Sox recap, Tigers preview
Sox recap, Tigers preview
The tragedy of the weekend for the Twinkies was the prospect of losing Carlos Silva for half, or maybe all, of the season. That's since been reviewed, and the injury to his right (pushoff) knee has been deemed less serious, but it's still a bad sign: Silva's been the quiet anchor of the staff, a reliable third starter who keeps the ball on the ground. Having to replace him with the Bradke clone Joe Mays in the starting rotation is bad news indeed.
(And I'll bet we won't see Silva on the mound until June anyway; three weeks is far too optimistic for any kind of knee injury.)
The other bad news of the weekend came on Friday night, when the Twins did the inevitable: Pack the place with a bunch of bandwagon fans, then lose in a humiliating, boring fashion.
The home team's play was so uninspired--such a shame given the 48,000 plus who were looking for some Friday night excitement--that one had to resort to people-watching to get excited about anything.
Then, late in the game, came the "Kiss-Cam." It's the somewhat annoying between-innings schmaltz where Dome operatives spy cute couples around the park, then put the stadium camera on them until they lock lips. The third couple to hit the scoreboard Friday night provided something that left a few families headed for--and the rest of us rolling in--the aisles: As soon as the gentleman saw himself and his hunnie on the faux-Jumbotron, he palmed the back of her head, and mockingly pushed her face into his lap. (Worry not; she seemed to be in on the joke.)
Hey, that's the spirit. This blog needs mascots!
Far more troubling was the silence of the bats. Call it the Curse of Mike Cuellar, but the Twins haven't been able to hit a junkballer for some 30-plus years. The completely overhauled Orlando Hernandez, the pitcher formerly known as "El Duque," had plenty goofy spin coming off his fingertips. Hernandez--who has lost about 10-15 mph off his fastball, perhaps intentionally--hit over 85 on the gun only a handful of times, sticking mostly in the 75-mph range, ocassionally throwing beachballs hovering in the mid-50s. I swear Jesse Bartlett struck out twice on one pitch.
By the end of the game, one could be forgiven for wondering how long Morneau's going to be out of the lineup after getting plunked in the noggin in Seattle. The team needs at least the threat of his bat.
Not much to say about Saturday's game, other than it was Bradke Ball Redux, something I'm going to turn into additional, reportable income before the season's over.
And Sunday, too, was predictable in the inverse way, with "Stroke-Out King" Santana delivering with 11 Ks in seven, and the sudden awakening of Torii Hunter, who dingered at a crucial time, but still has as many fingers (not counting the thumb) on his Gold Glove hand as he does hits this season. Even so, it was a big win on a national ESPN broadcast, for whatever that's worth.
There have been grumblings that part of the failure of the 3-3 Twins at this point is the young leftside of the infield. So far, I'd say this is hogwash, with poor hitting and pitching from the team's supposed leaders--like, uh, Hunter and Radke--being the real cause for concern. Much of Cuddyer's suspect play at third can be chalked up to having the ever-shaky Matthew Lecroy instead of Morneau in the field. We know now that LeCroy is no first baseman.
Hard to think this a year ago, but the Twins may actually need Morneau's glove, and fast.
Onward to the Tigers: Detroit's in town for three, starting tonight. In addition to seeing if Mays is serious about pitching for the team again (he's known for constantly complaining that he's hurt whenever he has a bad outing), it's a chance to see the still-improving Tigers.
They ain't great, but anyone (except Kansas City) has a shot in the AL Central. In fact, The Sox look much better, and I'm not sure Cleveland or Detroit is that far behind. The AL Central won't be the walk Minnesota had the last two seasons, when it seemed a shame the Twins didn't thank the rest of the division as they claimed the "champions" title.
The Tigers were hampered in part last year by DH Dmitri Young being out of the lineup due to a broken leg. When he was healthy, Young looked like potentially one of the best hitters in the division, a notion he displayed on Opening Day this year by homering three times. It's worth dropping in on one game just to see Young.