GameChat – Rangers @ Twins #2, 7:10

It’s Duensing against Wilson tonight, but Brian is going to battle without Justin Morneau in the line up behind him. Doc’s wrist is sore and he asked for a night off.

Jim Thome is sore after getting an epidural for his various sore body parts, so it’s certainly no sure thing that he’ll be returning any time soon.

Joe Mauer is catching for the third game in a row tonight in Ft. Myers. He’ll take tomorrow off, then get behind the plate again Sunday. That’s when  decision will get made as to whether he’ll go to Rochester for more rehab or join the Twins for the start of their series vs Chicago Tuesday.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka is on a similar track. He’s leading off and playing SS in Ft. Myers tonight and then may move on to a higher level of minor league ball to see better pitching before anyone decides when to have him rejoin the Twins.

Remember the good old days when all we had to talk about in the GameChat posts was the starting pitcher? I miss those days.

I’m a little curious as to why Ben Revere is in LF with Jason Repko in CF… but I suppose that’s not a real big deal. Just seems like Repko’s arm would play better in RF.

RANGERS @ TWINS
Andrus, SS Revere, LF
Gentry, CF Casilla, A, SS
Hamilton, LF Cuddyer, RF
Young, M, DH Young, D, DH
Beltre, A, 3B Hughes, L, 1B
Cruz, N, RF Valencia, 3B
Napoli, 1B Repko, CF
Torrealba, C Tolbert, 2B
Blanco, A, 2B Butera, C
Wilson, C, P Duensing, P

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Texas 0 7 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 9 13 0
Minnesota 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 3 8 2

I got home from dinner in the third inning… and this game was already over. The silver lining tonight was Anthony Swarzak. 6 innings of work with just a couple of earned runs is good enough to get a “quality start” if you’re the starting pitcher. It gets you a “nice job” when you come in to a game that’s already a lost cause. Of course, in this case, it may also get Swarzak a spot in the rotation a week from now.

The Final Countdown – 100 Games

Entering Friday night’s game against the Texas Rangers, the Twins are carrying a record of 24-38. You know what that means, don’t you? No… not that they’ve pretty much sucked all year (well, OK, it kind of does mean that, but that’s not what I’m talking about right now).

It means they’ve played 62 games. And you know what that means, don’t you? (Stick with me here… I’ll get to the point eventually.)

It means there are exactly 100 games left in the Twins’ regular season.

That works out really well for my purposes because the Twins are also 10 games behind the AL Central Division leaders. (What’s that? You say the Twins are 11.5 games out of first place? Well, technically, yes… but as I pointed out in early May, in the REAL AL Central Standings, the Twins only have to care about how far they trail the Tigers and White Sox.)

Being 10 games behind the Tigers with 100 games to play makes it easy enough to figure out what the Twins need to do to not only get back in this race, but win it. They need to make up 1 game in the REAL standings every 10 games they play. (Yeah, I know… they’ll need to do SLIGHTLY better than that if they want to avoid another Game 163 showdown.)

That’s not so tough, right?

Well… yeah it is, actually.

We’re all pretty thrilled that our guys have trimmed something like 5.5 games off their deficit to the Cleveland Indians in the past week or so, but even with the success the Twins have had lately, the Twins have actually DROPPED a game further behind the Tigers in the REAL AL Central Standings over the course of the past 10 games and have just kept pace with the White Sox.

So, before we celebrate too much, let’s keep our focus where it belongs. Cleveland and Kansas City have some good, young talent and down the road, they’re going to contend for playoff spots. But that road extends in to the future beyond this season. This year, it will not matter how the Twins measure up to the Indians and Royals. What will matter, as it has over the past few seasons, is where they finish in relation to the Tigers and White Sox.

Let’s keep track, shall we?

Every ten games, for as long as it matters, we’ll bring everyone up to date on what the REAL AL Central Standings look like and we can measure whether the Twins are making the necessary ground up on the Tigers and BitchSox.

TWINS GAMES REMAINING: 100

TEAM RECORD GB
Tigers 34-28 -
BitchSox 31-34 4.5
TWINS 24-38 10

We’ll update these standings every 10 games (or as often as we remember to do it).

And what, you may ask, happens if I’m wrong about the whole “Indians and Royals don’t matter” thing? Well… you’d be surprised how quickly all evidence of a blog post can be erased.

- JC