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Posted on: June 9, 2009 4:47 pm
 

Stop it before it starts.

A three game losing streak is not much of a streak, its more like a case of bad luck; however, if the Twins bats don't start helping out their pitching, it could start to get ugly very quickly. The Twins have averaged just 2 runs a game during their current road trip against Seattle and Oakland. The worst part is that the role players and the bottom half of the line up guys have been outscoring the team's star players. Justin Morneau has two RBI's, but the rest of the scoring has come from Matt Tolbert, Carlos Gomez, Mike Redmond, and Joe Crede. In the last three games the Twins have lost by 1, 2, and 1 runs. 

While the Twins hitting is much improved over recent years, if the big hitters aren't knocking the ball around, our Minnesota Twins won't win many games. Over the last seven games, the Twins' best players have been struggling, even Joe Mauer is hitting under .500. In the last week, which includes the 10 run game against the Indians, Joe Crede, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Justin Morneau, Denard Span, and Delmon Young have combined for 27 out of 118 with 11 walks. That is a batting average below .230. We need for the heart of the order to start hitting on the road, and fast.

Despite the Twins losing ways, they have only lost 1 game in the division race over their last 10. If they can win at least 2 of the remaining three against the Athletics, they will be in good shape going into the series on the North Side of Chicago to take on the Cubs.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 6, 2009 3:47 pm
 

WInning in all sorts of ways..


The Twins start this month off in perfect fashion. They win win the long run, excellent pitching, and late inning dramatics. Since my last post, the Twins have hit 4 home runs in a game, Scott Baker struck out 10, and then they went on the road and won an extra inning game playing smallball against the Mariners.
















Both Baker and Francisco Liriano pitched good. Liriano struggled at points with control (he walked 4), but never let the game get away from him. He even helped to stop Ichiro's hitting streak at 27 games. If both these pitchers continue to go late into games without giving up runs, the Twins should easily be the class of the division. Both Kevin Slowey and Nick Blackburn have had amazing years to date, and they were expected to be the 3 and 4 pitchers. If the top of the rotation guys start to pitch well, the Twins should slide into 1st in the A.L. Central within the next week or so.
Category: MLB
Tags: Twins
 
Posted on: June 3, 2009 12:12 am
Edited on: June 3, 2009 12:13 am
 

Twins vs Cleveland: Mauer Power

Joe Mauer, soon to be named player of the month for May, started June the same way he played last month. He went 3 for 3 with an intentional walk. Who would have thought that a team would purposely put an extra guy on base for Justin Mourneau, who is hitting .345 with 47 RBIs (3rd most in the AL)? I guess when you have already had 2 singles, one for an RBI, and 1 2-run homer; teams will start to do drastic things to limit your damage. It paid off this time, as Morneau hit into a inning ending double play.

Fortunately for the Twins, Mauers' 3 RBIs, along with Denard Span's 1, were enough for Kevin Slowey and crew to beat the Indians, 3-4. Slowey now has 8 wins on the year, 2nd most in all of baseball. The game got close in the 7th inning when Mourneau and Alexi Cassila hit gloves going for a flyball in shallow right field, allowing Cleveland's first 2 runs. Then in the 8th Jose Mijares gave up a solo home run to Victor Martinez to bring the score within 1. Joe Nathan came in for a 4 out save, his 10th save of the season.

Hopefully this is a sign of things to come, as the Twins picked up a game on everyone in the A.L. Central today. They are now tied for 2nd with the White Sox, just 3 1/2 games behind the Tigers.

Posted on: June 1, 2009 7:08 pm
 

A Look Ahead

Slow Starts and Road Woes, Followed by HOT Summers:

Business as usual for the Twins

The Minnesota Twins have an off day today before a mini-home stand versus the Cleveland Indians. The Twins currently have a major league best 19 wins at home, and should be able to take at least 2 out of 3 from the Tribe.

After the noon game on Thursday it is straight to the road, where the Twins are tied for the least amount of wins with the lowly Washington Nationals (13-6 overall). In spite of that, I think this may be an optimal time for this 10 game road trip, taking the Twins from Seattle, to Oakland, to the North side of Chicago for the start of inter-league play. 

None of the teams on the trip are playing extremely well as of late. The Mariners are 5 and 5 in their last 10, but have been beating up on the bad teams within their division. The Athletics are already 10 games out of 1st in their division, and have only won 1 of their last 5 series. The Cubs are under .500 for their last 10 games as well, and the Twins have MLB's best inter-league record since 2002. Last year they were an amazing 14-4.

