GameChat – Twins @ Royals #1, 7:10pm

Our guys (they ARE still our guys, right?) start a four-game series with the Royals in Kansas City tonight and it gives us an opportunity to see what Anthony Swarzak can do for an encore following his near no-hitter on Saturday vs. the Angels. It also gives us a chance to get a good look at some young Royals who are reportedly on the cusp of becoming a pretty fair ballclub.

After the game last night, word came that the Twins would likely be placing either Jason Kubel or Jim Thome on the Disabled List today and that Ben Revere was on his way back up from Rochester. Today, it seems Gardy couldn’t make up his mind which of his lefty DHs to put on the DL list, so he decided to drop both of them from the active roster. That left him short on lefties, so now Brian Dinkelman will be coming up, as well.

I know I’m not the first to say this, but it really is true… this roster and the line ups we’re seeing really do resemble what we’re more accustomed to seeing at road games in Spring Training. At this point, frankly, there’s probably an argument to be made that we all might as well get a good look at the “next generation”.

Joe Mauer caught three innings of extended spring training baseball today and told media he felt “fatigued” afterward. I’m not sure what to make of that and I’m really not sure what else we should expect. If you put anyone behind the plate for three innings after he hasn’t played baseball for three months, there’s a pretty good chance he’ll feel fatigued. Still… I can’t help but feel like there’s a helluva lot more to this story than anyone is reporting. But I could do a 1,000 word post on the Mauer issue itself (and probably will… soon).

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

TWINS @ ROYALS
Span, CF Gordon, LF
Casilla, A, 2B Cabrera, Me, CF
Morneau, DH Hosmer, 1B
Cuddyer, 1B Francoeur, RF
Valencia, 3B Butler, DH
Young, D, LF Betemit, 3B
Revere, RF Aviles, 2B
Rivera, R, C Treanor, C
Tolbert, SS Escobar, A, SS
Swarzak, P O’Sullivan, P

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 1 0 6 0 0 0 1 0 0 8 10 0
Kansas City 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 9 1

Well that was kinda different. I’m not sure that, over the course of the entire game, the Twins really were all that impressive. But wow, that 3rd inning was a piece of work unlike anything we’ve seen in a long time!

No one particular offensive player had a huge game but Denard Span and Matt Tolbert both managed to get a couple of hits, six different guys had RBI and seven different players scored runs. Nice team effort.

The bullpen contributions of Jose Mijares, Alex Burnett and Matt Capps didn’t suck at all, either!

But while his six innings of work wasn’t quite as impressive as his near no-hitter on Saturday, it was still solid enough to earn Anthony Swarzak his second consecutive Boyfriend of the Day award! Do the Twins have a new “stopper”?

Anthony Swarzak

 

Disappointing? Overrated? Not The Twins!

A few posts ago, I indicated that I’ve been working on a “Who’s Fault Is This Mess?” post. This isn’t it. That subject is still simmering in my mind. Actually, a better word might be “festering”.

But a couple of things caught my eye over the noon hour Thursday as I was glancing through some of the national online media web sites. These, in particular, were from SI.com. First, there’s a column from SI writer Joe Sheehan in which he lists the MLB “All-Disappointment” team. Since I’m a fan of what pretty much has to be absolutely the most disappointing team in baseball this season, I had to click that link! I expected to find just two words… “Minnesota Twins”.

But no.

Sheehan went down the line, position by position, with his list of the most disappointing MLB players this year (with an occasional “honorable mention” for some positions). Here’s his list, which you can read all about for yourself by clicking here :

C : Yorvit Torrealba, Rangers (Sheehan does mention in the introductory paragraph that Joe Mauer is one of the guys he’s giving a “pass” to based on injuries)

1B: Albert Pujols, Cardinals (1B Honorable Mention: Aubrey Huff, Giants)

2B: Dan Uggla, Braves

SS: Hanley Ramirez, Marlins

3B: Chone Figgins, Mariners

OF: Carl Crawford, Red Sox

OF: Alexis Rios, White Sox

OF: Nick Markakis, Orioles (OF Honorable Mention: Austin Jackson, Tigers)

DH: Adam Dunn, White Sox

SP: Chris Carpenter, Cardinals

SP: Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies

SP: Edinson Volquez, Reds

SP: John Lackey, Red Sox

Closer: Joakim Soria, Royals

Closer: Matt Thornton, White Sox

Not a single Twin on an “All Disappointment” Team!? Hard to believe, isn’t it? Maybe we’re being too hard on our guys!

Disappointing AND Overrated?

Then I saw that a list had been made of the 16 most overrated players, based on a vote of 185 MLB players. You can’t read a Twins blog or participate in a Twins chat without someone going on and on about how overrated this guy or that guy is, so certainly their peers must recognize the obvious, right?

Nope.

Here are the 16 (or you can click here to page through the list): 

1. Alex Rodriguez – Yankees

2. Joba Chamberlain – Yankees

3. Derek Jeter – Yankees

(Yes, by this time I was seeing a pattern emerging. I’m apparently not the only person who thinks anyone wearing a Yankee uniform automatically is overrated until they prove otherwise… and perhaps even then. Players seem to feel the same way.)

4. Jayson Werth – Nationals

5. Jonathan Papelbon – RedSox

6. Nick Swisher – Yankees

7. BJ Upton – Rays

8. David Ortiz – RedSox

9. AJ Burnett – Yankees

10. Manny Ramirez – no longer gainfully employed to play baseball

11. Carlos Beltran – Mets

12. Alfonso Soriano – Cubs

13. Evan Longoria – Rays

14. JD Drew – RedSox

15. David Wright – Mets

16. Albert Pujols – Cardinals

Now a few things stood out about this list.

Five of the top nine most overrated players, according to their peers, are Yankees.

Three of the 16 are RedSox, while the Rays and Mets each had a pair of representatives. (The Rays actually had three, if you count ManRam against them, since he was with the Rays when he quit the game rather than face up to another failed drug test.)

Only one player on the most overrated list was also on Joe Sheehan’s All-Disappointment team… Albert Pujols (and yet, you just know someone is going to step up during the offseason and pay this guy bajillions of dollars over the next ten years).

Then, there’s the most obviously notable thing about this list (at least for our purposes here)there are no Twins on this list either!

I can really only draw one conclusion from this. Since our players are not overrated and are not disappointments, clearly it was our expectations of the Twins players that were out of whack to start the year. So if we, as a fan base, are disappointed, it’s not the players’ fault, it’s our fault for expecting them to play better than they have!

Whew… I’m glad we got that whole “who’s fault is this mess?” thing cleared up.

- JC