Friday, September 08, 2006

Lost Cause?

It's getting to one of those points with the Twins again where it's hard to write anything new about their spiraling disaster of a situation. The Twins have no offense to speak of and a rotation made up of a Cy Young winner, an explosive disaster, and three rookies. I hate to say it, but with every game like last night's, it gets less and less likely that the Twins will have a post-season birth.

After being impotent as an offense for two out of three games against the unintimidating staff of the Devil Rays, they now have to face Detroit's great pitching staff. Last night was no off-night, as they had Justin Verlander on their hands. With Francisco Liriano and Jonathon Palpelbon hurt, it looks likely that Verlander will win the AL Rookie of the Year award. He's now 16-7 with a 3.19 ERA, which throws him in the Cy Young mix as well.

Verlander looked hittable for periods of the night, but the Twins did their best to resist. Despite eight hits off Verlander in seven innings, with two walks by Justin Morneau, they scored just one run on a Michael Cuddyer home run. Otherwise, every time a runner was on, it seemed like the same result: double-play. The guilty? Torii Hunter, the usual suspect, Jason Tyner and Jason Bartlett.

You can't fault Bartlett too much, since he is hitting .336, but why was Tyner in the lineup as a DH? Is Ron Gardenhire losing his mind? Okay, so he was 2-for-4 last night and carries a .310 average, but it's the emptiest .310 average around, with a .337 OBP and .345 slugging to go along with it. A guy with five total extra-base hits on the year in 174 at-bats and 12 RBI was DHing. Once again, why did we even trade for Phil Nevin?

Personally, and I think a lot of fans would agree, I'd rather see Nevin at DH. Sure, he strikes out plenty, but he also walks and at least he's a threat with a bat. You can't put someone in the DH spot that can't even hit a home run. Even Mike Redmond is more of a threat there and at least he doubles occassionally. Needless to say, sitting Nevin for four games after trading a relatively valuable pitching prospect in Adam Harben for him is beyond annoying. It's completely ridiculous.

If the Twins want to have any hope of pulling out of this series and staying alive in the wild-card race, they need all the big bats they can have. You have to hope that Matt Garza will have a much better start tonight, but will it matter? The Twins need to seriously break out of their slump and if you have a game plan that involves Tyner DHing and a starting pitcher leaving because of "stomach ailments," you need to re-evaluate.

This team looks like it's fading fast. They may get Liriano back next week, but if their offense can't turn things around substantially, it won't matter.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, The White Sox are fading fast too. Looks like Nevin was a Ryan trade, but that can't be serious. Twins means GIDP this year.

Anonymous said...

Hey!! Not to be picky but the Twins had two runs last night!! I only say this to show this point. The Tigers had 7 runs on 12 hits, and the Twins had 2 runs on 10 hits. 5 of the Tiger runs came on homeruns, and 1 of the Twins' runs on homeruns. Take out the homeruns, and you have two teams that didn't do much offensively. Pretty interesting when you look at it that way!!!

the frenchman said...

I tend to agree, unless something offensively changes soon, the wild card could be out of reach by the end of the weekend.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, back up from the ledge...

The Twins offense has been pretty meager lately, and the GIDP are getting downright annoying. But unless I read the standings wrong, we still LEAD the wild card race. As bad as the Twins have been over the last 2 weeks or so, the White Sox have been worse.

hunterfan said...

Deja April

Dan said...

DH-ing Tyner is very wierd and almost humorous. Platooning in left with White sounds more reasonable or atleast go with who 'hot' between the two.

It is funny that Nevin gets 10 at bats and yet they give Batista and Castro almost half a season.

Hopefully Garza locates well tonight and the lineup wakes up.

Nick N. said...

The Twins offense has been pretty meager lately, and the GIDP are getting downright annoying. But unless I read the standings wrong, we still LEAD the wild card race.

Right... which is good. I think the point he's getting at is that regardless of the fact that we're holding ground, it's still really hard to watch the team because they just cannot score runs. I can't imagine the White Sox will continue to slump for too much longer, so if they Twins can't pull themselves out of this slump, then they almost certainly will find themselves losing ground.

Anonymous said...

I think this is an over reaction. If they win two of the four games with the Tigers, and the White Sox beat Cleveland in the next three they will be only half a game out and will no longer face either Detroit or the Yankees. Goal is to get one win from either Garza or Bonser amd then ride Santana and hope that Liriano;s come abck keeps going.

At same time I do agree that it does not seem to make much sense to DH Tyner if you have Nevin on the bench.

Nick M. said...

Let me try and clarify my points here. With Tyner, it is simply confusing why a hitter with absolutely no power would be DHing when Nevin is on the bench. I understand that it may be a platoon thing, but he should still be used over Tyner.

As for overreacting, I'm not sure I am. The Twins offense has been struggling against everyone lately and two runs on 10 hits shows how bad we are struggling with men on lately. The only reason we still have a lead is because the White Sox are struggling, but that won't last. They have too many good hitters and enough pitching to get by.

Yes, if we win 2 out of 4 we will be in fine positioning. It is not so much that I think we have no chance at going to the playoffs, but that the Twins may not be able to do much at all once they get there.

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