If the Twins are able to pick up some wins on this road trip, they would likely stay hot through inter-league play (they host the Pirates and Astros before going to Milwaukee and St. Louis). Then they play 3 games at Kansas City, who have already cooled down drastically from their hot start. After that they start July with a 9 game home stand. Assuming our beloved Twins play like history shows they can in most of these games, they could easily have a few game lead in the A.L. Central division going into the All-Star break. 

 

Category: MLB
Tags: T Unit, Twins
 
Posted on: May 31, 2009 3:22 am
Edited on: May 31, 2009 8:36 am
 

Twins @ Rays: The Price is Right

The Tampa Bay Rays, a team that admittedly bases its team philosophy on the Twins, has taken the first 2 of a 3 game series. The Rays have been concentrating on pitching and seem to have a full stable of studs in their minor league system. The latest to be called up is David Price.

Although it was not his debut, he pitched great down the stretch in the play-offs last year, it was defiantly David Price's coming out party. The 2007 number 1 overall pick out of Vanderbilt got his first career regular season win earlier today. He pitched 5 and 2/3 innings, gave up 5 hits, 1 earned run, and walked 2. He seemed to have trouble in the first 2 innings and his pitch count reached just shy of 50, but he struck out 2 in each inning, keeping any of the Twins from scoring. Then in the 3rd Denard Span hit a bunt single, followed by a Joe Mauer ground rule double. Price was able to get Justin Morneau to hit a sacrifice before striking out Michael Cuddyer and Joe Crede, allowing just the one earned run.

Francisco Liriano then had a nightmare inning that included a lead-off home run, 2 walks, 2 wild pitches, and 3 infield singles . He also gave up 2 singles to center. The end result was 4 runs.

David Price would never look back. He struck out 5 more batters in the next 2 and 2/3 innings, totaling 11 k's, before being relieved by Grant Balfour.The Twins would score 1 more in the 9th, but came up short in the end.

Along with the likes of Tim Lincecum, Cole Hamels, and Felix Hernandez; David Price will be whiffing batters for years to come. Keep your eyes on him when he takes the mound, as he has a real chance to be a special player.

 

 



Category: MLB
Posted on: May 28, 2009 11:11 pm
Edited on: May 29, 2009 8:07 pm
 

Where should Go-Go go?

Are the Twins slowing the maturation of Carlos Gomez by not sending him to AAA?


At only 22 years old Carlos Gomez has already shown he is an elite major league center fielder, where so far this year he has a perfect fielding percentage. In his major league career he has more outfield assists then errors. He has also shown the ability to read the ball well off the bat and use his speed to track down hard to get to balls, making several highlight reel catches. He also has a cannon for an arm.

He is showing signs of having excellent base running skills, or at least the raw speed to bunt for base hits, take the extra base, and steal his way into scoring position. In a game against the Red Sox on Wednesday, he attempted to take home in the 7th inning and seeing that Boston catcher George Kottaras was blocking the plate ready to make the tag, Gomez lowered his shoulder and tried to run right through Kottaras. I am not sure how he held onto the ball, but it was great to see the young Twin playing such hard-nosed baseball. It reminded me a lot of former Twins center fielder Torii Hunter. Carlos Gomez has also been compared to A's great Ricky Henderson.

The problem however, is that he has not been able to hit for average at the major league level. Although he has already hit for the cycle in his young career, a sure sign of his raw talent, he has a career batting average of only .250 and a career on base percentage of under .300. So far this year he is hitting just .225, and that leads to the bigger problem...

With the emergence of Denard Span, hitting .317 on the year, Jason Kubel, hitting .340 on the year, and Michael Cuddyer hitting .330 with 7 home runs in May; there just hasn't been much playing time for Gomez. And what he needs is just that, more playing time. He has only started 25 games this year, several of which where as a result of Delmon Young being on bereavement leave for 9 days. Currently Gomez is being used mostly as a pinch runner and defensive replacement.

I believe that the future of the Twins outfield consists of Carlos Gomez, Denard Span, and Delmon Young. The Twins, in my opinion, would be better served sending Gomez down to thier AAA affiliate, the Rochester Red Wings. That way he would get a chance to get a full slate of in game at bats, and continue to work on his excellent potential on the bases. He would then be able work on things like taking pitches and 2 strike hitting with out it costing the big club a win.

As a minor leaguer in the New York Mets system Gomez saw an improvement in batting average every year, at each level. In 2005 playing A ball he has a batting average of .275 and an on base percentage of .331. In 2006 playing AA ball those numbers jumped to a .281 AVG and a .350 OBP. When he played AAA for 36 games in 2007 he got his average up to .286 and his on base percentage to .363. It appears that with work and regular at bats Gomez has shown the ability to make improvements on hitting.

