Twins Talk

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Questions by Paul M. Banks and Answers by Andy Weise

Yes, this website has a heavy White Sox presence and it’s clearly the team in charge here at TSB. However, we should give increasing time to our mortal enemy, the Minnesota Twins if we are to properly discuss are chances in this pennant race.

 After all what would our government do without Al Qaeda or the Taliban? How many seasons of “Lost” would we have if it was just the Flight 815 survivors and no “Others?” We live for rivalries…let’s get it started!

Are you worried about the massive road trip the Twins are on?

Definitely. Considering how good the Twins have been at home and how close the race is right now, it’s tough to see them gone for four series in a row. The nice thing is three of the teams are definitely beatable (Seattle, Oakland and Toronto) — but the Twins can’t take a game off. They need every game right now.
 
 
Do you think Liriano is the X factor to now put the Twins over the top?

Not necessarily. Is he a big piece? Of course. You need all five starters pitching as well as they can and none of them are very experienced when it comes to competing for a playoff spot down the stretch. I think Liriano needs to be compared to what Livan Hernandez was doing in that spot in the rotation. Don’t compare Liriano with the 2006 version, they aren’t the same pitcher. Liriano’s velocity will likely go up next year, but right now they have to be patient and take what they get. That slider, while down some MPH’s, is still extremely hard to hit.
 
 
Blackburn, Slowey, etc. who are these guys? The young pitchers really seem to be carrying you guys down the stretch. And missing Livan Hernandez seems to be addition by subtraction.
 
Nick Blackburn has been a surprise even to the Twins organization. I don’t think they expected him to be a mainstay, at least not yet. Personally, I think he’s a dime-a-dozen. Kevin Slowey has been one of the top pitching prospects for awhile though. He’s been often compared to Brad Radke, a guy many Twins fans fell in love with. While not overpowering, both are consistent. Slowey recently fanned 12 batters in a game against Oakland. I don’t remember Radke ever having that many Ks in one game and Slowey just turned 24 in May, not a bad sign for the Twins.

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Who is Denard Span and where did he come from? He wasn’t a really high rated prospect…or was he?
 

Span was actually a first round pick (20th overall) in 2002. So yes, how well he’s playing shouldn’t come as a surprise. In a way, it’s a surprise because for a long time he was considered a bust. Torii Hunter actually took Span under his wing, the two are very good friends and when Hunter left in the offseason, it looked like it was Span’s job to lose. Then came the Johan Santana trade that brought in Carlos Gomez, a guy two years younger than Span. When Gomez became the starter after spring training, I think something in Span’s head finally clicked and his batting around .360 in the minors got him a promotion and he hasn’t let up yet. Gomez was even moved to 9th in the order in favor of Span leading off.
 
 
Other than Morneau of course, who’s starting in your infield these days and how do they keep winning with these supposed “no-names?”

Nick Punto might be one of the best utility infielders in the game because his defense is great when you consider he can play any position in the field. Alexi Casilla has been hurt but finally returned. Aside from Span, Casilla has been one of the pleasant surprises for the Twins both offensively and defensively. Outside of those two, Brian Buscher has a steady bat at third, Adam Everett a defensive replacement at shortstop and Brendan Harris has been solid as another utility  guy who can play second, short or third. Oh, how could I forget the first baseman? Justin Morneau, 2006 MVP having another very good season and the anchor of the lineup.
 
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Finally, everyone predicted the AL Central to be a two-team race: Cleveland and Detroit. And here we are bearing down on September with a two team race…our two teams! We may be bitter rivals, but we can agree on a wonderfully exciting pennant race between the best two teams and like Lou Brown said in Major League “every newspaper in the country has picked us to finish last. And I’m one for wasting sportswriters’ time, so I’m hoping we can all give them one big shitburger to eat” 

I picked Detroit to win it! I thought this was their year with Bonderman and Verlander heading the rotation. Getting Miguel Cabrera, unbelievable. I figured Cleveland would not do as well, but with Hafner and Martinez hurt, Sabathia gone, the only good things left in Cleveland are Grady Sizemore and Cliff Lee.

I think this will be a close race to the finish for the White Sox and Twins. Both have shaky bullpens but can produce good runs (White Sox lead league in homeruns, Twins lead league in batting average with runners in scoring position). It will come down to pitching: whose starters can make the biggest impact. I wouldn’t mind seeing a match-up in the ALCS with these two, but I know that is a bit off. Personally, I’m hoping the Twins win the division instead of the Wild Card so their chances of playing the Angels decreases. The Wild Card will go to whatever second place team in the East or Central has a better record and that team will face the Angels.
 

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Comments

  1. Cano's Cards says

    I have a Dan Gladden rookie card for sale for $2.00 if anyone is interested…

  2. paulmbanks says

    Do you have a 1987 Frank Viola Topps All-Star

    or a 1983 Donruss Rookies Viola?

  3. Peter Christian says

    Don’t forget a 1991 Upper Deck Chuck Knoblauch. I think you actually have to pay someone to take that off your hands.

    Go TWINS!

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