Boom. That's the Sound of Backs, Not Bats, Breaking...
Just the other day I wrote, "Oh, I'm certain that it's way, way too early to stick a fork in these New York Yankees, but I'm going to anyway." That was referring to the Gotham squad, though, and the problem with that unholy statement is that the Yanks have a much better chance of raging back into the post-season than the Minnesota Twins. This afternoon, the Twins were swept by the powerful Cleveland Indians, who won 2-0 and handed our ace, Johan Santana, his fourth loss. Fausto Carmona out-deulled the King, and in three short days the Indians devoured any confidence the Twins picked up in their Mother's Day beating of the Tigers. No matter what the Tigers do this evening (having already lost this afternoon), the Twins will be at least seven games out of first place.
Pink bats are not going to help this team. I don't know what's going to help this team. But I do have a sneaking suspicion that last season's miracle run is giving local fans too much hope. I hope to God it's not giving Twins management any hope. I hope to God they are in a panic mode. I hope to God that something is going to happen, because it stands to be a very long season otherwise.
Last year, when the Twins began a fifteen game stretch against the National League, they were sitting on a 31-34 record, 10.5 games behind the surprising Detroit Tigers. In inter-league play, they proceeded to beat Pittsburgh, Houston, the Cubs, Dodgers, and Brewers soundly, taking an astounding 14 of 15 games, and went 65-32 to finish at the top of the Division.
On that Victory March they took
10 of 14 from the then-hapless Indians
6 of 7 from the always-hapless Devil Rays
8 of 12 from the White Sox, who were in the midst of a freefall
8 of 11 from the Royals (no comment)
and 6 of 10 from Detroit
I bring this up simply to illustrate that I don't think there's a Falwell's chance in hell to repeat that season. Consider these points: We're done with Tampa Bay (having gone 3-4). After six games against the Royals, we've won only two. The Twins meet Washington, Atlanta, Milwaukee and the Mets in inter-league play, one doormat and three contenders. Great contenders, who will give us no quarter. The 2007 Indians are not the 2006 Indians, and the Tigers are no longer surprising to anyone, including themselves. So who do we think is going to roll over to allow the Twins to jump three spots to the top? Last year's surge to the Division title came not just from timely hitting and good pitching--it came as at the demise of a gassed Tigers. Who righted themselves and marched to the World Series, thank you very much.
Frankly, I'm at an utter loss as to what to do about the Twins. Hunt for a slugger? The other day I overheard Jerry Bell utter his mantra that he's not looking for home run hitters, just run producers, and if that's the case, great. So who are these run producers? Seems to me that home run hitters generate runs with one swing of the bat. Or am I missing something?