Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Season Continues

NOTE: Just like last week, I'll be appearing on Marty Andrade's podcast tonight at 8:00 Central. Check it out if you haven't taken care of your Twins fix yet for the day.

Before I get to today's notes, I just wanted to take a second to mention that this is post # 1000 for this blog. I started blogging on the Twins shortly after the start of the 2006 season, so it's been roughly two and a half years since I began. For those of you who check in from time to time, thanks for reading. I haven't always had a chance to blog as consistently as I would like to (life often gets in the way), but I still enjoy posting as much as I did when I started and hope to keep it up for a long time to come.

Now, onto the baseball. With today's dueling wins for the Twins and White Sox, the Twins have retained their half game lead in the division. That means that the White Sox face a must-win game tomorrow against the Tigers. While I would love to see the Twins celebrate a playoff berth on the field, I don't think I'd mind too much if the Tigers took care of business tomorrow and took away the need for Tuesday's tiebreaker. Here are some other notes:

1.) Scott Baker is a stud. It seems as if he's been more impressive in big game situations of late than Francisco Liriano has been -- so does that mean he's the ace? I still put the Franchise in that position because of his ability to be overpowering when he's on his game, but if Baker continues to be consistently good when the needs it, I might have to reconsider. A couple of years ago, shortly after I started blogging, Marty and I had a conversation on one of his old podcasts about whether Baker was a "AAAA" player -- a guy who had mastered the minor leagues, but would never develop into a Major League talent. I frankly don't remember what I said, but the fact that we were having that discussion shows how far Baker has come in just two years.

2.) Jose Mijares is clearly a lock for the post-season roster if the Twins need one, since he's turned into the club's setup man. If I had to guess, the Twins would carry a 12 man pitching staff into post-season play, with 4 starters and 8 relievers. Depending on how Kevin Slowey's wrist feels, he would be one candidate not to make the starting rotation. Arguments could be made for excluding either Nick Blackburn or Glen Perkins as well. As for the bullpen, some names are obvious: Nathan, Mijares, Reyes, Breslow, Guerrier, Crain, and Bonser have all probably done enough to make the squad. The last spot would then go to the excluded starter. The team could also carry a larger bench, going with just 11 pitchers -- but I like the matchup options the Twins would have with all those lefties. It will be interesting to see how Bill Smith and Ron Gardenhire approach the problem.

3.) If Justin Morneau doesn't win the MVP award, it could be because he was so very bad with the spotlight on the Twins over the last week. Since the start of the White Sox series, Morneau is 3-for-28 with a single RBI. I assume that Morneau flew under many media member's radar for most of the season, since the Twins weren't figured to be contenders. If they just started paying attention now, they didn't see much from Morneau. I haven't decided yet who I personally think the MVP should go to, but I'm going to predict that Morneau will not win it this year.

4.) Congratulations to the Milwaukee Brewers for finally making it back to the post-season. I said publicly that I was rooting against the Brewers because of the Ned Yost situation, and I meant it -- but I'm happy for the fans and for the players that the Brew Crew will be participating in post-season play. Also, I also wanted to root against the Mets, just to demonstrate that Johan Santana did not equal a guaranteed playoff spot, even for a team with significant financial resources.

5.) I'll be on campus tomorrow when the Tigers and Sox are going at it, and I won't have access to a computer for most of that time. Brutal.

6.) This was a great weekend for sports generally, and I hope you all got a chance to check out some of the fun. You undoubtedly are all already aware of the baseball and football news, but the fun didn't stop there. Formula 1 held the first night race in the history of the series in Singapore, and the victory went to two time champion Fernando Alonso, who hadn't won a race since joining Renault at the start of the year. He was the seventh winner of the season -- a far cry from last year, when I'm pretty sure the only drivers to win were the two McLaren Mercedes drivers and the two Ferrari drivers. Also, the English Premiere League delivered a major shocker this weekend when Hull (one of the two teams I follow) shocked Arsenal at Emirates Stadium (Arsenal's home) with a 2-1 win. Hull is a recent addition to the Premiere League, earning promotion for this season. This was sort of the equivalent of Appy State beating Michigan last year. All in all, a great weekend with a lot of fantastic story lines.



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