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Well, I know I should be optimistic. But the Twins always seem to play their best ball at SkyDome, no matter how good (or bad) they happen to be at any given time. I always found Tom Kelly clubs, like Sparky Anderson clubs, to be reliably tough to beat on a day-to-day basis.

I remember the Jays earning a hard-fought split in the '91 ALCS in Minneapolis...only to have Puckett, Pagliarulo & Co. dispatch of the Jays in three straight road victories. The Twins are young, and their confidence may be shaky given their recent struggles, but I suspect that they've got a good clubhouse thing going. Last season, I saw the Twins play in both Toronto and Chicago, and they had about the most enthusiastic dugout celebrations I've ever seen in early-season games. And they can still flash the leather, although even Torii Hunter committed a costly error at Yankee Stadium yesterday.

The Advance Scout says: Try and keep the Twinkies fishing at the plate. They've been pressing and impatient, almost to a man, during this slump. Let's see if Lidle, Pete and Lurch can expand the strike zone a little bit and get some easy outs.

On to the Advance Scout!

Josh Phelps knew that Eddie Guardado's "feature" pitch is the fastball up, so he sat dead-red on the pitch that sailed into the Metrodome seats to give the Jays the winning run on Saturday...Guardado on Phelps: "You make a mistake, he'll make you pay"...Bobby Kielty is 368/429/421 on the season, but to Aaron Gleeman's chagrin, his playing time remains very limited...Kenny Rogers, the Jays' opponent again tonight, felt that his sinker was "poor" last Saturday and that he "just got too fine" with some of his pitches...Jacque Jones rolled his ankle on Saturday, but has continued to play through...Ron Gardenhire after the Jays' sweep: "Teams don't come in here and get us like this"...Want a Minnesota batting slump rundown? Take a deep breath...Versus righties: Matt LeCroy 143/200/214, Torii Hunter 136/208/227 (!), Dustan Mohr a wonderfully symmetrical 091/091/091, Luis Rivas 077/143/077...Versus lefties: Michael Cuddyer 125/300/125, Rivas 111/111/111, Hunter 111/100/222 (!!), LeCroy 100/100/100, Mientkiewicz an astounding 077/077/077...Good gracious...Twins aren't making their hits count, either: .159 with RISP...Twins have been 0-for-16 out of the 3- and 4-holes over the last two games...As a team, Minnesota has noticeably been prone to chasing bad pitches...Mohr, Cuddyer, LeCroy: 9 hits, 16 strikeouts...Brad Radke admitted he "didn't throw any good pitches" to the Jays on Sunday...Mike Fetters has a strained left hamstring, which put him on the 15-day DL. Juan Rincon, noted Jays-killer, was called up...The sweeps at the hands of the Jays and Yanks ended the Twins' active streak of playing above-.500 ball, which had been two years and change -- the longest in the majors...A.J. Pierzynski had three hits on Wednesday...Kyle Lohse has a 1.20 ERA and has held opponents to a .098 batting average...But the Jays don't have to deal with him...Gardenhire on the Twins' lumber slumber: "[W]e can hit better than this...I think everybody's struggling to do too much. It's a little frustrating. We wanted to get off to a good start"...Rick Reed left yesterday's game with a strained groin, but it's not considered serious and Gardenhire said that Reed could have continued if necessary...Reed on why David Wells out-dueled him yesterday: "I wasn't even one-eighth drunk"...The AA New Britain Rock Cats took a field trip to Yankee Stadium to watch the big club...Johan Santana can pitch a little, eh? Nine innings, no runs, 13 K's...Corey Koskie is .455 lifetime against his near-namesake, Cory Lidle...Minnesota's six-game losing streak is their longest since an eight-gamer in August 2001...Tough out extraordinaire, Dan Gladden, now does radio commentary and enjoyed catching up with an old friend and teammate from 1994: Hideki Matsui...Good ol' Jose Cruz Jr. is out-homering Minnesota 5-4.

Projected Batting Orders

vs. LH

7 Jones/Mohr
6 Guzman/Gomez
3 Mientkiewicz
8 Hunter
5 Koskie
DH LeCroy
2 Pierzynski
9 Cuddyer
4 Rivas

vs. RH

7 Jones
6 Guzman/Gomez
5 Koskie
8 Hunter
DH LeCroy/Kielty
3 Mientkiewicz
9 Kielty/Cuddyer/Mohr
2 Pierzynski/Prince
4 Rivas/Hocking

Bullpen Usage

Long: Rincon R, Fiore R
Short: Santana L
Setup: Hawkins R, Romero L
Closer: Guardado L
Advance Scout: Minnesota, April 11-13 | 25 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Pistol - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#90829) #
I see Santana pitched 4 innings for the Twins yesterday. That should limit his availability certainly for tonight, and I'd be a little surprised if he got more than 3 innings in this weekend.

