So the Twins have only won one out of their last five games. And now, those pesky Royals have extended their lead atop the AL Central, and the Twins find themselves five games back.
It’s certainly not a time to panic, and I think the Twins should be more concerned about getting back to .500, something they might be able to do with good home stands against the Mariners and the Tigers, before their first visit to the new Yankee Stadium on May 15th.
However, I must admit, I’ve always been a pessimistic sports fan. Seriously, even when my beloved Aston Villa FC were riding high in the English Premier League earlier this year, I had the feeling they were going to screw it up eventually and falter… and of course they did.
Now, the cool thing about the Twins is deep down I know they have a good enough squad to compete well, but externally, I will remain slightly pessimistic because that way, when they do succeed, it’s a pleasant surprise. That probably sounds odd, but I find it a whole lot more entertaining that way. Fans who are eternally optimistic and expect their team to win all the time kind of bug me, and the truth is, that doesn’t always happen thankfully. All sports are greater when the little guy takes on the big guy and wins. Sure, it doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s sweet when it does.
Back to those Twins though. Well, they need a bit of a kick up the butt to be frank. They did play a bit better yesterday, out-hitting the Orioles, but unfortunately, not out-scoring them. Sure, 14 hits is great and all, but 13 of them were singles, so the Twins still need a little more oomph. It was, however, refreshing to see them being fully competitive and keeping the pressure on, something they’ve lacked quite often this year.
Still, like many other commentators, I’ve got some major concerns lingering. Nick Punto’s average is now a dwinding .190, and even his great defense can’t justify that. Of course, I don’t know what they’d do without him in the field, so I’m not much of a judge. The Carlos Gomez situation is also a bit dispiriting. He’s perennially dumped on the bench and not getting any at-bats, so I can’t see how he’ll improve that way. Gardy surely has to do something with him? Our pitchers are constantly giving up runs early in games… sigh… I won’t go on. Let’s just hope this weekend is a bit better!
But before I go, I’m not a huge Dodgers fan (though I do love listening to Vin Scully), but I really enjoy reading this blog called Dodger Blues which constantly finds hundreds of things to be frustrated about, regardless of whether LA is playing well or not. It’s grumpiness and pessimism with a good dose of humor like this that I admire. Anyone want to start one like this for the Twins?
As a relative newcomer to the game of baseball, I’m still having trouble getting my head around the rule that if a game is rained off and five innings have passed, then what ever the score is at that time, the result counts.
Of course, I could be complaining about this rule just because I’m a cranky Twins fan, but yesterday Minnesota lost 4-1 to the Orioles at a very damp Camden Yards which was constantly interrupted by rain. Sure, the Twins barely got going to be honest, and I’m not sure if they would have anyway, but at the bottom of the sixth, with two men out, Justin Morneau was at first, Michael Cuddyer was at the plate, and Delmon Young was in the on-deck circle. But the game was delayed yet again and didn’t ever resume.
But I guess what irks me about this, is that Delmon actually represented the tying run in a 4-1 ballgame, but the Twins never got the chance to play that inning through. If only the teams hadn’t come out for that last couple of innings, we might have seen them playing and completing the game today instead.
I guess I find it a little odd that a sport that should be played over an entire nine innings is allowed to end after just five or six. I could never imagine a soccer or football game being stopped at half-time and the result standing, for example. Baseball is designed for nine whole innings of play, that’s what keeps it exciting — there’s always an opportunity to come back — but the rained-off game last night makes a mockery of that, and it sounds like Gardy wasn’t too happy with last night’s decision to even start the game yesterday.
Of course, the baseball season is long, and this is only one single game out of 162, and they do have to squeeze all these 160+ games into a mere 180+ odd days, so I doubt this game with the Orioles will make much difference at the end of the season, but still, as a cranky limey Twins fans this morning, I wasn’t overjoyed by what I saw at Oriole Park last night, and hope things will go better for the team tonight.
One thing is for sure though: Twins fans better get used to nights like this when baseball goes outdoor in Minnesota next summer!
They say that about football (soccer) in England, but the same can be said about baseball of course. But there’s a crucial difference. Only in baseball can you win 7-2 one night and lose 9-0 the next, but you just simply forget about it and move on and play your next game. It’s something I’m slowly coming to terms with as my knowledge and experience of baseball increases: the scores rarely matter by the end of the season, it’s the results that count.
In English Premiership League football, it could mean relegation for a team if they end up level on points but their goal difference is worse, so every goal counts whether it’s for or against. Not so, thankfully, with runs in baseball.
The Twins now move onto Baltimore to face an Orioles team who haven’t been in particularly good form lately, but to be honest, seeing as the Twins seem to be dealing with some mild form of schizophrenia when it comes to ballgames (sparkling one night, inept the next), it really is anyone’s game.
Oh, and damn this silly two-game series thing the MLB schedulers seemed to have thrust on both the American League and National League this year! The series with Detroit is set up perfectly for a decider but alas, instead the Twins move onto Baltimore (just two games again) and then meet the Tigers again back at home next week, this time for a proper three game series.
Snappy blog title post, huh? Shame the Twins weren’t so snappy this weekend.
Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, by all accounts) I didn’t catch much of Saturday’s game after the 6th inning, but it did sound like a comedy of errors, full of mishaps in the field, crappy base-running mistakes, and other such tomfoolery (by both teams), which ended with the Royals persevering for an 11th inning victory. Sounded ugly, so to be honest I was quite glad we elected to hang out with some friends at the pub drinking beer instead.
Sunday was also quite annoying. Scott Baker looked like he was on his way to a no-hitter until a fateful 7th inning saw him give up a heap of hits, and before you know it the 4-0 up Twins were 5-4 down. Heads dropped, and the Twins lost again, handing the Royals a 2-1 series victory. Should Gardy have taken Baker out as soon as he gave up some hits? Probably. It was telling that even though he was on a no-hitter through six, most of his outs came from fly balls, which makes me think the Royals still found him to be very hittable on Sunday, but they just weren’t connecting like Boston and Toronto did last time around.
But man, how about those Royals huh? There’s many questions about whether they’re the ‘real thing’ after their good start to the season, but they do look the part, continually coming back from being down, and hitting the ball well. To be perfectly honest, if it wasn’t for numerous defensive miscues which gifted the Twins the odd hit/run here and there, it could have been a lot worse for Minnesota this weekend. The Royals should definitely be contenders, but they really need to sort out the fielding gaffes, and if they were not playing in a very tight AL central, their recent form might not look so outstanding.
Any good things to come from this weekend of baseball? Sure! Both Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young are hitting better, Joe Mauer is swinging the bat well, and the Twins are scoring more runs than they were. It should be an interesting week with two games at Detroit and two games at Baltimore. More on those games later, perhaps.