1B: Everything We Asked For (And Probably A Bit Too Much…)
What did Justin Morneau NOT accomplish during the 2008 season?! His offensive stats read as follows: 683 AB, 97 R, 187 H, 47 2B (a new team record), 23 HR, 129 RBI, and .300 BA, far and away leading the rest of the team in nearly all of those categories (and likely garnering him at least a few MVP ballots behind probable winner Dustin Pedroia). Defensively, Morneau has also developed himself into an above-average (and borderline spectacular) defenseman (much like Corey Koskie did years ago). Oh, and on a personal level, Morneau won the MLB Home Run Derby and scored the winning run in the All-Star Game. What’s to complain about, right?
While Justin (much like his buddy Joe Mauer) was the team MVP throughout the 2008 season, he also seemed to succumb to a bit of fatigue at certain points (163 games will do that to a player). Basically, he carried the team when he was hot, but also was abhorrent when he was cold (like the last week of the season). I hope that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will view this as just another learning experience with his always-potential MVP candidate, as it would be smart to give him a few days off next season whether or not it messes up the lineup.
In order for that to happen, though, the Twins may need to go out a sign a part-time player (much like Mike Redmond does at the catcher position) to play 1B, or give Brian Buscher a bit more work at the position so they at least feel moderately comfortable giving the Big Canuck some rest.
All in all, it was a great season for Morneau and I hope he continues his success in subsequent seasons, as he is the rock that our offensive lineup is built on.
-Talk about some bad blood in Los Angeles…the Dodgers got back into their NLCS with a 7-2 win over Philadelphia. Besides some early offensive fireworks from the men in Blue (knocking Phillies’ starter Jamie Moyer in the second inning), both benches also emptied when Hiroki Kuroda (the Dodgers’ starting pitcher) threw over the head of Shane Victorino, with Manny Ramirez leading the charge out of the home dugout. A bunch of other beanballs were exchanged (whether intentional or not) during the contest, setting up a Game Four tomorrow night that was the potential for high drama.
-Yes, the Tampa Bay Rays evened the series with the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night, but with the series moving to Fenway Park tomorrow afternoon, does anyone really think the Rays will take two of three on that hallowed ground. IF this series goes back to The Trop, it WILL be with the Sox holding the advantage.