Apparently, the reason why the Dodgers are playing so well this season, according to Ken Rosenthal, is that they’re happy. I’m not sure whether Ken realizes that perhaps it’s because they’re playing so damn well, that their club house is so happy.
But anyway, who needs to be top of the league with a 39-20 record and never losing more than two games in a row, when you can be on the Twins and dressing like a woman?
I blatantly stole this video from the Josh’s Thoughts web site (via FOX, evidently), so I thank him for bringing it to my attention. Now I just need to think of some snarky, witty caption for the video clip concerning Carlos Gomez and Jose Mijares, but to be honest, it speaks for itself and needs no further comment.
Man, these guys shouldn’t even be allowed to leave the Twin Cities! Another poor road trip, this time in Tampa Bay, saw the Twins only win one of three. Minnesota is still a fairly embarrassing 6-16 on the road, and this was just their second win in 13 games away from the Metrodome. Their Sunday performance was a nail biter, but the win was a very welcome one after two poor showings on Friday and Saturday. Nick Blackburn pitched a good game, only giving up a couple of solo home runs, and the Twins hustled home a few runs to claim a scrappy 3-2 victory.
On Friday night, Scott Baker started well enough, but yet again had one of his mental breakdowns in the sixth inning, giving up a three-run homer to Evan Longoria. The Twins rallied a bit later on, but couldn’t get enough going and ended up losing 5-3. When Brian Buscher (.183) has to pinch hit for Carlos Gomez (.219), as happened in the ninth inning, you know there’s definitely something wrong with your line-up, even if that was the right move in the circumstances.
Saturday’s game was even more pitiful. There’s definitely something odd going on with Francisco Liriano, who only lasted four innings for the third straight time. He threw 47 (yes, 47) pitches in the third inning and gave up four runs, after which, I gave up watching. The Twins organization need to do something with poor Frankie, I’m not confident the whole “working out his issues on the mound” thing is really going to pan out if Minnesota wants to remain competitive. Saturday’s game also featured a woeful base-running decision by Scott Ulger, stopping Joe Crede at third after an overthrow instead of waving him home. Sure, it may have been a risky play to send Crede home, but with the way David Price was pitching, the Twins weren’t going to get many chances to score runs, and we blew one right there. Naturally, Alexi Casilla failed to get the run home the next at-bat.
Talking of which, Alexi is back. Nick Punto is on the DL with a groin injury, so the Twins brought back Alexi Casilla who they’d sent down a few weeks ago. The lack of batting production of players like Nick Punto, Alexi Casilla, Delmon Young, and Matt Tolbert is really beginning to hurt Minnesota’s chances of success this year. But it’s not just sucky performances, injury woes continue to mount for the Twins. Jason Kubel had a dodgy knee that kept him out of a couple of games, Joe Crede has had a few unlucky niggles here and there, Michael Cuddyer left Sunday’s game with a finger injury, and we’ve already mentioned Nick Punto who the Twins probably miss more in the field than with the bat.
Usually, I like to end each posting with a positive note, but today I’m just cranky. Even excuses like “it’s still early in the season” are starting to sound a little hollow now we’re almost one-third of the way through. Still, the AL Central doesn’t have a team storming away uncontested like the Dodgers in the NL West, so yes, OK, “there’s still plenty of time to go”. Checking the standings again though, Detroit are the only team who are over the .500 mark in the division, and Minnesota are 4.5 games back, certainly not cause for panic, but nevertheless a little disconcerting.
After three games at home entertaining the steadily improving Indians, the Twins upcoming 10-game extended road trip with stops in Oakland, Seattle, and Chicago (Cubs) could prove to be vital to their hopes this year.
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?
I think my girlfriend, Heather, put it best in her Facebook status message: “Manny makes kids who love baseball cry”.
We’ve all known for some time that Manny is hardly the sharpest tool in the box, but to take a prescribed medication and not even have the sense to check whether it’s on the list of banned substances is downright foolish. Sure, it might not have been ‘steroids’, but that’s besides the point.
And, yes, it is the kids and the fans who suffer the most here. He might not be the best outfielder, he might be sluggish around the bases, but we all know one thing’s certain: Manny can smack that damn ball like no-one else. He is hardly the greatest role-model ever, but kids play ball because they want to hit like Manny, and that will, unfortunately, be tainted forever.
He’ll be back soon enough, and the Dodgers will probably be fine without him. In fact, on his return, expect the fireworks to start again and that average to keep climbing. But I can’t help feeling sorry for all the fans and kids who’ve got tickets to sit and bask in the sunshine in Mannywood in Dodger Stadium over the next few weeks. Hopefully the games will still be fun, but they just won’t be the same, and little kids excited by seeing their hero Manny Ramirez at the plate will just have to wait, because the dipstick didn’t even have the sense (or courtesy) to check what he was prescribed.
Thanks for spoiling the already-tarnished game of baseball just that little bit more, Manny.