Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Twins headlines to watch in the second half

The All-Star Game festivities in Phoenix came to a close last night with the NL defeating the AL by a score of 5-1. From the Futures Game on Sunday night to the main attraction on Tuesday evening, this year's All-Star weekend provided plenty of story lines.

Michael Cuddyer did not have much of an impact on the game. He flew out in his only AB after only one pitch. The most Twins fans got to see of him was when he introduced the line-up for the American League at the beginning of the game.

There is a lot of baseball left to be played in the MLB season and there are a lot of division races that are tightly contested at the break. Now it is time to take a look into the crystal ball to find the headlines that the Twins will create in the second half of the year.

"Are the Twins buyers or sellers?"
Earlier in the season there was plenty of talk about the parts the Twins would be able to sell off when the trade deadline approached in July. The problem is now the Twins are getting closer to .500 and the team is only 6.5 games back in the Central. If the team wants to continue to contend, the bullpen is one area that would be in need of some revamping for the stretch run. There will be a logjam in the Twins outfield  when all of the players are healthy. This could mean the Twins will sell one outfielder in order to solidify the bullpen. That would make them buyers and sellers at the deadline.

"Thome knocks number 600"
At the beginning of the season, it looked like this might be the only thing to look forward to during the season for the Twins. Thome has amassed 595 home runs during his magnificent career and he will look to add the topper to his accomplishments in the coming weeks. If Thome is close to breaking the mark at Target Field, it will be interesting to see how many fans cram into the Target Plaza area to try and catch a piece of history. In just a season and a half with the Twins, he has already hit so many memorable home runs at Target Field. It would only be fitting if he accomplished this feat in front of the hometown crowd.

"Blyleven enters the Hall"
It has been many years since Blyleven threw his last pitch in baseball and he will finally get to be recognized for his accomplishments in the game. Blyleven's numbers have not changed since he played his last game on October 4, 1992 and it still took 14 ballots to get him into the Hall of Fame. Throughout those 14 ballots, Blyleven was very critical of the baseball writers and the balloting process. There are many statistics that can be examined for Mr. Blyleven but consider this; Out of all pitchers in the history of the game, Blyleven has the 13th highest Wins Above Replacement (WAR) for pitchers. That sounds like a person that should be in the Hall of Fame.

"The Twins fight their way back in the Central"
The Twins have a long road ahead of them if this headlines is going to be a reality. There are three teams that currently sit ahead of the Twins in the Central Division. The team has been in this position before and their ability to win big games in the second half is second to none. In order to have a chance, the Twins will need to come up with a lot of big wins down the stretch. The good news is the Twins have been able to play very well against AL Central opponents. Those opponents will come at the Twins hard to try and dethrone the two-time defending champions.

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