Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hope Lives

Sorry gang. I've been watching, but not writing. Let's try and remedy that with a short entry today.

Today (Thursday) the Tigers will play, the Twins won't, and we'll be down to ten games for both teams. Ten is a nice satisfying number in general, but it has some additional importance in this case, because they happen in ten games. No off days. That means we'll be cycling through each rotation exactly twice.

On the whole, that's probably better news for the Twins than the Tigers. The Twins have one gaping hole in their rotation which they'll probably try to plug next Francisco Liriano this weekend. But the Tigers have two gaps, and have recently been trotting out Nate Robertson and Eddie Bonine to fill them.

Robertson we saw on Sunday, which is why is was so very, very frustrating to lose that game. Of all the games in that series, that was the one the Twins should have been most favored to win. He's been terrible for a year-and-a-half. He's lost his spot in the rotation multiple times. He pitched that game while recovering from a groin injury. To be technical, it was while recovering from an inflammation in his left pelvis. Which sounds significantly worse. He also underwent elbow surgery earlier this year.

Supporters will point out that his ERA since he returned from the surgery is just 2.33. But he's still giving up hits (19 in 19.1 innings) and he's still giving up walks (11). He's not as good as his numbers and tomorrow night the White Sox will get a chance to prove it.

Bonine is a 28-year-old soft-throwing right-hander who spent most of the year in AAA-Toledo. His ERA is 5.96. He's given up 31 hits in 22.7 innings. I don't feel like I need to say much more than that. He's starting after Robertson, Saturday, also versus the White Sox.

So the Twins best hope for making up ground happens on Friday and Saturday. And the next time these two start? That would be the last two games of the series versus the Twins.

And if, by some strange chance, the AL Central needs to be decided by a one-game playoff? The only two Detroit pitchers who will have had a full four days rest will be Robertson and Bonine.

Hope lives, my friends. Hope lives.

Mauer Math
Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I thought I heard Dick Bremer say during last night's broadcast that Joe Mauer only needed to go 21 for 44 over the last eleven games to hit .400. I think he was off by ten hits.

In case you're wondering, Mauer is currently 179 for 481. If you assume he gets four more AB per game, that's 521 AB. To hit .400 or more, he would need 209 hits. That's 30 hits in 40 AB.

I think we can safely say the dream is dead this year. Nobody is sorrier that me to hear it.


Topper said...

Great to hear from you again, John! I think it's safe to say that with the way these two teams and all the starters in question have been performing, we still stand a very real chance at playing again after October 4. Thanks for the optimism!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! NOW the pennant race feels real. Seriously, I'm always glad to get a daily dose of cogent analysis and writing about my favorite team.

And I'm sure those typos in the first few paragraphs are just DL rustiness that you'll shake off soon. ;-)