Posted on: September 17, 2010 12:37 am
Edited on: September 17, 2010 9:41 am

RIP 2010 White Sox

Congratulations to the Minnesota Twins, your 2010 American League Central Division champions.

With the Twins' sweep of the White Sox, even Chicago ace Mark Buehrle knows what's up: "I think she's singing," he said in reference to the fat lady.

The New York Times' Tyler Kepner had that quote, and another on his Twitter account . The other: "Everybody knew coming in we had to sweep them, not get swept. They came in and kicked our butts every which way."

Tough to argue with that.

The Twins now lead the division by nine games with 16 games remaining in the season and their magic number dropping to eight.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 16, 2010 9:32 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2010 1:34 am

Konerko gets payback

Paul Konerko Unlike Derek Jeter, there was little little doubt Paul Konerko was hit on Thursday. In the first inning, Twins starter Carl Pavano hit Konerko in the face.

Konerko was examined and stayed int he game. In his next at-bat, he homered, cutting a Twins lead to 3-1.

The White Sox retaliated, as Mark Buehrle hit Michael Cuddyer in the back on the first pitch of the second inning, prompting home plate umpire Jerry Crawford to issue warnings to both teams. The Twins then made the Sox pay, as Cuddyer scored on back-to-back singles to start a three-run inning.

UPDATE: Following the Twins' 8-5 victory, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen made the case for keeping the free-agent-to-be with Chicago.

"I hope my players, not just White Sox players -- look themselves in the mirror and see what this guy did," Guillen told the Chicago Tribune . "This guy has a chance to be the MVP. Great numbers, great career. Stepped it up like a man and played the game. That's something a lot of people got to look themselves in the mirror, and you're going to grow up with somebody, and you're going to grow up with a guy like that, you're going to come out as a good ballplayer."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: September 14, 2010 12:51 pm
Edited on: September 14, 2010 1:04 pm

What's really at stake in AL East?

Reid Brignac
As we watch the Yankees and Rays battle for the American League East title, it begs the question: Should either of them want to win the American League East title?

After being swept at the hands of the Rangers last weekend, and getting an up-close look at what a healthy Cliff Lee is going to throw at you twice over a five-game series, does the likely “prize” of facing Texas look like much of a prize right now?

On the other hand, the Twins, who await the wild-card winner, have the best record in baseball since the All-Star break and are 48-23 at home. Are they a better alternative?

Here’s a look at how the East contenders have matched up against potential first-round opponents.

Yankees vs. Rangers: 4-4, overall score 39-33

Yankees vs. Twins: 4-2, 24-21

Rays vs. Rangers: 4-2, 40-31

Rays vs. Twins: 5-3, 38-32

It’s another instance where, except for home-field advantage if they face each other in the second round, there’s no clear edge for the division winner. In fact, there have been some suggestions that the way Joe Girardi managed Monday night's loss to the Rays indicated he wasn't playing with an urgency to win.

It adds to the growing current of support for adding another wild card in each league and making the two wild cards play each other first in order to advance to the division series. With two wild cards, not only would we still have meaningful baseball in Boston and Chicago right now, the Yankees-Rays outcome would feel like it had something real at stake.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Posted on: September 13, 2010 6:45 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2010 6:53 pm

Scioscia would shorten season

Mike Scioscia
Consider the very real possibility that World Series games could be played in the Twins' new outdoor ballpark this year. And that a Game 7 would be played on November 4. And that the average high temperature on November 4 in Minneapolis is 46 degrees. The average low is 30.

Next season will start on April 1, when in the Twin Cities it averages a high of 49 and a low of 30.

Sound like baseball weather? It doesn't to Angels manager Mike Scioscia, either. He would like to see baseball work to compress the season on both ends.

"I think that any way that we can condense the season a bit [is better for the game], I think there's a real issue with weather," Scioscia told reporters on Monday. "You can get bad weather in October, but you have that buffer because there's still time ahead of you, and the chance of good weather is much better than if you have a cold spell in the first week of November that you can get things done."

"Starting the season in March, you're waiting five weeks for good weather and it has a chance to impact a lot of baseball," Scioscia said. "Back when this whole schedule was made up with seasonal baseball, I think there was a reason, if you look at some of those opening day [dates], it was April 10 or 12. Now we're starting on March 31."

Scioscia, who is on a committee formed last year by the commissioner to review on-field matters, thinks the schedule could be tweaked. He recognizes that significantly cutting the number of games in the regular season would effect teams' revenue (the season expanded from 154 to 162 games in 1961), but thinks the season could be shortened. He'd also like to see more doubleheaders and day games.

