Of Royals & Jesters


Wow. I don’t think my head has spun like this since I drank three-fourths a bottle of Blue Curacao in my sophomore year of college. Friday’s 8-1, hangover loss to the Royals was understandable given the emotional toil of the White Sox series. But yesterday, too? That was more sad than anything else, hitting into four double plays and gathering a mere 8 hits in the 4-2 defeat.

Sweeping the White Sox and then losing the first two to K.C. is like paying for a $300 meal at Pazzaluna and then treating your palate to a SuperAmerica-bought Black & Mild cigar. It’s like seeing a David Mamet play at the Guthrie and then going home to watch a Brian Austin Greene movie. It’s like attending a Springsteen concert with an encore performance by Clay Aitken. It’s like dating Sophia Bush and then marrying Amy Winehouse.

Of course the White Sox aren't exactly planning a parade yet either. Their consecutive losses to Cleveland on Friday and Saturday have kept the Bread Basket in first by ½ game. Man, I haven’t seen a potential bailout like this since, well . . .

Alas, there is today. But will there be tomorrow? A victory today over the Royals coupled with a White Sox win over Cleveland would force the Sox to play their make-up game with Detroit tomorrow. Should they win that as well, the Twins would travel to Chicago on Tuesday for a one-game, sudden death playoff to claim the Central.

Chicago was slated to face A.L. Cy Young favorite Cliff Lee today, however Lee was officially scratched from said start last night, due to a stiff neck. Speaking of stiffs, the Indians will now sport one Mr. Bryan Bullington on the hill against the White Sox today. We’ll see if he has horns. Thus far into his MLB career, the former #1 pick of the Pirates (2002) has no big league wins in 4 starts since 2005. To see his “stats,” please click here.

Will we someday be old men and women talking about how much we loathe Cleveland skipper Eric Wedge?

Today, the Twins pit ace Scott Baker (10-4, 3.59 ERA) against K.C. righty Brandon Duckworth (3-2, 5.06 ERA; 1-1, 3.86 lifetime against Minnesota). Here’s how the boys have fared against this marginal journeyman with a lifetime 5.33 ERA in 8 forgettable MLB seasons:

Twins regulars vs. Duckworth Mauer: 2-6 Morneau: 3-8, 2 2B Cuddy: 2-6 Punto: 2-7 Kubel: 1-7, 2 RBI, 2 BB Young: never faced Gomez: 1-2 Buscher: 1-1 Span: 1-2 Casilla: 0-3 Everett: 2-4 Redmond: 3-9

A per other overt storylines noted in my previous post:

Mauer vs. Pedroia

Mauer maintains a .330 to .325 lead over Pedroia for the A.L. batting title. Pedroia sat out the Red Sox last ballgame and, given that Boston is locked into the Wild Card, I’d be surprised if he saw more than a few tune-up at-bats in today’s double headed against the Yankees. Mauer will see 4 or 5 official at-bats and should he (cringe) go 0-5, that would put him at .326, while a polar 2-2 for Pedroia would put him at .327. These are extremes -- I’m thinking that we’ve got at least one thing cemented here.

Morneau versus Pedroia

Morneau’s charge toward MVP, however, has lacked zeal in recent days. He’s hit just .189 with no HR’s and only 5 RBI in his last 13 games. Yet, a crazy showing today could still lock it in for him in my mind. Say, 2 home runs, which would put him at a the nice, round number of 25; which would also find him eclipsing that 130 RBI mark; which would also keep his average above .300. It’s a fine battle between the two ballers, and either is deserving. To see how their numbers line up, please click here.

One regular season game to go. Keep the focus today and remember: enjoy football, live baseball. For my money, I think this deal’s going to Tuesday.

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