Baby Steps Forward with the Minnesota Twins

matt capps

It is imperative that individuals refine and rewrite their goals on a consistent basis.

For example, I don’t think that my modeling career is going to take off the way that I had hoped fifteen years ago. One month out from the All Star break, the Minnesota Twins also need to do this. At the beginning of this season, manager Ron Gardenhire and GM Bill Smith undoubtedly had postseason play in the cards and a possible run at the pennant. This is of course is unless they were matched up against the New York Yankees in the playoffs.

Well, now it makes sense for the club to modify their expectations to move forward.

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Chicago White Sox: Offseason Additions and Subtractions

Going after pitcher Jake Peavy in 2009 proved that the White Sox are serious about getting their ace in what has become an ace-happy league. This is something that their rivals, cough, cough – the Minnesota Twins, have refused to do. No, Minnesota, it’s been four years, Francisco Liriano is not an ace.

Of course, the deal has been a major bust so far, as Peavy cannot stay healthy to save his life. The White Sox have the best rotation in the division with Peavy (if he recovers from his detached lat), Mark Buerhle and John Danks leading the way. But the question with the White Sox is whether or not their bullpen and lineup can keep up with the pitching.

Let’s take a look.

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Minnesota Twins Season Preview

Last season, I know first hand what Target Field did for Minnesota Twins fans. Sure, it gave us one of, if not the league’s best stadium. But it gave us false hope. It made us Twins fans think that without an ace and a lineup filled with major holes, we still had a chance to compete with the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays.

Well, if the AL Divisional Series was any indication, the Twins are nowhere close to where they need to be if they do in fact hope to make a run at the AL pennant this season.

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Offseason Grading: The Detroit Tigers

The Tigers had two things that is the recipe for success on most teams. They had a power-hitter that also hits for average in Miguel Cabrera and the team had an ace in Justin Verlander.

So, what went wrong? Why did the team finish 81-81? Is Miguel Cabrera drinking an alcoholic beverage? These are all questions that need to be addressed.

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Minnesota Twins: Pass the Anti-depressants

By David Palmer

This must be what it feels like to be bi-polar.  We’re not even fifty games into the season and the roller coaster ride is killing me.  I’ve never experienced so many mixed emotions so early in a season before.  I hate to make light of depression, but as Frank the Tank so eloquently put it in the movie “Old School,” we’re streeeaaking!

The Twins might be the streakiest team in baseball right now, we lost six games in a row at the mausoleum know as New Yankee Stadium and “The Cell” on the south side of Chicago, before breaking out of the coma Uma Thurman style for 20 runs in the final game of the road trip.  Since then we’ve coasted to three more easy victories at home against the suddenly sucky Brewers.  Interleague play could not have come at a better time.

This most recent hot streak coincided with a tweak to the lineup, Joe “Baby Jesus” Mauer sliding up into the number 2 hole.  This gives Him and Morneau extra at-bats, and when Span gets on base there is nobody to  hit into a rally killing double play ahead of them.

Speaking of Joe Mauer, is there a better hitter in baseball right now?  I’m thinking…no.  I don’t know where this sudden burst of power came from, but I can tell you that the last two years all those fly balls that are now going over the fence in left center field, were falling at the warning track.  He has already surpassed His homerun output from all of last season (9) in 22 games!  He couldn’t do much extra weight lifting this offseason because of his surgery and subsequent SI inflammation.  We won’t mention the S word, but I highly doubt that anybody ever accused Joe of juicing.  Could it be that he is only now peaking as a hitter, even after two batting titles?

Everyone knows He only struck out once in all of high school, and raced through the minors like Tony Montana through a pile of blow.  But He just turned 25 last month and that is usually when a hitter’s mental approach starts catching up to his physical ability.  Did I mention he’s hitting .438 basically without a Spring Training.  Ray Allen was born to shoot a basketball, Michael Phelps was born to smoke bongs, I mean swim, Peter Christian was born to call people out, and Joe Mauer was born to hit.  Scary stuff for pitchers in the AL.

Nick Punto update: Punto continues to get everyday playing time, mostly at shortstop where he is hitting a scorching .187 (thru Sunday).  This includes a cool 4 for his last 31 at-bats, all of which were singles.  Mario Mendoza has nothing on Punto.  Did I mention his OBP in May is .249!  How is that even possible?  His numbers are insulting enough; I don’t even need to further comment.

I am officially starting the “Get Jesse Crain the f*** out of here” petition.  He was supposed to be a 7th or 8th inning setup guy for us this year.  Although I’ve never had much faith in him, Gardy and the rest of the coaches seemed to think he deserved a spot in the ‘pen as a late inning guy.  He has an ERA of 7.62 and a WHIP of 1.46 so far this year in 16 appearances.  Not exactly what you want out of your setup man.  He is no longer the type of pitcher who is going to blow 96-98 mph fastballs past hitters like he could pre-arm surgery.  Apparently he thinks he can still do that with low 90’s stuff and very average breaking pitches.  Even the nicknames for Crain are sad (but amusing): “Crain Wreck,” Jesse “That doesn’t look like LaTroy Hawkins” Crain, and my personal favorite “The Wrecking Crain.”  I guess Canada giveth (Morneau) and they taketh away.

I hope we can hold on to this euphoric feeling for an extended period of time before the inevitable valley.  The true test comes very quickly with AL East powers Boston and Tampa Bay coming up.  Hopefully, like the Brewers, they decide to send their AAA affiliate to play us.  With that said, I’m getting hungry, do you think KFC is still open?