Tag:Joe Nathan
Posted on: May 28, 2011 12:23 am
 

Twins injury woes mounting

By C. Trent Rosecrans

So, the Twins not only blew a 5-0 eighth-inning lead and own the worst record in baseball at 16-33, they've also gotten more bad injury news.

Here's three late-night tweets from Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune chronicling the team's woes:


But hey, I hear Target Field is really, really nice.

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Posted on: April 20, 2011 1:05 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2011 1:43 pm
 

Closer watch: Franklin, Nathan, Thornton out

By C. Trent Rosecrans

John AxfordAs we're getting deeper into the first month of the season, some of the "small sample size" arguments are losing their luster and managers are getting itchy. There's no position in baseball that causes more consternation than the closer's spot -- and few are easier to change. 

On Tuesday, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said Ryan Franklin was out as his closer, joining Ozzie Guillen and Ron Gardenhire in making changes in closers already this season, a common April occurance.

Here's a look at where all the closers in baseball stand at this moment:

Out -- Ryan Franklin (Cardinals), Joe Nathan (Twins), Matt Thornton (White Sox).

We won't know who the replacement for Franklin is until it comes to a save situation (Matt Snyder took a look at who may get the call -- and I'll agree that Mitchell Boggs gets the first shot) and even then, we'll have to have a few save situations until we get there.

Matt Capps has taken over for Nathan, who is not back 100 percent from Tommy John surgery, in Minnesota.

Thornton may get the call if the White Sox get in a save situation, but Ozzie Guillen has no confidence in anybody in his bullpen and has said he just doesn't have a closer.

Hanging by a thread -- John Axford (Brewers), Sean Burnett (Nationals), Kevin Gregg (Orioles).

Axford (pictured) started his season off by blowing a save in Cincinnati and added another Monday night. He's struggled with his command this season, but the Brewers don't have too many better options.

The Nationals have gone from no closer, to Burnett back to no set closer. After Burnett blew a save on Friday, Drew Storen closed with two innings on Sunday against the Brewers. The two are expected to share the job, but Burnett's not "out" because he's still half in.

Hand wringing -- Jonathan Broxton (Dodgers), Joakim Soria (Royals), Francisco Rodriguez (Mets).

These are three marquee names, but there's plenty of worry surrounding the trio.

Soria has struggled and has a 5.59 ERA, blowing one save, while Broxton hasn't blown a save, but has given up plenty of runs. He has an ERA of 6.14 and his manager's vote of confidence.

K-Rod, well, he's got plenty of issues, including a contract with a vesting option that the Mets aren't really interested in seeing him meet. That said, it's not like he's getting a lot of chances to close out Met victories for the team with the National League's worst record.

Nobody's perfect --  Brian Fuentes (Athletics), Carlos Marmol (Cubs), Jon Rauch (Blue Jays).

Rauch has been good, converting all three of his saves this season, but the return of Frank Francisco complicates things for him in Toronto.

Solid -- Mariano Rivera (Yankees), Heath Bell (Padres), Neftali Feliz (Rangers), Huston Street (Rockies), Joel Hanrahan (Pirates), Leo Nunez (Marlins), Chris Perez (Indians), Brian Wilson (Giants), Craig Kimbrel (Braves), J.J. Putz (Diamondbacks), Jose Contreras (Phillies), Jose Valverde (Tigers).

Sure, Rivera blew a save last night. I think Joe Girardi may give him another shot.

If a save falls in a forrest -- Francisco Cordero (Reds), Jonathan Papelbon (Red Sox), Brandon Lyon (Astros), Brandon League (Marienrs), Kyle Farnsworth (Rays), Jordan Walden (Angels).

If the rest of the closers are in a "small sample size" argument right now, these guys have a "tiny sample size."

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Posted on: April 17, 2011 1:19 pm
Edited on: April 17, 2011 1:19 pm
 

Nathan out, Capps in as Twins closer

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Joe Nathan Joe Nathan is out as the Twins' closer and Matt Capps is in, Ron Gardenhire tells reporters this morning.

Nathan, about 13 months off of Tommy John surgery, blew his second straight save last night to the Rays. Nathan has two blown saves in five chances this season to go along with an 8.44 ERA.

From 2004-09, Nathan averaged 41 saves and four blown saves a year.

In his place is Matt Capps, who has 109 career saves, including 16 for the Twins last season after coming over from the Nationals (where he had 26). Capps served as the Pirates' closer from 2007-09.

