Friday, May 28, 2010

The Underachieving Twins

The Twins are almost a third of the way through the 2010 campaign and there are a lot of questions that still remain with the team that is on the field. They are a game and a half up in a comparably weak division. The bullpen has been shaky at best. The infield has been a conglomeration of players due to a rash of injuries. So the question remains are these Twins underachieving?

Kubel and Thome have a combined .234 batting average with 10 home runs. This is a lackluster total from DH spot in the lineup. In recent weeks Kubel has looked lost at the plate. Teams are going right after him and for the most part they are succeeding. For the Twins to succeed Kubel needs to step it up (His two homer performance last night does help the cause) .

If it weren't for Morneau and Mauer being on the same team there probably wouldn't be any comparison. Morneau is off to a hot start and it will be great to see if he can sustain this pace for the entire season. Mauer's numbers are a little down from last season but it is still early. It will be nice to see if the Twins power increases at home as the weather starts to warm-up. It is hard to say that Mauer is underachieving when he is 6th in the AL in batting but fans are use to seeing him higher. Hopefully Mauer and Morneau will be able to push each other throughout the season. With them both at the top of the batting race it could be a battle to the end.

There are a lot of things that haven't been going the Twins way but there are plenty of games still to play. Let's hope that the parts of the team that are underachieving can turn it around. This should help the Twins to pull away from the rest of the division.

In other news and notes:

-Tim Kurkjian wrote a great article about catchers that includes some good stuff about Mauer (Celebrating the year of the catcher).

-Check out the great opportunity to see the Twins on the road with Twins Train. I will be spending my bachelor party with the Twins Train in Detroit at the beginning of July.

-Tom Powers wrote a good article that sums up the Twins feelings about playing the Yankees in the playoffs again (Anybody but the Yankees is the Twins' playoff wish)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A bush league move by the Yankees

It was despicable to watch the Yankees and Joe Girardi run through the circus that they did in the bottom of the ninth last night.

To give a quick recap of what happened:
1. The Yankees took a one-run lead on a Nick Swisher go-ahead home run in the top of the ninth with two outs.
2. Miriano Rivera didn't have enough time to get warmed up after the above happened.
3. Girardi sent Andy Pettitte to the mound to take his warm-up pitches.
4. As soon as Pettitte had completed his warm-up throws the Yankees made the call to the pen to bring in the now warmed up Rivera.

This is one rule that Major League Baseball needs to take a look at. If a pitcher takes his warm-up pitches at the beginning of an inning, then he should have to face at least one batter (unless there is an injury). MLB continues to focus on the speed of games (Selig looks to speed up pace of games). If the Yankees are allowed to complete bush league moves like this, there is no wonder why people complain about the pace of games. The umpires on the field need to be in charge of policing these efforts from MLB. If the Yankees try and pull a move like this, DON'T LET THEM. Refuse to make the substitution and make Pettitte stay in the game.

This obviously wasn't the only reason the Twins lost the game last night (Gardenhire grouses about Yankees pitching change). There were plenty of missed opportunities that caused the Twins to come up on the short end of the game. The entire spectacle by Girardi and the Yankees just gives more fuel to the Yankee hater fire.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Time for the Twins to show up against the AL

The Twins and Yankees are pitted against each other tonight for the first time at Target Field. The Twins have a lot to prove after their lack-luster showing at Yankee Stadium last week. The Twins need to show the rest of the American League that they can hang with the big dogs (the Yankees and the Rays). Right now the rest of the American League doesn't have to take the Twins seriously because they can't win big games on the road. When it comes to playoff time, you need to be able to win big games on the road. Right now the Twins don't have the ability to do this against the best teams in the AL.

Joe Mauer (pictured above) and Justin Morneau (Morneau carrying Twins offense early in the year) need to continue their offensive output from the beginning of the season. The Twins bullpen has been shaky to say the least and with a lineup like the Yankees, the pitching needs to be outstanding for the next three games. If the bullpen isn't there it might be the first time the Twins get swept at Target Field.

Hopefully the Twins come together and keep up their winning ways at Target Field. Some of the magic of the Metrodome has transferred to the new field. Let's hope it continues...