Twins and White Sox Have a Lot in Common

 

American League fans in Chicago and Minneapolis have experienced tremendous disappointment so far this season. The lackluster play of their clubs has had many sitting on their hands at US Cellular and Target Fields. There are actually tremendous parallels between the two situations. It starts with a list of three disappointing players on each roster.

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Minnesota Twins Contractual Obligations

matt capps

Commentators frequently refer to this time of year as a dead period. I couldn’t disagree more because it really gives me the time to pore over the numbers and action of the current WNBA season. Seriously, it does offer a pause to analyze the state of organizations and to ponder what should transpire in the future to maximize success.

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Minnesota Twins Showing Some Signs of Life

There is nothing that a Twins fan dreads more than seeing the New York Yankees on their upcoming schedule. The same can be said of the faithful of the Chicago White Sox regarding the Twins. Some match-ups provide distinct advantages to a certain side even when there doesn’t seem to be a drastic disparity in talent between the two. It demonstrates the importance of the mental aspect of the game.

Heading into play on Saturday, Minnesota had won a half dozen in a row this season and nine in a row total going back to last year against the White Sox.

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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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Minnesota Twins are a Complete Disaster

Twins fans have recently heard some very sad news concerning the deteriorating health of the prodigious slugger Harmon Killebrew. He has checked into a hospice to start the final phase of his life. This obviously is more important than what is currently taking place on the field, but that action is not going to put a smile on anyone’s face either. “Whatever can go wrong will,” is a fatalistic view, but it is certainly the case with the Twins thus far this season.

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Minnesota Twins Offense is Nonexistent

Delmon Young

Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer have been on the shelf during the early part of the season. The batting order hasn’t even come close to picking up the slack in their absence. Michael Cuddyer looks lethargic in his body language and Delmon Young’s production is nowhere to be found. The team had two national television appearances in the past week and both games contained striking similarities. They lost close games at the conclusion due to lack of execution against mediocre teams at best.

The good news is that Friday’s game against divisional rival Cleveland Indians was rained out. This is the best thing that could have happened since the latter is so hot and the former is extremely shorthanded. Ron Gardenhire should have taken the heat for moving closer Joe Nathan to a holder role because now it looks like the players make the roster moves instead of the manager.

In addition, a player’s confidence is a fragile thing. A conversation like that must be held in confidence, even if the pitcher doesn’t mind it getting out. Doubt is a fragile component in the late innings. The moment that it enters a reliever’s mind, bad things are looming on the horizon. No make-up date has been determined for Friday’s contest, which is also a good thing. If the teams didn’t meet so often throughout the season, then a doubleheader likely would have been decided upon. Splits are almost always the case when this transpires. It takes away from the intrigue of a single game when both best possible line-ups are not on the field.

Some credit has to be given to a few hitters. Danny Valencia is hitting for a low average, but some timely hits have garnered him a healthy number of runs batted in. Outfielders Jason Kubel and Denard Span have both hit over three hundred on the year and provided energy to this largely lackluster band of characters. With runs so hard to come by, the squad should be stealing more than Mike Leake at Macy’s.

At  least the movement might provide some holes for hitters who are in the batter’s box or decrease the necessity for extra base hits to score runs. While it’s true that the team’s winning percentage is hovering around a typical Tony Gwynn batting average, things can only get better. The White Sox haven’t looked much sharper and Detroit has proven to be vulnerable as fall approaches.

Fans have to ask themselves if it is okay for the team simply to be patient and wait for players to become productive and get healthy or is it time for some action?

They can no longer call themselves small market because of all the revenue generated from Target Field. In addition, they really do have a regional following because they are the only team in the area for fans in North and South Dakota to embrace. A substantial part of Iowa is even on their side due to the Cubs ineptness. So, the news is bad but it could be worse.

Minnesota Twins Already Facing a Breaking Point

Joe Mauer

Around opening day I predicted that the Twins would win the American League Central Division because they were healthy and ready to continue their fundamentally solid play backed by quality pitching. It appears that I have some egg on my face at this juncture. However, they have proven over the last decade to be viable foes for all comers in the Midwest region. There are some ways that the ship can be righted to change their future levels of success.

I have called for and will continue to emphasize the need to trade Joe Nathan or Matt Capps.

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Health Reasons: Why the Twins Will Win the AL Central

Justin Morneau is back from his post-concussion symptoms. Joe Nathan is fully recovered from his ailments that he suffered last season. In the UFC, Joe Rogan and other commentators often speak of “ring rust” when describing fighters who are returning to competition after long layoffs. The Twins brass hope this ring rust was remedied with spring training.

The American League Central may be the only division in baseball with three truly viable contenders for the division crown. The Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals still remain afterthoughts-much to the chagrin to their respective fan bases. The latter is trying to create a buzz that they will be contenders in a couple of years simply to placate the masses.  The cases of Mark Prior and Todd Van Poppel are proof positive that prospects don’t always come to fruition. Even if they do pan out, the players will inevitably bolt to bigger markets that are willing to open their wallets for long term deals. Their payroll is only slightly higher than Alex Rodriguez’s salary for the upcoming season.

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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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Ron Gardenhire not at Fault for Minnesota Twins Collapse

Ron Gardenhire Twins Manager

Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected by Hunter Wendelstedt in the seventh inning of Thursday’s game against the Yankees at Target Field. This put the club down 2-0 and in a bind because Phil Hughes is now on the horizon for Saturday night’s game in the Big Apple.

It was obvious that Carl Pavano was getting squeezed when he appeared to have struck out Lance Berkman; before he hit a double to the left field power alley.

Gardenhire’s early exit to the showers is a culmination of pent up anger and frustration at his club’s inability to hold leads throughout the playoffs. Because the organization have done all that they can do to address the situation.

The additions of Matt Capps and Brian Fuentes were supposed to have remedied this enigma. Yet Minnesota has lost eleven straight playoff games and are on the verge of another elimination game in the ALDS. Eight of these losses have come to the Yankees and the Twins have had the lead in each one of these games.

By Patrick Herbert

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Minnesota Twins Limp Into the Postseason: Literally

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

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Efficiency or Lack of Freedom in the Twins Rotation?

nick blackburn

Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn, and Scott Baker are all products of the Minnesota Twins’ farm system. The trio of mid-to-late 20 year old right-handed hurlers all have an efficiency of motion. This isn’t the first time the team’s fans have seen a similar style. Brad Radke was the organization’s molding of Greg Maddux-a poor man’s version mind you. Rick Anderson has been a stalwart pitching coach during the Gardenhire era. It has undoubtedly been a successful tenure during the regular season, but there have been many disappointments in the playoffs.

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