Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Quick Takes

The last 2 days have been a little hectic. It's the end of the school year and I have to move out of my dorm this morning. Throw a couple of finals on top and the Twins have been my one chance to relax. Throughout this I have done my best to still reserve time to write for this site as Ryan and I both believe it is important to have something new almost every day of the week. Needless to say, tonight's entry will be just a few brief thoughts on last night's game. Our first guest columnist is coming later this week.

I love baseball and the more of it I can get, the better. However, it was still refreshing to have a brisk game last night thanks to the excellent pitching performance of Carlos Silva. He is quickly developing into the ace of this staff! What's more, he continues to build on each start. Last night's performance was particularly needed for a Twins team in the middle of a 3 game losing streak. Where would the Twins be without Carlos Silva? He is 5-0 and has given the team innings that is has sorely needed. The rest of the starters have been inconsistent yet are showing signs of coming out of the woods.

Silva is not likely to keep this pace the entire year but I could see him putting together a really nice season. Perhaps 15-17 wins, much like 2001 version of Joe Mays. The Twins gave him a chance and he has more than repaid them for it. What he has given the the rest of the staff is time to work through their problems so that when he inevitably falters, they can pick up the pace. What the Twins need to be careful of is not overworking Silva since he has never thrown that many innings in a season before. As long as he stays around a hundred pitches or so a game, he should be all right.

Why does Gardy hate Lew Ford? He is among the league leaders in hitting yet he batted lower than both Cristian Guzman and Jose Offerman last night. Of course Ford had another great game and is producing wherever he hits, but the team is not using him where he can contribute the most. Jose Offerman should not even be in the lineup. He is a veteran presence on the bench for pitch hitting- that's it. His bat speed isn't good enough to be in the everyday lineup, let alone bat 5th on a playoff contender! He has been terrible of late and although he deserves a spot on the team (because he is capable of coming up with the big hit), those at bats could be spent elsewhere. Michael Cuddyer or Mike Ryan each would have been better options.

The Twins have not taken advantage of the opportunity to see what they have in Cuddyer. He hit a homerun on Sunday and yet doesn't get the chance to build on it. He isn't a second baseman but surely he can DH! Why are we wasting ABs on Offerman when that is not his role? Ford could have hit second in this game and Cuddyer fifth. If nothing else Ford should have been hitting fifth in the order. Maybe the Twins are afraid of bunching all their terrible hitters at the bottom of the order but as it is they seem to be wasting a lot of Shannon's at-bats.

I don't even want to talk about the poor play of the middle infielders anymore. They have pushed the outer limits of futility but the other options are still not that much better. I will say I was happy to see Rivas's double and he keeps teasing that he is ready to come out of his slump. Guzman still has no excuse for last night's baserunning gaffe. I saw the replay on ESPN and it was a TERRIBLE brain freeze.

The team finally hit the ball a little bit last night, which was good to see. Jacque Jones homered to the opposite field, which is a great sign of things to come. This team is fun to listen to when things are working. Joel Piniero used to be good but the Mariners overworked him and he is having trouble recovering.

Signs are good that Grant Balfour and Matt LeCroy could be back early next week. This means it will soon be decision time for the Twins. Of course the Twins will demote Rob Bowen and hopefully start LeCroy at catcher when he returns although I see them more likely easing him at DH to at first. When Balfour returns the team should ship out Seth Greisinger. He has done a good job giving the team some innings but that's about it (note the 8.10 ERA). Muholland is more valuable in his role and Joe Roa can be stretched out if they really need an extra starter. Roa has been head and shoulders above Greisinger so there is no reason why the Twins would demote him. When Helling and Mauer returns there could be some more difficult decisions coming. I will speculate about them when their time approaches.

That is the best I can do tonight, thank you everyone for your patience. Now that school is over I get to go back to Northfield and watch games on Friday nights. I'm crossing my fingers that when I return to school in the fall Victory will be on. Until then I will have ample opportunity to work on this website and voice the opinion of this fan.


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