Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Links of the Day for 5-10-06

By Intern Jimmy

Under The Microscope: No start in Kyle Lohse's Twins tenure carries as much ramification as today's turn on the mound. Lohse's rollercoaster act has worn razor thin with management and fans. No longer is youthful inexperience an acceptable excuse. Lohse's strong spring seemed to portend the coming of age for the 27-year old. Too bad the magic quickly disappeared as 4 of 6 starts have yielded 6 or more earned runs. Who could ever replace his spot in the rotation…

Help On The Way? The question has been asked ad nauseum since his major league call up- when will the grooming period end for the uber-talented Francisco Liriano? Closer than we all think? The club's kiddie-gloves treatment of Johan Santana reaped obvious benefits, which begs the question- is his second coming ready? With the season spiraling towards the Boundary Waters, the positives far outweigh the negatives of the youngster thrown into the mix. If the coaches feel the need to keep Liriano at a pitch count, so be it. The sooner he begins thinking and throwing like a starter, the better. There's no doubt Liriano is special, as Jim Souhan hyped about a month back. Hell, his 13.24 K/9 leads all American League pitchers. I can’t even fathom the prospect of mercilessly unleashing the dual lefty attack on successive nights. It’d be nice if the Twins realized exactly how good the cards are before folding their hand. If you’re dealt pocket aces, the smart bet is to play them.

Defense To The Rescue: Though it's hardly a surprise when it happens, Torii turned in another sterling Web gem Sunday (below the picture, click the video icon “Torii’s running catch”). Racing to cover more ground than usual, Hunter snared the ball backhanded on the run coming out of nowhere. The defensive play of the day in baseball left the commentators in disbelief and mouths agape everywhere. It’s booster shots like this from their de facto leader that the Twins need to raise the overall confidence and play with a sense of urgency as they climb back to respectability.

Injury Alert: Not that I like to revel in any player getting hurt, but this news prompted a faint smile to escape. With the Twins treading water to stay afloat in the Central, anything resembling a buoy to help earn a win, especially against this particular division rival, is reason enough to grab for it. As the offense stalls as frequently as any stick-shift car I drive, not having to face the league’s ERA leader in the upcoming 4 game tilt is welcome news. What if things snowball for the White Sox without the presence of their most reliable pitcher dating back to last year’s postseason run? What if the injury is worse since Contreras isn’t exactly a spry young man who bounces back from ailments? The potential for something like this to throw the White Sox clubhouse off-kilter and embark on a losing skid has me twirling my imaginary Rollie Fingers mustache.

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