Twins hoping to beat Tigers for first time in 2011
The Twins have to play these guys 12 more times over the next 65 games. Sitting at 46-52, and six games behind the Motor City Kitties, it goes without saying that they can't let this streak get out of hand.
But I'd rather light the proverbial candle than curse the Twins' metaphorical darkness. They've lost six straight this year to Detroit, but five of those six were in the heart of the worst part of this season, when the local nine fell a good 20 games under.
In fact, it was after being swept by the Tigers on June 1 that the Twins began their torrid win streak, going 29-15 since then, and bringing this beleaguered club within striking distance of first place in the weak AL Central.
On June 1, the Twins lost 4-2 in Detroit, Scott Baker on the mound taking the loss after giving up 3 earned runs. In terms of their best players (on paper at least) the Twins line-up was just a bit better than it is now, with only Mauer, Nishioka, and Kubel out--Span, Morneau, Thome, and Cuddyer all stood at the plate. But we can't forget that even their decent players were struggling at the time, Morneau and Thome playing through considerable pain that ended up sidelining them for a significant amount of time. And Delmon Young just plain sucked.
So we'll see--the Tigers are putting three of the most roller-coaster pitchers in the sport on the mound over the next three days, in Max Scherzer, Brad Penny, and Rick Porcello. Those guys can be amazing... and they can also just plain suck.
Tonight, the Twins will see the return of Jason Kubel, unquestionably the best player on the team (.310/.355/.465) before injuries felled him. With the Beastie Boys fan in the lineup, we could see the a batting order that's at full strength with the exception of Span at leadoff. With Mauer hitting at a .403 clip this month, and Cuddyer continuing to light up the basepaths (.359 average, .563 slugging pct.) this could make for an interesting weekend.
Hopefully, the Twins will try to improve upon their season by trading the excessively criticized (in my mind) Kevin Slowey, and talk has been that the Twins might get middle reliever/towering, tattooed giant Jon Rauch in his place. Rauch, the former Twin, was let go ostensibly due to personality conflicts.
Then again, if the Tigers rip thought these guys like a bandsaw chewing up balsa wood, this could be a lost season.
Don't forget to show up early for Sunday's Hall of Fame induction of Twins pitcher/prankster/broadcaster Bert Blyleven. Gates open at 1:00 with the ceremony broadcast live in the stadium at 1:50. The game begins at 3:10. Is it too much to ask that Bert wear his best shirt?
Speaking of that shirt, here's an amazing interview with Bert by David Brown, who writes that the Hall of Famer "doesn't wait for privacy when needing to break wind." Awesome. Totally awesome.
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