Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter Sunday Treat

Who ticked off the Baseball Gods?

The winds today were 16 to 20 mph steady (from the Southwest) with higher gusts up to 32 mph when the Paw Sox were at the plate.

This isn't a joke, it was for real. Everytime the Red Wings got up to bat the winds died down. At first it seemed kind of funny, but then after a while, we were kind of wondering what sort of cruel joke this was.

In any case, the final score was 9 to 1, Paw Sox.

The Twins even decided to help us out, loaning us Carlos Silva to start the game. Silva would surrender four runs on six hits, including one home run, while striking out three in four innings worth of work.

Honestly, you can't fault the pitcher. The first double he gave up went far into the outfield and while we had two fielders on it, neither could make the play as they couldn't judge where the ball was going. So it fell in between the two of them. Was not Silva's fault. He was doing his best in adverse conditions.

We also got Mike Redmond to catch for us. He was one for two at the plate with one walk.

And finally, they loaned us Luis Rivas. I was wondering by the second inning if it would be too soon to give him back. It was.

Evidently, the object of the game was not to try to get a win, but to give Rivas as many at bats as possible. He ended up being one-for-five, with one strike out and one hit by pitcher. They put in a pinch runner for him, but it didn't really help as Redmond hit into a double play.

Thank you Twins, you're a fine organization, but I really didn't want to find Luis Rivas in my easter basket. Please refrain from pleasantly surprising us in the future. (And then people wonder why I hate presents.)

Brent Abernathey provided the lone run for the Red Wings in the second, compliments of some fancy base running. The closest we came to a homer was Tommy Watkins long outfield fly in the seventh that fell just inches short of the center field fence. It he'd hit just little to the left, he would have had it. If there was just a bit of tail wind on it, he would have had it but, honestly, if the winds had anything to do with it, they shoved it over toward the outfield fence and so, he didn't have it.

The Baseball Gods were NOT happy with the Red Wings today.

Once Silva left the mound, Beau Kemp took over, striking out four with one walk. It was four strike outs he had to work for though as he really likes working to a full pitch count.

Travis Bowyer handled the pitching chores for the seventh and eighth, striking out five, but allowing two homers and a double. Again, any or all three of these would have been nice easy put outs, but the winds....darn those winds!

April Fools Day isn't for another week!

We did make the best of a bad situation. Gabby Torres and Bryan Kennedy provided us with plenty of entertainment in the dug out and the loss of the balls to the Wind Gods kept everyone busy trying to scrounge a few up.

"Heads Up! Bring it back! I see you over there Neshak, dang you! Bring that back!"

The other topic was the seperation of Watkins and James Tomlin, the inseperable pair. It started shortly after Tommy's mom joined me at the game. One of the pitchers for New Britain came bouncing over and said "James is lonely. He misses Tommy." I pointed out he has Sam to keep him company.

Anna went over to see how James was doing and came back a little while later. "He's talking trash. I told him Tommy misses him and he said 'He does not!'"

The commentary then went along the lines of "Well, it's only for a day or so..." but that may not be the case. Several of the players and staff felt that Tommy could be staying with the Wings. But we shall see how that goes, in part because Luis Maza may be going on the DL after he took a ball to the foot today. (There was no immediate update on that, they took him off in a little cart as he couldn't walk.)

Johan Pino, who is on the Beloit squad, pitched up to finish the game off, allowing a double and a homer, with one strike out and one walk. I was beginning to wonder if we were going to get out of the inning but he induced Selliers to hit into a double play to end the inning.

On the whole though, the Pawtucket pitching really shut down the Wings. I can blame the Sox runs on the winds as much as I want, but the Wings turned in a poor performance at the plate. Garrett Jones struck out twice in two at-bats, Kevin West, hit into two double plays and an outfield fly, and Jason Tyner struck out once on three plate apperances. Watkins, Rob Bowen and Todd Dunwoody also recorded strike outs.

· The boys had the morning off for Easter services. I did get to watch the 11:00 AM bullpen session with J.D. Durbin. On the whole, Durbie was pitching well, and I hope that he will have a productive season with Rochester and hopefully make another stab at the Twins roster later in the season. Red Wings pitching coach Bobby Cuellar was working with him through the session, trying to smooth out the trouble spots.

· The Minnesota Twins today optioned outfielder Michael Ryan to Rochester of the International League (AAA); assigned outfielder Armando Rios to minor league camp; released infielders Andy Fox and Eric Munson. Remember how I told you guys Munson wasn't going to make the Twins?

· After the game I wandered over to see what the Rock Cats were doing. I asked Jeff Randazzo the score. There's a momentary discusion and they come up with "Go ask Frankie (Liriano). He misses you."

"Frankie doesn't miss me," I informed them, although Liriano was doing the score keeping for the game. "Josh isn't going to miss me either," I said refering to Josh Gray. "I'm in Fort Myers again," he says.

"I know that. That's why you're not going to miss me." He's going to be here all year and we're going to have lots of fun together.

"Ace here is going to miss me, he just doesn't know it yet," I say, patting Randazzo on the shoulder.

"Oh, I will miss you!" Jeff says. "I miss you already."

Matt Yeatman and J.T. Thomas aren't going to miss me either, but they ARE going to miss fishing in the outfield pond prior to the games.

· Extended Spring Training starts Thursday, April 14th when we host the Reds. I had not actually rushed to put this schedule up on line because of the general overall lack of interest in it. However, Anna asked about it today, so I guess I should get to work on that.

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