Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Battle of the Bad

Over the past decade, the battle for AL Central supremacy has often come down to two teams: the Twins and the White Sox. Since 2001, the Twins have won the division six times, and that success has often come at the expense of the Pale Hosers, who finished second behind them in four of those seasons.

Of course, Chicago has also had its notable victories in this classic rivalry, edging the Twins in a tiebreaker for the division title in 2008 and reaching that ultimate achievement -- one that has eluded the hometown nine -- when they captured a World Series Championship in 2005.

This year, the Twins have been so outrageously bad over the first month of the season that some fans have failed to take notice of Chicago's own struggles. While the Twins (9-18) have scuffled in basically every aspect of the game, leading to a league-worst negative-64 run differential, the White Sox (11-19) have had their own share of issues and currently sport the second-worst run-differential in baseball -- albeit a much less appalling negative-32. (They're tied at that mark with -- you guessed it -- the Cubs. Tough times for the Windy City.)

Tonight, the two teams face off for the first time this season at U.S. Cellular Field. The pitching tilt will feature Francisco Liriano, who has been a major contributor to his club's woes with a 1-4 record and 9.13 ERA in five starts, and Edwin Jackson, who himself has regressed significantly after an impressive South Side debut last year.

Something's gotta give, right? There's no way two teams with as much talent as these can continue to play at such an abysmal and embarrassing level.

Which group is ready to step up?

16 comments:

Blizzy said...

The Twins are so `Beer League` this year that it makes my heart hurt. I look forward all year for the season to start and when a team has the month of April like the Twins had, it makes me wish the season was soon over....ya know, so they can again not spend any money on the free agent market. Ugh!! But on the upside my Phillies are tearing it up, yet again.

cy1time said...

Konerko hit to homers last night. If he's heating up, Liriano will be watching a couple more fly into the seats tonight.

Anonymous said...

I live in the Chicago area and I hate to say it, but I'm not going anywhere near US Cellular Field this week. This season is a train wreck of epic proportions and unfortunately most of us saw it coming.

1. Nathan and Morneau were not going to be ready to start the season.
2. Middle infield - we all knew Casilla was not a starting caliber SS and Yoshi was/is an unknown. Why is there no depth here?? No back-up plan. Inexcusable.
3. Mauer cannot catch any more. When will FO realize this and move him before his knees are completely shot??
4. Liriano is never going to be a starter you can rely on. Give the FO credit for knowing this. Too bad they couldn't deal him before the season started. Hopefully he can still turn things around.

I hope they can get back into contention this year - especially in light of how bad the Sox are too, but being 9 games under .500 already is going to make things very tough.

Polish Sausage said...

This is the type of game you want your "stopper" on the hill for. Put an end to the 6 game losing streak and move forward. A guy who's going to take the ball, go out and win the damn thing himself. Your best pitcher. Unfortunately, we have Liriano going.

Anonymous said...

All things are pointing to a 15-15 tie at the of 9, with each team taking turns scoring 3+ runs into the wee hours of the morning....

mgraves said...

Anon (11:15 am 3May11)--
That could only happen if Kubel goes on a homerun tear and hits five three run homeruns, with Span and some other guy scoring each time. The Twins are averaging 3.15 rpg, so getting three runs/inning seems rather unlikely.

James said...

Objects in your mirror may be closer than they appear! We're comin, we're comin!!!!

logan said...

I'm just as perturbed as the next guy about the Twins this year, but in looking up additional reasons to moan I came across the 2003 Detroit Tigers season. Granted they didn't have $112mil in quality players that aren't performing, but they did go 3-20 in April. So I guess what I'm saying is, maybe it could be worse?

Anonymous said...

Its so hard to find joy in the game through stints like this. Someone needs to step up and light that constant fire under everyone's seat. Span's comments are a good start but we need that constant vocal leader to keep the team's heart alive and to keep everyone loose. Its sad watching them play like a bunch of nervous kids out there.

Matt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DakotaKid said...

The Twins have been so bad that it finally came to this:

I picked up Edwin Jackson for my fantasy team this morning because he's got strikeout stuff and he's facing the likes of Tolbert, Casilla, and Butera.

It's a sad day...I'm a bad fan.

Anonymous said...

OK - Full Disclosure. I'm the Anonymous Idiot who posted the the comment earlier about Liriano never being a starter ... blah blah blah. Yes I'm eating my words right now. And glad of it.

Congrats Francisco!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

"This is the type of game you want your "stopper" on the hill for. Put an end to the 6 game losing streak and move forward. A guy who's going to take the ball, go out and win the damn thing himself. Your best pitcher. Unfortunately, we have Liriano going."

Three hours ago I would have agreed with you 100%, and considering that wasn't the best thrown no-hitter, but it was still a no-hitter, which I think is the definition of what you were calling for Polish Sausage.

mgraves said...

MMM--tasty crow. Mr Liriano threw a heck of a game.

Anonymous said...

Hope tonight's cool no hitter will be the start of something that will last long into the playoffs. Go Twins!

Anonymous said...

Liriano keeps his job, defense backs a starter for a change, and the bullpen gets to watch this one. So seems to all be a great springboard to re-start the engine. Still need to hit though. Looking ahead the teams ahead of us still have to fullfill their east coast tour duties. Thinking postive!!