Freelance Winners

The Twins patch together a strong start

I'd be happy to entertain wagers with anyone who's foolish enough to believe that a single one of those teams or individuals will still be anywhere among the league leaders at season's end.

Yet, looking back over the Twins' first month, it's tempting to think they could actually get a whole lot better, and, with the possible exception of Kansas City (and if the Royals are going to get better they better do it in a hurry, or risk losing Carlos Beltran), I don't see any other teams in the Central that you could say that about.

But--as I think I just said--this is baseball, so there's also always a chance Minnesota could get a whole lot worse. In 2002 I dubbed the Twins the Good News-Bad News Bears, and as Ron Gardenhire moves into his third year at the helm, the name is as apt as ever. Because for every encouraging sign this team shows, there always seems to be something ugly or troubling going on somewhere else. Some key guy or another always seems to be either hurt or badly slumping. The team will play a great, inspired stretch of baseball and then turn around and stink to high hell for two weeks at a time. The starting pitching will suck, but the bullpen and/or offense will bail it out. Or: Just when the starters get their shit together, the offense stops scoring runs, the defense starts kicking the ball around, and/or the pen gets rocked.

Luis Rivas: Half of a still-flawed middle infield duo
Craig Lassig
Luis Rivas: Half of a still-flawed middle infield duo

And even if by some miracle Minnesota gets all its injured players healthy and back on the field, even if the starting pitching and the bullpen get in a groove at the same time, etc., etc., there remains this most ugly and troubling of facts to deal with: Cristian Guzman and Luis Rivas are still holding down--and I do mean holding down--the middle of the Twins' infield.

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