Archive - Jul 15, 2015

Date
  • All
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31

The Twins at the break

The Twins made it through the All Star break in a good position to make a move towards the top in the last 70-some games of the season.

Howard Sinker, a long-time observer at the Star-Tribune, has a good summation of the first half ot the season. His best observation, I think, is that the running game is still a work in progress under Paul Molitor. Many times, Molitor has sent the runners only to have them caught, thus killing a rally. It seems as if the players are still not able to execute his aggressiveness. That will eventually change as the more athletic younger players learn Molitor's game. 

The best hope for a great finish to the season comes in the form of the Twins' starting pitching. They have plenty. Starting pitching is the anchor of any good team, and the Twins' starters have been even better than their statistics might indicate, and certainly much improved over last year. 

Look at the Tigers for evidence: You can score lots of runs, but if you give up 10, you won't win many games. The Tigers only have two solid starters right now. The Twins have six, and as many as eight if you count Berrios in the minors and Nolasco on the disabled list. 

August is when pitchers wear down. The month will be very telling for the Twins. 

Terry Ryan and Molitor have done a good job trying to get the Twins offense moving.  

Successes:

Eddie Rosario. He is going to be a good one. His defense is solid. His exceptional natural ability with the bat will be accentuated by increased knowledge of pitchers as he goes along. 

Miguel Sano is the real thing. He takes walks. He hits doubles. Hit hits to the opposite field. He hits the ball 500 feet. He will be fearsome! The Twins need to get him a position on the field, however. Nobody wants to be a career DH. I doesn't seem to work. 

Buxton needs to learn, but he should be allowed to do so with the big league team. 

Aaron Hicks has natural talent, but is only now getting his head in the game. Many trips back and forth to the minor leagues used to be the norm. Eventually, things can click, as they seem to be doing now for Hicks. 

I was ready to give up on Joe Mauer, but now he is hitting, and he hits in clutch situations. He is no longer merely average, as he was for the first three months of the season. 

Torii Hunter has been as good as he was last year, which is pretty good. He's also better in the outfield than he was with the Tigers last year. 

Plouffe is doing about what was expected. 

Of course, Dozier has been amazing. 

Failures:

Danny Santana still could be good, but right now his average is 100 points lower than last year. And he still makes some bonehead plays at shortstop. 

Escobar hasn't done much. Vargas looks like a wash-out. Suzuki isn't hitting his weight. 

Over all, the offense had a poor first half. To be 49-40 with the offense in dormancy is a good sign. Every one of the players on the team has the capability to break out in the second half. If two do at a time, that will be enough. 

I have no opinion on the bullpen. Bullpens are always fluid and frustrating. Aaron Thompson succeeded for a while, then went bust. Boyer is a mixed bag. Graham is developing. Perkins is solid. You never know who might step up to do the job. Molitor and pitching coach Neal Allen seem pretty good at playing the hot hand. 

The fun part of a good season is the team looks different at the end than it did in the beginning. The 1987 Twins picked up Don Baylor for September, and he played a role in the World Series win. That same year, the Detroit Tigers ace in the playoffs was a pitcher they picked up in August, Doyle Alexander. 

There are new heroes waiting for their moment. When you have a farm system as rich as the Twins', it might be somebody we haven't even heard of yet.