Sunday, September 10, 2006

Links of the Day for 9/11/06

Powered by Intern Sam

Well, so much for the offensive drought! Thanks to a couple of outstanding pitching performances from Boof Bonser and Johan Santana (and an important assist from Cleveland’s Victor Martinez,) the Twins finished the weekend in firm control of their own playoff destiny, a game and a half in front of the White Sox, and only two games off the division lead.

Jim Leyland’s voodoo no longer seems to be working on the Tigers, who now look more like the team everyone thought they would be in 2006: a scrappy bunch of youngsters capable of beating anyone, but unlikely to do it very regularly. Dropping three in a row to the Twins after winning the series opener had to be a crushing blow, particularly when at least one of the games (Saturday) looked eminently winnable for the Tigers. Still, Detroit has an easier remaining schedule than either the Twins or the Sox, so it’s definitely too early to start writing their obituary.

  • In case you missed it, Liriano’s rehab start in Scranton, Pennsylvania went off without a hitch Saturday night, and he’s scheduled to start Wednesday against the A’s.

  • This Tuesday, Matt Guerrier will become the Twins’ 10th different starting pitcher of 2006, replacing Scott Baker in the rotation. Baker will get some work out of the bullpen, but as long as the pennant race stays tight, he probably won’t be seen in too many important situations.

  • Next weekend’s series at Cleveland just got a little less scary with the news that Travis Hafner is out for the season with a broken right hand. From an objective fan’s perspective, this is really a shame, since Pronk was having an outstanding season, and had an outside chance to lead the league in homers and RBI. While he may make Twins’ fans shudder, it’s hard to think of many hitters who are more entertaining to watch than Hafner.

  • Carlos Silva may have made nice with his teammates, but the PiPress’s two-headed baseball monster still hasn’t forgiven him for his early exit last week. Jason Williams suggests that, for the Twins to reach the playoffs, Silva will need to begin emulating Brad Radke, who, for all his shortcomings, was winning crucial games in August while pitching with a broken shoulder.

  • The Twins aren’t the only team in the playoff race dealing with injuries. Down in Chicago, Joe Crede’s got a bad back, Bobby Jenks may or may not have a hip injury, and Ozzie Guillen’s gotta be working on a pretty good-sized ulcer right about now…

  • Who says Carl Pohlad is the worst owner in baseball? People who haven’t met Jeffrey Loria, that’s who…

  • LaVelle Neal has a handy roundup of the top prospects in the Twins’ system, as well as a quick assessment of their individual strengths and weaknesses. Among other interesting notes is Neal’s report on shortstop Alexi Casilla, the only position player in the top five…

  • Venezuela is the new Dominican Republic as far as baseball talent is concerned, and Gordon Wittenmeyer is on the story.

  • A-Rod is really having a tough year…


Walter Hanson said...

A couple of comments about this post. If A Rod is having a tough year I wish every Twins was as productive like that. The tough year is that he isn't hitting at the expected A Rod stats.

Two I'm trying to determine where the tough schedule comes in:

Yes the Twins play Oakland like Chicago does, but Oakland's rotation causes us to miss their top two starters. Advantage Twins.
Yes Detroit plays Texas, but their top two starters are pitching. No big advantage for Detroit.

Yes we go to Boston, but Detroit plays Toronto. Toronto could've easily swept us at home earlier this year without Roy Halliday. No advatage, especially when you realize that both Santana and Lirano will start in that series.

Kansas City and Chicago play each other before the Twins Chicago series. Advantage Twins since we gain on somebody everday and one might knock the other one out of the playoff picture.

Still it will be an interesting three weeks.

Intern Sam said...

Okay, did you click the link on the A-Rod item? It's a joke. The link is to an Onion item making fun of Yankee fans for booing him. Obviously, I wasn't criticizing Rodriguez's stats.

That Detroit has an easier schedule down the stretch than either the Twins or Sox is simply not up for debate. They do. The Tigers have four games left against Baltimore and six against Kansas City. The Royals' recent embrace of the spoiler role notwithstanding, that's just a much easier set of games than any set of ten you can find on either Minnesota or Chicago's schedule.

On another note, Texas has top starters now? You're kidding me! When did that happen?

Anonymous said...

Considering the way KC has played and the spoiler factor those 'easier' games just don't look easier. Some of them look harder by the factor that the spoiler team is loose and as the Tigers have shown they are not handling pressure well to say the least.

Intern Sam said...

Look, you can nitpick how Kansas City has played in the last couple weeks, or who's starting for who, but the bottom line regarding the schedule is this: if you laid out the Tigers remaining schedule against that of either the Twins or White Sox, and asked the manager to pick which schedule he wanted to play, there isn't a baseball man alive who wouldn't take ten games against the Royals and Orioles. That doesn't mean those games will be easy, or even that Detroit will necessarily win more games in the next three weeks than Minnesota or Chicago. It just means that, on paper, it's an easier schedule. Period.

Walter Hanson said...

Get real intern Sam!!!!

The Twins have seven games with Baltimore and Kansas City. This massive schedule advantage you're talking about is one game with Baltimore and two with Kansas City!

After you net out common games:

Twins 2 games vs Oakland versus Tigers 2 games versus Texas. The bottom two pitchers of Oakland's rotation versus a normally bad offense the Twins will take. Texas has a potential lethal offense.

Twins three games at Boston versus Tigers playing Toronto three games. The Twins were 2-5 versus Toronto so if they are such an easy team why didn't the Twins win more. Boston right now has maybe two reliable starting pitchers, the possibility their closer might not pitch, and as the rotation is projected Santana and Lirano will pitch in the series. At best this is a draw not an advantage for the Tigers.

One last comparison the Twins four games versus Cleveland compared with the extra 2 Kansas City games and the Baltimore game. Lets see Hafner is out for the year! Cleveland apparently hasn't solved it's closer situation. Oh and the feared lineup we had earlier this year has had a couple of players traded away. It certainly beats the Yankees, the Angeles, the Athletics for an opponent. Baltimore is a one game road trip (always fun) and Kansas City as our last home stand with them proved has pitchers capable shutting out teams. All you need is a hot pitcher for one game at a time.

Now two more things which will make me take the Twins schedule over the other two.

Chicago and Detroit play their series first! One of them can easily knock one out for us!!! What rational person wouldn't want that scenario (maybe Sam the intern isn't rational here) Besides even if the series goes 2-1 the loser will be pressed. By the time Chicago comes to town we might have our playoff spot clinched!

Two, a couple of years ago Detroit had the worst record in the majors and was competiting for the worst record of all time. The Twins while resting regulars for the playoffs lost the series and Detroit avoided the worst record. It proves the worst teams on any day can kick butt with a possible divisional winner so saying you have a lousy team playing Detroit doesn't give them an advantage.

So I'll take the Twins schedule. I certainly don't want a west coast trip at this time of the year.

Walter Hanson

Walter Hanson said...

Hey Intern Sam do you still think Detroit has the best schedule now down the stretch?

The Twins have a total of seven games with Kansas City and Balitmore as do the Tigers (though six of their seven is with Kansas City), the play Chicago before us, and they still have to take that disruptive one game road trip to Baltimore. In the meantime didn't we gain ground while the schedule was in Detroit's favor?

Walter Hanson