Minnesota Twins- 6/3-6/5 Series

The Twinkies travel to the city of San Francisco after being swept at home by Seattle. The Giants, on the other hand, drove the Rockies out of Pac Bell Park, taking three games out of the four game series. It's Barry Bonds and the best in the NL West against Tori Hunter and the best in the AL Central while interleague baseball begins for the Giants as Minnesota takes their first ever trip to Pac Bell Park.

OVERALL PREDICTION FOR THE SERIES: GIANTS

Even though these two teams rarely face each other and it's the Twins' first time at Pacific Bell Park, the fact still remains that the Giants are sizzling hot right now and the Twins aren't. Maybe by having a day off in San Francisco, Minnesota will be able to get an idea of what it's like to play at Pac Bell... Unlikely, playing baseball in San Francisco is an unexplainable experience, and the Twins will have to find that out the hard way. Playing at Pac Bell Park already gives the Giants the edge in the series.

The Giants are sending their young pitchers to the mound, and all three of them have been capable of winning. Damian Moss is the only Giant pitcher that any of the Twins have faced before in this series, so Minnesota will have to go with what they see in tapes and read in the papers about the two rookie aces of San Francisco. The Giants aren't any better off, with only Ray Durham, Jose Cruz, Jr. and Neifi Perez who have faced all three Twins pitchers. Brad Radke has not been performing well for the Twins. The defense for both ball clubs is solid. As everything is still a toss up because of the lack of statistics and records between these two teams, we'll just go with this: the Giants are 35-21 and the Twinkies are 31-24, the Giants just took the series in their ballpark and the Twins' park got swept for them.

Series Questionables:
Minnesota
Brad Radke: 5 day suspension

1st Base:
Doug Mientkiewicz (.279)

  • .176 against Giants pitchers
  • vs. Moss (0-3): one strikeout
  • never faced Ainsworth
  • never faced Foppert

    Todd Sears (.278)

  • never faced any Giants pitcher

    J.T. Snow (.272)

  • .235 against Twins pitchers
  • never faced Mays
  • vs. Radke (0-5): one strikeout
  • never faced Lohse

    Andres Galarraga (.379)

  • .259 against Twins pitchers
  • never faced Mays
  • never faced Radke
  • never faced Lohse

    PREDICTION: Tied
    Defense: Giants
    Time and time again, J.T. Snow's stash of Gold Gloves gives him the edge in this category.

    Offense: Twins
    Although both Snow and Mientkiewicz are coming into the series with similar numbers for the season, Snow has been more successful against Twins pitchers than Mientkiewicz has been against Giants pitchers, but Mienkiewicz has been a hot hitter as of late for the Twins.

    2nd Base:
    Chris Gomez (.286)

  • .143 against Giants pitchers
  • never faced Moss
  • never faced Ainsworth
  • never faced Foppert

    Luis Rivas (.245)

  • .000 against Giants pitchers
  • vs. Moss (0-3): two strikeouts
  • never faced Ainsworth
  • never faced Foppert

    Ray Durham (.326)

  • .313 against Twins pitchers
  • vs. Mays (11-36): two 2B, one homerun, two RBIs, six strikeouts
  • vs. Radke (21-66): five 2B, two homeruns, four RBIs, nine strikeouts
  • vs. Lohse (5-19): one 2B, one RBI, one strikeout

    Neifi Perez (.279)

  • .267 against Twins pitchers
  • vs. Mays (5-11): one 2B, three strikeouts
  • vs. Radke (7-16): one 3B, one RBI
  • vs. Lohse (1-7): two strikeouts

    PREDICTION: GIANTS
    Defense: Tied
    Both teams have a solid second baseman on their team, with neither committing an error in any recent games.

    Offense: Giants
    Both Ray Durham and Neifi Perez has been successful against the Twins pitchers of the series, but the Twins have not had the same success against Giants pitchers. Luis Rivas faced Moss once and had two strikeouts against him. Ray Durham has also been a solid hitter for the Giants.

    Shortstop
    Cristian Guzman (.249)

  • .238 against Giants pitchers
  • vs. Moss (1-3)
  • never faced Ainsworth
  • never faced Foppert

    Rich Aurilia (.266)

  • .278 against Twins pitchers
  • never faced Mays
  • never faced Radke
  • never faced Lohse

    PREDICTION: TIED
    Defense: Tied
    As both shortstops are coming from teams who have a good defense, there won't be very many error counts at this position.

    Offense: Tied Guzman has come up with one hit against Moss and Aurilia has never faced any of the Twins pitchers. This position, like all the others, will be a suprise call, seeing which hitter has the off day and which hitter has the hot day.

