Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: Twins Baseball At Its Finest

Twins 9, Rockies 3

You couldn't have written a script that better captures the essence of Twins baseball than what we saw unfold tonight.  They are pesky.  They are professional.  They adjust mid-stride.  They don't beat themselves.  That's why they constantly contend.

Just look at what they did to Aaron Cook.  They know what Cook likes to do.  They knew the HP umpire wasn't calling the pitches Cook needs to be strikes, so they layed off everything around the knees and forced Cook to bring it up a little more.  The result was a lot of baseball that were struck pretty well on the ground that simply found holes.

A lot of those eight groundball hits could have just easily been right at infielders, and Cook could have had 6-7 innings of quality pitching under his belt.  But the Twins knew that was their only chance for offensive success against an Aaron Cook that was keeping the ball down pretty effectively.

Tip your cap to Minnesota.

Aaron Cook

Regardless of how or why it the Twins knocked him out in under four innings, the fact of the matter is that it's happening way too often to Cookie.  His command is still off.  The sinker is there, but it's not there consistently.

We're approaching a point where a decision has to be made on the bottom of the rotation.  The Rockies would like to hold off on that decision until Jorge De La Rosa returns but another outing like this may force their hand a bit.  

My prediction remains that Cook will hit the DL, rest for a couple weeks, take a couple rehab starts, and the Rockies will hope they're adding a quality rotation arm come August and September.

Losing Player: Franklin Morales 

All that said about Cook, the losing player for me is Franklin Morales.  He had a chance tonight to establish himself in a new, more relaxed role as a long man that gives his manager innings and keeps his team in the game.

He didn't take to the role at all.  He was still all over the place with his command.  He was missing up in the zone, which resulted in quick offense for the Twins.  At least with Cook everything was down and Minnesota had to scratch and claw a little bit.  When Morales came in, the ball started flying.

Not good.

That's my take tonight.  Not a whole lot else to cover.  The offense was spotty.  The HRs from Tulowitkzi and Helton were nice to see.  It was just one of those games where they were clearly outplayed, which is a lot less frustrating than watching them give away a game that should have won against a team they should beat.

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Twins

The Rockies and Twins have mirrored each other a lot of different ways over the past 4-5 years.  That continues now as both teams come in to this series banged up.  Both teams are missing their closer.  The good news for Colorado is that Huston Street should return soon.  

Troy Tulowitzki comes in to the series dealing with a groin.  The Twins are missing both of their starting infielders -- Orlando Hudson and JJ Hardy.  Both guys we're familiar with and won't miss a bit.

Rockies Lineup (3-0)

  • CF Gonzalez
  • 1B Helton
  • SS Tulowitzki
  • DH Giambi
  • RF Spilborghs
  • LF Smith
  • C  Olivo
  • 3B Stewart
  • 2B Barmes
Aaron Cook on the mound.  

Jim Tracy is such a tease -- or just doesn't get it -- because Carlos Gonzalez back in the leadoff spot.  I guess that's a little less of a big deal in the AL because there's no pitcher in front of him.  But still... ugh.  I would have moved Spilly to #1, CarGo at #4, Smith #5, Olivo at #6 and Giambi #7.  Giambi hasn't really earned hitting in an RBI position.  

Twins Lineup (36-27)
  • CF Span
  • 2B Tolbert
  • C   Mauer
  • 1B Morneau
  • RF Cuddyer
  • DH Kubel
  • LF Young
  • SS Valencia
  • 3B Punto
Carl Pavano on the mound.  

No question where Aaron Cook will earn his outs tonight.  That 3-6 is as good as there is in either league.  Lots of power, lots of intelligence and with lots of speed in front and behind them.  It'll be important to keep 1,2,7,8, and 9 off the bases.