Monday, August 13, 2007

The Flipside of .500

It's hard to believe, but the Twins are approaching rock bottom and have now slid beneath the .500 mark. The Twins were unable to hit any of the Angels' top pitchers -- from Kelvim Escobar to John Lackey to Jered Weaver yesterday -- and in doing so the Twins have utterly wasted their one big opportunity to squirm back into the playoff race. While the Twins lost five of six to the Angels and Royals, the top two teams in the AL Central standings -- the Indians and Tigers -- were having skids of their own, as both teams have gone 4-6 in their last ten games.

By not taking advantage of the poor play from the teams ahead of them, the Twins are essentially out of the playoff picture. They're not going to get the Wild Card, as either the streaking Yankees, one of the Central teams, Seattle, or maybe even Boston will be taking it. The Twins are seven games out in the Central lead and eight out in the Wild Card standings. Neither of those are necessarily insurmountable leads, but this team is not fooling anyone with their recent play.

Yesterday's game was only the most recent addition to a list of embarrassing losses for the Twins. Thankfully, the Twins didn't waste another great start, as Boof Bonser was just as miserable on the mound as the Twins hitters were at the plate. Bonser gave up nine hits, five runs, and four walks over 5 2/3 innings while striking out just three Angels, increasing his ERA to 4.77. The offense did score two runs, but most of the hitters were staggeringly bad, as five Twins went hitless, including Justin Morneau, Torii Hunter, and Michael Cuddyer, who went a combined 0-for-12. The few positives came with Joe Mauer going 2-for-4 with a double, Alexi Casilla collecting two hits, two stolen bases, and two runs scored (though he did commit his sixth error), and Jason Bartlett picking up both RBI with a sac fly and his third triple of the season.

Though any lingering postseason dreams for the Twins may have died with the Angels sweep, tonight's match-up should provide some great entertainment for any baseball fan, as Johan Santana faces off against Seattle's young ace Felix Hernandez. I'd like to keep some hope for the team to turn the season around, but with each loss like yesterday's, the Twins inch closer and closer toward avoiding the playoffs.

10 comments:

S.Chancellor said...

The hitters have quit. Yes, they have the worst offense in baseball, but 89 runs since the All-Star Break?

The GM sucked the life out of the team two weeks ago. By trading a hitter vice adding one, he made an explicit statement: the team cannot contend. Anything he said otherwise was empty rhetoric.

Of course, some trades for hitters may have boosted them into contention. But we've beaten that horse to death.

If the GM was going quit on this year's team, which he did, then he should have gone all out, and traded Silva, Nathan, and Hunter. Either rebuild or contend; this middle-ground is nonsense.

I am amazed at how bad a year this GM is having. He has failed on every front.

Tricia said...

**Sigh.**

S.Chancellor said...

Nick M. and Nick N.,

I recommend an addendum to the Bottom of the Barrel Tag -

running stats since the trade deadline for three players:

Wigginton .325-1-4
Ensberg .276-2-4
Punto ? [I am guessing .190-0-1]

Ryan could have had either for a song...

Nick M. said...

S. Chancellor -

That's an interesting idea. I think we'll have to consider it. Just one more way to remind everyone why this team is now below .500.

EMH said...

Despite the lack in offensive (which, I have to tell you, is really painfull when you are at the game, surrounded by Angels fans who have had a few beers too many), it was nice to see Watkins play yesterday. If we are going to have crap at third, we might as well have a youngster who needs a little seasoning, than a veteran for whom things do not seem to be working out.

By the bye, if anyone is interested, I am eventually going to get around to posting pictures from Saturday and Sunday's games here: http://picasaweb.google.com/eharknes

Nick N. said...

Thanks for the link to the pics, EMH. Although, for the record, Watkins is already 27, so I wouldn't really call him a youngster persay (Punto is 29).

EMH said...

Yeah, good point. But I think that he is young to the Majors, yes? I have been a little out of it after eight months in Europe and only being back in the States for a couple weeks. Trying to get back in the game...

Nick N. said...

Well, in general, 27 is not "old." But for a guy making his major-league debut, Watkins is no spring chicken. And the idea of getting seasoning in the majors doesn't seem really to apply, because it's almost a given that he has no future with the big-league club.

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