    3rd Base:
    Denny Hocking (.182)

  • .429 against Giants pitchers
  • vs. Moss (0-0): two walks
  • never faced Ainswoth
  • never faced Foppert

    Corey Koskie (.262)

  • .294 against Giants pitchers
  • never faced Moss
  • never faced Ainsworth
  • never faced Foppert

    Edgardo Alfonzo (.224)

  • .222 against Twins pitchers
  • never faced Mays
  • never faced Radke
  • never faced Lohse

    Pedro Feliz (.255)

  • .000 against Twins pitchers
  • never faced any Minnesota pitchers

    PREDICTION: TIED
    Defense: Tied
    Both teams have a solid third baseman, Alfonzo for the Giants and Hocking for the Twins. Since Hocking is adding up in his years, Alfonzo still has his speed so this may give him a slight advantage.

    Offense: Tied
    Neither player has faced the other team's pitchers, this is a toss up, but Alfonzo has been slightly slumping and Hocking has not been a hot hitter for Minnesota either, although he does have a .429 BA against Giants pitchers, this average does not include any of the Giants pitchers that are pitching in the series.

    Catcher:
    A.J. Pierzynski (.282)

  • .250 against Giants pitchers
  • vs. Moss (0-2): one strikeout
  • never faced Ainsworth
  • never faced Foppert

    Tom Price (.208)

  • .300 against Giants pitchers
  • never faced Moss
  • never faced Ainsworth
  • never faced Foppert

    Benito Santiago (.313)

  • .250 against Twins pitchers
  • vs. Mays (2-5)
  • vs. Radke (1-6): two strikeouts
  • never faced Lohse

    Yorvit Torrealba (.321)

  • .000 against Twins pitchers
  • never faced Mays
  • never faced Radke
  • never faced Lohse

    PREDICTION: GIANTS
    Defense: Giants
    With the younger pitchers going on for the Giants, Santiago will be an important factor in calming them down so they will be able to stay in command and control.

    Offense: Tied
    A.J. Pierzynski has been a hot hitter for the Twins, but Benito Santiago has been hot as well, even though Santiago is coming off a cold series against Colorado. Santiago has been able to muster up with some hits against Twins pitchers while Pierzynski has been hitless.

    Left Field
    Jacque Jones (.327)

  • .143 against Giants pitchers (2-14)
  • never faced Moss
  • never faced Ainsworth
  • never faced Foppert

    Barry Bonds (.299)

  • .250 against Twins pitchers (6-24)
  • never faced Mays
  • never faced Radke
  • never faced Lohse

    PREDICTION: GIANTS
    Defense: Twins
    With 8 Gold Gloves to his name, Barry Bonds was one of the best left fielders in his day. But it's not his day in terms of fielding anymore. While he is yet to make an error, Jones has not made an error either and has a great range and zone rating. Zone rating (ZR) is the percentage of balls fielded by a player in his "zone." Bonds has .848, while Jones has .935.

    Offense: Giants
    Both players have had solid seasons, but their batting averages against the other team's pitching hold no real importance. For example, Bonds has 24 at-bats against twins pitching, yet 21 of those are against Rick Reed, who is not starting in this series. However, the edge goes to Bonds, in terms of patience. Jones has a horrendous OBP for his batting average. He has only walked 4 times in 202 at bats, and has struck out 41 times. Bonds has walked 50 times in 144 at bats, and only has struck out 23 times. Therefore, Bonds and the Giants win this challenge.

    Center Field
    Torii Hunter (.241)

  • .267 against Giants pitchers (4-15)
  • 0-3 vs. Moss, two strikeouts
  • never faced Ainsworth
  • never faced Foppert

    Marquis Grissom (.312)

  • .227 against Twins pitchers (10-44)
  • never faced Mays
  • 6-15 vs. Radke one 2B, one homerun, four RBIs, three strikeouts
  • never faced Lohse

    PREDICTION: TWINS
    Defense: Twins
    Torii Hunter is a superior center fielder in terms of defense. He is better than Grissom in all respects this year. Fielding percentage, range factor, and Zone Rating. are all to his advantage, so he has a strong advantage in defense, enough to give the Twins an overall edge.

    Offense: Giants
    Grissom is a stronger hitter than Hunter, and currently has a 5-game hitting streak going. Hunter has heated up some from April to May, but still is no where near as dangerous as Grissom. However, Hunter is much more patient at the plate. He has 23 walks, while Grissom merely has 8.