"If you can blend in, maybe cut down some of the games and the dates to maybe minimize the impact of that, I think you can tighten the schedule up maybe a week or 10 days," he said.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Tags: Angels, Twins
Posted on: September 9, 2010 9:22 am

Attendance on slight decline

Major League Baseball is on track to see an attendance decline for the second straight year following record turnstile spinning in 2008.

Analysis by bizofbaseball.com shows the numbers entering Thursday are down 0.85 percent from last season, with an average crowd of 30,156, down from 30,415 last year.

The Mets have seen the biggest decline, going from the boost of Citi Field's inaugural season in 2009 to a drop of 6,339 per game in this disappointing year. The Indians, who have baseball's lowest attendance, are off 4,543 per game and the Blue Jays 4,291.

The opening of Target Field has provided the biggest boost, with the Twins up 11,091 per game. The Rangers are seeing bigger crowds (by 3,097) in their successful season, and the Rockies are up 3,006 per game.

Despite the overall decline, I don't think this news can be viewed as anything but good. Despite a deep and prolonged economic downturn, baseball posted the fifth-highest attendance in history last year and have stayed within a percentage point of that level this year. All while the cost of going to a game, and the number of entertainment alternatives, continue to rise.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Posted on: September 8, 2010 7:18 pm

Morneau hopes to play this season

Justin Morneau Twins first baseman Justin Morneau is still optimistic he can play in 2010 he told reporters, including the Star Tribune 's Joe Christensen . Morneau hasn't played since suffering a concussion on July 7.

"It's been a pretty good week," Morneau told reporters at a press conference to discuss his nomination for the Roberto Clemente award. "I've been running, and it's coming along slowly. That's why I'm still optimistic that we'll be back before the year is over."

Morneau is still not hitting, he said.

The Twins lead the White Sox by 4 1/2 games going into Wednesday's game with the Royals. Although he may not be needed to win the division, the Twins would certainly like to go into the postseason with the former MVP at their disposal.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Posted on: September 8, 2010 4:28 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2010 6:06 pm

Posada sits with concussion symptoms

Jorge Posada
Yankees catcher Jorge Posada was unavailable for Wednesday's game against the Orioles, reporting symptoms consistent with a concussion after being shaken up by a foul tip on Tuesday. Manager Joe Girardi told reporters after the game that Posada saw a neurologist.

It's been a rough year in baseball for concussions, which have no set timeline for recovery. The Twins are likely to be without Justin Morneau and the Mets without Jason Bay for the season after lingering symptoms. Hopefully for Yankees fans this won't turn into a major issue.

UPDATE: The Yankees sent an email to reporters updating his status: "Tests performed this afternoon by a neurology specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital were negative. Physicians have cleared Posada for competitive play and he is listed as day-to-day." Sounds like good news.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: September 8, 2010 3:09 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2010 3:59 pm

Looking at Executive of the Year candidates

The Executive of the Year award differs from the other postseason awards we've been previewing this week in a couple of ways.

First, it's a peer award, voted on not by writers but by a selection of baseball executives. Second, the vote doesn't take place until after the season, so what happens in the postseason figures into it. That makes it tougher to handicap this far in advance.

The award has been handed out by the Sporting News since 1936, and usually goes to a general manager -- often a GM who is succeeding despite limited resources.

Jon Daniels Jon Daniels

It will be surprising if Daniels doesn't win this award after putting together the Rangers' best-ever team under unusually challenging circumstances. In the winter he offloaded Kevin Millwood and added Vladimir Guerrero, and in July he pulled a coup by outbidding the other contenders for Cliff Lee. All while the team was in bankruptcy, held in trust by Major League Baseball and limited financially. Daniels also made a tough decision to stick with manager Ron Washington after his admission of cocaine use last season.

Andrew Friedman

Friedman won the award after the 2008 season, and the Rays continue to keep themselves in the battle while being hugely outspent in baseball's toughest division. Getting rid of Akinori Iwamura looks like a wise move, and he managed to lock in several of his key players with one-year deals.

Bill Smith

Two words: Jim Thome. The signing of the veteran to a $1.5 million contract is looking like by far the best move of last winter. Acquisitions Orlando Hudson and J.J. Hardy also are working out nicely as the Twins head toward their second straight division title.

Walt Jocketty

Jocketty didn't have much budget wiggle room last winter, with a lot of money dedicated to a few players this year. The boldest move he made: Convincing ownership to spend $30 million on 22-year-old Cuban pitcher Aroldis Champan. The biggest move he didn't make: Using Joey Votto as a trade chip, as it was rumored he might.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Tags: Rangers, Rays, Reds, Twins
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com