Leo Roth in Praise of Stu Cliburn

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insagt1
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Leo Roth in Praise of Stu Cliburn

Post by insagt1 » Thu Oct 17, 2019 9:48 am

For the Red Wings fans here (is anybody here?) :
His article today heaped praise on recently released Stu Cliburn. And praise for the man is warranted. He is one of the 'good guys' and was very popular here in Rochester.
What Roth did not say (intentionally I'm sure) is that the Wings pitching staff, as a whole, was dreadful this year. Yes, when Dobnak, Stashak and Smeltzer were recalled from AA late in the summer, they provided the Wings with pitching they didn't have all season to that point. Interestingly though, Smeltzer just couldn't win a game for us, which was unfortunate.

From April to August, the pitching was a trainwreck. So much so that Twins were releasing guys left and right. The Wings could hit, but many games were lost because the pitchers couldn't throw strikes or close out games. 20 pitchers who appeared in at least 4 games had ERA's of 4.50 or more and 8 of those were over 6.00. WE had one starter who started 10 games and had an ERA of just under 10.00. Another made 19 starts with an ERA of 5.19 and that 'earned' him a promotion to the Twins.

Minnesota had major issues with their pitching 2nd half and they used several Wings, especially down the stretch to plug some holes. The aforementioned trio of Smeltzer, Stashak and Dobnak did OK. Littell was also a success story. So its easy to see why Roth was quick to point out what a good job Cliburn did, while ignoring the fact that some of us here cared about wins, not just development..

Twins chose to 'clean house', so the trio of manager, and coaches were all let go as they said they were going 'in a different direction'. Its hard to fault the hitting coach Valentin. We led the league with a .278 BA. That we only finished .500 is clearly an indictment of a very not so good pitching staff.

As for Skinner, I never cared for him at all. Following the very likable Mike Quade, Skinner was like the invisible man, at least to the fans. Josh Whetzel seemed to like him, but he sees these guys with a much different lens. It was also told to me that Skinner had nearly no say at all in anything...that every move was dictated by the Twins. That totally sucks. We have come to realize that winning at the AAA level clearly is a distant 2nd place to 'development'. We don't have to like it...but its reality. Twins did keep our roster full, to their credit and a couple of free agent vets really helped this year...DeAza comes to mind right away.

Twins total collapse again in post season I'm sure hasn't set well with their leadership group, or the fans. There will be changes,. mostly with the pitching. Remains to be seen what will happen here in 2020.

So, overall, it was nice to see at least something in the fishwrap about the Wings. And if Leo wanted to paint the biggest Pollyanna portrait of Stu, I guess he deserved it. Just so he knows that there were actually fans watching the games that saw the real reason why this team did not make post season. But if you were to ask him, he'd quickly say...that doesn't matter. No one cares about those things anymore.

And sadly, he'd be mostly right.

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moeron15
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Re: Leo Roth in Praise of Stu Cliburn

Post by moeron15 » Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:03 pm

While I was glad to see Skinner leave, I was bummed that Stu went with him. It's frustrating having so much dictated by the Twins and having the Wings used as an extended bench - I know I'm preaching that broken record to the choir here though. Hopefully the replacement will be someone more along the lines of Mike and Gene. Perhaps Tommy Watkins will be sent back. That would be ideal in my mind. Toby is still in Ft Myers so a few steps away yet. Dinkelman has done a nice job in Cedar Rapids but is still pretty green in terms of managing.

insagt1
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Re: Leo Roth in Praise of Stu Cliburn

Post by insagt1 » Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:07 pm

From a baseball and community PR standpoint, Tommy Watkins would be a perfect fit. But I wonder if that would really be a 'demotion' for him now.
Watkins was extremely popular here and it wouldn't hurt to have such an ambassador guide the ship. I really don't know how much blame Stu should take for the miserable condition of the pitching staff for most the season. How many times was he 'ordered' to throw guys like DeJong and Moya, and Romero, Stewart, Guilmet, the popular but ineffective Reed, Eades, Hildenberger, Krol, and the forgettable Zack Weiss...those guys were a menace and a hot mess.
I figure Twins feel that they need to have a new core of leadership here. I hope winning is a part of the plan.

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