Don’t Be Distracted (or One Pressing Need)
Just recently here in Minnesota, the guy pictured above (Cliff Lee, for those living under a brick of Target Field limestone) has been on the brains of all Twins fans (and for good reason, as he could be a great addition to our ballclub).
However, games like tonight only go to show that another need is just as pressing…a true closer.
When Mr. Joe Nathan used to come into games (to the fans urging others to “Stand up and Shout!”), you got the feeling that everything would be okay, and most of the time (if not the ALDS against the Yanks…grrr) it was.
With Jon Rauch, though, the exact opposite is true. He is basically just your average middle reliever who challenges hitters and lives by the law of averages (that which states that a pitcher should be able to pitch one inning without giving up a run). However, come October or even a steamy September, and I can see Rauch losing too many key games for us. Past demons aside, I would (if given the option…booo) send Nathan out to the mound every time against, say, the Yanks again over Rauch any day of the week.
Tonight was just another example. Two great teams, the Twins and Rays, played a hard-fought game into the eighth inning (featuring more heroics from Delmon Young both at the plate and in the field), when the Twins finally edged out in front. However, Rauch then blew the save that led to Matty Guerrier’s eventually loss.
So, with all the pandering over Cliff Lee, let’s not forget another pressing need…that “last guy” spot in the ninth. Rauch isn’t preposterously bad, but also probably not good enough to make it through the playoffs, either.
-Carl Crawford may just be the best player in baseball. Blazing speed, incredible defense, and hits for power/average. If I’m building a major league baseball team right now, he’s A-1 on my short list.
Preview (43-36, 1st, 1.0 GA DET): David Price (11-3, 2.44) vs. Scott Baker (6-7, 4.97).