Thursday, May 10, 2007

Just Some Stuff

Time for a new kind of story. On Thursday nights, The Voice Of Reason wants to sit down for an hour and watch Grey's Anatomy, and I kick myself out of the room for an hour so I'm not tempted to get sucked in by it. And so I find myself with one hour of time to spew forth a bunch of random points I've been saving up all week - sounds like a solid story to me. Hell, it sounds like several solid stories, and I might very well use them next week. But for now, let's call it "Just Some Stuff".

Letting my imagination get the best of me....(Part 1)
The initial reports about Joe Mauer's injury mentioned a strained muscle, a lump and some bleeding. While everyone seems to thing that Joe Mauer will be back inside of two weeks, it did seem strange that all that detail would be mentioned. And I got downright nervous when Will Carrol mentioned the bump and linked to a description of myositis ossificans, which would keep him out considerably longer. It's a condition where the bone develops a lump, and it happens when a player suffers a strain but doesn't deal with it.

Considering the reports that this strain was what kept Mauer out of the lineup a couple of weeks ago, that'a a little worrisome. And then there are questions like "Why did they just put him on the DL now?"

Letting my imagination get the best of me...(Part 2)
Yesterday I wrote about how the hysteria around upgrading the Twins lineup needs to cool a bit, because what we see now is not what we will likely see in June. But there's a caveat there that I didn't mention, and it has to do with the timeframe for Mauer and Rondell White to return from injuries. This week it was reported that White should be back by the end of the month, but I've also heard that he might not be back until the All-Star break, or even the end of the year. I don't know what to believe.

If the prospect for White's return is not favorable, the entire strategy changes. This lineup is then exactly one bat short, and that bat can be any player at any position so long as they can hit the damn ball. If the Twins suspect that White cannot be counted on this year, patience needs to go out the window. Judging by Terry Ryan's public statements, he's either convinced White will return fairly soon, or bluffing the rest of the league for a better deal.

Playing the Game the WRONG Way
I damn near wrote a story earlier this week with that title, which is why I started applauding in my car when I heard Ron Gardenhire's post-game comments earlier today. A LOT of back-patting goes on about this team, and it can drive the cynical fan a bit nuts, but it's worth noting that this team does win games because of doing some little things right.

But not this year. This year, they're breaking even at best, and the White Sox series was almost embarassing. The Twins failed to generate offense in part because they did some stupid things (like Kubel's base running blunder yesterday) and they've lost two games this week in part because of terrible fielding by pitchers. And it hasn't just been this week. It was great to hear that Gardenhire recognizes this, and it will be a lot more interesting around here as fans start to too.

Tora, Tora, Torii!
Torii Hunter's 23 game hitting streak ended today, but that doesn't lessen the impact he's had this year. Two days ago I published where the Twins ranked in offensive production by position. At catcher, they were in third place. At first base, they were in second place. But in center field, they were in first place. That's the only position at which the Twins lead the league in OPS.

Earlier this week someone asked me if I would sign Hunter for Johnny Damon money (4 years, $52 million). Two years ago, I would have never even thought about it. Last year, I would've declined. But right now, I would do it . My biggget concern wouldn't be his age, or his streakiness or his plate discipline - it would be whether he can hold up for two more years on that damn turf. We should get a better feel about that by August, but right now, I'd take that deal and be damn happy about it.

A Story I Want To Know
Jason Tyner and Jason Kubel both play in the game today, but Kubel is in left field and Tyner is DH? Gardenhire isn't an idiot - there's gotta be a story there. I sure hope one of the reporters asks about it.

A Speed Problem
The Twins are forced to field a slap-and-hit team because of injuries. They're facing a division rival at home. And that division rival is terrible at throwing out stolen bases. And yet the Twins get zero stolen bases and zero caught stealings?

This isn't totally unique - the White Sox are doing something such that nobody is trying to steal against them despite having only thrown out three attempts all year. But if you're the Twins, don't you have to risk challenging them on that? I saw one stolen base attempt today, and it ended up being for naught because Hunter lined the ball right over second base to the player covering the bag. But that was it. I'd love to hear someone's take on what happened this series such that the Twins started playing station-to-station ball.

That's it. Grey's is over and so am I. See ya on Monday

1 comment:

Jack Ungerleider said...

Hey John here's another one for the imagination run wild theme. Considering Shannon Stewart's time with the Twins and White's issues the last two years maybe Gardy played Kubel in left because he didn't want to chance Tyner's wheels.

Good stuff as always.