GameChat – Twins @ White Sox #2, 7:10 pm

The good news is that Justin Morneau has returned to the team after becoming a daddy again (Chris Parmelee has been returned to Rochester), but the bad news is that Justin apparently woke up with a stiff neck today and he’s just DHing tonight. Can a stint on the DL be far behind?

Speaking of the DL, Trevor Plouffe is neither on the DL nor playing baseball. Let’s just leave it there without comment.

Cole DeVries pitched well his last time out (or at least I think he did… I haven’t really been paying that much attention lately), so let’s hope he can do so again. I really hate losing to the Bitch Sox!

Oh… and it’s National Tequila Day, so I may not be in the chat. :)

TWINS

@

WHITE SOX
Span, CF De Aza, CF
Mastroianni, RF Youkilis, 3B
Mauer, 1B Dunn, A, DH
Willingham, LF Konerko, 1B
Morneau, DH Rios, RF
Doumit, C Ramirez, Al, SS
Dozier, SS Viciedo, LF
Casilla, A, 2B Flowers, C
Carroll, 3B Beckham, 2B
  _De Vries, P   _Quintana, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 1 0 3 0 0 0 4 8 3
Chi White Sox 1 0 0 0 1 0 4 5 x 11 14 0

You may not have seen it, but a couple of days ago 1500ESPN’s Phil Mackey wrote a story about how the Twins field management may be rethinking their religious devotion to pitch count limits for their starting pitchers. I’ve got news for you, Phil… Gardy was pullin’ your leg.

Cole DeVries was excellent through six innings tonight, giving up just two runs (only one earned) on 7 hits, with four strikeouts and no walks. He was backed by a two-home run night by Josh Willingham and held a 4-2 lead through 6 innings. But… he had thrown 95 pitches and no matter what Gardy says to the media, you KNOW he just can’t change. So… the bullpen comes on in the 7th inning and four relievers cough up… no, make that vomit up… NINE friggin’ runs in two innings to cost DeVries and the Twins the ballgame, 11-4.

I can’t imagine how Gardy and those pitchers can even look DeVries and Willingham in the eyes after that. – JC

Denard Span’s Playing Time

On the most recent episode of Gleeman and the Geek they noted that Denard Span has been getting a lot of days off recently.  But just how many days has Span had off recently, and is that enough to cause alarm?

Denard Span has played in 87 of 95 games so far in 2012, and started 84 of those games.  He played in 28 of the Twins games to start the season, and despite missing 3 more games in the middle of May with a minor injury, he remained the Twins’ everyday center fielder and lead off man, getting just one more day off between May 18 and June 30.  However, dating back to the 2nd game of the double-header against the Royals, Denard Span has been out of the line up 3 times,  only came in as a pinch runner on July 20 in extra innings, and had to be removed from Saturday’s game with dizzyness (caused by the heat).  Now, 4 scheduled off days (ignoring the appearance to pitch run) in an 18 game stretch is not necessarily alarming, and his batting line is virtually unchanged from the .275/.344/.391 it was at before he started getting extra time off (.275/.340.378 going into last night’s game) but carried out over a 162 game season that’s at least the equivalent of two extra trips on the 15 day DL every year.

If the Twins are serious about finding a potential trade partner for Span before the August 31 trade deadline they should be doing everything they can to increase his value.  Maybe the Twins are thinking that giving Span a day off every 6th day will allow him to stay healthy and fresh, increasing his offensive and defensive permanence, thus increasing interest in acquiring his services.  However, opposing GMs might also wonder what is going on with his playing time, wondering why an everyday player like Denard Span is suddenly out of the lineup more than 15% of the time.  Is he injured?  Is he having recurring concussion and dizzyness issues that plagued him in parts of 2010 and 2011?  Moving him in and out of the lineup is certainly raising a lot of questions.

If Denard Span is nursing some sort of injury, then the Twins are walking a tight rope as they head to the trading deadline.  Obviously moving him onto the 15 day Disable List would give him time to recover, but it also takes him out of trade consideration.  Instead the Twins would be stuck trying to move him, along with Carl Pavano and Matt Capps, through a waiver trade, severely limiting the leverage of the Twins to field competing offers.  I would not expect the Twins to be playing fast and loose with the health of one of their key assets, regardless of trade value, so that makes his current spike in days off all the more intriguing.

-ERolfPleiss