Minnesota Twins Limp Into the Postseason: Literally

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The Minnesota Twins open up postseason play vs. the New York Yankees Wednesday evening at Target Field. Francisco Liriano will take the mound at 7:37 p.m. Central. This is wonderful news considering all of the injuries that have plagued the ball club this season. The absences of Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan for large portions of the schedule have been detrimental to the team’s ability to put out its top line-up on a daily basis.

The former took batting practice on September 3oth and was possibly thought to be available should the club advance the league championship series. Then, came the news today, that he’s out for the entire postseason. No matter what

The latter has no chance of taking the ball for the foreseeable future.

By Patrick Herbert

Joe Mauer has recently experienced some soreness in his right knee, but it must not be extremely serious since Ron Gardenhire is planning on two roster spots in the playoffs for catchers. If he was concerned, there would be another player on the roster so Mauer could fill the designated hitter slot more often.

It is also the time of the year that adrenaline and necessity can make minor ailments go away. This is especially the case for someone who heals quickly during the prime of his career like Mauer. His bat and defensive capabilities are a must for this club in October. The staff will need his pitch calling skills and arm to keep opposing base runners at first.

On-again off-again closer Jon Rauch also has experienced some knee problems recently. His status is being evaluated on a daily basis. He could be extremely limited or near one hundred percent. The organization is taking a Bill Belichick approach in releasing information about the nature and severity of the injury. The sore back of Jim Thome could hamper his prodigious swing. He is not a player who can have six hundred at bats any longer, but he is a player who can be explosive when he is in the line-up.

As Toby Keith would say, he isn’t as good as he once was, but he’s as good once as he ever was. In a previous post, I mentioned how the Twins’ starting pitching staff was balanced. One of the keys to that chemistry is unquestionably Brian Duensing. His shoulder tightness can limit the squad’s plans. Who would have believed that he would be a much better pitcher in 2010 than A.J. Burnett?

The Twins could give Duensing extra time to recover and have him start a league championship series. This is a possibility if Liriano were to start multiple times during the best of five divisional playoff. The torn rotator cuff to reliever Ron Mahay earlier in the season has to have some effect on the future decision making process of the organization. Pitchers are fragile as we have seen earlier with Stephen Strasburg and Johan Santana ending their seasons prematurely due to arm trouble.

These scenarios are warnings to other organizations that they must handle their rotations with kid gloves. The catch twenty-two is that the club may need Duensing to reach the league championship series.

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