Saturday, March 19, 2005

A Lost Cause

I made the game out at 6-0 although Josh Gray assures me it was 7-0. But somewhere between the first and second innings I lost Kyle Phillips.

I'm blaming this on the rookies although they really had nothing to do with it. But they were all grinning at me earlier. This made me nervous. I think they think I'm going to take them home and feed them. They have the wrong girl. Honestly, they do.

In any case, Adam Harben took the start for the Rock Cats and walked the first batter. The second one hit straight up the middle allowing short stop Jesus Merchan to turn a beauty of a double play. He induced the third batter to ground out, making it a quick inning.

Ben Pattee opened up with a strike out for the Cats, but the catcher dropped the ball. Unfortunately, the ball didn't go far and he was quickly tagged out. Merchan came in and hit for a double. Doug Deeds struck out, and then Luis Jimenez, who was playing first base, and Kyle Phillips were both walked.

The umpires then "rolled" the inning. This is common in minor league spring training games but is one of those things that drives me nuts. In any case, you start the next inning with all of your players where you left them, so...

Back to Harben, who walked one and allowed one single, with one outfield fly (Ron Perodine with a tremendous put out on that one by the way) and a ground out. The single was up the middle and Pattee got the guy he walked out on second.

And this was when I lost Kyle. We started the bottom of the second with bases loaded. Omar Burgos walked, but I don't recall anyone coming in. Perodine hit a beauty double, and Merchan and Jimenez came in. Omar was tagged out at third, but Ronnie was safe on second.

So what happened to Kyle? Remember, the line up was Jesus on the third, Luis on second and Kyle at first when they started the inning and I saw Jesus and Luis run across the base and I never saw a walk come in. And yes, I'm positive it was Jesus because once you've seen Jesus you will never, ever mix him up for any other player.

In any case Alex Rodriguez and Andy Daigle struck out to end the inning.

I don't know where Jiminez came from, but he's much better on first than Danny Matienzo was for the Miracle last season. Matienzo is up in the Rochester work group. I'll put the work group schedule up on line later today.

Daigle caught in the Gulf Coast League last year. Big kid, big bat. He just sort of showed up one day, I assume he was a free agent signing.

The third allowed me to have a look at Glen Perkins for the first time. He looks small on the mound and would have fit in better with the grinning rookies. He pitched for damage control, walked one in the inning and did not srike out anyone. I was not overly impressed.

The Cats came in for the third with Pattee, Merchan and Deeds all hitting singles to load the bases again. Then Jiminez came up to bat and ripped one yard. Grand Slam. Don't know Jimenez came from but I hope he sticks around. Phillips hit a single, followed by another single by Burgos. Phillips was out at second on that single and then umpires rolled the inning again.

Back to Perkins. His first batter took an outfield fly but then he changed something. He started throwing fast balls and THAT was impressive. He was getting some good movement on the ball and just firing over the plate. He retired the reminder of the order quickly.

Daigle get's called over by Stan Cliburn after the inning. "Andy," he says, "When you get two quick strikes like that ALWAYS call for the fast ball again. ALWAYS." Andy assures Mr. Cliburn he understands and promises never call for anything other than a fast ball again.

Perodine lined out and Romero struck out before Daigle hit a single to get on base. It was short lived though as Pattee hit to second and it was an easy out on Daigle.

Next up was a pitcher named Jan Granado. Big guy. I rather liked him a lot, but he was allowing too many outfield flies. In fact, I though one was a gonner but Romero got it over by the fence. Those are going to hurt him eventually, especially in the shorter Eastern League parks.

Hitting wise the rest of the game was not really interesting. Merchan and Phillips had singles in the fifth, Romero in the sixth and Phillips in the eighth. Perodine also reached in the eighth on an infielding error.

The batting order was changed up after the fifth with Kyle Geiger replacing Daigle behind the plate, Felix Molina in for Pattee at second, Sam Taylor in for Merchan at short and Brent Tamburrino in for Burgos at third. Tambo made a great play in the ninth to end the game, his only at bat resulted in an outfield fly.

On the pitching end of things Brian Wolfe returned to mound (welcome back Wolfey!) following surgery last season and put in a good performance for his first outing including make a great play on a infield pop up just off the mound.

Wolfe was followed by Nick Web in the eighth, who put in a fairly good performance but struggled a bit, allowing two singles. He had one strike out. John Thomas took the mound for the ninth, got two quick outs, including a strike out, but then had trouble find the last out. It ended with a clean hit to second that Felix Molina picked off in mid-air. Nice catch!

Yes the Orioles had names. I likely won't see these guys ever again, so I generally don't keep track of them, in part because while I can get a Twins roster, I can't get an Orioles one. No one was really that impressive anyway, or I would have made a note of it.

Travis Bowyer wandered over after the fifth when they were changing the line up to see what was going on. He's pitching tomorrow in Bradenton. I'm thinking I'm going to watch the Snappers at Lee County Sportsplex tomorrow. He tried to dazzle me with silly baseball tricks despite the fact that he dazzles me anyway and knows it. I don't care, I'm still not going to Bradenton tomorrow.

I called Josh Gray over after the game -- he was serving as ball boy as he pitched in the Rock Cats 2-1 win the day before. I explained the situtation in the second and asked him what happened to Kyle. He looked confused for a minute and then said, "Oh no, they walked one in." No way. Jesus came in over the plate on the double with right Luis on his heels. I'm very clear on this and I'm very clear on Omar getting tagged out at third and I never saw Kyle.

He's lost. I hope he's not lost for good.

* "Roll overs" are common in spring training. Basically if the inning is taking too long, they just roll it over to the next. Travis assured me of this. But I've never lost a player before...

* Mr. Gault complimented me on my cooking. Now this really confused me until he said of the the rookie pitchers had been over my house and I'd cooked dinner and...they must have me mixed up with someone. Michelle maybe. But not me. Besides, the rookie that was grinning at me the hardest, Brandon McConnell according to the roster, I've never laid eyes on before in my life. I'm not cooking for the rookies. If they're really nice I might give them free Subway coupons.

* The report on Trent Oltjen is good but it will take some time to heal up. His eye is fine, there should be not permanant damage.

* Garrett Guzman has a broke clavical that he suffered in an automobile accident. The only player listed on the DL is one Tim Henkenjohann, a rookie. Suspiciously missing off the roster is Kaulana Kuhaulua. I did not notice that until after I talked to Jose. Jose did say there were no other serious injuries (whatever that means).

* The new "Twins" wall is not just for decoration. It was being used for workouts today. I found that interesting but it does explain what the "golfing green" on the west side is for. No, they're not using it for putting. Believe me!

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