This season he's struggled as well, allowing four runs and seven hits in eight innings, striking out three. Capps has blown his only save opportunity this season. However, he hasn't allowed a walk, so that's good. Nathan had walked five in 5 1/3 innings this season.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: April 17, 2011 12:32 am
Edited on: April 17, 2011 10:55 am
 

3 up, 3 down for 4/16: Jurrjens returns

By C. Trent Rosecrans
Jair Jurrjens
Jair Jurrjens, Braves -- In his first start of the season, Jurrjens allowed just two hits in seven innings in the Braves' 4-0 victory over the Mets. Jurrjens started the season on the disabled list because of a strained oblique, but really hasn't been healthy since 2009. Last season he struggled all season with injuries to his hamstring and knee while going 7-6 with a 4.64 ERA.

Josh Beckett, Red Sox  -- For the second outing in a row, Beckett appeared to be the ace of old. Saturday he allowed just three hits and a run in seven innings, while striking out nine. In his last two games, he's allowed just one run on five hits, walking three and striking out 19 in 15 innings. His ERA is down to 1.80.

Freddy Garcia, Yankees -- In his first start for the Yankees, Garcia went six innings without giving up a run as the Yankees beat the Rangers 5-2. He allowed just two hits, walked one and struck one out, while picking up the win. 

Barry Zito

Barry Zito, Giants -- It's been a rough season for Barry Zito -- and that's not even considering his 0-1 record and 5.56 ERA. Zito was in a car accident the night before the team's opener and Saturday he left in the second inning of the team's game against the Diamondbacks with a mild foot sprain. Zito dove for a Joe Saunders bunt and appeared to land awkwardly. After throwing a couple of warm-up pitchers, he left the game with the aid of trainers. Zito allowed three hits and two runs for before leaving the game after 1 2/3 innings. His ERA now stands at 6.23.

Orioles -- Remember a week ago when Buck Showalter's team was the toast of baseball? Funny thing about this game, everything tends to even out. The Orioles lost 8-3 to the Indians on Saturday, their sixth consecutive loss. Baltimore is now a game below .500 at 6-7.

Joe Nathan, Twins -- The Twins closer blew his second save opportunity in as many chances on Saturday, giving up a solo homer to Ben Zobrist before walking two batters. Jose Mijares gave up the RBI single to Johnny Damon that ended the game, Nathan picked up the loss. Nathan has now allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings this season, walking five as well. Since becoming the Twins closer in 2004, he's allowed just 2.6 walks per nine innings, and now he's walking nearly a batter an inning. The Twins have Matt Capps, who has 109 career saves, but he's not exactly knocking down the door with his performance of late. He gave up a run in the eighth on Saturday and has a 4.50 ERA.

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Posted on: April 15, 2011 1:44 am
 

3 up, 3 down for 4/14: Here's Johnny

By Matt Snyder

3UP

Johnny Damon, Rays. He set a record Thursday night, in case you didn't hear. A quite obscure one, but a record nevertheless. When Damon hit a two-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, it was the fifth team for which he'd hit a walk-off homer -- the others being the Royals, Red Sox, Yankees and Tigers. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he's the first player in major-league history to do so. That speaks to both longevity and bouncing around. For the present, however, the concentration should be on the Rays' third straight victory.

Randy Wolf, Brewers. After starting the season 0-4, the Brewers are now 7-5. Thursday night, they owed a big portion of their victory to the man on the hill. Wolf allowed just three hits and two walks with zero earned runs and didn't allow a Pirates player past second base. He also struck out 10 men. Big outing for Wolf and the Brewers are really rolling now.

Hanley Ramirez, Marlins. He entered the game hitting .194 with a dreadful .553 OPS. The star shortstop has been badly outplayed by Rockies star Troy Tulowitzki to this point. Thursday, Ramirez showed signs of life. He got on base five times in five plate appearances, going 3-3 with two walks, a run and an RBI. This could be exactly the thing he needs to get going. With the Marlins being 7-5 now, basically without his bat, watch out.

3DOWN

The Twins. Joe Mauer is going to the DL. Rays starter James Shields allowed 11 baserunners, but the Twins only scored twice. Twins starter Carl Pavano threw an absolute gem (eight innings, four hits, zero runs, seven strikeouts) and it was wasted by the bullpen. And it wasn't just two random members of the 'pen. It was Joe Nathan, who coughed up the lead in the ninth on a two-RBI Matt Joyce double, and Matt Capps -- who lost the game on Damon's aforementioned shot in the 10th.

Mariners offense. They were already starting with a strike against them. Adam Kennedy was hitting cleanup. Seriously, you can't make this stuff up. Then the Mariners go out and get handcuffed by Bruce Chen. In fairness to Chen, he had a 4.07 ERA and 1.38 WHIP last year, so he's not the worst pitcher in baseball or anything. It's just that he's still Bruce Chen and held Seattle to six hits, a walk and zero runs over eight innings. That shouldn't be happening to a major-league offense. Then again, Adam Kennedy should never be batting cleanup even in a minor-league offense.

