Thursday, September 30, 2010

Final Series

This series with the Blue Jays is a playoff series. I've already posted my thoughts on how the Twins compare with Toronto. Technically, the games may be meaningless, but Toronto is unquestionably a playoff caliber team.

My middle school baseball team once lost a game 6-2. After the game, the other team's coaches told us that it was the first game they had not won by the 10-run mercy rule. They said that it was because they didn't pitch their best pitchers. Meanwhile, the Twins have allowed 59 runs- make that 60- in the last week. That's about the same number of runs the Twins allowed from the start of September until the Tigers series. It's okay, though. Jim Thome, Joe Mauer, JJ Hardy, and others were resting because the division had already been clinched. Well, Punto's lousy defense at short did surrender a few runs, so I suppose it's at least something of an excuse.

Losing streaks happen to every baseball team. That doesn't concern me. I am, however, disconcerted at just how easily they're losing. A team that's headed to the playoffs should at least be playing quality baseball. They're just embarrassing themselves.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Manager of the Year

People seem to be nominating Ron Gardenhire for manager of the year. After all, his team has all but wrapped up its division and has one of the best records in the league. He's also taken a team with one of the best rosters in the league that plays in one of the weakest divisions to this point. Let's not forget the Twins entered the year among the favorites to contend for the World Series title. To this point, he has met expectations. There are plenty of managers out there who could screw this up, but I'd like to think there are at least a few doing more with less. Ozzie Guillen took the White Sox into September still in contention for a playoff spot.

Gardy can't even take credit for some of his best moves. He reluctantly played Delmon Young everybody because Bill Smith didn't give him any outfielders. Even then, he tried to bench Young because Kubel couldn't hit. He had nothing to do with Pavano. And he still hasn't found a way to play Punto from the DL.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pavano and Buehrle

Baseball needs more pitchers like Pavano and Buehrle. They know the drill.

I am usually the type to say, "The Twins won, but..." But when they keep winning, it means they must be doing something right. But, Nick Punto is hurt. So by that logic, Punto's absence must be a good thing. I'm still convinced that no Punto at all is better than an injured Punto, but I'll take it.

Beyond that, I don't know how to feel about the Twins. I claim I want the World Series title. Years of hovering just above mediocre have turned me cynical. I don't have that unwavering and often irrational "This is the year" mentality. (My friends can vouch that I was 100% convinced that the 1998 Twins were destined to win the World Series). This year, everybody around baseball expected the Twins to be among the best teams in the league. The standings show that they are. They have the fancy stadium and a blend of marquee players, rising stars, and serviceable veterans. All things considered, they are quite similar in makeup to recent champions. Usually, the Twins are in the opposite position. They overachieve and claw their way into the playoffs on fumes and then get swept. This really gets us back to the whole identity crisis of the Twins. They're among the "haves" of baseball. Let's hope they continue to play like it.