Hopefully the Twins will give their young outfielders all they will need to reach their full potential, because if these emerging stars continue to progress, the Minnesota outfield could be the envy of the bigs for years to come.

Posted on: May 28, 2009 6:49 pm
Edited on: May 28, 2009 6:53 pm
 

Twins and Red Sox Split 4 game series

The Twins managed to split the series with the Red Sox in the final match up between the two at the Metrodome. At the end of the current home stand, the Twins are now 4 games back of Detroit, the same team they swept just a few series ago. 

In the four games vs. the Red Sox, both Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer, have both cooled down a bit. Hitting a combined 7 - 26 with 2 home runs. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During Wednesday's game, the Red Sox tied a record with 7 wild pitches, by three different pitchers.

In the series finale, the Twins were unable to build off Joe Crede's early home run. In an odd game, Jason Varitek hit two home runs and then was ejected for arguing a called ball 4 when catching; however, that wasn't until after Twins' catcher Mike Redmond was tossed for arguing a play at the plate on a sacrifice fly. Replays show that Redmond was correct. Ron Gardenhire hurried out and was quickly ejected when responding to Redmond's ejection.

The Twins now go to Tampa Bay to play the struggling Rays, losers of 5 straight, in a three game series before returning home to for a 3 game series vs Cleveland.

Category: MLB
Posted on: May 27, 2009 4:37 pm
Edited on: May 27, 2009 7:15 pm
 

MLB's Worst Team Names

What's in a name?

I was looking into some history on what I thought were the MLB's current worst franchise names. For me the list came down to the following six:

The Sock teams: There are currently not two but three teams named after the color of their socks, or Sox. The Chicago White Sox, the Boston Red Sox and the Cincinnati Reds (who's name was shortened from the Red Stockings in the 1878).

                                               

The Oakland Athletics: The team, originally the Philadelphia Athletics, was named after a local gentleman's club, The Athletic Club of Philadelphia. In 1905 the team went professional and kept the same name. When they later moved to Kanas City in 1955, they continued to play as the Athletics. In 1968 the team moved to Oakland. The team name was officially changed to the A's from 1970 - 1981, before returning to the Athletics. This team name survived two city moves and two eccentric owners. Most surprising to me is that the name survived Charlie O. Finley. This was the guy who first gave baseball bright colored uniforms, night games, and unfortunately the designated hitter. He even tried to get the league to switch to a more visible orange baseball. Through all that, he was fine with his team being named after an Athletic club in Pennsylvania. 

The Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies replaced the Worcester Brown Stockings (yes, another sock team) in 1883 under the name the Quakers. In 1884 the team changed its name to the Philadelphias. Newspapers had a hard time fitting the name in the box scores and started to type the them in as the Phillies. The team went by both the Phillies and the Quakers until 1890 when they officially changed their name to the Phillies.

The Houston Astros: The franchise started in 1962 as the Colt .45s. Two years later the team moved to the new Harris County Dome Stadium. At that time team owner Roy Hofheinz, decided to change team name and the stadium name to the Astros and the Astrodome. He did so to pay homage to Houston's affiliation to N.A.S.A. and the Space Program. I actually like this team name, but have always disliked their logos. It started as the dome made to look like a UFO, and then switched to the Star in 1994. Doesn't Texas have another famous sport team with a Start as the logo?

Then there are the racist team names. The Cleveland Indians and the Atlanta Braves. Although I personally think the Braves is an honorable term for Native Americans, and both are far better than the NFL's Redskins.

Some better names also have some interesting origins. The Dodgers, named for all the Trolley Dodging you needed to do when going to the stadium in Brooklyn. Although they had many names in a short amount of years, I think we all wish they were still the Bridegrooms. The Twins, named for the Twin Cities. The Mets, being named for the city's area as well as the team's corporate name. The Nationals, bringing back the original name for the team in our Nation's Capital. The Kansas City Royals, named after the American Royal, a livestock show, horse show, and rodeo held in Kansas City since the late 1800's.

Of course there are also all the animal/bird names like the Diamondbacks and the Orioles. I do think most could do better, I mean how many Tigers are there in Detroit? However, there are animal names more specific to the teams region like the Marlins and the Rays.

 

Please leave feedback on any team names that you think are either outdated or just plain bad. I had a lot of fun researching this and would love to get some opinions. 

 

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com