The Jays seem to be catching the Twins at the right time. Certainly the Twins bats will turn around at some point, and hopefully it will be after the weekend.
_Jurgen Maas - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 12:36 PM EDT (#90830) #
With Santana proving again he's ready for the rotation, and Kleity killing the ball when he gets the chance, it's clearly a good thing the Twins spent all that money on Rogers and Hunter, and have nothing left to address the IF offence.

I don't know if there are Twins bats to come around, Pistol.

Guzman, Mientkiewicz, Rivas, yeesh... Koskie's gimpy again... Pierzynski wants to hit more homers and instead he's killing his average.

Hunter and Jones aren't good enough to compensate, and Radke, Mays, Mitlon aren't Zito, Mulder, Hudson. They've got a good bullpen, which as Jason keeps telling me is the secret to post season success.

But still...

How exactly are they supposed to win the World Series, Sporting News?
_Cristian - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 01:10 PM EDT (#90831) #
Against Kenny Rogers I tonight, I imagine we'll see that potent Jays lineup featuring Wilson, Berg, and Bordick instead of Myers, Hinske, and Cat. I cringe when I see that lineup but they were effective last time out against the Gambler.
Gitz - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 01:41 PM EDT (#90832) #
It's been two weeks, kids. At this point last year, and in each of the last three years, the A's were struggling on offence like the Twins. They'll rebound -- maybe as soon as this weekend. And Pierzynski is hitting .259! It's not Wade Boggs Land, but nor is it accurate to say "he's killing his average." I still like the Twins to win the AL Central, the AL pennant, and the World Series.
_jason - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#90833) #
The Twins seem to me to be a team that are definently going to have to make a few moves in the next couple of months. Specifically, to address their lackluster offence. Putting Kleity in RF is a start, but they also are going to have to address their offensive deficiancys at 1B, 2B, and SS. Certainly they have the talent to make a trade or two, but I think as an organization it wouldn't hurt to empahsize more patience at the plate; something the Twins seem to be collectively lacking in. They seem to want to be like the Angels offensively, work the pitcher for your pitch/advance the runner/be aggressive on the base-pads, but don't seem to have the personel to pull it off.

I don't think investigating the possibility of picking up a Jose Vidro would be a bad move. They also might think about trying to look into Palmero, Sexson, or Klesko. Mietchevich(?) is great defensively but man, he doesn't provide any pop.
_Jordan - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 01:57 PM EDT (#90834) #
Mike, I've been meaning to mention --- terrific job on the Advance Scout! Always entertaining, always informative. Kudos.
Coach - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 02:17 PM EDT (#90835) #
I'm more of a Bordick and Berg fan than Christian is; they both hit lefties well and can't play any worse defensively than Woodward and O-Dog have this week. Wilson should start behind the plate, but I'd give Hinske and Cat a chance to hit the lefty tonight and let my middle infield regulars think about their concentration lapses.
_Cristian - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 02:31 PM EDT (#90836) #
I don't dislike Bordick or Berg, I just have a difficult time understanding not letting the Jays' best players play. Hinske will never hit lefties if he's not given the opportunity to do so. I do like the idea of swapping Hudson/Woodward for Bordick/Berg after last night's bad defensive performance.

(yes, this is the same guy who was proposing having Delgado sit against lefties in an earlier post)
_Jurgen Maas - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 02:33 PM EDT (#90837) #
I know Pierzynski's average isn't horrible, I just think he'll have a hard time reaching .300 this year if he's on record that he's determined to swing for the fences.

Look, Rivas and Mientkiewicz are way way below average. Rumour has it that Guzman played hurt last year, and he's still not healed, so that's 3. If Koskie's hurt that make 4. If the tinkering Pierzynski can't find a groove that's 5. Are the other four good enough to overcome 5 holes in the lineup?

I've said before that I like Jason's suggestion, and the Twins have the prospects to make it happen.

The Twins may win the division if they can somehow overcome the seemingly inevitable 162-0 Royals, but I honestly don't see them getting past the Yankees, Red Sox, Athletics, Angels, or Mariners in the post season.
_Jurgen Maas - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 02:36 PM EDT (#90838) #
... that is, unless they start Santana, get Kliety into the action, trade Hunter for an upgrade elsewhere, and maybe make a move for someone like Vidro.
Mike D - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 02:39 PM EDT (#90839) #
Oops, just fixed an error in this entry. Everybody's favourite Johan is, of course, a southpaw.
Craig B - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#90840) #
Aaron Gleeman has coined the mot du jour... (actually it was Baseball Blog reader Darren)

Luis Oh-For-Threevas.
Gerry - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#90841) #
Help may be on the way. From baseball america....

