Seriously, you read that correctly. Minnesota is finally two games over the .500 mark for the first time this season thanks to a 5-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals. After playing terribly in the first game, the Twins played moderately better yesterday to beat the Royals 2-1, but that was mainly down to the increasingly error-prone Kansas City line-up. Today, the Twins were a little more convincing and came out on top, with Joe Mauer going 3-for-3 and Glen Perkins largely untroubled by the Royals’ bats. Minnesota has now gone 10-6 on the road since June 8.
With a day off tomorrow, the Twins will just have to hope that the injuries sustained to Justin Morneau, Mike Redmond, and Nick Punto aren’t too severe. All three left the game at some point today because they were hurt. Justin left because of a ‘tight left groin’, and the Twins would definitely miss his presence terribly if his injury is severe. Nick Punto continues to get hurt so often, it’s getting beyond a joke, especially because he’s been wholly unconvincing with the bat all season long. Maybe Ron Gardenhire will put him on the DL or finally bench him for a longer stint so someone more worthy can get a chance in the line-up. Right now, the bottom of the Twins order continues to perform woefully compared to the guys at the top.
Next up, the Detroit Tigers visit Minnesota for a series that could really make a difference to the AL Central standings. Detroit lost a series to the A’s today, so are three games ahead of the Twins, with three games to play at the Metrodome this weekend.
No, seriously! I mean, really? Why? Having watched Joe Mauer, Mike Redmond, and Jose Morales the past few seasons I have to ask… why would anyone WANT to be a catcher in the major leagues?
- You have to wear silly shin pads, a crazy chest protector that looks like a bullet-proof vest (only heavier), and a hockey mask.
- You have to SQUAT for hours on end.
- You have to deal with a big bloke in an ill-fitting jacket standing so close behind you he’s practically touching your bottom and screaming S-T-R-I-K-E in your earhole.
- If you call the pitch the pitcher doesn’t want to throw, but he throws your choice anyway and the batter hits a home run, you’d probably feel guilty for calling it.
- If you call the pitch and your pitcher turns you down and throws what HE wants to throw and the batter hits a home run, sorry, it’s too late to insist now.
- If you call the pitch and the batter strikes out, it’s that darn pitcher that gets all the credit anyway.
- Getting hit in the head with a ball.
- Getting hit in the head with a bat.
- Taking the full impact of that speedy baserunner slamming into home from third while you try and tag him out and see your final seconds of consciousness flash before your eyes as you desperately try and keep hold of a ball bouncing off the turf from the powerful throw from the outfield.
- You’ll never be as amusing as Yogi Berra.
PS — this post not to be taken too seriously, before some smart-alec writes “because you get paid zillions of dollars”.
Today’s concerns are brought to you by the letter C
Cuddyer: Should we be worried about Cuddles? He seems to be striking out an awful lot this year, but is Ron Gardenhire perhaps a little too stubborn to put him on the bench for a while? Evidently, he’s a popular ‘leader’ in the clubhouse, and a great outfielder, but I’m beginning to think he might be having problems right now.
Catcher: Which one should be sent down when Joe Mauer returns? Although Jose Morales has shown a bit more promise with the bat lately, I think Mike Redmond has thoroughly earned his place on the roster over the past years, and his hack and slash ability in clutch situations might be more reliable. But I must admit, I think Morales is very promising, and it’ll be kind of sad to see him not getting any more games just when he’s flourishing.
Carlos: Who? Carlos Gomez of course! Some say he should be sent down to Triple-A Rochester for a while too. It might happen. Many believe his center field defense is important, but I guess if he was gone, it’d be the Young-Span-Cuddyer combo every night… right now I kind of like the fact that Gardy is mixing it up, and I’ve already expressed concerns about Cuddyer above.
Casilla: Poor Alexi. He hasn’t had a great start to the season with the bat, and has looked a little vulnerable at second base, but hopefully he’ll pull his socks up and improve soon.
Crede: His name begins with C too!
I’m not sure what to make of Spring Training. Seems like there’s an awful lot of games. In cricket and football they play a few friendly matches then before you know it, the season is up and running.
Spring Training in baseball just seems to drag. It’s interesting for a bit, and I know I shouldn’t worry too much how teams and players perform because it’s not the ‘real thing’, but when there’s a whole month of baseball going on and it really doesn’t ‘mean’ anything, it makes me feel funny.
One thing’s for sure, one of my favorite Twins, Denard Span, is having a stinker. A .145 average over 17 games and 55 at-bats. But of course, it means nothing right? Then there’s the worries about Joe Mauer. The lack of information being offered by anyone about his “condition” is a little scary. He’s just, you know, kind of hurt and recovering and “still in pain” but there’s no real concrete evidence about how long he’ll be out. The Twins will totally miss his presence at the batting plate, but also his ability to call a pitch (which he’s not often given the credit for), and I’m sure Reddog and the others will do fine, but seriously Joe, get better soon please!
Twins pitching looks promising for the upcoming season, but our bullpen is still a concern. I loved last season because there were absolutely no expectations about how the Twins would perform, yet we got very close to gaining a playoff place (partly, it must be said, because both the Tigers and the Indians underperformed drastically). But this year, perhaps expectations will be higher? Still, much of the team that did well last year remains intact, and there’s a few positive young ‘uns in the line up and an in-form Joe Crede can perform as well as anyone.
It’s all to play for. Roll on April 6th.