense is starting to hit their stride (even with Joe Mauer still out of the lineup for a little while longer), so no complaints there. Likewise, Carlos Silva was very good, so nothing but praise for him on this Memorial Day Weekend.

But the best news, long-term, for the Twins was that Ramon Ortiz was moved to the bullpen. He was putting them in a hole everytime he started, and while his early season starts were very encouraging, something needed to happen, and that did when the Twins announced Ramon Ortiz would be moving to the pen.

Though I disagree with the statement on the Twins site that the Twins bullpen got stronger with the move, I think it's very good overall for the Twins. This will likely cause them to call up Kevin Slowey, one of the top prospects in the organization.

This will help them win now and later, as I think Slowey will be an immediate upgrade and gain valuable experience for the future. So all in all, a good weekend for the Twins, even with the heartbreaking loss on Saturday.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Goodbye Bat-Girl

As you have probably heard if you are a Twins blog reader (which you probably are if you're reading this site), Bat-Girl is ending her blog, and the time constraints of having a baby were, understandably, a bit overwhelming.

As a Twins blogger, it was and is sometimes hard to produce content that is different from the other blogs and will be able to provide value for readers... Bat-Girl, I don't think, ever had that problem. Her blog was always unique, which is what made it so great to read.

Good bye and good luck Bat-Girl... you'll be missed in the Twins blogging community.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I like when good pitchers start

After another Sabean Special today, one thing has become clear to me... when we have good pitchers start, that usually goes better than having bad pitchers start.

Groundbreaking, I know. But then again, we are still starting Carlos Silva and Ramon Ortiz for 40% of the games, so this message isn't quite getting through to somebody.

Obviously it's a lot more complicated than this, but since May 12 the Twins are 5-1 when either Johan Santana, Boof Bonser, or Scott Baker starts. Over that same time span they're 0-6 when the games are started by Ramon Ortiz, Carlos Silva, and the recently departed Sidney Ponson.

Already 6.5 games back, we can't really afford to trot out Ortiz and Silva much anymore, can we? I know this is kinda like a broken record, but these guys are just not good starters. That's not even an opinion, that's a fact. Why not give Matt Garza and Kevin Slowey a chance?

I know the Twins are very reluctant to use more service time than necessary, but I really think the change to bring the young starters up has to be made soon. Last year these types of moves propelled the Twins from a .500 team to the division title. Replacing 3/5 of your rotation (already done with 1 part of that in Baker) can have that same type of effect.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The end for Ramon Ortiz? (PLEASE)

The Ramon Ortiz Story was great for a few starts... however, the time has come to pull the plug. Most of us knew this would happen sooner or later, and it's become increasingly apparent that the real Ramon Ortiz is back.

He was good for 5 starts or so, but that was probably more of an abberation than anything. He wasn't striking guys out, and basically they were just hitting it where the Twins were. Over the past 4 starts that has begun to even out, and his ERA is showing it.

Here's his last 4 starts:

5/03 - 4 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 K, 0 BB
5/09 - 6 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 K, 3 BB
5/15 - 1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 0 K, 1 BB
5/20 - 4.1 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 K, 0 BB

Almost needless to say, the Twins have lost all 4 starts. It's time to end the Ramon Ortiz Experiment.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Win AND Sidney Ponson gets DFA!

With 4 straight losses coming into the game, it had been a long weekend for the Twins.

But on Sunday, good things happened on and off the field. On the field, the bats finally exploded. Hampered greatly ever since Mauer went to the DL, the Twins erupted for 16 runs and 4 HR, something sorely lacking for the offense this year.

Torii Hunter led the way, with 2 HR and a career high 7 RBI. He had lots of help, as the Twins eventually had 16 runs and 22 hits. Luis Castillo had 3 hits. Mike Redmond hit a HR. Mike Cuddyer had 3 hits (including a HR) and 4 RBI. Justin Morneau had 3 hits. Jason Kubel had 3 hits. And on and on.

Bottom line, it was a great hitting performance for the Twins, and something that they sorely needed.

Off the field, after another poor start for Sidney Ponson, the Twins finally have seen enough, as they designated him for assignment. Later this week the Twins will recall a pitcher to start on Saturday, leaving Glen Perkins in the pen. They didn't say who, but my guess would be Scott Baker, who has some experience, is pitching great in AAA, and I believe is already on the 40-man roster. That would make the most sense to me.

Either way, I'm at least happy to see the Twins recognized that Ponson just wasn't working out.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Finals Week

Sorry for the extreme lack of updates over the weekend... finals week is this week, which means I've been studying a ton. But one more week until it's officially summer for me!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

An old-fashioned beatdown

The hitting was good, Sidney Ponson was very good (really), and that was a pretty good combination for the Twins en route to a 9-1 beatdown of the DRays.

Ponson turned in easily his best performance of the year in a start in which he probably had to do well to keep his spot in the rotation. He threw 7 innings, allowing only 5 hits and 2 BB while striking out 5, allowing 1 run. Sure, that only lowers the ERA to 6.67, but this had to be really encouraging. If he can make a few more starts like this, they can delay starting the clock for some of those young guys even longer.

On the hitting side, there were lots of positives. Joe Mauer continued his hot streak with 3 more hits to boost the average .378. Torii Hunter only had 1 hit, but it was yet another double, his 14th of the year. Jason Tyner had 3 hits. Luis Castillo had 3 hits in his return to the lineup. There were lots of hitting starts for the Twins.

On Wednesday, Boof will get the start for the Twins, hoping Tampa has the same effect for him that it did for Sidney. He'll take on Jae Seo, he of a 9.51 ERA this year.