And we’re back to baseball!! err.. almost. Once again, it appears there may be a slight delay to the start of the game but it should go through fairly quickly and should be clear to go after that.. maybe.. it’s Minnesota so it could change..
News over the week is that Capps has been re-instated. Now that he’s off the DL, the Twins optioned Kyle Waldrop back down to AAA to make room. Reportedly, he’ll ease back into his full workload by doing setup work instead of closing for a bit. There’s also rumors out there that he might be moving to the Blue Jays but that’s not something I can substantiate for you right now.
Let’s hope that the boys are all ready to get back to baseball and are ready to up their game for the second half. That would be fun… I hope that we have the good Frankie tonight!
If rumors are to be believed (which is always a tenuous concept at best) Matt Capps is not the only Twins pitcher who may have a different uniform tomorrow morning. Word is that this may very well have been Liriano’s last game as a Twin. Boy did he make it a doozy. He made people ponder Santana’s single game strike out record and watch to see if he could get there. He didn’t but 15 k’s is NOTHING to sneeze at. Sadly, in what seems to be the eternal dichotomy of Franky’s performances, he gave up enough runs to get the loss anyway. Of course we’ll let you know if there is more news coming sooner or later but for the first game back, I was hoping for a little better.
Coming off a disappointing road trip before the All-Star Game in which the Twins lost of couple of heart breakers to the Texas Rangers, the Minnesota Twins are likely to aggressively look for offers for many of their current players. While the Twins are “only” 11.0 games out of first place, they are still 13 games under .500 and would have to go 45-32, playing .582 baseball. Only the New York Yankees, the Texas Rangers, and the Washington Nationals played .582 baseball or better before the All-Star Break, so the Twins are looking at a monumental climb just to get back to .500.
Realistically the Twins would need to approach not just 81 wins to compete in the Central, but something more like 86 wins to win the division (assuming the White Sox Cleveland or Detroit do not play much better in the 2nd half), which would mean going 50-27 in their remaining games. That simply is not happening with the Twins’ current pitching staff. Even if the good Francisco Liriano shows up and Scott Diamond continues to impress, Cole De Vries and Samuel Dedunoare still in the starting rotation!
So what would a realistic record look like going down the stretch? The Twins are 18-17 since June 1, which is a lot closer to the mediocre team many thought the Twins would be heading into the season, than the 18-32 baseball the played before June. In their remaining 77 games, the Twins have 43 games against the AL Central and just 17 left against the AL East and the AL West. Even if the Twins’ front office trades off a couple of their more valuable players, the Twins should still have a decent opportunity to play within a game of .500 baseball against the AL Central teams, going 21-22 the rest of the way. Against the East and West the Twins played very poorly in the first half, posting a winning record only against the Oakland Athletics (3-0). I do not think they’ll be as bad as they were in the first half, and if they manage to go 15-19 against the rest of the AL I will not be surprised. Maybe that is a little bit of a rose colored prediction, but this team has shown in the past month+ that they are capable of putting together stretches of competitive baseball.
That would put the Twins at 36-41 in the second half, and a record of 72-90 to finish the season. That is only 9 games better than the 63-99 the Twins were a year ago, but if the front office is building towards future success, I will be willing to accept the lumps in 2012 in hopes of a brighter future ahead.