Posted on: July 21, 2011 5:47 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 5:48 pm
Twice in the last five years, the Twins have won the American League Central after trailing by six games in September.
So yes, they think they can win when they're down by five games in late July.
In fact, according to sources, the Twins' recent run of success has caused them to shift their trade-deadline focus, to the point where they're now looking for a reliever who they could team with Matt Capps and Joe Nathan at the back of their bullpen.
The Twins are still five games under .500, heading into a weekend series with the Tigers that begins with Carl Pavano facing Justin Verlander on Thursday night. They've won 29 of the last 43, after falling to 20 games under .500 and 16 1/2 games out of first place on June 1.
With Justin Morneau on the way back from the disabled list, the Twins now believe the division is winnable.
"They always believe they ought to be in the pennant race," said ex-Twin Nick Punto, now with the Cardinals. "Definitely don't count them out."
For more trade deadline news, click here.
Posted on: January 19, 2011 7:53 pm
The Twins needed to keep Carl Pavano.
Carl Pavano was comfortable with the Twins.
It always made sense that they'd stay together. It hardly matters now that it took so long to happen.
The Twins announced their long-awaited Pavano deal Wednesday night. They'll pay him $16.5 million for the next two years, with another $500,000 in incentives, which seems like a reasonable price to pay for a guy who won 17 games in 2010.
Last month, the Twins were concerned Pavano would go elsewhere, because they were determined not to offer him a three-year deal. But while many teams showed interest (the Pirates prominent among them), no one else went crazy with an offer to Pavano, either.
Pavano, who turned 35 earlier this month, has fit in well with the Twins since coming to Minnesota in a mid-2009 trade with the Indians. To some extent, he has rebuilt his image since the disastrous three-year stay with the Yankees.
Posted on: July 16, 2010 10:33 am
This time, the schedule-maker got it right.
On the night the Yankees honor George Steinbrenner, baseball gives us Yankees vs. Rays. In the first game the Yankees will play since Steinbrenner's death on Tuesday morning, the Yankees will play the team that Steinbrenner always insisted they beat.
Yes, of course, he insisted they beat every team. Yes, of course, the series with the Red Sox and the series with the Mets always held special relevance to him.
But so did the series with the Rays, even back when they were the awful Devil Rays. Even when it was a solitary meaningless game in spring training.
Tampa was Steinbrenner's adopted hometown. Tampa was where he spent most of his time. He was not going to have his Yankees lose to any team from Tampa (or even St. Petersburg).
Yankees-Rays games are no longer meaningless. The teams enter the second half of the season separated by just two games in the American League East standings, with the Red Sox and the AL Central contenders close enough behind so that a wild-card berth isn't guaranteed to the team that fails to finish first.
The Yankees and Rays will meet 13 times during the second half. And the first meeting kicks off this first post-All-Star edition of 3 to watch:
1. In other places, you can argue about Steinbrenner's legacy. In the Bronx, especially in the moments leading up to Rays at Yankees, Friday night (7:05 EDT) at Yankee Stadium , you can be sure the focus will be on the championships won and the successes celebrated. The Yankees will have a double-tribute, honoring both Steinbrenner and longtime public address announcer Bob Sheppard, but they've pushed the video tribute to Sheppard to Saturday (which is also Old-Timer's Day). Friday's ceremony will concentrate on Steinbrenner -- who, if he were still here, would be concentrating intensely on Friday's game.
2. Sometime just after Stephen Strasburg's stunning debut, I vowed to include every Strasburg start in 3 to watch, until further notice. It doesn't feel right to end it just yet, not so soon after an All-Star Game that judging by the low ratings could have used Strasburg's star power. Instead, Strasburg will try to awaken a little baseball interest in South Florida, in Nationals at Marlins, Friday night (7:10 EDT) at Sun Life Stadium .
3. When Justin Morneau went on the disabled list last September, it was supposed to mean the end of the Twins. Instead, they went 17-4 in the 21 games he missed, including the memorable Game 163 win over the Tigers that sent them into the playoffs. Now Morneau is out again, on the DL while recovering from a concussion suffered on July 7 in Toronto. The Twins fell into third place the day Morneau was hurt. They're 1-4 since then, more because of poor pitching than because of the Morneau-less offense. The one win came from Carl Pavano, who starts again, in White Sox at Twins, Saturday night (7:10 EDT) at Target Field .
