Twins got their first win over the Angels last night 5 to 3.
Nick Blackburn had a quality start going 6 and 2/3 innings giving up 3 runs. He walked 4 and struck out another 4. Blackburn got off to a rocky start similar to Scott Baker on Monday, walking his first 2 batters but then go Torii Hunter to ground into a double play to the pitcher and then striking out Hideki Matsui. Blackburn was able to work through runners on all night allowing a total of 12 base runners.
Twins bullpen was a bright spot. Brian Duenseng came in the bottom of the 7th and got a pop out. Matt Gurrrier got 3 fly outs in the 8th. And the moment we all waited for, John Rauch got the save. He had a nice 1,2,3 inning with 2 strikeouts of Brandon Wood and Erik Aybar. He only faced the 8,9 and 1 hitters, but the first save was going to be the hardest and Rauch seemed to have no trouble.
Twins displayed their power at the plate. The M and M boys both cranked home runs, as well as new comer JJ Hardy. Michael Cuddyer went 3 for 4 but had some silly mistakes as he was picked off 2nd base. Instant replay indicated he was safe but he was called out because the throw got their so early. JJ Hardy also grounded into 2 double plays.
Seth Stohs and Travis Aune had a great podcast last night talking Twins minor league rosters. A few interesting moves, hold backs and promotions. The number by the players name is where they are ranked on my prospect list.
Rookie ball: the big three pitchers from the GCL, BJ Hermsen (21), Adrian Salcedo (10) and Blayne Weller will be held back in extended spring training. Based on performance 1 to all of them can make their way to Beloit this year. My number (20) Matt Bashore is reported to be healthy after arm stiffness from last season but will be held back as well.
Beloit: Aaron Hicks (1), Angel Morales (9) and James Berseford were all held back. Understandable because none of them really flourished in the league. But they all will move to Fort Myers at some point this year. Power arm Ben Tootle is expected to be the closer.
Fort Myers: Catcher Chris Hermann will skip 2 levels to be part of the catching platoon for the Miracle. He is a great athlete and can play 4 or 5 positions. Number (2) prospect Kyle Gibson will get the opening day call for the Miracle but will be put on the fast track. Shooter Hunt is also going to Fort Myers. Hunt has had control problems that are even hard to explain last year. But if he can show signs of improvement he could jump back into the conversation of prospect. I believe I heard that Paul Kelly was going to start the year in Fort Myers. Kelly always had prospect status as a good hitting short stop but has terrible knees and never stayed on the field. Still only 22 years old, Kelly still has a chance.
New Britain: This team is loaded with players from last years Miracle team that was one of the best in FSL. Opening Night starter Carlos Gutierrez (8) is throwing a 92 to 95 MPH sinker. Although he is starting now, Gutierrez could be the Twins closer of the future. David Bromberg (7) will be number 2 on the rotation. He has 3 strikout titles to his record and a FSL and Twins pitcher of the year. Deolis Guerra (19) is back in New Britain. Upside is still their, just waiting on performance. Tyler Robertson (14) has a high pitcher IQ but if he returns to his form of 2007 he could get a promotion. The outfield is loaded with tools. Ben Revere (5) Joe Benson (12) and Rene Tosoni (13) will form a speedy outfield and all have great bats. They could hit 1,2,3 in the order. Chris Parmelee (18) will play 1B and provide the power.
Rochester: is a veteran team. Danny Valencia (6) and Wilson Ramos (4) are the big names and will be in Minnesota as some point. Big things are expected of them. The back end of the bullpen seems like it is to be lights out. Anthony Slama (17), Rob Delany, Jose Lugo, Kyle Waldrop and eventually Alex Burnett (16) will all form a strong group. Burnett is already with the Twins due to an injury to Clay Condrey but may be back with Rochester in a week or 2. Again the Rochester team has a lot of veterans that may be granted their release at point during the season (Mike Maroth, Jaque Jones, Glen Perkins, and Jason Repko). This team could look very different in August or September.
Tonight Minnesota and LA will play the 3rd of 4 games to start off the season.
Carlo Pavano and Ervin Santana will make their first starts of the year. Both starters have near identical numbers against opposition.
Carl Pavano is 2-1 with a 5.13 ERA against Angels
Ervin Santana is 2-2 with a 5.13 ERA against Twins