Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Notes from the Game

1.) How fitting that the Twins blew out Detroit to win the series and move to within 2 games of the division lead. After that disappointing first game, this whole series had the feel of a statement series, with the Twins announcing that they weren't going to disappear from the race. Detroit is 10-22 in their last 32 games, and that smacks of a team unable to make adjustments and stay ahead of their opponents. The pitching is still there (despite what happened today), and 2 games is nothing to sniff at this late in the season, but the Twins are in excellent shape to make a run at the division title.

2.) The series that starts tomorrow against Oakland is just as important as the series against the Tigers. The Twins could easily end up playing Oakland in the first round (if the Twins win the Wild Card and the Athletics finish ahead of the Yankees, or if the Twins win the division and the Yankees finish ahead of the Athletics). Proving that you can beat a team in the regular season isn't essential to post-season success, but it does prevent a team from worrying about that issue.

3.) My prediction of the starters for the rest of the year is already off, as the Twins are keeping Bonser on regular rest and taking Garza out of the rotation as a stop-gap for Liriano on Wednesday. When and if Garza moves back into the rotation probably depends on how Matt Guerrier does on Tuesday; if he looks solid, he'll probably hold down the spot. If not, I expect the Twins to go back to Garza.

4.) Torii Hunter's phenomenal performance in the second inning was a thing of beauty, and demonstrates why he's so important to this team. He was completely responsible for the run, as he got a base hit, stole second, advanced to third on a strikeout when Vance Wilson made a sloppy throw to first to retire Jason Kubel, and then scored on a sac fly that was incredibly shallow. Are "intangibles" like guts and awareness worth $12 million a season? No. But when packaged with the Twins undisputed clubhouse leader, a guy who when healthy is the best Center Fielder in baseball, I don't see how the Twins could possibly fail to pick up the option. Torii Hunter will be a Twin next season, and that thrills me.

5.) One of the reason that the Tigers are losing so many games is that they aren't executing when forced to by aggressive teams like the Twins. Look at how they responded to Torii Hunter's shananigans for a good example of this. Jim Leyland is a great manager, but for some reason these guys aren't playing crisp baseball. Unless that turns around, they're going to miss the playoffs.


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