ST – Twins @ Phillies, 12:05

I’m not sure what, if any, media is carrying the Twins/Phillies game today or where exactly to go to find out. I know I’ll be having to follow on GameDay while I get some work done.

Several of the Twins’ regulars made the 2+ hour bus trip up the Florida Gulf Coast to Clearwater for the game today, including Lexi, Nishi, DY, Valencia, Cuddyer and Thome. It’s a little unusual to see Thome go for a bus ride in ST, but I imagine he wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to see old friends like Phillies manager, Charlie Manuel. I’m willing to bet that Thome and Cuddyer didn’t have to “double up” on the bus seats, though.

The bullpen is loaded today, as well, with Joe Nathan, Matt Capps, and Jose Mijares, in addition to Jim Hoey, Carlos Gutierrez and Glen Perkins, all making the trip to back up Nick Blackburn. This late in ST, though, you won’t necessarily see every pitcher get in to the game. It just kind of depends on how many innings Blackie goes.

This is another one of those funky AL @ NL games where the AL team is using a DH while the NL team wants to get their pitchers some ABs in preparation for the season.

Casilla, A, SS   Rollins, SS
Nishioka, 2B   Castillo, L, 2B
Young, D, LF   Ibanez, LF
Thome, DH   Howard, 1B
Cuddyer, RF   Gload, RF
Valencia, 3B   Orr, CF
Hughes, L, 1B   Ruiz, C
Repko, CF   Martinez, M, 3B
Butera, C   Hamels, P
  Blackburn, P    


  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 3 3 0 0 0 1 7 11 0
Philadelphia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 3 10 0

12 Replies to “ST – Twins @ Phillies, 12:05”

  1. JC, I miss you being down at these spring training games tweeting out who does what when there isn’t any radio broadcast!

  2. Well, if it makes you feel any better, I can assure you I miss being down there a lot more than you miss me being there!

    I’m sitting here wondering if we had another baserunning F*up that resulted in Lexi getting himself thrown out at 3B in the first inning.

    Also, since I’m thinking about it, I’m becoming more convinced that Luke Hughes is going to get the utility job over Tolbert to start the season. He’s getting a lot of time at 1B and it still sounds like Morneau is going to be getting more frequent days off in early April, anyway. Assuming those would most likely come against lefty pitchers, Hughes would be the natural fit. With Cuddyer missing so much of ST, he’s barely played any outfield, much less taking any throws at 1B.

  3. Another Hughes HR. I don’t think he’d even had a hit since homering in the one game I didn’t go to, @ the Tigers last Thursday.

  4. Go D. Young! If Casilla/Span and Nishioka can reach base like they have today, the meat of this lineup is too good not to score runs this year.

  5. I was going to observe that it’s just the Twins RH hitters who are beating up on Hamels today… then I realized that Thome is the only purely LH hitter in the lineup… and he has a double off the CF wall.

  6. When they are back-to-back, Nathan just hasn’t looked as crisp as Capps. If there is a competition for closer, my vote is for Capps thus far.

  7. Yeah Nathan had another rough inning today. As I mentioned in the “What I Learned On Vacation” post a day or two ago, I agree that Capps has looked better (certainly more consistent) than Joe has. I know everyone loves Nathan (as we should), but you have to put sentiment aside sometimes and go with the guy who’s performing the best. Right now, that’s Capps. They’ll both have more opportunities over the next week, though, so we’ll see what happens.

  8. I say that with the setup man often getting closer scores to deal with and being more likely to pitch every day than the closer, all the reasons both of you have listed mean that it’s better to have Capps in the setup role and Nathan as the closer.

  9. Delmon looks to be in great shape this spring- he looks pretty ripped to me. I don’t expect any improvement in his D, but I do see a big year for him at the plate. Yes, this will be his 5th full year in the bigs, but it’s easy to forget the guy’s only 25 years old. He’s still learning his craft, and still may be a ways away from his prime.

    I too would like to see Hughes get a shot right out of the gate this year. We’ve pretty much seen what Tolbert has to offer, so I guess the intrigue of Hughes is what makes me lean towards giving him a chance.

    If Nathan can hold down the closer’s job, the bullpen becomes much deeper. Capps can then be the setup man, and in theory the game becomes one inning shorter for the opposition. I’m not saying Capps hasn’t been better so far, my point is in the big picture the Twins are better off if Nathan can successfully close.

    I think Gardy and Anderson have banked enough credit in years past that we should give them some time to piece the 2011 bully together. Pretty good track record of grooming guys from within or finding low-profile guys to fill meaningful spots (see Rincon, Reyes, Guerrier, Nathan, Crain at times, e.g.).

  10. OK, so here’s my question for anyone who would say Nathan should be the closer and Capps the set up man, even if Capps continues to pitch better…

    Does that mean that IF the situations were reversed and Nathan was yet to give up a run and Capps had imploded a couple of times, you would be advocating for Capps to be the closer while the stronger performing Nathan became the set up man? I kind of doubt it and, if not, then I think you’re scrambling for some kind of justification to keep Nathan as the closer.

    There’s certainly a valid theory that managers should use their best reliever in the most critical situation, regardless of inning, rather than always saving him for the 9th. That was even put in to practice much of last year by the way Gardy used Jesse Crain. If that’s what you advocate, OK, I accept that. But you’d better be consistent if/when the trends reverse. Otherwise, you’re basically just saying “I want Nathan to close and I don’t care who the best pitcher in the bullpen is.”

  11. it’s not about who is the best pitcher.. it’s about who lasts longer. Yes, if Capps was doing well but could only go one inning? he should be the closer. But that’s not the case at the moment. And history has shown us that for all Nathan’s intensity and velocity, 2 innings is pushing it for him even before the surgery… so yeah, I’m leaning towards this way for a reason. I have never seen Capps have quite the closing intensity of Nathan but if I thought he had the potential for it, yeah I would support switching them.