Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Last Gasp of the Twins, Or a Resurgence?

The Twins won tonight against the Rangers. It was somewhat noteworthy that they did it without Justin Morneau (who was the second player on the Twins roster to be sidelined by an Inner Ear Infection. If I were a conspiracy theorist, which I am, I'd blame Used Coffin Salesman Bud Selig for it--I can only presume he's found a way to sneak Waltzing Mice DNA into the Twins players whilst they sleep. He hasn't gotten to Joe Mauer because Mauer doesn't sleep--he just goes to his room and practices his swing all night long). The Twins also lost slugger Jason Kubel in the first inning with a foul ball off his surgically repaired knee.

What makes this game particularly noteworthy is the way the Twins won--they once again got nothing but a lead to overcome from a starter--this time Carl Pavano, who pitched only four innings, giving up 5 runs. The Twins, this month, don't win in that situation. Prior to this game, the Twins have won four games in August. In those games, the Twins have outscored their opponent a combined 39 runs to 2. Seriously! Tonight was the first close game they've won since their 3 game sweep of Chicago back in late July. The Twins have rallied to make games interesting, but somewhat interesting losses don't actually help in the standings.

So, here we are, with the Twins on the precipice--the starting pitching still sucking, Morneau and Kubel possibly out, and the Tigers with a very real lead in the standings. That said--Mauer has been incredible, somehow raising his average from a pedestrian .360 to a pretty good .380 by repeatedly going 3-4 with power (two homeruns tonight). Delmon Young has come around, as I have long argued he would. The bullpen has been remarkable in both losing and winning efforts over the past week or so. The only piece not falling into place is the starting rotation. And make no mistake, that piece has to, has to fall into place. It has, very, very sporadically done its job--and when it does, the Twins offense is more than up to the job.

So we will see--was this the last gasp of a motivated but under-talented bullpen? Will the starters pick it up for a bit? Will Delmon Young and Joe Mauer carry the weight until Morneau gets back? I'm guessing I'll be disappointed by the end of the season, but for one night at least, the Twins played like the Twins (in a good way).

No comments: