Minnesota Twins Falter in San Francisco

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The Minnesota Twins dropped two of three games during their midweek interleague series against the San Francisco Giants. It was very puzzling to not see Joe Mauer in the starting line-up. I understand that it was a day game after a night contest and that there is no designated hitter position in National League stadiums, but there must be a suitable void that he could fill nonetheless. Having spent the majority of the season on the disabled list makes fans want to see him in the line-up even more when he is available.

Starting pitcher Tim Lincecum is a former Cy Young award winner, but that makes his presence even more of a necessity. Michael Cuddyer seemed to be the only player able to get good wood off of the right hander with the deceptive delivery. Lincecum hides the ball so well that it is on top of the batter by the time that it is possible to get a good glimpse of it. I have always argued that it is harder to see the baseball during a day game with a high sky, although it probably will travel farther distances if or when a hitter does get a hold of one.

The Twins have a weekend series against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Scott Baker started them out on Friday night and he will be followed by Francisco Liriano and Carl Pavano. This weekend provides the perfect opportunity for fans to make a pilgrimage to watch the club’s games on the road. The roof provides certainty that the games will be played at the scheduled times. It is also geographically the closest city to Minneapolis, and it does not have all of the hassles of Chicago. The stadium is also is the Story Hill section of Milwaukee, a much more inviting environment than that around U.S. Cellular Field on the south side of Chicago. Falling gas prices and the commencement of Summerfest should be the clinchers.

Justin Morneau will be on the shelf until the middle of August now with a neck surgery scheduled. On the flip side, slugger Jim Thome and Joe Nathan are slated to rejoin the team in the very near future. In fairness to Gardenhire, Mauer did say that he had some back soreness earlier in the week. He did, however, not contend that it was enough to keep him off the field as was evidenced in his pinch hitting appearance. This may be the last chance that the club will have to see Prince Fielder in a Milwaukee uniform.

The team has made its commitment to outfielder Ryan Braun very clear by giving him a nine figure multi-year deal. Conversely, the organization has given Fielder a luke warm reception by only providing a one year contract for fifteen and a half million. He certainly does have some defensive deficiencies and there may be concern over his long term health and weight. He is earning his keep so far this season. The time to gain ground in the division is now-with Albert Pujols nursing his broken wrist.

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