    Right Field
    Dustan Mohr(.315)

  • .200 against Giants pitchers (1-5)
  • 0-2 vs. Moss, 1 strikeout
  • never faced Ainsworth
  • never faced Foppert
  • Had a .396 May

    Jose Cruz. Jr. (.257)

  • .250 against Twins pitchers (29-116)
  • 4-15 vs. Mays, one 2B, one homerun, two strikeouts
  • 7-28 vs. Radke, two 2B, two homeruns, six RBIs, eight strikeouts
  • 2-8 vs. Lohse, one 2B, one strikeout
  • Had a .216 May

    PREDICTION: Tied
    Defense: Giants
    Cruz is the better fielder of these two. He also has concentrated solely on right field, while Mohr has played in all three outfield positions. Cruz has ten assists as well, a sign of a great throwing arm. Mohr merely has one assist this year. Cruz also has yet to make a single error, while Mohr has one blemish to his name.

    Offense: Twins
    Cruz has had more experience against the Twins than Mohr has had againt the Giants, but Mohr has hit almost twice as well in terms of batting average than Cruz in the Month of May. Mohr never really started in April, and only had 3 hits in 37 at bats. He has turned around completely in May, while Cruz has continued to slump, grounding into double plays whenever possible.

    Starters:
    Joe Mays (6-3, 5.48)

  • Giants batters .324 (22-68) against him
  • Has won three games in a row

    Brad Radke (5-5, 5.73)

  • Giants batters .309 (42-136) against him
  • Had won four starts in a row, now has lost two most recent starts for a 5-5 record

    Kyle Lohse (4-4, 3.09)

  • Giants batters .235 (8-34) against him
  • In most recent loss, pitched 8 solid innings, giving up 3 runs
  • 2-1 with 1.97 ERA in May (2 no decisions)

    Damian Moss (6-3, 3.44)

  • Twins batters .100 (2-20) against him
  • Had won four starts in a row, now has lost two most recent starts for a 5-5 record

    Kurt Ainsworth (5-4, 3.82)

  • Never faced Twins
  • 2.95 ERA in May

    Jesse Foppert (3-4, 4.31)

  • Never faced Twins
  • Pitched seven scoreless innings in most recent victory, also hit an RBI triple and scored a run in the 2-0 Giants victory.

    Relievers:
    J.C. Romero (1-0, 3.70)

  • Giants batters .250 (3-12) against him
  • Gave up three runs in one inning to move his ERA up by 1.04 on May 30 vs. Seattle

    LaTroy Hawkins (4-0, 1.46)

  • Giants batters .317 (20-63) against him
  • Won 3 games in May as a reliever

    Johan Santana (2-1, 2.68)

  • Giants batters .263 (5-19) against him
  • 0.95 ERA in April, 4.50 ERA in May

    Scott Eyre (0-1, 3.32)

  • Twins batters .242 (8-33) against him
  • Has not given up a run since May 17, against the Mets.

    Felix Rodriguez (2-0, 4.18)

  • Never faced Twins
  • Has pitched scoreless relief three games in a row

    Joe Nathan (5-2, 3.60)

  • Twins batters .000 (0-1) against him
  • Had worst outing of the year on May 26 for 2nd loss

    Closers:
    Eddie Guardado (0-1, 1.52)

  • Giants batters .112 (4-38) against him
  • Yet to record a blown save

    Tim Worrell (1-2, 1.48)

  • Twins batters .133 (10-75) against him
  • 0.54 ERA in May

    PREDICTION: Giants
    Starters: Giants
    The Giants have hit all the Twins starters quite well. Giants hitters have battered both Radke and Mays. The Giants bring rookies that the Twins are yet to see, except Moss, who has only given 2 hits up to the Twins hitters in 20 at bats. Clearly, the Giants have an advantage here. The Twins pitchers also have higher ERAs on average, and both Ainsworth and Foppert have improved greatly from April to May.

    Relievers: Tied
    The Giants' relievers haven't faced the Twins much, but Eyre has done a good job against them. Giants batters have destroyed LaTroy Hawkins as well. But overall, the Twins have better relievers in terms of ERAs and overall performance. So, the result is a tie.

    Closers: Tied
    They are both amazing closers, and it is too close to pick one over the other. Both pitchers get out almost all of the batters of the opposing team, they both have really low ERAs. The only logical conclusion in this case is a tie. If either team has to close a game out with their closer... they probably will do so quite well.



    Sara Kwan was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area. She currently writes game recaps, other articles, and is one of the Two Giant Prophets for SFDugout.com. Sara can be reached at shoot_hoops33@hotmail.com

    Jesse Radin writes for SFDugout.com and has been a Giants follower since 1996. The Blind Observer is Jesse's column covering all things baseball, though mainly about the Giants. Questions or comments can be sent to electricbassguy@hotmail.com


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