No Hitter Can’t Redeem Twins Injuries, Last Place Standing

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Minnesota Twins Designated Hitter Jim Thome

The best news for the Minnesota Twins these days is when the games are postponed.

Taking a look at their line-up, it is hard to believe that they are a team attempting to defend their division crown and make another trip to the postseason. At least the fans in the region can turn their attention elsewhere and focus on the playoff runs of the Timberwolves and Wild. Oh wait…

Perusing the batting order up and down makes one wonder if he is seeing the Pittsburgh Pirates or the Twins. Maybe the line-up will be more stacked later in the season, so that is why it’s beneficial that the team has only played in thirty games entering Saturday’s action.

Francisco Liriano’s no hit performance against the White Sox was peculiar from the fact that little fan fare followed it. Some of that is due to the fact that he almost threw as many balls as strikes. Another reason is that it is still spring time and more people pay attention to the sport during the summer. In addition, there was a questionable call on the base paths that some speculate was the antithesis of the Joyce call last year with the Tigers.

No umpire wants to get in the way of history. The White Sox will always play second fiddle in the windy city to the Cubs, but now they are essentially third fiddle to the Bulls, who are the top seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. It reminds me of when my brother told me that he knew that he was his wife’s second priority behind his two daughters. I promptly informed him that it was wishful thinking considering that they have a dog.

The Twins should be looking to play some small ball at this point. Balls have never flown off their bats in Target Field at a crisp pace, so they should dictate the outcomes of their games by playing to their strengths. They currently have youth with fresh legs. Moving runners over and situational hitting are at a premium with this philosophy.

Mike Scioscia is considered to be the master in going from first to third, but it should be a point of emphasis in Minnesota now as well. Hitting and running also opens up some gaps in the infield to poke through with grounders and line drives in the right spots. If Ron Gardenhire doesn’t agree with this school of thought, the team is bound to lose consistently in the near future with a brand of baseball that won’t be very exciting to the fans. Boring play can be forgiven with wins, but lackluster play and low run totals won’t do much for the return at the gate.

The last week in April was as forgettable as a Bruce Willis comedy. That gave way to three consecutive victories in the beginning of May.

Jim Thome and Delmon Young are on the shelf with the same injury: strained left oblique. Joe Mauer is due back shortly with his bilateral leg weakness. Until then, fans should hope for rain and small ball.

–Patrick Herbert

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