Advance Scout: Minnesota, April 11-13

Friday, April 11 2003 @ 12:00 PM EDT

Contributed by: Mike D

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