Posted on: June 25, 2010 10:26 am
If we're going to have one final weekend of interleague play, we may as well have Dodgers-Yankees.
Too bad they put it in the wrong place.
Too bad that right before, or right after, Manny in Boston we didn't get Joe in New York.
Joe Torre against the Yankees is a nice little side story. Joe Torre against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium would have been a must-watch.
"It certainly would have been something that would have been exciting," Torre said last weekend. "There's no question."
A Torre appearance in Yankee Stadium wouldn't have presented Yankee fans with the same conflicted feelings that Manny Ramirez in Fenway Park presented the people of Boston. But it sure would have been interesting to see how Yankee management reacted, given the 2007 breakup and the Yankees' reluctance ever since then to acknowledge that Torre was such of big part of their recent history.
Torre against the Yankees at Dodger Stadium doesn't have the same feel. With the exception of Alex Rodriguez, the Yankee players have professed their love for their former manager (and vice-versa). There will be hugs all around.
And as for Torre at Yankee Stadium, there's always the World Series. Torre likes to remind people that the Dodgers were two wins away from giving him that return last October.
"That would have been pretty wild," he said.
It could still happen, but given the likelihood that Torre leaves the Dodgers after this season, it would probably need to happen this October.
In any case, Dodgers-Yankees is one of a few potential World Series previews on this final-weekend interleague schedule. You've also got Twins-Mets, Rockies-Angels and Tigers-Braves, as you can see on this weekend's edition of 3 to watch:
1. The Tigers don't say that Brennan Boesch is going to have a better career than Jason Heyward. But they do like to point out that right now, Boesch has better numbers than Heyward. In any case, in a year where the rookie class has been heavily tilted towards the National League, the Tigers are the exception, with an outstanding rookie class of their own. They'll show off another one -- 22-year-old left-hander Andy Oliver -- in Tigers at Braves, Friday night (7:35 EDT) at Turner Field . One rival scout who saw Oliver recently at Double-A Erie said "his stuff is electric," and predicted that at the very least the Tigers would use him as a nasty left-on-left reliever in September. Now, with Rick Porcello getting a tune-up at Triple-A Toledo, Oliver gets his chance early.
2. Torre made his feelings about the Dodger rotation known late in spring training, when he named Vicente Padilla as his opening day starter. No one -- then or now -- would call Padilla the Dodgers ace, but in Yankees at Dodgers, Friday night (10:10 EDT) at Dodger Stadium , he opposes Yankee ace CC Sabathia. It's hard to imagine the Dodgers spending money to add a true ace this summer, but it's hard to imagine them getting to that Torre-in-New York World Series without one.
3. We don't get Torre in New York, and we also don't get Johan in Minnesota, because Johan Santana's first-ever meeting with his former team comes in Twins at Mets, Saturday afternoon (1:10 EDT) at Citi Field . Oh well. At least we get Carl in New York. That's Carl Pavano, who starts for the Twins Saturday, and presents us with this question: When he gets booed, will it be because of the Mets fans who always boo any current or former Yankee (even Phil Coke of the Tigers on Thursday night), or will it be Yankee fans, who with good reason never warmed up to the guy who basically stole money from them for four years? One other starter who will be on the minds of fans of both of these teams: Cliff Lee. If the Twins and Mets are going to meet in October, you've got to figure that means one of them has traded for the left-hander whose presence in Philadelphia prevented Dodgers-Yankees last October.
Posted on: August 7, 2009 12:10 pm
First, on the same day, the Red Sox signed Paul Byrd (who hadn't pitched all year) and the Yankees signed Russ Ortiz (who pitched poorly enough to get released by the Astros). At least they both signed minor-league contracts.
Then, on Thursday night, the Yankees traded for Chad Gaudin, who hadn't won since June, and has a 5.13 ERA while working in pitcher-friendly Petco Park and in the offensively-challenged National League West.
