Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
I'm not as excited as I usually am when Punto lands on the DL. Even with Harris struggling, I'm happy to have Punto out of the lineup. At least they didn't call up Tolbert. How many more hits will Nicky have in his first two weeks off the DL than he does during his stint on the DL?
Sunday, April 18, 2010
One trait for which I often praise Nick Punto is his tendency for injuries. This weekend, I realize have realized the downside. He's rarely fully injured. Instead, he's just "dinged-up" or "sore" or something to that effect. He's incapacitated enough to be unavaliable for about 4 games, but not enough that they would put him on the DL. (I, of course, would argue that he's always incapacitated enough to justify a stint on the DL). Punto's injury interferes with other decisions about the lineup. In order to have a reserve infielder, outfielder, and catcher, Jim Thome must DH leaving either Kubel or Young on the bench. Technically, they have to do that regardless of Punto's health, but with Alexi's "versatility" it's not nearly so critical to have an outfielder in reserve. I'm happy with any combination of Kubel, Young, and Thome covering LF and DH provided Kubel and Young get most of the at-bats. But I am not fine with that decision being made because the Twins insist on carrying an overpaid utility infielder who can't even stay healthy enough to hit .196 in 500 at bats. It's also tougher to use one of these three as a pinch-hitter late in the game. With Punto out of the lineup, there's not much need, but I would feel better with Thome than Harris. Nonetheless, they are better without Punto than with Punto. Because this way, Gardy can't pinch hit Punto for Young because "Nicky hits the ball pretty good against this guy." (This means, of course, that Punto went 2-4 against him 6 years ago and has since gone 0-8).
Sunday, April 4, 2010
On Saturday, I had a chat with my neighbor about the upcoming Twins season. He's in his upper 80's, so he's seen a lot of Twins baseball. I could not help but chuckle at his outlook on the team this year: "It's the same team as last year, only it's more expensive." Can you really dispute that? Although I thought they handled the offseason pretty well, he raises an excellent point. How can expectations be dramatically different when the personnel is exactly the same? Last year, at this time, he told me, "They're a .500 ballclub." They were a little better than that, so if the trend continues, maybe they'll win a game in the division series this year.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
I had thought there would at least be a chance that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire would opt to only play 8 players in the field and take the automatic out every time the 9th spot came up in the batting order. Instead, he wants errant throws into right field after the batter has passed first base and popped up bunts. Look on the bright side. By beginning the season as a starter, he is more likely to suffer a season ending injury. I was about to say that it means he can't bench Hardy or Hudson because that would mean playing Harris. But then I remembered Casilla. You can't blame Alexi, though. Time and again he has seen that sloppy defense and a low batting average earn playing time.