Blog Entry

3 to watch: The Non-dome-field advantage edition

Posted on: June 27, 2010 9:21 pm
So maybe it wasn't the blowers.

And maybe it wasn't the bouncy turf, or the goofy roof. Maybe it wasn't the Metrodome at all.

Check the record: Last year, at the Metrodome, the Twins started off 23-13 at home. This year, at Target Field, the Twins have started off 23-13 at home.

"I think they're just a great home team," Tigers catcher Gerald Laird suggested.

"You look at all good teams," longtime Twin Michael Cuddyer said. "They all win at home."

He's right, of course. But for years, when the Twins won so much at the Metrodome, we always wanted to give the building half the credit. Or half the blame, as opposing players did when they accused the Twins of manipulating the air blowers to create a jet stream when the Twins were hitting.

"You can't do that outdoors," Cuddyer said with a smile.

There is something they can do outdoors. They can put nearly 40,000 Minnesotans in the stands, creating what general manager Bill Smith describes as "a high-energy experience."

It'll be high-energy again this week, when the Twins return from a typical 3-6 road trip for an important series against the Tigers. The Twins hold a half-game lead over the Tigers (and a 1 1/2-game lead over the White Sox) in the American League Central.

The Tigers, who went winless in their first Target Field visit last month, know what to expect.

"Everyone wanted to say before that it was because of the Dome, or whatever," Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge said. "You know, they just have a good ballclub. What kind of [unusual] advantage can they get now? It's a normal ballpark, a great ballpark."

Or, as Laird said, "I don't think there's any excuses anymore."

And there would be no excuse for leaving Tigers-Twins off this week's edition of 3 to watch:

1. Jason Heyward is getting his sore left thumb examined Monday afternoon, so there's a good chance that the first-ever Heyward-Stephen Strasburg matchup will wait for another day. But Strasburg's start, in Nationals at Braves, Monday night (7:10 EDT) at Turner Field , is notable anyway, and not just because we promised to highlight every Strasburg start. For one thing, it's still his first-ever start against a first-place team. For another, his opponent is Tim Hudson, who has been one of the best pitchers in the National League this year.

2. Since the start of last year, the Tigers are 2-11 in the state of Minnesota (indoors and outdoors), but five of the losses were by one run, and in five of the losses the Tigers led in the seventh inning or later. So if any Strasburg start is can't-miss, so is Tigers-Twins, at the Metrodome or Target Field. That the teams are separated by just half a game in the standings only makes Tigers at Twins, Monday night (8:10 EDT) at Target Field , that much more interesting.

3. Remember, the Rays were supposed to have had the easy interleague schedule (no games vs. 2009 playoff teams). They went 7-11, had a no-hitter thrown against them and fought among themselves. The Red Sox were supposed to have the tough interleague schedule (four series vs. 2009 playoff teams). They went 13-5, good enough to move into second place (ahead of the Rays) in the AL East. So now the Rays arrive in Boston, for a two-game series that begins with Rays at Red Sox, Tuesday night (7:10 EDT) at Fenway Park . The Red Sox already have Dustin Pedroia, Josh Beckett and Jacoby Ellsbury on the disabled list, and by gametime Tuesday Victor Martinez could be there, too. Is that good for the Rays? Sorry, we're done making predictions.

Since: Feb 20, 2008
Posted on: June 28, 2010 2:35 pm

3 to watch: How are Dodgers-Giants not mentioned?

The biggest rivalry in sports isn't mentioned on 3 to watch?  Are you kidding me?

2nd place and Wildcard lead in the NL on the line, biggest rivalry in all of sports.... not even a top 3 game for this CBS writer on a day when not every major league team is even playing!?

You have got to be kidding me.  These guys must submit columns for free, because no one would be stupid enough to pay these guys for their not-so-expert opinions.

Since: Apr 24, 2007
Posted on: June 28, 2010 1:57 pm

3 to watch: The Non-dome-field advantage edition

Why are the Twins a small market team?  The Minnesota area is one of the richest corporate cities in the United States.  The Twins proved last year they are not able to compete with the Yankees in the postseason, so don't revise histosry.  And don't start with the missed calls, becoause they might not have even been there if not for a blown call in game 163.  The Twins are a great team, with perhaps the best manager in the game.  The Twins everday lineup is very good, perhaps the best in all of baseball.  The Twins startisng pitching is not very impressive, only Liriano is an above average major league talent.  The bullpen has depth but it lost its edge when Nathan was lost for the year.  Unless the Twins go out and acquire a true #1 starter, I just don't see how they continue to keep pace with the Tigers or White Sox, who are in much better positon when it comes to their young pitching.  If the Twins are able to go out and get a Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt then maybe the things change, but unless the scouts aren't correct in their assessment of the Twins farm talent it may be a while before the Twins develop another Santana.

Since: Apr 25, 2007
Posted on: June 28, 2010 1:51 pm

3 to watch: The Non-dome-field advantage edition

Everyone except the mets apparently

Since: Feb 1, 2010
Posted on: June 28, 2010 1:33 pm

3 to watch: The Non-dome-field advantage edition

The Twins are far beyond a Metrodome team. They can compete with the best of them (even the Yanks).

What I love most about this franchise is the way they have proven critics wrong and defied the odds. I would love for them to win the World Series, especially as a "small market team".

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