DUNEDIN (FSL) OF JAYSON WERTH went 3-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs in the Blue Jays' 8-7 loss to the Tampa Yankees. Werth, in the minors because of a strained wrist, blasted a shot over the center field wall in the first inning, laced an RBI single in the third and recorded another base hit in the fourth. The 23-year-old, who had to leave Wednesday night's game early because of hamstring tightness, singled again in the sixth inning before grounding out in his final at-bat. Werth, who is batting .364 with three RBI in eight games in the Class A Florida State League, could return to Toronto soon.
Gitz - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#90842) #
Who is likely to be available that would be an upgrade over Hunter? He's not a saber darling like Kielty, but he's a terrific player, as we've discussed on this board. It's not like the Twins can trade him for a multi-faceted monster like Bonds. I repeat my original thesis that it is far too early to be concerned, unless, of course, you're the Tigers. I remember when the Orioles started out 0-21 (1988?). My roommate and I kept saying, they've got to win eventually ... right?
_jason - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#90843) #
I think that most people believe that Jacque Jones could move over to CF quite easily. He also hit for a better average and had a better OBP than Hunter did in '02 while having only two fewer homers.
_jason - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#90844) #
Texas might be an interesting prospective team for the Twins to trade with. They do need a CF and have some spare IF parts. A Torri Hunter for Michael Young and Blalock (or maybe Palmero) deal might not be a bad idea.
_Jonny German - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#90845) #
Torri Hunter for Michael Young and Blalock

Hey Jason, which team is yours in the BBFL? I'm licking my lips thinking what you might give me for Rocco Baldelli and Tony Graffanino...
_Mick - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 05:58 PM EDT (#90846) #
The Rangers love Hunter, because he's from the Metroplex. The only OF the Rangers would rather acquire than Hunter is another Plexian named Wells who you Blue Jaycolites are familiar with.

I had heard Blalock (straight up) for Hunter last year, but with the way Laynce Nix is progressing through the Ranger system, a trade like that seems wildly unlikely given the contract Hunter is likely to command.
_Sean - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#90847) #
What is the consensus on Nix? I don't know much about him.
Gitz - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 06:23 PM EDT (#90848) #
So basically the Twins would trade Hunter for an unproven (but undeniably talented) 3B/DH/2B/Hitter like Blalock, then slide Kielty to left on a full-time basis and put Jones in center.

Assuming Blalock steps right in and plays third base (the Twins rely on their defence too much, so putting Hank at second doesn't make sense, not that Rivas is Bill Mazeroski or anything with the leather), the trade would be this:




At this stage of their careers, one would have to say Koskie is more valuable than Blalock. Similarly, no matter how much we'd all like to see Kielty play full time to see what he could do, I think we can call Hunter the more valuable player, because of his tremendous defense in CF and whatever "intangibles" he brings to the clubhouse, which we can't possibly know -- but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

While Jones moving to CF would have little impact on the Twins overall defence, moving Hunter doesn't make sense right now unless the get someone who is demonstrably better than he is. Kielty and Blalock may yet be those players, but they're not there yet. That kind of trade does not give the Twins what they really need, and that is a proven RH hitter who can mash, and one who can preferably play first base.

Where is John Jaha when you need him?
_jason - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 06:39 PM EDT (#90849) #
I was actually pontificating up the notion that Blalock (OR Palmero) would take over at 1st. Koskie would stay at 3rd.
_jason - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 07:11 PM EDT (#90850) #
Hey Johnny,

I'm Garces_not_on_roids. Propose away.
_jason - Friday, April 11 2003 @ 07:58 PM EDT (#90851) #
One last crazy idea.

What about Troy LaHawins for Shea Hillebran? (With Shea at 1st. Apparently he's quite good there defensively.)
_Jonny German - Saturday, April 12 2003 @ 12:34 AM EDT (#90852) #
Actually I'm scared to trade Baldelli, Jason... It's a situation governed by Murphy's Laws; If I trade him he'll learn how to walk and be great, if I keep him he'll cool down completely and finish the year in AAA. For now, he's at 15/0 K/BB but his rate stats are .370/.388/.500. I do have the upper hand on Murphy in that all Baldelli cost me was the #8 waiver priority.
_Mick - Saturday, April 12 2003 @ 04:31 PM EDT (#90853) #
Gitz, old boy, don't be coy about this. You know as well as anyone that a Hunter-for-Blalock trade would be as much about money as talent.

I had assumed that either Koskie or Blalock would play 1B, and if the latter, that means that theoretically four starting AL 1B in 2004 would have come out of the Rangers' system in the last two years (Pena, Hafner, Tex and Hank).

But again, I don't see it happening for money reasons ... oddly enough, money reasons on the Rangers' side. They have Blalock locked up at minimal cost for three more seasons after this one.
Advance Scout: Minnesota, April 11-13 | 25 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.