As the Twins head to Wrigley Field for an interleague series against the Cubs this weekend, TSB.net’s David K. and Peter Christian are feeling very pessimistic about their team’s outlook, even though David’s Cubs are just 2.5 games out of first in the NL Central and Peter’s Twins only 4.5 back in the AL Central. That “glass half-empty” approach comes to light as the two talk about the up-coming series.
DK: Peter, we just got swept at home by the Rockies… oh wait… no… that was the Brewers… my bad… (Hey, I have to take a jab whenever possible even though the Cubs just blew two games in Houston.) But seriously, I haven’t felt this emotionally unattached to something since I last had a girlfriend. When the Cubs lose, I don’t blink an eye or even consider being remotely angry for a tenth of a second. I simply shrug it off like the Cubs are an ex nagging about something less meaningful than Adam Morrison’s role on the Lakers. It’s not like the Cubs are a bad team, but they just continue to be unimpressive as they hang around mediocrity in the National League. I want to quit them Peter for the 301,927th time ever. You picking up what I’m putting down?
PC: I’m definitely scooping that vibe. I’m definitely not as detached as you are but I find myself caring a little bit less with each disappointing loss (especially the road losses, which have come to be expected). A little over a week ago I noticed that no team had played more home games than the Twins, they were a game or two under .500 and had the second worst road record in all of baseball just as they were set to start play in June (during which 18 of their 27 games were on the road). The fact that they are 3-4 on the road thus far this month and won back to back games on the road means nothing since they were playing the Mariners and A’s. Add in the fact that the Twins are the 2nd worst day game team in all of baseball and a 3 day game set on the road against the Cubs does not bode well for a team that is 3-13 away from home under the sunlight. Do you think the Twins have vampire blood in them?
DK: Is that a Twilight reference? Because after the MTV Movie Awards, any thought or mention of Twilight makes me want to violently throw up.
The Twins are the anti-Cubs. They hit for average and actually score runs via the ever popular phrase, “small ball.” The north-siders are 25th in the majors in hits and 28th in runs. Our “crucial” off-season acquisition, Milton Bradley is hitting .215 with just 14 RBI. And this was supposed to be the guy who was going to fill the void of a left-handed bat in the middle of the line-up? He pulls more muscles than an entire team in a 40-year old-plus bar softball league. Reigning NL rookie of the year Geovany Soto has slightly better numbers (.215 BA, 15 RBI) and apparently hasn’t got the memo that it’s okay to hit the ball to the opposite field. Aramis Ramirez might be done for the year. Alfonso Soriano has six more strike-outs than base hits, but does have 14 home runs. Isn’t the point of a lead-off hitter to actually get on base? Maybe the Cubs need to borrow some of the Twins vampire blood and rub it on their bats to wake them up.
PC: Maybe that could help, but I feel like I’m giving you bad news when I say that the Twins might be just what the Cubs need to get going. Both the Yankees and Red Sox used the Twins as a door mat as they continued their early season win streaks when the Twins paid them a visit, maybe the Cubs can use the Twins as a spring board more effectively than Shawn Johnson into a winning streak of their own (wow, a possible Twilight reference and now a Shawn Johnson plug? Are we sure I haven’t been kidnapped by a 13 year old girl? Maybe its time to take the remote out of my wife and daughter’s hands). One other thing to remember is that the Twins offense is something of a Dr. Jekkyl and Mr. Hyde. When the offense is rolling, everyone hits. As evidenced in the 20-1 drubbing of the White Sox late last month the Twins seem to bunch their hitting prowess together while also matching up their Oh-fer nights. Then you’ve got the bullpen. The Twins relief pitchers are seemingly incapable of putting together any streaks of dominance whatsoever. With the exception of Joe Nathan and surprisingly Matt Guerrier, every Twins reliever averages at least one base runner per inning pitched. Unless the goal of the bullpen is to make Ron Gardenhire, Rick Anderson and every Twins fan’s blood pressure go through the roof, that has to stop. Letting runners on just opens the door for the opponents to get back in the game, take the lead or expand the lead. The other half of that problem is the Twins starters inability to pitch into the later innings of games. Each and every starter this season has had a game in which they were in control of early get out of hand because they couldn’t get out of the 6th or 7th inning. I know that some fans get frustrated because they don’t know which version of their favorite team is going to take the field each night. With the Twins, we don’t know which version of the team is going to take the field each INNING.
DK: Have you ever seen the youtube video where some dumb punk frat boy wants Shawn Johnson olympic teammate Alicia Sacrimone (no relation to Johnny Sack from The Sopranos… then again…?) to punch him in the face? She does and drops the kid with one blow. It’s quite brilliant actually.
You don’t know which Twins team is going to show up? Seriously. Have you seen the Cubs play recently? In their last 12 games, they have scored three runs or less eight times. Thankfully, their pitching has worn the pants in the relationship, carrying the team to a 6-6 record during this offensive hiatus. Look at poor Randy Wells. He was called up when Big Z was hurt and has been stellar, posting a 1.86 ERA and almost 4-1 strikeout to walk ratio in six starts. But his record is 0-2 because when he takes the mound, the offense has been as productive as a college stoner stumbling across Half Baked on cable. Is it possible that it’s only mid-June and we might be overreacting a little bit to how much we dislike our teams?
PC: I hadn’t seen that video, but yes, it is completely possible we are overreacting to the Twins/Cubs lackluster start to the season but I need to ask: Are we sure we aren’t talking about the same team? The Twins have averaged just under 4 runs per game on their current road trip, but don’t let that fool you. If you take out the 10 run outburst against Oakland on Tuesday night and the 6 run game on Wednesday night, the Twins are averaging just better than 2 runs per game. Outside of Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer the rest of the Twins lineup is so inconsistent and strikeout prone it makes me want to swallow razorblades and then throw them up just to feel the pain twice. I hope I’m just setting the expectation bar low so that I will be satisfied when they get back to the .500 mark, but I don’t know. I had high expectations for this Twins team because they went and filled the offensive hole they were missing and had a solid roster everywhere else, but thus far I’ve just been let down. I hope the Twins can win two in Chicago (because they play National League baseball better than most NL teams) but I would be Peter’s complete lack of surprise if they got swept (you like that Fight Club reference?)
DK: Better than the aforementioned Shawn Johnson and Twilght references… that’s for sure. Go Cubs!