Are You Positive?

16 Sep

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I was watching the Twins game last night, happy with another win. Much credit for the win has to go to the bottom of the lineup for coming up with some big hits. Nick Punto had three hits. Brian Buscher had a big run-scoring hit. Orlando Cabrera hit a game-tying home run. Getting production from guys like that will be key down the stretch. The Twins have won three games in a row, all without Justin Morneau. They got good starting pitching, and the bullpen has been very good of late. Sure, Joe Nathan is fighting through struggles (on his way to another 40 save season, mind you!), but the rest of the bullpen has been much improved. Meanwhile, Detroit has been playing quite poorly of late. They have certainly left the door open, at least a little bit. Why am I not getting excited? I mean, the Twins are 4.5 games back of the Tigers with 17 games to go. The odds of the Twins making the playoffs are not good, something like 11%, but they are technically still alive.

So why am I not excited? Is it because they haven’t had that extended run that we all thought they were capable of? Well, in reality, they did. They won 12 out of 15 games. And, let’s be honest, if they can win twelve or thirteen out of their remaining games, there is a realistic chance that those games in the Dome on the final weekend will be bigger than just a farewell to a stadium.

It’s mid-September. The Twins are technically still in this thing. Help me out! Is there reason to be positive and excited? I think there are.

1.)    Those infamous seven games remaining with the Tigers provide an opportunity.

2.)    The Tigers have been bad. Their pitching situation is arguably worse than the Twins. Yes, they have Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson and Rick Porcello, but their bullpen has been a mess.

3.)    Maybe the Twins front office did know what they were doing in NOT acquiring Jarrod Washburn. We are so quick to be negative on the guys that got away that we often forget to say thank you for all the cases in which that is a good thing (See also, Joe Nelson, Juan Cruz, Eric Gagne and too many more to mention in this).

4.)    The Twins have Joe Mauer.

5.)    The Twins have Denard Span.

6.)    The Twins have Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel.

7.)    Scott Baker has been very good of late.

8.)    Carl Pavano has been as good as expected.

9.)    Nick Blackburn had his struggles, but he has also shown a propensity for pitching really well in really big games.

10.)                        Brian Duensing is still doing something to keep hitters off balance.

11.)                        The Bullpen is much improved, now making the 7th through 9th innings a little easier to breathe in.

So what else do you have? Let’s start being a little more positive! Why not? Worst case, we’re wrong, but we still get to enjoy only three more weeks of baseball before the long winter offseason. Are there other reasons to be positive about?

I have to be honest and ask, aren’t you (like me) tired of being negative? This is a .500 team, why can’t the positive at least equal the negative? I mean, I too can look at the bottom of the batting order and see Nick Punto in the lineup. Last night’s lineup had Buscher, Matt Tolbert and Punto at the bottom. That doesn’t create much excitement. But it is what it is. We can complain as much as we want about Danny Valencia (or Brock Peterson) not being up here right now, but that isn’t our decision, so no need for us to dwell on it. (No, I don’t get it either!) We can complain when Mike Redmond catches, as he likely will today, but we need to get over it. It’s easy to look at Michael Cuddyer’s WPA, but I prefer to look at the .270 with 25 homers.

Seriously, sometimes it’s much more fun to just step back and enjoy the baseball. I know I need to do that. Let’s just enjoy these final three weeks or before we know it, it’ll be gone. And then the offseason starts and we can all analyze away!!  

World Cup Update:

  • Monday
    • Nelvin Fuentes pitched a scoreless inning for Mexico.
    • Luke Hughes hit a home run.
    • Matt Willams got a win for Australia. He went 1.2 innings and gave up an unearned run.
    • Rene Tosoni went 3-4 with his second homer and second steal of the tournament.
    • Trevor Plouffe went 2-3 with a walk, a double and a stolen base.
  • Tuesday
    • Trevor Plouffe was 1-3 with a walk and another double.

NFL “Expert” Picks Update

            Although the page is still a work in progress, I have set up the 2009 FB Picks web page. It will include the bios, updated standings and the weekly picks. Our panel did well in week one. As a group, our selections went 13-3. Six participants went 14-2 (Jeff Manship, Phil Mackey, Nick Nelson, Parker Hageman, Josh Johnson, Brian Pietrzak and Andrew Kneeland). With no Thursday games this week, the Week 2 picks will be posted on Friday.