Today, the Twins traded for Carl Pavano, whose 5.37 ERA ranks 87th among the 90 big-league starters with enough innings to qualify for the ERA lead.
So the answer is yes, it is possible to acquire starting pitching in August.
But we're still saying that Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein was right when he said that "impactful" starting pitching won't be available this month.
Epstein's Red Sox, who have a 5.56 ERA from all starters not named Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, need rotation help. So do the Yankees, who have been starting Sergio Mitre in the fifth spot in the rotation and worry about the innings that Joba Chamberlain will pitch.
So did the Twins.
At least Pavano is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in three starts this year against the division-leading Tigers. He beat the Tigers last Sunday, and now could start against them again this weekend in Detroit. The Twins have two more series remaining against the Tigers after this, so maybe Pavano (6-8 with a 6.16 ERA against everyone but Detroit) could have some impact.
Posted on: July 30, 2009 3:05 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2009 3:06 pm
The Indians announced that Fausto Carmona will be recalled from the minor leagues to take Cliff Lee's spot in their rotation.
Fitting, because you could argue that Carmona's horrible season is a big part of the reason the Indians ended up trading Lee to the Phillies.
Way back in spring training, when Tribe general manager Mark Shapiro was discussing his 2009 rotation, he said it was "almost essential" that Carmona rebound from his disappointing year in 2008. Remember, Carmona was a 19-game winner in 2007, then slumped to 8-7 (with more walks than strikeouts) in '08.
As we all know now, Carmona didn't rebound. He was 2-6 with a 7.42 ERA in 12 starts, and earned himself a trip back to spring training and then a tour of Cleveland's minor-league system. The Indians are hopeful they have him headed in the right direction now, and we'll start to see, beginning with his Friday night start against the Tigers.
Anyway, the point is that Carmona was "almost essential" to the Indians' hopes of competing this year. His struggles helped lead to the team's struggles, and thus helped lead to the decision to deal Lee.
Now, Carmona takes his place.
One more Lee/Indians thought.
As many have noted, and as we suggested back in April , the Indians have traded the defending Cy Young winner in back-to-back seasons, with CC Sabathia last year and Lee this year.
Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, there's basically no chance they'll be able to make it three in three years. With Lee gone, the only Indians starter with enough innings to qualify for the ERA title is Carl Pavano. And among the 39 pitchers in the American League who qualify, he's 39th -- that's right, last -- with a 5.66 ERA.
Posted on: February 28, 2009 5:19 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2009 5:21 pm
And Carl Pavano is pitching?
Yes, indeed he is. I know it's true, because I saw it with my own eyes. Two innings, six-up, six-down, for the Indians this afternoon against the A's.
"I feel good," he said afterwards. "But I don't want to jinx it."
You can hear the snickers all the way from New York, or Tampa, or wherever there are Yankee fans. In four years in pinstripes, Pavano made nearly $40 million, gave the Yankees exactly nine wins, and was regularly referred to in the New York Post as the "American Idle."
"New York is always part of my past," Pavano said today. "I learned a lot. I'm trying not to look back at the past. I've got a great future, and it starts here."
He's 33 years old now, and the Indians are counting on him every bit as much as the Yankees once were. Pavano is Cleveland's No. 3 starter, and with question marks in the fourth and fifth spots, the Tribe needs him to stay healthy and pitch well.
Can that happen? Well, Pavano did make 63 starts and win 30 games in his final two years in Florida, before the four-year New York nightmare. He even won four of seven late-season starts for the Yankees last year, albeit with a 5.77 ERA.
"I've done this before," he said. "I've been successful before."
He's also teased us before. Two springs ago, Pavano made five appearances for the Yankees, and even ended up as the team's opening day starter. He pitched opening day, and once more a week later, before landing on the disabled list for the rest of 2007 and most of 2008.
In fact, Saturday's start was Pavano's seventh spring training appearance since the start of 2006. In that span, he's made just nine regular-season appearances.
Seven spring games. Nine real games.
Carl Pavano is pitching again. But it's still February.
"This time of year, it's about getting ready for April," he said.
Yes, Carl, that's the idea.
That's the idea.