Twins drop three of four to Tigers
Last Friday I wondered if the Minnesota Twins could possibly beat the Detroit Tigers over their remaining three games. They proved that yes, when facing the Tigers' mediocre Brad Penny, that they could, in fact, piece together enough runs to win Saturday's game.
Unfortunately, that means that the Twins have taken but one contest of nine thus far in the season series against the Detroit club. Considering there are still nine more games left, and, well, the Tigers are the team to beat in this division, it's not looking good.
Minnesota squandered a stretch of home games against Central Division rivals, and the season's quickly evaporating away. With the Twins shaving off a good 10.5 games in the standings, and the Tigers, Indians and White Sox doing little to take the crown, it seemed like this post-All Star home stand might have been just the thing to get this club back on its feet.
Add to this that now the team is nearly back to full strength. Scott Baker is back and after Saturday's win is now sitting on a nasty 2.88 ERA which is, according to blogger Aaron Gleeman, the lowest for a Twins starter other than Johann Santana in the last two decades.
Thome, Young, Mauer, Cuddyer, Kubel... these guys should be scoring runs big time. Instead, we scored a measly 3.16 runs over the 12-game home stand and won six and lost six.
Had the Twins not taken three of four from lowly Kansas City, well, this would have been a disastrous week and a half.
Now, the Twins hit the road, bumbling into Texas, where the Rangers have won more games than anyone in the American League. The Rangers are 15-5 in July, but most of those have come at the expense of the Mariners, Orioles, and A's... three less-than-formidable clubs.
Not to mention that the Twins took three of four from Arlington's pride back in June. After that, we hit Oakland and LA, no slouches, but not the Yankees or Tigers.
In my mind, it's come down to this: the 2011 Minnesota Twins--at full strength, at half strength, with a team full of near-All Stars or a club of slap-happy Skippys--manages to win when they shouldn't and lose when they shouldn't. Just when you think they're out they come roaring back, and just when you're thinking they're gonna pull it out, they trip halfway down the basement steps.
In '06 and '09, no one figured these guys would come back. Especially '09, since they didn't have Johann Santana and a crazy-good Liriano. This year's club has the parts, but they also seem to be showing their age, or their innate mediocrity (and I'm talking about you, Danny Valencia and your inflated RBI count).
Wait and see, wait and see. I still say this is one exciting year. It's better to go up and down than lead from wire-to-wire.
According to the wags at MLB Trade Rumors, the Twins have joined the chorus of teams interested in Baltimore Orioles' middle reliever Koji Uehara. Uehara, a one-time starter with the Yomiuri Giants, two time Sawamura award winner (Japan's Cy Young equivalent), who is currently sporting a 1.80 ERA and a miniscule 0.69 WHIP (that's Walks + Hits per Inning Pitched.)
The dude is 36 years old, and is also being drooled over by the likes of the Tigers, Pirates and Rangers, but, man, he's been lights out. Attractive too, I imagine, is that he might be a calming influence over our clearly rattled shortstop/bust Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Might Kevin Slowey be the trade bait for Uehara?
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