If you have any opinions, comments or updates, please leave them in the Comments section.


9 Responses to “Are You Positive?”

  1. mike wants wins September 16, 2009 at 9:53 am #

    I told my son not to give up yet. A couple of Tigers’ losses before they meet the Twins while the Twins win, and it isn’t over.

    I have hope, if not logic/belief, that they can win this still.

    I’d have more hope if the manager would make slightly different decisions, but it is what it is, and you may as weel just watch the games and enjoy them.

  2. rghrbek September 16, 2009 at 10:45 am #

    Seth, love ya man, but I just can’t be positive. I don’t have to be ultra negative, but this has been an “I told ya so” year for me. From the starting pitching being to inexperienced, to LNP getting the contract, to not addressing the bullpen adequately, to Gardy well being Gardy.

    You get great years from Mauer, Morno, Cruddy, and Kubel, and your team is still .500 in the worst division in baseball? Tough to polish that turd.

    Still, I want to see them compete. I want them to have momentum for next year, so yes, if they somehow win the division, great. They will lose in 3 to the Yankees.

  3. Mark September 16, 2009 at 11:09 am #

    The Piranha are finaly show some teeth, But this team seems to have lost what made it good. Its agresiveness. Nobody drops down bunts, nobody steals etc. I think it was last night the Twins have 2 out, Punto on first and Spann at the plate. For love of Kirby steal in that situation, whats the worst that can happen? Spann leads off the next inning? Best thing Punto is in scoring position. When they do steal they go on 3-1 counts so the batter has to protect them, go on 2-0 counts that gives the batter better options. The problem with the Twins is they don’t play Twins style baseball anymore. They are playing White Sox style baseball.

  4. mike wants wins September 16, 2009 at 11:27 am #

    mark, the Twins are 8th in runs scored, and 24th in ERA. I don’t think the problem is with “playing the Twins’ way” on offense.

  5. matt September 16, 2009 at 11:41 am #

    Seth: We are so quick to be negative on the guys that got away that we often forget to say thank you for all the cases in which that is a good thing (See also, Joe Nelson, Juan Cruz, Eric Gagne and too many more to mention in this).

    You can’t really say thank you because out of that group they decided to go with Luis Ayala. Also, the guy I was hoping they’d sign because of his experience as a closer was Brandon Lyon, who instead signed with the Tigers and is probably the most dependable pitcher in the Tigers bullpen.

  6. roger September 16, 2009 at 12:11 pm #

    Seth, I keep looking at the math, which continues to leave some hope. No matter how you cut it, they gotta beat the Tigers 6 of 7. Is that possible, yes. Is it likely, probably not. We will all know a lot more come Sunday, but if they do not sweep the Tigers they probably have waived the white flag.

    Also, doesn’t Fuentes pitch for Puerto Rico? I have my pitchers ranking done, will see you tomorrow.

  7. Dave September 16, 2009 at 4:41 pm #

    Some possible pick-ups seemed [even at the time] absurd to me, starting with Washburn. I am entirely of two minds about the next couple of weeks. The team is too erratic to get overly-psyched. I would be more hopefully, given how hideous the division is, if we all didn’t know the Gardener is going to dig us a hole even Mauer can’t get the Twins out of. Having said that, seeing Morales behind the plate today, gives me some small reason to believe that sanity might prevail. BTW: I don’t have access to the numbers, but didn’t Buscher have a great season last year getting guys in from third with less than two outs—and generally hit well in the clutch?

  8. TT September 16, 2009 at 8:37 pm #

    “they gotta beat the Tigers 6 of 7.”

    No, the don’t. They will need just help from that other team that isn’t in the race, the White Sox.

    The Tigers play their last ten games against the White Sox and the Twins. If they lose all three series – i.e. end up 3-7 over that stretch, they are going to struggle to win the division. The Twins and White Sox will each have picked up 4 games during those ten games if both win their other series.

    And I am amazed anyone thinks Valencia deserved a call-up. The guy hit .258 the last half of the season and struggled with the glove. What exactly did he do at AAA that indicates he could help a team in a pennant race?

  9. scot September 17, 2009 at 7:27 pm #

    I’m Gonna be glued to these games this weekend. A sweep would be nice but no less than 2/3 is needed. GO TWINS!!

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