Hiroki Kuroda, Dodgers. He got off to a stellar start to the season, but it came crashing down Thursday night as the Cardinals let loose against the right-hander. He was only able to get through five innings, allowing 10 hits and five earned runs as the Dodgers lost 9-5.

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Posted on: April 3, 2011 8:02 pm
 

Nathan struggles, but earns save

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Joe NathanIt wasn't pretty, but it was good enough, as Twins closer Joe Nathan struggled, but still picked up his first save since Oct. 3, 2009 in the Twins' 4-3 victory at Toronto.

Nathan gave up a run on two hits and walked a pair in his inning, but got Adam Lind to ground out to first with bases loaded to end the game, earning his 248th career save.

"But it still feels like the first time when you get out there, for sure," Nathan told the Minneapolis Star-Tribine

When Nathan walked Jose Bautista, he had reached 30 pitches, more than manager Ron Gardenhire wanted him to throw.

"We're going to protect [Nathan]," Gardenhire said. "He was close to coming out of that game."

Nathan underwent Tommy John surgery last March, so the team is watching his workload. The team hopes to limit days Nathan pitches back-to-back, so he probably won't pitch on Monday in New York, with Matt Capps getting the call in a save situation.

"We've got two closers out there," Gardenhire said. "We trust both of them."

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Posted on: March 27, 2011 9:58 pm
 

Twins to open season with duo of closers

By Matt Snyder

Joe Nathan was one of the most dominant closers in baseball from 2004-2009, but missed all of 2010 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Matt Capps was acquired by the Twins in a trade-deadline deal last season and was very solid down the stretch. Even though Nathan has looked strong this spring and will eventually be the sole closer, manager Ron Gardenhire revealed Sunday he's going to open the season with the plan of using both in closing situations.
"This early part of the season, it's just not going to happen with Joe going out there three or four days in a row, so Capps will have to close some games, too," Gardenhire said. "It's not a committee, but we're going to kind of use both of them early in the season until we see exactly where Joe is at.

"Right now, he's handled everything we've thrown at him, so we're pretty comfortable. We'll run either one of them out there."
(MLB.com )

Nathan recently worked two innings in one outing and also handled duty in back-to-back games, but with Capps in house, there's no reason for the Twins to push him too much harder than that in April.

Nathan saved 47 games with a 2.10 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in 2009, striking out 89 hitters in 68 2/3 innings. He is 36 years old.

Capps, 27, is coming off a very productive bounce-back season. He was awful in '09, sporting a 5.80 ERA, but the Nationals signed him away from the Pirates and he returned to previous form. In fact, he made his first All-Star game. Once taking over the closer role with the Twins, Capps converted 16 of 18 save chances with a 2.00 ERA and 1.19 WHIP.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 13, 2011 11:12 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/12: Mo of the same

Mariano RiveraBy C. Trent Rosecrans

3 UP

1. Mariano Rivera, Yankees -- In his spring debut, Rivera struck out all three batters he faced -- the Twins' Jason Kubel, Matt Brown and Luke Hughes. Rivera got to spring training late because of his family's bout with the flu. The 41-year old is expected to pitch against on either Wednesday or Thursday.

2. Chipper Jones, Braves -- Jones went 2 for 3 with a two-run homer against the Astros and is now hitting .353/.421/.647 this spring. Not too bad for a guy many expected to be sitting at home this spring instead of coming back for another season with the Braves.

3. Danks brothers, White Sox -- Chicago starter John Danks allowed just one hit in five innings against the Dodgers on Sunday, while his younger brother Jordan was 2 for 5 with a grand slam in a "B" game against Cleveland. 

3 DOWN

1. Jaime Garcia, Cardinals -- Garcia was perfect in his first two innings on Sunday, but then gave up four runs in his third, three earned. Garcia's struggled this spring. In his three starts, he's pitched nine innings, allowed 18 hits, 10 earned runs, walked four and struck out four.

2. Joe Nathan, Twins -- Coming back from Tommy John surgery, Nathan hadn't given up a hit or a run in his first four one-inning appearances of the spring. Sunday, he made up for lost time, getting just one out and allowing six runs. He allowed five hits and one walk and a three-run homer by Delmon Young. He did say his elbow felt fine afterward.

3. Tommy Hunter, Rangers -- Fighting for a spot in the Rangers' rotation, Hunter has struggled all spring. It wasn't any better on Sunday, as he allowed seven runs on nine hits and 3 2/3 innings against the Giants. After his outing, Hunter put it plainly: "This spring stinks."

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